nani IRO month: Mountain View Dress


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):


Some details…The fabric: nani IRO Mountain View double gauze. The pattern: Simplicity 2882. Bodice lining: random black batiste.

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!

Straightgrain   ∆   you & mie   ∆   Lizzy House

A Little Goodness   ∆   Make It Perfect   ∆   skirt as top

imagine gnats   ∆   Petit à Petit and family   ∆   Saké Puppets

Sanae Ishida   ∆   verykerryberry   ∆   Craftstorming

Ada Spragg   ∆   Groovybaby And Mama

elsie marley   ∆   Miss Matatabi



58 thoughts on “nani IRO month: Mountain View Dress

  1. This dress is just toooooooo cute on you. The fabric, the fit perfect. I also love the first picture–woodland princess!!

  2. Hi Sanae,
    i had to agree with greta, you look like a woodland princess. And YES, this dress is very flattering to you, and you to the dress. I love your tan with those bolder colors, especially with blue. I love the grey chambray and the style of the grey dress to, but i’m short (i’m 5.3 ft.) and curvy so my style has to be more fitted (instead i try to look like a …lump.

    So both dresses are t total win for me, and i’m itching to get my hands on some nani iro stuff soon. Months ago i saw a beautiful skirt the girl from sew up wiht some nani iro canvas. it was stunning. She let the seams raw and those fantastic canvas fabric just makes this skirt so awesome. Best proof, like in your dress, that the fabric makes the garment. So, you see, your good eye for proportions and fabric is part of this whole garment-making-look-good-thing you do.

    Thanks for showing this work in progress, i love posts like this


    1. I knew exactly which skirt you were talking about even before you added the link, Marit, and it’s absolutely gorgeous! Nani IRO really has some of the best textiles out there – love love! Thank you!

  3. love everything about this dress. the fabric is amazing and i love the colour. it looks wonderful on you.

    1. Thanks, Sarah! The fabric is so beautiful, it would have looked fantastic regardless, but I’m really happy with the dress! 🙂

  4. What a gorgeous dress! I really like this color on you. You sparkle! I love the fabrick and the dress design. Good job!

    1. Many thanks Marjolein! I was surprised that the fit turned out better than I’d hoped! I made this dress a loooong time ago in a quilting cotton and it was a hot mess ;-).

  5. What a gorgeous shade of blue, Sanae. I love it on you. I wanted to tell you, too, that I LOVE your white wall photos. To me, they look like they could be straight out of a magazine or Japanese sewing book! I would love to have a wall like that. Our walls all have yellowish undertones which don’t photograph well, but more than that, the lighting in our house is really harsh and uneven. We have lots of mature trees and a large covered deck. We’re in Texas so all of these things help reduce our AC bill and electricity use, which is great. But we have no flat/even lighting in our entire house and there is not a single wall that doesn’t have heavy shadows cast on it. And our house is very, very dark. I always have to have lights on. It has very little natural light. I certainly will not complain about the mature trees – I love them. But I pretty much have no choice but to do all of my sewing photos outdoors. So, that’s my long way of saying I love your white wall. I think it makes your garments really shine! Of course, your garments shine in their own right but the clean background works beautifully, in my opinion.

    1. Thanks so much a Rachel! I’m so glad that my white walls aren’t boring you to death…I always debate whether I should try to spice up the backgrounds more, but when I try to take photos outdoors with the tripod and remote I end up feeling so self-conscious! I figure it’s better to have be a one trick pony while feeling more relaxed than putting out even more rigid and awkward photos with interesting backgrounds 🙂 your photos are always so stunning and I can only hope to achieve your level of skill one day!

  6. Gorgeous! Perfect! You look fantastic. And I can’t believe how hard you worked on it. Way to go!

    You really nailed it! And it has pockets!! Are you going to make another? Maybe one to wash one to wear and that can be your summer wardrobe.

    1. Thanks, Max! I don’t know if I’ll make this exact one anytime soon, but I do think I’ve finally hit upon one style that seems to work with my idiosyncratic body, so you might see similar silhouettes in the near future!

  7. The blue on this dress as well as the pattern/style is incredible. It looks great on you as well!!

    I always love when the last photo is of you with an almost Mona Lisa smile. Somewhat shy and yet very knowing!!

    1. Oh, you’re so sweet, thank you Alana! That makes me think of when I went to the Louvre a long time ago and couldn’t see the Mona Lisa due to the large throng of people….I got a glimpse and remember thinking it looked a lot smaller than I expected. 🙂

  8. Beautiful dress! and I love your progress trying to find the right pattern for the fabric. I have way too many instances of trying to find the perfect way to use a treasured fabric, always worrying if this one would be the best use of it. I can totally identify!

    1. Oh, it was daunting cutting into the fabric, Rachel! Though I have to say, once I made up my mind, I could tell it was going to turn out all right 🙂 the making up the mind part was the hardest!

  9. What a great sewing journey and what a beautiful dress waited for you in the end! Very much worth it. It is a stunning color on you. I can understand that your tried to create a dress a la pip squeak chapeau, they make such beautiful things! But the fitted bodice is much better I think and (I hope you will not be mad at me for saying so!!!) somehow the dress makes your calves look so slender! Is is the length or the form of the hem? But it works! And yes, I can see a bit of Xena Warrior Queen in the first picture 😉
    I sewed along for nani iro month and finally made my perri pullover in double knit!

