Elementary graduation suit: in progress

Making graduation suit Making graduation suit

Sidra is graduating from elementary school this week! It seemed that not a long time ago he was entering first grade. Time flies so fast. It seems that not a long time ago I made him an entrance ceremony suit.

I asked Sidra to pick the color of the suit he’s going to wear to his graduation ceremony. He said, “I want a white suit!”

I don’t have anything against white suit, really. There must be a right occasion for that, but this is an important event for all the graduating children. It won’t be fair if everyone has their attention caught on this one kid wearing sparkling white suit amidst the sea of greys and blacks.

After several back and forth, fortunately we were able to settle on grey or brown. I bought this grey tweed fabric in Okadaya, Shinjuku. Before I started a project, I love to put the fabrics and all the notions in one plastic bag to make it easier later to find something.

Since Sidra is a bit skinny, I use pattern size 134 cm although his height is 137 cm. The muslin was a bit short, so I lengthened the body about 2.5 cm.

Making graduation suit Making graduation suit

I was considering using proper hair canvas for the interfacing but decided to just use the fusible ones. I’ve never used hair canvas before so I am curious! Maybe for a future project.

Making graduation suit Making graduation suit

I cut the undercollar on bias so it would roll better. Here it is being pinned on the dressmaker’s ham after being steamed into shape. The jacket also has a back stay cut from muslin and a couple of thin shoulder pads. The shoulder pads help to shape the shoulder and upper sleeves.

After stitching the facing, I basted them into place and pressed them.

Making graduation suit Making graduation suit

My husband ordered an adjustable tie from an online store but it turned out to be in adult size. I cut it open, shortened it, and put it back together.

Making graduation suit Making graduation suit

The book is Making Trousers by David Page Coffin, it is a great book with lots of information on construction techniques that couture seamstress might use. I don’t usually use this book for making ordinary pants, but this is a special occasion that deserves special treatment.

Making graduation suit Making graduation suit

Sidra said the fabric is itchy, so I added lining to the pants. The pants has back welt pocket, zipper fly, and grosgrain ribbon waist facing. I added a waistcoat to the outfit, which has a couple of welt pockets on the front. I think by this time I have had enough exercise on making welt pockets!
Making graduation suit Making graduation suit

His comment? “The pockets are not big enough.” LOL. I might change the pockets later after the graduation ceremony. More pictures later!

All patterns from Burdastyle, size 134:
Jacket: Boy’s Classic Button-Up Blazer 02/2015 #142
Trousers: Suit Trousers 02/2012 #138
Waistcoat: Boy’s Waistcoat 02/2013 #145

Culottes and tops

Cropped top and culottes Cropped top and culottes

I haven’t sewed for quite a while because it was too cold so I’m happy that it is now getting warmer everyday! This cropped top is part of Burdastyle February Flagship kit that contains about 40 patterns.

I printed the pattern at 92% as I usually do for Burdastyle patterns, not realizing that it is already a petite pattern! So I have to add the length back to the pattern. I should have used size 17 in normal printed size (100%). If you’re not a petite, this top might be too short as it is already the perfect length for a petite person.

Cropped top and culottes Cropped top and culottes

Cropped top Culottes

The fabric is some medium-weight cotton with Japanese style pattern. I think I bought it about 5 years ago to make a shirt for Sidra but then he didn’t like the fabric…. Anyway, the top is very simple with only three pattern pieces. The neckline and underarm were finished with bias binding. The original pattern has the back completely open, only connected by a button and loop, I changed it so it is closed with an opening at the top.

I also made a pair of culottes with this Burda pattern, as usual in size 38 printed at 92%. The culottes has two front big pleats, back darts, zipper fly, and a couple of side seam pockets. I hemmed the culottes at midi length.

Cropped top and culottes Cropped top and culottes

At first I wasn’t so sure about wearing culottes as this is a new silhouette for me, both culottes and the midi length. I like them, they are more comfortable than a skirt or a pair of pants. My husband said that they look like silat (lndonesian martial arts) pants though!

Striped T-shirt and culottes Striped T-shirt and culottes

Since I was already at the sewing machine, I also whipped up a quick T-shirt with some striped jersey. The pattern is based on Ensis tee by Papercut patterns. The top parts are connected back to the bottom parts so it becomes a regular T-shirt pattern. Then I cut a curved form on the front part to make the stripes get distorted a bit at the seamlines.

