I had a metre of denim fabric in my stash -actually it was more like unshaved corduroy- that I planned to make a high-waisted skirt with. But recently I changed my mind and wanted to make a pair of pants with it. I don’t have too many pants in my wardrobe. Maybe one or two that I rarely wear and a couple of shorts. I realized that making a pair of pants with a good fit is not easy, so I always have lots of doubt when I was about to start. But practice will make perfect! I have made lots of pants for my husband and Sidra, so what’s keeping me from making them for myself ? I promised myself that from now on, I will make more pants for me.
The pattern is Evan from Tamanegi-Kobo, a Japanese pattern shop. I usually use Google translate extension on Chrome to browse Japanese sites. The translation is not that good but enough to make me understand what’s going on. From what I understand, Evan is ankle-length pants. Lots of ease around waist and hip, narrowed down toward the hem. The lines are more like Sarouel pants. The rest I didn’t understand but the pictures of the pants are enough. You can see that it sits a bit below the waist and there is obviously pleats on the front. As the pants have lots of ease, I figured that very smooth fitting wouldn’t be necessary. Bought!
This is not the first time I bought PDF pattern from Tamanegi-Kobo. The instructions are naturally in Japanese, but it has lots of pictures and diagrams that are clear enough. I also love the guessing work (maybe I’m adventurous…) so it was never a problem. I noticed that several other patterns already have instructions in English, so it would be easier if you want to try.
I checked their size chart and decided that I should make the pants in size 38 on waist and size 36 on hip. Usually my waist and hip are in the same size for European pattern. Does that mean that my waist is too thick by Japanese standard?
The fabric is not very thick so sewing them was quite easy. One metre of the fabric is just enough for a pair of pants for me. I had to piece the back waistband and used other fabric for pocket linings though. I used thicker thread in rust color for topstitching. The pocket linings are green cotton with chicken pattern, so fun! The zipper fly area and waistband facing are finished with red seam bindings. I didn’t like metal zipper because I feel that they left a particular of metal (of course!) smell when I touch them, so I used regular plastic zipper.
If I were to make them again, I would do a little bit swayback adjustment and maybe make the waistband wider, but the pants are very comfortable as they are. I can see that I will be wearing them a lot!
Pattern is Evan by Tamanegi Kobo (PDF), size 38 on waist and 36 on hip.
A new dress! I made this dress to try out sewing with the Babylock. The pattern is Vogue 1285 by Tracy Reese, one of the Vogue new spring collection. From the envelope: “Lined, mock wrap dress has collar, close-fitting bodice with bands/hook&eye, fitted skirt, overlay with mock band, belt loops, sleeve bands and invisible left side zipper. Darts are stitched on the right side of fabric. Lining forms attached slip with shoulder and lingerie straps.”
The fabric is polyester jersey from my stash. It has green and brown splotches pattern with golden threads weft in between. Unfortunately the camera doesn’t seem to catch the golden thread. The fabric is not double-knit, so I hesitated to use my sewing machine to sew it. Now that I have a serger, the fabric is perfect for a try-out!
My pattern alteration as usual:
- shortened the bodice 3 cm.
- swayback alteration
- shortened the skirt and sleeves
Now for the fun part: sewing the dress! I used my Janome sewing machine the sew the darts, collar, and zipper, the rest were made with the Babylock.
The darts on the original pattern are actually on the right side, I made them on the inside the usual way. I also skipped the lining slip for the dress as my fabric is not that transparent.
I didn’t follow the instructions for attaching the band, which calls for turning the inside seam allowance under and edgestitching it. Instead, I sewed the bands to the bodice and used coverstitch to topstitch them from the right side. I think it look neat! The sleeve cuffs were also attached in similar fashion.
I also used the coverstitch functions to make belt loops. The shoulders are reinforced with a strip of cotton twill so they don’t stretch.
I think wrap dress (or mock wrap dress in this case) always looks flattering for all body shapes. And since the skirt part is not really a wrap, I don’t have to worry about accidentally flashing my thighs!
Pattern is Vogue 1285, size 8 on bust and 10 on waist and hip.
So one day, Yoshimi noticed that one of her friends was looking for someone who would take her old serger. Being such a nice person who always remembers her other friends, she messaged me rightaway to ask whether I want that serger.
Would I want that serger? Why, of course I want!!
That was how I got acquainted with Noriko, the owner of the serger. We emailed each other, with Yoshimi translating for both of us, about the serger. Noriko advised me to send the serger to a repair shop first because it had some minor noise problem.
She even recommended a good repair shop: Tetetta. Since I had no idea about where to find a repair shop in my area, this was a tremendous help. Noriko would send the serger to the repair shop and the shop would then send the serger to me. How convenient!
