Work in Progress: Nani Iro Tunic Dress, Pocket Inset

testing out the inset seam pocket for the #naniiro pattern, part 1. #sewing

Lately I’ve been working on deciphering the pocket inset for the Nani Iro Tunic Dress pattern. My hiragana isn’t advanced enough yet to be able to read what’s on the pattern, but a combination of Google translate and deciphering the illustrations together has helped. I made a partial muslin since the dress is so loose fitting that there is no fitting to be done but I wanted to try the construction first before I tried it on my good fabric.


This is an interesting design detail and I haven’t seen a pocket like this yet. The small pocket is embedded in the seam of the shoulder seam and the front right seam. The pocket doesn’t lie flat since that area has to move so the front pocket is not flush with the seam. The construction is also interesting — you sew in between the notches, then cut across the pocket seam, flip the pocket over, attach the back pocket and sew everything on to the shoulder seam. If everything is done properly then all of the raw edges are enclosed in the seam.

Here is the finished pocket inseam.


Work in Progress: Nani Iro Tunic Dress


Lately I’ve been working on this tunic dress pattern from Nani Iro. I need something with longer sleeves to wear for work and I was drawn by the interesting inseam pocket detail and the loose flowy cut of this pattern. The directions are entirely in Japanese but there are a lot of illustrations that demonstrate the techniques that should be done.

I started taking Japanese lessons recently, with my aim to be able to read some of my cookbooks that are not bilingual and some of my sewing patterns that have not been translated. However, I am only a few weeks in and I only know maybe 40-50 hiragana, no katakana, and definitely no kanji, so I can read at best one syllable of one word that’s in the pattern.

I have a few other finished projects but haven’t had the time to process the photos in Lightroom yet or write posts properly, so definitely more content forthcoming as soon as I get to it.

Finished Project: Box Dress with Boat Neck, #2





This is my second version of Box Dress with Boat Neck from Stylish Dress Book by Yoshiko Tsukiori. I’ve worn this to work a few times already. Our QA said that it looked very “Japanese fusion”, which is a fitting description for this dress.

I’d made my first version out of some drapey cotton that I had in my stash. I removed around one inch from the bottom underarm seam once it was finished since it just looked and felt too boxy but I think I removed too much. I really liked the huge oversized sleeves from the black and white version and I think this dress lost that design detail since my alteration. I really should have gone down a size instead of trimming from the underarm seam. There’s at least one more version of this that needs to be made — I need to lower the boat neck collar since it rides up when I sit down and feels way too high but otherwise that’s about it.

Otherwise the dress is a successful make — comfortable, easy to wear, instantly presentable.

Project Revisited: The Really Voluminous Swan Blouse





It’s still really hot here, and I’ve ended up wearing this blouse around once a week since I finished it. The huge amounts of billowy cotton voile though were really bothering me, so I removed 2 inches from the bottom underside of the kimono sleeve / side seam, basted in the new seam, tried it on, and serged the sides again. It’s much more wearable now. It still has that oversized look but less pronounced.

(By the way, this blouse has a lot of wrinkles since I had to stuff it in my duffel bag to go to Montreal and my husband doesn’t have an iron.)

Finished Project: The Really Voluminous Front Tuck Swan Blouse




I’ve been trying to keep up with sewing while traveling constantly, which is both good and bad. Although I’m not home working on sewing, it’s good to get out of the city for a change of pace, and all of this traveling has led me to discover a new photo location — the courtyard of the Montreal home.


I finished the Front Tuck Blouse from Stylish Dress Book a few weeks ago. It came together quickly and was a pretty fast make, however I haven’t worn it out yet since I am really wary of wearing color — I love wearing black and grey yet hate sewing in black — but I will probably wear it soon.

Pros: Easy to sew. Comfy. Uses an average amount of fabric. Has floaty sleeves. Great feminine design details. No closures, no facings.

Cons: I didn’t realize until seeing these pictures how voluminous and oversized this blouse is. Maybe the cotton voile is too light and floaty for the pattern, since when I stand to the side the sides stick out in an unflattering bell-shaped way, but I do plan to try this again and I plan to size down severely.

Project Details:

Pattern: Front Tuck Blouse from Stylish Dress Book.

Pattern Sizing: extra small – large (Japanese sizing though).

Description: n/a

Did it look like the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes.

