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Sewing book review: Drape Drape - now in English!

15 May 2012, 13:43

The first book in the popular Japanese sewing series has just been published in English! It’s been out in Japanese for a few years now, but, like the Pattern Magic books, I bided my time until they were released in English before I added them to my collection. I can muddle my way through Portuguese, Italian, French, and Dutch patterns, but I’d be totally lost in kanji, with no means to type it into a translator!

A word about the sizing of these patterns, though – their “XL” size is still 10cm smaller (and 4cm shorter!) than me at the point of least difference.

(Note for the Americans – that XL size is 5’6”, B35 W27 H38 in inches.)

So going by their sizing, that’d make me a… 4XL. omg. Nothing like tiny Japanese sizing to make you feel enormous! Good thing most of the designs are really large and flowing, so hopefully I can get away with the largest size and not have it matter too much. Fingers crossed.

This is my favourite design in the book – it’s a dress with a gathered, dropped waist, and the only vertical seam is in the centre back. The construction of this is really cool – this dress is cut out in all one piece of fabric!

Not so cool is that Kristin made this a few years ago and it did NOT work for her, so I shall be muslinning and treading very carefully here. But this one’s the top of my list in this book, in any case.

This Grecian, V-neck dress is just beautiful! But keeping in mind the size chart, I’d probably need to grade up their bodice and waist band since they appear to be close-fitting.

Trena made it for her birthday a few years ago, too, and she looks gorgeous in it! Oh, the wonders of the book being out for a while, you get the benefit of others’ reviews!

Some of the designs are less practical than others, requiring a fair amount of spandex base layers underneath, or being totally bra unfriendly (though I could see this red number worn with a posh sports bra for a sporty look!).

Most of the photographs in the book are a bit too “arty” to show the clothes well, but the clear tech drawings and illustrated instructions make up for it in my opinion.

Here’s a sneak peek at the most advanced model in the book, with multiple pleats, tucks, and drapes:

Unlike the other Bunka books (like Pattern Magic), Drape Drape comes with pattern sheets at the back of the book which you trace, like Burda, to make the patterns rather than adapting from your sloper.

These pattern sheets are entirely greyscale, and appear to be about as dense as Burda, but indicate the stitching line and cutting line for all the patterns, meaning you can choose to trace them with or without seam allowances. This is a nice thought, but I’m wondering if, in reality, it just makes the tracing that much more confusing…

All in all, if you already own Drape Drape in Japanese, I don’t see much point in buying it again, as the patterns are all the same, and you probably already know how to pleat and sew with stretch fabrics. But, if like me, you loved the designs but were put off by the fact it was written in Japanese, then go out and grab this one now. Especially if you’re tiny.

And ooh! Drape Drape 2 is due for an English release in September! This is a great time for Japanese sewing books in English – Pattern Magic 3 was also released in English this month, but my copy got lost in the post, so the review is a bit delayed as a result…

Drape Drape (English version) is out now and available to buy on Amazon UK and Amazon US. I bought my own copy for this review, just sayin’.



  1. Hey Lady! Hope you’re well :)! Can I just say you’re my sewing-enabler… whenever you post about a great book / magazine my fingers ‘n’ credit-card get all twitchy (LOL!)…

    Claire (aka Seemane)    May 15, 03:45 PM    #
  2. I will admire from afar as these are so unsuited to my fuller, curvier figure. But, good luck and more power to you.

    Nancy Karpen    May 15, 06:34 PM    #
  3. Oh drool! I might have to get this, along with the other amazing Japanese pattern books. I’m head over heels for the ling drawing of that Grecian V-neck dress… and am wondering if it could be converted into a longer length… that would reduce the amount of skin shown from that deep neckline! Nothing like Asian sizing to make one feel a tad on the large size…. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens with that ‘butterfly’ dress! Thanks for the book review :)

    poppykettle    May 16, 01:54 AM    #
  4. I hope you make lots of dresses from this book. I am a fan as well and love seeing the designs made up.

    meli88a    May 16, 02:42 AM    #
  5. I just bought this book and so amazed at all the draping! I can’t wait to get started on some of the designs. Thanks for linking me to others who have given a hand at it :)

    maddie    May 16, 02:48 AM    #
  6. I’ve also seen blog posts about this book before but I didn’t know it was about to be published in English (I’ve been planning to buy Pattern Magic 3 soon though). Tempting… Although that sizing chart is all over the place for a non-Japanese body shape. These designs are intriguing but personally, I prefer the how-to-draft-crazy-thing-from-your-sloper approach (but that’s me and my love for pattern making, obviously).
    I’m looking forward to you creations from this book.

    lauriana    May 16, 06:54 AM    #
  7. My copy arrived on thursday and I have been drooling ever since! But I agree that the patterns have been sized for someone much smaller than me – I will be using them as a guide to draft my own (I daren’t work out how many X’s I would be before L!)

    Kim Hood    May 19, 02:57 PM    #
  8. No colour pattern sheets? You’re kidding! The Japanese versions have colour pattern sheets plus shading across folds/ pleats/ other design elements making it very easy to trace. Looks like the English version cheaped out =S

    Tj    May 19, 11:06 PM    #

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