Greetings from Japan!

Takeshita-Dori at Harajuku, Tokyo. We ate a ton of sweets here.
Ginza, Tokyo. I liked the “San-ai Dream Center” sign because it reminded me of my name and the way I pronounce it, which is actually different from the Japanese traditional pronunciation.
On weekends, the main street in Ginza is closed off and is pedestrian only. K is lounging at one of the tables in the heart of the shopping district.
The theme of the trip was animals. We went to the amazing Yokohama Sea Paradise aquarium where it felt like we could practically touch the dolphins.

Hello, hello! K and I have spent a glorious time in Japan for the last 11 days, and we’re having a hard time leaving. I have so many thoughts and emotions right now and though I’m unable to organize them in a coherent way at the moment, I wanted to pop in to say hello.

I also wanted to talk about Ogden camis. For this trip, I somehow made four Ogden Camis by True Bias Patterns in two days before embarking on the plane to Narita. I originally purchased the PDF pattern and then printed it out via PDF Plotting. This turned out to be a brilliant move because I probably would have never gotten around to sewing these great little tops if I had to tape loads of sheets together.

I started with the size 12 based on the finished size dimensions, but the top was much too large and also too short for my liking. Undaunted, I traced the size 10 and the fit was much better, though I think I could go down a half size. I experimented with lengthening, ranging from 1″ to 3″ — 2″ feels like the right amount for me.

Size 12 in a Japanese fabric I received as a gift from Frances of Miss Matatabi

 

 

Version two in size 10 using a double-gauze.
Here’s the back
Version three in my favorite indigo cotton with subtle vertical stripes. I lengthened this one by 3 inches.

Here’s the sad part though: I brought three of the four camis with me to Japan and I only wore one. The breezy top is perfect for the muggy weather in Japan, but I felt very exposed and a bit scandalous showing so much skin in the thronging areas amid women covered from head to toe in layers of fabric. The Japanese as a whole are a modest people and there seems to be an unspoken rule to cover your shoulders.

This fourth version was made from 1 yard of GORGEOUS linen I got on major sale from the no longer open District Fabrics in Fremont. I love how Katara stays close to me and you can see what the photo area situation is actually like here…

I wore this stripey linen version to a cat cafe in Atagawa — where my parents now live — and I felt all the Japanese cat lovers surreptitiously staring at my torso. Luckily, the kitties were incredibly adorable so the stares were short-lived. The cat cafe was one of the highlights of our trip. K and I were missing Katara and it was an unplanned way to get a dose of feline fun. I was pleased with how well-cared for the 28 (!!) cats were at the small facility. For the price of roughly $10 an hour, we played with incredibly friendly cats, fed them snacks and enjoyed a beverage ourselves (the snacks and drinks were included).

K at the cat cafe, having the time of her life.

Well, it’s time for me to wake up K so we can have our last breakfast in Japan. I want to absorb all that we’ve seen and done here in the land of the rising sun and will be updating my Patreon lovelies with all the nitty gritty behind-the-scenes stuff as I always do. I hope you’re all doing well, and I’ll be back with more sewing with some fabric goodies I got in Ginza soon!

A whole new world (no more PDF taping!)

Hello, my friends! How are you? I’m getting ready to travel to Indiana to visit relatives this weekend, and despite my best efforts, I was unable to fully execute my glorious vacation wardrobe sewing plan I had in mind. However, in the process of attempting said sewing plan, I’ve discovered a life-changing thing: PDF Plotting.

I found out about PDF Plotting through a very thorough and super helpful blog post on Sew Liberated. I bet most of you sewing mavens are already familiar with this alternative to the daunting task of printing/cutting out/taping PDF patterns, and though I’d vaguely noticed the online community mentioning copy shop printing of patterns, my hard-wired brain was slow to pick up on this amazing time saving and relatively economical option.

