Fast + Fabulous Summer Dresses
I LOVE Japanese style-and especially Japanese sewing books.
sewing books are a lesson in efficient design. The beautiful, timeless
projects are cleverly constructed but are often very simple to make. The
patterns are easy to wear, and smart design details create silhouettes
that make fabric the star.
I Am Hello Halter.
Detailed cutting layouts make drafting your own pattern a snap.
Patterns are designed very efficiently: just a few simple rectangles, some interfacing, and a zipper are all I need!
A quick phone shot as I'm headed out in my finished I Am Hello Halter.
So it's no suprise that I've been lurking around our books department eagerly awaiting the arrival of I Am Cute Dresses,
an English translation of 25 dress patterns by Sato Watanabe. I grabbed
a copy as soon as they were available, and I can honestly say that I
want to make every single thing in this book!
first dress that caught my eye was I Am Hello Halter, a cute slightly
retro halter dress that's perfect for summer but can easily work into
fall with the addition of a long-sleeve cardigan and a pair of boots. I
made the dress in less than a day from start to finish since the
instructions were so easy to follow. This project is a perfect way to
start if you are new to using Japanese sewing books.
stayed relatively true to the sample garment by using a similar
polka-dot print, and I'm really happy with the way it turned out!
important thing to note is that the dresses in this book require
drafting your own pattern. While this may seem intimidating at first, I
actually really love it because it's a great way not only to practice
these skills but to know you're getting a great fit. Many of the fabric
layouts include easy calculations for modifying pattern pieces to fit
your specific measurements, so you can customze the pattern to fit you
right from the get-go.
Am Hello Halter is an easy pattern to draft, with only three pieces:
Bodice, Waistband, and Skirt Front/Back. This dress is designed to have a
very snug waistband, which gives the otherwise voluminous pattern a
bit of shaping. This is an area where I'm hugely grateful that I'm
drafting my own pattern. I have a wide ribcage so most patterns never
fit properly in this area. In this case, the pattern layout includes an
easy calculation so I was able to quickly mark out a waistband piece
that is perfectly snug.
designs are also meant to be very flexible in terms of hem length.
Most are designed to be quite long, and you can adjust the hem line to
your height or personal preference. In my case, I'm very short, and I
feel like long dresses can sometimes overwhelm me, so I decided to hem
mine right at the knee. The length is cute and summery with a pair of
flats and still the perfect length when worn with boots.
a visual learner, I also appreciate that Japanese craft books and
patterns are much less text-heavy than American counterparts. The focus
here is on detailed and abundant illustrations, which demonstrate
everything from where to place gathering stitches to how to finish
waistbands and hems.
find myself with fewer questions and much less time spent with the
seam ripper when using instructions presented in this format, and I bet
once you try it you'll love them, too.
good thing about these simple patterns is that they serve as great
platforms for experimentation. I'm already thinking about fun
modifications to make to my I Am Hello Halter pattern (pockets!), and
this pattern is so quick and easy that I know I'll make at least one
more version. My closet is soon to be overflowing with fun dresses, so I
really need to start thinking of equally fun places to wear them!
You'll find I Am Hello Halter and 24 other cute and easy dress patterns in I Am Cute Dresses. Once you try a couple out for yourself I bet you'll be just as obsessed with Japanese sewing patterns as I am!