Fashion


Okay so this jacket makes me look super-tough – but it wasn’t that tough to make!

This is the Evergreen Jacket from Hey June Handmade.

 

The fabric is from Nippori Fabric Town in Tokyo, on my first trip in 2016 (yes, I bought quite a lot of fabric there, and I don’t regret it!) It’s a heavy stretchy fabric that I am calling scuba because I couldn’t read the tag (it was written in Japanese!) It does have a similar weight and stretch to other scuba knits I have, although the print side has a slightly papery feel, as if it might be water-resistant. (I haven’t worn it in the rain or done any moisture tests thought!)

I bought the long zip online from ZipperShipper.com. I also bought two short zips to match but when I got them, although they were the length I had ordered, they weren’t the right length for the pocket openings – I had somehow messed up the length of the zip TEETH compared to the length of the zip TAPE. The zips from ZipperShipper were a really good price but of course they are in the US so shipping to Australia was not exactly low-cost. So I ended up finding a couple of very similar metal zippers at Lincraft.

Most of the seams were sewn using a triple-stretch-stitch (AKA lightning bolt) and I used my serger on some of the seam allowances to neaten up the inside, as this is an unlined jacket. Most of the topstitching is just a regular straight stitch, although I did use the triple-straight in a couple of places I though might need a bit more flexibility. However I’ve worn the jacket several times since I finished it and had no popped stitches, so I got that right!

The pockets are lined with some scraps of scuba from another project that I haven’t blogged! (A close-fitting active jacket using scuba knit from Spotlight and a 1980’s Burdastyle Magazine pattern – not a complete success, but not a disaster either). I love that little peek of colour as I open the zipper!

(I do wear that activewear number in one of my early Sewing From The Stash videos, but I warn you that it’s from 2016, well before I really had the hang of recording or editing!!)

Party in my pocket!

Although the entire project took almost two years, from buying the fabric to finishing the final details, the actual sewing was not that difficult. The main delay was the zipper length issue – I shelved the whole thing for nearly six months while I sorted that out. The pattern instructions were great as were the illustrations. I followed this one to the letter as it was my first time sewing anything like this, and had no trouble at all. It did take a while – there are a lot of pieces and lots of seams to sew and finish – but it was totally worth the attention to detail.

The most complicated bit was probably the pocket zippers, and they are completed very early on – so once you have tackled those, the rest is pretty much straight line sewing!

The jacket got a lot of wear during the late summer and early autumn – scuba is not an especially warm fabric, but is just the right weight for throwing over your t-shirt on a cooler autumn evening.

Have you tried the Evergreen Jacket pattern, or considered it? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one!

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It’s that time of year again – my psuedo-annual trip to Japan for a karate seminar, with a generous helping of fabric shops along the way!

Cherry Blossoms in Tokyo.

My trip started with a single night in a capsule hotel in Shinjuku, Tokyo. If you haven’t tried a capsule hotel they are excellent value for a single night, and a fun experience (in my opinion, anyway!) Japanese hotels are scrupulously clean and this one was no exception.

I was up early the next morning and on the bullet train to Nikko where there are several beautiful temples and shrines in and around the town of Nikko. I’m going to gush about the ryokan I stayed at there – I wish I’d had more than one night! It was a sweet little Japanese-style inn called the Turtle Inn. (The Discworld approves!) My room was furnished with a futon and low table and a washbasin with running water. The fact that the bathrooms were shared was entirely made up for by the fact that both single bathrooms had onsen – ie, a private hot tub!! After a long day travelling and looking around temples, a long hot soak was just what the doctor ordered.

After two days wandering around shrines, temples and underground caverns, it was time to head back to Tokyo and my hotel in Kamata. By happy accident, the hotel I stay at for the seminar is only a few hundred metres away from a big fabric store, Yuzawaya – so that was my first stop!

