Friday, March 29, 2013

Japanese Sewing Books

Many of you know that I love sewing from Japanese patterns.  I've also got many Japanese books from Kinokuniya.  The stock would be more had I not discover that our local library carries many sewing books. The good news for those who understand mandarin is the books are mostly translated into Chinese.

Recently I was browsing some chinese sewing and craft books at my local Library and found out that they have many new books like this one from Cotton Friends. The book covers past issues patterns for Woman, children and even bags and hat! It comes with 2 pattern pieces which you will need to go to the customer service counter to request. You will need to use your library card to borrow the pattern pieces separately. Good thing that I'm a Passion Card member so I got to borrow 8 books, including AV : )

Some of the items in the book. I was so excited when I got the book and immediately traced out 3 projects from this book when I got home! Want to make a guess what I picked? The pattern comes in 4 sizes, S, M, L, LL with measurements given for the bust, waist and length of garments. Kids patterns also come in a few sizes.

The bag looks easy too and I think they will make a nice lunch bag.

The most laborious job is tracing patterns from the multi-layered pattern pieces. The pattern pieces are not easy to read as they have only 2 color codes for so many patterns and some of the pattern no. are not indicated along the sides so it was a bit confusing at first. I also missed some of the vital marking since the lines are crossed.

Experience tells me that you measure the pattern pieces to get the size you want than to depend on their written sizes since generally Japanese pattern are quite loose fitting. So, usually I go for the smaller size. This time I use S which is unbelievable but trust still comes out a bit big for me, especially the top.  Most of the patterns in the book have 2 or 3 variations of the same pattern basic like this jacket comes in short, medium and long. So, you can just trace a few more pieces and lengthen it to make another different garment!

short cropped jacket

medium jacket with belt
I'll be sharing some projects from this book soon.  Although tracing was laborious, the sewing was fun. I've learn some cool techniques which I'll be sharing with the project.  The sewing is quite fast and usually, I took 2 nights to sew one project.

Sadly, the book will be due this week, so I will need to return it this Saturday. So if you are interested, you can dropped by the library to pick up the book : ) Remember to ask for the pattern pieces!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Pattern sales!

If you are always on the lookout for patterns, you will be happy to know that there is a 5 Days Sale till 29 March at McCall, Vogue and Kwik Sew.
I've bought a few patterns from McCall at $1.88 each! Plus shipping, and USD conversion, each patterns only cost me less than $6 each! It's a steal consider that those at Spotlight cost more than $10 or $20 each. So, go down and grab them while it last.

Now, time to go back to my sewing while waiting for these patterns to arrive.  I've sewn up some clothes for myself and will be sharing them soon...

Friday, March 22, 2013

Easy Tiered Skirt from Simple Simon & Co


Seen this?

When I first saw this skirt at the Simple Simon & Co blog, I was immediately drawn to how pretty the fabric was together! I love the vibrant red gingham with the sweet baby pink print and the light aqua flora on the top tier.  The fabric are from The Simple Life by Tasha Noel for Riley Blake Designs.

So, I decided that I want to copy that look for my girls. I found the fabric from one of our local store at Textile centre - Seng Mui Heng. They also have a bigger store at Chinatown but the store at Textile centre usually carry fabric on sale.  Recently I found out that they also has an online store.  But sadly, this line of fabric is not on sale.  Since I wanted it badly, I bought them at $16/m! But they only have the Main in Pink so I got the red gingham and the aqua floral from

As I was making for my 2 girls - 8 year old and 3 year old, I got 2 yard of red gingham (which I still have left over after cutting both skirts), 1 yard for the Main in pink and 1 yard for aqua floral. Only the bottom tier needs more yardage and how much you use really depend on how long you want each layer to be. I make the skirt length to be half way between the knees and ankle.

I really follow the tutorial to the T! For my 8 year old, I followed her fabric cutting measurement. The 2nd layer is 2 time the fabric width while the 3rd layer is 3 times the width. I also adjusted the length for each layer so the final length was about 23".  For my 3 year old, I didn't want to have the skirt too full so I made the 2nd layer to be 1.5 times of the width and the 3rd layer to be 2 times.  It worked out just nice.  Still twirly but not too overwhelming for my 3 year old.

If you have not tried this tutorial yet, I highly recommend it.  I really looks great on them and look so professionally done. You would have thought it was store bought.

If your girl is 7-8 years old, it is really easy to cut the fabric since you are taking the entire width of the fabric and just adjusting the length of each layer. I think I spent the most time sewing the gathers for the 3 layers but I did the 2 skirts in one evening so you can see it was really not too difficult. If I've the courage, I would love to have one myself : P

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A New PJ for the new year

Has it been a month since I last post? Oh time flies.

I did sew during my blog absence but just didn't get to take photos and edit them for the blog.  Hmm.. sewing is fun but writing a blog post sometimes ...hhmmm takes more energy than sewing, imho.

Anyway, here's the new PJs I sewn for the girls in 2013. It was done way before the Lunar New Year since I wanted to make it a tradition to sew them a new PJ every year.  I bought this cute Panda Heart cotton fabric from Spotlight at sale for $4/m. It was a steal! Immediately, I vision PJ with this cute print.

I drafted the PJ myself using a similar tunic I sew in a Japanese sewing magazine.  I'm very happy that the girls love them.  I had wanted to do a tutorial but really, lack of mojo and motivation and time...I'll just do a short note here if you want to take reference to make one for your kid.

The PJ is a tunic with a bottom piece since I think it is more suitable for my girls who prefer pants than dressing gown for night wear. It has button placket in front with V neck and sort of cap sleeves. The sleeves are part of the bodice as I was lazy to insert sleeves so since I'm drafting it, I'll just save a step. The lower half of the bodice is just rectangle with slight gathers attached to the top.

I made some variation between the sisters by giving my older girl some ruffles for the PJ bottoms.  For the little one, I added lace for the bodice and bottom.

The PJ bottom are just loose pants with elastic waistband.  The original tunic that I've based the PJ on was just a loose fitting bodice with no button closure. So, I took some time to draft that button placket plus the integrated sleeve bodice out. It was very rewarding to see them wearing it every night. Unless it's in the wash, they pull the PJ out every night : )

See, you can even do a ballet dance in them!

Just can't leave without posting a last photo of my cutie in her Panda Hearts PJ!