Thursday, March 27, 2014

Stylin' Sunki

A Sunki dress for Zoe...
(and, yes, I am officially addicted to GIFs.)

I have loved the Sunki pattern from Figgy's for a while now, but this is my first time making it.  It's so modern and funky.  Love the puff sleeves and the pocket/panels:

 Also: does it come in adult sizes?  Let's make that happen.  In the meantime, I've got my eyes on a couple other Figgy's patterns for the girls... Stellar tunic? Seraphic pants? Ethereal dress?  Don't mind if I do.

Anyway, I sewed up the Sunki in this fun flowered fabric: Erin McMorris' Trixie in royal blue.  The pocket accents are a green-on-green stripe from Lisette a couple seasons ago (I also used the striped fabric as an accent on my pleated playsuit last year.).

Here Zoe is jamming out while wearing it for the wintry weather, over leggings and with a turtleneck underneath... can't wait to see it in the spring/summer without the extra layers!

Pattern notes:
  • Size 2/3 with 3/4th length sleeves
  • I had a little bit of confusion over sewing in the pocket/side panel, but looking at this tutorial on the Figgy's blog helped a bit. Ultimately I worked it out and it's looking pretty good, although I feel like the pockets are a bit shallow.
  • I topstitched the neckline on the front and back to match the pocket edges and prevent the facing from rolling out.
  • The shoulder pleats were giving me some trouble- I couldn't fit the sleeves into the openings- so I gathered the sleeve heads between the pleats marks instead.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Floral Washi

When Chuck was in Bangkok we went to Sampeng Lane to do some fabric shopping... she picked out some nice floral printed cotton from Belleboo and decided it should be a Washi top.

She chose the sleeveless version with the u-shaped cut-out neckline (the "fun" neckline, as she called it), so I did some things a little different than my last Washi top (which I love and wear on the regular!):
  • Last time I used bias tape on the neckline rather than facings, but with the u-shaped cut-out, I decided that following the directions and using the facings was prudent... 
  • I top-stitched the facings down and sewed them to the shoulder seams to make sure they don't flap out.
  • I'm still having trouble with shirring on my machine, so I decided to make internal casings for 1/4" elastic using bias tape and the pattern's shirring lines as my guide.  
  • I was able to get the stripes of flowers to match up in the center of the bodice and skirt, but the pleats threw off the matching a bit. Meh.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Maggie Mae Menagerie

Zoe loved her Maggie Mae tunic (pattern from Shwin Designs) so I thought I would make one for Anna, too, so she wouldn't feel left out.  And while I was at it, I cut another one out for little baby Zoey here in Bangkok, figuring I could sew them at the same time, assembly line style, and also get some instant gratification by walking down three flights of stairs and seeing Zoey try it on immediately.

The navy menagerie  fabric (with some seriously random animals: lions and frogs and octopi (?) and dogs and rabbits and elephants, oh my...) is from Belleboo, paired with some coordinating yellow quilting cotton.  I made the Maggie Mae according to the directions, with the exception of the pleats in the skirt, which I just gathered instead.

I meant to cut out the dress version, but spaced out and cut the tunic version by accident (note to self: measure twice, cut once), so I made a matching diaper cover using the free pattern and tutorial from MADE... I sewed up the version with the bias tape edges to match the yellow fabric.  Cute!!

Here are a couple shots of Anna looking pretty great in her new Maggie Mae, paired with some jeggings and a long-sleeved t-shirt for warmth:

Friday, March 21, 2014

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Japanese Josephine

Since I have already given you sneak preview of my latest project in my last post, I might as well tell the full story!

After my successful wearable muslin of Made by Rae's Josephine blouse, I quickly cut out and sewed up another one, switching out the sleeves for a slightly less poofy look.

I used some cool Japanese fabric I bought in Bangkok's Chinatown (that's a mouthful of international-ness, eh?).  The selvage is labeled "kimono chintz poplin. made in Japan" and it's deep red with a really light grey... the design is stylized mountains (or maybe clouds), but occasionally when I look at it too hard, I see a certain part of the male anatomy.  This is particularly funny because when I Googled "kimono chintz poplin" to see if I could find the name of the company that manufactured the fabric, the first hit was another sewist bemoaning the fact that she saw "hot steaming piles of crap" in her kimono chintz poplin and that she couldn't unsee them. Ha! I am trying my hardest not to see the man parts in my fabric because I love the shirt.

