Avant garde or big grey sack? Drape drape 2’s tuck drape dress

So a few months ago a part of the sewing blog world was calling for more constructively critical comments on sewing blogs. I seem to recall saying at the time I agreed with this…well although I love a positive comment as much as everyone else, my latest project seems like a good one to ask for constructive criticism on! It’s design 7, the ‘Tuck drape dress’ from Drape Drape 2. If you have the English-language edition it’s the ‘Two piece open batwing dress’. It hasn’t come out very much like the picture in the book, which you’ll have to take my word for. I’m not entirely sure whether it’s pleasingly avant garde or just a big grey sack.

Drape Drape 2 No 7

Possibly part of the reason for the difference from the book is that I have the Japanese language edition. You don’t need to read Japanese to use the book as the diagrams are excellent, but they don’t illustrate every step. I can believe I may not have sewn this up correctly. I also adjusted the original pattern. The original looked exceptionally short even on the model. I am very tall and have a long torso, so I added to both the bodice and skirt length. You can just about see the adaptations on the pattern pieces below. The bodice front and skirt were easy enough to lengthen, but the bodice back required a bit of fudging. The centre back seam is the longer curved edge on the bottom of the things that look like wings on the pattern. To lengthen it without changing other seams I had to rotate the bottom edge of the ‘wing’ down.

Drape Drape 2 No 7 pattern pieces

I definitely overdid the lengthening. The waist is sitting on my hips! The pattern also came up rather too large. The Drape Drape books have four pattern sizes, but this is one of the designs that comes in only two sizes: small-medium or large-extra large. I’m about a ‘large’ so I made the bigger size, but I ended up having to take quite a bit off the skirt side seams to try to stop the pleats sagging over the backside. I think I’d have been better off with the smaller size; maybe my fabric has too much stretch for the design.

Drape Drape 2 No 7 back view

The original pattern has kimono style sleeves with a slit made by leaving the overarm seam unsewn from the shoulder to just above the wrist. I omitted the slit because the UK isn’t warm enough for that sort of thing for most of the year. I think the sleeves look OK without it.

I have some extra seams in my dress because I ended up cutting the ‘wing’ parts of the pattern separately from the front bodice. They are separate paper pieces that are supposed to be stuck together and cut as one gigantic pattern piece, but my fabric wasn’t wide enough for that. I had to add seam allowances to the joining edges and sew the fabric pieces together after cutting. This worked really well. The extra seam isn’t at all obvious and it didn’t seem to cause any problems when sewing the pattern up. I’d point it out in the pictures but I can’t actually see it myself.

I had a little trouble with the pleats in the skirt. One side worked beautifully: after I’d folded and basted all the pleats the front and back edges matched up perfectly. The other side, not so much. There was enough length difference that I think I may have missed a pleat. However after careful study of the diagrams I couldn’t see where, so I settled for making one of the other pleats deeper to take up the slack. And now I can’t remember which side it was I adjusted; not sure what that says! Here they both are.

Drape Drape 2 No 7 right side

Drape Drape 2 No 7 left side

So on the whole I’m not not sure this one has worked as intended. I have worn it out of the house a couple of times so far. It’s growing on me, but it’s so unlike the original it doesn’t give me confidence to tackle any of the other Drape Drape designs. Any one else made anything from the Drape Drape books, especially this design? Any tips? And am I kidding myself that this really isn’t just a grey sack?

25 thoughts on “Avant garde or big grey sack? Drape drape 2’s tuck drape dress

  1. I think it looks pretty good, it does look like the skirt is weighing it down but not too bad. Maybe if it was in a different color or black (not that you can easily fix that! I guess dying is an option) or if you just try to forget what it’s “supposed” to look like

  2. You look great, (of course!), and the dress looks very interesting. It is a bit sack like when you first glance at it, but a second glance reveals all the details and the lack of a big belt cinching it in. That’s the sack like giveaway, imo. I’m going for avant-garde.
    Fabulous shoes!

  3. I love the Drape Drape books and designs by Ann Demeulemeester, Yamamoto and late 80’s Dries Van Noten so to me, the dress looks great, especially the front. It’s a bit harder to get a good idea of the back, since it’s not a straight shot. I don’t think it looks like a sack and is a nice break from the pretty albeit ubiquitous defined waist garments.
    I’ve made a t-shirt from book 1 so far but plan on making a few more projects, especially pants, and changing some of the dresses to tunics, which fit my playground lifestyle better.

  4. I think it is a very interesting dress. Its certainly different. I find that when I am sewing and things don’t turn out the way they were intended its an opportunity to get creative and think about how you are going to make the garment more interesting using the “mistake” as a design detail. I think that designs become more artistic and they evolve. That is something that is common in my design and creative process and if you let it, it can teach you a ton. this dress has that sort of feel. I do think you could take it in in the waist to give it a little more shape though, but not much as it is a very flowy design even if it is not what was originally intended.

