Simplicity

 

As promised – the woven version of the Paper Theory LB Pullover.  But not just one – two!  For once, the amazing top I saw in my head has actually lived up to expectations!  I cut the same size in this as I did for the striped ponte version, but I’ve added length to the front along the bust line.  This should result in a dart – which I did not want, so I rotated it to the hemline and removed the dart width from the side.  So now I have length, and no dart!  Yippee.  But I’m thinking I could have added another centimetre or two and it wouldn’t have hurt.

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LB Pullover from Paper Theory in herringbone wool and silk blend

The pattern is otherwise the same as the last one, with the exception of the collar/neckband.  This time it’s cut on the bias, which looks pretty nice with the herringbone.  The fabric, to remind you, is a silk and wool herringbone in sage green and ecru that I found in a local charity shop.  It’s really lovely to wear, soft, with great drape and warm too.  What’s better, I pop it in the washing machine with no problems!  I love wearing this top with my Birkin Flares, and it’s just as good with my Peppermint Wide Leg Pants.  It’s simple, clean and minimal.  Perfect.

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The length in the front is better, but could be adjusted again

 

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Version two is a fabric that’s been lurking in the stash since about 2006…  I’d been patting this particular fabric in my local fabric shop everytime I went in, but not buying it because it was expensive, and what was I going to make with a silk fabric that looked like a chunky wool weave?  Then it was down to the last metre and a bit and I had to make a decision, grab it or lose it forever.  Naturally I grabbed it.  But what to make?  That’s why it’s been sitting for so long, but this pattern got me thinking and I decided to use it up.  No, it’s not the most practical fabric in the world, but can I just say, it’s warm and snuggly and I love it!  And most people think it’s a knit, or wool!

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LB Pullover with narrow collar in woven chunky silk

There wasn’t enough fabric to ut that nice big floppy collar on the bias, so I opted for the narrower band, which gives a finish more like a wide crew neck on a tee.  I cut it on  the straight first, because, unlike the taller collar, there is no mention of needing to change the grainline for a woven.  It didn’t fit…  So I cut strips of bias the required width, stitched them together until it was loong enough for the pattern piece and started again.  It was still too short!!  AAAAHHHHH  I wasn’t going to add more bits of bias, you’d seen it and it would look messy.  And I couldn’t cut more, there wasn’t enough fabric!  So I stretched the bias.  It was on the back that I had the problem, so I ignored the shoulder markings and stole a bit of the front band for the back.  It works ok and looking at it, you can’t see a problem.  I checked the pattern pieces against each other, and there it is, the narorw band is shorter than the wider one.  I even double checked on the printed pattern, just in case I’d traced the wrong size, but nope.  So be careful if you’re making the narrow band top, your fabric might not have the give that mine did!

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I will be making more of these, but with a little more length added in the front.  It’s not that I notice it when wearing, only when I look in the mirror or see these photos.  The front definitely needs a bit more depth!  I’m looking forward to making some woven versions in summer fabrics and shorter sleeves – linen and cotton tops would be lovely to wear in the warmer weather.

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I had hoped to be running up a blue fleece version this week, but the remnant I have is just too short, so I’ll have to make something else with it.  The downside of getting fabric you didn’t specifically order/buy!  I guess it will have to be a kid thing.

Seasonally Inappropriate

There’s something about January that has me thinking of what to make for the summer, although we’re still 5 months (at least) off being able to wear anything!  I had the opportunity to test the Morningside Shirt pattern by French Navy last year.  I made a small size for Daughter No1 in a soft black linen and she loved it.  I had always intended to make one for myself, I just needed to fit it into the list!

Eventually in January I managed to trace the XXL, which is where my measurements put me.  However, this did mean a finished measurement of 133cm! That’s a good 26cm extra and 13cm more than I usually go for.  I toiled it in some white cotton poplin from the leftovers stash.  Halfway though cutting I thought if it worked, I could just wear it as is.  But there wasn’t enough of the poplin to cut all the pieces.  Typical!  So I found a floral “burnout” cotton voile in the stash and cut the collar, sleeve cuffs and outer yoke.

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The Morningside Shirt by French Navy

I probably ought to mention which version I am making!  Not being a ruffle fan, I chose the Style A with the back pleat.  It all went together really well, the instructions are clear.  I left certain bits out, figuring I could go back and add them later, ie buttonholes etc.  On putting the toile on, I realised I really could do with going down a size, and making the pattern in a fabric that has less body than the poplin.  I also needed to add length across the bust, about 2cm would probably be enough.  I certainly didn’t need any width.  So, next time I’ll make the XL and add the length to the front.

