Friday, 29 June 2012

Favorite sewing tools

Lovely pincushions from Dotty's pincushions are of all possible colors and shapes!
 Oh yeah! I am a Seam Ripper!

This CLOVER chalk pencil is the best ever & leaves very fine lines

Monday, 25 June 2012

Why I started sewing?

Yesterday I spotted this cute jersey black dress (on the left) @ All Saints sale. But, seriously, I am not paying $200 for a dress on sale which I can make myself for, at least, half the price. The Burdastyle  sheath dress pattern (on the right) offers slightly different neckline (which, on my opinion, is even more flattering), but overall looks as good as All Saints'.

That's one of the reasons why I started sewing! And you? 

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Basic pants pattern Part 1: Front

Have you ever drafted a pants pattern? Before April this year I had no idea how to sew pants. I started my second year of patternmaking class at school with pants patterns and I am keen to document the entire process (from drafting the pattern to the fitting and sewing) and share it with you.

In this post, I'll show you the drafting method we are taught at school. I find it relatively easy and fun. Just don't be scared of all the letters and lines!

To start with, you need take a bunch of measurements:

  • waist
  • hip + 4 cm ease
  • hip length (measurement from waist to hip)
  • crotch depth
  • knee length (from waist to knee)
  • hemline circumference (length all the way around the hem at the bottom) 
  • desired pants length (from the waist to where you want them to come down to)
1. To measure the crotch depth, refer to one of the techniques pictured below:

With elastic around your waist, measure from the waist to where your botton touches the chair.
Alternatively, use a special ruler measure the crotch depth as pictured
2. It's essential to take the measurement around the heel and instep of your foot. If the botton seam of the pants is too tight, you won't be able to put them on. 

Once you've taken all the necessary measurements, we can start drafting. 

But before you start I wanna warn you: this is my very first tutorial and it's not perfect. Also, I am translating it from Japanese, and some words may sound confusing. Please forgive me in advance and if you find it difficult and confusing, don't hesitate to comment or email me. 

AB = hip length
AC = crotch depth
BB₁ = ¼ of hip measurement
CC₁ = AA₁ = BB₁
Draw the line A₁C₁
CC₂ = ⅓ CC₁
C₂C₃ = 1cm
AA₂ = CC₃
Draw the line A₂C₃

A₂D = knee length
A₂E = pants length
Connect A₂ all the way to E

AA₃ = 1cm
Draw the line A₃B
C₁C₄ = 0.5cm
C₅C₃ = C₄C₃
Draw the curve BC₅
A₃A₄ = ¼ waist measurement + 4cm (darts) + 0.25cm (ease) + 0.5cm (difference between front and back)
A₄A₅ = 0.5

Draw the curve A₅B₁

EE₁ = EE₂ = ¼hemline width - 0.5cm (difference between front and back)
Draw the line E₂C₄

Draw the curve B₁C₄
Draw the line E₁C₅

Draw the knee line D₁D₂

Adding darts

A₂F₁ = AF₂ = 1cm
A₂F₃ = 9cm

F₂G = ½  F₂A₅
GG₁ = GG₂ = 1cm
GG₃ = 9cm

 Now draw a beautiful line connecting all points from A₅ to A₃

This is how your final pattern draft should look. 

How do you find it? Too complex? Too easy? Too confusing? Please, please, please let me know! Your feedback is very welcome!

I'll explain how to draft the back in my next post. Stay tuned! :)

Plum plum plum

It's Umeshu (plum wine) time in Japan and all good housewives are rushing to the supermarkets to buy plums, alcohol and ice sugar (floating on the bottom of the jar). I followed the trend mainly because I love plum wine and not because I'm a good housewife.

Easy and cheap to make but 5 to 6 months to wait before it turn into a really delicious drink.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

What the postman brought me!

I've got the package full of things

Everything was wrapped with so much care! Every item came covered in tissue paper and bubble wrap, all inside a cute little box! I absolutely love the packaging: vintage-looking and good quality. But the price sort of suggested it. 

The biggest thing in the package was this pattern of a beautiful panel dress which I've been eyeing for ages! And then lots of pins and needles and some beeswax. I also got a bodkin which can be used instead of my loop turner on some occasions.

But then another package arrived! And it contained a sketchbook from Fashionary!

Shame on me, I can't draw at all! The best thing I've ever drawn was a picture of imaginary galaxies when I was 5 or 6. Discovering this sketchbook was like a godsend!

The first pages of the notebook provide lots of useful information: body measurements, patterns and drawings of different types of clothing, fabric dictionary, laundry labels etc. And then many pages with female body templates to play with! I decided that by end of the year I should learn how to draw, but in the fashion business sketching is even more important!

As if by chance, this morning I saw this video in the Threads magasine, where an illustrator, Yelen Ayé, shows how to sketch! Seriously, ladies and gentlemen, I feel so enthusiastic to try!!!! I promise to show you the results even if they are hideous.

I am wondering, are there other sewing lovers out there who cannot draw?

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Origami skirt & new hair

When I saw this origami skirt I knew I had to make it. The original pattern, which I purchased just before my holiday, belongs to a Burdastyle member.

Pattern: Origami skirt from Kleinformat
Fabric: 1m of Poppy Collection by Laura Gunn
Time spent: 2.5 hours, I did not make muslin for this skirt
Cost: $16 (fabric, pattern & invisible zipper)

The original instructions show this skirt made of knit jersey. But I wanted the fabric to be more suitable for the hot and humid Japanese summer, so I used this beautiful quilting cotton. The fabric is not very stiff (as most of the quilting cottons are) and feels nice against the skin. Due to many very detailed photos, the pattern and instructions are super easy-to-follow (the instructions are in German). 

As the original pattern suggested stretch fabric, the belt was just simply cut from a rectangular piece of fabric and attached to the skirt. For cotton, I had to draft a belt myself, and it took me almost no time. I decided to make a high-waisted kinda '50s-looking belt, and I was pleased with the result at the end.

I also have to show off my beautiful sun-tan before it washes away, and a brand new haircut. My hair was chemically straightened because my curls and waves were driving me nuts and I did not know what to do with them, especially with hair as short as I like to have. For the past 2 summers in Tokyo, I constantly looked like a sheep. My hairdresser said that it'll remain like this for 5-6 month!!! Guys, that's the best thing I've done to my hair since cutting it off!!!!

But I made a huge mistake cutting the belt when my tummy was empty. After lunch in our favorite Thai restaurant, I had to breathe in for the photo-shoot ;) I'll increase the belt's circumference by 2-3 cm or so.

By the way, what's your favorite cuisine?

Yummy black noodles

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

I am back

Hi everybody! I am back! Between you and me, I fell in love with Israel and did not want to come back. But (sigh) some obligations are waiting for me in Tokyo.I can't help sharing some of the photos I've taken. Sorry if they are too many. 

Neve Tsedek neighborhood in Tel Aviv

Many old buildings in Neve Tsedek are now occupied by designer shops or restaurants
You'll find many restaurants like this in Jaffa's flee market area

And, of course, this trip won't be successful without visiting fabric stores. Go to Nahalat Benyamin market, it can easily beat New York's fabric district!

You have guessed: this shop sells buttons
 My second favorite place after streets with fabric was Carmel market. You'll understand why.

2012 is a year of Art in Israel. You'll find pianos standing here and there around Tel Aviv and absolutely everybody can play! Good for the neighbors, they are locked during the night.

I confess, I bought 2 funky pieces of fabric. But how would you resist being? Besides everything was so cheap!

Now I am running to my sewing room after 3 weeks without sewing! I'll be back soon with new garments!

Do you also buy fabric when travelling?