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Hello! Today after many months, I want to write about a dress that I finished last month.DSC_0238I finally dug into the book by Liesl Gibson of Oliver+S. And, I am so glad I did because  all I have been making for N off late has been nothing but basic stuff — pants, leggings and t-shirts, and it was time for a good ol’ dress. N chose the fabric first (a nice bright print which I brought in Pune many moons ago) and she chose the basic dress from the book but wanted puffed sleeves. So I modified the basic sleeves according to Liesl ‘s instructions which of course (given her instructions) went off without a hitch. N also wanted some kind of a belt but not one that had a bow to tie at the back or front. So we settled for simple thing just slightly bigger than her waist that she could close with a flower pin (her idea, again). With the help of pinterest tutorials for DIY felt flowers I figured out how to make the flower, and voila! There’s a dress!DSC_0386I quite like it and N is pretty pleased with it too. The other minor changes are that I lined the bodice (with no particular instructions from anywhere) for a neater and cleaner neckline and didn’t feel the need to add a placket to the skirt (at the back) as N is very slim waisted. I made it in size 7 with 1″ added to bodice and 1.5″ to the skirt.

We made several attempts to photograph it, but I am afraid this time I am settling for photos that I am not so pleased with (plus it appears that we do not have a decent iron either). She has worn it all of March and we didn’t manage one decent photo. So here is what I have.DSC_0416

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DSC_0375Needless to say, it was a pleasure to sew from the book; Liesl’s instructions always give a professional finish, and being able to make changes to the basic pattern made me feel like I was doing a pattern hack 🙂  (I am one of those people who is always in awe of hacks that other sewists manage brilliantly but never seem to find the time nor head space for it!).

DSC_0262Besides, who doesn’t like a pop of colour. Its such a cheerful shade or orange and a good reminder that mangoes will come our way soon!

Asmita/xx

 

DSC_0043Well, hello!

I have had this Sketchbook shirt pattern for…oh I don’t even how long! I bought it when N was tiny, but never made it for her. Then I got another chance, and I still didn’t make it…not until last December. That makes it an embarrassing eight years and four house moves after I bought the pattern in the first place! And, that’s sad, because it’s a such a nice and easy sew with flawless instructions and no surprises…I really should not have waited so long.DSC_0018

DSC_0039Of course, you won’t be surprised to hear that the pattern comes from Oliver+S. It is one of their few ‘boy’ patterns (although to my mind it would be perfect even for a girl who likes button down shirts). I made it in size 3 , with 1″ added overall for length and sleeves. The fabric is a lovely double gauze with a pattern of cars, something I brought during my last year’s trip to Toyko. The photos above are from early January and am already lamenting the fact that this is probably going to be too short when the weather becomes colder again. 😦

DSC_0011Given the love that this shirt received and in order to atone for the fact that such a fantastic pattern was lying unused for so long, I made another one adding an extra 1/2″ overall to length and to the short sleeves which I used this time around. The second time around I also had to leave out the pockets because I ran out of fabric. But with no cuffs or a sleeve placket to construct, and a band collar (which I have had more practice with), the making of v.2 went way faster. DSC_0180

DSC_0185The sleeves are a tad long, as you may have noticed–I don’t think it needed the extra 1/2″, but that’s fine, and I am not making a big deal about it. DSC_0193While Mr. M is not super crazy about v.1 (even though he loves cars), v.2 has been met with great excitement. He loves it and won’t stop telling me about it; I know this because he can’t get enough of the fish (fabric from Gaurav Exports in Nehru place). I have never had him check on me so many times as I was sewing it, usually at about three minute intervals to see if it was ready to wear it or not. For him it’s obviously all about the fish, not the pattern, but this is a kid with very strong tastes in clothes and I am happy it’s getting plenty of wear.DSC_0175Given how excellent this pattern is, and how quick the second sew has been I want to now make more and more! Oliver+S has also recently released this pattern, a similar button down shirt, and I am now curious to try it to see how some of the things are done differently.

And that’s about it from me today. I will leave you with one final photo of the boy. Let’s just say that this is the way we have been dressing up for school around here the last few weeks, right before it turned warm. 🙂DSC_0133

Happy summer!