    1. Ha, my calves have never been called slender in my entire life — I want to frame this comment, Ute! 🙂 ooh, I want to make the Perri Pullover too!

  10. Stunning! This is one of those dresses I would LOVe to have in my wardrobe- great style and pattern and oh so flattering. makes me want to do some garment sewing and get over my fears of following a pattern!

    1. You can do it, Gita! Truly, if I can sew clothes for myself and halfway wrap my head around drafting patterns (I’m totally spatially/three-dimensionally challenged) then anyone can! In fact, I used this same pattern and made a black polka dot dress that was a train wreck when I first started sewing, but it was still somewhat wearable. And this second time? Came together without a hitch and it’ll be part of my wardrobe for years and years!

  11. Wow! You look absolutely beautiful in this dress! I love the thinner straps and deeper neckline on you and the shape and fit of the dress is perfect. Don’t see any gaping in back but perhaps the cotton will continue to shrink a bit more with subsequent washing? LOL, that’s my “solution”. At any rate, loose is better than too fitted, especially for summer.

    I’ve been eyeing this fabric at Miss Matatabi but was wondering how it would look in a garment. Now that I’ve seen yours. I plan to order now that it’s back in stock. And maybe I’ll even order this pattern and I can be your “twin” in Hawaii. Hope you don’t mind, but it is that fantastic. Good job!

    1. I don’t mind at all, Kay — how flattering! I had 2.5 yards to work with and it was just enough for the size 14. I think a little shrinkage would be good because I noticed that the double gauze stretched as the day wore on. Thanks for your comment!

  12. That dress is simply stunning and you look beautiful – yay you – I’d still be pawing that fabric – too nervous to cut!!

    1. It required some mental steeling to cut into the fabric, but I’m happy with the results. It’s one of those dresses that make you feel pretty, you know? I don’t have very many dresses like that! Thanks, Clare!

  13. You look stunning in this color, Sanae! I know it’s not grey (and I love the grey Burda dress too!), but I think you just look radiant in it. Perhaps it’s the emanating joy from wearing a double gauze garment:) And I loved your frank honesty about getting around to the hook and eye closure – that is exactly me! “Done, and good enough” often works for me:) So glad you stayed persistent in finding just the right pattern, because I think you have created a dress that you will adore wearing for a very long time.

    1. Haha, I hate adding hook and eye closures! Sewing has taught me that I’m not much of a perfectionist — I’m thoroughly okay with wonky seams and mistakes here and there, though I don’t like anything that’s glaringly off. Quite liberating, I must say. Thank you, Lucinda!

    1. I love it too, thanks girl! But as I told Frances, I’m pretty sure I could have just tossed this fabric on me unsewn, and it would have generated oohs and aahs 🙂

  14. Oh wow Sanae you look beautiful in this,the style really suits you and the fabric well what can you say?? I’ve yet to sew with Nani Iro but it’s on my list of to do’s…….it’s a long list though!

    1. Thanks so much Shelli! It’s beautiful stuff, though the double gauze can get a little fiddly, but once sewn, you’ll never want to wear anything else!

  15. I could hardly breath the first moments after I saw the first picture: that dress you’ve made is amazing, AMAZING!! It fits you like a dream and the fabric, oh I want to make me just one like yours!

    1. Aw, thank you Heleen! So flattering! I’m going on a family vacation in a few weeks, and this dress is definitely coming with me!

  16. Oh, Sanae, that dress is absolutely BEAUTIFUL on you!!! I’d say you hit a homerun with matching fabric to pattern and getting a great fit as well! Nice job!

    1. Thanks, Beth! I’m glad I went through the rigmarole of trying different pattern options. I feel like i chose the right one!

  17. Vavavavooom! You look great in this design! Naturally I loooove nani iro, especially in blue. Winner!

    1. I’m loving everything blue right now, Traveller and this fabric is no exception. I hesitated to choose this one since I wasn’t sure how it would translate as a garment, but now I’m so glad I did. Thank you!

  18. This dress suits you so much, Sanae! I love that you shared your pattern choosing process too. Thank you so much for taking part in NIM! xo

    1. I appreciate that, Olga — fit is something I’m still trying to figure out since I love loose tunics so much. I was pretty lucky with this pattern!

    1. Hooray, thanks Amber! I tried to get K to take photos outside (in addition to the remote debacle), but in the end, my white walls are reliable and consistent so I love ’em!

    1. Thank you so much, Elizabeth! I’m excited that this dress has both fancy and casual potential to it!

  19. I am so happy for you that you got it so absolutely right!
    The tunics and the floaty dresses are nice, but this shape is so very flattering to your figure. The fabric is just divine and all the whole shebang, you and your white wall included, is superb! Well done.

    1. You know, I’ve been thinking that I really need to tackle that scary territory of really getting into the nitty gritty of fit. I’m sure it’s not as terrifying as it seems and because I’ve naturally gravitated toward body-hiding silhouettes I’ve been getting cocky. It’s time to humble up and learn some new skills! Thanks, Shelley!

    1. Yes! It’s a great dress to wear with a cardi, and I’m totally in love with the different shades of blue! You need a double gauze dress, girl!

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