Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Project of the Month: Japanese "Sewing Lesson" blouse

Once you learn what there is to sew and do beyond the Big Four pattern companies, it becomes irresistable! This top comes from a Japanese pattern book called Sewing Lesson. You can make this design as a blouse or a shirtwaist dress. It has a cut-on sleeve, so it's a snap to sew and doesn't take much fabric. As with most non-U.S.-produced patterns, you have to trace this off yourself and add seam allowances. And with Japanese patterns, yes, you must un-petite them, and grade them up, and try a muslin before you get into your fashion fabric. It seems to me that Japanese patterns would be well-proportioned for a young teen or older tween (as long as she likes the design).

You know how ladies' shirt patterns are published with a layout for buttonholes? Sometimes, the pattern will even say something like, "six, 5/8" buttons required."

Ignore that. Don't mark any buttonholes until you find the buttons you want to use. Use whatever size fits the garment and fabric. Maybe you can only find five you love, or you have seven or eight small ones. Use the ones you want. In my case, I recycled shell buttons from a 60-year-old blouse.

Try on the blouse and pin it closed. Find the spot where the garment hits your bust and mark it. Then make another mark where you want the blouse to button at the top. The distance between these two is the basis for your buttonhole spacing. This is a much better way to determine your buttonhole layout. I guarantee you won't have peek-a-boo at your bra if you do it this way!

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