Week 47: Underwear & Grocery Bag

Well the last part of the underwear, as expected, was a ridiculously quick sew. Batch-working these seems like the way to go. My yard of cotton jersey got me three pairs total, so next time I buy a yard for underwear I might just make all three pairs at the same time and save some time.

I know I said I was just going to cut the fabric for my bag this week, but my sew-jo came back and also Thanksgiving weekend came up and things




out of control.

I was so worried about being able to sew and cut through this nylon, but actually it cut beautifully and the major sewing problems I had were (I’m fairly sure) related to the thread, not the fabric. Sewing through the D-ring tabs (four layers, plus whatever I was stitching it to) was the hardest part, and definitely getting those attached around the bottom curves of the bag was a challenge, but basically the whole thing just went extremely smoothly, and now I have a nice grocery bag with sturdy seams and the ability to turn into a backpack for those long walks home with heavy stuff!

There were a few moments of confusion with the pattern, but in general the pictures explained most everything without me needing to use a ton of my Japanese skills (although they were nice to have as a backup). I like the book a lot, and will gladly use it when I want a new backpack.

I also sort of went a little overboard on Craftsy classes during the Black Friday sale. (Even though $17.87 isn’t that much better than the $20 sales they have all the time, I know.) I bought the last two of the Alison Smith Tailoring classes because I love every class she’s taught and also I’ve always secretly wanted to do tailoring, along with some others that either had been on my wishlist or just sounded appealing in the moment after a few beers.


That brings me to my next project! Ever since I got this fabric in Japan, I’ve been envisioning a short, tailored coat for it. I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted with the style, and I wasn’t sure exactly how I needed to prep it, because it’s a very loose weave and I knew I was going to need to know before I started on it. But after watching the Structure and Shape class I’m feeling like I have a basic idea of where to start, at least, and then Seamwork’s Lilliana pattern came up when I was looking for a jacket pattern, and while it’s not exactly what I want, it’s close enough and a simple enough pattern that I think I feel comfortable making pattern modifications to get it there. (I’m going to add a lining and facings, more structure in the shoulders, and probably patch pockets because a jacket without pockets is no jacket at all.)

I’m going to start with a muslin, because I’ve had shoulder fitting issues on every top I’ve made, so better to get that over with in cheap fabric before hitting the good stuff.

Goals for next week:

  • Get this new pattern printed
  • Make any pattern adjustments I know I’m going to need right off the bat
  • Cut out muslin

Week 32: Just Mending

This was not an exciting week for my sewing habit, I fear. I checked two items off my mending list, but I decided I’m going to use a fitting sloper to finish up my bodice sloper for now, and when I went to Joann earlier today they did not have the fitting sloper pattern that I could find. (My Joann is apparently very heavy on the Simplicity patterns rather than the other big 4, is that true elsewhere?)

I do have a couple of not terribly exciting pics of my mending.

My toe socks had just a little bit of a seam coming out. I decided to deal with it before it got worse.

All fixed up! Looks a little frankensteined since I did it from the right side, but it should be smooth against the foot where it matters.

Jonah helping with the photo taking
I’m not thrilled with how this came out based on how it looked in my head, but it was pretty frayed and hard to do the cute embroidery I was envisioning. At least it shouldn’t fray anymore!

I really need to do something to get my sewjo back – maybe a really simple pattern? Something I’ve made before so I won’t have as many fitting issues to annoy me? I’ll have to do some brainstorming. Meanwhile I’ve ordered the bodice sloper pattern from the interwebz so maybe it will arrive this week while I’m figuring out what I want to do. I haven’t even used a sewing machine since I got back! All that fabric and no motivation!

Week 29: Japan Wrap Up

Ok so first things first I guess: I did get a tiny bit of knitting done on the train to Tokyo, so my final knitting for the trip looks like this:

Not as much progress as I would have thought for the amount of time I spent in transit, but I was really hoping to sleep during those long-ass flights so I didn’t want to get anything complicated out. (I still didn’t sleep, so I could have been knitting instead of trying to sleep. Oh well.)

The Harrison Shirt that I made last minute is pretty much the MVP of the trip (that and the spanx, which prevented really unpleasant chafing and which I now want like five pairs of). It didn’t show sweat at all, and it was very breathable and comfortable to wear, even with the slight pulling around the shoulders. The only problem I had was that my cross-body bags hit right at the button at the bust, and it kept coming undone while I was in public. I don’t think it will happen without the bags right there, but if it does I’ll have to figure out some solution, because I love that shirt and want to make more.

Now for my haul from Nippori Fabric Town!

I have three meters of the top fabric and four of the bottom. Both are about 44 inches wide. The bottom is for sure 100% cotton, and I think the top one is as well although it’s a much lighter cotton. I am thinking about a flowy long-sleeve shirt out of the top, and I bought the bottom one specifically to try to make a yukata for myself (although I did buy a yukata as well). I tried asking the shop owner if 4m would be enough, and he was like “I’m not sure how to make one, so I don’t know.” I figured if 4 yards is enough for a dress then 4 meters, which is slightly more, would probably be fine for a yukata, but we’ll see. I bought a book on making kimono by hand but I’m still trying to puzzle through the directions and figure out where the body width measurement comes into play so I can calculate if I have enough fabric. (Also I will probably make a muslin before I cut into my irreplaceable imported fabric.)

These two were in 2m pre-cut chunks, which is awesome – you can do a lot with 2m. I don’t know what I’m going to do with these but it’s going to be something awesome.

