Hi, It's Mie here from Sewing Like Mad. I'm originally from Denmark but have lived in the US for more than 7 years and counting. I have been sewing for 15 + years and I have been blogging about it for almost 4 years.
I have learned many things here in life so far but I think the lesson I apparently have to learn the most times is 'never to say never'. After I finished my year as a member of the Sewing Rabbit Team I promised myself I would NEVER do that again, ha. And let me just be very very clear - the team and Jessica was MORE than wonderful and I would never have been without everything I learned and the people I made friends with (Celina is one of them!) BUT the pressure of delivering a post with a tutorial once a month was just too much for me and our family life. I don't handle deadlines well and although I take sewing more than serious I consider my blog to just be a hobby for me.
So isn't it sort of funny that here I am introducing myself as a member of the Petit a Petit Team! Well, the thing is that I got this idea that I'm actually insanely excited about and it would fit perfectly with the team setup plus I knew I needed deadlines and obligation to keep it up.
The idea is to sew one or two patterns patterns from a Japanese sewing book every month and then blog about it here. I have all these books and so many patterns from them, that I wanted to try both for me and my girls but somehow I often got distracted and ended up sewing other things. Well, not anymore! I have a deadline, it will happen and I'm so excited about it! I will try to have the patterns/fabrics to follow the seasons but well, the sewing blog community is spread all over the world plus I live in a fairly warm climate so it might not quite fit you all but hey, I'm sure it will work as inspiration one way or the other.
And just like that the year long series Sew Japan With Mie had set sails.
And guess what? You can sew with me too! More about that in the end of this post.
Let me start by showing you the two patterns I have sewed for this post and which books they are from.
A very simple knit cardigan that I ended up altering into a not quite so simple knit cardigan, ha. (Mini tutorial further down.) And a pair of culottes. The pattern is originally drafted for woven fabric (and I have two pairs of those on my own blog but finish this post before you jump over, okay). These I made with a stable denim knit which absolutely also worked great. Almost better because of the knit's great drape.
So as you can see on the original knit cardigan illustration there was no front, back or shoulder yokes as part of the pattern....until I got my hands on it. To those of you that do not know me, I love color blocking. I deliberately or accidentally do it to most of what I sew. I try to stop but I might need an intervention, ha.
I have made an ultra mini tutorial for you on how to add all the yokes to a cardigan/bodice pattern. It requires a basic understanding of pattern drafting.
I feel the photo above is mostly self explanatory but I will add a bit of words too. As you can see above did I draw the line of the yoke from CB (center back) over the sleeve cap and then ending somewhere on the front neckline in free hand. Basically where I thought it would look good. But before you can do that, you need to make sure you are placing the 3 pattern pieces correctly so the lines meet up when you start sewing. Start with your back bodice, draw your back yoke. Now measure from the bottom of your armscye (in the sewing line NOT the outer line since the pattern already has SA (seam allowance) added) and up to the back yoke mark. Next go to your sleeve pattern and measure that exact same distance on the back sleeve cap (see the orange text above where it says measure), make a notch and then overlap the two seams (since SA is already added there) so the notches meet up. Now you can continue your yoke drawing over the sleeve and do the same measuring on the front sleeve cap and front bodice armscye to make sure they meet up. Always measure from the bottom (under your arm) and up to the yoke since the sleeve most likely has ease added to the top of the sleeve cap so you can't use that part for pattern checking.
Now trace the new pattern pieces and add SA on both all your 3 new yoke pattern pieces and your back and front bodice plus sleeve pattern piece. And now you are ready for the most fun part....finding two fabrics that go well together.
I also lowered the front neckline a tiny bit and made it into a v-neck instead of a round one. I think that went better with this style. I added some snaps (from Snap Source) at the front as closure. The pattern has a facing (which you should interface) to finish the neckline and front and I choose to use my cover stitch to stitch it down at the front. I might be weird like that but I love not having loose facings on the inside.
Here is a look from the back. This little lady is 130 cm tall and I made her the size that fit her height. Japanese patterns use height (in centimeters) to determine size. I did take off 5 cm / 2" at the final length as the only size alteration. The size is big but not too big on her and she can easily wear clothes under for layering and also not grow out of it in the next hour or two, ha.
Okay, let's move on to the culottes. These are a truly fast sew. They just have an elastic waist so it is almost like sewing an elastic waist skirt...just with legs.
Like I mentioned earlier it's a pattern made for wovens but after sewing two pairs of that I decided to give a stable denim knit a try and that worked too. They will of course be slightly looser (unless you size down - I didn't, ahem) but since the style is already loose it didn't really made a significant difference.
The denim knit is from the Peek-a-Boo fabric shop. (looks like it is sold out but she has other good stuff).
I made one change to the way I sewed the knit version vs. the woven. On the woven pairs I folded down the top of the waist and made a casing for the elastic to run through just like the book suggests. On the knit pair I did it the way I sew leggings too. I divided the waist and the elastic in four, match the quarters up and then stitched the elastic directly to the waist at the very top on the inside. Then I fold down the elastic (so it will be completely hidden) and then used my cover stitch to stitch the elastic down. If you don't have a cover stitch you stitch elastic to waist, then serge the seam and then fold and stitch with your normal sewing machine. Remember to stretch out the elastic as you sew to make the seam slightly stretchy too. I changed the technique because making a casing in knit fabric is most likely not going to look very good and it is going to be quite bulky.
Now it is time to jump on over to my blog and see the two woven pairs of culottes.
And that's it for the first post in Sew Japan With Mie. I hope you are as exciting as I am to follow me on this journey. But maybe you want to do more than to just follow me... maybe you want to sew too! That's why we are adding a link party in the end of each post where each month can link up something you have sewed from a Japanese sewing book/magazine, Japanese fabric or even Japanese inspired in the last month. I want to stress that we want to see new things - just because that just makes it more fun for everyone. Each month Celina and I will showcase some of our favorites.... and who knows, maybe there will be some prizes added at some point when we get a bit more organized, ha! You can use #sewjapan and #petitapetitblog on IG or even make this your #projectsewit ( see what we are talking about here!)