Japanese Sewing Week - an 'Alice in Wonderland' blouse

By Victoria As-it-Seams - 02:29

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.

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  1. Very pretty. It's reminds me of a lovely Mexican blouse with the embroidery.

  2. Missing the beach already, but I really should complain, since it's still quite warm here in Portugal. The blouse looks lovely and the embroidery is so well placed. Perfect outfit for a day at the beach!

  3. Such a lovely blouse!! The embroidery is beautiful!

  4. Absolutely stunning Victoria. And I'm sure the person who did the embroidery would not mind when the result is this beautiful. Ahhh, those photos are like a gust of warm wind in my face...I love them! The colors are sooooo good!

  5. So pretty! That table cloth worked so well. Love it!

  6. So pretty! I love love embroidery, what a great find! And your pictures are great, make me long for warmer weather. :)

  7. Ohhh, how I miss summer!!! Love the shirt, I remember having a couple similar ones when I was little, with portuguese embroidery. I use to love them because of how colourfull they look. She looks sooo cute. Perfect for summer weather <3

  8. This is absolutely Beautiful! <3 Love it. And it totally payed off making the most of the embroidery, it's perfect! love beach photos and I totally think they're perfect for colder months when we need to be reminded of the lovely warm days ahead.

  9. Very pretty! I have some vintage tablecloths but have been afraid to tackle the figuring and cutting!
    donnalee1953 (at) gmail (dot) com

  10. Seriously amazing!
    Great use of that beautiful tablecloth :) Inspiring, indeed <3

  11. Missy looks gorgeous in her blouse :) It would have not be your project is there was no improvising involved :)

  12. Great idea to use the table cloth as fabric for this blouse, it looks beautiful

  13. I had not really noticed some of the details of this pattern before. I'm so glad you shared it. I will have to give it a second look!

  14. So lovely! I think that table cloth was so perfect for this blouse. Your daughter looks that she is enjoying that beach time. Beautiful work.

  15. Using vintage embroidered linens certainly presents obstacles with pattern placement. But with a little vision and creativity, the end result is sooooo worth it. wonderful job on this blouse πŸ˜€

  16. Using vintage embroidered linens certainly presents obstacles with pattern placement. But with a little vision and creativity, the end result is sooooo worth it. wonderful job on this blouse πŸ˜€


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