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Japan Design Aesthetics

In my 20s I had the wonderful experience to live and travel in Japan for a few years, and I loved the unique design aesthetics in everyday life there. When I first set eyes on this Lady McElroy Stretch Viscose Fabric called 'Cygnus Return',  it reminded me of a traditional Japanese kimono, simple, graphic and elegant. Contrasted against the ink black background, the cream and blush coloured swans really come to life in peaceful harmony. 
I was inspired to make a wrap dress with a vintage vibe, and for me it just had to be the Sew Over It 1940s Wrap Dress. Known for refreshing vintage silhouettes with a modern rendition, Lisa Comfort really nailed it with this design with her personal style. I also love how the narrow lapels the wrap front and the sleek waistband gives a subtle nod to my kimono inspiration. 
It was my first time working with the Lady McElroy stretch viscose and I was in for a treat! I love any viscose woven fabric mainly for its unparalleled drape. However not every design is suited for a shifty viscose challis. The stretch viscose has more body than a regular challis and is perfect for the 1940s wrap dress which calls for a balance of drape and structure. It also comes with a 5-10% one way stretch, which works really well with the fitted waistline and narrow sleeves.
The fabric is such a joy to sew and almost handles like a cotton. If you are new to sewing drapey fabrics, I strongly recommend starting with this base. It comes a few other lovely prints at Minerva. I would personally like a dress or top in each! 
The 1940s wrap dress is a delightful make like all other Sew Over It patterns. The construction is clearly illustrated with lots of smart finishing details through out. I especially like the unique way the lapels are constructed, with a new-to-me way of finishing the neckline with bias tape. Details of that technique can be found on the sew-along posts on the Sew Over It website and I definitely will be using this clean professional finish in my future projects. 
True to the vintage feel of the design, there is some hand stitching recommended in this pattern, mainly for the waistband area. I actually quite enjoyed slowing down my sewing once a while with a cup of good tea! The end result is beautiful inside and out. I did cut my waistband across grain to utilize the slight stretch of the fabric, whereas the pattern recommends cutting the band along the grain for strength. It is really a personal preference and I chose comfort =) For closure, I used two snaps on each side of the wrap and felt very secure with no snap popping during wearing.
The pattern comes in two skirt lengths and two sleeve lengths. I made the longer sleeve version and actually adjusted my skirt to exactly between the two lengths. It hits just below my knees for my 158cm frame, which is my preferred length for a wrap dress. It pairs well with both flats and heels both. 
I loved my new 1940s wrap dress the very first moment I put it on. You know that special feeling of wearing a well-made garment that's just your style? This dress is it for me. I love the oriental nostalgia mixed with a classic timeless style. The fabrics is so silky against the skin and the little bit of stretch means all day comfort while looking so put together. Paired with some red pumps, it's a look that could carry you through any occasion with elegance.
Until next time,
Chloe @no.idle.hands

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Meg An said:

It's lovely · 13th Apr 2019 10:04pm