Monday, 2 June 2014

Blouse "0" Girl's Sassy Clothes by Yuki Araki: A photo tutorial

Remember this blouse?

After making the first one (that didn't fit) and deciphering the "instructions" I tried to make a photo tutorial of the second one. That, of course, lead to disaster, but now I'm back for round three and this one is going to make me look like I know what I'm doing!
The blouse is pattern "o" from Girl's Sassy Clothes by Yuki Araki, one of two adult sized patterns included in the book. The same blouse is given in girl's sizing 90cm-130cm as pattern "n" and there's a very similar dress pattern which features on the front cover:
The adult version comes in two sizes: 150cm and 170cm. I had picked the latter as it coincided with my height.... After sewing the first version my conclusions were that I needed more girth, more length, deeper/larger armholes but the sleeves were otherwise perfect.
That's no use to anyone unless I share some figures, right?
The "Sewing Note" on P34 has a table showing the Size L as chest 86-93cm, waist 69-76cm, hip 93-98cm. I measured at 101cm, 86cm, 108cm. Don't think I worked that out before I sewed anything, I just measured myself now for the sake of sharing the obvious; this blouse was probably not going to fit without some adjustments.
So, here's my dodgy before and after drawings of how I adjusted the pattern to change the fit:

Now, to the construction... For anyone who doesn't have the book and isn't likely to sew the pattern, thanks for coming by, you are now excused. I haven't managed to get any completed garment or modelled shots yet, so come back tomorrow when hopefully I'll link up my new plain, white blouse with Back 2 Basics week. If a white shirt isn't a wardrobe staple then what is?!

Let's get started:

Have a look at the cutting layout on page 64 while tracing your pattern. Here you'll see what seam allowance you have to add to the pattern pieces before cutting your fabric.

You'll also see there are two pieces for which you won't find a pattern piece. They're rectangles so that's easy. One is the sleeve cuff and you do have to cut two of them, choosing the length depending on whether you're making the size M or size L. The other, longer rectangle is the neck facing/binding and contrary to the picture you only need to cut one of those.

Mark your fabric or cut notches at the pattern marking spots copied from the pattern sheet.

The sewing instructions now begin on page 65 - they also mysteriously end on the same page, but we'll come to that later! I've annotated the pictures, but I'll also describe each step. I hope the repetition isn't confusing.
The first part is the construction of the yoke and the diagram shows that broken down into 4 steps.
Step 1: Create the placket. The instructions would have you interface the wrong side of the placket and then finish the raw edge. However, if you wear the blouse unbuttoned this raw edge will be visible, so here's a neater solution:

Trim about 3mm from one long side of the 2.5cm wide interfacing pieces. Then fuse the interfacing to the yoke's wrong side, positioning the interfacing about 3mm from the fabric's edge.

Now press that 3mm section of un-interfaced fabric to the wrong side and edgestitch to create a neat, narrow folded edge.

Press each placket to the wrong side along the line of the interfacing. This will create a very neat placket that is slightly smaller than the intended 2.5cm.

Now, we're up to Step 2: Sew the pintucks.
Here, you'll see the instructions refer you to page 16 where there are colour photos of this being done using the dress pattern seen on the front cover of the book.

Create each pintuck by pressing the fold lines with the wrong sides together, then sewing with a 5mm seam.

When you've sewn all four pintucks, press them towards the outside. Now, with the yoke pieces right side up, overlap the yoke pieces such that the yoke on the wearer's right side is on top of the yoke on the wearer's left side. Pin them together (Step 3) and then baste at the bottom inside the 1cm seam allowance (Step 4).

Part 2: Attaching the yoke to the blouse front.
Sew two rows of gathering stitches between each set of notches on the blouse front. I chose to do them at 8mm and 12mm so that my final seam would be in between the two rows.

Starting at one shoulder, begin pinning the blouse front to the yoke with right side together.

Continue until you reach the point of your gathering stitches. Then start from the other shoulder and pin until you reach the gathering stitches. Pin the overlapping plackets to the centre of the blouse front.

Pull on the gathering stitches until the blouse front is the same length as the yoke at each of the two gathered sections. Distribute the gathers evenly and then pin to the yoke. Stitch the blouse front to the yoke with a 1cm seam.

Remove the gathering stitches and press the seam allowances with the tip of the iron to flatten the gathers.

Finish the seam allowances together and then press them towards the yoke.

Part3 refers you back to page 16. Sewing the shoulder seams.

Sew the blouse front to the blouse back at the shoulder seams with right sides together. Finish the seam allowances together and then press them towards the back.

Part 4, also on page 16 is making the collar.
To make the collar: fuse the collar interfacing piece to the wrong side of one collar piece. This piece will now be referred to as the inside collar.

Pin the collar pieces together, right sides facing, then stitch up one short side, along the slightly concave top edge and down the other short side with a 1cm seam. Trim the corners.

In preparation for turning the collar right side out, press the seam allowances towards the inside collar. This helps the seam roll slightly to the inside and be less visible. Turn the collar right side out and press. Edgestitch the collar with 5mm seam.

Part 5 is creating the neckband facing and attaching the collar. Refer to photos on page 17.
Here's where I got confused. Twice.
The first photo shows a 25mm wide strip of fabric being folded along it's long edges. One side folds in by 10mm the other side by 7mm. Yet in the picture the folds do not touch (a bit like bias binding).
That IS NOT POSSIBLE. Either the numbers are correct or the picture is correct but not both.
It's the numbers that are the ones to pay attention to, so here are the pictures to show what it will really look like....

firstly, press one long edge of the neckband facing 1cm to the wrong side

Now open that fold and press the opposite long edge 7mm to the wrong side.

