New Years Eve in Tokyo

Sadly, not Tokyo, Japan. Tokyo, the pattern from Tessuti!

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I love the kimono jackets that are fashionable at the moment, and I spent all of the southern hemisphere winter lusting after the amazing summer versions I kept seeing popping up on everyones blogs. I promised myself I would make myself one for our summer! Unfortunately, summer in Wellington is somewhat unpredictable, and a light silky jacket would get next to no wear. I really wanted a lightweight wool crepe, or a medium weight rayon crepe or something similar, but I just couldn’t find the fabric I wanted. Then, this month, I kept seeing beautiful festive dresses being made up in velvet. Suddenly, all I could think of was a silk velvet Tokyo, preferably in a rich, jewel tone like forest green or goldenrod yellow.

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Now in hindsight, this is the point when I really should have taken a step back and examined my mental state, because I had clearly lost the plot. But my head was too full of dizzying mental images of me swanning around a glamorous New Years Eve party in my yellow velvet jacket, drinking gin and generally doing my best Zelda Fitzgerald impression. The only snag was that I couldn’t find yellow velvet anywhere. I should have stopped then, but instead I bought this lovely deep purple/blue silk velvet from The Fabric Store. Still drunk on the idea of all of the 1920’s glamour that would soon be mine, I took it home and started to cut the Tokyo jacket out of it. This was the point when the first few doubts began to trickle into my mind. Turns out silk velvet is just as shifty and slippery and tricky as normal silk, but with the added difficulty of having a nap. I cut everything out in a single layer with the nap running down the jacket, and hoped that things hadn’t shifted too far off grain.

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Turns out, the cutting out was the easy part! I must have used every single one of my pins trying to put the pocket bags and bands onto the jacket fronts, and they still slid around all over the place. I wanted to cry, or hurl it out of the window. I really wanted to jam it back into the bag and stick it in the corner. The dream was well and truly over by this point! Instead I unpicked and restitched and unpicked and restitched until I reached the point where I decided it was good enough. The side seams and shoulder seams were easier to sew, though just as pin heavy, but the neckband gave me similar issues. I hand stitched the neckband to the inside, as the idea of topstitching made me feel physically ill, and did the same for the hem.

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The worst part is, after all that struggle, I don’t really like it. I was hoping to have a jacket that I could wear with all of my vintage dresses, but also with trousers or something if I was going out in the evening. It looks ok with my vintage gear, and I’m sure it’ll get worn at Art Deco Weekend in February, but I’m not sure if it’ll get worn many other times. Its also finished terribly, because I was so disheartened with the whole thing. Originally I was going to try to finish the seams with binding, but I just couldn’t be bothered once I realised that the finished garment wasn’t going to live up to my mental picture of it. I like the pattern, and I’m sure it would have worked much better in a lightweight, drapey fabric, but I just feel frumpy in it. When I showed it to Monsieur, he said it looked like a wizards outfit, but without the benefit of the giant sleeves. And I think he’s kinda right…

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I did learn some things about working with velvet though:

– If you have to iron it (which I did, because it had been crushed on the bolt), fold it in half with the fuzzy sides together, and iron in the direction of the nap. Use lots of steam, and minimal pressure. I found that I was mostly just steaming mine, and it came up fine, no crushing of the pile. For the seam allowances I used lots of steam and very light pressure, moving the iron in the direction of the nap.

– Use all of your pins, or baste things together, because velvet is shifty and not to be trusted.

– Velvet dust will trigger your hayfever, beware!

So there we go, my last post for the year and the garment which concludes my 52 week creative challenge. I wish it was a winner, but never mind! I’m still unbelievably proud of myself for achieving the goal I set for myself this time last year. And I’m pretty damn proud of nearly everything I’ve made this year, so thats a win, over all. I’ll be back tomorrow with my last Top 5 Post, and with a some number crunching from 2014. Hope you all have a good New Years Eve, whatever you have planned!

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It does go beautifully with the lovely fan I was given for Christmas, and with the marcasite art deco cocktail ring I was given by Monsieur, I was very lucky this Christmas!

Can’t touch this…

Two posts in two days, oh my! Thats what happens when the end of the month lands in the middle of the week, I suppose…

This weekend I whipped up a pair of Tessuti Suzy Pants in an awesome mystery (I suspect polyester) crepe fabric from The Fabric Warehouse. I decided to try something different with my pattern printing, and took the file to the Stationary Warehouse. It was so much easier than printing out and taping together hundreds of A4 pages!

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Look at how much easier that makes things! My only issue arose when the shop assistant asked me what size page I was printing, and I had no idea. She looked at me like I was a total moron, but we figured out it was an A0 sized sheet. Does anyone know how I can figure that out to avoid looking stupid in future? I can’t tell when its a PDF!

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I REALLY like these pants! I’ve been looking at similar slouchy pyjama style trousers on northern hemisphere blogs all winter, and so I took my first chance to make some up. They’re just as comfortable as I hoped, and they’ll be awesome for when it heats up. I like the fabric as well, even though I suspect its polyester. The crepe is gorgeously drapey, and I love the abstract navy print. I’m trying to be a bit more bold with my fabric choices, both with colour and print. Really I’m just worried that I’ll end up with a whole wardrobe of polka dots and stripes in navy and grey…

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I did make some fairly major alterations to the waistband, mostly as I sewed and tried on and sewed some more. The pattern has a strip of 1/2″ wide elastic right around the top of the ~4″ wide waistband. I hate tight elastic around my waist, so I decided before I started that I would cut doubles of the waistband pieces and use one pair as facings, and just put elastic in the back half. Once I sewed the waistband on (before I added the facing) I realised that it was miles too wide, it reached up to the bottom of my ribcage! So I ditched the facing, and just folded the waistband in half and put 1″ wide elastic in the back. It all worked out fine, and they’re very comfortable, but I do wish that I had sat down and thought through what I was doing a bit more. I should have interfaced the front waistband piece, to stop it sagging over time. I also should have cut the front waistband a bit shorter, as you can see in the photo above that the pockets and side seams are pulled around towards the back of the pants. But neither of these things are major issues, I’m still going to wear the hell out of these this summer!

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(Please excuse the wrinkles!)

I feel very on trend in these trousers, which is funny. I’m not usually overly fussed by whats fashionable! It is nice when what I want to wear lines up with what is in the shops. My bubble was slightly burst when I paraded into the living room wearing them after finishing the hems, and Monsieur just raised an eyebrow and said “…are those hammer pants?” He insists on calling them my outside pyjama pants. I guess I can’t really object too much, they are like PJs which are acceptable to wear in public. My ideal clothes!
Also, yay for outdoors photos! I couldn’t resist getting some photos in the park over the road, I even managed to take these without any other people catching me. It does seem a bit narcisistic, taking photos of yourself in public…


…I’ll just leave this here.