Split hem sacks: Named Inari Tee dresses x three

I didn't pay any attention to the Named Inari pattern when it came out, none at all.

If I noticed it at all, I would have dismissed it as the modelled pictures are a style I would never see myself in - I don't wear crop tops, I don't wear all white and I don't wear knee socks of any colour, certainly not pale purple.

Then Inari dresses started popping up everywhere online. Clearly other sewists had spotted what I could not, a dress that's basically a sack with some lovely style lines. The curved side seam, the split hem and the subtle cocoon shape. So very classic and so wearable. 

I became obsessed with wanting my own Inari and bought the PDF pattern, printed it out straight away and went home to glue. (Postage from Finland to Australia, then having to add my own seam allowances did not appeal.)

This is where things started to go a bit wrong. The pattern is not nested, although you get all sizes there are only two sizes to each file and they overlap. The pattern pages are not numbered for assembly so you have to make sure not to get the pages out of order as they come out of the printer. I stuffed this up and had to reprint half the pattern again the next day.

I pushed on, cut a size 38, adding two inches in length, and sewed it up in a lovely cotton slub voile from, surprisingly, Spotlight. The instructions are good, very straightforward and it all came together well.

I did notice that it seemed a bit tight, especially over the hips and that the neckline but I liked how it looked in the mirror, I made a tie for the waist before deciding that was too tight and uncomfortable.

I wore it work, got some nice compliments and took these pics with a yellow wall outside the office.

But, but...the more times I wore it, the more I noticed how tight it was, especially across the chest. I didn't have a full range of arm movement. I assumed I'd made the wrong size and decided to go up next time I made it.

The final straw was when I was in Sydney in February in steaming humidity, tired and jet lagged from coming across the country. The dress clung across my hips in the heat, the neckline felt like it was choking me and I had to reluctantly accept that this project, much as I loved this fabric and how it looked, was not a success.

While in Sydney though, I popped into Tessuti in Surry Hills and bought some fabric for the next Inari.

In the meantime, I decided to try it again in a cheap knit fabric.

I printed the 42, another 16 pages, glued, cut, sewed, this time in a cheap, very wide striped knit, bought at ClearIT in Brunswick Street last year. 

I'd gone up two sizes, and I'd used a stretch fabric - what go wrong? Well nothing, size wise. Very roomy.

But no cigar yet.

Firstly there's the stripe matching. I cut out so carefully, finding a point under the armscye to match, carefully checking front and back pieces were cut at the same spot. I used pin after pin matching the side seams on the each side. And they do match, well.

But if you look carefully, they are not parallel. They slope up towards the right. Obviously when I cut the fabric on the fold, something shifted. Rookie mistake I suppose. Oh well, I told myself if it was in shop, people would think that was a design feature.

I had a hair appointment one Wednesday afternoon, left with my hair all straight and shiny, and decided this would be the day to take blog photos in the back courtyard of my flat.

When I went out, I discovered that the house next door, and its wild and substantial back garden, had been completely demolished. My courtyard, previously enclosed and shrouded in green, now overlooked a dirt lot and the blank brick apartments beyond.

I took the photos anyway.

When I looked at them I noticed two things. One was that I had forgotten to secure the sleave cuffs before I took the pictures. 

The other was the back view. I knew this was a casual dress, but once I saw the photos I knew I could never wear it again. There's looking like sack dress, and then there's just looking like you're wearing a nighty.

I left it a few weeks, then cut the dress down into a t-shirt with a twin needled hem. 

So far, one virtually unwearable dress, one basic t-shirt, still no stylish Inari tee dress.

That might have been the end, had I not spotted Fabric Tragic's inspired mash-up of the Inari with the bodice of Marilla Walker's Maya top.

Another pattern which had cover art and sample pictures that didn't make me look twice, in Sarah's lovely striped linen I could see the lovely features of the Maya pattern's faced neckline and cap sleeves.

Off to the internet to buy the pattern - which actually took a few days to arrive in my inbox.

Cut, glue, measure, sew, make a toile. Thankfully size five made up in a soft chambray fit without any adjustments.

A few weeks ago I finally mashed them together, simply folding up the top of the inari and the lower half of the Maya.

My Tessuti fabric is a lovely spongy woven cotton I think, with a lot of stretch and texture. Unfortunately I didn't keep any record of what it is, or how much I paid, but it's lovely to wear, presses well but doesn't crease badly with wear. 

Inari conquered, finally. I love wearing this dress with black tights to work, it is as comfortable a sack but totally wearable for work. 

I did have to make the back in two parts, with a back yoke that has the stripe going the other way, owing to my unaccountably having bought only 1.5 metres.

I'm still not finished with this pattern; in fact I'd like another one right now, maybe in a blue tencel or solid colour linen or a crepe de chine for evening wear. I'd also like to bring the sleeves back somehow, maybe by mashing the pattern up with the Grainline Scout pattern, which I already have and know works.

Oh and Named have since reissued the pattern as a layered, nested pattern and sent me the updated PDF.

Happy sewing everyone - persistence pays off!


Inari crop tee/dress pattern - Named 13.00

Maya top and dress pattern - Marilla Walker AUD$13.61

Version 1 - 100% cotton slub voile in Indigo from Spotlight -  AUD$37.48

Version 2 - Cotton knit from ClearIt in Melbourne - $12

Version 3 - No idea, cotton maybe? Tessuti Surry Hills - no exact memory of price, possibly $24.95 a metre, total around $38?


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