Monday, June 22, 2015

DIY parasols (2)

(edited on 2015/July/23)


As I mentioned in the last post, here I'm going to share the pics that I took while I made two parasols. If technically said, I just reinstalled the canopies twice, though, I hope they will help you a bit when you wish to get yourself new parasols.

*As I made a pink version first and decided that I didn't like it, I made another in other fabric that I dyed in two shades of blue. I'm sorry for having too many pictures here, and also for the mixed version of pictures in order to complement my bad explanations. I believe having many pictures is better than relying on imagination, however.

150621 parasol canopy reinstallation 

I took the canopy off my old parasol and installed new ones (plural, as I did it twice).

What is most important is that taking notes along with pictures during disassembling to get the idea of the construction order. Constructing a new one is achieved by assembling it in the counter order to disassembling, basically.

Before dismounting the old canopy
_Take notes about where and how exactly the canopy is sewn on the frame.
_Check the parasol top whether it is tightened by screw or it is bonded by glue. If it is bonded by glue or if it cannot be disassembled easily, the frame is technically not suitable for refurbishing.
_Disassemble all accessories neatly and keep them for future use, or as a template of new canopy etc.

150621 parasol canopy reinstallation (2)

150621 parasol canopy reinstallation (3)

150621 parasol canopy reinstallation (5)

150621 parasol canopy reinstallation (7)

After dismounting the canopy
_Cut out one triangle from old canopy and use it as a pattern after making it flat. Check if the length of side seam of your pattern is shorter but nearly same as the length of the rib. They shouldn't be too different from each other. Said that, it's all dependent on the fabric. Some loosely woven fabrics or others with stretchy fibers may require to be cut much smaller.
_Don't forget adding seam allowances when cutting. I find ~2cm(4/5inch) for side seam allowance is easy to handle in the later steps.
_Other fabric parts have to be examined and recreated if necessary.

150621 parasol canopy reinstallation (8)

150621 parasol canopy reinstallation (9)

Sewing canopy

(additional note)
_I cut my canopy pieces in cross grain with the purpose for avoiding the whole canopy stretched out horizontally.

 _My canopy pieces were cut with 2cm(4/5inch) seam allowance on all side seams. Hem allowance is up to the fabric. My one for pink version was 1cm.
_Hem has to be done before jointing the canopy pieces.
_Firstly make 4 pairs of pieces and sew them as follows.
_Sew one of side seams with right sides facing, starting outer end(=edge) and ending inner end, stopping 0.1cm(>1/10inch) before the top of the triangle with secure back stitching.

150621 parasol canopy reinstallation (10)

_Trim one of seam allowances leaving 0.4-0.5cm(1/6~1/5inch) to the seam.

150621 parasol canopy reinstallation (11)

_Enwrap the trimmed seam allowance with the untrimmed one, like making a hong kong finish, and sew at a tiny bit outer side of the first stitch to close the trimmed seam allowance.
_Trim the wrapping seam allowance leaving 0.2-0.3cm(1/10inch) on the canopy.

150621 parasol canopy reinstallation (12)

150621 parasol canopy reinstallation (13)

_Sew 2 pairs of jointed pieces likewise, and repeat until all canopy parts are jointed.
_Sew the closure ribbon on the canopy, probably you would like to do it exactly as the old one was attached.

150621 parasol canopy reinstallation (17)

 _Turn the flopping top seam allowances inside and press them neatly.

150621 parasol canopy reinstallation (16)

_Place the inner round fabric part on top of the frame.
_Place the canopy on the frame on top of the inner round part, secure it by threading some rounds by hand stitching
_Put the top round fabric part,  and put the screw top on top of the parasol.

150621 parasol canopy reinstallation

150621 parasol canopy reinstallation

150621 parasol canopy reinstallation (20)

150621 parasol canopy reinstallation (21)

_Attach the canopy to the frame by sewing at all points where the old canopy was attached in the old parasol. Usually it is easier when tips were done first, and then to the ribs.

150621 parasol canopy reinstallation (31)

The colors totally howl "Handmade" and I am kinda proud of it.

I think experiences tell you everything when thinking of making parasol. After trying one, you will know how easy it is. You will be getting the tricks and tips only after trying some of them by yourself, too. I hope you know what I mean. Good luck!

*Here is a link to the album that contains these pics and also some other ones to complete a set of this topic for those who would like to see them all.


150621 parasol canopy reinstallation (23)
I think this canopy was too tight.

Friday, June 19, 2015

DIY parasols

I made parasols recently.

It was in 2009 that I made my first DIY parasols, when I wanted to make a birthday present for my sister. I made two parasols in Marimekko fabrics, one for practicing and one for my sister. Since then, I hadn't felt that I needed any more new one. However this summer, time is up. I think it is happening twice a decade that I need new parasols. It's a bit less frequent than I need new clothes.

