On the Hunt for Korean & Japanese Sewing Patterns

It’s a week from Easter and here I am sewing a dress in a green that looks like it would be more fall appropriate.  But I don’t care, I love the color, the fabric, and the design of the dress.  It really is simple in construction, but it took a lot longer to finish this garment due to some language stumbling blocks which sent me searching the Korean-English online dictionary for words in Korean I have never heard before (I never learned “topstitch” or “interfacing” in Korean!!!).  Despite the hiccups, I was determined to finish the dress and am going to make almost every pattern in the book.  I’ll have to think about the little capri pants with a sideways uni-suspender though.
I’ve been wanting to get my hands on a few Korean and Japanese children’s sewing patterns books for a while and found them extremely difficult to get without having to pay 2x the price of the book for international shipping.  I know there are quite a few Japanese sewing books that have been translated into English and are available for purchase on Amazon, but they didn’t have the same draw that this book did.  I was able to see sample pictures of the book on a Korean e-bookstore and even tried drafting my own pattern (still in the works) after a cute and simple girl’s tunic from one of the books, but I still wanted the other patterns… Well, I found a copy of the book on Etsy in Korean and ecstatic is an understatement to the joy I felt when I finally got it in the mail; international shipping needs to be quicker.  I did have to pay a bit more than I would have liked in shipping fees, but it was better than other online bookstores shipping from Korea.
Direct translation of the title: My Child’s Closet
I know it’s hard to see the pictures of the patterns making up the table of contents, which is such a cute idea!  The book includes patterns for dresses, a tunic, shirts, pants/shorts/capris, tutu, and one too many jacket/coats; I will likely attempt no more than one coat pattern.  I learned the hard way that seam allowances are NOT included in the pattern pieces and you have to add seam allowances according to the book.  For example, you have a skirt, and it says to add 1 cm seam allowance on all sides except the hem, you add 4 cm.  Also another thing I wasn’t used to was the metric units and the different symbols they use for “fold” when you cut.  I’ve come to realize that I like having seam allowances already built into the pattern pieces.

This dress, “Baggy Look One-Piece”, is one of the first patterns I’ve tackled from this book and it just may be my favorite little girl’s dress design.  I love the loose, comfy linen fabric that’s shown in the picture, the colors, and the cute pockets.  I tried to find a linen-type fabric as close to the one in the picture as I could, but I think mine is a bit thicker and has a bit more structure than I would like.  I actually like the way the dress seems to be a bit baggy and drapey on the model…

My little A loves the dress (of course) and says it’s now her favorite dress, but then she says that every time she gets a new dress. My sweet little girl.  She says it’s her fave because of the pockets.  Come to think of it, I don’t think she has pockets in any of her other dresses.  I love pockets in my dresses too and I didn’t know some wedding dresses have pockets!

I cut the pieces out for the dress a week ago and finally got out my sewing machine last night to construct it.  I really thought I would be done in a couple hours, but like I mentioned before, I got stuck on the Korean…  and here I was pretty confident about my Korean… I guess what other opportunities do I ever have to brush up and practice my Korean?  The only other time I use Korean is when I talk to my mom (over the phone) and when I make a conscious effort to use Korean when talking to my kiddos (which I forget to do most of the time).  It’s hard to remember to talk to them in Korean and it’s also inconvenient because I know they’ll understand me right away when I talk to them in English…

I really do love this dress! I want one in my size!  Probably wouldn’t look to flattering on me though.  That’s why I love sewing for little girls.  They look so sweet and cute in almost anything.

Maybe a muslin-type fabric would give the dress the loose, baggy, look that I was going for.  Next time.

For now, thanks for reading!


Night Owl Projects: First Day Dress

Hope everyone had an enjoyable weekend.  I think I did, but then every weekend seems to be a blur of activities with the only trace of it ever happening, safely documented on Instagram thanks to my overgramming addiction.  I do recall purchasing a pattern, tracing and cutting the pattern pieces, cutting out my fabric pieces, and sewing them all late into the night, but then I didn’t Instagram that process so I can only conjecture.  *wink*  As my kiddos are getting older and participating in more activities, our Saturday schedules are becoming packed with back to back activities.  I find it quite fun and fulfilling at this point, but ask me again in a year.

