Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Review: Draping, The Complete Course

I've been wanting to post this review since September! Life has been crazy with work and the FM competition. (Please VOTE if you haven't yet!)

On September 19th, I attended an event sponsored by Britex and held at Apparel Arts in San Francisco. Karolyn Kiisel was speaking, the author of the just-released book, Draping: The Complete Course.

This sold-out event gave us an opportunity to watch Karolyn drape one of the dresses that Audrey Hepburn wore in Breakfast at Tiffany's.

I have long been interested in draping, so I looked forward to watching Ms Kiisel at her craft. She started off by showing examples of how fabric behaves on grain, on cross grain, and on the bias. In short order, she was draping the Audrey Hepburn dress on a dress form. Ms. Kiisel has taught fashion design for over 20 years and she clearly knows her stuff. Once the Hepburn dress was completed, she answered questions, and then showed draping of a more free-form design.

Fascinating stuff!

After the talk, photos were taken!

Mary (a blog reader), JillyBe, me, Laura Mae
with Karolyn Kiisel

My copy of the book arrived a few weeks later, during the height of the FM sewing craziness, so I didn't have time to look at it right away.

I have finally been able to sit down and examine this massive tome.

I am quite impressed!

This book has what so many drafting and draping textbooks lack - loads and loads of color pictures! For example, here is an early page that discusses types of muslin that you might use for draping and their relative qualities:

She also discusses other types of fabrics you might want to drape with:

This page shows the difference (in the same fabric) on grain, cross grain, and on the bias:

Another strength of this book is the variety of projects shown. It runs the gamut from historical garments, to dresses from classic movies, to Jacqueline Kennedy, to modern pop stars, to garments straight off the runway.

There is something to appeal to everyone!

There is an entire section on draping bustiers, another on skirts, another on blouses, another on pants, and so on.

(And, yes, you need a dress form for draping. To drape pants, you need a bifurcated dress form.)

Here is a sampling of some of the projects from the book:

Isadora Duncan Grecian-style Dance costume

A cut-on sleeve

A bustier

Hakama - Japanese samurai pants

Katherine Hepburn wide legged pants

She shows how to drape these Nanette Lepore pants

In the Knits section, she shows how to drape the Nanette Lepore halter top

Draping a Trench coat

Kate Middleton's Wedding Gown

An Adrian design worn by Jean Harlowe in the 1933 film, Dinner at Eight

Vivienne Westwood gown

Chanel-style jacket

The book also contains drafting advice. This section, part of the Chanel-style jacket, shows how to draft a 2-pc sleeve

Dolce and Gabbana Tuxedo jacket worn by Rihanna

Red carpet dress worn by Reese Witherspoon

And this is not an exhaustive list! There is much more included in this book.

On the back cover of the book, there is a DVD with 32 video tutorials:

I watched most of these tutorials. Some are brief, but all are very professionally done. You can very clearly watch Karolyn demonstrate various techniques. I particularly enjoyed watching her perfect the fit of the Nanette Lepore pants on a live model in one video and how to put darts into a bias garment in another. You can see some sample videos here.

I highly recommend this book! The current price on Amazon is less than $50.

Here are the links and resources that I found: