Sunday, 7 November 2010

The tale of the bow and the big belly

A very lovely friend went to Japan earlier this year, and was nice enough to do a bit of shopping on my behalf. I was quite sensible as a) I didn't want to spend squillions of pounds and b) I didn't want her to have to leave half her clothes in Japan so she could fit all my goodies in her suitcase, so I asked for 2 sewing books and 2m of a girlish print and 2m of a boyish print. She doesn't sew at all, so I sent her some links to Japanese fabric and sewing books that I liked on Etsy.

Needless to say, she did a sterling job :) And here is the first thing I've made with the things she bought. It comes from this book, which according to Babelfish is called 'Foppish Clothes of Girl', although I'm sure the title's much snappier in Japanese.

The mushroom fabric is Alexander Henry, so not Japanese at all, although it cost about £5.00 a metre in Tokyo. How I wish I lived in Tokyo.

The brown contrasting fabric was from the magic fabric shop, and has a lovely nap to it.

Despite the entire book being in Japanese, the diagrams were brilliant and I managed to sew it up quite easily. Admittedly it is one of the easier patterns, but it was a good one to start with and it's given me the confidence to try some of the others, like these little short bloomers which are next on my list.

I did mess up on the seam allowance (I forgot to include any when I was cutting my pieces out), hence the extra band of fabric where the brown ties are, but that was my fault for not looking carefully enough at the instructions, as it was clearly marked.

As you can see from the photos, the skirt looks lovely on the floor, but doesn't quite work on the Munchkin. The two ties pull the side seams forward so it sags, meaning it doesn't hang properly. This might not happen so much if the ties weren't so skinny because of my lack of seam allowance, but I still think it would be a problem. And then there's the matter of the dysentery style tummy:

Munchkin has always had problems with poohs, and usually only goes every other day, which results in ridiculous amounts of bloating. She's managed toilet training really well and is now dry 99% of the time, but is still really reluctant to go for a pooh until she can't possibly wait any longer. Which means she normally looks like she's 6 months pregnant :O

She doesn't wear very many skirts, and when I asked her to try this one on I realised why. Never mind, she can wear it on days where she's managed to go before breakfast :) So, what to do about the ties? My initial thought is to take them off and then use one of them to make a big bow to sew on the front of the skirt. Anyone else have any thoughts?

And if you're looking at this thinking you can't live another week without getting some Japanese sewing books, try M is For Make. Kate has a really nice selection, some of which are in the sale, and they all come with a sheet of translated sewing terms.


  1. It's a super-purdy skirt, and looks nice with the ties. Can't they be attached to the front of the skirt so that they don't tug the sides forward so much? But don't listen to me, I know nothing about your sort of complicated sewing projects :D

    Fantastic hairdo on the foppishly clothed girl.

    I think that if we could mix your munchkin with my monster, we would have the perfect poo schedule. Monster sometimes manages 4 or 5 a day. She's been using the potty or toilet since a month old (we do so-called 'elimination communication'), with the result that she never poos in her nappy, but still. We regularly have to make dashes for the potty mid-meal if she gets a pooface on. Sorry if that's all TMI :D

  2. That was my second thought, to sew the ties to the front of the skirt. I might baste them on and see how it looks.
    Look at you all clever with your elimination shenanigens! Munchkin doesn't have a pooface, her early-warning system is a series of evil smelling trumps :)

  3. Thank you for the mention! It's a gorgeous skirt. I think kids just have big stomachs as my 6 year old still has to wear hear skirts low slung on the front like a pregnant women to accommodate her gut, and she's really not very big at all. I'd keep the bow though if you can as it makes the skirt, and try wheetabix and fruit at breakfast?!