Friday, April 11, 2014

sequin clutch bag

If your fabric is too gorgeous or too small, how about making a clutch?

click small photographs to enlarge

size: 15 x 24cm

Happy sewing to all of you!


P.S. I'm joining in Me-Made-May 2014. See you there if you're coming to the party!

"I, yoshimi of yoshimi the flying squirrel, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '14. I endeavour to wear handmade clothing every day for the duration of May 2014. I will also try to use all my seasonal appropriate handmade garments in this challenge, to review my past sewing projects."

Monday, March 31, 2014

candy colors

I recently sewed three copies of V-neck linen jersey tops using Fujiko top pattern from Tamanegi-kobo. I made one with a blue fabric first, and realized that it would be nice to have another one in a different pretty color as I found the candy colored top very useful.

By the way, the pattern Fujiko always makes great tops for me. The pattern construction in the shoulders of it is very clever, and I don't need shoulder adjustments that I normally need to apply to most top patterns. I have proportionally narrow shoulders with a proportionally bulky upper torso and arms, and if I choose my size for jersey tops looking at the bust measurements I mostly need to grade the shoulders narrower, to make myself look neater around my shoulders. Fujiko has similar sleeves to raglan ones construction-wise. However, it looks like having neat set-in sleeves in the front view because of the unique curves in the shoulder seams. This type of shoulder construction is very permissive and allows me to fit my shoulders perfectly in the garments without pattern alterations or a careful selection of suitable jersey fabric. You may like to have a look at the technical drawings of the pattern here, and my first blog post for the pattern with a few photos here, if you are interested.

(additional notes 31/March/2014 : Fujiko pattern calls for 4way stretch jersey as recommended fabric, but it is so probably because the pattern is originally for a bodysuit. Most jerseys are OK for making a top with the pattern, as long as I am concerned. )

So, I love Fujiko. I felt I needed one more in another color after the second one, again. Lastly I sewed the pink one. I'm sure I'd have loved making more if I had more of the same fabrics in different candy colors. But it had to be stopped because of the lack of my resource. Three is a good number for everything, anyway!

By the way, I applied those V-neck bindings by a simple method that you can watch here. I baste a small portion of "V" area using straight stitches in the shape first and then attach the whole strip with overlock stitches. (In the video, straight stitches are used for attaching the whole strip but I prefer using my 4-thread serger except the basting.) Never forget to put a small patch of interfacing as a reinforcement on the wrong side at "V", in case you'd like to have a first try.

I wish you a very happy week!


I also finished a pair of green pants and I'll make one more in light blue very soon :)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

a pullover

Recently I made a simple oversized pullover. For the pattern, I traced pieces out of my favorite sweatshirt, because I really love its shape and wanted to try to make a similar built pullover in a different fabric. Since the garment was very loose fitting, I thought that it didn't matter very much to be exact, so I could just trace pieces. I was also curious about how the pattern pieces would look being flat, in a point of sewing hobbiest's view. By the way, I'm not sure if I've ever told it before, but I rarely trace sewing patterns and do it only when I really have to, because I am    not    fond of doing it. Probably it is because either (A)my house is too small or (B)I was born to be lazy. Anyway, and however, the story is different when we talk about tracing patterns from garments. I relatively often trace patterns from my retailed garments, in a very small house, without being unhappy, to satisfy my clothing greediness and curiosity. I take it as a part of procedures of learning to sew, and it is fun to me, but you may think that I'm just stealing and you're totally right about it too. Well...

funny fabric, it is a woven fabric but is very elastic like a knit.
subtly gigantic, if I have to describe.
Anyhow, the main subject is, that I use large pieces of non-woven semi-transparent polyester tissue when I trace patterns from my garments.

It works brilliantly and I strongly recommend it to you if you haven't tried it before. What I am talking about is the same material as the non-woven sheer wrapping polyester tissue/textile that you would use for wrapping gifts and flowers, I hope you know which material I'm talking about. It doesn't slip or move but clings nicely on what you're going to trace. It shows those shy seams in the garment very clearly. As it is made of polyester, it can be ironed. It even can be sewed, if you like to use it as a muslin (it can be washed too, but this doesn't count for anything today, I guess). It is easy to handle but it'll never cut your finger with its edge. The only disadvantage I can find is that it usually costs more than ordinary tracing paper. In Japan, the material is very popular among hobby sewists for tracing patterns, and we can easily get it from fabric/notion shops. And it is not very expensive. That said, if you have to buy colorful and pretty wrapping tissues at your local supermarket for this particular purpose, I imagine it would cost much more than you would be happy with. Nevertheless, I think it is good for anybody to know there are options. If you already have better ideas than mine, my idea can just make your choice even more concrete one. That is good too.

my tissue is having guide lines, but you really don't need them that often.

