Posts Tagged ‘sewing from Japanese patterns’

Hello Hello. It’s been a long summer. We went away for most of it (to Pune, as always) and just returned two Sunday’s back to a terribly hot and humid Delhi.I am trying to inch my way back into everyday life, but it looks like its going to happen really slowly. M and N started school the very next day, ¬†but it’s taken M a few days to really settle into things. I think with the really long seven week break, he forgot that he ever went to school in the first place ūüôā While very little sewing got done in Pune (despite plans–oh, always there are plans!), I did manage to do a bit of prep so a few things are ready to be sewn.

July is a big birthday month for us as both kids have their birthdays this month. Ms. N having already had hers on the 1st, is already nine. 9!! I feel like each year passes by so quickly and here she is another year older.DSC_0111DSC_0081Birth-day this year was more like a week long celebration this year. She had three separate do-s in Pune, plus one small celebration this week in school. All birthday parties were super low key and fun, but yes, there were THREE separate events (not to mention the one in school!

The final Pune do was on the morning of her actual birthday at my grandmother’s house. We had breakfast from her favourite South Indian restaurant and some cake. My grandmother turned 92 this year, and for the last few years N has wanted to have her birthday party at her house. I wish I had a few decent photos to keep and share, but as with any occasion where everyone is having fun, there are sadly none.DSC_0095I do have photos however, of before we just left for my grandma’s place that morning and this is the dress she wore. I made it in a fabric of her choice, but one that I had not expected her to pick out. Pink is not her favourite colour, and the checks pattern figures pretty low on her list, but she chose this fabric herself. (I gave up on surprises a while ago now, having had not such good luck with them). The reason I think is this is the softest, lightest double gauze that she, or for that matter I, has ever laid hands on. And, so the real attraction here is in the kind of fabric. Oh, and the flutter-y sleeves- very summery!

The pattern “r” comes from happy homemade vol.2. (Here is the link to the English version.) I have made several things from this book before, and haven’t run into problems before so this one went pretty easily too. I haven’t made a dress with fluttery sleeves for her in a long time for her (the last time was when she was a wee little thing of 2), so it was nice to try out this sleeve style again. In general, I think they look better on slightly more chubby arms but oh well. She does ballet four times a week, and started swimming lessons. Not to mention that all other times she is upside down. So these are strong arms, and that’s good! Oh, and I think I should have stuck to the 110cm size instead of moving up to 120cms because it sort of sags a bit on her shoulder, but oh well, again.¬†DSC_0103She does seem to like it well enough and that’s more important than getting the perfect dress.DSC_0091Which brings me to getting some things ready for the second birthday that is coming up really soon. Again, M is a bit clued out about birthday’s still, but no one is more excited than N. It really is quite amazing that she is now 9–my sweet, sensitive and caring child. Happy birthday to dearest N.


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After my last posting in early August,¬†I don’t know the rest of my month went. I mean to post these pictures earlier, but as it turns out it’s already the middle of September and and I¬†am still carrying some last bits of¬†news left over from July. Mainly that we celebrated two birthdays and two little ones turned 8 and 2.

So, here goes…

dsc_0172N turned 8 at the beginning of July and celebrated her birthday during our last week in Pune. Her request for this year was a party at my sister’s dog hostel. (Yes! She runs what I think of as a really cool¬†pet hotel¬†on the outskirts of Pune.). N loves dogs, my sister and she really bond over this, and when N¬†requested her¬†birthday party to happen there we all agreed, since she rarely gets to have her birthday party with extended family anymore.


The other request was a frock¬†from¬†“something blue”¬†which I was happy to make.

dsc_0144The pattern comes from this Japanese book. Ages ago, when N turned three I had used the same pattern and I remember N wearing that¬†dress for the longest time. She is currently into the colour blue and wanted something really simple, and so I thought I’d try making a larger version of the same.

