Inari Tee dress in linen // Named sewing pattern // Closet Case Files
Sewing Projects


I‘m not the tattoo type (too commitment phobic and paranoid about being accidentally frozen in an iceberg and later studied by future generations) BUT,  if I was, I would get a little 5/8″ seam ruler stamped on my index finger, and then somewhere I’d look everyday and be reminded, some cursive script saying “If it works, work it”. Because sometimes you need to be reminded that you don’t need to reinvent the wheel when it’s turning just fine on it’s own.

What was working for me this summer was the black Inari dress I wore so much it’s already starting to fade. What was also working for me was linen, which I bought even more of during an impulse Michael Levine shopping spree. By my logic, if it ain’t broke, make more of them.

Inari Tee dress in linen // Named sewing pattern // Closet Case FilesInari Tee dress in linen // Named sewing pattern // Closet Case Files

The Inari Tee is definitely becoming a TNT pattern. I really just love how easy the shape is, with enough sly, sophisticated detail to make it feel a little more special than your average shift dress. I’ll be whipping up the crop top variation before summer is completely over, believe you me, and I may even get brave and dip into my psychedelic Vlisco wax print stash for something that borders on “whoooooaaaaa!!!!!” Or perhaps a Keanu “whoa?”

I’ve never shopped at Michael Levine before, but I had fallen in love with this sweater knit because of Dandelion Drift, so figured I’d dip more than a toe into the pool. I was curious about the Essex cotton/linen blend, so I got a few yards of this denim colorway. It’s got a lot more body than the black linen I had used for my previous make, but as a result it holds it’s shape really well, making the cocoon shape of the pattern more pronounced, and obviously not wrinkling quite as much as 100% linen.

Inari Tee dress in linen // Named sewing pattern // Closet Case Files Inari Tee dress in linen // Named sewing pattern // Closet Case FilesInari Tee dress in linen // Named sewing pattern // Closet Case Files

I wanted to sass this project up a little with some contrast topstitching and was wooed by a good deal on neon serger thread at my notions shop. A single stitch wasn’t very impactful, so for the first time ever (I know, I know) I experimented with my machine’s triple stitch. Basically this just makes a regular straight stitch but sews each one three times, creating a much denser line of stitching. The yellow popped a lot more and gives the simple shape a little more something-something.

ps. If you’re making jeans and having trouble using topsticthing thread, try regular thread with a triple stitch! It takes a little longer to sew but mimics the look and provides more reliable tension.

Otherwise, construction was pretty simple. I did a bias neckline using some storebought stuff in my stash, topstitched the cuffs rather than slipstitching them in place, and added a bar tack at the top of the leg slit to provide a little reinforcement.

Neon topstitching using triple stitch // Named Inari Tee dress in linen // Closet Case Files Inari Tee dress in linen // Named sewing pattern // Closet Case Files

Also, you may have noticed my new shades. I have a bad cheap sunglass collecting habit, but realized this year I rather desperately needed prescription sunnies since I rarely wear my contacts. While I had a my eye on a few pairs at Warby Parker (these ones in particular), I was super happy to discover that Firmoo started carrying cool frames this summer. I bought my last pair of eyeglasses with them and the prices are so good you kind of want to paintball your optometrist’s office with their 1000% markup. I ended up getting these ones with prescription lenses for under $50 and I am super happy with the quality, in case you’re in the market.

Inari Tee dress in linen // Firmoo Sunglasses // Closet Case FilesNeon topstitching using triple stitch // Named Inari Tee dress in linen // Closet Case Files

Have you discovered a new TNT pattern this summer? Would you be willing to give neon topstitching a try? All ears over here.

Details: Inari tee dress in Essex linen, Firmoo shades, zipper earrings from Oona, shoes from Payless many moons ago, Mac Good to Go lipstick

  • this is sooo good. I keep convincing myself that I can draft my own cocoon dress pattern from an existing dress that I love, but every time I see the inari tee pattern sewn up my resistance falls a little lower… great photos, too!

    • Thanks Jess. I dunno, I would say just get the pattern. It’s really cleverly drafted, with the side seams rotating forward. totally worth it.

  • Kate

    I love your shoes!

    • Thanks Kate! Me too! I’ve managed to keep them nice and clean for a few years now.

  • What a great dress! Perfect for when you want to look like you tried without actually trying! 😉 I enjoy how well your shoes match your blog colours…

    • Hahahaa i have a few pairs of “on brand” shoes. And dresses that look like you tried without trying are my favourite.

  • Jill

    I made a black linen Inari after seeing yours and loved it so much that I also made a version in essex cotton/linen blend that I’m wearing today. And I hope to make one more version…maybe white or navy before the summer is over. Did you lengthen yours at all? I’m only 5″3 and find it a bit short!