Asmita/xx

a life lived

DSC_0116My grandmother died a little over three weeks ago. She was sick for about a month before–not really sick but her body was failing. But until five months before she passed away she was living alone at ninety two — proudly and fiercely, taking each day as it came despite the fact that she could barely see and was almost deaf and needed a walker-frame to get around. Sure she had help: my father, my sister, and her youngest sister lived not too far away and showed up the minute she called in sick. But the choice that she made to live independently was her own, a choice which she protected right until the very end, when a fall in the bathroom required hospitalisation and then a permanent move to my parents’ house.

To live independently is one thing, but as I look back what was most admirable was the generosity of her spirit. Every few days if not every day, people would drop in to have a cup of tea, to chat or just to be with her. Mind you, this is to share the company of a woman who refused to wear her hearing aid, which meant the entire neighbourhood heard your conversation because the visitor always needed to sit close to her and yell so that a conversation could be carried out. These conversations could be about anything: from world news that she wanted to be filled in on to a recipe that someone needed from her, or simply her observations on child rearing. A lot of it was also about her sharing memories of times long gone. But people came by, and looking back I am amazed to see that they were all friends. My grandmother doesn’t come from a generation where friends were a priority; it was always family that was supposed to be the centre of her world. But even here she made friends, and when we gathered one evening shortly after her passing away it was a joy to realise that everyone there was precisely that – each a friend of hers.

I spent a lot of time with her growing up so perhaps it is not surprising that I was close to her; many in my family say that I look like her. I don’t know if that is true or not but what I think I came away with on that evening is the realisation (yet again) of how much she was loved, and that the true basis for this love was really the generosity of her spirit. She wasn’t always the most kind, most loving, or uncritical person out there; in fact we all had at some point or the other gotten into major arguments about her. But nothing was personal and this woman did not love anything more than a good chat, time spent together and coffee/ tea or nimbu pani (or panha!) to accompany it. I miss her dearly.

DSC_0114Well, hello. And, while it’s too late to wish a happy new year, but I hope the year began on a good note for everyone out there. I have thought of my little blog more often than I would have expected these last few weeks, wanting to write but simply finding myself to be completed depleted of all energy. A lot happened over the last few months, and I wanted to write, but I couldn’t.

I almost even turned down an assignment after asking for several extensions…but in the end I was glad that i took it up. It concerned something very dear and meaningful to me: sewing (no prizes for guessing that one :-). So head over here, to check out a blog post by me. Thank you Oliver+S for the opportunity–I enjoyed every bit of the research and the shopping!

I hope to be back again very soon, so see you soon!

Asmita xx

 

knits

Of late, I seem to be making a lot of pants. All of a sudden, N’s pants don’t fit her anymore, or, more specifically, the problem seems to be that the distance between the waist and the crotch is a tad too small.

DSC_0062I perhaps would not have been too excited to cut and make a bunch of pants at this point, had I not made this a few months earlier. N loves it so much, so it made sense to repeat, i.e. make what she and I like. To resolve the aforementioned problem, I went up a size (8T this time) using the same pattern but brought the thighs in a bit.

It almost worked I thought, but I wasn’t too happy with how it looked:DSC_0041It’s too loose around the crotch. So I went back to size 7, reduced the folded in waistband by a little over 1/4″ and got much better results. Here is the second version. I like the fit around the crotch much better this time, although she can’t tell the difference, and loves both equally. 🙂DSC_0112The pattern for these leggings comes from Oliver+S. I added a cuff in the case of both, a pretty simple on for the purple ones and a “fancy” one for the black pair. (The idea for it comes from here.)DSC_0044The fold over “petal shape” was meant to be on the outside, but alas I was much too much in a hurry. I didn’t feel like unpicking it for a red-do it, and so inside it stayed. Ms. N hardly cares, because she is perpetually in some dance position which requires her to point her feet out!

Needless to say they are super comfortable. As it turns out the fabric is also perfect for winter. I bought both at Sahni Fabrics in Nehru place. The knit is a “double knit” jersey and entirely reversible. I haven’t seen it before, and am in love; I want to go back to get some more. 🙂

The same trip also yielded some nice silky knit in blue which is N’s favourite colour. The fabric was too light for a pair of pants (thankfully), so I decided to make a t-shirt. DSC_0005This is the Field trip Raglan T-shirt pattern from Oliver+S  which I also made in size 8. DSC_0009It turned out that I should have also stuck to size 7 in this as well (or perhaps even a 6?) with probably only a slightly bigger opening for the neck. See how enormous it is around her chest?

