japan 20


for the november monthly stitch challenge,

make something from a sewing book,

i made design # 20 from this japanese sewing edition.


a smock style dress.

all the instructions are in japanese , but you can look at the diagrams and get the basic idea of how to make the clothes.

i shortened the dress to tunic length and drafted the largest size , which was 13 ( bust 89cm ).

i am a size bigger than this but i know japanese clothes are kind of sized loose fit , as you can see from the photos.


the look seems to be ” little girl dressups “even the shoes look too big for the poor models…

so with this in mind i was sure i had picked the right size.


the finished smock is HUUUGE !

i could easily have not added seam allowances, and some !

to pull in all that breezy fullness , ( which is just not me )

i cut up a silk scarf that matched and made bias edgings for the neck and sleeves , and then had enough for ties which i sewed at the side under arms.

the bottom hem is finished with the same fabric as the smock, and folded bias, which gives it some weighted grounding.

the fabric is a lovely border print vintage circa ‘ 50’s floppy cotton.

the back has a mix of coloured buttons with loop closure.

IMG_6281-001IMG_0021-001 IMG_0018-001

verdict : i’ve already worn this over skinnies and it ‘s fine.

breezy from the bust down but still enough fit up top , so no gaping.

happy smiling face

explanatory notes: the ” gay ” selfie is because my ” photographer ” was busy planting his tuberous begonias thank you very much , and this dodgy camera needs to be held awkwardly so the batteries don’t fall out …..

and that little cutie above is a spider brooche ….

the end

gypsy balkan


this is the dress I made from a vintage BUTTERICK  9740

I had set aside the skirt fabric , a heavy silk with a crunchy feel , to sew something for myself , ages ago.

as there was only enough for the skirt I had to combine with the other choices for the bodice parts and sleeves.

a black cotton sateen , and another pure silk , this one is raw silk with a screen printed rose pattern.

I only JUST had enough fabric to cut the sleeves out and the little bib front part.

thought about leaving this part as is but decided to add a tiny strip of vintage lace to highlight the BEAUTY of the silk.


all the black bits are lined with taffeta.

I used a metal zipper ,  being a vintage pattern , and a side insert,  I went for a longer opening  so I wouldn’t have to squirm my way in and out of this dress.

ANNE W  thank you to for this tip : )


I am actually loving this dress ; I know from the lousy photo you wouldn’t think so , ( I was glaring at a seagull, perhaps ).


..and you can see how with a change of shoes / boots I can go casual or more dressy, yay !

oh and I hand sewed the hem , because I wanted to retain the natural bouffiness of the fabric.


the waist sits high on me , I would have needed to add at least another one and a half inches to be correct,  BUT forgot to do so when cutting out.  actually I don’t mind this look.

I could have made the zip opening just a smidgin longer , I still need to wiggle my way in with arms straight up , but it is achievable.

the sleeves cover my elbows, definitely a good thing.

so all in all i’m O . K with something I made for MYSELF…

( of course instead of reading positive this COULD be self delusional… )

the name for the dress was inspired by the style of music played by a wonderful group of musicians at the market on Saturday.

they truly ROCKED!!!!!!

The TOWER of REFUGE apron by atticusfinch, for the vintage monthly stitch challenge.


too much procrastination,  too many things to make,  and not enough time,

 is my motto…

so with that in mind I decided to forgo the vintage dress I had thought about,  leave that for the frocktober challenge,

and make



easy, straight forward and fairly quick to sew.

just a wee note of explanation,  here,  I have at any given moment , LOTS of sewing projects on the go.

they all have to be juggled into an already full-up life.

I have a hoarders stash of old patterns at my disposal,

BUT,  recalled a library book I RETURNED ages ago, so decided to sew the



amy barickman’s

Vintage Notions


I made the magic pattern  slip- over apron from the fashion service publication, 1929.

easy to follow, step by step, pattern cutting.

you just fold the fabric and mark as you go, then cut and sew.

lots of bias binding involved.

I added a pocket.


a castle in douglas?

which I cut from an old table cloth ,

one tiny French seam at the back neck ; two straps,  and that was it!!