Yuzawaya (Kamata, Tokyo)

The first time I visited this store – my first visit to Kamata, two years ago – I didn’t have time to really appreciate the size of the store or the volume of products available. This time I made sure I had time for a really good wander, even though I wasn’t intending to buy too many things (I needed to keep plenty of room in my suitcase for shopping in Osaka!)

With three shop fronts and several floors to each shopfront, there’s plenty to look at in Yuzawaya! I was very disctracted by the fabulous range of denims right at the front of the store – and I did end up buying 2m of a really nice dark stretch demin for Y580/m – amazing value!!

But what I was really looking for here was scissors. I had promised myself a pair of Shozaburo scissors on this trip, and Shozaburo scissors I did get! For Y11000 I purchased a pair of 26cm shears which are an absolute dream to use. I have been using them since I came home and seriously they are like magic!! It’s almost as if I can just wave them at the fabric and the pieces cut themselves 🙂

I couldn’t resist that teeny pair of snips with the beaded handles, either. too cute!

Toroya (Namba, Osaka)

I ended up hitting Toraya twice! Overkill? Nah. On my first trip, there was one fabric I couldn’t decide if I REALLY needed it, so I didn’t buy it. But I decided to go back on my last day to have a second look at their denims, and decided I would get it after all!

At the bottom of the pile is 2m of midweight rigid denim. The purple/green print is a drapy twill knit, probably polyester. The whacky chair print is a light knit fabric. The 80’s denim-look squiggle print is a woven cotton, as is the big floral, although the big floral is a heavier weight.

I got some bag hardware here, and some red velcro – they had sooo many colours of velcro! And the little cat-face things are iron-on felt patches. Kawaii-desu!!!!

Otsukaya (Umeda, Osaka)

I was so silly and didn’t check the opening times of this shop, and turned up on a Wednesday – the only day they are closed!! Luckily my schedule was pretty flexible and I ended up going back there the next day. Boy, was it worth it – this shop is so gorgeous!! (There’s a follow-up post in the works with more about the shops themselves, so you’ll be able to appreciate it!)

See how beautifully packaged they are? Each floor was wrapped separately. On the left is some heavy cotton tape destined for a bag project – probably not the bag pattern shown here though!

Fabrics left to right: upholstery cotton in a deco fish print; two-way denim; Nightmare Before Christmas cotton craft print; floral loopback sweater knit; purple geometric athletic jersey; multicoloured athletic jersey.

No, I didn’t just stop at fabric. There were dozens of cute bag patterns, but I really fell for this simple school bag. Why I bought pins, I’m really not sure – seemed like a good idea at the time. The brass ring is actually a thread cutter you can wear – genius! Can’t wait to try that out. I got some more bag hardware here, too – those turtle magnetic snaps were not being left behind!!!

After that it was time for a brief stop in Dotonbori for some okonomiyaki – yum!

Nippon Chuko (Hommachi, Osaka)

When I first walked in here, I was pretty overwhelmed – I don’t do a lot of bagmaking, but there was soooo much hardware it was hard to not be inspired. When I spotted this wood-panel print I exclaimed out loud – it is EXACTLY what I was looking for, for a project that has been percolating in my head for several months. So of course I ended up finding nearly all the other hardware I needed as well!

 

The white zig-zag piping and red linen strapping were actually from Toraya – I got my bags of goodies confused when I was photographing everything!

A red/brown chunky zipper, which will go in the same project bag as the woodpanel print, as will the other brass hardware here. The dragonfly print is a kimono cotton, destined for a gift; the dark green textured kimono cotton is for me. I grabbed some coloured elastic too because I couldn’t resist, and a pre-made bag strap which may work with the bag pattern I got at Otsukaya. The fabric pens caught my eye early on – I’ve been playing with fabric decoration lately, and they seemed like good prices, so I selected a few colours.

Atelier to Nani Iro (Osaka)

This shop was gorgeous, but not as cheap as Toraya! I did buy a piece of fabric which I probably don’t need, but this one is most definitely for the ‘collection’. I don’t own many designer pieces so this was a bit special for me. I was tempted by the pattern book as well but decided I own too many patterns already!

