Nihon Vogue Linen Jacket 2

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Here’s my first try at following a Japanese pattern magazine, like copying from Burda, but without any translation for the Kanji . I wanted something to bridge the hot weather I expected in DC, with the aggressive air conditioning popular there. It was ready in time for the meeting, LWVUS Council 2013. The magazine comes from a Japanese book store, sorry I can’t read the title for you. I found a website that didn’t help me much.

Photos: You can see the cover, the linen jacket photo, #13, then the instruction page. I copied the pattern pieces from the insert pages, altered and fitted them. The instruction sheet helped some. 🙂 The fabric is an interesting linen weave, a sturdier plain weave for the collar and covered buttons. The lining is Imperial Broadcloth, from a bolt unearthed in the sewing room, left over from smocking days- sheesh! Photos were taken with the top straight out of the suitcase, a little worse for wear, how linen looks. And I’m not shaped like their willowy model. 🙂

Fitting: I made a muslin. Shoulders were tilted and narrowed, bust points moved and expanded. Next time I will widen the front overlap a little further.  I might nip in the front waist a bit, lots of free swing there. I wish I had a fitting buddy to help, like with the back, the armholes, hard to judge, not seeing them.

Sewing: Every seam showed top-stitching. There was a princess line marked on the front piece that wasn’t a seam, so I stitched it with a double needle. It added a nice definition. The front edges and hem were interfaced, button and inner snap areas (lining only) reinforced with button felt circles. The beaded button was a gift and I sewed it on the night before our meeting, a nice nod to our 2012 League of Women Voters of Oregon Rose Parade Suffragettes! See my sewing post on that.

I enjoyed sewing this. The linen was a dream to work with, though I needed to press the sleeve cap firmly, using all the tools I had, sleeve board and hams for a smooth fit. I would make this again, maybe with a stretch cotton that doesn’t need lining.

Stay tuned. 🙂 I want to see what you’re working on!!


Yukata seams revealed… 2

For a 1912 Titanic Sewist- Yes, work continues, though branching out, or going back to what we did before?

For making a Kimono (or a summer one, a Yukata), you use traditional fabric woven in narrow widths and combine them in a set manner. I have a reference, Make Your Own Japanese Clothes, can’t find it right now (sorry!). It describes the narrow woven cloth and how to construct these.  Here’s a google reference, 1988 publication. I think it is still in print. I support local bookstores, and pretty easy to find online, ~$10-$45.

Here are some Yukata pix, not sure if it was my mother’s, from the late ’60’s in Japan. This is a textured cotton, pattern woven in. There is a large square inner patch over the seat; you can see it if you look for the center seam, then note that the pattern is 90 degrees rotated. I think it is a reinforcement, not a repair.

sleeve seam and shoulder fold

sleeve seam and shoulder fold

The shoulder does not have a seam from the neck out to the sleeve. These panels run continuously, floor front to floor back, with a tuck at the base of the arm seam, which would be covered by the obi. You can see the tuck from the inside in the next photo. All seam allowances have been very neatly sewn down, with no cut edges exposed, mostly the woven edges. All sewing is hand stitched. I don’t see any machine work.

underarm finish and seam allowance tuck

The wide seam allowances under the arms are sewn down, narrowing up over the shoulders to ~12mm. Garment shaping is very subtle as the shoulders are only slightly wider. You can clearly see the tuck at the back waist, the depth of the seam allowances. Those are pressed toward the front and have the same width all the way to the floor.

Here is another photo of the inside of the sleeve seam. The sleeves are not sewn all the way around this opening. The sleeve hangs freely from the body for ~5″ up from the base of the side seam, which is ~3″ above the flattened tuck. This sleeve is a pretty short one, not closed on the edge sewn to the shoulder, below that seam. Women I knew in Japan usually had longer kimono sleeves, with at least part of the inner seam closed, and they stashed things in them, even shopping!

inside arm seam

inside arm seam

This fabric is pretty dark, sorry it is hard to see the seaming! The shoulder is on the left in this one, seam allowance narrowing, sleeve edge turned & sewn down, ~3mm. The fabric is pretty crisp, but the edge of the sleeve is turned the 12mm I mentioned, the body section only 3mm.

