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!

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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??

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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.

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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.

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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

 

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.

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Clean & Natural
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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.

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Kana’s Standard, Book 1
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Jacket/Gown E
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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.

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Kana’s Standard, Book 2
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Wrap dress
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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.

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Simply Sewn

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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.

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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!

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I’d like to make this as a shirt, in a lightweight cotton it’ll be lovely
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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!

Kana’s Standard II – A Rusty Jacket

Right, I am finally ready to show you my Japanese Jacket. I had been hoping to get pictures of it on our little Cornish break, along with the cropped trousers from the last post, but it was way too hot for that!! In the end, I had to give in to the weather and just go for it. The jacket is the perfect layering piece for those typical English “summer” days, or slightly breezy days, and when Autumn finally arrives, I have no doubt that it will get a lot more wear. I visited Daughter No2 in her new flat in the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham last week, and on a little walk we found the perfect place for photographs. I love the feel of that area and I’m happy to see so much regeneration of the old workshops, warehouses and industrial spaces. The colours the Victorians and Georgians used are pretty fabulous too!

rust jacket 2
Kana’s Standard II Jacket A9

First of all, the pattern. In the Kana’s Standard II book, the sizing is in Japanese sizes up to 13. On checking the measurements for that size band I realised that if I graded up two sizes I’d be in the right ballpark, without having to redraft. Time saved! So off I went and graded the tops pattern, A. Basically there is one standard pattern with various little differences, length, sleeves, sleeve width and sleeve length. The jacket is A9, with a longer version that has pockets to make a coat, A10. There is a section of photographs of all the different versions of Top A, styling shots all featuring the author wearing the clothes from the book.

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Images from the book featuring the author wearing the jacket
collage kanas standard a9 diagrams
Order of work, cutting layout and instructions

I did a quick “wearable toile” of A1, just a simple top with short sleeves, to check the fit. Width was more than enough, if not a little too much for a top. (Need to remember to take in the sides or reduce the width across the shoulder before using the pattern again) But it needed length across the bustline for a fuller bust than the books will ever cater for!

rust jacket 3

I added 3cm in length, creating a bust dart in the front side to allow for the fullness, this was then rotated to the waist and then removed in the side seam, so it’s dart-free. I also widened the sleeve by 2cm, I have fuller upper arms than the pattern allows for. In the summer this is not so bad, because of all the allotment work, digging, etc. My arms shrink in the summer, but when winter comes again, I don’t want clingy sleeves. Those were the only adjustments I decided were needed.

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The pattern pieces fitted perfectly on the remaining rusty coloured linen. I thought briefly of binding the seams on the inside with bias, a Hong Kong finish, but as I really, really wanted the jacket for the Cornish trip and was up against the clock, left that and just overlocked everything instead. The pattern is quick to make, even without English instructions. The diagrams are clear, marked with numbers that indicate the order of work. Seam and hem allowances are marked in the cutting layout in the book, and it’s all metric. For some translation of the instructions, there is a handy page on this website which I used.

rust jacket 4

I am very happy with the finished garment, the colour is perfect, just as it was with the pants! For now I’m rolling the sleeves up a bit. I could probably make them more a 7/8 or 3/4 length for the summer, I’m always pushing up long sleeves, even in the winter! For the closure I used the last of the dark bronze snaps I got for Daughter No2’s orange coat last winter. Sewn on with buttonhole stitch, they’ll not be getting pulled off in a hurry.

rust jacket 5

I’m already making plans for more of these, possibly using some pinstripe wool suiting (and making a lining pattern) to make a winter version… The loose casual feel of the jacket is something I really like, although hubby would prefer me to wear something more fitted. Not in the summer!!

rust jacket 1

I’m off now to complete some more of the Burda challenge 2018 patterns on my list, July’s edition this year is a bit good, better than last month in it’s offerings!

Smoke and Shadows

My first little foray into making clothes with a Japanese inspiration went well, I’ve worn the gingham linen top a lot in the past few weeks and I really love it as much as the first one I made in January.  I now have all three of the Japanese books I ordered, Clean and Natural and Kana’s Standard I & II.  My first project is inspired by the Flared Top in the Clean & Natural book, and is based on a Burdastyle pattern I made 3 versions of last year.

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Modified Burda top 124 5/15

Why use a Burda pattern instead of the pattern in the book?  Because the book has patterns for Japanese sized and shaped ladies, which is not me.  So I was always going to have to draft or alter something to make it work.  You can put large, baggy clothing on slim people and they still look great, but those same proportions on someone a “little” larger don’t work.  I certainly feel like I’m wearing a tent, which is precisely why I don’t use the plus sizes in the Burda patterns!!  Too long and too wide!

flared top 2

So, here’s what I did to get my own version of the Flared Top.  The original pattern has a yoke front and back that starts under the arm and scoops up and over the bustline, the sleeves are grown-on.  The length of the top is 55cm, which is not too long.  The flare though, is substantial.  Lovely on a “skinny minny”.  That yoke line and flare over the bust is not flatterning on someone with a larger bust.  The yoke would have to sit much lower.  I decided on using #124 05/2015 because (a) I’ve made three others, so it’ll be quick, (b) the fit was already good, (c) it had a yoke in a good position, and (d) I’d be able to add flare to just the lower front and back pieces quickly and easily, after straightening out the curved hem.

flared top 5

I added 2cm of flare to the hem on the front and back side seams of the lower pieces and divided the front and back into thirds.  The first third from the centres became the line where more flare was added.  I slashed and spread, adding 5cm at the hemline.  This meant the front and back pieces were 12 cm wider than the original pieces.  I figured this would be enough flare for me.

flared top 4

I did not toile….  I went straight in with the fabric, I had some lovely misty grey viscose in the stash, bought last year or the year before from Clothspot.  It has that lovely drape and sheen that I love in a viscose.  I used French seams throughout and double turned the hems.  I omitted the keyhole opening of the original pattern and used bias for the neckline.

So, how did it work out?  Pretty well, I think.  I’m not putting this top into full rotation in the wardrobe until it warms up considerably!  I think it’ll be lovely in the summer, the flare will help air to circulate!  The colour is great and I think there’s just enough flare to give a nod to the Japanese pattern, with me still feeling comfortable in it.  I will be making it a little shorter though, I recon 5cm should do it.

flared top 1

If you’re the right size and shape to make a version straight from the book, the diagrams are simple to follow and you don’t need to know Japanese to make anything.  There is a great blog post here to help you understanding some of the terms you’d come across in these books.   For another version of the top, from the original pattern, here’s Sew Busy Lizzy’s beautiful top.

I’m already planning my next projects from these books, and have tweaked my easy fitting bodice block and drafted a Kimono block to help to get me started.  There are many patterns I want to try, I hope they all turn out as fabulous as they look in my head! 🙂  In the mean time, there’s still the Burda Challenge 2018 to get on with, and April is looking like it’s going to be full of sewing, although not that many patterns from this year’s issue have got me excited.  There seem to be more in previous years, but we’ll get to that in another post, shall we?