Guide To Fabric Drape

We're passionate about sewing and dressmaking at Sew Me Sunshine. We have put together a guide for you to learn about fabric drape. 

What is fabric drape?

Fabric drape describes how the fabric hangs under its own weight. It is important to consider fabric drape when you are choosing a fabric for your project as it will impact on your garment's fit and style. There is often a relationship between fabric weight and fabric drape but not always, head on over to our fabric weight guide to learn more about fabric weight.

Fabric drape comparing viscose lawn which is a high drape fabric to a boiled wool which is a low drape fabric

Types of fabric drape

High Drape (aka fluid drape)

These fabrics will have many small folds as they hang. Fabrics with a high drape will cling to the body and hold gathers very well. They are perfect for unstructured garments such as floaty dresses and blouses. 

Types of fabric: viscose (rayon), silk chiffon / charmeuse / crepe, polyester satin

Viscose lawn

High - Mid Drape

These fabrics are less fluid and floaty as high drape fabrics. They still will hang close to your body and gather well, however, they will have a crisper handle. They are ideal for blouses, flowy skirts and dresses.

Types of fabric: viscose (rayon) blends, light wool crepe 

Viscose linen blend

Mid Drape (aka moderate drape)

These fabrics are really versatile because they don't stay close to your body like fabrics with a high drape do or stand away from your body like fabrics with a low drape do. They are more likely to hold their shape. They are perfect for shirt making, pyjamas, dresses or skirts with pleats, garments with statement sleeves, tunics and so on.

Types of fabric: cotton lawn, cotton voile, cotton poplin, cotton linen, cotton jersey knits, silk noil, double gauze

Cotton double gauze 

Mid - Low Drape (aka voluminous / full bodied drape)

These fabrics will have fewer large folds as they hang. These fabrics hang away from the body and hold their shape. They are ideal for structured garments such as jackets, trousers and jumpsuits.

Types of fabric: pure linen / high percentage of linen (i.e. washed linen cotton blend), ramie, twill, scuba, stretch cotton, corduroy, silk dupion

Jumbo corduroy

Low Drape (aka structured / stiff)

These fabrics are stiff and will not gather well. They fall away from your body. They are perfect for structured garments such as trousers, workwear, jeans, boilersuits, coats, jackets.

Types of fabric: wool, jacquard, brocade, heavy canvas, heavy denim / corduroy 

Boiled wool

Test for fabric drape

To test for fabric drape get a sample of the fabric and drape it over something like your shoulder and look in a mirror. Take notice of how the fabric flows or stands out. Fold the fabric and see how the folds lie. This should give you a good idea on how the fabric would look made up into a garment. 


We hope this post has helped you to understand fabric drape.

If you have any questions or want to learn more, you can contact Team Sunshine at

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