Sunday, October 10, 2021

Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Heart Pillow

Today marks my 3rd mastectomy anniversary. If you are interested you can read about it in my blog post after when I was diagnosed, the day of the mastectomy and the day I came home from the hospital.

I reflected on the past three years and the main thing that comes to my mind is that how grateful I am. I woke up this morning, got ready, went to church and later that day I was able to Facetime my sons who are both serving our church in Japan. I was able to cook and had dinner with my family. They are all small and simple things, but to me the fact that I am still here and able to be with my family is a tremendous blessing. I have been working on heart shaped pillows to donate again this year. As I was stitching them I had this epiphany, that it is better if there were no need for these pillows, that means no one is getting breast cancer. But the reality is, there is a need for them. 1 out of 8 women get diagnosed with breast cancer. I hope you are not the one in these statistics, but if there is someone somewhere diagnosed with breast cancer, I hope my pillow will bring some comfort and love; just like the pillow I received, did.

Cindy of Riley Blake Designs has a great video tutorial using my heart pillow pattern; if you would like to make some to give to someone or to donate, please do so.

"Early detection is the key!", I say this all the time to whoever wants to ask me questions about breast cancer. Getting a mammogram doesn't take much time out of your day but it makes a big difference in your survival rate and treatment options. Please take care of yourselves everyone!

Thursday, September 30, 2021

McCall's 8044 Skirt with Linen

Hello! How have you all been?? As I mentioned in the last post, I had a pretty busy summer and I didn't sew much... I just wanted to spend more time with my children. They are growing up too fast, but they seem to not mind that at all. I was having a hard time catching up with the speed. Now that my middle son has left home and my youngest has gone back to school, I am getting my sewing mojo back! There were a few things I wanted to sew, but I decided to try the McCall's 8044, pattern first.
When my family and I took a quick trip to Colorado this summer, I visited a fabric shop called Fancy Tiger Crafts. They had a great selection of linens and I picked up a Terrazzo printed linen without any particular project in mind. When I was looking at the pattern, the fabric came to my mind right away. I was drawn to the picture of style C on the pattern, but I didn't quite have enough to make that, so I went with style B instead.
I used my Babylock 5/8" adjustable seam guide foot again to ensure the accuracy of the seam while I was sewing. It not only sped things up, I feel like I could sew with confidence.
It is hard to tell with this fabric, but there are buttons on the side. I like how this pattern doesn't require that much fabric, the skirt drapes nicely and also looks slimming.
Since this is made with thin linen, I won't be wearing it during the winter, but I could enjoy it a little bit longer with the right layering. I pulled out a cardigan from my closet and got ready for the evening.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

A New Dress from Casual Chic Clothes/ きれいめカジュアル服

It has been a while since my last post. I hope you all had a great summer. You might be asking what I have been up to and here it is... In the beginning of summer, I was planning to sew many clothes using my stash of fabric. I did sew a couple of things for myself and did some charity sewing, after that the desire to sew sizzled down. It was not gone, but sizzled down, way down. I was wondering why that was and I analyzed myself. I was busy working to finish our basement, I just wanted to spend more time with my kids as much as possible while I could instead of sewing or quilting. My kids are older now and my oldest is currently serving a two year church mission in Japan, and my middle child has been getting ready to go to Japan as well for two years. He is leaving this week. My youngest just turned 16 this summer, driving, more time with friends, extra curricular activities, dating etc. she is ever so busy. I realized that the gate with a sign saying "empty nester" is getting closer and closer by the second. Yup, the realization is setting in. I cooked their favorite meals, we went out together, played games, watched movies, just sat and talked and sometimes I hung out with their friends too! I have no regrets how I spent this summer. I am going to get back to a normal schedule soon and start sewing more and I am excited about that now. Meanwhile, Let me share a dress I made at the end of June from the Japanese sewing book "Casual Chic Clothes"
There are many things I want to make from this book and the first thing I wanted to try was this dress. I love the design so much and I happened to have shirting fabric in my fabric closet; there is no reason not to try!
As I am getting old... I mean matured in my age, I say "nah" to somethings that are "too cute" or "too fluffy"; but I felt like the sleeves are exceptional and I really love them. I also think using gray and white thin striped fabric instead of pastel color helps tone down the cuteness of it.
When I looked at the pictures, I realized that the waistband is sitting lower than the natural waistline. I have a short torso, and I wanted the waistband to sit on my natural waistline, so I shortened the patterns close to a couple inches.
Also I added a thin liner for the skirt; that added more volume to the skirt than I wanted, but oh well.
I love how it turned out and I wore the dress several times this summer. I would definitely go back to this pattern someday once I make other things from my "to sew list".

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Red Heart Quilt for My Friend

A few months ago, I found out that one of my dear friends for over 23 years was going to have open heart surgery in August. I wanted to do something special for her and pretty much immediately, an idea to make a heart quilt came to my mind. I talked to our mutual friends about the idea and they were all on board.

