Thursday, April 23, 2015

Beach Sling Bag

Guess what?  In less than 2 weeks we are headed to Hawaii on vacation!  This month's Project Run and Play theme of a reversible sling bag helped me decide that the kids would definitely need beach bags for this trip.

I followed the free Reversible Sling Bag pattern from SugarBee Crafts pretty closely, only making a few adaptations in order to incorporate the materials that I was using--reusable shopping bags and towels from the 100Y store!  I spent 400 yen on materials, which is a little over $3.  If I'd been in the states, I would have looked for some thrifted towels that were a little more substantial, but this did the trick.

The supplies

The microfiber towel I used for the contrast on the lining had stripes, but I liked this description better ;)

"A soft towel with the feeling that the touch is very sufficient."
I have been wanting to make a towel-lined bag for a long time, and since this easy bag consists of an outer and a lining, I went for it.

I'm experimenting with putting in a jump so that more posts appear on my main page--read the rest after you click, and let me know if you love/hate having a jump!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Vintage Kimono Hanami Dress

A few months ago, I bought a bag of scrap fabric from a store that sells and alters vintage kimonos in my neighborhood.  Mostly, the pieces really were scraps (I have used some to make doll kimonos and a table runner) but there was one piece of an amazing deep purple shibori-dyed fabric that I thought would be large enough to make a girls' dress.

And I was right!

The pattern is the Hanami Dress from StraightGrain Patterns, which I thought was just perfect, as Hanami is the name for the Japanese Sakura (cherry blossom) viewing time which has just come to an end.  So I really wanted to use a Japanese fabric to make this dress!

This panel of fabric was prepped to be made into a kimono, but for some reason was abandoned.  The snips and basting stitches were still present in the fabric:

I'm experimenting with putting a jump into my longer posts so that more posts appear on my main page--read the rest after you click, and let me know if you love/hate having a jump!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Lucky #7 Pajamas

I haven't been able to get photos of most of my recent sewing projects other than the quick selfies I've been posting to Instagram, so I was looking through my iPhoto albums to see what projects I hadn't managed to blog about yet.

I made this pair of pajamas for The Boy's 7th birthday, which was in January.  Every time I saw him wearing the pajamas I made for him for his 6th birthday, I was cringing at his bare ankles and belly hanging out, promising myself I would get him some new pj's sewn up.  As a matter of fact, I don't think I ever blogged about those old pajamas either!  I just dug around and found some pics of one of the pairs I made but have no photo evidence of the cute moose pj's.  At least I can show you the Rebel Alliance pj's I made from a clearance Target men's t-shirt and scraps of black and neon green tees from my upcycling pile:

So, I may have been cutting it close on size even when they were new...

I'm experimenting with putting in a jump so that more posts appear on my main page--read the rest after you click, and let me know if you love/hate having a jump!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Little Geranium

I've been sewing lots of gifts lately, which means I can't post what I'm making until they have been given!  But I attended a baby shower last weekend so I can post about this Little Geranium dress now--I'm so excited about it!

The pattern is from Made by Rae, and the 0-3 month size is available for free!  She's a genius, because after making this sweet little dress I am totally interested in buying the pattern that includes big girl sizes as well as lots of modifications.

It was so fun to sew up a little newborn dress though--I didn't really start sewing for Little Sister until she was around 9 months old, and even then I wasn't following patterns, so this was my first time!  I have to hold myself back, because making these tiny little sweet dresses could be addictive, but I know that when my kids were that little I wasn't dressing them up in pretty things very often.  I should be making more practical things like leggings and onesies, but this dress was so fun to make and admire!

To go with the dress, I made a pair of Heirloom Bloomers from This Mama Makes Stuff's free 0-3 month pattern.  Since I used fabric rather than vintage handkerchiefs, I added a little extra length to allow for hemming.  I also did 2 rows of shirring with elastic thread around the leg openings rather than sewing baby elastic on.  They won't hang down so much under the dress when a baby is wearing it, but I wanted to show them off too :)

I was totally in love with this Japanese fabric--it's got a little texture like a linen, but it's softer.  And isn't that cat print just fantastic?  I actually bought it to make something for myself, but couldn't resist turning it into this dress.  I went back to the store to find some more of it for me but it was gone!  Oh well--totally worth it.  And I loved the natural colored cotton crocheted lace trim from my stash with it.

The biggest challenge of this dress for me was the buttonholes.  I had completed this perfect, lovely little dress and I was so afraid I was going to ruin it by messing up the buttonholes!  I usually avoid buttons wherever possible, but I have to say that while they still aren't my favorite, I now know that I CAN do it when I have to.

A better look at the texture of the fabric, too
My Japanese sewing machine came with an automatic buttonhole foot, but for the life of me I couldn't get it to work. I watched a ton of youtube videos in case I was misunderstanding the pictures in my Japanese machine manual (obviously I can't read it!)  I tried making so many practice buttonholes!  Eventually I gave up on the automatic buttonholer and just measured really well and used the manual buttonhole settings.

And they came out fine!

Now I just have to wait for the little one to arrive and hope that it fits her :)

Friday, April 3, 2015

Book Parade: Heather the Violet Fairy costume!