I purchased 1.5m of this green spot double gauze. It’s so soft and lovely! It came with a little lookbook of the latest fabric range, which is a symphony in black and white.

I rounded out my trip with a visit to the stunning Osaka Castle. I found it ironic that this castle is contained within a fortress (complete with moat) that was built to withstand an army; and yet today an army walks through the castle gates every day!

I must also mention a very cool spot in Osaka, for the cool people. One of my Discworld friends recommended to me an establishment called The Hearth Cafe, in Osaka in the Namba area. It’s a gaming cafe, and while I don’t game (although LARPing is still on my bucket list), they do a seriously good cheesecake! I was pretty happy sitting at the bar with these guys:

I’ll be following up this post with one detailing more about the shops I went to, and how to get there should you ever get to go fabric shopping in Osaka! If you have been there and shopped your heart out, leave me a comment – I’d love to hear about it!

Also, I’ve been doing youtube videos over the last year or so (could explain the lack of blog posts…. ) so pop over and say hi:

There’ll be a video coming up where I show off this fabric haul in all it’s glory, so don’t forget to subscribe!

 

Hello everyone! Thanks for stopping by.

I’ve finally come up with my #makenine2017!

makenine2017

I know a lot of the #makenine2017’s out there have chosen nine sewing patterns, but  I decided to broaden my focus a little bit and include fabrics and projects as well.

Let’s unpack this, shall we? In no particular order:

vintage-pattern

I’ve got all these gorgeous vintage and retro patterns and pattern magazines, but I’ve only made maybe two or three items. So one of my goals for this year is to actually get in there and make at least one. I have even ‘projectised’ a couple of patterns with the fabric I want to use, so I’ve got no excuses!! To see more of the patterns in my library, check out my flikr album.

ufos

The story of sewists everywhere, right? Lately I have been pretty committed and have managed to finish 90% of the projects I’ve started in the last couple of months. (I am a slow sewist, so it’s not a UFO until at least 6 months after commencement, heh heh.) But, seriously, there are a couple of projects hiding out that were started years (or possibly decades) ago. So my aim is to either finish them, recycle the fabric or CHUCK THEM OUT!!

 

maxi-skirt


As I was trawling through my stash the other day, I came across this incredible piece of fabric. So big I had to photograph it hanging on a clothesline! You know the stash is out of control when you find fabric you had forgotten about. Anyway, after racking my brain, I remembered I bought this fabric in  Thailand, on a trip about 3 years ago. It’s a dreamy lightweight silk that feels like, well, really lightweight silk. It’s doubled over in this photo and you can see the print on the other side, so you get the idea. Anyway, there’s quite a bit of it and it’s obvious it needs to be either a maxi skirt or dress. I definitely want to maximise the print, so I’m going to be looking for a pattern with the fewest amount of pieces. I was thinking of the Gabriola Skirt by Sewaholic, but it does have a lot of seamlines in the skirt, so I might have to shop around. If you have any ideas for a pattern that might work, do let me know!

activewear

Okay, if you’ve read any of my blog posts before you will know that I have a deep and abiding passion bit of a thing for sewing activewear. I’m not particularly good at it, but the aim is to improve! I want to try a couple of new patterns and hack some old ones. I have tried making FehrTrade’s PBJam leggings previously, but they were an unmitigated disaster so I definitely need to have another go. If you buy Burdastyle Magazine you’ll know the January 2017 edition had a focus on activewear, so I’m looking forward to getting my hands on that. (It can take a while for Burdastyle to hit Australia, unfortunately!) The Kwik Sew pattern is already on the table – pieces cut for the shorts and top so I can test for fit! And of course the Greenstyle Creations Endurance Bra: while I’m not a fan of zipup bras I want to give this a try, as it looks amazingly supportive.