These two were in the remnants bucket outside a wholesale fashion fabric shop, and were about $12.00 each, for 2m at about 60″ wide. I really just want to make tailored jackets from them, but I’m not sure 2m is going to be quite enough. They look a lot like the material from the couture dressmaking Craftsy class that I loved, so it would be fun to really hardcore work the couture angle on these and make a set of nice coats if I can.
This is not really exciting to look at, I know, but it was extremely exciting to find in the bargain bin. It’s basically 4 1/2 yards of power net (2 2.25-yard chunks) that I got for ¥250 each, or about $4.00 total. Given that my normal source for power net is $30/yard, this was a STEAL.

Goals for next week:

  • Hem the yukata I bought (I had to get one for big and tall ladies, and I am big but not tall). I’ll probably do this by hand because I have bad luck with turned-under hems.
  • Figure out the next project! I’m not really sure whether I want to start a test muslin for my homemade yukata or if I want to start planning out my Once Upon a Time Belle wardrobe like I’d been thinking about before the trip.

Week 19: Manila #2 and Bra #1

Hey there! I made a bra this week! I’m going to cover everything non-bra-related before the cut, so you can easily stop reading at that point if you don’t want to read in depth information about (my) boobies.


So the first order of business for the week was my second pair of the Manila leggings.


I really love this pattern. I should definitely have done some pattern matching, because one of those roses gets cut off right at center front, but fortunately these are leggings, and I subscribe to the “leggings aren’t pants” school of thought (at least on me). That cut-off rose will always be under a skirt, haha.

One of the freeing things about being a mediocre seamstress is that you can’t do much worse than ready to wear when it comes to pattern matching. If it sucks, people will assume you bought cheap pants – not the greatest thing for them to think when you put a bunch of work into something, but at least they won’t secretly judge your sewing failure.

Hand basting the waistband didn’t quite save me this time – I still wound up with one side of the waistband not tacked down in the seam, and had to unpick it and stitch it back down. I realized when I was doing the petal cuffs this time though that pressing this material actually does work, and keeps it from rolling – so next time I use something similar I’ll try pressing the waistband before I stitch it. I’m also tempted to wear gloves next time I use this fabric – it kept catching on nicks I couldn’t even feel on my fingers and fingernails.

As a side project, I’ve been unpicking a pair of black corduroys that met a tragic end by splitting right down the butt while I was out and about. Now that I’m sewing regularly, I was like “ooh, fabric!” and started thinking about things I could do with the remaining good fabric. I figured a knee-length skirt would be a good candidate, and I made Selene awhile back, and although I need to fix some fitting issues with it, it has that center front panel that would allow me to use a smaller piece from the pants. Unfortunately, when I laid the pattern out on the fabric, it became pretty clear I wasn’t going to have enough:

Of course Kaylee sat right on the clean fabric as soon as it came out of the dryer.

I might be able to tweak the back pattern to separate it into two pieces, but I think even doing that, there’s not enough good fabric left to cover the whole thing. The seat area has marks from where the pockets were, and the front pockets cut into my usable area on the front. I didn’t even bother to lay out the waistband pieces, because if needed I could have done the waistband in a separate fabric.

So, sadly, Selene is not going to work out for me here. I’m also questioning whether I can manage a skirt just from this one pair of pants at all. I might have to stash it and use it for a much smaller project, or as an accent fabric on something.

Complete tangent here: unpicking these pants was a really interesting experience. When I was a kid, probably even into my teen years, I assumed that ready to wear clothes were made entirely by machine. I don’t think it really occurred to me that real people could be making so many clothes, or that it would be so inexpensive if they were. Unpicking my inexpensive ready to wear pants reminded me that there are people behind the clothes we buy, sewing the same seams I’d be sewing if I made them myself. They do it day in and day out, on the same style of garment over and over again, and they’re paid substantially less than I am so that I can afford to buy a pair of pants that sort of fit me for less than $30.

Unpicking just felt like a weird sort of communion with the people overseas who did the sewing on them in the first place. This whole year of making all my clothes is at least partially to make me mindful of the process that goes into my ready to wear clothes, but this is the first time it’s really hit home.

OK, enough with the serious stuff, on to boobies!

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Week 10: Just socks

Short update this week because I didn’t really get all that much done – I’ve had a cold all week that’s sapped my energy. I did manage to get some knitting done, mostly because knitting involves sitting in one place and not moving a whole lot, and you can put it down to blow your nose or drink some broth.


I’m still enjoying the two at a time socks, but I underestimated how long the foot would take – as usual. I made it about halfway I think.


The only problem I’m running into with the two at a time socks is that I wish they were on a 60″ cable. My size 0 needles are on a 60″ cable and it always felt like overkill for a single sock, but I find that unless I’m very careful when readjusting between socks or while turning, I lose the loop between sides and have to find it again. (At least the pattern makes it easy.)
002Here’s a picture for those who don’t bother to do gauge swatches in the round for an item in the round. You’ll notice the top part has a way looser gauge than the bottom. That’s the heel I was complaining about last week. I haven’t done any official measuring, but it’s extremely clear just from visual inspection that it’s a much looser gauge. Same needles, just back and forth.

I mean also this week has been more stressful, so I’m sure that has something to do with it, too (thank you, two at a time socks, you’ll at least be matching in your weird gauge problems).


Sorry I’m not more exciting this week. Here, have a picture of my cat:



Goals for next week:

  • Make pattern adjustments
  • Cut out fabric
  • Get socks to the toe decrease stage