It is still too cold to wear these tops without a jacket or coat now but I’m ready for spring!
Striped T-shirt and culottes Striped T-shirt

Striped T-shirt and culottes Striped T-shirt and culottes

Top pattern is Cap Sleeve Cropped Top 02/2015 #127 (PDF) – part of February Burdastyle Flagship kit, size 19 printed at 92%.
Culottes pattern is Wide Patterned Culottes 03/2015 #126A – Burdastyle(PDF), size 38 printed at 92%.
T-shirt pattern is Ensis Tee – Papercut patterns, size XXS (altered).

Saboten the chihuahua

Saboten the chihuahua

After Shake the dachshund left, we took a break from fostering for several months. We started again recently and this cutie pooch has been staying with us for a couple of weeks. His name is Saboten, which means ‘cactus’ in Japanese. It is not his real name though, so he doesn’t really understand when someone calls ‘Saboten!’. Nobody knows his real name or age because Saboten was found abandoned in a cage. This is Saboten’s profile page in ARK website.

Saboten the chihuahua

I can’t imagine why someone would just get rid of a dog like Saboten. He behaves very well, doesn’t make a mess and doesn’t demand attention all the time. He’s very confident and not as noisy as most chihuahuas. Most of all, he really loves children. My house is often full of boys after school and Saboten just casually hangs around with the boys. Our previous foster dogs would get very nervous, hiding or barking all the time.

Playing with Saboten

So it is not surprising that he already found a family! The family has several school-age children, perfect for Saboten. He will be leaving at the end of the week. I will remember Saboten as one of the sweetest dog that I’ve ever known. Good luck Saboten!

Saboten and Fuwawa
Saboten the chihuahua
With Saboten
Family picture with Saboten

Denim repairs

Apparently not much sewing done in the past couple of weeks. I guess I’d rather stay under the kotatsu than stand in front of my sewing machine feeling cold. I managed to finish a small mending project though.

Sometime ago I posted about repairing the pocket lining on my husband’d jeans. The jeans had since started showing holes on the crotch area. I could have made a new pair for my husband, but it seems that once you start fixing something, it become more difficult to just throw it away. So I googled ‘denim repairs’ and stared at the images in my screen.

Something about a piece of clothing that got repaired, patched, and darned over and over again stroke a chord in my heart. I think it is very beautiful and full of love. When something is broken, you try repairing it instead of just throwing it away. It is love. And it applies to a lot of things, not just denim repairs.

With my newfound philosophy, I went about repairing my husband’s jeans crotch. The holes are still quite small, but they would go bigger in no time. I ironed a couple of thin interfacing patch behind the holes. You can see the zigzagged raw edges on the inside. I didn’t have a serger three years ago and used zigzag stitch to finish all my raw edges.

Mending jeans Mending jeans

Mending jeans

Darning the holes was quite simple. I used three step zigzag stitch on my sewing machine with wider width and short length, in this case 5 in width and 0.5 in length. Then I simply went over the holes back and forth until they closed up. I also did the same to the other side of the crotch as the thread on this area had weakened.

The back and forth stitches creates a new layer of ‘fabric’ that cover the holes. I think the result is quite good! The color of the thread could have been matched better next time, but it’s not bad for my first denim repair job.

Next, I went to the back pocket area. My husband keeps his train card pocket in his right back pocket and the friction has created several holes there.

Obviously I can’t use my sewing machine to fix these holes, unless I unpicked the stitches, fixed the holes, and attached the pocket back. Actually I had disassembled the whole front pockets and assembled them back when I fixed the pocket lining, but this time I wanted to use other techniques.

Mending jeans

I found some images of traditional mending where the holes are patched by hand. So I cut some denim patches and attached them to the back of the holes using several running stitches. I kinda like the finished result, although next time I might use thicker thread for it.

Mending jeans

I really enjoyed making these repairs that I planned to keep darning and patching these jeans until they become too ragged to be worn anymore. One might think that I was so unselfish for doing all of these, but I know that it was all for my own amusement!

Soft bra set – Merckwaerdigh BHS10

Soft bra set Soft bra set

Merckwaerdigh BHS10
Merckwaerdigh BHS10

My first sewing in 2015! Actually I didn’t really plan to make this set. I was tidying up my lingerie supply stash to see what I have when I found some leftover fabric. I made the peach and grey lingerie set in 2011, the bra is not worn anymore as the size turned out to be not quite right.

