Behind the Seams: The Hallyu Dress

This week on Sew Weekly, we are tackling an outfit inspiration from a television character. Initially, I was thinking of doing a character from an American TV series which most readers would be more familiar with. But, in the end I went with my heart. I watch a LOT of Korean TV series and it’s natural for me to be inspired by a series I’m currently watching. Check out my TSW post here.

Just for the fun of it, if I had chosen an American series, it could have been one of these characters:

The Nanny (Fran Drescher), which I grew up watching on television during my pre-teen years. Oh, that infectious laughter, unforgettable voice and flamboyant outfits!

Bree (Marcia Cross), my fave character from Desperate Housewives. I followed the series’ first few seasons and loved her seemingly demure and simple style.

Blair (Leighton Meester) from Gossip Girl. I have never watched the series but she has been mentioned on so many fashion/ sewing blogs that I had to check out her style and I was impressed.

Alrighty, back to my series of choice…

The TV series

Bad Boy is a 17-episode television series aired on the Seoul Broadcasting System from May to August last year and the drama I was watching two weeks ago on DVD. While I was hooked to the story, I was equally smittened with the jersey dresses worn by the female character Hong Tae Rae, heiress (right on the drama poster below) to the Haeshin Group.

I love the cowl necklines, drapes as well as the sometimes origami like folds on her dresses which made them simple yet eye catching. It was the two dresses Tae Ra wore below that inspired my creation this week. The cowl neckline (first photo) and the unique folds on the skirt (second photo).

Pattern Review

I love the designs in Japanese Sewing Book Drape Drape Volume 1 but knew I had to make some changes to make them more wearable. For the dress bodice, I used the front pattern piece from Project 1.  The cowl neckline on front and back are fabulous but the neckline was too low cut. The fabric used is a Patty Young interlock knit from Michael Miller.

These are the modifications I made:

1) Use the front pattern piece (the back had an even lower neckline) for front and back.

2) Extended the sleeves to create cap sleeves on the same pattern piece (so there is no need to sew on the sleeves, save a step here)

3) I took away approximately 5 to 6 inches from the centre of the pattern. To do this, I traced the pattern ( I used S size and without adding seam allowance) and folded it in the middle (that’s where I took those inches off) before pinning to the fabric.

Putting the pieces together is so straight forward that I didn’t need to refer to the instructions. But, based on past experience sewing from the book, I’m sure they are easy to understand and follow, even without knowing Japanese.

For the skirt piece, I used the sewing pattern from Burda Magazine 11/2010/113. The pattern was meant for a fabric with more body such as wool but I thought it could potentially create folds similar to the second dress Tae Ra wore above. I wanted the folds to be on the opposite side of the body and as such, cut every piece on reverse.

The instructions were a little brief so I did  spend a little time figuring them out. As I used an eggplant colored matte jersey instead of the recommended woven fabric, I didn’t add the seam allowance. Even without them, the sides still had to be taken in and with my body double around, it made the job easier. Other than getting the sides to work, it was quite easy to put together. Having said that, I was glad I made a dress as I was completely lost reading the instructions for the skirt band.

The Gallery

I named the dress Hallyu which refers to the craze for all things Korean- K-drama, music (K-pop), food and fashion just to name a few. I happened to love their dramas and food!

After a lunch date at a Korean restaurant with hubby (He chose to eat there, I didn’t so it was purely coincidental), I ventured to the rooftop of Vivocity while dear hubby had to rush back for a meeting. It was a hot and sunny day so luckily for me, there weren’t many people outdoors. Good thing there was the occasional wind as I was perspiring through the photoshoot. I wore the dress with the red belt I made for the Valentine’s week and red jelly wedges.

Love that cowl front and back and the drapes in the skirt.

Sewing the ‘Pockets’

For those interested in making the folds Burda Magazine called ‘Pockets’, I hope you will find these visual aids useful as I took sometime to figure the instructions out.

1) On the wrong side of the fabric, fold the ‘pockets as indicated by the lines and stitch across the top of the skirt. Repeat for both ‘pockets in opposite directions.

2) Cut diagonally at the corner to allow it to be completely turned.

3) On the right side of the fabric, push out the ‘pockets’ and fold in the tips. On this side, stitch down the longer vertical line for both pockets. We’re done!

I have not sewed from a sewing book for sometime and totally enjoyed the variation. As always, I feel like I’ve learnt tons from using them. Yay! One more contribution to the Craft Book Challenge!

On a separate note, I’m so terribly sorry but the Drape Wrap skirt tutorial is still in the works. I’m delayed  as I’m SO excited working on a secret project which I can only reveal next week *wink*. With the Good Friday weekend coming up and hubby on leave, I’ll need to get a few things done before that so please bear with me.

And I really want to extend a BIG thank you to those of you who commented on Sew Weekly blog as well as on my blog. It means so much to me and truly encourages me! Thank you!

Meanwhile, have a blessed week and happy sewing!


20 thoughts on “Behind the Seams: The Hallyu Dress

  1. Thanks for an inspirational post! I love the idea of taking inspiration from the tv. And I’ve got that Burda skirt traced out so I’ll definitely be referring back here when I find the right fabric for it.

  2. Your choice in television characters was good… she seems chic but not over the top. Your dress turned out beautiful. I love the combination of colors.

  3. I love dresses with drapes and folds!
    The colors look pretty on you.. so envy, not everyone can pull that look you know 🙂

  4. wow! You have such a good eye for colors! I’m not that brave (shame on me because they work perfectly together). And the shoes and belt are the final touch. Wonderful!.

  5. Wow, you pulled off a lovely and wearable outfit. I wouldn’t have thought to pair the draping top with the draping skirt, but it looks absolutely divine. 🙂

  6. That’s a beautiful outfit and design put together like that. Glad you chose to go with your heart. It worked out really well.

  7. You’ve got some mad style going on here! That photo with those shoes is completely sassy. Question entirely unrelated to sewing; are those shoes comfortable? I’ve been stalking them on modcloth and am seriously on the fence.


  8. Oh, I really like the skirt done up in jersey. It caught my eye, but I know I could never pull of those extra fabric “pockets” in a woven, so seeing your version in jersey is really nice. I love how the pockets drape instead of having a life of their own attached at the hip level.

  9. @raquel: Thanks for the encouraging words. After my black dress with the apron, I just had to have some colors in this project.
    @Ammie: Thank you so much, I’m so glad you like the combo!
    @Jali: Thank you dear, I’m glad too!
    @Flynn: Thank you. LOL, they are surprisingly super comfy but I had to go up by half a size and SO adorable! I got mine from ebay and it was cheaper 🙂
    @Tia Dia: Thank you, I’m loving the drape jersey version too 🙂

  10. i love how you combine the top and bottom details and work into a dress unique of your own. very clever! and the colour combi is really really good. thumbs up! 🙂

  11. Thanks so much for this post! I made the Burda skirt with a woven and I, too, was completely dumbfounded by the waistband instructions. I didn’t care for my version and I think it had to do with the fabric I selected. This gives me inspiration to try again!

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