Sunday, 4 November 2012

Drape Drape 2, No. 2 and some thoughts on Japanese pattern books

For my birthday this year, my sister gave me a book I had been coveting for some time - Drape Drape 2 by Hisako Sato. It's a Japanese pattern book featuring some interesting and unique, but wearable, clothes. I really like the clean look of many Japanese designs and this book provides traceable patterns and basic instructions on how to create some yourself.

It was difficult to decide what to make first as my mouth was watering as soon as I opened the cover. However, I eventually settled on Pattern No. 2, the one-piece side drape top, which is actually more of a tunic, or even a dress, than a top. Amazingly, it is cut from a single piece of knit fabric and is actually very quick to sew together as it only requires a couple of seams, neck and armhole binding and a hem.

I decided on this pattern, partly because I had an op-shopped maxi skirt that was just big enough to make this from. The skirt was made from a very stretchy, two-way stretch knit. Here it is before I chopped into it.

I cut one skirt side seam completely open and just managed to squeeze the pattern on to the opened-out fabric. I placed the middle of the No. 2 top pattern, which forms the seam-free right hand side of the top, over the intact skirt side seam. I wasn't able to place the pattern grain line marking on the fabric grain as there wasn't enough fabric, but this doesn't seem to have affected the finished top/dress, perhaps because the fabric was so stretchy. Part of the dress hem had to be cut from the waistband of the skirt, so the stripes go in the other direction in this small section. As it turns out, I quite like this little feature!

The photo below shows the right hand side of the top, which is actually the original skirt side seam. You can also see the little inset piece which was originally the skirt waistband. That's my label inserted into the side seam.

I was worried that this 'top' would be too short to wear as a dress as I am about 5'9 tall. However, it seems to have turned out longer than it looked in the book picture and I'm very happy with the length. Again, this may be because my very stretchy fabric was cut off-grain, although it doesn't appear to be pulling downwards at all.

The neckline and armholes are finished with a strip of knit fabric folded over the edges like bias binding.

You may remember my recent struggle with the kakurenbo pattern from Pattern Magic, another Japanese pattern book. If I had to make a comparison of these two books, based on making one pattern from each book (which I know is completely unscientific, but still interesting right?), I would have to say that Drape Drape 2 is definitely the book to start with. A sewist with some experience, particularly with knit fabric as most patterns in this book require knits, could have an enjoyable Sunday tracing, cutting out, sewing and finishing a garment from Drape Drape 2 (probably also Drape Drape, but I haven't actually seen the first book). This is not to criticise Pattern Magic as it contains some really incredible designs. However, at least for the pattern I made, these pose a far greater challenge to make as they require fiddly pattern drafting (no patterns are provided) and much more complex sewing techniques to put together. The time taken to make my Pattern Magic top was closer to a month of Sundays! OK not quite, but you do need plenty of time, experience and patience to tackle Pattern Magic.

What do you think? Has anyone else tried these two books?


Marianna said...

Hi Meg

I haven't tried Drape as I doubt the styles would suit my (short) figure, but I have had what you call a "month-of-Sundays" experience with Pattern Magic and I still find myself with a finished garment that a tutor or tailor would probably evaluate as merely a first draft....

I do know this though: once the drafting challenge that is Pattern Magic is over, it'll be such a relief to go to a project I can accomplish relatively quickly with minimum frustration. A confidence-recovery project, if you like. Which I guess is what you did too.

Nice dress/tunic, by the way! But I do actually prefer the kakurenbo top you made as it's so one of a kind.

Marjorie said...

I really love this dress and would like to give it a go myself.No one would know that you refashioned an op shop skirt and you look great in this dress. I haven't heard of the Drape pattern book so I will look into it. I really enjoy reading your blog as you really inspire me. I have got onto Style Arc patterns thanks to you and have made some lovely clothes since. Keep up the great work.

Megan O said...

I totally feel your pain with the Pattern Magic dress. I have contemplated making the dress with the gathered hole, mainly after seeing 'Handmade by Carolyn's' gorgeous version. She makes everything look so effortless! I am very interested to read about your trials and tribulations (although your dress does look lovely, even if it is uncomfortable!), maybe I will build up my skills a bit more before attempting another PM pattern! Thank you for the vote of confidence on my kakurenbo top, I have actually worn it quite a lot, although I'm never quite sure if it looks any good!

Megan O said...

Hi Marjorie, wow, I'm so flattered by your comment :) I'm thrilled to bits to have inspired you and I immediately clicked on your profile to see what you have made - but, alas, no blog! I hope you do give this book a try, I really like it. It seems to be available for around $20 online in Australia and the US (not sure where you are), which is very good value for so many patterns. If you have a link to any online pictures of your creations I'd love to see them. Good luck and thanks again for the comment.

fabric epiphanies said...

That is definitely a very wearable dress. I have heard about drape drape but haven't investigated because a lot of Japanese patterns are a little ott for me.

Jorth said...

Looks good! Love those stripes!

Megan O said...

Thank you! And thanks for your helpful post on this pattern. I love the sewing community :)

Megan O said...

I know what you mean, but I think it's worth having a closer look at this book as some of the designs are very wearable and flattering. I think you would look good in several of them :)

Anonymous said...

This is so cool! I found your blog google searching images from Drape Drape 2, and this really looks great!

Megan O said...

Wow, thanks for the compliment. I'm so pleased you like it and hope you make one of your own :)

Andrea F said...

This dress is so unique! I've seen another version of this dress over at Jorth, and came across yours on I've been wondering if I should try to do something like this for myself, and just remembered I have a flower print jersey that would be enough to do one for my daughter! Thanks for the inspiration!

Fashion Engineer said...

Excelenttttt.!!! I am trying No. 5 of drape drape 1, and I found it difficult since there is not clear instructions. :(

Fashion Engineer said...

Excelent.!!! I am trying to do the skirt of the No. 5 from drape drape 1, and it seems very difficult for me since there is not clear instructions to follow. :(

Sonia Rumzi said...

You are one of the few people who looks amazing modeling her own creations. It looks lovely on you. Thank you for the great directions. :)

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