Monday 11 February 2019

Tween top and culottes - More Japanese sewing

I knew I needed to make more school shorts for A and I thought she might go for a Japanese Sewing pattern for culottes. Especially if I sweetened the deal with a tween style off the shoulder top. Plus, I got to double up on the Sew Japanese in January challenge

To keep things fun I made the culottes in some linen first, with a regular school navy pair to follow later.

The culottes are from Sunny Spot (review and book details here) which I think will get a lot of use as the sizes go all the way up to 150cm.

I've made the size 130cm and they are very generous in length. I think she'll be wearing them for years to come.

With a little help from a cross wind, you can see that there is a wrap around skirt effect at the front, with a pair of wide leg shorts underneath. The pattern suggests a nice leather buckle closure for the skirt flap, a bit like a kilt, but since these were going to get heaps of wash and wear action I left that off.

The skirt flap is sewn into the right side seam and the finish at the hem is not quite as neat as it could be since you have to hem the skirt and shorts first, then sew the side seam. I kept thinking of a way around that, but couldn't come up with a better one...

What I loved though were the instructions for the pocket in the left side seam. It's an in seam pocket which we've all sewn before, but this pattern book has really clever instructions for how to get the pocket to stay facing forward and not flop around, and to have all the seam allowances of the pocket lying flat in one direction and the side seam allowances still able to be pressed open. It's the best way I've seen to do in seam pockets yet. Remind me to do it like that in all patterns.

The culottes fabric is a lovely linen that came from Eliza's years ago and while it's ostensibly grey and beige it has this glorious pearlescent sheen. I was more than a bit jealous of these shorts and instantly cut myself a pair of culottes from the leftovers of the same fabric (yet to be photographed but worn plenty).

The blouse is from a different pattern book, and another one that is new to me and will get heaps of use (This book - translated as Fashionable Clothes For Girls). Also a straight size 130cm with no mods.

It's a raglan T-shirt with exposed shoulders which makes for a very curious sleeve pattern piece. The construction was all lovely with only the hems having me baffled. The centre seam and thus the centre hems of the ties is 1cm, yet the bottom hem is 2cm. Where they meet at the points it threw me trying to mitre a hem corner with uneven hem allowances. Also, while the bottom front hem is turned up by 2cm, the instructions have you stitch it at 7mm (the same as the centre front). I think it would work fine to just do a 1cm hem at the front lower edge and keep it all simple. As it is I just have to iron my free edge hem allowances to make them behave.

The first time she put it on and completely missed the sleeves was a bit comical. I half panicked thinking it didn't fit at all, but then realised the mistake.

The fabric for the top is a lightweight shot cotton that I bought from Urban Sew quite some years ago. It's only very subtle in the contrast weave with a light green and an off white warp thread. It doesn't have the classic shot cotton colour change, just more of a slight marle effect. Happily the top was exactly the cut of fabric, so it's another stashed piece of fabric ticked off with no leftovers. Super satisfying.

I think this top would look great with the multicoloured Class Picnic Shorts too, but the kid obviously thinks of this combination as "an outfit" and reaches for them both together very often. I'm not complaining, it's pretty easy on the eyes. :)

We just need to remember to go heavy on the sunscreen.


  1. Fabulous outfit, love the culottes and the blouse is fun and serious as well. A looks very happy with the outfit and constant wearing is a very good result.

    1. Thanks Sharon. I knew she would love the top because of the style, no matter how plain a fabric I chose. The culottes were an unexpected win. I take then where I can get them!

  2. What a great outfit. The colours go so well together and the top is really pretty!

    1. THank you. I got to "curate" this one by choosing the fabrics and it's a lot more pleasing on the eye because of it, if I may say so myself :)

  3. Beautiful! R did exactly the same thing with putting the top on - and I had that panicked moment of thinking it wasn't going to fit.

    1. Yep, I was like "aaargh it's too tight" Then I noticed the sleeves tucked in her armpits and laughed out loud.

  4. Replies
    1. Thanks Winifred. The whole cold shoulder thing left me cold (pun intended) but for the kids, why not!

  5. I love the whole outfit!
    Please put our name on this if no one else claims it. Happy to sunblock up!


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