jackson pollock smock frock & japanese sewing books

i’m starting off the week with a guest post and a sew along together!

first, the guest post. Cherie of You & Mie, a good friend (we’ve met in person – TWICE!) and an amazing blogger (see awesome tutorials), is putting on her first ever series! it’s aptly named the Japanese Sewing Book Series and if you follow along, her guests will walk you through the entire process of finding, deciphering, and sewing from Japanese pattern books from start to finish! she’s got an awesome lineup – i’m the obvious lightweight of this group, lemme tell ya.

anyway, my post on the basics of Japanese pattern books – where to buy them, how to determine sizing (including a conversion chart), and the general structure of the books – is up today! go check it out!


Cherie asked us all to sew a project as a companion piece to our posts, and i decided to sew the apron from Carefree Clothes for Girls by Junko Okawa- it’s the best intro to Japanese pattern books because it’s written in English (no excuses!). and because i also wanted to sew along with the “art inspired” theme for the first week of Project Run & Play All-Stars, i went ahead and splattered it with paint a la Jackson Pollock!

jackson pollock smock frock

i sewed a size 4, which fits her now! last time i sewed from this book, i sized it down a bit and it was still too big. but now it’s perfect, which makes me want to sew even more of these. because if i ask her to jump and she does THIS, it makes me want to sew a million:

pollock smock frock

dance outside barefoot? sure!

pollock smock frock

anyway…so the Jackson Pollock part.  i really love the the first theme for the first week of this season of Project Run & Play – “Inspired by Art,” and had a whole bunch of ideas swirling around my head. but since i knew i’d be sewing for Cherie’s series too, i quickly narrowed down my artist to Jackson Pollock and decided to splatter some Essex yarn dyed black linen with fabric paint. i didn’t do any practice runs, i just experimented as i splattered with hot pink, metallic gold, and a little white.

pollock smock frock

the method i found to work was to dilute the fabric paint a little with water, then sort of flick it up the side of a tilted custard cup onto the fabric with a brush. just dribbling didn’t work so well. i started in the center and splattered outward, so the top of the apron has just tiny dots of paint but the hemline is pretty covered (and stiff). i’m curious how it’s going to wash up…but i love the a-line shape on her and the stiffness only helps that. i topstitched it with metallic gold thread, which she didn’t hold still long enough to get a good photo of.

pollock smock frock

i also made her leggings! i fiiiiiinally put together my Go To Leggings pattern that i’ve heard so many good things about, and i loved it! of everything i sew for Em, what she really needs is basic leggings to fit her growing legs, and i’ve been meaning to make some for months now.

pollock smock frock

these are made out of really soft stretch lace from Mill End and are quite see through, so she’ll be wearing them with longer skirts/dresses in the future. she loves them though, so much so that i had to hide them from her until the photoshoot! i love how the waistband is sewn, so simple and fast but really pro-seeming, and i’m excited to make more now that the ONE PATTERN PIECE is all cut out and ready to go. sheesh, took me long enough!

pollock smock frock

we were over at the beach for my dad’s birthday weekend, and both kids just loved being there. we got some nice weather, stayed in a beautiful place, and had a lot of fun. the view was pretty amazing.

pollock smock frock

be sure to head over to You & Mie to check out my guest post – i’m so excited for the rest of the guests this week – i’m a big fan of each one of them and am ready to be rekindle my Japanese sewing romance that has laid dormant for a couple years.

and i’m soooo looking forward to what the PR&P All-Stars sew this week!!  i have lots of friends in that group, and i know they’re revved up.

have a great week!

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french sleeve one-piece dress: now and then

i’m not a big pattern repeater, for the most part.  too often, i make something, love it, vow to make it again, and don’t.  this is a case like that.  i made this dress nearly a year and a half ago, it was one of my favorites on em, she grew out of it, and i recently decided it was time for the next version.



which may not seem so bad, but this is what happens when she lifts her arms…

with leggings or jeans it could still work as a tunic, but we still have about a month of summer left here (fingers crossed), so i wanted her to have another “transitional” dress to carry her through fall/winter too, all layered up.

warning:  i sewed this dress, along with my prior two sewing projects, while listening to “watch the throne” (by kanye and jay z) on loop.  i think em caught the vibe (though she hasn’t listened to it, OBVIOUSLY).  check out these moves:

she’s about to call the paparazzi on herself!

the pattern is “G” from “les couleurs francaises” by yoshiko tsukiori (isbn 978-4-579-11279-1).

i got it at uwajimaya in beaverton, for the locals.  they have a great japanese pattern book selection.  the fabric is a tonal stripe by momo for moda.  the contrast is gold roses from heather ross far far away II.

here’s a little tip for sewing with japanese patterns – figure out the kanji characters for “right side” and “wrong side.”  it helps with patterns like this.  🙂 hopefully you can zoom in on this photo and see it.

couple other quick hints: add 1/2″ seam allowances except where indicated (the pattern shows to add more at hemlines and for the shoulder cutouts), and measurements are in inches rather than centimeters (in this book, anyway).  they really are pretty simple patterns, though there is bound to be some head-scratching involved when sewing in a foreign language.

i think this one should last her for a while.