Hot! An Accidental Art Smock | Veronica Darling


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The Facts

Fabric: thrifted cotton, $.50c and remnant stretch knit, $.10c
Pattern: Yoshiko Tsukiori's Stylish Dress Book, style K
Year: 2008
Notions: just thread
Time to complete: 2 hours for top, 5 minutes for skirt
First worn: December 2011
Wear again? Yes for the skirt, maybe not for the top!

Total Cost: Under $1

Oops, somehow I made an artsmock instead of View K from the darling Japanese Stylish Dress Book! AND, for once I can understand why. The fabric suggestion (which of course I didn't read prior to sewing) was chiffon. And even with my poor sense of what fabric is what, I understand that chiffon and this cotton plaid aren't really the same thing.

Of course, there's no excuse (as it's been nearly a YEAR of sewing weekly) but my mind's been a bit all over the place! It's been a VERY jam packed November for us with renovating & moving house, and the month ended with a week of work in Sydney that was awesome and hectic. Our festive season is in full swing, and there's just so much on. I could see my window of opportunity to sew a Purple Power item getting smaller and smaller and smaller… EEP!

When I finally had time to sew, I grabbed my purple plaid cotton, found my Japanese sewing book and thought I couldn't go wrong. Whilst the pattern is so delightful to follow, it is the billowing art smock-esque silhouette that isn't too flattering!


The fabric is from my stash, thrifted as well, so quite a small remnant. I changed the pattern bodice front from a button down to sit on the fold instead, to save on fabric, but pretty much followed the rest of the instructions down to a T. As an afterthought, I added the vertical strip of fabric to the front, to add some buttons and therefore create a 'faux' button up shirt look.

This time round using the Japanese sewing book, I actually traced the pattern pieces to old butchers paper (recycled from moving house) so that took a bit of extra time. But after doing the gathers along the neckline, I began attaching the binding, and started to think something didn't look right! I was very close to adding the buttons to my fake vertical 'placket' (as the book called it) but after trying it on, I just had to laugh. I don't think I'd ever wear the top!

Ohhhh, damn! The drop shoulder and the flowing gathers would just be better with softer and floppier fabric. Oh well, next time! The skirt is the easiest to put together, made from some remnants of some neverending purple stretch knit, I cut around an existing stretch skirt (without distinguishing from front to back) and sew, right sides together, up the sides. It stretches around my hips, and it's pretty much a tube of fabric. Love it. SO COMFY.

So, it's a funny weird top and an awesome skirt from my sewing room this week. I wore the skirt to work today and still loving it! I totally don't mind purple, I think it suits the blondie and the browner skin I sport, but I'd prefer 'touches' of purple instead of heaps of it. I have a couple pairs of purple shoes, which I think is a great black and red colour friend!

Maybe it's my new sewing room layout or maybe my absent busy mind, but I also knocked champagne all over my lovely instructions book! Klutzy and absent minded this week!



Veronica Darling

Veronica Darling has been sewing well for about 4 years, blogging for 5 years and smiling for over 33 years. In 2011, she joined Mena's Sew Weekly in sewing through the year, and in 2012 will keep challenges slightly smaller in scale.


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  1. I don’t know, I think it’s pretty cute. Why not wear it with jeans and boots instead of a pencil skirt? I have quite a few of these lovely mistakes in my wardrobe and I try to give them their due now and then!

  2. I think it’s still cute, too, and agree with Colleen’s suggestion. Love the purple shoes!

  3. I love the purple plaid. I think you could find a place for it in your wardrobe. [I also love that you drink champagne while sewing!]

  4. Looks cute to me – especially how airy it would be on a hot summer day

  5. I don’t know, I think it would be very cute tucked into jeans or belted with a skinny belt. Otherwise, maybe you could make some fetching pintucks to take in some of the volume? It’s a very flattering neckline for you. You just need a little bit of under-bust/waist definition. Oooh, smocking! You could do some rows of smocking at the waistline! How cute would that be?

