An Overview of Fabric Drape Test

People engaged in textile engineering all understand the importance of material selection during the design process. Designers often rely on experience when choosing fabrics, which leads to unpredictability in the final product. If we can quantify the drape of fabrics, it would greatly improve the predictive accuracy of garment shaping. The following discussion expands on how computer technology can be utilized to accurately measure drapes in an informational way.

What is drape?

The drape of fabric is one of the important aspects of a fabric’s visual and stylistic characteristics. The extent and form of a fabric’s drape, caused by its weight, is referred to as its drape.  The drape of fabrics used in outer garments like suits has a direct impact on the garment’s ability to model curves, with perfect draped fabric materials fully showcasing the beauty of the garment’s silhouette.

Fabric Drape Test Methods

In the past, the circular disc method was commonly used to test fabric drapability. Now, most use a photoelectric drape tester, which is both fast and accurate. Changes in the photoelectric current indirectly reflect the fabric’s drape. The drape coefficient,
drape fomula

  • F – Drape coefficient
  • – Projected area of the sample in drape
  • AD – Area of the sample
  • – Area of the small platform

Fabric Drape Test Procedure

Now we will demonstrate the drape test process:

  1. Sampling
  2. Conduct a preliminary experiment with a sample diameter of 30 centimeters.
  3. Based on the drape coefficient, determine the required sample diameter for the formal experiment according to standard requirements.
  4. Take at least 3 samples for each product, ensuring the sample surfaces are smooth and without wrinkles, and mark the A and B sides.
  5. Turn on the power switch of the instrument, install the sample with side A facing down, and place it in the middle of the upper and lower clamping plates with a diameter of 18 centimeters.
  6. Close the chamber door and open the testing software.
  7. Determine the sample diameter based on the drape coefficient measured in the preliminary experiment.
  8. Cut the samples required for the formal experiment and install the samples using the same method.
  9. Perform tests separately on sides A and B.
  10. Set experiment parameters according to standards and customer requirements: manual test revolutions, number of tests, dynamic testing, the diameter of the clamping plate, sample diameter, sample information, and humidity.
  11. Conduct the test for side A and record the results of one experiment.
  12. Complete tests for side A for all samples.
  13. Conduct tests for side B as described above.
  14. After completing all tests, export the experiment results.

Fabric Drape Tester


Know More About DaRong Fabric Drape Tester

Additional Thoughts: The drape coefficient of a fabric is challenging to correlate directly with specific garment styles or patterns. In other words, fabrics with the same drape coefficient may not necessarily result in the same style when made into garments. For instance, a very thin fabric and a thicker fabric might have the same drape coefficient, but their final appearance after shaping will undoubtedly be different. This reminds us that we must consider the fabric weight per square meter, a quantifiable metric, in our evaluations. It can be assumed that fabrics with the same thickness and drape coefficient should yield similar styling effects. But are there other influencing factors? As mentioned before, the drape includes both the extent of the drape and the shape of the drape; we have quantified only the extent of the drape, while the fabric draping has not been quantified. The shape of the drape, of course, correlates with the extent of the drape, but fabrics with the same extent of drape may not necessarily have the same drape shape. One key influencing factor is the fabric’s anisotropy. Simply put, when there are significant differences in the physical properties between the warp and weft yarns, the drape in different directions of the fabric will vary. Consequently, the drape behavior will differ.


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