By the way, very many Japanese people, especially grownup women, use parasols to avoid UV ray in summer. We use sunscreen cream too. And we walk only on the sunshade-side of sidewalks. Mmmm, maybe it's only me to love the shady side, but I do so. I mean, I'm mentally sensitive to the sun. I am a fern, if not an UV sensitive bacterium. Only family and friends can drag me out to the sunny place, otherwise I'm a house plant.

Confessing that I am a plant, let's go back to the new parasols. When I felt blinding sunshine for the first time this year, I had three parasols. Sadly to me though, they were heavy, not pretty, or too old like a giant used Band-aid. I started thinking about new parasols, and after some research I concluded that it was better to make one or two using my sewing machine than buying something from the shop. All very pretty parasols that caught my eye were astonishingly expensive. No way...

I used a DIY kit and my I-don't-know-why-I-bought-but-I-agree-it-is-pretty Amy Butler cotton to make this parasol. I'm ready for the sunshine!

The thing is, I ventured to move on further a bit. I mean, I tried refurbishing of my old parasol after this. I installed a new canopy (sewn by me, of course) on the old frame and I felt it was easy. That means I wouldn't need any more kit for my new parasols! I'd like to write about it in the next post, if not in the post following the next one. It won't be a tutorial, but I'm going to upload some photos to show my process so that you can see how it went. Please come back sometime later if you're interested.

Have a happy weekend!


Saturday, June 13, 2015

Eva summer dress

Hello everyone!

I hope you all are doing great. I've sewn a few easy garments since the last post in April, but I have been too lazy to blog about them here, too. I think I'm going to write some mini-notes about what I made recently spreading in some coming posts. Please be warned if you look for something special technically in sewingwise, because they all happened after simple sewing (as always).

Here we go the first one:

Eva summer dress

I finally sewed the dress pattern Eva from Tessuti Fabrics as a dress. I used it once for this skirt, and I'm really in love with the cute silhouette of its skirt part. This time I used a very light fabric with irregular stripes and made it into a dress. I followed the pattern and instructions except those alterations:

 Bodice was lengthened by about 5cm at hem.
 Shallow bust darts were added to give some room in front.
 Pockets were omitted.
 Lower skirt was shortened by 5cm.
 I chose size XS while my bust measurement corresponds to size M.

I like lower waistline, generally, so I lengthened the bodice. I wouldn't have shortened the skirt if I had enough fabric, though, I had no choice as there was a resource shortage of fabric. I have put some bust adjustment as I often do, but maybe it wasn't necessary.

Side seam pockets were omitted because the fabric seemed too sheer to have anything extra hanging inside of the dress. I now think it was a wrong idea. And I regret it. (I practically need pockets in all dresses!)

 The size I cut was much smaller size than my measurement size, and I like the way it fits me. I need a wiggle to get in the dress, but it is easier than threading a needle.

The fabric is light, slightly sheer generally, and very sheer at some particular rows of stripes. I'm wearing my handmade silk/linen short underdress in the pics.

Sewing was quicker than stripe placement, as you may suspect. I was worried about stripe placement in this dress, especially in the skirt, but I now think the oblique line effect in the skirt isn't that bad after all.

I really like the whole package of this dress. It is a comfortable summer dress, and I wore it several times already. Despite the fact that it's not summer yet.

Happy sewing to you all!


Pattern: Eva from Tessuti Fabrics
Fabric: 150cm wide x 200cm long, rayon, polyester, linen and nylon stripes, sheer and light. Not so drapey.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Spring has come.


I have been quiet and it was probably the longest silence of this blog. I hope you've been having great days in sewing-wise and otherwise!

As for me, I hadn't sewn much for months because my motivation was like a well that went dried a hundred years ago. It was sad, but it was a naturally occurred silence of my sewing. Anyway, the last couple of months was for the time to confirm that I technically had more than enough handmade clothes to live my life too (shame). There was, and is, no need to make new clothes for me.

Having prefaced with some mutter, the warmer season has come finally. It came to my family as well as others in the neighborhood, rather promptly. Our daughter entered the college in this spring and she needed some new clothes and new fabric equipments, such as curtains and a pretty laptop PC sleeve, and she asked me to sew them in the fabrics of her choice. How can I NOT be excited to be asked to sew for the person who I thought was the last human being to ask me such things? I recently restarted sewing a bit upon her request, and I find I love sewing (yahoo!)

