Handmade: Blue dot dress + advanced sewer tutorial

I have a minor obsession with Nani iro fabric, this not surprising to the masses for they too can appreciate the subtle brilliance of her Japanese designs ... well I bought a yard and a half of the blue stuff and had my way with it. Enjoy :) (I know I did, today is wear it #4 for the week)


The design process was fairly simple, it just took some patience:

1. Using a dress I knew fit me well, I measured the skirt length and cut a rectangle about 45'' x 29'' out of the fabric. This I used for the gathered/pleated skirt section of the dress.

2. Then I traced the sample dress's basic bodice shape with a pencil onto a paper grocery bag I had laying next to me. I made the trace extra wide to account for seam width - then I cut out the pattern, laid it on the blue dot fabric and cut out one bodice and one back piece.

2. Now that I had a rough bodice and back pattern, I sewed the two pieces together at the shoulders and sides and began, through a process of trial and error, to fit it to my body shape - this is what took patience because I don't own a dress form - I was my own mannequin. Plus, I bought the wrong zipper color and without reliable transportation to get me to the return store, I decided to forgo the whole thing and went zipper less - shhh, don't tell.

3. Skirts are a piece of cake by now, so I took the first rectangle I cut out of the fabric yardage and ran a running stitch through the top lengthwise and gathered the fabric across it - if you don't know that process, it's simple and you can google it (or ask your mom).

4. I attached the fitted bodice to the skirt, right sides together, sewing the gathered fabric in place. And now I had a cute dress...without finished edges or sleeves...and those are important so let's move on to them.

5. This is where I cheated... We'll not really, but I borrowed a sleeve pattern from a tunic I was working on and followed their steps for cutting and sewing - I added them to my bodice. Again, you can google this - or buy a pattern with sleeves to borrow - wikstenmade has beautiful sleeves.

6. Then came the hemming, etc. I pressed and stitched a 3/8'' edge and folded 3/8'' over again and pressed for a finished edge along the neckline and skirt hem. When I get a chance, I'll go back in and surge all the raw edges inside so I don't look like a sewing ragamuffin to professionals ;)