Just my style


Late last year Jane mentioned that she was planning on sewing from her Japanese sewing book stash in January.  I have a rather generous collection of Japanese pattern books, that can sometimes be forgotten, so I asked if I could join her.  The hashtag #sewjapaneseinjanuary was born and we shared our plans on Instagram and invited others to join us.  No competitions, no prizes, no giveaways, no sponsors… just a way of cheering each other on as we sewed up our Japanese makes during the month of January.


The dress on the cover of Heart Warmining Life Series : FU-KO Basics was one of the main reasons I brought this book… okay it was the main reason.  I was drawn in by the loose silhouette, the pockets and rolled up sleeves.


Linen is a favourite fabric of mine and I knew I had the perfect piece in my stash for this dress.  This Merchant & Mills laundered linen twill is soft, drapey and textured, and I adore the coral colour (which is referred to as Francium).  Be warned, the fabric is a little shifty when you are cutting it out (it reminded me of cutting silk) but all is quickly forgiven as it sews up beautifully.


And those pockets… how I love those pockets!




The pockets are just so inviting to slip your hands in!




This wasn’t a difficult sew, but I did take my time.  Slowing down and making items that I love and will we worn for years to come is my focus for 2017.  As part of this focus, I’m aiming to toile more and make those tweaks that can upgrade a garment from mediocre to a wardrobe workhorse, or dare I say, a firm favourite.


For this pattern I measured the flat pattern and decided to trace the size M even though the size chart had my bust in the LL range.  One thing I’ve learnt from sewing many Japanese patterns is they are often drafted with excessive ease.  I sewed up a calico toile of the size M and then wore it around the house for a few hours!  Sometimes it’s only through wear that you can identify fitting issues.


My toile help me identify four things:

  • This was one hell of a comfortable dress even in calico!
  • The sleeves were a little difficult to roll up.  Resolution:  I widen the sleeve at the wrist by a total of 3/4″ (2cm) tapering to nothing at the elbow.
  • The front neckline needed to be lowered.  Resolution:  I reduced it by an inch (2.5cm), but in hindsight a 1/2″ (1.25cm) would have been fine.
  • The dress was hitting just below my knee, which is frumpy territory for me.  Resolution:  I removed 2″ (5cm) from the length.


As the title of this blog posts suggests, this dress feel just totally me!  It’s a great colour, it showcases gorgeous fabric, the style is loose but interesting, the comfort factor is high and I think it has the potential to be worn in both warm and cooler weather.  I can definitely see myself wearing this dress over skinny jeans, or with tights and colourful brogues in Autumn.


It’s fair to say, I haven’t been this excited by a finished project in such a long time!  Are you tempted by this dress, or do you have any other Japanese patterns on your radar?


Pattern:  Cover Dress from Heart Warmining Life Series : FU-KO Basics (ISBN 978-4-529-05451-5)
Fabric:  Merchant & Mills Fracium Laundered Linen Twill from Stitch56 [sold out]
Alterations:  I added 3/4″ (2cm) to the sleeve width at the wrist, tapering to nothing at the elbow. I scooped out the front neckline by 1″(2.5cm) and removed 2″ (5cm) from the length.
Accessories:  Silk scarf from Scarlett Jones and shoes from Siricco (purchased several years ago).
Location:  Ballarat


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  • Hi Anna,
    I love reading your blog and it satisfies the sewer in me that currently lays dormant. I particularly love seeing you modelling your projects in my neighbourhood (Ballarat). How great it would have been to be walking down Havelock St and seeing you wearing your Japanese number in front of that fabulous old shop. I hope soon to put material to machine but in the meantime enjoy seeing what you are sewing and seeing the great places your photos are taken.
    Best wishes,

    • Hi Krissy. Thanks for taking the time to comment. I would have loved you to be walking by on Saturday evening when we were snapping these photos. We photographed another item on the same day. I wonder if you’ll pick that location too? I hope you & your machine get to spend some quality time together soon. A x

  • So glad you persisted with your vision despite my doubt! 😉
    It’s a tremendous colour on you and I agree, I can see you bopping around Melbs three seasons out of four in this number, layered as needed!

