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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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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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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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Hello again!dsc_1186As promised, I am back with a post about birthday #2 which also happened in July, this one in Delhi. It was a much smaller affair than #1, although N did initially try and get me to invite her friends as well. We decided against it, and she did eventually come around to understanding that this was baby M’s birthday celebration which meant inviting people-adults and kids that he knows well. That included our neighbour’s daughters who are N’s friends and who M is immensely fond of, and their mother who is our friend too and who shares her birthday with M. We ended up with a really small guest list, actually, mostly the same people who had made it to his first birthday party last year!

N helped me make a banner that I had been long dreaming of.dsc_1218This was super simple. First, I sewed up two fabric triangles together wrong sides together. Then, N did her thing with the pinking shears and I basted the letters cut out of felt with some glue first and then added a machine stitch on the top. I hope it holds up for a few birthdays at least.

Then came the dress. dsc_1228

dsc_0167The shirt pattern is from the Lullaby Layette by Oliver+S. I love this pattern, and having used it several times before I wanted to give it one last shot in the 18-24m size. To be frank I contemplated briefly if it was a tad too girly, but eventually that didn’t deter me from making it. He’s two, and girly or not, I think he looks so adorable in it. Besides, it such a fabulous pattern and the print is so cute . I find children specific prints in good quality hard to come by in India; this fabric was gifted to me by my sister-in-law and I must ask her where she got this. The fabric is voile hence perfect for summer; I had only 0.75 metres and the shirt fitted perfect in the little bit of fabric.

I also made a pair of pants from some mangalgiri cotton to go with it, again from the same pattern I mention above. N wanted to add a helicopter, because he is kind of obsessed with them and so she drew one and I embroidered it at the bottom edge. (I am sorry to not have better photos here of the pant–he does like to roll on the ground a fair bit and I failed entirely in getting him to stand for a photo shoot, let alone wear the shirt and pant together.)

But I do hope you get the idea. It a seriously comfortable pair of pants and shirt/top, and with Liesl’s fantastic instructions it comes together very quickly-even the placket. I will be sad when he outgrows this size.dsc_0123dsc_0121Here are a few more photos of baby M in action (in case you haven’t had enough 🙂dsc_0175

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dsc_0177And, all in all it was another fun party. I didn’t get a picture of the yummy chocolate cake we had. But it was worth making despite the fact that it was hot humid day.dsc_1250And despite some difficult times last year, looking at him now feels like time has flown. With always a ready smile on his face he has become a chatterbox that I never expected him to be! is

Asmita/xx

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After making some shorts for N it was time to embark on some pant making for baby (now toddler) M. Truth be told, I have hardly sewn for him. We are very very lucky to get a serious amount of good quality hand-me-downs for him from N’s classmate’s brother. Once we are done with it we pass them on to someone who is a couple of months younger than M. It’s a good get-use-pass on chain going on and frankly I am very happy with it. But recently there has been some dearth of pants in the midst of unsuccessful potty training practices and I wanted to try out a few patterns.

So here goes. #1

The pattern comes from Heather Ross’ Weekend Sewing. I bought this book ages ago after I took an excellent class with her at the Purl Soho and was entirely smitten by her charm and sewing skills. I haven’t made a whole lot of things from the book, but what I have has been put to plenty of use, such as these pants. I literally must have sewn up about 6 or 7 for N in various sizes then, and I had saved the paper patterns from then. So I cut a 12-18 months size based on his measurements (M is 21 months now) and made this in less than an hour. It’s is very quick. Only two pattern pieces and then the top turned down for the elastic casing. I suppose one can add lots of embellishments, pockets, colour blocking that kind of thing, but I decided to stick to the basic version. The fabric is remnants from N’s dress here.

#2 comes from Oliver+S’ lullaby layette pattern.

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I made these back when M was barely 6 months old and enjoyed the style very much. Given his current measurements I made in the 12-18 size, but he still also fits into the size 6-12m although they are ridiculously short now! I think with a cloth diaper the current size would be too tight but since we are almost entirely avoiding a diaper during the day these days these are doing just great.

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The main fabric comes from Milind’s old shirt. The waistband and pockets are from some fabric I had left over from an old pair of N’s shorts. Babies and pockets–there is something always smile worthy about this combination!

