Behind the seams: The Mystery Solved dress

In conjunction with Mothers’ Day celebrations, we are drawing on an old photo of our mothers’ or grandmothers’ for inspiration. Yes, this is the week we are honoring our mother’s style and fashion influence. To find out why I named my project this week The Mystery Solved dress, please read my TSW post here.

The Photo Inspiration

My hubby and I were browsing through old photo albums at my mum’s during the lunar new year celebrations in February when we saw this photograph of my parents and hubby said I should make a dress like mum’s since I love the vintage look. There were surprisingly quite a number of copies of this particular photo and so I kept a one for myself.  So, when this theme came up, I knew this would be the photo to inspire my creation. This was a welcomed change after those weeks of having too many choices to consider.

The Gallery

I absolutely do not have the guts to wear a narrow horizontal stripes dress like mum did in the photo. Instead, I used my favorite home decor fabric- Alexander Henry’s Sofia in Gold , which in my opinion adds a 70s vintage vibe to the outfit with its yellow/orange/brown floral print.

I even wore a hairband and backcombed my hair, a little addition to the 70s flavor.

The Pattern Review

I’ve raved about the Japanese Sewing Book, Retrospective is Stylish many times and never thought I would be sewing this 70s pattern as my first project from the book. I mean, this is a great pattern but it was the 1950s dresses that really made me covet the book in the first place.

I used the pattern from Project 7 of the book. (The green dress pictured below)

I’ve sewed quite a number of garments from Japanese sewing books and usually it’s pretty intuitive and the illustration helps a lot. This time, I was stuck because I couldn’t find what I thought were two missing skirt pattern pieces. Googling didn’t help either as no one seem to have attempted this particular dress from the book. So, I’ve documented how it is done, after spending hours pondering about it and going through the overlapping pattern sheet countless times. I’ll illustrate using the back skirt pieces, the same technique applies to the front.

As you can see, the back of the skirt is formed by what seemed to be 3 pattern pieces.

Trace the back (and front) skirt piece (you will only find one pattern piece each for front and back) and identify a line running down the piece with the wordings below (something with 14cm). Trace the line onto the pattern piece of the skirt you have traced.

Cut the pattern piece at the line so one pattern piece becomes two.

Between the two pattern pieces, measure 14cm between them and add seam allowance of 0.5cm (Please note that you are cutting on the fold).

That is your back (or front) skirt pattern piece.

I hope this will be helpful to someone attempting this pattern.

The other thing I wanted to mention is sizing. Typically, I find that there is quite a lot of ease in Japanese sewing patterns and this was the case with this dress. The pattern came in size 7, 9, 11 and 13.  I’m in between sizes for this book (I’m size 12) so after measuring myself I opted to go with size 13. As a result, it did looked one size too big on all areas except the shoulders and bust area so I took in the sides from below the arm downwards.

Other than these, the dress is very easy to put together and a delight to wear. It has a true vintage feel to it and mum even gave her approval saying that the style is very authentic 70s. Yay!

Have you tried sewing garment with home decor fabrics? I am currently very intrigued with sewing with different fabrics and am in the process of experimenting with new ones whenever I can.

My thoughts on using home decor fabrics on garments:

They are great for circle skirts, love the extra sway that comes with it. See Casey’s lovely version in Ikea fabric. I think they can look pretty neat on a pencil skirt too. See the cupcake goddess’ version in Anna Maria Horner’s home decor fabric

They are a good alternative for a spring coat. I made my Lady Grey in an Ikea fabric.

They are not suitable for garments that requires gathering or shirring or smocking. You need light weight fabric for those.

They are as easy to sew, like cotton, but you will need to use a thicker needle.

That’s all folks and I’ll be coming back soon with the next giveaway and announcement of the winners. Have a great week my sewing comrades!


23 thoughts on “Behind the seams: The Mystery Solved dress

  1. That’s pretty! The print is fresh-looking as well as having the vintage vibe. Your Japanese sewing book adventures have turned out beautifully once again.

    I haven’t sewn clothing from home decor fabrics before but the colours and bold prints are tempting and the best part is how hardy they are (which means I can perhaps leave out lining things:) ). Hmm..something to think about for future fabric hunts definitely.

  2. bonjour!!
    je viens de découvrir ton blog avec joie!J’aime beaucoup ce que tu fais,moi je ne couds que pour mes filles et je rêve de me faire de beaux vêtements pour moi comme toi!
    A bientôt!

  3. @Macatrose: LOL! Thank you 🙂

    @ Jali: Thank you, it’s always so interesting to learn from all these sewing adventures! Yes, you can definitely not lined them for bottoms but depending on the fabric (some can be rather coarse), underlining for comfort might be necessary.

  4. It suits you very well and it really gives the illusion to be in the 70’s!
    Sometimes, it is not easy to understand some japanese patterns, thank you to share with us your experience!

  5. wow What a beautiful dress, and the inspiration is a homage to your mom (ahh and Happy Belated Mothers Day to you and your mom)
    love and peace!

  6. Elle est superbe, et au passage, petite question, a tu réalisé la robe 6 de ce livre? (je suis en train de la coudre et souhaiterai des conseils)

  7. Seventiiiiiiiiies !!!! So so so lovely….really …the fabric is beautiful, the pattern too, this dress suits you very well !!! ohhhhhh I want the same one 😉 your mother must be touched !

  8. I love that fabric and confess that you’ve stumbled upon one of my own secrets. Yes I use home dec fabric. I make a point of shorting through the home dec remants looks for cuts that appeal to me. Many are high quality fabrics woven on a wider loom. You can place all the pattern pieces across from each other – very helpful when matching plaids or patterns – and thus need less yardage/length. Remants are often heavily, very heavily discounted. I’ve found 100% rayons and silks for US$2/yard (that’s very cheap where I live rayons average $16 silks well I can’t even find 100% silk in the stores I have to buy it on line averaging $20). Just go with your intuition, if it looks to heavy for a blouse, it will be. Ignore the “dry clean only” label and clean the way you’d normally clean that particular fiber.

  9. @danslacuisine: Merci beaucoup!

    @Marraine LN: Thank you, she was happy to see my version 🙂

    @sdBev: Thank you for the tips and indeed, there are many gorgeous and wider fabrics in the home decor section.

  10. This dress is really lovely! The fabric is perfect for this style.
    Each time I see something made from this book I love it. Sadly it seems hard to find…. 😦
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the use of home decor fabrics for sewing garments. I’ve never tried it but I’ve been wondering about it.

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