On the inside, the sleeve is pressed to cover the body seam allowance, not a simple flat pressed-open seam. It looks like a tape along the shoulder. The actual seam under this is placed at ~the outer edge of the white shapes.

overlapped inner sleeve seam

overlapped inner sleeve seam

Before we leave the shoulder area, you should see the yoke /reinforcement I found there, on the inside. The edge is enclosed in the neck seam, the rest of it turned under and sewn down with a fine pick stitch in a white thread, ~every cm. The white unfinished fabric shows on the outside for half an inch, some variation from wear for some performance or other, probably should have been removed. It is pretty though. 🙂

inner yoke

inner yoke

Next take a look at the front shaping. The pattern diagram LL posted doesn’t seem to show these separate strips. It is hard to see the seams, so I placed pipe cleaners along them, hope it helps! The collar strips, three of them, are sewn with all edges enclosed, the middle section lapped on top of the lower front sections. Look in the photo for the third set of red dots up the strip, right to left. That is a collar seam. I think there are four (or more?) layers of fabric around the neck- it is pretty hefty. The single pipe cleaner down the V of the others is actually  the placement of a fold that encloses the edge of the piece below it. Think of this as a very wide flat-felled seam. The front section goes across to the lower pipe cleaner. The side (front also) section goes from the wide arm/side seam allowance we saw above, across to the single pipe cleaner, so this standard with of cloth has been used without cutting the cloth width to adapt to the section. Pretty clever- it appeals to my frugal nature.

front panel seams

front panel seams

Looking at that seam from the inside, you can see how wide it is. The hemming is visible, a neatly mitered corner at the front edge, narrower finish on the vertical edge, yet a relatively narrow bottom hem, too, ~a cm folded up twice and sewn in place.

front panel, deep seam allowance
front panel, deep seam allowance


LL, I hope this helps you! Have fun with yours! Let me know if you want any specific measurements.


1912 Dress #4016 Summary! 11

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This dress was fun and I recommend making it! I made it so Kate Brown,  our Secretary of State (VoteOregon!) would have a costume to wear ( my earlier 1912 one) in the Portland Grand Floral Parade, to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Oregon Women Voting! Go Suffragettes! I finished the dress and hat in time and walked with pals. Our group included the League of Women Voters, Oregon Women’s Commission, and some others. See the 1911 car carrying Oregon Suffragette Abigail Scott Duniway’s great grand daughters. They told me that she wasn’t really the first Oregon woman to vote, that was Sacagawea, sorry I don’t really know.

Go Portland Mayer Sam Adams! Yes, that is the real Mayor in the picture, though he does play the Mayor’s Aide in Portlandia. The Rodeo horse shook it’s head and snorted at my costume- no pockets, no apples or carrots! No wonder people watched for the Wells Fargo coaches1 Amazingly pretty!

The pattern came without instructions and here is a review of my posts, with a summary of the 1912 Project notes at the end.

  1. Getting bearings on the dress and pattern!
  2. Pattern measurements
  3. Making the Very Pretty Collar 🙂
  4. Pattern fitting (continued! 🙂 )
  5. Bodice fitting
  6. Fitting and shaping the skirt seams
  7. Inserting sleeve/bodice gussets
  8. The cuffs
  9. Sewing the bias bands
  10. Sewing the front panel
  11. Making a neck facing
  12. Finishing- odds & ends

VPLL Check List:

Blog points, so I can ask for more patterns!  A possible  total 25 per pattern, here’s my check list:

  • blog – a dozen posts!
  • pattern without instructions. Right, none on this one.
  • photos– max 5, plenty of photos, 20? on this summary alone.
  • fit description. This dress is high & narrow waisted, with a fitted, long skirt and inset front panel. Sleeves are elbow length with faced cuffs. The bodice is pigeon-chested.
  • alteration descriptions. I widened the bust, hips, and waist. I shortened the sleeves a bit, moved the shoulder seam for my dropped shoulders.
  • pattern change descriptions. The front panel sections differed by including/not including a 3/8″ seam allowance and they needed to be matched. I only had room for two bodice bias bands. I drafted a neck facing. If I were to make this again, I would move the bodice gathering section closer to the center chest. Offsetting it by the width of the facing fold pushed it too far off to the sides. There was no provision included for the contrast band at the hem.
  • instruction change list. There was no instruction list. I described my sewing order in the blog posts.
  • finished garment description. This long, fitted dress is completed in Pendleton wools, both light weight gabardines, a cream solid and a cream/beige mini-hounds-tooth. A solid cream fabric is used for a center front inset panel and to line the cuffs. There is a wide hem band, underarm gussets and a self-fabric belt. Bias bands on the cuffs and front are accented with covered buttons. The embroidered collar was made with a cotton gabardine over a piped undercollar. Front closure is under the left side of the panel, with snaps, hooks and eyes sewn onto cotton twill tape. A self-belt was made to match.
  • description of technique (lace, cut work etc.). Detailed descriptions are included for making the underarm gussets, the Broderie Anglaise collar work, cuff facing, bodice panel lining etc.
  • sewing skill used/needed, why. Very good skills are needed for fitting the the one-piece (no longer usual) bodice, drafting pattern pieces, fitting the components of the dress closely, to be flattering. There are plenty of tricky bits, the gussets, sewing the bias bands with appropriate ease, stabilizing bias edges.

