Hot! The “Fabric Has Spoken” Dress | Adey Lim


The Facts

Fabric: 2.5 metres of border print light weight cotton fabric from Chinatown $16.70
Pattern: Project C from Japanese Sewing Book ‘Les couleurs francaises’
Year: c. 2010
Notions: None
Time to complete: 3 hours
First worn: November 2011
Wear again? Absolutely!

When I first attempted sewing from Japanese sewing books, there were times of frustrations due to my inability to decipher all the instructions. There were mysteries to be solved and without knowing the Japanese language, I found myself totally losing confidence and as a result there were days where I threw in the towel and gave up. I hated myself for being such a sew coward and came up with a Japanese Sewing Book Challenge to sew three more outfits from the book I found challenging to decipher. And when I finally overcame the hurdles, I rewarded myself by sewing THE dress that got me interested in Japanese Sewing Books using a precious echino grassy plain fabric from my 'untouchable stash'.  It was this dress on the cover of ‘Les couleurs francaises’.

PB214471For my first version of the dress, I drafted my own collar and sewed a separate scarf as I wanted to maximize the use of the echino fabric. That remained one of my fave projects so far. I have worn the dress several times and the scarf whenever I am overseas on vacation. The heavier linen/cotton echino fabric scarf would also have been a little too warm for my weather if it was non removable.

I was making my usual rounds at the chinatown fabric market a few weeks back when I heard this unknown border print fabric calling out to me. "Take a look at me, I am a single-way border print with different prints on each selvage and very tiny flowers and birds well spread out in between". This template reminded me so much of the border fabric required for this dress. Its fate is sealed. A revisitation of the pattern became necessary. When told it cost slightly more than US$6 per metre (Echino would have cost US$17 or more a yard excluding shipping), I succumbed and if hubby was not there to restrain me, I would have gotten all four color ways.  

Dresscu2This time, I decided to sew the neck scarf onto the dress as the fabric is very light weight and delicate. Totally passed my weather test :) I don't usually wear this much white either as I think the color would make me look much wider but I totally loved this color way and decided to give it a try. I've been watching some fashion/beauty variety programme on TV and according to the experts, a v-shaped neckline and a long drapey scarf are both supposed to help create illusion of a slimmer me so I guess this pattern helped balance it out.


Before ironing and cutting the fabric, I took some photos with my iphone. I couldn't resist snapping away because while most fabrics come with color codes on the selvages made up of dots, this fabric named 'hummingbird' had tiny bird prints (bottom left photo) to represent the colors. How adorable is that?


There's a small surprise at the back of the dress as the wide pink and teal wavey print on the back piece and the sleeves matched.

PB214457As with most Japanese patterns, I find that this slip on dress (No zippers! No buttons/buttonholes!) had quite a lot of ease on the sides though the shoulder and bust area fitted well when I first made this dress. This time round, I redrafted the sides by taking out 3.5 inches on each side before cutting the fabric. I think that saved me quite a fair bit of fabric. The sleeves which are dainty, gathered and slant at an angle,  are what I believe added an element of girliness to the dress.

PB214468Don't you find the little girl's version of the dress absolutely adorable? This Japanese Sewing Book is meant for sewing matching garments for mothers and daughters using French traditional print. Can't wait for my little girl to grow a little taller so I can make a matching one for her! 




Adey Sew Convert

A former kids' television channel manager turned stay home mum from Singapore, I hated sewing since I attended my first home economic class at the age of 14. In 2007, something miraculous happened when God blessed me with a second pregnancy. I discovered that I was expecting a baby girl. That changed everything. First I went crazy shopping for handmade clothes for her on etsy. Then I decided I needed to make something for her on my own. I was a month from my due date when I took an intensive 8-hour sewing class. In Dec 2008, I made a dress for my princess before she was born and have not stopped sewing since.


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  1. Oh I love this dress and the fabric, so fun and airy! The little girl version is adorable, how fun a mother daughter outfit!

  2. It is gorgeous, great use of that fabric!

  3. Beautiful fabric! I love border prints even though they make me look short and w-i-d-e! Great use of the fabric in a lovely dress. I hope you wear it a lot!

  4. What amazing fabric.

  5. I can see why you fell in love with this pattern – it’s just beautiful. The fabric that you have chosen is gorgeous and don’t you love it when things line up (even better if it is by chance!).

  6. oh, it’s beautiful! love that fabric. i recognized the pattern immediately – i made the little girl version for my daughter a year and a half ago when she wasn’t quite 2! you’re so talented, i’m sure you could make it work. :) here’s mine if you’re curious:

  7. its beautiful! That print is simply to die for! its so feminine and dreamy, it suits you very much!. I’m very impressed with the matching pattern on the back – thats not an easy feat!

  8. I don’t think that my husband would have been able to stop me…LOVE LOVE LOVE that fabric. That is completely adorable, not even slightly ‘wide’.

  9. Hi Adey
    Another wonderful creation! The matching surprise at the back is amazing!

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  11. What a great dress and what absolutely gorgeous fabric – I looove the colour dot birds too – you should keep that selvedge and use it for something – too cute… It’s much prettier than the purple dress… and you so don’t need to worry about white making you look wide – I don’t think anything could.

  12. GORGEOUS ADEY! That’s really interesting fabric! I’ve never seen anything like it!
    <3 those sleeves! xoxoxo

  13. Fabric is awesome! And you got further enhance the wondeful print with the model chosen. A hooray for you!

  14. Beautiful dress, love the lines and the fabric is to die for.

  15. May I know which specific part of Chinatown did you purchase the fabric from?

  16. Beautiful and that print is so adorable! I agree, nothing could ever make you look wide!

  17. margueritedesigns

    Beautiful fabric …

  18. gorgeous fabric and wonderful pair up of it with said pattern. love this look, down to your shoes! :)

  19. That’s real pretty fabric Adey perfect for this dress too, you look dead cuffed with yourself. Maybe on your next visit hubby can stay at home *wink*

  20. Simply Beautiful. What a great combination of mother daughter’s smile and fabulous fabric pattern!

  21. Hi Bea, this fabric is from Terence & Sylvia at level 2 Block 32 new market road, hope that helps:) S$10 per metre

  22. Ohh! I wanted to ask the same exact question too!
    Your dress is fabulous and kawaii!