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The pleat in the back

Unfortunately, I won’t get to wear this shirt.  Why?  Because Daughter No2 stole it!  She saw it on Peggy the dressmaker’s dummy when she came home after New Year and tried it on.  She loves it all big and oversized!  She honestly nicked it, it’s gone back to uni with her.  I offered to add the buttons and buttonholes, but that was declined, she likes it just as it is.  But maybe with something underneath so bra etc doesn’t show.  How about a cami?  An Ogden cami?

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True Bias Ogden Cami

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I had enough of the floral voile to cut a size 4 in the Cami, even though her measurements put her in the 2.  I’d made the size 0 for Daughter No1 last year and found it came up a little small, uncomfortably tight on the upper/high bust area.  So I played it safe and went up a size for Daughter No2.  Which, as it turned out, was the right decision!  It was also the right decision to use the rest of that voile, the two work perfectly together.

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The cuff detail on the Morningside Shirt

The Ogden Cami is quick and easy to make, I just find it odd that the facings are so big/deep.  Daughter No2 has ordered another in black silk, but without the facings and wide straps.  So I guess that means I have to make bias strips with that slippery fabric.  Nice…  I also cut out a version in some leftover Liberty lawn.  I’d used the fabric for a top for my Mum about 3 years ago, and there was enough to cut an Ogden, carefully!  So that will be 3 camis in her wardrobe, in time for the coldest part of the winter so far.  Timing! 😛

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A Cautionary Tale

I was hoping to be showing off more Japanese sewing projects this month, but I was left slightly dejected after the poor turnout of the last project.  I had had such high hopes for it – and that top looked amazing in my head.  So I was really unsure of what direction to take next, and ended up just cutting out a stack of fabric instead.  That’s why Wednesday’s post was full of kid’s clothes, that’s what I concentrated on this week.

Once the kid’s clothes were done, I was going to reach for the next pile, which included 3 Ogden Camis and 3 new tops for my Mum, using her favourite Burda pattern.  However…  I got slightly distracted with all the hoo-haa on Instagram regarding Indie pattern designers “ignoring” a large part of the market by not catering to people with larger measurements.  I watched loads of stories, read blog posts and IG posts and generally got lost down a deep rabbit hole!

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LB Pullover by Paper Theory

Now I’ve been following Paper Theory for a while, I liked the Kabuki Tee when it came out, but thought it might be too roomy for me, and look tent-like, so I left it.  Since then, Tara has added a pullover and shirt pattern to her offerings.  Hers was one of the stories I watched on IG, and it made me want to do something.  She’s a one-person band with seriously limited resources, but wanting to do better.  This is where my compulsive desire to “help” popped into the picture.  I decided I’d like to help, but what could I do?  I’m not exactly rolling in excess funds, I have no experience in drafting properly for “plus size”, cannot use a computer drafting program and am not in London.  However, I can buy her patterns.  I can offer to be a pattern tester for the current upper range of her patterns.  I can do what I can.

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So I bought the Kabuki Tee and the LB Pullover as PDF patterns, and instantly sent the copyshop version off to the other half to print at the office on the plotter!  Cheeky, but if he’s going to insist on spending 12-13 hours of his day there, I need to get some advantage!!  According to the measurement chart, I’m the size 18 for tops.  I always go with bust measurement for tops etc, and hip measurement for bottoms.  The waist I can take care of afterwards!  I also checked the finished measurement chart.  For the LB Pullover, the size 18 has a finished bust measurement of 128cm, that’s 20cm of extra.  Now normally I’m comfortable with 120-125cm finished width on tops, so this wasn’t too much more.  Maybe for a knit I’d be happy going down a size…  The size 16 is 123cm, so also falls easily within my comfort zone.  I traced both sizes & went with the 18 for my first time.

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I have in the stash two pieces of grey and black striped ponte.  The one piece used to be 2m and is now the leftovers after cutting a Named Saunio Cardigan.  I then bought another 1m bit so I could make something else, because I really liked the colour and the stripe.  This is what I was going to make my pullover with.  It’s a fairly sturdy ponte, not thick or chunky, but not overly stretchy either – which means I couldn’t use it for the Sew House Seven Tabor Tee.  I cut the sleeves, back and neckband from the leftover piece, and the front from the new piece – no problem!

