Green with envy
This project started with the fabric – giant plaid crinkle linen from The Cloth Shop – and then the sewing pattern hunt began. Do your projects usually start with a pattern or fabric?
Having never matched plaids before, I knew that I needed a pattern with a boxy design and details that were plaid matching friendly. Oh yes, a Japanese sewing pattern would fit the bill nicely and it is of course #sewjapaneseinjanuary.
A flick through my Japanese pattern book library uncovered this gem of a pattern.
This is one those times that the pattern photo doesn’t show off the potential of a pattern, but the line drawing sure does!
The plaid matching friendly features include:
- Boxy silhouette
- Straight hem
- Gathered sleeve head… no accurate matching required there!
- Sleeve gathered into a cuff
To help with the matching I traced my pattern on the flat (rather than on the fold) and I excessively pinned my pattern to the fabric. The crinkle linen did make it challenging, but my stubborn gene served me well here! To create balance, I ensured the the darkest of the vertical stripes were placed at the centre front and back of the dress, as well as along the hem.
I did make a mistake. Can you pick it? Yes, it’s the sleeves.
The darker stripe is in the middle of both sleeves, but the vertical stripe colours are in a different order. When I cut out the second sleeves I flipped the pattern piece left to right, when I think I should have mirrored them on top of each other. Clear as mud?
I have a bad track record with back neck splits. I always sew a v that is too narrow and when I clip into the point of the v, there are a few threads that peek out.
My solution to fix this error became a design feature. I hand sewed the back neck split with pearle 8 cotton thread (I happened to have the perfect colour match on hand!) and I love the result. You can see an in-progress photo on Instagram.
A quick side seam pattern matching brag before I talk pattern alterations. The side seams weren’t straight as the line drawing indicated. The front pattern piece had a very slight a-line and the back pattern piece was more of a cocoon shape. This is not something I’ve seen before, but the results are pleasing.
I flat measured the pattern and decided the size 9 (the smallest size) would give me ample ease in the bust and hips. This is one of those Japanese patterns with excessive ease. I shortened the dress by 3″ (7.5cm), performed by usual 3/8″ (1cm) forward shoulder alteration and I left off the sleeve ties.
In summary, I’m thrilled with this dress. Is it too early to call it my favourite make of 2019?
Pattern: Dress M from a Japanese sewing book (ISBN 978-4-579-11568-6)
Fabric: Giant plaid crinkle linen from The Cloth Shop
Alterations: Removed 3″ (7.5cm) from the length of the dress, 3/8″ (1cm) forward shoulder adjustment and left off the sleeve ties.
Accessories: Chunky beads from Scarlet Jones and shoes purchased four years ago from Yoox.
Location: Girl Guide Hall, Horsham