Friday, June 27, 2014

Fabric shopping in Nagasaki

My apologies for no posts recently.  I've been preparing for a trip for work and here I am in Nagasaki, Japan.  With all the rage of Japanese fabrics and nani iro, I went out for a search to locate fabric stores.  It was nearly impossible to find anything on Google and finally started to ask the locals (with what limited Japanese I do know).  Someone suggested I check out Nishizawa.  It is located in downtown Nagasaki near the Hamanomachi Arcade.

In front of the store is the nani iro display.

The display had several bolts of material that were familiar from all the projects I've seen from the sewing blogs I follow.  Up until this point I didn't know what nani iro felt like.  The material feels so heavenly.  It's breathable and perfect for humid weather in Japan yet soft and cozy for cool SoCal  evenings.

There was an Echino display and items for sale that were made from the current line.

I saw Studio Cocoa and was curious about it.  I'll have to do some research about it at a later time.

The store had several stories that also sold fancy (and expensive) fabric, home decor lines and the type of material to make the Chinese "qi pao" dresses.


Another section sold an abundance of Japanese sewing patterns and the notions section was huge.

Throughout the store they created items using the fabric they offered and all were available for sale.  I thought it was a unique way to provide inspiration on what to do with all that beautiful fabric.

Now all I need to do is decide what I want to get and if it will fit in my suitcase on my trip back home. 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Baby doll basket, version 3

Another birthday, another handmade gift.  This time the baby doll basket is for our neighbor's little girl who just turned 2.  By request I choose a fabric with Minnie Mouse and found some complementing pink fabric for the inside of the basket.  I usually choose a soft flannel since I personally enjoy the softness and figured a doll would too. (Sounds weird, right?)

The third time using the pattern was such a breeze.  It helps when the Minnie Mouse image is all over the place so I don't have to line up everything.  It messed me up the second time since I didn't notice the pattern turned upside down as the big rectangular piece is sewn from top of the basket and folds up towards the end. 

This time I actually made a decent mattress to include with the basket (pink with stars).  The first attempt at the mattress and pillow came out a disaster - nothing was rectangular and it was a little lopsided. This time I took my time by basting the batting and material layer first to help keep everything straight.  I cheated with the pillow and just made the case first by sewing right sides together, flipped it and stuffed it with leftover batting scraps.

The blanket is using up the leftover material from the outside fabric and interior fabric of the baby doll basket.

Hopefully no more baskets in the near future.  It's time to work on something new for the kids!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Fancy stuff for J

My sister has this really nice Banana Republic merino wool sweater that no longer fits since it probably shrunk from the washer and dryer.  I couldn't bare to see it go to waste so I decided to make a nice sweater for J to wear when we have cool nights.  I used the Flashback Skinny Tee Pattern to create the sweater.  I added an extra inch to the length of it in hopes he can grow taller and still be able to wear it.  I used the original hemline for the body and sleeves to save some time and also used the original neckline trim to finish it off.  The result looks pretty good except my model wouldn't cooperate.

Shirt Details:
Pattern: Flashback Skinny Tee
Changes made: Extended length
Size sewn: 4T
Fabric: Upcycled merino wool sweater from Banana Republic

Let's hope he doesn't grow too fast.  I can't believe he will be 4 next month!  =(

Monday, April 14, 2014

Baby doll baskets

I'm a big fan of Dana Made It and love reading her blog. I've learned so much from her tutorials and from all the projects she has created.  When the Baby Doll Basket pattern came out, I was a little hesitant on purchasing it since I wasn't sure I'd get good use out of it.  I finally took the plunge and purchased the pattern since I knew it would make an excellent birthday gift for one of our friends.

I usually make a "sample" for my kids first before creating something for someone else.  I always fear making mistakes and would feel embarrassed giving it away as a gift.  So for my first attempt I made one for W.  I used Birch Organics Whale Love for the inside and Monaluna Circa 52 Starburst Sea for the outside fabric.

The end result looked awesome together and is well loved by both kids. It's kind of nice when both kids fight over it since it means they both want to play with it. :)

And of course it's gone through some abuse since W thinks she can fit into it.  I think the next one I make for her I'll have to use a stiffer fusing material for the sides.  It's currently sitting a little lopsided since the original Pellon material wasn't meant to be squashed by an 18 month old toddler.  I also made a little 12" by 12" inch blanket from some leftover kids' flannel and didn't realize there were suggested dimenions listed in the directions.

The second baby doll basket was made for a friend who has a Bitty Baby and I stuck with the medium size.  I got some Mickey & Minnie Mouse print and lined it with soft pink flannel, both types of fabric purchased at Joann's.  When I was finished with it I uploaded a pic on Instagram for my friend to have a sneak peak before actually giving it to her daughter's birthday.