Which is a nice segue to….

bras

As you know I’ve already had success making bras, so I really want to get into more of it this year. I’ve made the Watson and the BOO3 (from Booby Traps), as well as the Gail which is not pictured here. I also have the Booby Traps Dart Bra and Seamwork’s Florence Bra which haven’t had an outing yet. I’m keen to replace most of my bras with me-made.

moto-jacket

The Evergreen Jacket from Hey June is one I’ve actually had my eye on for quite some time. When I brought that black camo fabric back from my Japan trip last year, I knew exactly what I wanted to make with it! It’s a heavy stretch fabric, somewhere between scuba and ponte. (I’ve no idea what I want to make with the blue camo, though!)

sweater

A patternmaker I’ve been following for a while is the gorgeous Sally from Capital Chic. I started following her blog years ago when she was doing a lot of refashioning, although I don’t think her old blog is available anymore 😦

Her patterns are glamorous, classy and impeccably drafted.  I’ve always had a hankering for the White Russian Sweatshirt. It comes with a cute fox or lion design to quilt onto the front of the sweater. I got this sweet pony fleece on sale sometime last year, and it’s been languishing in my stash ever since. Match made in heaven? I think so!

refashion

OMG you guys. This is my refashion wardrobe. It is literally busting at the seams. I went through a phase a few years ago where 90% of my sewing was refashioning. Some of them were pretty good, too! I bought a lot of garments that I thought had ‘potential’, but sadly I did not have the potential myself to see it through on a lot of them! Of course, there are a couple that I’ve just never been able to bring myself to cut into (did you see the flocked-polka-dot-taffeta dress on my instagram??)

Again we have a neat segue…

blanket-project

See that blanket? I made that. It’s made from recycled suits and skirts, all made of wool. It’s backed with a preloved flannelette sheet (green and white striped, forsooth) and the quilt filler is another flannelette sheet. So it’s not super-thick, but it is totally warm and cosy!

 

That blanket I made for a friend, and let me tell you it turned out so well it was pretty hard to give up. Ever since then I’ve been intending to make one for myself, and have collected a bunch of wool-fabric trousers and skirts from various op shops. On top of that, I have a collection of woolly half-felted jumpers to make into a rug of some kind, plus yet another quilt I want to make for another friend (this one from preloved band t-shirts).  I don’t know that I’ll get all three of them done this year, but I’d like to try for one!!

And, because I want to stay focused, I did this on my sewing room wall:

Yes, my sewing workbench is always this tidy.*

Yes, my sewing room workbench is always this tidy. *

 

And that’s it, folks! My #makenine2017. Have you come up with a makenine list  for 2017? Do you have a different way of planning your sewing for the year? I’d love to hear from you!

 

*Disclaimer: No it’s not, that’s a total lie.

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I haven’t been posting much lately as I’ve been handicapped with knee surgery and the rehab which inevitably follows, which kind of curtailed my sewing a bit, but I’ve also been having fun making videos for my new sewing vlog! I’ve only got like 3 subscribers so far so feel free to pop over for a visit 🙂

I managed to meet the Monthly Stitch Challenge for December which was party dresses, and I’ve got two December-made party dresses to talk about in this post (in addition to the #littlereddressproject dress described in my last post). I was invited to a birthday party and the invite said ‘semi-formal’. So of course I took that as a sewing challenge!! I had a couple of ideas and as I couldn’t choose, I decided to do both, just in case one didn’t work!

My choices were Lisette 2209 and Burdastyle Magazine 1/2012 Dress #118B.

Dress One: Lisette 2209

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Why this pattern? I’ve made this dress before, in a light cotton floral, as a sundress, so no muslin required.

What about the fabric? The bodice is made from a remnant of silver-gray silk I picked up on a trip to Thailand about two years ago (can you say stashbust?). The skirt is made from a recycled silk skirt. I also used the original skirt lining for the skirt, and some lining fabric from my stash for the bodice. Invisible zip also from the stash, reclaimed from a refashion.

And the pattern? As I’d made it once already (albeit a couple of years ago) it was pretty straightforward. The bodice darting is actually quite simple although it does create a little bulk at the front waist seam.

