Japanese Sewing Week - an 'Alice in Wonderland' blouse

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Giveaway, giveaway alert! Scroll to bottom if you're in a rush!

It's the first ever Japanese Sewing Week! 

My contribution to JSW, organised by Sara at Made by Sara combines two 'inspirations'; a Japanese pattern and Alice in Wonderland.
I know, that's a bit strange, the link will become clear.

The details

Pattern - Pintucked blouse, Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids by Tuttle publishing
Fabric -  Vintage embroidered table cloth

Firstly an apology. If you are also heading into the gloom of November, sharing beach pictures seems almost cruel. And now it's blatantly obvious just how long it takes me to get round to blogging!

But my new mantra is #slowblogging.
I'm trying to do things which minimise stress, and while I had a zillion ideas for Japanese Sewing Week, in the end time defeated me, and I'm showcasing this as-yet-unblogged beachy blouse instead.

Be assured though - there is more Japanese sewing in the pipeline!

It doesn't feel that long ago that Missy was playing on this beach, in this little blouse. I tried to take photos of her as she was playing, rather than get her to pose. 
And she was just so completely, perfectly happy on this day on a beach in Wales. 'No posing' is also part of my no stress #slowblogging approach at the moment.
 I hope you can spot the 'sewing details' though!

Japanese Sewing Week is hosted by the sweet Made by Sara, who seems to have a knack of coming up with great ideas. Back in the summer she also invited me to sew for her 150th Anniversary tour of Alice in Wonderland. 
And that really fired my imagination - I set about a little sewing mission, inspired by Alice in Wonderland's eccentric tea party, and made two dresses from vintage table cloths. And I wrote 'chapter one' of my Alice in Wonderland sewing...

I picked up a huge bundle from my local vintage market and among my haul was the sweetest hand embroidered table cloth. 

It was destined for my 'snip, snip' Alice in Wonderland scissors and I transformed it into the pintucked blouse from Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids

I've made this blouse before, as part of my Paris SewSocial sewing, and loved the simplicity of this pattern, the elegant touch of those little pleats, and the bias trim neckline, elasticated only at the back. It's a simple, perfect beach cover up.

But making it out of this table cloth created a few headaches.
I wanted to keep the lovely hand-threaded edge of the table cloth, which saved me hemming.  That meant I had to make the side seams dead-straight, rather than flared, which has slightly changed the shape. And I had to really, really think about how to cut this. I wanted to make the most of every corner, every flower, and there would be no second chance.
Aren't those flowers beautiful? I hope whoever spent hours embroidering this doesn't mind that I cut this up!
And of course - I did stuff it up. I mistook a sleeve for the back, and cutting a long story short (almost literally) I ended up slightly weepy, and then had to piece the back together.

The side seams needed a slightly different construction, to keep that embroidered edge. They are almost flat-felled. Let's just say I improvised... You can also see the tucks (just) in this picture.

Now, I love Japanese sewing, the fabrics, the patterns, the simple aesthetic. I love the way many pieces are gender neutral, and there's no fussy, girliness.  Forgive me for many, many photos, but this little blouse was perfect for a day of sand, swimming and sunshine. I'm enjoying my memories of a little girl, and those special days of being five years old..

I've made quite a few Japanese pieces, mainly from Akiko Mano's Linen, Wool, Cotton Kids, and also Sew Chic Kids by Tuttle publishing.

Here's my little collage. There's a 'Japanese pattern' label over on my side bar to track these down on my blog.

There are some gorgeous posts to discover in this series, here's the full line-up.

Do take a minute to click around!

And this series is also being sponsored by Tuttle publishing with an incredible giveaway with three prizes to be one, in the raffle copter below.

- One pack of 2 two Japanese Sewing books from Tuttle Publishing
- One pack of 2 two Japanese Sewing books from Tuttle Publishing
- A $40 fabric voucher from Urban Sew 

To enter, click through the rafflecopter below, open until November 25.
And we'd love to see your Japanese pattern creations. Sara, over at Made by SaraMade by Sara is hosting a link party as a showcase. All the details of JSW and the giveaway are over here.

Tutorial: Adding BiasTrim. A Hand-illustrated Guide

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Want  a bit more colour on a collar? Or a pocket? Or a cuff?
Bias trim is the new piping!

I like the flatness of the finish, and the almost 'military' stripes it can add to a dress, like this newly finished Tinny dress, blogged here.  

Before I go straight in to the Step-by-Step, here's a few thoughts.

 I'm not a computer whizz... new stuff takes me ages. I have no idea how to draw computer diagrams, and I forgot to take photos of each step (I sew at night, anyway, so the light is awful)....
But I can draw... And I can draw a collar much quicker than I can figure out the computer. So this is my first hand-illustrated tutorial. I'm hoping this will start a trend for 'slowblogging', after the Slow Food Movement... I'm taking a rebellious stance against the relentless high pace of the tech-world. My emphasis is on quality and process and  the things we forget about, like pen and paper....But I digress, here we go...

Adding Bias Trim - A Step by Step Guide...

1. This tutorial is to add bias trim to the collar of the Tinny dress, by Straightgrain. It would work with any pattern, however I will be using Straightgrain's pattern instructions (eg seam allowance) as a point of reference. If using another pattern, with a different seam allowance, adjust instructions accordingly

2. How wide do you want your bias trim to be? The width of your bias needs to be four times the width you would like visible. Eg, a 0.5cm (1/4 inch) trim requires a 2cm ( 1nch) wide bias binding. 
These instructions are for adding 0.5cm visible wide trim. Your bias binding should be pre-folded with 0.5 cm tucked under on each side

3. Fold the bias binding in half lengthwise and iron, to create a centre crease.

4. Cut out the collar pieces, and pin wrong sides together. The Tinny dress collar has a 7mm (1/4 inch) seam allowance. We need to stitch the collar pieces together just slightly more than that. Stitch with a 1cm (3/4inch) seam allowance

5. Trim away the 7mm (1/4 inch) seam allowance

6. Open up the bias binding and pin it with lots of pins -  many more than in this picture - all the way around the collar edge, matching the edge of the bias to the edge of the collar. Stitch at 0.5cm, in the fold of the bias binding.
6. Now, fold the bias around the edge of the collar with the central crease of the bias matching the collar edge. Iron really well, pushing out the curved seam, and ensuring it lies flat

7. Now, turn the collar piece over and pin the loose side of the bias trim to the collar underside, again with lots and lots of pins. Hand stitch the bias in place, using an invisible slip stitch. Alternatively if you don't mind visible stitching, the bias can be stitched in place carefully using a sewing machine

8. Repeat for the other collar piece, and then follow the pattern instructions as normal.

Tinny dress

I used the same technique on this modified collar for the  Sunday picnic dress  by Sewpony. I loved the Liberty bias trim so much I just had to show it off!

I'd love to see your bias trim creations! Do share them with me and let me know of any new places to add extra bias!

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