Today the kids' school had a book parade, where the kids chose a character from a book they have read this year and dressed up to parade around the gym.  Little Sister's recent favorites are the Rainbow Magic Rainbow Fairies chapter books (I have been reading them to her).  She chose Heather, the Violet Fairy, both because it was her favorite color of the rainbow AND because she has the same hair as that fairy (blond and curly with bangs!)  Luckily for me, that fairy also has a pretty simple costume, and the free short sleeved peasant dress pattern in size 4-6 from Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom was perfect for it!

I wanted two layers of fabric to give the dress a more ethereal fairy effect, so I chose a silky purple (almost magenta) fabric I found for 100 yen a meter and topped it with a soft lilac stretch lacy fabric. The color came out exactly like the book cover, which is good because was Little Sister ever a stickler for detail!

I'm experimenting with putting a jump in my longer posts so that more posts appear on my main page--read the rest after you click, and let me know if you love/hate having a jump!  I'll show you the book cover so you can see how well I matched this dress up :)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Did you see? My featured post on Imagine Gnats!

In case you missed it, I want to point you in the direction of my first-ever guest post on another blog. Rachael from Imagine Gnats asked me to participate in this Spring's Selfish Sewing Week as a featured stitcher, meaning I got the celebrity treatment with my choice of pattern by a participating independent designer (I chose the lovely Giselle Dress from Kate & Rose Patterns), my choice of a fabric (I went with the Aves Chatter Dim in voile by Bonnie Christine for Art Gallery fabrics, but it was seriously SO HARD to choose from all the gorgeous options)!

Here's a sneak peek at the dress:

You can see the finished version HERE at Imagine Gnats!

I just want to thank Rachael so much for inviting me to participate.  She was so helpful and complimentary, and I just really felt special and appreciated for what I do.  I'm not going to lie--it feels good to have someone you only know from the internets reach out and say, "I see you!  And I like what you are doing!"  Rachael has some great patterns for women and children (I just got the Bess Top and Alder Skirt women's patterns--guess I'm not done selfish sewing just yet!  I'm planning to make this mash-up version found on her blog using some amazing Nani Iro Pierre Pocho Fountain Stones double gauze in Forest Green--here's what it looks like--that I just brought home from Nippori) as well as amazing fabrics that I'm sure I won't be able to resist once I'm back in the states!  She carries a lot of the Japanese fabrics I have been falling in love with over the last year, and it's a relief to know that I will be able to get them from her once I leave Tokyo.  Plus her blog has great tutorials as well as showing off the projects that Rachael is working on herself.

I love Selfish Sewing Week (I sewed along for the first time last fall) and look forward to planning for each upcoming session to come!  Not that I really need an excuse, but having a week to dedicate to sewing for myself really helps me justify it :)

Friday, March 13, 2015

My Giselle Wearable Muslin

As a featured stitcher for Selfish Sewing Week at Imagine Gnats, I got to choose a pattern from a talented independent designer and fabric from Art Gallery Fabrics to make my garment.  You guys, I felt like such a VIP, perusing the pattern choices and pages of beautiful fabrics to decide what I would make for myself!  I settled on the Giselle Dress from Kate & Rose Patterns, which I will tell you more about in my post on Imagine Gnats on Sunday, 3/15, but first I thought I'd show you my trial run of this pattern.

Making a muslin means trying out the pattern to check for fit before cutting into your "real" fabric, but a wearable muslin means you hope it turns out well enough to actually be worn!  This worked out for me in this case--after making this dress, there were adjustments that I wanted to make before cutting into my Art Gallery fabric, but I will still definitely wear this version!

This fabric was a risk for me.  It is a voile, so it was a good choice for the muslin since I would be working with a voile in the real version, but the print is kind of wacky:

It's little bundled-up people, maybe ice skating or something?  And the gray/peach/olive/light blue color is not my usual either.  But when I saw it at the fabric store I couldn't stop thinking about it, and it was only 100 yen per meter, so I brought it home, not knowing if I would ever use it.  I was able to get this whole dress out of just 2 meters (just barely), so if it didn't work out at least it wasn't a big investment!

Anyway, if I'm feeling shy about the print, I can always wear a cardigan:

The dress ties in the back:

But you guys--do NOT skip the recommended stay-stitching on the neckline!


For my final version, I adjusted the bodice so that the seams sit lower on my chest, which I like better.  I do love the sleeves in this pattern, which was one of the main reasons I chose it--I have been adding sleeves to everything to get me through the winter, and it seems like most of the patterns I had on hand had pretty blousy sleeves, which didn't look flattering with some of the looser tunic shapes I was trying to add them to.  These have plenty of room for movement but a nice slim silhouette, and I really like the banding at the bottom.

In the book I'm currently reading, the main character referred to 3/4 sleeves as "the least flattering sleeve," but I beg to differ!  I love 3/4 sleeves!

So, until my featured post on Imagine Gnats on Sunday, this will be my final Selfish Sewing post of Spring 2015!  I managed to finish 3 dresses and a top--not bad!  Here's a preview of the fabric I chose--it's called Aves Chatter Dim from Bonnie Christine's Winged line for Art Gallery Fabrics:

Spoiler alert--it came out SO GOOD!