Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sewing Talk

And we have sun! Summer sewing plans are in full gear. And as usual, I have far more ideas than I can possibly have time to implement.

A few weeks ago, my husband had to travel to LA for a week. When he told me, which thought do you think popped into my head first:
1. Darn, you're leaving me alone with the kids for a whole week.

FYI: Kinokuniya is a Japanese bookstore. Yes, I know the locations.

He braved his way through ridiculous traffic and brought me home three (3) Japanese pattern books, one of which was "Sewing Talk" by Machiko Kayaki.

This is an extremely simple sleeveless top. The neck and armholes are gathered with elastic. The hem is supposed to be elasticated too, but I narrow hemmed it this time.

You make bias strips for a binding/elastic casing. I don't think I was supposed to add seam allowances to the shirt pieces, though, since the neck seems higher and the arm holes wider than they should be.

I felt the shirt was pretty loose, so I removed 4 inches total from the waist point, tapering back out to the hip and armscye. I probably tapered too sharply, since the hem sticks out at the sides a little. I should have just removed some width from the hip, too. Next time I may try elasticating the bottom hem to see if if that suits me, after all.

Here's the front cover of the book. The ISBN is 4579110528.

Here's the top in striped shirting.

The instructions are quite minimal and don't include any sort of order of construction steps. But certain techniques are illustrated: making your own bias tape with one of those nifty little hand tools and an iron (something I did for the first time!), and inserting elastic in a casing.

The traceable patterns come in Japanese sizes 9, 11, 13. I made size 9, which corresponds pretty closely to my measurements. The shoulders fit well (after my normal shoulder adjustments), but there's quite a bit of ease elsewhere. So I think you'd have a decent amount of wiggle room if you don't fit one of the sizes exactly.

Here is the same pattern made into a dress.

I made top "b". The dress is pattern "c".

My fabric was madras plaid from Mill End Textiles.


  1. Cute top, like the plaid!

    Did you follow the photos for figuring out how to make this or do you read Japanese! :O)

    There are a couple of Japanese Quilting books that if I ever get a chance to get a copy, I so am! I figure I can follow the pictures for my directions :O).

  2. Texan: I relied on the photos and previously acquired sewing skills, as well as a few of the Chinese characters I recognize in the Japanese. The photos are helpful in that they show how the top is constructed, but in this book they don't give an order of sewing steps.

  3. This is very cute! I like the dress version too.

  4. Looks like a perfect top for warm summer days!

    btw, it feels good to be a mom of a 12 year old.:)

  5. Cute top, perfect for summer. I love to flip through japanese sewing books. The styling is always so beautiful and elegant.

  6. Very cute top. I really like the dress version. That would be a very easy summer piece indeed.

  7. Very cute summer top. I love the colors in the madras. How sweet of your husband to bring back Japanese pattern books.


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