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What i Made: Another Japanese Dress


This dress grew on me. When I finished it on a Friday night that had me up past my bedtime, I hung it up and stepped back to take a look at the completed piece. I loved the fabric, a sturdy cotton twill that was a vintage find I snagged for $4 at The Resource Exchange in North Philly, and the fit was spot on (it made a muslin), but it was just… eh. There wasn’t much going on, you know? Rather than muling over what lace trim to add to it, I went to bed, which also prevented some serious under eye bags that would have resulted if I stayed up any later. As I was getting dressed the next day, I spotted an V neck t-shirt and thought, “Oh, this would look good with the jumper!” I tried both on and what do you know? It worked! Looking at myself in the mirror, the only thing that I thought was missing was some color (and maybe some paint brushes – this dress is so artsy!). Grabbing a coveted pair of orange Jeffrey Campbell wedges, I looked in the mirror again and said out loud, “Now this is an outfit.”

Just like my first Japanese dress, this dress was from Stylish Dress Books and is a simple jumper dress. Patterns for all the styles in the book are printed on one page (front and back), which makes it a challenge to copy and cut the pattern. Again, the front and back are a printed cotton twill that I bought at The Resource Exchange (link above). All seams are bound with ¼” polka dotted bias binding as well as the bottom edge of the neck facing, which is a contrast printed cotton I bought in NYC. The bottom is finished with is 2″ facing and made with the same contrast printed cotton as the neck facing. The patch pocket is 1 ply and top applied (I used this tutorial to apply).


As opposed to my former sewing self, I’ve been attracted to more wearable me-made garments, which has made the grand finale of completing a project, well, less grand. There’s still a sense of accomplishment, but it’s less than the high I feel when I sew the last stitch of a ball gown type garment. That’s okay though because what I’ve found is that my feelings for the simpler garments grow as time passes. Once I realize the other clothes in my wardrobe I can pair it with and how it will transition from season to season, I like the garment more and more. While my grand statement pieces sit unworn in my closet, my simpler pieces like this one are showing their capabilities and receiving comments like, “Oh you made that? How awesome!” That’s the best feeling ever.



  1. Reply


    Beautiful dress and so beautifully constructed too. A ball gown may be fancy, but this dress has heart. Great job (and adore those shoes!)

  2. Reply

    Blogless Anna

    I love this dress. So simple and yet oh so stylish. I enjoyed reading about your discovery of the joy of sewing clothes for everyday. You’ve inspired me to go and pour over my Japanese sewing books.

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Yes! Pour over them. I swear that I’m coming to like them more and more. I just might make the whole book!

  3. Reply


    This outfit is great. It just works! Being a shoe person I am particularly fond of those πŸ™‚ I agree, sometimes the simple pieces that can be built upon are the most useful and worn, and ultimately very fulfilling. Sort of the “cake”/”frosting” dychotemy and we definitely need both!

  4. Reply


    Ooh it’s really cute! It reminds me a little of my seventies dress (thanks for the props, BTW!). I’ve been wearing it both with and without a belt and both work in different ways. I’m totally with you on making more everyday clothes – that way we get to wear them more and celebrate dressmaking as a lifestyle.

    Lovely photos, as always. x

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Your 70s dress was an inspiration for this dress!

  5. Reply

    Kirsty Bunfield

    Oh Maddie, this is dreamy. Lovely dress and perfect styling. The V is perfect under it. I must shake the dust of this book on my book shelf.

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Yes, you must.

  6. Reply


    Aww, Maddie! Lovely dress! It’s really cute, especially that print. I’m with you on wanting to make more everyday wearable clothes.
    And girl, those shoes!! – enough said.

  7. Reply

    Karin - the-f-girl.com

    What a beautiful dress. I love the print, but also the clean shape. Very artsy indeed. A dress like this belongs in a home with a fire place, a huge stained wooden table with on there a large pot filled with tea and cookies. πŸ™‚

  8. Reply


    Oohh! This dress turned out so cute! And I love how you paired it with those bright wedges to give it a pop of color.
    In your last post on Japanese patterns, you inspired me to pull back out my Japanese pattern book. I actually completed two garments from it last week. I love how absolutely simple and wearable they are. And what’s even more awesome, is because there aren’t a ton of seams, etc. I was able to take the time to french seam all the seams, and bind every other edge neatly, so no raw edges showed on the inside!!! WHOO HOO!!!
    You are inspiring!

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      You go girl! I agree that because the garments are so simple, you can (and want) to spend more time on the inside details.

  9. Reply


    that IS an outfit. i love the exaggerated shapes. divine, maddie!!!

  10. Reply


    Great outfit! Awesome paired with the shoes. You look lovely. I, personally, get so much joy out of sewing wearable clothes that I reach for time and time again.

  11. Reply

    Carlee McTavish

    Love it!

  12. Reply

    Silvia - Sewing Princess

    Gorgeous style for a gorgeous woman! I’m impressed…it would look like a sack on me but it’s great on you! And those shoes….I want them!

  13. Reply

    Sally Keiser

    It looks GREAT!

  14. Reply

    Craft Sanctuary

    I LOVE it with those shoes! It really does need a pop of color. Such a perfect outfit!

  15. Reply


    Lovely. The simplicity of the dress with the bold shoes and fun backdrop pair perfectly.

  16. Reply

    Daughter Fish

    Maddie, love this! The styling is amazing. I want to see the inside of the dress with the polkadot binding!:)

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      I get so wrapped up in the set of the photos that I forget about the detail shots. If you look at the first Japanese dress I made, you’ll see the binding (I used leftovers for this dress).

  17. Reply

    Jennifer @ Workroom Social

    Super cute!

  18. Reply


    so lovely maddie!!! and the shoes with that dress, they go perfectly together!

  19. Reply


    So so darling! I would totally wear this, love that you are making basics!

  20. Reply

    emily marie

    I just need to give you props for NOT belting this! I just don’t get the belting compulsion so many have these days; the shape and length of your dress are lovely and interesting as they are! A wonderfully utilitarian staple.

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Absolutely no belt! The fabric and silhouette don’t lend itself to be cinched at the waist!

  21. Reply


    I made this one too! It also took a bit to grow on me, and I tightened it up so my bra didn’t show while wearing it without a shirt underneath. Love your choice in fabric and its so wonderful on you!

  22. Reply

    Maggie Pate

    I’m a sucker for a midi dress, this one looks perfect. Looks lovely, especially with the top knot!

    Maggie Pate

  23. Reply


    I love this style! I have been eyeing this series of books for a while now. However on reviews I have read the patterns are for teen sizes or the very petite. Did you find this to be true? I see that you are very petite, but did you find you were at the top of the pattern range? or was there some space for larger sized? I know this is an old post but any insight would be helpful:)
    Love the blog, Have fun in Paris!

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