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.

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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!

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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!

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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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.

collage kanas standard a9 photos
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!