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for me!

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DSC_1171When we left for our annual vacation (which now was a while ago!) I carried with me a whole bunch of stuff-books that I planned to read, fabric that I hoped to make something out of, a few patterns to accompany them, and finally, not to forget, embroidery related bits.

At that point I had only some very vague ideas of how I wanted to spend intermittent free time I would get, and so I can honestly say that I surprised myself by making not one but two tops on my now favourite sewing machine.IMG_0686The pattern I used is Camber top by Merchants and Mills. I remember buying about a year ago because I was so taken by their overall aesthetic having read about it first here. It so happened that around that time Mr. M was to go to the UK, and so I ordered three of their patterns  with plans to get down to sewing them immediately upon his return. I recall excitedly opening the package and reading the not too detailed instructions, followed by hastily putting it away since it all looked far too complicated. But since then, and especially since this attempt I was in a mood to try something else for myself and so I went back to first of the three M&M patterns I got back then.

Since this is only my second real attempt at sewing for myself, and because I could not make much of the instructions even a year later, especially how to attach the lining of the back yoke I decided to make a muslin first. (The fabric is mangalgiri cotton that I had bought in Pune sometime back.)IMG_0703After three failed attempts at figuring out how to do it and almost giving up I decided to scour the web, albeit quite pessimistically, in hope  of some help. And thus, finally, with many many thanks to this blogger, I got it! In fact, it was a kind of an a-ha moment, because as many others have already said, when you get it, you immediately realise that it is really quite brilliant how the front neckline gets sandwiched beautifully between the the back yoke and its lining. From then on it was smooth sailing and I finished the rest of it in less time than it took me to figure out the yoke.IMG_0714Having most definitely liked the muslin, I almost immediately made another one. asmita 6Based on my bust size, I made the top in UK size 8 with 10 at the hips. There is however, again as others have mentioned, a lot of ease. So I briefly contemplated if I should make the entire thing in a 8, but I like how the muslin fits, and the second fabric with kalamkari print was the one that I had been saving up for a while. So in the end no changes were made, and I am happy to report that these make perfect summer tops.IMG_0666

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I am now actually wanting to try the Camber dress, and there are some lovely versions out there. I especially liked this one.

For reasons not entirely clear as yet, making the tops has also left me feeling particularly self satisfied (although, admittedly I look rather morose particularly in the last photo). N, however, when she saw me making the second one, did come up and ask if I was enjoying this far more than making stuff for her. A kind of a momentary worry I suppose. Of course I am far far from tired of sewing stuff for her. But sewing for myself certainly brought about a different kind of pleasure, and I enjoyed every bit of it.

What are you sewing these days? Is it anything for yourself? I would love to hear about it.

Asmita/xx

 

 

 

 

a find

I didn’t plan to disappear so completely on my Pune trip, but as it so happens, and has happened before I did just that. It’s been super busy last few weeks, really months, I should say. We had a good, (“full” is perhaps the word) summer vacation from which N and I got back almost ten days ago. Baby m and Mr. M followed soon thereafter, and now we are in hot humid Delhi.

At this moment as I am writing this, I see a drawing on the wall behind my desk, and I think of some good memories from our summer vacation.

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N made it for me when we were in Pune, and it is, as you can probably tell, a picture of a sewing machine. A few years ago, after I had started sewing on my mother’s old machine, I inherited yet another one. Something even older than my mom’s, a Singer, which was then sold under the name Merritt in India.

(Very quick research suggests that there are quite a few websites documenting the birth and growth of Singer machines. I found this one most interesting, but still cannot figure out why the Indian ones are called Merritt. So if anyone has an idea, please do share).

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Truth is, I didn’t need a second machine but I am so glad I did not say no when it was offered to me. It belonged to my parents neighbour’s mother, and while even she can’t recall when it was purchased I suspect it is at least 50 years old if not older! If you look closely enough you can probably tell that outwardly it is showing its age-the ply is peeling just about everywhere….

But the machine? The machine works like a dream. And it is gorgeous!

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I have barely sewed on a machine with a foot pedal before. But I realised that once you get a hang of it it can go really fast and really well.

