Category: dress

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.

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.

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.

Pleated Bodice Dress





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I received some Japanese dress books last year, and only had a chance to try them out now. Most of the dresses in Sweet Dress Book are loose-fitting and basic, and the patterns are simple.

This project was almost a disaster. I cut a size large, according to my measurements, and it was incredibly baggy. I took it in the side seams and somehow managed to make it work.

I really should have ironed this before I started taking pictures. I’ve already worn this once before to work, and it’s very comfortable. I made some adjustments to the fit and inserted an invisible zipper.

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Sweet Dress Book.

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Pleated-bodice dress, the book version.

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Pattern review is below.

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Project Details:

Pattern: Pleated Bodice Dress, from Sweet Dress Book

Pattern Sizing: small-large

Description: Pleated bodice dress.

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

Fabric: Microfiber, with an an invisible zipper

Were the instructions easy to follow? I didn’t read the instructions

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? The pattern as is has loads of ease. I do like that it has only two basic pieces.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: I took it in at the side seams, made the bodice more fitted, and added an invisible zipper. I used seam binding instead of facings.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? This dress is very comfortable. I definitely might make another one.

Colette Laurel: Wool Gabardine Version

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Finally, proof of sewing! And it’s not even black.

I finished my wool gabardine Laurel late December last year, and only shamefully had a chance to document it today. I haven’t worn it out yet, but it’s only because it is much too cold to wear dresses right now.

In full disclosure, I made two (!!) muslins of this before I was satisfied with it. I also cut it incorrectly the first time and had to sew it twice. I serged the seams, hand-basted the sleeves in, and hand-sewed the hem. All in all a lot more work than I’m used to and with much struggling, especially since I’ve turned to knits and never look back, but definitely well worth it.

Pattern review below.

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Project Details:

Pattern: Colette Laurel.

Pattern Sizing: 0-18.

Description: Jacket with skirt and peplum.

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

Fabric: Wool gabardine, with an invisible zipper.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, had I chosen to read them.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? This is the second time I’ve made this pattern. I really like it, simple, yet versatile.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: Yes, many. Lowered bust dart by 2 inches, shortened hem by 1 inch, lowered the neckline by 5/8 inch, removed 1 inch from the center back, made a narrow upper back adjustment, adjusted the sleeve cap and removed all the extraneous ease from it, and lengthened the sleeve to try to hide my sleeve (somewhat unsuccessfully.)

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Definitely. I see many more Laurels in the future.

Simplicity 1819, The Steampunk Dress: Muslins


Front view.

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Back view.

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I know this is only the muslin, but to me it looks really impressive so far. This is my first time doing anything with an underskirt and an overskirt, and my first time doing anything with bustled backs. I did a lot of reading into how bustles are done beforehand. I’m definitely not making a bustle pad since I need to be able to sit down normally in these and I don’t know how to sit with a bustle pad on, and also I don’t want to look like I just stepped out of Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

I was originally just going to do the skirt, but I figured I might as well do the whole project as a dress since I might have a hard time figuring out what will go with the skirt.

The pattern only had a skirt portion, a corset portion, a blouse, and a jacket, and since I didn’t want it to look too much like a costume I figured I’d draft the top myself. I looked in my pattern stash for a simple tank top, was too impatient to buy my own pattern, and ended up drafting a simple top with some gathering myself. This is my first (accidental) foray into draping, and will not by my last.

Drape Drape No 13 Loose Drape Tank Top


Front view.

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Side view, #2.

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Back view.

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I like this project. Quick, easy, a good layering piece. I layered it with a lace top here, but for going to work I’d probably wear a solid-colored top underneath it, and a sweater over it. It was very cold outside when I took these, and it started snowing shortly after.

I think I’m addicted to sewing Drape Drape projects: no finishing the seams, no muslins, fast, easy, soft, comfortable and wearable projects, but I really do miss sewing with wovens sometimes. Pattern information as follows.

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Project Details:

Pattern: Drape Drape No 13 Loose Drape Tank Top

Pattern Sizing: I made a size medium.

Description: Draped tank top.

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

Fabric: Black tissue knit.

Were the instructions easy to follow? I didn’t read the directions.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I really like this pattern. It’s a good layering piece, and it looks unique.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: None.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, but I wear mostly black and grey, so it’s unlikely that I’ll be sewing it again.

What I’ve Been Working on This Week: The Steampunk Dress


Simplicity 1819. I’m making the shorter version.

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Here is the line drawing. I love those ruffles and cascading layers.

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I spent a fair amount of time tracking down all of the pieces and cutting it out.

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For most of the year I’ve been sewing things I’m more likely to wear, which are knit tops and dresses. I’ve been wearing almost all of my projects that are knits, but sometimes I do miss making challenging things with wovens. Hence my latest most impractical sew-for-fun project: the Steampunk Dress, Simplicity 1819.

I don’t really have an occasion to wear this to, but I might just start wearing it to work or some other normal activity, just not totally dressed up so it doesn’t look so costume-y.


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