My two sewing passions right now are Nani Iro fabrics and Named Clothing patterns.
I bought the pattern for the ubiquitous Named Clothing Inari Tee at the new Ray-Stitch shop a few months back. I want to make at least half a dozen of these tees in Nani Iro double gauze for my summer work wardrobe, but first – a dress!
I added a gathered skirt. In my usual way with these Japanese fabrics, I just used the full width (selvedge to selvedge) to avoid raw edges. It’s such narrow fabric that it just makes sense.
The fabric was from one of my favourite online shops, M is for Make.
On the day I finished my exams in mid May I took the train to Wales and sewed these espadrilles together in the sunshine at my train table, letting my hands remember sewing after all that frantic essay writing.
I’d prepared all the pieces before my exam so all I had to do was stitch the uppers to the soles.
I used Nani Iron canvas in the design “Clear Heart”. The lining is in Liberty tana lawn. The espadrilles match my rucksack and duffel bag in the same fabric.
Tragically these are a bit big on me so I’ll need to make another pair, and give these away. C’est la vie. I’m still very proud of my first ever pair of handmade shoes.
One consequence of having dual nationality is that I travel rather a lot. Suffice it to say that I’ve been pretty closely acquainted with duffel bags from a very early age.
In Toronto over Christmas, fresh off the airplane, I popped into The Workroom with my dad, and he bought me Grainline Studio‘s excellent Portside Travel Set pattern, which I’ve been coveting for some time, in actual luxurious hard copy, as a not-so-secret Christmas present. This was the excuse I’d been waiting for to snap up a bit of Nani Iro canvas – in the Clear Heart pattern from the 2015 collection – when I got back to London in January.
The results are… delicious!
I lined the pockets and bag in some Liberty tana lawn which I had in my stash. This was actually the very first fabric I coveted and bought (or rather, my mum bought for me). Before I could sew, before I went to university, before I had a phone or a bank account. Looking back, I’m not sure why I coveted it so much; but at any rate it is the perfect match for the rest of the bag.
The copper D-rings and zip are from the inimitable, venerable MacCulloch and Wallis. Sadly I couldn’t find matching swivel hooks in copper. Webbing and silver swivel hooks were from Ray-Stitch. The Nani Iro canvas was from Monday’s Milk, because nowhere in the UK seemed to have any left, and it was on sale.
Separately, a friend donated her old Modernaked rucksack to me because one of the shoulder straps had frayed apart and she was being sent a replacement bag. Here’s what the original was like:
The Liberty fabric on the bag was nice but not my cup of tea; so I replaced it with more of the Nani Iro canvas. Thankfully I was ill at home for a few days. It took an entire day to re-cover and repair the bag. Mostly it was a lot of hand sewing and embroidery (I could only do the upper flap on the machine – the rest had to be appliquéd on by hand). But no matter – now I have a matching travel set!
Mmmmm I love this dress. I made it over three nights after work one week recently.
The fabric is brushed cotton in another wonderful design from Nani Iro. I of course realised before cutting that I was a metre-and-a-bit short of fabric for this pattern, so had an emergency online shop to get some more over from Japan pronto,from the perennially wonderful Miss Matatabi. In the end I used about 3 metres.
The pattern is drafted from the Merchant & Mills Factory Dress, but I removed 8 cm from the bodice at the waist to shorten it, and drafted my own gathered skirt. I also moved the pocket up a wee bit so it wasn’t so close to the waist seam.
Generally I found the instructions fairly easy to follow, but the pattern itself was disappointingly mystifying in places. For example, the markings for the dart don’t make a straight line if you joined the dots. And the markings for the pocket look exactly the same and are in the same part of the bodice, which adds another layer of confusion.
Nonetheless, common sense won out and I love this dress. I wore it to see the incredible Giffords Circus last weekend, and felt like a gleeful 5-year-old in it. I wore it again in the week to see Twelfth Night performed in a balmy, blossoming London churchyard and felt strangely camouflaged sitting among roses. In other words, a marvellous dress that will get to go to many exciting places with me.
This is pretty much my favourite dress ever. I would wear it every day if I could, except that would mean I’d never have an excuse to sew things ever again.
It feels like pyjamas to wear: the fabric is wonderful slubby soft double gauze.
The pattern is Pauline Alice’s Cami Dress. It’s great; but the only thing I would say is that the pockets are really low down. Oh and also it wanted two layers of interfacing in the collar, but as I now don’t use interfacing, I’ve gone with one layer of cotton lawn instead in the collar, and one layer in the placket.
Also this dress may be magic, as I can wear it with tights without it sticking to my legs all the time.
The fabric is Nani Iro double gauze, in a print called ‘Water Window’. I bought it from Ray Stitch. I’m rather proud of my pattern matching, particularly on the bodice and collar. Given that I only had 2.5 metres to work with, it’s a pretty good job.