Steely Seamstress

Sewing for life

Exploring drape in Drape Drape 2


I have been intrigued for a while by the concepts behind the designs in the Drape Drape series of books. Now armed with some fabric with ample drape I thought I’d try out a pattern from the Drape Drape 2 book. Before I delve into details on my make though, I thought I’d give a little background on the author and the books themselves.

The Drape Drape series of books are written by Hisako Sato, who is a graduate of Bunka Fashion College, Japan. She then worked as Head of Garment Design for Muji until 1993 when she left to develop her own independent label. In 2008, she launched a new brand focusing on dress design, and she is still active as a designer today. Drape Drape 2 was released in 2012 in English and there were a flurry of makes on the internet at the time. The One-piece side Drape Top was also featured in the Great British Sewing Bee 2015 followed by an accompanying boost when a new audience found the book.

Drape Drape 2 includes 14 designs for tops, dresses, skirts and trousers. The models sporting the designs look dead miserable and way too skinny, but I have seen the designs on lots of different body shapes on various blogs, so I think they translate well for all. However, it has been noted that the designs are available in only small sizes. If I bought clothes I would buy UK size 10 /12, but looking at the size guide, I’m definitely a size L / XL in the Drape Drape books. I think this is a great shame, as not everyone has the skills to pattern grade to a larger size. In fact, with the unique look of these patterns, it isn’t always obvious how to grade them anyway.

The full-size patterns can be traced from the pattern sheets at the back of the book. Although the pattern lines for several designs overlap on the pattern sheets, this isn’t Burda and they were easy to trace!

As most of the patterns are for knits/stretch materials, there is a section on the basic know-how for sewing knits. The presentation of the sewing instructions is excellent and the easy step-by step diagrams are really helpful, particularly as I felt like I was navigating new territory with these patterns.


The designs

Although Amazon do, kindly enough, have a “Look Inside” feature, it would sometimes be great to be able to view the complete list of designs in the book (after all, it isn’t as if you could easily make the designs without the pattern sheets). So here are the designs:

No 1 Two-piece gather drape cape

This particular design is a little odd. It features some gathers and I’m not entirely sure where I would wear such an item. Oddly, I couldn’t find a single blogger who’d made this particular one so let’s move on.

No 2 One-piece side drape top

This is a simple design in principle. A top (or is it a dress?) with a drape on one side. I think it looks great modelled as a summer dress, or as a tunic over leggings. Clearly this is a popular design as there are quite a number of these on the internet. I particular like the striped examples, this one from Sew Busy Lizzy, as it shows the way that the top / dress is cut on the bias.

No 3 Three-piece drape vest with oversized pockets

This design isn’t particularly popular as I only spotted one, by Tracy at Duck Bucket Sewing, made up on the web. I think it could look good as a winter layer simply because it has those great deep pockets. I’m just not sure about the lack of fabric at the back. I think I would like a proper back on this, perhaps a pattern hack is possible? The photo in the book is a little weird too – what’s so interesting that the floor needs a good look?

No 4 One-piece scoop neck asymmetrical top

This is the classic design that also appeared on the Great British Sewing Bee. There are numerous examples on the internet and I’m really looking forward to finishing mine. So, this is going to be the final garment using the viscose-lycra fabric.

No 5 One-piece petal miniskirt

I can’t imagine that I would wear this design. It’s just a me-thing. I don’t really like designs in general that add bulk to my waist area. I do like Nicola at Home’s version here though, particular the sparkly waistband. It looks so cool.

No 6 Three-piece deep cowl neck dress

This design could be another layering piece. I particular like Catherine’s version of this dress, which has long-sleeves. It just looks like it would be a really warm winter dress option.

No 7 Two-piece open batwing dress

I like the concept of this dress too. I could see this as being a fantastic beach / summer item. I can’t see myself making it though as the weather in this country doesn’t really lend itself to a wardrobe full of cool summer / beach wear or rather it would get worn a couple of times a year, when I go on holiday and that would be it.

No 8 Two-piece gather drape blouse

This design is one of the few in the book which uses a woven fabric, Olu at Needle and Ted mentions that it doesn’t drape or site well on the shoulders unless you stand completely still and never move. That could get really irritating. I have to admit I prefer my clothes to be “run-up-and-down-the-stairs” proof – I can’t bear having to rearrange them all the time. But this blouse does look good, particularly the back view (see the photo above). Actually I prefer the back view to the front. What would happen if it was worn back to front – would that actually be possible?

No 9 Three-piece shirred-leg tuck drape pants and No 10 Two-piece knee-length tuck drape pants

There are two similar drape pants designs in the book. I think they could be very comfortable for practicing yoga in, but I completely failed to find any examples of these on the internet. I did find the similar design from Drape Drape 3 here, by Winnie at Scruffy Badger Time.

No 11 Four-piece tuck drape belted blouse

This pattern is a serious fabric hog, using a whopping 4 m length of fabric. I’m put-off by the photos in the book too. I just don’t like the fabric and it looks a crumpled mess. I suspect it would look quite different in a jersey. I haven’t seen a version of this on the web either – perhaps this one is a miss for everyone.

No 12 One-piece open sleeved cowl neck dress

I’m not sure about this particular design. Firstly it looks like it would be a monster to make as the design lines are so unusual. I could see myself getting quite muddled about whether I’d make it right. I’ve also read the reviews by Nicky and Catherine and there was some debate about the placing of the elastic. I do like the sequin cuffs on the one in the book though.

No 13 Two-piece twist drape miniskirt

This is a very short miniskirt and for me is definitely in the “just-for-the-beach” category…..I really wish I lived somewhere warmer!

No 14 Four-piece fitted skirt with side gather drape

For me, this particular skirt is one of the best designs in the book. Weirdly I only found one blogger, Karin at Ancien-Nouveau, who’d given this pattern a go. I think it is quite an avant-garde piece and I’d probably only make one of these, but with the number of skirts with ruffles I’ve seen in the shops lately, I think it’s quite on trend.

I’ll be writing about my own No 4 top next, but I already have some fabric in my stash for a No 2 One-piece side drape top.

Author: steelyseamstress

Sewing a new wardrobe

9 thoughts on “Exploring drape in Drape Drape 2

  1. I look forward to seeing the results.

  2. Thanks for such a comprehensive review of this book. I agree that clothes that need rearranging if you move aren’t worth making – they feel like a retrograde step.

  3. Looking forward to seeing your results! I found style 7 is very fabric dependent. I wore one version to death (the seams are literally failing now and I still haven’t binned it) but another one was sent to the charity shop after one season. It needs lots and lots of drape.

    Funnily enough 4 is one I can’t make work for me. I’ve made it 3 times and never once worn the finished items, never mind blogged them. But lots of other people have had success with it.

    My green stripey version of 12 hasn’t survived; I wore it a bit just after having my baby but it was never something I wanted to leave the house in and the right sleeve eventually tore. Bad fabric choice there too I think.

    • I agree about the fabric choice. I saw the fabric I’ve been using in a shop, so hit and miss on the internet and I think it has just the right amount of drape. Not sure how well it will last though – I made another top (not a Drape drape one) in the same fabric and it has pilled a bit after only one wear. We’ll have to see if this top has the same problem.

  4. Looks an interesting book. I look forward to seeing what you make

  5. What a fun book! From these photos, it feels very artistic!

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