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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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Sometimes the most time consuming part for me is the tracing out the pattern. It means making enough space on the dining table at the time of the day when M is not running around. And, it has to be daytime, because by night I am too tired to trace out patterns. Motivation usually kicks in by the time I have cut the fabric after which I am eager to get to get to the sewing machine. (This actually even happens with sometimes M on my lap!).

Something similar happened to the dress here.

DSC_0033Back in April, I added length to a previously traced size 6 of the Mini Southport dress pattern. You can see it here.  All of four months went past until, in August, I realised that it was going to be too short. I dragged myself back to the table for more tracing (because by this time, as is often the case, Ms. N had remembered the fabric we had chosen and was wondering what happened to the dress).

I should mention that I tried to push it off to next year because mosquito season is upon us, and I tried to convince her that she won’t be able to wear it much. Honestly, I was also not feeling much upto making something that I hadn’t thought of for a while. But, as luck would have it, her luck that is, I also remembered that I don’t have much of this fabric and it may not be enough next year for the said dress. And so eventually between her pushing for it, and me giving in, first somewhat unwillingly and then quite eagerly (as is often the case), the whole start to finish took less than a few days.DSC_0018

DSC_0013I suppose the current version could also be slightly longer, but I think the length looks good on her. The fabric is lovely Alexander Henry, if I am not wrong (but, I entirely unsure since I forgot to save the selvage and can’t find details of it anywhere). I have held on to it for a good six years because I loved it so much, but it was time to make something of it. And, I agree with N, the dress suits the fabric well.

The pattern instructions, for anyone making it the first time are very clear, and in general I like the fit of True Bias patterns on N. (These pants were a super hit and I plan to make more). I would say the same about the dress. Version 1 still hangs in her cupboard and while it is incredibly short she wears it plenty.

And so here she is–chatting with M as I am trying to take photos.

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DSC_0030I have to say I am pretty pleased it got off my to-do pile as well. The fact that she has worn it almost non stop since it got made means that it was worth it.

Which really brings me to the question that I have really been pondering over. What and how do you really decide what you are going to sew next? As I read blogs of other sewists, I know a lot of you sew because you don’t buy anymore for your kids. I do the same for N, not only because I like sewing for her, but also because it saves some serious amount of money. But it also means that many choices are dictated by the need of the moment, and so for instance, the reason why I was hesitant to go ahead with this dress was because the girl needs pants and full sleeves shirts, and not, in my mind, a sleeveless dress! (With M, I am incredibly lucky because he gets fantastic hand me downs).

But, then on the other hand, there is also what your child wants you to sew, right? Not just in terms of pattern of a dress or a particularly style or fabric, but increasingly, what does he/she want? I am sure most sewists, including me want to accomodate that desire, because let’s face it: there comes a time surely when you don’t want your mom to be sewing for you? So while N loves for most part what I make, and can be quite exact and demanding at times, the time when she doesn’t care much about what I make may not be too far away.

And then, last but not the least, there is small but significant aspect of this business of sewing which is entirely selfish, right? That, I am not sewing for my child, but really I am sewing for myself because I really really like to do this. But between negotiating what the wearer needs and what the wearer wants, I often feel quite lost in terms of what I want to make. Or at the very least, what I want to make comes the lowest priority.

I am sure I am not the only one who feels this way. Certainly, I hope not to be! But I always wonder how others negotiate this, and would love to hear from others.

Thanks for stopping by. Happy sewing!

Asmita/xx

 

 

 

 

 

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DSC_0051Well, so as it turned out the poor boy did not get to celebrate his birthday because he fell sick. He got swine flu! And while the worst had passed by the time the big day came around, he was still very tired and cranky and not up to much. We still did a few things to commemorate the occasion, had cake, and of course he got all his gifts. DSC_0037

DSC_0046And so, in effect, I did not get to finish the sewing I had started for him (It’s just about getting done only now….). But since we are here, I thought I might as well write about some of the stuff I finished a while ago, and which in fact comes from the same book that M’s birthday clothes come from. DSC_0042And so to change the topic…

These pants for Ms. N got made way back in May. She wanted orange pants at the beginning of her new school year, and orange she got. With some blue pockets…DSC_0093The fabric for the pants is mangalgiri cotton with thin orange stripes on it, and being mangalgiri, it is perfect for summer. I bought it in Pune, but really quite easily available in Delhi too I am sure. The pockets come from scraps of a Lotta Jansdotter fabric that I used previously for a skirt. The pattern tried and tested several times before, comes from one of my all time favourite Japanese pattern books. As you can probably tell, these are pants with a lot of style (slightly flared bottoms) and come together in no time. They are incredibly simple to sew. There isn’t even a separate waistband, which means there are essentially only two pieces of fabric, three if you include the pocket.

