japanese swallows

We love birds in our house (but not literally) and swallows are one of the favourites. I love the way they fly along so low to the ground at great speed, grabbing their food as they do so. The children love them through stories, think rescuer of Thumbelina or the classic Swallows and Amazons and as well as being synonymous with the onset of Spring, they are linked with many other tales and legends too.
  • It is Estonia's national bird and there it represents free blue sky and eternal happiness;
  • Swallows are often the first birds to land on a ship that had been out to sea for long periods of time. So it came to symbolise being close to, or finding your way home;
  • It is said in an old superstition, that when you see a swallow for the first time in a new year, it is an omen of wealth. You're supposed to rub the money in your wallet whilst watching the bird, to help the cash roll in;
  • A tattoo of a swallow became popular for it's symbolism of home, pride, love and a host of other reasons that you can read about here.
But fear not, I have no tattoo to show you but I have been sewing. Again.

I've been hoarding this Japanese swallow-print cotton for too long now and thought that, with the onset of warmer weather, and like the bird, it was time for it to make an appearance. This Japanese book is a new release and has some really pretty patterns inside which are divided into sections for Town, Party and Resort.

The instructions did have me baffled a little this time, namely the pleating across the top which, once underway became completely obvious and crystal clear. The illustrations weren't as concise as previous patterns I've used so I had to fill in the gaps but this is becoming easier as each project goes by thankfully. My Mother still finds it amusing that I'm teaching myself to sew from Japanese patterns but there you go, in for a penny (or perhaps I should say Yen) ...

I love the sweet sleeves with their double layers.

The fabric is soft and lightweight too, so it'll be perfect for the Summer and the warmer weather, should it decide to return. In fact I wore it on Monday in the searing heat and it was a godsend then.

So, all I need now is a Party!

Have a wonderful long (and sunny?) weekend xx


  1. You amazingly know about swallow tales better than me!
    Do you read Japanese?

    Your blouse looks so elegant.I like the double flared leaves.Seems comfortable in hot summer!! Of course Party too!!

  2. it's absolutely gorgeous xoxox

  3. Oh my goodness, that is absolutely beautiful! Both the blouse and the fabric. Please could you let us in on the secret to where you find such gorgeous fabrics?
    R x

  4. It is lovely. You are brave making it from Japanese instructions - I find English instructions quite baffling enough sometimes!

  5. I love the fabric you used for the blouse. That pattern really is fabulous, the sleeves are so pretty.

  6. I loved that shirt! I am very pretty! congratulations, you make very nice clothes.
    Good weekend.

  7. thats lovely well done.....hope you get your party1

  8. Lovely. Lovely pattern and lovely fabric. I am sure you will get a lot of enjoyment out of wearing such a pretty top - hope the party materialises!


  9. Beautiful fabric for a wonderful top - I really love the whole effect.

    And in answer to your lovely critters post, we are awaiting the new hatched preying mantises - Son 2 kept two females last autumn and they both laid eggs. I don't know if they will have survived winter in the house, but he's sure to find some in the garden soon...

  10. Lovely blouse and fabric and with a bonus of swift facts.

  11. I love your blouse Kate - the swallow fabric is quite unique and elegant. You do amaze me with your Japanese creations!!

    I was fascinated by your swallow tales and facts. I look forward to Lesley's comment ...!

    It's been raining and cold here today - so different to last weekend! Hope the sun makes an appearance for us all soon.


  12. Oh it's gorgeous, well done!
    Your necklace is beautiful as well.
    I wish it were sunny here but, no such luck...it's pouring.


    Have a brilliant weekend,

    Sarah x

  14. You are so talented!
    I`m glad to have found your beautiful blog!


  15. We were standing amongst low flying swallows on the South Downs at the weekend. The material really is very lovely, and the blouse is just perfect for all the sunny days which lay ahead. x

  16. Absolutely brilliant. Translating something from Japanese into this gorgeous top, bet you were thrilled - I love it.

    Lisa x

  17. this is fabulous! i can't decided exactly which pattern to make first from this book. the double layered sleeve is a really special detail and the fabric is so lovely!

  18. I love your take on this top, it's so romantic! I'm glad I found your blog (through flickr btw) because I'm fond of Japanese patterns and I'm having a great time looking at all the garments you made from them!


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