Sew-along Sewing Tutorials

Sew-Along 2 – The Balloon Dress

August 8, 2012

I’m finally going to make this dress!

It’s funny because the dress was the reason why I bought this book. Instead, I have made other dresses from it but never got around to making this one. I really like the purple fabric in the picture, but it’s so hard to find the same shade.

According to the materials list, it is a cotton fabric (90cm wide). There are no other specifics with regards to the fabric in the book. Even the fabric resources did not mention the source for dress A. I imagined it will be really nice in a linen because it will add to the body of the dress. One of my friends made it in a light blue linen. Very pretty! There are also pictures of the same dress on our flickr group by Sew2Pro and An from Straightgrain. An made it in a couple of beautiful Japanese fabrics like this one in Nani Iro fabric.

Materials needed (based on the how-to-make above),
For sizes 100/110/120/130,

  1. Cotton fabric (90cm width) – 2.2m/2.6m/2.9m/3.1m
  2. 1 x 1cm diameter button

**Important point to note – the dress is made up of two layers, with the inside layer being shorter and narrower than the outer layer. If you like, the inner layer can be made out of plain cotton or just a co-ordinating fabric as it will not be seen. That will reduce the amount of surface fabric needed. Also, as the fabric used in the book is only 90cm wide, the cutting diagram actually showed the fabric being cut cross-grain instead of along the grain. It could be due to how wide the outer dress needs to be to create the balloon effect. If you have a print that is direction specific, you might need to consider cutting it straight-grain (parallel to the selvedge). Or if you have a fabric which is wider  (for example if you are using linen it is usually much wider), you could cut along the grain and use less fabric.


I made the balloon dress today using the yellow gauze fabric which was 110cm wide, turns out that if I cut the cloth along the grain (parallel to the selvedge), the fabric was barely enough width wise for size 120cm. If I was making the 130cm size instead, I would have needed to cut it cross-grain like the cutting diagram below, since the width was not wide enough. And that will mean I will need at least 2m of cloth if I am only using it for the outer layer. So it’s a good idea to stick to the fabric requirements. Better to be safe than sorry! 🙂

So these are the two fabrics I have shortlisted. Both are Japanese double gauze fabrics. The top one is a light blue with what looks like pink and green polka dots. But can you see the pears and strawberries? Super cute! I bought it in Hokkaido where they had a section for summer fabrics, on the selvedge it says “Happy Baby Printed in Japan”. The one below was purchased in Singapore. There are not many choices for double gauze fabrics here. Interesting thing to note, in Japan the double gauze fabrics are labelled – “W-gauze”. Is it because it sounds like “double”?

So this is the book that the pattern is from. I reviewed it previously but for those of you what want to buy it before the sew-along (or even after), the ISBN number is 978-4-579-11289-0. It is easier to search  by ISBN number for online sources since everybody translates the title differently.

For the sew-along, it will be held over 3 days as well. I know some of you sew real quick so you can always wait till the last day and do all of it at one shot! 🙂 It will be held on from 27-29 August so hopefully that gives you some time to get hold of the book. Even if you miss it, the instructions are always here on the blog for you to refer to later.


ETA : Great news! This book is now available in English and the title is called Linen, Wool, Cotton Kids

Buy now from Amazon (affiliate link)

Links to the sew-along

Go to Day 1 of Balloon Dress Sew-Along
Go to Day 2 of Balloon Dress Sew-Along
Go to Day 3 of Balloon Dress Sew-Along

So just to summarize the above,

Japanese Sewing Books – The Balloon Dress Sew-Along
Date : 27,28,29 August 2012
Book : おしゃれが好きな女の子の服
ISBN no : 978-4-579-11289-0
Materials needed : 1. Cotton fabric (90cm width) – 2.2m/2.6m/2.9m/3.1m
(see special note** above on fabric requirement)
2. 1 x 1cm diameter button

If you have a blog and you are sewing along, grab the buttons below and put them on your blog!

125×125 pixels


200×200 pixels


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

You Might Also Like


  • Reply An August 8, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    Hey Yifarn, you picked out some beautiful fabrics for the dress! This is going to be one popular sew-along! And thank you for referring to my balloon dress. However, the one you’re referring to is from a self-drawn pattern, not from the Akiko Mano one. I think you meant to refer to my balloon dress in Nani Iro Nippon lawn cotton: (I moved my blog to a new address earlier this week). Good look with the sew-along!!

    • Reply Japanese Sewing Books August 8, 2012 at 8:46 pm

      oops! Thanks for pointing that out. I’ve linked it up to the new address. 🙂

  • Reply Gaye August 8, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    Hi Yifarn, this is such an adorable dress! These are the times I wish I had a little girl to sew for.

