Thursday, 29 March 2012

Couture a-la japonaise

"Dressmaking" is the name this Japanese magazine. Our story was a destiny. On my birthday we went to one of the coolest book shops in the world (No kidding!) After spending hours browsing in the shop we went to Anjin cafe to treat ourselves with the outstanding hot chocolate (¥900 a cup aie!!). The shelves in this "living room" are filled with magazines arranged by topic. And as I lifted my eyes from the cup of hot chocolate the first word I saw was ドレスマーキング. I took few issues and my eyes lit up with excitement: the magazine features detailed explanations to patternmaking, reports on the "latest fashion from Paris" and, of course, stylish Japanese ladies. Unfortunately, the magazine was not for sale and I started looking for a place online to buy it. And here they are, cute CUTE 2 issues of ドレスマーキング which costed me ¥7000 but I consider it as my be-later birthday present.

I shut up for now and flick through some pages

Fancy underwear! It says" Brassiere", Slip petticoat", "Camisole"  

Paris street fashion. That's how ladies in Paris looked like in early 50's

October elegance! I can so imagine myself wer this chic ensemble

Lots of very detailed instruction to patternmaking
Japanese beautiful ladies

More Japanese ladies of the early 50's
Latest Dior collection and some funky ad on the left ;)

More haute couture. Makes dreamy even girls from the 2010', no?

Dior's wedding dress
Jokes are timeless!!!

BROTHER antique ad. 
Isn't it cool!?

Monday, 26 March 2012

Japanese sewing notions


Few days ago I received an email from a fellow seamstress and blogger to help her find Japanese online stores with cotton and silk basting thread. Many teachers and sewing aficionados reference and use this  thread but also other notions from the country of the rising sun. For example, Susan Khalje in her Craftsy online lesson on couture dress is basting the dress with Japanese cotton thread and is using Japanese fork pins (pictured above).

If you live in the US these products are probably easier to get but guys in Europe and Latin America might pay expensive delivery fees from the States. I think it's not a bad idea of sharing links to some of the online shops where you can find those products.

Most of the notions that I buy online in Japan come from Rakuten. Their mission is to become the world biggest online retailer.

What? Japanese silk basting thread
When? When working with tricky or soft fabric (velvet, wool, silk, taffeta). Sometimes you need to press the hem with the basting on it to leave a crease on fabric. In this case use the silk basting thread as it does not leave marks on the right side of the fabric. Often used in couture.
Where? Komadori, Yanagia,  Sanoya, Aura. All these shops offer wide range of colors

What? Japanese cotton basting thread
When? This fine cotton does not slip and stabilized basted parts of the garment very well. For some reason, only Japanese know how to make this magic cotton thread ;) Great for tailoring.
Where? Handcraft, Osaihou, Ioki.

What? Fork pins
When? To sew together intersecting seams, especially if the garment has underlining or facing (say, wool on silk organza). It prevents fabric from shifting. You appreciate it especially when you work with prints that are difficult to match.
Where? Kanzawa, Handcraft, Yanagia, Ko-da.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Clothing of the future. Clothing of 2000

Have you ever asked yourself the question: How the fashion of the future will look like?

Strange shapes?

Couple of days ago I came across this video from the 30's guessing the fashion choices of 2000. Pretty hilarious ;) I would like to have this electric belt adapting my body temperature to the climatic changes.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

What's in the wardrobe?

Courtesy of

Seems like today eco-fashion is in vogue. Both designers and consumers are becoming eco-conscious. Today people buy and make recycled fashion. The number of women who make their own clothes is increasing every day. But...we are facing the same daily dilemma: "nothing to wear".

My eco-fashion chapter started last year, when I made a bet with my boyfriend to spend 6 months without buying clothes. I was only allowed to buy leg-wear and underwear and make my own. By then I was already making my own clothes, but I needed a good reason to reduce the habit of filling my closet with useless stuff.

The first month was difficult. After month #2 passing by shops without going in became natural. I did not feel the urge to justify apparel shopping. After months #4 I did not even want to buy a thing. Today, after a year and a bit, I shop very rarely. Last year I probably bought altogether 10 pieces of clothes (including underwear). This year I got 3 pairs of tights! What a good girl!

Another contribution to my eco-fashion life style was a resolution to learn how to wear kimono. To me kimono represents the most elegant, casual, sexy, feminine (all in one) garment and is probably one of the most eco-friendly piece of clothes. If you own only one kimono and three obi-belts you own three different garments, they say. Of course, there is always the issue of the kimono price that can go up to tens thousands of dollars, but the one in my closet cost a humble $150.

Do you consider yourself eco-conscious when it comes to your wardrobe?

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Craftsy, I love you!

At the time I became a student of ESMOD Japan I lived in Tokyo for only 10 months and my Japanese was far from perfect (in fact it still is). After my first lesson I was crying in the school's toilet because I could not understand what the teacher was saying not could I express even half of what I wanted to say. But I said to myself that this can be a chance not only to improve my Japanese but also to improve my sewing using additional methods: books & online. That's how I met ;)

Craftsy is a great addition to my ESMOD classes and I have quickly learned so much techniques!

I love Craftsy lessons because the lessons are taught by experts. You can watch videos as many times as you want. I like the idea to post questions, take notes and interact with teachers and the community. All teachers are answer questions within 24 hours. In fact, lots of additional information to the lesson you can find in Q&A's.

I started with the bombshell dress. The lesson is taught by Gretchen Hirsch, expert in vintage sewing techniques. Her blog is another great addition to my sewing education.

When launched the couture dress with Susan Khalje I immediately enrolled.  

We've just started creating the dress at school  and I even applied some couture techniques to my red princess seam dress from the previous post! When you pay for this lesson you also receive  VOGUE dress pattern. 
Pattern is declined into several variation. 

Next stop was another lesson with Gretchen: Starlet Suit Jacked.  The pattern was drafted by Gretchen exclusively for Craftsy. To be honest, I am not sure this particular style would be flattering to my figure, but since we are going to make a jacket during the second year in ESMOD I can pick up and apply some techniques to it as well. 

Do you know What sewing lessons have you enrolled into? Care about share your results?

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Hello world \@``@/

After a few years of sewing and one year attending evening classes of ESMOD Japan, I pulled myself together to start documenting my projects, inspirations and ideas into one place. 

These pictures were taken on our first "graduation"from Patternmaking and Clothes Construction class. We were asked to model our own garments. Introducing my first unofficial collection: 2 dresses, skirt and shirt.

More to follow...

Princess seam dress with the slit on the left (you can't see it on the pic)

This dress is very simple. But I choose to work with the trickiest fabric in the world:velvet on the top and silk lining. Took me ages to cut and sew together. Even more took me sequins embroidery (little silver waves along the hemline).

Very simple skirt made with the gorgeous naniIro fabric

Shirt are my least favorite garments to make and to wear. But most of people likes it the best of all "collection".
Our 1 year students and Ayumi-sensei