The fabric is ikat and has the loveliest of drapes. I bought it in Pune last year at Banjaras. The pattern calls for a collar and ideally I would have liked the dress to have it, but I realised at the last minute that I had cut the wrong size. It was the day before her birthday, I wanted to make sure that it gets done and so on a spur of the moment I decided to skip the collar. Well, so I finished it on the night before, snaps and all (which as it turns out is her favourite part), and she was delighted to find out that it was indeed ready by her birthday. (Clearly I don’t have a very good record on that front.)

dsc_0027Only problem‚ÄĒit is huge on her. In fact, I think I can almost put her baby brother along with her inside it ūüôā I made it in 120cms. What I needed to do, knowing that the sizes run rather large in this book was to make it in a size 100 with only the length increased. Oh well. She likes it well enough, despite appearing rather grumpy in a few of the photos.


dsc_0146 I am already thinking another one, perhaps a different blue, but this time with a collar and definitely two sizes smaller.

dsc_0168So this is birthday #1. The party was fun! I wish I had more photos of it, but I guess that is what happens when everyone is having a good time and no one is really taking pictures. Even though she is already two months into being 8, I can hardly believe that she is actually 8‚ÄĒsomehow she does seem so much older (especially when compared to her baby brother) and still such a baby at the same time.

Tomorrow I will post about birthday #2, so if you are visiting I hope you will come back soon.


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There is a very short window during our long summer months when N can wear shorts to school. It means that the temperatures are high enough to warrant shorts, but the fear of dengue hasn’t yet set in. A few weeks ago¬†N and I¬†combed through her cupboard to realise that many of her pants needs to be given away. Given that it was still April we decided to settle on shorts.

And so, I finally got to try out the Oliver+S lazy days shorts which was a super quick sew and got done in half a metre of fabric. That felt like an achievement, because as it turns out I have a lot of cute 1/2 metre (and yard) cuts that are languishing in the cupboard!

DSC_0593The 1/2 yard, however, did not leave enough for the waistband, so I added one with a contrasting fabric. I hope you can see a bit of it peeking out in the photo below.


I tried a size 6 based on her waist measurement, and I think the length is good. After a few wears however, she is complaining that it is tight at the crotch. I think it means I may have to size up for the next one as we would need to retire these sooner than I had hoped. (Oh, and also then give up my dreams of cutting a few more pretty 1/2 yard fabrics to fit in this pattern!)

Shorts #2 come from a free pattern from the Purl Bee.


I have had these pinned forever and I am so glad that I finally made them. Based on my experience before, and after checking her hip size, this one is in a size 8-9.

DSC_0756¬†At first, I was worried¬†that the¬†width of size 8-9T was¬†going to be too broad for her legs, but it doesn’t seem so does it? The waistband too felt a bit tricky to start with. As the instructions say it is actually five layers of fabric, and given that I was using quilting cotton (brought from Purl Soho years ago…) I was afraid it might be too much. But it isn’t, and N says that they are very comfortable on the waist.

I have to say I love this pair! And, given that I could use different fabrics for the main front-back panels, waistband, and binding, the possibilities are limitless.

The final pair, #3, is a longer version of something that we had to give away so I already knew that she liked the fit and pattern.


The highlight of this¬†is¬†the fabric (she loves the patchwork). I should say that I did not make the patchwork fabric but purchased it a few years ago from Pune. It won’t be hard to “make” I think just perhaps a bit more, ok maybe a lot of¬†extra work. The pattern itself is simple enough¬†(flared shorts ‘D’), with only two pattern pieces. The top part is folded over to make a casing for the waistband. It has a¬†feel of a skirt or culottes and I think are her current favourite. It¬†comes from here and I made a size 120 cms with added length.

So that’s it on the shorts front. And to go with it all I also made a quick t-shirt, again, using a pattern from my to do list.


This one also comes from Oliver+S. I made view A it in size 6T with 7T length on both sleeves and main panel. The fabric is entirely re-cycled. The grey and red both come from my old t-shirts. A relatively easy and quick sew, I was happy I could finish it in one afternoon.

So, that’s it from me today. I have recently had the good luck of finding some extra time to sew, which makes me really happy. And, so I will be back with some more to show very soon:-) Hope you are having some happy sewing days too.


