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Paisleys and Drape Drape: Review and Giveaway


My forays into the Japanese Drape Drape books seems to be here to stay.  After a successful review and giveaway of Drape Drape 2, Laurence King Publishing asked me to review their English translation of the original Drape Drape.

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And, as I’m sure all of you have by now realized, I review something by actually using it.  A local sewing friend commented this week that I am sure doing a lot of work for a free sewing class, referring to my Sundays with Sandra series.  I replied that I’m going through the class week by week because I’ve figured out that’s what works for me with online video classes.  Without self-imposed mini-deadlines, I wouldn’t finish the class.  It’s being free was simply a bonus.  If I’m going to take something or review something, I want to be able to say I tried it out.  So, in order to really feel like I had reviewed Drape Drape in my own way, I decided to make No. 5 V-Neck Drape Drape Dress.


All the versions in the book and online (that I could find from a quick search) were made with a solid knit, but I had my heart set on playing up a print.  I found this midnight paisley and the fun little trim I used around the neckline at Fine Fabrics, a fabric store that carries some exquisite fabrics.  I thought the muted colors would echo a solid while still offering me the pattern play I wanted.

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My first hiccup occurred after I traced off the pattern pieces and pre-shrunk my fabric.  My print demanded that I cut the skirt pieces in the same direction, but I couldn’t get the pattern pieces for the skirt to fit on the fabric no matter what I did.  The instructions suggested you lay your pattern pieces so that their grain line was on the cross grain, an impossibility with my print yardage.  I wouldn’t have had any problem had I used a solid knit, but, no, in my infinite wisdom I needed a print!  My first solution was to fold back a tiny corner from the back center seam.  My intentions were to add this piece back on, but I quickly realized I wasn’t quite happy with how the pieces hung with the extra seam, even though it was just a teeny tiny little thing.

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As drafted, the skirt is longer in the back than in the front.  After thinking over what I wanted to do, I ultimately ended up cutting off the extra few inches from the back using the front pattern piece as my template.


This adjustment means my Drape Drape dress is just as long in the front as in the back, but I don’t think anyone but me will ever miss the design feature.


It’s still nice and swingy!


In fact, there’s so much fabric in the skirt that the whole skirt is super swingy!


That’s quite a lot of fabric!  It’s no wonder my piece wasn’t wide enough, right?


This drape action at the side creates most of that excess fabric and highlights my second hiccup in the making of this dress.  In showing off my infinite wisdom again, I had the brilliant idea to serge the skirt on to the waist band, pleats and all.  I of course caught these beautiful side drapey drapes in the serger a bit funny, making them go ever so slightly wonky.  There was no way to pretend the result was another design feature that would go unmissed.  I tried to take my seam ripper to the offending bits, but I just couldn’t salvage it.  Instead, my shears came out, I cut off the entire serged seam and started over.  This time I used my regular sewing machine to attach the skirt to the waistband, and all went perfectly.  The result is a waistband and skirt that are each 1/2″ shorter than they should be, making for 1″ of missing dress.  At least a slightly shorter dress is a design feature that no one will really notice except me, which I can live with!


The empire waistline in all its glory.  But, oh, those drapes!  Anything for those drapes!


Though it’s hard to get a close up without being a bit too risque, I added a bit of trim to the neckline.  It was my first time working with any sort of trim.  Can you believe I’ve never added piping to anything?!  It was as easy as I imagined it would be, and I quite like the little flecks of black adding a bit of unexpected flare to the dress.


Now for the best part – the giveaway. Laurence King Publishing has agreed to give away an additional copy of the English version of Drape Drape to one of my readers. Add a little swing to your 2013. If you’d like to be entered into the drawing, just leave a comment below letting me know. I’ll pick a winner at random next Saturday, February 16th at 7 am PST. Good luck!

83 thoughts on “Paisleys and Drape Drape: Review and Giveaway

  1. This is gorgeous! I love the paisley. This pattern is quite close to my heart, as I’m in the process of adapting it for my wedding dress ::)

    (Oh, and I’d rather not be entered in the competition, as I already have a copy – much better that it goes to someone else!)

  2. I love your dress, and it looks gorgeous on you! Please enter me in the giveaway for the book. I want to make a dress like that! And, I love the paisley.

  3. I have to say I have the most respect for people that take the time to really REVIEW a sewing book. Flipping through a book and taking pictures of the pages is not a *review*. So, THANK YOU, for taking the time to do it right. 🙂

  4. I love the paisely dress on you. The colour is so nice! I would love to win a copy of the book Drape Drape! Please include me in your contest.

  5. Wow, that’s a beautiful dress. Well done! I’m so curious now to take a look at the book–winning it would be even better. 🙂

  6. Love your print choice, and the dress is adorably fabulous on you! I’m really wanting to try some of the patterns from the Drape Drape books – would love to win a copy; thank you for doing this 🙂

  7. I’d love to go in the draw please! It looks like such a great book.

    Lovely dress, I like that you used a print fabric, it works well.

