Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Japanese Pattern Book Top

I love voile.  It is wonderful to use for clothing, mostly because it is so soft and has a nice drape.  I also often love Japanese styles and designs.  I got a Japanese pattern book, called Stylish Dress Book:  Wear With Freedom by Yoshiko Tsukiori, last Christmas and have been itching to try a couple of the patterns.  I actually traced and cut out the pattern pieces for one of the tops back at the beginning of January, but didn't have a particular fabric that I thought would work well with the style of top.  Then when I got the new It's a Plus Voile by Rashida Coleman-Hale for Cloud 9 fabric I figured it was time to make my top.

I chose top "B" which is shown in the photo below, because it was a little out of my comfort zone.  I wanted to try something different and this particular top looked pretty easy and straightforward to assemble.  Little did I know that I would have quite a bit of difficultly with a couple of aspects of the top.  The directions for the top were all on one page of the book, except for two steps that referenced techniques on other pages.  The short instructions were not an issue, because it is a simple design and they had diagrams for many of the steps.

Where I had the biggest issues was in attaching the sleeves to the shirt.  I am obviously not a professional seamstress but I do have a good deal of experience and I have done my fair share of sleeves.  These sleeves, however, almost sent me over the edge...could also have been lack of sleep, but who knows.  The sleeve just did not line up well with the arm hole, there was a lot of extra fabric and the sleeve was not intended to have gathers at the top and I did not want to add gathers there because of the style of the bottom portion of the sleeve.  Thought it would be overkill on gathers.  One of the possible reasons for this issue could have been because I added a slightly larger seam allowance to the pattern pieces.  The pattern called for 3/8" allowance to be added and I did 1/2" not thinking that it would make a difference as long as I used 1/2" seams.  Being that I have never tried a pattern without seam allowances already included, this might have been an epic screw up...not sure.  This is were it pays to do your research and yes, yes, I know make a muslin first!  Anyway, after struggling, saying a few chose words and lots and lots of seam ripping I made piece with the sleeves and decided that my solution that I came up with was going to have to be good enough.  I ended up lessening the curve at the top of the sleeve by about a 1/4" or a little more and it turned out okay I suppose.  Either way it is done and I sure do like the feeling of completing something.

As for the other issue I had it wasn't too bad really.  I actually liked the technique, of how to encase the elastic for the bottom of the sleeve, but had a little difficultly with it.  Let's see if I can explain it well enough.  You construct the sleeve first by gathering the bottom portion of the sleeve and then attaching it to the top portion of the sleeve and then finish the seem.  After that you sew the seam down the inside of the sleeve (creating the tube that is the sleeve) but instead of sewing a continuous line all the way down the sleeve you leave a 3/8" opening, starting 3/4" from the bottom of the sleeve.  So that when you create the hem on the sleeve there is a small opening just on the hem just on the inside of the bottom of the sleeve.  Pretty clever, because you really don't even need to stitch it closed after you get the elastic in.  Now, the hard part is not getting the elastic in but getting the other end of the elastic out of the same hole after you make it around the sleeve.  I managed to shimmy the tiny safety pin that I put on the end of the elastic out but it was tough.  I thought I was going to rip the seams or even the fabric but I didn't and it actually looks okay in the end.  Probably should have taken a picture for you, perhaps later, sorry, but trust me it looked pretty good.  I did, however, take a picture of the out side of the sleeve bottom for you.

Now, I felt that you really needed to see the top on so you will get to see me wearing it....yikes.  Wish I have my dress form with me right about now.  Oh well, I feel like the shots that my dear husband took for me aren't as flattering as I feel the top really is, but it gives you an idea.  It really is a cute and comfy top and was pretty easy to make.  I will have to try another one of the patterns in the book soon so that I can see how much harder or easier it is than this first endeavor.

Well, until next time, have fun creating!


  1. Omgosh! This top is adorable!!! This is the first garment I've seen in the voile plus print and it' so cute! You did a fantastic job despite all of your troubles. I love it! ^_^ Thank you for sharing!

    1. Wow, thank you so much for the wonderful comment! It means a lot. I LOVE the new Koi collection, it is just wonderful. I just (mostly) finished a quilt top using Scalloped Edge in Ivory and three of the Smile and Wave prints. Check it out if you have time. Thanks so much again!