And my wedding outfit is finished!
Here's the deal as I see it on making garments from Japanese patterns. Remember that I am a very beginner garment maker. Maybe not anymore but sewing from these patterns was way above my pay grade.
*** If you have no interest in this sewing stuff, skip down past the numbered paragraphs.
Japanese bodies are different from American and European bodies. And guess what!!! There is no standards in sizing! Isn't that so cool? Break out the hard stuff.
So, say you are an American sized large, you will need to:
1. Find the pattern pieces you need among the stacked patterns.
2. Use a highlighter to trace around the pattern. Take a nap.
3. Trace again onto paper. I used gridded interfacing (and I guess, but haven't tried, the Swedish Sewable Pattern paper would be good).
4. Figure out how to enlarge the patterns and do so. This is initially pretty danged tricky and I wouldn't suggest have a glass of wine while you're at it. Though you may need one afterwards. You really need to measure the armholes in particular and the dart placement. You may recall my recent post Cockeyed. Check the length as well. I'm average height but needed to add length to everything. I have to tell you here that it is very fun to make up those patterns, all those little arrows and dashed lines. I have a black felt tip marker and it is awesome to write on that interfacing. Small pleasures.
5. Cut out your traced pattern.
6. Lay out your pattern pieces and add in the seam allowances! If you are smart you will retrace the enlarged pattern with the seam allowances. But I keep forgetting. I've added pockets to dresses, pants and skirts. What's the point of no pockets?
7. Make a muslin first before you cut into some really gorgeous fabric. Or make it with some less expensive fabric from the sales.
8. Sew as usual. The Japanese sewing books are very short on explicit instruction. If you are a beginner, I really suggest sewing lessons or getting someone knowledgeable to help. You'll save on booze and you'll learn all sorts of nifty things like what "ease" means.
I really love almost every single garment in Simple Modern Sewing (review here). So far I'm made a peasant-y kind of blouse (2x's), the little jacket for my dress - at the top of the post - is the same pattern pieces. Now that's pretty good stuff. I've made a simple gathered skirt and the dress which can be worn as a jumper.
I'm making another top that I'm pretty excited about which uses the same pattern pieces (lengthened) as a dress. You can really use a ton of creativity putting these pieces together with different fabrics for different seasons. You could add bits of fabric and embroidery and wear clothing that reflects your own sense of style.
Most important, I'm learning about my body. Learning to accept it, love it and clothe it with enthusiasm and some originality. My husband remarked that I looked really happy in my new clothes and my son asked me how I felt wearing them. That's what I'm talking about. It seems that middle aged women are invisible in the fashion world. That is not cool.
This stuff takes time. It's been a sabbatical of sorts and well worth it.
How do you feel about your clothing? There's been a lot of talk in the news lately about fast fashion. Buying a lot of cheap clothes and then more. Throw away society. We all do this. It's quick and convenient. I just want to give myself this gift now.