I had heard of the Drape Drape books when they were just in Japanese and brave seamstresses dove on in hoping the illustrative instructions would be enough! I was not that brave…

But I then saw Lizzy’s fabulous version of Pattern 4 from the English version of Drape Drape 2 – I loved it! And I was planning on buying the book… then in a crazy moment, decided to draft it myself! As you do!

It worked!

DSCF4382cLizzy’s photo of the pattern laid out helped, as did her gentleness when I asked if the ruched bit involved elastic… How she stopped herself pointing out it was Drape Drape not Gather Gather, I’m not sure! Thank you Lizzy!

When I mentioned on Twitter I was doing this, a few people asked me to share the secrets I discovered… And so herewith…

It starts with a basic T-shirt pattern. If you have made a Renfrew, then start with that! (If not, take a rub-off of a RTW T-shirt that fits.) Mine was the pattern from Sew U Home Stretch. Seriously: if you can sew that, you can do this.

You’ll usually have three pieces to a T-shirt pattern like this:

DSCF4387cIn order to make this up, you need to trace up and make “complete” each piece, so you have a full front piece and two sleeves. Now, most T-shirts are pretty much the same size front and back, so I don’t bother doubling up the back piece. Cut two sleeves though.

Mark up the CF and waistline, and prepare another piece of paper with a vertical line marked. Cut all the way across the waistline, leaving a teeny bit attached as a “hinge”.

Line up the CF and the vertical line, and stick the top section in place, leaving the lower section free.

DSCF4392cSee where I’ve marked that star? You’re going to take that down to meet the CF vertical line.

DSCF4393cSee that big bit of green I’ve now exposed? That’s your drapey area, right there.

Fold your sleeve pattern in half, and line up against the shoulders.

DSCF4394cThe next thing we’re going to do is square off the draped side. Now there’s a trick to the length you choose that I only figured out when my sleeves weren’t as balanced as I wanted them when made up.

DSCF4397c3On the right side of the photo we have a “normal” sleeve and armhole. Measure the shoulder seam (minus hem allowance), and mark this on the left, so that the two blue lines are same length.

Measure the armhole on the right (arrow). Extend the left shoulder seam by this amount. That arrow on the left of the photo is pointing at the armhole.

Yes. Really.

Join with a straight line the lowest point of the hem and weird armhole, also seen in the photo above.

On the “normal” sleeve side, just draw a scooped curve, to create a bit of a batwing, and then trace the whole thing (this is because we don’t want to do the whole splitting thing on the back piece too.) If your back neckline is going to be different, mark this. Also mark the weird shoulder seam armhole on this too.

DSCF4400cStick it to the front pattern and you have this unusual complete pattern:

DSCF4401c2And traced again, if you’re a tidy sort:


(The weird shoulder seam armhole, it’ll be right in the middle of the long shoulder seam.

Centre front is your grainline. Cut one!

Making up is pretty quick. First, that armhole in the shoulder needs binding or turning over and hemming. Once you’ve tidied it up, fold the T-shirt, matching the neckholes, so it looks a bit more recognisable. You can then sew the rest of that shoulder seam, and then the “normal” one.

Then sew the (one) side seam. Bind or turn and hem the “normal” sleeve, the same for the neckline, and hem the bottom. Looks like this when done and thrown placed carefully on the floor:

DSCF4385cWhen you wear it, lift up the lower hem onto your hip to match the other side and you get drape!

DSCF4380cNext time I’m going to make the sleeves a little longer (I had to faff in the fitting cos I hadn’t figured out the extra I needed for the weird shoulderiness), but I’m still happy enough…

I hope the oddity of the final pattern makes a bit more sense now! Do you think you might have a go?!