This time I use Merkwaerdigh BHS10 for the pattern. It is such a useful set of patterns with different backs that can be mixed and matched. I chose the soft bra option, the yellow one on the bottom left in this picture.

I still have some grey plush elastics just enough for the underband and the sides of the bra. But for the panties I use peach colored plush elastic.

Soft bra set Soft bra set

The bra uses the lace edges on front and inner straps, I reinforced these area with clear elastic stitched on three step zigzag stitch. The bra straps on the back are reused from the first peach and grey set.

The lower cup and bridge of the bra are lined with non-stretch fabric and the back band is lined with powernet. All the seams, except for where the side lace meets the cups, are enclosed within the fabric and lining. The side lace is stitched on top of the cups using three step zigzag stitches.

Soft bra set Soft bra set

I wish I have enough fabric for a second panties, but there was only little remnants left after I finished cutting. Well, I still have a couple of panties from my first set so I can wear them with this bra.

Soft bra set Soft bra set

Pattern is Merckwaerdigh BHS10 size 30D. Panties pattern is self-drafted.

Sewing in 2014

Happy New Year! The three of us caught influenza just a few days before new year so we didn’t do anything special this year. We are better now and hopefully next week we can go out and enjoy the holiday. Except for my husband who has to go back to work. Boo!

Anyway, here’s a compilation of all the sewing I did in 2014. I love doing this every year so I can see what kind of things that I should make more, make less, or stop making.

For myself: Surprisingly only two dresses! They didn’t get much wear either so maybe I don’t really need more dresses in my life at the moment. Everything else got worn quite often, and my favorites are the Burda military jacket and wool coat.
Lola woven pants Plantain top and Sara leggings Floral bomber jacket Kate dress

Issy top and Elle pants Summer concert tee Cyd top and Wallis pants Bellatrix blazer

Coco cat topRunning belt Tara top Striped Jorna dress

Plaid shirt and denim skirt Scout tee and Anima pants Scout tee and Anima pants Coppélia cardi

SJ tee and Sandra jeans Ensis tee Oversized cardigan  Bronte top

Wool coat Wyome boyfriend jeans Military jacket

Linden sweatshirt Linden sweatshirt


Lingerie: I love and wear all of them! Except for those tights. It turned out that the back seaming really bothers me because I always try to make sure that they are straight all the time, which is impossible. Too bad, because those tights are really nice to look at.

I started to learn drafting my own bra and panties from a book, and have been really enjoying it. The last two sets that I made were self-drafted. Making lingerie is still one of my favorite thing!

Bronze bra and panties set Here Kitty Kitty set #2

Rose hip tights Rose hip tights Rose hip tights Rose hip tights

Fuchsia and black set Colorful dotty bra set

Soft bra set (Merckwaerdigh BHS10) White bra set

Print mesh bra set


For Sidra: Two pairs of pants and a couple T-shirts – both in stripes. As he is growing, Sidra no longer wants unnecessary details on his clothes and prefers them to be as practical as possible. Which is not very challenging to sew for me. ‘What? No more colors and cute characters??’

It is okay though, he is becoming a man with his own taste and style. I will learn to know more about what he wants to wear. He really likes those jeans though, so I can make him another pair this year.

Stripes t-shirt and khaki pants Small Fry Skinny jeans


For my husband: Speaking of jeans, this is what I made for my husband. I really enjoyed making those jeans, all the details are very fun to make. Again, this is all about what I like and not what he likes. Of course my husband will wear anything that I make for him, but he doesn’t actually care about a specific kind of denim. He wears these jeans all the time, but he just needs any pants that look good and are comfortable to wear.

This year I want to learn to know more about what he really wants to wear, and I will make them if they are interesting to me.

Men's jeans FOP07Men's jeans FOP07 Men's jeans FOP07





For Fuwawa: Do dogs need clothes? They don’t care about fashion and they already have fur to protect them. I agree that dogs don’t care about fashion, but some dogs do need clothes! Fuwawa has very thin and wispy hair that you can see her pink skin. She also has some health problems that gets worse when the weather changes. I notice that she doesn’t shiver as much when she’s wearing clothes. Of course, dog clothes are fun to make, a good way to use up leftovers, and they are just soooo cute!

