Happy Friday + Etsy Shop Update!

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photo by Carrie Hoge of @maddermade

Happy Friday, friends! I added another item to my etsy shop! For about a year or so, I’ve only had one item, and now I have a grand total of two items. At this rate, I might have three items by next year.

This fun little tooth fairy pillow I made for the FAUNA issue of Making Magazine is now available as a downloadable pattern/tutorial for purchase in my shop here. I think it’s pretty darn cute, if I do say so myself.

Speaking of Making Magazine, I’ll have another project in the next issue coming out soon and here’s a little sneaky peek:

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photo by Carrie Hoge of @maddermade

I really enjoyed stitching this up!

Well, it’s spring break as of this evening and my mom is visiting from Los Angeles and there is much mischief and good times to be had. I’ll be back with some sewing next week!

I don’t have to cook
And K is taken care of
Ba-chan* visits rock

*Although “Ba-chan” technically means grandma, M and I now call her Ba-chan too. She loves to feed us and play with K, so it feels like a real vacation for me as well when she visits!

Happy Friday + Simplicity Tween Patterns

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Happy Friday, my friends!

A little while ago, it occurred to me that K has officially outgrown the largest size (130cm) for most of the Japanese sewing books that I own. This was a momentous and startling occurrence. I’ve been sewing from these books for five years, which means I haven’t bought her (or me!) any clothes for 60 months. Wait, that’s not true. I did buy the first day of school outfit here.

Okay, K has received an embarrassment of riches in terms of hand-me-downs from neighbors and she’s worn the ready-to-wear outfits exclusively and exuberantly for the last couple of years. Mildly discouraged but also relieved that it gave me more time to work on books, I had stopped sewing for her.

But joy! K has a sudden renewed interest in handmade clothes and has been squeezing herself into the garb I stitched up years and years ago. It was time to get the sewing machine cranked up again.

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So we hightailed it to the nearest JoAnn’s and found a bevy of tween patterns. I already had a few tween patterns on hand, but we were looking specifically for cardigan patterns. She has big, big love for cardis. And shrugs. And boleros. I’ll do another post on the New Look patterns that was part of the same haul, but these were the two Simplicity ones she liked: 1025 and 1510 — see what I mean about the cardis and boleros?

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The funny thing about this view C of Simplicity 1025 is that it’s actually a faux cardi. The shirt portion is cleverly stitched as part of the cardigan. I didn’t realize this until I started sewing and was perplexed by the instructions and stared at them for a while. Once I figured it out, it was easy to assemble. K loves it. Size 8 seems to be spot on for my petite, almost 11-year-old in all the Big 4 patterns.

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She also begged for the knit skirt, and chose all the fabrics from my stash. That’s my ironclad new rule: no new fabrics. Both were quick to sew, and though my stitches got a little weird around the neckline of the faux cardigan, I’m pretty sure that no one would actually notice.

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It looks sort of business-casual to me, but hey, she adores the outfit. That darn skirt hem keeps flipping up…

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By now, I’ve quietly surrendered all creative decisions to my budding fashionista, and her next request was for a “musical” outfit. For those of you that may not know, K is a musician. She plays the piano, guitar and cello and she also takes voice lessons. All by her own request. As a totally non-musical person who is tone-deaf myself, what she can do with all her instruments is miraculous to me.

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I actually made three boleros total from Simplicity 1510 (the other two disappeared in her laundry basket and I haven’t been able to get photos). The pattern is meant for wovens, but I used a sweater knit, and as per her instructions, I ironed on a big ole gold treble clef. It’s become a fave.

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The dress is made out of quilting cotton and isn’t the best in terms of drape. The pleats don’t really show up much with dancing musical notes everywhere, but it’s a nice detail.

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Speaking of dancing, apparently this is the new “it” dance move called The Dab:

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The Dab from behind:

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It’s all the rage at K’s school. My invisible zipper insertion technique needs some work, and I couldn’t get the waist seams to line up but again, chance of anyone noticing are slim.

