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.


Drape Drape 2 no 11 left sleeve


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.




Kielo wrap dress with secret pockets

Kielo wrap dress front view full length

This is the Kielo wrap dress from Named Clothing that it seems like everyone’s made this summer. Understandably: it’s flattering, comfortable, and very quick to sew. I bought the pattern when I saw Laura’s lovely version, and ended up even copying the colour she chose.

I hadn’t made a Named pattern before and as my pre-pregnancy measurements fall between two sizes on their chart I made the larger of the two. This was a mistake as the finished dress is slightly too big for me. If you look closely the bust darts are too long, the armsyce is rather too deep, and the back is baggy. Not that any of that has stopped me wearing it a lot. It got five or six wears before it even got photographed for the blog. Another thing to be aware of is the length. The patterns are drafted for fairly tall people to start with, but according to the chart I still should have added two inches. After measuring the pattern I didn’t bother, as if it was much longer I’d be tripping over the hem. I love a pattern I don’t have to add length to.

I bought the PDF version of the pattern. I normally avoid PDF patterns, but this one comes with a non-overlapped copy shop version which makes it as easy to use as an envelope pattern – just print it out and cut. A nice touch is that the PDF is layered with one layer per size, so if you fit into a single size (and I think many people would in this dress as it’s only fitted at the bust) you can print off just the layer with your size on it and not have to worry about which line to cut out on.

Here’s the back view. Although the dress is quite narrow the long vent makes it easy to walk in. I should have taken those darts in a bit.Kielo back view


The only pattern adjustments I did were to make the ties slightly longer and to add inseam pockets. The pockets were very easy to do: I drew shapes on the pattern something like this, and then traced them off as a separate pattern piece.


Kielo line art with pockets

They aren’t the roomiest pockets but they’re a good deal better than nothing. Reality in blogging: I’ve got my keys in them in all the pictures in this post which you can see if you look hard. Another time I’d position them further up the side seam, away from the ties and closer to the armscye. This would make them a lot easier to access.

Kielo wrap dress pockets

The fabric requirements given for the dress are very generous. The pattern says 205cm of 150cm wide fabric for the size I made, but I got mine out of 150cm (and because I always buy a little extra fabric to accomodate length adjustments, I now have enough over for another garment). The fabric I used is a single knit viscose-elastane blend from Tissu Fabrics. They have it in a few different colours. This one is the sea green. At the time of writing it is still available. It’s easy to sew with and has got very good drape; here’s a shot of the dress in motion.

Kielo wrap dress action shot

This isn’t my best sewing. I was in a great hurry to get the dress made and ended up stretching out the neckline and armscyes when applying the binding. And I finished the hem with a very unprofessional zig-zag stitch because I didn’t want to have to wind an extra bobbin to use with a twin needle.

Despite the wrong size and the careless finishing I really like the final result. I’m tempted to make it again in a chiffon fabric to wear over a slip like the sample on the Named website. One thing that does puzzle me is that the instructions say to use a fabric with 20-60% stretch, and I’ve never encountered a chiffon with anything like that degree of stretch. I’ve seen several successful versions on other blogs in drapey non-stretch woven fabrics so I might just try regular chiffon and stick with the larger size. I’ve got a beautiful large-scale chiffon print in green, black and white that’s been lurking in the stash for years that could work for this.

Kielo 3/4 view


Vogue 1250: Better late than never

Almost every sewing blogger in the world has already made Vogue 1250. Some have made it as many as five times. It has two great properties: it’s easy and it looks good! I have read through all 91 reviews of it on Pattern Review so I reckon I know what I’m talking about there. I’ve owned the pattern since it first came out and more than once gone shopping for fabric for it. But I never found the right fabric and so it languished in the to-sew pile.

Vogue 1250 pattern photo
But recently I had a metre and a half of a stunning printed jersey left over from another dress. Just the right fabric in the right length, but not enough to be able to afford any mistakes at all. I consulted the internets to find out what adjustments people have found it useful to make – did I mention there are 91 reviews of it out there?

Special thanks to The Sewing Lawyer and Roses Are Red for useful tips on lengthening the cowl and doing an easy FBA. Both definitely required in my case.