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Instructions are simple and to the point, no waffling for pages and pages!  It was quick to cut and, if I wasn’t using stripes, would have been quick to sew too!  But I wanted to make sure those suckers lined up!  Yeah – that.  I pinned the sleeve seams first (I always start with the sleeves, weird)  and then couldn’t figure out why the sides were so wrong, the stripes wouldn’t line up.  I had to stretch the one side to get the stripes to line up, but I’d made 100% sure I’d cut it all properly, so what the *%*£??  Then it dawned on me,  The stripes were marginally wider on the 1m piece than they were on the original fabric.  Oh crap!  I hadn’t even considered for a miniscule portion of a nonosecond that they’d be different!  I’d even bought it from the same shop!  I should have cut front and back from the same piece, I could have got away with the sleeves being different!

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Those pesky unmatched stripes…

So what did I do?  I just pinned and sewed!!  I’m considering adding a stripe up the seam to break the join, then it won’t be noticed that the stripes don’t line up!  😀  A sort of vertical “go faster” stripe.  Like you find on posh pants/trousers.  Maybe.  So let that be a warning, people – if you buy two pieces of “the same fabric” check that it is in fact, the same fabric!!

In the meantime, I put the top on the minute I was finished with it, and I like it!  the stripe is not as “in my face” as that gingham was, even though it’s still an all-over pattern.  The length is perfect (btw, I did not do an FBA), both in the body and the sleeves.  I also love the neckband.  It was the one thing I wasn’t sure of, I don’t like fabric up againsy my neck – or double chin.  I’ve inherited my Dad’s family’s chin, and it makes raised necklines a bit annoying for me.  It’s one of the things I don’t like about the fleece Toaster I made last year.  I keep pulling the front down to keep it away from my neck/chin, and it’s the same with the Talvikki.  On this pattern, the scoop of the neckline is lower (and it’s a sewn-on, rather than grown-on neckband) and the fabric is softer, has more flop.

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I wore the top for the remainder of the day, & again the next day!  I now have plans for another, but in a woven this time…  I was lucky enough to find 3m of silk and wool fabric at a local charity shop.  I swear I wasn’t looking for fabric, I only wanted a good book to read!  But there it was, sage green & ecru herringbone, lightweight and lovely – and only £12!!  I couldn’t leave it there.  After washing and ironing it, I think it’s a wool and silk blend.  Now, I have hatched a plan in my head to make another LB Pullover in this fabric!  Again – in my head it looks amazing.  Fingers crossed!

 

Granger Book Bag

Four years ago now, when Daughter No1 had finished her last year at University, walked away with a First in Surface Pattern Design, she gave me permission to use the pieces she designed for her Final Major Project, as well as countless sample pieces.  I had no idea what to do with them at the time, cushions, bags…  So they sat, folded in the stash.  Then last year I found Helen’s Closet and her free pattern, the Granger Book Bag.  I figured one of Daughter No1’s pieces would do just nicely if contrasted with a plain fabric.

So I started cutting out and then, for some reason, stopped and popped it all back in the stash.  Something more interesting or pressing must have come up and I forgot all about it.  It was rediscovered just before Christmas when I needed to clear that cupboard out so guests using the guest room had somewhere to put their clothes.  I decided I’d finish that project this year.  This month!

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The Granger Book Bag from Helen’s Closet

 

I finished cutting out, just needed the contrast pieces and the linings, so it didn’t take long.  And the interfacing.  Although Daughter no1’s fabric is a robust cotton, I wanted the bag to have more body, be slightly stiff.  I dug out some of the sew-in canvas I have from the tailoring packs I buy, not needing nearly as much of that for a coat as all the rest of the interfacings!

In hindsight, I needn’t have used it on quite so many pieces, it made for a lot of bulk wneh folding and sewing layers together!  I also wouldn’t have cut all the pieces from Daughter No1’s fabric as I did, as at least two of the pieces you will actually never see unless the bag is open.  That’s because I chose to make view B with the flap.

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Basically the pieces are all large square-ish rectangles and the construction should be quite simple, but I found myself constantly thinking, “there must be a better way of doing this” while I was working.  The tabs are huge, and you basically fold half of the fabric all away, so they could be smaller to start and way less bulky to finish.  Thank goodness I have a metal workhorse of a sewing machine, because it got real bulky!

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There’s also a lot of measuring from sides, tops and bottoms to place things, like the pockets and bag flap.  I’d have preferred to have had those marked on the pattern and I’d just tailor tack the placement lines.  Also, this pattern is only in Imperial, so get out your conversion websites if, like me, you’re Metric.  The fractions are not simplified, so there were a few cries of, 6/8ths??  How the hell do I measure 6/8ths – or 4/8ths?  Until I engaged brain and realised that 6/8 was three quarters, and that I could measure!  I’ve marked all measurements in the instructions in metric now, should I ever decide to make this again, along with suggestions of where and what to interface, and what sort of interfacing to use!