Fur bolero Dog raglan shirt Dog turtleneck T-shirt Dog T-shirt Dog T-shirt Dog overall

Fuwawa’s T-shirts

The good thing about having a dog is that you can use all your leftovers to make them some T-shirts. Unless you have a big dog of course….

Fuwawa is a Chinese Crested Powder Puff and although her coat is long, it is also quite thin so she gets cold easily. Wearing clothes is a necessity for her, especially in winter. She is not an active dog though, you can find her sleeping near the heater all day but I noticed that she gets a bit more active when she’s wearing clothes. Just a litle bit though!

Here is some of the clothes that I’ve made for her this year!

PDF patterns by MillaMilla (Japanese store, Etsy store), size M.

Linden sweatshirt

Linden sweatshirt
Linden sweatshirt Linden sweatshirt
It is getting colder here in Tokyo that I can’t think of sewing anything else but sweater! So I’m very happy to see that the newest pattern from Grainline studio is a sweatshirt pattern.

You must have seen several versions of this Linden sweatshirt popping up around the sewing blogs. I can see why so many people are attracted to it. It is a basic and quite straightforward pattern for a sweatshirt with raglan sleeves and scooped neckline.

I made the black one first. The fabric is very interesting double-faced knit, black on the outside and white on the inside. It is hard to capture by the camera, but the fabric is really more interesting than shown in these photos! In the detail pictures, you can see the white color kinda showing between the black weave.

Linden sweatshirtI made the sweatshirt in size 0, view A. I like my sweater longer so the bodice is only shortened about 2 cm. The sleeves are shortened 5 cm. I also widened the neck binding a bit because I think the finished neckline is a bit too wide.

Once I know what alterations that I should make, sewing the sweatshirt only took about 15 minutes. I used overlocker for all the seams and sewing machine for the topstitching.

The second version is made with dark blue/purple wool knit. I only had 1.5 m of the fabric so I used view B for the bodice. The bodice is shortened 2.5 cm and the sleeves are shortened 4 cm. I like how the front is scooped a bit and shorter than the back.

The only downside of these sweaters is that my skin doesn’t like wool! I have to always wear long sleeved T-shirt and protect the skin around my neck with fabric scarf. Otherwise I will get some rash around my neck where the binding touch my skin.

Linden sweatshirt Linden sweatshirt

Linden sweatshirt Linden sweatshirt

Pattern is Linden sweatshirt by Grainline studio, size 0.

Wool coat

Wool coat Wool coat
First of all, I want to say thank you for all the sweet wishes on my birthday post! I feel so happy!

You might have seen this coat in that particular post. I have just finished it a day before my birthday. It has been a while since I made a winter coat, the previous one was this Pistachio coat that I made two years ago using coat pattern from the Burdastyle Sewing Handbook. I love that coat and have been wearing it a lot but it is a bit fitted so I can’t wear thick sweater or too much layers underneath.

Recently I’ve been seeing oversized coats everywhere and I love the look. The shapes are usually quite boxy and the lines are influenced by menswear. The boxy shape allows lots of layers underneath while still keeping it comfortable.

Since I was quite happy with my military jacket, I used another Burdastyle pattern to make my coat. This time the pattern is Wool Long Coat 08/2012 #101B. Like before, I printed it at 92% and cut size 38. If you’re curious on how I came up with this number, here’s the explanation:

  • – my normal Burdastyle size is 34 with bust 31.5″ and my height is 60″.
  • – Burdastyle pattern is drafted for height 66″. Shrank by 92%, this number became 60.95″ that is close to my height.
  • – Since size 34 is now 92% too small for me, I need to choose a larger size.
  • – The normal bust for size 38 is 34.75″, and it becomes 31.97″. when shrank by 92%.

One might ask, why should I go through all this trouble instead of just shortening the pattern? Patterns drafted for taller body usually have details that are not proportional to petite body. The collar might be a tad too big, or the neckline might be too low, and so on. By shrinking the pattern, these details are shrinked as well and become more proportionate.

After shrinking the pattern, I usually lower the armhole a bit because armholes for petites are usually not that much different as for taller bodies. I also shortened the hem of this coat a bit more. It is always best to make a muslin first of course, but I didn’t make one because I have used these alterations on Burdastyle patterns several times with good results (and I also don’t like making muslins!).

The fabric is black and dark navy wool that I found in a small fabric store for USD7. It has subtle big plaid pattern that was a real pain to match because they almost couldn’t be seen when closer! I considered using some fun fabric for the lining but settled on ordinary black instead because I want this coat to be versatile for all my clothes.

