Sunday, 13 July 2014
A couple of weeks ago, I made a second Japanese dress (here is the first one, which turned out to be a tunic for reasons of public decency). This time I added 16cm to the length and graded the side seams so that it continued the full, swingy shape. This one is the perfect dress length for me - it falls a couple of centimetres above the knee.
I bought the fabric from Stitch in Wanstead, which is a wonderful fabric shop specialising in dressmaking fabrics. The staff in this shop have so much knowledge, and are happy for fabric ditherers like me to prowl around the shop for hours before finally purchasing something. It is a cotton lawn, with a fine, light crispness which I love, and only cost me £8 a metre (I bought 3m to be cautious, but totally could have got away with 2.5m). This makes the dress incredibly good value.
I absolutely love how the dress turned out, and I wear it often (as I do the first tunic-length attempt, which looks great over jeans or leggings). The shape is full, but there are enough details to make it look stylish and not sack-like. The pleated bodice is particularly pleasing. This time I added a narrow velvet ribbon hem on the bottom, which is definitely my favourite way of finishing a hem on a dress, tunic or skirt (I learnt the technique many years ago, from this free Oliver + S skirt pattern). Both this dress, and also the first tunic version, have attracted so many flattering comments from random people on the train - and even two policewomen walking past me in the street. I love how both the style and the fabric are such a long way from anything you'd ever find in a shop.
For my birthday, my father gave me a second dress pattern book by Yoshiko Tsukiori (this one), and I have spent a great deal of time happily immersing myself in the book, and deciding what I want to make next. This one, pictured below, is the most likely contender simply because of the delicious neckline.
This stage of planning and thinking is possibly one of the most enjoyable parts of dressmaking for me. By the time I am ready to sew I have a very definite idea in my head of how the garment is going to turn out. Then I'm just so eager to get on with the sewing so that I can start wearing it.