It’s so easy! The one thing I would advise is to double-check the dimensions of the file size in Acrobat (you hover over the lower left corner to get the file size dimensions once it’s opened in the Acrobat Reader). I made a mistake when I entered the sizing info, but the folks at PDF Plotting were very kind about pointing out my errors, and I had beautifully printed patterns on large format paper in a matter of two days from the moment I submitted the order. Magic!

I plan to order more from PDF Plotting when I get back from my midwestern vacation, and in the meantime, I’m going to see if I can crank out at least an Ogden Cami or Kate Bias Top by Sunday. The Persephone Pants will have to wait, though I really want a pair NOW.

Have you tried getting PDF patterns printed? How has your experience been?

Alright, it’s time for me to get going on some sewing! Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Black Wool Dolman Top + Some Forgotten Sewing Projects

Happy Friday! If you’re in the U.S., I hope you had a Thanksgiving feast shared with loved ones! We went to watch Ralph Breaks the Internet (M and K made fun of me because I cried. I cry at every movie, regardless of genre) and capped our quiet, low key T-day at a bustling Taiwanese restaurant and it was awesome. I’m a big fan of stress-free holidays – they’re pretty rare, wouldn’t you agree?

So I finally got photos of the dolman sleeve top that I made out of the remaining fabric from the Linden top post, and this also happened to be what I wore to Thanksgiving dinner. As I move forward with my fabric destashing, my mug and awkward poses will be showing up here on the regular.

Some handy info for my future self:

Fabric: Black wool (I think), origin unknown though most likely Drygoods Design circa 2016-ish

Pattern: The “Dolman Cut-Sew” from a Japanese sewing book that no longer seems available online. According to the back cover, it’s ISBN978-4-539-05451-5, but my search hasn’t yielded anything. I posted a photo of the book on IG here.

Size: L

Modifications: Added a couple of inches to the length

The Good: I love the fabric/pattern combo. This lighter weight wool jersey (I’m guessing) is comfy to wear and cozy for this increasingly chilly weather. I usually fold the neckband and armbands/cuffs in half lengthwise (wrong sides together) and then use my serger to attach. Depending on how I feel, I might topstitch to keep the seam allowance from flipping up. I learned a new method from this book that reduced the bulk a bit because the bands were attached more like a bias binding but with a serged edge instead of folding the raw edge under, and sewing from the right side. The hem was finished with a facing sewn in a similar manner.

The Not-So-Good: Although I’m glad I added the 2 inches to the length, I think it threw the shape off a little due to the curved hems. The fit is a little weird. And I’m not sure I’m digging how the neckline is shaped. But I wore it to dinner and as with all my tops, it handily passed the all-you-can-eat buffet test.

Sometimes it takes me a few times of trying out a garment before I fall in love with it, and this might be one of those cases.

The real gem of this outfit is the lower half. I can’t tell you enough how much I love these elastic-waisted linen pants. It’s not uncommon for me to forget that I’m wearing them – they’re that comfortable. I made them this past summer when I sewed up an entire vacation wardrobe, which I never shared on the blog:

Clockwise: Fen dress in khaki linen from Fancy Tiger Crafts, Kiomi dress (from Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style) in grey knit, Myla Tank by Sew Liberated in black cotton lawn, Kiomi top in Indian cotton with brown print, New Look 6403 top in charcoal knit, Salt Marsh skirt from Merchant and Mills Workbook in striped brushed cotton, Newlook 6403 pants in the same khaki linen as the Fen dress.

They’ve all been worn and are lovely, but my linen pants have been a workhorse. I have got to make more.

Katara, our cat, wasn’t so sure about my enthusiasm…look at her face!

Anyway, have a fabulous weekend, all!

P.S. K cut my hair, didn’t she do a great job?

 

Black & White: Linden Loves + Making Magazine no. 6

Happy Friday! I’ve had an unusually social couple of weeks with more events on the horizon, which means I can really feel the tug of my inner introvert imploring me to hibernate and recharge. Getting out and about is good for me, I must say, and last week I made a couple of Grainline Studio Linden tops that happened to match one of the events I attended this past Monday: Making Magazine’s Black & White trunk show at Drygoods Design.

