Kochi Kimono

Hi team! This is another long delayed blog post, I sewed up this Papercut Patterns Kochi Kimono last spring, but I’ve only just got pictures of it. I was planning on making another one in a Japanese cotton that I bought in London, and I planned to post them together, but I didnt have enough cotton in the end so it ended up as as this skirt. Then I planned to make a lightweight version in a wool/silk blend, but that hasn’t happened yet either…so you just get my original version!

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I made variation 1 in a fairly hefty felted wool blend from deep in my stash. The pattern does say you can use any type of woven fabric, but I think this is probably at the upper limits of what works for this garment! It’s heavy and stiff, but I actually love the severe, architectural look of it. It seems like a pretty deliberate contrast to a standard silky kimono jacket, and I like it, even though Hamish said it was very batty art teacher-ish! I love the split hem and the big roomy pockets, though the pockets end up being a bit weird when I have it done up.

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I made a couple of changes to the pattern to accommodate the thickness of the wool. I narrowed the sleeves by an inch at the armpit, tapering to nothing at the wrist and hem, to get rid of some excess bulk there. The fabric still forms pretty large folds at the underarm, but I’m beginning to think that’s just the way kimono-style sleeves sit. If anyone had a fix for this let me know! Of course, that fold would be much less obvious in a softer fabric…The other change I made was to omit the ties, and replace them with a length of grosgrain ribbon on the left hand side, and two gunmetal D rings sewn into the seam that attaches the neckband on the right. I love the more industrial style of this closure with the rest of the jacket, I thought bows or ribbons would be a bit soft looking, and it’s not too silly looking when it’s undone.

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I didn’t finish any of the seams, as this felted wool doesn’t fray. If I had known how much I would end up loving this I would have bound the edges with something pretty, but never mind! I hand sewed the neckline binding over on the wrong side, so at least that’s nice and neat. All of the other hems are topstitched.

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I’m definitely going to make another version (or two) of this for next summer, I just need to remember what a fabric hog it is! I had 1.5m of the Japanese cotton, but as it was only 110cm wide I couldn’t fit the sleeve piece on. I think it would be especially nice in velvet or satin for a dressy jacket, something which is definitely missing from my wardrobe…

 

 

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90’s throwback

*edit to add: for some reason the pictures failed to upload properly for the first version of this post, which is the one that was emailed out if you follow me via email. I’m sorry about that!*

This revival of 90’s fashion is weirding me out a little bit, it’s the first time clothing I remember wearing when I was a kid is back in the shops! I vividly remember having a slip dress when I was 8 or 9, it was chocolate brown and had a cream ditzy floral print. I wore it over one of those white ribbed tee shirts that everyone had, probably with jelly sandals, and I thought I was so cool. And now, 20 years later, I’ve cycled back around to the cami-dress and tee shirt combo! I’m not doing jellies again though, those things gave me wicked blisters…


This is the Mito Cami/Dress from Papercut Patterns. I admit, I passed over this one when it was first released, it looked a bit too cleavage-y and the low back makes wearing a bra hard. Then I started seeing the whole slip and tee shirt combo coming back, and I changed my mind about it! I really like the shape of this pattern, the triangular bodice pieces and the scooped back are so pretty. I chose my usual Papercut size of XS, which is a size down from where my measurements put me, but which seems to fit best! 


I chose a very drapey dark teal rayon crepe from deep in my stash to try this out. I love how flowy the crepe is with this pattern, but it does hang very heavily from that central point where the skirt and bodice pieces meet. Something with a bit more structure (or less weight) would sit more smoothly there I think! I debated about whether I should sew fixed length straps, but in the end I followed the instructions and used lingerie sliders to make them adjustable. If I shorten the straps heaps I can hike the back of the dress up high enough to cover my bra band, though I doubt I’ll be wearing it alone! It’s a good option for a slip though…

I did make my life slightly more complicated by changing the order of construction so that I could line the bodice cleanly. I sewed the skirt pieces to just the outer bodice pieces, and then hand sewed the lining pieces over the seam so that it’s all nice and tidy inside. 


The tee shirt I’m wearing here is also a new one, it’s a crew neck Lark tee made in some more of the striped cotton/Lycra knit that I made a long sleeved version out of last year. I’ve used every version of the Lark pattern now! I used the short sleeve piece here, but I prefer the cap sleeve I think. Something to remember for next time! 

A Very Preppy Sigma Dress

Another holiday post! I’m hanging onto my holiday for dear life (can you tell?), it feels like we’ve been home forever…

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This is the Papercut Patterns Sigma Dress, made up in a medium weight yarn dyed cotton from The Fabric Store. This pattern has been out for ages, but hadn’t really been on my radar until I started looking for a simple dress pattern with a darted bodice and long sleeves to make a winter dress with. Obviously this isn’t the winter dress I was planning, I didn’t get around to making that before our trip (and it’s too warm now, it’ll need to wait until next winter), but I thought that a short sleeved version would be a handy dress to take with us.

