As promised last month I'm back for the April version of Sew Japan with Mie with a post where I have been sewing for me. I hope you don't mind, hehe.
I don't sew as much for myself from the Japanese sewing books as I do for my kids. The reason is simple. The patterns are not drafted for tall people like me plus a lot of them are roomy and square which I love to look at but is not always what suits me the best. That does not mean they do not work for me, it just means that sometimes I need to work a bit more with the pattern to get it to suit me the way I want it. In other words sometimes lazy takes over, ha.
In this case 'extra work' meant adding length to both the top part and the skirt plus pinning the skirt to the top on various placements, sewing the skirt on, pulling the elastic through and then ripping the whole thing off again, more moving up and down with pins and then finally settling on what you see above. Gah! I've told you before that I'm very stubborn and I take full advantage of that questionable skill in cases like this. Poor Celina got spammed with WIP photos for two days straight. But I'm so happy with the final result and my troubles are all forgotten now.
But let's start at the beginning. The book and the pattern as you see above. I'm thanking Celina for introducing me to the book (in THIS post) because it is one of my favorites. It definitely belong in the group of cool Japanese sewing books (versus the more romantic vibed ones). HERE is another item I made from this book.
This is pattern G_1. It's a swing top with a beautiful shaped shoulder yoke, a casing with an elastic in the waist and a gathered skirt attached on the outside of the top (so the top of the skirt creates a tiny ruffle).
I started cutting and sewing the top just to see how that worked and guess what...it was SO perfect. Like I couldn't believe my eyes. I actually almost considered skipping to add the skirt and I'm definitely making some more just as tops. There is also a variation of this pattern in the book called G_2 which is basically just a lengthened version of the top (into a dress). I'm definitely also going to make that.
And a funny note before moving on. I sent a photo of the pattern to Celina to show her what I was doing for April (since it's going on her blog) and we both wrote to each other at the same time that it could be cool to make the top part with a knit instead of the woven that the pattern is made for. Ha, I guess you can say we both agreed that was a good idea.
So I used a very drapy and stretchy grey thin French terry and paired it with this gorgeous dotted cotton seersucker lawn from Miss Matatabi.
So what changes did I do to the sewing process since I used a knit for the top instead of a woven? Instead of finishing the neckline and sleeve openings with bias tape as the book suggest, I cut some narrow strips of rib which I serged on. You will have to do a bit of easy math to get it the same width as the original but I'm not going into that here, sorry.
I also cut the yoke double (and interfaced one of them) to get a nice inside look plus it actually simplifies finishing the rest of the seams significantly because you 'bag sew' it all. With bag sewing I mean grabbing the two seams you want to sew together through a hole in your lining (or in this case the two layers of yoke) and sew them together right to right side of the fabric. That way all seams are hidden inside your lining. I use this method for everything I sew that has a lining but I have just recently learned the English word/expression for it, ha. I don't even think we have a Danish word for it?! Oh well, moving on...... I used the front yoke shoulder seams as openings and closed those up last with a stitch in the ditch.
Another change I did - not connected to the change of fabric though - was to not add the elastic casing that the pattern comes with (as a separate pattern piece). They add it above the skirt and it felt like a bit of a waste of a time to me. Instead I made sure to add length to the top and made casings by stitching the skirt and top fabric together (leaving an opening to pull the elastic through of course).
Last change, or addition you may say, was to add a lining. I was worried that my fabric was slightly see through and I'm planning on wearing this all summer and flashing underpants is not really my thing, ha. I used the top pattern to draft the lining pattern. I literally just traced the bottom line (to get the right curve), then extended the side seams of the top to get the right flow for the lining part and then added SA to the waist and side seams. This way you get a non-gathered lining which is really what you want - unless you want to make a super poofy dress of course, he.
During my two day fitting frenzy I also ended up making the skirt less wide. It's just a rectangle so that was a very easy job. I think if I made this again I would make the pattern even more narrow and then slash and spread (the pattern piece, not the fabric, ha). That way there are less gathers at the waist but still width at the bottom. The pattern would be slightly curved instead of being a rectangle.
And let's not forget the link ups from last month:
It seemed like we have a theme for last month. Little girls tops (and a dress). There was no way I could choose between them so I featured them all. Cuteness overload for sure!! And I love how they all show classic Japanese styles - yokes, gathers and prints. Beautiful!
Thank you for linking up ladies and don't forget to link up your makes for the next month. We would love to see what you make. And don't forget to tag your social media posts with #sewjapan and #projectsewit.
We have a surprise bonus for you this month because Celina decided to make the same dress (seriously how fun is that!!) and since her own blog was taken by my post, my blog gets to be the lucky one to host her beautiful version of this dress. Do NOT miss it! It's incredible how much personal style and fabric choices can change a piece of clothing. Sewing at it's best. I love it! See it HERE.