Archive | June, 2011

Mrs. Stylebook (Spring 2011) Review

22 Jun

I finally collected my three Mrs. Style Books from a Japanese vendor that orders them for me.  I have the spring, early summer and summer issues.  Today’s post will be on the spring 2011 issue.

There are about 90 drafting patterns in this issue.  The paper pattern included for this issue are for four dresses with the sewing instructions included.

The first two dresses have an unusual design detail using tucks in place of darts.  I love how the first dress creates the illusion of an hour glass figure with the tucks v-ing into the center front of the bodice and the skirt tucks flaring out.  The third dress is a shirt dress with a yoke back, drawstring waist, rolled up tab sleeve and a peter pan collar.  The fourth dress is a romantic puff sleeve dress with interesting pleating in the back.  For those who like to draft their own patterns, the instructions for the drafts are included.



Two trench coats: the red one is double breasted with pointed collar, the pink one is single breasted with rounded collar.

The light pink coat is a dress coat with 3/4 puff sleeves.  No collar and no closures.  Extremely easy to draft and sew.  I recommend this coat for novice drafter.


Interesting detailing on the neckline of the Chanel like suit on the left, a silk scarf is weaved into the neckline.  The scarf could be worn loose or tied up.  Middle outfit you have a jewel neckline jacket with bermuda shorts.  Last outfit on the right reminds me of a vintage Valentino jacket with the bows and rosettes on the front.


On the left there are two classic style dresses, one in a classic sheath and the other one in a variation of the sheath with a lower neckline.  I love the drafting technique on the dress on the right.  The front of the dress is in one piece.  The right side of the dress folds over to the left, pleating the fabric underneath.  The dress is fasten by two snaps.  Love the masculine avant-garde look of this dress.


Three jackets sewn in lace.  I like the one on the left.  That jacket would go well with  one of the sheath dresses featured above.  The middle jacket is too boudoir for me and the one on the right is a bit frou frou for me with the puff sleeves and satin paneling.


On the left is a cute military jacket.  The pant the model is wearing is also included in the draft.  Can’t decide which stripes to sew in?   Two double breasted jackets one with a collar and one without, sewn in nautical and swinging sixties striped fabric.


Two drafts for sheer knits, one is for a loose cardigan made up in a leopard heart print fabric and the second is for a peasant blouse made up in a lavender fabric.


There is a section on using kasuri fabric in garments.  I am not familiar with this type of fabric so I googled the word kasuri to find out.  This is Wikipedia’s definition:

Kasuri ()is a Japanese word for fabric that has been woven with fibers dyed specifically to create patterns and images in the fabric. It is an ikat technique. Kasuri is weft ikat; the warp threads can be a solid color or resist dyed as well, and the weft thread is resist-tied in a specific pattern and dyed with indigo to form a picture when the cloth is woven. When the woven pattern creates an image it is referred to as picture kasuri or E-gasuri.  Japanese ikats are generally weft ikats or double ikats.

I only posted two of the kasuri designs here.  These two are the most interesting in terms of fabric and design.  I especially like the kasuri fabric on the right with its triangular pattern of stagger lines.


There are a lot of designs in this magazine so here are a few that I found to be interesting from a pattern drafting stand point maybe not on the wear ability factor for some people.

(Left) Shirt when buttoned all of the way up turns into a funnel collar.  Have it left unbuttoned looks like a regular shirt collar.

(Right) A little bit too baggy for my taste, but like the pleated ruffle along the neckline and found the curved waistline interesting but not flattering.

(Left) Asymmetrical zip jacket reminiscent of a motorcycle jacket and a trench mashed together.

(Right)  Oddly enough I like this blouse even though I probably won’t be able to pull off this look.  The fullness in the back of the blouse reminds me of a sack-back gown or robe a la francaise from the 18th century.

Not liking the ruffle placement on this skirt.  I would remove all the ruffles or have the ruffles circling the bottom of the skirt.

(Left) Sailor front skirt with lace trims.

(Right) Open blouse with tie.


Included in this issue is a lovely crochet pattern for a bag.


There is a whole section on drafting pants starting with the pant block.  From the block it shows you how to alter the legs to get bell bottom, skinny, slim, straight, flare, wide, culottes, and easy pants. Below are two version of the skinny pant: the first one is taken in in the thigh and ankle, the second one is taken in the thigh, calf and ankle.
Aside from drafting different pants, it shows how to draft various pant pockets and waistbands with their placement.

At the end of the lesson it shows how you can apply your pant knowledge into creating other pant styles.  Here is a cute jumpsuit with a cowl neck and suspender back.


Sport Mesh! Unconventional Fabric Choice for Bridesmaid Dress

9 Jun

Piqued by the great reviews on international pattern magazines, I decided to order a couple of them off of Ebay.   I ordered March and April issue of Manequim, April issue of Knipmode, and 301 to 304 issues of Patrones plus the Young issue and Party Dress Issue.  They all came quickly within two weeks.

So I was going through April issue of Manequim and they had a feature on fabric trends for Winter 2011.  One of the trends was using sporty fabric and notions in unconventional way.  This brought back memories of the bridesmaid dresses that I made for my wedding last year using sport mesh.  Yes, I used sport mesh. Why you might ask?  Why not. It matched the color I wanted for my bridesmaid and the fabric was unbelievably cheap (I was a very budget conscious bride).  My color pallet was inspired by the Prada spring 2010 ready-to-wear collection: dark steel gray, black and white. Originally I wanted my bridesmaid in white, but my husband was freaking out and thought I should be the only one in white.

The sport mesh is a non-stretch type used in sport jerseys.  It has a nice sheen and it has a weight similar to that of satin. Very easy to sew with and it doesn’t fray.

I used Butterick pattern B5319 for the bridesmaid dresses, omitting the sleeves.  I also lined the dresses which weren’t in the original pattern with a light weight white satin. The pattern was easy to sew. No major alteration to the pattern except for taking in the center back of the bodice back to prevent the unsightly gaping all of my bridesmaid had during the first fitting.

Being the procrastinator that I am, I completed four bridesmaid dresses, two flower girl dresses and muslin for all six garments a month before the wedding.  I was happy with the end result. If I had more time I would have liked to make the skirt on the bridesmaid dress more voluminous.