Archive for the ‘book/pattern review’ Category

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!


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Our three-year old, no longer a baby, M got a bunch of clothes recently. I made all of them, except one, from the same book, so today I thought I could do a book review of sorts.

I got this book from my last trip to Tokyo in May, the chief attraction of it being the fact that it has several unisex patterns, some of which start at 80cms and run up all the way to size 150cms. N’s t-shirt that was featured in the last entry came from here too, following which I made a few things for M.

First up, the tops:

Besides the t-shirt that I made for N, I made M this loose fitting shirt for M, titled in the book as “cook’s shirt.”

DSC_0025 With a double breasted button placket, supposed to mimic a chef’s uniform, the shirt was pretty easy to put together–good instructions, enough pictures, that kind of a thing. The top technically opens all the way down in the front, but given that these little hands are desperately trying to put buttons on and take them off all the time–still somewhat unsuccessfully, I decided to stitch down the placket for the bottom half while still keeping the buttons. So now thankfully, there are only four top buttons to fiddle with.

The fabric is a light and lovely printed voile that my sister-in-law gifted me ages ago; the buttons come all the way from Taiwan, a gift from another friend.

The second top is even simpler. It is a simple A-line blouse with a back closure.



Given how easy this was to make, and how wonderfully it showcases a special fabric (in this case a double gauze submarine print brought on my Tokyo trip) I had high hopes from this blouse and thought it would be my favourite. Except that, I find the top a wee bit short, and perhaps a tad too feminine. The girl version, in the book shows gathered sleeves with cuffs at the wrists, and I think I might like this one on N more than on M. Oh well, he doesn’t care really for very much except the submarines, and would rather wander around in a skirt than pants on most days. And, who am I say to no to a feminine touch on boys clothing? Plus, its double gauze, summery and we all love blue. So, I would say it works well, and is in heavy rotation.

Having said that, I would still like to add my two bit (reminder to myself and others out there possibly interested in the book): check to see the length if more needs to be added–prior to cutting, of course. M was exactly 100cms when I made it, and that’s the size I cut. It’s been about three weeks since I made it, and its already too short. I might add a band in contrasting fabric at the bottom. Two, the sleeve width runs on the side of narrow. This would not, I think matter to a overall skinny kid, but it did for M. This surprised me, since I am so used to sewing for N, and she kind of floats in Japanese patterns. But my over all sense from the tops in this book is that they might not be as broad as in some other books, which is something to keep in mind for future sewing.

And, now over to pants. (I promise we are done with the bicycle photos for some time now.)

DSC_0165These pants were actually the first thing I made from the book. Titled as “Thai pants” they have again two options: either two side pleats, or a gathered front. I opted for the latter, and it produced a rather cute pair of everyday pants with an elastic waist. They sort of balloon at the waist and then taper to become quite narrow at the ankles.

The grey ones are in mangalgiri cotton and the blue fabric is also cotton but slightly stiffer than mangalgiri with less drape. I got both at HP Singh in Nehru place (see here for a write up on Delhi cloth markets).

Unfortunately, as I write this, both pants are no longer in use. After a few wears, they both tore at exactly the same place–right near the seam at the crotch. I.e the tear was in the fabric, which meant that they were unrepairable. I am still wondering if I should have cut them on cross grain, without which there was too much stress on the fabric when the boy was playing around and doing leg splits (in imitation of his sister). I had initially loved the look of these, and given their simplicity was planning to make one for N too. Not surprisingly, older sister has refused this pattern! I won’t be making these anytime soon (unless perhaps I find some very small baby to sew for–someone is the 80cms range, who is not quite as rambunctious)! But besides that I need to figure out what went wrong with these. Because they are so cute!

And that’s about it in terms of the book review. Despite the failure with pants, I still like this new addition to my collection of Japanese books. It has a good mix of standards, and for those interested also carries three patterns in adult sizes. And, I do like all the tops I made from it. There are still a few other pants to try, and I definitely want to make the blouse with cuffed sleeves for N. It will be good for cooler weather which I hope comes soon.



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