30 June 2008


This one was a serious doozy. When I was in New York back in April, my mom was kind enough to treat me to a couple of books at Kinokuniya. It was so overwhelming that I hardly knew what to pick (and of course the fact that I couldn't read any of the book titles didn't help). I finally settled on three books, two with seemingly simple clothing patterns, and one on sashiko (which is something I'd really love to tackle, but we're just not there yet).

After pouring through the two clothing books and slowly narrowing down what I would like to make, I finally chose a seemingly simple tank top as the first project (the word "seemingly" is key here). And then, I stared at the pattern for a while. And a little while longer. I finally decided that I needed (for the first time, ahem, ever) to make a muslin. The real motivation to do this was that the book (ISBN: 978-4-277-72252-0) only comes with one size of the pattern. Miraculously (seriously, I don't know how the heck this happened) the size pattern in the book fit me perfectly. I haven't tried any other patterns yet, but I'm guessing this means that every pattern in this book is custom made for me. Sweet!

So I made the muslin to make sure the size was right, because I had already picked fabric that I knew I wanted to use and I had just enough for this shirt and really didn't want to screw it up. I also made the muslin because the henley neckline was shockingly confusing. Seriously, I'm still baffled by these diagrams. I stared at them for literally weeks. I fudged my way through the muslin verison and decided I had kind of figured out a way to make it work, even if it wasn't what the pattern was saying (which I still haven't figured out, ideas?). Seriously, if any of you have ideas as to what this diagram is trying to tell me to do, feel free to share. Here's what I ended up doing: I cut a slit down the middle of the front neckline. At the bottom of the slit, I cut a short (about 1.5") horizontal slit. I topstitched the cotton tape around the edge of the fabric on either side of the vertical slit. Then I folded one of the sides on top of the other, and stitched two small rectangles of the cotton tape over the opening at the bottom of the slit (one on the inside and one on the outside). This worked just fine, but you end up with a small pleat at the bottom of your button band. Let me know if this doesn't make sense, or if anyone is interested in more detailed explanation of what I did, I can do a little tutorial or something. Or maybe you all know how to do this already and I just reinvented the wheel.

So I went ahead and cut the fabric, and made the whole thing in a few hours (maybe 5-6 hours). This is of course not including the weeks that I spent thinking about that dang neckline. But hey, I think it worked out pretty well. The fabric is a really really soft white/tan gingham that I picked up at that fabric sale back in April. I think it's some kind of linen or cotton/linen blend (this is the trouble with buying fabric second-hand, I have no idea what most of it is). There wasn't enough to do the bias binding out of the same fabric, which I think I would have liked. I also kind of like the contrasting binding, though. And the button band is some amazing tape that arrived just in time from Leslie (along with some other beautiful linen tape). I still need to work on my buttonholes (I think this is partly a limitation of my skills and partly a limitation of my machine), but I don't really see myself ever unbuttoning this so I'm not too concerned.

The only other drawbacks of this pattern is that the armholes are just a tad too big, and the same for the neck, so that the back of the neck kind of stands out a little. Again, nothing too serious, I'm definitely going to wear this, a lot. And it will look super cute with a long-sleeve shirt underneath in the fall and winter (how it's shown on the model). So yeah, this was a hard one. I'm pretty proud of myself for figuring it out and getting it done. And my Japanese skills haven't improved at all, by the way. I've got a couple of other patterns from this book, and even more from the other one that I'd love to try. Also, the photographs in these books are just amazing, I'll have to share those with you later.

Happy Monday everyone!


  1. Wonderful! You're really inspiring me to finally try something from one of these books. I probably thought the same thing when I saw your smock, and then chickened out, but still!

  2. congradulations! I'm still not past the starting part of this japanese pattern sewing stuff. It looks a little like the "continuous lap" that I just did on my daughters dress, but it might not be. If you google it there are some good instructional videos.

  3. I'd really like to see photographs of the book's pages. this turned out so nice, friend. you always inspire me.

  4. cheers, I think the shirt looks wonderful! I just requested the Putting food by book at my library as we speak. Thanks for the suggestion!