    • I love your honesty. It’s so hard to judge some styles in calico. I’m going to give this dress a very good workout in all seasons!

  • It’s gorgeous Anna and I can totally see that layered up in cooler months, too. Love your dedication to not only making a muslin but wearing it around. I think I’ll take a leaf out of your book for my current project!

    • I’m dedicated to this muslin thing. I even brought a small roll of calico at Spotlight last week! I’m intrigued to know what your current project is!

  • I haven’t ventured in to Japanese pattern territory yet – I always feel like I’m too big for the size ranges. I do love this dress on you though.

    • Thanks for the dress love Robyn. The Japanese size range is more generous than the size chart suggests because they often include excessive ease. If you do venture into this territorty, the patterns are usually drafted for heights around 165cm.

  • Great dress! I love Japanese sewing books and they are always on my radar; I just have more ideas than time to sew. The patterns I’ve completed are all favourites that receive a lot of wear.

    • I read your comment and nodded Sue. So many ideas… so little time. I have my eye on a few more Japanese patterns… but first I need to make a pencil case for my daughter (who returns to school tomorrow) and a outfit for Sydney Frocktails!

  • Wow, I love this dress in the orangey linen. Looks stunning. It also makes me wish it was nearer summer here, so I could do something similar.

    • Thanks Trish. Summer sewing is my favourite. I totally understand why you are hankering for warmer weather and the accompanying summer sewing. I hope your winter hasn’t been too brutal this year.

  • Beautiful dress. Simple but with great lines and stunning fabric. Looks lovely on you!

  • I love it! I forget about my Japanese books too, and really need to sew one up. I love the easy styles!

  • Lovely dress and I love the colour! I just finished the free In the Folds jersey dress from Peppermint magazine (I’m in Canada so needed something cozy). It has very similarly drafted pockets, though without the sculptural effect and I can’t keep my hands out of them, either (feeling resentful I can’t keep them in there while typing this, actually). It didn’t seem like they would possibly work sewing them up, until they did.

    • I know the dress you are referring too as it’s on my radar for cooler weather. I will confess that I often leave pockets off clothes and only add them if they are an essential part of the design. After this experience, I might just have to change my ways…!

  • I love this! Beautiful shape! Lovely fabric! While I’ve got your attention: Tracing a Japanese pattern, I always trace the pattern lines then the seam allowance lines. Now I’m wondering if that’s right(?) Do you copy both or just the seam allowance lines? Bff! Thank you! I’ve got a feeling these posts will culminate in still more Japanese pattern books!

    • Hi Jane. Thanks for the dress love. The Japanese patterns I’ve used only usually include the pattern lines, and then I add the seam allowance as per the cutting diagram. Needless to say, my trace patterns have both lines on them. I have another Japanese top to share (hopefully later today) and I’ve included some tips in my blog post for sewing with Japanese patterns.

  • Lovely color! I love a group challenge to nudge me along. It can make all the difference!

  • I just love this… the color is gorgeous on you and those pockets are AWESOME!

    • I was always a little take it or leave it when it came to pockets…. but I feel this dress will make me change my ways. Pockets in everything!

  • I have a bit of a crush on coral at the moment as a colour. It isn’t a colour I should really wear which is probably partly why! Your new dress and the fabric compliment each other beautifully.

    • Thanks Andrea. I thought coral, like navy & teal was one of those universal colours that everyone can wear? Maybe a coral accessory is the place to start… you know how I love an accessory!

  • I could not agree more, the only way to really see fit issues is to wear it. Standing still tells us nothing. Gorgeous dress a wardrobe staple for sure. That colour.

    • I’m still in love with this dress as the day I finished sewing it. I totally agree that wearing items to identify fit issues is a necessity. This is really my year of focusing on fitting. I’m excited.

  • I’m coming back for a good read but from just the pictures LOVE. WANT. NEED.