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Pattern Magic - knot dress in embroidered twill

Added Dec 2, 2012

by cynthia-1

Wollongong, Aust...






So I was browsing the local library and I was so excited to find Tomoko Nakamichi’s Pattern Magic on the shelf! It was the catalyst I needed to launch myself into exploring pattern-making and develop my understanding of garment design.

I fell in love with -‘The knot (musubu) dress’ and set about drafting the pattern as instructed in the book. The book promises to “create a classic garment merely by draping the bodice fabric in the way you want and then tying a dramatic bow.” The diagrams and explanations are straight-forward and easy to follow. The pattern drafting and manipulation are based on basic slopers and the focus of the book is to explain the construction of a pattern. I lengthened the hemline of the dress as I wanted it to finish just on the knee. The book does not elaborate on how to sew or finish the garment. I decided to draft an all-in-one facing for the neckline and armscye.

I chose an embroidered twill because I wanted a stiff, heavy fabric to allow the knotted bow to hold its shape and the embroidery to add some interest. The colour is somewhere between navy and black – the tag states the colour as ‘eclipse.’ The front of the skirt has an inverted pleat and the back has a pleat on each side. I lengthened the back pleats so the dress was more fitted around the lumbar spine. I used an invisible zipper and hook and eye for the back closure because I wanted to minimise bulk. I finished the neckline and armscye with an all-in-one facing.

I’m very happy with this dress and I can’t wait to try some of the other ‘Tying a Bow’ variations outlined in this book! If only I didn’t have to return the book to the library :(

Material Notes

Embroidered twill (eclipse) 120cm wide ($6.00/metre, Spotlight clearance fabrics); interfacing; 56 cm invisible zipper (navy); hook and eye (from the op-shop); thread;

paper, ruler and French curve for drafting the pattern.



Related Techniques


Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Garment Type
Classic, Mod, Vintage


Tomoko Nakamichi

29 Comments Sign in to add a post

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    Aug 26, 2015, 08.22 AMby SassyT

    Fab dress. Suits you to s tee. Would you mind me sharing this on SSB in the future? I link to your post and let you know when shared.

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    Aug 2, 2015, 06.12 PMby Luda Tomashevska


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    Jan 1, 2013, 03.49 PMby rebeccawip

    so cute!!!!! that dress is pure awesome and it looks stunning on you. you have just the right figure for a dress that has such a unique detail

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    Dec 19, 2012, 12.07 PMby hajnika

    Beautiful dress and beautifully done!

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      Dec 21, 2012, 09.33 AMby cynthia-1

      Thanks again to everyone for all your encouraging comments – I can’t believe I was on the Burdastyle homepage under ‘member spotlight’!

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    Dec 19, 2012, 09.15 AMby loyl8

    Love it

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    Dec 18, 2012, 09.48 AMby JillStraw

    Love it! Well done.

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    Dec 17, 2012, 02.24 AMby Deborah Green

    Fantastic, beautiful work, gorgeous dress xxxx

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    Dec 16, 2012, 09.18 AMby corinneski

    I looked at the Pattern Magic book and felt so intimidated by it I didn’t even open it. Congratulations on a fabulous job. I feel I should go and take another look at this book. Good to see a girl from The Gong made it onto the front page of Burdastyle.

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      Dec 18, 2012, 11.46 AMby cynthia-1

      Thank you :) You definitely should have a look through the book- it’s not that scary!

      If you’re down the south coast, you can have flick through it a Wollongong Library. We love the Gong!

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    Dec 15, 2012, 11.41 PMby infinite-plus-one

    wow, looks incredible!

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    Dec 15, 2012, 09.41 PMby Vicki Williams

    I think that the proportions of this design are just perfect for you. Sometimes a bow that big on a petite frame can overwhelm not in a good way. But the A-line with the inverted pleat gives you the perfect balance to the bow. Well done.

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    Dec 15, 2012, 04.16 PMby anabella68

    really cute!!!

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    Dec 4, 2012, 05.07 AMby smallone

    fantabulous version!!!!!!!!!

    1 Reply
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      Dec 4, 2012, 09.44 AMby cynthia-1

      Thanks everyone for all your positive comments :)

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    Dec 3, 2012, 05.26 PMby jkaori

    Super cute!

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    Dec 3, 2012, 09.26 AMby dftse

    Very pretty dress! You look great, hair looks nice too!!

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    Dec 3, 2012, 05.24 AMby chillwear


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    Dec 3, 2012, 03.31 AMby sophia329

    This looks great! I have the book too but I haven’t made anything yet.

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    Dec 2, 2012, 11.14 PMby libra-s

    Soo pretty!!

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    Dec 2, 2012, 06.04 PMby barmaglot

    Love the dress! You’ve done a great job!

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    Dec 2, 2012, 05.18 PMby Super Jeanette

    Beauuuutiful !!

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    Dec 2, 2012, 02.09 PMby Mary Athey

    This dress is simply.stunning I love.the bow xx

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    Dec 2, 2012, 01.16 PMby kisses

    Nice dress…I am so going to buy this book

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    Dec 2, 2012, 12.38 PMby lauriana

    It looks lovely! The Pattern Magic books are great but I love how you used the book to create your own design. I haven’t tried any of the “tying a bow” designs yet, but you remind me that I really should…

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    Dec 2, 2012, 12.03 PMby tzyg0nka

    Lovely dress. You just inspired me to buy the book!

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    Dec 2, 2012, 10.55 AMby Karen Thoonen

    That’s an amazing dress! Now I want to read that book too!

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    Dec 2, 2012, 10.52 AMby jennyrecorder

    This is the most successful version of this dress that I’ve seen, well done it’s gorgeous :)

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    Dec 2, 2012, 10.38 AMby pambox

    That looks amazing! I love the colour.

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    Dec 2, 2012, 10.09 AMby Ruffles Gazebo

    youve done a great job!

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    Dec 2, 2012, 09.39 AMby jadealamode

    Wow ! Your dress looks lovely….well done

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    Dec 2, 2012, 08.47 AMby laracrj

    Gorgeous – such an elegant shape and the fit looks perfect!

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