Since the fabric was so slippery, and the shirt was kind of feeling too floppy, I made a couple of minor changes to the pattern: I added a waist band (after cutting off the bottom 2″) and did the same with sleeves. It seems a bit more together now. She wore it immediately and to school the next day, so I guess it counts as a success. DSC_0011

DSC_0020But of all, this has been the more fun project, and I have been saving it for last!DSC_0084I had been wanting to try out kid’s undies for a while, and after spending some time on Etsy I found this pattern and this. That Darn Kat pattern gives different styles for boys and girls and runs upto size 8. I made the largest size for N. (When I checked right now for the site, the owner seems to be on a break but promises to be back soon.) The slight problem for me was that it does not give body measurements, so I made the largest size with the hope that it fits or is too large for her. I am happy to say it fits perfectly and they are very very comfortable. The fabric is all scraps–our old t-shirts, the kids’ old t-shirts, even her leggings– and by all accounts they are super comfortable. I have to admit, I balked at the idea of showing these on my model, but truth be told she was more than willing to model for these!DSC_0086The second pattern is from MBJM (Made by Jack’s Mum) and has two styles as well: briefs and boxers. This goes to till size 12. So far, I have made just one for M but it looks so cute on him that I want to make more.DSC_0003So. That’s it for today I think. I still have some more backlog stuff to post, but for now I need to go and pack. We leave for our holidays very soon.

Asmita/xx

 

a blouse for me

Hello hello. I have been very good this year doing the “disappearing act,” and so without much ado here is another blog post from me–before the year ends!

DSC_0027I know that you rarely, if ever, see a photo of me on the blog, and there is a good reason for that. I mostly hate being photographed, and definitely not in clothes that I have tried to sew, with the operative word here being “try.” When Nadja of Schnittchen patterns had written to me sometime last year asking me if I would like to participate in a a very interesting “Sewing Around the World” series (SATW) that this independent German sewing company had put together, I had enthusiastically said yes, because well, the patterns upon initial perusal looked fantastic, and also because truth be told, it was quite far away (then), and who worries about sewing that is happening almost a year later. Well, as is always the case, the year went by rather quickly, and when she wrote again and it was time to choose a pattern. Truth be told, I almost pulled out. I think what made me didn’t pull out was infact the option of being able to, or being able to extend the deadline (that she was so gracious to allow). And so with new determination, and finger crossing (that I would manage this) I chose two or three patterns that I would have like to try. Luckily for me, she sent me the one that was on the top of my list.DSC_0023This is the Mila Blouse, and what follows in a pattern review of sorts. In my very limited sewing experience, I have realised that I busy size falls pretty far away from my hip size. My biggest problem has been how to move from the small bust size to a much larger hip size without what I am sewing looking like a umbrella. So to be on the safer side, and especially to get a sense of the built in ease, I decided to sew myself a muslin.DSC_0033The patterns has four main pieces. The instruction sheet is quite short and concise and come in both German and English. Initially I was worried that the instructions are quite limited. For visual learners, it might be worth keeping in mind that there are no visuals for this top (as a part of the instructions), but for many of the other (I assume complicated patterns) there are plenty of diagrams that are put up on their blog. Despite my initial worry, I needn’t have worried and this one came together just fine (in fact I barely had to use the seam ripper). My favourite part is the the way the sleeves come together, and I love the way they look.DSC_0034

DSC_0030I was quite pleased with my muslin and and so without making any changes and with increased confidence, proceeded to make version 2. The only difference in terms of sewing is that I had cut the yoke and sleeves on bias in version 1, which I didn’t feel the need for in version 2. This was also in part because I used stripes and I wanted to try some stripe matching on the sleeves.DSC_0028In terms of fit, there is not much difference. For both, the back is the same with a simple button and loop closure.DSC_0029The fabric here (in v.2) is ikat for the bottom and linen for the yoke. This is slightly heavier than what I used for the muslin which is a very lightweight cotton. I love the checks pattern, and if I were to really choose, the muslin is my favourite of the two.

Either way, I really love both, and I wore both them plenty  when I finished making them, and got a lot of compliments too :-). All in all, I would say it’s a great top to try if you like me are sitting on the fence with not enough confidence to sew for yourself. This has definitely pushed me into a unfamiliar zone and I want to try out more. Perhaps even another version in knit fabric!

Thank you Nadja and Schnittchen patterns for this opportunity!

Asmita/xx

back log stuff

Hello Hello! I have of late completely ignored my blog,but it’s not because I have not been sewing. In fact, I am happy that I am sewing with greater regularity than the past few years, but what with school schedules, other activities, Diwali and such there has simply not been enough time to post. Cooler weather is finally here, and before I put away some of the clothes for winter, I thought I ought to do a quick post of things that got sewn last month.

