Review: Drape Drape 2 and a give away!

Late to the party, I finally secured copies of a book called Drape Drape along with the second in the series, Drape Drape 2. I know the Japanese versions (of which there are three now) have been making the circuit but these titles are now available in English and are published by Laurence King. Or rather, I see Amazon lists Drape Drape 2 as not having been released yet but it will be very soon. If you’re interested in the book, I would go ahead and pre-order it. Part of the reason I didn’t get it before is because these were on back order any time I checked. These books have been very popular and I was fortunate to get them from the publisher. I was sent an additional copy to give away to one lucky winner so read on to win.

Since there are many reviews and samples to be viewed across the web, I decided to do something a little different for mine. Namely to digitize one of the styles and assess the pattern’s quality.  I couldn’t do the one I really wanted (#2) because I didn’t have enough fabric or, I didn’t have enough of the right kind of fabric -most of these styles are best suited for knits- so I did pattern #4.

The patterns for each style (14 of them) are included full size, printed on large sheets attached to the back of the book. As with any medium in which patterns are lain on top of each other, it can be a bit confusing. Because I did not read the instructions, I was expecting the one piece to be intact -although a bit of forethought and introspection would have clearly shown this wasn’t possible.  Not all patterns come in all sizes which are S, M, L & XL. The style I selected comes in S/M and L/XL. Keeping in mind that sizes are relative and these are Japanese patterns, the XL is probably the equivalent of a US medium so that’s what I picked.

Once I digitized the three pattern sections and joined them together, I was able to check seam lines and all that. I have to say, these are nice patterns quality wise or at least this one was. To be sure #4 is one of the simpler styles but all the seam lines and notches matched. Jumping ahead (I didn’t take a picture of this), the patterns were also well balanced, impressively so. Even with such a wide variety of possible body shapes, the side seam was exact as were the shoulder seams. As I said, impressive.

Since this style comes in two sizes, I also checked the grade -which was also nice. For my pattern, I kind of threw all of that out though and regraded it and relabeled the sizes. By that I mean I digitized the XL, renamed it to Medium and then graded it for sizes XS-XL. I had no reason to do it, I just wanted to see how the lines would hold up, whether the pattern would keep its form and shape if put through the wringer.  Generally, a well engineered pattern has structural integrity to take this kind of use. If it can’t, then it is too delicate to be adapted beyond a size or two and really could stand re-engineering. And by the way, I’m not suggesting anyone should run off and put these styles in production. This review is intended to fuel your creative side that might not get enough fun challenges to stretch your experience and skills. You can learn all kinds of things putting something like this together.

Probably the biggest downside is inherent to the styles themselves and has nothing to do with the pattern quality, book content, author or any of that…and that would be cutting. Cutting out some of these styles would be extremely challenging although there are ways to make quicker work of this with a few tips and work materials you’re probably not using. Coincidentally enough in the forum this week, I posted a tutorial on cutting samples (one-off single items). Had I known I was going to review this book, I might have used one of these patterns for it instead but I can always update the tutorial to show cutting and marking for more complex styles.

It occurs to me I haven’t posted a photo of the sample. Hmm. Mine is not so pretty, being a mock up, it is not finished and probably never will be. I may adjust the pattern a bit and reuse it later though. The neckline is a bit too low for me; my fabric was some kind of suede-ish heavy knit and hangs too low in front since neckline isn’t stabilized with seaming.

“For whatever reason, this style makes my dressform’s shoulders look wide and her hips, narrow. Maybe this style will do that for people too?

As far as whether you should buy it ($14.50) or its predecessor ($16.50), keep in mind it is a somewhat awkwardly translated text with challenging styles and required execution -although the sewing skills needed are quite basic.  While diagrams and illustrations are clear, it wouldn’t be appropriate to expect the same sort of hand holding common to US home sewing books. I think that anyone with basic sewing skills, simple equipment and a few hours of free time could expect a good result. For me these styles aren’t particularly wearable but that shouldn’t dissuade any who feel as I do. If you need to stretch and are looking for a fun challenge, any of these style could be a great project. I think this book might be a fun activity for people who wish to inspire sewing in teens or young adults.

Now for the giveaway!
Leave a comment on the blog -any entry qualifies- from today through next Thursday to win a copy of this book.  Unfortunately I must restrict this to residents of the US; two recent winners were overseas and the shipping costs were $18 each time.  Good luck!

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