Saturday, July 7, 2012

Japanese Sewing, Part 1

Two years ago I bought a Japanese sewing pattern book and magazine off of Etsy.  I was terribly intrigued, but also terrified.  So, I looked at them, planned projects, but never actually started anything.  Fast forward to now and the Pattern Stash contest.  I finally did it!  I decided to start with a children´s pattern from the Cucito magazine.  I chose a pattern; but then I could never actually find those pattern pieces on any of the pattern sheets, so then I chose another.  I found the relevant lines, traced the pattern pieces, and cut the fabric.  And then I realized I forgot to add seam allowances!  I always forget to add seam allowances. --Let me just say right now that I think it sucks to have to add seam allowances!  I mean, I can see overlapping the patterns to save paper and make pattern books and mags less bulky and less expensive.  But come on!  You can at least add a standard seam allowance.  And then if someone wants to change it, they can.  It´s not just a second tracing that is required to add seam allowances, but a decision on every single line of the pattern about what kind of seam to sew.  It sucks!  And if I ever sell patterns, I will do more of the work to make it easier on the sewist.-- Okay, rant over.  So, I forgot the seam allowances, and I had to decide whether to re-cut it or to go ahead and sew it.  I was torn about whether to do a size 90 or 100 for my daughter (she is 90 cm tall), and I went with size 100, so I decided it might be okay to sew it without added seam allowances.  To double check, I basted together the pattern pieces and tried them on my daughter.

Left: magazine cover and the pattern I selected; middle top: the pattern sheet; middle bottom: the instructions; right: dd wearing Swedish tracing paper.

I found that locating and tracing the relevant pattern pieces was the hardest part of this whole process.  Even though I don´t read Japanese, the instructions have very good drawings that show you the order to put the pieces together.  They even tell you what seam allowances you should add (*cough, not good enough*).  So, it was pretty easy, apart from a few hiccups with the facings.  Here is the result:

I was very encouraged by this result, so I decided to go for another pattern from this magazine (the Pattern Stash contest allows 4 patterns from each book/mag).  I decided on a pair of pants that roll up and button into shorts for my son.  I have been promising him a pair of pants like this for some time and have a Farbenmix pattern for such a pair (Klein Juist Cargohose), but I am feeling hesitant to go for another German one right now.  Then I saw a similar pair that looked easier in Cucito.  Now, OF COURSE, I forgot to add seam allowances AGAIN!  Can you believe how slow I am to learn this lesson?  I decided to go ahead and sew them because he is really skinny.  They do fit, but they are quite slim:

He has decorated himself to be a zebra and chosen this pajama shirt to go with the plaid pants.....

I was really on a roll now.  And my daughter wanted a pair of pants like these too!  I made my husband a pair of sleep shorts with this same fabric, and now her brother had some, and she was feeling left out.  And Cucito had a cute cropped pair that looked simple enough.  So, I whipped these up:

So, they were all matchy matchy and it was the 4th of July!  They might wear these to the Marines´ Independence Day party this weekend here in Luanda (but maybe not.  I might feel like a dork).

But that was only three, so I had to do one more.  So, I did this flower, just to see if I liked it.


And then..... I found out that you can do four items from a pattern book or mag only if they are distinct types of items.  So I would only be able to enter one pair of pants in the contest.  Therefore, I decided to sew a dress/nightgown for my daughter.  She is sorely lacking in sleep clothes.  Here it is:

Vintage buttons (might have been my Grandma´s).

This particular pattern was a lot harder to follow than the others.  I think a little translation would have made a big difference.  Unfortunately, I just tried to wing it and ended up with a pieced skirt.  But, she likes it, and that´s all that matters, really.

And now I will put this magazine aside for a little, until the contest is over.  But I think the patterns are great!  There are several more things I want to make.  Here are some of them:

So, the conclusion is- everyone who said Japanese pattern books and magazines are actually pretty easy to sew from were telling the truth!  I should not have waited so long or been so intimidated.  Ah well, live and learn.  Now, I´m off to make something Japanese for myself!


Just Barb said...

It all looks great! I adore the lace on the capris and I actually like your version of the boy pants better than the one shown in the book!!! Great job as usual! :)

dawnberries said...

Thanks so much!

Karen LePage said...

I am blown away by how much you manage to accomplish in a day!

dawnberries said...

I am in a unique situation here. I have no car or license and spend most of my time at home. I have someone to clean the house for me, and the kids are very good at playing together. So, I get to spend A LOT of time sewing. It´s awesome!