Thursday, September 18, 2014

sew it all series - japanese patterns: jacket

As of today, Mae's capsule wardrobe is done!  I love every single piece and I know that they will all get lots of wear, although not necessarily together.  I'm going to be honest and say that it didn't turn out exactly how I thought it would, but then again, nothing ever does :) 

Mae's cropped jacket is pattern V from this book.  I was quite impressed with the quality of this pattern.  The pattern pieces went together perfectly, and the instructions, although fairly complicated, were well illustrated.  I would not consider this a beginner pattern, but I don't think it was overly complicated either.  It just had a lot of steps and little things like grainline and precision seam allowances made a huge difference for the finished product :)

I stuck with the size 100 for the pattern since it seems to fit Mae with just a bit of room to grow, and I thought this fits true to size.  I didn't make any changes to the pattern this time, but I think I may try a longer winter version with the full length sleeves from pattern W in the book either this year or next.  I'll probably end up lining it for warmth too rather than using facings.

I'm chose to use fine wale corduroy, but I wouldn't recommend that choice to anyone.  The pleats on the front and back pieces are not lined up along the grainline due to the slight curve of the pieces, so the wale of the corduroy looks a little odd along the pleats.  It's not very noticeable (honestly, it's probably only noticeable to me!) but it was a little annoying for the simple reason that I really wanted to sew with the wale perfectly lined up along the pleat, and I knew I shouldn't :)

I usually try not to do too many posed shots with the kids, but I had to share this one.  Today is the first day that when I told Mae to smile she didn't bare her teeth like I was going to be eaten as the main course for her next meal!  She's actually smiling, you know, like a normal person :)

Fabric - Kaufman 21 wale corduroy in ginger
Snaps - Kamsnaps - Metallic Bronze
Dress - blogged here

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

sew it all series - japanese pattern book: pants & tunic

So far, Mae's Japanese inspired wardrobe consists of a skirt, a dress, a pair of leggings and a knit shirt.  In today's post I'm adding a pair of linen pants and a knit tunic. Originally I was going to separate this outfit into two posts, but I feel that these pieces are the most authentically Japanese of everything I have sewn and they belong together to maintain the aesthetic. 

The pants pattern is from this book which only includes sizes 80 and 90.  I've been sewing size 100 so far, but I knew by looking at the pattern pieces that the size 90 would be plenty wide, so I started there. I compared the leg length of the pattern to some pants that fit Mae currently and realized that I was going to have to add quite a bit to the length. And when I say quite a bit, I mean quite a bit! I ended up lengthening the pattern pieces by four inches which still feels like too much for only going up one size. And height wise Mae is actually closer to the size 90, so I can't help but think I did something wrong :) Oh well, at least the pants fit!

Normally I'm not a fan of pleated pants, but they are so much more practical for Mae since she can get them up and down by herself. And apparently they also give her the freedom to turn into Spider Man and scale the walls ... while taking pictures I might add :)

Now for the tunic. I really did not expect to like this top as much as I do! Although these Birch Organic knits seem to be hugely popular in blog land, I don't normally like 100% cotton knits. I generally prefer that my knits have a little lycra in them because they seem to have better recovery. However, this pattern is designed in such a way that I was able to treat the fabric like a woven.  Plus the neckline is interfaced so it holds it's shape without a problem. What I really do like about the fabric is that it is soft and has a lovely drape, which is perfect for this tunic pattern!

The tunic pattern is from this book. I sewed the size 100 which is slightly big so Mae has some growing room, but it's not so big as to be unwearable now. This was a fairly easy pattern to sew, and I like that the finished top (especially the neckline) appears more difficult and time consuming than it really was. The only change I made was to omit the hidden snap closure on the notched neckline. The top doesn't gape (and I didn't have any sew-on snaps on hand anyway!) so I chose not to worry about it.

