Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Japanese Obsession and Bruce the chipmunk

A few years ago (actually it was nearly 10 years ago - whoa) I went to Japan. First trip overseas. Middle of winter. Lots of sake and waving cats.

In Kyoto I bought a lot of chiyogami - mulberry paper screen printed with beautiful designs - and also discovered that they make similar patterns on fabric. Of course I had to buy a lot! When I got home mum and I made this quilt.  

(When I say 'mum and I' this means that I sewed the pink and blue strips together...and then gave it to mum and she did everything else because I am rubbish at quilt making. Thanks mum!)

Not long after this trip I moved to Sydney and discovered Tessutis and their stocks of Japanese cottons.  My favourites are the ones that look like chiyogami - flowers, patterns, outrageous colours. I have made a few dresses over the years with these fabrics. The first was this one:

It's Simplicity 3559, and I made view B (the pink one on the right). Unfortunately I think it might be out of print now? Which is a shame, but I suppose we have moved on to obsessing about fashions from a different decade now thanks to Mad Men and Gatsby.

It's a really flattering pattern. It has French darts on the front bodice - unlike the usual everyday dart that runs from under the arm to the bust, French darts run from the waist upwards. It also has a high Mandarin-esque collar. 

How much do I love the material? It's seersucker! However note that I did not even think to match up the flowers either side of the zip. Bad Mez.

The pattern calls for facings, but the material was too light and a bit see-through so I lined the entire thing instead. The inside looks very ordinary! My skills in zigzag stitch left a lot to be desired. Lucky I have an overlocker and can cheat now.

The pattern is very easy to make. I was happy with the fit around my shoulders but nipped in the side seams in for a more flattering fit. As drafted it's a wee bit frumpy and straight-up-and-down. As a 60's go-go dress it should be a bit sassy!

I have a few other dresses made out of Japanese fabric that will be posted on the blog too once I get organised.

In other news, poor Bruce woke up this morning looking like he had stashed a golf ball in his cheek. After an emergency and very expensive Sunday morning trip to the vet he has been diagnosed with a prefrontal molar abscess. He is all lopsided.

Bruce is pretending to be a chipmunk, but only with his left cheek
Once the infection is gone he will have an operation to remove the tooth. He had the other prefrontal molar cut out a few years ago. Poor Bruce! However he seems to be getting along OK with lots of hugs and cuddles.


  1. Poor Bruce, big pats. I do like your japanese fabric (dress and quilt) - its a really cute dress and suits you. I agree that retro style can look a bit frumpy - okay if you are young, but even then I think making it a bit more fun and flippy is a good idea.

    1. Thanks Sarah Liz. Frumpy is the challenge I am facing for the Gatsby dress...those flapper dresses just seem so sack-like! Bruce says thanks for the pats too.

  2. Aww poor puppy face!! Hope he's doing better now. Tooth problems are the worst :(

    p.s. love the dress!

    1. He is much improved today thanks Rochelle but is going to hate me when he gets the tooth pulled!

  3. Perfect fabric to pattern match! Looks fab with the boots as well. Big hug for poor Bruce, get well soon.

    1. Thanks Amy. The boots are outrageous but I love them. Bruce says thanks for the hug!