When I went through breast cancer three years ago, I was gifted with a special pink heart quilt from a talented group of friends. I was so surprised and touched with everyone's generosity and every time I wrap myself in it I feel so loved. It is one of my prized possessions still to this day and it will be for a long long time.

That is where I got the idea to make a quilt, but instead of pink, I decided to make a red heart quilt.
When we all first met 23 years ago, we lived in the same neighborhood and we had a great time together. One by one, we all moved away, but our friendship has lasted through the test of time. These are the group of women who had their own life's challenges and heartaches,but dealt with them with grace and a determination to move forward. I look up to each one of them and feel so blessed to call them my friends.
We were able to get together for lunch before her surgery and we gave her the surprise quilt. She loved it! I embroidered everyone's name with their favorite colors (my favorite color is white, but it won't show on white fabric, so I had to compromise)… we are all different, different backgrounds, likes, political views, but we have many things in common too. More than anything, we care, respect and enjoy each other's company whenever we could get together. I hope we will still be friends when we are older and more gray. Ha Ha!
Her surgery was over a week ago, We are still praying for her smooth and speedy recovery, but I am happy to report that it is going well!!

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

New Dress and New Favorite Seam Guide Foot

I have been an ambassador for Baby Lock for the last few years, and every year, I was given an opportunity to attend Common Thread; where we can reconnect, take classes, and learn about new products. I always learn something new and it gives me motivation to do more and try something different. One of which is this 5/8" Adjustable Seam Guide Foot. I couldn't wait for the package to arrive and start sewing with it!
5/8" is the seam allowance most commonly used for garment sewing, but you can simply slide the white plastic and adjust the seam allowance to 3/8" (10mm), 1/2" (12.7mm), 5/8" (16mm) and 1" (25mm). I also sew with Japanese sewing patterns where the most common seam allowance is 1 cm, which is 3/8" I already know I will use the width a lot too! It was so much easier to keep the seam accurate with this foot than trying to see the lines on the sewing machine. I. LOVED. IT!! When I was sewing the double lines to gather the fabric for the bottom ruffle for the dress, I adjusted the width of the seam, and the gather came out more even and nicer too. Also, when I was sewing curves, I used the edge of the guide to follow the edge of the fabric and it was so much easier. This foot is definitely a game changer!
*Note--- I stopped to take this picture and to remove the pin.

The sewing pattern I used for this dress is Batterick 6451 version C. I used version D in the past and made a dress with magenta pink fabric. It is fun to use the same pattern and create a different dress and compare the two.
I used a linen blend fabric and I love the color and weight of the fabric. It turned out pretty much the way I envisioned.
I can wear it with ribbon to emphasize the waistline as well.
I need to sit down and play matchmaker for the patterns and fabrics I already have, so I can keep sewing fun things this summer. Right now I am psyched about using the adjustable seam guide foot with 3/8" for Japanese sewing patterns. I am not dropping hints or anything, but maybe my next project will be from one of my Japanese sewing pattern books...

Monday, May 31, 2021

Burda Style 6414 Dress

I wanted to participate in #mymademay or #sewthatpattern during the month of May. I thought I should be able to create several outfits, and I quickly realized that I underestimated my schedule or how busy I will get just before the end of the school year. I finally found the time to sew one dress for this month!
I used Burda Style 6414 pattern and modified it a little. The original pattern had two options for the shoulders: one with drawstrings to adjust how much of the shoulders are covered, the other one is simply a no sleeve option. I decided to go with the drawstring design, but instead of following the pattern, I added thin elastic to loosely gather up the openings. For the skirt, the original design was a straight skirt with a slit on the side, but I slightly extended the sides diagonally to have a flare skirt.
The dress is made out of a soft and stretchy knit with elastic waist, this dress is so comfortable to wear. I especially love wearing it during the summer. It is perfect to lounge around the house or for going out. I have a feeling that I am going to use this pattern again. :)

Friday, May 7, 2021

Mother's Day Gift ~ Nova (Sapporo Coat)

You might be tired of me posting another Nova(Sapporo) Coat, so I apologize in advance. I made this third coat for my mom who is in Japan, for Mother's day and I shipped it last week. She called me today to tell me how much she loves it! I am so glad it got there in time.
I made the first coat with a white wool blend and the second coat was a quilted one. I knew my mom wouldn't care for either of them because she would say white will get dirty easily, the quilted coat is too bulky and the flower pattern is too much for her. We have very different styles and she prefers more simple and practical clothing. After thinking it over, I decided to make her coat with double gauze and gauze lining. Once it was done of course I had to try it on!
The coat is very light, soft and nice to the touch and I knew she would love the dusty blue. Rainy season will be starting soon in Japan and sometimes it gets chilly, even in June. I hope the jacket will provide the perfect warmth for her and that she will always feel that I care about her even from thousands of miles away. Happy mother's day, mom. :)
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