Pattern: Zeena Dress by By Hand London
Fabric: Nani Iro Suzuran Field – Double Gauze
I don’t know what took me so long to get around to this dress. Sometimes there’s this one little hurdle to just get over before you can get sewing. Either you’ve lost your sewjo, you just didn’t buy a matching zipper or thread, you don’t feel up to tracing/cutting the pattern…we’ve all been there.
For me, it was the fit adjustments. I have forward-thrust shoulders, and adjusting for it is always pretty straightforward with set-in sleeves (it involves taking a wedge from the front of the shoulder seam and adding it to the back). I struggle a lot when it comes to kimono sleeves though (which is annoying because half of my vintage patterns are kimono sleeves). Since the sleeve and bodice are one piece, I can’t make an adjustment to the shoulder without having to adjust the entire sleeve. Yes, I found one or two tutorials, but they involved cutting an impossible-to-shape triangle out of the shoulder (comment below if you know of other solutions!).
So when I sewed up an adjusted muslin, I moved the entire shoulder seam (neck to sleeve hem) forward more than an inch! I tried on the original muslin and then the adjusted one, and they both looked exactly the same. I felt so dumbfounded that the pattern sat gathering dust atop my scrap bin for about 5 months.
Last week I finally mustered up the courage to try again – I still felt conflicted, but my gut told me not to make any adjustments to the original pattern.
After all that, the whole dress (minus hemming) was done in a day.
I love it, though. It was my first time working with double gauze, which I found to be surprisingly “sticky” (for lack of a better term) – easy to sew, but trying it on over leggings wasn’t a good idea. But overall, it’s soft, lightweight, and just opaque enough that I could get away without a lining.
I almost always line my dresses, so since I wasn’t lining this one, I opted to do French seams for all the seams except the zipper and waist seams (I had to serge those. I didn’t want to, but I had gotten impatient at that point. It got the job done). I would recommend French seams if you’re working with a lightweight fabric – my fabric was borderline thin-enough to get away with it. Since double gauze has two layers, I was also able to slip stitch the neckline facing down all the way around.
After all my non-adjustments, I found that the fabric still pulls kind of weirdly around the neck. I’m not sure if making my shoulder adjustment would have changed that. All in all, the fit is perfect around the waist and I love the pleats that go all the way around the skirt. It’s cozy but flattering. I also cannot get enough of the fabric – the colour, the print…I couldn’t even tell till I started sewing it, but the little white dots are actually bits of silver! Ah, Nani Iro, you have me under your spell.