Friday, 18 May 2012

Spring break

I'll leave you to contemplate this Japanese beauty of the '30s from a Sapporo beer advertisement, while I finish packing for my trip. This slip looks so cute! I could use Sherry's tutorial as a basis, but have to figure out how to properly drape the skirt. 

This week has been pretty stressful at work, and I did not have time either for sewing or updating this blog. Upon my return in the beginning of June, I'd like to write on drafting and fitting pants. Anybody interested in pants?

Wishing you a happy end of May and see you soon!

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Easy, cute. Sewing in a straight line

When Tilly from Tilly and the Buttons posted a review of this DIY Couture sewing book last week, I immediately looked at my recently acquired Japanese sewing book: かんたん,かわいい.まっすぐソーイング (Easy, cute. Sewing in a straight line). 

The idea behind this book is to show that you can create beautiful and wearable garments without patterns and using only straight stitches on your sewing machine. All 27 pieces from this book are one-size which is another advantage: the book is a great source of inspiration for presents. I am already thinking of making a dress for my mom's birthday ;) She lives many thousands of kilometres away and I only remember that she fits something between a European size 42 and 44. I'll let you know the results!

Cute dress but even cuter fuchsia tights

Easy-to-make & practical coat to wear on cold days

Did you notice that it's made from Liberty?
Stripes = so Japanese!

This books gives lots of confidence and inspiration not only to beginners but also to more advanced seamstresses. The instructions are very straightforward: you don't need to know Japanese to understand them. And that's why I like Japanese craft books SOOOOOO much!

Do you feel inspired by the book? 

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Fashion Zen

That's what they called a collection in the April issue of Burda Style. Nine Zen patterns for a relaxing summer. And because I'm going on holiday SOOON, I desperately need a few outfits for my early summer break. This pattern caught my eye from the very beginning and I put it on my 'To Sew' list.

Fabric: NaniIro Star Fog double knit. I bought 4.7m (used 4.5m) because of the strange width: 80cm.
Time spent: 4 hours without muslin.
Size: 38
Cost: ~ $75
Modifications to pattern. 

The instructions suggested to use lightweight jersey, but I just fell in love with Star Fog. Hence the fabric is heavier and does not require any lining. You can clearly see that that the fabric does not drape the same as on the original photo. I don't regret using heavier fabric - it creates a smarter look and I could wear it to the office!

I reinforced the neckline with silk organza. I also omitted the casing. Since the fabric is pretty heavy, the waistline would have looked bulky and not very flattering.
Instead of the casing, I attached the bodice to the skirt with two rows of elastic thread.

Smooth feel of the fabric on the body and lots of "holes" create a nice air-conditioning effect for the hot weather ;)

Using twin needle I stitch all along the armholes and the neckline

Oh, and if you are a  NaniIro fan as me, and like their knit collection but cannot find it in your local fabric store, I would recommend Miss Matatabi on Etsy. Her prices are the same as in the shops here in Japan, plus the shipping cost is a good deal!

What are you sewing for summer? 

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Chicken or egg, or the lessons learnt.

Fabric or pattern? That is the question.... Which one do you buy first?

Are you also tortured every time you pass by a fabric store or browse the Net, and see a fabric/pattern you like but doesn't really suit to the pattern/fabric you already own? In most cases I buy fabric & patterns because I like them. But if I don't change my attitude I'll end up with a wardrobe full of useless fabric!

Heres is a "chicken or egg" example. I bought these three beautiful fabrics in the picture below right (silk and chiffon) in India on a business trip two years ago. In the fabric shop, I was so overwhelmed by gorgeous silks, cottons and eyelets that I bought random yardage hoping that one day I will use it for a nice project. Two years later, the fabrics are still here. Only yesterday I started a jumpsuit from the black polka dot silk, based on the pattern from this Japanese sewing book. But then - OH GOD! I did not have enough fabric for the jumpsuit but only for pants :(

Angry, I left home for more fabric shopping in the hope of finding similar silk to finish the jumpsuit. But of course, they had everything but black polka dot silk. Still, I did not come home empty-handed, but with all these lovely colors in my Yuzawaya bag!!!!!!!!!

