Two-tone Merino Dress in Japan [Kwik Sew 4013].

We went to Japan recently, and knowing it would be Autumn and a little chilly over there, I made a dress for the occasion. With warm weather most of the year where I live, I tend to sew summer wear most of the time. So making a winter garment for me is still a novelty. I love working with wool and the softness of it, and the feel of it against my skin, but I don’t get to wear them often. It is a treat when I do! I decided to use the pattern Kwik Sew 4013, since the colour blocking options appealed to me, and I used 2 different merino wools (both from my stash) for the dress.


Kwik Sew 4013. View A is on the right, which has shorter dress length and long sleeves. View B on the left has contrast fabric in the middle. I made View A but with the contrasting feature of View B.


  • Pattern: Kwik Sew 4013, by Kerstin Martensson, view A dress with contrast fabric option from view B.
  • Size made: Misses’ XS-XL included. I made size XS.
  • Pattern pieces:  9 pieces for view A.
  • Fabric used:
    • Front and back bodice and dress: White floral merino wool blend jersey [57% merino wool, 43% polypropolene, 210 GSM, 150cm width, 1.5m length, unknown country of origin, bought from The Fabric Store, Sydney branch].
    • Side panels and sleeves: Grey merino wool blend jersey [21% merino wool, 79% polypropolene, 138cm width, 1.5m length, unknown country of origin, bought from The Fabric Store, Sydney branch].
  • New Techniques used: Disjointed elastic casings for elastic insertion.
  • Modifications:
    • Shortened bodice at the shoulders (had to re-attach the neck facing, and the armhole circumference decreases as a result, and sleeve head adjusted accordingly).
    • Handstitched neck facings onto bodice.
    • Reduce sides 4cm at waist on each side, hence total circumferential reduction is 16cm.
    • Shortened hem of dress by 6cm.
    • Shortened sleeve length by 3cm.


Line drawing of K4013. Pic from here.


The dress has a wrap-front bodice (great for nursing) with elasticated waist that is not continuous with that of the back. The contrast side panels are sewn on.


The neck facing is continuous all around the back of the neck from the two wrap-front.


The sleeves are attached on the flat as per pattern instructions. Then sew the underside of the sleeves and the sides in one line of stitch per side.


Front of the finished, altered garment. There is a lot of ease in this pattern. I ended up having to take out a lot of fabric from the sides and on top of the shoulders to make it fit.


According to the measurements on the pattern envelope, size XS fits bust (31.5 – 32.5″), waist (22.5 – 23.5″) and hip (32.5 – 34″). The waist is at least 27-28″+ in the finished garment.


The elastic at the waist looks very similar from the front and back. I like how soft the gathers look!


This is the back of the garment. The darker side panels have a slimming effect, I hope.


I really like how comfortable this dress feels, and that it is nursing friendly. The shoulder seam is a little too “dropped” on my frame despite the extended shoulders being an intentional design. Perhaps I should have narrowed the shoulders next time (but gathering the front shoulder top more, and cutting the respective back shoulder piece accordingly).



I wore this dress out and about in Kyoto. It was overcast and raining that day, so the lighting wasn’t the best. But how beautiful is Kyoto? We love it there so much. 


This was taken in front of the famous Kyoto needle shop, Misuyabari (see here and here for blogger visits. I may write about it in a future post).


This was part of the garden of the Rokkaku-do Buddhist temple in Kyoto.


After visiting the temple, we went to Arashiyama.


Detail shot! This was at the decorated train station at Arashiyama.


There is a traditional foot spa hut right at the end of the train station. I’ve always wondered about it, but still haven’t gone inside. Maybe one day!


This is the pond inside the main shrine in Arashiyama, the Tenryu-ji Temple. The autumn leaves are starting to come out and displaying their oranges and reds. So scenic.


You can see the back of the dress in this shot.


This is a building on the side on the temple grounds.

I also went to Nomura Tailor in Kyoto, and Yuzawaya in Tokyo and Yokohama (and met up with my creative crush Eli of Cat in a Wardrobe . She is just so incredibly talented and is great at Shibori dyeing and dressmaking) . I have written about these fabric/craft stores in my previous post here.

That’s it for now! There is always so, so much to do and to catch up on after a holiday! I hope I can sneak in some sewing time somewhere. It’s exactly one month until Christmas, so it’s going to be a crazy, busy (but good) time coming up. I hope you are having fun sewing/making/preparing for the festive season.


2 thoughts on “Two-tone Merino Dress in Japan [Kwik Sew 4013].

  1. What beautiful photos as always Sil, you are a great model and Sean is a great photographer. On the dress – I like the dropped shoulder look. Though to be honest I had to look twice when you mentioned it, the colour blocking means it is not so obvious. And what a lot of work on the alterations to the pattern. I admire your dedication!!!

    1. Thanks Kate! I’m no model…photographer is the most important (well, and the dress itself) haha! I think dropped shoulder is more forgiving anyway in terms of fit, and is similar in terms of comfort. It wasn’t obvious to myself either even when I was sewing it; After trying it on for the first time, I thought why is the shoulder lines so low and the sleeves so long?? Alterations were ok…lucky it’s not a fitted dress, so I can just fudge it a bit :P

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