Monday Outfit: The Persistence Dress

plaid-wool-dress1Good morning! Well, this was a dress that tested my patience.


It doesn’t look like much, does it? I mean, it’s perfectly fine…it is a very basic dress, after all. Yet, I couldn’t get much right.

First of all, notice that the front placket is decidedly shifted over to the right. I measured and re-measured, and still this happened, so I’m not sure what the deal is here. This is how it’s supposed to be, modeled in the book:


Second, I intended to make this out of a cotton geometric print fabric, which would have been fresh and anticipatory of Spring, I’m sure, but then K said, “Make it a winter dress, Mama. I need warm clothes.” So I pulled out the only wool fabric with enough yardage (I used it to sew a hooded capelet way back when).


But wool gets itchy so I decided to underline it with the thinnest cotton voile. It’s the pink peeking out there. When you underline something, you’re basically basting a layer of the lining underneath the pattern pieces and treating them as one. I, being the genius that I am, managed to sew on the lining on the wrong side on almost all the pieces. My seam ripper got a decent workout.


The only change I made to the pattern was for the neckline. I let a bit of the binding peek out, because I didn’t love the way the neckline hung without that little edge. Oh, I also cut the back yoke on the bias, which I like to do often. Overall, the dress has a bit of a 60s/70s vibe, which I sort of like.


The other issue I ran into was my inexplicable need to add 15 buttons. Why?? I have no idea, and of course, I don’t have 15 of the same buttons so I found a mish mash that were roughly the same size and vaguely in the same color family (aqua, navy and dark green). Since the buttons are hidden by that accidentally off-center front flap, I didn’t lose any sleep over it.


It’s not a difficult dress to sew, but I just kept making mistake after mistake, but by jove, I didn’t give up. Even after stabbing my finger (pretty forcefully. ouch) with the seam ripper that was constantly in use, I kept a-going and triumphantly whipped it out of the sewing machine, only to realize that daylight had virtually run out.


I scooted K outside for the fastest photo shoot ever, and these pics were the only salvageable ones. Thank goodness we’re having a balmy spate these past few days. But she likes the dress, and it’s actually toasty, so let’s chalk this one up as a favorable project.

24 thoughts on “Monday Outfit: The Persistence Dress

  1. I love the off-centre front placket! I would never have thought it wasn’t intentional, and in fact I love it enough that I’ve just started thinking about how to hack a basic shirt pattern into something similar for myself! (:

    1. Good idea, Jana! You’re right, if I saw that detail on someone else’s garment or creation, I would think it’s really cool. 🙂

  2. Actually LOVE the off-center band. It takes a plain dress and adds an interesting detail. If you hadn’t pointed it out, I would have assumed it was a feature, not a bug.

  3. I like it too! I love wool. Funny how the band moved over. It is harder to make winter clothes than summer clothes, isn’t it? I hope your books are coming along nicely, and that soon you will be able to show us something.

    1. Wool is so great! But yes, winter clothes require so many extra layers, I feel like, compared to easy breezy warm-weather outfits. Thanks, Max, and I hope to be able to get my act together to show you all some book sneak peeks soon! 🙂

  4. Sanae I love your dress and it looks perfect even though you say had some “issues”. I made this dress and what gave me a bit of trouble was the button placket. I regret making the 110 size, I want to make it again in a bigger size. You know I made almost every piece on that book but the dress with the the bow is the one I love the most. I made it on a similar fabric but once I put it on my daughter she looked like Wilma Flinstone, she was just missing the rock-beads necklace! If I would have a similar Liberty of London I’m sure things would be completely different and CLASSY!

    You did a great job and K looks very very tall now, what are you going to do when you run out of Japanese sewing books options for her? I’m already not using some of them because she is too big. I hope those Japanese designers make some patterns for bigger kids as well and soon!
    Happy week!

    1. Thank you, Patty! I want to make the dress with the bow, and in fact, I was debating fiercely between the two. 🙂

      K is going through a growth spurt right now, and I keep marveling at how much of a tween she is 😉 And yes, I’m panicking a little that K is starting to outgrow the largest size. Hmmmm….perhaps I need to step up to fill that Japanese aesthetic niche for older kids! Haha — big dreams, right?

  5. I think the asymmetric stripe is cool! Not a bad mess up there! Gold star for you for persevering and finishing something and finishing well. What a great dress to finish out the winter!

    1. Aw, thanks Em! I persevered, pricked finger and all 🙂 It’s one of the mildest winters we’ve had in Seattle, so I feel like I should already start on Spring sewing!

  6. LOVE the dress Sanae, and the fabric goes so well with the choice of pattern. The off centre looks good too. All in all there is nothing that I don’t love about it 🙂

    I have been wanting this book for a while. Would you mind letting us know what the upper limit of size is in this one? I tried to find on the amazon link you provide, but I can’t get a closer look at the front page.

    1. Hi Asmita! This is such a fantastic book, I am still aiming to make everything from it. The largest offered size is 130cm. Definitely worth getting if the sizing works out for you 🙂 Thank you!

    1. They do indeed, Elizabeth! It’s actually surprisingly easy to construct and is obviously a forgiving design element 🙂

  7. This is my favorite dress in the whole book!! I’ve attempted a practice run at making that placket, as the diagrams just leave me scratching my head, but haven’t attempted the whole dress yet. Sure wish I had you to hold my hand through that placket, and I promise to do all your seam ripping for you:) So sorry this was a frustrating project for you – isn’t it weird how some projects just seem to be jinxed from the beginning and despite a growing dread we grit our teeth and plow on. So glad you did persevere, however, as the end result is so charming! Glad K loves it, as really that is the fullest measure of success:)

    1. It looks so great in the book, doesn’t it? I will try to get a tutorial together to show how the placket is constructed. It’s actually not difficult, but you’re right, the instructions aren’t clear. Thank you, Lucinda!

  8. Just wanted to say hello, and how much I love the dress! I have been lurking here for a while, which is odd, because I really hate sewing. However, I find everything you make and your stories so inspiring, these blog posts always put me in a good mood. It is great to see someone using their creativity and being a positive influence in other peoples lives (sorry, cant find the apostrophe on this keyboard). Keep going!

    1. Hello Heidi, the part about you hating sewing made me laugh out loud! I’m so glad that my blog can still provide interest for a non-sewing person, it’s one of the best compliments! Thank you 🙂

  9. Ha! When I saw the first picture I literally said out loud “love that asymmetrical front placket”.
    Sometimes the accidents are meant to happen. Well done persevering. it’s a fabulous dress.

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