Flat pattern drafting and draping are pretty much synonymous. But according to Jojie, it is best to know everything (he teaches both, by the way). There are certain garments that are better done with flat patterns, like clothes that feature a lot of interconnected panels. On the other hand, clothes that are draped, feature architectural shapes, or have prints that need to be lined up, are best done with the latter. Draping can likewise simulate the stretch of bias fabrics, and can be tugged and pulled to lie flat on the dress form.
Despite the class being very basic, I was enthralled by the tips and tricks Jojie would share, like what the size of darts should be used for different body types, for example. It’s not something you’d learn in school. Rather, I surmise, it is something he developed himself, after many years of trial and error.
Honestly, if I were in his shoes, I wouldn’t share all my ‘secrets’, but Jojie loves to teach. He wouldn’t be on his feet all day every Saturday holding back-to-back classes if he didn’t. He has been, I learned, instructing young designers for years, and he first taught at his atelier back when he was still based in Makati. His first scholars —Ivarluski Aseron, Joey Samson, and Gian Romano, to name a few—are now established industry names, likewise known for their tailoring.
As a mentor and teacher, Jojie is a dream come true. The same down-to-earth, slightly kooky, and approachable persona you saw on Project Runway Philippines is exactly how he is in class. There is a lot of hands-on work and after a few instructions, he would teach us step-by-step, going around to make sure we get everything right. He was even accommodating enough to demonstrate how to drape a complex design at his atelier, inspiring me even more to hone my craft. It was a black, red, and silver gown that reminded me of the Guggenheim in Bilbao. It was commissioned for a shoot, and Jojie says that the design gradually evolved as he was draping. Such is the beauty of this craft that it allows you to play around with the design and see the finished look instantly.
To cap off our class, Jojie is having us make and then embellish slopers for an exhibit, showing us the many possibilities for designs that we can do with the basic shapes we’ve learned. I’m thinking of painting my sloper, and can’t wait to see what my classmates will cook up.
Click on the photo gallery to see more excerpts from the Draping 1 class.