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one more!

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

 

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

April was a pretty special month for baby M. He started play school. He is still only two, well, he will be three this July, so in reality it is a playgroup where he goes for two hours every morning to “play” with other kids his age, share tiffins, feed rabbits, and the like. DSC_0044Still, it is a big event and I wanted to make him something special to mark the occasion. I have been eyeing this bag for the last several years, but somehow N was never at the right age for this when the book came out, and I never got around to making one for her.DSC_0037Well, I am so glad I did now. It’s the perfect size for the toddler age group and fits his snacks tiffin and a water bottle nicely. And it was a lot of fun to make. I have made a few other things too from the excellent book I mention above, and really to me, there is no better teacher than Liesl. I even managed the dreaded zipper quite well! The only two small additions/ changes I made were to add a rickrack on the front piece for the sake of some visual interest, and to “bind” the straps with a bit of velvet ribbon. And of course, I added M’s name to it. DSC_0004

DSC_0014Cars, are M’s thing (probably true for a lot of little boys), and so I was delighted to unexpectedly find some old Echino fabric in my stash. It was just enough for the outside and the pocket inside. The fabric is canvas weight with 55% linen but somehow it still felt pretty drapey; I wasn’t sure if that was enough weight to hold the shape of the bag so I used iron-on interfacing for the lining. The fabric for straps which is 100% linen also comes from my stash, as does the one I used for lining. I have no memory of where I got both, which means I have had them for long.DSC_0051M, I think, quite likes it. He is not quite vocal in expressing his feelings about it, but the fact that he wants to take it to school every single day must mean that there is some love there.DSC_0053

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I am truly happy to report that baby M has taken to his playgroup like a fish to water, and we are seeing growing signs of independence day by day. And so, now for obvious reasons he cannot be called a baby anymore!

Asmita/xx

a quilt

I am the kind of person who loves embarking on quilts, but then, when I am about half way done interest wavers, I feel unsure about the design I have chosen, my fabric choices feel too boring, and it all feels too unwieldy both in terms of time and size. Needless to say,  I give up.

What follows in a long period of this half-done-thing, not yet really a quilt, sitting in my cupboard, taking up space. Until one day, I am out of my hibernating period and I start work on it like a mad woman. The funny thing is: I am usually, very very pleased with the results–well, its been sitting around for so long that practically everything about it feels brand new!

Well, something similar happened to this one here. dsc_0004dsc_0011The story of this goes all the way back around 2010 (ok, this is one of my oldest). I bought the wool pieces while still living in Brooklyn, smitten as I was by this free tutorial and the idea of entirely hand sewing it. It was a big investment. The felted wool came from here (originally from Australia, a fact that I am discovering only now); it is incredibly lovely and soft, and I believe, hand dyed. Oh yes, and all that also means expensive. Still I jumped into it, with plans of finishing it and making a winter quilt for Ms. N, all in 2010. The cutting happened first and fast. It’s really a whole bunch of 4″squares (225 in all, to be precise). Then came the layout, all still easy. And then began the sewing. The tutorial instructions are great, with very detailed photos of how to put the two pieces together. But once you get that, it’s really just a whole lot of hand sewing. To say that it went slowly, verrry slowly, is an understatement. Because while it is one of those projects that one can carry with oneself wherever goes, and the process itself is relaxing (maybe even meditative), truth be told, it’s also quite boring.dsc_0025dsc_0013The pattern, if one may call it that, doesn’t call for a binding. There is only one layer, so technically there is nothing to “bind,” but with two kids and possibility of play, I decided to add one anyway to give it some more stability. The stitching is done with cotton embroidery thread which is sturdy enough, but I didn’t want to take any chances of unraveling at its edges. And, just because the wool is so lovely to begin with, I decided that border would be in lovely Liberty, of which I had a tiny amount of. The final quilt is about a 60″ square (with 15 pieces in one row).dsc_0015Of course, I love *love* the end result. We all do! There is just something so beautiful about the colours, and there is tremendous appeal in a design as simple as this. In the end, it really is just all about the wool, and I do think that the hand sewing does add its own bit of charm. Even my sometimes impatient stitches such as these.dsc_0019Having finally finished it, Ms. N cannot believe that it was meant for her to sleep under at one point (It just about barely covers her head to toe now.) It’s too large for Baby M, and so for now we have had to put it away. Come winter we will use it to keep warm during daytime, or for extra warmth on cold nights.

