Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Nani Iro print Valentine's 1960s dress

nani iro fabric, 1960s dress

I actually kind of hate this dress, but I'm hoping it's just residual resentment from how frustrating it was to make and one day I'll grow to love it.

Well this dress was a bit of an odyssey.
I had wanted to make it as a Christmas holiday party dress, just sometime cheerful and pretty to wear out for drinks or to family dinners. However exam time conspired against me and I had exams until the 20th and then only 3 days until I had to ship out to Guelph for labyrinthine Xmas fun-times. Ugh Christmas. I love Christmas in theory, but sometimes not so much - especially in that Christmas takes evolved time management skills or you get overwhelmed fast. So, yes, no Christmas dress. But luckily there's Valentines, another time of year in which it is traditionally sanctioned to wear pretty red dresses. But it's being posted late because even though I finished it on the day before Valentines I had a nasty cold (so no date!), which I've been fighting off since - which in my case means becoming unphotogenic to the max... gray skin and acne, so sexy.

Then there was the fabric itself. I ordered it from Japan because I love Nani Iro prints so much, and red is my favourite colour - so I was pretty much seduced. However completely out of my budget as far as fabrics go... 22$ a yard? No thanks. But I guess in this case, yes please. I only bought 1-1/2 yards, so I had to make do in terms of patterns. I ended up splicing two vintage 1960s dress patterns together: The bottom from Simplicity 5355 and the top from Vogue 6463... they went together ok, but it was far from smooth sailing with this fabric!

The fabric is a bit stiffer and lower quality then I was expecting, given that the other Nani Iro fabrics I've bought have been so lovely... If anyone out there is eyeing the 'brushed cotton' my 2 cents is that it's better suited to home dec or bags, something where drape is not crucial.
Anyway due to the unforgiving drape I needed this dress to fit perfectly ... I'd made the bottom of Simplicity 5355 before so I wasn't expecting any issues but the back fit was not very faltering... kind of a butt poof of sorts. I lengthened the darts and curved the stitch line and that helped a little. The bodice also had some fit issues which didn't show up in my (softer) cotton muslin... It needed to be shortened significantly, but since it was already cut I reduced the length at the shoulders. I also attempted a lapped zipper using this tutorial from A Fashionable Stitch, with mixed results. The first time it caused the side seam to bulge, so I took the seams in but it's still more prominent then I like.

Things I like: The fit is fairly flattering from the front. I like the tight 1960s cocktail look (which is what I was going for).
nani iro fabric, 1960s dress

I also like - the lovely print! What an amazing textile design.
nani iro fabric, 1960s dress

I'm less thrilled with:

The prominence of the lapped zipper - seen here on the side. I'm not sure what I did wrong - or if this is just the look? I know on Mad Men the Zippers have often quite noticeable but I still feel like mine looks sloppy. Also not happy with the fullness at the bottom of the back darts. Not a deal breaker, but still. 

nani iro fabric, 1960s dress
nani iro fabric, 1960s dress


  1. Well I'm sorry you have mixed feelings about this dress because I think it's lovely! I like the lapped zipper look, I think it's nice, not bulky, but the person who has to like it most is you, so I hope it grows on you!

    1. Thanks! I hope I change my mind too - I think the frustration from all the alterations is perhaps clouding my judgement - I do love the style and print though!