Inari Dress, Named Patterns

or My Gigantic T-shirt Dress 🙂

I had no inclination to make this dress. At all. Then I did. I’m not sure what triggered my change of heart, perhaps sunnier days or the Inari dresses and tops popping up here, there and everywhere… so I jumped online at Stitch 56 during a sale.

Inari Dress, Named Patterns, Sew Busy Lizzy

Inari Dress. Like everyone that has made this – I love how the seam brings the back of the dress around toward the thigh.


I purchased the paper pattern, it is also available as a PDF. If I have a choice between a paper pattern or a PDF, I will usually choose the paper pattern, unless the PDF comes with an A0 copy-shop file – then I have to think twice about it. Named paper patterns are expensive, however they are printed on bond paper and the instructions presented in a booklet – all packaged up in the neat envelope.

Here’s the trick with Named Patterns. The paper patterns come with no seam allowances… and the PDFs do (read about Named paper and PDF patterns here). I’d rather trace a pattern and add seam allowances than put together a bazillion A4s – even a handful of A4 is too many for me. I just added the allowances with a ruler as I traced – I know, I could add them by eye as I cut… but I’m a bit precise about some things (and hopelessly imprecise about others). The Inari is a simple pattern so adding the seam allowances wasn’t onerous… I am horrified at the thought of doing that for the Isla Trench Coat which is loitering in my sewing queue.

Inari Dress, Named Patterns, Sew Busy Lizzy

love that sloping side seam and split hem.

The pattern has a dress or a top option and two neckline finishes. The dress has a forward sloping side seam, meaning the back panel is slightly wider than the front, the hem is also split with the back being slightly longer than the front. I do love the small thoughtful details that seem to be core to the Named Pattern’s aesthetic.

The instructions are presented in a neat little booklet. I did find having the finished garment measurements and the pattern measurements on different pages rather odd – I like to compare these for each area of the body (for ease) before I choose a size. I also found myself jumping about the booklet to find things such as recommended seam allowances. I suspect there are elements to the Named Patterns which are put together in chunks for speed in layout and also translation purposes – some elements in a pattern are fairly standard (body measurements and general instructions) whereas other elements are individual to the pattern (finished measurements). Perhaps the Named instruction booklet layout reflects this. I’m not sure – it’s just a theory. 

I was momentarily bamboozled by some of the markings on the pattern sheet – ie the bust and hip line are marked on the pattern – at first I thought they might be shorten/lengthen lines. Perhaps there is a key somewhere that I missed but I had ‘lost’ this pattern in my sewing room so when I finally dug it up I was desperate to sew and didn’t spend too long puzzling through everything! A few Instagram comments later I was on the right track, the Named team are very prompt and helpful! Thank you!

I think all sewing patterns and instructions have their quirks – it’s just getting used to knowing where to look for things. Provided the actual garment goes together well, I enjoy seeing how different companies approach their patterns and instructions.


I decided to make this in a white/denim striped ponte. This ponte composition is 64% rayon, 32% nylon and 4% spandex. It has a lovely drape and sheen that I’ve not often seen in ponte.

Inari Dress

Inari Dress – ponte is perhaps not ideal for this and wind doesn’t help! I confess I do love wearing a gigantic t-shirt regardless. 

Everything went together perfectly. The instructions are clear and the diagrams adequate.

Even though I used a stretch fabric, I opted to use the facing rather than a neckband piece as I love the finish on my She Wears The Pants (SWTP) Top and felt that the addition of stripes running in another direction around the neck would break up the clean lines of the stripes. I was after a very simple, classic shift. I understitched the facing to prevent it rolling out and added a line of stitching about 20mm in from the neckline as I liked that finish on the SWTP top.

Choosing stripes turned a simple sewing project into a much fiddlier project (I unpicked one sleeve three times, yes I basted, used a walking foot, unpicked and adjusted but it just didn’t want to play nice). It’s acceptable but not perfect.

I overlocked all the edges first. This usually concerns me (stretching and distorting the edges) but I decided to give it a go as directed by the instructions – and my seam allowances were only 1cm which are a pain to feed neatly through the overlocker after sewing. I pinned and basted the seams, then stitched them with lightening-bolt stitch on my Bernina. Due to the loose fit around the hemline, I chose to use a standard straight stitch to hem the dress. I liked the stripes running the other way on the sleeve bands and hand stitched the sleeve cuffs at four places to keep them securely in place.

Inari Dress, Named Patterns, Sew Busy Lizzy

I went BARMY sewing the sleeves… and then I got to a point of begrudging acceptance. I still haven’t overlocked both pieces together in case I have a bout of ‘yes I can fix it’. I suspect not as the fabric is starting to show signs of wear from being unpicked THREE TIMES.

Named Patterns drafted for someone about 5 foot 6 or more (172cm), I am 5 foot 4 (165cm) – so I shortened it by about 40mm (1.5 inches) around the hip line.

I don’t think it’s the most flattering dress I’ve made but I love it nevertheless. It’s a sack, a drapey sack and hangs like one… but I love it anyway.  Obviously choosing stripes wasn’t a master stroke for figure flattery – however I love the classic nature of stripes and how easy they are to pair with a range of jackets, shoes and accessories for a different look. The ponte rayon has quite a bit of drape – I’d be interested to make this in a woven and see how it looks.

Would I make this again – yes. I’ve got the same fabric in red stripe for my ‘Christmas dress’.

Inari Dress, Named Patterns, Sew Busy Lizzy

I do have hips under all that fabric – here’s proof. Blowing a gale – hem flapping everywhere!

