Happy Friday + Happy Easter

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Happy Friday! I always start off with an ambitious list of things I’m determined to complete while my mom is here in Seattle. Since my mom is the world’s greatest babysitter (Homemade Japanese feasts and treats! Art lessons! Never-ending willingness to play board games and charades!), I feel a certain amount of pressure to get as much work done as possible.

And every time, I don’t even make a dent in my list and throw in the towel mid-week. As far as spring break goes, it’s been mellow and uneventful, and we’ve done a whole lot of nothing. The best kind of vacation.

The one thing I have been doing is staying up way too late reading books. For some reason, I’d taken a hiatus from fiction for many months, but now I’m back at it. I’ve become a little obsessed with Patrick Ness and his YA novels. I just finished The Rest of Us Just Live Here and the first book of the Chaos Walking Trilogy. So good. There’s a generosity of spirit and humor in his writing, even when supernatural beings are wreaking havoc and bloody violence. I also read Salman Rushdie’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories, which took me a while to get into, but I ultimately loved it. You really can’t go wrong with Rushdie. As you can see, I’ve got a strong fantasy/sci-fi theme going on. K wants me to write a middle grade/YA novel one day, so I’m calling this recent spate of binge reading research. K recommended this book from her own personal library, and I read it in a day. It left me heaving with sobs and utterly spent emotionally. No wonder I needed to escape to fanciful worlds in which animals talk.

My watercolor bunny up there doesn’t have much to say, however. It’s Easter in a couple of days, and I’ve run out of time to make K an outfit. Ah well, let’s hope that I’ll find my sewing energy once the school routine resumes next week. These are the patterns in my queue at the mo:

Naeh-Connection Undies for K

Aster Top by Colette Patterns (I have the PDF ready to assemble)

Kelly Anorak by Closet Case Patterns

Have a wonderful weekend, my friends!

Hunting Easter eggs
is not as thrilling for K*
But she’s a good sport

*This year, our neighbor’s tiny tot is joining our annual Easter egg hunt, so the challenge level will skew to the ridiculously easy side. When do kids officially stop wanting to look for candy-filled plastic eggs? It seems like K is pretty over it…

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:

makingpincushion
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 + Randomness

 

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Happy Friday! A while ago, I created a coloring book for K’s school event and this was one of the pages of the book, inspired by the Seattle Japanese Garden. I’ve got all things Japanese on my mind because we are spending a couple of weeks in the land of the rising sun this summer. Super super super super excited!!

My predominant thought is: I have to make clothes! My wardrobe has been whittled down to nothing these days and the situation is quite alarming. I love planning sewing projects and I’m in research heaven at the moment for travel friendly clothes. Beth of Sew DIY is about to go to Japan (she may actually be headed there as I type this) and did a lovely feature of one of her travel outfits. Her choices are stellar. Because I’ll be braving the extreme heat and humidity of summer in Japan, my to-sew list will have to be a little different. I’m still in the beginning stages of perusing patterns, but any and all suggestions would be so appreciated! My grand hope is to take only a carry-on with me to keep it all light and easy. K will have her own carry-on and yes, I want to sew for her too!

I’m off to go research some more. Have a terrific weekend, all!

I will be sewing:
knits knits knits knits knits knits knits
and even more knits

 

P.S. Furoku members, the next edition will be delivered April 2nd :-)!

 

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.