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. :)

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Nova Coat Pattern + Rifle Paper Co. Fabric = New Favorite!

I think it was about two years ago that I purchased the Wildwood fabric by Rifle Paper Co. I love it so much that it was sitting on my table for a while and every time when I walked by, I looked at it, touched it and thought about what to make with it. A tunic, a top, a skirt??? I didn't want to mess it up or didn't want to regret not making something else after I used it. My indecisiveness was in full swing and I had to put it on the shelf and wait.

After I made Sapporo Coat (Nova coat now), I decided to use that fabric and try making a quilted coat. it was bit scary, but I was more excited since I set my heart on a project with Wildwood fabric.

Since I have to machine quilt each piece, it was more work for me, but I enjoyed the process. It was like taking myself on an adventure! I really had to see the finished quilted coat that I saw in my mind's eye. I had already decided what quilt design I should do and at what scale.

I would say that the most challenging thing in the whole process was to make sure that the patterns of flowers would line up nicely in the back, sides and on the sleeves. I laid the pattern pieces in different ways to make sure that they matched up nicely.

To be honest, I didn't even think this would be a challenge. If I thought about it in the beginning, I may not have chosen this fabric. If you are thinking about making a coat, and you are still new at this, I advise you to choose solid, or small patterned fabric, you don't have to stress about matching the pattern.
I am happy to say that the coat turned out exactly how I imagined!

I used a blue woven fabric for the lining and I like how it is softer than quilted cotton. The coat is bulkier than the wool coat I made, especially around the armholes, so I wanted to use something less stiff.
The flower border lined up nicely at the pocket and the sides as well. Yes!
It is getting warmer, but there are still cold mornings and evenings where I live. I think I have few more weeks to enjoy this jacket, until I will put it away 'til fall (then I have something to look forward to!). I took the jacket for a test drive.
I absolutely LOVE how it turned out. I would love to do patchwork piecing with small pieces next time when I make a quilted jacket. Don't you think there are many possibilities for the patterns and colors?

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Eyeglass Case Tutorial with Printable Pattern

The idea for this project came purely from my own need, but I thought there might be some of you going through the same thing and looking for an eyeglass case.

I always had good eyesight up until few years ago (darn aging! My teen daughter often say, "Is there anything good about getting old??"), but I started needing glasses to see far and it seems to be getting worse. Because I am not used to carrying glasses around, I always forget to take them with me and I won't even think about them until I need to see the menu on the far away wall at the restaurant and such. Also, the glass case that came with my glasses was a big, bulky plastic case. I don't like carrying a big purse, and there is no way that that glass case will fit in my small purse... I just wanted a small, minimal fabric case to prevent scratches. After I did a few sketches, I came up with this design.

For the closure, I designed it so that you can just fold the tab inside, kind of like tucking the opening of a pillowcase when you are making the bed. If you prefer to add snap button or Velcro you could totally do that.

*You will need

1 - Outer fabric (8" x 9")
1 - Lining fabric (8" x 9")
1 - Interfacing (8" x 9") I used Pellon 809 Decor Bond. I like the stiffness.
Matching thread

*How to

1. Print PDF pattern and cut out the template.

2. Trace the template onto the fabrics and interfacing and cut them out. You can do this one by one, but I like to layer all three material together, trace and cut. This is not only a short cut, it is easier to ensure which side of the material is suppose to be put together. You can look at the picture below to see what I mean.
3. Fuse the interfacing on the the wrong side of the outer fabric.

4. Put all three layers together perfectly. Leaving a 3" opening in the bottom, sew all the way around. Cut and snip the corners for a cleaner finish.
5. Turn it inside out and press with an iron.
6. Top stitch the portion of the case.
7. Fold in half vertically. Use clips to keep them in place while you sew. Sew one side all the way to the other side.
At this point, it might be difficult to stitch through all the layers with some machines. In that case, it might be helpful to use thicker needles and go slow. People often ask me what kind of machine I use and I always say "Baby Lock. and I LOVE IT!" Whether you are beginner or an advanced sewist, I highly recommend Baby Lock machines to everyone. They offer a variety of machines (beginner ones start around $150!) I know how frustrating it is to have a machine that keeps having problems, and that actually takes the fun out of sewing. I have been sewing with Baby Lock machines for the last 10 years or so, and they are sturdy and dependable; totally worth looking into it. :)
8. Enjoy!
Here are the images of the case"open" and "closed"...
I got carried away and made more, thinking that this will make a great gift for my friends.
The thick interfacing gives just the right amount of stiffness without being bulky. This eyeglass case will definitely protect my glasses from scratches and easily fit in my purse which is exactly what I wanted. Happy sewing everyone!

