Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sewing Project: Kimono Dress and Obi Sash

A few months ago, I checked out Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross from the library.

The book is very cute. In my previous life, I worked at a book publishing company, so now I kinda geek out when I find a book that has a creative interior design. The title sort of sets the tone for the whole book. If you're not sewing for a business (or maybe, especially if you are!) sewing should sometimes be FUN. It should be relaxing. So the projects in the book were designed especially to be completed in a weekend, with a restful mindset. There are women's clothes, children's clothes, bags, and even miscellany such as garden gloves. There were a lot of items in this book that I liked, and the patterns were still there (sometimes the books from the library are missing their patterns), so I did make a few things. One was the Kimono Dress and Obi Sash. Remember my obsession with kimono sleeves? Well, I read this book smack dab in the middle of the obsession. Just flipping through and BAM a kimono dress. Sewing serendipity.

One of the best things about the online sewing community is Flickr. I never used Flickr until I started sewing, but now I'm glad to have it as a resource. There is a Flickr pool for this book, and I not only looked at pictures, but also read a little on the community message board before I started on the Kimono Dress and Obi Sash. The consensus seemed to be that the dress pattern (really, all the patterns in the book) ran large, and that once completed, the Obi Sash or another belt was pretty vital to the look. 

Chartreuse cotton/lycra knit from Girl Charlee.

As you can see, the dress DOES run large. It has terrible hanger appeal. I cut out the smallest size and still took it in significantly, in both the flat pattern and after fitting. Without the sash, there is some serious gape in the front. If I weren't nursing AB, I would sew a few stitches on the front to keep it closed. If I weren't lazy, I would sew a snap on there NOW, but...well, I'm lazy!

The dress came together easily, but the fit issues sort of spoiled it for me. After adjusting the front so much to fix the gaping, I forgot didn't know that I should have fixed the back as well. After the dress was already assembled (complete with binding along the entire front and neckline), I realized that I now had a problem with a back neck gape. One of my sewing mottos is "never remove binding once applied" so instead I found myself with a make-it-work sort of moment. My solution? Gather the back neckline.

My hand embroidery skills could use some work.

After gathering the neckline, I secured the gathering stitches permanently. No more gaping! Also, it looks pretty. I'm almost positive I'll need to use this technique/emergency solution later in life, so I was happy it worked out so well.

I wasn't going to make the sash, as I didn't want to take the design too literally and make it so Japanese. Just not my style. But, given the advice on Flickr, I went ahead and made it anyway. 

The flower fabric is a pillowcase I bought at Goodwill (to make into a pillowcase dress for AB at some point). The yellow facing is leftover from one of the Oliver+S Picnic Blouses. The sash was quick to make (I think I spent more time picking out fabric than sewing) but my original instinct was right. I'm not that into it. Instead, when I wear this dress, I pair it with a thick brown fabric belt that my husband gave me. Not "gave me" as in a present, more like "gave me" because it came on a pair of men's shorts and he didn't want it haha.

It definitely looks much better on me, with a belt, than hanging up in my closet. It is a tad baggier than I'd like, but that's okay with me. I probably won't make it again, but this is one of those projects that fulfilled a couple obsessions at once (kimono sleeves, and I had a thing for chartreuse for about 2 seconds). I think it's good to purge those design crazies once in a while, so you can move on to the next one with a clearer mind. Anybody else get obsessed with a certain silhouette or color? Make me feel better!

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