a wool dress

I've been trying to get decent photos of this dress all week but the skies have been quite grey, the light so low and now the husband has arrived back from Nairobi with some weird bug or other and taken to his bed. It's also freezing cold and what you don't see is the thick socks, vest and hat I'm wearing to keep the blood circulating. I shot these with the self timer .. always a challenge focusing on yourself when you're standing the wrong side of the lens so, after a lot of tinkering with the camera settings, I'm going to have to call it a day with this lot!

The minute I saw this wool I had to have it. The colours, the pattern, the feel of it .. it's gorgeous. But it was also pricy, so I hesitated to cut until I was completely happy. I wanted to make a dress totally simple in style, absolutely no gathers, darts, elasticated anything .. I just wanted to show off those lovely checks without distraction.

A long search led me to lesson 3 in this book. I liked the flared skirt and the fact it is roomy enough for me to wear a top underneath if I want. I left the sleeves till the end, not cutting out until I had finally made up my mind as to whether to plump for short, three quarter length or long. The pattern gives plain, loose, three-quarter but I settled on making a cuff and did similar sleeves to my Tova dress, which I love. Once I had the pattern drafted, the dress itself was a cinch to make and the wool, I hasten to add, was a dream to sew. No shifting about and fraying like the flannel and it feels so soft and silky.

I deliberately chose not to try matching all the checks but concentrated on marrying up just the sleeves instead. I'm quite happy to have a little discoordination, perfect isn't always best. I didn't bother to line it either, to eliminate bulk, I have a navy slip which I might wear instead.

One irritation about this book is the fact there are no body measurement sizes included, only finished garment measurements. You mustn't always assume that these books follow a standard sizing chart either, when comparing the garment size to those printed in other books there were slight discrepancies. I went up a size to make my dress (to give me the option of layering) but took in the side seams a fraction so it's not so sack-like. I also added a fair bit to the overall length as these Japanese patterns are normally a little short for me.

I wasn't sure how to prepare the fabric in the first place. I can't bear the idea of regular dry cleaning so after chatting it over with both the shop and with the font of all knowledge (my Mum), I put it all into the washing machine on a hand wash cycle and crossed my fingers tightly. I intended to give it the quickest of spins but then promptly forgot and it went the full cycle. Thankfully it survived, so no misshapen, felted mass of fibres and if there was any shrinkage it was evenly done and I'm non the wiser.

Perhaps by now you may have picked up on the number of checked garments being created in the harmony and rosie household. Well, I'm thinking this may be the last but you never know. Never say never. And am I crazy about this dress? Oh yes, siree, I'm going to be wearing it on Christmas Day!

Happy frantic preparations!


  1. It's beautiful. I've only made one dress from those Japanese books and found it was too short (which I compensated for as I could see it would be) and way too wide, despite the-size-in-centimetres guide. Once you've made one, though, I guess you know what to look for. Your dress almost has me hankering for winter. Almost (but not quite).

    Reminds me of a Toast catalogue. I hasten to add that I love Toast cataolgues.

  2. Gorgeous. Truly. And the colours remind me of the woods and moors under winter skies. Perfect :D

  3. It's beautiful and looks so comfortable (in the nicest possible way) and with no waistband it will be ideal over Christmas!

  4. Gorgeous! A really beautiful fabric and such an elegant shape. A lovely dress really does make Christmas even more enjoyable. Have a lovely one. Laura Xx

  5. Very suave and very lovely indeed - just perfect and very fitting for Christmas....for sure.

    The bug sounds icky - hope he recovers soon.

    take care,

    Nina xxxxxxx

    ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉

  6. Beautiful Kate, I love the colours! :)
    Hope hubby is better soon!
    V x

  7. Happy frantic preparations, indeed! ;-)

    That dress hangs so beautifully. You are a talented lady.

    I hope (for your sake, dare I say) your husband recovers soon!

  8. A lovely dress, Kate. The wool fabric is beautiful, and you have used it so perfectly in the style you've chosen. I love the sleeves, and the soft drape...gorgeous. I hope your poor husband is better soon!
    Helen x

  9. Beautiful fabric Kate and just so elegant - perfect for Christmas day. x

  10. great plaid-love the colors, and such a nice looking dress!

    'get well soon' wishes and hopes for sunny skies,sent your way :)

  11. Lovely dress, enjoy wearing it - it fits you well. I am so glad that it wasn't ruined in the wash.

  12. It's lovely. Great fabric and I love that neckline and the sleeves.

  13. Gorgeous dress - I absolutely love it. The fabric is amazing.

    Nicki xx

  14. Hey Kate, the beauty of this dress is int it's simplicity. Love what you have done with the sleeves and 'cuffs', adds that bit of interest to the overall look........
    You can dress it up adding accessories or keep it simple. I can imagine the fabric was a dream to sew.
    I think it will be great for Christmas day.

    Hope hubby is up and about ASAP.
    Nairobi no doubt a bit warmer than home, eh?

    Claire :}

  15. It's interesting to know about the different sizing in this book. All of my books seem to have the same or similar sizing.

    This is a great pattern to showcase a beautiful fabric.

    Hope your hubby feels better very soon!

  16. such a simple but gorgeous dress and the design really does allow the wool to take centre stage! hope you've warmed up?

  17. Beautiful Kate and I just love the fabric...it looks so wonderfully soft and luxurious...I know exactly what you mean about these Winter days..almost impossible to take photographs...but you have done so well with your self-timer!
    Hope your hubby is feeling better so that you can all enjoy the festivities,
    Wishing you a lovely Christmas,
    Susan x

  18. Well done on photographing your dress on the self timer, a hard task that.
    What a triumph your dress is! Absolutely beautiful, it reminds me of Toast clothing, which I love but can never afford.
    I'm sorry to hear your husband is unwell, I hope he's o.k. in time for Christmas.
    The thought of making a wool dress is wonderful, it would be perfect for the climate where I live.
    What a superb dress, just superb!
    Vanessa xxx

  19. I think that you are the secret muse for the TOAST team! Such a lovely simple dress and amazing fabric.
    Wishing you all a Merry merry Christmas and hope the hubby perks up soon,

    with love, Sarah -x-

  20. Gah, I DEEPLY love this dress! It looks soooooooo pretty on you.

    (you can probably guess my next step? Yup, I'm pinning it!)


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