Sew Japanese in January, 2020 edition

I love Instagram challenges such as  Sew Japanese in January  as they really do spur me on to make all the things I’ve been planning from my Japanese sewing books. Having said that, it looks as though I will only have one make for the challenge this January, but I am motivated to get on and make a couple of the others.

I decided to use Pattern b from Asuka Hamada Sweet Clothes, as I bought the book last year in Sydney for this very pattern and then decided it might make me look enormous at the top.

However, every time I got the book out my eyes fell to those sleeves and I knew I was going to have to make it.

I used a lovely piece of 1970s rayon given to me by my daughter-in-law, which came from her grandmother’s stash, so I felt very privileged and new it would have to be used for something special.


It was a very relaxing make, in spite of all the instructions being in Japanese. Luckily the diagrams are really self-explanatory and I didn’t have to puzzle over a thing.

In my stash I had a single rectangular vintage button that was exactly right for this top, and, although I can’t see it, it makes me happy knowing it’s there.


It turns out that my worries about the top were ill-founded, I think it’s quite flattering. And, oh, how I adore those sleeves! This is me trying to hide the hose – it’s really hard taking photos sometimes as the shadows interfere. I need to lift my game, I think.


whilst I was making it I began to fret about what I could wear with it. I knew my black self-drafted trousers would be fine, but it’s a bit hot for them in the summer, so I auditioned a couple of things. I tried it with this wrap skirt, but then decided the skirt has seen better days – it’s a bit stretched out of shape. I have a plan for its reincarnation though!


My trusty denim skirt is the answer to all my prayers. I made this skirt in about 2013 and have worn it constantly since. Summer and winter. It goes with nearly everything, including this top!


I adore the sleeves, which I may have mentioned, but noticed a problem when driving with the window down. Yes, the air gets under them and they fly everywhere, to the point of being a bit of a nuisance, especially on a long drive.


Although the sleeves are long, it’s quite airy under there, so I don’t feel hot. However, I do feel as though the neck is too high, so I’m already planning my next one with a couple of simple tweaks.


This is a pattern I can definitely recommend. The only issue is the sizing – I made a medium-large grading to a small-medium at the hips. For reference, I have a 92cm bust and 89/90cm hips. There are only two sizes given. I don’t know how hard it would be to grade the pattern up or down, but I suspect there’s a similar pattern out there somewhere with more inclusive sizing.

This make also qualifies for a couple of other IG challenges: Make a Garment a Month, the theme for which is “Genuine January”. I was going to use a genuine vintage Japanese pattern, before my eyes lit on this book, but I’m using genuine vintage fabric, and I genuinely love the top! The other challenge is  Sew Your Books, and although this is my first make from this particular book, it won’t be my last as there is a shirt I have my eye on!


27 thoughts on “Sew Japanese in January, 2020 edition

  1. I like it! It looks good with everything you’ve shown it with, and like Liz I suspect it would look good with other solid colours taken from the flowers. One question …. is there any sides to the body or is under those sleeves bare?

    1. There’s a full side panel. It’s basically a princess seam with sleeves inserted and no side seams. I am trying it with other solids. I have pink shorts it could look nice with.

  2. Now can you imagine if you were driving a convertible car?? Ah! Ah! These sleeves are everything Sue. I’ve used a similar Japanese pattern from a book also called Casual Sweet Clothes by Noriko Sasahara. I made it twice in knits and, believe me, they are my favorite summer tees. I think this style looks wonderful on you as well, especially with your denim skirt. Your blogpost made me want to get back to this pattern, but in woven this time.

  3. Love those sleeves! Maybe a small loop of elastic you can run your wrist through before getting in the car?? The elastic need not be obvious when you’re not in the car, or any windy situation.
    Hard decision about the skirt/pant color. Everything you’re wearing looks great! Did you try it with a white bottom?

  4. Those sleeves are great, Sue! I love them with your jeans skirt which color is perfect with the flower print.

  5. What about sewcialists sew the precious? Thank you for all your wonderful posts which I always enjoy reading. You can’t beat a trusty denim skirt. It’s a neutral.

  6. Nice!! I have a top with a similar sleeve (purchased on a holiday in China). Feels so breezy. I have only one Japanese book and looking at the patterns for this challenge did not inspire me. It is all very retro. Not sure why I bought the book actually. It was years ago now. Your denim skirt is so versatile. Might need to whip one of those up in Feb for the denim challenge 🙂

  7. Sue this top is really cute. It looks really good with your skirts. You must have some lovely vintage fabrics tucked away in your stash.

  8. Hi Sue
    Fabulous combination of the pattern and fabric choice! It looks really easy to wear!
    I have just bought the Big clothes Small clothes book and am really looking forward to start making. Can I ask you if the seam allowances are included on the pattern you used or need to be added on? Many thanks Ana

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