Oversized cardigan

Oversized cardigan Oversized cardigan

Time for some fall sewing! You might recognize the fabric as one of the Merino wool that I got in the Anima pant competition. This is part of the knit pack prize from Papercut and the Fabric Store, a beautiful Merino wool jacquard in raspberry color.

Top50-winner-100Recently this blog was voted as one of the Top 50 Best Bloggers for Sewing Enthusiasts, and I got to choose five Burda patterns. How lucky! The cardigan pattern is one of the five, it is Burda Oversized Cardigan 07/2013 #109A. I don’t use Burda patterns very often so I’m quite happy to have this opportunity to try more of their patterns.

The pattern is not a petite pattern, so I printed the patten at 97% and proceeded to shorten it more about 15 cm. This is one of the things that I love about PDF patterns, I can shrink them and the result is not just a shorter hem but also proportionally smaller armholes and necklines. You have to be careful not to shrink them too much though, maybe not more than 95%.

Burda patterns don’t have seam allowances. I can see that it is a problem to some people but actually I kinda like it because I can see exactly where the stitching lines are. Also, most commercial patterns have 1.5 cm (5/8″) seam allowance while I prefer 1 cm (3/8″), so I usually have to add my own allowance anyway.

Oversized cardigan Oversized cardigan Oversized cardigan Oversized cardigan

The grey bands are leftover from my Ensis tee, I didn’t have much left so there are several seamlines on the bands. The instructions for neckline and front opening finishing is actually using facing, but I finished them using fabric bands, the same way as the hem and sleeves. All seams were finished on overlocker except for the topstitching.

Initially I was not sure if I could pull of an oversized cardigan. I think it looks okay with black top and leggings though. I also tried to wear it belted to see if it looks good. Still not sure what else I can wear it with. The most important thing is that the cardigan is extremely soft and comfy! I wore it all day during wet and grey day yesterday and it was very comfortable. It also dried quickly so I didn’t have to worry about a few splash of rains.

Oversized cardigan Oversized cardigan

If you see me holding an iphone in the pictures, it is because I was experimenting with taking all the pictures using iPhone 6. I installed Cheeez app (free) on two iPhones to make one act as a camera and the other a remote. The problem with this setup was I couldn’t see myself in the display. So I installed Reflector (not free), an airplay receiver, to my Macbook. I placed the iPhone 6 on tripod, connected the Macbook to the iPhone 6 and the Reflector would mirror the phone. In this way I can see myself on the Macbook and use the other phone in my hand to operate the iPhone 6.

Uhm… sorry, I tend to ge carried away with all these apps. And why would I want to do all of these? Actually I just want to do all photo editings on my phone using several apps like TouchRetouch, SnapseedVSCO, and other million apps that I have installed. There are lots of good editing apps for iOS and many of them are free or very cheap (especially compared to Adobe Photoshop!). After editing them, I can just upload the photos directly to my Flickr account and only open my Macbook when I’m ready to type. Now I can edit my photos anywhere! Several minutes after these photos were taken, Shake was wondering as why I was sitting on the bottom of the stairs for so long staring at my phone.

Pattern is Burda Oversized Cardigan 07/2013 #109A, size 36 printed at 97%.

Print mesh bra set

Print mesh bra set
My second self-drafted set! This one is a bra with partial band, or hook-up bra as it is called in Kristina Shin’s ‘Patternmaking for Underwear Design’ book. The panties pattern is also self-drafted using the same book, the same pattern as the ones from my white set.

The fabric is mesh fabric with floral print in muted color, part of a Merckwaerdigh kit. The kit actually comes with stretch lace but I only used the mesh fabric. The cups are lined with tricot mesh while the band is lined with powernet. To keep the delicate look, I don’t use foam lining for this bra.

The bra pattern is drafted using the underwired bra that I drafted previously as a base. I couldn’t be happier with the fit! I’m very satisfied with all the things that I’ve drafted from this book so I want to draft everything!

