I was on the waitlist for Drape Drape 3 by Hisako Sato at the San Francisco Public Library for weeks. And finally the book was available for me to check out last week, which means I better get going on sewing something before I have to return it! There are 15 patterns in this book. I absolutely love the creativity and imagination of the patterns, but there are only a few of them that I would consider wearing. They’re either just not my style or I think they would drape in areas that wouldn’t look very good on me.
Some of the styles seem more flattering on slender figures, not curvy ones. So far I’ve only made one thing from the Drape Drape series – the asymmetrical top from Drape Drape 2, which I just realized that I have not blogged. I think I posted a photo on Instagram (@csews) last year. I need to dig it out of the closet. MaciNic of the Somnolent Dachshund inspired me to make my own DD2 asymmetrical top. I saw her post last year on her fourth version of this top (see her other versions here). I just loved the way it looked. I need to make another one. I bought the fabric for it a while ago – a beautiful rayon jersey from Britex Fabrics.
Meanwhile, I flipped through DD3 and picked out the few things that I think I would actually wear. For me, many of the things in the Drape Drape books are outfits that I would not wear. BUT I can usually find at least one or more things that are really unique and wearable. I do love the draping on many of the garments but some are just too low (or high!) cut or not really suited to my figure. (I usually have to grade up a size in the hips and go down by least a half-size in the waist.)
You can see a lovely version of Drape Drape 3‘s No. 12 Wrap Dress by Sew Busy Lizzy here. She jokingly calls it a “wardrobe malfunction waiting to happen.” Heheh. When I saw it in the book, I could tell that it was really revealing. It goes way up on one leg, beyond thigh-high to nearly hip high. Whoa. Sew Busy Lizzy pulls it off with her great legs but I don’t think she plans on wearing it in public again without pairing it with trousers. 😉
So here’s what I might sew and wear, in no particular order. (The fabric behind the book is a blue print remnant I got from Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics last week for $7.)
No. 7. Two-piece v-neck blouse
This top looks wearable, doesn’t it? Though you can’t tell from this photo, what it would look like when your arms are down.
Luckily, there are two more photos of this top later in the book. The model seems fond of having her arms up. This blouse was made from a very lightweight linen. I’m not sure how it would look on me but I’m intrigued enough to make a mock-up. I’d like to use really lightweight fabric too but I wouldn’t want it to be transparent. Maybe a lightweight linen in a bright color? What fabric would you use?
No. 11 Three-piece Sun Dress
This is a lined dress made using a woven print. You can see the edge of the lining at the hem. There’s an invisible zipper in the center back. I like the look of this dress – even the bow – and I’m not big on bows. For some reason, this dress appeals to me. Plus I’m sure we’ll have some scorching hot weather this summer so I would have the chance to wear it. The one drawback is that you can’t wear a regular bra with this dress so if you don’t have a small bust, you’ll probably want to get one of those “adhesive backless bras.” (Just do a search on those terms and see all the different styles. I had no idea there were so many variations – backless thong bodysuit anyone? I guess if I were a backless, halter-top wearing gal, I would know this already.)
No. 13 One-piece Boatneck Tunic
Yes, this is actually made from one big piece of lace fabric (width: 1 m 40 cm, length: 1 m 60 cm). It seems sort of a hybrid cape/tunic. It could be casual or dressy – depending on what you wear with it. Beach coverup or add a bit of elegance to an evening outfit?
Jen of Grainline Studio made it in 2013 and wore it at the beach. You can read her blog post here, plus see a few more photos from the book as well as her version of this tunic.
Amy of Sew Well made No. 3 Three-piece Cowl Neck Top, which she blogged about here. The cowl neck dips quite low so you need to wear a cami with it unless you’re daring and don’t mind revealing your bra. 😉
Sizes in this book go from S to XL. But some of the patterns have just two sizes -S/M or L/XL. According to the book’s chart, the largest size is for someone who’s 168 cm, which is about 5′ 5″ – not very tall. I’m around 172 cm (5′ 8″). But Japanese patterns usually have a lot of ease so I’m not worried that the patterns won’t fit. It also helps that I have a small bust. If you have to do FBAs, then you will definitely need to make some adjustments. (See my post on Japanese pattern book sizing for more info.)
