Friday, March 4, 2016

World Book Day Blog Tour

Although World Book Day was officially yesterday, March 3, I am posting today as part of the World Book Day Blog Tour hosted by Becki of Dobbins Bobbins. When she contacted me to participate in the tour, I was so happy! Reading and sewing? YES!



Like the other participants on the tour, I had a hard time narrowing down my choices to just one book. But it occurred to me that March 3 this year coincides with Girls Day here in Japan, so I thought it would be nice to go with a Japanese story that I found really moving as a child.


The Japanese title is "Tsuru no Ongaeshi" and can be roughly translated as "The Crane's Return of Favor" (which sounds so awkward, doesn't it?). I think I prefer "The Crane's Gratitude." I bought the book recently for my daughters, as I love the illustrations in this version. They are by one of my favorite artists, Iwasaki Chihiro.

The version of the story I read as a child is the tale of a crane who is rescued by an elderly couple and later repays their kindness via sacrifice. She does this by appearing in front of them as a girl, and she plucks her own her feathers each evening to weave beautiful garments for them to sell in the market. She does all of her weaving behind closed doors and asks them not to peek in on her while she is in her room. But of course curiosity gets the better of them, and they discover that the girl, who is slowly wasting away, has been plucking her feathers to make the beautiful items she has been giving them every morning to sell. There is so much I could say about that story, but since you are here to look at the sewing, let's focus on that.

I wanted to do something Japanese-inspired, which meant I didn't want to make an actual kimono or even a summery ukata, which I have done before. So instead I turned to the beautiful pattern by Chalk and Notch, the Fishtail Kimono. I wanted it to be more like a dress with a lot of fullness, so I asked Gabriela for some advice on how to hack the pattern, and she gave me all sorts of help -- thank you so much, Gabriela! 

This is my inspiration picture that I took from my copy of the book: 



I think I managed to capture the feel of it while still making it wearable for every day. Underneath it, she is wearing the Violette Field Threads Josephine Dress, which I made a couple of years ago (man, that was a LOT of buttonholes).



I cut the skirt in the back so that it would have more fullness and be more like a circle skirt. I also lengthened the back bodice and cut the front piece in two as well, so that it would sort of work like a wrap dress but still be a kimono (though I miscalculated and you will see that the seams on the side don't match, gah!!). I added gathers to the front skirt as well by lengthening the two front pieces and added two ties on the side so that they would keep the front closed when wearing the belt. I had wanted to tie the dress more loosely than I did above, because as you can see, the front looks a bit scrunched up this way. My excuse is that it is meant to be worn with a belt.


Don't mind that awkwardly tied "obi." It obviously wasn't long enough. When I first bought it, I wasn't sure what I was going to use it for; I just liked it (yes, I need to work on those impulse buys, lol). I realize I'm not going to win any prizes for my obi-tying skills, but it stayed on even as she ran around pretending to fly, so I'm okay with it. 



And now for my daughter's favorite part of the story: the girl's transformation back into the crane. This is actually the "swan cape" I made for her last Halloween, but I figured it also works as a crane cape in a pinch. It's still a bit chilly round these parts, so it was great in keeping her warm.





I really enjoyed coming up with an outfit for this book-inspired tour. There were so many stories I could have chosen, but this was the one I kept coming back to. I found it so haunting as a child, and so puzzling that she had to leave the moment that they discovered her true identity... 

But let's save that discussion for another time. Thank you so much for stopping by to look through my post! And now for the fun part. The giveaways -- can you believe there are FOUR!?!?

Prize 1:
  • 1 pdf pattern of choice from Brooklyn Pattern Co.
  • 1 pdf pattern of choice from Coffee & Thread
  • Tinny pdf pattern from Straightgrain
  • 1 pdf pattern of choice from Welcome to the Mousehouse
  • 1 pdf pattern of choice from Pienkel
  • 1 pdf pattern of choice from Compagnie-M
  • NEW Trinity Tee pdf pattern from Rock the Stitch
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Prize 2:
  • 1 pdf pattern of choice from Sew Much Ado
  • 1 pdf pattern of choice from Coffee & Thread
  • Tinny pdf pattern from Straightgrain
  • 1 pdf pattern of choice from Welcome to the Mousehouse
  • 1 pdf pattern of choice from Nell Patterns
  • 1 pdf pattern of choice from LBG Studio
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Prize 3 (UK only): 
  • Pop-up edition of We’re Going On A Bear Hunt
  • Belle & Boo: S is for Sewing
  • My Sewing Machine by Jane Bull
  • Stitch by Stitch by Jane Bull
  • Creative Craft With Kids
  • Mollie Makes magazine
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Prize 4 (UK only): 
  • The Great British Sewing Bee: Fashion with Fabric
  • The Liberty Book of Home Sewing
  • Merchant & Mills Workbook
  • Sew Japanese
  • Mollie Makes magazine
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Becki explains it all in her post here. And please note that you have until March 12 (at 12am GMT) to enter. 