And the best part was it got featured on Dana's blog when she posted a roundup of all the baskets made.  The post is here and I felt so awesome to be featured!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

KCW: day 6 and 7

It's Kids Clothes Week Challenge Spring 2014 edition and I actually participated this round!  The first 5 days I couldn't participate actively since I was out of town for work but used some half sewn garments from the last KCW challenge.

The first item I made was a pajama top for J using the Made By Rae's Flashback Skinny Tee Pattern.  I used size 4 and added a little more width since the husband thought the first couple attempts at this pattern look too tight on him.  (Little does he know this is the "skinny tee" pattern.)  I also made the neckline a little larger too since I think J has a larger head than most kids.  I added cuffs for the first time and they go so nicely with the neckline ribbing.  I didn't sew the bottom hem since the material won't fray. 

Shirt Details:
Pattern: Flashback Skinny Tee
Changes made: Increased width, wider neck
Size sewn: 4T
Fabric: Purchased at Joann's, clearance section

The second item I made for J is a pair of pajama pants using the Parsley Pants Pattern, another pattern from Made By Rae.  This pattern is so easy to sew and a great way to make a new pair of pants.  The fabric is from my former pair of A&F pajama pants which finally started ripping in the crotch area.  I saved the logo to use on the back side of the pants and used the original hemlines for the bottom hem.  I think I made the size 5 so he could grow into it and use the pants for a few years.    

Pants Details:
Pattern: Parsley Pants
Changes made: increased length
Size sewn: 4T or 5T
Fabric: Upcycle from my A&F pajama pants

This concludes my participation for KCW April 2014.

kid's clothes week

Next up, a few more upcycled clothes for the kids and another birthday gift.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Minion bathrobe

Ever since I discovered Dana's bathrobe pattern, I was hooked on making bathrobes for my kids and for making them as birthday presents.  The whole concept is genius since there are times where it's just easier to slip the robe on and keep the kiddos warm and dry.

I originally made the largest size for a friend's kid but he outgrew it so quickly.  So I did my first attempt to "hack" the pattern and make a larger version of it (approximately a size 5 for kids).  I looked up some tutorials on how to grade up; I cut up the pattern and added a few inches to make it wider and longer.  I also enlarged the arm holes and draped the hood a bit longer so I could add an eye for a minion from Despicable Me 2.

The end result ...
J modeling the bathrobe.
I used this tutorial to get an idea on how to create the eye.  I had to buy some wonder under to use on the eye and the black band.  The wonder under is paper backed fusing and made things so easy to sew onto the towel. 
The hood with the minion face on top.
J is only 3.5 years old and currently fits in the largest size (size 3-4) of the beach robe pattern.  I'll definitely use the "new" pattern to make another beach robe when he grows a little bigger. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Secret Valentine Exchange Gift

I finally received my Secret Valentine Exchange Gift from Julie!  Apparently the first gift never made it to my house and she had to make a second gift. 

 It's a fabric covered plan holder and very thought out with the convenient strap. 

I definitely like the choice of fabrics and how soft it is to the touch.

Sadly the first gift still has not shown up in the mail.  Thank you again for going through the trouble of making a second gift! 

And below is the final result of what I made for my Secret Valentine Exchange - a little pouch for Nicole of Cicely Ingleside.

Pouch sewn for my Secret Valentine
Inside fabric choice

So this concludes the first online exchange I have ever participated in.  Looking forward to more exchanges and more excuses to keep sewing.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Secret Valentine Exchange

So I took a risk by signing up for the Secret Valentine Exchange.  I would have never taken the risk if I didn't enjoy reading Sanae Ishida's blog so much.  I love the clothes she creates, the writing style and the overall style of the blog. 

The Secret Valentine Exchange required participants to use what we already have and have the gift be handmade.  I'm not sure how crafty I could get with the items on hand but I had some cute fabric leftover from a previous project that matched my recipient's likes.

Below are the two fabrics I used to create a simple zippered pouch.     
Top: Birch Fabrics - Marine Too; Bottom: Monaluna - Circa 52

Silly me, I forgot to take a picture of the finished product before mailing it out.  I'll have to email my recipient for a picture of the pouch once she receives it.  Here's hoping she will like it.

This is it

I've finally taken the big step of starting a blog.  I'm not sure who will actually read it but at least this digital journal will document what I've created. 

After having my first kid, I was drawn to the blogging world and in particular, the sewing side.  The idea of creating something is thrilling and gives me a sense of satisfaction.  Once the sewing began, I found a nifty little site called Pinterest and that's where things got a little crazy.