This post has been sitting in my drafts folder for ages. I feel it’s time has come. Tonight my friend Marianna is coming round to help me and a few others do a bit of fitting. I discovered her blog when I was desperate for some help with Tomoko Nakamichi’s Pattern Magic (Laurence King). I started with Pattern Magic 1 and worked through the exercises, which was fun. I made a shocking pink linen dress (made from a charity shop table cloth) with a circle of hand printed velvet across the chest. At that point (a couple of years ago) I didn’t have a sewing machine, so it was somewhat laborious.
Then I tried a sleeve.
Eventually I took the plunge and decided to make “Nyokitto at the front”. I think this means a mountain and valley. Here is the photograph from Pattern Magic 2.
As you can see if you look closely the black and white photograph features a nicely pressed front. Carefully attached with a few artful, elegant pins. It has no back, no fastenings, no hem, no facings.
I proceeded by producing the block proposed in the book. Several hours later I tried on the toile. Unfortunately Nakamichi seems to have a short, wide woman in mind (you can get an impression of this from the photograph above) . On me the sloper bodice finished half way across my ribs. So I altered and refitted the block. You could circumvented this by using your own block, or photocopying and enlarging the “Bunka-style sloper” (block) for an adult woman included (at p102}.
Once I had fitted the block I made the Nyokitto pattern front according to the instructions. The top is a type of cowl top, but with a higher neck than is usual. I bought a piece of cheap green polyester satin (£2 a metre) at Simply Fabrics and struggled from start to finish. Slippery, disobedient fabric. Hard to cut, challenging to sew, irritating to iron. I faced it and put a zip up the back. Despite the tribulations I found the fabric quite nice to wear and I love the colour, set off by our Tasmanian tree-fern (planted by Kiwi gardener Doug). .
From the side you can see the mountain and valley better. I added a small safety-pin to the point of the cowl as a weight to keep it from reversing out. The slithery fabric and the shape of the blouse means it sort of moves around in a slightly disconcerting but not unattractive way. What do you think? I rather liked its droopiness and thought I would make up a dress with the Nyokitto feature.
As the book had shown the item in (what looks like) linen I thought a more substantial fabric would be good. Obviously as poor Nyokitto didn’t even have a back, expecting fabric recommendations was a bridge too far. I decided to go with a really nice remnant – a dress weight silk (possibly with wool) in a gorgeous purple-blue. I love the fabric. I love the hyacinth colour. The skirt and back of the dress (my design) is pretty nice, if I say so myself. I made a fabulous lining too. I have tied a yellow velvet ribbon round my waist. However the exaggerated shelf poking out for about a foot in front turns an elegant dress into a ridiculous one.
Unfortunately I haven’t worn it except for these photographs. It can’t only me who sees more than a passing resemblance to a Tommee Tippee.
I had planned to wear this dress to a posh dinner. But what if I dropped a bread stick or an olive down the front?