Print mesh bra set Print mesh bra set
Print mesh bra set

Print mesh bra set

Print mesh bra set Print mesh bra set

Print mesh bra set Print mesh bra set

Print mesh bra set Print mesh bra set

Pattern pieces

Pattern pieces

As I delved more into pattern drafting, I also use this opportunity to learn to use computer software for pattern drafting. In the past I used CorelDraw to draw vectors, but this software is for Windows only. Nowadays I don’t use Windows, so I wanted to learn using Adobe Illustrator.

So far I’ve been having a great time learning Illustrator! I shared some of my learning experiences in my Instagram and everyone have been so kind offering their tips and tricks. Using computer for pattern drafting is so practical. I don’t have to use lots of space with long rulers and pencils around, everything is in the computer and I can do pattern drafting anywhere.

For now I’m only using the 30 days trial version and not thinking about subscribing. The subscription is about USD20/month -maybe not too expensive -, but I can’t justify subscribing since I will only be using it for my own needs.

There are some good and cheaper alternatives to Adobe products though. I’m using Pixelmator as a good Photoshop alternative and recently I found iDraw as an alternative for Illustrator. I’m still learning to use iDraw but so far it is quite promising. I’m about halfway through the Adobe trial period now, so 15 more days of fun!

Patterns are self-drafted.

Selfish Sewing Week – Ensis tee

Ensis tee Ensis teeSummer is over and Fall is coming! It means that I have to start preparing for transitional clothes before the weather gets too cold. It also happens that this week is Selfish Sewing Week – 2014 Fall edition! The perfect time to think about what I want to make for myself and not feeling guilty for not even starting on my husband’s jeans or make another jeans that my son requested.

Rebecca Taylor velvet yoke top

Rebecca Taylor velvet yoke top

I’m very honored to be one of featured stitchers once again. I was supposed to make the Holly jumpsuit by By Hand London but the pattern hasn’t reached me until now. Nothing to fear because I have my reliable Papercut Patterns!

The pattern is Ensis tee that I got as part of my Anima shorts winner prize. I have never made this pattern before but my experience with Papercut Paterns is always satisfactory so I didn’t have any doubt when cutting my fabric without making any muslin first.

The fabric is grey wool and acrylic blend jersey, and black stretch velvet for the yoke parts. I was inspired by this Rebecca Taylor velvet yoke top. I made size XXS and shortened the bodice about 2 cm. I also shortened the neckband to about 75% of the neckline to ensure a closer fit. The tee was made entirely on my overlocker except for finishing the hem.


Ensis tee Ensis tee

Ensis tee Ensis tee

As always the instructions are wonderful and the drafting is perfect. The result is exactly how I wanted it to be! It is subtle, versatile, and very wearable. Also, black velvet is so hard to photograph! I think these photos can’t really show how wonderful this tee is. This will be my new favorite to wear this fall!

Ensis tee Ensis tee

What are you sewing for yourself this week? Don’t forget to check out Rachael’s post about Selfish Sewing Week and enter the raffle for a chance of fabulous prizes!

Pattern is Ensis tee by Papercut Patterns, size XXS.

Weekend, September 2014

Great jacket

Licca in her great jacket

Last Saturday we went to the Doll Culture Exhibition. It was such an eye candy not only for doll lovers, but also for fashion and sewing enthusiasts. The exhibition is taking place in the Tokyo City View Observation Deck in Roppongi Hills, so you can also get great view from there.

The exhibition features 5 different types of dolls: Licca, Jenny, Barbie, Blythe, and Dollfie, along with several kinds of vintage dolls from as far as the sixties. I love to see how the fashion of the era is reflected to the dolls clothes and features.

Check out this 1982 Licca doll in her great jacket! It reminds me of Papercut Rigel bomber jacket. I also love her green pants and red shoes!


Vintage Dakkochan

There was also Dakkochan! I had this doll when I was little and it was one of my favorite toy.

After I moved to Japan, I saw a Dakkochan in a store in Nakano but it was so expensive! I miss my childhood Dakkochan.

It is interesting to note that Takara company who produced this doll was criticized because it was considered racist, but I never saw it that way before I read more about Dakkochan. I guess children don’t have things like that in their minds.