So, if you can find it for a reasonable price at your DIY/handcraft store and also you are about to trace patterns from your garments, do examine my words and you'll see what I mean!

Happy sewing to every one of you!


talk to you soon!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

faux suede scout tee

I bought this pink faux suede polyester fabric in Nippori fabric district in Tokyo when Carolyn and Cassie were spending time with me during their holiday in Japan in January. I thought that very simple blouses in such suede fabrics would be unusual, but at the same time they could be very pretty too. So I decided that one small piece of this pink fabric was my catch of the day. I remember I returned home with a big happy grin, knowing it would bring an experimental fun project.

Although I've made some bags with those faux suede fabrics before(1, 2, 3), this was the first time for me to make a garment with this specific material. I really wasn't sure if the result would be wearable, and it took awhile for me to be enough courageous about the blouse. But you know, you will see how things turn out only after trying them actually for yourself. After all, sewing this blouse was easy-peasy and the result looks not bad at all, to my eyes. I washed the fabric before and also after sewing, and found that there was no problem or shape-changing with soaking the fabric in the water. Now you can agree with me in the safe side that this is a wearable garment, can't you.

I used Grainline Studio's Scout Woven Tee pattern for this blouse. I chose one larger size for my measurement except shoulders that were in my usual size. As the fabric had little flexibility, I think I did very right about the size. An elastic band was inserted the inside of the bottom hem with zig-zag stitches to get a slight blousing effect, and it makes the wearer looking wearing something soft and balloon-ish and I think it is kinda cute. I altered the neckline to a boat neck and added an invisible zipper in the back center from the top to the halfway down, too. I can put it on and off without the zipper operation, if I tell you the truth, but you really don't have to point it out loud as only garments that have harmless imperfections can be interesting in the squirrelly world, for sure.

I hope you're having a good week!!

Much love,

spring scout tee in pink faux suede
pattern: Scout Woven Tee from Grainline Studio
intentional choice of one larger size (except around shoulders), boat neck, neckline facing, back zipper, elastic band at hem
fabric: Polyester faux suede (aka ultrasuede) in light salmon pink

Monday, February 17, 2014

V-Day Giveaway Winner

Congrats, the giveaway winner is lorrwill who was the 45th commentator!!

Thank you everyone, for joining the V-Day Giveaway and also for sharing your stories. They were so inspiring to me. You're superstars!! xoxoxoxoxoxo

I'll talk to you soon!


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

V-Day Giveaway 2014

Last week, that flying squirrel appeared from nowhere, and squeaked at me "Give it away!" all after one year. By that I realized V-day was coming around the corner and I had to be ready for another giveaway announcement before too late (I was late in the last year, but it was the squirrel's fault).

In case you are not familiar with this habit of my blog, I tell you that throwing Valentine giveaway posts is the only and the most important annual project in this tiny blog. This year, I made a small pouch and stuffed it with some sewing-related miscellaneous goodies as the giveaway prize. If you are interested in winning the prize, please leave your comment here and also share your story of your current project(s) with us if there is any! I'll pick up one winner after closing the comment section and let you know the winner's name in the next blog post. I hope you are going to enter the draw and enjoy the game.

A handmade pouch.
I printed one of my favorite photographs that I took in the last year for my other blog "photo maisonette" on a cotton fabric, and sewed a small pouch with the fabric. It is a palm-sized simple pouch and the print is of course water proof (I mean, washable). Zipper opening applied, silk dupioni lined, lightly padded. I met the cat in the forest. It is a cute thing and I hope it is enough photogenic to everyone.

1. My favorite "Kinkame Beauty" threads in two colors (salmon pink and grass green).
Do you have particular brand of threads of your favorite? I love these and I cannot replace them with other brands. They're plainly some polyester threads, though, they're made from continuous(longer) filaments of polyester fibers and have a different texture from the ones the common spun threads have. Spun threads are usually made from staple(shorter) fibers and are less lustrous than these "core threads (single core wrapped around by longer filamentous fiber, I guess)". So far as I feel, they make seams suppler and slinkier, and thus the feminine garments get better looks with them. I know most of you don't believe me, because many didn't. But if you're interested, please take a chance and enter the draw to get them and see how you think.

