Thursday, 20 March 2014

A Tale of Two Cowls - Part One - DrapeDrape1 #1 - and a bonus Iconic Cami

March's Monthy Stitch Challenge is Miss Sew Bossy Patterns. I mainly played along in the Facebook group during February and it was so wonderfully interactive & built a fabulous sense of community - I was introduced to dozens & dozens of new-to-me blogs and the conversations flowed wonderfully.
Such a scathingly brilliant idea, thanks ladies!
Miss Bossy Patterns March

I had rebelled/hedged my bets and asked the Monthly Stitch Community to choose between 3 fabrics, 5 patterns.
I had a clear pattern winner (phew!) with 13 votes for the first draped top from the Japanese Pattern Book Drape Drape 1, which I've made (as bossed) in a luscious, thin, drapey red cotton knit from the Clegs Boxing Day sale.

I also had a clear fabric winner - my art nouveau/70's rayon that will become a MadMen3 Competition entry - I've even settled on my inspiration shot from the series - more on that later in March ;)

Now, this is a tale of two draped tops. I could also add a third, but it was made before I started this blog & not in 2014.

In the red corner is Drape Drape1 #1 in XL. I ummed and ahhed about cutting the front bodice fabric on an angled fold, to give me less drape and more waist room. I also considered cutting the back as a non-draped piece to be more flexible under cardigans & to reflect the RTW piece this is replacing.
You'll be pleased to know, that in the interests of a pattern review, and in the spirit of Miss Sew Bossy - I cut and sewed it as instructed.

For those unfamiliar with the DrapeDrape phenomenon, this book was released in Japanese in 2009 and in English in 2012. It is the first of three and I've previously sewn three tops from the second book. I do feel that this book is less intuitive than book 2 - I've included the instructions to explain my thinking below.

The instructions instruct you to 'Flat-Fell' the seams - I translated this to mean sew the seam as usual, overlocking the edges together & press towards the back. I also included a piece of straight rayon seam binding to stabilise the shoulders.
This is where inserting lingerie straps or a horizontal strap across the back of the neck would occur - this top does fall off the shoulders rather frequently.

"Fold the neckline facing to the finish line" could be confusing unless you'd made a draped neckline top before or could picture folding the shoulders in half with the right sides out.

The diagrams, as always in this series & Japanese patterns generally, are excellent for a visual learner.

It's also possibly just me, but I do need reminders to have the direction of greatest stretch go around the torso - not as relevant in this top, but some of the other designs have very interesting shapes and are laid out where either the front or the back will be 'across grain'.

The sizing for the XL (in cm) that I cut is bust 90 (85), waist 70 (75) hip 96 (99) and height 168 (165). My measurements are in brackets as I like knowing these details when looking at other bloggers creations ;)

I'm not a busty girl, so the top hangs very similarly on me as on the model at the upper chest/bust level. This was as I anticipated - The decisions I make in the interests of pattern reviewing ... ;)

I possibly will go back and add a separate hip band (ala the Renfrew) rather than hem the bottom with the instructed turned hem, as I've been wearing it bunched/tucked in rather than left straight. I wear my other Drape Drape creations as tops, rather than dresses/tunics, as well as they are delightfully flattering when relaxed and draping at my waist/hips and not pulled down over curvy body parts ;)

So that I don't have a wardrobe malfunction every time I move (and that's without taking my constant preschool companions into account), I used the remaining fabric wisely for an under layer.

The Sammy Cami is a free download from Iconic Patterns that is a spaghetti strap camisole/singlet and perfect for wearing under a top like this ;)
Iconic Patterns Sammy Cami

I made a size 12 as I wasn't sure how much negative ease was drafted into the pattern and it was the size I wanted - a neutral ease fit. I did use shorter strap lengths (21cm) which I determined by measuring how low I wanted it to hang at front & back.

The Iconic Cami came together effortlessly (if you ignore my uneven stitching) on the sewing machine and overlocker as instructed. Having the armhole binding continuous with the straps is lovely, but does mean you've settled on strap length before it's finished. I can see lots of variation potential and it really is a quick way of using up scraps & adding a bit of coverage backup to thinner knit creations.

I lived in tops just like this while breastfeeding & under all my chiffon wardrobe staples, so having this as a TNT pattern is very helpful. And it's free!
 - Adapting it as a breastfeeding layer is either as simple as stretching the straps/flicking them off your shoulder to feed, or cutting & inserting an adjustable loop or join when making it up.
I will also be experimenting with wider straps as I do prefer to cover my bra straps when wearing tanks/singlets if they're not concealed by an outer layer.

In summary - Thank You to everyone who voted for my luscious red knit and Drape Drape 1's Draped Top #1. It was as simple to sew as it looked, it feels luscious on, and yes, it looks just like the pattern illustration ;)


  1. Lovely red color! And I really like the drape tops I am seeing. Yours is no exception! Nicely done!

  2. Thanks Laurie! They really are a lovely trio of books and this red knit is dreamily luscious! ;)

  3. Love the colour, well done for finishing your challenge!

  4. SeamsOddLouise.Blogspot.com21 March 2014 at 05:11

    I am so glad this won. Everything about this works, the colour, the drape and hiding your modesty! Good job.

  5. Beautiful! Those books are so intimidating that it's fantastic to see one put together!

    Also thanks for the link to that cami pattern - I wear one of those at least half the time under wrap dresses but I've never seen a pattern before.

  6. I just love the Japanese aesthetic and this top is so gorgeous. I would be doing the cami like you but it looks so stunning without as well.

  7. {\rtf1\ansi\ansicpg1252
    {\fonttbl\f0\fnil\fcharset0 ArialMT;}

    \f0\fs26 \cf2 \cb3 \expnd0\expndtw0\kerning0
    \outl0\strokewidth0 \strokec2 Your drape drape top is lovely and these patterns always look so cleverly constructed. It's great to see the cami made up too as I was planning to make this. Do you think it would work in a woven fabric or does it specify for knits? }


We've love you to reply, comments make the dachshund & I smile ;)