Have you made anything from DD3?
Drape Drape 3 is currently $20.13 on Amazon. Considering that you can spend that amount (or more) on one full-price Vogue pattern, an indie pattern or a couple of PDF patterns, it’s a good deal.
[*There are affiliate links in this post for the books mentioned but I haven’t seen any money yet from it so it’s not exactly earning me any money. I’m experimenting with seeing whether it’s possible to make money.]
Did you do any summer sewing? What did you make? In August I started working on a refashion project for two reasons: 1.Tuttle Publishing asked me if I’d be interested in reviewing a couple of Japanese sewing books and Stylish Remakes by Violette Room, was one of them. The other was Stylish Party Dresses by Yoshiko Tsukiori. I hadn’t heard of Violette Room, a Japanese clothing company, but the book seemed interesting.
2. I had just found out via Instagram about The Refashioners challenge organized by Portia Lawrie – create something from a men’s shirt. (See the impressive lineup of sewing bloggers who stepped up to the challenge on this Makery post.) So I was game and told Tuttle, “YES! Send the books!” [Note: I am not being paid to review these books. I was given the books with the understanding that I would provide an honest review.]
This super-long post includes my review of Stylish Remakes, my first men’s shirt refashion, and a giveaway of this book! Details on entering the giveaway are at the end of this post. (I’ll be reviewing – and giving away a copy of – Stylish Party Dresses in a later post.)
I took photos of this much-washed Brooks Brothers shirt that I got for free at a swap event in San Francisco a couple of years ago. As you can see, this size 17.5 “relaxed fit” shirt is quite voluminous.
I flipped through Stylish Remakes to see what ideas could be useful for the Refashioners challenge. The book features a total of 25 ideas categorized into six sections, labeled as follows: T-shirts, Flannel Shirts, Borders, College Sweats, Gabardine Coats, and Bandannas. “Borders” seems to refer to garments with stripes. Also included in this section is a detachable collar that you make and embellish with beads. “College sweats” refers to sweatshirts.
There are anywhere from three to six ideas in each category. Some of them are quite simple – shorten the T-shirt sleeves, add a bow, attach a skirt to make a dress, sew a scarf to the top to make a tunic (design no. 14). I’ve taken photos from the book so you can see some examples (excuse the poor lighting!).
None of the ideas in the book are particularly complicated. Only a few designs approach the more radical transformations of Charity Shop Chic or Refashionista. BUT if you haven’t tried to refashion or upcycle a garment before, this book will give you some good ideas to get started – and then you can add your own design changes. The book seems aimed more at the fashionista than the sewist. The book flap says “With just a little cutting and sewing you can create fun and funky new pieces… Anyone can do it and anyone can wear it.”
If you’ve made anything from a Japanese sewing book, you’ll be familiar with the format – photos of models wearing the garments, followed by instructions with detailed diagrams. There are only a couple of patterns in the book, a collar, a bow, and a cat, which you enlarge on a photocopier. There aren’t any patterns for the other projects because you’re refashioning existing garments (and bandannas) into something else.
Here’s an upcycled sweatshirt made into a mini dress (design no. 17) – not something I’d make or wear.
An outfit made from a striped long-sleeve tee and a Liberty print dress (design no. 12). A simple idea that I may use. I’ve got a RTW striped top and cheap skirt that may be more interesting as a dress.
Here’s a coat restyled using different parts of a scarf as the collar and design elements sewn on the coat (“Coat with Scarf and Details,” no. 20). The horses are from the scarf. I really like the scarf-used-as-collar idea. I’ve got an old vintage coat with a rather dirty collar. I’ll try dry cleaning it first but if that doesn’t work, I’ll try this clever idea.
