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?

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145 Comments

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145 responses to “Ginger Made: The “Climbing Mt. Fuji” Dress

  1. It looks great! That color is beautiful on you and I love the way the simple lines of the dress bring out the fabric.

  2. 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!

  3. Oooh what a stunning dress – nice work!

  4. Great dress! The pattern is really well suited for that fabric – way to go sis!

  5. Ahh so cute!! LOVE that print!

  6. 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.

  7. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the little side tabs. Did I say that I love them. I do. It gives the waist definition, but in a subtle way.

  8. 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!

  9. You look AMAZING! That colour really suits you, I can see why you had to have it!

  10. Oooh. Love this so much!!!! Gorgeous dahling!!! Those tabs are too cool. Glad you’re doing prints now. Totally suits you.

  11. Wow, gorgeous much! It (and you) look fab! Nice work!

  12. Oh wow, this is the best made thing of your ever! Keep rockin’.

  13. 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?!?!?)

  14. Really cute you little retro lady!
    This is just smashing. I think it would also look super cute as a short full skirted dress, something like Cynthia Rowley 1873.

  15. sue

    It looks perfect! The fabric is AMAZING,. Love it :)

  16. Jo

    This dress and the fabric are the cuteness!! Awesome job!

  17. It is gorgeous. That style really suits you, I think you should use that pattern again. Fab fabric too.xx

  18. Wonderful wonderful beautiful dress! Can you tell I love it? The fabric is incredible, I can only imagine how scared you’d be to cut into it!!

  19. Just beautiful: You, the fabric and your workmanship!
    This dress is just divine and that shade of red is so fab!

  20. Elise

    Oh so pretty, great pattern for this print. I’m a big fan of big prints for sure! Great job matching them up!

  21. You are pretty <3 Love the dress, that red fabric is nice and suits your sin beautifully xx

  22. Liz

    This is stunning, and you look gorgeous in it. It is a perfect design for the fabric and definitely not costumey.

  23. 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.

  24. I think you found the perfect solution to use the print!

  25. Very lovely! Good job.

  26. What a perfectly frisky little frock on you!!

  27. This is gorgeous! The fabric is beautiful, I love how the belt attaches and the length looks great! :)

  28. i LOOOOVE this on you!!! when are we going in together to mood?!

  29. 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

  30. Eek! That is such beautiful fabric, but you have really done it justice. Well done on the pattern matching too. So, so pretty, it really suits you.

  31. I love it!! And you look so happy wearing it!!

  32. It is gorgeous! I love the little button belt.

  33. Wow! I think this is one of the best things you’ve ever made! You look darling in it too!

  34. 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.

  35. Red is totally your color. You look so pretty. The dress fits great and it definitely a winner.

  36. 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?

    • I think everyone enjoys showcasing really fun fabrics, but I’m sure you’ll see a mix of different fabrics in different price ranges from everyone over the next few months. :)

  37. Kat H

    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. :-)

  38. What gorgeous fabric which you have turned into an even more gorgeous dress! Stunning!

  39. 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!!

  40. 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!

  41. You look amazing, this is a stunning make my dear!

  42. 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.

  43. I saw this one on the MSN blog–didn’t get to comment then because I was at work. It turned out gorgeous, and hurray for prints!!

  44. Love it! Looks awesome!

  45. Pendle Stitches

    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!

  46. gorgeous! great match of pattern and fabric, and that colour is so lovely on you!

  47. 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!

  48. Jenny

    I saw once on the Science channel (yes, sometimes I watch the Science channel–my geekery has never been a secret!) where these people did an experiment in which a woman wearing a white dress asked for help from strangers (I think she was trying to borrow money for bottled water). Then they did the same test again with the woman wearing a red dress. This time she got a much greater response. Therefore, I think that every woman should have at least one amazing, but not over-the-top, red dress in her wardrobe. For those days when she needs to feel a little powerful. Or she needs to borrow money for water–you know, whichever :)

    I think yours is an excellent “power” dress.

  49. GINGER! That dress is gorgeous on you! It’s evident that is very well made and that you took your time.

  50. Great job, it looks amazing on you! Hat’s off to a girl who can match prints- and get around embarrassing placements.

  51. Amy

    Funny, now that I’m trying to comment over on MSN, I forget that I haven’t commented over here as well. Gorgeous dress. Bravo!

  52. Jennifer

    Wow, great dress!! That fabric is perfect for that pattern and that pattern is just perfect for you!!

  53. I love this red on you! Way to match up/line up the print so that everything looks just so, and those side tabs are such a cute detail. Great job!!

  54. puu

    great use of an awesome print with a simple, beautiful dress! bold and gorgeous!

  55. What a great way to use the print! I also love the button tab detail. This is a perfect date dress!

  56. I love this dress so much! That fabric is really gorgeous! I’m trying to find something kind of similar for a dress for a friend’s wedding in December… not had much luck around here.

  57. This is such a classy dress, and so flattering! You look lovely. Love that fabric! Great choice.

  58. Zoe

    Amazingness! The back print matching is so impressive lady! xxx

  59. Jen

    I am in love with your fabric! What an amazing dress!

  60. This looks great on you, and I’m impressed how perfectly the pattern matches! The print is really unique:)

  61. It’s stunning girl – a great colour – really suits! I’ve somehow only just come across this post – don’t know how I missed it but my blog reader is seriously overloaded. I hope you’ve survived Sandy and are doing well!

  62. adorable dress and so are you in it!

  63. What spectacular fabric! Seriously – I understand why you could not resist – the design is fabulous. LOVE it made up as this pattern!! The button belt is perfect, making this a most marvelous piece! I’m pretty sure I’m drooling over here omg.

  64. you are so cute! and that dress is fab! it looks like the fit is perfect. well done!

  65. I’d probably make a cheongsam out of it. Super cute!

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