This time I made it in size 120 cms with length at 130 cms, but she complained about some tightness at the crotch. Next time, I will definitely need to size them up. Uncomfortable or not, she is still wearing them, and four months later these are very much a part of school wear. And while she loves them, I have actually been surprised as to how many adults have come up to me and swooned over these. I suspect it has something to do with the brightness of orange. Or, perhaps it’s such a unexpected colour in pants? I really have no idea.DSC_0056And now the top. DSC_0077It wasn’t particularly made to go with these pair of pants,, but somehow both happened around the same time. And, can I just say, I love this slightly large, slouchy shirt. It’s been my favourite and most fulfilling bit of sewing in a while. I like the shape, it’s swing-iness, the fabric (knit from Okadaya, Shinjuku), and how in general it looks on her. The pocket was a bit of an afterthought (yes, I did sew it after the rest of it was made) because it looked like it needed a pocket. The fabric is a scrap from her old favourite pair of tights,so it seemed like a good way to hang on to those tights too.

The pattern appropriately titled “big silhouette t-shirt” comes from this book (I am currently using it for both of M’s shirts), and has a good bunch of patterns which are unisex. Most of the patterns are in the 100-150cms range, but a few also run as small as 80cms, so it’s a good book to have when one is sewing for both a boy and a girl, who are quite a few years apart. This was one of my earlier “tries” from this book, and was a easy sew (no different in effect than other t shirts that I have made). The length is on the shorter side, despite my adding a good 10cms to the 120cms size–it rides up a bit as you can see, but she is not complaining. And it’s pretty wide–no worries there that it will fit her for some time to come!DSC_0082

DSC_0060DSC_0078That’s about it…looking at these photos taken on an outing during our Pune vacations not so long ago, makes me feels like it happened many moons ago. This summer, has been particularly hard and somewhat long (it still continues to be hot in Delhi despite intermittant rains, unending in the humidity, it seems), and I have at times been relieved that I have had some chance to do sewing.

I am not sure, if we get another opportunity to celebrate the boy’s third birthday–he has had his cake and received his gifts, and is a bit confused now at the mention of a birthday party, thinking perhaps that there is endless array of cars still waiting for him. So, while we are skipping this yea’s full fledged party, I am posting here one last photo of his taken during the same outing.DSC_0076IMG_20170614_084125843As with N who turned nine, at the beginning of July, I can hardly believe M is three. And he is marvelous–with his incredible energy, quiet sensitivity, and beyond everything the sweet love for his sister.

Asmita/xox

 

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A few months ago, I embarked on bag making. The said pattern was purchased, paper tracings were made, cut, and even the fabric choosing happened, all at relatively good speed. And then, as with many other things right now the project sat in a pile in my cupboard waiting its turn to get set sewn up and see some fresh air.

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dsc_0159I am happy to say that I finished making this just a few weeks ago, and since then it has hardly left my side.Yes, I love this bag that much!

The pattern for this handy little tote comes from Noodlehead. Anyone, I think, who has tried making stuff from her patterns will agree that she completely de-mystifies bag making for novices, and even makes one enjoy the whole process. I am pretty positive that without Anna I couldn’t have pulled off a recessed zipper.dsc_0179 All I can say, is that I am feeling quite proud of this. Perhaps it has something to do with being able to insert a zipper without any help from the seam ripper.dsc_0138The main fabric is a canvas weight print by Lotta Jansdotter. At first it seemed heavier than what the pattern was asking for and I contemplated on skipping the interfacing that Anna recommends. In the end I decided to not go with my instinct. I have enough bag failures to my credit, and I didn’t feel like taking a chance on this one. It turned out to be a good decision. The bag turned out sturdy but has enough slouchiness to it as well.dsc_0177For the rest of the fabric, I dug into my deep pile of scraps.

So, as I think is clear, I couldn’t be happier with the bag. The inside has a small convenient pocket, but of course my favourite part is the zipper because it makes it safe to carry my wallet inside even on the metro. It’s perfect for me, and I might need to make another one…maybe in a few years…after I have finished my several other unfinished projects!dsc_0109

Asmita/xo

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