Friday, July 9, 2010

Japanese Dress Making, i: Part 1

After being gone for so long I could not wait to clear the dust off of my sewing machine and get to work. My first project was this dress. It is sort of a Frankenstein of many parts of the Japanese dress making book: Stylish Dress Book. I was rather intimidated to begin this project as all instructions are in Japanese. But, I bought it from a seller on who also provides a link to many translated sewing terms. Also, a quick Google search gave me a few more resources to buoy up my courage. The google results were actually more helpful than the ones from the seller because I could not match a single Japanese character from the instructions to her list!

I must say that out of all of the dresses I have made so far, this one is my most successful. Normally I end a dress project saying something like, "OK, so I can't lift my left arm up all the way, and I sewed the skirt on backwards, but it looks good so that's OK with me!. I did something!"

so that really made me happy. :)

I did dress i from the book which is pictured below on the model in black. I used sleeves from a different pattern, added a belt for some shape, and made some ruffles for style, and there you have it! The fabric is also Japanese which I bought here from Purl Soho.

I highly recommend this book if you want a lot of dress patterns. This is more of a beginner-intermediate level dress making book. The patterns also use a lot of the same pieces to make the different variations, so it is easy to exchange parts of a pattern with others in the book. One thing to remember is that these patterns do not come with seam allowances so you need to add those in when copying your pattern.A source of inspiration for me is Make Something a blog by a woman who runs a fabric shop out of Canada. There is a whole section of her blog dedicated to Japanese dress making.


  1. Wow. Wow, wow, wow. This is seriously gorgeous. I am so in awe of you right now, it's not even funny. Nice. Freaking. Work. So beautiful.

    I'm still scared of patterns so I'm not sure I could ever get enough courage to tackle a pattern in Japanese.

    Wow. You're amazing.

  2. Whatever, I've seen your handiwork with a sewing machine! I just have a lot of time on my hands :)

  3. What a beautiful dress. I especially love those ruffles! And, I'm with Jen - I'm way impressed that you not only made a gorgeous dress, but did it from a hodge-podge of foreign-language patterns. Nice job!

  4. This is a beautiful dress! I'm way inspired by your pattern alterations. wow!