Draping in fashion refers to two different concepts: fashion-design draping and draped clothing. Fashion designers or design students drape, or position, fabric on a model of the human form in order to visualize how an idea will look as a finished garment. In draped clothing, garments are made to look as though the fabric is loosely gathered, which creates a relaxed, flowing effect.
Instead of simply cutting out fabric and sewing a garment, a designer first drapes the fabric on a dress form or a live model to determine how the final piece will hang and move on a person's body. The designer moves the fabric into place, using pins to fold and secure the material into a particular shape. The designer then removes the fabric from the form or model and stitches it into finished clothing. Draping is a mainstay of fashion design, and entire college courses are devoted to the draping process.
Draped clothing, which can include dresses, shirts and other wardrobe pieces, are made so that the garment looks loosely gathered and hangs in an visually pleasing way. The effect, which is used in a variety of clothing, originated from togas, saris, robes and other items that rely on tying or wrapping rather than stitches, buttons or zippers to stay in place.