‘Simple Chic’ and my sewing buddy!

I bought this Japanese sewing pattern book, ‘Simple Chic’ by Tomomi Okawa from Tessuti Fabrics about 2 years ago.  It has just been sitting on my bookshelf, looking at me, in all it’s Japanese loveliness ever since.  I bought it as I had spotted a couple of great tops I really wanted to try.


The only sticking point is that it is in Japanese. I popped round to my friend’s place and she translated a few key words like bust, hem and waist (thank you, Carolyn!) Luckily, it has some rather detailed illustrations and I thought what I can’t understand I can just fudge.  I am the queen of fudging it.

When my lovely friend, Jillian of Sew Unravelled  posted on IG that she had bought this book, we knew we had to sew something together.  She loves a Japanese pattern book and has inspired me to make some of my favourite pieces.  She is a prolific sewer and has an incredible sense of style. Here were are at Frocktails in January.

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Ironically, Jillian had bought the book for the same reasons as me.  The decision was easy, we settled on making the patch pocket pullover.


I really love the neck detail and those mammoth patch pockets!  It is also my favourite style, boxy and shapeless, covering all those wobbly bits. Endlessly practical too, a tunic in winter and dress in summer.


There is only one size to this pattern, so I had to make a few adjustments.  Of course it was way too long.  I cut off 9cm from the hem.  The neckline was also way too wide so I decided to increase the size of the shoulder pieces.  Not sure what to call them really, shoulder tabs??  Anyway, I redrafted this pattern piece and increased them by 2.5cm.

The shoulder tabs were a little strange and I had to ask Jillian for her interpretation of them, in the construction. It’s rather nice to have a sewing buddy on tap! I also think I have drafted them incorrectly as they don’t sit flat on my shoulder.  There is also some minor puckering too.  They were sitting really flat until I added the bias binding.  In hindsight, I think I should have just redrawn the neckline and left the shoulder tabs the original size.  Hindsight is a beautiful thing.

So, onto fabric. I found this fantastic dusky pink and grey herringbone fabric recently.  A preloved piece of course.  It has a really lovely drape and is very soft, a cotton blend I think. It cost me about $4.  I don’t think the photos do the fabric much justice, it’s hard capture the colour.  It looks salmon pink here and it’s not really that bright.  It’s very neutral.





photo bombing!

The big question is, does it look like a dinner ladies tabard?  I think it does but I am embracing this so I would say it is a successful make!  I think I would make a few tweaks to the pattern if I make it again and I think I would make it again.  I can see me wearing this A LOT.

So, onto my sewing buddy. I think Jillian’s top is a great success.  She has used the most beautiful fabric.  The style works really well with a bold print and she has captured this perfectly.  Pop over and have a read and marvel over her killer pins…

13 thoughts

  1. It’s a great tunic Kate. You ladies are so inspiring… I’m going to have to make up this pattern too (the book is already in my collection). Thanks for the details on your changes & hindsight. Wide necklines annoy me, so I anticipate some redrafting.


  2. Firstly Kate, you have no wobbly bits. Secondly, you do not look like a dinner lady. And thirdly, you are way too generous about my sewing and style. But thank you, lovely one. Those shoulder tab/gusset thingies are a bit challenging. When sewing the bias binding you have to make sure that corner is sharp at the shoulder line. One of my shoulders got a wee bit puckery too. I’m not sure what to do with the curved edges of the gussets to get them sitting flatter…. one for next time. I adore your version and you have me hankering for a soft and snuggly version for myself. I also like where your sleeve finishes, which is longer than mine given my gangly arms. This is a change I’ll make for next time. Let’s do this again!!!!!


    1. Thanks Jillian! I totally love your feathers. The bold print is so awesome. It works well in the heavier fabric I think too. I can see me making this top many times, it’s so easy to wear.
      My corners weren’t so sharp, better luck next time I think! X


  3. 🙂 you are funny! I can see the dinner lady (tuck shop lady in Aus lingo) thing now that you point it out. If you were dumpy and and wearing track pants it would be a thumbs down from me, but you skinny leg types (Anna and Jillian included in that reference) can rock these big boxy tops.


    1. Thanks Shelley! It is also an excellent top to cover those ‘bingo wings’! How lovely to be included in the skinny leg brigade! Don’t you just love Jillian in her feather top? X


  4. I understand your dinner lady reference (I have a certain plaid top, and whenever I wear it, I can’t help saying “you want beans or peas with that, love?’) But, you look really good in it, especially with the skinny pants!


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