I used to print patterns for boy’s shorts, neckties, skirts, etc. from Dana Made It a couple years ago and really liked all the tutorials and free patterns she had on her site.  That was when I was trying to learn how to make children’s clothes for my littles and had been scouring blogs and printing off everything that was free.  When I revisited her site last week, I found this First Day Dress Pattern that I just had to get and make for my girls.  My older girl is 5 and she will only wear dresses (as mentioned in a previous blog post) and her little sister, almost 3, is following in big sis’s footsteps.  So I have been meaning to make more dresses and skirts for them in hopes to also use up some of my hoard of fabric I have been sitting on for years.  This was the perfect opportunity to kill two birds with one stone.

I love how simple and quick this pattern went and love that you get multiple dress and top options.  I made the A-line dress and the Swing dress both with full linings and it got so many compliments when the girls wore them to the Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday.

I know the navy blue one is not very Easter-y in color but I loved the little apples on it and thought it would be perfect for my my little C since she will be starting preschool for the first time this fall.  I made her dress in the size 3 and my older A’s dress in the size 5.  They fit nice but have to put it on with arms fully extended straight up and my help for now.  There’s enough growing room for them both for the duration of the year or so they wear it.  Good thing C loves hand me downs from big sis.  Such a waste otherwise.

A is loving the skirt portion of her dress and the way it can “twirl like a princess”.  They wore it all day yesterday and today for church.  I’m already thinking of making more of these.  I might even venture to add some pockets on C’s A-line dress.  We will see how that goes and I will document the process on a future post.

Thanks for reading and sharing in my enthusiasm for darling girls’ clothes!

Orange Pound Cake with Lemon Mascarpone

It’s technically winter and spring isn’t here for another 8 days but it’s been warm the last couple days and I see beautiful, sweet berries at the store so I decide it’s okay to eat raspberries layered with orange pound cake and lemon mascarpone as dessert for book club before spring/summer.  This is my first time hosting book club and I’m still a newbie in the club so I was racking my brain for days trying to come up with a dessert to serve and I remembered this Trader Joe’s Cookbook recipe I love that uses ladyfingers soaked in orange juice layered with berries and lemon mascarpone.  I decided to try it with Ina Garten’s Orange Pound Cake and it had to be pound cake since the characters in the book had pound cake after their eventful dinner.  We just read the book “Mother of Pearl” by Melinda Haynes and we all agreed the first third of the book was really hard to get through.  There was a lot of crude words and language that really didn’t need to be there and should have been cleaned up by the editor.  Plus the story was difficult to follow as was keeping track of the characters in the beginning.  But once we got through the first couple hundred pages of the book, it finally started to pick up and things were starting to make more sense.  Also, we weren’t reading swear words and the crude words for body parts in every other sentence (okay, I exaggerate).  There were great relationship developments towards the end and it was overall a good read, IF you didn’t end up tossing the book at the beginning :).

I baked the Ina Garten Orange Pound Cake the night before so all I had to do was simply mix the lemon curd with mascarpone and layer with the pound cake and berries.  I think the raspberries go really well with the lemon mascarpone and the Orange pound cake rather than other berries, but strawberries would work well too.  It tastes great with ladyfingers but also tastes even better with the orange pound cake and all the wonderful citrus zest it it makes for a fresh, delightful dessert!  
It’s assembled into an 8×8 inch glass baking dish but can be made in individual glass cups for an even more elegant presentation.  It it is so fast and simple to make and even more so when you use store-bought ladyfingers!  Here are the recipes below! 
Orange Pound Cake by Ina Garten – it makes two loaves and you only need one loaf for the trifle dessert so you can always give away the other half, eat it yourself, or freeze it.
adapted from “The I Love Trader Joe’s Cookbook”
1 (10oz) jar Lemon Curd
1.5 (8oz) containers mascarpone
1/2 cup orange juice
1 loaf Orange Pound Cake (recipe link above) or 1 package ladyfingers
about 2 cups fresh raspberries, washed and dried
1. Mix the lemon curd with the mascarpone cheese until smooth but don’t overbeat.  May become grainy if you beat too long.
2. Slice the pound cake into 1/2″ slices and dip it in orange juice.  Place dipped side up in the bottom of an 8×8″ dish and repeat until you fill the bottom of the dish.  Do the same for ladyfingers, if using.

3. Spread half of the lemon curd mascarpone mixture over the cake then top with half of the berries.
4. Repeat with another layer of sliced pound cake dipped in orange juice and top with remaining lemon mascarpone and raspberries.
5. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least an hour.
Serve and enjoy~
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