Oh, how I love nani IRO….I was lucky enough to be included in the nani IRO month tour hosted by the finest purveyor of Japanese fabric herself, Frances of Miss Matatabi. I adore Frances. She’s hilarious and sweet and the speediest shipper of beautiful textiles. If I lived in Tokyo, I know that we’d be hanging out together all the time, drinking matcha lattes and gushing over fabric.
I look pretty intense up there, don’t I? I feel like I should be holding a sword or some type of weapon. That was literally the only shot that wasn’t completely unfocused because I kept wobbling on those precarious steps. I gave up after a few dozen shots and decided to return to my natural habitat (conveniently, it’s just a few feet from the stairs of death in our backyard):
I would say that 70% of the time, I have a sort of sixth sense about matching fabrics to patterns and vice-versa, depending on what the situation calls for. I get a visual in my head and I just know. The other 30% of the time, I’m stumped. So if I’m starting off with a pre-determined fabric, I go through my extensive collection of patterns and books (you can see the post about my commercial patterns organization here):
Friends, it was a long and circuitous series of sewing roads to get to this dress. Let me count the ways.
After some mulling, I originally thought I would sew the nani IRO up as a tunic, the muslin of which I showed you on Monday. As much as I liked the style, I couldn’t justify sewing another blue tunic that would look pretty similar to this:
Besides, I always planned on making a dress with the generous amount Frances sent me. So then I tried yet another muslin with Burda 7659. This pattern, by the way, is the very first adult sewing pattern I’ve ever purchased. It was about five years ago now? Can’t remember exactly, but what I do remember is that I didn’t understand sizing back then and bought the wrong envelope — it would have been nice to realize this before I cut into the pattern sheets. Unfazed, I went back and got the larger set. I must have really wanted to make this dress, though I didn’t get around to it until this week. It’s cute:
Love those pleats and because I seem to have an infinite supply of this grey chambray, I believe I can now wear a different grey dress every day for at least a week. Swingy and comfy as it is, I worried that it was solidly in that voluminous maternity camp again, and I very much wanted to steer clear of that for the precious fabric. By the way, I made a mistake and didn’t sew down the pleats, so this is supposed to be more fitted, but I’d already moved on by the time I noticed my error.
Anyway, I considered a few Japanese sewing books and then busted out my Cal Patch Design-It-Yourself book which I’ve never actually used and drafted myself a sundress – this is when I decided wearable muslins are for the birds and tore into my linen closet for unused sheets:
Nope. Probably because of the white faux sateen sheet factor, I got the bridesmaid vibe, and I didn’t want to go there. There were some major fit issues, but I was rapidly running out of time. I even drafted straps, but didn’t bother trying them. So back to the drawing board, and I drafted myself what I thought would be chic like this pip squeak chapeau halter dress:
Uh, no. I discovered that I don’t like ties around my neck. I have all sorts of issues. At this point, I joked with Frances that I’ll just drape the Mountain View fabric on my body like a toga and bypass sewing altogether.
What I wanted, really wanted, was a semi-fitted summer dress that could be dressed up and down. I think I came pretty close with Simplicity 2882:
The back is gaping a bit and I sewed the size 14 instead of 12 because that’s what was already cut out, but when I finished the dress, I let out a melodramatic sigh, like a lovesick teen. I think it’s beautiful. I love the inseam pockets — all dresses need pockets! The piecing of the bodice gives it dimension and shape without darts, and to me, it seems flattering. The only change I made was to use an invisible zipper instead of a lapped zipper, and I haven’t yet added the hook and eye (who are we kidding? I’ll never get around to it).
Are you still with me? I should have ironed the skirt better, and I apologize for assailing you with so many images of me and my bruised up legs (I’m chronically bumping into things), but the point of all of this is that nani IRO is the fabric equivalent of the most valuable gemstone, and the effort to get to this dress was well worth it.
Thank you, Frances, for the treat! I have another nani IRO double gauze creation to share with you in a few days and this one didn’t require any vacillating!
Make sure to check out all the other lovelies; they’ll make you swoon!