Tuesday, May 8, 2018

The Japanese workshirt, Burda Easy Spring-Summer 2018, self-bias binding using a bias tool, obi ties— maybe I did something wrong???

Once I'd dyed my white IKEA cotton a grocery-story-bought indigo, effecting some modest shibori references with a couple dozen rubber bands, I judged the result didn't have quite enough pizzazz. Actually, it didn't have any pizzazz whatsoever.

My genuine antique Japanese kimono,  (see my tutorial on the Burda kimono) has small flecks of gold paint. So I decided to echo my faint white circles with gold paint to kick the shirt up a notch. This added seven francs' cost plus brush to the cost of my dye for my 'free muslin.' It wasn't entirely a success. I wasn't in a patient, artistic mood and some of the gold brush strokes look too much like Frankenstein stitches—but for a ten-cent 'early morning shirt' I intend to wear gardening or cooking or writing before my pre-lunch shower, it was enough.

Burda calls for bias binding along both long neck edges. I knew I shouldn't cheat there by just overturning a hem once or twice, because the neckline needs stability and there is no facing otherwise.

I checked out what bias binding I had in my stash and didn't like brown or black. This gave me a chance to pull out one of my few really classy sewing accessories. (I don't own a serger or overlocker, a buttonhole gauge, or a walking foot. I'm so 1980!) But while we were at the UN in New York for five years for the ICRC, I had a chance to pick up a few nifty sewing tools. The two Clover bias binding makers I nabbed are below:


Using the smaller of the two, I was able to use up scraps of my cotton for home-made binding to ensure that the interior edge of the cross-over neckline was super neat and clean.

BUT a warning: these obi-style belt ties are really, really, really long and a time-sucking drag to double hem-stitch. I'm suspecting I did something wrong in the cutting because why would they have to go around twice!!?? They're more like Egyptian mummy bindings than waist ties!

Other than that, the construction of this shirt is as Burda Easy as they come. Perfect for any beginner. For a muslin first-go, I'm glad I tried it out. But if I use something more expensive than Ditte cotton from IKEA, I'll know I can shorten the ties considerably.

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