I was ready to ask my husband (who speaks and write Japanese) to communicate with the repair shop, but Noriko kindly took over and dealt all the communications to make everything easier. All I should do was just sending the fee to the shop and waiting for the serger to arrive.
All the cute dials
So not only I got a serger for free (with only a small check-up fee), but the owner of the serger also took all the trouble to make sure that the serger was in prime condition before it got to me. And language was never a problem because dear Yoshimi was always there to translate everything. I was speechless by all these kindness. What have I done to deserve all of this??
Not more than two days later, the serger arrived. The delivery guy might be wondering why my eyes got all misty when signing the receipt.
I opened it with delight and browsed through everything. Here’s the manual, all in Japanese! Good thing that it has lots of diagram so I can try decoding what it means. Anyway, I love manuals. I really do. Whenever I got a new thing with manuals, I would curled up on the couch with a cup of hot tea on the side, reading the manual (if I can read it) or browsing through the diagrams and feeling very happy about it. Reading manuals is one of small happy moments in my life.
The serger model is Babylock BL-75, you can go here to see what it can do (in Japanese). Actually the description page is for BL-77 but BL-75 is similar). This model is only available in Japan but I think it is quite similar to Babylock Imagine.
Babylock Jet-air threading system
I was ready with tweezers for threading the serger. I used to sew with my mother’s serger years ago in Indonesia. It was one of those green, hardcore China-made serger with complicated threading. But after I looked at the manual, this Babylock has what is called ‘Jet-Air Threading’ system. All I should do is just push the lever and the machine will do all those complicated thing! I put down my tweezers and said hooray for modern technology!
With different threading and needle placement variation, this serger can be used to finish raw edges and stitch and finish raw edges at the same time. It also has chainstitch and coverstitch function, I’m so excited! Coverstitch is usually used for hems on kintwear. It shows as two or three rows of stitching on the outside and one row of overlock stitch on the inside. Chainstitch is similar but it only has one row of stitching on the outside.
I made a dress with jersey fabric in my stash to try out all those functions. I only used my sewing machine to sew the darts and zipper, the rest was done with the Babylock. Check out all those overlock stitches! It was a clean and fast sewing. I will post about the finished dress later.
This is such a special machine, from a special lady, coming to my hands with the help of a special friend. I feel very special that I can be the next person who uses it. Thank you so much, Noriko! Arigatou gozaimashita! \(^_^)/
Sidra seems to be in constant needs of new pants. Several pants got short in what feels like overnight, the others got ripped and torn. Apparently it is rough out there playing with the boys.
I told Sidra that I was going to make him a new pair of pants and asked if he had any special request. He immediately said that he wanted his pants in camouflage print. I’m not too crazy about camo print, but I guess eveybody has their own preference.
Not wanting to shell some cash on a fresh batch of camo print fabric, I went to the nearest thrift store and bought an adult-size pants in the said print. The base pattern is from a Japanese pattern book, シンプル&ちょこっとデザイン おんなの子服おとこの子服 that I’ve used several times before. The cargo pockets and flaps are saved from the original pants.
There they are! You can see that Sidra is very happy with his new pants. Now he’s nagging me for more camo print outfit.
Pattern is #14 from シンプル&ちょこっとデザイン おんなの子服おとこの子服 with alteration.
In another news, there is a newcomer in my sewing room! I’m so excited!
Last Saturday we went to meet Doraemon and his friends! Actually, we went to Fujiko F. Fujio museum in Kawasaki. If you’re familiar with the blue earless robot cat, Fujiko F.Fujio is the man who created this anime character.
The museum was just opened in September last year, so it is pretty new. The tickets had to be reserved weeks before, and we finally got our ticket scheduled to last Saturday.
I love Doraemon since I was living in Indonesia, reading the translated comics and watching the dubbed television series. I collected all the comics but I had to give them away when we moved to Japan. I didn’t regret though, after all we are here in the land of Doraemon. Sidra then started to read Doraemon in the original language and grew to love him too. Who doesn’t love Doraemon, anyway?!
We rode the Doraemon-themed bus from Noborito station to got the museum. There were a lot of people in the museum but it wasn’t too crowded though because everyone has a scheduled ticket. We started the tour by going around the two exhibition rooms in the first and second floor. The rooms were filled with original artworks and Fujiko F. Fujio’s personal belongings.
After touring the exhibition rooms, we watched a short movie in the theater on the second floor. There were also manga corner for reading comic and play area for toddler in this floor. In the third floor, there were outdoor area with statues and a very crowded restaurant. We had to wait for two hours before our number was called! But by the end of the day everything was worth it!
pictures from my Instagram
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