[this is a separate checklist, including just in case 🙂 ] review checklist included at end.

description– see pattern & finished garment description above.
pattern sizing– this was a small dress, hoo-boy, those hips were TINY! The skirt 0162 I made last was billed as a 25″ waist but seemed bigger, so I assumed it accommodated numerous undergarments. This dress doesn’t. Someone guessed it was designed for young women. Since pattern numbers have jumped all over the place since 1912 and have been inconsistent from one source to another, I’d say this was designed for a women ~5’2″, weighing not much more than 110 pounds.
look like photo? Yes, aside from the fact that the sketch is considerably stretched for fashion interpretation. 🙂
instructions easy? No instructions and some would have been helpful. I researched for making gussets and learning Broderie Anglaise, cited in posts.
what to like/dislike? I don’t really like the front closure, don’t feel confident with snaps, hooks and eyes. I would change the neck fitting for a re-make. The gussets were a very positive feature and I really liked the collar, so pretty! It looks like one in a current Vogue ad for Louis Vuitton spring suits. I wore a slip reaching mid-shin and really needed one as long as the dress for walking in a stiff breeze with knitting stockings.
fabric used– Pendleton gabardine wools, light weight, and a cotton gabardine for the embroidered collar. I loved working with the wool, it drapes spectacularly.
alterations/design changes? see above.
recommend to others? If you don’t need historic accuracy, consider using a zipper closure. Practice making a gusset with waste fabric beforehand. Think carefully about the cuff seams- I got them backwards. They are counter intuitive.  Place the bodice gatherscloser to the middle. Fit carefully- I was struck by how frumpy my initial muslin version looked.
conclusion? This dress has charm and great style details. I love it!
Pattern Name: E4016_DRESS. 
sewer’s skill:Advanced.
rating & why, 1-5, 1-Not a Fan, 2 – So-So, 3 – Good/Average, 4-Better than Average, 5-I LOVED IT! and why?
skill needed & why. I loved this dress. It was fun to wear, got scads of compliments. It was a challenge for me, a sewer who is likely to make errors. 🙂 I learned lots!
instructions easy? Change? [no instructions]
Fit/sizing? As expected? The pattern size wasn’t listed, so I was prepared to alter and check all areas. It was actually smaller than I expected though.
Alterations? For fit or design? I flared the skirt, all three pattern sections, back, side and front panel. I inserted darts in the skirt front and tucks in the bodice back.
volunteer for more… sorry, very little spare time, not really any with this added to the plate. 🙂

4016 Finishing Odds & Ends 1

My dress is all but finished! Here are some final steps:

  • The under collar needed adjustment to complement the embroidery (not exactly the same shape) and I piped the edge.

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  • Buttons– I chose covered buttons again and they needed to be made: 6 for the skirt, 6 for the bodice and 4 for sleeves. Okay, only 4 for the bodice (couldn’t fit in 3 bias bands) and 8 for the sleeves, backs overlooked!
  • The bottom band! I still think this piece needs to be lined or something, since the fabric is thin and pale. It hung nicely, especially with the horsehair hem. I continued the curve from the skirt pieces, might opt to pipe this seam another time.
  • Hem– I owe my daughter another ’50’s kitty skirt for helping to pin, this time the hem, which I sewed with horse hair so it would hang nicely.
  • Closure– I decided against a hidden button placket and went with snaps, hooks & eyes. The left dress and front panel edges were reinforced with a cotton twill tape, pinned in place to help mark closure placement, then snaps were sewn onto the tape before the tape went onto the dress. They were secure and didn’t show after being sewn on. I turned the dress facing after sewing on the tape. Well, full disclosure? 🙂 Some of the snaps popped on the skirt at the hips when I sat down, so I sewed up the skirt (like the pattern called for!)  at the last moment, by hand.
  • Belt- I found some old belt tape in my elastic basket and used a double fitting buckle from Mindy’s Needlepoint Shop. The dress fabric covered the tape. I pressed the edges of a strip down, used a bit of fabric glue, sewed the strip and one buckle side in place,  checked for fit over the dress, then sewed down the second buckle piece.
  • For the final fit check, I moved a snap and replaced the neck hook and eye with a strong snap. A good press, hanging overnight and off to the Parade! 🙂 Actually, I started the hat here. You can see it in the pictures. The ribbons matched the collar ties.

