Sunday, May 25, 2014

Japanese Vest - Work-in-Progress (Oh...Transfer Troubles Solved!)

Working on a new Japanese pattern...a "vest" this time.  I'm having troubles with this pattern. Once again, I graded the size too big. There's just so much ease, it's hard to tell the outcome. After sleeping on it, I went back to my studio this morning to realize that the back bodice could be three inches narrower in order for it to lay out flat. I think this is about what I added to the vest pattern in the first place. The front panel additions are actually fine because most of my weight is in the front anyway.  I guess all-in-all, I'm not as big as I think I am. So that's a good thing.

I didn't make the muslin out of "muslin." Instead, I used fabrics that would drape in similar ways. The front panels and collar is a leftover piece of unknown fabric content. There's polyester in there and a little wool, but it drapes almost like a tropical wool (but lighter), which is what the pattern calls for. The back is a stretch shirting fabric that I got from Gorgeous Fabrics.  I like the shirting fabric so much, I think I'm going to use it to cut the final piece too. I was hoping that the muslin would turn out wearable. It will I suppose, with the exception of the new center back seam that I will be adding once I shave it off three inches. Here's what the photos from the book look like below. As you can see, it turned out very similar to the photos.

The pattern only had three pieces (thank goodness), but it was tricky. I had the vest draped upside down originally and couldn't figure out why the armhole wasn't matching. Duh...but I think it was an honest-to-goodness-lost-in-translation mistake.

Here's the instructions from the book:

The Pattern Book I used called "NOOY"
Pattern Transfer Problems Solved!

Some good news after attempting Japanese patterns for the fourth time...I actually figured out a better pattern transfer system. I call this the "sandwich" method.  I can now use it for any pattern. I don't know why I didn't think of it before. Having the waxed transfer paper is crucial here because it makes a very clean line.  Check out my post about the paper HERE.

What you'll need: medical paper for your new pattern, painters tape, waxed transfer paper, your original crazy lined pattern, a tracing wheel, sharp pencil, various rulers (I use an 18" x 2", and a French curve #7).

Here's how I created my sandwich:

Excuse the bubbly sunshine that crashed my photo. 
Bottom sheet: my new pattern paper (medical paper) taped down with painters tape so it doesn't move.  Make sure the paper is bigger than you need, in case you want to add seam allowances.

I know...I need a better camera.
Middle sheet:  transfer paper with the ink part facing down. I also have smaller strips of transfer paper that I have around and slip into the corners when I need more transfer paper.

At some point I'm going to do a proper camera setup.

Top sheet:  The crazy Japanese pattern facing up, and then I trace the pattern

Trace away!

If you've got smaller sheets of transfer paper, they are handy for slipping along the edges.

I was putting my tracing paper on top of the pattern...bad idea. I did this for the last three patterns. This new way looks like it's a lot of work, but it's seriously faster and void of transfer errors because at least I could see the lines I'm following better. I mean look at this craziness:

I'll be making the changes later today, and then include the finished muslin once I sew the final piece. I'm still digging around for the right tropical wool to use that will match my existing shirting material.  I think a very light double-sized wool would work nicely. BTW, I got the shirting material from Gorgeous Fabrics (last Spring), and the polyester blend from Stonemountain and Daughter (15+ years ago maybe).  Using these two fabric pieces did not put a dent in my stash at all.

Happy Memorial Day folks!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Japanese Pattern Basics - A Special Peek At Mrs. Style Magazine

I have been working here and there, mostly testing out some of my new Japanese patterns. The above top, was actually a muslin. I was so confident that it would fit, that I cut right into this cotton boucle that I had slated for a Chanel-esque skirt...a piece I bought at Hart's Fabrics two Springs ago. It was already pre washed, and once I looked at it from the cross grain, its nubby texture reminded me a bit of Japanese-inspired prints. My husband agreed that it looked very Japanese indeed.

Here is the original picture from my pattern book:

We are going through a heat wave this week in Northern California. Not only are we in a terrible drought situation, but the scorching heat has compounded our fears of brush fires. I don't know if I mentioned this last Summer, but I don't have an air conditioner in my studio. I stepped in there today to steal 30 minutes of sewing, and tested out a new desk fan I bought on clearance this past Winter. One word: useless. It's back to seriously thinking about a swamp cooler, or moving some sewing machines into my main house.

The 30 minutes of sewing gave me time to finish a second muslin from one of my Japanese pattern books.  It's not a new or innovative design. It's the basic Kaftan cut into a blouse version. The interfacing for the collar did not lay well with the first muslin, which I made out of flannel I had set aside for a shirt this past Winter. It was not an ideal fabric to work with, even for a muslin.  The second muslin was made from a leftover piece from a McCall's dress I made a couple of years ago.

Here is the original dress from the second muslin.  I think they actually look very similar in style. The picture next to the dress is from the Japanese pattern book I used for the above two muslins.

Since coming back from my little vacation, and accumulating so much fabric, my sewing studio is overrun. I have to tell you that I'm getting really nervous about all this stash, especially since I had to get two plastic bins to hold the excess.  The studio also looked like a tornado hit it after working on my first muslin.  Does this look familiar?

Before and after photos of my cutting table:

If you've been peeking at my journal, you'll know that I recently took a trip to Kinokuniya bookstore for some craftbook hunting. I found a Mrs. Style magazine there, and thought you might be interested in seeing what's inside.  This is their March issue. The bookstore gets the new issues about a month after release. 


There are also patterns for accessories like these purses here:

This issue had an attached shirt pattern for ladies, men, and kids with step-by-step instructions on how to sew a shirt. 

The physical pattern for the shirt.
Designed for the Japanese's hard to believe these stay-at-home moms can wrangle up a custom trench coat.  "I'm sorry that dinner's late dear, but I've been drafting my custom-made Burberry look-alike-trench."  

If you didn't know already, Mrs. Style magazine does not include patterns for all their clothes, only instructions how to draft the designs using their standard sloper.  Instructions on how to create a Mrs. Style sloper is in the magazine...except in Japanese.  I am considering getting it translated.  If I do, I'll share with you all.  Here's a terrible snapshot of what the sloper instructions look like.  Wouldn't it be great if these were all in English?  Happy sewing!