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There was nothing in there, very disappointing.

I actually made up a muslin of this dress before cutting into this cotton, which showed that the bust dart was way too high for me. I ended up moving it down by over an inch, but now I’ve got something funny going on with fabric pooling under the dart. I’m going to have another play with the bodice, maybe doing a small FBA to try to get rid of that excess. I’m not too bothered about it with this version, it’s a bit rough anyway! I utterly failed to match the gingham across the centre back seam as well, so it’s definitely not a perfect dress. Aside from the weird fit in the bust, I’m happy with the way this pattern fits. There is a bit of ease in the waist, which I like, and I think the shoulders and sleeves fit really nicely.

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I really like the little gathered patches on either side of the skirt, they add a bit of fullness and movement without adding any bulk or making the skirt too big. I didn’t put the pockets in this one, because the pocket pieces looked really tiny and I couldn’t be bothered pulling out another pattern to find some proper sized ones (I was sewing this pretty close to the trip), but the gathers will help to hide any bulk from the pockets too.

Much as I like the pattern and fabric, I was initially a bit worried that I had made a school uniform when I finished it and tried it on! My uniform was teal, yellow, and black tartan (hideous), so not at all like this, but the grey gingham gave me an unexpected schoolgirl vibe. Definitely not what I was looking for! I’ve tried styling it a few ways, from this super-casual-with-sneakers look to a ultra preppy with brogues and tights, and I think it’ll be ok. Just as well I haven’t made that grey blazer I’ve been planning!

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I was very pleased to have this dress when I was packing for our mini-trip to Portugal, as it ended up being over 30ºc the week that we were there! I got pretty sunburned on our first day (bad!), so having this dress with a higher neck and covered shoulders was perfect. You can see a bit of my sunburn radiating up from my neckline in these photos. It was nice to have a loose dress to wear too, something to let the air circulate around my torso as we were out walking up hills in the heat! These photos were taken at the Castelo São Jorge in Lisbon, in the ‘romantic garden’. The Castle has the most amazing views over the city, it was beautiful! the loose waist also meant I had plenty of room to eat pastel de nata, the amazing custard tarts that are so prevalent in Portugal. I love custard, so I was in heaven with all of their variations on custard and pastry!

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The raincoat which nearly killed me…

I’m a very selfish maker, I hardly ever sew or knit for other people. I’ll sew for my mum (because she’s awesome), and I’ll sew or knit for Hamish (because he’s super fussy about buying clothes, and I’m still trying to get him out of tee shirts that he’s been wearing since before we got together, 10 years ago), and I’ll make gifts for special people in my life, but that’s about it. I don’t usually feel guilty about this, but when my sister asked me to make her a raincoat I felt a bit bad that I had never sewn for her before! I was planning my own raincoat at the time, using the Papercut Waver Jacket pattern, and as Abby also liked the pattern I figured it would be easy enough to make two! Now, if you’ve just followed that link to see my version of the Waver, you’ll notice that I blogged it a while ago. In fact, the fabric for both of our raincoats was bought from Drapers Fabrics when we last visited Auckland…in September 2015. This raincoat was my longest ever work in progress! It was probably also one of my worst ever sewing experiences, and there is definitely a strong correlation between those facts…

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I made her the longer version of the Waver, with the hood and the drawstring waist. I wish I had made the longer version for me too, its a much more practical length for a rain coat! My sister is tiny, so I re-traced the pattern and cut her an XXS, then took an inch off the waist and the hem. She has a lot of hair though (I’m pretty sure she got her full allocation of hair and then half of what should have been mine), so I left the hood at its original size instead of shortening it like I did for mine. I also left the sleeves at full length. I made the same aesthetic modifications to both jackets, adding in-seam pockets behind the patch pockets and a self-fabric facing to the hood.

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So the pattern wasn’t the problem with this project at all. I cut Abby’s coat just after I finished mine, intending to have both done by winter 2016. it was as I was cutting up the waterproof nylon that we’d picked that I started to realise what I had done to myself. This fabric rolled along it’s cut edges worse than anything I have ever dealt with before, all of my newly cut pieces were rolling up into little skinny tubes before my eyes! It’s also completely rigid, there was no easing anything or using any of the tricks I’ve learned to sew nice curved seams over the years. I’m so glad that we picked a pattern with raglan sleeves instead of set in ones! It wouldn’t hold a crease at all once it cooled down (though at least it didn’t melt), and it slipped all over the place under my presser foot, making the stitches an uneven length and the tension a bit wonky. I wanted to cry after a few seams! It was worse than silk velvet, than tissue knit, worse than bag leather or the finest chiffon. The shifty, slippery silk satin lining Abby picked out was honestly a dream to sew by comparison.