Oh, btw, I noticed that the book I mentioned, The Mary Frances Sewing Book [1913!], had a note after the title page that some notions are available from the printer, Lacis. This included the Sewing Bird, $14.00 for the basic one. I was pleased to see that they carry tatting and bobbin lace things!

4016 Front Panel 1

The front panel was not difficult but needed some pre-planning. When I thought about the order of sewing, like the waist seam to help with bias band placement, the front panel would be helped by having the neck facing finished. The dress waist seam should be done before this one. And I wanted this panel in place so I could better judge fit and bias band placement.

As I found in the pattern post, the seam allowances on the pattern pieces for the front panel, bodice and skirt, didn’t match and needed to be coordinated. Also, I used this piece for fitting, flaring the skirt piece toward the hem. I wasn’t pleased with the neck fit after altering, since the tiny neck swam after I widened the bodice. It is covered by the collar, but I pulled the V of the front panel up to a much shallower point and would reduce (return to more like the original) neck shape if I were to make this again. [Every action ha a reaction!]

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  • The original skirt panel seemed too straight, needed some flare.
  • I thought a full bodice lining would be a good idea since this fabric is pale. You can see the neck seam pressed toward the “lining”.
  • I cut the bodice pieces with length to spare after not understanding why the neck facing curve stopped short.
  • You can see the turn of the enclosed skirt waist seam into the two bodice pieces.

Only odds and ends were left, but time-consuming! I covered the buttons while watching a movie at home, but forgot the back cuffs, out of sight, out of mind. 🙂 Hemming, horse hair, snaps, hooks and eyes, the belt, ribbons on the collar, whew!









4016 Bias Bands 1

Placement of the bias bands was tricky!  The bands needed to be crowded into position, since they curved out from the initial seams.
I put pattern pieces together and roughly measured, cut pieces that were longer, finished one end, then placed them, estimating length, finished the far end, pinned, and sewed on with a walking foot.

I placed the top tier somewhere near the end of my fingers on the skirt, skipped ~3″ between tiers. The original sketch was a “fashion” version, impossibly unlike any living humans I know in proportion. 🙂

I was pushing frantic for time and didn’t get bodice band pictures, had a terrible time with them since the bodice was already gathered. I only placed two instead of three, didn’t put any on the back, can’t tell if that matched the original…they did add quite a bit to the look and the drape of the dress! I didn’t stabilize or stiffen them in any way, did overstitch them once they were in place. I hope this helps and let me know if you have any questions!

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4016 Neck Facing 1

This pattern doesn’t include a neck facing piece, pretty common for the time, I understand. It would probably be authentic to finish off with a thin bias band, but I’m used to facings and wanted to add one here. Drafting one shouldn’t be difficult.

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  • I put the paper pattern pieces together, without any seam allowance at the shoulder, and placed a fold at center back. It looks smooth at the center back.
  • the neck facing front edge fits under the bodice fronts that are folded back.
  • I traced the chicken scratch copy onto another sheet of paper, correcting curves, deepening the back a bit across the lower edge.
  • You can see the facing stay-stitched and serged on the wider edge.
  • I re-checked the fit on the dress form. The neck, back and front all looked fine, but the center front that had looked adequate to fit nicely under the folded bodice front edge had shrunk terribly, some malicious version of the “closet disease” where clothes don’t fit anymore! See he earlier pix where it looked Fine?!   Only because I rushed.
  • I sewed it on anyway, didn’t re-do it. Oops, anybody else do stuff like folding over the edge you can’t see? The “3rd Hand” sewing tool sits under the left edge of my machine table, helps to rip mistakes. *Bonus below!
  • Anybody know what this funny-looking press tool is? I love mine, use it often!
  • The seam allowances are trimmed, staggered snips.
  • Final pressing, should have been under-stitched, but I didn’t, hoping it’ll be okay under the collar.
Now onto the bias bands, front panel and finishing up. Parade pix, too! 🙂
*Bonus– The 3rd Hand is called the “Sewing Bird” in one of my favorite books, The Mary Frances Sewing Book, Adventures Among the Thimble People, by Jane Eayre Fryer. I found a first edition in a New Orleans bookstore, where I was looking for an L. Frank Baum book, The Enchanted Island of Yew, for my mom. The Sewing Bird is the little girl’s first friend in her gramma’s sewing room. I love this book! That New Orleans bookstore wanted $300 for it, out of my reach. But I have felt selfishly heartsick for that little bookstore, haven’t been back since (before Katrina).