Fabric: Cotton.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? It’s really easy to make and comfortable.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: None! I made a medium according to my measurements, however, I need to go down a size or two. I didn’t realize how large and voluminous this blouse was until these photos were taken. I serged the side seams and used pre-made seam binding for the neckline.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, but in a much smaller size.

Finished Project: Japanese Pencil Case




I recently finished this pencil case that I made for my dojomate. I had about half a meter of Wagara fabric from Miss Matatabi that was more than enough for a pencil case. Wagara means a Japanese pattern or design, and has gotten popular recently by being turned into bags, pouches and clothes. The Wagara fabric is really gorgeous — it has a black background with a lighter black on top with a subtle pattern to give it some depth, with some temari balls, fans and peonies on top. I lined the inside with some yellow cotton that I had from stash. A quick and easy project and a great stashbuster — I really should make one of these too for myself.

Finished Project: Box Dress with Boat Neck





I finally had a chance to finish Box Dress with Boat Neck around two weeks ago. This is from Stylish Dress Book by Yoshiko Tsukiori, the dress on the cover page. It’s very comfortable and an easy sew, essentially one front piece, one back piece, facings and two supporting sleeve pieces. The pattern does not come with seam allowances, so it’s important to note that. It’s also not fitted at all which makes it tricky to style, since the looseness can be borderline unflattering. Fabric choice is essential! I chose a drapey geometric cotton from my stash.

I had to walk to work in 30C heat in this dress since the subway stopped running on my morning commute one day and I still managed to stay cool. I’ve already worn this to work around three times and have even put it in the laundry already. I will need to hand stitch the facing I think since it keeps on flipping up. This is partly my fault as I graded the collar and the facing to almost 1/8”, then did not understitch it. Still despite user error, this pattern is a winner! It’s comfortable and stylish and I already have a second version planned.

Project Details:

Pattern: Box Dress with Boat Neck.

Pattern Sizing: extra small – large (Japanese sizing though).

Description: n/a

Did it look like the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes.

Fabric: Cotton.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? It’s really comfortable and there are few pattern pieces. However this is not fitted at all and is very boxy, but that is the style.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: None.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes! I already finished my second Box Dress with Boat Neck.

Swan Print and Abstract Print Fabrics


I decided to hit Mood Fabrics during my lunch break last week to find some cotton voile for another Box Dress with Boat Neck. I already finished (but have yet to photograph and blog) the one I made last week and already wore it to work.

I’m making an effort to sew and wear more colors this season. My wardrobe consists mainly of grey, dark grey and black, but sewing with dark colors can be very drab.

The red abstract print has flashes of navy, dark pink, light grey over a red background with abstract line drawings of flowers on it. The swan print is deep navy with mostly white swans and a few gold swans.

I ended up cutting the red abstract print for a Box Dress and am saving the swan print pattern for a future blouse. Hopefully making dresses that don’t need to be coordinated will lead to wearing more color.

Box Dress with Boat Neck, in progress


I’m in town this weekend and I finally had a chance to catch up on my sewing. I’ve wanted to try the patterns from Stylish Dress Book for awhile now, but I’ve always felt too intimidated by the tracing.


The patterns are all printed on one sheet of paper and the lines are all on top of each other. This one was not that hard to figure out. I used dot paper and you can sort of see through it to the pattern lines below.

One thing to keep in mind is that the seam allowances are not included! I had to read very carefully (and fortunately it was before I had cut the fabric) to make sure.

I finished cutting all the pieces which wasn’t too complicated for this one, so stay tuned.

Finished Project: Colette Violet






This blouse took forever. I’m not quite sure why it did, either. I started this project around three months ago. Nothing was particularly challenging. I didn’t make a muslin, I made a few practice buttonholes before starting, but I’m still not sure why I’m sewing soooooo slowly nowadays.


I’m not sure how I feel about this pattern (or maybe my execution?) I didn’t make a muslin for this, and that might be why there are weird diagonal creases. I think maybe I should have gone up a size, but all the reviews I’ve read say that the pattern is too boxy. I’m satisfied enough with it that I’ll wear it out, but that might be the extent of it.

Project Details:

Pattern: Colette Violet.

Pattern Sizing: Size 4.

Description: Button front blouse with short gathered sleeves.

Did it look like the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes.

Fabric: Cotton.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? It’s really comfortable and easy to follow.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: None.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I don’t wear a lot of button down blouses, so I probably wouldn’t sew this one again.


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