Wednesday, November 18, 2015

First Japanese Sewing Week Tour

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's....Japanese Sewing Week! What? That makes no sense! And what the heck am I looking at? Keep reading...because you might find some answers. Or then again, you might not!


I joined the Japanese Sewing Patterns Facebook group a little while ago, and when the lovely Sara of Made by Sara mentioned the idea of a blog tour, I jumped at the chance, despite the fact that I don't sew for myself very often. I am telling myself that I will have plenty of time for that once my children start rejecting handmades (though I am secretly hoping that will never happen). Here is the link to where you can get all the fun information. If you feel like joining the party, link up whatever you've made this year using a Japanese pattern and win some prizes!!


So anyway, I thought and thought, because I usually make things for my kids and not for myself. I have something for my daughter in the works at the moment, and will blog that one later, hopefully before this tour is over!

I thumbed through my collection of Japanese Sewing books before I settled on this one. I bought the Japanese version, being in Japan, but the link is for the English translation, available on the Amazon US site. It was the cover picture that drew me to it, and so I thought I would copy it because I liked the color combination. Even my husband said he wouldn't change the color scheme for me, and he's quite fussy and pushy particular when it comes to fabric choices.

I am disappointed to say that it did not go so well. I don't think it is really to do with the pattern, though. I think the fabric that I chose for the bottom wasn't quite right. For the grey bodice, I used some mystery soft wool (?) fabric that I'd originally bought in order to make little shark bags for my daughters. And the navy is some cotton with a nice sheen that I picked up on sale at a local fabric shop. So this is the result:


If you think I look uncomfortable, it's because I was. The cotton kept sticking to my tights as I walked, and the dress felt like it was too big on me despite my having gone by the sizing chart. My mom *gently* suggested that it could be that I'm way shorter than the model in the picture, ha ha, yep. And in case you're wondering, no I didn't muslin because I am lazy like that. I think it is meant to be a loose-fitting dress, but it just didn't work on me. I actually think my mom is right for once, ha ha. Notice how I'm holding my arms down, because if I spread them out or move them away from my body, I look like Spongebob Square Pants. Good thing I didn't go for yellow, right?

One thing I wanted to mention is that I found the construction of the sleeves a bit odd. Maybe "construction" isn't the right word. The pattern had me hem the sleeves before sewing the sides closed. I'm used to hemming sleeves after the sides have been closed, so this was strange to me. And it resulted in a bulky finish. If you plan to make this dress, I highly recommend hemming after the sleeves are sewn together. I think it can work.

The back was kind of cute with the velvet ribbon. This photo was taken by my 4-year-old daughter. Not bad, right? It's my favorite part of the dress. Ha ha, no surprise. Bows and me.


Anyway, after that dress, I really hesitated about making another. Would I have time? Did I have the patience? Well, kind of. Okay, not really.

I went through my paper patterns from Rick Rack because I'd had some success with one of their tunics, and I saw a dress that would be great for the warm summer months. And doesn't that make perfect sense because we are heading into winter? Yeah, I thought so. And I had the best summer weight fabric that I'd been saving from a project that never happened. I posted a sneak peek of the dress here, and I have to say it looks way better on Instagram than it does on me, sob!

I begged my co-bloggers Jen and Tina for their help in styling the sack dress (because, let's face it, that's what it looks like on me). Luckily, Jen is a great photographer and Tina is a pro at location scouting. Together they managed to make me look halfway decent, which was no mean feat because we'd just eaten lunch and I probably had "food face" in addition to the wrinkles all over my dress. (Warning: don't look too long or too closely at the pictures.) 




It's the tunic/one-piece pattern, available here. I should have gone down a size (I made the M, but don't ask me why because if I'd gone by the measurements I would have been fine in the S). There is an option to do gathering or pleating, and I was just tired of all the gathering I'd been doing for my daughters' clothes thought that maybe pleats were a bit more "grown up", so I went for those.


In an attempt to do something about the sacklike look of the dress (Tina suggested a white turtleneck might look nice; unfortunately I don't own one), I put on a belt. Better?


Hm, maybe a little. At least I don't look pregnant anymore. Okay, I wasn't going to mention the shoes, but I really need to apologize for them. I know this look is probably making people all over the world cringe, but I don't have any decent pumps in black. And yes, it is just gross to wear stockings with open-toed shoes but it was COLD! I'm sorry!! Don't look down. Stop it! I should be looking up in this picture, too, to try to distract you.

Instead I'll show you a picture of my little cutie, who will be starting kindergarten in the spring. I made her "interview skirt" using a Japanese sewing pattern from this book. It's number 29, the "pleated skirt." I made it in the size 100cm, which is a bit big for her, but good thing I chose that size because I forgot to add the side seam allowances, as I was a bit distracted when cutting and having been spoiled by so many amazing PDF patterns.