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DSC_0035This little summery top was cut way back in August, but I didn’t actually finish it until last month. That’s a pity because it really is perfect for the hot months of summer and I wish I had not ignored all the way until summer was almost over. The pattern (previous version is here) is from Happy Homemade vol 2(I have the Japanese version). I almost cut it in 120cms (what I thought was N’s current size with added length), but then later re-traced it in one size larger. This turned out to be a excellent decision. For one, I think it is not at all looking big on her, and two, given how late in the year I finished it, this way she can now use it next summer too. I have written often enough about this particular Japanese sewing book on the blog, and given how lovely so many of its patterns turn out, it remains on of my favourite.

The fabric is voile that I got locally at H.P Singh (Nehru Place). This is the first time I used ready made bias tape (purchased long time ago in New York) and I must say having the stuff ready at hand made sewing a breeze. It was super quick–I rarely get things done in one afternoon (or morning), and I as well as N were pleased to have it ready to wear by the end of the day!

But speaking of favourite Japanese patterns books, I might have another one that is fast becoming a new favourite. This blouse pattern comes from Kana’s Standard for Kids. As with other Japanese pattern books, this one has simple but pretty patterns for tops, dresses and pants, where one basic pattern yields several variations. Additionally, as the cover claims, most of them don’t require sewing buttonholes or zippers. It runs upto size 140cms–the one I made is in size 130cms, and the patterns come with added seam allowances (definitely a plus and time saver for me).

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DSC_0071This is A-7 from the book, and on N’s special request I made two of exactly the same tops –one for her and one for her friend. They wear their matching tops to school every Friday which is very sweet. My favourite part is the frill on the sleeves-it definitely makes the otherwise simple design quite lovely.

DSC_0065(Apologies for those rather scary looking fingers popping in on the bottom right. I am sure you can guess who they belong to!)

The fabric comes from a new shop I discovered in another part of town (Ffab Creations, Central Market, Lajpat Nagar), and they have a nice constantly changing collection of cottons, especially khadi. My only gripe is that the colour of this one still runs like mad, which means I always have to wash it separately.

Here is another picture (showing more of the owner of those little hands)

DSC_0064Apparently, this was one of their colour coordinated days. His pants come from the same fabric and the pattern is my all time favourite (“Big Butt” baby pants from Made by Rae). (They look awry above, I know, and would have looked much better in the photo had he let me adjust them a bit, but of course now that he can put them on his own, no one can touch them anymore.) I have lost count of how many times I have used this pattern. It is fantastic, and as I have mentioned before highly recommended, but, M is three now, and the largest size is 2; sadly, I am not sure how long I will be able to use it for. Sadly, these may very well be the last ones I make.

And finally the pants. The pants! Or rather, more specifically, the leggings. I hope you noticed them in the photo above….because there are the most loved, the best thing of this moment (according to N of what I have sewed).Thank you Shelly for unknowingly giving me a nudge in the right direction. I have had this pattern for ages; it was N’s dire need for some bottoms, and seeing these made me finally trace out the pattern and make them in less than a few hours. The pattern is from Oliver+S and it has only two pattern pieces. I traced a size 8 and extended the length by 1.5″ and they are a perfect fit. N adores them. And, she wears them constantly as you can perhaps judge from all the photos above.

DSC_0002I had very limited amount of fabric for this one, something I had for long (Riley Blake Design), but it was finally put to good use here I think. I need to make more pants for N and have cut one more pair in different pattern, but I can’t wait to make more and more of these.

And before I sign off–I had almost forgotten about this pair:

DSC_0012N’s and M’s littlest cousin had his second birthday a few months ago. My sister-in-law asked me to make something for him and I couldn’t resist using the Lullaby Layette pattern (from Oliver+S) one more time. The only addition this time was a pocket and some embroidery on the bottom of these pants. Tiny pockets on tiny clothes are so cute–I wish I had had this idea when I was making tons of these tops for M. The fabric is again local, from H.P. Singh. I am rarely able to find kid friendly prints in India, so this one with a tin soldiers print was a find.

And that pretty much covers most of my sewing from the last few months, and definitely brings an end to summer sewing for 2017. I can’t believe the year is almost gone. But, I still have a few things planned, so there is more to come. Perhaps even as early as next week. Thanks for stopping by and and come back soon!

Asmita/xx

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