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I’ve noticed that the dress isn’t getting much wear compared to the boleros, but maybe it’s because she had wanted the maxi version and I just didn’t have enough fabric. She’s talking to M here and making him pinky promise something, but I can’t remember what it was about.

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Alright, I feel like I’ve assailed you with enough photos for now. As you can see, I’ve been sewing fairly frequently. And I am LOVING it.

I’m not ready to figure out what to do with all the Japanese sewing books, but I will get around to it when the time is right. Baby girls seem to be popping up around me a lot lately, and I do get an outsized amount of pleasure from sewing itty-bitty clothes…

I’m off to sew some more! Have a delightful weekend everyone!

Tween sewing is good
Though our tastes aren’t quite the same
We connect through it

 

Happy Friday + Morgan Jeans

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So. Shall we talk about the brilliance that is the Morgan Boyfriend Jeans by Closet Case Patterns? I happen to be one lucky gal and am real life friends with both Heather (who created the pattern) and Morgan (who is the muse for the pattern). When the energy of two women that I adore converge into a singularly stylish and comfortable jeans pattern, well, I flounder for the right word to describe the magic. Maybe fizazzlepizzazzle?

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I took my time with this one, friends. I lovingly traced the pattern pieces. Slooowly cut them out. I carefully ironed on the interfacings. So on and so forth. And you know what? It was AWESOME. I was enjoying myself so much while making these, a casual observer might have assumed I was on some mood-enhancing drug. Nope, just a natural high from creating the most professional-looking pair of jeans.

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From start to finish, it took me seven hours to make these jeans. Yes. Definitely an investment of time. But I paced myself and worked on it over three days and it truly felt effortless. Would I do it again? No question.

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The one rub: I think I cut one size (or possibly two sizes) too large. This is a size 8, and I knew from the instructions that the non-stretch denim would expand in size over time and based on the measurements the 8 seemed like a safe bet. I took the photos as soon as I finished them and the fit was perfect, perfect, perfect. Snug, but not tight around the waist. Casually slouchy but not ballooning around the thighs and calves.

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I don’t have pictorial evidence, but by the end of the day of the third wear, the jeans looked like they belonged to a hefty bodyguard three times my size.

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I’m going to toss them into the washing machine and hope they shrink up back to the amazing initial fit. If not, that’s okay. I’m not one to shy away from too loose jeans.

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It just means I’ll have to size down, which means less fabric to cut and hey, that sounds like a win-win to me. On a side note, I went with the cropped version but due to my legs that have the DNA of wiener dogs, they don’t look as cropped as I’ve seen on others. I like this length a lot though!

Spurred by the success of my Morgan Boyfriend Jeans for which the instructions are excellent, I decided it was high time I made K some skinny jeans again. I’m afraid the lack of pictorial evidence is deliberate this time. I used the Blaverry KoKo pattern (the company no longer seems to be in business) and maybe I was exhausted and double-visioned from already making grown-up sized jeans, but I couldn’t make heads or tails of the zip fly insertion instructions. I completely flubbed the whole thing, but K wore it for a full day anyway just because I had spent so much time on it (a speedy 4 hours compared to the Morgan). But in the end, she had to admit that the jeans were terribly uncomfortable. If I get around to it, I’ll add the photo of the finished KoKo jeans here at a later date — it actually looks pretty good at first glance, but oh, the zip fly (suck in breath through teeth here)…it ain’t pretty.

Upon reflection I’m certain that I messed up K’s jeans because I felt rushed and through no fault of her own, K’s eager expectation added some pressure to the experience. With the Morgan jeans, I thoroughly and leisurely enjoyed the process of it and didn’t really focus on the end result. With the KoKo jeans, it was all about the end result. Hm. Thoughts to chew on. Have you made the Morgan? Was it as fizazzlepizazzle for you too? What about the KoKo? I’m sure it’s a great pattern and that all errors were just from my misreading the instructions.

Anyway. I have another deadline next week so I better focus on that. Have a delightful weekend, everyone!

Jeans are fun to make
Even if they don’t fit well
Just gotta make more

P.S. I almost forgot! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!

P.P.S. I’m wearing the Linden sweatshirt in the lovely french terry I mentioned a few posts ago.

6 Lindens + A Toaster

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Well, well, well, what do we have here? Clearly, a pile of knits that have seen better days.

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A few weeks (months?) ago, I hinted at having sewn a bunch of Linden sweatshirts and not only did I sew six of them, I have worn them to death.

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From a distance, they don’t look too bad. I even got a little bit creative with a striped back for the black version:

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Alas, these have been so well-loved (that Jen of Grainline Studio knows how to draft a good pattern) three out of the six are not really fit for public wear anymore and have been relegated to pajama tops. Case in point:

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This brownish-khaki-ish double-knit is incredibly soft and comfortable but the pilling! The snagging! I truly look tragic when I wear it. The navy-and-white stripe and black with striped back have suffered similar declines in presentability. The Ocean Blue French terry I got from Raspberry Creek Fabrics is wonderful in quality, however, and it’s been holding up decently, as has the light grey sweatshirt fabric from…I don’t know. Maybe Pacific Fabrics? The double-knit was from Drygoods, I’m pretty sure. The short-sleeved navy version is also a mystery fabric that feels like rayon jersey.

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I wanted to make more Lindens to replace the pilled, unsalvageable ones, but chose to expand my horizons and tried my hand at the Toaster sweater. Here’s the conversation that followed when I triumphantly donned my new Toaster:

M: Did you make that?

Me: Yes! It was so fast to sew!

M:….

Me: Do you not like it?

M: Um.

Me: I know. I’m calling it my Steve Jobs top. It’s not my best look.

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My fabric choice was problematic, to begin with. This thick rayon jersey has no drape and very little stretch, so I feel stiff and awkward in it. I also added quite a bit to the bottom band since it’s what I always do to account for my loooong torso. I think that and the extra amount I added to the turtleneck are throwing the proportions off.

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The back’s not too bad. My Ginger jeans are still surviving though I accidentally ripped the right knee on a jutting apparatus in my basement (it’s torn all my jeans and caused other shenanigans). I figure the ripped knee gives me some street cred.

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Hmmmm. It’s not that it looks horrible or anything. I think it’s more about how I feel in it. I feel…oddly robotic. Inflexible. Rigid. Ah well. Live and learn. Maybe I’ll try this pattern again with a different knit. That might be the ticket.

With spring around the corner, a resurgence of sewing motivation is brewing inside of me. I might even venture to sew something that’s not knit! What are you making lately?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dopp Kit with Lining – Tutorial by Ute

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Hello my friends! Today, I’m excited to share a tutorial that my dear friend Ute created. When she posted her beautifully made dopp kit as part of the Sewing Happiness Winter Tour, I noticed that she added a lining (the pattern in my book is sans lining to make it extra easy for beginners). I loved that and casually asked her if she’d want to do a little tutorial. She agreed and as usual, she went above and beyond and whipped one up in a jiffy, complete with gorgeous photos (that fabric!!).

Take it away Ute!

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I am so excited to share a tutorial with you on how to line the dopp kit from “Sewing Happiness” – or any other boxy pouch. Thank you so much for inviting me, Sanae!

One of the things I made for the Sewing Happiness Winter Tour was the dopp kit as a Christmas present for my father. Since it was intended as a toiletry bag I lined it with coated fabric that it could easily be cleaned and wiped.

At least for me this process was not very intuitive and maybe a little tutorial can help you too!

Let´s go!

ute-doppkit2MATERIALS

  • Two rectangular pieces of fabric for the exterior (I used 15 inches by 10 inches of cotton – linen canvas of Nani Iro “beautiful life”)
  • Two pieces of the same size for the lining (I used water repellent/coated fabric)
  • A zip at least as wide as your fabric or longer (I used a 17-inch zip)
  • coordinating thread

Optional:

  • Interfacing for the exterior
  • Twill tape or other fabric/leather for zipper tabs or handles

CONSTRUCTION STEPS

The first steps are the same as assembling a simple, lined zippered pouch.