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The bag is also rather deep, with a very long strap!  On a shorty like me it’s going to look funny!  I’ll reduce the depth next time and shorten the strap.  Oh – the strap!!  I didn’t have any metal sliders in my bag making stash that were the right width, so raided my vintage buckle box.  I have 3 different buckles on this bag!  I figure it works because of the print of the fabric, I really don’t think anyone will notice ordinarily unless they’re looking really closely.  I had to go to the saddlers in town to get the strap finished, my machine drew the line at the thickness of all the layers to sew together, even with a 110 denim needle.  So I got to break 2 needles with an industrial machine at the saddlers instead!  Fun!  Even they said it was really thick, and that’s after whacking it with a hammer!  But at least I got it finished.

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I’ve already filled the bag with my seed catalogues!

I’ll be using this to carry my stuff to the allotment this year.  It’ll be filled with waterbottles and snacks and be a proper place to stash my keys, phone and sunnies when I’m working.  That’s because I still don’t have a shed to hide it all in, but – one thing at a time, right?  Now I need to decide what to use the other pieces for – not so sure I’ll be making this bag again in a rush!!

Work in Progress Wednesday 1/19

Helloo & welcome back to another Work in Progress Wednesday!  I haven’t had much of a chance to do any of these posts for a while, too busy getting on with things!  Anyhow, I needed to get rid of some excess fabrics quickly, so decided to do that today and take a few photos while I was at it.

I had hauled out 4 pairs of trousers at the end of the summer that I wasn’t wearing anymore, either I didn’t like them, didn’t fit them, or had done something to them that made them unwearable.  Like catch a nail on the trouser leg on the allotment and rip a nice big hole…  I had intended to do some visible mending, afterall, they are just allotment trousers, but they are a little too big, have no pockets and really – I wasn’t in the mood.  But the rest of the fabric was fine, so what to do?

Make items that need less fabric – kid’s clothes!!  I have a friend in New Zealand with two ankle biters who is always happy for me to make clothes for them.  So on Tuesday I dug out some patterns I’d traced from a couple of Burda magazines and started unpicking trouser seams, ironing everything nice and flat and cutting out.  I managed to cut a pair of kid’s shorts from the ripped pants and a pinafore style dress from a pair of beige linen trousers that the calories have shrunk in the loft over the years.  I also had a piece of Irish Linen left over after making a little boy’s shirt about 4 years ago.  That has become another little dress!

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Girl’s Bermuda shorts

The shorts are from a khaki coloured linen, the fabric was still in really good condition, apart from the huge rip I got in it at the allotment last summer.  I decided to use up some of my handcut bias strips today, and sewed some onto the opening edge of the hip yoke pocket.  It helps to break up the khaki and brighten it up a little.  I cut the 5 year old size, so there’ll be growing room.  The little girl will be 3 in May this year, and I’ve made stuff upto that age already, so I’m growing her future wardrobe!

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Linen pinafore style dress

Next to be chopped up was a pair of stiffer linen trousers that haven’t fitted me properly for about 5 years – at least.  I keep them because, you know, I’ll loose the weight…  Yeah.  Pull the other one!  Because I had no fold to cut on, the front of the dress has a centre front seam which I decided to topstitch to make it more of a feature.  I also added pockets.  Pockets are important for everyone!  My daughter’s pockets would often contain a variety of coloured or interestingly shaped stones, bits of pottery they’d found in the garden and Lego.  So I’ve no doubt similar treasures will find their way into these pocketses.  Because the colour is a bit bland (all the better to add funky tees underneath), I thought I could use up some other things from my stash!  I’ve had these fusible applique flowers for years, so long I cannot even remember where and when I bought them!  If I even did.  They may have come from my mum!

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To keep the bulk down, I used strips of Liberty lawn left over after making a top for my Mum 3 years ago, and cutting an Ogden Cami for Daughter No2 on Sunday!  It adds a bit of colour.  Lacking the width of fabric to make the back the way the pattern is written, I inserted an invisible zip in place of the button band and facings.  I like patterns like this dress, I remember my girls living in them.  In the summer if it’s a bit chilly, add a tee, in the winter add a long sleeve tee and tights.  No worrying about fitting, it just hangs from the shoulders.  So, of course, I had to make another one, didn’t I!?