This tot is absolutely adorable in this camisole and skirt made from a bandanna (design no. 24).
Both pieces are made from one 20.5 inch x 20.5 inch (52 cm x 52 cm) bandanna. The book recommends that you use an old bandanna that’s soft and drapey, which will feel nice to the little one. So cute!
The book has five ideas for refashioning men’s flannel shirts. They’re not complicated to execute but you need some basic sewing knowledge to understand the construction explanations, which heavily rely on diagrams as much as the words to explain the details.
This “Half-and-Half Dress” (design no. 7) is one of the more interesting and clever designs. You button the two shirts together (moving buttons if they don’t line up) and use the cut-off sleeve pieces to make the shoulder straps. The leftover sleeve pieces (still attached to the shirt) form pockets – very nice. I’m not a fan of flannel shirts but I really like this design idea. I could see making this with two (non-flannel) shirts.
Before I get into my project, here’s my conclusion about this book: I wouldn’t make most of the projects in it because they’re not my style BUT I really like the ideas for the flannel shirts and the coat collar. So it’s worth it for the sewing tips to create those garments.
I wanted to try making a blouse from the men’s shirt so first I thought I’d try the “Jacket with a Gathered Waist” (design no. 8), which wasn’t really a jacket (maybe a fault in the translation?). I liked the 3/4 gathered sleeves.
You remove the shirt cuff, shorten the sleeve and reattach the cuff to the shortened sleeves. Then you fold the hem up and sew a casing for the elastic. Pretty simple, right?
Well, I made a mistake when I trimmed my sleeves. I cut them too short. After I sewed on one cuff, I tried it on and realized it was too tight on my forearm. Ack. I measured from my shoulder point to where I wanted the sleeve to end. However, I wasn’t paying attention to the fact that the sleeve is cut at an angle to give it additional ease so you’ll have more to gather at the cuff. Darn. I marked the sleeve on the fold a few inches below my elbow point instead of at the sleeve seam (below my inner elbow). Here’s what that sleeve looked like with the cuff attached.
If you make this top, put on your shirt, pull up the sleeve to determine what length you want it to be. Make sure the cuff is at a comfortable spot on your arm so it’s not too tight. Mark the sleeve at the length you want at the seam line, not on the outside of the sleeve. The book gives you a measurement for where to cut the sleeve but I ignored it because I have long arms and I knew it would be too short if I used the book’s measurement.
Now I had two cuffs that I wasn’t going to use. I played around with them, trying to see if there was another way to use them. How about a pocket? I liked this idea but didn’t reuse them for this shirt because the cuff was rather thick and didn’t seem right for this shirt. I’ve saved them though and may reuse them for something else.
I had to change plans and decided to go with short sleeves. I flipped to design no. 9 – the “Big Bow Blouse.” I wasn’t keen on the bow but I liked the collar and sleeves so I thought I’d give it a try.
I removed the left front pocket and I made the sleeves shorter but the armholes were really gaping.
Clearly, I needed to get rid of some excess fabric. So I stitched a new side seam. The point of the pencil is where the new seam is.
I trimmed off the curving parts of the shirt hem so I could have a straight hem all around. I saved those curving bits for later. Now the shirt looked like this. The hem is pinned. As you can see the sleeves stick out a bit.
The book says that if the sleeve opening was too wide (hell yes!), to “overlap the sleeve under the arm and stitch.” Hmmm. The translation is a little awkward here but the diagram offers a better explanation.
This makes the sleeve fit more closely to the upper arm as you’ll see in the photos below.
Cutting off the collar left a slightly frayed edge, which I wanted to hide. Also, the collar seemed rather plain because I wasn’t using a flannel shirt with more visual interest.