You know, as someone who spends a lot of time alone squirreled away working on projects that don’t see the light of day for months on end, I often forget how scintillating it is to connect with people in real life. Online communication has its place and is a wondrous thing, but nothing beats a face-to-face conversation. I’ve been working with Carrie, Ashley, Cecily, Whitney and Lily of Making for over a year now but this was the first time we met in the flesh (ew, why does that sound so gross?). It’s such an uplifting feeling to discover that someone’s online persona perfectly matches the in-person personality. They are down-to-earth, easy to talk to, brimming with creativity and ideas and are just all-around wonderful. I had such a lovely time with them all! If you haven’t already, I highly encourage you to listen to the first episode of the Making podcast to learn more about Carrie and Ashley. They are so, so inspiring! And I’ve been shy about mentioning it, but I was interviewed a while back as well. You can find that podcast episode here.

Anyway, so caught up was I in blathering away, I forgot to snap photos, but I was excited to see that my little contribution to the Black & White issue was included in the trunk show. I made these guys:

Photo by Carrie Bostick Hoge

They’re felted animal masks! And how stunning is this magazine cover by the awe-inducing Lisa Congdon??

I also had the privilege of meeting Sonya Phillips of 100 Acts of Sewing, who was teaching a class towards the end of the trunk show and that was a major treat too. She’s the real deal, folks. There’s an abundance of joy in her creations. Another all too brief encounter was with Kristin of Woolfolk Yarn. Oh my goodness, have you seen her website and Instagram feed? Pure gorgeousness. Kristin listened to my knitting woes and sagely assured me that I was ready, that I can absolutely knit. She has such a grounded, beautiful presence. My only wish was that I could have stayed longer to chat more with everyone.

The intrepid women of Making and Jen of Grainline Studio often collaborate together so it was doubly fitting that I wore a Linden top to the event. I chose the polka dot one, of course. Other than adding 2 inches to the bodice length, I didn’t make any changes to the pattern for this version. It’s a straight up size 6. I love the Linden so much. So quick, so easy, so versatile! I’ve made a gaggle of them in the past, and I’ve gotten over my former reluctance about sewing the same pattern over and over. There’s something very comforting about a familiar pattern.

For this black wool version, I tried out Jen’s tutorial for a flat bias neckline. However, I had already cut out the neckband as per pattern instructions, not on the bias — which I don’t think should have made too much of a difference for this stretchy wool knit — and for some reason, my neckline got very wavy. I don’t mind the waviness, though I’m sort of confused by this super awkward pose in the photo. What am I doing? I included it to remind myself that I’m ridiculous in so many ways. I made a few other changes to the pattern with this version: shaved off an inch for each sleeve and slimmed the bodice by about an inch as well. And I always add at least 2 inches to the bodice of any top pattern to account for my extra long torso. This wool feels luxurious, and I’m pretty sure I got it from Drygoods but for the life of me, I can’t remember where I got the polka dot sweater knit from. I adore this black top despite the less than perfect neckline (see the wavy bits below?). Nothin’ a good scarf can’t hide. That I will knit one day.

There’s not a lot to be said for the back view, but here it is:

As long as I’m mentioning patterns that I keep sewing repeatedly, I’m wearing my 5th pair of Ginger skinny jeans that I never blogged about. The thing with these jeans is that the denim doesn’t have a lot of stretch so they aren’t my most comfortable pair. They look pretty good though, don’t you think?

And there you have it. Lindens, crafty folks, connections, repetitive sewing.

Okay! I’m doing a school presentation this afternoon and then I’ll be participating in the Ballard Art Walk at Secret Garden Books on Saturday, November 10th, so come on by if you’ve got a few spare moments from 6-8pm. I’ll have some original illustrations from my books on display and will be doing some custom illustrations too!

I’m off to prepare for these two events and then I’ll be back to my solitary schedule for a few weeks. Ahhhhhh…that sounds nice.

I hope you have a delightful weekend in every way, my friends!