    • WE ARE TWINSSSSSSS!!!! I think the length is perfect…. but I’m not really fussy about short skirts.

      • Jill

        My new sewing rule will be just to make what you make. I think the length only feels a little short to me because I’m wearing it a very corporate environment. But when I’m just out and about it’s perfect.

  • Forrest Anderson

    I also really want a 5/8 inch ruler tattoo also! In fact, I almost got one a few weeks ago on my birthday, but I feel like it will just look like I got pen marks on my finger…

    • A tattoo artist told me a tattoo there would just bleed – it wouldn’t be a nice sharp line after a year or two. talked me right out of it.

  • The dress looks great! And I love your shoes as well!

    • Thanks Nathalie! I love these shoes and have managed to keep them clean and yellow for years now 😉

  • I got a 5/8 inch tattoo on my finger a couple of years ago and love it! 🙂

    Aren’t those Michael Levine sales great? I stocked up during their last one too! You scored on that fabric, it’s lovely for that dress!

    • I got talked out of it by a tattoo artist friend who said it would bleed and look terrible in a few years How is your holding up?

      And I wish there was a sale! I paid full price for everything.

      • It has definitely faded and some of the black has fallen out, but all side finger tattoos fade. I get tattooed every so often, so I’ll get it touched up the next time I go in 🙂

  • This is a terrific dress and I really like the yellow topstitching. Thank you SO MUCH for the link to Firmoo! As a fellow Canadian, it’s so helpful not to have to pay a huge markup!

    • I was once buddies with a salesman for all the big brands and he would sell me designer frames at his cost for like, under $50. Which would retail for $500 without lenses! So crazy. I’m all about buying glasses online now, but if you have to get them adjusted it can be tricky finding people to do it. Anyway, Firmoo is a pretty good budget solution. I bought a new pair of regular eyeglasses form them with this order and I like them alot.

      • I bought a pair of tortoise/turquoise sunglasses. Less than $50! Even if they don’t work out (which I think they will) it’s a great, great deal 🙂

  • So lovely! I’m losing my resolve to not buy more patterns right now each time I see a new Inari. And for the record, I’m in full support of any garment that would garner a Keanu whoa, so let’s see that crop top!

    Totally with you on the tattoo thing. I LOVE a full pretty sleeve, and always have a million tattoo ideas, but I’m scared of changing my mind later. I’ve always really wanted cute versions of my favorite foods, but I don’t know how I’d feel about having a fried egg with a face tattooed on my body all my life. All I have is one teensy green star on the top of my foot, that I got with two friends in high school. It literally took like 90 seconds, but it was SO PAINFUL. So, no tattoos for me.

    • I love a fried egg tattoo! My issues is just seeing like, grizzled old biker dudes with their old man skin and bleeding tattoos and me being like “NOPE!” Now its a weird point of pride that I don’t have any since it’s kind of the “thing” for our generation to do.

      • Ha, this reminds me of my father-in-law! Anytime he hears someone talking about tattoos, he tells them, “Well, why don’t you be different and NOT get a tattoo?” He’d like your style.

  • Gah, so fabulous! I have two cuts of fabric that are destined to become Inari Tee dresses – the first is a light wash denim and the second is a cotton/linen made with black and white threads that I bought at Britex last week. Hoping to make at least one in the next week! Your multiple Inaris keep prodding me to get started!
    PS – did you have to size up to make a woven tee, or do you find there’s enough ease to go with your actual size?

    • I was between sizes so I ended up adding a little to the side seams at the hips… Ease is fine for me!

  • Love the linen Inari–it looks so fresh and comfy and modern. All of Named Patterns’ patterns do, in fact. And what’s not to love about neon topstitching? It’s that kind of detail that turns an everyday basic into a stunner! I have found my own TNT pattern this spring/summer: the True Bias Sutton blouse. I’ve made 4 (for me that’s a lot of a single pattern), I’ve got at least 2 more planned, plus I’ll shortly be cutting out two shift-dress versions of it. All in lovely silk charmeuse. HEAVEN.
    And now I want a measuring tape tattooed around my upper arm like some kind of tribal marking.

    • YES! That would be a great tattoo. I have a Sutton cut out and ready to go, just need to find a few hours this week to make it…

  • Love the neon stitching on this. It makes the dress IMO. You look super cool.

    • Thanks Helen! I had to google IMO and am still not sure what it means, hahaha

      • Um, yeah, that wasn’t the best sentence I’ve ever written. Plus, maybe it’s a Britishism. I mean, in my opinion (IMO), the neon stitching is what *makes* the dress. i.e. it elevates it from normal to amazing. 🙂

  • Amy

    I love those sandals! They check all my need-right-now buttons. I missed your earlier version but this is really perfect summer dress… simple shapes like this are just bound to be tnts, right? The more air, the better. I’ve worn the Sallie jumpsuit A LOT. (2nd version is done, too.) And made 3 versions of the same tank knit dress that I basically keep wearing until I spill something on them. So I’m basically living in knits, but just about over summer sewing… sadly it’s a good 2 months before we Austinites have any kind of fall temps.