Be sure to check out the other totally amazing bloggers on this tour. And I mean A-MA-ZING. Like I-don't-even-know-what-I-am-doing-in-this-line-up-with-them kind of amazing.


And now for the prizes!! Three lucky winners from among our readers will win one of the following prizes: 
- One pack of 2 two Japanese Sewing books from Tuttle Publishing
- One pack of 2 two Japanese Sewing books from Tuttle Publishing
- A $40 fabric voucher from Urban Sew 

Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to sew along and join the linky party (at the bottom of Sara's post here) because there is yet another chance to win more prizes!!

Thanks for visiting and good luck!

42 comments:

  1. Oh Emi you are being waaaaay too tough on yourself. That two tone dress is a killer. I love it! The colours, the shape, the bow... Ok, I get that I it doesn't feel good you won't wear it, so I'll give it a home!!!
    Seriously, it's gorgeous.
    Some people can rock the "sack dress" and I think it looks really nice on your little frame. It's those of us who are bigger who look like we're "hiding" something.
    Oh, and I need to sew small navy, pleated skirts for next years school uniform, so thanks for the prompt.
    Frame that first photo, you look gorgeous!
    Over and out.

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    1. Awww Shelley, you sure know how to make a girl feel better about herself! I think I will try to tweak that dress and make it less tenty on me. ;) And I recommend that skirt pattern! It's really cute and a very easy sew. It also fits well, if you remember to add the seam allowance when you are cutting, doh!

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  2. Emi so glad you did something for yourself! I love the first dress and been meaning to make it too, but I agree with you on the cotton bottom: the top part looks really good on regarding fabric weight, I think you MUST take off the bottom and try and find some similar wool, I think it´ll be worth it! The second dress is lovely! I do love it without the belt, you don´t look pregnant at all, you look beauiful in it! <3

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    1. Andreia, you have to make the dress!! With some alterations, I'm sure it will look awesome on you! I will definitely take it apart and try to salvage it. As for the second dress, okay, I'll nix the belt, ha ha!

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  3. You're definitely being too hard on yourself! All I see here is beautiful. Yes the first is a bit big for you but the colors are perfect, and maybe you can adjust it? I absolutely love the second one, and I think you can rock it perfectly even without the belt. <3 And naturally the skirt is super cute! ;) so no cringing at all happen when I read this, and I did love to read it because you have a great sense of humor and I totally relate. You're amazing! xoxo

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    1. Ines, you are the sweetest! I don't know where I'd be without all of the support of such lovely people as yourself. I think the consensus is unanimous and I should get rid of the belt, ha ha! Thank you xxxxx

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  4. You look so cute! The second dress is stunning... I like it without the belt ��

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    1. Thank you, Rita!! I will definitely leave the belt at home next time, lol!

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  5. I love all this! Emi you crack me up - especially saying that wearing stockings with open toe shoes is 'gross'. And I agree with Lightning - you are being waaay too hard on yourself, I think you look great - love the first dress especially! x

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    1. Thanks so much, Jessica! Well, I guess I shouldn't be so judgmental of open toe shoes with stockings since it might be all the rage soon. Or maybe it already was?! I'm so behind on Tokyo street fashion, lol!

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  6. I love this post. So funny emi! I don't think either of them are as bad as you think, but the sizing does seem to be an issue. The first dress would be great if the proportions were fitted to your size. I guess we can call these the muslins ;)

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    1. I like that positive thinking, Ajaire!! Yes, these can be my (somewhat) "wearable" muslins, heh heh.

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  7. Okay stop stop STOOOOOP.....what are you talking about Emi. I honestly think they both look amazing!! I love both dresses on you and I'm not just saying that because I want you to feel better about your sewing for yourself...I really mean it!! The first one might look even better if it was a size smaller (you said you were holding it a bit in with your arms) but I really totally like the size you made the second one in. To me they are supposed to look like that and you have the PERFECT body and body type to wear it. And I also like it without the belt. Please look again very hard at these photos and this time with heart emojis in your eyes :-))
    And I totally agree with you on hemming sleeves....sew the seam first and THEN hem. Unless you are making tiny baby clothes where the sleeve opening is too tiny :-)
    Now I'm going to pin your dresses because I want them on my sewing board!!

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    1. Mie, you are the best. The. Best. Ever. And when your hero says something like what you did, you have to listen. So.....I will have to find some of those heart emoji glasses, ha ha ha ha ha!! You are so funny! And I will take your other piece of sage advice and take the first dress in a bit. I still like it, I just have to fix it! xxx

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  8. You just made laugh, this post is really funny. But you ARE beeing too hard on yourself. I agree, both desses look a bit to big on you, but thay's easy to fix, right? And the 1st onde has a lovely back!
    Your girl looks really cool with her outfit 😘

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    1. Thanks, Tania! Yes, I will try to fix it for sure! And thank you -- my daughter actually looked presentable that day, which made a change from her usual messy look, ha ha!

