Today I made my first blouse from a Japanese sewing book, ‘Les couleurs francaises’. As I have never tried a Japanese pattern, I thought I better start with an easier project. The 26 projects in this book are identified by the English alphabet and I chose project i as it didn’t look too difficult and more importantly, required the least fabric.
This is the picture of project i from the book.
The pattern consisted of a front yoke, front bodice, a back piece and tie straps for the left sleeve. You could also cut your own bias tape but I used commercial ones.
I made my version using the above light weight Japanese floral fabric from Yuwa and here it is:
I find that having used the Built By Wendy Dresses book helped me in drafting from Japanese patterns. I am already used to tracing the pattern onto my own pattern paper. The only difference was, on Wendy’s book it was obvious where the patterns were, for Japanese sewing patterns, you have to do a search on these papers containing overlapping patterns for various projects. Looking at this did intimidated me a little at the beginning but at the end of the project, I will say it was not too bad 🙂 What an innovative way to save trees too!
Similarly, I am used to adding my own seam allowances. Besides the standard 1.5cm allowance, this project called for 0.5cm allowances for the neckline and armholes and 3cm for the hem. I think I have been a little bit spoilt by how fitting the colette pattern dresses and the Sabrina dress were. I found the blouse had way too much ease at the side seams and probably it was meant to be as I noticed from the project photograph. I did take in the seams to make it more of what I would normally wear. Somehow, more ease looked sloppy on me though it looked gorgeous on the model. I made a size 11 which is medium for Japanese sizes since I normally wear M for dresses from Muji. For a more personal touch, I added a red hand dyed vintage doily I got from this seller on etsy and a vintage green button just before the tie strap.
I soon realized the language barrier was not an issue. While the steps in the pattern book were written in Japanese, there was always a main diagram, like the one below, which showed me the sequence for sewing the project and was a tremendous help. There were also very clear and detailed diagrams for more complicated steps.
Thank God for diagrams as these completely put me at ease and I was able to complete this blouse in approximately four hours. Pretty gratifying!!!