I cut into some fabric the other day with the intention of making my first project from this Japanese sewing book . I was feeling pretty emboldened by a previous success. Admittedly, that one did involve instructions in English, but it didn't have the plethora of diagrams that the Japanese pattern had. Actually my major impediment in making both patterns was that I had to trace the pattern and add seam allowances. There's something about methodically adding seam allowances to mark the cutting lines that just reminds me of emptying the dishwasher-- I'm glad when it's done, but the process feels so unsatisfying. My first attempts to trace the pattern were stymied by my choice of tracing paper. I couldn't find the near entire roll of tracing paper I'd bought and tried to use a very thin Japanese paper I had on hand. I saw the appropriateness of using Japanese paper, but it wasn't exactly transparent and I felt like I was trying to see the lines of the pattern through spilled milk. Add to that the fact that the pattern I was tracing wasn't the only one on the page and my first attempt at a Japanese pattern was looking to be my last. Eventually, I made a more wholehearted effort to find the tracing paper and discovered it pretty much where it should be, on my cutting table. Armed with the gift of transparency, I ventured forth and traced. It went much faster this time and there wasn't nearly as much cursing.
I happily cut and sewed and generally found that not being able to read Japanese might have left me out of a few specifics, but that the diagrams and my existing knowledge were going to get me through. As usual I didn't make a muslin, but I was reassured when I tried on the bodice. This was before I added the skirt, but I figured the biggest hurdle was that it fit well around my bust since the skirt needed gathering and would have a little more room for adjustment. The bodice looked great and I was feeling pretty self-satisfied.
I added the skirt, tried it on again, and although it fit, I was relatively sure I hadn't worn something that full since I was 9 months pregnant. I know that loose and formless is a "look", but it's not "my look". I was so frustrated that I just buried the top underneath some other fabric. Usually, it would stay buried for at least a couple months, but that night I had what I thought was a solution to my cute bodice/skirt that ate Cleveland top. The next morning I separated top from bottom, added a pair of darts along both the front and the back of the bodice and attached a skirt from a different pattern, one whose skirt I'd sewn before and liked. I finished the top with the sleeves from the Japanese pattern and tried it on.
Before I show you my cobbled together version, I wanted to share the example pictured in the pattern book.
She looks pretty jaunty, doesn't she?
Well, I've got a rolling chair too.
And mine spins.