Thursday, 22 September 2011

Adventures in Japanese (Part Two - The Gallop to the Finish!)

I left my Japanese dressmaking project having made sense of the first page of instructions - the materials list, the cutting diagram and the instructions.  

My next step was to use my tracing wheel, the mad criss-cross of pattern pieces included with the book and some tracing paper to make copies of the pieces I required.  

I located the pattern pieces I needed quite easily as the model I was making was 'B' and so I just hunted for 'B's on the pattern paper.  I used a highlighter to help pick out what I thought were the right lines, referring back to the cutting diagram to check the pattern piece shapes for a bit more certainty. 

 I couldn't find one of the pattern pieces - the lower part of the sleeve, and then realised that as this was a simple rectangle, instructions for it were given next to the materials list. The rectangle I needed for the smallest size needed to be 15cm by 32cm.

I had a light-bulb moment when I realised that the seam allowances to be added to the pattern pieces were varied and were indicated on the cutting diagram...

So, on the top left pattern piece you would add 1cm to the top edge, 0.5cm to the armhole edge/curve, 1cm down the side and 2.5cm at the bottom.  The bias strip indicated would need to be cut 2cm wide and so on.

I then made merry with my little spiky wheel, added the required seam allowances and ended up with these...

Next, cutting out.  I had bought two complementary fabrics - one metre of one and half of the other, but had plenty to spare at the end.  I think I could have got away with just one metre, though I might have had to join bias strips in that case.

The fabric, in case you are interested, is by Denyse Schmidt's 'Hope Valley' collection.  I got mine (along with the Japanese pattern book)  from 'M is for Make' whose fantastic service I was delighted by.

With the pattern pieces cut out things went rather swimmingly, with one exception.
Having finished the edges of the top back pieces, including the loop for the button and laid them out, it was clear that something was amiss...

At 40cm across, this would only fit a toddler in training as an Olympic swimmer.  I re-consulted the pattern pieces and realised I had followed the wrong line - the correct one being some way inside what I had cut, so luckily easily put-right-able!

Re-done.  Phew!
That problem sorted, it was a relatively short hop, skip and jump in sewing terms to the completed blouse.

Bias bound neckline and vintage buttons...

I chose to use bias strip and gathering to finish the sleeve, rather than the elastic which was on the pattern...

Back button and loop closure...

I enjoyed the challenge of working this out!  

I think I'd have struggled if I had not done any dressmaking in the past, as some parts of the instructions I could not work out from the glossary provided and relied on previous experience.  I'm not sure that I did the back opening the way it was meant to be done, but as the finish is neat I'm quite happy with it.

But overall, I think anyone with a bit of experience of making clothes would be able to work from this book (and the many, many others like it) and with the wide range of fashionable garments available, and the reasonable price if you make sure to use several patterns from one book, I'd recommend it!


'Feminine Wardrobe Book


'Sweet Dress Book'


Liberty Children's Style Book
This one features Liberty fabrics and baby sizes!


  1. Gorgeous - love the material and the finished product.

  2. This is just gorgeous - you've done a brilliant job with not only fathoming the pattern but also the finishing looks so well done! The fabrics and buttons are a match made in heaven too :-)

    Jem xXx

  3. It's gorgeous, well done for working out the instructions and such a good idea with the highlighter, I always get a bit lost when tracing the pieces out!

  4. Oh it's just darling! You are so clever - to be able to do dressmaking at all, and also to translate from Japanese and then make this sweet garment.

    Gorgeous fabrics too.

  5. Wow, it looks lovely :) Hannah

  6. The blouse is adorable and the finish looks very professional and definitely 'made with love'

  7. Oh this is so beautiful!
    It is so neat and professional.
    Well done with all the working out, I don't think I'd have had the patience.

  8. Well done on following those diagrams! This is so sweet, and I just love the fabrics you've chosen and the button.
    Helen x

  9. Really beautiful. Yes, if you are going to a make a mistake cutting bigger is the one to make.
    I don't think I would have your skill to work it out but it does look lovely, great choice of fabrics.
    Carol xx

  10. Wow, I love it! So pretty. The fabric colours and patterns look so great together. Em x

  11. Well done you , that is great and it looks wonderful. x

  12. Totally stunning. I loved reading about the making of this the finished garment is soooooo lovely.