  • Reply sherry August 8, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    I am excited to make this. It will be fantastic having someone to show the way 🙂

  • Reply Niki August 18, 2012 at 4:42 am

    My daughter loves the look of this dress and the one in Girls Style Book on page 15 I recently bought… slight variation with buttons on shoulders instead of pockets. The little top you gave me translation help with is nearly done. Along with the hooded jacket.Very pleased with all this.. you are such a lovely lady! Xxxxxxxxxxx

  • Reply Book Review – Polka Drops » Japanese Sewing Books August 24, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    […] a good weekend and see you next Monday for the Balloon Dress Sew-Along! 0 Comments Filed in Book Reviews   Posted by Japanese Sewing […]

  • Reply Niki August 25, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    Just bought the fabric…. will cut out paper pattern tonight… I am ready!

  • Reply Angela September 26, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    I’m so very late joining, but your Sew-a-long inspired me to sew 2 of these dresses. I made a change in cutting the back piece so that I would be able to hide the hem seam inside.

  • Reply connie April 18, 2013 at 1:31 am

    Love this dress! I’m new to sewing so I don’t know which fabric would be appropriate for this dress. Would the Nani Iro brushed cotton fleece be too heavy for this?

  • Reply Meena September 27, 2013 at 11:04 am

    Is there any way … or would it look silly … that the balloon dress could be a grown woman’s dress? Thank you for your site and the time and hard work you put into it.

  • Reply Gemma February 14, 2014 at 2:24 am

    Hi Yifarn, I love this dress.
    There is any possibility you could share the pattern with me? (I can’t find the book in my country)
    Thank you

    • Reply Japanese Sewing Books February 14, 2014 at 10:45 am

      Hi Gemma, Where are you from? If there is no Japanese bookshop near you, you can try to buy it online -> Oshare ga Suki na Onnanoko no Fuku / Mano Akiko
      I’m sorry but I can’t share patterns from books because of copyright issues. I only help to translate them when necessary 🙂

      • Reply Gemma February 15, 2014 at 1:33 am

        Thank you anyway. I am from Barcelona and I maight be able to buy it at Amazon

  • Reply Book Review and Giveaway – Linen, Wool, Cotton Kids – Now in English » Japanese Sewing, Pattern, Craft Books and Fabrics November 14, 2014 at 7:11 am

    […] you have been following my site faithfully for the past few years, you may remember the balloon dress sew-along from this book two years ago? I know many of you purchased the Japanese version upon my […]

  • Reply Lisa Ong August 5, 2015 at 2:14 pm

    Hi Yifarn,
    I’m really confused abt which pattern to cut. On the pattern ‘map’ there seemed to be 2 pattern pieces for Dress A.

    So which one do i trace, the one on the left or the right or both? Meaning, the left pattern is the back pattern and right pattern being the front pattern?

    Also, for the left pattern, i seemed to notice there r 2 lines parallel to the grain line, a solid straight line and another line in dashed next to it. Which is the correct line to trace? I know it was 3 yrs ago u ran the sew along, hopefully you can help me figure this out. Thanks so much!

  • Reply Sew Along 2 – The Balloon Dress – Day 1 | Japanese Sewing, Pattern, Craft Books and Fabrics July 29, 2016 at 8:29 am

    […] Go to introduction of Balloon Dress Sew-Along Go to Day 2 of Balloon Dress Sew-Along Go to Day 3 of Balloon Dress Sew-Along […]

  • Reply Sew Along 2 – The Balloon Dress – Day 2 | Japanese Sewing, Pattern, Craft Books and Fabrics July 29, 2016 at 8:30 am

    […] Go to introduction of Balloon Dress Sew-Along Go to Day 1 of Balloon Dress Sew-Along Go to Day 3 of Balloon Dress Sew-Along […]

  • Reply Sew Along 2 – The Balloon Dress – Day 3 | Japanese Sewing, Pattern, Craft Books and Fabrics July 29, 2016 at 8:31 am

    […] Go to introduction of Balloon Dress Sew-Along Go to Day 1 of Balloon Dress Sew-Along Go to Day 2 of Balloon Dress Sew-Along […]

  • Reply More New Releases for March 2017 | Japanese Sewing, Pattern, Craft Books and Fabrics April 7, 2017 at 8:44 pm

    […] is about dresses for all year around, by Akiko Mano, the designer of that famous balloon dress (check out my sew-along from way back then) from the book Linen, Wool, Cotton […]

  • Leave a Reply