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This dress started out as they usually do with a particular fabric in mind. The bodice is a lovely embroidered remnant with chikankari work of my old kurta and I had just enough to make the top part. So N and I went some fabric hunting and got 1 metre for the skirt, and then some more. The green striped fabric is a gift from my mother. And this way eventually one dress turned into two!


The pattern for both is exactly the same. And given that it’s my third dress in the last year from the same pattern, I think I can put it down as one of my all time favourites.



My only slight annoyance comes from the fact that I cut a size 120 cms, when I knew that really I should have stuck to one size smaller and just extended the bodice and the skirt. The pattern runs wide as is common with Japanese patterns. And despite me going a size up and extending the length of the skirt by a good 1.5″ it is¬†still on the shorter side if you ask me, and the waist is very wide.

N however seems to not mind. For the very hot weather it’s a non fussy simple dress¬†and I suppose it is nice not to have fabric sticking to you anywhere.


Plus the fact that we could use different fabrics for the bodice and the skirt makes this one a current favourite. N is all for very colourful dresses right now. Her favourite¬†is the green one at the moment. I am tending towards the blue….But all in all they are really good usable¬†everyday frocks for summer!

And now, I have saved my favourite part for the last.


I was so happy to finally be able to use these button that Marta sent me almost two years ago! It’s taken me two years to find the dress to go with but I am glad to have found a match. N is particularly pleased to have them on her dress too, since they come from (what she terms as) my “blog friend” and she is fascinated by the idea. Thank you Marta! ¬†I think that is one of the nicest parts of sharing here is¬†that I get to meet like minded people who love sewing and making¬†as much as I do, and somehow in this virtual space magically a connection happens!

Have a good Sunday.








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I made a top! It took almost two weeks of sewing tiny amounts everyday, but I am so glad to be done with it. Especially because it is just perfect for the current weather–the very few days we have every year when the days are warm but the evenings and mornings are lovely.


The cutting didn’t take long, because I have already made this pattern once before, and comes from this Japanese pattern book¬†(The link is for the English version of the book, but I referred to the Japanese one since that is what I have). And although N had not liked the last one when I made it but then had subsequently grown to like it a lot, she requested the same again! So for this time, I just increased the overall length by 1.5″.

The fabric was brought locally comes from H.P. Singh (Nehru place)and while it resembles chambray it isn’t exactly that. It’s thinner and I think has perhaps a tiny bit of something other than cotton (but no idea what).


It however crumples quite easily. I took these photos in less than half an hour after she wore it but already it looks like she has been wearing it for half a day!


But, it is a nice kind of a “crumple” and I like it a lot, from the front and the back!

The source of the the buttons I have no memory of, but the little bit of lace comes from my days in NY.



Ok, that’s a lot of photos. So here’s my last¬†one. By this time, she was ¬†beginning to lose her patience as well.¬†DSC_0644

It was good to sew this one. I was happy N wore it right away, and that also to school. I have realised over time that she only really wears clothes she really likes to school, so I guess this one is for keeps. And it was good to be able to use a pattern I already had traced. Sometimes that makes things move along so much faster.

And finally I wanted to say: thank you all for writing in with so much good advice and support. I am trying to keep the desk clear of all things for every little bit of time I find, and do the small things when a few minutes pop up every now and then.






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DSC_0618The pattern for this dress comes from one of my favourite Japanese pattern books.

I have to admit that the sole reason why this dress got made right now is because I am panicking about the rate at which N is shooting up, and very soon I won’t be able to use any of my hoarded and beloved Japanese pattern books anymore. Either that, or one fine day she will not want me to sew anymore for her!

Ok, at 125 cms, clearly the panic is unnecessary. And she does still want me to sew for her! ¬†But this particular book runs only till size 110cm, and N has far exceeded that. Thank fully the patterns are pretty roomy (as Japanese patterns usually are) and N is on the thinner side, so in this case I cut the pattern on the largest size and ¬†added ¬†1.25″ to the bodice and 3″ to the skirt.


