Thursday 28 March 2013

You can count on Melbourne weather

to change!
Yesterday was stinking hot. Overnight we had lots of rain and today was perfect for wearing the new dress.
But it was also perfect for puddle jumping. So the dress is already in the wash with no modelled photos!
Here's a picture that, except for the colour, is remarkably similar:

Wednesday 27 March 2013

It must be autumn somewhere

I thought it was starting to cool down and would be the perfect time to try out a long sleeved dress pattern from Let's Go Out Girl's Clothes by Yuki Araki. The weather turned out to be all wrong (35degrees, phew) but I've been really inspired by the sewing talk happening over here such that I couldn't help myself and made it anyway. If you haven't seen the Japanese Sewing Pattern Series it's worth a look, the latest post by Sanae was superbly presented.

This is Dress "y" which is essentially a dress version of the T-shirt I'd already made here. Instead of a tie closure at the back, this one suggests a sew in snap. I'd found it quite tricky to sew the stretchy, cotton lycra, bias strips closed on the T-shirt version and I like this more utilitarian closure. As a bonus I got to play with my new plastic snaps for my snap press.

And, of course, I'd happened to purchase some beige ones which went fine with the olive dress. (and there's my entire colour palette in one sentence!)
The construction of this back placket is nicely demonstrated with some detailed colour photos that belong to another one of the patterns. The gathering at the front and the neck binding is shown here:

Step 1 refers to page 34 where the back placket is constructed. Step 2 presumably is to sew gathering stitches and gather the front until it's 4cm wide. Step 3 is to sew the shoulder seams, and then step 4 is to attach the neck binding. All pretty straightforward, although the neck binding is a rectangular piece with the same dimensions regardless of which size pattern you make. So, for my littlest 90cm size it was quite long. Given that you know how much gathering to do at the centre front, it's simply a matter of trimming any binding left over beyond the lengths shown in the instruction. I actually prefer this way of gathering and binding a neck, compared to "gathering to fit" a precise neck binding length.

Here's the pattern showing the ribbon at the dropped waist and how to attach it:

I would have loved to have found some ruched ribbon like that, and I can see (now) the point in using a ruched ribbon and hand sewing it. But jeez what a lot of bother....
Me, I just sewed a grosgrain ribbon on. Rather, first I pinned the ribbon to the dress, then cut the length, then sewed it. Of course as I sewed, the knit fabric stretched and by the time I got to where I started the ribbon was about 4cm too short. Doh!
I didn't have enough ribbon to start over, so I've just stitched an extra length on and tried to cover it with the bow.
I wonder if my hem seams and that stretched, slightly puckered ribbon line justifies buying myself a walking foot.... Here's a picture that makes me think so:

Or maybe I should just wash the dress, put it on A and take some cuter pictures!
I'm done sewing for the week, and am heading out of town, but I'll be burning the battery on my mobile watching the rest of the Japanese Sewing Book Series. Thanks again for the inspiration.

Monday 25 March 2013

Dress "h" and Bag "y" for my little "A'

It's Monday here in my time zone, so why not kick off the gate-crashing of Japanese Sewing Book Series with something I made over the weekend. I'm getting in early as I want to make another dress and then get outta town for the Easter long weekend.
I've made dress "h" and bag "y" from Sassy Girl's Clothes by Yuki Araki

image from:
I was a little baffled by the pattern pieces for the dress but surprisingly I guessed correctly and it came together very well. The bag was very simple and quite fun to sew. I'm not all that fast (the Lightning moniker is a bit of a joke at my own expense) but the bag really is about one hour's work.
So, my finished outfit:
The dress is made of a heavy-ish navy knit which has a slightly brushed, and lovely soft, feel on each side. Hence, I had no idea which side was the right or wrong side, and stopped caring after cutting the pattern. And so, my dress has the buttons on the opposite shoulder to the instructions in the book. I could invert my images but if I start manipulating the truth only four posts into my new blog it could be a slippery slope....
The buttons are metal and perhaps a little heavy for such a little person, but I liked them. One day, no doubt, they'll have to be butterfly or flower buttons, but for now I can still impose my own style on this kid, and these seemed to suit the Japanese aesthetic.
The bag fabric is a printed cotton that I found heavily discounted at the local fabric chain store. I covered it with iron-on vinyl, which is one of those things that really ought not to be such fun, but it is. It takes me back to being in the school library and helping the librarians cover books with clear Contact. Anyway, this is a bit crinkly and a true laminate might be better if it was meant to last. The bag lining is a lightweight grey cotton.
I love the fit of the dress. I made the size 90cm with no modifications for A who is just over 2 years old and probably about 85cm tall. I'd like a dress as comfortable and easy to wear as this!
She's very happy with it, and with her new bag. Although nothing beats rummaging around in my handbag...
Finally, here's how she thinks modelling for photos really works. If her big brother does it like this, then it must be right. Right?!

Sunday 24 March 2013

I have half an asymmetrical pattern piece....

... and it's all in Japanese and apart from a few words (helpful things from primary school like fox, cow and horse) I don't speak, or read, any Japanese.
Here's what I want to make:
Super cute, isn't it. It's from one of the books in the Heartwarming Life series by Yuki Araki.

And here's the conundrum: this is the pattern piece for the back of the top of the dress.
Obviously that's only half a pattern piece, right? And I would cut it on the fold. But here's the layout for cutting, which then shows the seam allowances required:
Hang on a moment, the front and back are not cut on the fold and the back piece (I can't read the Japanese for "back" I'm just assuming it's the one with the higher neckline!) looks distinctly asymmetrical. How about a close up of that...
My guess, was that I should cut one back shoulder with an extra 1.5cm added to the pattern piece and then a 2cm seam allowance on top of that. the other shoulder was cut with the regular pattern piece and 1cm seam allowance. The rectangular piece at the bottom was to be the collar and so I figured to do the same. Add 1.5cm to the pattern piece and then another 2cm seam allowance.
I've sewn the dress up to the point of attaching the skirt, and you know what, it's worked perfectly.
I think I got it right!
I'll finish it off, make a cute bag to match and be ready for Japanese (successful) pattern sewing week tomorrow.

Friday 22 March 2013

A misplaced apostrophe?

Eeeek. Look at this awesome fabric by Moda. I can just see myself making my poor kids some clothes from this fabric and then lecturing them on the correct use of the apostrophe. It's such fun fabric, and lovely colours.....
Comma Zen Chic by Moda. Image from


Thursday 21 March 2013

Why create a blog?

.... when you can't even bring yourself to use the word blog as a verb. Perhaps the internet really isn't the place for me.

And so, here at the beginning, I need to recognise the overwhelming reasons for creating a new blog for my sewing, and let's ignore all the other things I should be doing.

Firstly, I have become somewhat infatuated with these two; Skirt As Top and A Little Gray and a series they have called Film Petit, creating kid's outfits inspired by great movies. I've begun to work on an outfit that can only be described as ridiculous and it's sole raison d'etre is to be blogged about (aaarggh the verb snuck in).

Secondly, You And Mie has just announced a Japanese Sewing Book Series, and I really wanted to join in. Even if only I knew I was joining in as my internet presence is, and shall remain, minimal.

Thirdly (I feel like I'm importing a powerpoint presentation into a blog!), I've been very impressed by the work that other sewists have done in documenting how they've constructed things, sharing tips and tricks, and taking beautiful pictures. I can't promise to do any of that, but you all impress me, and sometimes I might just try.

And finally, I thought up an amusing, anonymous, joke name for my husband.....