When Things Go Wrong

June 7, 2014

I had a very salutary realisation recently.  I am not a Japanese woman.

I made this.  It is from Yoshiko Tsukiori’s Stylish Dress Book – Wear with Freedom (2008).

IMG_2567It seemed like destiny: a beautiful book of patterns that looked so comfortable to wear, time to draw off the pattern and I found the exact amount of fabric required in an oppy (charity shop) in the perfect plaid. That is destiny right?

IMG_2569Sadly, when the dress was finished and I tried it on, I realised that I have not the physique of a young Japanese woman.  I am short of stature that is true. But I lack the shoulders and slim contours that make this dress look so lovely.

My breasts (which I had apparently mislaid in my memory) have unintended consequences on the drape and make me look like a tired, sad, put-upon mama in the Oklahoma dustbowl in the 1930s wearing a dress that fit someone else a long time ago.

IMG_2705Yes, dear readers, I am a victim of Japanese styling.  I was beguiled and enthralled by the sparse settings, lovely lighting and the I-am-effortlessly-stylish-whilst-rejecting-mainstream-fashion-in-my-comfortable-shoes-and-wool-socks model.  I lost my better judgement and any memory of what actually suits my body shape.

And yes, I am too vain to show you a picture me wearing the dress, too sad to even bother ironing it and I don’t even care that this next pic is blurry.

IMG_2707My next dressmaking foray will still be supremely comfortable but will definitely involve darts and shaping that reflect my actual body shape.

I have cast off my enthralment.

Or perhaps there is something miraculous that can be done with waist ties?

Now, a little postscript…the Ghosts in the Machine have been a little active lately. Something odd happened to the May Inside the Ribbon Tin (so click the link if you missed it) and then some of my replies to your lovely comments from Vest to Vestment have wandered off into the ether.  I do appreciate your comments and always reply…so my apologies if you didn’t get yours.  Both Ghosties have been wrestled with so it shouldn’t happen again.


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  1. Argh, curse that seductive Japanese styling! I am certain you are neither the first nor the last to succumb, and with such outcomes…

    I did have a giggle at the 1930’s dustbowl reference. Very visual!

  2. Please, please read this post (June 23, 2008) by Alicia Paulson of Posie Gets Cozy. Similar problem, similar dress– absolutely hilarious post. And I totally get it because I love the look, but with four kids and a bunch of extra weight that I really need to lose, it’s not going to look good. The way she writes about it, though, might lift your spirits. 🙂

  3. One can be beguiled, by that Japanese style. One thing is extreme youth, slight bone structure and wonderful settings.

    Dust bowl era, I know what you mean.


  4. I am forever misplacing my breasts when I see clothes that I like on a skinny model–I totally understand! This was lots of fun to read!

  5. Yes, indeed!! I think a lot of us have been there, done that. I would like to see it when you have redone it to fit you. The dustbowl mention is scarry. I have seen pictures of hollow-eyed women wearing dresses that might have fit them at one time.

  6. OH thank the Goddess that I am not the only one…….I laughed so hard I got a belly ache and then I read the ‘rosylittlethings’ post and laughed so hard I woke up the dog who cam over to see just WHAT the ‘problem’ was! I have a japanese sewing book and was looking at another one………hmm what AM I thinking? I have made a couple of things and while they are comfy they are NOT high fashion no matter what the fabric is. At 5’3″ I need platform heels…..and I too tend to mislay parts of my anatomy!!!

  7. It’s such a shame when the vision in your mind , or pretty styled photo, isn’t what turns out. Waist ties could be just the thing, or maybe the dust bowl look might come into fashion and you’ll be at the forefront.

  8. Oh dear. What a shame after all that work. (I wouldn’t go near a Japanese pattern no matter how eye catching on the mode. As it is I always have to lengthen US patterns.) I learned that lesson long ago when a very petite, dark-skinned friend of mine wore a blouse (diaphanous cream and pleated all over) I thought was absolutely stunning on her. She urged me to buy one for myself, so I dashed to the store, found the blouse in my size and tried it on. Oh dear. 🙁 While it was stunning on her, it didn’t work for me at all. (I sort of drowned in the pleats, pleats that were about 3x the length of the pleats in her blouse!)

  9. I’ve looked at those books and dresses too and I came to a similar conclusion.
    I am too old to wear them as a dress but I wonder how they work a bit shorter with some pants—and I don’t mean leggings because I don’t wear those anymore either.

  10. I feel ya. I aspire often to minimalism but it really looks awful on me. Much better to continue with womanly cuts and Autumnal hues. They make me feel so much better and carry toddler smear so much better than grey or black smocks.

  11. Bahahahahaha do I ever know that feeling!! last summer I was just enchanted by those oh-so-chic flowy blouses effortlessly tucked into a pair of skinny jeans. I bought a lovely blouse, put on some jeans, and BOOM, instant circus tent. I don’t know what I expected to happen, it’s not like my boobs are exactly a surprise.. I fixed it by trading the pants for a high waisted skirt that pulled everything in at the waist, making me look curvy instead of like a BIG BLOB. 😛

  12. Oh no! What about a wide belt?

    I have several Japanese pattern books but haven’t managed to find time to decipher the double-sided sheets enough to trace anything. Thanks for the warning 🙂

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