Ready to jump on a new sewing project? Well, in addition to the many other factors you have to consider when choosing your fabric, you also need to look for a fabric with the right drape for your project.
What are some fabrics that have really good drape? Silk, chiffon, rayon, and satin fabrics are some of the best fabrics that drape nicely. Cotton and linen have medium to little drape. Heavy and sturdy fabrics like wool, denim, or corduroy have almost none.
Let’s learn more about drape and how different fabrics compare to one another in this regard. We’ll also have a quick look at some of the best fabric products with good drape that you can purchase today.
What is Drape?
The term drape simply refers to the fluidity of a fabric – how the fabric creases and falls. The drape of a fabric affects how it hangs on your body. Fabrics that drape well flow nicely and fold smoothly in small creases.
The drape of a fabric weighs heavily on the final look of a garment made with that fabric. Fabrics with good drape tend to follow body lines and contours closely. They also look very nice when hung, making them ideal for decorating wedding venues.
Types of Fabric Drape
Fabrics generally fall into two categories when it comes to drape:
- High-drape fabrics
- Low-drape fabrics
Fabrics with high-drape are very flowy and fall straight down in small folds and creases. These fabrics tend to cling to and reveal the form of the body or object beneath them. Chiffon, satin, and rayon fabrics are examples of fabrics with high-drape.
Fabrics with low-drape, on the other hand, are more rigid and hang down in wider creases and fewer folds. These fabrics don’t cling or conform to the shape beneath them as much as high drape fabrics. Rather, they tend to hold their own shape.
Low-drape fabrics tend to have a greater volume and a fuller look. Denim, heavy cotton, corduroy, and upholstery fabric are examples of fabrics with low drape.
Is High-Drape Better than Low-Drape?
The answer to this question depends, of course, on what you plan to use fabric for. In general, fabrics with high-drape aren’t necessarily better than low-drape fabrics. Both types of fabrics have their unique strengths and are ideal for different use cases.
Fabrics that have a good drape are often used for making garments such as flowy skirts or blouses. These kinds of garments need to drape well over the body and move fluidly.
Fabrics with low-drape tend to be used for garments that need to hold their shape such as overalls, A-line skirts, and pencil skirts. They’re also better for making dresses with a tight bodice. In addition, low-drape fabrics are also used to create articles such as bags and covers for furniture.
In the end, the right fabric is the one with the right amount of drape for your needs.
Drape Vs Weight
What’s the relationship between the weight of a fabric and its weight? Well, at times, there isn’t any. A thin, lightweight fabric may have very poor drape and be quite stiff.
Similarly, a thick, heavy fabric could have very good drape. Nonetheless, lightweight fabrics generally tend to drape better than their heavier counterparts.
How to Check If a Fabric Drapes Well
Since you can’t rely on the weight of a fabric to determine how well it drapes, you’re better off checking for yourself. To assess the drape of a fabric, simply pick it up, hold and feel it. Next, drape the fabric over your arm by letting it fall to the floor.
Notice how the fabric hangs and how softly it drapes. If it flows well and hangs softly, then you have your hands on a fabric with high drape. If, on the other hand, it’s quite stiff and creates awkward creases and folds, you’re holding a low drape fabric.
Different Types of Draping Fabric
If you’re choosing draping fabric for an occasion, you may find it helpful to understand the different types of fabrics commonly used. They include:
- Velour drapes
- Poly-satin drapes
- Sheer drapes
Velour drapes are commonly seen in theatres. They have a lush, premium look and feel and are very durable. Velour fabrics are usually made from cotton or polyester. They come in different weights and types.
Poly-satin and sheer drapes are more commonly used for events such as weddings. Polyester is a durable synthetic fiber that is widely used for making fabrics. Satin isn’t a type of fabric, but refers to the weave utilized in making the fabric. Satin fabrics are generally very smooth and glossy.
Poly satin fabrics drape very well. They don’t wrinkle or crease easily. Thus, they’re ideal for decorating event venues.
Sheer drapes can be made from different types of fabric. However, voile is most commonly used as it’s smooth, breathable, and lightweight. Voile fabrics are usually made from polyester but can also be made from cotton.
