Salvage Mission – Stylish Dress Book style ‘A’ dress

comments 13
completed / dresses / Sewing

Stylish Dress Book style "A"

This dress almost ended up in my unfinished disaster bin. It is, what I call, the ‘salvage mission’ dress.


I made my first project from “Stylish Dress Book” by Yoshiko Tsukiori. I decided on dress “A” because I wanted something quick and easy – unfortunately I completely messed up my ‘quick and easy’ plans by adding tucks to the original pattern. I think I may be a sewing masochist.


The bizarre thing is the tucks were relatively easy. I had to unpick a few times to make sure they were all evenly spaced but overall they were fine. No, the problems started happening when I tried to finish the armholes and neckholes – suddenly it was as if I had spent too much successful sewing time on the front tucks, and something had to start going wrong.

The bias binding I had for the arm and neckholes was too wide (?maybe) and would not sit flat.  I couldn’t, and still can’t, figure out why that was. I unpicked the binding from the neckline so many times that I accidentally ripped a ~2cm gash into the neckline at the back. I was going for a bound neckline but after the rip I decided on a faced neckline with a large seam allowance to hide the gash.

In the end I clipped all the bias bindings down to very narrow widths and secured it down with fusible web. It’s very ugly.


Thankfully the dress has no closures or zips (the zip may have exploded in my hands for no reason). Because it has no closures and just slips over the head it is a fairly shapeless dress. I added a waistband to give it some shape.


So this is my B-grade, salvage mission dress. I think it looks beautiful. I very nearly did not wear this dress/gave up on it when I clipped the bias binding and realised that I could not finish the raw edges. I read so many blogs and so many books and they all say ‘the inside has to look as good on the outside!’ so I very nearly just threw it in the unfinished, ‘screwed-up’ pile.

But in the end, I think it’s enough that I tried and it didn’t work out. It’s still a beautiful dress on the outside, so that’s good enough.



  1. It’s a very pretty dress! I saw your comment over on Tilly’s blog and came here to view the dress. I also thought that the dresses featured in the book looked 5 sizes too big on the models but on you – it seems just about right. I actually prefer your dress over the dresses in the book.

    • Thank you very much! Yeah like I said the dresses are not nearly as roomy as they are on the models, even when I do remove the waistband. I noticed the line sketches at the back also look a little more shaped than the model ones, I wonder why?

  2. AngieH says

    Also saw your post on Tilly’s blog .I have been contemplating this book so I was super excited to see your project. I adore your take on the dress. The fabric, tucks and waistband make the dress special. :)

  3. No ugly bits that I can see.

    And I’m very impressed by the accomplished way you combined the graphics with the pleats.

  4. Hi Tiff, you are a woman after my own heart!!! Like you (I hope you’re not offended?!) I’ve recently rekindled my love (old) for sewing and plan on making far more of my own wardrobe!! I’m probably in the advanced beginner stage?? but maybe not, as I’ve yet to do sleeves and a collar!! I have two projects ‘on the table’ to get going with (2 simple summer dresses)…..I hate hate hate pattern cutting out and wrestling for kitchen table space with three children can prove a challenge!! It’s more weekend snatches of time I get to sew. I’d love to have a go at the Laurel dress and Iove your version, especially the adorable Peter Pan collar! I’ve been thinking of buying a Japanese sewing book….love the simple dresses and tops…would you recommend? How did you get on with your Laurel dress?? I’m really looking forward to seeing your posts (promise I’m not a stalker!!) and who cares about a few mistakes?? you’ve worked your way round them and its sooo refreshing to have a blog with a fairly new dressmaker(?) who encounters problems!! Kate x

    • Hi Kate, thank you so much for your kind comment! Laurel was a really, really great pattern if you feel you’re still starting out. It’s just side seams and zipper and it’s so quick, it really made me feel like a pro sewing it! The only thing to look out for is it actually normally has a wide neckline, so if you’re going to add a collar to look like mine you’ll need to modify the pattern to close up the neckline a tiny bit.

      As for Japanese sewing books, I love all of mine but strictly speaking I don’t know how many of the styles in these books are wearable. If I am to be completely honest I really just buy them to look at because I find them very pretty! But honestly in the 20+ designs in Stylish Dress Book, I am only interested in making about 5, and that is with modifications in mind. Looking at the steps in the back they’re also not super simple – lots of details and fiddly bits etc. I guess my suggestion is if you’re able to flip through one choose one which has styles you like. I’ll do reviews for all of my books soon to help you decide!

  5. I saw your comment over on Sunni’s blog about sergers. I’m totally with you on that.

    This is a lovely dress, I’m sure you’re going to get a ton of unsolicitations. I understand people wanting the inside to be as pretty as the outside, but that isn’t as important as the outside flat out being pretty. That’s a dress that needs wearing!

    • Thank you :). Like I said, I think it’s enough that I tried. I don’t think anyone will be trying to peek inside my dress while i’m wearing it in real life though, or at least I hope not!

  6. aliesje says

    That Fabric is Gorgeous. Gorgeous! And I love what you’ve done with it in this dress. Fantastic!

Tell me what you think!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s