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I left the machine, extended family and the lovely weather back in Pune quite sadly this time, and while I have my old Janome (well not as old compared to Singer),  here, I miss it already. So it’s nice to have this lovely visual reminder in form of N’s picture!

Do you also have any old models that you can’t part with? I would love to hear about them.

Asmita/xox

 

 

t-shirts

DSC_1154After making pants, it was time to make a few shirts. She certainly doesn’t need them right away, since t-shirts are almost exclusively for worn for school…and summer holidays have just begun. But one led to another and before I knew it I had finished three. What can I say?

#1 is from a pattern I used just a few days ago.DSC_1224

DSC_1161This is a Heather Ross knit. I made it exactly like the last one, but unfortunately this is a big tight at the neck. She is not complaining as yet, because she loves the print, but it is hard to get in and out of a bit. I should have checked the stretch factor before. Oh well.

#2 is also from the same pattern but a far more comfortable fit. DSC_1184The fabric is from a hand me down that I have had from years ago. I thought I was paying attention when I cut it, but in fact, it seems that that was not really the case. The design is slightly off centre–do you see it?

DSC_1168Initially N was not too keen on the sparkliness, and I was ready to put this down in not-going-to-be-worn pile but she now claims to love it🙂 The rib knit with years of use is soft and very comfortable. In fact we are taking it on our summer trip!DSC_1165

And, finally #3.DSC_1168A complete and a total hit! The pattern is this one. I tried the simple tee, but I am dying to make the twisted kind. I have long wanted to try some of their patterns and there are some really nice ones to chose from. The fabric comes from my old hardly worn t-shirt, and I am feeling quite happy because this could not have found a better use.

DSC_1209N loves everything about it, the blue stripes, the pink ribbing and most importantly the pocket.

We are definitely taking this one with us.DSC_1164We leave tomorrow for our annual summer vacation for seven weeks. I am carrying some sewing, embroidery, lots of book plus this, that, and the other. And we are planning to have internet there. So I hope to write soon from Pune!

Asmita/xo

for me

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I made this back in March when it was my birthday I decided that a birthday gift for myself would be to begin sewing for self. This isn’t the first time to make for myself, but it is definitely my most successful project to date–of course “successful” in relative terms.

The pattern I chose was Liesl+Co.’s Gallery Tunic.  I had loved this style when it first came out and read tons of reviews, but really my guiding logic was that it was Liesl who taught me the basics of making children’s clothes. And so, it made the most sense to try out her women’s patterns knowing well that there would be her usual excellent instructions and lots of hand holding along the way. I wasn’t wrong. Plus, as it so happened, two weeks before I started, there was a sew along for the pattern that I followed and read through avidly.

In terms of size I fell into one size for the bust measurement and another for the hips (apparently not at all uncommon) and found this really helpful. Still, not feeling sure if I had read enough I also tried to read this, but then, I knew that if I spent more time reading I would probably give up on this project entirely. So, finally, settling for the size with measurements that were the closest to my upper bust size and then going two sizes up at the hip (following my hip measurment) I settled on a over all size 6 (10 at hips).

Then came fabric. I had bought this last year to make a pair of pajamas but since I never made them, I thought why not a top? I wanted to make a wearable muslin and this seemed like a good choice.  The sewing went really well–the instructions are indeed super clear and excellent.

What however, turned out is as you can see, kind of largish!

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I think the part that I mind the most is the lack of fitting at the shoulders. But over all, I feel it looks kind of okay.

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The part that I love are the placket and the sleeves, but perhaps I need to go down by a size the next time I try to make this. I am also thinking maybe make the dress length with slits on the sides…something like a kurta perhaps?

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What I am not so sure is why it took me so long to post this. I am, I realise, happy to share the clothes I make for my kids, although not all of them are successes. But, I notice I am much less kinder to myself, and couldn’t find the courage to post this, although this is really the first thing that I am willing to wear out. A few people have even complimented me, and found it amazing that I made it myself but then I always put it down to the fabric choice, or them not really taking a close look at the mistakes that I so clearly see. The truth is that it is not actually a unwearable piece of clothing and yet, I see it so differently than what others outside me see it as.

