Sewing Japanese in January -Part 1

So, by the title, I am hoping (planning) on there being more than one post of a Japanese pattern this month.  I had a little re-think of one of the tops I posted about last time, the viscose for the Sailor Top in the Simply Sewn book.  I think it’s going to be too drapey, so I’ll be re-thinking and digging though the stash to see what else I can find for that.  I also just may have found fabric for the wide, cropped pants from Kana’s Standard.  Just need to be sure the pattern fits on the fabric!

ks jacket 1
Gown/Jacket E-a from Kana’s Standard

But – I have made the first item!  Woo!  I started with the Gown/Jacket E from Kana’s Standard.  Why that one?  Because I had planned on making it last year, the fabric’s been hanging around since 2016 and it looked quick and easy. What else could you want for a sewing day on New Year’s Day??

collage gown
Gown E-a in reversible double gauze

It turned out to be very easy to make, and relatively quick.  I didn’t rush it, there is an awful lot of double turning of long hems and edges to keep it all neat and tidy.  That’s because you really do see the insides while you’re wearing it, so it’s got to be done properly.

gown 3
Spotty, inside and out! Decent sized pockets too.

The instructions are all in Japanese, but the diagrams are pretty clear.  Once all the pieces are traced – main body, sleeve and pocket, you need to add seam and hem allowances.  So that’s 1cm for seams and 4 for hems and edges.  The main body is one size, with an option of size 9 or 13 for the sleeve and armhole.  I went for the 13.  Now, in hindsight, I could/should probably have added 2-3cm on the fold to the centre back.  I think it would have helped to have had extra room in the back portion of the jacket.  I’ve made that note on the pattern pieces for the next time.

img_20181230_183702_5278386519509938883891.jpg
The “how to make” part in the book.

Order of construction is simple, make the sleeves, make the pockets, sew the pockets on at the marked placements, sew the sleeves into the armhole and hem everything.  Done! 🙂  I’d love to make this again in a soft, washed linen.  I found this shop on Etsy with lovely looking linen.  And Daughter no2 has looked accquisitorially at it already!  It used just under 3m of the double gauze I had in the stash.  It came from Organic Cotton Plus as part of a prize package.  I have a bit leftover which I think I’ll use for a kid’s outfit of some sort, there’s not enough for a grown-up!

gown 5

I like the look of this jacket, I had in mind for it to be a light covering in late spring and the summer, especially when sitting in my garden and the breeze gets a little nippy.  But it would also make a lovely dressing gown, and at least it has pockets for your phone and morning biscotti!  I just can’t quite get comfortable wearing it.  Because it’s basically a rectangle with armholes and sleeves, it doesn’t sit on the shoulders nicely.  I end up with it wither hangind down the back or having to haul more of it up around my neck.  If anyone else has made this, please let me know how you manage to wear it comfortably!

 

gown 1

I thought, maybe it’s just because I’m wider than the pattern is meant for, so I tried it on Daughter No 2.  It does look better on her (in my opinion) but she has the same issue with getting it to sit and stay!  I have a feeling I’m going to need to make a couple of darts in the neck edge to give it some shape.  In a jersey or fabric that has more give, I think it would eventually form a shape over the shoulders, but this just isn’t.  And it’s such a shame, because we both love the gown/jacket.  It’s just not nice to wear!  And we both have a problem with the armhole, it feels like it’s in the wrong place, either too low or not low enough!

gown me 3

But I have a feeling this garment will be going home with Daughter No2, although I like it – I just don’t think it’s me…

gown me 2

 

Book Review – Kana’s Standard

 

I thought it might be helpful, if you’re inspired by some of the garments seen in the #sewjapaneseinjanuary hashtag, to go through the books I have and will hopefully be using using this month.  One thing this community sew-along has shown me is that there are loads of good books out there that I had no idea about!  I’d love to have access to a bricks and mortar shop so I can browse these offerings properly.  And do some serious shopping….   I’ll start with Kana’s Standard, the first book, as that’s what I’ve been using first!

ks1
Kana’s Standard

The patterns are drawn to Japanese sizes 7, 9, 11 & 13.  There is NO size chart in this book!  Each pattern does have, however, a list of finished measurements for each of the sizes, so I combined that with the size chart in the Clean & Natural book, and checked online to figure out where I fitted (or didn’t fit…).  I worked out that I needed to be a 15-17, depending on how much ease I wanted.  And there is a lot of ease, especially in the tops!  You also have to thing about height – or length.  The patterns are generally drafted for a height of 1.6m, so if you’re taller, you’ll need length.

