Most Basic Draping

draping joe vecchiarelli

At the Sewing Expo in Novi in November one of the best classes I took was with Joe Vecchiarelli who has been working in the fashion industry for over 40 years and is the costumer for Dancing with the Stars. The class was about draping and pattern making. Of course it was only a 3 hour class and we had to share dress forms so we got only the very basics but it whet my appetite for more.

I had never seen draping done in real time before and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I have always worked with patterns that someone else has made and honestly, didn’t really understand how the designers got to the point of a flat pattern.

But that evening my eyes were opened and I’m ready for more.

By just using a rectangle of fabric, 8 or nine pins and a marker magical things happen.

Using just these basics you can make any piece of clothing you want.

After removing the flat piece of fabric and transferring the markings to a bit of pattern paper you get a pattern like this! I actually made those pattern pieces!

I saw from this class how important it can be to have a dress form that is your size if you want to make patterns using this method and so, since there was a good show special happening, I ordered one. It should be here in March.

Until then I will be on the lookout for more draping classes.

The new things I learned in that short three hour class have already had a positive affect on my sewing and how I approach altering a pattern.

If you look around on the internet you can find plenty of videos of Joe teaching draping and padding a dress form. Here’s just one:


4 thoughts on “Most Basic Draping”

  1. Dierdre Kelleher

    Well, you’ve convinced me to attend the show when it comes to Chicago next October. I hope Joe will be attending! How much of a discount was there for your form? Which one did you get? I would love to take a class that I actually pad out my form. Thanks for the inspiration to spend more money! lol

    1. Beth

      There was a 3 day class at the show for padding the form. I’m sure I’ll take that class next time when I have a professional form.
      I got the half form and the show special for those was $699. I checked the website at the time and that was about half the price if you bought it online. Plus he has body scan software which means they can make the firm to your measurements.
      I asked him to make it 2 sizes smaller than what I was at the show.

  2. Ann

    How fun to see Joe! He is the nicest man. I’ve known him for years and years when he had his supply business in LA.
    Does he have a website? It was so sad to see his store close. I’d love to arrange a body scan through him to pair up with the 3D system I’m currently using at work for pattern making.

    FYI, DH & I are planning to retire to Ohio in 2021. If you’re interested, I’d be more than willing to trade pattern & draping instruction for spinning instruction. I’m always for for a road trip or adventure 🙂 Hope I’m not being too forward or creepy.

    1. Beth

      He does have a website but it looks like it’s down for maintenance and the moment. It’s FrenchEuropean.com
      And I would be thrilled to trade lessons!

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