And just like the other day, when Mae is done taking pictures, she is DONE!!!! She spent the rest of the outing running back and forth in the little corridor created by the trees and the pool fence :)

Top - Birch Organics Interlock Knit Poppies in Sun from
Pants - Robert Kaufman Essex Yarn Dyed Linen in Indigo from
Shoes - Target

Monday, September 15, 2014

sew it all series - japanese pattern book: knit basics

Today, as part of the Sew it All series, I made two basic knit pieces for Mae, both from this book.  The leggings are pattern #9 sewn in a size 100.  I didn't make any changes to the pattern, and they fit wonderfully.  In fact, Mae is wearing them as I write this :)  I used a ponte knit from Joann's, which I used previously (blogged here) and absolutely love.  It sews beautifully, and now that I've washed the sweatshirt several times, I know that it holds up to every day wear and tear really well too.

I was only going to make the leggings, but then I realized that Mae needs some basic tees too, and the book just happened to have a knit shirt pattern :)  I started with pattern #28 and added the long sleeves from #30.  I did shorten the sleeves a bit and add cuffs just because I felt like it.  I really don't have a better reason, and I don't even think I necessarily prefer cuffs, but I guess I couldn't sew two patterns in a row as is!  I felt the need to make at least one change so this didn't turn into the most boring blog post ever :)

For the more observant reader, you may have noticed that I didn't include this fabric in my original blog post about Mae's Japanese capsule wardrobe.  That's because I made this shirt on a whim and this is one of the few appropriate fabrics I had on hand.  I know it doesn't fit in with the other fabrics, but it's a Japanese print, which is good enough for me!

Top - Organic Kawaii knit
Leggings - Ponte knit from Joann's

Thursday, September 11, 2014

sew it all series - japanese pattern book: dress

For the first item in Mae's capsule wardrobe, I sewed a denim suspender skirt, which you can find here in case you missed it.  Continuing with the theme of sewing a coordinating wardrobe from Japanese sewing books, the next item is a dress.  The pattern is from this book and I blogged about this (almost) exact dress here last year.  The first dress was a constant favorite with both Mae and I, but it was really getting too tight across the shoulders and upper arms, so I decided a new dress was in order.

The dress is a combination of patterns from the book, all in a size 100.  The bodice is Dress A type 1 (page 6), as is the skirt except with the back skirt piece cut on the fold because I didn't want to continue the snap placket all the way down the dress.  The 3/4 sleeves are from Dress B type 3 (page 18).  So far, this pattern book has the best fitting clothes for Mae, so I can see myself using the patterns many more times :)

When I first decided to sew Mae a dress, I chose the fabric before I chose the pattern.  I wasn't feeling particularly inspired, so I went to Joann's and just looked around for a while.  I know I stated in this post that I rarely use quilting cottons, but while I was browsing, I came across this grey and navy print from Jules & Coco.  As soon as I felt it (very soft!) and saw the beautiful drape, I chose to ignore that it was shelved with the quilting cottons.  Mae must have agreed with me because she carried it on her lap until we got to the cutting counter, petting it the entire time!

I really love sewing from Japanese patterns, but for some reason I don't style Mae's clothes remotely like the books.  For example, most of the books feature solid fabrics, or a small/subtle print.  Every once in a while, there is a shirt made from a striped fabric.  But what you rarely see is a print combined with another print.  I tried to choose a print for this dress that I felt was in keeping with the Japanese aesthetic (subtle with minimal colors) but I couldn't help pairing it with metallic polka dot tights and sparkly boots.  I promise I tried!  I even got out the solid tights and the pewter colored shoes, but I just couldn't do it :)  I think Michigan weather is sometimes just bland enough that I need color and pizazz to make it though the day.  Don't get me wrong, Michigan has many beautiful days as well, but today just wasn't one of them!

If you are interested in learning more about the author/designer of this Japanese sewing book, head over to Nutta who is doing a review of the book today.  And while you're there, check out the cute dress and coat sewn by Marisa from thirtynine!

And with that ... we are outta here!

Dress - Jules & Coco Eclipse from Joann's
Snaps - Kamsnaps
Tights - Mini Boden
Boots - H&M