ks3
All the styles overview

There are 5 groups of patterns, with variations.  Section A has two basic tops, on of which is on the front cover, and 4 dresses, which are variations of the tops.  B is pants, including a pair of shorts, dungarees and a jumpsuit.  There are 6 patterns in that section.  Skirts are in section C, there are 7 – the waistband needs to to be fitted to the measurement of the waist, but the skirts are full/gathered so all you need worry about after that is length.  Section D is camisole, you get a top and a dress there.  The last section is E, gown or jacket.  There are 3 patterns in this section, making a grand total of 24 patterns.  Not bad for £15.

So far I’ve made the pants B-a and the gown/jacket E-a.  I’m not a skirt person, especially a full, gathered skirt, so that section will be largely ignored by me.  But the tops interest me, the gathered frill on the sleeve on the cover pattern is such a simple addition, yet makes it more desireable.  Here are some of the photos of the contents.  If you decide you need more technical info, please pop over to this site.  It’s full of interesting info, help to translate the instructions, etc.  For buying Japanese books, I use this Etsy shop (no affiliate links!!!) because she has loads to choose from, is so quick to post out and is reasonable in her charges too.  I’d look in her shop before checking anywhere else.

collage ks tops
All the tops & dresses in Section A
collage ks pants
Pants – Long, cropped, shorts and a jumpsuit & dungaree version
collage ks skirts
Skirt styles, including a reversable skirt and a wrap version (bottom left images)
collage ks cami
Cami dress & 3 versions of the gown

At the end of each section there are some “action shots” of the author and model styling the garments in different ways.

 

collage ks style 1
Styling the tops & dresses
collage ks style 2
Styling the pants
collage ks style 3
Styling the skirts
collage ks style 4
Stying the cami dress & top and the gowns

A Little Unselfish Sewing – Xmas Presents

 

I know it’s the new year and all, but I have a little catching up to do!  In 2017 I made quite a few Christmas presents, but this time I limited myself just a little bit.  I made two black tees for Daughter No1 who wanted some tee shirts that weren’t too fitted, and I went for black because you can always wear a black tee!  And because I already happened to have 3m of black viscose jersey in the stash…

 

black renfrew 3
Renfrew Tee by Sewaholic

I chose to make a long sleeved, scoop neck Renfrew by Sewaholic first.  This pattern has been adjusted with a swayback adjustment already, and this is her favourite neckline on a tee.  The long sleeves are the perfect length with the cuffs on, and she likes the way it makes the tee feel a little like a sweatshirt.  I leave the hemband off this pattern when making for Daughter No1, the length is fine without it and she prefers it that way.

black renfrew 2

 

black renfrew 1

 

The second pattern I used is the Uvita Top, the free pattern on offer from Itch to Stitch.  I’ve made a few for myself so thought it would be perfect for her too.  Overall, it got the approving nod, but with a few requests for next time. (At least there will be a next time!)  I need to narrow the sleeves a fair bit and flare the side seams out a bit over the hips.  Not too long a list!  🙂

black uvita 2
Uvita Top from Itch to Stitch

 

black uvita 1

 

black uvita 3

I also ran up a couple of Toaster Sweaters.  I know how much both girls like them, so made them one each using the fleece blankets from Asda, again.  I had bought two two-packs earlier in December, I needed the mustard colour for backing some quilted fabric I bought from a charity shop to make throws.  So I was left with two grey and white chevron blankets – perfect Toaster fabric!

chevron toaster 3
Toaster Sweater by Sew House 7

chevron toaster 1

Unfortunately, I did not check the direction of stretch…..  It ran (runs) perpendicular to the chevron pattern.  Now that’s something I didn’t even consider!  So I had already made Daughter No1’s Toaster with the chevrons running around the body, and against the stretch before realising.  Daughter No2’s chevrons run up and down, and the stretch is in the right direction.  Oh dear…  Nevermind, they still work.

chevron toaster 2

I ran out of time to make a tee for Daughter No2 out of the rest of the black jersey.  She was after a raglan tee.  I found one in a Burda magazine and will get that done this month – hopefully!