PC sleeve: lined, interfaced, and heavily padded for protection

Daughter in Spring shirt: pattern Archer from Grainline Studio 

Though I have only few rambling pictures of my recent results to show you in this post, I hope you see that I'm sewing and doing very fine. I hope that I will have a chunk of time for sewing my clothes very soon. I hope I'll be able to blog something a little bit interesting here too. I think I hope everything that I can hope this moment. Haha:)
And above all, I hope you all are having a great day.

Archer has butterflies all over (the fabric is pretty, isn't it?)

Cloud-like cardigan: pattern Pris from Tamanegi-kobo

Skirt for a breeze: pattern Snowdrop from Tamanegi-kobo


P. S. These photos are almost the same ones as I posted to Instagram sometime before. I'm occasionally posting photos of my sewing projects to Instagram at the moment. Many of my regular pictures are not very sewing-related, though, please check my account if you are interested. I hope to see you there too!

Something extra: my mother in her Sashiko jacket, presenting her new Sashiko fabric in progress.

Saturday, January 17, 2015


This is a post about my disarraied idea on faux fur and a postponed retreat.

Please be warned, the first half of the post is muttering and it ends without clear conclusion. The latter half is an apology. I just couldn't avoid this post. I hope you will have a brighter day!

Faux Fur
It was a very cold night in December. When we were living in England many years ago, we often went out at night for various musical concerts in London. It was at Royal Albert Hall, or maybe it was at Royal Festival Hall, I'm not too sure but that night was very cold. We enjoyed the music in the choir seats (tickets for the choir seats were much cheaper and it was so much fun to share the moment facing to the conductor and other part of audience beyond playing orchestra. We loved those seats.) and then some memorable thing happened to me after the concert.

When the program was over, everybody stood up and tried to exit the hall as usual as in every concert. People were slowly heading to the exits, like being a flow in a complicated shaped river. It was crowded around me, as usual. And then I felt someone grabbed my purse that was hugged with my both arms. In the moment I turned my head back to see the person who was vigorously kneading my purse, the woman behind me barked

"Bowwow, wowwowwoow!!!"

with her hand still on my purse. She had a very evil grin (I'm sorry to say so but this is my polite expression) in her face as if she demanded me to reply back to her kneading or barking.

I didn't know what happened at first, and my initial guess was that she was too much affected by the moon or alcohol. She was wearing a colorful long knit cardigan over a Boho long dress. She seemed a civilized person rather than a growling wolf, although her lifestyle seemed slightly hippie side at the same time. Then I noticed that she accused me of having too much hair on my belonging. I was carrying a clutch-type small purse made of faux fur. I think I bought it at TOPSHOP because it was before my sewing era.

I realized that she was trying to criticize me on animal abuse. She didn't have paint to spread over me, so she barked at me instead.

In a second after realizing, I reflexively replied to her saying "Excuse me, this is faux."
She loudly said "Reeaally??"
I said "Of course."
A 5-second silence.
And, she stormed off bumping everyone else to make her way. That was all about the incident. Nobody got injured, technically nothing happened.

However, it kept raising some questions in my head since that day after all. Although she promptly gave up accusing me falsely, it influenced me later. I keep asking myself the questions that I can't find right answers for. Probably she's done an amazing job in a different way without knowing it.

I personally don't think that production of animal fur for fashion purpose is any good or gorgeous at all. I think we should be intolerant of unnecessary animal abuses in the present day. We have plenty other options now especially for garments. I have no doubt in this part. However, hey, is it really OK when the subject is faux fur? Especially when it is purposefully similar to the real one? What's the point of faking it while I don't appreciate the real ones?

I wonder other questions too.
Will there be people who'd attack me or say bad at me because they wrongly think my items are real, again? And is there nothing I can do about it? Do I always have to make excuses that my items are not real? Why don't I give up entire idea of fur material rather than appreciating fauxness of faux fur fabric? Is faux fur pretty by the way? Doesn't it lose the glory even a bit even if no one uses real fur any more? Is real fur pretty, in the first place? If I think faux fur cute, why? Why on earth do I love those hairy synthetic fabrics while I don't approve them if they're real? Doesn't this mean I am indirectly supporting real fur?

Of course those questions are rather pointless (maybe you don't know what I am saying at all. I'm sorry if this post is utterly unreadable) and I don't know the right answers at this moment. What I understand so far is that I feel that faux fur is mostly cute but I have no legitimate reason for it.

I made a casual jacket in a long haired faux fur fabric. I think it is pretty. And wearing it is fun. It's like cos-playing. But I don't know whether I'm doing right or not because I don't know the answers yet. I'm not feeling guilty too much but it is possible that I'll be feeling differently in 10 years. At this moment, I think, it's OK. I hope it's OK.

