Monday, 10 September 2012

My First Japanese Pattern: Girls Short Sleeved Blouse

I purchased a Japanese pattern book after seeing some really nice outfits on flickr and with the reassurance that the instructions were quite easy to follow.

So I had a look on Etsy where there seem to be quite a few floating about and I settled on this one Girls Lovely Clothes by Yuki Araki. It was the blue dress in the second picture that nailed it for me and the purple coat with the tie waist. If I made nothing else, then I would be happy to master those two!

As it happens, after a very speedy delivery (nothing like the 2-3 weeks estimated - yey! Because who likes waiting for patterns to arrive?) the book is crammed full of tempting patterns and gorgeous photography. The two little girls in the book are adorable and make the clothes look too cute for words.

There are a lot of items with a hint of Oliver + S about them, I spy a Puppet Show style jersey dress, Puppet Show style shorts, a 2+2 skirt and a Sunday Brunch-ish jacket.

And this short sleeved blouse has a feel of the Music Class but minus the collar. This was the item I attempted first......

It has binding on the sleeves and the bottom hem both of which are gathered. The gathering makes the sleeves puff out adorably and the blouse is given a nice shape by the bottom gathers.

I made this from a thrifted mens shirt, so the weight of the fabric was perfect. The gingham is such a subtle check that it seemed babyish. I added pearlised shank buttons in a soft baby pink.

The instructions are actually very clear. All the Japanese instructions are backed up with perfect diagrams so I knew what to do. I was a bit nervous making it as I still felt like I was doing it blind. But really it was fun to make and, well, it looks like the one in the book. So couldn't have missed many instructions!

Making the placket a different way after all the Oliver and S tops/dresses I have been making was odd and to be honest I think the finish is a bit scrappy looking compared to the O+S way of folding and tucking everything away neatly. Next time I may attempt to adapt it so I am happier with the placket inside and out.

There were size issues. The sizes are done by height (just like the Ottobre patterns I use) but unlike those I had nothing else to go off as all the instructions were in Japanese and I couldn't figure them out. So.... I made the 120cm size thinking that it would be for my eldest. As I was making all the hem bindings it became glaringly obvious the size was way off. Far too small. I nipped upstairs to pull a 5T Family Reunion Blouse off the peg to compare and yep, much smaller. I suppose Japanese children are smaller. My cousins' gorgeous wife is Japanese and she is TINY TINY with a very slender frame so that could just be the way the patterns are designed. Good job that for one thing, I only made this from a thrifted shirt. Also for another, that I have a younger daughter. It fit her perfectly!

(Still a touch damp from sponging off my markings)
We did try it on my biggest girl and it looked hysterically small, her tummy was poking out of the bottom and she couldn't really move her arms. So it went to a very pleased little sister. I say pleased because she was fascinated to have buttons on the front of her top and played with them contentedly for a while.
I will try again with the pattern book but am a little unsure that any of the sizes will fit my 4 year old. Not such a disaster for my youngest daughter though!


  1. It's such a pretty blouse, Katy.
    I was already to go and order the book - until I read your last comment about none of the patterns fitting your 4 yr old - that's how old Lucy (my youngest) is....

  2. I know! I can't say I'm not disappointed the clothes wont fit my eldest but I will have a go at some of the other patterns before writing it off completely for her. In some ways though it is fair to have a selection of patterns for my youngest seeing as (with the exception of the Puppet Show) all my Oliver + S patterns are in the larger sizes so she gets nothing made for her at the moment!


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