Frivolous at Last - Grainline Linden Sweatshirt in Japanese Quilting Cotton

I Have No Idea What My Shirt Says!

Despite having learned early on my sewing career not to get too excited about quilting cotton, especially since I don’t make quilts, I simply could not stop myself from buying a cut of THIS quilting cotton. My favourite colours! Japanese motifs! Cranes (or whatever those birds are)! It had my name written all over it. In fact, it might *literally* have my name written all over it, as I can’t read Japanese and have absolutely no idea what that writing says!

Frivolous at Last - Grainline Linden Sweatshirt

I used an old stand-by pattern — the Grainline Linden sweatshirt pattern — and applied pre-made cuffs to the sleeves and hem. I scored the cuffing from a local sewing supply shop for about $2 a yard, which is an absolute steal compared to a lot of the pre-made cuffing you can find out there.

Frivolous at Last - Grainline Linden Sweatshirt

Those cuffs and hem give it exactly the right amount of sportiness that I hoped to achieve, and I absolutely adore the final outcome. The lightweight cotton makes it a perfect spring/summer piece.


So now my only worry is what exactly does my shirt say??? I’m sure you’ve seen some funny shirts produced in Asia that have incorrect or even non-sensical English printed on them. If you haven’t, here is a selection from Bored Panda. Let’s start with some of the totally nonsensical ones:

And then there’s the ones where the English is technically correct but we’re not sure exactly why you’d put that on a t-shirt:

And then there’s some that are FUNNY because they’re TRUE:

I’d be okay if my shirt fell into any one of the previous categories. It’s this last category, the ‘let’s just call this inappropriate’ category, that I worry about:

So, if there’s some lovely person out there who can read these characters, PLEASE tell me I’m not just going around making claims about the current state of my digestive system!

Frivolous at Last - Grainline Linden Sweatshirt

Frivolous at Last - Grainline Linden Sweatshirt

Frivolous at Last - Grainline Linden Sweatshirt in Japanese Fabric - close up

Thanks so much for stopping by!

— Lori


16 thoughts on “I Have No Idea What My Shirt Says!

  1. Did you have any issues using woven fabric, instead of knit with the pattern? (Said differently, what modifications did you make to use the woven fabric?)


    1. Good question! I should have mentioned that in the post. Since I had made it with knit fabric twice before, I had a good idea of the fit. For woven, I went up a size, but because the sleeves are pretty slim I added even more width at the side of each sleeve piece. I’d recommend adding a lot more width at the sleeves than you think you need; you can always slim them down after sewing it up if it’s too much. I didn’t have to adjust the neck opening at all, as it’s fairly wide as drafted. Hope that helps!


  2. I asked a friend in Japan, who asked a Chinese person at her lab… it is Chinese poetry, by poet/philosopher named Roshi, and the text is about having long life! The cranes and bamboo are also symbols of long life. I’ve think you’ve made yourself a lucky top!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. OMG, Gillian! Thank you! I’m so happy to hear that. I will see what else I can find out about Roshi. What a happy coincidence that it is, in fact, something interesting! Many thanks to your friend and her co-worker!


  3. So one phrase I actually found in my Chinese dictionary: 天長地久 meaning “as old as heaven and earth-a very long time.” I’d attach a screen shot if I could figure out how. Or I could email it to you if you like. In Pinyin it is written as “Tian chang di jiu” which is pronounced “tien(1) chong(3) dee(4) gee-o(3).” (numbers are the tones used)
    The 2nd phrase is “花 逐下山風” which I’m not as confident translating, but is something like “flowers down the mountain wind” and is pronounced “hua(1) zhu(2) xia(4) shan(1) feng(1).”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to check that, Sarah! I can’t believe my luck — what beautiful poetry. The shirt is even more special now. 🙂


  4. Your top is elegant and sporty at the same time. How did you manage to do that? It’s a beautiful print and it looks very nice on you. Well done

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Barbara! Funnily enough, I had those exact words in my head as I planned it — elegant and sporty. Can’t believe I actually made it happen.


  5. You are hilarious, Lori! Love this post! And I love that other reviewers helped uncover the meaning. What a great shirt!

    Liked by 1 person

What do you think? Leave a comment.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s