It's been a really long time since I made anything for myself, I have done a fair bit of sewing recently, mostly bits and pieces for the kids. So when the Innocent voile arrived, it spurred me into action.
I chose 'dress c' from Les Couleurs Francaises, the idea being that I could make a top version of it and layer it with a longer sleeve top in the winter, or maybe thermals. You may remember Kelly made a gorgeous version of this dress in the sew along a few months back.
When I have made my top, I'm going to knock up a matching
version for the first born, and together we'll go and trap some
tiny woodland animals in a cute cage just like this.
The sizes in this book range from 7 - 13 and from previous experience making the tie top, I know I am a size 9 (UK sizing, I am a 12 on top). I could have gone straight to the voile, but trying to be all grown up and sensible (and not wanting to ruin a perfectly good length of fabric) I decided to make a toile first.
You may find these previous posts helpful about sewing from Japanese craft books.
Tracing the pattern from the pattern sheet, I added a number of new steps learning from previous mistakes. I taped the paper I was tracing on to the pattern sheet using small bits of masking tape. If it moves around mid-trace, it's a nightmare to get it all lined up again, and this really helped.
When having a rummage through my supplies I found a number of other patterns I had traced off but hadn't really labeled them properly, so this time I wrote the book, dress, what the piece was and it's size on each shape that I traced off.
I am nearly at the end of my supply of paper that I use for tracing patterns, I'd love some suggestions from you on where to get new supplies. The paper I used was left over from my pattern cutting course and came on a huge roll I think from Morplan. I'm not sure I am ready for 275m of paper yet, given I only seem to make a garment every 6 months, it seems a little over the top. It would be great for the kids to draw on though.
It can be quite confusing tracing the pieces off or even finding them in the first place, so it's best to do this when you can concentrate (read: not on the kitchen table 10 minutes before the kids are due to have lunch and are swarming around you like hungry sharks). Draw around the shape on the original pattern sheet with your finger and make sure you have traced all the markings. It's really easy to miss them or presume they are for another piece. This pattern has a fair few. I made the top about 10cm shorter than the dress giving me scope to cut it even shorter when it was made up.
I made the toile out of an old sheet which is quite crisp and stiff, I think voile will be perfect for this top as it has such good drape and is lovely and light, the tie doesn't want to be too rigid or it might look like a pendulum.
The instructions for Japanese patterns are mostly pictorial, but using my trusty translations (which come with all Japanese craft books at M is for make), I picked out some key terms to help me out. Facing for example is 見返し.
Each step is numbered on the diagrams so that you do them in the right order. It can be a little confusing because, looking at the picture, number 3 is missing. But there is a picture of the finished garment on the first page where each step is labeled. Number 3 is there, but as it's simply sewing the shoulders together, it doesn't need a picture.
I've said this before, but one thing I really like about sewing from these books is that you do have to stop and think at each step rather than blindly follow instructions. You have to think about how the pieces fit together, how they are finished, what order you are do things in. I think I learn more sewing from Japanese books than ordinary patterns.
It's the first one of these patterns that I have done that has included sleeves and darts. It has cute gathered cap sleeves which were pretty easy to fit. I did have to get my course notes out when sewing the darts to figure out which way to press them. In the end I went for downwards, I think this was right, but I'm not totally convinced, let me know if I'm wrong.
I was paying so much attention to this that I made a rather basic mistake.
Is this picture;
(a) a fashion forward garment with darts on the outside as an expression about the female form, or
(b) a blunder by an idiot who didn't check which side they were sewing on?
You guessed it, (b) I sewed by darts on the outside, I am now very glad that I made the toile up first. What an idiot.
The rest of it went more smoothly, the collar took a bit of figuring out, and when I come to sew the final garment, I will need to take my time and make sure my pieces are cut out accurately and the seams all ironed well. I really pleased how it turned out, I've never sewn a collar before.
So trying it on for size - and it fits really well, apart from being far too long and the ties need shortening too.
Here is the shortened version, now I have to adjust the length of the pattern piece and hardest of all, choose a voile.
Other developments; my trusty sewing machine has developed what I am trying not to think of as a death rattle. So I have bought tools to give it a bit of a clean and oil up hoping that this will soothe it. I might even have to find the manual somewhere, let's hope this project doesn't stall while I try to figure out how to reassemble it.