Two months later, and a having worn this a few times already, I am thinking that I want to slowly make more stuff for myself. This is a start.  But a beginning that I have long wanted to make. And so this post was a necessary part of that beginning, and writing it has taken more courage than what I thought was needed here. I hope I can over time gather enough confidence to sew for myself, but I also now realise that the day I make clothes that I like(i.e. what is “perfect” to me) is not going to dawn all of a sudden. And so small steps are in order. And I know that will only come with doing more and more of it.

(And, if you have managed to make it till the end of the post, thank you for reading! I really appreciate it.:-))

Asmita/xo

 

 

baby wear

After making some shorts for N it was time to embark on some pant making for baby (now toddler) M. Truth be told, I have hardly sewn for him. We are very very lucky to get a serious amount of good quality hand-me-downs for him from N’s classmate’s brother. Once we are done with it we pass them on to someone who is a couple of months younger than M. It’s a good get-use-pass on chain going on and frankly I am very happy with it. But recently there has been some dearth of pants in the midst of unsuccessful potty training practices and I wanted to try out a few patterns.

So here goes. #1

The pattern comes from Heather Ross’ Weekend Sewing. I bought this book ages ago after I took an excellent class with her at the Purl Soho and was entirely smitten by her charm and sewing skills. I haven’t made a whole lot of things from the book, but what I have has been put to plenty of use, such as these pants. I literally must have sewn up about 6 or 7 for N in various sizes then, and I had saved the paper patterns from then. So I cut a 12-18 months size based on his measurements (M is 21 months now) and made this in less than an hour. It’s is very quick. Only two pattern pieces and then the top turned down for the elastic casing. I suppose one can add lots of embellishments, pockets, colour blocking that kind of thing, but I decided to stick to the basic version. The fabric is remnants from N’s dress here.

#2 comes from Oliver+S’ lullaby layette pattern.

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I made these back when M was barely 6 months old and enjoyed the style very much. Given his current measurements I made in the 12-18 size, but he still also fits into the size 6-12m although they are ridiculously short now! I think with a cloth diaper the current size would be too tight but since we are almost entirely avoiding a diaper during the day these days these are doing just great.

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The main fabric comes from Milind’s old shirt. The waistband and pockets are from some fabric I had left over from an old pair of N’s shorts. Babies and pockets–there is something always smile worthy about this combination!

#3 is my current favourite. Right around the time M was an infant I bought this pattern and then sadly completely forgot about it. I am glad I found it just in time because it runs only till size 2T.  Again I made it in the same size as above, and I am so glad I did.

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As Rae says these are clearly designed to be worn on babies in diapers and I have to say that the back panel does make an already adorable baby body part look only cuter (of course, I am talking of baby bottoms🙂.

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I used 1/2 metre of mangalgiri cotton that I bought in Pune during my last trip and some scraps from the khadi that I used for N’s pants a few years ago.

Not surprisingly N is pretty delighted to find bits of familiar fabric in baby M’s clothes!

Oh, and before I forget I also made two super quick pairs of shorts from the Oliver+S free pattern.

The blue fabric is remnant from N’s pajamas and the red is from my old dress.

Sewing for N, I noticed felt quite different from sewing for M. I have, of course, made a few things for M here and there, but this is the first time when I really got down to making a bunch of stuff. With N, I find her to be increasingly totally involved in the whole process. Over last year especially, it has become almost impossible to surprise her with a new dress or pants. For one I have realised she doesn’t like these kind of surprises. She now wants to be a part of every bit of it–how to the patterns look, what gets sewn where and the different kinds of fabric, not to mention the choice of embellishments. Baby M of course has no clue that I am sewing anything for him, of course he doesn’t notice that he is wearing a new pair of pants.🙂 And so, in some senses the final effect with him in his new clothes is a kind of a surprise. I am enjoying it, and really savouring these two different moments in a sewing process.

What about you? Do you often think of how this end point of sewing a garment feels like?

Asmita/xx

 

 

 

 

 

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A few days ago I started sewing the long awaited jumpsuit/romper. N has asked for one since last summer but I couldn’t find a pattern that I liked. As it turns out there was a free pattern right in front of my eyes at Purl Soho.

