An Epiphany, of sorts

One of the things that always frustrates me about most American sewing patterns is that they always seem to do things in needlessly complicated ways. One example of this is a cowl neck. Many, many patterns show it as a complicated insert into a regular neckline.

The prettiest cowl neck tops though, are made from a neckline that is made wider and deeper than the body, so it drapes gracefully.

Japanese sewing pattern magazines tend to have a much simpler approach to garment construction. The magazines, rather than coming with paper patterns to cut out, give diagrams and measurements so you can draft your own garments to fit your body.

There are several different sewing magazines published for the Japanese market. Some feature clothing that is not all that appealing to me. The Japanese seem to have a much greater love of adorable than this cynical New Yorker.

So far my favorite of the Japanese sewing magazines is "Ms. Stylebook".   Each of the issues that I have purchased has at least one mind boggling garment.

The current issue showed a dress with a cowl neck. The dress itself was not all that amazing looking. What was amazing was the draft. There it is, a tube, folded to the inside with the armholes cut out of both layers of fabric. It is just plain brilliant. The cowl is entirely faced. With one seam up the back all you need to do is finish the armholes and your top or dress is essentially done.

As soon as I had the time, I took a remnant of lurex sweater knit, ( it was a remnant from the bin at Metro) I wrapped the fabric around me and saw that it fit my hips with some additional room for ease. I cut it so the back would fit my curves and sewed it into a tube. I folded about ten inches to the inside, cut armholes, finished them on my serger and in almost no time, I had a great dress.


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