Fabric Tips | Drape

Hold me close tiny dancer and let's talk about drape.

Let's specifically talk about the drape of jersey knit.

And let's just narrow it down one bit more.

We're going to talk about a very popular fabric called Cotton/Lycra® Single Jersey Knit (every time I do that symbol I have to look up how to do it again, I swear...one of these days).

This fabric has many nicknames but most of the time it's simply referred to as CL.

(I'd love to give you some more nicknames but my neighbor has been chainsawing for the past 4 hours now and I can't seem to focus...how big is this fucking tree he's cutting down?!)

What is drape?

Well per Merriam-Webster "to cause to hang or stretch out loosely or carelessly."

MW actually has some other definitions for drape but I felt this one gives a better idea to imagine. 

what is drape? drape is to cause or stretch out carelessly

What is fabric weight?

Jersey knit comes in a few different weights and the weight does affect the drape.

Fabric weight just refers to how much the fabric weighs in a small section.

You'll see the weight likely reported in one of two ways: grams per square meter (GSM) and you have ounce per square yard (oz/sq2).

So you take this tiny section and weigh it. 


So a denser fabric is going to weigh more and it's also going to be stiffer. Things that affect the weight are going to be the fibers used and how it's knitted. You better believe the more one can fit in that section the tighter (stiff) it's going to be.

And before I give up talking about the stiffness, one last example.

Imagine, if you will eating your fill of your favorite food (mine is chocolate cake with salted caramel buttercream from the Sweet Life Cakery) and then poke your stomach. Shit's stiff, right? (I want you to know that I'm being an adult and passing up on all the jokes that clearly can be made....you're welcome.)

How do I know when I should use what weight?!?

I feel like this is a personal preference. 

And I say that because my husband hates the soft drapey knits and I liiiiiive for them!

I personally like to go with light weight knits (and that's usually not single jersey...aka CL) for baggy tops that I don't want to be boxy.

Sweatshirt? Sure, let's ride that boxy train, pass me that CL all day long.

A summer top? No thanks, you can take that CL back, I'm going to need something that drapes nicely over this sweet ass mom-bod I've spent years cultivating. 


Heavy weight = 350+ gsm = stiffest fabric 

Medium weight = 150-350+ gsm = still stiff 

Light weight = 30-150 gsm = can still be stiff at the high

Bad Choices In Action:

Here are 2 shirts. 

They are the exact same pattern.

Exact same adjustments, too. 

But why does one look like I got a dick coming out of my hip?

The green shirt doesn't have enough drape for this style of shirt to be tied.

Sure "it works" as in I made it and can wear it. 

But I don't feel super great in it. It's boxy and makes me look like a boring green wall...with a dick coming out of the side.

A boring green dick wall. 

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    • Donnisha Jones
    • March 04, 2021

    Blair, you are freaking hilarious and very informative. Thank you for this post.

    • Fenn
    • March 03, 2021

    “A boring green dick wall.”


    • MolliMcG
    • February 07, 2021

    Oh my goodness, love this blog and your style of writing. Informative and funny! So good, thanks!!

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