Book Reviews Japanese Sewing Books in English

Book Review – Drape Drape (in English!)

June 1, 2012

This must be the first English book I’m reviewing. 🙂

Drape Drape is a series of Japanese sewing books by Hisako Sato. There are already 3 volumes released. These books have been greatly raved about, and wait till you see the pictures to find out why. I’ve picked up the books many times in the bookstore, and when I get to the cutting layout pages, the patterns look so complicated that I always end up putting it back on the shelf.

But when I passed by this book in Kinokuniya during the recent sale, the sticker “Now in English” just jumped out at me. It wasn’t even placed under the Japanese book section or even the craft section. So being curious, I picked it up. Once I realized that it was cheaper than buying it in Japanese, I decided to get it.

So this must be my first English Japanese sewing book. I’ve seen other translated books but did not like the patterns. This on the other hand, has lots of pretty pictures, all tempting, but pretty complicated. Let’s start at the beginning.

Wow… I don’t have any occasion to wear this, but I want to make this!

Ever piece is like a work of art. Even the photos are taken in a very fashion-mag style.

Now for the instructional part of the book itself. The beginning of the book covers some basics, like material selection, pattern tracing and marking etc. Note that most of the projects use knit material.

As most of the patterns are for knits/stretch materials, there is also a section on the basic know-how for sewing knits.

No step by step photos in this book. I guess given the complicated nature of the patterns, it is really not for the beginner sewer. The sewing instructions are similar to what you get in a Japanese book, where there is a list of steps, and labelled diagrams indicating where each step is referring to.

Example of sewing instructions

Sewing instructions and diagrams. This particular top actually looks quite do-able.

Diagram showing the pattern from one of the other projects that uses pleats. I know, looks a little scary.

Patterns come in a plastic wrap, unlike the Japanese books where it is usually glued on at the back. Let’s have a look at what’s inside.

Oops… still looks scary 😉 I wish someone would trace patterns for me. It’s like one of my least favourite step of sewing.

However, the end results are stunning. I do think the dresses are worth it. I can already think of at least 2 of the dresses/tops that I want to make, and will actually wear! So once I get my serger and figure out how to use it, I will make something out of this book.

If you are interested in getting this book, just take note of the sizes included.

This book (as well as the Japanese Drape Drape books) are available on Amazon!

Title : Drape Drape
Author : Hisako Sato
ISBN : 978-1856698412

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  • Reply kslaughter June 1, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    So glad to find you via pinterest! I love the Japanese pattern books, too. In Belgium we do have them in French–a tiny bit easier than Japanese ;-). After having worked my way through a couple of Twinkle Sews projects (!), I may be ready for this book. Thanks for all you share–looking forward to following your blog~

    • Reply Japanese Sewing Books June 1, 2012 at 5:11 pm

      Thanks! 🙂

  • Reply Jacqui June 1, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    It does look like an amazing book but the sizing in these really kills me – I can’t see me losing 2 cm in height to scrape in as an XL! I think if they really want to be successful in English they need to scale the patterns up to match western womens’ size range a bit better – I’m pretty average in height so there’s a huge market they’re missing. Still, utterly gorgeous…maybe if I hunched over a bit? 😉

    • Reply Japanese Sewing Books June 1, 2012 at 5:14 pm

      I think depending on the type of top/dress, height can be adjusted by lengthening the pattern vertically? I don’t think 2cm will make much of a difference to the design. Furthermore most of the patterns are for knits, so it should be quite forgiving. I don’t think anyone will fit into the sizes perfectly too 🙂 If you are taller, you can use the dresses as tunic tops 😉
      But yes, I do agree the sizes are very limited for Japanese books. 🙂

  • Reply Jenny June 1, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    Thanks for sharing. I put this right on my wish list.

  • Reply Elisabeth June 2, 2012 at 1:16 am

    those are beautiful. thanks for the great blog!

  • Reply Lyn Emerson July 20, 2012 at 11:42 am

    I’ve made a number of dresses from the Drape Drape books, most recently two of the drape drape no.6 gather dress with the low back – fantastic. Two of my daughters wanted one of these. Would love to get instructions in English though. Can anyone tell me how to download these? I’ve also made several tops from the drape drape 2 book.

    • Reply Japanese Sewing Books July 21, 2012 at 9:40 am

      Hi Lyn, I believe the book is available from and probably some of the online Japanese craft bookstores.

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  • Reply Josephine October 8, 2015 at 10:35 am

    Hi, love your blog I’m thinking of getting one of the Drape Drape books, can you recommend one or say which s your favorite (most used patterns). Thanks!

    • Reply Japanese Sewing Books October 21, 2015 at 7:26 am

      Hi Josephine, I think Drape Drape 2 must be my favourite as it has lots of wearable items. The first book seems to be for more dress-up occasions. So it depends on what look you are going for.

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