  8. I couldn’t even hazard a guess where you’d have hiccups- the dress looks so beautiful! The book seems promising! I’d love to win it.

  9. I’m really blown away by this dress on you Amy – it looks stunning! The drapes are so elegant and that that flash of black at the decolletage… well!

  10. Do not knock your infinite wisdom! The dress is awesome. I love the drape and the way the print and trim adds flair. I would love to get a copy of the book so I can see what else can be made.

  11. Beautiful dress – I’ve always loved the combination of navy and black. BTW your hiccups are completely unnoticeable! Yes, please put me in the draw – I’ve never read one these books before!

  12. Wow, what a beautiful dress. I love the “Drape Drape” look of it. I would probably have chosen a print as well and I love sewing with knits. I would love to win this book. You achieved a great review by doing this dress. BTW, the dress looks great on you, good color for you too. Thanks.

  13. I adore the dress! I wasn’t sure by the cover if I would like the patterns in this book, but you have convinced me – please enter me in the drawing!

    I do have a question – I think I read somewhere that the directions are rather hard to follow. Did you find that to be true? While I am not a beginner, I’m not quite ready to tackle something without directions either 🙂

    1. The book begins with descriptions of the techniques you’ll need to use to make the included garments. There’s not too much detail, but more than enough to be useful. I always make sure to read through all of those pages before I make my way through the rest of the book. The dress that I made, No. 5, has 17 steps that all fit on less than a half of the page! Most are self explanatory, such as “2. Sew the darts in the front lining”, while others come with a descriptive line drawing. I will admit that I had to read through the instructions for sewing up the armscye several times before I figured out what was going on. There were several detailed photos, but they didn’t help me for parse everything at first. There was an “Ah ha!” moment when everything finally clicked. One clever thing they’ve done is to add the numbers to the line drawings for the pattern pieces and finished dress, so you can see at one glance the order of construction. For me, knowing the right order is half the battle to sewing a garment. If you end up with this book, I think you’ll be just fine constructing any of the garments with the included instructions. I bet you’d amaze yourself how much you can intuit your way through a garment!

  14. I’ve always liked this dress, but you’ve really brought this to a new level using paisley fabric. I too have only found these drape dresses being done in plain knits and it’s fun using other fabric. Love it.

  15. Great fabric for this design. It really gives the dress a different look but doesn’t take away from the drapes. I’d like to be included in the draw, I’ve been wanting to try one of these books for a while.

  16. I love, love, love the knit print and the way the dress hangs is just lovely. I looks so comfy to wear. Draping is a real art and I’d like to add this to my sewing skill set – the book would be a great start. Thanks so much.

  17. I look forward to every new post and this one was an inspiration.. I would love to be entered in your contest. This looks like a very interesting book!

  18. Love the dress. It reminds me of one of the designer patterns (Antiq Batiq) Burda Style included about a year ago, except that they made it in a patterened chiffon I think, and it had sleeves. I can’t wait to try to make one. Please enter me for the contest. 🙂

  19. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who gets things bunched in the serger sometimes. You corrected it beautifully, can’t tell there was ever a problem. Please enter me in the giveaway!

  20. This is my first visit to your site and what I really like is the fact that you have issues and solve them. I see so many videos and articles and they never seem to have any problems, but as a long time sewer issues do come up and it was refreshing to see how you solved them. Really nice job on the dress, the drapes look really good

  21. Omg the dress looks amazing! Usually when I buy books with patterns, the piece comes out looking kind of basic and boxy, but that dress looks really great! I would love to be entered for the Giveaway! 🙂

  22. Of course I whould have never known you made any mistakes if you had never mentioned them. The dress looks great in the paisley, I’m partial to prints myself so it’s good to know it works. I have the Japanese version of this book & have never been brave enough to try any of the patterns but if I had it in English I would try out several.

    Thanks for your consideration, Tina

  23. I love this dress! The print is perfect, glad you trusted your instincts! I’m really into complicated jersey dresses lately, so I’d love to take a look at this book. Thanks for hosting the giveaway!

  24. I have the english version, and I have some issues with assembling the skirt of this No. 5 pattern. HELPPPP I dont understand the top part of the skirt :S

    1. I remember the top part of the skirt being a bit tricky. I folded the pleats into place and pinned it to the top to make sure the draping was correct. I’ll be honest and admit that the first two times I basted the top to the skirt, I got it wrong! And, the first time I’d serged, not basted, so I lost some length when I had to cut off that seam. The second time I definitely basted and just unpicked the parts that weren’t draped quite right. In the end I decided I needed to leave a few inch holes hidden behind the shortest pleats that are centered over the hips, if that makes any sense. You can’t see the holes at all, but I can stick a couple fingers through the skirt! Leaving those holes open and not pinned up into the skirt seam really helped the draping turn out nicely. I imagine I could have sewn them shut, but at that point I was just happy to have the skirt successfully basted to the dress and ran it through the serger. I used a really nice jersey, so it won’t unravel!

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