Dress 4016 Gussets 2

Last (only) time I inserted a gusset, I told a dancer playing the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz, 😉 to leap as hard as he could, then I inserted a square of fabric into the spot where the seams had failed. Easy and effective. 😉 I was innocent and am now learning the sophisticated details of gussets. Hah! I feel like a graduate! Okay, still room for improvement…

Gussets have a reputation, deservedly. I read the Threads issue #153 article, pp. 38-43. It was very helpful and I mostly followed it precisely. Somehow I missed the part about *on the bias*.  Not enough coffee?

So I went back to The New Vogue Sewing Book, 1980. “Because the area under the arm receives a maximum amount of strain and needs ease for movement, the gusset should always be cut on the bias.” I did use the staytape idea, not organza. A Moment of Silence for our independent fabric store, 27th St. Fabrics, RIP. No organza in the stash.

So, a sequence:

  • Beautiful gussets, cut on straight of grain. sheesh. I measured like the Threads article, extended the pattern slash to 3″. The gusset was not quite 4×8″, with a 3/8″ curved tuck in the middle.
  • Ribbon basket raid for bias binding and found the “stay tape” I’d never used. “use it up…”
  • You can see the tape sewn inside & outside the sleeve sash, tiny stitches nearer the point, sewn around, not to a vee. BTW, the ribbon is sewn to the outside. I used a bead of fabric glue to keep it in place, had to gently pry it off to put it on the outside. I Love Pendleton Wool- took it without a whimper and didn’t fray. [nope, not on commission. ;-)]
  • The ribbon gets pressed to the inside and acts a bit like a seam allowance. Pressing is entertaining with gussets, which side is up?
  • The gussets are supposed to be sewn then top stitched. Okay, no extra credit for me. I just pinned in place and top stitched. One down!

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Next, the other gusset, other cuff, waist seam, front panel, buttons, collar. Hi-Ho!



4016 Cuffs 4

These have to be the most complicated cuffs I’ve ever made (never did make those men’s shirt cuffs from David Page Coffin’s class).

Every mistake I could make I think I did! The cuff needs to be sewn counter-intuitively, right side to inside of the sleeve, cuff seam away from the sleeve seam. I’d inserted a shoulder seam and those two needed to be aligned. Usually I’d match the sleeve and cuff seams, did that and needed to rip and fix it. There’s a series of steps, petty tricky for somebody watching the clock:

  • First I hauled the dress fabric back out for those bias strips, decided on 2″: 3/4’s folds and 1/4″ seam allowance. I ran a quick measure of the skirt panels, bodice and sleeve strips, think I’ve cut enough for all of them.
  • Strip placement is tricky at best. I decided to wait on the skirt strips until I’ve sewn the waist seam. I remember wishing I’d thought of adjusting the back pleat height to break at the knee on dress #0162. When you look at this dress image, her legs are longer than I am tall (and those feet are teensy!). More on that later.
  • I finished the cuff facing edge and pressed it.
  • Bias piping for the cuff edge, nice, better when pressed.
  • The cuff looks inside out, then finished, but easy to mess up the seams here. the finished cuff side gets sewn to the inside sleeve. Rats- That stabilizing tape will have to be hidden. I’ll press the cuff to hang a bit low to cover.
  • Finished edges align, with considerable trimming of bulk, probably smarter to use thin lining fabric for the cuff.
  • Sewing the bias strips on with a walking foot is So Much Smoother!
  • Use an edging foot to sew down the piping, really helps.

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    All that’s left for this step is buttons. I counted 16, but actually there are 4 needed for the sleeves, will need to make more. On to Gussets!

4016 Bell skirt seams 1

Past the muslin and into the actual fabric now, really dreamy Pendleton wool. First the skirt.

Remember I thought that skirt side seam looked straight down, so I took the flare out? What looked like a straight seam on paper turned into a bell-shape, so in a series of adaptations, I straightened it back out again, into a flare, in steps. 🙂 Gradually this is turning into my idea of a pretty dress. I hope I’m not just making it friendlier to current fashion! More like correcting a series of mistakes and learning in the process…

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On to the next steps, the cuffs and gussets…