Sewing-wise, it was one of the least precise sewing garments in my entire life. Too much hair and too much self-propelled movement in the fabric! I'd say I was cleaning the floor rather than I was sewing a jacket. It was fun though. Of course it's always fun when things get messy.

Sewing Retreat

As I wrote in this post, with helps of my friends, I was planning a "sewing retreat" which I wanted to carry out in this coming May at a beautiful lakeside near Mt. Fuji. We visited candidate sites and discussed schedules and other things in the last Summer. I was really hoping to throw a great event in 2015.

However, regrettably, I have to say that it has to be postponed for a while because of my private situation.

At this moment I have several private issues that need my strong commitment quite hugely and urgently, and I find that I literally have no time (or energy) for preparing well for this event to make it successful. One year ago I didn't know that these things were coming to occupy me... Thus it shall be postponed for a year or two.

I imagine that not many of you would be disappointed by this news as only few of you can actually come to Japan to attend it anyway. However, please accept my sincere apology if you were considering to attend the retreat in this May and if you were disappointed by this postponement. I hope your 2015 will be full of excitement and joy of sewing.

Happy sewing to you, everyone!


Faux fur jacket
A cardigan-type jacket without lining. The only feature of the jacket is a pair of side pockets. Giant snap buttons for closure.
Pattern: Jennifer from Annee-patterns (PDF) 
Fabric: Acrylic fur fabric with polyester knitted base, lighter than it looks, very furry. Brown and off-white.

Coco sweater
I knitted a close fitted turtle neck sweater.
Pattern: Coco from Jo Sharp
Yarn: Cashmere yarn, pink and white.
More info about the sweater here.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Giveaway Winners!

Happy New Year! I hope your 2015 will be a brilliant year, and I also hope we will have a more peaceful year ahead everywhere on the earth.

I have picked three winners of the giveaway at, by generating a set of three numbers between 1 to 51.  The numbers are 16, 30 and 47

and the winners are Lynn(the first Lynn), Sharon, and Melanie Y, who have left comments in the respective orders(excluding my reply in the comment section). Please contact me at yoshicomo(at)gmail(dot)com with your mailing address if your have won the prize. Congratulations to the winners, and a very big THANK-YOU to all of you who entered the giveaway!

As for myself, I still have one more day before I get back to my work from our new year holiday. I've been knitting a pullover (I'm a 100% seasonal knitter) for some days and would like to finish it in a week or so... sewing not much, but I will post about the faux fur jacket very soon. It is pretty much funny thing when worn. It can be amusing to look at, I think. Said that, I'm having a problem with writing about it to tell the truth, because it is made of faux fur. I had a very memorable incident about this material maybe 10 years ago in London in December at Royal Albert Hall after the concert when all of us audiences were slowly moving towards the exits pushing each other slightly politely but hoping crowd's faster flow. Well... the story makes my writing even slower. I hope I will manage to write it up.

Happy sewing to you!
Talk to you soon,


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Season's Greetings!

Hello, I hope you're doing super fine!
I know it's all kind of sudden, but this is a giveaway post!

I have got some of these pink capsules recently. As you might be able to guess from the picture above, each capsule contains a miniature toy that is handcraft-themed. I love these cute miniatures, and guessed that you might like them too. So I decided to have my annual mini giveaway event now instead of having it in February. Please join this event if you don't mind to take your time to leave a comment!

In Japan, we have small toy-dispensing machines that sell these kind of capsuled toys everywhere. It's obviously a way of purchasing toys, but it's a kind of game too. It's called "gachapon" game. You can choose which series of toys you pay for, but you can't really choose which specific toy you get. It seems a silly way of spending money, but all children (and many mature people) love this game. If you are not too sure about them with my written expression, please have a look at this video which explains "gachapon" very well (a bit long, but still interesting, I think).

So, of course, we have handcraft-themed gachapon too. I have got a sewing machine, a skein of knitting yarn, and a card of button thread for myself. All these are so cute, aren't they? I would like to send each capsule of unopened gachapons to three giveaway winners. Only the winners will know what's inside (because the prize capsules haven't been opened ). The series has 5 types of gadgets with some color variations and each winner will get one of those in the pictures below. Do you fancy? I bet they will bring you better sewing skill in 2016 2015 too ;-)

courtesy of

courtesy of

== please read ==
If you would like to join this giveaway and get one of those gachapon toys, please leave a comment in this post with your name. Leave your comment (no need of contacting address) before new year 2015 of your standard time. Comment section will be closed after deadline. Anyone can participate. Three winners will be picked by me, randomly. The winners will be announced in the next blog post. Be one of the lucky winners!

By the way, I've finished my faux fur jacket lately. I hope I'll have a chance for photos very soon!

Have a really good time, everyone.