Ginger Made: The “Climbing Mt. Fuji” Dress

Well, whaddayaknow?  It’s a fancy new dress, my latest Mood Sewing Network creation!  Now, I’m not usually a print gal, but when I saw this Oscar de la Renta raw silk at Mood, I HAD TO FREAKIN’ HAVE IT.  No question about it.  I brought it home, petted it about 1000 times, then… could NOT decide what to do with it!  My original plan was to make Simplicity 1873 (how cute would that have been?!), but the selvedge was only 36″, so I couldn’t quite make that happen.  I knew I didn’t want to break up or detract from the print, but I also didn’t want my dress to scream “kimono” or look costumey, so I had a tough time choosing a new direction.

Capes and hats and gloves, oh my!

My sister actually dug up the pattern on one of our “shopping trips” (i.e., talking on the phone and sending Etsy links back and forth on G-chat… #hipsterchicks).  It’s Simplicity 5359 from 1964, a simple shift dress with a little button-tab self-belt.

I spent AGES matching up the print and attempting to avoid any unfortunate pattern placement scenarios, with a reasonable degree of success, I think (if you need help figuring out pattern matching, check out Tasia’s post here).  In a perfect world, the side seams would match up as well as the back, but… well, this ain’t a perfect world (or lactose intolerance wouldn’t be a thing).  I removed much of the ease from the back– I like the idea of gathering up the excess with the little belt, but in reality, it just looked messy and unintentional when I tested it in muslin.  I could probably stand to tighten the belt just a tad.  I also shortened the dress by 6″– maybe a little much, but hey, what’s a little leg between friends?  It’s fully lined and I spent like a gazillion hours hand-stitching (LIKE A BOSS)—with fabric this special, it only seems right to treat it like a lady!

This is really different from what I usually wear, but I really like it! I’ve been trying to try new things and meet new challenges in my sewing lately, in no small part due to seeing what the other Mood Sewing Network gals have been up to. What about you guys– trying anything new lately? And how do you feel about large-scale prints?  What would you make with a fabric like this?

145 responses

  1. Oooh it’s gorgeous! You look amazing in it.

    I’ve actually got a largish print (ikat) in my to-be-sewn asap pile, but I’m having a hard time with a pattern. Don’t want too many seams, but want a fitted sillhouette, fabric limitations, etc. You picked a perfect pattern to highlight that amazing print. You’ll be my inspiration!


  2. Wowie, so pretty!! I love the pattern you chose for this fabric, the dress is perfect. The self belt is a darling detail and you look fabulous. Bravo!!
    And to answer your question, I haven’t gotten to try anything new sewing-wise lately 😦 But I’m going to a shooting range with my hubby tomorrow… so that’s a new adventure. Last time I used a large print fabric for a dress, well, I decided I’m not a fan and haven’t worn the dress since :/ (see red feather fabric). Maybe just a poor fabric/pattern choice? IDK, but I think I prefer smaller-ish prints.


  3. This is beautiful! My grandpa was an officer in the Navy. He was stationed in Hong Kong in the 60’s and had beautiful dresses that look like this made for my grandma when they lived there. Love it!


  4. Ginger, I love this! The color, the styling, the print – so bold, but it works! I can’t imagine the styling care that went into matching the pattern at back and side seams when you had such narrow selvedge to work with from the beginning. I am way too much of a glamour weenie (read: slave to solid tees and ankle pants) to ever grab such a splashy FF off the shelf but you are working it!! Can really see you were hamming it up for Man Friend! (Do I smell a trip to Fiji in your future?!?!?)


  5. Great use of the print! I like large scale prints, but they can be tricky (as your pattern matching efforts reveal). I like that it’s simple, so the print doesn’t end up chopped up by seam lines.


  6. OMGizzle how beautiful!! While that Simplicity would’ve been supercute, I reckon you did the right thing here – that stunning print needs a sheath-ier form in order to properly show it off (and feels more modest in a way – like it’s so secure in it’s own beauty that it doesn’t feel the need to shout it out with a fuller, flirtier skirt. Know what I mean…?) and the clean lines of the dress need a print like that to wake it up! Match made in heaven I say!

    x Elisalex


  7. Ooo Sonja! Its a beauty – the red looks so so so classy on you! I love it! I guess big prints can be hard – but you really pulled this off with the simple shape. Very elegant. Like a lady. Fancy (no) pants.


  8. Wow. You nine ladies have sure gone over the top! From the heart, I cannot relate to these expensive garments you are sewing. Any possibiity you will land soon?


  9. Oooh, so pretty! I can totally see why you fell in love with that fabric – it’s gorgeous! Nice choice of patterns to showcase it as well. 🙂


  10. I love prints! Since I’ve started sewing I don’t think I’ve made anything without a print. I keep telling myself I need more versatile solids but I just can’t pull myself away from prints. Your dress is beautiful!!


  11. It’s amazing!!! You so pretty in that color!! You totally need a little cape in black, now!
    I loved hearing about your shopping trips with your sister!! Technology and sisters rock!!


    • Thanks, Nettie! I’ve actually been giving a lot of thought to capes lately– they’re so cute!

      Isn’t technology great? When I went away to college in California 11 years ago, I felt sooooo far away (I didn’t have a cell phone, and my sister didn’t have a computer, so I spent lots of money on phone cards!). It’s nice that it’s so much easier to stay in touch now!


  12. Wow, this dress is so beautiful (as are you!) and it’s cute and sexy all in one. I usually stay away from large prints, or most prints for that matter, so it’s actually one of my goals this year to get into the prints thing.


  13. You were right…you had to have this fabric. Gorgeous! And I like the length on you. Short enough to show off your legs whilst remaining classy!


  14. First of all, this dress has racked up 100+ comments. I think that shows you did something right. I wrote this in my comment of your last Mood project but you are becoming more and more feminine with every project. When I first “met” you, you were a Renfrew girl. I like it and I think you did a fabulous job!


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