Drape Drape (or, How I Barely Managed to Model these Groovy Asymmetric Clothes)

Caution: sarcasm and mockery ahead. I can’t help myself.

Inspired by some of the garments Sew Busy Lizzy made, I picked up volumes 1, 2 and 3 of the sewing pattern book Drape Drape from the public library. I am drawn to the drapey (duh) and asymmetrical nature of a lot of the designs in these books. Author/designer Hisako Sato is Japanese so naturally they have an Asian flavour, and remind me of some of the cool garments I purchased in the Art District in Beijing a couple of years ago. I bought a t-shirt/blouse as well as a short dress, pictured below, each of which is constructed in a slightly weird way with hems a little offset or a bit of fabric sticking out in a corner somewhere. They look pretty awkward on hangers, but tend to drape better once they’re on the body. When I wear them I often have the feeling my clothes aren’t on straight. Which is, of course, why I love those clothes.

Drapey T-shirt/blouse purchased in China
The label in this top says “The Only Sound of the Wind” – a great example of an awkward English phrase that could only have been coined in China.


Groovy asymmetric tunic dress, modeled using the world's most awkward modeling pose.
Groovy asymmetric tunic dress, modeled using the world’s most awkward pose. I should have a name for the awkward look on my face. El Tigre, perhaps?
Purchased at a store in the 798 Art District in Beijing called WO2. The store was full of lovely stretch jersey garments in bright colours. Wish they did mail order.

Anyway, back to the Drape Drape sewing books. Here are a couple of beautiful designs from Drape Drape Volume 1.

No. 5 - v-neck drape drape dress
No. 5 – V-neck drape drape dress
Drop-waist gather drape dress
Drop-waist gather drape dress

While I really do like a lot of the designs in these books, I am downright baffled by the art direction, particularly in Drape Drape 2. They all feature very young, extremely slim, pale, makeup-less models whose signature look seems to be Clinical Depression Face. Here are some examples:

Drape Drape 2
Megan and her older sister Martha gather pantsless on the floor to commemorate the anniversary of their parents’ tragic death in a car accident.

(Someone please tip off these models to the Blue Steel or Ferrari faces — Derek Zoolander explains them quite clearly here and they’d be a damn sight better.) And for the record, this is definitely not one of the designs I like. I mean, what is that? The girl on the left looks like she’s wrapped herself in a picnic table cloth. Really, does one need a pattern for such a thing?

drape drape 2
These poor, motherless, pantsless girls are breaking my heart.
Drape Drape 2
Auditioning for the role of tragic heroine in a high school play?

I like the design above, although the open sleeves would drive me crazy. Poor girl. It is upsetting not to have any pants or shoes.

Wondering why she bothered getting out of bed this morning for this photo shoot.
Maybe she’s wondering why she bothered getting out of bed this morning for this photo shoot.

I’m really not sure what is going on with that shirt. But seriously, somebody please get this girl some pants!

Oh, ok, thanks. Here are some pants…oh, on second thought….perhaps pantsless is the way to go in the Drape Drape universe.

I think I may now understand why she chooses to go pantsless in the other photos.

Here are a couple of shots from Drape Drape volume 1. This dress design doubles as a sling in case you break your arm!

Um, what exactly is she doing in there?
The stress of enduring solitary confinement with no pants or shoes is taking its toll on the mental health of this inmate.

All mockery of the art direction aside, there are some lovely designs in these books and I am definitely a big fan of the unusual construction. I didn’t actually get a chance to sew up any of the patterns before the books were due back but perhaps one day, as I make my way very, very slowly through all the patterns I absolutely must sew….

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