Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Dignified Pullover Garment: Japanese Nested Patterns

No, I still don't remember where I heard about this book

I am glad that I did order it.

This is the stuff I need

This is the shirt I am going to make.
If you have ever traced off a pattern from a nested page, you know how frustrating it can be. It had better be interesting enough to make the work worthwhile.

The diagram of nested pieces is on pattern page 3, and their relative locations on that page (relative to each other that is). 

The piece shapes are good to know, as it makes it a lot easier to figure out if you traced all of it. Or too much of it.

I do not know what the numbers on the tech drawing refer to. They do not refer to the instructions, which are very very brief.

I don't want to draw on the pattern page, as I will reuse this page and may eventually sell or trade this book. So I want to find a way to indicate where the lines are before I start tracing, so I can see the whole piece beforehand.

After some pondering of household items, my gaze fell on a penny.
I do have a lot of them. They are small, flat, and they stay put.

The pieces are indicated by their pattern letter (L in this case) and a little line to the line you're looking for.

See the rectangle, nested in with the other pieces? I fingertraced and left pennies until I got all the way around.

The letter codes go all the way around the page. So I went around the page clockwise, tracing them one by one. Even the ones I was pretty sure I wasn't going to use.

That's a rectangle, with a rule on one edge ready to go

Some were a little less specific which line. I had to go back to this one to find the piece I was missing at the end.

That's a sleeve

That's a tailor's mark. It's very easy to miss those with that much going on, but I got the ones I needed.

When I was tracing, I used a rule as often as possible, and rolled the paper over the pennies, flicking them out of the way through the paper once I had found the line.

At this point, I would urge anyone who is interested in nested sewing patterns to do a dry fit of the pieces you have traced. They may look like the pieces in the diagram, but this is where I always get 'bit'. The large square piece ended up being two inches too wide to fit. And the whole thing would be a dress in length on me, so I left off cutting out the bands at the bottom.

Most importantly, the sizes do run notoriously small. I cut a large (from previous hard won experience) and my 38" chest just fits comfortably.  I read no japanese to speak of, so the measurement table made no sense to me (largest number was first, then middle, then smallest last. I guessed the largest would probably be the hip. It may have been.)

This is really a lot of work for a pattern. If it's just another shift or a tshirt, I wouldn't bother tracing it out, I'd steal the style features and adapt them to an existing pattern I already have worked up.

The actual sew is very quick, maybe an hour. It's just big pieces that don't have to be lined up precisely, and the interior finishes can all be serged.

left off the bands and the cuffs. I'm short

Next post is the construction and breakdown.


  1. You look very calm, all things considered. The result is very individual. I made dresses from a similar book (Fashionable Clothes Girls Like was the quirky translation of title) and there was a lot of overlap which made it easy to make mistakes (i.e. your advice is a good one!)

    Let me know if you find out what the numbers stand for!

  2. You are very kind. Calm is not a standard demeanor for me. Ask my family.

  3. I think the numbers on the tech drawing of the pattern pieces are seam allowances (in centimeters). At least that is what they are in the Japanese patterns I have sewn. Although those numbers seem non standard. Who knows!


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