However when I first tried the dress on, I wasn’t keen on it. Something about the skirt. It hung completely straight from the hips and hit me just above the knee, which wasn’t very flattering on me – my hips are my widest point by a very long way. I pegged the skirt by taking the CB seam in a couple of inches at the hem and tapering back to the original seamline about half way to the waist seam. I also shortened the dress by two inches at the hem.

Here’s the final result.

Vogue 1250

Back view below. The back isn’t really wrinkly, it’s just where I’ve put my hand on my waist and pulled the fabric.

Vogue 1250

So will I make it this again? Definitely, when the right fabric comes along. It’s comfortable and stylish. And I’m really glad I traced the pattern so I’ve still got the original without my usual extra length added – this could be at least one Christmas present sorted out.

The psychedelic dress

Was it worth the wait? This dress has taken me a month to make. Now some of that is due to real life preventing me from sewing for a week or two, but even taking that into account this was a slow project. And I haven’t even hemmed it yet.
Vogue 8489

The pattern is Vogue 8489. I traced it rather than cutting it out because I wanted to lengthen the dress by a good foot and a half; the longest view on the original pattern comes to just below the knee and I wanted it to be floor length. The pattern pieces for the skirt are large to begin with, and by the time you’ve added all that length they’re uncontrollable. Combine that with slippery viscose knit and it’s a miracle this dress got finished at all. Every time I put down the pattern pieces one would make a break for it off the ironing board or down the back of the sewing table.

Amazingly I didn’t lose any cut pattern pieces during the process, although I did manage to cut a small hole in the bodice back when things shifted while trimming a seam. I patched it up with a bit of interfacing and zig-zagged over the top and you can’t see it at all in the photos. What you can see on the back view is that I eliminated the centre back seam on the bodice and bands. The pattern has a zip in that seam but it’s really not needed.

Vogue 8489

Anyway it’s done at last, and I like the result. Just need a bit more practice walking in my enormous 70s platform sandals.

Vogue 8489



I finally finished Vogue 8644. You may remember that this has been a chapter of accidents, all my own fault on account of having washed the original fabric, so this is a second attempt.

The result’s a resounding ‘meh’. There’s nothing dramatically wrong but I’m just not that keen on it. I haven’t got the fit quite right on the bust. The colour’s not good on me. I don’t like the neckline. It needs a belt, or a necklace, or something, but I don’t know what.

The bust fit issue surprised me, as I measured quite carefully and tissue-fitted the pattern, but the dress needs lifting up on the front shoulder seam by as much as an inch. Why no, I didn’t fit as I went. I am astoundingly lazy, have made a few Vogue dress patterns that fit OK, and so thought the tissue fitting would be enough. On the upside, the fit on the back is better than I normally manage – I did a rounded back adjustment for the first time – so I learnt something useful there.


The colour…well until I put lipstick on you wouldn’t have seen me if I stood against a white wall in this dress. I normally stick to dark colours but having recently discovered I can wear white I thought I’d give this a go. Nah. Lesson learnt. Ice cream colours definitely to be avoided in future, even mint choc chip.

The neckline feels wrong. I like my necklines high but am forever being told they ‘look uncomfortable’ so I didn’t raise this one. It may look comfortable but it doesn’t feel right! That might grow on me in time I suppose.

On the up side it does have pockets


although they aren’t really big enough for a screwdriver, a bunch of keys, a pager, and all the other junk I often carry around at work.

The good news is that there was no way I was going to hand hem this after having seen it on me, so I gave my machine’s blind hem function another go. I have had very little success with it up to now unless I’ve been hemming onto an underlining, but this time I got it adjusted correctly! It shows a little but no worse than my hand sewn hems. So I am proud to announce that this dress has no hand sewing in it at all, something I have been aiming for since I started dressmaking. Also having a dress form made measuring the hem length really easy, so that’s another gadget I can recommend.

That’s probably the last summer dress for this year. I am now going try drafting a Vivienne Westwood skirt knockoff which I’m pretty excited about. And yes, I am going to make a muslin this time.