In two minds: Drape Drape 2 No 11 one piece dress

Drape drape 2 no 11 bodice closeup

This dress is from the Drape Drape books by Hisako Sato: specifically Drape Drape 2 style number 11. It’s an unusual pattern even by Drape Drape standards: there is only one pattern piece for the whole dress and it’s absolutely gigantic. The logistics of cutting out such a style at home would normally put me right off, but I was looking out for an interesting breastfeeding-friendly pattern that I could make quickly from stash fabric, and this ticked all the boxes. The neckline falls well below the bra band: I’m planning to wear it with a tank top underneath.

It takes nearly two metres of extra wide (165cm) fabric. You also need to cut a rectangular strip of self-fabric to make a casing for the waist elastic and provide a couple of cuff pieces to finish off the sleeves. I have the Japanese language edition of the book and I know no Japanese so I can’t tell what the recommended fabrics for the style are. Going by the pictures the body is done in a very drapey knit; I’d guess a single knit; and the cuffs are some sort of sequinned stretch fabric. I used an extra wide lightweight viscose single knit from Tissu Fabrics that had been lying around in my stash for a couple of years. Amazingly it’s still available for sale here at the time of writing. The cuffs are a doubled piece of the body fabric.

The only place in the house where I could easily make room to spread enough fabric out was the conservatory, which has a tiled floor. Hard on the knees, although it was nice to have lots of light while cutting. I had to pin the pattern piece to the fabric before cutting. Normally I use weights not pins, but I didn’t have enough weights to hold the shifty fabric in place so it was pins or nothing. This wasn’t ideal as they left a few holes in the rather fragile fabric. Transferring the markings was a challenge too. I cut out right side up but needed to mark the waistline casing on the wrong side. I was a bit dubious about using dressmaker’s carbon paper over the hard tiles so I pinned along the casing lines as well as around the pattern edges and then after I’d cut around the edges I flipped the lot over and chalked along the pins marking the casing. I guess tailor tacks would have been a better option but I didn’t have sufficient patience for that!

Sewing was far easier than cutting out. You could easily sew this up in an evening although I did take a couple of shortcuts: it’s not hemmed yet and I skipped making the openings in the overarm seams because in my opinion that feature really reduces wearability.

And here it is. Dressform shots only because my baby has not yet arrived and the waist is not compatible with a bump.

Drape Drape 2 no 11 front
Drape drape 2 no 11 back

It hasn’t come out how I expected. The first peculiar thing is that my version hangs completely differently than the one in the book. In the book version the skirt hangs evenly whereas mine’s really pulling to one side. My fabric has only one-way mechanical stretch which might explain this. Two-way stretch fabric with some lycra would probably have worked better.

The second odd thing is the sleeves. Now admittedly this is probably made worse by choosing insufficiently stretchy fabric, but the left sleeve is incredibly tight; I can’t raise my left arm above shoulder height. The first picture is the left sleeve and the second is the right. Hopefully you can see from the pics that the left sleeve is skinny and grows out of the waistline whereas the right sleeve is wider and starts higher up. It’s hard to say how much of a problem this is right now because it’ll fit me differently once the baby is here, but the sleeve lacks mobility even on the dressform so I’m not optimistic.

Left:

Drape Drape 2 no 11 left sleeve

Right:

Drape Drape 2 no 11 right sleeve

So as yet I don’t know if this is going to be a wearable dress or not. It was fun to make and I’m glad I finally found something to do with the fabric, but I may have to file this in the ‘failed experiments’ pile. Drape Drape often works out like that for me. I have made up a few different ones and they either become huge favourites or never get worn at all. Oddly enough, I’ve even had one pattern turn out both ways when made up in different fabrics. I’ll try to come back with a wearability update on this one at some point.

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11 thoughts on “In two minds: Drape Drape 2 No 11 one piece dress

  1. I’ve made this one but left the elastic off which I found worked well. I’m pretty sure my sleeves were even though so maybe something happened in tracing? I can have a look at my massive pattern piece again for you if you like?

    1. Oh that’s interesting. I could believe something went wrong as it’s such an unusual pattern piece. I’ve been poring over the photos in the book to see if the sleeves look like mine but there isn’t a shot where the arms are raised at all so it’s hard to tell. What fabric did you use for yours?

      1. I used a similar looking Jersey actually. I just thought that perhaps it’s the elastic position given your skirt isn’t straight? I remember being miffed about the elastic so decided to leave it off, possibly there’s something odd there in the pattern that I didn’t run into because I left the elastic out. I just tied it with a belt.

      2. Yes, the problem is that the elastic waist sort of anchors the left sleeve down so perhaps if I took it out it would be able to rise up more naturally. Thanks!

        Just looked your version up: lovely! I always liked that Kylie dress and it’s a great interpretation.

    1. Thanks! The longest seam runs up the left side of the skirt and continues under the sleeve on that side to the wrist; you also have to sew up the two overarm seams. Other than finishing edges (cuffs for the sleeves, binding on the back neckline, hemming on the front) the only other thing to sew is the casing, which wanders about all over the pattern piece! If I should ever sew this again (unlikely) I’d apply the casing before sewing the seams as it’s a pain to do it last which is the way the book does it.

  2. I ha looked at this dress several times trying to imagine how I could wear it – a frequent situation when looking through the Japanese pattern books. I hope you can make this work for you. It does look as though it should be very nursing friendly.
    Hope baby arrives safely and soon as its so tiring just waiting.

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