Pattern name: Wardrobe by Me Curvy Akinori Kimono Dress, described as “a Japanese inspired kimono dress, hugging the waist with a belt. It appears to be wrapped, but is closed at the front, making it very comfortable and elegant. The dress can be sewn in both knit or woven.”
I stumbled across Wardrobe by Me, a new-to-me indie pattern company, through someone on Instagram (I can’t remember at this point, but thanks to whoever it was!). My interest was immediately piqued by a) the fact that Wardrobe by Me has a line of “curvy” patterns (including jersey dresses, a wrap dress, skinny pants, a knit tunic, among others) and b) the Akinori dress.
I just adored the style of the Akinori dress right off the bat after seeing the versions on the Wardrobe by Me website. The Akinori has all my favorites: cut on sleeves, defined and high waist, v-shaped neckline. Those pleats, too… gorgeous! Plus, I like that it can be sewn in a knit or a woven, provided the fabric is sufficiently drapey.
Size range: The Curvy Akinori pattern goes from size 14-24, which is up to bust size 48.5″, waist 40.5″, hip 51.5″.
There is also a version of the Akinori dress in a smaller size range that overlaps with the curvy range in sizes 14-16. Out of curiosity, I inquired about whether there were any drafting differences between the curvy and not-curvy sizes 14 and 16. Christina, the Wardrobe by Me pattern designer, got back to me very quickly to let me know: “Basically the pattern is identical in the two versions, but the curvy sizes have been tested on plus sized women, and minor changes made to accommodate the curvy figure. The pattern is drafted for a C cup height 5’6″ / 172cm.”
What size did you make? 14 bodice, 16 skirt. I opted to purchase the curvy version of the pattern for this review.
What are your measurements, height, and body type? Bust: 41.5″, Waist: 35″, Hip: 45.5″, Height: 5’7.5″, Body type: pearish
What adjustments did you make and how long did they take? No adjustments except to make a narrow hem, rather than a 1″ hem as called for. Next time I would lengthen the dress just slightly.
What fabric did you use? I picked up the fabric on a recent trip to Vietnam. I bought it at the Dong Xuan Market in Hanoi’s Old Quarter. The sales lady insisted that it was cotton (“Cotton, madame!” is an oft-used sales pitch at the market), but I am fairly confident that it’s rayon or viscose. It feels like a nice medium-to-heavy weight rayon challis to me. It’s much more yellow-y than I thought it was when I bought it… damn fluorescent lighting! In retrospect, the busy print is probably not the best choice for showing off the pretty style lines of this pattern for purposes of my review… sorry!!
What was the construction process like? Did the instructions make sense to you?
As far as construction goes, I found it to be a fairly easy pattern to sew up. Nothing too difficult for someone with a bit of sewing experience. For me the only tricky part was sewing the half-moon yoke below the bust so that all of the seam allowances were enclosed- I sewed it one way at first and ended up with a twisted mess. After some head scratching and fiddling around I got it right the second time.
The pattern instructions are not for beginners… not a ton of diagrams or detail (hence my head scratching over the yoke part). You’d have to know to finish your seams and the edges of your facings and you’d also need to know to understitch your facings and stitch in the ditch in the shoulder seams, as none of these steps are included the instructions.
I had a few issues with the pattern itself and the instructions. None of them individually are deal breakers, but aggregated, they were a little bit annoying. I think many could be resolved with a little bit more thorough pattern testing/copy editing:
- The PDF pattern conveniently has layered sizes so you can print only the sizes you need. However, I had a little bit trouble lining up the pieces once I had printed, such that the bottom hem is a bit jagged. I just smoothed it out.
- Some of the technical drawings are inaccurate. In some there are pleats on the back mirroring those of the front, and in others there is a center back seam. The back of the dress is plain/pleat-less and is cut on the fold. Additionally, in the cutting plan, the back pattern piece is shown mirrored (not cut on the fold), but the piece itself instructs you to cut on the fold. I also feel like the skirt is not as A-line as it appears in the line drawing. The final skirt is more straight in the back and tulip-shaped in the front.
- There are several minor typos and errors in the pattern instructions, including an error in size chart on the website. I asked Christina about the size chart before buying the pattern and she has corrected it on the pattern itself, but it appears the website has not been updated, as it still shows negative ease in the hips for the final garment measurements.
How do you like the pattern’s fit? Do you think the design works well for your particular body shape?
Despite my critique of the instructions, I’m really happy with the final dress! The fit is nice: no gaping at the crossover bodice, which is often an issue for me, no peek-a-book bra in through the cut-on sleeves.
I have a few horizontal lines just below the waist seam close to the side seams. It’s not tight anywhere in that vicinity or in the back and my side seams seem to be hanging straight, but there is some strange pulling. You can barely see it, though, I think, so I am not too worried about it.
I do wish the back of the dress had as much nice detail as the front. I almost wish the pleats pictured in the technical diagrams were actually in the pattern! After wearing the dress out and about, I think the difference in detail from the front to the back actually causes the whole dress to shift forward a bit since the front is heavier due to the pleats, yoke and ties. Again, not a dealbreaker, by any means. It’s still a very pretty and wearable pattern as is.
Will you make the pattern again? If so, what fit or design changes will you make?
I’ll definitely make this pattern again since it’s the type of comfy, casual dress I like to wear on the weekends. I think you could also make the Akinori in a fancier fabric like silk or crepe and easily dress it up for cocktails/weddings/what have you. I love the elegant pleating in the front and the extra long ties that wrap around your body twice. Very comfortable, stylish and effortless.
Next time I might top stitch the facings down, as they seem to want to pop out a bit (don’t all facings, though?). I’ll lengthen the dress by an inch so I can do the full hem, as designed.
Pattern Rating: (1 is the lowest score, 5 the highest)
Size Range: 4.5 Certainly a wider ranges of sizes than your average indie pattern company, but not as high as some others.
Instructions: 3 Quite minimal and not for beginners. Plus some typos and errors in the technical drawings that could be confusing.
Construction Process: 4.5 No real construction problems, just problems understanding the instructions on how to construct the tricky bits.
Final Fit: 4.75 The fit is quite nice.
Overall Rating: 4.19 I really like the Akinori pattern and I am excited to see what’s next from this new-to-me curvy pattern designer!