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Japanese Craft Book: Tale of a failed project

August 13, 2008

I suppose I should know better by now, but sometimes I don’t slow down enough to listen to myself.  Clothing and patterns just aren’t made for me, and especially not clothing patterns for women in a Japanese craft book!  

When I visited my dear friend Anna in Seattle (Anna, are you checking up on me here yet?) we reconnected over sewing and blogs.  She has been making some of those lovely bibs from Angry Chicken‘s book, Bend the Rules Sewing, as well as working on a quilt (a sewing feat I have steered clear of so far).  Talking of how I happened into this world of blogging I told her the story of my friend with the Japanese craft books and then the links that followed via email.  Sweet friend that she is, upon learning my love of those books (if you’re not familiar with them, check out these blog postings for more pics and info: mollychicken, weewonderfuls, or angrychicken) drove me (our kids in tow) across town to the Kinokuniya Book Store, where Japanese craft books galore were to be had.  And have I did.  As it was my birthday week when I was visiting I bought myself a couple that day.  And then, yes, the truth must be told… I returned with my husband the following day on our way out of town for another stop and a couple more books.  I know I overloaded, but I have promised myself no more until I sew from each of the ones I brought home.


Cover of the book

Cover of the book

Feeling that sewing pressure, and anxious to crack open a book I decided to try an adult pattern from Dress made of My Favorite Cloth by Machiko Kayaki.  I have sewn in the past a few outfits for my daughter (boy clothes books are not as inspiring, but i”m working on it) but I had never sewn from one for myself.  I especially liked the look of this dress (okay, the sleeves were really what got me) and decided to give it a try.


the dress!

the dress!




First I measured myself, and then try to align that with their measurement table to determine my size.  That the sizing runs on the petit side cannot be stressed enough.  But I estimated, adjusted, and began cutting.  Most important for me is usually length.  At 6′ 1″ most patterns don’t fit me, but I added about 3-4 inches of length to each piece thinking it would be enough.  It was not.

As I didn’t have any of “my favorite cloth” I was using some nubby fabric I had bought a while back (probably with some project in mind at the time, long forgotten) and was attempting to try out my serger a bit more with this project.  What I ended up with looks okay, but does not fit.  The bust area is darted well above where it needs to, and the whole piece is much, much too short– the line that is supposed to fall below my bust, cuts it almost in half.  In my serging I also lost some of the gathering, and it has rather a flat look.  On the bright side it went together rather quickly.  On the downside— I have already begun cutting it apart (it is lying in pieces as I type)– trying to salvage it but knowing that it may not be possible.

I do, however, still love the sleeves.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. karmologyclinic permalink
    November 11, 2008 6:16 pm

    It’s a shame it doesn’t fit because it looks like it has the potential to be a great dress. I love these sleeves too. And the fabric is cute. I’ve learned that lots of adjustment and some sewing experience is needed to make these petite japanese patterns fit a western woman.


  1. Kitty Dress Success: further tales of Japanese Craft Book sewing « jessBcuz

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