The God of sewing gave me reasons to add more fabrics to my stash!

Reason #1: "The yellow woolen blend will work for this pants pattern; 2.30m!"
Reason #2: "The fuchsia fabric will make pretty shorts: only 1.30m !"

By the way, those colors are such a perfect match for my Spring&Summer 2012 palette challenge.

Both patterns are from the May edition of Burda Style magazine. Not available online :( Sorry!
A little accident happened though... I saw Nani Iro! How could I resist? The God of sewing helped me again.

Reason #3: "4m of Star Fog knit collection for the summer dress".

And it IS actually transforming into the summer dress! I've cut all of the pieces & serged the edges. It will be ready tomorrow ;) The color is not at all like something I would usually wear, but I decided to give it a try. 

April Burda Style magazine. Not available online ;(

Listening to the voice of reason, I will try to use my stash more effectively and stop buying fabric for the sake of it.

So what do you buy first: pattern or fabric? Do you choose fabric to match your pattern? How do you manage your fabric stash?  Do you also make a "I-stop-buying-tons-of-fabric"resolution?

Saturday, 5 May 2012

New sewing room - finally!

Dear fellow bloggers and people who love to sew! Let me introduce me brand new sewing room. Happy happy happy happy! For the last two years this room was prison and my sewing space. Never again I want to see this photo! It reminds me of the hell on Earth and back pain.

Old room

Since three weeks, I've been privileged to own an entire room for sewing! No surprise that I quickly transformed it into a cozy island in the middle of crazy city :)
New room
The room shines of all colors. People who know me won't be surprised. All my wardrobe consists of bright colors (besides 2 black dresses and 3 black t-shirts).

Doesn't the room looks like an IKEA showroom? In Japan, IKEA is my second home since most of the interior design and furniture shops are overpriced. On the other hand, we have no plans to retire in Japan. Maybe couple more years, and we'll go to a new country.

I love this funky table top. Because the top is not attached to the shelves, and I can easily move it when drawing patterns. And, No, it does not move when I sew.

Table top & two shelves

Practical IKEA rack 
Super cute duster

Overlock, pressing tools & thread track 

Brand new mannequin and ironing corner (& work in progress)

Sewing books, patterns, fabric and other craft supplies
I bought tons of acrylic boxes to host all possible and impossible sewing tools

Happy happy happy :) My neighbors must be nuts with me jumping around. But, man, I am happy! My joy is obvious but probably difficult to understand for somebody who never had problems with sewing space. 

I spend so much time in the room that if a bed could fit, I would live here. Few hours after work are not enough to deal with all my projects: sewing, drafting patterns, ironing, working on sashiko etc. Besides, in two weeks I am heading to the sunny Israel and need to finish couple of frocks for the city of fashionistas!

Friday, 4 May 2012

Magazine with a surprise

I've never been a fan of fashion magazines but I like to buy an issue from time to time, especially when I travel. When the plane takes off I flip the pages over, taken into a journey.

Since I moved to Japan I noticed something different in the women's magazines: presents! Almost every women's magazine contains a little something in every issue: pouch, perfume tester, shopping bag, notebook, pen etc. The present's picture is featured on the front page. Isn't it a great strategy?

Having looked at the covers of these magazines for two years, I finally bought the June issue of ELLE. Their marketing strategy worked on me too 。◕‿◕。

Rainbow pouches were the present in ELLE

This little box inside is hiding something!

Ta-dah! Two cute pouches
Well, the quality of these presents leaves a lot to be desired. But I had so much fun! And, of course, I can read ELLE for my Japanese lessons and enrich my "girlie" Japanese vocabulary.

Do you read women's magazines? What do you like about them?