    • I had to make this because I’ve been wearing Sallies basically 24/7 and the bf was like “Sigh, again?”

  • Amy

    Oh and I’m so scared to buy nice sunglasses anymore. I lose them all the time. My husband bought me a pair of Ditas for my birthday and they promptly disappeared after two months… so somehow it feels safer to buy cheap. How do you hang onto yours?

    • Thats why this site is kinda great – its not the end of the world if you lose them. I keep them in a eyeglass case in my purse. With prescription sunnies you have to switch back and forth so you kind of always know where they are….

  • Hélène

    Thanks for the triple stitch trick! I had problems topstitching with my Janome and hope this will help get a nice clean job. Love the neon touch on your Inari – this really is a nice little dress. My TNT pattern this summer is the Alder dress (the straight version sans ruffle). This pattern is a gem for me.

    • I keep meaning to make that up at some point…. And hopefully that triple stitch tricks works out!

  • Nicole – Sew Knit Create

    So tempted to buy this pattern! I love the fluro topstitching

  • Oh this looks soooo comfortable! I must try this pattern because I can imagine I’d get a lot of wear out of it. I love what you did with the top stitching. Nice sunnies too! Unfortunately I wont be investing in good sunglasses for a few years due to a little person in my life!

    • Babies love to ruin eyewear. It’s a total thing.

  • Camilla

    Effortlessly chic. Great fabric choice and the contrast stitching makes it special. Lovely dress, I’d want to wear it all the time.

  • Very cool, and look at that coordination with the shoes! Woohoo ,missus!

    • It didn’t exactly match but I let it go!

  • Quinn May

    Your tattoo idea of the 5/8″ seam ruler is GENIUS and now I want one (but I’m also tattoo free as I’m just plain old scared of pain)

  • sallieforrer

    I’ve just been having the most craptastic day at work and decided to give myself a blog reading break and this post was like someone decided to drag the sun to my little raincloud party! Love you. Love reading your words and hearing your voice, love this make, love neon topstitching, love 5/8″ tattoo ideas, and love Keanu “whoa’s”.

  • Sophie

    I don’t have a tried and true pattern right now but if I did I’m sure it would be THIS one! There is not a version of the Inari dress I haven’t loved yet, yours included! It just looks so easy and casual but put together. Keep them Inari’s flowing my sweet!

  • Monserratt Lopez

    I love the combo with those sandals and the pop of the neon on the cocoon!! You look gorgeous! 🙂

  • Fortunately for me I have HEAPS of time to get summer sewing plans in place before our warm weather kicks in. Whipped up a Belcarra blouse the other day and it was so quick this may become a staple for me! I’m totally digging your sandals btw! Gorgeous! 🙂

    • Super jealous summer is starting for you….. its almost over here and I’m not happy about it.

  • Leigh Barnett

    This uniform dress is perfect. I’m jealous.

    • Merci beaucoup Leigh! Time to make your own? 🙂

  • Anna Bennett

    Lovely dress 🙂 I like the contrasting top-stitching!

    I was wondering… in your ‘about’ section you mention that what turned you off the fast fashion industry were the inherent ethical/environmental issues. I am also trying to follow a more ethical lifestyle – do you have any tips for sourcing fair trade and eco-friendly fabrics? I’m finding it difficult and any advice would be hugely appreciated!

    • Hi Anna. It’s hard. Most fabric is made in pretty bad conditions as well but I comfort myself knowing I’ve removed at least one step in the process. I posted a link to a post in a recent what’s doing that focuses on eco and sustainable fabrics but now I can’t find it , grrr.

  • mokosha

    love your dress, especially neon top-stitching! small details can make a look sometimes.. never made inari dress before, though i have made quite a few dresses in similar shape, but using one of my burda’s patterns.. funny thing is that i made one in mettalic linen, just few days ago

    • I really, really, really need some metallic linen in my life!

  • I love this! I really need to get to work on this pattern! I love the topstitching too!

  • You are so clever! I love how that neon top-stitching sets off this dress.

  • Clairey

    Great post thanks.
    Yes! I’m loving this sack dress. Perfect for the apple shaped Mum that I am. 🙂
    The only problem I had was the sleeves….. It looked good but I couldn’t lift my arms. So after attempt 3 to fix, I reverted back to the original sleeve pattern but I divided the sleeve into 3 – stretch material on the sides (which will be under the arm anyways) and the dress material as the centre panel. Worked a treat.
    I’ll be making a few of these little numbers for our hot Aussie summer.