So I looked at the collar I removed, then I trimmed off about 3/8 inch (1 cm) to remove the top-stitched edge. This left me with the top and bottom collar pieces and its interfacing (note: not a fusible). I joined the two pieces together in the middle with a flat felled seam to make one long strip with curved ends. Now I had a long strip of fabric roughly twice the length of the collar stand, which would make a nice ruffle.
I finished the curved edge with a 1/8 inch (about 3 mm) hem and the straight edge with a zigzag stitch. Then I sewed two lines of gathering stitches on the zig zag side.
Here’s the collar gathered and attached reattached to the shirt. I don’t usually wear anything with ruffles so this was a fun experiment. The ruffle is a single layer of fabric but the gathering makes it stiff enough to stand up. I stitched it right on top of the collar stand, which is a bit of a sloppy finish but I didn’t feel like ripping out the stitching on the collar stand to open it up and insert the ruffle.
I nixed an elastic waist like design no. 8 (above). So I trimmed the bottom and I used the leftover sleeve pieces to make a belt. They were huge sleeves! I didn’t have enough fabric for one long piece so I used two pieces of fabric for each side of the belt. You can see the seam just to the right of my fingers.
The shirt fabric was pretty thin though so it didn’t quite lay flat but one side looked better than the other so I put that on the outside, attached the buckle and inserted the eyelets, which are really huge and not too attractive. Oh well.
I tried on the shirt again but it was still too big because I didn’t take out enough from the side seams. Oops. But I liked the sleeves. I followed the instructions from the diagram above and now the sleeves don’t stick out as much. Nice, eh?
I posted this image to Instagram (@csews) wondering if it was too long and I received some helpful comments from several people. Mari (@ddisciplines) of Seamster Patterns suggested fish-eye darts and others suggested inverted pleats or tucks. Of course this meant I needed to remove/replace the pocket. Gee, I had done such nice top stitching on it! Poo.
I had finished one side seam with a French seam and I didn’t want to unpick it (lazy). Thus I decided to go with fish-eye darts, which would provide some waist definition. I decided to take an incremental approach so the dart was no more than 3/8 inch at its widest point (measuring from the center of the dart). And at some point in the process, I decided to go with a curving hem so it’s shorter in front and is longer in back as you’ll see in the finished photos below.
Here’s the shirt with a total of six fish-eye darts. I started out with just two on each side but that wasn’t enough. Then I sewed six inverted pleats in the back, which brought in the waist a bit more and then it looked like this. Still a bit roomy but I decided to call it quits.
By this time, I think I’d been tinkering with this shirt for a couple of weeks. If you follow me on IG, you may have seen some of my WIP photos. I didn’t expect to get so involved in it but I was having a lot of fun changing it as I went along.
OK, you might remember that I mentioned cutting off the curving parts of the original shirt hem. Here they are.
I took one of them and gathered the edge…
… and made it into a flower, which I pinned to my hat.
Now, drum roll please….
Here’s the final version without the belt. (Note on the pose: I’m trying out a “shoulders back, hips out” pose here – not realizing that it makes the shirt stick out in front. Whoops. It I were standing normally, it would lay flat.)
And here it is with the belt.
And all those inverted pleats! I should have taken more fabric out of the back. It’s a little puffy there. I used the width of the original pleat sewn in the back yoke to set the width of all the waist pleats. I started out with three and ended up with six! There’s another photo below without the belt.
And a few before and after photos.
And a full frontal view with the belt….
… and a final shot here.
I think I like it better with the belt. What do you think? I wore it to work last week and when I told people that it had been a men’s shirt, they couldn’t believe it. I showed them the before pictures and they were amazed.
To see other refashion projects, use the hashtags #therefashioners2015 #therefashioners #refashfest #getshirty. Ceck out the official Pinterest board for The Refashioners 2015 and see some lovely tops and dresses. And it’s not too late to enter the Refashioners 2015 contest! You have until Sunday, Sept. 27 to submit your project. See the rules (and prizes!) here.