2. Pre-printed tiny stickers for piece identification.
You always do put those label kind of stickers on your pieces after cutting, don't you. I know you do. And I do too. Until recently I was using those common little dots in different colors for identifying pieces and sides after cutting pieces. But now I'm using self-printed Right/Left Front/Back etc labels too, because I'm too lazy to write words in them every time I need. I put some sheets of my labels in the pouch too. By the way, don't forget to take off all the printed labels before going out in your new garment. It is slightly worse than having a tiny round yellow dot in your back of the right sleeve ;)

3. Japanese Double Gauze Handkerchief
The last one is a small piece of handkerchief with a print of hand stitches, which is made of double gauze. It is particularly useful for covering small pieces of delicate fashion fabrics while ironing and fusing interfacings. I always have one of them on my sewing table when I work on my projects, and usually finish each sewing session by wiping all over with it for cleaning fluff stuff around the space. And then all I have to do is throwing it into the laundry bin. Easy!

***Please read***
Anyone who is interested in winning the prize, please leave your comment below! Your story of current project(s) in the comment will be much appreciated(I love your stories). I am going to close the comment box at noon on 17th(JST=UTC+9) February (Mon) and will pick one winner by random drawing. Anybody in any area on our planet can be involved in this draw. You don't particularly need to disclose your e-mail address to me for entering the draw, however, please do not forget to leave your name, otherwise you may not be included in the draw. I will announce the recipient of the gift in the next blog post, so, please come and check to see whether you have won the prize or not. If the person who was chosen in the first place seemed not to respond to the winner announcement, the second drawing will choose one new winner and the first winning will be cancelled, and so on.

Happy sewing and happy socializing!


Thursday, February 6, 2014

hints of spring

I'm so ready for sewing lighter garments for spring. Looking at outside snowing, I've sewn a pullover and a skirt, already.

A color-blocking pullover
One day, I was very optimistic and I couldn't avoid an experiment that I wouldn't normally try on my own garments. It was color-blocking, and hahaha, you can see what I have done. I think it ended up Okay and I quite enjoy wearing it when I especially like to dress casual. The gray jersey fabric is shiny and shaggy, and is a good contrast to the white jersey fabric that has a soft and spongy texture. It was hard to photograph the garment with showing its good characters rightly, though, you might be able to feel that I'm pleased with this tiny sewing adventure. The pattern was Edelweiss from Tamanegi-kobo. By the way, I tell you that Edelweiss is one of my best staple patterns. It is so versatile and pretty!

Having talked about Tamanegi-kobo, I let you know that they have moved to the new site for renewal opening very recently. The new shop now perfectly supports two languages, Japanese and English, and the patterns are instant download upon purchase. Yay! Even their patterns got huge improvements in many aspects too, for instance, the way of page placement and multi-size layering of the newly released PDF patterns seems even better. Moreover, and also what might be better for you, they have decided to provide some oldest patterns free of charge. The newly free patterns are limited to the ones that are nested PDF without individual layers for each size, nevertheless, I think it is a big surprise. If you are curious about using my favorite pattern shop's patterns, now is the time to try. By the way, the pattern Balloon which I wrote about in this blog post is now one of their free patterns too.

An Aboriginal print skirt
In November, Carolyn visited Japan on family holiday and I met up with her and her family in Tokyo and also in the countryside near Mt. Fuji and Hakone. I enjoyed acting like a tour guide and we had very lovely two days in a row. Carolyn, Cassie, and I managed to drop by Nippori town in the end of the first day too, and of course we got one or two pieces of fabrics for ourselves each. I bought a small piece of ultrasuede, I confess you before you ask me what I've got. ;)

I got another fabric while they were here too, and I made this skirt using it. As you may be guessing, Carolyn kindly brought me this beautiful Aboriginal print fabric as a gift. I am such a lucky woman. I always think that I am, but I really mean it when I think of my sewing friends. You all are gems in my life, and you make me feel that I'd love to be a nice person like you and others.

Thank you so much, Carolyn, the Fish Basket fabric turned out a pretty skirt and the color suits my wardrobe very much!

This is a simple skirt with asymmetric but conservative ruffles. The pattern is from Annee-patterns and its name is Daisy. I didn't put many alterations to the pattern but lengthened a bit to fit my height. I like this feminine skirt, and I'm sure it's going to appear on many warm days in the future.

color-blocking pullover
pattern: Edelweiss from Tamanegi-kobo
Not much altered except color blocking. jerseys with medium body. White and gray.

skirt with ruffles
pattern: Daisy from Annee-patterns
Plain woven cotton with Aboriginal print "Fish Basket". fairly firm, drapes not bad, gray, white, black and yellow.

Have a great day, everyone!