Friday, April 18, 2014

Trying my hand at sashiko

I have a strong interest in Japanese textiles and crafts. I love the simplicity, beauty and quality of Japanese craft. One of these crafts is a form of Japanese embroidery called sashiko. The word means 'little stabs' and this is exactly how you make the stitches - little stabs of running stitch.
This sampler is from a kit in which the fabric is stamped with the design and all you have to do is follow the directions. Even the size of the stitch is given!
Traditionally sashiko is stitched with a white thread on indigo fabric. Although now threads come in a wide range of colours.
There is a nifty way of keeping the thread tidy once you have opened the packet. You cut the thread in half and then plait it. You pull a thread out as you need it and the length is a comfortable one with which to work.
I have two more kits that I will use to practise my technique.
Sashiko needles have a large eye for the thick thread. These kits, threads and needles are readily available online. If you are in Melbourne, Kimono House has a great range of sashiko supplies.
My goal is to graduate from the kits and use the designs and patterns that are in the books 'Sashiko Style' and 'The Ultimate Sashiko Sourcebook'.
 I have everything I need, I just need to practise.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Memories are made of this

At last I've finished the memory quilt for my second child's 21st birthday although I am late by about 18 months! It had been on the back burner during her 15 months overseas but her imminent return in mid February spurred me on to have it completed by the time she got home. It was a very much appreciated welcome home present.
I'm not a quilter so it isn't a big quilt just 90 cm by 120 cm (36 in by 48 inches), a nice lap size. It has pieces of fabric from when she was a baby, a toddler, at kindergarten, primary and secondary school, as well as bits from the uniform from her first part time job.
The back is made from the doona cover I made for her when she moved from a cot into a bed.
My last born turns 21 at the end of the year and my goal is to have her memory quilt ready for her actual birthday!!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

McCalls 6102 tunic length with sleeves

Following on from the success of shortening the McCalls 6102 to tunic length, I thought I would use a piece of printed linen that I had in my stash, to make another one, but this time with sleeves. I wanted to use a pattern with minimal seams so that the large floral print was the main feature.
The photo doesn't show that the shape is A-line but it does show off the lovely print.
I am a real fan of binding the neckline with self-fabric bias binding as it makes the neckline sit nice and flat. I also hemmed the sleeves with bias binding but used it as a facing. Another top to wear with my white capri pants over the summer.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

McCalls 6102: tunic length

It was the purchase of a pair of white capri pants that got me thinking about what to wear with them. I wanted a top that was A-line and long enough to come to mid thigh. So I decided to use my tried and true pattern, McCalls 6102 which I have made as a dress, adapted to become a T-shirt  and used again to make a sleeveless tunic.
This shows the A-line shape of the top as well as my attempt to match the horizontal print in the fabric. The fabric is a cotton stretch sateen from Rathdowne Fabrics. It is a cool addition to the summer wardrobe, especially as Melbourne is experiencing very hot weather.
I do like binding the neckline with self-fabric bias binding rather than with a facing. I find that it helps the neckline to sit better and no annoying facing that might pop out.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Treasured Collection Top S in Liberty

This is the first time that I have sewn with Liberty Tana Lawn and what a pleasure it was. The fabric is so beautiful to work with and although it is expensive (AUS $45 per metre), a metre was all I needed (with some left over) to make up Top S from Treasured Collection by Yoshiko Tsukiori. The fabric is called Asaka Pink and I bought it at Tessuti in Melbourne during their summer sale when it was 10% off.
I am really pleased with how it has turned out. I used French seams for the shoulders and side seams. It was really easy to make a narrow hem for the neck and hem frills as the fabric just did as it was meant to. I have made this top before and made adjustments for a dart at the front armhole, made the neckline frill as a complete circle and I didn't add the centre front frill.
This top has a lovely shape and is a good length for wearing with both skirts and pants.
This is how it looks in the book.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Eva dress by Tessuti - now the short sleeve

I seem to make a habit of sewing at least three items from the one pattern. Here is my short sleeve Eva Dress. I have been stash busting and used a printed cotton for the bodice and a coordinating washed linen for the skirt. I bought the cotton from Spotlight last summer and I purchased the linen from Tessuti a few weeks ago. As with the previous sleeveless dresses, I shortened the lower skirt panel by 8 cm and omitted the pockets. I really like the lantern skirt and hope to get quite a lot of wear from my Eva dresses this summer.
Front bodice

Front view

Side view

Friday, January 10, 2014

Eva Dress by Tessuti - floral version

I made up my second version of the Tessuti Eva Dress using a floral stretch cotton sateen from Rathdowne Fabrics. I really like the lantern style skirt and the finish of the neck, armholes and hem of this dress. I thought I would give this pattern a go again using a print.
I shortened the lower skirt panel by 8 cm and used a commercial white 25mm white bias binding for the binding of the neckline, armholes and skirt hem instead of cutting 3cm wide bias strips from the fashion fabric. Using the commercial bias binding saved a lot of fabric as well as insuring that my bias was accurate. The 25mm bias when ironed flat and then pressed in half was just a smidge wider than the pattern instructions. I found that it gave me a little more width to work with. It also had the added advantage of having the original press mark to use as a guide when attaching the bias. It will be a fun dress to wear on a hot summer's day as the fabric is heavy enough to not have to be worn over a slip. (I must be showing my age!)
I so like this pattern that I have cut out the short-sleeved version using a floral print for the bodice and a washed linen for the skirt. I hope to sew it early next week.