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Archive for the ‘Japanese Pattern Books’ Category

Yoshiko Jinzenji, Quilter

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I have never been extremely interested in traditional quilts, but Yoshiko Jinzenji’s work is so different than what I envision when I hear the term “quilt,” and she’s definitely an artist worth checking out!

You can see some of Yoshiko Jinzenji’s beautiful quilts on her website, and there are also a couple of books of her work available. I have “Quilt Artistry” (text in English) and some of the projects inside are amazing… I wish I had some photographs of the inside pages, but I don’t. I’m a tease. Maybe I’ll take some later, though.
And even though it is not written in English I would also like to get the other book, “Simple Quilts.” There are a bunch of projects in there that I would like to make, and it should be similar to the other Japanese pattern books I have in that there is enough information to create the projects without text. I should be able to figure it out, right?

I am also really digging her fabric line (available here at ReproDepot) but my problem is, I can’t decide which of them I love the most. You should really check out the full-size files since you can’t see much in the thumbnails…





For some reason, browsing through her collective fabric line makes me think of Alexander Calder’s work.



Isn’t this little elephant marvelous? I was not familiar with Calder’s non-mobile sculptures but I think I’m more intrigued by them than the types of work pictured above.



Written by sewfussy

November 14, 2007 at 1:11 am

Built By Wendy 3835 Tunic Dress (or whatever) and Boy Haircut

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Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve posted. A couple of weeks ago I was stricken with the worst sinus/tooth pain of my life and was unable to function for about a week. After an emergency trip to the dentist and a few days of antibiotics and pain medication I’m finally starting to feel better. Man, that was rough.

So since I haven’t written in so long I have quite a bit to show, but because there are a lot of pictures I am going to post a little at a time. For today, a tunic dress that was inspired by the Built by Wendy 3835 dress/shirt pattern and the dress in view C in Sewing Talk, one of my favorite Japanese pattern books. I wish I had a photograph of view C, but I don’t right now. It’s basically a simple sleeveless dress with no darts and an elastic casings at the neck and the armholes. So easy!

built by wendy 3835sewing talk

I referred to both patterns for the body, basing my dress on the shirt in the BBW pattern (another “view C”) but using the Sewing Talk pattern to lengthen the BBW top. I also used the raglan style BBW sleeves and the BBW pockets. Okay then, I guess it’s actually best described as a modified Built by Wendy 3835 but I only made it because I liked how my first Sewing Talk View C dress came out so much. I have pictures of that dress, but they really suck so I’m not sharing.

The dress was made using a weird crinkle-gauze type blend I got for $1 a yard from Joann’s. It was really easy to work with but the fact that it is crinkly stretch fabric made the pockets tricky to apply – or it could have been difficult because I bias cut the pockets. You can see how they are a bit “off” in the dress form photo.
I read an article recently that said the best skirt lengths for us short folk is either mid-thigh or ankle – *not* right at/above the knee or mid calf. I never realized that, but it’s true. The dress is quite short but I plan to wear it this fall with asphalt American Apparel leggings. I am wearing biker shorts underneath it in the photos. Stylin’!

built by wendy 3835 on dress form

Check out my boy-hair below. I told y’all I went a little crazy with my razor cutter after my last haircut! It’s so much easier to have it this short, though, and I’ll sacrifice beauty for ease any day.

tunic dress bbw 3835

tunic dress bbw 3835

Written by sewfussy

October 14, 2007 at 6:06 pm

Linen Dress from Japanese Pattern Book – Revisited

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I finished the linen dress I posted about a week or so ago and have worn it out two times in the last week. I must really like it. In fact I quite love it despite the fact that it’s not completely perfect. It’s flattering, comfortable, and best of all, it’s casual yet so much cuter than my typical/tired ‘jeans and a tee’ couture. Excuse the wrinkles in the photos, the dress has been washed three times now without any ironing. I don’t do irons (unless I’m sewing, in which case I do reluctantly press almost every seam even though I don’t enjoy it).

I acquired a few more skills with this dress. First, I had to alter it around the chest because my big ol’ bosoms were causing a huge gape at the arm, so I successfully added a dart to each side. The only problem this caused for me is the arm opening became a little wonky where the dart was added, but since my arms cover the affected area I’m not worried about it. I think it would be easier to simply make a new dress than to remove the bias binding and fix it – I don’t even know how I would fix it. You can see that it’s kind of funky looking in the pic below, and one side is a little worse than the other. Disclaimer: I really don’t know anything about adding darts, other than that they should probably be symmetrical. I may have done mine completely wrong, but since the dress fits, I’m happy.


Something else new – I finished the bottom with a blind hem on my sewing machine using my special blind hem foot. I did a pretty good job with it but again, the hem isn’t 100% perfect. For the most part, the stitches on the right side of the fabric are small enough that you can’t see them, the way they are supposed to be. There are a few stitches that are a tad too large, but it’s nothing that anybody else will be able to see.


You will have to trust that the dress looks better on me than on the dress form, but I haven’t had time to get decent pictures of me modeling it. Hey, it’s on my list.

Written by sewfussy

July 29, 2007 at 3:35 pm

A Few More Sewing Firsts!

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Firsts I’m covering with my current sewing work-in-progress:
-sewing a bias-cut garment
-making my own bias tape
-hand sewing (versus machine sewing)

I’m making a simple linen dress from one of my Japanese pattern books (Sewing Talk). Other than two pattern pieces and a lovely photograph of a finished dress, this is all I have to work with (fortunately it’s a*very* simple pattern).


I finally tired of the itchy, non-coordinating, expensive bias tape I have been buying (and then not really using before my children have a chance to tangle it up) from my local Joanns. I took the plunge and bought two bias tape makers – one is this clover version, another is an all-metal generic one I found in the quilting notions section. I prefer the clover version, but the generic one makes slightly wider tape even though they are supposed to make the same size. I spent a while cutting the fabric strips, sewing them together, pressing the seams open, trimming, feeding the fabric through the tape, and pressing the lengthy strip, but it was *sooooo* worth it. See how nice the neck binding on my current project looks –


And now I’m officially obsessed with making my own bias tape.
Then came the task of applying the tape, which has always been difficult for me. I used to be willing to do just about anything to avoid applying bias binding. Until now.
I swear, other than being plain lazy, I don’t know why I have resisted sewing by hand for so long – I’m totally hooked! I’m impressed with how easy it was to do once I scrounged up a package of unopened sharps in my needle box. I guess I should toss those tapestry needles I tried to sew clothing with in the past. Ha ha!

Millinery Needles

Here is the half-finished dress in full. I can definitely appreciate the bias cut on the dress, it hangs beautifully.




I will post more photos when the project is finished!

Written by sewfussy

July 15, 2007 at 8:27 pm