Tuesday, November 17, 2020

A Quilt Finished! ~Blast from the Past ~

A little over 20 years ago, I had this small quilt group with my friends and one of their mothers, who is a master quilter, taught us a shortcut on how to piece these quilt blocks. I made all the blocks, made them into a quilt top and I even marked the designs for quilting... then I stopped there. I think I was working on something else and got distracted. Between moving three times, three kids, many surgeries on top of everyday life, the top got tucked away and I forgot about it. During the sew my stash challenge, I came across this and decided it was time to finish it.
I used to be so intimidated by machine quilting. I am still not that good at it, but I actually enjoy it now. With my beloved Babylock sewing machine, Aria, I finished quilting it in a few days. I quickly put the binding on, so I could hand stitch the rest in the car when Mr.TRH and I were traveling up to Kennewick Washington. That was about a 20 hour drive in total... needless to say, I finished the quilt!
Over the years, my taste changed quite a bit, but I still love this cheerful colored quilt and I had so much fun finally finishing it. I named this quilt "Blast from the Past" and I think it fits perfectly on her.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Light Denim Wide Pants

I can't believe we are already in the second week of November! I made this lightweight denim pants a couple weeks ago, but life got busy and I didn't have a chance to post it until now. The pattern I used is from one of my Japanese sewing books and the whole process was so simple and easy as the title of the book claims it to be. With one glance, it kind of looks like a skirt.
I am toying with the idea to make this with plaid if I find something that catches my eye, or...
Lengthen it and sew sleek pants with solid fabric. I don't know if I could pull off the look with my height though... it would be an experiment for sure!

Monday, October 26, 2020

Simple Fleece Jacket for my Girl

I knew it was getting colder, but we had snow yesterday! My "sew my stash challenge" is still ongoing, but I have been wanting to make a coat this year. My goal is to make a wool coat with liner, but that type of project is not only intimidating, it is costly too (no room for mistakes)! I wanted to start somewhere a lot simpler and easier. I felt like the coat pattern Simplicity 8811 is a great one to start. I bought a slightly better grade of fleece and dove right in! Just as I predicted, it was very easy to make and I am so happy at how it turned out. Since this was for my daughter, I personalized it with a pocket liner. Since she is a good scholar, I used cute pencil prints inside the pocket. She loved the special feature just for her.
I saw her wearing the jacket inside and outside the home a few times already and I assume that is a good sign.
Now I am very curious to see how the jacket would look if I make it with different materials.  Hmm... There are so many things I want to make and not enough time! I need to add that thought to my "to make" list.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Cotton + Steel Rayon Separates


I bought this beautiful Rayon Challis "In Bloom" by Cotton + Steel a while back. this Rayon is the perfect weight and very smooth to the touch. It is a little different choice of fabric than my usual pick from solid or floral, but when I saw it I immediately fell in love with the design. After going back and forth between sewing a dress or separates, I decided to go with separates! For the pattern, I used Simplicity 8910 dress pattern from my previous post for the top but extended the length and made a blouse. For the skirt, I used my all time favorite flare skirt pattern I drafted. With the left over fabric, I was able to make sashing. I prefer wider sashing, but I didn't want to buy more fabric just to make the it... so it is what it is and I still like it.


I thought it would be fun to have a wrap belt with black fabric for a different look and whipped up one with cotton fabric I had in my stash


The blouse has moderate puffy sleeves, so I knew it would be a little difficult to wear it with a standard sweater or cardigan, that was part of the reasons why I decided to go with separates. This way I could wear them separately with other items and have more options. I normally don't wear black, but the sweater in the picture is an exception. I love the softness, v-neck, and fluffy texture.



During the process, I second guessed my decision for my fabric choice... I thought maybe the pattern and the colors are a little too bold for me, but once I wore it I was glad I trusted my gut instinct for loving the fabric. Sometimes it's nice to get out of your comfort zone and be a little adventurous. :)

Monday, October 12, 2020

Olive + Navy Top with Flare Skirt



I never use broadcloth to sew clothes because I don't think the fabric drapes nicely and could make the clothing look cheap. Then, when I saw the combination of this olive and navy fabric, I immediately had an image of a finished top in my head and I couldn't resist. I broke my own rule. I used a pattern from a Japanese sewing book created by Yukari Nakano. The book contains 28 pieces of simple, sophisticated and well designed clothing; I pretty much want to make all of them. Also, what is nice about her book is that unlike many Japanese sewing books, the seam allowance is already included in the pattern! It cuts down on the process and time which is a huge plus. For the skirt, I used my favorite flare skirt pattern I drafted years ago. 
 

