Sewing Adventures: Drape Drape inspired dressBy Susan | Comments: 17 | February 18, 2015
I had a post written on this dress and all that was waiting was some nice photos to go with it. My first attempt at getting The Englishman to take photos on our walk to the train station led to some very derp faced awkward arm style posing. So I thought, no worries will try again another time.
Then disaster struck. The dress got accidentally put into the washing machine the right way out not in a wash bag. It got mangled against the agitator of the machine and the entire wash ended up with super fine velvet particles all over it and my dress lost quite a lot of spots and was quite ruined … Sad. So now in addition to a ruined dress I get to delight you all with with some wonderfully derpy photos of me from the original attempt at photos! So onto the story of the dress.
Sometimes a fabric inspires the dress. That was certainly the case with this dress. I saw the fabric and just had to have it.
A knit featuring multisized velvet spots that have an ombre effect. Really that’s pretty much a perfect fabric in my books. It reminded me of the phases of the moon or planets with the way the colour shimmered across the velvet.
Thing is, I didn’t have a pattern that would do this justice. So I dove into the stash and come up with some lackluster options. I wanted it to fold and move and ripple to show the amazing fabric off. So I started scouring my Japanese Pattern books and settled on the front cover from Drape Drape (book 1). **
It however requires over 3 metres of fabric. I had just 2 metres. I started searching blogs looking for reviews of the Drape Drape series. I’d always admired the simplicity of the drape tank which I knew Lizzy was a big fan of. She even had a photo of what the pattern piece looked like on her blog.
That photo sparked an idea.
I grabbed my size 14 Baseball Singlet from the Basics Collection and set out to use it as a base to recreate the pattern piece from Lizzy’s blog.
To start I cut a piece of interfacing to match the folded width of my fabric, I didn’t have any pattern card wide enough to use so that’s why I used the interfacing. I used the fold line as the grainline and with some measuring worked out that the centre front needed to be at a 40 degree angle. Using a protractor app on my iPhone I managed to get it all lined up. I traced the top half of the Baseball Singlet, angled out one side to become an aline skirt as I just extended it to the length I need. The other side I drew the shape to mimic the drape drape pattern. I then cut the interfacing along what would be the fold line to slash and spread the pattern to add even more volume into the drape area. The front and back of the pattern are identical.
I quickly ran up a toile using some slightly heavier knit fabric and realised I need to alter the draped side armhole to avoid flashing quite alot of side boob. I reshaped the armhole and went straight into cutting out the real fabric. I made it up using the overlocker and as it has 2 shoulder seams, one side seam and one straight line it went together in moments. I pulled it on relishing the lovely slinky feel of the knit. Then I looked in the mirror and I’d made a lovely velvet sack. Pretty, but oh so sacky and not at all flattering.
The next day I spent the commute to and from work sorting out a solution. If I cut an aline singlet dress out of swim mesh I could use it to bag out* the neckline and attach it at the hem to create a bubble hem. It wouldn’t totally do away with the sack look but it would at least make it look deliberate.
Apart from forgetting you can’t bag the neck and armholes of a dress that only have one side seam (you just end up with an endless donut of fabric that you can’t wear as a dress but makes a fetching infinity scarf). It went together well. The only other alteration was to slightly pleat the draped armhole which still had slightly too much drop under the armhole.
Totally derp photo, complete with tape stuck to my shoe, sometimes I just fail at life.
In this photo it looks like the armhole cuts in at the back but it didn’t? can only assume it had dropped a bit and I hadn’t straightened it out before I took the photo?
The beautiful drape.
I wore it to our Sydney Spoolettes Christmas get together and have worn it to work many times since and it’s so comfortable. As it basically doesn’t touch the body it’s good for big meal days or just when you need to be cool and comfortable. The fabric helps make it look dressy and I fear if I remade it in less spectacular fabric it might be more garbage bag than dress?
Pattern: Drape Drape inspired dress that was created from the Baseball Singlet from the Basics Collection.
Fabric: Knit velvet spot purchased from Pitt Trading. As some of you may know, I spend a few days a week working retail at Pitt Trading. It’s so fun being surrounded by such beautiful fabric. I’m not asked to write about my fabric purchases in any way but as the selection there is quite fabulous you will see pieces from there pop up in my weekly makes more often. If you ever happen to be instore please don’t be shy and say hello!
*bag out means to fully enclose the neck and armholes with lining. Often referred to as the Burrito method. I can’t bring myself to say the Burrito method as the correct sewing way is to turn it inside out and twist and honestly if you did that with a burrito you’d end up with beans in your lap. For me it’s technically incorrect on both a sewing and food level and just can’t bring myself to use incorrect terminology. Sorry!
** This is an affiliate link, if you happen to buy from Book Depository then I get a small amount in return for suggesting the book to you. These links will appear every so often but only for pieces I truly do recommend.