Any added extras? Yes, I added pockets using the last few scraps of the bodice material – I think it looks cute. I also had to make the skirt less full as I had to work within the fabric I had, so it is more an A-line than the fuller skirt in the pattern. Invisible zip at the side rather than the back, and eliminated the centre back seam. I used the ‘burrito method’ to line the bodice.

Did I love it? YES! In photos I notice the bodice pleats come to a rather unflattering point on the bust, I think this is to do with the stiffness of the fabric. Don’t care though 🙂

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I talked about this dress on my vlog!

Dress Two: Burdastyle Magazine 1/2012 Dress #118B

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Why this pattern? Basically I was just flipping through my pattern magazines and I thought this one looked simple, and I knew I had some fabric that would work.

What about the fabric? The printed satin has been in my stash for about two years, I think I got it on sale at Spotlight. The lining fabric is slightly stretchy and was bought at my ‘local’, Jack Textiles in Marrickville.

And the pattern? This dress has no shaping and I was initially worried it would just look like a shiny floral tent on me, but au contraire, it’s totally flattering!

Any added extras? I deviated quite significantly from the pattern instructions (although as we all know with Burdastyle, the instructions can be next to useless!) So the pattern used the same fabric, a crepe-backed satin, with the crepe side as the feature of the dropped lining. My floral satin wasn’t really going to work so I used the coral satin as a contrast instead. I lined the front flappy bit on one side with the coral as well to provide some interest. This made the neckline join more than a bit complicated but a few clips and some understitching got it sitting flat. It also made the centre front seam a little different; I wanted a nice finish though so I did a faux-felled seam (folded under the raw edge) and topstitched with some metallic thread.

To make the lining show shiny-side-out at the hem meant I had to install it ‘inside-out’ which did my head in a little bit!! I also skipped the inseam pockets – I was doing french seams all the way and that just seemed too hard. No sleeves either – I tried it on prior to adding the sleeves, pinned one sleeve on and went ‘nope!’ The armholes were finished using bias strips from the floral satin offcuts.

Did I love it?  I certainly love the look of it. I haven’t worn it to any occasions yet though!

I talked about this dress on my vlog, too!

partydresscollage2

I did end up wearing the silver-grey dress to the party, even though I had finished both in time.

silver party dress cropped

I hope everyone had a lovely New Year and I look forward to sharing lots more cool stuff with you all through 2017!!

 

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Although I finished this in time for TMS’s June ‘Spots & Stripes’ challenge, I was planning on wearing it for Jeans for Genes Day which fell on the 5th August, so I didn’t actually take any photos before then!

I used a couple of 1970’s Simplicity patterns:

simp5803+7078

I loved the cute, curved underbust seam on #5803, but I wasn’t loving the pouffy sleeves; also I wanted a collared shirt. Enter #7078, with a basic sleeve and a nifty one-piece notched collar. I also used the curved hem from #7078.

On the other hand, #7078 had a weird, ugly cuff placket on the sleeve, which I replaced with a standard placket, researched from this handy book (thanks, Kylie, who picked it up at Vinnie’s only a few weeks ago and gave it to me!)

DSCF9732

As you can see, I didn’t have quite enough fabric to line the cuffs, and I didn’t have enough blue buttons to do the cuffs as well as the blouse front. The sleeves were pretty puffy, and I decided to pleat them at the cuffs rather than gather, just for a neater look. If I remake this top – and I think I might – I would narrow the sleeves slightly.

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You can also see in the above pic, my Jeans For Genes Day badge. I even have a pair of denim sneakers, but didn’t manage to take a decent picture of them.

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Drafting the frankenpattern involved a little bit of faffing around, and as usual I couldn’t be bothered to make a muslin, just cut straight into the printed tencel. I’m so pleased with the result! I ended up taking the waist darts out of the blouse back; they were in the wrong position for my short-waisted self, but in any case I prefer a looser-fit shirt. I kept the back neck darts, though.

