I started with Blouse B from the Girls Style Book. I think my downfall was in my expectations. I had read some of the reviews from the book and a couple of people said it was confusing. But then I wondered- how confusing could it be? (And the universe laughed an evil villain laugh.)
So let's start with sizing. I measured Tarikua, who's 4 1/2 and generally wears a size 4. She measured at a size 2. I haven't sewn a size 2 for her in almost 2 years. I was dubious. But I knew if it was too small for her, I could pass it along to Iris. So I went with it.
Then came locating the pattern pieces. The book doesn't identify which pattern page they're on. So you have to look through each page to find them. The pieces for this blouse were not all on the same page. I located the main pieces but there were still a few I couldn't find. I was puzzled. I went back to the first page which listed 'important information'. I should probably read that, right? It turns out, you have to draft your own rectangular shaped pattern pieces - in this case, the bias binding, button loop, and lower sleeves.
After my pieces were drafted, it was time to add the seam allowances. I found this post about adding 1/4" seam allowances by taping two pencils together. I thought this was ingenious. I was thrilled. In my merriment, I didn't stop to think that the seam allowances wouldn't be the same on all sides. The hem and the back plackets obviously require a larger seam allowance than the side seams, for instance. And of course, I didn't accidentally add a seam allowance to the folds, because that would just be ridiculous. I would never be so reckless. ;)
As handy as the pencil trick is, I learned I don't care for the 1/4" seam allowance. It's too narrow for my liking and makes it difficult to finish the seams with my serger. My favorite seam allowance is 3/8" which is what the book recommends. (Somebody totally needs to create a pencil that adjusts for various seam allowances - a techie version of the two-pencils-taped-together idea.)
Yes, the instruction are in English, but really, you're pretty much on your own. For instance, the instructions to sew the front tucks are : Sew front tucks. There you go. There are some diagrams, some of which are helpful and others, not so much.
The construction was no-frills. There are no facings or blind hems. You just kind of slap it all together.
This said, I was actually impressed with how smart it looked when it was done. The details are so nice.
I loved the finished look of the blouse - Indigo and I both literally gasped when Tarikua put it on. She looked like a little doll in it.
The book has 24 patterns for just over $13. You can't expect Oliver + S pattern instructions at a price like that. There are quite a few cute patterns in the book, which I think makes it a steal.
So, in the end, I came around, and maybe even fell a little bit in love with Japanese sewing books. I think half the battle (or more) is simply knowing what you're in for - and having the confidence to go for it anyway. :)
Adorable! Heck, I think you can sew just about any cute clothes for your girls. Go ahead and let the universe laugh!ReplyDelete
omg, laughing!!! i have one japanese pattern book and i've yet to attempt anything from it. she looks so stinking adorable in that top though, i might just need to get it off the shelf and start trying to find my way through it :)ReplyDelete
I'm with Rachael...I have one Japanese pattern book but haven't sewn from it yet! Maybe we will have to make a support group as we muddle our way through the patterns! The end result definitely makes it worth the work!ReplyDelete
This dress turned out lovely, even though it was a bit of trouble. I love the fabric you chose!ReplyDelete
I love this top. Here are a couple tools you can use to help with seam allowances: http://www.anniescatalog.com/detail.html?prod_id=95900, a double tracing wheel, or apparently measuring tapes are 5/8" wide. I have a tool that holds two pencils 5/8" apart, but I can't find any for sale now, so I don't know if those are still around anywhere.ReplyDelete
what a beautiful color on her! i am completely scared off by anything that involves adding seam allowances. i just don't get it. why not make the pattern piece that much bigger?? if you figure out a great way to do it, i'd love to hear. anyway, you muddled through this one beautifully. :)ReplyDelete
thanks, gail! i didn't realize this the first time through, but the seam allowances are all listed on one of the diagrams in the instructions. so i don't think adding them would really be hard, but just more time consuming. and for those kind of tasks, it's always good to know what you are in for, so you can do it while listening to good music, an interesting podcast or whatever. i'm with you though - it seems like a lot less work for everyone to simply add them in, rather than to have to add them to every diagram.Delete
This looks beautiful! I'm in the middle of my first Japanese sewing book project and this has given me inspiration to keep at it. Because there have been some issues, for sure!ReplyDelete