Winners will be drawn randomly by Rafflecopter. (You must be 18+ to enter. Giveaway void where prohibited by law. Giveaways 3&4 are open to UK Only due to postal costs.)


Below are the other participants in the tour. Have a visit and browse through all the fun looks and stories!




24 comments:

  1. Wow, this might be my favorite translate a book/story to sewing post. So beautiful and poetic. And I absolutely LOVE that you are using some items that you have sewed before...I really REALLY love that! Our planet thanks you ;-) The outfit is stunning and what a transformation for the Fishtail Kimono. Love it all!

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    1. Thank you so so so much, Mie!!!! I am beyond excited that you like it! And I'm happy that you approve of re-using previously sewn items, heh heh. They get worn more than once, so I figured why not, right? ;)

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  2. What a stunning result, really love the inspiration you got from the book.
    Hearts for your creation!

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    1. Thank you so much, Isabel!! I'm really happy you like it!! xxx

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  3. Emi, I just love the way this whole outfit turned and together with the feathered cape, it's just perfection! What a wonderful book and beautiful story, thank you for including the fishtail kimono. XO

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    1. Thank you so much, Gabriela. And thank you again for all the guidance you gave me in turning this beautiful kimono into a dress. I can't wait to make another one with a few more changes that I mentioned above. <3

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  4. This is wonderful Emi! I'll have to get that book to read to my kids too. <3

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    1. Thank you so much, Karly! I hope you enjoy the book. I am hoping to read your book recommendations as well :)

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  5. This is so pretty Emi! The fishtail in linen and as a dress work beautifully. Love the look and that cape is awesome. You rock!

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    1. Thank you, Celina!! I am glad you like the look. It's a bit "fantastic" for every day, but I think individually the pieces could work. Well, maybe not the cape, ha ha, except for costume parties and Halloween! ;)

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  6. What a beautiful interpretation of those stunning watercolour images! Such a dreamy outfit. I'm a big addict of childrens books, especially when they have beautiful illustrations like yours.

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    1. Oh thank you!!! I actually thought you might like the illustrations in this book. You should check out her other illustrations of childhood. They are all so dreamy and pretty. xxx

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  7. What a beautiful outfit, Emi! The swan cape is fantastic. You nailed it!

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    1. Thank you so much, Rachel! The swan cape was a bit slap-dash and thrown together at the last minute for Halloween, so I am happy that she approves of it enough to use it surprisingly regularly for "dress-ups."

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  8. So gorgeous and so poetic! I love how you interpreted the story into an outfit! I want to read the story now! Beautifully done!

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    1. Thank you, Olga!!! It's such a lovely and sad story that it has really stayed with me throughout the years. I'm glad I got the chance to revisit it.

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    1. Thanks so much, Shelley! I'm glad you like it :)

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  10. Such an adorable story and the kimono turned out so so beautiful!! the whole outfit is perfect!

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    1. Thank you, Maria! I was tempted to add some lace somewhere, but I felt I should draw the line and keep it simple this time, since the cape is pretty eye-catching!

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  11. What a beautiful story! I think your little girl's outfit is a perfect translation/representation of a picture from the book. It is so light and airy. Love it :)

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    1. Thank you, Jenya! I was a bit worried it would be too literal, but I had fun with it and couldn't imagine making anything else once I had settled on this story. Glad you like it!

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  12. What a beautiful story, and lovely outfit/costume to go with it.

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    1. Thank you, Jodi! It really is one of my favorite stories from my childhood, and I'm glad my daughter likes it now, too.

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