Just before the month of January totally disappears, I’m back with my second #sewjapaneseinjanuary project, which I’m a little disappointed in. I foolishly thought that this was a simple style and I wouldn’t need to toile it. Famous last words…
The pattern is from a Japanese sewing book by Michiyo Ito. It’s another book from the Heartwarming Life Series and is titled May Me. I’m wearing a version of the top on page 17.
Can you see where I’ve deviated from the pattern? There is a reason the model has her hands in her pockets!
If you sewed up this top as per the instructions in the book, you wouldn’t have the ability to move your arms in any upward direction without flashing most of your mid section. As I like to be able to wave, reach the top shelf at the supermarket and peg washing on the clothes line without flashing any flesh, I opted not to included the elastic in the arm openings. This is what I call an on-the-fly mid construction change of plan!
I have a bad habit of buying beautiful cotton voiles and not sewing them up because they are a little see through and I don’t want to line them. I was quietly hoping this pattern would be a winner for light-weight cottons, but unfortunately I hate how it blouses when it rides up a little. I’ve tried various different elastic lengths in the hem, but to no avail. I’m wondering if the top had extra length (this is why I’m kicking myself I didn’t toile) would it have made a difference? Maybe a more drapey fabric would have worked? Your thoughts?
To end on a positive note, I thought I might share my answers to a few of the questions that I often get asked about Japanese sewing patterns…
Where do you buy these books from? I buy from an Etsy Seller or from the Japanese Bookstore Kinokuniya. Kinokuniya have stores in Sydney and Singapore. I live in Melbourne, but whenever I’m in Syndey, Kinokuniya is a ‘must visit’. My husband occasionally visits Singapore for work and I give him my ‘wish list’ and send him off on a Japanese sewing book hunt. Some of my fellow Australian sewing friends have had success with Amazon Japan which I have just discovered has an English site!
Do you speak Japanese? I don’t speak Japanese. I find that the diagrams in Japanese sewing books are so detailed that I don’t need written instructions. I will just say that my preference is for visual learning and I understand that this won’t suit everyone. If you are unsure, I would suggest trying one of the English translated Japanese sewing books (maybe your local library has a copy you could borrow?) and seeing if you can sew a garment by just following the diagrams.
Do you have to trace the patterns? Most Japanese pattern books come with two or three double sided pattern sheets. If you are familiar with Ottobre or Burda Magazine pattern sheets they very similar. For the uninitiated, the pattern sheets look like a red hot mess, but if you spend a bit of time studying them, you will be able to find the pieces you are after. The good news is, Japanese patterns are often very simple styles and don’t have many pattern pieces.
Are seam allowances included? You will need to add seam and hem allowances to the pattern pieces that you trace. The cutting diagram will indicate where you need to add seam/hem allowances and offer a suggestion of how much. If no amount is suggested my default is 1cm or 3/8″.
Can you remind where those free Nani Iro patterns are? Nani Iro releases several free kids, adults and homeware patterns with each of their seasonal fabric releases. The patterns are usually an A4 sheet (like below) where you are given the measurements, but have to draft them up yourself.
Pattern: Top on page 17 from Heart Warmining Life Series : May Me (ISBN 978-4-529-05543-7)
Fabric: Cotton voile remnant from Tessuti
Alterations: Removed 1 & 3/4″ (4cm) from the length. Didn’t add elastic to the sleeve openings.
Accessories: Antique beads and shoes from Florsheim
Location: Ballarat Civic Centre