#3 is my current favourite. Right around the time M was an infant I bought this pattern and then sadly completely forgot about it. I am glad I found it just in time because it runs only till size 2T.  Again I made it in the same size as above, and I am so glad I did.

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As Rae says these are clearly designed to be worn on babies in diapers and I have to say that the back panel does make an already adorable baby body part look only cuter (of course, I am talking of baby bottoms :-).

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I used 1/2 metre of mangalgiri cotton that I bought in Pune during my last trip and some scraps from the khadi that I used for N’s pants a few years ago.

Not surprisingly N is pretty delighted to find bits of familiar fabric in baby M’s clothes!

Oh, and before I forget I also made two super quick pairs of shorts from the Oliver+S free pattern.

The blue fabric is remnant from N’s pajamas and the red is from my old dress.

Sewing for N, I noticed felt quite different from sewing for M. I have, of course, made a few things for M here and there, but this is the first time when I really got down to making a bunch of stuff. With N, I find her to be increasingly totally involved in the whole process. Over last year especially, it has become almost impossible to surprise her with a new dress or pants. For one I have realised she doesn’t like these kind of surprises. She now wants to be a part of every bit of it–how to the patterns look, what gets sewn where and the different kinds of fabric, not to mention the choice of embellishments. Baby M of course has no clue that I am sewing anything for him, of course he doesn’t notice that he is wearing a new pair of pants. 🙂 And so, in some senses the final effect with him in his new clothes is a kind of a surprise. I am enjoying it, and really savouring these two different moments in a sewing process.

What about you? Do you often think of how this end point of sewing a garment feels like?

Asmita/xx

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There is a very short window during our long summer months when N can wear shorts to school. It means that the temperatures are high enough to warrant shorts, but the fear of dengue hasn’t yet set in. A few weeks ago N and I combed through her cupboard to realise that many of her pants needs to be given away. Given that it was still April we decided to settle on shorts.

And so, I finally got to try out the Oliver+S lazy days shorts which was a super quick sew and got done in half a metre of fabric. That felt like an achievement, because as it turns out I have a lot of cute 1/2 metre (and yard) cuts that are languishing in the cupboard!

DSC_0593The 1/2 yard, however, did not leave enough for the waistband, so I added one with a contrasting fabric. I hope you can see a bit of it peeking out in the photo below.

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I tried a size 6 based on her waist measurement, and I think the length is good. After a few wears however, she is complaining that it is tight at the crotch. I think it means I may have to size up for the next one as we would need to retire these sooner than I had hoped. (Oh, and also then give up my dreams of cutting a few more pretty 1/2 yard fabrics to fit in this pattern!)

Shorts #2 come from a free pattern from the Purl Bee.

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I have had these pinned forever and I am so glad that I finally made them. Based on my experience before, and after checking her hip size, this one is in a size 8-9.

DSC_0756 At first, I was worried that the width of size 8-9T was going to be too broad for her legs, but it doesn’t seem so does it? The waistband too felt a bit tricky to start with. As the instructions say it is actually five layers of fabric, and given that I was using quilting cotton (brought from Purl Soho years ago…) I was afraid it might be too much. But it isn’t, and N says that they are very comfortable on the waist.

I have to say I love this pair! And, given that I could use different fabrics for the main front-back panels, waistband, and binding, the possibilities are limitless.

The final pair, #3, is a longer version of something that we had to give away so I already knew that she liked the fit and pattern.

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The highlight of this is the fabric (she loves the patchwork). I should say that I did not make the patchwork fabric but purchased it a few years ago from Pune. It won’t be hard to “make” I think just perhaps a bit more, ok maybe a lot of extra work. The pattern itself is simple enough (flared shorts ‘D’), with only two pattern pieces. The top part is folded over to make a casing for the waistband. It has a feel of a skirt or culottes and I think are her current favourite. It comes from here and I made a size 120 cms with added length.

So that’s it on the shorts front. And to go with it all I also made a quick t-shirt, again, using a pattern from my to do list.

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This one also comes from Oliver+S. I made view A it in size 6T with 7T length on both sleeves and main panel. The fabric is entirely re-cycled. The grey and red both come from my old t-shirts. A relatively easy and quick sew, I was happy I could finish it in one afternoon.

So, that’s it from me today. I have recently had the good luck of finding some extra time to sew, which makes me really happy. And, so I will be back with some more to show very soon:-) Hope you are having some happy sewing days too.

Asmita/xo

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