This is another one from the same magazine as my last make – Ottobre Women 2/14. This one is pattern number 19, called “Japanese flowers” after the fabric that the magazine version is made from. Like the last one, I made this a month ago and then ended up making adjustments. The first part of this blog was written before I did the adjustments, and I’m too lazy to re-write it so I’ll just tack onto the end.

As with my last make, I made this to fill a wardrobe gap. It’s from a woven rayon from Spotlight, and is the same colour as one of the “Painted Roses” blouses I made last year. I sewed a size 50, graded down to a 46 at the shoulders and neck. It fits well but pulls a bit at the shoulders, I think if I made it again I would just make a straight 50.

It’s supposed to have a zip down the back but on basting it together to check the fit, I found I could easily get it over my head, so I skipped the zipper. I think it hangs a lot nicer than it would with a zip, so that’s all to the good! I thought about doing some shaping at the backseam for my swayback, but with a gathered bodice, I thought that was a bit pointless.

I was a bit on the fence about the gathering details – its a very different shape to what I am used to. But it’s growing on me. I did move the gathering at the front so it starts 3 inches either side of where the pattern indicates. I found that as drafted it was too bunchy, and not under my boobs so the bodice sat weird.

The bodice with gathers as drafted. Probably lovely on a smaller frame, with fewer ins and outs, needed some adapting for me.

I also took some length off the centre front. As drafted it curves so there’s more pouf at the front, and I trimmed it so it’s a lot straighter. It would have been better to do this at the start because I feel like I still got it a bit uneven, but that’s what you get for adjusting on the fly, and I don’t think it’s too obvious.

The front as drafted, with two inches more length at the centre front.

I don’t love the way the gathering bunches at the back, but I can live with it. If i made it again I might cut the back on the fold and even the gathering out across the whole back, so it’s less bunchy – that little pouch on the left in this photo bugs me. Otherwise, I like the room it gives to the bodice.

The skirt drafting is wonderful. It’s got some clever darts that go out and THEN in, and also a steep swoop on the side seam. I just love the way it looks, on, and I think I’ll steal this skirt to attach to various bodices. It also balances out the blousiness of the bodice really well, I don’t think I would like it as much with a more ordinary straight skirt.

Clever dart and side shaping.

I french seamed everything because why not? Although the hem is just overlocked and turned up, because I didn’t want to loose too much length. The rayon behaves itself beautifully. It will need ironing but I seem to be going down that route anyways, so help me. Once again, that’s the payoff for wearing natural fibres, and that’s what I like to wear. I don’t mind ironing so much if it’s a garment I really love and has the pros of natural fibres as well as the cons.

French seams

Sewing the bias onto the neck and shoulders was a DELIGHT. I have not quite enough fabric left to do anything with, I think I might make bias binding out of it because it is just so lovely to use as binding. I’m sure my various makes would benefit from it. I bought 2.5m while the pattern calls for 1.5, and I used most of it. Next time I’ll buy 2 and lay it out a bit better. I didn’t line it, either, although the pattern calls for lining the skirt. It would be necessary in a lighter fabric but I don’t think this one needs it, and no lining makes it extra cool and breezy.

Bias binding at neck and arms

The top of the bodice is also a bit loose, I wonder if I stretched it out a bit before sewing – you can see the little bubble in the photo above. Could have done with a stay stitch, probably. The blousy bodice hides a multitude of sins, though. I am really coming around to the shape, It’s drafted well enough that it looks like an intentional style rather than a baggy mistake. I think it’s a little bit toga-like, so I took a couple more photos next to the columns on our verandah.

This was a really fast make – I cut it and sewed it all in about three hours, including mucking around and basting and tweaking. I can see some more of these in my future!


After writing all that, we had a hot day and I thought I’d road test the dress by wearing it to work. I ended up changing before I left the house because the arms were so tight that they were uncomfortable. I ended up unpicking the shoulder seams and resewing them. I overlocked them and then sewed the shoulder-side as narrow as I could, tapering back up to 1.5cm at the neck. Maybe you can sort of see it here:


And then I re-bound the sleeves, trying to give myself a bit more give and easing in the bias binding more generously. This brings it much closer to a straight size 50, with a size 48 neck. The sleeves are still a teeny bit tight, but not enough to stop me wearing this dress in Bali, and loving it. It was the perfect dress for the weather – the rayon is so light it feels like wearing nothing, but my shoulders were covered and protected from the sun. I wished I had ten more. I wore it on our day trip, to have lunch in front of a volcano:

IMG_5923 IMG_5925

Thanks Lara for the photos, all contrast issues are my own, it was a very bright day!

And to buy ikat from a weaving family in Tenganan village, looking very pleased with myself:

IMG_5957 FullSizeRender

Thanks to Roz and Suse for these photos!

And here are some quick snaps I took at home

I think it maybe makes the front gathering sit slightly less flatteringly, but since it’s actually wearable, I think that’s an ok tradeoff!

A helper!
He did not sign up for this

I still really like this one, the only downside being that it’s so freezing in my office that I won’t be able to wear it to work, even in the inevitable heatwaves of summer. Still, it’s a wonderfully comfortable and cool summer dress and I will definitely be revisiting this pattern!


4 thoughts on “Ottobre Women 02/214 – “Japanese flowers”

  1. I really love this style and I love the careful thinking you put into fitting. I find that each time I make a pattern I make it a bit better, so I enjoyed reading about things you’d do differently next time. I think this looks great already though and I love the colour and silhouette on you. Cute photos and kitty, too!

Whadya reckon?

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