A Blog for the Perpetually Frustrated Home Sewist

Shinohara Tomoe Simple Dress Pattern Review

Hello everyone! This is my second post of the year-I hope to keep it up moving forward. This post will detail my experience using a Japanese dress pattern by Tomoe Shinohara. I used matching fabric for the dress, and I also made a matching face mask (because it's 20202021). Continue reading below for more!
I actually bought the materials for this dress way back in August 2019, but I didn't completely finish until March 2020, and then I didn't photograph until June and ...... now we're here over a year later. But better late than never! 


I purchased both the fabric and the pattern from Pandora House at the Aeon Mall in Nobeoka. This was the first fabric store I checked out in Nobeoka, and I actually bought these materials before I had a sewing machine here. It's a pretty cute little shop, and it has all the essentials. I've also been impressed with some of the unique supplies and materials I've found there. It's a chain, so if you happen to be near one, I'd recommend checking it out! However, if you're used to large American chains like JoAnn Fabrics, then this place may be underwhelming. 

As I've mentioned before on the blog, sometimes finding materials and fabrics in Japan can be a little bit difficult. However, I was able to find everything for this project at one store. Of course, it helped that the fabric and pattern were both branded by Tomoe Shinohara. The fabric I purchased to use for is the same fabric used on the pattern envelope and its a custom fabric branded in her name. 
This was my first time drying fabric on my balcony like this! 

Some of you may be familiar with Tomoe Shinohara already; she's a former Japanese pop star that is well-known for her colorful and cute style (very 90's decora!). She was also an actress in the live action version of Princess Jellyfish in 2012. However, Shinohara didn't come on to my radar until I discovered her first sewing book back in 2015. Before starting my blog, I used a pattern from the Tomoe Shinohara Dress Book to make a fairly simple dress. I enjoyed sewing it, and the book was easy to follow, but the sizing was pretty small. Maybe I'll write a blog post about it one day! She's published two books in the time since, but I haven't had the chance to check them out yet. 

This dress was made with the Tomoe Shinohara Dress Book in 2015. It was a fun make at the time- maybe I'll make a blog post for it one day! I don't have it with me here in Japan anymore though.  

Here's a more detailed view of the fabric! I wish I had taken note of the fiber content on the bolt, so I'm not completely certain what this fabric is composed of. It definitely seems like a natural fiber, and the weave has a slubbed texture. Perhaps it's linen? 


Now let's look at the pattern a bit more closely. The dress is titled as a Simple Frill Dress (かんたんフリルワンピース), and it comes in two lengths. Dress A is longer and hits at the knee; Dress B is shorter and just above the knee. Both dresses have the same loose, oversized A-line shape, and the sleeves are attached to the bodice like a dolman sleeve. These sleeves are finished with a circular flounce that starts right above the elbow and ends about three-quarter sleeve length. The only closure is a button on the back with a keyhole opening. There are also seam pockets on both sides of the dress. And lastly, besides length, the only difference between the two is that Dress B utilizes visible bias tape as a neckline and sleeve hem finish.

Here's a link to the pattern on Amazon JP: Janome x Tomoe Pattern

Because I planned to wear this as a work dress, I chose to make the dress in the longer length, but I also added the navy bias tape to the neckline and sleeves (just like the photos on the pattern envelope).  I also chose to make the waist tie belt to cinch the center of the dress. Also, the dress comes in four sizes, S-LL. These sizes correspond to about a 76-98 cm (30-38.5 in) bust measurement. The pattern sizing runs a bit small by American standards, as is normal for Japanese patterns. However, the dress is pretty oversized, so I think someone could still wear this dress, even if they fall a bit out of the recommended size measurements. 

The instructions and cutting information is printed front and back on one piece of paper, but there's still plenty of information to use and work with. I wouldn't recommend this pattern to a complete beginner,  but I think anyone with some experience under their belt could easily handle this pattern. Keep in mind all of the instructions are in Japanese, but each step comes with an illustration. 

I really liked the steps for adding bias tape to the neckline and sleeves. This method is really basic (so maybe I should've figured it out sooner), but it really made the process so much easier. First, you cut the seam allowances off the fabric, pin or clip the bias tape to the fabric, baste it, then finally go around with a normal lock stitch. Here are some photos. 

Here are some closer pictures of the keyhole and button closure opening in the back. 


This dress doesn't require much styling, so I didn't add much to it. I simply paired it with my white heels from Unique Vintage. They are titled the Leatherette White Cone Heels,  but I can't really link them anymore because I think they're sold out. Also, I tried to match my eye makeup on the day that I took these photos, and it turned out pretty poor (as well as my hair that day). So, I don't love these photos, but that's just how it goes sometimes. 

I ended up getting my nails done a couple times last year that happened to match the dress. One set of nails were fruit nails, and the other set were navy flower nails.

Here's the other set of nails. 


I made a bunch of masks last year, and I was planning to make a big blog post describing all of them. However, I haven't done that yet, so I'll talk about the matching mask I made here. I used some scrap fabric (and navy gauze fabric) to complete it. The pattern I used for it is from carey077 on Etsy and is titled the 3D Face mask. It's a very high quality pattern with easy to follow instructions, so I recommend it if you're looking for a mask that allows for a filter insert and allows for wire to be inserted. 

Apologies for how wrinkled the mask looks in these photos!


I can tell this was a worthwhile make, because I've already worn it to work a bunch of times. During the warmer months of the year, this dress is the perfect kind to wear to work. Although I'm not sure this is the most exciting or unique make on its own, the fact that I've gotten a bunch of use out of it is a huge plus. 

Thanks so much for checking out and reading this post! As always, if you've got any questions, please let me know down below! I'll try to post again soon. 

To see more of my indie sewing projects, please click here

To see more of my fruit-themed sewing projects, please click here

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