Last but not least, if you’d like to be entered in a drawing to win a copy of Stylish Remakes, just comment below by September 30, 11:59 pm, Pacific (California time). UPDATE: This giveaway is open to everyone around the world. Tuttle Publishing will be shipping it so if you win and live outside the United States, you’ll just need to give me your address and phone number for the customs form.
If you don’t want to be entered, just say, don’t enter me. Have you done any refashioning? What did you make?
What are you working on? Projects for summer and fall? Now that summer solstice has come and gone, I feel pressure to get going on the summer clothes. One good thing about living in California is that it stays warm through September, even in the Bay Area, where the weather is a lot cooler than Southern California – so I’ll be OK even if I don’t finish my summer sewing projects by the end of August.
I’ve just finished making another Deer and Doe Chardon skirt – this time out of some heavyweight linen fabric. Here’s a sneak peek of the main skirt fabric, which I got at Britex Fabrics and my side pocket:
Hopefully, I’ll be able to take photos of it in the couple of days so you can see the finished version with the red linen contrast band. This is my fourth Chardon skirt. (Here are the links to my first Chardon, my second one with a black contrast band, and my maxi version.)
I already got some black seersucker fabric. It’s a perfect project for the Sundress Sewalong, hosted by Handmade by Heather B! It starts on July 1 and continues to August 31 – plenty of time to finish it! Thanks, Heather!
The other dress is one I thought I would make for the Japan Sew Along (hosted by Tanoshii) but I was only able to complete one garment, the A-line Block Skirt (from Basic Black) by the end of the sewalong. This is the pattern…
… and here’s the pretty purple cotton voile fabric I got for the dress:
Oh, and let’s not forget tops! I cut out my mock-up of the Asymmetical Top from Drape Drape 2, which I’ve been meaning to make ever since I saw a couple of MaciNic’s versions on her blog The Somnolent Dachshund. I cut a straight size L/XL. I’m using a drapey rayon knit so we’ll see how well it fits. My guess is that it will be tight in the hips. The top was a bit of a pain to cut out because it is one huge pattern piece. So I had to lay it out on the floor. It’s waiting to be sewed.
And way back in December I cut out a mock-up of the Renfrew top, Sewaholic’s best-selling and versatile knit top. It got pushed to the bottom of the project queue when I started making my Chardon skirts, Japanese sewing patterns, and my Spring for Cotton dress. I need to sew this up as well.
I also bought my first Blueprints for Sewing pattern – the A-frame skirt, which looks like a great stashbuster. Just think of the color blocking possibilities!
The drawing is unique – rather rustic but don’t be put off by it, the design is rather elegant with two options – an A-line and a pencil skirt. And the pocket detail is quite lovely. You can see more versions of it on Blueprint’s blog.
Another pattern I got earlier this month is the Flutter Blouse by Papercut Patterns. I like the floaty sleeves. You could make it tunic length and wear it as a dress (check out SewBusyLizzy’s version here). I don’t know if I would make it tunic length – like SewBusyLizzy I worry about it looking like a sack. My hips are rather wide so I don’t think that will be flattering on my figure. It will be fine as a blouse though.
I love the packaging on Papercut Patterns!
There are other indie patterns on my to-do list as well – Deer & Doe’s Bruyère Shirt, maybe another By Hand London Anna Dress for the International Anna Party (I’ve made two so far – one with a border print and a color blocked version), and Sewaholic’s Granville Shirt. What’s on your sewing list?
Megan gets a copy of She Wears the Pants by Yuko Takada! How did I choose the winner? I plugged in the lowest number 1 and the highest 2- (I skipped the one person I knew who already had the book) – and random.org gave me “10” as the result. Megan was the tenth person to comment (skipping Lizzy).
Congrats, Megan! I just need your mailing address and if you are not a U.S. resident, I need your phone number to pass along to Tuttle Publishing, which will send your copy of She Wears the Pants to you.
BTW – I did make the Draped Mini Dress from this book. You can see it here.