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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.

 

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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.

Asmita/xx

 

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Hello Hello. It’s been a long summer. We went away for most of it (to Pune, as always) and just returned two Sunday’s back to a terribly hot and humid Delhi.I am trying to inch my way back into everyday life, but it looks like its going to happen really slowly. M and N started school the very next day,  but it’s taken M a few days to really settle into things. I think with the really long seven week break, he forgot that he ever went to school in the first place 🙂 While very little sewing got done in Pune (despite plans–oh, always there are plans!), I did manage to do a bit of prep so a few things are ready to be sewn.

July is a big birthday month for us as both kids have their birthdays this month. Ms. N having already had hers on the 1st, is already nine. 9!! I feel like each year passes by so quickly and here she is another year older.DSC_0111DSC_0081Birth-day this year was more like a week long celebration this year. She had three separate do-s in Pune, plus one small celebration this week in school. All birthday parties were super low key and fun, but yes, there were THREE separate events (not to mention the one in school!

The final Pune do was on the morning of her actual birthday at my grandmother’s house. We had breakfast from her favourite South Indian restaurant and some cake. My grandmother turned 92 this year, and for the last few years N has wanted to have her birthday party at her house. I wish I had a few decent photos to keep and share, but as with any occasion where everyone is having fun, there are sadly none.DSC_0095I do have photos however, of before we just left for my grandma’s place that morning and this is the dress she wore. I made it in a fabric of her choice, but one that I had not expected her to pick out. Pink is not her favourite colour, and the checks pattern figures pretty low on her list, but she chose this fabric herself. (I gave up on surprises a while ago now, having had not such good luck with them). The reason I think is this is the softest, lightest double gauze that she, or for that matter I, has ever laid hands on. And, so the real attraction here is in the kind of fabric. Oh, and the flutter-y sleeves- very summery!

The pattern “r” comes from happy homemade vol.2. (Here is the link to the English version.) I have made several things from this book before, and haven’t run into problems before so this one went pretty easily too. I haven’t made a dress with fluttery sleeves for her in a long time for her (the last time was when she was a wee little thing of 2), so it was nice to try out this sleeve style again. In general, I think they look better on slightly more chubby arms but oh well. She does ballet four times a week, and started swimming lessons. Not to mention that all other times she is upside down. So these are strong arms, and that’s good! Oh, and I think I should have stuck to the 110cm size instead of moving up to 120cms because it sort of sags a bit on her shoulder, but oh well, again. DSC_0103She does seem to like it well enough and that’s more important than getting the perfect dress.DSC_0091Which brings me to getting some things ready for the second birthday that is coming up really soon. Again, M is a bit clued out about birthday’s still, but no one is more excited than N. It really is quite amazing that she is now 9–my sweet, sensitive and caring child. Happy birthday to dearest N.

Asmita/xx

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shirtsWe are in Pune where we always come for our annual summer and winter vacations and I am yet to find my way to the sewing machine corner here. But, before this year ends, I thought I’d write about the last bit of sewing that I did before leaving Delhi. dsc_0036I have been eyeing the Mini Hudson pants ever since it came out, but I wasn’t feeling very sure about whether I could find the kinds of fabric she recommended locally, not even being very sure what exactly they were (french terry and sweatshirt knit). So, I averted my eyes and sewed other stuff. But clearly, like all good things it stayed somewhere at the back of my mind. Because, when I went to Sahni fabrics in Nehru place a few weeks ago, I spotted this stuff. I was told it is french terry; I suspect it’s not very good quality (the weave-is that what it is called-seems to not be the greatest), but I brought it anyway, followed by purchasing the pattern the same day. Lo and behold the pants were ready two days after that. From start to finish, I think this has been the fastest sewing has gone, in the last two years! dsc_0059dsc_0019dsc_0028I made it in a size 7 (for the 8yr old Ms. N) and as always extended the length but 1.5″. It hits right at her ankles, which means I could have gone a 1″ longer. I also think I could go down a size for my next make. In case of N, they are more loose on the thighs and hips than what I think the photos by the pattern designer suggest. The instructions are very clear, as I had found previously as well, although to be honest, I did not look at them carefully beyond the pocket making. There is also a sewalong for any extra help needed. The only change I made was to drop the button holes and consequently the cord in the waistband since I figured N didn’t need it. dsc_0039All in all, I think I can count this one as a major success, and sadly none of my photos really do any justice to her delight. But it would be fair to say that N likes, or I should say loves all aspects of it–the fabric, the ankle cuffs, the colour grey (apparently her favourite is grey these days!), and above all the fact that they are so so comfortable. Interestingly, I am actually finding out that she likes my experimenting with different types of fabric, rather than plain old cotton every single time!

