I saw this ruffle dress in ‘Feminine Wardrobe’ and thought it could look really cute as a blouse. The design was part of the resort collection of the book- casual and relaxed.
The execution, however, was not as pleasant an experience. As I started deciphering the sewing instructions for this garment, I discovered that not all Japanese sewing books were made equal. The super-duper clear diagrams I love in ‘Les couleurs francaises’ were clearly missing in ‘Feminine Wardrobe’. There was still an overall diagram which told me the sequence to sew but the detailed diagrams were absent. The pattern made me confused for 20 minutes as I could only find the front yoke and the front bodice. After several futile attempts, I was seeing stars and getting frustrated as I could not identify the rest of the pattern pieces. How hard can that be? Well, after going through every detail I could possibly decipher, I almost gave up. But, I knew I wouldn’t be happy if I were to give up either so I took another look at the instructions and wondered what the numbers (pictured below) meant.
It finally dawn on silly me that I had to measure and draw the remaining pieces myself! The measurements are shown WW. XX. YY. ZZ. next to the missing pieces according to sizes S.M.L and XL. As I went for the medium, I followed the XX measurements. The seam allowances also varied in this sewing book, some were 0.7cm, others 1.5cm as shown in the same picture above.
The missing pattern pieces were all rectangles to be fair so drawing them was not that difficult but to my dismay, one of the measurements for the back yoke was not printed in the book! I had to rely on guess work and by then, I honestly wasn’t too pleased.
I started getting concerned if I could complete the blouse given my increasing inconfidence in this pattern or rather my ability to execute it. So, instead of using fabric from my stash, I decided to use some older materials. An old ‘Mango’ skirt I used to wear a decade ago- I kept it as I liked the fabric, a couple of cotton fabric from my scrap basket and some denim from a pair of jeans I shortened a few months back. Yes, I collected everything I thought could be used for making clothes 😛
The pink polka dot scrap (You might remember it from the belt for this dress) was used for the front and back yokes, both layers of the old skirt for the bodice as they were both rather sheer, Anna Maria Horner’s cotton voile (You might remember it from this blouse) for the ruffles. Cotton voile I thought was perfect for ruffles as I didn’t want them to be too bulky. Both the right and reverse sides of the voile were used for some variation on the ruffles. The ruffles with white dots are the reverse side. Finally, the denim was used for the shoulder straps. I am rather pleased with the outcome but it will be a long while before I attempt another project from this book.
I tried the blouse on with a tee (like the book’s version) and without and preferred the latter. What about you?
I love the flow of the soft fabrics and the contrast of the denim on the strap. The denim seemed to have neutralized how girly the ruffles were which was what I preferred. It also made the blouse more casual. This is a better outcome than I expected after all that issues with the pattern.
The good thing is through this exercise I have a much better understanding of how the Japanese sewing books work and that will definitely help me in my selection at the bookstore in future. I still think Japanese patterns and designs are inspiring and unique so I do not want to give up on them just because of one book. And in retrospect, I am glad I started with ‘Les couleurs francaises’. Otherwise, there would be a better chance that I might have been completely put off Japanese sewing books. Phew!
I hope you like my first refashioned item. My mum didn’t (and I’m sure it has to do with the denim strap) but I told myself so long as I did LOL.
Enjoy your weekend!