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.
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.
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.
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!