I really do wish I had finished this one sooner. But, I suppose there is a time for everything, and its now time to cherish it. And as embarrassed as I am to admit it, I should mention here that what really got me going this year was the fact that late November last year I discovered that the moths had gotten to it. If you look closely, you will notice extra small pieces of wool sewn over in places. dsc_0017dsc_0001Well yes, they, the industrial moths ate away tiny bits of the wool. So what you see, is the remedial work that had to be done to save the piece. Basically I had to cut smaller pieces of wool in the same colour (I no longer had larger pieces to entire replace the damaged squares) and sew them to the damaged part like attaching a bandaid. It looks fine–a good reminder in fact to not let things linger too long–and I was very very lucky to have caught this at the right moment.

So, that’s that. Finished, finally, a full seven years later after it started. I am happy to report that I have yet another WIP close to finish, and I will be able to show you that soon too. What are you working on these days? I would love to hear.

Asmita/xx

Four months is long time even for me, the otherwise somewhat intermittent blogger, to be away from my blog. Except for my super short post sometime in February, I admit I almost gave up on blogging. Lured by Instagram, I considered making use of my account which I opened sometime ago, but then it seemed too complicated and I retreated. (I am sure in reality Instagramming–if there is a word like that–is actually quite fun, and I love looking at what other people make. But for now, I have no head space for figuring out how yet another social media platform works and so I gave up on that idea too. At least for the moment.). Interestingly, what this longer than planned break made me realise that while I do miss posting about my latest sewing, what I miss even more is the writing part. And so here I am, with some determination to give it another chance.

And so without further explanations here is some news of the past few months.

In early March, around the time of my birthday, my husband and I went on the much anticipated trip to Tokyo. It was short (only 5 days), and we didn’t do a whole lot, besides eating, walking, and meeting a few old friends, but it was tremendously soul nourishing and absolutely lovely. For one, my parents were very generous to come all the way to Delhi to take care of the kids, and it was the first time Mr. M and I were travelling anywhere sans children. And then, it felt like a homecoming of sorts. I hadn’t been back in close to a decade, and although of course I have been there many times before, this was the first trip where there was no agenda as such. All in all I came back feeling rested and nourished–not very different from what trip to a familiar and well loved place feels like, I suppose.

Here are a few favourite photos from the trip:DSC_0056A shop selling pickles outside Sendagi station  DSC_0043Aoyama cemeteryDSC_0021The ryokan where we stayed in HongoDSC_0004A bakery in KagurazakaIMG_20170305_093351009And finally, one of my all time favourite places in Tokyo–the Nezu Shrine. Most of the week had been bitingly cold, but the day we walked to the shrine, after meandering through the lanes around Tokyo University, was beautiful and sunny. We mostly sat in the sun for long and reminisced about all the earlier times I had been here.

Besides eating and walking we did some shopping too, and I myself bought a fair bit of fabric from Okadaya in Shinjuku. In my current life, which I cannot envision without sewing, it is, in retrospect, strange to think that before this trip I had never even entered a fabric shop in Japan! My interest in sewing is only about seven years old, and so initially I had no idea where to go. A quick Google search brought my attention to this blog, which was particularly useful.DSC_0062It’s all knits and double gauze, as you can probably tell, and not exactly inexpensive. Of course! Thankfully the cost, and the fact that we went to Nippori, the official “fabric town,” on the day when all shops were closed ensured that fabric shopping was limited. Still I love what I got; N oooh-ed and aah-ed over it after we got back and immediately put in a few requests.

That, in short, was our trip and the highlight of 2017! I can’t believe it’s already been two months since we went. I have sewn up a bunch of stuff in this time and will be back in a few days to show what I’ve been making.

Asmita/xx

a Hello Hello! January is way past behind us and half of February is over, so it is too late to say Happy New Year, or even Happy Valentine’s day. So I will begin by writing about the most recent happenings and bring my little blog into this new year by way of that.

This year, like last three, I participated in the Secret Valentine Exchange hosted by the talented duo, Sanae and Ute. While my package is still making its way across the seas to its intended recipient, I wanted to share some photos of the lovely gift I received.dsc_0004This little pouch comes all the way from Germany. Isn’t it pretty? The stitching is impeccable, and, the colours my favourite. I have already filled it with some items that I need to carry with me to a upcoming trip that I am looking forward to very much.dsc_0013Thank you Kristen, for this beautiful and thoughtful gift.

In the meantime, this is what went out from here. I will write more about it, but only once it reaches my secret valentine–which I hope is soon!dsc_0051I have been keeping busy, hurrying to finish a few things before leaving next week. I am almost done, so I hope to show it to you before I leave. And…I want to participate in KCW which starts tomorrow. What about you?

More soon!

Asmita/xx

pants

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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