Wool coat Wool coat
Like all Burdastyle patterns, the instructions for this pattern is quite brief so I made several improvisation. The whole front pieces are block-fused, as are the facings, hem, sleeves hem and top part of the sleeves. I added a partial back stay to the back pieces using a piece of flannel. The collar roll lines are reinforced with a strip of interfacing. The undercollar was cut on bias so it would roll easily.

This is a simple coat though -the pockets are on the seam lines, no sleeves slit or back slit, and the closure are snap-on buttons-, so the actual sewing was quite straightforward. I spent more time fusing the interfacing, pressing, and handstitching than using the sewing machine.

Wool coat
Wool coat, inside out

All the seam allowances are catchstitched to the fabric or interfacing. Before I sewed the lining, I tried on the coat with a couple of shoulder pads to determine the location for the pads. Pressing is important in each step! Fortunately the fabric was very easy to shape and behaved very well under steam iron.

After attaching the lining, the front edge and collar are basted and pressed. The upper collar and under collar are catchsticthed from the inside along the roll lines. Then I handstitched a row of pick stitches along the edge so it would roll to the appropriate side. I quite love how the tiny stitches disappear into the thick fabric.

Wool coat Wool coat
Wool coat Wool coat

The coat turned out just the way I wanted it to be! The fit is boxy and the length is just right. It is quite warm so I can wear it with a long sleeved T-shirt underneath. When the weather gets colder I can wear more layers!

The last couple projects that I have made with Burdastyle patterns turned out quite well, and I’m very happy about it. I kinda want to sew another coat -perhaps in bright color-, but how many coats can one woman have?
Wool coat Wool coat

Pattern is Wool Long Coat 08/2012 #101B from Burdastyle (PDF), size 38 printed at 92%.

Feeling loved

#Autumn day
My husband woke me up with a birthday cheese cake! ❤️
Birthday morning

Today is my 43rd birthday!

My husband came to the bedroom this morning with my favorite cheesecake and candles. Here’ a picture of me blowing the candles while trying to keep Fuwawa away from the cake. Sidra was still half asleep!

Sidra and my husband then gave me their presents, and each has a story about their presents.

A couple of days ago, Sidra told me that he left something at school and had to get back to retrieve it. He went for a bit longer time than usual, but I thought that maybe he met his friends at school and played for a while.

After he left, I walked with Fuwawa for our afternoon walk. Then we met Sidra biking back. When he saw me, he immediately confessed, “Okay, you caught me! Actually I didn’t go to school, I went to get you some presents!”

Turned out that he biked to a store 2 km away from home to buy me the presents. But if he didn’t tell me, I wouldn’t have guessed! It was very funny that he just couldn’t stand keeping a secret.

I promised him that I wouldn’t look at the presents until he gave them to me this morning. They were a knit hat and… a draught tape (the one to be placed under the door to keep the draught from creeping in). I often feel cold so maybe that was why he bought the draught tape. He told me that as he didn’t have much time at the store, he had to make a quick decision about the presents.

Meanwhile, my husband went to a store in Shibuya to find me some Merchant & Mills sewing notions. We went there several weeks ago and I was gawking over those sewing notions, so he thought that he had got his presents covered. But when he got to the store, they were no longer there! Turned out that they were only sold in that store for a limited time. My husband tried to locate the Merchant & Mills store but it was far from his office, and he couldn’t go there without a good reason.

So he came up with plan B. I sometimes talked about Liberty fabrics, so my husband went to a fabric store to buy some Liberty fabric. There he faced upon rolls and rolls of colorful Liberty fabric and suddenly felt overwhelmed. “Which one that I should buy? How much that I should buy? Would 2 metres enough? 3 metres? And how do I buy these fabrics?” he thought. These decisions were apparently too hard to make, so he got out of the store and put some coins into the toy vending machine to get me some craft-themed mobile strap.

Not sure what else to buy, he went to Muji store and decided to buy me two pairs of gloves. One for when it’s cold and the other pair is for when it’s… colder.

There seems to be a pattern here, all the presents are for keeping the cold away. Maybe I have complained too much about feeling cold!

I am so touched by all these attention from my husband and Sidra. I feel so loved and I don’t know what I have done to deserve all of these! I will remember what I feel today and treasure it in my heart forever! ♥♥♥

My 43rd birthday presents!