Sew Japanese in January

Who’s got their 2019 sewing plans started?  There have been a lot of “themes” going round in the last week or two of December to get us all started, and I’m keen to jump onto a few of them.  This one. however, will get me finally using those Japanese Sewing Books I’ve been hoarding.

I spotted the #sewjapaneseinjanuary hashtag on instagram mid way through December and I thought it might be a good way to start the new year.  It’s hosted by @bloglessanna & @craftyjane_makes & runs for the month of January.  I’ve got a few Japanese sewing books now and so far have really only made the trousers from the first Kana’s Standard book & the short jacket from the second book successfully.  There are many, many other patterns I’d like to try, some for me and some for the girls.

I have all the Pattern Magic books, but might to use those this time round.  There are plenty of others to use with patterns already available!  I will have to grade up a couple of sizes.  Starting with the Clean and Natural Book, I’ve always liked the bell/puff sleeve pullover top.  I have some black & white gingham with a 1cm square that I thought would look fabulous in that pattern.

dsc_0058-027507504667981667977.jpeg
Clean & Natural
dsc_0060-01471489673056072235.jpeg
Puff Sleeved Top

 

Next up are the Kana’s Standard books.  From the first one I still want to make the first top with the ruffle on the sleeve – A, the “gown” E and the cropped version of the pants B.  I’ve also loved the top on the cover, and it’s all because of that ruffle, there’s nothing fanccy about the rest of it at all!  I have a reversible double gauze earmarked for the gown, which I plan on using as a lightweight summer jacket.  I haven’t identified fabric for the other patterns just yet.

dsc_0061-017673269235767518890.jpeg
Kana’s Standard, Book 1
dsc_0063-01992502929707022364.jpeg
Jacket/Gown E
dsc_0073-018715017292951021707.jpeg
Ruffle sleeve top

From Kana’s Standard II, I’d love to make another version of the jacket A and I still want to make the wide pants, E.  I haven’t allocated any specific fabrics yet, but I’m sure I’ll dig something up!  I also love the wrap dress on the front cover, but that I will have to grade up and toile carefully.

dsc_0070-016870614527806390550.jpeg
Kana’s Standard, Book 2
dsc_0071-02146881406101186877.jpeg
Wrap dress
dsc_0072-025986847132445380199.jpeg
Cropped, wide leg pants

The gathered blouse from She Wears the Pants has been on the list to make for Daughter No 1 for a while, but I still haven’t made it, and I’ve always wanted to make the top with Epaulettes for myself.

Then there’s a book I’d completely forgotten about until I browsed the hashtag more thoroughly, Simply Sewn by Michiyo Ito.  There are a few good for me items in this book, but I’m starting with the French Sailor Top.  I like the shape, and have decided to risk it in a viscose, instead of a more structured fabric like linen or cotton.

dsc_0064-015456871945430756141.jpeg
Simply Sewn

dsc_0066-017448688863735617385.jpeg

I bought myself a birthday present on Etsy that arrived on my birthday itself (I only expected it sometime in the first week of January).  The book is 7 Basic Dresses & Modifications, by Aoi Koda.  I’d seen it on Instagram earlier this year in a post by @sewbusylizzy and it went on my “list of books to have”.  There are a few tops/blouses and a couple of dresses I really like.  Daughter No1 has approved one of the shirt dresses already.

dsc_0067-018206325405786307800.jpeg
7 Dresses and modifications

The dress on the cover has been admired by all three of us, so it just might be found in each wardrobe soon!

dsc_0068-022788077527774980655.jpeg
I’d like to make this as a shirt, in a lightweight cotton it’ll be lovely
dsc_0069-01228668983039059646.jpeg
This is so simple and I can see myself wearing it. Might just change the wide sleeve hem elastic to a narrower one though.

So far I have traced the gown/jacket, the puff sleeve top, top with sleeve ruffle and the sailor top.  I graded the puff sleeve top up two sizes, and the sailor top one size.  I don’t think I’ll need to toile the jacket/gown, it’s pretty much one size fits all apart from the sleeve and armhole.  I’ll get to toiling asap and we’ll see how I go from there!  But by the end of the month I certainly want to have made that double gauze up, it’s been stewing in the stash for too long…

So let’s see how it goes, let’s get our 2019 sewing off to a promising start, shall we?

