It all started with Sara (from MadebySara) …
You see, she had this (clever) idea of setting a Japanese Sewing Week and invited a few friends to join the fun. Earlier this year, I had decided that I would limit my participation in sew-alongs and tours in order to work on other projects (at the time, sewing more for myself sounded such a great New Year’s resolution …), but I have ZERO will power when it comes to Sewing Fun 🙂 Plus, it included Japanese books, (uber)fantastic ladies and there was this great (Japanese) pattern in my (sewing) pipeline for too long!
From the moment, I wrote my name in the registration form, I knew I wanted to work with a plaid fabric I had been saving forever (not really “forever” as in “it’s been in my stash for as long as I can remember” as I only got it last year but never come around to actually use it) and that I believe would be perfect for this pattern from the Girls Style Book by Tuttle Publishing. Isn’t it perfect? Love the puffed sleeves and front pintucks.
Of course, I failed to anticipated a (minor) problem: my girl!
When we try to get kids involved in the sewing process, most of us really expect it to be something like this: your girl/boy picks the fabric, have a say on the pattern and a lovely piece of garment is made and warmly welcomed by the lucky recipient. Still, In real life, it doesn’t always goes like that (I’m sure you knew this already)!
The true was my girl didn’t like this fabric (“it would be perfect for babies pajamas“, she said, showing me the diplomatic alternative: making a pajamas for her baby cousin), and my/our Japanese sewing week project was set to failure before it even started (on a side note, I had a plan B, but I really really wanted to use this fabric …).
Then by a stroke of luck, my friend, Maria João, on her review of the new Citronille book, included a lovely dress using a very similar fabric. Of course, I showed it to my girl and she decided that, maybe, just maybe, we could use the plaid … Obviously, she didn’t had to say it twice…
I had already made a top from this book (and love it to bits) and this smock blouse was also in my sewing-list. This book is a translated version of the original Japanese sewing book and although the aesthetic is quite similar and there are no major changes to the original version, it’s so very helpful to be able to follow the instructions in English.
Usually, Japanese sewing books have only a couple of instruction yet due to the clever use of illustrations/sewing diagrams they are actually very easy to follow (note: you do need to add seam allowances to the patterns before tracing them).
I made a size 128 cm for my 7-years old girl with no major mods. The pattern itself was quite easy to follow and I no no major issues understanding all the steps.
My original idea for this 1st Japanese Sewing Week was to sew a simple plaid top that could be worn over the holiday season and well into spring, but (as usual) I got a bit carried away …
Although I didn’t even enough yardage to add a trim to the bottom of the blouse (as indicated in the book picture), I took advantage of the few inches I had left and add it to the sleeves with a satin ribbon.
The sleeves are my favorite part of this blouse, yet because I was adding the lace trim, I made a small mod to the original and made a simple hem sewing the lace trim on top, instead of adding elastic at the bottom.
The top front also features a couple of pintucks (again quite easy to make) that ensure a lovely drape and make it perfect to wear on a daily basis.
Of course, after adding the trim (and tiny bow at the front), I wasn’t sure if my girl was going to approve it (she did say yes to the fabric, but everything else could be a bit too much …).
She did love it ❤
She doesn’t look very happy in these pictures, because of the book she’s holding in her hand – I had given it to her just before the photo session (my mistake) and she was eager to start reading it (she’s an avid little reader!).
The back of the blouse is gathered and closes with a single button loop – again a clever feature that doesn’t restrict the movements while playing 🙂
As I tried to get a closer look of the blouse front pintucks she seized the opportunity to check her new book (again) …
Maybe next version would be a simpler one …
I did run out of stock of these lovely trims and I’m not allowed to shop more until next year – hope it sounds convincing :).
As mentioned in the beginning of this post, several amazing bloggers are lined up to inspired you to sew (more) from Japanese sewing books, so don’t forget to check their blogs. It’s only day 2 of the 1st Japanese Sewing Week, but we’ve all been very busy …
Day 1 – 16 nov: In a Manner of Sewing | Conversas de Hermanas | Pequenos e Verdes | Climbing the Willow
Day 2 – 17 nov: Bartracks and Singletrack | S is for Sewing | Sew Happy | Mamacosesola
Day 3 – 18 nov: Fairies, Bubbles & Co. | Sewing Like Mad | As it Seams | Sewing For Mini Me
Day 4 – 19 nov: La Folie Sewing Booth | Just Add Fabric | Blogless Anna | Sweeter Than Cupcakes | Needle and Ted
Day 5 – 20 nov: Miss Castelinhos | Made by Toya | Lil Luxe Collection | House of Estrela
Day 6 – 21 nov: Patty Made It | Paisley Roots | Rita Pirolita | Call Ajaire
Day 7 – 22 nov: So-cal Sewing Mom | Kiwi Crafty Chemist | Sew Shelly Sew | Made by Sara
Plus, there’s a Giveaway running along with this tour thanks to our amazing sponsors!