And since we mostly find her upside down these days, here is a shot that she insisted I put on the blog. dsc_0066I think somehow if I could magically make 10 more of this she would be delighted!

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After all this, of course, I had to make #2. But, this time it’s for the baby!dsc_0077As it so happened, toddler M was in need of a nightdress. And since I was itching to make another version of the pants, I thought why not this with a t-shirt. (Never mind that fact that we were leaving in two days and there was really no time for this!) So, this time around it’s the same pattern in size 3 (he is 2 1/2) but without the pockets. I cellotaped the pocket piece to the pants front to make one piece, and did the rest exactly as pants #1.dsc_0060The pattern for the t-shirt comes from Rae, who is one of my favourite pattern makers. I made the shirt in size 2 (with added length), but really should have made it in size 3, because as the patten states it is a fitted tee. As you can see it rides up his stomach a bit, and while it is a cute cute tummy, I have to admit the shirt is also a bit short, with not much space to grow even around the chest.dsc_0118

dsc_0034But of course, he looks beyond adorable in it! Or, at least so we think. Adult M, thinks he looks like Elvis. Whatever it might be–two pants, one pattern, less than a week of sewing. I think I am feeling pretty accomplished.

The fabric here is what I had for a while from my New York days. It is by the designer Anne Kelle (I think, but sadly I didn’t save the selvedge). It’s (again, I think) a jersey knit, which is very stable and nice to sew with. It didn’t have as much of a stretch (only 25%–so less than what the pattern asks for), but it worked in this case. I somehow like the fit more on him than her, but it could because the fabric is simply better quality.The pink ribbing is really nice and comes from here (something I have had for a while). The cuffs are wider than I had hoped them to be (I cut them wider than what the instructions asked for, but I didn’t go back and check). Rae’s instructions are impecceable and worth following closely if you are making it for the first time. The tee turns out exactly as she describes it to be -a really slim, and fitting shirt , which means it is important to follow the chest size and sew accordingly. dsc_0061M is growing so quickly, that in all honestly I am not sure for how long he will wear it. But right now it’s perfect. And, while he doesn’t seem to have noticed his new clothes we are all oohing-and aahing over how nice they are.dsc_0016So that’s about from me. The year is almost over. It feels like much has happened, but that is for a different post. I still miss Christmas in New York and going to Chinatown for our Christmas dinner, even more so this year than before. But well, for now we are still here–in Pune and Delhi. I hope you have happy holidays and a good beginning to the new year. Thank you for visiting.

Asmita/xx

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dsc_0163Hello again!

So, on our aforementioned trip N wore her new dress. I had finished making it a few days before with no particular intention of packing it for our trip. But as things go, she decided she wanted to take it, possibly because, well, it’s the newest thing in her cupboard and super comfortable.

And to think that I had almost abandoned this one half way!

The original plan was this: to have the bodice and skirt from the same print that you now see in the skirt. The bias binding was to be in shocking pink. Neither fabric, both straightforward jersey knit (or so I thought, still think) presented any particular problems because I had sewn enough t-shirts, and binding seemed like something I could do in my sleep. Well, the lesson learn here is never to be over confident. I am still not sure what I did to get the waviest neckline, and why I continued to proceed thinking somehow that everything would work itself out. It didn’t, of course. When the first neckline went bad, I should have stopped. But, instead, I cut off that neckline, bound it again (if you can believe it) and made her try it on, sans skirt and sleeves. I could see half her chest, and I think she was clearly wondering if this was somehow going to be a swimsuit of sorts. Or god only knows what. It is almost sad, I don’t have photos to show of this, because once I got over it, it was quite funny!

To continue the story, at that point it didn’t feel so entertaining. But, thankfully I decided to take a short break  and come back to it the next day. To start over, I realised I needed some new fabric for the bodice, and so what you see is the remainder of yoga pants that I had made earlier. I still had plenty of pink, but decided to stay away from that too, to not jinx this dress any further. So, the green binding comes from an old t-shirt of mine. The rest is what I had originally cut into from a lovely knit that I have had for several years now.dsc_0066 The dress, if I may say so is actually really simple. I have made one from the same pattern before (you would think I would have gotten it right, since I had no problems whatsoever the last time around). N had loved the last one, and I thought it would be fun to make it in a different print this time. I didn’t take a look at the instructions this time, but I remember that were very clear when I had taken a look for dress no. 1. It can be sewed up fairly quickly, if you do the binding carefully, and there is a fair bit of that. I made it in a size 7 based on her measurements, while adding 1″ to both the skirt and bodice.

