AKA The Everyday Caped Crusader Tshirt!
This book was reviewed on a few blogs recently – and I wasn’t totally convinced. Then I went to Sydney for Frocktails, visited the most amazing bookshop… flipped through it and I had to have it. I could have bought all the Japanese sewing books but I do try to exercise some restraint… sometimes…
I’ve always been fascinated by Japanese arts & crafts – the design, quality, attention to detail and workmanship are exceptional. My first love was via patchwork and quilting. Sewing clothes has opened up a new world of Japanese indulgence for me.
Warning: loads of pictures in this post as I’ve decided to review the book (note: it’s my book, purchased with my own funds. I just found the adventure interesting and decided to share it with you).
Earlier this year I went on a Drape Drape binge with some rather unusual pieces (here, here, here, here and here) – the pattern pieces and construction fascinated me. I am keen to make some more.
Now I am equally fascinated by the stylistic simplicity of the ‘other sort’ of Japanese pattern books. Sweet Casual Clothes seems to fall into what I’m starting to consider the Japanese ‘everyday’ clothing aesthetic.
While I love a good complicated sewing project and my work wardrobe is quite structured, I love to wear very simple casual clothes with clean lines. Fortunately for me I fall into the Japanese size range, I’m a medium tall and Japanese size small in terms of body it seems.
I’ve decided to share images of the clothes that you can make from this book and show you the sizing chart (I get asked this frequently about Drape Drape books and it’s a very valid question if you are thinking about buying a Japanese sewing book). I do find buying patterns books online un-nerving as they can be an unknown quantity, you rarely see all of the makes. I did purchased Basic Black: 26 Edgy Essentials and was a little disappointed with it – mainly because all the makes are black and it is harder to see details which is frustrating for a line art junkie (the garments are shown in the instructions but not as well as I like. Which naturally means I am now determined to make some of these clothes and like them – I’m contrary like that.). So I’m hoping some of what I share might be helpful to you if you have hovered on the brink of indecision with this book.
The sizing chart (I love the ‘without clothing’ reference):-
And most of the projects (I’ve omitted a simple lace trimmed cami and a pair of shorts)
In the interests for time, I’ve snapped these on my iPhone and used a photo composite app to create these images to give you a rough overview.
Instructions? They are quite Burda-like. They are brief but accompanied by diagrams. Beginners may find the brevity a little daunting – however when you begin you don’t know what you are missing so perhaps not! I tackled a Burda project early in my sewing days and managed just fine!
The Patterns? You need to add seam allowances – they recommend 1cm, however if you prefer a different seam allowance you can easily use your own. You can see on the pattern layout that it indicates when you should vary the allowance – generally for hems. (LOL I’ve just noticed that it doesn’t indicate any seam allowance on the armholes of this top… I added them but it doesn’t seem to matter on the finished make.
I do find these pattern sheets much easier to trace then Burda – they are not so cluttered and there are less sizes. In some cases the XS-S are combined and so on. I also use lightweight white plastic ‘party table cloth’ to trace my patterns which is very easy to see through. A tip I picked up from Handmade by Carolyn.
I chose to make up the jersey top in small. It reminded me of the Sewaholic Pendrell which I have made before and liked. This top has more aeroplane-worthy wings!
The stash spat out some ribbed white/lemon knit for this make. I have never, ever worn yellow before. Seriously. I am surprised that I quite like this soft shade on me (a lifetime of avoidance for no apparently reason it would seem). The fabric was the devil itself. The rib texture made hemming it impossible. Yes, I used fusible hem tape and it is still a mess and all ‘fluted’. The shirt itself is loose and I can live with it.
To be honest I thought this might be too feminine and theatrical on me. I’ve never been a fan of fuss however I was surprised when I put it on. I really do like this top. I’m also pretty happy with the sun protection factor it offers!
The instructions to attach the neckline and armhole bindings seem unnecessarily fussy to me. I did attach the neckline in the manner instructed (attach one long edge and then fold the other raw edge to the inside, tucking over the seam allowance and slip stitching it in place on the inside – I’ll admit it does give a nice finish – fiddly though!). I choose to attach the armholes bindings in more of the Sewaholic Renfrew manner – fold the strips in half wrong side together and attach them to the right side of the armhole and then press the seam to the inside (does that make any sense??).
I also decided to roll hem the ‘wings’ – which was an excellent decision after the hemming disaster of the lower hem! I decided that a hem would add weight and change the fall of the fabric – so I omitted the 1.5cm seam allowance indicated on the layout and just finished the edge with a rolled hem (if you are wondering how to do this, I blogged about it here… it’s very easy!)
So all in all – if you like this simple feminine style and you are in the size range or awesome at resizing patterns, this book could hold some appeal for you and be a good investment. I do find Japanese patterns to be very generous – or perhaps not as body conscious as our usual style of fit. For the $20 – $30 it might cost you, you get quite a lot of patterns.
I’m surprised and happy with this make. I made it because I was curious about such a style on me – and discovered that while I might have walked past it in a store, I do like it on me. Yay for sewing and experimenting. I did try it on with my navy Hollyburn and my husband promptly told me I looked Amish. While the Hollyburn gave it a ‘waist’ it also dramatically shortened my frame visually. I think the volume of the top works better on me with skinny jeans and makes it look modern rather than blousy and old-fashioned.
Next up on the blog will be a top from a Japanese sewing book – which hasn’t been translated!
WHAT’S WITH THE KOALAS?
What’s with the koalas? It’s the Hello Koalas Sculpture Project. We currently have 50 of them scattered about the region, the majority of them located in Port Macquarie’s town centre. We took the kids on a koala spotting adventure on the weekend. They adored it. You can see all the koalas here. Yes, it is a pretty nice place I live in…
I agree – this style is really flattering on you! I’m always interested to see the results of your experimental sewing adventures, especially all the Japanese patterns you’ve been using this year. You’re right, the size chart for these books is quite limiting, but the loose fit may open it up for a wider range of body types – myself included.