After seeing this exhibition, I kinda want to buy a doll so I can sew a fabulous mini wardrobe for it. But… maybe not. Too many hobbies that I can handle at one time and I also don’t feel that I can spare any space for the doll and her future extensive wardrobe. Maybe someday! In the meantime, I love living in this place where doll culture is alive and so well received.

Look at these dolls! Kawaii!

Self-drafted bra set

White bra set White bra set
I just found out that a bra is not called ‘a pair of bra’! My apology if I was being confusing by talking about ‘a pair of bra’ and ended up just posting one. Where’s the other?! There are a pair of shoes, a pair of pants, and bra has two identical things on it just like shoes and pants, so why isn’t it called a pair of bra?? English is confusing….

Anyway… I recently made a new bra and panties set. They may look plain without all the colorful fabric and lace like my previous ones, but I’m so happy with this set because I drafted the pattern myself. I feel like going a level up in lingerie making now!

White bra set White bra set

I used the book ‘Patternmaking for Underwear Design’ by Kristina Shin to draft this pattern. Thank you to Melissa of Fehrtrade that have brought the book to my attention, you can also read her wonderful review of the book in her post. If you love pattern drafting you will love this book!

The book has drafting techniques for basic blocks for bodice, skirt, and T-shirt; 6 bra patterns, 4 corsetry patterns, 4 panty patterns, 5 sleepwear patterns, and the last chapter for camisole, bodysuit, and leggings patterns. All your needs are covered!

A note to remember though -and maybe the most important one-, the bra and corsetry patterns are drafted for size 34B. If you’re in size other than 34B and  want to use this book, you have to be able to grade the pattern. I usually use size 28F or 30D which fortunately has the same cup size as 34B so I only have to grade (shorten) the band. The cups on size 34B has the same volume as the cups on size 36A, 32C, 30D, 28F, 26G.

The drafting techniques uses the underwire as a starting point. So basically you trace around the underwire and start drafting around it. I love this technique because it makes sure that my underwire wouldn’t be either too short or too long. For this set, I drafted the basic underwire bra and the brief patterns. The bra pattern will later be used as a base for the other bra patterns.


Here is a quick muslin that I made to test the fit of the bra. The foam lining of the bra is in 3 pieces while the outside layer is two pieces. After checking the fit, I narrowed the center bridge area, a common alteration for me. I notice mine are a close-set and bottom rounded pair.

I use foam lining from Makebra shop (my favorite foam lining!), and white lycra for the outer fabric. The band is power net and all other notions are from Merckwaerdigh store.

The inside seams on the foam cup are covered with strips of tricot binding. The outer layer has topstitching on either side of the seams. Initially I planned to make a plain white bra set but then I added a wide lace strips on the upper edge. Maybe plain white is too boring.

White bra set White bra set

White bra set White bra set

1-P1340989I love that the bra pattern creates a rounded shape that suits me, not as pointed as Pin-Up Girls patterns. But the beauty of drafting the pattern yourself is that you can create any shape that you want. Here is a washed out picture of the bra on me in case you’re wondering about the fit. Next time I will add some boning on the side seams.

The brief pattern creates a basic everyday panties that sits slighly below the waist and provides enough coverage around the back. Now I have two basic patterns that I can use as a base for the next ones!

White bra set White bra set

White bra set

Patterns are self-drafted.

SJ tee and Sandra jeans

SJ tee and Sandra jeans SJ tee and Sandra jeans
These are my newest favorite items of clothing! They were actually finished about a month ago and I’ve been wearing them a lot ever since.

The top was made with the merino wool from the Anima pants winner prize that I got last month. I thought the sewing pattern should come from Papercut Patterns as well, so I bought the SJ tee PDF pattern. I love the instant-ness of PDF pattern but Papercut patterns packagings are so cute so I kinda regret not buying the paper version.

SJ tee is a slouchy fit tee with the option of a long or short fitted raglan sleeve with wide cuff. It has full length and cropped length options and short or long sleeves options. I made size XXS in full length with short sleeves options.