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  9. You're looking great Emi! And your post had me laughing out loud, alone in my car in the carpool waiting line at school, so if you think you look weird, I can join you now ;-)

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    1. I'm glad I made you laugh, Nienke!! And sure if you want to look normal, come stand next to me, ha ha ha!

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  10. You look so pretty Emi!!! I like both dresses...more the first one, yes it is a bit big, but I think you can make it smaller, also if that horrible fabric at the bottom part is annoying you, maybe change it if is not much work? maybe linen would work nicely. But I'm so happy to see all your pictures!!! they are lovely :)

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    1. Thank you -- and yes, I will definitely try a different fabric. I think linen and wool would make an interesting combination!! xxx

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  11. Well done!! I really love that first dress like all of the others. Maybe it would be more comfortable without the tights if that makes it stick. Hope it won't stay stuck in the closet!!

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    1. Thank you, Courtney. Yes, I'm definitely not wearing it with tights the next time! I had to keep stopping every few steps. So. Awkward. Lol!

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  12. You are way too hard on yourself! I think they look just how they look on models in books. Aren't they supposed to be sack dresses? You look totally adorable! I think they will look super good if you shorten them a bit, maybe a bit above the knee and add heels. Just a thought!

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    1. Yes, I guess I didn't realize just how sacklike they are meant to be! I love the idea of shortening them. I keep conveniently forgetting that I am not actually 5'9" and don't have model legs, lol!

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  13. Stop speaking nonsense... You look beautiful in both dresses! I love the first one (almost made that one myself). They both look big, better yet, oversized, but I think that's the style of most japanese patterns. I happen to like that style, but for someone smaller it could look to big. But look on the bright side, you can always make them smaller! By the way, black tights and black sandals... you couldn't be more fashionable! Just see all the street style photos, everyone is doing it!

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    1. Ha ha thanks for the vote of confidence, Diana! I am definitely going to be making adjustments. And checking out more street style photos!! I am always so behind the times!

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  14. So hard to use precious sewing time to only be disappointed! Luckily you can adjust the seams if you want. I like the suggestion to shorten or accessorize though.

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    1. I like that suggestion too! And you can be sure I will be making some changes for a better fit. Thanks!

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  15. I admire that you stepped out of your comfort zone to sew for yourself for this tour. I really like both dresses, particularly the two toned version. Sizing is always tricky (I generally go done two sizes when sewing Jaianese patterns). Here's hoping you smiling next time you sew for yourself!

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    1. That's a great tip, Anna! I have found the last few times that the tops/dresses I've made have been too large, so I think I need to wake up and make the right size for me. Thank you so much!!

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  16. I do love both dresses - maybe the fit is not spot-on (but sizing is always tricky on us, right? next time, you know better), but these are gorgeous dresses and I would be so proud if I manage to sew any of them for me (which I wouldn't because I'm the world worst procrastinator of selfish sewing ...).
    Can't wait to see more from you ;)

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    1. Yes, I'm usually terrible about sewing for me (hence my...ahem...issues). I guess it takes Sara and a blog tour to get me to sew for myself, ha ha! Looking forward to seeing more sewing from you, too!! xxx

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  17. I love both dresses and the skirt. I am particularly in love with your second dress. And you know what? Have you not said anything about your footwear I would have never noticed haha

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    1. Haha, thanks Jenya. I wondered whether I should say anything, but I figured it was obvious enough that people would notice!

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  18. Emi you look great! On both dresses and I really think you are being too hard on yourself... I find sewing for us much harder than doing it for the girls... big kiss <3

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    1. Thank you, Patricia <3 And yes, it really is harder sewing for ourselves -- I think I should stick to sewing for my girls!!

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  19. I really like the first dress. Everything about it. Why don't you try it again using another fabric, different sleeve construction (if it really bothers you) and adjust the size? I'm sure it will be amazing ;-)
    The second dress, I really like it as well and you can perfectly wear it without the belt ;-) And the skirt is so cute.

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    1. Thank you, Maria. I am definitely going to try it in another fabric! And ha ha ha, it seems everyone wants me to lose the belt!

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  20. I love the first dress. I want one for me. :)

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    1. Aw thank you, Paula! You should definitely give it a try!

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  21. :-D ohh Emi you are sooooo funny!!!! I wish I knew how to write in English better. Spongebob and the shoes :)))) you are lovely!!! I didn't know this second pattern , really like it! You look fine in the first one , in the picture you don't look as confortable as in the second , + not smiling :)))). Anyway, i undestand you when you say about sewing for yourself x for kids, i hope they acept my handmade clothes for some years!

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    1. Naii, your English is perfect, don't even! I think the dresses (with some tweaking) will definitely be wearable. I'll know better for next time, ha ha. It's my plan to keep sewing for my kids for several more years, at least!!!

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