If anyone has tips for hemming a rib knit like this, I’m all ears. Seems like a tough job.
Love the koalas too. I saw a similar installation in the US a few years ago with cows… I forget what city though!
Thank you – I love to try new things & it’s nice that people are interested beyond a new pattern release.
Japanese patterns are size limiting but I guess Western patterns are likewise for Japanese. However the fit is generous so there is a little leeway for those outside the size range.
I think I’ll cut the hem off and just roll hem or ‘lettuce’ hem the edge. I’ve never had such a drama with a hem!
Your top turned out lovely! Ideal summer style.
For the hem, I would suggest using a zig zag stitch after fusing it up.
I think the biggest issue with the fabric is the massive amount of stretch across the width & it doesn’t like to ‘recover’. Zig zag could work… however I’m pondering whether to finish the lower hem like the sleeves…
This is so lovely! I have really been on the fence about these pattern books. I just keep looking at them in my wishlist. It is nice to see something made up that I would wear!
This one is full of nice options, very wearable & not too tricky to make. Interesting without being odd I guess!
Really nice and unusual 🙂
Thanks Catherine! xo
So cute! I have downloaded a similar pattern (one of the Fabric.com freebies from HotPatterns), and I was actually eyeing it yesterday thinking about whether it would be a good addition to my wardrobe or not. It can’t hurt to try, I suppose! Could you rip out the hem and do one of those lettuce edge hems instead? Since it seems to want to do that anyway, at least then it would look a bit more intentional.
We visited Lindsborg, KS (aka “Little Sweden”) once, and they have a bunch of Dala horses that are all decorated up like that and scattered throughout town. It was kind of fun to hunt them down and take pics with them too. 🙂 Enjoy your koalas, they are sure cute!
I think that’s what I’ll do with the hem. I hate it as it is and it will match the sleeves I guess
Very cute top! I hate hemming knits
We have koalas here too, only they are standing on all fours. They turn up in the strangest places.
I’m usually ok with knits but this one was determined to be difficult!
totally adorable top! I love all that Japanese book, too, thanks for sharing. And how can one resist koalas, painted or not?! : )
I’m glad you found the post helpful, I like to see ‘everything’ before I buy a book. I think this one has lots of very wearable patterns!
I love this top on you! Yah for Japanese pattern books 😀
I don’t know what took me so long!
It looks wonderful, so wonderful that I may indeed make my own version! and the koalas are just the cutest!
go forth and sew Susan! The kids loved the koalas (I took tons of pictures!) – and then asked to go to the ‘pebble beach’ on the way home so it seemed a good enough opportunity for a blog photo or two!
Really beautiful top, Lizzy – I love it that you’re trying new things and sharing them with us. That size chart sure was interesting – I think I’d be an XXL 🙂
The Japanese books are definitely a size unto themselves – however they probably think the same about Western patterns. With some indie patterns I don’t even make the sizing chart which I find odd as it’s not like I can’t buy RTW.
The makes are very roomy though.
It looks great! Yellow is good on you.
I’m so fascinated by Japanese pattern books. That Zakka style is certainly present in Japanese everyday fashion… but it’s maybe a quarter at most of what people wear? It’s 100% of the sewing patterns though, as far as I remember or can tell online… so how are people sewing themselves jeans, business wear, Gothic Lolita, or any of the other common types of clothing? It’s part of the mystery of Japan – like how on earth do Japanese people bigger than my size cloth themselves? It’s certainly not from what is in stores!
See now you have me dying to visit Japan to check it out for myself. I guess they have niche markets just like our indie makers have niche markets. I did spy a Japanese pattern book for plus makes on Etsy recently!
Note – I hate this term ‘plus’ like any size (bigger or smaller than the old-fashioned scale) is more or less. It’s just more sizes. We are just people. Not numbers.
Great top! I used to have that book – I sewed the front dress in near identical fabrics just before I started blogging. I was tempted to make that top at the time. I love Japanese patterns. I was a little obsessed with them (particularly kids stuff – I still have those books) a little over a year ago – I really need to pull them out again.
I think I’m in the early stages of addiction – so I might get better from what you say?
I love this top on you! Very pretty. I’m not usually drawn to any kind of fluttery sleeve…maybe I like this one because it’s a bit longer.
Thanks Margo. I think you are right, the length (and the lack of gathers) turns it almost into a cape sleeve rather than a frill. I struggle with frills – not to mention they are tough to iron!
Those koala are super cute & I LOVE your top! I actually learnt to sew from Japanese patterns & pattern books & so I find their method much more familiar, so it’s fun to hear the opposite view! I think you have the perfect shape for Japanese clothes (which I wish I did!) & I’m so happy you are enjoying wearing them (especially any clothes with wings!). You should plan a trip to Tokyo! The fabric shops are amazing…! 😉
Gorgeous! Makes me wish I was less generously proportioned in the upper torso (attempt to avoid ‘interesting’ search terms there!). Love the first photo too!
*sigh* I’m depressingly ungenerously proportioned however I do get to sew lots of Japanese patterns… and there are sooooo many.
Its a really interesting top. I love how the sleeves join the ? princess seams.
Yes they are cool. It’s essentially a sleeveless princess seamed tshirt with the ‘sleeves’ sandwiched between the seams. Super easy yet effective!
Dude, you have dragon wings. And they are RAD!
Dude I am a Dragon Lady some days! LOL I wear my wings with pride… can I be a Phoenix? I’ve always wanted to be a Phoenix….
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