I switched out the sleeves that came with the pattern in favor of the narrower 3/4ths sleeves from the Painted Portrait pattern.  I think they work ok... still a good deal of poof at the shoulders, but less fabric around the lower part of the arms.  A better style for me as well as a fabric saver, so win-win.  I probably could have just shortened and narrowed the Josephine sleeves, but laziness set in.

I made the same construction changes I made for my first Josephine (besides the sleeves, of course), which is to say not many: skipped elastic and bound the neckline earlier in the process.

Here's me GIFed again, because one can never have enough GIFs of oneself floating around the interwebs:

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Liebster Lovin'!

Exciting news!  The lovely Masha over at The Itinerant Seamstress was kind enough to nominate me for a Liebster award, a blogger-to-blogger award meant to recognize blogs with small readership and to help widen their audience.  And here's how I feel about this nomination:
Translated: yesssssssssss!  Also, a sneak preview of my latest make...
 Masha and I just recently discovered each others blogs as well as a connection we have: husbands who were in Peace Corps together.  Thanks for the shout-out, Masha!

So, when nominated for a Liebster award, the process is that the nominee must answer the questions from the nominator and provide 5 random facts about her or himself.  Then the nominee pays it forward by nominating more small blogs for the award and sending them more fun questions.
Here are my answers to Masha's questions:

1) How much time do you spend on blog photography?

Not much... I go with natural lighting on my balcony or the kitchen table for clothes I am sending to my nieces.  A little cropping, perhaps some color adjustment and then I post the photos.  I could probably stand to find some more inspiring or interesting spots for taking photos, especially considering there is a wealth of interesting backdrops in a big city like Bangkok!

2) What is your idea of a perfect vacation?

Scuba diving all day followed by happy hour beers.  Since moving to SE Asia, my husband and I have become mildly obsessed with diving and trying to document all of the amazing underwater wildlife we see.  We only occasionally succeed on the documentation part!

3) What fabric are you currently drooling over?

I am sucker for prints and have been drooling over all sorts, mostly the ones out of my price range (Liberty, anyone? Also, Art Gallery fabrics are pretty amazeballs.), but I am trying (not very hard) to bring some solids into my life.
4) What is your favorite candy?

Anything sour or with a chewy consistency.  A childhood favorite that I never find here in SE Asia is Charleston Chews.  Mmm... so chewy...

5) What is the scariest thing that has ever happened to you? 
Eek... I don't really like thinking about the absolute scariest things that have happened to me, but I will say: as a kid we had bats that somehow found their way into our old house during the summers... you know what's scary?  Waking up to a bat flying circles around your bedroom.  Makes me shudder just thinking about it.

5 random facts about me:

1. I love chili peppers but hate bell peppers, particularly the green ones.

2. I went to law school at night while working full time at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 

3. I am trying really hard to stop biting my nails.  I have been unsuccessful since middle school, but don't count me out yet. Fun colored nail polish helps...

4. Sewing zippers intimidates me.

5. I adopted a street cat in Indonesia.  I'm pretty sure she doesn't understand English.  Or Indonesian, it seems.

My nominations!:

When trying to decide who to nominate, I realized that I don't read enough small blogs. Time to remedy that!!  In the meantime, here are a few that I follow that I think deserve some recognition for the cool stuff they're making:

1. Climbing the WillowTeri blogs about sewing for her kids, and she is also dabbling in pattern design.  I recently made a tunic for my niece Anna based on Teri's free Izzy top pattern and tutorial and it is freaking adorable.  I can't wait to see what her next pattern will be!

2. Ivy Arch: Daniela posts about her beautiful handmade clothing as well as the cool totes and toys she sells out of her Etsy shop.  I loooove her fabric choices, funky style, and use of Japanese patterns. Check out this amazing Painted Portrait dress she made. I absolutely adore the pieced bodice.

