Sunday, July 25, 2010

Turning Japanese

I'm going to dispose with modesty on this post - which will be followed soon by another post requesting expert sewist guidance on modifying an extremely bizarre and utterly AWESOME pattern.

Drape Drape Gather Dress no. 3 is an unstoppable fashion classic. Give Ms. Sato her own fancy label (presuming she doesn't already have one). And give me a pat on the back cuz I KICK ASS! In other languages!

First, here's a little glimpse of the 1-piece pattern I spent many hours figuring out:

Let me tell you that I was mistaken in my last post about this. The multiple patterns in multiple sizes on one page are NOT in different colours, which is high on drugs. The reason this pattern looks like a dog's breakfast is because, initially, I added a seam allowance onto the fold cut side (right) which, after scrutinizing the photos in the book, appears not to be there. Its removal had impacts on the part where the bottom meets the top. I had to tape them together but the seam allowances there were off as a result of the removed seam allowance on the fold.

It occurred to me that, the second I cut off the seam allowances, no doubt the fates would require me to have them, so I folded them back instead of cutting them off. Nonetheless, just looking at the photo is bugging me.

Here's a look at the cut fabric:

Why didn't she call it the butterfly dress??

Somehow, between very good photos and an arguably drastically improved sense of three-dimensional reasoning - or maybe just a good day - I ended up with this:

The colour is all off (to show the contrast I altered the photo). It's actually chocolate brown. Note: It looks like a sack on the hanger because it needs a figure to show its shape.

It has numerous flaws, many of which can be seen here, but I don't care. The bones of this dress are so good, all I need to do is figure out how to modify it and it will be a staple. (It's very strangely put together based on my minimal experience so I don't know where to start yet. My brain, however, is mulling.)

This one is too large in the waist and hips and too tight in the chest. I used rayon jersey, instead of a woven, which gave me a lot of latitude. I actually darted the side under arm (at bust, in 2 places on each side) to suit my shape. Only with stretch can one take fabric away when, arguably, one requires more, and still achieve the desired shape. The seams on this are horrifying. One of the things I've got to sort out is how to make the chest on this slightly wider and a bit longer.

I opted not to hem it. It was cut with the rotary blade and it's totally straight. I think it gives the dress an edge. I also opted to omit the zipper, which is unnecessary with the jersey, but I should have stabilized the back neck with clear elastic tape. I will do this as soon as I find some.

The shape at the hips is a tulip. I imagine, if one were wide in the hips, this would not be the ideal. On a narrow-framed hourglass, however, it's ideal. Esp. one with medium-sized breasts (maybe C cup).

Its most fabulous feature is the neckline which is stupendous. And the gathered sleeve - so chic and so complex.

My initial thoughts about the sizing: It's not crazy small, though I did make it in a stretch fabric . I would say the large is like a medium. For me that means too small in the chest and too big in the bottom. I'm thinking of doing a pretty major - but easy, I think - alteration to the hip gather at the front (darting it on the outside so that the centre-most gathers affix on top of the gathers wider out). It will narrow the hips and give extra volume, effectively making the tulip more extreme. You can't see how that would occur in the photos. But if I put it on and pinched the fabric I want to adjust, you'd see immediately what I mean.

So, now I will go drink a glass of wine, eat some creme patissiere with nectarines and think about my accomplishments and what I still need to learn.

It's been a very good day.


  1. It looks great! I'm super-impressed. Well done.

  2. AH! I bet it'll be SO flattering once you work out the kinks. I'm imagining all the colors that would work with this dress and oh my...the list goes on and on!

  3. Great job! I cannot think about how that cut fabric became a dress w/out instructions in English.

  4. I'm in awestruck by your mad sewing skillz and would suggest a bottle, not a glass, of wine was in order!

  5. I think a bottle but don't do any alterations under the influence of! Amazing piece of work xx

  6. That is pretty amazing if you ask me. You have more determination than I!

  7. I think that is fabulous I love the shot of the patterns the the dress cut out but before assembly. I'm really impressed with your gung-ho attitude.

  8. Andrea: Thank you!

    Wendy: I'm old school that way :-)

    Cal: Obvs we're on the same page about that...

    Thanks Miss C. It's pretty bizarre how it went together. I tried to get all zen. For real.

    Mattie: Truly, a bottle was involved :-)

    Kate: I'm still waiting to do the alterations on the "wearable muslin" I need a little space from it all!

    Heather: Somehow I doubt that :-)

    Mardel: Thank you! It is pretty cool the way this dress comes together. FYI - the waist on this dress is very short for a tall person. It's almost too short on me and I'm much shorter than you. Keep that in mind when you start on your Asian patterns.

  9. Numerous flaws? What are you talking about? It's perfect! Fantastic. Great job! I knew it...

  10. It looks great! I made the same one, and hung it on an identical hanger, watching your pictures was like watching my own dress apart from the fact that I didn't finish mine since it turned out way too small. I like it though, and plan to make a bigger one in the future. No FBA-excersices needed here though :-).
    But I thought it was designed for stretch? I don't read enough Japanese..