Side drape dress/top DIY

 

Alright so it's the second week of the year and the side drape dress is finished... only after 2,345,123 attempts! I had quite a few moments of  'why did I choose this project', 'what am I doing' and 'who am I kidding' but I soon bounced back because I know I can do anything if I put my mind to it and that's no flimsy motivational cliche, but reality. Of course I can succeed if I really want to...it's just that no one told me it takes many trials to get there! Anyway, I'm glad once more I didn't give up on this project even if it was difficult most of the time, especially remaking the pattern and fitting it.



 

So at first I cut the largest size which, according to the Japanese size chart in the book, was too small for me so I re-drawn it and cut the fabric... If you follow me on Instagram you might know I've also printed it in a cute stylized sun-moon-rainbow pattern. But no, when I tried it on the neckline was too large in an odd way — I mean it couldn't even pass as cold shoulder casual — the drape piece had become too big under my arm and maybe a few more features I don't want to can't remember now:)

It may be my pattern making skills are not there yet, but also, the Japanese patterns from the book might work just for up to a 90 cm bust/hip. I took another piece of paper, and I remade it once more. I cut two pieces now instead of a single one like that of the original pattern and instead of a straight angle which represented the drape side I rounded it a bit and I'm so happy to say it worked in the end, the dress draped better even if the fabric I chose was not the drapiest of jerseys.

When it comes to the upper part of the dress, I replaced the tank top look from the book with the LB Pullover by Paper Theory a sewing pattern I absolutely recommend - a very nice cut and shape and highly versatile especially if you are into pattern experimentation or beginning to sew. I finished it with a classic T-shirt neckline, but by all means the possibilities are endless - I'm thinking a cowl could be nice, a turtleneck or even a hoodie, right?

Ah and one more thing, it can even be worn as a top!

All in all my first make from a Japanese sewing book turned out great, even if it has been an adventure to find the right fit for me. I think that's the beauty of this book and draping fabrics in general: the whole creative process is a rich experience that leads not only to a lovely unique garment, but to learning and evolving at one's craft.

 



 

Thank you for joining my sewing journey. Sending love!

Once piece side drape top

 

Hello and a happy new year to you! Today is the 1st of January 2021 and I'm dedicating this first article to tell you a bit more about sewing, in particular sewing from Japanese books. 

 

I first had the opportunity to browse through Japanese designs and sewing patterns during a Dressmaking course at South Thames College in London and the style I liked most were the Pattern Magic  series by Tomoko Nakamichi. There are many books and magazines available and I'm sure they're all amazing makes as wonderful and rich as opening the door to a whole culture, vision, understanding and experience of things.

 

To me it's great how just by flipping the pages and even if you're not into sewing you can straight understand how garments are structured and constructed, how fabrics behave and functionality of clothing without giving up on style and charm. They can actually help you a lot to develop your own unique expression, approach fashion from a different perspective, create clothes that can be durable in time an not just for a season or two, find new solutions for a minimal waste living...

 

I have read a bit about Japanese textile history and I understood that from ancient times until the 1600s clothing was made from locally grown hemp, followed by importing raw cotton from China and India during the 15th century, which then influenced the cultivation of cotton domestically, milling and weaving included.

 

I don't know if it's just my interpretation but I can see the continuation of a history of utilising natural fibers, geometrical cuts and simplicity in contemporary sewing and fashion. Also, recycling of cotton textiles played a big role and keeps influencing the garment industry until today. Combined with indigo dyeing, new uses were created for discarded materials by layering several pieces of cloth, attaching each together with sashiko stitching and then patching them, etc. These techniques which were once a neccessity due to the lack of resources and regarded as 'inferior social status' are proven today to be a more sustainable approach to clothes and lifestyle in general, by mending and repairing what we already have instead of consumming new natural resources. In the near future I hope to write more about most of the sewing and printing techniques that are used today in the North/Western part of the world, which actually originated in Japan, India, the Eastern and Southern part of the world in general by giving proper credit and honouring the cultures and traditions.

 


 

For this project I chose a once piece side drape top for Hisako Sato's Drape Drape 2. The book doesn't say many things about the author or even about the year it was released, but the designs are atemporal whatsoever. I would have liked to know more about the author's work, but I guess the art speaks for itself. Here is an excerpt from the book: 

 

Hisako Sato graduated from the Fashion Design programme at Bunka Fashion College, Japan, in 1986, leaving to work for a major clothing manufacturer. In 1990, she was appointed head of garment design at Muji, before becoming an independent designer in 1993. In 1994, Hisako Sato made her debut at Tokyo Collection (now Japan Fashion Week) with the Beige shop brand. She produced collections as a designer for the Raw+ brand www.rawtus.com.

 

The top is made of one piece cut from knit fabric with a scoop neckline and a side that drapes wonderfully. I'm thinking to attach long sleeves though and hem the length until right above the knees. I will use a jersey piece I got last year at the local second hand market, but I want to make another one from a beautiful bamboo jersey fabric I found on Sew Me Sunshine  

 

The book comes with traceable patterns, but the only disadvantage is that the sizes go from a bust of 78 cm to 90 cm. For example, my bust is 100 cm and all my other measurements are way beyond the actual size chart in the book, so I can't use them as they are but have to modify them. On the other hand it's simple to do so because of the straight lines and cuts, and because my height is 152 cm I'm used to make changes to all the sewing patterns (almost all of them are meant for an average of 165-170 cm). It would have been amazing to see the clothes in this book available for every body, but considering the book is based on the japanese general size chart, I can adapt and view it as a starting point for garment construction, pattern making and fabric experimentation, rather than just a commercial sewing pattern... and of course, have fun with it!


I want to slowly plan and sew the clothes from Drape Drape, because I think they're easy to style together and can become wardrobe essentials that are easy to be matched and worn together differently time and time again. Hope this post was inspiring whether you are on your sewing journey or at the beginning. In the following days I'll be recreating my pattern, cut and sew the fabric and tell you all about it - and hopefully you can make one for yourself if you love this style like I do. See you soon!