Japanese Sewing Patterns-Part II

Linnet sewing pattern fresh out of the airmail envelope.

Linnet sewing pattern fresh out of the airmail envelope.

Hmmm. Operation Japanese Sewing patterns isn’t going as swimmingly as I’d expected. Out of the envelope, what I loved about the uncluttered, clean, minimalist patterns has become a baneful sewing adventure. All that previously admired open space means there’s very little information to guide one in the construction/assembly process; no notches for matching seams, no markings for tailor tacks, no seam allowances.  Very minimal, indeed. I guess the Linnet people expect a more practiced sewist to be using their patterns. The written instructions that accompany the patterns are, at first glance, thorough enough, until you actually try following them. They’ve made a good effort but there’s just not enough direction for a beginning sewist, despite the simplicity of the garment silhouettes themselves.

Sigh. Well, on the bright side of things, I’m glad I’m not using wildly expensive or irreplaceable fabric, and, although I hadn’t really planned on any hand sewing, there is some of that involved, and thanks to YouTube and some generous and skillful tailors-sharers, I’m learning some great hand sewing techniques that I’d never known about.  I’m also keeping careful notes on the difficulties I encounter and how I’m resolving them so that I don’t have to tread this thorny path again. Lesson #1: Don’t try to adapt our measurement system of inches to metric. Just use the metric system. ( Weren’t we Americans supposed to have converted to the metric system sometime in the seventies of the last century? What happened with that perfectly reasonable idea?)

I’ve started this project with an off-white linen, and sewing linen is somewhat more challenging than the more tightly woven cotton fabrics. The next garment will be a cotton print. But while I’m on the subject, let me say something more about the garment I’m working on; Linnet Dress/Tunic #99. The good news is that there’s very little discernible difference between the ‘right-side’ and the ‘wrong-side’ of the off-white linen fabric that I’m using. That also happens to be the bad news as well. Lacking tailor’s marks or notches, it’s hard to tell what goes where and how in the construction. I’ve taken to sticking blue tape onto the fabric patterns pieces and writing RS (Right Side) and WS (Wrong Side) to keep myself sane-ish.

The first garment ought to be completed by tomorrow, and I’ll post the results here.

 

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Japanese Sewing Patterns – Part 1

In a previous post I mentioned my desire to sew some basic wardrobe pieces as a sort of commitment for 2015. I’ve settled on three patterns from Linnet, a Japanese company that offers sewing patterns, beautiful linen and cotton fabrics and hard-to-find notions.  I bit the bullet, ordered the patterns and started plotting out my ideas with pencil in my sketchbook. To say I’ve settled on three patterns requires some explanation. If you’re not familiar with the whole Japanese Sewing Pattern thing, all you need to know is that they are driven by a simplicity of construction, a baggy, blousey, casual sort of style, and rely on earthy, natural fiber fabrics (linen, wool, linen-wool blends, etc…) or cute (maybe too cute for me) Liberty of London prints.Some fashion-folk refer to the aesthetic as Lagenlook; I guess that’s our german friends. For me, I chose silhouettes that I think can be easily altered to stylistic adaptations within my limited skillset.  I seldom wear dresses and so I’m thinking that I can make tunics out of all of these patterns and, possibly, with my range of skills, change the collars, alter the sleeves, add or eliminate pockets, add more pleats or substitute gathers, etc….  My stash of many yards of off-white linen, along with an inventory of fiber-reactive dyes, is the basis for this conceptual wardrobe of tunics. In my next post, I’ll illustrate my proposed adaptations as well as the progress of my sewing project. Here are some examples of the patterns I mean to work with:

Linnet Pattern No. 99

Linnet Pattern No. 99

Linnet Pattern No. 25

Linnet Pattern No. 25

Linnet Pattern No. 64

Linnet Pattern No. 64

Here’s what the patterns look like, fresh out of the packaging, and onto my work table.

Linnet patterns just waiting for me to make them.

Linnet patterns just waiting for me to make them.