Sheer voile fabrics are perfect for decorating an airy wedding venue. The light quality of these fabrics makes them a good choice for ceiling drapes, and uplighting on backdrop drapes.
Another commonly used sheer drape fabric is chiffon. Chiffon fabrics are delicate, gauzy, and flow nicely. Tulle fabrics are also sheer and delicate but don’t tend to drape very well.
Top 5 Fabrics That Drape Well
So we’ve taken a look at how the drape of a fabric affects its look and usage, and we came up with a few suggestions:
|1.||FabricLA Chiffon Fabric||Chiffon|
|2.||Rayon Challis Fabric||Rayon (100%)|
|3.||Decotex Sheer Voile Scarf Valance||Polyester (100%)|
|4.||Ben Textiles Charmeuse Satin Polka Dot Fabric||Charmeuse Satin (polyester)|
|5.||BalsaCircle Satin Put-up Fabric||Satin|
Let’s now look at some of the best fabrics you can buy today that drape nicely.
1. FabricLA Chiffon Fabric
As you already know, chiffon is an excellent, lightweight fabric with high drape. This chiffon fabric product is a nice option to consider if you need a fabric that drapes well.
The fabric is sold as a 10-yard bundle. It has a width of 60 inches. It’s ideal for making apparel such as blouses and skirts, but we’re sure you could make use of it for a variety of projects. It’s too beautiful to pass up!
It’s also great for decorating event venues. Whether you’re decorating arches, ceilings, or wedding tables, this chiffon fabric will get the job done nicely.
2. Rayon Challis Fabric
This 100% rayon fabric is soft and slick and should have excellent drape for any project. Rayon is known for being very soft and having a nice feel to the touch.
This fabric is about 53″ wide and you can purchase 1, 5, or 10 yards of it in length. It comes in a wide variety of colors including aqua, royal blue, peach, purple, ivory, and gold.
It’s lightweight and has a simple plain weave. While it will add beautiful drape to any fabric, the color and the structure of your project will shine more than the texture – but that’s what you’re probably looking for anyway.
This soft, flowy fabric can be used for many purposes including sewing apparel such as dresses, blouses, skirts, and lightweight pants. It drapes very nicely and could be used for decor purposes as well.
3. Decotex Sheer Voile Scarf Valance
If you’re looking for a fabric that drapes nicely specifically for home or event decoration purposes, the Decotex Premium Quality Sheer Voile Scarf Valance is a nice product to consider.
The fabric comes in a number of colors including white, purple, light blue, and mint, among others.
It is available in two width sizes – 37 inches and 54 inches. The sheer scarf is 216 inches long and is ideal for decorating home and event spaces.
The Decotex sheer voile scarf features a soft texture and drapes very well. It’s made from 100% polyester and is machine washable. It’s a nice, high-quality product and it offers great value for money.
4. Ben Textiles Charmeuse Satin Polka Dot Fabric
The Ben Textiles Charmeuse Satin Polka Dot fabric is another excellent material that drapes very nicely.
It’s made from 100% polyester and can be machine-washed. The fabric is sold by the yard and has a width of 58 inches.
This fabric is ideal for making dresses, skirts, blouses, and formalwear. It’s quite thin, very silky, and has a nice feel.
It also has a nice white and pink polka dot design (and there’s a red and white option as well), which may come in handy for costuming – or making a classic dress. If you’re looking to try your hand out at something similar, this fabric will be a great choice.
5. BalsaCircle Satin Put-up Fabric
This elegant satin fabric is an ideal choice for wedding decorations as well as sewing costumes. BalsaCircle’s satin “put-up” fabric is a durable, high-quality glossy satin fabric that drapes very well.
It’s sold in orders measuring 12 inches in width and 10 yards in length. The fabric is available in a plethora of colors ranging from apple green to rose quartz pink.
The fabric can be paired with other BalsaCircle wedding decoration products such as their tablecloths and chair runners – just in case your creative juices are flowing.
Of course, these shiny, glossy colors may be just what you need to rock your next costume party.
The BalsaCircle satin fabric is a great product at a great price. It’s definitely worth considering if you need a solid fabric for draping or costuming projects. And who can say no to that shimmer?