As a child I was a voracious reader and, in particular, was seriously obsessed with Enid Blyton. Obsessed to the extent that I not only read every book of hers I could get my hands on (and as you may already know, there are an obscene amount of them), but also read her autobiography and had a picture of her in my room. Yeah, that obsessed! My mom always said I had a habit of becoming utterly obsessed with anything I became interested in – I’m making no comment here on whether that is now true of sewing and knitting…
Anyway, none of the books I loved as a kid immediately suggested a project to me. Instead I though of my favourite children’s book as an adult, Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince. I think I was a teenager when I first read The Little Prince, while on holiday with my family in France. Me and my brother both immediately loved it and I still read it regularly – my favourite section is the first couple of pages where the author describes his drawing of a boa constrictor eating an elephant, which every adult mistakes for a drawing of a hat.
So, I planned to embroider a garment with an image from The Little Prince (and may still get to that at some point), when I spotted a favourite series of manga in my bedroom – Doraemon – and remembered this fabric. This project is a prime example of how an online challenge can spur on sewing activity. I bought this fabric at the London meet-up organised by Rachel in 2014, immediately decided to make an Emery Dress with it and ordered the pattern. Both fabric and pattern have sat in my stash waiting to be made for the last two years.
Doraemon has been a staple of children’s TV and literature in Japan since the 70s. He’s well known around the world, but has never really taken off in the UK (or, I suspect, the US, since manga and anime available in the UK are usually produced in the US). As far as I know, the Doraemon manga has never been published in English – however, in both Japan and China, ten bilingual volumes of the manga are published as tools for learning English. When I visited China a few years ago I bought the full set.
The basic premise of the manga is that a lazy kid (Nobita) is visited by a robot cat from the future (Doraemon), who is sent back in time by Nobita’s descendants to improve his future by preventing him being lazy. What makes the manga so appealing are Nobita and Doraemon’s characters and the relationship between them. Despite the fact that Doraemon is a robot on a mission, he really just wants a quiet life and is easily pestered into assisting Nobita to be lazy/cheat/one-up school bullies, all of which eventually back fire, of course.
The dress is an Emery, graded between a 2 at the bust and 6 at the waist/hips. I’m really pleased with the fit and will be making more – it definitely needs a petticoat for full effect though. The only change I made was using a standard zip as opposed to concealed, which was because I asked Phil to buy it – he remembered that it needed to be pink and 22″, but forgot concealed. Close enough I reckon!
As a side note, my favourite random Doraemon facts are that he holds a position (anime ambassador) in Japan’s Foreign Ministry, and that the first versions of Doraemon published in Hong Kong were pirated and he was renamed Ding-Dong!
Rebecca has organised four giveaways as part of the blog tour, the full list of prizes and rafflecopter entry links can be found here.
The full list of bloggers participating in the tour is as follows: