I have such a fun update for you today! Brilliant Robin came up with a sewing swap idea and I was totally in as soon as she told me about it. I was quaking in my (Seattle-appropriate rain) boots to be included in the line-up of such talented sewing bloggers, but I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
The idea is a sort of mash-up of Secret Santa and Pinterest-inspired sewing project, and I was thrilled to get my assignment.
But first, I want to talk about the person who sewed for me (or rather K), because she is rapidly becoming one of my favorite people. Especially when she makes amazing things like so:
Cherie of You and Mie has skills that I can only hazily imagine ever acquiring. Her sense of style? Perfection. Her fabric selection? Perfection! Her sewing? PERFECTION.
She made this generous outfit of a blazer (fully-lined, naturally), dress and scarf in the midst of her Japanese Sewing Book Series, while juggling her job, taking care of her daughter, etc. etc., so not only is she a multi-tasker extraordinaire, but a speedy sewista as well. AND she included a bonus package of goodies including fabric and notions for me, which I didn’t even get to photograph because I was so eager and tore right into it (I’ve already started to make things).
I adore the whole ensemble and Cherie hit it squarely on the mark as far as I was concerned: the various pink hues, greys and simple silhouettes (and pintucks! Love pintucks!!), but the true test was K’s reaction. She casually glanced at the contents when I first opened the box. Then she did a double-take. “Are those for me??” she asked, the pitch of her voice rising excitedly. She grabbed the scarf and proceeded to wear it non-stop for the next three days. I forbid her from wearing the rest of the outfit until I got some photos in its pristine condition and she threw a fit. Once I removed the ban, she wanted to wear the outfit several days in a row. The highest form of compliment indeed.
I think saying that she loves the outfit is an understatement.
I should point out that K takes her modeling very seriously, and though she’s not jumping around with a massive grin, she is so happy with the outfit here.
Over these last few weeks, I’ve gotten to know Cherie better, and she really is one of the funniest, sweetest and most genuine people. And as she’s mentioned, we share an awful lot in common, though I would have to disagree on the coolness factor. I think she’s got the market cornered on that one. Plus, she’s an excellent secret-keeper because despite the many emails/texts zinging between us for other matters, she didn’t once let on that she was assigned to me.
And how cute are the glitter ribbon and the You and Mie tag?
Arigato Cherie, we love your creations to bits. And here are some details in Cherie’s own words and images:
Sewing for Sanae was intimidating to say the least – not only does she have exquisite style and amazing sewing skills, but I’d have to please her daughter, K, as well and the girl has her own opinions and stellar style! I was supposed to find inspiration from her pinterest board and that was a whole ‘nuther problem. PEOPLE! Sanae’s Mini fashion pinterest board is OUT. OF. CONTROL. The girl has 6400+ pins on her board! And every single one is totally gorgeous, super stylish, and unique – I basically want to repin the entire board. It’s wonderful to browse though (and I highly suggest that you do), but to find inspiration for ONE outfit? I spent days and days and days combing through for ideas and kept feeling overwhelmed.
Finally I decided that I wouldn’t be able to pick one outfit to recreate and just tried to soak in her overall style. Between her pinterest board, the outfits she sews and blogs about, and the Japanese Sewing Book Series I was gearing up for, I decided I really just wanted to sew from a Japanese pattern. I chose a ruffle sleeve dress from 子供服ソーイング LESSON BOOK (Kid’s Clothes Sewing Lesson Book).
It’s the same book and pattern that Frances sewed up here, except in dress form. I used shot cotton which comes in beautiful colors and has a soft lightweight feel and nice drape.
After choosing the pattern and sewing the dress, I went back to Sanae’s pinterest board and noticed that she actually had a lot of similar stuff pinned. Flutter sleeves, pintucks, neutral colors and soft pinks . . . I’m not sure if it was a coincidence, or if I had subconsciously picked up on these things while browsing her board earlier.
I can’t be positive, but I thought I’d seen some blazers on her board also and thought that I might be a nice piece to compliment the soft romantic dress. I wanted to keep it lightweight enough for spring, so I used quilting cottons and it’s definitely got enough weight to hold it’s shape, but is thinner than say, corduroy, wool or other outerwear material. I used the Blank Slate Basic Blazer pattern which I’d sewn once before (though in a much smaller size!). Melissa (designer of Blank Slate Patterns) was awesome enough to help me choose the most appropriate size for Sanae’s daughter. I did have some trouble getting all my pattern pieces to line up though, so I had to recut and/or trim some of the pieces. But in the end, it came out nicely. *UPDATE* After I wrote this post, Melissa contacted me to ask about the trouble I had. It turns out I was using an older version of the pattern and she sent me the updated version, which is great because I’m sure I’ll be sewing this pattern up again! Thanks Melissa for your amazing follow up!!* I changed up the pockets after seeing the awesome pocket on this blazer. I wanted to add something fun and whimsical for K, so I chose the watercolor-y bird print for the lining.
The scarf was kind of a random piece that I hadn’t gotten from her pinterest board, but saw something similar in a Japanese sewing book that I have. This was a piece that I made purely for K (as opposed to something I thought Sanae would like). I found this light dusty pink knit that is super thin and soft and thought it’d be so comfy around K’s neck. I found some gorgeous silver embroidery floss and made some tassels that I imagined K would like running her fingers through. I could picture her flinging the scarf around her neck dramatically and running away as Sanae tried to take her picture. Hah!
I guess I have a wild imagination, but I really do feel like I’ve gotten to know both K and Sanae so well over the last month! Creating this was truly a fun and challenging project for me and the best part is hearing that it fits and K likes it!
Ha! It’s true, my pinterest boards are pretty insane. As for my own sewing…I’ve been a huge fan of Elsie Marley for years, and the creator and doyenne of Kids Clothes Week Challenge is the epitome of hip and happening. Which, of course, made sewing for Meg very daunting. I had a blast though, and here’s a little sneak peek of one of the things I made, and you can read all about the whole outfit over here!
And don’t forget to check out the other participants:
cherie from you and mie
danielle from my sparkle
delia from delia creates
gail from probably actually
heather from well-crafted
kristin from skirt as top
meg from elsie marley
robin from nested in stitches
vanessa from lbg studio
A big thanks to Robin for thinking up such a great swap! Robin is also someone I now consider a good friend and it’s been so much fun sharing ideas and thoughts back and forth — the wonders of blogland!