Nani Iro Self-drafted Dress

When my son gave up his chambray and Winnie the Pooh toddler room for his "big boy" bedroom, I lovingly passed along some of the cherished pieces, the glider, and stuffed animals to friends with newborns who needed and really could use nursery items. Because I have a wee bit of a hoarding tendency with all things fiber, I tucked the linens back into my closet. Yep, that's me. I particularly loved the chambray sheets, and thought I would make a really sweet something out of it one day. Fast forward a couple of decades, and finally I've found the perfect use for that sheet.

When I took the block printing class with Valerie Wells, I came across this gorgeous Japanese fabric, Nani IRO Textile, Encouter @Naomi Ito. I just could not leave the Stitchin' Post without a couple yards.

Isn't it dreamy? It's double gauze and practically floats off the bolt. I knew it would make the perfect summer dress.

I usually only hand stitch with jersey fabric, but this fabric was special enough to jog me out of my normal routine and forced me to step out of my comfort zone and attempt that summer dress that had been simmering around in my brain for years.

You think I could have found a pattern I liked? Of course not! I have a couple dresses that I love the look and fit of, so I bit the bullet and made a self-drafted pattern. I laid the dresses onto paper and traced out the shapes I needed. I folded the images in half to make sure both sides were even. I compared these to some other patterns I had, and they seemed to make sense. I added a seam allowance to my pattern. With baited breath, I cut my pattern out of that lovely chambray sheet for practice. Low and behold, it fit.

I frayed the hem, the waist casing, and the tie.

I contemplated making the skirt a little fuller, but I only had two yards of the Japanese fabric, minus a little I had taken off to use for my table runner, so I pretty much kept to my original pattern, just extending the skirt out as much as my yardage would allow. You can see how the sides dip down ever so slightly with the extra fabric in the image below.

When making my second dress, because the double gauze fabric tends to fray a lot, I used French seams to keep as many of those stray threads corralled as best as possible. I also used seam tape on the shoulder seams to keep them tidy.

I had a difficult time deciding which color trim to add.

I texted some friends these photos for their opinions. Lavender was the clear choice.

I added a casing over the waist seam and at first I tried this satin ribbon.

It's pretty, but wasn't quite what I wanted. So next I tried a piece I had crocheted with a tiny flower on each end.

I like this one best. I'm even wondering what it would look like to take off the lavender trim and add a simple crochet edging......but that will be another project for another time.

For now, I'll enjoy my two new summer dresses, of course after the snow melts and warm breezes begin.


  1. Two cute dresses for summer! Love the wrap neckline that is not low, the frayed chambray hem, and the cute crocheted tie. It is always in my mind to try copying elements of a favorite garment but I continue to pay for patterns to come as close as I can to what I want. O.K. you are again inspiring me. Hope spring has come to your part of the world. Beautiful weather brought out the flowers on the trees. Soon you will be wearing your pretty new dresses. Elsie

    1. Thank you for all the nice compliments, Elsie ~ I too am hoping for warmer weather, but in Central Oregon, I may be waiting for a few more months. But that's okay. We had our first snow drop flowers this week, so it's coming.