3. Stitch Parade: I recently discovered this blog via Kollabora.  Sewing AND knitting AND jewelry making?!  My three favorite things! Yes, please!

4. Needle and Ted: Another Kollabora discover (I love Kollabora... can you tell?)... Olu blogs about her effort to create wardrobes for her kids that go beyond pink, sparkles and glitter.  From what I have seen on her blog, she is definitely accomplishing that in spades!  The clothes she makes for her daughters are impossibly cool also very cute.  Check out her bad-ass refashioned sweatshirt dress, or her goes-with-everything grey harem pants.

My questions for the blogs I nominated, should they choose to accept!:

1. Why do you blog?

2. What's your all-time favorite item you've made and why?

3. What's a good book you've read lately?

4. Besides sewing, what other hobbies do you partake in?

5. What's been your favorite moment of 2014 so far?

Thanks again, Masha! 
Looking forward to learning more about my nominees!!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Dude Sewing: Strathcona T-Shirt

Be warned: this might be the world's wordiest post about sewing a t-shirt.
I do a lot of sewing for myself, a lot of sewing for little ones, and occasionally some sewing for other adults, but not a whole lot of dude sewing.  My first attempt at sewing for Tim, a plaid Colette Negroni, had mixed results: I am super proud of my effort and workmanship on the shirt, but Tim never wears it. Sadly, the camp-shirt cut is just not his style.  He prefers more fitted buttondowns.  Sigh.
Not to be dismayed, I am trying my hand at dude sewing again. Something from Thread Theory, a Canadian pattern designer specializing in menswear.  Martha got us an array of their patterns for Christmas (Strathcona, Jedediah, Newcastle... thanks, Martha!), all of which I am excited to sew, but I figured I would start with the simplest and most likely to be worn: the humble t-shirt.
Strathcona it is!

I didn't have any dude-appropriate knit fabric in my stash, so I headed to Bangkok's Chinatown (Yaowarat) to seek some out.  So far the only store I've found selling knits is L.GEmini, which sells all sorts of pretty knits off of absolutely enormous rolls.  I ended up choosing a heather grey with little black nubby flecks throughout:

Turns out they sell the fabric by the kilo, rather than by length... strange (see the scale in the photo below)!  I had no idea how much fabric was in 1 kilo, so I had the guy measure the length, too, so I knew I was getting what I needed: turned out to be 2.7 meters.

Also, the knit fabric was in tube form! I suppose the machine that makes the fabric knits in the round? In any case, I was pumped because that meant I had 2 folds on which to place the pattern (it's actually meant to be cut in a single layer, but I folded the pattern in half).  I was able to squeeze out the t-shirt from very little fabric:

Anywho, back to Strathcona:
  • I cut a size L, as Tim seemed to be in between M and L (more like his shoulders and chest were closer to L and waist closer to M).  L was a good choice since the pattern is quite slim-fitting.
  • However, after I basted things together and Tim tried it on, we realized that the sleeves (and the body, to a lesser extent) were crazy long on him (see below).  I ended up cutting off about 4 inches from each sleeve and 1 inch off the bottom hem. I folded the hem and sleeves up 3/4ths of an inch before hemming them with my double needle.
  • The seam allowances included in the pattern are quite large for a knit pattern: 5/8ths of an inch.  It makes me wonder if next time I could just cut the M and use a 1/4 inch seam allowances since I will be sewing it using the serger?  Time to measure the pattern.
Long sleeves much?
In any case, Tim likes his new t-shirt!  Check it out in action below (I loooove the auto-GIF function in Google+)!  I imagine it'll get a lot of wear here in Bangkok, where Tim's weekend and evening uniform is shorts and a t-shirt.  I guess the shorts part of the equation is next!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Plantain Sweater

This blog is quickly becoming a broken record, constantly repeating "Plantain... Plantain... Plantain..."  

I (obviously) love Deer and Doe's Plantain pattern. Having made 3 short sleeved versions of it thus far, I thought I'd make a 3/4ths sleeve one, this time in a thin sweater knit I got at Joann's.  The color of the fabric is a little... um.. neutral as compared to most of my other clothes, but the heather grey is a good background for a colorful necklace or scarf, so it's cool.  Love Plantain!