SJ tee and Sandra jeans SJ tee and Sandra jeans

I made petite alteration by shortening the bodice length 2 cm above waist and 1 cm across the raglan lines. This alteration also shortened the neckline so it is not too wide for me.

When finishing the neckline, I cut the neck band about 75% shorter from the neckline. The neck band is attached to the neckline using overlocker, stretched slighly to fit. Then I topstitched from the right side using zigzag stitches set on 0.5 width and 3 on length. The result is a neckline that is not too wide and ‘hugs’ the body.


Elastic as waistband interfacing

The jeans pattern is Sandra narrow leg jeans by Style Arc. This is a classic narrow legs jeans with contoured waistband slightly below waist. Fabric is dark denim with little stretch.

As usual the instructions for Style Arc patterns are pretty brief, but it shouldn’t be a problem if you are familiar with making jeans.

I did an experiment with the waistband by using wide elastic as interfacing. The elastic is attached to the waisband seam allowance using zigzag stitch without being stretched at all.

Then I finished the waistband and topstitched as usual. I believe this adds stability to the waitsband and preventing it from being stretched too fast. You can see that the waistband is slightly wrinkled when not being worn, but smoothed out on my body.

Other alterations are swayback adjustment and lots of leg shortening.


SJ tee and Sandra jeans
SJ tee and Sandra jeans
SJ tee and Sandra jeans SJ tee and Sandra jeans

I’m totally happy with these two! The top is very comfortable and the neckline is just right. I love the sleeves cuff because they keep me from being exposed when I raise my hand to hang on the train handles. Well, in case I forget to shave or something….

The jeans are the the best fit pants that I’ve made so far! Unfortunately I made a slight mistake that I realized too late. Can you guess what it is? I was waiting for the bus and going to put a coin to my coin pocket, but it wasn’t there! Turned out I have stitched the coin pocket to the left side instead of the right. I have thought about taking it off altogether but then decided to keep it there as a reminder for my next jeans making. Or maybe I will take it off anyway because I keep reaching for the non-existent coin pocket….

SJ tee and Sandra jeans SJ tee and Sandra jeans

Top pattern is SJ tee by Papercut Patterns, (PDF) size XXS.
Jeans pattern is Sandra narrow leg jeans by Style Arc, size 6.

Racerback bra

Soft bra set (Merckwaerdigh BHS10) Soft bra set (Merckwaerdigh BHS10)

Merckwaerdigh BHS10

Unfortunately I haven’t continued my adventure in making sports bra, but during my ‘research’ (googling) I came upon this blog post by Katherine. In the post, she has made various types of sports bra prototypes, and one of them was made with Merckwaerdigh BHS10 that I happen to have.

I followed Katherine’s lead and modified the pattern so the edges are finished with elastics rather than stretch lace. The fabric is grey jersey with green color on the wrong side, leftover from my Plantain top. The edges are finished with fuchsia plush elastic.

My version is not a sports bra though because it doesn’t offer enough support. I prefer sports bra with underwire like the Panache bra that I dissected the other day. This softbra is great for sleeping or lounging at home. They are very comfortable!

Soft bra set (Merckwaerdigh BHS10) Soft bra set (Merckwaerdigh BHS10)

Soft bra set (Merckwaerdigh BHS10) Soft bra set (Merckwaerdigh BHS10)
Soft bra set (Merckwaerdigh BHS10) Soft bra set (Merckwaerdigh BHS10)

Pattern is Merckwaerdigh BHS10 size 30D.

Small Fry Skinny Jeans – Perfect Pattern Parcel #4

Small Fry Skinny jeans Small Fry Skinny jeans

Sidra is always in need of new clothes as he keeps growing. But it is not easy finding clothes for boys, and finding good boys’ sewing patterns is even more difficult. So I was quite excited when I heard the theme for the Perfect Pattern Parcel #4 , which is boys’ essential fall wardrobe. Just what I need!

Here is the patterns from The Perfect Pattern Parcel #4! The parcel is now on sale for limited time from August 22 September 5. patternpacel4 Like the previous parcels, parcel #4 features five patterns by indie designers. The patterns are:


Bonus pattern: Knight Hoodie

You can choose how much you want to pay for these parcel, and if you choose $26 or greater, you get to unlock this Bonus Pattern: Knight Hoodie by Charming Doodle!

