Repeat offending: Inari No. 3

I can list on probably two fingers the number of sewing patterns I've made more than once.  But there is something about the Inari dress / tee from Named Clothing that I keep coming back to. So here I am to bore you with details of Inari No. 3.

I'm not sure what it is I like about it.  Well it's the perfect shape, has the perfect hem, is perfectly casual, but also a bit sassy when fancied up in silk, is perfectly comfortable, pretty trendy (ugh I loathe that word but laziness is allowing its use right here), has the perfect neckline and is simple to make.  Oh and it fits with my life so it actually gets worn.  Unlike my many acres of beautiful handmade dresses that don't.

I'm also not sure why I don't remake patterns.  Maybe it's for the same reason I never used to buy more than one of an item.  I'm impatient and like variety and perhaps I've not yet found my tried and true patterns.  Well Inari, you can count yourself tried and true.  Oh God did I really just write that?

I finally made some fit adjustments to this version and either that or the fact it's a knit (or both) have substantially improved the fit.  My earlier versions I graded up at the hip but on this I also added 2 inches to the length to make it decent to wear as a dress, and made a forward shoulder adjustment as well as adding half an inch to the shoulder seam.  

I still find it astounding that it is only in the last six months that I've realised what peculiarly broad shoulders I have.  What on earth was I thinking was causing my jackets and shirts to be so tight across the back beforehand? 

So let's get to the main event here, this fabric.  This is just delicious.  Super delicious.  It's a cotton ponte with a camouflage print in some kind of plasticy stuff.  It's not sparkly as it can look in these pictures and is the same colour as the fabric, just has a sheen that makes the camo print visible.  

As an aside, my son, who is 2, looked at this dress and asked me what it had on it.  I told him it was called camouflage.  He then asked me if they were fast swimmers .... Nope, me neither. And he now asks the exact same question every time I wear it. 

Aaanyway, it's utterly glorious.  

This is one of the few knit projects I've made that I actually like the finish of and I'm sure it's to do with the quality of the ponte and how easy it was to manipulate.  It came from Miss Matatabi and is the first thing I have ordered from her.  I will be repeat customering as the product quality, customer service and faster delivery from Japan than from a few states away is just amazing.  She lives up to all the hype around the webs.

So now I'll leave you with more pictures of perfect fabric and perfect pattern (and terrible windswept hair and eyebags for days) and go off and try to make something that isn't an Inari. Oh and I promise not to bore you with another one, (unless I make the tee version, or it's in really fabulous fabric.) 

See you soon x

Copycat: Urban Outfitters x ISLY = The Referee Dress

So, how are you? What's happening in your corner of the world / worldwide web? What do you think of this dress? Don't I look just like a basketball referee? (Too many questions?) It's ok, I don't mind as I think I like it anyway. The Referee Dress is kind of the fall out from this post by Melissa Esplin and some lovely soft cotton knit I had recently acquired (yeah from Mood) with no real purpose in mind.

I loved the idea on Melissa's post (despite it being made for a teenager) and because I'm addicted to stripes, I loved the original Urban Outfitters version even more. Particularly the contrast of horizontal and vertical stripes and the split and staggered hemline (which almost makes it sound intoxicated). Despite the fact the original was on sale for $30 by the time I saw it and despite the fact that I didn't actually have enough fabric, I was set on making it myself. 

As with Melissa's version, I used Grainline Studios Scout Tee as the basis. Is there anything that can't be based on the Scout Tee? I squared off the hem and then lengthened it by 46cm/ 18in to the front and 58cm/ 23in to the back (I'm six feet tall). The stripes are horizontal in front and vertical at the back (which is great for not having to match stripes!) To get the dress out of one and a half yards of fabric, which thankfully was 60in wide, I had to piece the dress front at the waist. (Not so great for having to match stripes.) I tried so hard to align it exactly so that you wouldn't see the join but it is still pretty obvious. At the time I didn't have my serger which might have produced a better result.  

UO2.jpg

I used clear elastic to stabilise the shoulder seams so they don't sag under the weight of the fabric.  I've used this technique a lot with heavier knit tops, dresses and jackets and it works really well. I butt the elastic up against the seam after I've sewn and pressed it to one side and then use a wide zig zag to secure it in the seam allowance, trying to make sure that it doesn't go over the seam line but does go on it. 

The dress doesn't have pockets which is a shame. I did try inserting some in the same lightweight knit I used to bind the armholes, but even in a light knit they pulled the side seams down and added bulk at the hips which didn't look great so I took them out again.  

I'm so pleased with the neckline. I made the neckband wider than the Scout pattern - finished it is 1/2 inch, and I used a scrap of French terry left over from my knit Belcarra and for once it went in first time with no puckers.  I like the contrast with the stripe and I decided not to top stitch it as I like the clean finish - although I have to press it well after washing to make sure it lies flat.

I bound the armholes with the lightweight knit.  I cut two lengths 3/4 inch wide folded them in half lengthwise and then with right sides together and raw sides aligned stitched around the armhole.  I left a little space at the beginning and the end of the seam so that I could join the two ends together. Once that was done I finished the seam, pressed the binding to the inside and topstitched with my twin needle. Despite my hatred of bias, I like this finish although it would so much neater if I'd been able to finish the edges on a serger (and I could stitch straight ...)

The only thing I didn't take into consideration here was the width of the shoulder. I didn't reduce the length at all. As it doesn't have sleeves to hold the shoulder in place when I move so tends to bunch up on my shoulder. So, if I was to make it again I would take about half an inch off each shoulder at the armhole. 

The split angular (drunken?) hem is a key feature on this dress so it needed to be very precise with four right-angular sharp corners. I wasn't sure how to finish the hem to achieve this. Then I remembered the Sutton Blouse has a similar hemline so checked out the sewalong and there was the perfect solution.   I again used the twin needle to stitch the hem and made sure that the front hem was folded exactly along a stripe. 

It's a very simple dress but the different orientations of the stripes and the hem detail make it a bit different and fun to wear. Looking at these photos it seems it would probably be better made in a knit with better recovery or a woven as I seem to have a saggy bottom. Also the insides aren't pretty; whilst obviously you don't have to have a serger to sew knits it does make for far prettier insides. 

UO6.jpg

So, I'm channelling a look that says saggy-bottomed, scruffy seamed, drunken basketball ref; yeah well, never mind. 

See you soon x