Lost in Translation

I heart all the Japanese dress pattern books that are appearing all over these days.  Its a new craze – obsessing about sewing patterns that are written in a foreign language but that are just too stylish and fabu to ignore – and I’m jumping on that bandwagon.  Jumping on with my credit card and a 4 week class session at Pins & Needles.  And it was worth every penny.

It was worth is mostly because by taking the class, I didn’t have to Google Translate my way thru a most difficult to decipher dress pattern.  Rachel (the owner of P&N), did the heavy lifting for us.  She had the patterns printed out on jumbo paper with our sizes highlighted.  It was like “Sewing for Dummies” (ie: cut on the highlighted line, fold here, etc) and I couldn’t have been more appreciative.  Because while I cannot read Japanese, I can DEFINITELY not read Japanese dress pattern symbols (ie: cut on fold, notch here, cut on fold).  She took all the guess work out of the pattern and while I hate to say “dumbed it down”, thats sort of exactly what she did.  There’s no shame in my game… If I can get someone to dumb something down for me so I can learn how to do it, bring it on.

The class was amazing.  After we made our muslins, then I cut into the real deal fabric – a Japanese-y (if thats a word) linen that I got at P&N that just seemed to scream ‘Japanese Dress’ to me.

A note about sizing:  These patterns run small.  I mean SMALL!  As in I’m 5’2”, and yes, while I am pregnant, I’m not the size of a mac truck, and I had to make myself an XL.  an XL.  nuff said.

The Pattern:  This dress – And if I could read Japanese, I’d be happy to share the name of the pattern.

Source:  This book – again, would be fabu if I could share the name in English.

The Fabric: 2 yards of Kokka Encino fabric (its 60” wide)

The Verdict:  When you have someone (or a whole team of experienced sewers) do all the heavy lifting and figure out the sizing, translate the instructions, and fit the muslin for you, then this pattern is a BREEZE!!!  Once we modified my muslin, I then put those changes onto my paper pattern and now have a pattern that I can use again and again.  And once you have your instructors walk you thru the sewing instructions step-by-step and write those notes down, you can make scads of Japanese dresses from this one pattern.  I actually made a shirt using the exact same pattern (I just shortened the length of the pieces to measure ~15” from the underarm so it hits a few inches below my hip – sort of tunic-y.)

I feel that this class, rather than satiating my Japanese dress fix, just stoked the fire.  Bring on the XL Japanese dresses!!

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