Friday, September 25, 2009

Balloon and newly born shop

Now it's fall in Japan, which is my favorite season! I'm delighted with that I could survive another summer, as I'm quite sensitive to the sunshine and the heat. Yay for longer sleeves!
I'm activated!

I made a dress and a top out of one pattern from my friend's shop.

a Balloon dress

One of my dearest friends, Miho, has recently launched her online shop for sewing patterns. She is a good hobby seamstress who is filled with knowledge, good ideas, and happy thoughts. She has been always telling me that there are few resources (brands/shops) which sell the patterns for what she'd love to wear, though there are so many other patterns around. It's true for me too, as it is practically hard for us living in Japan to access the patterns from your major companies (eg. vogue, simplicity, McCall, Burda etc.) unless they provide their patterns in digital (PDF) format. Otherwise we have to hustle ourselves to make international orders with much cost and longer shipping time. Yes, we have some domestic companies selling sewing patterns, too. But the number of choices is quite limited before our selections anyway.

She has looked for shops that are accessible and that offer the patterns with which she can sew her new, nice, and stylish clothes which suit her everyday life. But it was a hard task in the end. So she changed her plan. She started to ask a very talented professional to draw patterns for her wish. In other words, she decided to design garments for herself and to share her patterns through her online shop. Of course I was the one of the first customers!

I used the pattern called "Balloon" which is the one among three patterns she has at the moment.


This dress is made of very soft and milky white viscose/polyamide blend. I love the result! The dress has raglan sleeves with puffy ends, and a very cute neckline from both front and back. The pattern contains the ribbon for a waist belt, but I used my gray belt instead. My bust measurement is about 36 inches, and I used size JPN11 for the pattern, FYI.

a Balloon top

Then I was curious to see how the pattern would turn out in jersey fabric. I made this top by chopping off its skirt, and added a folded band at the bottom hem. I used shiny gray (obviously my favorite color at this moment) silk jersey for making this plain top a bit more elegant. I know I have an oh-so-poor vocabulary, but I say it again, I love the result! I think the photo didn't bring the justice. Believe me, it looks very pretty and swings beautifully when I move around. Very autumn, that's what I love.

Her patterns can be purchased internationally, as they are PDF file downloads. Though the instructions are written in Japanese, they are well illustrated (well, she's been a professional illustrator from the beginning) and it makes things easier to follow. She's going to add two patterns in 2 weeks and more to come before long. If you are interested, drop by

Happy sewing!

I've made a picture for Not-so-hoody's measurement.
I hope you'll like it, BebeMini!
for not-so-hoody top

Monday, September 7, 2009

Vogue2980, MISSES' TOP

I have started writing reviews!
Just once, I'd like to put my review here instead of writing why I sew it, how I failed, or what happened while sewing. Maybe it makes me more informative, or maybe it's just redundant (This review is pretty much copy&paste).

Anyways, I sewed this blue top and love it very much. Thank you Lindsay, who kindly sent this pattern to me on our sewing-goodies swapping!

my first vogue2980

Pattern Description:
Vogue 2980
Close-fitting, pullover tops, for stretch knits only, have draped "bolero" shoulders. A: long sleeves. B: self-lined short sleeves.

Pattern Sizing:
A-J (bust 32"-55")
I cut in size B, short sleeves.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes! It was really easy to follow. I'm not good at reading sewing terms, but there wasn't a problem at all.


What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I love the design very much. Because it has close fitting on the body and slightly loose fitting around on the shoulders, it looks clean and simple, but also pretty and appealing as well.
I have to write that it is well constructed also. Self-facing on the front body around the chest is so nice! It gives a smooth and nice looking. And that's nice if I don't have to worry about laces on the bra revealing onto the top.
Only thing which I don't like is, the length of the top. I think the original length is rather short. Since it could be seen from the photo on the envelope, I lengthened mine from the first time. I know it's personal choice of style, but I just want to let you know my impression beforehand because it is difficult to lengthen the pieces of fabric after cutting.

Fabric Used:
Rayon jersey. very thin and very soft. gives nice drapes. 2-way stretch.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:
No alteration, but I lengthened the body at the hem by 4cm.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes and yes! I'd sew it again when the right fabric is found. I also recommend it to person who love to sew something stylish (but not harsh)! Having said that, as it has bolero part which makes shoulders slightly bolder, I think it would be particularly preferred by the ladies who have narrower shoulders than those who have broader ones.

It's a great pattern which I can imagine myself wearing in every season. I can make it in soft, shiny and milky white woolen jersey for winter, or in brightly printed rayon jersey in summer. Having said that, I think the tip for this top is a careful choice of the fabric. Softer or creating more drapes are the better. I think I'd wait patiently until something right is coming to me.

Hey, thank you for reading through this to the end, patiently!

Happy sewing!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

going flat

I usually prefer clothes which are sewn in three‐dimensional shape to those sewn in cut&paste-and-stay-flat style, just because flat clothes hardly fit me or fit me wrong more than half the time. However, I've been interested in the fact that the very flat clothes can be occasionally charming by their characteristic silhouette and style. Simple flat garments cause cramped fabric here, and excess there, and the flatness usually makes clothes unstylish plus uncomfortable, but lately I realized that it also gives the clothes their lives in some way. Flat clothes can look original and good! (I hope you manage to understand what I mean.) Naturally, ideas for flat clothing started growing in my mind, so I let it go.

Here are three very flat clothes which I made in the past few months. They are all made of jersey. I haven't found the way to give prettiness to the flat garments using woven plain fabrics not yet at all. I think I leave it for the experts. Jersey is easier to handle to approach very flat clothes for non-experts, that's for sure.

1. Not-so-hoody top

T shirt
pale blue T
*please click this photo to open the Flickr page to see it all.

This top has a seam on the middle of the back. Two holes were cut out for arms. Neckline, armholes and waist hemline were finished by binding with the folded fabric. The heap behind the head looks like a hood, but it's not functioning. It's ... just there for amusing you.
I mimicked the shape of a pullover in my favorite knit book "A/T creation-knit" from NIHON VOGUE-SHA Co., Ltd. for this top. (The book has been unfortunately discontinued for ages.)

2. SAKI's shrug



My friend SAKI (bloom at BurdaStyle) wore this charming shrug the other day and of course I couldn't help asking her to show me how to make it. I look like a flying squirrel in it because it has those flaps! I think this shrug varies upon the fabric very much. If very delicate fabric is used, it would be very elegant. Mine looks somehow similar to a school uniform of gymnastic class, but it's OK because I love the whole package of it.

3. Gilet

gilet on dress

I don't know why, but those Japanese in the fashion industry started calling this garment 'Gilet' instead of 'Vest' suddenly. This is very ostensible change that makes me laugh, but I'd like to call my one gilet, as it might make mine slightly more fashionable.
This gilet has a huge hole in the middle, and that's it. Very flat. I put a binding strip on the edge of the jointed armhole for a neat looking and it's stability, and also finished the hem by overlocking around. One Japanese blogger kindly shared her handmade gilet with the size, and I followed it. I quite like the result, it hangs very well and shows beautiful drapes only on human. Very dramatic!


Enjoy sewing!


(I found it on mars' blog)


my armhole binding

SAKI(bloom at BurdaStyle)'s shrug




for not-so-hoody top