Sunday 19 January 2014

Ahhh siestas. Long languid summer afternoons, salty sea breezes gently caressing the skin. Cool comfortable, crisp and flowy dresses, and light beach cover ups. This dress fits the bill beautifully.

Have you ever worked with patterns that just come together? You know what I mean. Each piece aligns perfectly with the next. There are no messy instructions and indecipherable diagrams. The garment just appears before your eyes seamlessly... so to say.

My name is Jillian and I am having a little love affair with Japanese patterns.

I just love their simple lines, pattern pieces that are architecturally perfect, and instructions that just cut to the chase and get you on with things smoothly and easily.

I love how Japanese patterns have you prepare the fiddly bits first. Think drawstrings, preparing bias bindings.

It means when you are constructing the garment you can just get on with things. I find most other pattern companies deal with those steps in the middle of construction. That always seem to be the stage where I lose interest and flow. You are seeing this garment come together and then you have to stop, put it down and go prepare those drawstrings.

Of course you could always just do those steps first anyway and ignore the instructions, but I tend to slavishly follow them and this genius has escaped me till now.

My first foray into Japanese patterns was my Dandelion Drift top, now on high rotation in my wardrobe. My inspiration for this dress was Gabrielle's Starry, Starry Gabby. My love for that dress knows no bounds. I dove into my pattern stash to see if anything might fit the bill and Sweet Dress Book's Pattern V (raglan sleeve), Design O, Tunic dress with draped hem jumped right off the page.

Fabric was another story as I had something particular in mind when shopping. But of course, when you really want something specific it alludes you at every turn. Like a good little sewer I gave up and decided not to purchase a very distant second. And I'm so glad I did as a few days later this gorgeous Japanese cotton poplin named Folk Art showed up.

I love the shape. It's not as determinedly flared as Gabrielle's Gabby Dress, but that is at least partly down to the gorgeous fabric Gabrielle used for her version. I like the draped effect of this dress on me - it's flattering and a bit different.

As P said, "It's not like anything you'd buy here in the shops... and I mean that in a good way". I'm glad he added that last bit as I was a bit concerned he was thankful it couldn't be bought!

I can definitely recommend this pattern book if you're wanting to try some Japanese patterns that avoid looking totally twee or sack-like.

But for now, I'm off to celebrate P's birthday with a lunch by the beach.


  1. Thanks Sarah. I might have some nice sandals, but you have Sunny :)

  2. Lovely! And I'll second that on the sandals. I love Japanese pattern books. I haven't sewn a great deal for myself from them, but I have several now and they are mainly what I use for all my daughters' clothes. Another thing I love about them is that (like you said - they are beautifully drafted and they come together perfectly) and what you make always looks EXACTLY like the picture in the book...which I find quite unique in patterns.

  3. I'd not thought before about the flow of construction, but that totally makes sense! I mean, I cook that way, I print-make that way, so I can see how it would so much easier to sew that way. And the dress came out very very cool. Thanks for sharing!

  4. DrapedinCloudlets20 January 2014 at 10:02

    Making the difficult things first sounds like a great idea indeed... and the dress looks gorgeous on you, even better than the original I think!

  5. Thanks Debbie! The sandals are Saltwater sandals in limited edition gold. Me likey too! Haven't tried the kids Japanese patterns yet, might have to get a hold of some. And yes I do like how they turn out just as expected.

  6. It does totally make sense doesn't it? But somehow I'd expect the Japanese to figure that out before us :)

  7. Oh thank you, you're very sweet!

  8. I have a big affection for Japanese pattern books and this is a great one. This dress is just perfect on you and it looks so perfectly made! I LOVE it. Well done.

  9. Awe thanks Kirsty! I was so unsure if the style would suit me so was super relieved at the result. And I did put a lot of care into the finishing as it's such a simple design it's nice to get the details right.

  10. So....the Fabric Tragic pattern drafting service is not up and running yet, but the Fabric Tragic photocopy service is so if you want a copy of the 70's Enid mag let me know - I can't promise it will be done soon, but in the next couple of weeks should be ok. Email me at noo222(at) if you want. Ps Sunny was registered today and his alternator and driver window wonder promptly died straight after! God help us! But I drove him for the first time this arvo which was cool as!

  11. Gabrielle Corbett23 January 2014 at 20:39

    What a great, drapey summer dress :). I haven't used a Japanese pattern book for a while, but they are terrifically well set out even when you can't read the words! I really like the sound of doing the tricky steps at the start, but I wish it were also possible to do the finishing at the start!

  12. Gorgeous ! I love the Japanese aesthetic and the idea of having a clear methodology for pattern construction is very appealing!. Love your salties - I'm onto my second pair now and I know it's not going to stop there

  13. Ah Gabrielle, my secret is that all my Japanese pattern books are in English, but yes, I've heard they are still decipherable when in the original form. In actual fact, a lot of the finishing was instructed to be done near the start, including the hem. But since they don't give finished garment measurements I ignored that one and waited til the end.


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