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birthday #2

Hello again!dsc_1186As promised, I am back with a post about birthday #2 which also happened in July, this one in Delhi. It was a much smaller affair than #1, although N did initially try and get me to invite her friends as well. We decided against it, and she did eventually come around to understanding that this was baby M’s birthday celebration which meant inviting people-adults and kids that he knows well. That included our neighbour’s daughters who are N’s friends and who M is immensely fond of, and their mother who is our friend too and who shares her birthday with M. We ended up with a really small guest list, actually, mostly the same people who had made it to his first birthday party last year!

N helped me make a banner that I had been long dreaming of.dsc_1218This was super simple. First, I sewed up two fabric triangles together wrong sides together. Then, N did her thing with the pinking shears and I basted the letters cut out of felt with some glue first and then added a machine stitch on the top. I hope it holds up for a few birthdays at least.

Then came the dress. dsc_1228

dsc_0167The shirt pattern is from the Lullaby Layette by Oliver+S. I love this pattern, and having used it several times before I wanted to give it one last shot in the 18-24m size. To be frank I contemplated briefly if it was a tad too girly, but eventually that didn’t deter me from making it. He’s two, and girly or not, I think he looks so adorable in it. Besides, it such a fabulous pattern and the print is so cute . I find children specific prints in good quality hard to come by in India; this fabric was gifted to me by my sister-in-law and I must ask her where she got this. The fabric is voile hence perfect for summer; I had only 0.75 metres and the shirt fitted perfect in the little bit of fabric.

I also made a pair of pants from some mangalgiri cotton to go with it, again from the same pattern I mention above. N wanted to add a helicopter, because he is kind of obsessed with them and so she drew one and I embroidered it at the bottom edge. (I am sorry to not have better photos here of the pant–he does like to roll on the ground a fair bit and I failed entirely in getting him to stand for a photo shoot, let alone wear the shirt and pant together.)

But I do hope you get the idea. It a seriously comfortable pair of pants and shirt/top, and with Liesl’s fantastic instructions it comes together very quickly-even the placket. I will be sad when he outgrows this size.dsc_0123dsc_0121Here are a few more photos of baby M in action (in case you haven’t had enough🙂dsc_0175

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dsc_0177And, all in all it was another fun party. I didn’t get a picture of the yummy chocolate cake we had. But it was worth making despite the fact that it was hot humid day.dsc_1250And despite some difficult times last year, looking at him now feels like time has flown. With always a ready smile on his face he has become a chatterbox that I never expected him to be! is

Asmita/xx

 

 

birthday #1

After my last posting in early August, I don’t know the rest of my month went. I mean to post these pictures earlier, but as it turns out it’s already the middle of September and and I am still carrying some last bits of news left over from July. Mainly that we celebrated two birthdays and two little ones turned 8 and 2.

So, here goes…

dsc_0172N turned 8 at the beginning of July and celebrated her birthday during our last week in Pune. Her request for this year was a party at my sister’s dog hostel. (Yes! She runs what I think of as a really cool pet hotel on the outskirts of Pune.). N loves dogs, my sister and she really bond over this, and when N requested her birthday party to happen there we all agreed, since she rarely gets to have her birthday party with extended family anymore.

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The other request was a frock from “something blue” which I was happy to make.

dsc_0144The pattern comes from this Japanese book. Ages ago, when N turned three I had used the same pattern and I remember N wearing that dress for the longest time. She is currently into the colour blue and wanted something really simple, and so I thought I’d try making a larger version of the same.

The fabric is ikat and has the loveliest of drapes. I bought it in Pune last year at Banjaras. The pattern calls for a collar and ideally I would have liked the dress to have it, but I realised at the last minute that I had cut the wrong size. It was the day before her birthday, I wanted to make sure that it gets done and so on a spur of the moment I decided to skip the collar. Well, so I finished it on the night before, snaps and all (which as it turns out is her favourite part), and she was delighted to find out that it was indeed ready by her birthday. (Clearly I don’t have a very good record on that front.)

dsc_0027Only problem—it is huge on her. In fact, I think I can almost put her baby brother along with her inside it🙂 I made it in 120cms. What I needed to do, knowing that the sizes run rather large in this book was to make it in a size 100 with only the length increased. Oh well. She likes it well enough, despite appearing rather grumpy in a few of the photos.

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dsc_0146 I am already thinking another one, perhaps a different blue, but this time with a collar and definitely two sizes smaller.

dsc_0168So this is birthday #1. The party was fun! I wish I had more photos of it, but I guess that is what happens when everyone is having a good time and no one is really taking pictures. Even though she is already two months into being 8, I can hardly believe that she is actually 8—somehow she does seem so much older (especially when compared to her baby brother) and still such a baby at the same time.

Tomorrow I will post about birthday #2, so if you are visiting I hope you will come back soon.

Asmita/xo

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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