I'm back with a clean studio. I got older while I was gone, but I'm feeling some wisdom too, so it's not all bad. Now, to finally get on with a Month of Dressmaking!
My second post on this subject shows me wearing some of the designs I have already made from Japanese dressmaking books. These are all incredibly simple patterns to make. The shapes are easy to cut, fit and sew and the instructions are straight forward.
If you're in your twenties (or younger) and very thin, you can assume the clothes will look similar to the pictures in the books. If you're older, live in a different climate, taller or wider you will need to use your imagination a little.
I am a UK size 12-14, which is about a European 40, US 10-12, or size medium. I wear an F cup bra which is my biggest fitting problem and I'm 5'5 or 1.65m tall. I'm tempted to pepper my post with disparaging remarks about my looks, but I won't comment about how the designs translate for my age and size if you don't! You can make up your own mind about whether these are flattering styles for an older and bigger woman.
The first tunic is from Pochee volume 6 and has several variations of sleeve and trim included in the pattern. Here it is worn by a very cool looking model. I love the patch on her jeans.
Now here's me in a tartan cotton/wool blend. I've made it with no sleeves, one pocket and lace trim at the neck. I wear it a lot with various coloured skinny jeans, elastic-waist trousers, skirts and scarves.
During the winter I always wear a close fitting, colourful, long sleeved undershirt as my base layer. In these photos I'm wearing a chartreuse one but I pick them up in as many colours as I can find. I also wear this tunic with purple or cream undershirts. Sometimes I pick up on the lace edge and wear all tea-stained and antique colours.
The next piece is a coat dress with a two-part sleeve. The upper part of the sleeve is cut on the bias and the lower part has a tuck so that it flutes out. It can be made with just the shorter piece for sleeves...
I have made it both ways.
In this first set of photos I am wearing the full sleeve version. I have given it three different buttons at the top front and then left it open at the skirt. The pattern doesn't include the button opening. The front and back bodice pieces are the same so you can choose whether to wear it with the centre slit in the back or front. I adjusted it to have a dart in the front bodice so the back and front are not the same and I wear the split in the front so you can see I have a waist. I made this version when I was a little heavier. I would make it smaller now.
Again, I wear it with an undershirt, jeans, trousers, skirt and scarves. In the photo on the left I'm wearing a cheap spot scarf I bought. I cut the fringed edge and sewed on some of my massive collection of vintage lace. In the photo on the right I am wearing a crocheted scarf/shawl/shrug thing (more about that later).
This next example shows the dress with just the shorter part of the sleeve. There are no buttons on the front here, it just pulls on over my head. On the left I'm wearing a crocheted flower at the neck. On the right I am wearing a crocheted collar with the flower as a closure. I'm also wearing a pair of trousers I made from a pattern from Lisette (page 34-35).
Here it is again with long sleeves and pockets but no front opening. This is a thick velvet Kenzo fabric so it doesn't drape as much, making me look bigger but it is warm and comfortable. The pockets are great; it's a favourite for when I'm teaching kids art classes and need a hundred places to keep things. The kids always ask whether I've made what I'm wearing. They act as if it is a magic trick- girls and boys!
Lace scarf on left is pieced from scraps of vintage lace in cream and ivory. I've made loads of these elastic waist trousers. They give you a pooh-bear bottom so I wouldn't wear them without a tunic on top but they are cut so that they make your legs look as if there is a gap between them like the Japanese girls.
Here's some pictures of me with bags as if you've spotted me walking down the street. I made the one on the left from a Japanese pattern.
I'll give you more detailed shots later, I just wanted to get started with some sense of the silhouette on my figure. I should probably post these to Flickr. I'd love to see how this style of clothes looks on other real people. (Later I did go on Flickr and start a group for pictures of women modelling the clothes they've made from Japanese patterns.)
Next time I'll be discussing selecting a pattern; what are flattering styles and substituting with commercial patterns.