Overall, I love how it turned out. I feel like the front of the blouse is a little bland compared to the back, but I guess that contrast is a good thing. One thing I regret is that I wish I finished the skirt with a zipper, not with elastic. Most of the skirts I make; especially now are with elastic... I am staying home most of the time, I want to stay comfortable. Though, in this case it would look much nicer with a regular waistband without getting bulky when I tuck the blouse in. Well, we live and learn, right?


It's too cold to wear this by itself now, but I am looking forward to next Spring and Summer.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Light Weight Denim Dress with Simplicity 8910/R10183


I had this light weight denim forever and there were a few times in the past that I almost sewed something with it and then changed my mind. When I had Simplicity pattern 8910 in my hand and was revisiting my stash, I felt like they were a great match. There are many reasons why I adore the design of this dress pattern. I love the simple shoulder with modest puff on the sleeves little above the wrists. I also love the thick pleats in the front and the back. I feel like these pleats have a slimming effect compared to other similar dresses. Another aspect I love is these unique slash pockets and how they compliment the pleats nicely. The only change I made for this pattern is that I brought the neckline up higher.
 

After I tried on the finished dress, I realized that I wanted the top portion of the dress slightly shorter; if I am going to make this dress again in the future. You see, I have a short torso and long arms. That is why I normally don't buy petite clothing even though I am a short girl. The sleeves will be too short for me. One of the greatest aspects of sewing your own garments is that you have some control over how the clothing fits you. I already made an adjustment to the pattern and made the top front/back 1/2" shorter.
 

The air is getting cooler, so I decided to do a fall coordination with a shawl. Because of the nature of the fabric, I feel like I could wear this dress pretty much all year round. I also think that my daughter might even be willing to wear a shorter version of this dress if I sew her one.
 

I sewed quite a bit during September; mainly light weight dresses, I still have some similar dresses I want to sew lined up, but part of me wants to start working with thicker fall material. Well, you might start seeing a mix of these posts in the future! :)

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Pale Pink Linen Dress...


Remember this linen dress I made last year? I really liked how it turned out so much that I wanted to revisit the pattern with different fabric. I had pale pink linen fabric I purchased at the same time I bought the purple fabric and I decided to use it for the same dress...


But the thing is; I had a little less fabric so I had to make the skirt shorter and I couldn't make the belt. I thought it would still be fine, but I like the longer length much better. I think that would make me feel more "me".



The air is getting a bit chilly around here, so I also wanted to take some pictures with a cardigan and a scarf, but when I was looking at the pictures before writing this post, the white cardigan and the pink dress reminded me of the nurses when I was in the hospital in Japan growing up! Ugh!! Well, to be honest with you, this is not my favorite dress I have ever made... but, you live and learn, right? I also know that when you are in a creative endeavor, they can't all be winners even though that's what we strive for. Isn't it so interesting how just a few inches off the skirt length or less than a quarter inch of difference could change the whole look of a piece of clothing? 
 

I wish I could turn back time and make something else instead... I will still wear it around the house, but this was a learning experience for me. I hope my next project will be something I could say "I love" and share with you!

Monday, September 28, 2020

Brown Linen Dress


About a week ago, I was looking through my old Japanese magazines and came across a dress a model was wearing that caught my eye. I was looking for inspiration for some design ideas and this particular one lingered in my mind. I decided to try drafting my own pattern. I wasn't sure it was going to work, but I had a pretty good idea of what each pattern piece needed to look like. I chose the brown linen that had been sitting in my closet for years. I thought this dress style and the linen would go together. 
 