Rumi + Toaster = Roaster Sweater Tunic Thingie

I did it! I figured out the tripod/wireless remote situation with my new camera and new photo wall! I just realized that all my shots are a little crooked but I’m out of practice with this whole selfie thing, so let’s take it slow and easy. The new camera was a reluctant purchase. I managed to somehow drop and break both my nice Canon and back-up Canon cameras a few months ago (sob!) and after lamenting the losses, I decided to take this opportunity to try out an Olympus mirrorless camera. I have to say, I’m lovin’ it because it’s so compact yet takes sharp, lovely photos.

Here I am, testing out the remote. I have about 7 jillion blurry photos of me from this single test.

Anyway! Like I’ve mentioned, I’ve been sewing.

This here is a hybrid of sorts of the Sew House Seven Toaster Sweater and the Cali Faye Rumi Pullover. The fabric is a polyester/cotton blend (well, I’m pretty sure it’s polyester/cotton, but don’t quote me on it) that I purchased years and years ago. I bought this with a vision of a roomy, cozy, cocoon-y turtleneck sweater and spent eons searching for a pattern with no luck. I was on the verge of just self-drafting a pattern when I remembered how much I love wearing my Rumi Pullover. The Rumi is very roomy (maybe that’s why it’s named that way?). But it is not a turtleneck. Luckily, I had stored the Toaster Sweater pattern with the Rumi pattern, so I figured it was kismet and I could just double the height of the neck piece and call it a day. It worked!

The other modification I made was to slim down the silhouette of the bodice a touch and tapered the hem for a subtle cocoon shape. I also added 5” to the length and reduced the front neckline about an inch to accommodate the turtleneck piece.

I loooooooooooooove it. It’s exactly what I had in mind. I could eat buckets of roasted chestnuts and drink gallons of hot cocoa and no one will ever notice my expanding waist. My kind of sweater! I’m calling it my Roaster sweater. Or maybe Tumi is better?  I’ve paired it with my favorite Ginger Skinny Jeans by Closet Case Patterns; this pair is in constant rotation and they’re holding up spectacularly.

There’s a lot of grey going on here, including my hair. I don’t think I’ve mentioned that I stopped coloring my hair about a year ago. It was — much to my utter shock — one of the most life-altering experiences I’ve had. I was SO self-conscious, it was nuts-o. As my roots grew out, I felt increasingly insecure and couldn’t figure out why I was making such a big deal about it. It was adolescence all over again! It took a good six months for me to get accustomed to the grey. I know that it’s a little tricky to see all of my silvery strands in these photos, but trust me, they’re abundant. The funny thing is, I love the grey/silver now. It is, after all, my favorite color and the way my hair sparkles and shimmers in the light is pretty awesome. And just plain pretty, I believe. The other day I saw a stunningly beautiful woman with silver locks and I was so inspired. If I can look half as chic as she did when I go fully grey, I’d be golden…or, uh, silver in this case. Though I miss my wonderful hair stylist who not only made me (artificially) feel youthful but also patiently listened to my dronings-on, the upsides of going naturally grey are innumerable. I don’t have to deal with stained pillowcases, I’m not shelling out $$$, I’ve reclaimed the time spent sitting in the salon chair, etc. etc. These days I can’t imagine going back to coloring my hair.

Oh, I’ve missed blogging. I derive so much pleasure from just sharing my thoughts and things I’m working on or playing/experimenting with in this random, carefree way. It feels so good to be typing this little post up. There are many, many exciting things happening behind the scenes, which is a major part of why I’ve had to put some of my favorite pastimes on the back burner. Maybe I’m being too optimistic and ambitious, but after pondering various options, I think I’ve come up with a fun way to incorporate everything I want to do. I have some news and more sewing that I’ll share over the next few weeks along with a personal project that’s been brewing in my mind for…oh…years.

Alright my friends, it’s time for me to get more sewing done. I hope you have a cozy, Roaster sweater-y type of weekend (if you’re in a cooler climate range, that is) and just an all-round good time!