Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Nani Iro Bess Alder Mash-Up Dress

When I found this 2-meter cut of Nani Iro double gauze in a Nippori fabric store about a month ago, I knew I would use it to make a dress for myself.  I love the loose, casual style of Japanese patterns (like this, or this), and they are so tempting, especially because that style looks so cute on the Japanese women I see walking around here in Tokyo all the time!  BUT every time I have tried on that type of garment in a store, it just looks terribly unflattering on me.  So I have managed to resist--but I still feel like this dress has a bit of that Japanese style as an inspiration, especially in this beautiful Japanese fabric, while finding a design that flatters my figure more.

The fabric is Nani Iro Pierre Pocho Fortune Stones Double Gauze in Forest.

This dress is a combination of two patterns from Imagine Gnats.  When I guest posted on her site for Selfish Sewing Week, I got to spend some money in her shop, and when I saw this tutorial from Teresa of Dandelion Drift about how to combine the Bess Top and Alder Skirt pattern into a dress, I bought the two patterns right away!

I definitely feel like I achieved the look that I was going for--casual, comfortable, loose and breathable (the double gauze feels amazing and will be so great when the weather gets so hot and humid here), while still skimming my figure enough to be flattering.

The skirt has darts in the back, which helps with the shaping, and I chose a smaller size top than my measurements suggested (I made a wearable muslin first to make sure it would work!) since the Bess Top is meant to be rather loose.

I love the pockets, too--nice and wide and comfy, and I love the angle that adds a nice design element.  I would probably extend my pocket bags by just a little bit the next time I make this--they seem a little shallow for my taste.  But I just love a pattern where I don't have to add my own pockets!

In case you're not familiar with the Bess Top pattern, it has a cool shoulder design where the back panel wraps around to create the armhole.  On my muslin, I used a different fabric for the back and front so it's a nice way to add an accent fabric.

By the way, my mom is a jewelry designer--she made me this necklace for Christmas!
 Here's her website :)
Since I only had 2 meters of this fabric, I got nervous that I wouldn't be able to fit all my pattern pieces in--but I managed to squeeze it out by turning the fabric for the back panel in the opposite direction!  Phew!  Although it would have looked cool with an accent back as well--I think I would have made the visible pocket lining match the back/sleeve fabric if that had been the case.  Maybe I'll try that next time!

OH, and when I was trying out the fit before I sewed the neck binding, I decided to lower the neckline a bit--pretty typical for me.  There are two neckline options with this pattern and I had cut out the lower one but I like just a little bit more scoop even than that.

I'm really happy with how it came out, and I'll have to add my neckline adjustment to my pattern!

I wore this dress today running errands on my bike, and I have to report that the skirt width is perfect for riding--not tight enough to restrict pedaling, not loose enough to blow around with every gust of wind.  I imagine this dress will be getting a lot of wear this summer, and the color palette will be great with tights and boots come fall as well!  


  1. The dress looks great on you! I love this fabric and the design mash up, it is a beautiful dress!

  2. Lovely! Have a nice friday sweetie!

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  3. Stunning! Love the front pockets and great fabric.

  4. I stumbled upon your blog/this dress through google. I just have to say that Iso love this dress! Such a nice relaxed and flattering fit and those colours look so good on you. Wow!


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