Almost all folds follow laws of
gravity. If you hold a piece of cloth
and drop it to the floor it will lie
If you hold a piece of cloth by an
edge gravity affects it differently.
The point at which you hold the
fabric is called the POINT OF
Points of tension:
Points of tension are as important
as gravity when looking at cloth.
When you bend your knee the
fabric stretched across the knee is
a point of tension and folds will
radiate from that point. Each
time there is a point of tension
the folds will be different. This is
why it is good to be familiar with
all the types of folds.
Fabric also conforms slightly to the shape that it sits upon. Points of tension can be
seen at each corner of the table.
The Seven types of folds are:
2. Zig zag1. Pipe 3. Spiral
4. Drop 5. Half lock 6. Diaper
This is the simplest form of drape. It is a tubular-shaped fold that has
a cylindrical feeling. It occurs from one point of suspension, or when
pulled between two points. It is the condensing of a large area of
cloth into a smaller area. It usually has a smooth and even flow.
Rather than showing a smooth fold influenced by gravity, the zigzag fold
shows one fold fitted into the next fold with interlocking repetition. If
you look at the zigzag closely, it is a pipe fold that is bent. You can draw
it in a similar way.
This fold twists, turns, and staggers as it falls from points of
suspension. Sometimes the fold will fall like a pipe fold, at other
times a curved edge will give it a spiral effect.
The material folds along a cylinder-
like a torso or an arm. It looks
similar to a spring or a Slinky.
In the top image the spiral folds are a
result of the tension created by the
tight shirt on a round torso.
In the second image the spirals
transition into zig zags as the fabric hits
the inner elbow area.
In the final image, the spiral can be
seen on the sleeves, where the fabric is
wrapped around the arm.
Occurs when flat or tubular fabric changes direction.
The change in fabric direction caused by the man’s knee created a half-lock fold that appears
to “stop” the fabric in both directions. The fold is deep in shadow, showing that the fabric has
folded in to take up the slack.
In the dress image, the half-lock folds occur at a point where the fabric flow changes as it
meets the floor. Notice how the fold on the left seems to “lock” into the next fold.
Forms from two points of support. It doesn’t matter if one
point is higher than another. It sweeps from point to point
along a wide, flat surface rather than a tube of cloth.
A “dead” or “inactive” fold. The fabric isn’t wrapped around a
cylinder or other form. It has no point of support or tension that
is hangs from. Its overall feeling, however, will still be
characteristic of the surface upon which it rests.
When drawing fabric, if you can understand how the fabric is draping
and try to see it in terms of basic shapes you can better add proper
value. Can you see the cones and cylinders happening in the fabric
on the left? Fabric usually has straight lines like cones and cylinders
and it occasionally has gentle curves.