Sunday, December 20, 2009

Knit collared dresses

Pattern:  millimilli 
Size:  100 cm, 110 cm
Fabric:  Eileen Fisher cotton/Lycra tweed knit from Emmaonesock

I wasn't up for sewing up anything fancy this Christmas so I gave this pattern a try.  I'm glad I did because these were very simple and quick to sew.  The girls wore them to church today and will also wear them Christmas eve.  I love that they can pull them over their heads themselves, they'll run through the washer and I won't have to iron them. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hibi+ Turtle hood Pullover

My baby sister is getting married, and I am leaving on Thursday for Tokyo to attend the wedding.

Alison suggested I sew something comfortable to wear on the plane, and this is what I came up with. It feels like pajamas, and that is just what I will need on the 11 hour flight.

pattern: Turtle Hood pullover from hibi+

size: medium (I am a large on the Japanese size chart, an 8 in the US, but this medium fits OK as long as I don't wear anything bulky underneath. The sleeves could have been a little longer.

Hibi Hoodie

Pattern:  Hibi
Size:  Medium
Fabric:  refashioned from two sweaters from Salvation Army

Hibi is another great Japanese pattern company. Just like millimilli however, they only sell within Japan, they sell out quickly and their shop is only open sporadically.  We were lucky to get this one pattern and I'm now wishing we had the little girl size (looks like I'll have to draft it myself).

Maire' and I both made these yesterday and it was a quick satisfying project.  I didn't have any great sweatshirt fleece on hand and am still waiting for some sample swatches but after seeing Marie's yesterday I had to try it.  What I did have on hand was a pile of sweaters intended for refashioning.

This pattern actually takes 2 1/2 yards of fabric so I had to get creative with two sweaters.  I do like the contrast of the  cable cuffs and hood but admit it may be too heavy for the hood.  Also, I wish there were enough scraps to add the pockets like the original pattern suggests and I could have definitely used some extra length considering this barely fits over my very round belly.

This will be great to wear just after the baby is born and it being winter I'm even considering making a dress version with a long placket that would allow easy nursing. Still waiting on the swatches for that though. 

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Browsing through multiple Japanese sewing blogs Marie' discovered the online pattern shop millimilli.  She definitely has the advantage of actually being able to read the blogs whereas I can only look.

These patterns have been highly recommended by other sewers for their excellent fit.  Simple to sew, millimilli offers clean lines and understated design for both children and moms.  Their knit patterns are especially popular and a staple to any pattern collection. 

Marie' already made this shirt from millimilli and I am now working on some basic knit dresses.  In addition to the knit dress and basic T-shirt we also have the basic raglan sleeve T-shirt pattern.  Their patterns come in a range of sizes so we will be sure to post many throughout the next sewing season.

The challenge with this pattern company is as of now they only ship in Japan.  The other problem is their patterns are frequently out of stock.  So although we love to share our sources this is a difficult pattern to access outside of Japan.   If that changes we will be quick to update.          

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Winter coat for Kai - Oliver and S, school days jacket and coat

Although Oliver and S isn't a Japanese company, Alison and I thought that people who follow this blog would appreciate their patterns.

Kai is so happy he finally got his coat that he wore it all day until dinner time. He says it is the fuzziness of the lining.

Pattern: Oliver and S, school days jacket and coat (link to the pattern here)
Their blog had great fabric suggestions for their patterns. I have bought two more patterns from them, and can't wait to get to work. Here is a Flickr group where you can see what other people have made using Oliver and S patterns.

Size: 4
Kai took after his father, and is very lean. Although he will be five in May, the measurements suggested I make a four. I am glad I did.

outer- thick dark denim with some stretch (Wal-mart, $3/yard) I should have bought the rest of the bolt. It was sold out when I went back. That was after I washed what I bought and decided I really liked it.

lining- thick fleece (the kind you see on sporty pull-overs) This one came from a fleece warehouse in seattle that has since closed. Since I wasn't sewing much back when Scott's sister took me there, I just picked up a kitchen garbage bag sized remnant bag for $10. I am proud to say that the piece I used for this coat was the last piece of that bag, and now it is all gone. It only took me 11 years and 9 moves.
lining for the hood- fine wale corduroy from the RS closet clean-out.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Dress

This dress had been on my sewing planner since summer, but I didn't get to it until the day before the first Sunday of December. Talk about procrastination, and thank goodness it was a quick project.

What makes this dress unique is cutting the fabric on the bias. I love the slimming silhouette and how it moves. The book tells you to roughly cut the main pieces out, hang them on a hanger over-night to let it stretch on the bias, and then cut it out exactly. Since I didn't have that kind of time, I did 4 hours. The wool stretched another third of an inch while Asha was wearing it, and covered the ruffles more than my liking. I am going to take the blind stitches out and hem it shorter for the full effect.