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I quickly printed out the pattern pieces, chose the fabric with N’s help but decided to keep quiet about what I was going to make. That’s not usually the way I do sewing anymore but I knew how badly she wanted a jumpsuit and so this one was bound to make her happy.

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Needless to say she is delighted! She wore it last night first, right after I finished and then this morning to our local farmer’s market after our photo shoot. And she already wants me to make her three more !!

DSC_0799A quick word about the fabric and pattern. I used Nani Iro double gauze and I am feeling pretty pleased with this choice. It’s a lovely colour on her,and the fabric will only soften with use. The pattern instructions are very clear with lots of drawings to help on the way. It’s not at all a difficult pattern to use and had I sewn it in one continuous sitting I don’t think it would have taken more than one afternoon. I did go a bit back and forth on the sizing since N has a really small chest, but hips that fit in the 8-9 size. So I stuck to the latter and reduced the elastic length for the chest by 3/4″ each. The straps don’t fall off that way and I am pretty happy with the fit.

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So, that’s it. Isn’t it great for summer? And the best part is that it comes from a free pattern.🙂

Happy sewing everyone.

Asmita/xx

There is a very short window during our long summer months when N can wear shorts to school. It means that the temperatures are high enough to warrant shorts, but the fear of dengue hasn’t yet set in. A few weeks ago N and I combed through her cupboard to realise that many of her pants needs to be given away. Given that it was still April we decided to settle on shorts.

And so, I finally got to try out the Oliver+S lazy days shorts which was a super quick sew and got done in half a metre of fabric. That felt like an achievement, because as it turns out I have a lot of cute 1/2 metre (and yard) cuts that are languishing in the cupboard!

DSC_0593The 1/2 yard, however, did not leave enough for the waistband, so I added one with a contrasting fabric. I hope you can see a bit of it peeking out in the photo below.

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I tried a size 6 based on her waist measurement, and I think the length is good. After a few wears however, she is complaining that it is tight at the crotch. I think it means I may have to size up for the next one as we would need to retire these sooner than I had hoped. (Oh, and also then give up my dreams of cutting a few more pretty 1/2 yard fabrics to fit in this pattern!)

Shorts #2 come from a free pattern from the Purl Bee.

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I have had these pinned forever and I am so glad that I finally made them. Based on my experience before, and after checking her hip size, this one is in a size 8-9.

DSC_0756 At first, I was worried that the width of size 8-9T was going to be too broad for her legs, but it doesn’t seem so does it? The waistband too felt a bit tricky to start with. As the instructions say it is actually five layers of fabric, and given that I was using quilting cotton (brought from Purl Soho years ago…) I was afraid it might be too much. But it isn’t, and N says that they are very comfortable on the waist.

I have to say I love this pair! And, given that I could use different fabrics for the main front-back panels, waistband, and binding, the possibilities are limitless.

The final pair, #3, is a longer version of something that we had to give away so I already knew that she liked the fit and pattern.

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The highlight of this is the fabric (she loves the patchwork). I should say that I did not make the patchwork fabric but purchased it a few years ago from Pune. It won’t be hard to “make” I think just perhaps a bit more, ok maybe a lot of extra work. The pattern itself is simple enough (flared shorts ‘D’), with only two pattern pieces. The top part is folded over to make a casing for the waistband. It has a feel of a skirt or culottes and I think are her current favourite. It comes from here and I made a size 120 cms with added length.

So that’s it on the shorts front. And to go with it all I also made a quick t-shirt, again, using a pattern from my to do list.

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This one also comes from Oliver+S. I made view A it in size 6T with 7T length on both sleeves and main panel. The fabric is entirely re-cycled. The grey and red both come from my old t-shirts. A relatively easy and quick sew, I was happy I could finish it in one afternoon.

So, that’s it from me today. I have recently had the good luck of finding some extra time to sew, which makes me really happy. And, so I will be back with some more to show very soon:-) Hope you are having some happy sewing days too.

Asmita/xo

 

 

 

 

 

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