The finished dress is a bit different than the dress in the magazine, but the concept and the feeling is pretty close to what I had in mind. I love how it turned out! Only thing is that 100% linen wrinkles so easily. I am looking forward to making the same dress with a more light weight fabric such as lawn, crape or voile next spring.


As I keep going with my own "sew my stash challenge", I feel like more ideas are flowing into my mind and I am more willing to take risks. Sure I might make mistakes, or my plan won't go as I hoped, but I won't improve my skills unless I try, right? Thank you for visiting to see how my projects are going and leaving comments, I appreciate them very much! I have more sewing projects lined up and I can't wait to continue to share them with you!

Thursday, September 24, 2020

McCall's 7969 Hack Blouse

Several posts ago, I shared a dress I made with the pattern McCall's 7969. I love it so much so that I knew I wanted to make this dress in a different color in the near future. Who knew that I would end up making a top using the same pattern before I made another dress? Ok, Ok, let me tell you how I got to that point... 

As you all know, my sew-my-stash challenge continues.  I needed to get thread at Joann's for another project I was working on... I was there to "JUST BUY THREAD"... well... Since I was already there... you know, so I kind of wondered through the fabric section (that is why my kids hate going shopping with me. They say that I need blinders! Haha.) Then, this unique fabric among all the others immediately caught my eye!! I bought what's left on the bolt, there was only a little over a yard. Driving home, I was thinking what I should sew with it and the idea of using McCall's 7969 pattern to create a top popped in my head.
Technically, I was suppose to work with my stash, not newly purchased fabric, but I got side tracked and couldn't help it! I think one of the hardest things as a sewist is to find fabric that catches my eye and inspires me. There are limited selections at the local stores. Sure I could buy them online, but I love to touch and feel the material. I usually don't wear black, but this one is an exception. I love the leafly design with bronze color on the fabric so much.
I wore this with one of my favorite skirts, but it looked nice with jeans too. This top is surprisingly versatile. Have you found fabric that inspires you lately?

Monday, September 21, 2020

Olive Jumper Skirt

This is one of those projects where I have seen something like this in a magazine or at a store, but I can't find a pattern similar to this, soo... I was just going to try to see if I could make it up as I go. I originally bought this linen blend fabric to make a skirt, and I only had 2 yards of it. I had no room to make mistakes! I drew a sketch of how I wanted it to look, measured myself (twice, of course) and then drew the lines right onto the fabric.

I would have made the shoulder straps wider if I had more fabric, but I barely had any scraps; it worked out ok! I really like how the elastic part in the back turned out. I had a picture in my mind of how it was going look and had to figure out the process in my head. The elastic makes the dress fit snuggly above my chest, but not too tight. Also, I didn't have to deal with a zipper!

Lately, the area I live in is starting to get colder early morning and at night, but I can still wear this with the right layering and shoes.

A part of me still thinks that maybe I should have made a gather skirt instead, but I am glad that I tried to see if I could wing this without a pattern. Besides, with this design I could always alter it and turn it into a skirt, if I change my mind. :)

September is national sewing month, have you been sewing lately? If so, what have you sewn?

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Kaffe Fassett Shot Cotton Blouse & Skirt

I must say that my most favorite material to sew is hands down, cotton. Maybe because I am a quilter too, and I am more familiar with the material; better than any other fabrics. Also, I wear cotton dresses like this daily even when I am just staying home. Some people might think I am over dressed and being funny, but to me, I feel comfortable in them and they are all washable! I found this dark navy and blue stripe shot cotton by Kaffe Fassett at a local store and immediately fell in love with it. I was going back and forth trying to decide whether I should make a dress or separates. It looks like a dress, but it is actually a blouse and a skirt!

I just used a pattern from one of my posts Liberty of London Top & Skirt for the skirt. Revised a little to make it into an elastic waist instead of a zipper. For the top, I used Esme Top pattern from Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style. I used this pattern to make a tunic a long time ago, but I really like the fit and I thought this would make a lovely top to go with the skirt. Speaking of the skirt, I even lined it! Fun thing is that I can wear this top and skirt together like a dress or separately. I know I will have fun fishing things from my closet to coordinate. :)

What is your favorite material to sew with and why? I would like to get out of my comfort zone and try new things during this sew my stash challenge, there are some sitting in my closet... I guess I will get my hands on them when I run out cotton (or maybe sooner!).

