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Everyday Dresses

Emery Dress and Red Velvet Dress Sewalongs

A few weeks ago I realized that I don’t have any everyday dresses in my wardrobe. Not one. I have everyday skirts but no everyday dresses. Yep. I’m more of a separates kinda gal so that’s part of the reason. And I guess the other reason is my attitude toward dresses. I guess I think of them as being something that you don’t wear everyday.

The five dresses I own only get worn a couple of times a year or not even that. They include a vintage black dress that I got years ago; the dress I wore as a bridesmaid to a wedding; two dresses I made from vintage Vogue patterns, and the dress I made for my BurdaStyle Sewing Vintage Modern contest entry earlier this year (I was a finalist but didn’t win). I usually end up wearing a vintage hat with these outfits and even a crinoline with the one I made for the sewing contest – not exactly everyday wear but I do wear them to work when I’m in the mood and the weather is warm enough in San Francisco.

So when I heard about Christine Haynes‘s Emery Dress and the Red Velvet Dress by Cake Patterns – I had to take a closer look. At first I thought the Emery Dress was a touch too girly for me – I think the bow made me hesitate. But then I saw the striped Emery Dress by Devon of Miss Make blog and it convinced me that I should get the pattern. She cut the collar on the bias and it looks fabulous, doesn’t it? She kindly let me repost this photo from her blog post Emery Dress Pattern.

Emery Dress - sewn by Devon of Miss Make - pattern by Christine Haynes

The Emery Dress Sewalong has just started but Christine is only on fabric and notions. Muslin sewing starts on Oct. 30. You can view the schedule here. I think you could still join in on it if you order the pattern right away. In November Christine will focus on bust adjustments – small and full. I’m looking forward to that!

The Red Velvet Sewalong starts on November 11! So there’s still time to participate.It’ll be a series of ten sessions over two weeks. I participated in the Cake Patterns Hummingbird Sewalong earlier this year, which was a lot of fun. So far I’ve made three Hummingbird tops, which you can see here.

Melizza of Pincushion Treats was a pattern tester for the Red Velvet sewing pattern. You can see two of the dresses she made here.

And I also love the Lady Skater Dress that Katie of Kadiddlehopper made. She wrote about it in Lady Skater: Sakura Blossom Style and graciously let me post this photo of her twirling around in the dress. Check out her post for more photos of this pretty dress.

Lady Skater Dress by Katie of Kadiddlehopper

And last but not least, today my copy of Clothing for Everyday: Stylish Dress Book by Yoshiko Tsukiori arrived! I pre-ordered it on Amazon.

Clothing for Everyday Wear: Stylish Dress Book by Toshiko Tsukiori

This is the English translation published by Laurence King. There are dresses, tops, jackets, and pants in this book – a total of 26 garments – according to the book flap. There are plenty of photos in the book – slender, winsome, and unsmiling  Japanese models, which probably means grading the pattern up a bit for me. The pattern is sized for XS, S, M, and L. No XL folks.

The dimensions for large are 36 5/8″ (93 cm) bust; 29 1/8″ (74 cm) waist, and 38 5/8″ (98 cm) hips. Based on that, I’m more of an XL in the hips and height. Oh, and the pattern gives the same height for all four sizes – 63″ (160 cm), which must be a mistake. 63″ is 5′ 3″. I’m nearly 5′ 8″ so who knows what the height measurement means.

I’m looking forward to adding everyday dresses to my wardrobe. Have you made any dresses that fall into the everyday category? What patterns have you liked? Have you  made anything from Japanese pattern books? What was your sizing experience like?

And do let me know if you’re participating in the Emery Dress Sewalong or the Red Velvet Sewalong. I’d love to see what your version looks like!

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Chuleenan Svetvilas is a writer who sews and collects hats and shoes. She is a fabric addict and loves classic films and vintage clothes.

11 Responses to “Everyday Dresses”

  1. October 30, 2013 at 5:05 pm #

    Such fun! I do love everyday dresses!!! I’ve just had a wonderous parcel of autumn Female, Pochee and the comfortable clothes made by cotton & linen arrive from Japan so I’ll be joining you in Japanese sewing! ;)
    I’ve found most of the Japanese styles are fitted in the shoulders & bust only – the large in DrapeDrape is ok, but I am a small bust. The armholes are far too small for me and yes, the length is the same between sizes (it makes it easier to print I think!) they’re usually straight hems though, so easy to lengthen ;)
    I adore the blog:
    and The Monthly Stitch is ‘sew from a sewing book’ this month, so maybe I’ll see you over there as well? ;) – as well as the Cake Red Velvet sewalong? ;)

    • October 30, 2013 at 5:22 pm #

      I’ll have to check out that blog! Thanks for the link! I guess the small bust works in my favor but having hips seems like it could be a problem. ;) I was flipping through the book last night and wonder how well those styles will work with my body. I have my doubts but I will give it a try. Maybe I will see you at the Monthly Stitch. I cam doing the Red Velvet sewalong so see you there! =)

  2. October 28, 2013 at 8:50 pm #

    I doubt the height is a mistake – Japanese people tend to be quite short! I myself am 5’1″, so I don’t have a problem with that aspect of Japanese patterns, but the L would not fit me at all! Which is a shame, because it looks like a beautiful book and I love the style, but they’re just too tiny for me. I love your everyday dress plan – I have made dresses, but they’re too fancy for everyday wear so perhaps I need to follow in your footsteps!

    • October 28, 2013 at 9:06 pm #

      The dimensions for large aren’t very big, which is too bad. Is it that hard to add XL or XXL? (sigh) It’ll be an experience in grading. So you have the everyday dress issue, too? Glad to know I’m not the only one! =)

      • October 28, 2013 at 9:23 pm #

        Maybe not, actually – I have one “stylish dress” book but when I got it I was fairly new to sewing and wouldn’t have the faintest clue how to grade up. Maybe I should take another look at it now!

  3. October 28, 2013 at 8:44 pm #

    Those all look like great patterns. I’m sure you will do them all justice! I have a Japanese sewing book Feminine Wardrobe by Jinjo Matsumoto and the patterns are all so huge! Even the XS size is generous. I have no idea how folks figure out their pattern sizing it all just seems so random.

    • October 28, 2013 at 9:01 pm #

      Wow – so funny that the patterns were all huge! I do have Shape Shape by Natsuno Hiraiwa and large was more like a medium on me. That’s the extent of my experience w/Japanese patterns. ;)

      I’ll definitely be making a lot of muslins!

  4. October 28, 2013 at 7:50 pm #

    You are going to be so fashionable this and next season :)


  1. Hips and Japanese Sewing Patterns - C Sews - October 31, 2013

    […] it when I was in the midst of my I-don’t-have-everyday-dresses-in-my-wardrobe revelation (see Everyday Dresses). I liked the images I saw on Amazon so I pre-ordered it. This will be my second book of Japanese […]

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