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Peppermint Crisp

 

I’ve finally made those darlings of the summer, the Peppermint Wide Leg Pants!  I was going to make them in the summer using a piece of turquoise linen, but chickened out and used that fabric for a TNT pattern instead.  But I stilll wanted to make the pattern so needed another fabric.  I have found these to be super comfy, and I’ve worn them loads since making.  They even made it to be part of the Christmas Day outfit!  Apologies for the creasing, photos only taken halfway through the day…  Real life! 🙂

crisp 1
Peppermint Wide Leg Pants by In The Folds

My choice was the green denim I bought from Higgs & Higgs at the sewing show in London in October.  Daughter No1 had convinced me that I needed green jeans in my life, hence the fabric.  I started by tracing the G & H sizes, based on my measurements.  I needed the H for the waist and graded down to the G for hip down.  I shortened the legs by 4cm in advance, knowing my height and that of the “ideal” 1.7m tall Amazon for whom the pattern is designed.  I toiled the pants in a stiff, thick fabric rescued from the charity shop and realised I could size down!  They were too baggy, too loose all over.

crisp 5

I then traced the F, using the waist of the G, and moving to the F by 7cm from the base of the waistband.  I didn’t re-toile, but got ready to cut.  Then I realised I might have made a bloop.  The fabric has stretch!  The pattern is designed for fabric with no stretch…  But by this time I really wanted these pants in this fabric.  So I decided to start with cutting the F-G, the waistband was interfaced on the cross grain so there was no stretch.  The pocket bags are cut in cotton poplin, leftovers from the lining of Daughter No1’s pink trench coat.  These helped to control the stretch across the front.  I cut a small facing piece like you do for a pair of jeans, from the green denim.

collage crisp 1

What I should have done is cut a couple of patch pockets for the back.  I find it more comfortable to pop my phone in the back pocket than in a front one.  Now, on the subject of pockets…  These are HUGE!  I thought when  was tracing them that I really should reshape them to a more usual shape and size.  So when I do put my phone in there, it swims around.  I imagine I’d lose many a bit of loose change in these pockets, so I will be stitching a better shape this time, and changing the shape completely for the future.

crisp 6

I decided to sew the side seams with a 1.5cm allowance, rather than the 1.2cm  allowed, to compensate for the stretch.  I checked them before adding the waistband and realised they were still to loose, I needed to get the negative ease levels up to make the pants look like the others made with no-stretch fabric.  So I took another 1.5cm off the outer leg seam and 1cm form the inner seam.  This seamed to work, so I sewed on the waistband and crossed my fingers.  It worked!  So I guess you could say I’ve technically made the E size??  I still had the F for the waistband, and the “E” came in by about 10cm below the waistband seam.

crisp 4

I have to admit I got confunded by the zip instructions.  I decided to follow the instructions as written, but then got to a part when I realised it just wasn’t going to work.  The instructions are backwards!  Next time I’ll do the fly the normal way, and change the centre front seam to allow for additional width.  If you want fabulous fly zip instructions for jeans, read the Birkin Flares by Baste & Gather.  You cannot go wrong with those.  Anyway, I ended up unpicking much of what I had already sewn and topstitched in order to finish off the fly, but thankfully it doesn’t look too bad.

collage crisp 2

I do like the shape, and the fit is rather good, despite my fiddling and the incorrect fabric!  So all this will be completely out of the window when I make the pattern again in the right fabric.  But for now, I’m happy – and even happier because the other half, who doesn’t really like cropped, wide leg pants on me, likes these!  I think it’s because of the fit at the waist and hip, so it’s not all baggy.

I love the colour, love the length and the width of the hemline.  These pants fit into my wardrobe so well, the colour give the blues, greys and blacks a little pop, just like those rust pants I made in November, and the rust corduroy Kana’s Standard pants I made in October!

crisp 3

These pants have hit a record for me.  They are the 100th project I’ve made this year!  Since I started tracking my projects, I’ve never got this far, so Im pretty chuffed, although I think some in the slow sewing movement wouldn’t be as impressed!  So now I need a new challenge for next year – and it won’t be to see how many more than that I can make.

crisp 2

 

Rust as Standard

 

At the very end of summer, in fact, it was the end of September, I made a pair of linen pants from the first Kana’s Standard book.  I graded the pattern up two sizes and just went for it.  I really loved the finished pants, but of course, as they were made so late in the season I hardly got to wear them.  I thought it would be cool to make a pair for the winter, but thought of a nice wool suiting or a crepe.  One of the pieces of fabric I bought in October at the Stitching Show was 3m of rusty coloured corduroy.  A match made in heaven?

