Well, my birthday was a long time ago now (August 31). I was working like crazy at the time (and in fact had to travel for work on my actual birthday) but I made time for a birthday dress!
You may recall that I had a lust for avocado jersey when I went to NYC in June. I didn't find any, but Elizabeth (eword10), with whom we met up for shopping, had my back and when she found some avocado silk jersey for $5.99/yd she snapped it up for me! I was so excited.
When I went to Japan, of course I had to check out the sewing books and absolutely fell in love with Drape Drape. It has a lot of cool very Japanese designs that are conceptual and intellectual more than they are sexy, for the most part. Drape Drape Dress #5 is an exception with its very low cut front and back. The text is entirely in Japanese (although the numerals are Arabic, thank goodness). I am guessing this is intended to be made in a woven, judging by the zipper, but I thought it would look fab in a knit.
Unlike Stylebook, Drape Drape comes with a full set of patterns, each in four sizes. I traced a Small, which has a bust of about 30.5 inches; the waist is 23 inches and the hip is 33 inches--sizes I haven't been since approximately middle school--but because it is an empire line with a ton of ease at the waist/hip it didn't matter. If you think Patrones pattern sheets are confusing though, ugh, wait until you see this. All the designs on a pattern sheet are printed in the same color. This is frustrating because the design sheets are printed in green on one side and black on the other, so it's not that they saved money by printing only in one color! It took me a good hour just to find all of my lines, which I marked in purple pencil so that I could find them with the tissue paper over it. Intellectual, drapey designs take up a *lot* of fabric. I couldn't quite fit the skirt piece onto my yardage so I had to narrow it a few inches from the way it was drafted, and shorten it a few inches as well. Luckily, the design didn't suffer.
It was very interesting to sew. Although the directions are in Japanese, it was easy to figure out which piece was which and there are a few diagrams to help you put them together. Some of the less intuitive pieces in the book are beyond me, because I can't even figure out which pieces go where, but this one was easy.
I have been loving the look of the side skirt drape for some time, as in the Cynthia Steffe Paige Dress, DKNYC Cascading Ruffles Dress, and DVF Epana Dress I posted about back in June, and was so excited to find out how it's done. I cut it out, marked the pleats, sewed the pleats and was still entirely mystified until I was like, "Wait a minute, are they blowing my mind? Yes, they are. There is no side seam, the seams are in the front and the back." That doesn't sound so mind blowing written down but seriously, it blew my mind. Having made it, I love the draping even more; I am going to have to figure out how to make a skirt out of this pattern.
I feel like I should have more to say, but really, it went together pretty easily and I loooooove it. I felt so sexy and sophisticated on my birthday in this dress.
This is another of the looks that Cidell photographed for me, so there are a ton of great photos! The pattern review is here.
Unfortunately, the only source I have found for this book is amazon.co.jp. I just impulsively ordered a hat book from amazon.jp, so I can offer my experience.
First, go to the website and look way up in the right hand corner. There is a little "In English" link. You can find the book by searching "Drape Drape." The book itself is very reasonable--around $18 USD. Shipping is an eye-popping $35, however. It comes FedEx. I have not yet received my book, and won't for several days because I assumed they would send through the post office and had the book sent to my house. Alas, I cannot receive FedEx at my house so I had to contact amazon.jp (they offer customer service in English) and ask them to change the delivery address and heaven knows if I will ever actually receive the book. But had I not gone through this rigamarole I think it would have arrived very quickly. So you get good service for your $35, but it's a little painful (and I wish I'd done the research to order a couple more books to make the shipping worth it).
**EDIT TO ADD** Thank you to all the commenters who had helpful suggestions for finding this book!
It appears to be available on Yes Asia for $29.49 with free shipping.
Marie-Christine recommends this eBay store for Japanese books.
Megan recommends eBay and Etsy seller pomadour24 for Japanese books.