The nice people at Tuttle Publishing sent me another book to review! This time “Sew Sweet Handmade Clothes for Girls” by Yuki Araki.
I’ll write about my experiences with the pattern, first, and show you what I made. Then in my next post I’ll talk about the actual book–projects and readability and all that.
I needed (well, okay, “needed”) to sew Katya a fall skirt. Mum got some candy-corn fabric, which is totally different from the aesthetic in the book. I chose pattern “b,f”–a basic A-line with the addition of twelve “tucks”– also called pleats.
There is a size chart included (Yay!) But the Metric doesn’t always match to U.S. standard. Sometimes it does. But check both centimeters and inches when finding the size you need. E.G. For the largest size, it gives the waist measurement as 22″ (54cm). If you will pull out a measuring tape, you will see that 22″ is actually equal to 56cm. That’s a 3/4″ or 2cm difference. So if your child is pushing an inch measurement, the garment might come out too small. The book specifies that cm are more accurate.
Katya was in inch or two too large for the largest size–we’re very happy about this, because when we adopted her she was emaciated to a shocking degree– but since this was a simple skirt, I was able to make it larger. I added 2 cm to the side seams on all pattern pieces, for a finished allover enlargement of 1 1/2″. I could have just pulled the pattern away from the fold, but since Katya is a very narrow girl I thought that would make the distance between the tucks too large. They turned out in just the right place, right over her hip bones.
Pattern Sheet: There are only two colors of ink, red and black, so it’s a little confusing to find individual pieces, at least for my eyes. But the markings on the pieces are clear, with grain line, folds, and pleats marked. The pleats esp. are well done, with an arrow and line of text indicating which direction they should be folded.
Tracing wasn’t difficult. Tracing is always time consuming, but think of it as a careful detail, like lighting a candle. With tracing, you end up knowing your pattern well. You won’t so easily find yourself saying “That was marked?!” You also can add whatever seam allowance you feel comfortable with. For this, I recommend a gridded quilting ruler. I used a 1 cm seam allowance, as recommended.
The skirt went together nicely. I did have to resew the front pleats a bunch of times, but that was a problem with my marking, not hers. I couldn’t find my tailors chalk, so I marked them with scotch tape. It worked great for the back, what can I say? I did think for a bit that the yoke would turn out too short for the skirt, but after a little deliberation, going from the fact that she directed to “Match centers of yoke and skirt and sew”, I sewed from the center out–as if stay stitching– while gently stretching the yoke to size. It worked out exactly right.
The only trouble I had with was the waistband/casing. I’m pretty sure this is because of my measuring, not hers. I’m poor at measuring, it was late at night, and in addition to adding seam allowances you’ll remember that I had to increase the seam allowance by 2cm. But I got it to work. The book calls for 1″ (2cm) elastic. However, 1″ is equal to 2 1/2cm. The extra 1/2 cm. would take up any ease in the casing, and elastic just doesn’t work if there is no ease. It’s that ticklish metric/U.S conversion again.
The directions were clear, though the directions for attatching the waistband/casing were a little unusual. She directed to sew the casing into a tube (leaving a slit in the side seam), sew the casing to the yoke, and then insert elastic. This would eliminate the need for top stitching, but it does leave a raw edge at the top of the skirt. Because I decided to add a lining, I sewed the casing edge to the yoke, ironed the raw casing edge under and top stitched the casing shut. This neatly covered the raw edges and held the lining down so that it wouldn’t ride up.
In summary, so far the book’s only hangup is it’s metric/U.S standard conversion, a problem I’ve had with other translated pattern books. Use inches for reference, but go with the metric. You’ll be less frustrated.
Here’s the finished project, modeled by Katya before going out the door to school this morning. (It looks here like the tulle is uneven. It isn’t in real life.)
A close up of the pleats–
The buttons I hastily sewed on her bolero late last night–
And the one-minute hair bow I made out of scraps of lining fabric. You actually can see the selvages, but I think the fuzzy edge gives it a sort of goth vibe.
Katya really liked this skirt, and it was simple enough that I could easily make another. And it fits her really well– granted, she is a slender little girl who needs nearly all her store-bought skirts and pants taken in at the waist. Time wise, it took me about a day, including tracing the pattern, typing this post up as I went, double-checking measurements, and adding a slippery lining with tulle.
Next post– Review part 2!
(I was not paid to give this review. Opinions are my own (they always are) and all I got out of this was a great book!)