Pattern: Style D-1 of "Concert and recital dresses for sisters" (link here)
Size: 130
Fabric: The grey wool came from the thrift store. You can't beat $2.37 for 3 yards. The black satin used for the lining and the ruffles came from Joann's.

Monday, November 9, 2009

turtle neck and Camisole

This is the closest to the true color.

turtle neck - premium stretch cotton knit from (10% spandex)
camisole - Liberty Tana Lawn

Everyday Girl Clothes from Pattern Label
I graded up to size 130

This turtle neck shirt pattern gets rave reviews from Japanese sewers for it's slimming shape.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

winter jacket

Quinn had a Gap corduroy coat last year that I loved.  It could be dressed down for jeans, while also looking great with church clothes.  Now that he has grown out of it, it was time to sew one up for this year.  I started with suiting fabric I had bought when Jerome was little.  I was pleased that I still liked it after 9 years, while fashion trends have changed quite a bit.  I added a lining of sweatshirt fabric for warmth.  I made a label out of the tiger in a Echino scrap fabric Alison had given me.  It pulled all the colors together and gave the jacket that little detail I was after.    


The mustard corduroy came from what was left of Asha's bubble skirt, and the sweatshirt fabric for the lining came from Scott's old Cougar sweatshirt.  

Size: 90

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Wool Flower

Another experiment.  I really like the frayed edges but wonder if it is too big.  
Check it out on the coat here.  

Wool Coat

Book:  Toddler Boys and Girls clothes
Size:  80 cm
Fabric:  Felted wool recycled from a men's sweater, jersey sweatshirt fabric

There was not enough wool for the hood so I added the collar from the bottom ribbing of the original sweater and made a detachable hood out of the same lining fabric.  To save time I attached snaps instead of buttons but wish I would have added grosgrain ribbon to help secure the snaps - even felted the wool may be too delicate for metal snaps.


Jumper blouse combo

I wasn't too excited about these pieces when they were first posted but have since changed my mind after their first wear.

Layered puff-sleeved T

Pattern: Milimili Girl's T-shir set
the dog appliqué pattern is from a quilt book, White Design - Simple Quilt
Size: 130
Fabric: Navy with white dots from Fabric Fairy, and white sleeves from Alison.

Monday, October 19, 2009

refashioned sweater T

Book:  Toddler Boys and Girls Clothes
Size:  80 cm
Fabric:  Felted men's sweater, recycled Brooks Brothers button down

This is the same pattern I used for this T.

I should have drafted the size 90 cm though because the sweater and lining added extra bulk.  The original pattern did not include a lining but I added it because I wasn't sure how itchy the wool would be, it also adds a bit of style.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

First Flowers

Book:  Flower Book
Fabric:  Wool from an old wool coat

I had to tell myself  this is an art not a science as I flipped through pages of Japanese text, all I had were pictures to guide me.  Next time Marie' and I plan a visit she can fill me in on the nitty gritty secrets of fabric flower making.  Until then I will have fun experimenting.  These two where made for my daughter's winter coat and bonnet. 

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Even better on

Marie' and I have been debating whether it is better to post the clothes on models or just alone.  On their own you are able to see more of the construction and design details but they are so much cuter modeled.

Here is the ruffle dress

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

refashioned baby T's

Book:  Baby lockstitch Book
Size:  90 cm
Fabric:  Old cotton turtle necks

This is a bit slimmer than the Kimono T I made last Spring.  It was very cold last week so it is two layers sewn together for extra warmth.  The original pattern called for ribbing around the neck but I did a binding and also added the pocket and elbow patches. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Smock Dress and leggings

I finished another school outfit early this morning.  My sewing area is right next to our workout room, and it was too hard to resist putting elastic in the leggings to finish up this outfit after my workout. 

Smock dress
Pattern: style "g" of Mom and Girl Matching Clothes 
Size: 130 
Fabric: Japanese lawn from Hobbyla Hobbyle

I took out about 4 inches off the width because I didn't have enough fabric, and also added a waist band.  I would make this dress as full as the pattern is for little girls, but I think the slimmer style is a better look for older girls.     

Pattern: Everyday bottoms 
Size: 130
Fabric: Cotton Lycra from a fabric store in Salt Lake City (Thank you for getting it, Alison!)

The length is in between the two styles of leggings they have in the book.  I added some ruffles at the bottom.   

Thursday, October 8, 2009

pleated denim skirt and leggings

I am hoping the leggings will keep those legs warm and extend the wearable time into the early winter.  I used cotton interlock for them, and they are a bit snug around the thighs.  I have a few more pairs cut out using cotton lycra, and that should work better with it's extra stretch.     

skirt - Everyday Girl Clothes,  style 29, size 130 (The book only goes up to 120, so I scaled it up.)
leggings - Everyday Bottoms, style X 


skirt - denim from NPS Store in Salt Lake City 
leggings - cotton interlock from Fabric Fairy
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