This is the long story of the Inari Tee Dress and how I made it work for me.
I guess we all have these pattern crushes that are mainly fuelled by very cool people wearing them, not necessarily because they are our style. This was exactly what happened to me with the Named Inari Tee Dress. When it came out I really liked the crop top version, but the dress? Not really my thing, which could have also had something to do with the pattern styling which just reminds me of a tennis outfit. Then the Inaris started popping up on the sewing blogs, and the more often I saw it the better I liked it, even though I never wear cocoon shaped dresses. The coolest ones I’ve seen so far are this one, this one, and this one. To be fair, there are so many cool ones out there, this list could be endless. So in the end I caved and bought it, planning to make a dress for the many weddings I will be attending this year out of some gorgeous floral Nani Iro (the idea is totally stolen from here and here). Of course I couldn’t cut into the precious fabric without making a muslin first. I decided to use some medium weight striped knit from Miss Matatabi which had less stretch and recovery than expected (looking at the description now, that was actually highlighted explicitly). I hoped the fabric would show off the cocoon shape nicely so that I could decide if I liked it or not.
After reading a couple of reviews I decided to go grade up around the hips, choosing a size 38 for the top and and something between a size 40 and 42 for the bottom. While the fabric has some stretch after all I wanted to avoid any tightness around the hips.
The construction was very quick. All seams were assembled on my normal machine and finished with my overlock. The neck was finished with a facing.
When I put it together I really liked the look, in particular the neckline and the sleeves but when I put it on the bottom was huge! My boyfriend wasn’t impressed either and said it looked like a night gown. Unsure if this was how it was supposed to be, I went back to consult the online sewing community, realising that in most cases the dresses were as roomy, however, most used more drapey fabric which made the dresses look less voluminous. The amount of fabric around the waist led to fabric pooling at my lower back, which I had to do something about. I unpicked the side seams and let the dress hang on my dress form for a couple of weeks. Then I made another attempt, taking in the sides slightly. This however made the fabric pooling issue worse. Without darts and a centre back seam to work with, the only option really was to add two darts in the back. While that doesn’t really fit the style of the dress, it was the only way I could make the back fit. Then I took in the sides at the waist to give it slightly more shape, trying to keep the volume around the hips to keep some of the original character of the dress.
I’m still on the fence about the overall style of the dress and after wearing it for a whole day I’ve decided that it is still too wide around the hips. On the other hand it has such cute details, like the split hem and the turned up sleeves that I’m determined to wear it. Who knows maybe I just need to get used to wearing looser styles and can finally start looking as cool as everyone else out there.
As long as the weather here in the UK stays as frosty, I will have to wear it layered. After trying every possible combination in my closet I settled on this blush linen blazer from the charity shop. I love the slouchiness of both garments together, the blazer however giving the outfit enough structure to wear it to work.
Oh and I love how well this dark green scarf goes with the blush blazer. I had an epiphany after seeing an image on Pinterest and now it’s my absolute favourite colour combination.
In the end I am not sure if I will make an Inari out of my Nani Iro fabric. I still think the combination looks really cool, but I now have a vision of a Kimono style dress for the fabric. First draping experiments just looked so cool. Now I just need to find the right pattern. Or I stick with draping and develop something myself…