Refashioned Ruffle Blouse

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!

Strange reminder & new theme

How often do you want to do something but keep forgetting due to all that distractions in life? I am convinced some reminders are heaven sent! I was driving home after sending my princess to school last week when I stopped at the traffic light. Suddenly I noticed some letters on a delivery track in front of me.

They are on the right door panel and I enlarged it for easy viewing here.

Okay. All right. I’ve heard you loud and clear darling fabrics. I would give you a good cleaning so you would be all ready for the new sewing theme. Here you are, some of you look pretty and clean now, all washed up for some tender ironing. I still need to work on a few of you. Nonetheless, my heartbeat races just by looking at all of you and yes, I am smiling…joyfully!

I am finally using a Nani Iro double gauze (far right bottom in photo)! Yay!

My new challenge?  I will be tackling a new frontier. Japanese sewing books. I’m terrified and excited at the same time. I have to do some research on this not only because it is a brand new area but I can’t read Japanese. The Moving Hands blog which highlighted Japanese sewing and pattern terms was a great help. At least it helped me understand the notions I required and gave me hope, an added sense of confidence that I can conquer the pattern. I have only two Japanese sewing books at the moment, ‘Les couleurs francaises’ and ‘Feminine Wardrobe’. So, I will be working on projects from these first.

While researching the topic, I also chanced upon a french blog. Another language I wished I knew. The Japan Couture Addicts blog is marvelous. It showcases finished works from Japanese Sewing Books and these are categorized by the books! I found the ‘Les couleurs francaises’ showcase here and the ‘Feminine Wardrobe’ one here.  Here are my favorites!

Dress by Made By Night

Blouse by Bulle de Gum

Blouse by Le Tricomonde de Sophie

Dress by PHISSO

I am inspired 🙂 I feel fully charged and ready to take on the challenge! If my first few attempts are successful, this theme may stretch beyond two weeks as there are just so many cute blouses and dresses in the books!

Peekaboo Sleeve Tara

The Sew Convert is not exactly a fan of Sex And The City. In fact, I have never watched the series nor the movies. But, I was browsing through the newspaper some time ago when I saw the movie advertisement and on it was this dress with its sleeves. I was captivated. Immediately, I took my iphone and snapped a photo.

This was the inspiration behind Peekaboo Sleeve Tara. The sleeves are far from being identical off course, the one on Tara has more of a batwing sleeve look and is less sleek than the sleeves on the designer dress.

I used cotton voile from Anna Maria Horner’s Little Folks. It is a super lightweight cotton and slightly sheer. I love the drape the fabric creates compared to the heavier cotton I used before.   

The dress looks romantic. I don’t think I have made anything in that category before. And I even like the way it looks from the back.

My deviation from the Tara sewing pattern:

I added 9″ in length to the sleeve’s curve (except the attachment portion). I was able to do so partly because the cotton voile was 54″ rather than 44″.  Cutting each sleeve piece apart in the middle, I sewed hems all around. I rejoined them at the centre top and bottom. I tried the top on to adjust the sleeves quite a number of times to get what I wanted so I actually spent more time than I expected on this Tara.

Tomorrow is already Friday and I can’t sew on weekends. It looks like I need to start cutting fabric 3 for the Tara Experiment Week tonight and start sewing tomorrow morning!

Oh! I was too busy to visit burdastyle these couple of days due to my Tara experiments, so I was shocked to learn that my Cloud Nine Plaid Blouse is on Burdastyle’s Best of May! The feeling is just amazing. I’m feeling blessed!

Good Start to the Weekend!

OMG OMG! What an amazing start to the weekend! My creation, the retro reversible dress was featured on the Grosgrain blog as a Flickr Fav! I love Grosgrain’s creations and to have the photo there made The Sew Convert absolutely out of this world happy!!!!!!!!!!!

Today also ended up being a Made Me Saturday. I didn’t plan it but my princess and I were both dressed in my handmade clothes! Finally, I managed to take some clearer photos of the Little Folks Blouse using a camera (other than the low resolution ones from my Macbook Camera:P)

I know I have said this but this blouse is SO comfortable  and I love the fit and the colour! This photo allows you to see the details of this beautiful voile. I must tell you that since making this blouse I’ve ordered more voile cos they make amazing tops. These are on the way.

Thought this pink voile will look great as a tunic blouse like this, while the citrus a blouse with bow collar, like version 2 on Burdastyle’s Ute Blouse pattern. I’m also inspired by Crochetie‘s version.

Oops! See how I can get distracted easily!  Here’s my princess in her retro dress turned top. She has grown so tall that she has to wear it over jeans.

Have a blessed weekend everyone!

Tablecloth Tunic Dress

I am in love with this tunic dress. Made out of one of the dress patterns from Built By Wendy Dresses (You get three basic sewing patterns with the book for three dress types), this is my version of the tunic dress. I love how comfortable the fit is and how well it fits my body type. And off course I love the Anna Maria Horner fabric named tablecloth. I chose a bright orange for the ‘border’ of the tunic but wasn’t sure if it was too loud at first but when I was trying on the unfinished dress I fell in love with the vibrant colour. I also took extra care to place the orange design of the main fabric in the centre of the dress and love how it turned out. Sides of the dress were finished with french hem.

Wendy Mullin’s book provided some tips on how to design the tunic but all other pattern drawing besides the basic shift pattern really depended on ME!!!!! It was kinda intimidating at first but I think the effort was worthwhile and a pretty good experience.  I can now make a few more of these dresses with variations on my own. How liberating is that!

However, I found the sewing instructions from the book rather vague for this dress and often had to figure out what the next step should be. I also had to unpick the bottom ‘border’ as the front and back didn’t match in terms of width and looked funny. I’m happy with it after re-measurement and re-sewing it. In fact I’m so happy with it that I shall be wearing the dress out this weekend.