This project shouldn’t have worked.
Despite initially being excited to start the Named Inari Tee Dress for my Jungle January entry, I was convinced throughout cutting and sewing that I had made the wrong decision. The cocoon shape would not flatter my figure and the deliberate style details (unbalanced shoulder seam, raised front hem) were usually tell-tale signs of a poorly-fitted garment on me. But this is the garment that proved me wrong!
Let’s back up. I had been keen to make the Inari dress for a while, as I am on a quest to find the Perfect Tee Dress Pattern – the slouchy-yet-stylish woven dress pattern that looks, and fits, as perfectly as an over-sized tee. I was convinced the Inari was It – namely because I’m a sucker for sewing trends, but also because I was sufficiently impressed with Named Patterns after my experiences with the Sointu Tee and Kielo Wrap Dress*.
So I pulled out some lush fern print, cotton/spandex sateen that I’d bought in the Spotlight clearance sale, and started cutting and taping the printed pattern. This is where I hit my first hurdle: the narrow skirt. After some dithering, I chose to cut a few sizes up: 44 bust and shoulders to 46 waist and hips (my measurements dictated a 40-42). This compared favourably to my well-fitting patterns, and the finished garment measurements were more to my liking. Use those finished garment measurement tables, folks!
Next was the shoulder seam: I will precede this by stating that Named do know how to draft a well-balanced shoulder (as evinced by my experience with the Sointu Tee) and fitted sleeve. But as a style feature, the shoulder seam on this garment is fairly even, and the armhole dropped, for an exaggerated sleeve. I chose to address the shoulder seam due to my forward head/shoulders, and leave the armhole, as the spandex content in my fabric obviated the need for a closer armhole fit. However, upon wearing the garment, I can absolutely see how the sleeve would be constrictive in a non-stretch woven, and would therefore suggest using a knit or stretch woven for this garment if you do not wish to restrict movement.
To rebalance the shoulder seam, I essentially performed a 2.5cm forward head adjustment, moving the back shoulder seam forward 2.5cm at the seamline, and shortening the front shoulder seam by the same amount. I lowered the front and back necks, and moved the sleeve cap forward by 2.5cm to match. The sleeve was actually already quite asymmetric and anatomically shaped, which again reassured me as to the quality of Named’s drafting.
I also added 15cm to the notch below the waist, as the dress seemed very short as drafted. Come the actual sewing process, I did not require much more fitting: I merely let the side seam out 7mm from the widest part of the waist down to the hem, to minimise the cocoon shape. I also liked the length as it was (apparently 15cm wasn’t enough?!), so cut and interfaced 4cm facing strips with which to finish the hem and vents.
This was a fussy process, and would much have preferred drafting deeper cut-on facings at the beginning, but I was so short on fabric that it was a miracle I got all the pattern pieces cut out! The finished look, with the hem and neck facings topstitched, is pleasing to my eye and provides a welcome sturdiness to the stretchy garment.
So despite these challenges, I really do like this dress, and reach for it in my wardrobe on a frequent basis. I would recommend the pattern, so long as you keep an eye on the finished garment measurements and consider the stretch content of your chosen fabric as regards sleeve movement. I don’t think the balanced shoulder seam would be a problem on most; it is just a fitting issue peculiar to my body.
I’m not sure I need another one, but still have some tropical print sateen that I set aside for the Perfect Tee Dress. Which patterns would you recommend?
Pattern: Named Inari Tee Dress
Pattern details: A loose-fitting tee dress and a cropped A-line tee, available in sizes 32-46. Comes as a layered PDF, copyshop or A4, or a printed pattern.
Fabric: 2m x 122cm wide printed cotton sateen in fern, from Spotlight
Other materials: Tessuti lightweight interfacing, cotton lawn for pockets
Mods: Size 44 bust and shoulders, 46 waist and hips
– Nearly 2.5cm forward head adjustment, moved sleeve cap forward to match
– Let out lower body approx. 7mm each side seam, effectively straightening side seam and minimising cocoon shape
– Lengthened 15cm at waist
– Added CB seam due to fabric restrictions
– Drafted hem and vent facings to maintain length, topstitched all facings and shoulder seam
– Straightened front vent, rather than tapering, to accommodate unshaped hem facing
– Fused neckline and shoulders with strips of lightweight interfacing to stabilise
– Added inseam pockets
*I’ve already sewn the Kielo Wrap Dress, just not had a chance to take photos. I’m hoping to get it blogged soon!