  5. My question is do you like it? I think it’s an interesting design and kind of goes with your design aesthetic, but do you like it? If you find it wanting, I would either re-use the fabric or attempt to make it out of something else.

  6. Thanks Carolyn for posting – I remain fascinated on how different the makes are with different fabrics – I used a featherlight knit as I was concerned that it would drop too long.
    I am very glad you took the sensible option & cut the sleeves separately, hopefully we’ll see many more makes now that it the requirement for such wide fabric is negated 😉
    ..and, from left field, would an internal ‘waist-stay’ lift it enough to enjoy wearing without breaking the dress’ intended line?
    I’ve just realised I didn’t post a back view, or with my arms down, but my version is http://dreamingdashie.blogspot.com.au/2013/06/the-batwing-dress-of-awesomeness.html

  7. Well, I for one, like a drop waist dress. I grow tired sometimes of the cinched waist, must emphasize curves style of dresses. So that aspect of the dress I really like. It does not look sack like but i think perhaps it lacks some design structure, I.E. It looks a bit messy around the pleats like the pattern got away from you.

  8. I think the ‘test’ of a looser garment like this dress is whether it stays where you want it. If you have to rearrange it every time you stand up or walk around, it may be better to turn it into something else. The back seems like it might be a bit ‘fiddly’ in this regard?? I have similar dresses that are fine as long as I stand still ;-P

  9. Well, I’m deliberately not looking up what it was supposed to look like as maybe that’s where your concern is coming from. You’ve described a lot of adjustments ( so it’s not going to look like the original?) and I am as always in awe of your drafting skill as personally I think this works well,it is avant garde, and that’s just your style. The question is, if you made it again, what would you change? This then becomes a very acceptable and interesting and wearable test garment !
    And I’ve made my first drape drape garment- from3, the shorts, and the instructions were in English, thank goodness, and I think it was a relatively simple introduction to these wonderful designs!

  10. I think you carry off this type of avant garde look perfectly – not everyone would be able to get away with it, but you definitely can, it looks – unsurprisingly – like something by a Japanese designer.

  11. I would like to say something positive about your shoes!
    I think the dress should sit a little higher on your hips. I don’t know if you are going to make this again, but I think you would get better results with another fabric, something with more drape and less cling.
    I’d give it another go if I was you. I think this style of garment suits you.

    1. ok ok, the dress! lets talk.
      i think the drape drape patterns vary from mildly avant garde to seriously avant garde & i think this dress sits somewhere in between. however, the only thing that disturbs me (slightly) is the drap-i-ness around your bum. you have a killer body so you could wear anything & look good but the drapey drapey so down low almost stretches you further.
      If i were you I would either sign this off as an experimental muslin & try again by not adding too much to the length as you did { OR } I would take it apart at the “waist”, shorten it & see how it looks then.
      BUT SERIOUSLY – can we just go back to discussing those awesome shoes 🙂

  12. I think it’s a fascinating make and works well on your shape- the all-day temptation to smooth my skirt would probably drive me to foul acts tho.

  13. You have an edgy style so I think you can get away with this. I do think the waist seems low but then Drape Drape projects are always slightly different so I think you can expect something a little left-field because that’s the idea of the books?
    I always think if you wear something with confidence then you can get away with pretty much anything. Just march around like ‘I soooo own this look & I’m rocking it’. Then people will want to know where you got it….

  14. I think this looks very natural as a drop waist dress. It’s stunning. Jewelry in sympathetic style would easily reduce the worry about the color being drab. It just needs a pop of something. The grey is very nice with your skin color.

    I would love to see this done up in a woven….but maybe with different sleeves.

  15. Having made this dress once before-I have a couple of points to make:
    It needs thick stable fabric (clingly/very stretchy/thin stuff just can’t hold up the shape correctly).
    No matter what fabric you use, the folds have to all be pointing downwards i.e. the actual fold line should be above the outer fall of fabric (otherwise everything slumps and looks like a train wreck). I love the style but I can’t get over the upside-down folds sagging so I don’t wear it. X(
    I didn’t realise till I’d overlocked the edges and taken shots from the back and I still haven’t worn it out because I’m putting off unpicking and refolding the bloody thing. XP
    It’s also an unnecessary waster of fabric. Chop it up into something more flattering that’s more likely to get worn.

  16. I’ve made this one too, actually with the exact same pattern as theperfectnose because she sent it to me 🙂 I agree it needs a more stable fabric. I like the top part, also the dropped waist. I think I’d unpick the skirt part and try to smooth those folds at the side seams a bit, or try making an extra fold on each side. You can find mine here.

  17. What does it look like when you sit down? Sometimes things that look great when you are standing up are dreadful when seated. Even avant garde types must sit occasionally, or are they only permitted to lean stylishly against a pillar. It is definitely only for the fashionably tall.

  18. I like it! I like the skirt in particular, the way is drapes and folds. And it looks great on you. I agree with SewingElle – the longer you look at the dress the more interesting it becomes. I also think Carolyn is right – if you like the dress that will make all the difference.

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