I am happy to say both she and I are pretty happy with the fit. I think she likes the fact that the pockets meet, so it’s not two really separate pockets but one continuous one. (Does that make sense? Perhaps its clear from the photo below.) For me, it’s an elegant looking dress, which seems more complicated to sew than what it really is. Plus it’s in a knit fabric. The comfort level is hard to beat. dsc_0170

dsc_0178N wore it happily on the first day of our trip. And, I must say, I am so glad I did not send it to the to-do pile.  Knowing me, it would have sat there forever, and by the time I would have got to it she would have definitely outgrown it. dsc_0080

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Asmita/xx

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Of late I have found myself making versions of the same pattern not twice but thrice in one go. I am not saying it doesn’t get a bit tedious, but N is currently in the state where when she likes one thing (in this case what I have made for her once), she wants another one exactly-the-same. In part, I suspect it is because she sees things in shops where the same design comes repeated in different sizes and same size in large quantities, so perhaps I should take this as a compliment. And, sure making the same thing over and over again is a huge time saver, for all the obvious reasons.

Thankfully I usually don’t have so much of one fabric to make two let alone three of exactly-the-same. So I have made a deal that she will get the same pattern but in three different fabrics. If one has a favourite top and a good fit, it’s not a bad deal actually -certainly one that I would be happy with!

So, without further talk, here’s the first version:

dsc_0143dsc_0046dsc_0031The fabric is a lovely voile, that I bought a few years ago in Bangalore (on Commercial street) and this is the original top that N fell in love it. I made it in size 6 with 1″ added to the bottom length and 1″ to the sleeves. However when a request for the second one came I thought she could do with a longer version. dsc_0201So I added another inch at the bottom but kept the sleeves the same length as above. I had only about 1/2 metre of the beautiful Nani-iro double gauze, so I added a contrast pink bodice (in mangalgiri cotton). My favourite part is the fabric buttons, but sadly N is not particularly impressed.dsc_0193

dsc_0212In fact as it turned out, she is not pleased with this one at all, despite my thinking that she would fall for the double gauze and my lovely buttons. Sadly, no….!

So, then came the third one in which she chose the fabric.dsc_0142This is another lovely double gauze that I had been saving for long. It’s from Echino by the designer Etsuko Furuya and is softer than Nani-iro. Plus she loves the lions.

I did a couple of things differently for this version. For one, I added slits on the sides and did a bartacking stitch right on the top both for decorative purposes and durability. Then I added tabs on the sleeves so that she could fold up her sleeves like this.dsc_0161

dsc_0138The yellow fabric which is as gorgeous and soft as the blue double gauze is locally purchased from here. (For those of you who might be in Delhi it is worthwhile checking out what else the Sunbird studio has-Karin Koch, the owner, has some of the most beautifully tailored clothes for children and adults.)dsc_0163Needless to say this is N’s favourite with the pink flowery one coming a close second. She adores the tabs on the sleeves, and of course the lions. The second one, despite some initial interest, is, at the moment, barely getting worn. But, I think she will come around to it once it gets cold. dsc_0153Oh, and before I go, a word on the pattern which I have failed to mention until now. It’s the after school shirt from Oliver+S. With much excitement about Liesl’s new book, and I can’t wait to get to it too, I am happy to be trying out an older Oliver+S pattern. As with her other patterns, there is almost a guarantee that it will teach me something new and I enjoyed the making every bit of it.

As I already mentioned I made it in size 6 with some length adjustments. The fit is roomy and relaxed, more so than I felt of some of her other shirts, and perfect for N to wear to school. As the pattern states there are buttons on both the front and back yokes. For versions 2 and 3, however I have closed off the back buttonholes. N’s head is pretty small and I figured that she didn’t need to unbutton both front and back to get it over here head.

And, that’s about it from here. Before I go here’s one last picture, my favourite one, of N and M.dsc_0158

Dasara holidays are coming up so I hope you are doing something fun!

Asmita/xx

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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

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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

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