Inintially that cord was lined up for a jacket, and if there was any left over, I was going to make a skirt or trousers.  However – the pattern I want has yet to be drafted & I decided I wanted more trousers first.  So I grabbed the Kana’s Standard pattern and set to work.  When grading up two sizes, I also added 2cm to the leg length.  I made no other changes.

rust as standard

Now – in the linen, which is soft and lightweight and drapey, the width of the trouser leg is fab, but I do wonder if with the stiffer cord, that I might be able to shave a couple of centimetres off the side seams, just so they’re not quite so wide.  But I’ve been thinking that since I made them and I’m still wearing them as made!  So it can’t be that much of an issue, right?  The front pockets are the perfect size, deep enough to fit your hand in properly – and there’s a pocket in the back!  Now the pattern officially only has one, but I’m greedy, so I have two back pockets in this pair.

rust as standard 3

I love the cord, the colour is so rich!  It’s also soft and warm and nice to stroke.  Not that I advocate stroking your trousers in public too much.  Or inviting other people to stroke the same trousers – with you still in them.  I like wearing them with my Lark tees, really dark colours on top work well, as do my paler greys.  I like the look with the white trainers too, and my silver silver shoes work brilliantly, but aren’t too good in walking too far in.  They have a nasty habit of munching the back of my heels.

rust as standard 4
Two back pockets, because you can never have too many pockets

 

I wore these on Boxing Day for a little walk up and down the high street of Chipping Campden.  The daughters decided they needed fresh air and a bit of exercise, so we did the tourist thing wandering about and grabbing tea and cake in one of the numerous tea rooms.  So, my second pair of Kana’s Standard trousers, and most definitely not the last.  There have been a lot of corduroy versions of these trousers on Instagram this winter, in all the colours!

rust as standard 2

Now, despite the fact that the book is completely in Japanese, the instructions are fairly easy to follow.  In this book you have to add seam allowances once you’ve traced the pattern, and the tracing is dead easy after using Burda patterns!  The diagrams in the instruction section of the book show clearly where to add what.  The diagrams also show the order of work really simply.  So you don’t need to know Japanese!  For some stuff that’s good to know, it’s a good idea to check out this site for some translations.

psx_20181227_1813133211235739268730063.jpg
The trousers in the first Kana’s Standard book

I’ve used that page to make notes in the book so I know what fabric they’ve used, the sizes and amounts of fabric to buy.   There is a list of Japanese names of fabrics and their English translations here.   This page is also good to read.   But don’t let the fact that there’s no English version put you off.  The patterns are easy and quick and so nice to wear!  And yes, they have elastic in the back waist.  Secret pjs for the win!  Especially the day after Christmas feasting…

Pumped up Kicks

 

One more post squeezed into what’s left of 2018!  I made these cropped trousers last month, but had to wait for assistance to get photos.  I really need to make a plan with photographing trousers or dresses on my own.  Anyway, the fabric is English wool suiting, with a textured herringbone stripe and a bit of colour that you really don’t read unless you’re up close and personal sewing it – or doing the ironing.  It was a find from a charity shop!

 

pumped up 1
Burda trousers 120 07/2018

I knew it would become a pair of cropped trousers, there wasn’t enough for a full length version.  And I wasn’t keen on a skirt.  I decided to use trousers 120 from Burda 7/2018 again.  I like the slightly kicked out flare of the extension piece/ wide hem band(?).  They also have a nice fit on my natural waist and are closer fitting around the hip area before becoming wider at the leg. I cut the pocket lining from a piece of navy and white cotton, but the rest is all wool.  I like this fabric – it can go in the washing machine on a woollens cycle!

 

pumped up 3

 

pumped up 5

I’ve worn them a few times now, and I can say they’re really comfy to wear, are the perfect length and always get compliments!  Today a little old lady told me I looked nautical”.  I’ll take that.  🙂  Now, the only thing I can think of that might be missing from this pattern is a pocket on the bum.  Such a handy thing to have, don’t you think?  If you want to see the inners and a bit of construction, I posted  a Work in Progress report on it that you can read here.

pumped up 4

I’m hoping I’ll be able to get more photos of the other trousers I’ve been making and blog them soon!