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was about walking the walk that I have been talking about, if that makes any sense. I watched a documentary on Steve Jobs last weekend that talked about how calligraphy inspired Apple’s clean lines and simplistic design. Attending a community college, Jobs enrolled in a calligraphy course where, just like all the subjects of Portrait of a Seamstress series, he met his mentor who taught him the powerful impact simple lines can have.

One thing I’ve learned from the two dresses I’ve made using Yoshiko Tsukiori‘s sewing books is that the simpler the garment, the more I come to like it. Maybe not right away, but as time passes, the garments grow on me. As I pair it with various other pieces in my closet, I see all the possibilities it can have. Now, I know you might slap me silly if you were standing next to me but I removed the ruffle from the first Japanese sewing dress – I liked the ruffled addition and it looked great in pictures, but I wanted to make it more wearable and every day. And you know what? I like it with it even more. I wore it ALL last weekend and received numerous compliments. Measuring no more than 2 inches, those tiny cap sleeves make a huge statement.

So as I stood in front of the mirror fitting a muslin to my third Japanese sewing dress, I thought about what extravagant additions I could add. Then I thought, “what if I added nothing and just let the fabric and silhouette make the statement?” That’s when the possibilities of where, how, and with what I could wear it with opened up.


  1. Reply

    Blogless Anna

    I’m enjoying following your growing love affair with Japanese patterns and simple lines. Very inspiring. Can’t wait to see dress number 3.

  2. Reply

    Roz @keightlystudio

    I too have really enjoyed seeing you bring those Japanese patterns to life. The simple lines are gorgeous and you wear them so beautifully. It’s really inspired my own sewing.


    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      That’s great! If the skirt you made is any indication, your own sewing creations are just as lively.

  3. Reply


    You are inspiring me to use my Japanese pattern book! I love everything that you have made so far, can’t wait to see the 3rd one.

  4. Reply


    Your last post about the jumper dress so inspired me, I immediately ordered one of the books myself. I have some doubts about the nature of the sometimes “sack like” dresses and how they will look on my frame. Whilst slim I am taller (5’6″), but I love the idea of the simple lines, so I’m excited to give it a go. Your dresses look wonderful!

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      That’s awesome Jillian! I hope your dress(es) give you as much fulfillment as mine have. And dont hesitate to send me a picture of the completed piece. I love receiving emails like that!

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