Thursday, 4 January 2018

Book Review: Draping: The Complete Course

Hello Lovelies! I was packing up some stuff to bring from home when I came across this book. I thought that I had reviewed it but can't find the post anywhere. I must have been having a senior moment. Doh!

The book in question is "Draping: The Complete Course" by Karolyn Kiisel, published by Laurence King Publishing. The book itself is  a pretty weighty tome, standing in at a very informative 320 pages plus a DVD with 32 video tutorials.  

I don't know how many of you have tried your hand at draping or even want to give it a go but are a bit clueless where to start. If so then this might just be the book for you. The main body of the text is preceded by an introduction outlining all the tools that you need, followed by three sections covering Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced Draping. 

Each of the main sections is broken down into several subsections all covering draping theory along with some projects as examples for each technique. Each section is illustrated with a mixture of full-colour photographs and diagrams.

The Beginning Draping Section covers:
  • Draping the Woven Panel

  • Dresses (Like this copy of Audrey Hepburn's iconic Givenchy dress from Breakfast at Tiffany's)
  • Corsets (my favourite section and a garment that I have draped many times. This one is Lacroix, Darlings).

Intermediate Draping covers:
  • Skirts
  • Blouses 
  • Trousers
  • Knits
All of the above in every variant you can think of including bodice variations, seaming, darts and dart positioning and sleeves all all kinds. It is really, really comprehensive. I love the two blouses below, especially the Gibson Girl style.

Look at these bonkers Harem Pants as worn by the glorious Nijinsky in the Ballet Russes

Advanced Draping Covers:
  • Coats and Jackets
  • The Grand Gown
  • Draping on the Bias
  • Improvisational Draping
My favourite are the grand gowns and there are some great ones as inspiration, everything from Lady Gaga, Glinda from the Wizard of Oz to Vivienne Westwood frocks.

I am going to caveat this review by stating that I have't had a chance to do many of the exercises in the book (except the corset ones) but am hoping to give at least a couple of the others a go this year. 

So to round up, this book has pretty much everything. Even if you will never give draping a go then the information on darts, grain lines, seaming and a wealth of other topics contained within would provide you with a better understanding of how garments are constructed and how patterns are made. There is also good information on fashion history. This along with the colour illustrations makes for a lovely book and a really interesting read. I think that this book would be invaluable if you want to design and make garments to your own designs or where no commercial patterns exist, like historical costuming or cosplay, and would allow you to create or copy just about anything. If draping is something that you fancy giving a bash then I can't recommend this book enough.

Have you ever tried draping or designing your own garments? Do you make your own patterns or think that it is all too much of a faff when they are so readily (and cheaply) available?

Hope that you are having a great week!
K xx

Disclaimer: I bought this book with my own money. All opinions are most definitely mine.


  1. What a treat! That book is utterly wonderful. I love those blouses and the insane pantaloons. I've a friend who studied fashion & textiles who'd absolutely love this! xxx

    1. Hi Vix, isn't it wonderful? I couldn't show them all as there was too many but there were just so many example given with tutorials how to drape them. Loads of iconic garments and looks. I am going to give the Marlene Dietrich trousers a go as I have always wanted some. I am sure that your friend would love this. Xx

  2. I can't sew and draping seems like a sort of superpower - I'd end up with something that looked like a badly-wrapped parcel.

    1. Hi Mim, That made me laugh. I wrap parcels like that.

      I used to think so too but this book is very clear and really holds your hand all the way through. I am a bit thick with stuff like that and it made it quite easy to drape a corset. Think that like most things it will just be practise. Saying that though I don't think that I could ever recreate one of those Westwood gowns. My brain just wouldn't compute which way each bit went. :) Xx

  3. What a fascinating book, I love the illustrations you included too.
    I often make clothes by fitting them to my dummy and pinning then sewing. I could definitely use some guidance sometimes. It sounds like something I should read! xxx

    1. Isn't it a smasher? There were just so many iconic garments included as examples. I wish that I could have shared them all but I might have broken the internet, or at least some copyright laws. I have done that too. I find fitting yourself is near nigh impossible as when you bend to pin things your body shape changes. It is quite hard. I think that you would definitely enjoy this. Even if you never drape anything it will give you a good understanding of grain lines and how garments are constructed. I am really glad that I bought it, even if I feel guilty about not trying much, ...... yet! :) Xx

  4. I love draping on garments and there are some stunning photos here. I'd get the book just to drool over the photos....


    1. Hi Veronica. I love draping on garments too, especially a good cowl neck.The photos really make this book. There are just so many iconic garments and loads of diagrams as well. I am really glad that I bought it and might give draping another go sometime this year, although I don't think that I could ever manage anything complicated. It is well worth a flick through. Xx