Saturday, March 27, 2021

White Sapporo (Nova) Coat

Last fall, I was itching to sew some coats. I wanted to try something new and stretch my skills by sewing something other than skirts or dresses. A couple patterns that grabbed my attention were Tamarack Jacket by Grainline Studio and Sapporo Coat (they recently changed the name to Nova Coat) by Papercut. I made a couple jackets in the fall using the tamarack jacket pattern. Except for the welt pocket, the rest of process was something with which I was already familiar.

Now, I wanted to try the Sapporo coat pattern. When I saw the coat online, not only did I like the design, but I loved the name too. My Oldest son was called to serve a mission in Sapporo Japan for our church last year; there is no correlation between the coat and my son's mission other than the name (I guess you can see how much I miss him), but it instantly became one of the "must make" items. Ha ha!

I put off making the Sapporo coat for a while even though I already had the material for it. I had other projects keeping me busy, and also I was a bit intimidated by the process of adding a liner to the coat. We had some warm days recently, but I knew we still had some cold days and nights that I could enjoy the coat before Spring comes in full swing. It is silly not trying to make it!

So that's what I did last week.

Last year I found the wool blend fabric at Fabric.com for an ideal price and decided to go with that. The velvet wool I was drooling over was $140.15 a yard... yeah, that is not going to happen for a first time coat maker like me. I am well pleased with how it turned out!

I LOVE the stand collar on this coat. Not only does it keep my neck warm, it makes me feel a little sophisticated.
The unique shaped pocket was not hard to make at all!
It was more work to add the lining, but it definitely gives the coat a professional finished look. I am just so happy that the colors of the wool and the liner match so well, even though I bought both of them online.
Before I made the coat, I read other people's posts, comments and reviews. Many people said that the coat is very baggy fitting, so I went a size down and I am glad I did. If you are looking for a generous fit coat especially around the arms, you will love this coat.

Monday, March 8, 2021

Floret Farm's Discovering Dahlias ~ Book Review

If there is one place and time you could go right now, where and when would you pick? I would say Floret flower Farm during the summer. I was given the chance to review celebrated farmer-florist and New York Times bestselling author Erin Benzakein's new book Discovering Dahlias and it was such a pleasure from the very first page. As you can tell from the title, this book all about Dahlias (her previous books were Cut Flower Garden and A Year in Flowers) and gives excellent advice for growing, harvesting and arranging Dahlias.

I think one of the reasons her book is set apart from the rest in the same genre are breath taking photos taken by her husband Chris Benzakein. I feel like his pictures not only showcase the beautiful flowers, but they tell a story. I wish I could stand in the middle of the flower field during the sunset and enjoy the luscious colors and fresh air. I am a visual person, so I really appreciated that her book is not just a "how to" book. I have never ever read a gardening/farming book cover to cover in the past like I did with Discovering Dahlias.

I had no idea that there were so many variety of sizes, forms, and colors if Dahlias. I am sad that I can't share all the pages with you, but it is so interesting to see the varieties. It's like looking at an encyclopedia for Dahlias!

Ok, I don't have a green thumb and I failed many times in the past and I wish I had the magic touch to grow anything. As I was reading her book, it made me realized that Erin also had a fair share of trial and errors, lots of learning and put in years of hard work. In the first part of her book, she shares some basic advice for how to grow and care Dahlias (of course with some great photos!). As I kept reading these pages, more and more my desire to try to grow dahlias in my backyard started to sprout within me. Maybe I could do this too?

Look at these gorgeous colors! They are truly the fruits of her labors.

Last but not least... this might be my most favorite part of this book: "Variety finder". Erin and her crew grew more than 800 varieties in her fields when they were working on this book, and they narrowed down their top picks to 360 dahlias to create this directory. They are arranged by color groups, timeless and classy white to dramatic and bold maroon/black. I love making flower arrangements and the dahlia is one of my favorite flowers to work with. I flipped through these pages many times just to see and imagine what it would like to make arrangement with them.

I HIGHLY recommend Discoverying Dahlias even if you are total beginner like me or an experienced gardener. The title of this book "Discovering Dahlias" perfectly fits and is truly genius, because that exactly what I felt I was doing.
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