The same pattern, but the smaller size – this time the 4 year old size.  I had enough fabric left over after making a vintage shirt pattern to make the pattern properly.  And I added pockets again!  I cut them on the bias to add a little interest and decoration to the front.  The bias strips for the armhole and neckline look great, such a shame they’re on the insides!

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I even managed good mitres on the pocket corners!

I’ve had fun making these today, and I’ve got another 3 dresses cut out ready to sew up tomorrow!  I’m determined to do better at clearing out my scrap boxes this year, whether it’s making kid’s clothes or bags, pouches, bunting or even using for beeswax wraps.  I need those boxes to be empty by the end of the year – how’s that for a challenge??

 

Sewing Japapese in January – Part 3

 

On a roll here!!  This time I’m using the Clean & Natural book and making the puffed sleeve pullover, pattern S.  It’s a loose fitting top with boat-neck(ish) that finishes mid hip and has a yummy, puffed sleeve.  The fullness in the sleeve is at the hem, rather than the sleeve head.  This book has a handy size table and the pattern sizes are S to LL.  I graded the LL up two sizes, going by the body measurements and the finished measurements of the top.  Remember, I don’t like too baggy…

 

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I toiled the pattern in some remnant cotton sheeting and made the following conclusions.  I needed more ease across the bust and length of about 2-3cm.  I also wanted the top to finish at the length it was un-hemmed.  So I needed an FBA of 3cm and to lengthen the top 3cm.  The sleeves are ok, finished at the right place and weren’t tight at the hem.  On creating the dart and FBA, I rotated it all out and am left with a no-dart top, just like the original.

Fabric is newly in the stash, after being bought last year at the NEC in March/April.  To be fair, I’d sort of allocated it to this top from the beginning, I just never got round to the grading and tracing and toiling last year.  The cotton is a woven gingham check, black and white.  I thought it would look pretty good with all the linen trousers in my summer wardrobe, and now I’m thinking it might be worn in the winter with a long sleeve layering tee underneath too…

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Construction is fairly straightforward, I overlocked everything first, and used ordinary seams.  The seam and hem allowances have to be added, by the way.  The facings are interfaced with fine sheer fusible.  The sleeve is pretty big, and only just fitted on the width of the fabric!  You gather the long curved of the oversleeve onto a pleated straight undersleeve.  This is what creates and holds the puff.  That’s the only time consuming part, gathering and evenly spreading all the gathers!

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I like how the back looks here, as if I’ve used a contrast neckband.  Maybe that’s the answer.

I had a quick try-on before hemming and decided it was too long!  I’m blaming the fabric here, the pattern.  It blinded me…  So I duly chopped off the 3cm I’d added to the length and turned up a 3cm hem.  Then I popped it back on over my head and – whoa!  I shouldn’t have done that…  I probably didn’t need to remove the whole 3cm.

I also had a problem with the neckline.  On the toile I didn’t add the facings and I was happy with where it sat.  On this garment, with facings added, it was too high!  I don’t like feeling crowded against my neck, and the other issue was all that pattern!  I think I could have done with less.  So I decided to change the shape of the neckline in the front, put the toile back on and drew a scoop to the depth I wanted and transferred that to the gingham.  I added seam allowance and chopped again.  Then I realised I didn’t have enough fabric to cut new facings.  Not going well, right?  Anyway, I cut bias strips and sewed them together and made a bias trim for the neck.  I actually like this better than the original facings anyway.

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I think there’s just tooo much patterned fabric here for me.

As it’s ever so slightly chilly here in the UK this week, I decided to wear it today with a long sleeve scoop neck tee, and I rather like it like this.  I think it would also look good with a rounder neck tee, or even a floppy poloneck.  I also think it needs slim fitting pants, looks good with the Birkin Flares, not so pretty with pleated, fuller trousers.  It’s the second Japanese pattern that hasn’t turned out quite the way I had imagined in my head.  I know I’m not the same shape and size, but I thought I was picking patterns that are similar to those I like in the Burdas, so I was hoping they’d come out the same too.  Guess I’ll be sticking to the trouser patterns! 😀

 

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!

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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.

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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.

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All the tops & dresses in Section A
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Pants – Long, cropped, shorts and a jumpsuit & dungaree version
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Skirt styles, including a reversable skirt and a wrap version (bottom left images)
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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.

 

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Styling the tops & dresses
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Styling the pants
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Styling the skirts
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Stying the cami dress & top and the gowns