Monday, 7 April 2014

A Feminine Wardrobe - Part 1

Further to my last post when I showed off my fabric haul I decided to use one of my purchases for a creation from Japanese pattern book The Feminine Wardrobe by Jinko Matsumoto.  I first heard of this book via a lovely blog called The Sew Convert and decided to purchase it as it was a little different from my usual Burda and Patrones patterns. 

The fabric used was a a medium weight cotton with a slightly satin finish for the dress and some raw silk for the belt.  It originally intended that I use the pieces as a two part dress but I loved the design of the sleeveless design with bow sash so much I decided to use it for that one instead. There's always another piece of fabric for your next design anyway!!

The style of the dress is quite full so in hindsight I'm thinking maybe a cotton lawn would have been a better choice to enable it to hang more freely.  I used the sizing as specified which is a little smaller to fit Japanese figures but it still came out rather large on me.  Maybe I'm just used to more fitted dresses, but with a good amount of tweaking I don't think it looks too bad. 

The dress is a six panel design so I was able to take it in from the side and centre to side seams.  I left the bottom of the front side seams slightly open as I liked how it looked, kind of like a pleat which suits the slightly thick-ish fabric.

Sewing up was easy and the satin cotton was a dressmaker's dream to handle. My major test came when sewing the neck and armhole facing.  Neck - tres simple.  Armholes - took me a period of head-scratching until I figured out how to pull the back of the shoulder through the front of the facing whilst being able to sew all the seams on the inside.  I kind of had to double fold the shoulder over itself and sew with the wrong sides together and then sew halfway around the armhole on one side.  This allowed me to pull the shoulder out from underneath the facing.  I then turned the facing inside out again to sew the other half of the armhole. Now, if I was reading this i wouldn't be able to visualise it, so maybe I'll do a tutorial on my next sleeveless make.

I used a white cotton for the facing and dug out some matching satin cord for the button loops.

The buttons are vintage glass buttons given to me by a friend from a stash she inherited from her nan.  I thought they suited the slightly vintage look of the dress.

This vintage buckle was a find at a flea market and I had hoped to use it on the belt as it's such a good match but it has a weird kind of fastening and it's quite heavy and would suit a more robust belt such as leather. However,  I'm thinking I could make it into a brooch.

Ease of sewing:  pretty easy
Cost:  Patterned fabric 1 metre x £8.00 and raw silk 0.5 metre at £5.00.   Facing - from my stash, buttons - from a friend's stash.   Total £13.00

I'm happy with it and as well as loving the fabric I think the dress if very spring like.  Now all I need is a bit of sunshine.

Happy sewing.

Linda x


  1. Gorgeous! Love your fabric and it's a great colour on you. I have that book too and love it. I've found the patterns run a bit big in it too - I completely forgot to add seam allowance to the first thing I made from it and it fitted perfectly! I must have a go at this dress for summer, it looks great.

    1. Thank you. The book has some lovely designs and I'll take on board your tip re not adding in seam allowances. Most of the projects seem to be loose garments anyway. Maybe if you want it as per the book a cotton lawn might be better.

    2. remember to add seam allowance doing sleeves or you won't be able to move your arms! Beautiful dress and I love it with the silk belt, so pretty.

    3. Good tip on sleeves Louise - wouldn't do to end up looking like the letter T! Thank your for your comment.

  2. The dress is beautiful! I love the fabric and the buttons!

    1. thank you for your comment Elizabeth. I've been busy with Me Made May so sorry for replying late. Just love those vintage buttons too.