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Make a “sandwich” by laying one piece of exterior fabric right side up, put the zipper with the teeth down and the pull to the left and layer the lining – wrong side up- on top of it.

Align zipper tape edge and fabric edges. You can let your zip hang over the edge if it is longer.

On top of the lining mark your seam allowance at ½ inch away from the edge at both sides.

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Use your zipper foot and sew with a ¼ inch seam allowance. Start and stop where you marked your fabric.

Now flip the fabric so that the wrong sides are facing each other and press away from the zipper.

Take the second piece of exterior fabric, right side up, place the zipper with the teeth down and the pull to the right side and layer the lining – wrong side up – on top of it. Attach zipper like above.

Again, flip the fabrics so that the wrong sides are facing each other and press away from the zipper.

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Topstitch along each side of the zipper.

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Place exterior and lining right sides together and close the bottom of the pouch.

Leave an opening in the lining or exterior for turning the pouch right side out. I left an opening in the exterior because hand-stitching the coated lining would not have given me nice results.

Center your seams on top of the zipper and put your tab(s)/handles in place, sandwiching them between the exterior layers on one side or both. Pin exterior pieces and lining pieces together.

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Starting at the side without the zipper pull, fold back the lining and close the seam, sewing over the zip. I like to use my zipper foot for that.

Repeat for the lining.

For the other side open the zip at least half way and proceed in the same manner.

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Trim seam allowances and zip.

Box all eight corners by pinching them so that the seam is in the middle, sew perpendicular to the seam, 2 inches from the tip of the triangle.

Trim seam allowances of all corners. You will now have something looking like this:

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Turn pouch to the right side through the opening! You are almost finished!

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Now close the opening with a few hand stitches and your pouch is ready to be filled and used!

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I hope this was helpful!

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Thanks so much, Ute! I gave the tutorial a whirl myself and it was so fun to add a lining, I made three! These are all going to be gifts and I think they’ll be well-received.

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As you can see, I played around with the sizing.

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I used Nani Iro Water Window in canvas for this one with a softer fusible interfacing meant for quilting, I think. It ended up a little squishy, and for some reason looks longer than Ute’s version even though I used 15″ x 10″ rectangular pieces. A word on adding the handle: I cut a 8-inch piece of webbing and measured 3/4″ from the center of the zip on each side for placement. The handle felt a little too long proportionally for me, so I shortened the next version to 7 inches.

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I used most of the last bit of my very favorite Nani Iro cotton for a more petite version. I used this lovely textile for the baby pinafore pattern that I sell in my etsy shop here. I can’t remember exactly how big my fabric pieces were since I was squeezing as much as I could out of the little bit I had available. It was about 10 x 11, I think, so almost a perfect square. It’s adorable!! This is the version with the 7-inch handle. I also used decor weight interfacing for this one, so it has pretty good structure.

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For this last version that will be a birthday gift for a friend, I switched up the handle style and simply attached the handle from the outside, as you would a belt loop on jeans. Alright, I admit it, it’s because I forgot to attach the handle beforehand…

This one is slightly smaller than the first one I made (13″ x 10″) and has decor weight interfacing as well. For some reason, K liked this navy graphic fabric a lot and I had some extra, so I made her a dopp kit too, so I guess I sewed 4 in total! I just happened to have the handle strap already sewn because I was going to make a camera strap (also from my book) out of it, but I never got around to it.

All three are lined with dark grey water-repellant fabric used for rain gear, which will make wiping up a breeze. Yay!

I love love love the fabric that Ute used and need to get my hands on it somehow. Anyway, that’s it for the dopp kit tutorial!! Thanks again, Ute!

P.S. Many of you should have received a Secret Valentine Exchange gift by now, but again, please be patient if you’re still waiting for yours. Happy, Happy Valentine’s Day!! I’ll do a full wrap-up next week!