You will end up with a folded facing that looks like this:

Yes, I realise my maths isn't perfect either as the numbers above are 1mm short of adding up to the 25mm wide strip that you began with, but how about we let that one slide, huh.

I've broken down the next few book illustrations into a couple of extra steps to make attaching the collar easier.
Open the folded placket and turn it back on itself towards the right side of the blouse.
With the inside collar facing up, start pinning the collar to the right side of the blouse. Position the edge of the collar just under the folded back placket.

Continue pinning the collar to the blouse, matching the collars notches/marks to the shoulder seams. You may need to clip into the collar's seam allowances to help it fit the blouse neckline. Baste the collar to the blouse with 8mm seam

Place the neckband facing, wrong side up, over the collar, with the 1cm fold line closest to the raw edge of the collar. Overlap the facing slightly past the ends of the collar and pin in place.
Beginning at the edge of the placket, sew a 1cm seam across the placket and onto the neckband facing. Continue sewing along the 1cm fold line of the neckband facing and then across the other placket to finish at the other edge.

Trim the seam allowances to 5mm.

Press the collar away from the seam allowances. You can also re-press the 7mm fold line in the neckband facing to make the next step a bit easier.

Turn the placket right side out again and use a point turner to get the corner nice and square. Wrap the neckband facing around the trimmed seam allowances of the collar/blouse and press.

Back to page 65 now where there is an illustration of sewing the neckline. Starting at the bottom of one placket, and sewing from the inside, we sew a 5mm seam up one placket, pivoting at the top, then sewing around the collar catching the edge of the neckband facing. Pivot at the opposite placket point and then sew down the opposite placket, ending at the bottom of the yoke.

I think it's nice to then tack the under side placket to the seam allowance at the bottom of the yoke to prevent the seam allowance flopping down. Then tack both plackets to the seam allowance on the other side at the bottom to prevent them opening fully and straining that seam.

Thus ends the instructions on page 65. Turning the page will not reveal any further instructions for blouse "o". Obviously we're not finished. If we go back to page 17, then we see a note at the bottom of the page referring us to page 62.
On page 62 is Step 6: Attaching the sleeves.
I found you can get away without gathering stitches to ease the sleeve onto the armhole, but go ahead if you prefer that to sewing over lots of pins!
Pin the sleeve to the armhole with right sides facing and stitch with 1cm seam.

Finish the seam allowances together and press towards the sleeve.

Step 7 is sewing the side seams, but if you look ahead a bit you'll find that the pattern instructions you're now following is for a dress with a hemmed sleeve. We've got cuffs to attach and no instructions to show us how.... Another pattern on Page 48 has a gathered sleeve with a cuff, so that will do for a pictorial instruction.
I think it's easier to sew the sleeve gathering stitches before sewing the side and underarm seams. Sew two rows of gathering stitches at the bottom of each sleeve, starting and stopping a bit over 1cm from the edge.

Now back to Step 7: Sew the blouse right sides together at the side seams and underarm seams. Finish the seam allowances together and press towards the back.

Create the cuffs by sewing each cuff into a loop with the short ends together. Press the seam allowances open.

Fold the cuff in half, wrong sides together and press.

Slip the cuff over the sleeve with the sleeve right side out and the cuff's raw edge aligned with the sleeve's raw edge. Position the cuff's seam at the sleeve's underarm seam. Gather the sleeve until it fits the cuff. Distribute the gathers evenly and then stitch the sleeve to the cuff with a 1cm seam.

Remove the gathering stitches, press the seam allowances flat then finish them together.
Gently press the cuff away from the sleeve and the finished seam allowances trying not to flatten the sleeve's gathers too much.

Here's where I ran out of daylight sewing time for photos, but then next few steps are fairly self explanatory.
Step 9: Hem the blouse. Press the bottom edge of the blouse first 1cm then 2cm to the wrong side. Edgestitch the inner folded edge to hem the blouse.

Step 10: Sew buttonholes and buttons. Sew vertical buttonholes at the four positions marked on the right side (uppermost) placket and sew buttonholes on the left (underneath) placket.

That's it!
I know there are lots of other ways this blouse could be finished; French seams at the sides, cuffs enveloping the seam allowances on the sleeves, etc etc, but I've tried to stay true to the pattern instructions. I can't wait to try and get some nice pictures of the inside of the finished neckline. It's a beauty! Happy sewing.


  1. I love your choice of fabrics. So much texture :)

    1. Thanks Bernadette, I put a close up picture of the fabric in the completed shirt blog post, It's a lovely geometric pattern which seemed ideal for a Japanese blouse to me. It is so very, very soft, I could live in this fabric!

  2. that gingham bias binding is such a great detail - I love it! A very detailed project; you did a great job!

    1. Thank you Lucinda. It's so much work to post the tutorial, but I know when I first saw your projects from these books I thought it would impossible to sew Japanese patterns. Now look at me, showing off in blog land!
      thanks again, as always, for the inspiration.

  3. I look forward to seeing it all come together! And if I buy this book I'll come back and follow your tutorial- thank you for such detailed pictures and explanations!

    1. The book is a real gem. There are so many lovely patterns in there. I never thought I'd post a full tutorial of something (others are so good at that) but when a few people aske dme about the Happy Homemade Hoodie I regretted not having photographed that one. At least it's there on the web now.
      I hope you do try these patterns one day.

  4. Both your blouses look amazing. If I'm ever in need of a tutorial, I'll know where to come :)

    1. Thanks Marisa. They will be few and far between as most of the time it's only after I've tried something and it happened to work that I would consider showing how I did it, but by then I've moved on to the next thing. Planning to tutorialise something seems a sure fire way to make it fail for me!


I get a real kick out of knowing you've visited the blog and love to read comments. Thanks.