Nani IRO dress is finished

This was a fun project and thanks to both the book, A Year of Sewing with Nani IRO and the publisher’s videos on YouTube, I definitely grew my skills in garment construction. If you’ve sewn 1 or 2 garments and feel confident with your sewing machine, this could be a good project for you.

Trace pattern and cut fabric
Placket construction (a placket is a finished V-shaped opening in a garment.)
I made a belt to give the dress more shape.

(Note: This is the third and final post in the Nani IRO series. Read the first two blog posts for the full dressmaking story.)

Mistakes I made:

1- Traced a few pieces of the pattern wrong and had to start over.

2- Used a dull rotary blade, which made inaccurate cuts.

3- Forgot to increase stitch-width on my sewing machine when I sewed around the edges. This resulted in wonky-shaped pockets, and ultimately reduced the volume of the pocket. (You’ll see this in the photos, but thankfully it’s hidden inside of the dress.)

Overview of the process

Watching video and working at a friend’s house. (The project is portable!)

Part 1 – Trace and cut pattern pieces from paper. (2 hours)

Part 2 – Cut each pattern piece from fabric. (2 hours)

Part 3 – Construct the front, back, placket, necktie, bias tape sleeves, pockets, and hem. (9 hours)

Day 1 – Trace and cut pattern pieces (about 2 hours)

18 inch ruler to help with tracing and the pattern from the book
36 inch wide tracing paper
Each piece gets traced with a 1 cm seam allowance. That means you add 1 cm in all directions of the pattern piece.
I made mistakes almost immediately.
Then, I took a tea break and started over.
End of evening 1 – All pattern pieces traced and cut

Day 2 – Afternoon (8 hours)

Laying out the pattern onto the fabric. I used the vertical grain of the fabric for the long pieces. Grain of fabric refers to the direction of the fibers.
Notice that I rotated the grain of the fabric 90 degrees for the yoke of the dress. That was a design choice I made to add horizontal lines to the dress in a key place.

Making a placket was new for me. While making it, I watched and re-watched this section of the tutorial video more than 10 times.

Making the placket of the dress required the most precision.
I cut out the same shape from fusible interfacing. Then, I ironed the interfacing to the fabric piece. This made a stiff shape to work with.
The placket needs to be sewn in the exact middle of the dress, so I folded the dress in half to find that point.
After pinning it in place, I used chalk to draw the line I would sew. (Note, the pins are crooked, but the placket is straight.)
Folding forward and backwards makes a neat finished edge.
I pinned everything into place before sewing it.
The placket turned out really well!
Bringing the shoulder seams together
Clipping everything together before sewing it
End of day 2- All fabric cut and some sewing complete.

Day 3 – Some more sewing (1 hour)

  1. Fold and iron neck-tie
  2. Sew neck-tie

Day 4 – Finish sewing (about 2 hours)

  1. Add pockets
  2. Sew sides of dress
  3. Hem the bottom of the dress.
Wonky pocket described above- still functional, but I am glad it’s hidden.
This dress has A LOT of fabric.
I created a belt for this dress with leftover fabric.
Notice the grain on the shoulders is different from the rest of the dress.

What about the Nani IRO fabric?

If you read the last post, you’ll know I didn’t use my beloved Nani IRO fabric in this dress, and I am glad of that. I had to learn a few things first. Now that I’ve made the dress, I am not sure whether I want to make a second one.

This dress pattern would really show off the incredible designs of the Nani IRO fabric, but I am not sure whether I love this dress pattern enough to make it again.

For now, I’ve been looking at patterns from the Draper’s Daughter website for inspiration. We’ll see where the next adventure leads.