Sewing Adventures: Drape Drape inspired dress

By 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.

Photo courtesy of Sew Busy Lizzy

Photo courtesy of Sew Busy Lizzy

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.

velvet front

Totally derp photo, complete with tape stuck to my shoe, sometimes I just fail at life.

velvet back

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?

velvet close up

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.


  • Jodie
    February 18, 2015

    I loved this dress on you! I was admiring it at our catch up and got so busy talking and consuming gelato that I altogether forgot to pat your fabric. It looked lush.

    • Susan Goodwin
      February 18, 2015

      it was so beautiful, I have a little bit left from when I cut it out, think I can make a top from it? If not I know there is a blue/purple colourway too…

  • Gabrielle
    February 18, 2015

    What a stunning fabric – I’m sorry to hear the washing machine had a go at it! I really like the look of your sack dress with drapes and I think you look cute in these pics :). If you can’t salvage this dress I hope you will make it again!

    • Susan Goodwin
      February 22, 2015

      I’m already on the hunt for fabric to remake it with, it was so comfortable.

      This one has already been claimed by the cat as a bed so no chance of salvage but I have some scraps leftover am hoping to make a shirt from?

  • Maria
    February 19, 2015

    This is a lovely style Susan. And the fabric is a great warm colour. You picked a great style!

    • Susan Goodwin
      February 22, 2015

      Thank you, I like being able to experiment with styles sometimes, think it can help break a mold or bring something new into the equation.

  • Emma
    February 19, 2015

    Great fabric! Perfect match for the drape dress, can so understand that you would get a lot of wear from it.

    • Susan Goodwin
      February 22, 2015

      Such very pretty fabric. The Englishman referred to it as my lady beetle dress because I had spots!

  • Jenny
    February 19, 2015


    Oh, what a sad story! I guess I should consider myself lucky to have seen it in the wild, a bit like a Tassie Tiger sighting :p It was such a beauty!

    • Susan Goodwin
      February 22, 2015

      Yes it was a rare sighting! ha ha, hopefully enough leftovers to make a top of some sort and the hunt is on for replacement fabric for another drape style.

  • Allison
    February 20, 2015

    I visited your store today (from Hk!) and bought some of the purple colour way, it is a stunning fabric and I’m so sorry your dress got ruined, it did drape wonderfully. I’ll be very careful!

    • Susan Goodwin
      February 22, 2015

      Pitt Trading is such a nice store to work at, am so glad you had time to come in during your visit. The purple colourway is gorgeous. I’d washed this one a few times, inside out and in a very small laundry bag (to limit it’s movement) and had not had any problems at all. But sadly any garment getting caught in the agitator will get ruined let alone a velvet one.
      Can’t wait to see what you make!

  • Vanessa
    February 21, 2015

    Oh no! Shame that the dress got eaten by the sewing machine.
    I think you’re right though, with the wrong fabric this dress would look more sack than fab.
    How did you work out the ‘inifinity scarf’ dress situation?
    That fabric looks so lush! 🙂

    • Susan Goodwin
      February 22, 2015

      Very lush fabric, so much “bounce” when wearing it.

      The infinity scarf situation was hilarious, just one of those times when you don’t think through the process properly. In the end I fully bagged out the hem and the neckline and then twin needled the lining and the armholes as one. Worked wonderfully for the bubble hem and then the neckline was quite smooth. Surprisingly the twin needle was fine for the armholes as mine is sometimes a bit temperamental on textured fabrics but it worked great. Lucky day.

  • Amanda
    February 22, 2015

    NOOOOOO! Curse you washing machine! This fabric is truly spectacular- I love how you riffed off the original idea and made it your own! 😀

    • Susan Goodwin
      February 22, 2015

      Yes drat the washing machine!

      The fabric is amazing, it comes in a purple colourway too which is just fabulous and makes me think that Prince probably has something made from it?

      I really enjoyed the experiment of joining a few ideas, always fun to push the envelope.

  • Alex
    April 24, 2015

    Oh my, the shape of this dress is just so fabulous. It works so well on you that you just have to remake it. And those gold shoes are a winner!

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Hi, I'm Susan. A designer living in Sydney, Australia.

Here I share tales of my sewing, my pattern collection and insights into what it's like to work as a professional fashion designer.

Other recurring themes include cat photos and an ever changing hair style.



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