We use flour sacking towels that you buy at Walmart for cheap as hive drapes. I think it makes a real difference in how calm the bees stay. The flour sacking is tightly woven (to keep flour in the sack) so the bees don't catch on the threads. I put one on either side of the frames I am removing.
I first did this last year and I'm a believer - it makes a calm, calm inspection. I hardly use smoke anyway but with hive drapes I don't need it at all.
No need to buy a commercial set of hive drapes, though - just go to WalMart. I can't find them online but they are in every WalMart store I've ever entered.
Linda T in Atlanta