Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Balloon dress in lawn cotton

One of my favorite Japanese sewing books is Jolies Tenues pour Fillettes Coquettes by Akiko Mano. The cover alone is to die for: a beautiful picture of a gorgeous girl in a smashing balloon dress. Yes, the adjectives are on sale today.
As a self-confessed balloon dress addict, the first pattern I used from this book was, of course, the balloon dress featured on the cover. In contrast to the bubble dress I drew myself, this one does not have a separate bodice and skirt.
When Norah was younger, I made the dress a couple of times in midweight cotton. This time, a chose for a very thin lawn cotton: Nippon by Nani Iro. The fabric is a bit of a mystery to me: it's an atypical design and material for Nani Iro, and when I search for it on Google Images, the only pics I find are from the Etsy shop where I bought the fabric (Kicoli). I don't know from what year it is, or from which line.
The important thing was cutting the pieces in such a way that the half circles would match on the sides of the dress. This was quite the challenge, as the half circles are irregular in shape.
And the best thing: the fabric looks just as good in wrinkles as it does ironed.
By the way, Norah really liked her new dress, even though the pic below might suggest otherwise.


  1. I haven't sewed this dress yet but I have the book... I like this one.

  2. thanks for sharing.

  3. Ahhha! I have made this dress too, (which was a little tricky for me to figure out in the Japanese) in a heavy cotton that I had dyed. As you mentioned, it turned out a little flat, or deflated rather. I love this light and airy version that you made with the Nani iro cotton fabric, so airy and modern. It's amazing how crucial fabric choice can be particularly for a pattern like this one.

  4. This is divine! What size did you make? I've just cut out the 100 for my almost 4 y/o and it looks really short. From what I read, this would be her correct size based on her age and measurements, but it seems small...

  5. Thanks Kelly! I used the smallest size and then made the pattern smaller and shorter, because Norah was only two when I made it. Generally, my experience is that The Japanese sizes overestimate rather than underestimate, though. Did you add seam allowance?

  6. Thanks for your reply! Actually I realized I forgot to add seam allowances right after I wrote that comment, but I think even with them added I'll need to size up. I'll trace out the larger size and hold it up to her to get an idea. Thankfully I only cut out one piece so have enough fabric to try again.

  7. Where can I get this pattern? It's adorable!

    1. Hi Olivia,
      You can find a link to the pattern book in the post (first sentence).