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So I put it aside, meaning to come back to it once I had a better idea of how to deal with the fabric. And then it languished, for a whole year, until my sister started asking pointed questions about it’s whereabouts at the beginning of autumn this year. I really did feel guilty then, so I braced myself and pulled it out of the WIP bag of shame. It was still an absolute bastard to sew, but I used a super fine microtex needle which helped with my dodgy looking stitches, and I topstitched where I could to keep the seam allowances flat. I really wanted to seal the seams to make it as waterproof as possible, especially after topstitching them, but I couldn’t find seam sealing tape anywhere, even online sources wouldn’t ship to New Zealand for some reason. Eventually Hamish suggested I get some tent seam sealing glue from a camping store (I got this one), which was a brilliant idea. It comes as a sponge-topped glue stick like I remember from primary school, and I just painted it in an inch wide strip over each seam on the inside. I doubt it’ll be as effective as a sealing tape in the long run, but it seems to be working for now!

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The press studs are the same as the ones I used on my Waver, and I used the same round elastic for the drawstring as in mine. It’s much more comfortable than a rigid cord! Abby had to have two photoshoots for me to get pictures for this post, there’s something weird happening with my camera and pictures keep coming out unfocused. And it isn’t just my shaky hands, it happens when I use the self timer too! At least I know she’s wearing it though, I would’ve hated to go through all that and then have her not like it!

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Rainy Day Waver Jacket

It’s taken me over six months, but I’ve finally made myself a new raincoat!

  

This is the Waver Jacket from Papercut Patterns, made up in the shorter length with the hood (obviously). I have to admit to competely overlooking this pattern when it was released, because the samples just reminded me of the lab coat I wore for my undergrad studies! But there have been some very cute versions popping up on my blog reader since it was released, and when I decided that I wanted another raincoat this pattern fitted all of my requirements. And I’m really glad I tried it, because I love the end result!

  

I only made a few changes to the pattern, the major one being the addition of in seam pockets. I really don’t like patch pockets for putting my hands in (its the one thing I would change about my Cascade Duffle Coat), and when I saw that Lauren at Lladybird had added side seam pockets to her Waver, I shamelessly decided to copy her. I also took an inch off the length of the sleeves and off the bottom of the hood. The hood was so massive when I first basted it on! I think having no hair means that I’m very aware of hood size, I don’t need to worry about fitting a pony tail or anything into the back of my hood! It still feels pretty massive, but I’ll be able to fit a hat (with pompom) and a chunky scarf inside the hood with no problems, which will be excelent when it gets properly cold. I possibly over shortened the sleeves, 1/2″ might have been a better adjustment. Its not a major drama though!

  

I love the drawstring at the waist, I think it looks much nicer than if it fell straight from the bust. I used round elastic instead of rigid drawstring cord, which makes it more comfortable. Its also easier to get the tension right, as the drawstring comes out on the inside of the jacket and can’t be adjusted when I’m wearing it done up! I put a pair of silver eyelets in the lining for the cord to exit through, rather than using a button hole as instructed, as the lining just got chewed up by my machine, and because I thought they looked better.

 

I also used hammer on anorak snaps instead of buttons, again just because I thought they looked professional and fancy! I used six instead of the four marked on the pattern, as they are smaller than the recommended buttons, and I didn’t want rain blowing through the gaps! Rain comes in at all angles in Wellington, so it’s always a hazard…

 

I had planned on making pocket flaps to cover the openings of the patch pockets, but when I sewed them on and cinched in the drawstring around the waist, they caused the bottom half of the jacket to balloon out like there was a crinoline under there. They were just too bulky and too close to the waist, so I unpicked them. The patch pockets are now less waterproof, but the whole thing is more flattering!

  

The fabric is possibly my favourite part of this whole project. I found the shell fabric at Drapers Fabrics in Auckland when I was up there last year (Thanks to Bella for taking me there!), its a waterproof wool from Italy. I’ve never seen anything like it before, it feels like a crisp wool suiting but when I ran a scrap under the tap it was totally waterproof! It sewed and pressed beautifully, and thankfully the holes from my unpicking self healed like any normal wool. I couldn’t find seam sealing tape anywhere, so it’s not going to be completely waterproof, but it should be fine for getting around town in the rain!

The lining fabric is some mystery slippery stuff I got for $3p/m from the Fabric Warehouse pop up sale a few months ago. It was a bit of a nightmare to sew! Its super slippery, frays as soon as you look at it, and shreds at the slightest provocation. I underlined it with some cotton to give it a bit of strenght at the seams, but to be honest I don’t have high hopes of it lasting too long. But it’s so pretty and cheerful I thought I would give it a go, I can always replace it if it falls apart…

  

Big thanks to Marta and Kat for these photos, we had brunch on Saturday and then scouted out good photo locations. Its nice to have a change from my teal wall! I had unreasonable amounts of trouble getting my snaps done up in the right order, I must have had three goes at it. Always start at the top or the bottom, not at the waist!

