I have 3 Japanese sewing pattern books that I bought earlier this year (like really earlier – February) and when I
needed wanted a new dress back in October, I decided to use one of those patterns. I picked view C3, the dress on the cover.
Now I’ve browsed these books a lot, even though I haven’t made anything up to this point. I had tons of post-its sticking out of my copy, because there are so many cute patterns! I’ve also read sewing blogs about sewing these patterns. So I knew that there was ease. And not just ease, but ease. Feminine Wardrobe is different than my other two books (Stylish Dress Book and Sweet Dress Book) in that it has a page where it gives you finished garment measurements. All three books have a size chart that puts me as the second-largest size, an M (they go from XS – L). I knew enough to be skeptical… My bust measurement is only 34″!
The finished measurement of C3 in size M is said to be 37 3/8″. The XS is 33 1/2″, the S is 35 3/8″ (the other finished measurements give are length and sleeve length). I waffled between making the XS and the S – I had decided to use a stable(ish) knit fabric from Fabricland, so I knew there’d be some stretch if I went too tight. In the end I decided to go for the S, for a little bit of ease, as that is how the styles in these books are meant to be worn.
It turned out pretty cute! I quite like the sleeve, although it is hilariously big before putting the elastic in the cuff casing, I should’ve taken a picture of one arm with, one without. I like the bow at the front, although there are so many layers there, I felt like it didn’t quite lay right. You’ve got your pleated dress fabric (3 layers at the centre), the bow overlay, the facing (I used the same knit fabric, interfaced with a woven interfacing), and both ends of the tube that is the centre of the bow (that’s 4 layers on its own!!). I wasn’t sure what I could grade out or not, so it feels like it is sticking out 6″ from my chest. I also felt like the neckline at the shoulders has more height than an average item of clothing for the same reason.
I wore the dress to opening night as styled above – with a belt. Below, for posterity, is a picture of the finished dress sans belt:
It’s a tent! I actually did a review of this make on my podcast as well, in Episode 44. It is near the beginning, just in case you aren’t interested in my knitting as well. The largeness really shows up on the video.
The chest measurement of this dress is closer to 39″, not the 35″ promised. That is with the pleats all lying nicely flat, and without the knit stretched at all! Maybe it stretched out from handling before I sewed it?
If I were to sew this again, I’d do the smallest size, and maybe even save myself the hassle of adding seam allowances, and just sew it as is to trim off an inch more.
Have you used Japanese sewing patterns before?