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.
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.
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.
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.
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?