I’ve been steadily getting my crafting game back together since our move in January and this easy project, the Kiomi dress from Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style, has me feeling like I’ve got my groove all the way back.
Brooklyn-based, Swedish designer, Lotta Jansdotter is know for her iconic, Scandinavian graphic patterns, which have been reproduced on everything from fabric and dishware to stationery and washi tape. Her latest book (which actually came out quite a while ago in late 2015), Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style, is her first book of clothing designs. I find this surprising, because the book is so practical, it seems like she’s done this many times before. Maybe we have the editors at STC Craft to thanks for that. The structure of the book and patterns chosen really demonstrate a good understanding of the way most women wear clothes and how a wardrobe works on a day-to-day basis. The patterns are all very utilitarian and adaptable. I would legitimately (and without exaggeration) wear every single pattern in this book! I also love how Lotta Jansdotter uses the book as a platform to promote other creative women in her community. The stories about each model add even more dimension to a solid sewing book.
This is a book that I’ve coveted since it was released. At the time I was still living in Saudi Arabia and we didn’t have a good selection of books available anywhere in Riyadh. My options were to buy a heavy book while we were traveling or to order it and pay a hefty shipping fee. In the Emirates the best bookstore I’ve found is the massive Kinokuniya Bookworld in Dubai Mall, which is where I got my copy of Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style. Bookworld stocks just about everything, but I was recently a little heartbroken to find out that the store lost it’s beautiful location in Dubai Mall and moved to a less impactful, darker location across from the metro link. Oh well. I just hope it can hang in there and stay open in any space. Selling books is a rough business these days.
Although I think I could close my eyes and chosen a pattern at random, for my first project from Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style, I went with the flowing, sleeveless Kiomi Dress. The Kiomi dress is actually one pattern with three variations. It can be made as a top, a mid-length dress or a maxi. I made the mid-length with significant shortening to accommodate my 5’2” height. For the fabric, I used a 100% linen, Marimekko print called Merivuokko (which roughly translates to “underwater landscape”). Unfortunately, I bought the fabric before I bought the book. So I didn’t have the end product in mind when choosing this print. It’s a great fabric, but I wasn’t entirely happy with it for this project. I do love the fact that it is 100% linen. I’m all about linen right now. With this heat and humidity, I’d be happy with an all-linen wardrobe. That’s something to work toward.
The Kiomi dress is a really simple, quick pattern. Still, I learned some skills and tips from this project that I didn’t know before. Here are my takeaways:
Making bias tape: This was my first time making my own bias tape. There was a little bit of learning curve as I found the directions to be confusing for this step. I had to do it twice to fully grasp the technique, but I’ve got it now. I can easily apply this to other patterns.
Tracing a printed pattern: All the patterns, in all sizes, are overlapped on a couple of large pieces of paper in the back of the book. You have to decipher the chaos to find your pattern/size and carefully trace the designated lines. This wasn’t terribly difficult, but it did require patience and focus.
Beware of oversized prints: Oversized prints are beautiful. But when you are selecting one, make sure you unfold the fabric to see the entire print. When I purchased this Marimekko print, the salesperson unfolded the length of fabric for me, but it was still folded over on the rod. I should’ve had her open the fabric completely. There were whole sections of the print that I did not see until I got it home.
Pre-shrink your linen: I learned from Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style that you should wash linen before cutting it for a pattern. This will allow the linen to soften and pre-shrink. Most of my life I’ve heard people recommend dry cleaning linen, but washing linen actually improves the texture of the fabric over time.