As before, part of the pattern parcel sale will go to Donor’s Choose, an organization that matches up the needs of teachers and their students for specific projects with willing donors.

I was offered to participate in the blog tour and given all the patterns in the parcel. The first thing I did was showing them all to Sidra and let him choose. I was actually intrigued about the Knight Hoodie pattern, it looks like fun! But Sidra said that it’s for little boys who want to play pretend. He said that he wanted clothes for big boys in solid dark colors, no funny prints, no bright colors, no cute details. Hey, where’s the fun?? Small Fry Skinny jeans Small Fry Skinny jeans Small Fry Skinny jeans
Finally we agreed upon the Small Fry Skinny Jeans. It is a great basic jeans pattern with limitless options. You can make them with shorts length and full length, flat-felled seams, topstitched waistband, full or half zipper, and patch or inset front pockets with coin pocket. The waist is elasticated with adjustable buttons on the facing inside, a very thoughtful detail for children’s pants.

All the options and details are explained thoroughly with lots of photos and step by step instructions. I think this is also a great pattern for beginners who want to try a bigger project.

The pattern calls for woven fabric with a little stretch but I have this dark corduroy in my stash that I wanted to use. Sidra is a bit small for an eleven years old so I use size 9 for this pattern.

As requested, I made the most basic five pockets pants with contrast double topstitching and full zipper fly – no cute details whatsoever, not even the tag and button! The finished result looks just like a pair of ordinary pants, but Sidra loves them so much that he wanted to wear them to school rightaway! He said he wants more pants like this pair. I think I can call this project a success!
Small Fry Skinny jeans Small Fry Skinny jeans

Blog tour! Check out all these awesome blogs to see their versions of the six patterns in the parcel:

casa crafty || Lulu & Celeste || Keep Calm and Carrion || Max California || Amanda Rose || little betty sews || Kadiddlehopper || Radiant Home Studio || La Pantigana || Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy Crafts || Friends Stitched Together || || Make It Perfect ||Modern Handmade || GYCT Designs || Needle and Ted || Mae & K || Mimi’s Mom || Pienkel || Once Upon a Sewing Machine || FABulous Home Sewn || Gray Skies || The Crazy Tailor || Nine Stitches || Oliver’s Fancy || a happy stitch || lady and the gents || Our Family Four || Swoodson Says || verypurpleperson || Things for Boys || Rebekah Sews || Sew a Straight Line || la inglesita || Made by Sara || Knot Sew Normal || Gracious Threads || Sofilantjes

Pattern is Small Fry Skinny Jeans by Titchy Threads – part of Perfect Pattern Parcel #4, size 9.

Coppélia Cardi – Papercut Patterns

Coppélia cardi Coppélia cardi

You might remember these Anima shorts that I made last month, they won the Anima pants competition in the short length category! So happy! I chose the knit pack as the prize and they arrived a couple of weeks ago. Thank you Papercut Patterns!

The Knit pack prize

The Knit pack

The knit pack includes the Coppélia and the Ensis Tee patterns, and 1.6 metres each of three merino wool fabrics. I have never sewed with merino wool before and they are sooo wonderful. They are soft and warm while being thin, and glide easily under the sewing foot. They also dry very fast and has wonderful stretch recovery. So far I’ve used two of the fabrics and this cardi is one of them.

I have been eyeing the Coppélia cardi since I saw it around the blogosphere, so it is just so fortunate that now I have both the pattern and the fabric! This is the cropped version in size XXS, the only pattern alterations made were shortening the bodice and sleeves about 2.5 cm.

All the seams were finished with serger except for topstitching around the bottom hem and the side hole for the ties. The instructions are very clear and straightforward, and they made the sewing process quite fast, I finished this cardi in less than an hour. A note to take was to start stitching to neck band from the center back while pulling it down to one side, then went back to the center back down to the other side. I love that this made the neck band balanced on either side.