Honestly I think the English translated books are worse, cause then you realise how dire the written instructions are. I prefer the japanese book, look at the pictures then think “how would Liesl do this?”. Invariably if I take pictures of the process I muck it up. If I don't take pictures then it works perfectly and I wish I'd blogged it for the sake of others.ReplyDelete
you've made a gorgeous top here. What matters it that there were troubles along the way
This is really beautiful. And you are not the only one who definitely never would add a seam allowance at the fold ;) Been there, done that...ReplyDelete
Well, it turned out BEAUTIFULLY. I feel a little the same way about all of the Ottobre magazines I have. I figure, I better just know how to sew the thing, because the directions are going to be NO help. And they also say things like "sew front tucks." And you're supposed to add seam allowance, which I have usually just ignored and the final result is okay anyway. It's like the polar opposite of an o+s pattern, that's for sure. But what you lose in good instruction you gain in SHEER NUMBER OF OPTIONS, right?ReplyDelete
It is fantastically wonderful! She really does look like a living doll! Those Japanese patterns are hard to decipher but they are pretty quick and nonfussy and the adorable results are worth it. But since they take extra brainpower I tend not to sew them very often either, haha.ReplyDelete
It looks wonderful and perfect - no one would ever know it had caused you so much grief! I've sewn a few things from that book, too, but not this top (yet). And I've made similar seam allowance and other errors, many times! I'm now pretty good at remembering to check the little diagrams thoroughly before cutting.ReplyDelete
Marisa, i'm ashamed to admit that i didn't pay any attention to that diagram my first time through! But yes, next time, I will check and double check! :)Delete
I have that same book, and while it was a treat for it to actually be in English, I didn't find that to be as helpful as I had always dreamed it would be (as I've pulled out my hair trying to interpret my other Japanese pattern books actually written in Japanese!). I would say that a basic knowledge of sewing and construction is essential when approaching these patterns. But the results always make it so worthwhile:) And your blouse is case in point - simply adorable! love the blue swiss dot fabric you chose, esp. when paired with those leggings. And speaking of leggings, could you share where you purchased the yellow fabric you used? I've been looking to make something similar for my youngest but haven't found a good stretchy knit that seemed suitable.ReplyDelete
Eager to see what other beautiful creations this book inspires! I've only made one thus far, but hope to sew from it for quite some time:)
Hi Lucinda! I have to be honest and say I have yet to find a knit that, in my opinion, has the same thickness and stretchiness with great recovery as the store-bought varieties. Being I am new to knits, I wasn't sure how they'd wear. I am reasonably happy with the mustard leggings. I bought them here - http://www.girlcharlee.com/mustard-yellow-solid-cotton-spandex-knit-fabric/famous-designer-p-5285.html?cPath=90_116Delete
They have washed well and the fit is cute. The recovery is good. They just aren't as thick as I'd like. I am not happy with how the black and white striped leggings washed at all. They started pilling and are paper thin. They are still wearable but I wouldn't recommend them. And the bright orange leggings I made with Indigo's Sailboat dress were abysmal. They pilled, they looked worn, I actually threw them away, they were that bad. I've been reasonably happy with the brown and white stripes leggings, the darkish blue leggings, and the mustard colored leggings. I would avoid polyester in the mix at all costs, look for a cotton/spandex blend and look for a minimum of a 9 oz weight, but preferably more. That's just my two cents, at this point. :)
Wow - you are fount of knit knowledge! This gives me a great starting point, esp. your suggestion to look for 9 oz or heavier weight. Thanks so much for the knit link - I've often browsed through Girl Charlee, but haven't actually purchased yet. Trying so very hard to be good and not overbuy as one can only have just so much stuff!!Delete
Lovely!!!! In someway reminds me the aprons I wore at school.ReplyDelete
Before knew American digital patterns, never heard about patterns with seam allowance included. I think is not to complicated but took more time. I thought it was funny when I saw the American Burda Edition with patterns with seam allowance included.
yeah, we're soft here. ;) in my 5 years of sewing, this was my first time adding a seam allowance to a pattern. the US pattern designers are spoiling us! :) but you're right, it isn't very complicated, it just takes some getting used to and a little extra attention to detail.Delete
This post just made me laugh - especially the instructions for the tucks!ReplyDelete
And yet somehow your garment came out gorgeous as always! Even a totally confusing pattern can't thwart you!