I nearly blew it when redrafting the faux yoke, forgetting to add the extra ease for the gathers at the front, but I managed to shimmy it around when sewing the pieces together.

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I love this shirt!! I took me about two weeks to make, from pattern-drafting to finished product. Although I don’t mind handsewing, I really don’t like sewing buttons on, so the shirt was ‘finished’ for several days before I got around to adding the buttons. The fabric is lovely and soft, even if it does need ironing every two minutes.

 

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June, as most sewing bloggers are aware, is Indie Pattern Month, hosted by the lovely ladies over at The Monthly Stitch. With the best of intentions, I purchased a new indie pattern – the Jenna Cardi by Muse Patterns – and some lovely dark grey knit.

Unfortunately, June also turned out to be a ridiculously busy month for me, with karate training, karate tournaments, actual social engagements, more karate training, and a handful of street cats! Leaving me with zero time for sewing. I managed to get the cardigan pattern laid out & cut, and it has been sitting in a neat little pile ever since.

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Another thing that happened this month is that I temporarily vacated my sewing room and turned it into a cat hotel. My flatmate rescued a street cat and three adorable kittens earlier this month. We’ve since found homes for the kittens but Lady Cassandra is currently residing in Le Hotel du Chat, formerly known as My Sewing Space. We’re hoping to rehabilitate her, as she has no tail and is missing a front paw, so she’s had a tough life on the street.

Le Hotel du Chat

Don’t you love the little staircase I built for her so she could sit in the window?

As it happened, one of my work collegues offered me a huge pile of giant ziplock bags left over from some work project. They’re about 40cm square (like the one in the photo above). As soon as I saw them I had visions of the most organized sewing project pile in the universe. Tidying up my sewing room for the Cat Hotel had me matching fabrics to patterns and neatly packaging them up in ziplock bags, some even with thread & notions to suit!

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The red suitcase also is full of Packaged Projects. It was a very satisfying process, actually. Now I just have to do some sewing…

Mind you, by the end of June I was having withdrawal from not having done any sewing for what seemed like ages. So I quickly hacked out yet another Zoe Raglan, and raced it up on the overlocker.

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I used a textured knit I picked up from a local cheap fabric store. It’s a nice heavy knit with an interesting textured design. Being the middle of winter here in Sydney I’ve been after some warmer tops to wear to work.

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I did try to pattern match but I’m not sure how successful I was. To make the pattern a bit different I changed the lower edge from curved to  straight, and finished that and the sleeves with bands.

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The result is, in my opinion, quite striking, and I think I will wear it quite a bit. This raglan pattern has become my go-to when I need a quick fix – does anyone else have a pattern like that?

 

 

Hello all!

Yes, I know it’s June, which means Indie Pattern Month, but I thought I’d just have a quick look at the past month and how I progressed with Me-Made-May.

Considering I kinda forgot about it until about 3rd May, I did pretty well from then on. I believe my pledge was one me-made item a day for the month. I admit that sometimes that one item was my knickers, or a sports bra, and I was definitely counting refashions towards the end of the month, but I pulled it off!

Now, I don’t do daily outfit photos. It’s just not how I roll. So here’s a collage of some of the items I did wear during May 2016.

MeMadeMay16 Collage

Obviously that’s not all of them! I don’t have photos of some of the things I have made, and others I never blogged because I couldn’t get a decent photo or didn’t like it enough to blog (or just haven’t blogged it yet, but intend to, like the pink pyjamas you don’t see here.)

My homemade activewear got a workout (ha, ha) as did a two pairs of skinnified jeans (which actually got re-skinnified during May when I decided I didn’t like the initial result anymore), and a few other refashions:

MeMadeMay16 Collage2

All in all, I’m pretty pleased that I was able to complete my pledge. Next year’s pledge might include finishing an item or two during the month of May – I’ve been agonizingly slow to finish projects lately.

Did you take part in the Me-Made-May Challenge? How did you go?

 

 

 

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