Happy Friday + Randomness (+ An Unscheduled Sewing for Me Rendition)


Happy Friday! Old habits die hard, and I did sew something for myself this week, spurred by the need to create a sample for a class I’m teaching next month. I’m going to be frank — initially I wasn’t crazy about this dress once I sewed it up in this khaki linen-blend (I might have mentioned that I planned to create a slipcover with this fabric, so it’s a touch on the heavier side and I have yards and yards and yards of the stuff). I thought, “Oh no! What I have I done? I chose an awful dress to teach.”

I adored it on the cover of the book — it looks to be made out of a breezy light grey double-gauze:


It’s a deceptively straightforward-looking dress with no closures, 3/4 length dolman-ish sleeves, very generous ease. However, there are a number of panels wrapping around in unexpected ways, so the area under the arms was trickier than expected. When I finished, I felt underwhelmed by the sack-like shape. The placement of gathers above my bust seemed iffy, and I wasn’t sure if the color was giving me a pukey color cast or not. Mostly, I gasped when I saw my arms looking like ham hocks.


I put it aside, a bit bummed out that it would not do as a sample for the class, and left it hanging in the bathroom.


I don’t know if the steam softened the linen or something or if I just needed some distance from the dress, but I’m pretty much in love with it now. It’s very Japanese (you know how I feel about that), and so wonderfully comfortable. I’ve always been a fan of the 3/4 length sleeve, and though I’m still on the fence about the front gathers and the way the sleeve bunches up under my armpit, there are few things a well-placed scarf won’t solve.


There will be more versions in different fabrics of this dress coming up and they will be sent off to the fabric store as samples. I also need to make a version with pockets. Pockets would help the situation a thousandfold — I’m thinking welts? Anyhow, I really like my new khaki dress, but it’s still not sample-worthy due to some glaring imperfections in my stitching, so I will keep this for myself. I will be the expert I need to be after making a couple more (or so I hope). Hmmm…this probably isn ‘t inspiring a lot of confidence, but I do tend to over prepare for my classes, so let’s hope it goes well. More info on the class to come soon!


K is way into jokes these days…

K: Mama, mama, this is my favorite joke: what kind of horse has red polka dots, green stripes and white stars?

Me: Hmmm, I don’t know…

K: I don’t know either, that’s why I asked you!


Have a lovely, lovely weekend everyone! I have a lot of sewing to do and better get started!

KCW time
Are you all ready to sew?
Excitement abounds



21 Thoughts on “Happy Friday + Randomness (+ An Unscheduled Sewing for Me Rendition)

  1. greta clark on January 24, 2014 at 5:27 am said:

    Hi Sanae, Your blog is so wonderful and creative. I just love it. The back of this dress is absolutely gorgeous! The simple dropped yoke and beautiful vertical seams! So Japanese. Have you tried it on backwards?

    • Sweet Greta, thanks! The back of the dress is my favorite part too! And that’s a good idea to try it backwards, though with my top heaviness, it might make me look much more ample than I really am…but I’ll try it!

  2. Lucinda on January 24, 2014 at 5:29 am said:

    the pleats on the back panel are my favorite feature – what a fun unexpected detail! Glad that you changed your mind about the dress – it looks lovely on you, esp. styled with that scarf. Best of luck with your class. Oh, the lucky Seattle-ites who live near you!

    • Thanks Lucinda! I feel like I’m trying to juggle maybe a little too much these days, so let’s hope I don’t drop the ball on this class. Of course, I’m the one that feels lucky for all these amazing opportunities!

  3. Well, here come the next back-view-lover! And the front with the scarf – also very stylish! One more proof for the put-a-scarf-on-it-theory ;-) And yes, definitely pockets! I also find, that something I did not like at first will grow on me with a little time and distance. Now I might even try hangig it in the bathroom steam!
    And another class!!! I want to move to Seattle! I am sure until next month you will have mastered any underarmtrickyness and gathers on the front! Happy weekend and KCW planning!

    • I’m going to print up a t-shirt with “put-a-scarf-on-it”! It’s the great solver of problems, I say :-) Thanks for the well-wishes, Ute!

  4. I like it lots and certainly on you!

  5. I’m so glad the tone of this shifted halfway through because I love this dress! I would wear it…a lot. I was actually really staring at this one, thinking of what I would do…(lower the neckline a bit…put a scarf on it, obviously ;) This is a staple dress if I have ever seen one. I seem to really love the simplicity and perfect subtle touches of Japanese sewing patterns and styling. Fingers crossed that more come out in English. I also think for how simple and straight (erm…sac-like) this pattern may appear, it is somehow quite flattering. You look fantastic!

    • Lowering the neckline/v is such a good idea, Monica! And I’m thinking of trying it as a tunic length to see how it works too. Definitely a staple dress that works across different seasons!

  6. I love the idea of wearing it backwards from above. I’d be curious to see how that would look. I love the drab khaki color. That’s one of my favorites. I also wanted to say congrats on your children’s book deal! I am so excited for you. I’ve always wanted to dip my toes in illustrating a kid’s book, so I would really love to hear all about the process. So cool!!

    • I’m all about drab colors! Can’t get enough of them. And thanks for the congrats – I think you would make a fabulous children’s book illustrator, especially since you work with kids on a daily basis and know exactly what they love!

  7. i just call to say… i love it! (please forgive me, i’m hearing some ‘stevie’ right now)

    • Ha! Good old Stevie – I’m horrible with lyrics and I can’t continue the song beyond “No New Year’s Eve to celebrate; No chocolate-covered candy hearts to give away…”. :-) Thanks, Marit!

  8. Hello! I just discovered your blog last week after Googling one of my Japanese pattern books. Naturally, I’m drooling over your work and style and also thinking it’s pretty cool you’re are a fellow PNW gal. I’m North of you by about an hour, but went to college and spent many years in Seattle. :-) Just giving you a shout out and thanks for sharing your creations. Congrats on the book deal. I love your illustrations and I’m sure my 4 little and big boys would enjoy reading your book, too…as they are very adventure/nature minded and love stories and tales from around the world.

    As for the dress….beautiful. Love the gathers. I am a pocket gal. And a linen gal. I think large origami pockets are in order. ;-)

    • Go PNW-ers! I’m a transplant that fully considers Seattle my end-all be-all home now, I love it that much. Thank you for your kind comment, Amy – I’m hoping that boys like the books too!

      And origami pockets for the dress! Now, that’s a good idea…

      • I’m totally serious. I would love a frock, apron or dress with origami pockets. We do a lot of basic kid origami around the house and I think it would be so fun to add some of that aesthetic to something for me.

  9. shelley on January 26, 2014 at 9:40 pm said:

    Ohhhh, this is so lovely!!! And pockets, I vote for pockets!! I really hope this is a clear sign of what’s to come for your next class, as I hope I can be as lucky to participate again! I had a wonderful time with your class in the fall and I learned so much. It was a pleasure to be taught some new tricks and tips by someone who has such a love for Japanese patterns…and has such amazing garments to show for it!

    • Hi Shelley! I loved having you in my class – so fun. And yes, indeed! The plan is for me to teach this dress next month. Let’s hope it doesn’t get cancelled ;-)

  10. Haha, K had me laughing out loud, mainly from recognition, our eldest is in the same stage currently…
    Fabulous dress!

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