  6. Honey…you could make a garbage bag look hot!! I think the top is sweet and agree with Jenn that it would look great tucked into jeans or a high waisted skirt! I just love your hair in these photos too…it’s getting so long!!

  7. The blouse is really cute and I think Japanese pattern at times just have too much ease. How about adding some waist tucks for shaping? Fabulous skirt, it’s a staple for sure especially in knit and you look great in purple!

  8. With you hands on your hips drawing it in on the last photo, it looks almost right. I’d go with the suggestions of drawing it in somehow. 5 minute skirt? wow

  9. How about putting in a waist casing with elastic – to pull it in at the waist to give some shaping?

  10. everybody’s boozin it up this week! IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR.
    i love that you put your art smock up and still look glowing in it.

  11. Princess seams, dahlink! Or perhaps a couple boho ties that wrap around you (like an apron) and tie in the back? I”m sure you can make it work!

  12. So good to know others make foopars jut me!! Could you add a wide waiste band to bring it in at the waiste or add a bit of length to tuck into jeans or pants. Or put it aside a revisit it another day, thats what I do do, or put it in the dress up box! Thanks Veronica for sharing

  13. Thanks Colleen, I might give it a go! Now that it’s summer, I was even thinking I could wear it over my swimmers with shortie shorts?

  14. Thanks Sarah, I’m going to have a think of how else to wear it. xoxo

  15. Hee hee! Of course it’s the sparking wine champagne variety! Thanks Emily!

  16. Yep, that’s what I was thinking when I made it up… it *might* work as a beach type top!

  17. Belted would make it cute! And SMOCKING: what a challenge! That’s what I should totally try! New skillz! (Might take me 6 months to pep myself up for it though!)

  18. Thank you Debi! Too lovely! I’ll have to experiment with some different looks to see if it’ll stay in the wardrobe!

  19. I was going to write what Jenn suggested. That would definitely work. Great skirt, you can never have too many skirts. xxoo

  20. Oh no wine based disaster! I had one of those this week too – the ironing board collapsed on me while I was using it both to iron and hold my wine glass….oops. Hope your book came out okay and there was still enough in the bottle to pour another glass!
    I’m so jealous of your stretch knit skills – it all looks so comfy! And I think you can pull anything off, including that top – tucked in, at the beach, wherever, whatever. Are those the “oops not genuine Melissa’s” purple shoes? I still love them, as I love and covet all your shoes… I love that second photo too, just gorgeous xx

  21. Thanks Adey! I quite like purple!
    I think my previous Japanese pattern dress was also a bit larger too… but I’d gone down a size perhaps? Anyways, they’re lovely patterns so I’ll have to try some more!

  22. I think that’s the best look too Jen, I’ll have a play around with a belt perhaps.
    Best way to make a skirt outta stretch knit, but there’s no way I’d show you the waistband, as there isn’t one!

  23. Thanks for the linky dink! I’ll have a think about a casing, there may not be enough fabric for that peplum-esque lower bit… but could be ok!

  24. It’s THAT time of the year for sure. I’m going to be popping lots more champagne (aka sparking wine, thrifty!) over the next few weeks! And cheers-ing (is that a word?) all of us! xoxo
    Thanks darling!

  25. OOOH, I like the ties idea – that could totally work! Thanks sweetpea!

  26. Thanks Meagan for your suggestions! When it started to look like an art smock, I just had to laugh!

  27. The book was saved!
    And yes, these are my *almost* Melissa’s… which I can only wear on hotter days, as they are really too stiff in cold weather… they soften up when it’s hot! WEIRD! xoxo

  28. V, I would try the smocking. I followed the directions Gertie gave on her site to fix a top that was just to revealing
    Smocking was amazing and much easier then I thought. It’s really straight sewing the bobbin is just wound with elastic thread. Good luck!