Ahoy!

When Papercut Patterns released their latest collection, the Bowline Sweater immediately jumped out at me. I love a good sweatshirt, and the striped sample they had sewed up just made me happy. My Aunt gave me a voucher for The Fabric Store for my birthday, so I made good use of it and picked up the pattern and some navy merino fleece backed sweatshirting. I will admit that I really wanted stripes, but I managed to reign myself in and go for a solid colour. My wardrobe is bordering on too many stripes (if there is such a thing), I need some plain things to match them with!

  

Firstly, the fabric. It is so lovely! Its a lighter weight than the sweatshirting I used last winter for my maroon Linden Sweatshirt, but is still lovely and soft and fluffy. It was really easy to work with, not too thick for my overlocker to munch through the several layers at the point where the neckband, shoulder seam and pleat meet. The brushed inner face makes it so nice to wear, and its warm and breathable and just everythingthing you’d expect from merino. (They don’t have this exact fabric on their online store, but they do have it in black, if you’re interested…)

   
 
Sewing this up was fun! The front pattern piece looks like one of those mystery patterns you get in Drape Drape or other oragami-esque Japanese patterns, but it all sewed together easily enough. The instructions are really clear and easy to follow, as I’ve come to expect from Papercut. I did take an inch off the bottom before I sewed the hem band on, and an inch off the end of the sleeves and off the cuffs (2″ off total). I always think I have proportionally long arms, until I make Papercut patterns! I like the length of the sleeves now, just long enough to tuck my fingers into, but not long enough to look sloppy. 

  
Possibly could have done with some sort of sway back type adjustment, but its a sweatshirt so I can’t get too hung up over it! I’ve worn it several times since it was finished, its a nice weight to throw on for my walk to the train station in the morning. I like wearing it with my jeans or with my casual skirts (like this Moss Mini) equally.

  
I had a terrible time taking photos today, the auto focus on my camera just wasn’t playing nice. I had a couple of pictures turn out like the one above, and the rest seem to be in slightly soft focus. I had hoped to take these photos down by the waterfront or somewhere suitably nautical, but our good weather finally seems to have given way to some much needed rain, so my trusty teal wall will just have to do! I also seem to have cut the top of my head off in all but one of these photos, just an all round bad day for photography.
 
There might be something of a hiatus here over the next month, I have some school work do do and some sewing for others that has been sorely neglected! I also desperately need to tidy my sewing space before anything will happen in there, its like a mini tornado has rampaged through it…

Raspberry Coppelia

Recently, my mum asked me if I could make her a Coppelia cardigan. We found some lovely raspberry pink merino (at the Fabric Store, of course), she likes bright, warm colours to wear with her ‘Wellington Business Black’.

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I was all ready to get sewing when I realised that I hadn’t asked her to try mine on for size! We’re not hugely different shapes, though mum is a few inches taller than me, but I needed to make several changes to the fit of the cardigan. Glad I checked first, I must be learning! Unfortunately, I cut my patterns out in my size, rather than tracing them, mostly because I’m lazy…In the end, I just added 1cm on to all of the seams, and added about 5cm length to the whole thing so that it would cover the waistband of her skirts and trousers. I also lengthened the ties, so that it can be tied in the front or back.
I did have a minor panic when I realised that I hadn’t cut out the neck band, and then slightly more of a panic when I realised that I didn’t have enough fabric left to cut it out with the extra length that I had added to the front…then I remembered how much I had stretched the band on my original Coppelia and decided it would be ok to just cut it at the standard length (and happily it was!)

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But anyway, after all of my self made complications, mum likes her cardigan! It fits and looks much better on her than it looks on me in these photos…she said she got a few complements on it when she wore it to work on Monday. Unfortunately she won’t be wearing it again for a wee while, as she broke her wrist at the gym on Monday night! Poor thing, I knew gyms were dangerous places. I’m trying to think of things she can do without her dominant hand to occupy herself while she’s off work, she isn’t very good at not having something to do…

In other news, my Miette is coming along slowly! I’ve cast it on five times so far but this latest attempt seems to be sticking, I’ve even managed to use up my first ball of wool. It has a few random eyelets where there should just be stockinette, and theres a few stretches of five or so stitches where I’ve knitted instead of purled, but I’ve decided I can live with a few imperfections in the grand scheme of things! In a few rows, I’ll slip the sleeve stitches off and try it on for size.

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Also, I’m finally seeing spring creeping into Wellington! There are daffodils about, and the trees are beginning to bud. The weather forecast for the rest of the week is rain and hail, but I’ll take any hint of better weather!

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I love it when the Magnolias start to bud 🙂