Pop over to Instagram to see how I wore it to work on casual Friday recently…this combination gives it more shape – with a vintage denim jacket, resin jewellery and a pair of leather high-heel sandals. I guess the obvious choice with this dress is to do the red/white/blue combo – maybe another day!

Pattern: Named Patterns, Inari Dress/top
Fabric: approximately 1.3m ponte (slightly less?) from Spotlight (purchased at a 40% sale for about $14)
Shoes: Nine West (purchased at a cancer fundraiser ladies night for $5 – massive score!)
Necklace: Polka Luka.

Also see: Funkbunny | The Long & Winding Bobbin | Dresses & Me | Cut, Cut, Sew | Sew Amy Sew | Miss Castelinhos| Sewing and Cocktails | Closet Case Files | Offsquare | Fiona Makes | Up Sew Late (plus a tutorial for a hem facing)
and the one that sold me? BEE MADE – I want this dress!


43 thoughts on “Inari Dress, Named Patterns

  1. I love this on other people but when I made it in the summer it just looked as if I had escaped from a hospital (possibly a high security one…) This wasn’t helped by poor fabric choice and not bothering to grade down to the correct size (my sizes ran acoss two sets of PDF sizes – printing one is bad enough.,,)
    Anyway – this looks lovely and flattering on you – even with horizontal stripes!


    • thanks Louise, I made up the Papercut Flutter in a soft faded denim… and didn’t finish it as it felt like hospital scrubs! I think this dress is really helped along by accessories.

  2. It’s lovely! I’ve got some similar ponte in my stash, and I’m hoping that my current shift dress pattern process will end in a striped shift dress… and you’ve just confirmed it will look great! 😉

    • Thanks Gillian 🙂 and good luck with that shift dress search. I am one of those sewing people guilty of buying far too many patterns in my search for perfection… I own A LOT of shirtdress patterns…

  3. This is just awesome! I’ve never considered a Named pattern (just too greedy for them I guess) but this could make me want to change my mind. It’s perfect in those stripes!

  4. I love it in the striped fabric! This is such a perfect simple pattern. I hadn’t given it a thought until I saw a few versions pop up at the end of summer… now it’s firmly on my Spring to-sew list!

    • I do love that about reading blogs. You dismiss something and then someone makes you look at quite differently or see the potential to make it your ‘own’. I too had skipped over this and then had a sudden change of heart – and it’s good to be open to that… sometimes that’s where the magic happens 🙂 corny but that’s what I think.

  5. Love this make!! I think you made the best choice in facing the neckline, I like the clean look. I was glad to read that you don’t overlock seams that you “may” go back and fix later. I do the same thing!! So funny! Even though this is a sack dress as you say…it looks great on, very nautical chic.

    • LOL I don’t like to burn my bridges and once those pieces are overlocked together it feels like ‘a bridge too far’! I’m enjoying trying new shapes and just experimenting. It’s easy to stay in a comfort zone. I’m OK with the odd disaster. It helps you consolidate what works and what doesn’t and that’s different for everyone.

    • maybe you just haven’t found the right sack. This is an interesting sack due to the side seam and staggered hemline. Then again maybe you aren’t a sack girl (there are worse fates) I’m pretty sure I’m not a culotte gal.

  6. This looks amazing on you! I made one in a woven and the armholes were a bit long and wide so when I lifted my arms the whole dress came up. It looks like the armholes fit you nicely. Did you go down in size due to using a knit?

    • To be completely honest, I didn’t think much about sizing and the stretch factor (bad blogger – but honest!). Ponte isn’t particularly stretchy in the way a knit/jersey is. I wore it twice before I blogged it – to lunch with a girlfriend and then all day at work. The arms and sleeves haven’t bothered me – but I haven’t been waving my arms around my head to test it! I tend to wear sleeveless things and the fact I haven’t noticed the sleeves in terms of being annoying or uncomfortable is a good thing sign I guess.

    • I think you are right – it more flattering than I give it credit for – it’s not traditionally sexy… but I prefer to wear understated things… or things that are long or draped. I’ve noticed my makes moving more in that direction and I feel more like ‘me’ in them and like exploring that. I agree the subtle details of the seam slope and the splits really make this sack more interesting than most.

  7. This looks great on you. Love the stripes. I’m wondering if you are happy with the armholes? I made this dress and did not like the way the armhole and sleeve fit. I have seen several around that appear to have this issue but no comments are made. Perhaps it’s just the way it fits my body.

    • Hi Diane, there was a comment just earlier from Susan about the sleeve and armhole fit. I wore this dress twice before I blogged it – for a long lunch with a friend and then to work for a long, long day. I don’t wear sleeves a great deal and I haven’t noticed the sleeve or armhole… which I guess means that in terms of comfort, the fit works for me. I’ve noticed since I took the photos there is a slight fold in the sleeve at the back… I’m not sure if this is because I’ve made it in ponte and the fabric’s tendency to drape or if that’s the issue you are talking about. I’ll probably make this in a rayon/linen blend sooner or later and I will be interested to see how that works for me. I do like the dress… I think it’s one of my current favourites, I’ve found it comfortable to wear and easy to style. It’s simple and versatile. I like that in clothing!

  8. Gorgeous dress, you can’t go wrong with stripes. I’ve got my eye of this pattern to. It’s so simple but the cuffs, cocoon shape and split hem add lots of interest. I’m making the GBSB shift at the moment but I will be adding this to my wish list.

  9. This is lovely on you, I adore those horizontal stripes on you! I’ve got this pattern to make up too but I think I’ll be subbing in a different bodice top – I’ve got wide linen stripes to play with!

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