Monday, September 14, 2020

Liberty of London Wrap Dress

In my last post, I shared the wrap top I made using a pattern from the Japanese sewing book Kana's Standard II. In the book, her version is a dress. I loved my top so much so that I wanted to sew a dress. Not a dress with any fabric, I was going to sew with my precious Liberty of London fabric!
I tweaked a few things, results? I love it!! I lengthened the skirt by 4". Also, I cut the sleeves shorter, so they will be 3/4 sleeves instead of long sleeve. I did this after I was done sewing and trying the dress on. I loved the fit, but there are something bothering me and I didn't know what it was. Then, after a while I realized that with the long sleeves, long skirt and floral print, it made the dress a bit like out of Little House on the Prairie. I love it much better after I cut the sleeves shorter. I also had to make a pleat on the cuff to make the opening smaller for a better silhouette. They are not even noticeable; hooray for the printed fabric that hides mishaps well (grin)!
Speaking of printed fabric hiding things well, in the Japanese sewing book, she did a gather skirt, but I wanted to look less puffy, so I decided to do a pleated skirt. I didn't even measurements and mark the pleated lines, I just eyeballed it and pinned like crazy and sewed. It is hard to tell in the pictures, but can you see the pleats??
The last thing I did was to add a button and an elastic loop to the skirt so they stay closed. I love wrap dresses, but one thing I wouldn't want is a wardrobe malfunction when there is a strong wind and I don't think the public would appreciate a middle age women flashing everyone. hahaha Can you even find the button and elastic loop in the picture?
I feel like this pattern will be one of the go to patterns from now on for a wrap top or for a wrap dress. I can see this dress in my mind's eyes in a solid color too. Fall is around the corner, but I am going to wear this with boots and a comfy cardigan.
I am so glad that the dress turned out to be something I love and I am not regretting using the fabric, phew! My "sew my stash" challenge continues, see you at my next post. ;)

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Long Sleeve Wrap Top / Kana's Standard 2


I don't even remember how long ago I purchased this light weight cotton fabric. I was "shopping" from my fabric closet and I knew exactly what I could turn this piece of fabric into. I remembered seeing a pretty wrap top in a Japanese sewing book Kana's Standard II. Perhaps, sewing garments so often over the past few weeks improved my senses and decision making skills? I sure hope so! :) I barely had enough to make this top and I am so glad I did! I love how it fits so perfectly to my body and I already wore this three times since I made it!
This can be easily dressed up or down and I could think of many ways to coordinate it with what I already have. I love this style so much that I know I will make more in the future with a different fabric.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Summer Dress/Pattern review



I was going to sew something else next, but when I was going through my fabrics, I found this light cotton fabric in my stash.  I just LOVE this soft color and light weight cotton and wanted to use this for the next project.  I remembered that I had a pattern that I wanted to try and thought that the fabric and the pattern would be a perfect match.  The pattern I used is McCall's 7969. 

 I changed the neckline a bit; I made it higher to my liking, but everything else is the same. I love how the dress turned out, especially the sleeves!  The dress is a bit baggier than I imagined around the waist, but I like that style too, so it works for me! :)

Did you know that September is a national sewing month?  It gives me more encouragement to keep sewing from my stash! (hehe)  I still have a bunch of fabrics lined up to sew, I am just over here trying to match the right fabrics to the right patterns.  It is one of the most exciting and difficult processes in sewing garments, in my opinion.  As I keep sewing from my stash, I am learning a lot about myself;  for example, I have a fabric buying habit where I buy without specific plans, lack of skills/knowledge, and so on and so forth. But one thing I always knew and has been confirmed with the recent sewing challenge is that I really do love to sew.  when I am thinking, planning and sewing something, it makes me happy. It gives me solace when my soul just needs the extra strength. It helps me to connect with who I am without being distracted by outside noise. I consider myself blessed to find such things in my life. Hopefully, I will keep learning and improving my sewing skills through this sew my stash challenge (not to mention all the newly sewn clothes!). 

Have you been sewing anything new lately?  what is your favorite part in the whole process? 







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