Coppélia cardi Coppélia cardi

This is actually a color that I rarely choose, but surprisingly it doesn’t look too bad on me, does it? I love how the cardi hugs my body and that there is no neck gaping. I won’t change anything if I made this the next time, maybe make the full length version but there is no need for further alteration!

Coppélia cardi Coppélia cardi

So far this cardi is the fifth Papercut Patterns that I made (more exactly is the sixth – there’s another one being washed) and I love them all! I never had to make too many alterations and they always look good and easy to wear. Looks like we get along very well. Also, have you seen their newest pattern, the Clover dress?? I’m looking at my stash right now looking for the perfect fabric!

Coppélia cardi Coppélia cardi

Pattern is Coppélia by Papercut Patterns size XXS.
Fabric is merino wool from The Fabric Store.

Making a sports bra

Panache sports bra

Panache sports bra

I don’t usually do much sports but when I do, I wear a pair of Panache sports bra. This sports bra is quite wonderful. It is an encapsulated type, which means that each breast is supported individually. The bra is double layered so all the the seams are enclosed between the layers.

Since I only have one pair of sports bra, this pair deteriorated rather quickly although I only wear it for a short time about twice a week. I’ve ordered another one but I wonder if I can make myself a pair of decent sports bra.

I took apart my old Panache to see how it was constructed. So, what makes a bra a sports bra?

The outer layer has mesh fabric in the center front and stretchy wicking materials for the rest. This layer acts as a cover and attached to the inside layer along the outer edges.
Panache sports bra Panache sports bra

All the seams are enclosed between the outer and inside layers. On the inside layer, the bridge and frame are made of absorbent jersey underlined with non stretch mesh. The back band is powernet, strengthened by the wicking material on the outer layer. The bra has foam cups, all the edges of the cups reinforced with a strip of interfacing. The underwires are enclosed in a wide casing that has silicone cushioning inside.

Panache sports bra

Panache sports bra, deconstructed

The bra has wide elastic (13 mm) on the bottom edges, the stitches that hold the elastic can only be seen from the inside. The upper edges are finished with foldover elastic. The straps are shaped and padded, connected to the 2 cm width back straps. The straps can also be hooked on the back to make it a racerback. The hook and eye parts are thicker with extra cushioning.

I think both layers are first constructed individually, then joined along the bottom edges with the wide elastic. The elastic then topstitched on the inside layer with zigzag stitches. The outer layer is folded up to cover the inside layer and basted along the top edges of the cups and band. The top edges of the front are finished with foldover elastic and the covered straps are then attached to the bra. Next, foldover elastics are applied along the padded straps and bra band.

In addition to the drafting, materials and construction techniques are very important in a sports bra. Some of these materials are somewhat difficult to find. I’ve never found the silicone cushioned underwire casing or the cushioned hook and eye parts. But I guess these can be eliminated or alternated by other materials. Otherwise I can reuse the parts of my Panache bra.

Making lines on foam muslin

Making lines on foam muslin

The Panache bra has different drafting for the inside layer and the outer layer. The inside layer has cup seamlines and the outer layer is only a cover. I plan to make mine in the same way.

I started working on the outer layer by making a foam muslin with my Pin-Up Girls bra pattern. The Bra-makers Manual Volume 1 by Beverly Johnson has a chapter on drafting a sports bra using this manner.

After drawing my design lines on the foam muslin, I cut them up and traced the pieces to paper.


Cutting the lines

Cutting the lines

Tracing to paper

Tracing to paper, seam allowances added

This is my first muslin made with the paper pattern. The seam allowances are not trimmed yet, thus the cup wrinkles. I might move the straps a bit closer to the center front later but otherwise it looks quite good! In fact it can also work for a simple single layered sports bra without all the complicated things inside.

First muslin

First muslin

Sorry if this post has become quite lengthy and geeky! I really really love taking apart things to see how it looks inside. When I was little, I cut open my Barbie’s legs to see how the knee could bend like that (turned out it has metal hinge inside). Then I put away the body because I didnt want my mother to find the mutilated Barbie (-_-“)

Next I will continue perfecting the drafting and started to research some materials for the sports bra!

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