It’s a simple enough frock, to me somewhat reminiscent of the kind that we wore as kids. Which is exactly what I love about it.¬†The back has a concealed zipper (that I successfully put in–yay!!) and ties.

DSC_0570The simplicity makes it tremendously versatile.¬†I actually made it for Dasara (which is already almost two months ago!), but we had no chance to do a photo¬†shoot until recently. The girl clearly could not stand still… Meanwhile, the weather has gotten progressively colder. But I am happy to report that she has worn it quite a few times with increasing¬†number of layers underneath, and finally I have a few decent photographs too.

DSC_0595That seems to be the same exact facial expression as above when she wore the dress last. I am guessing¬†this is her¬†current “face”¬†when I ask her to pose. Who knows?

Anyway…so back to the dress. In a different pose…DSC_0569

Of course, what makes the dress so special is the fabric. Of the fabric is gorgeous! It’s the first time I have used Liberty of London–purchased years ago from Purl Soho and never cut into, for the fear of making something that didn’t quite live up to my expectations. But this time she chose the fabric out of the pile in my cupboard, and I figured that Dasara was a special enough occasion for using this¬†lovely fabric. And, the pattern simple enough for me to not mess up!


So I took my time and in the end it worked out pretty well. And, it’s already making me look in heretofore un-approached directions as far as fabric is concerned. Liberty has a silky feel to it, so maybe next time I should try out silk?

Of course the pattern helped. And, I am make something out my favourite pattern¬†book which I will happily recommend to anyone interested in Japanese sewing book. The patterns are simple and high on style. Explanation and drawings are adequate but not great¬†. In other words, it’ll be easier to use if you are already used to a few other Japanese patterns book and have a hang of it. I.e., there isn’t an over abundance of drawings. The patterns do include a¬†seam allowances though, which I think is unusual for Japanese book.I am already thinking of which one to make next ūüôā

So,¬†that’s all for me today. I hope you are enjoying your sewing too.





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I have been unbelievably tardy as far as posting is concerned and now it is almost the end of September and four¬†months since I posted last! Summer is almost over; it has been a long one–difficult and exhausting in parts and while I still see not much brightness in day to day life,¬†I am relieved that the temperatures are slightly lower¬†and that good weather will soon be upon us.

Last week N, (who turned 7 a few months ago already) went on her first trip with four of her friends (and one friends’ parents.) This was not her first time without us (she has travelled before with her grandparents) but definitely the first time without any family. It meant that to a certain extent she had to look after her things, speak up for herself, and say when she is hungry or tired. The trip went beautifully well (much thanks to the brave parents who took the four kids)–no phone calls at all (!) and the kids didn’t want to come back.

To mark the occasion as special I made her this: a little something to take with her.



The fabric are all all scraps, and the instructions come from this lovely tutorial by Anna from Noodle-head.

While she was away I also had my evenings free and so I finally finished the dress that has been languishing in the to-do pile for too long.



She loved the little toothpaste case, but oh she has loved this dress! In part it is the fabric, the other part is that it is very roomy and relaxed. The days are still quite hot so she can wear it for the next month or two and its roomy enough to keep wearing it through winter.

And I added yellow buttons at the back, just for fun.DSC_0154

The fabric is from Pune where I think I bought it several years ago. The pattern is from this Japanese book (pattern B in 120 cms). The dress is on¬†the shorter side but having used this pattern before I know the style runs slightly short.¬†I lengthened it with a different coloured fabric. It’s still pretty short¬†but I feel that the roomy style, so common to many Japanese patterns, makes a shorter version look better on her than something longer.

Now about the book: the instructions are excellent and if you are just starting out on Japanese books this is high on my recommendation list. The patterns start at 90cms and go upto 130. This in fact was my first Japanese pattern book and while it has only about five basic patterns with a few variations the drawings are thorough and the photos lovely.

Given how difficult it has been in the last few months to start and then finish anything, I am glad to have finished this one before we finished summer entirely!


Thank you for stopping by. I hope to see you again soon!


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