Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A love letter to my sewing community

“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It's splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.” 
― L.M. MontgomeryAnne of Green Gables


I recently went to go see the latest in the Star Wars series with one of my co-bloggers, Jen. I never considered myself a true Star Wars fan, not knowing anything beyond what happens in the original trilogy -- and only having a hazy memory of those events, beyond the famous ones that stick in your mind thanks to popular culture. But this latest one was so much fun that I wondered why I enjoyed it as much as I had loathed the prequels.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Holiday Debut Blog Tour: Blue Ridge Dress and Fishtail Kimono

I can hardly believe I'm part of this amazing Holiday Debut Blog Tour! Have you seen all the festive outfits so far? I'm all full of holiday cheer now! I feel like climbing a mountain, twirling around, and singing at the top of my lungs. Okay. Maybe not. Don't want to scare anyone. But please keep reading if you want to see my "Sound of Music"-inspired version. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Birkin Flares by Baste & Gather

If you haven't been living in a hole in the ground -- or even if you have, chances are that these days most holes in the ground probably have Internet access -- you'll have heard about the much-anticipated Birkin Flares by Baste + Gather. And why not, because they are freakin' amazing! (Oh no, did I just say "freakin'"?) They have made everyone who has made them look so, so good. Even my sorry butt looks decent in them.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Filles a Maman's Petit Oiseau Tour

Does anyone remember the Wonder Woman series from the 70s, starring Lynda Carter? Well, I'm probably giving away my age, but I used to watch it as a little girl and I'd twirl around, pretending I was Diana Prince. I loved her strength and integrity. She was smart and a warrior princess -- AND she was a dark-haired heroine! But let's be honest; what I wanted most was those gold cuffs. With the star. Don't forget the star. My admiration for her evolved into a game I played with the neighborhood girls, called "Ladies on an Island." Basically we all just ran around the front lawns of our houses trying to protect our idyllic "island" from attacks by vicious pirates. Or something like that, ha ha.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Gracious Threads: A New Look Blog Tour

Today is my day to join the Gracious Threads New Look tour. I'm really happy to be part of the tour celebrating the website relaunch. And right now, the patterns are being offered at 40% off!! What are you waiting for? You can get the patterns here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

First Japanese Sewing Week Tour

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's....Japanese Sewing Week! What? That makes no sense! And what the heck am I looking at? Keep reading...because you might find some answers. Or then again, you might not!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Craft Exchange - Felt Gadget Cozy


Hey look! I actually made something that I can write a post about! Bet you guys forgot that there's a 3rd member to this blog, eh? Emi is always telling me to post more on the blog but since I don't sew as much as she does, I rarely have anything to share. 

Recently, I joined a craft swap on Facebook. I was really excited about the swap until I was assigned a partner. Then I realized I actually had to make something and send it to my partner. Not only that but I found out my partner didn't have kids! So I kinda freaked out and spent a few days Googling ideas for things to make. That's how I came upon this nice little Gadget Cozy pattern on Craftsy.


Friday, November 13, 2015

Pattern Testing: Fishtail Kimono by Chalk and Notch

You know how sometimes you are going merrily along, nibbling on that chocolate you have hidden in your sewing shelf (*ahem*) while thumbing through pattern books and sites, wondering what to make next, and then something pops up that totally catches your eye?



Saturday, October 31, 2015

Dia De Los Muertos 2nd Annual Blog Tour

I am so excited to be participating in the Second Annual Dia de los Muertos tour, hosted by Rebel & Malice! Now, you might be thinking "What in the world does wearing a summer kimono have to do with celebrating Dia De Los Muertos??" Well, you would be right in wondering. I am sort of wondering myself, ha ha.


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Back to School Capsule: Umbrellas of Cherbourg

I love musicals. The cheeseball in me would listen to them pretty much all the time -- if my family would tolerate it. This capsule collection (and I use the phrase loosely) was inspired by a musical that I only discovered after I became an adult. I am an unabashed Francophile and I love Catherine Deneuve's style -- most especially her style in The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. With that in mind, I tried putting together my daughter's kindergarten capsule loosely based on the looks and color scheme in the movie.


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Remix the Stitch: Greenwood Tank Top

I am so happy to be part of the tour celebrating Kimberly's one-year anniversary since releasing her first pattern. I was lucky enough to test for her a while back, and was so impressed by the whole process. She is a real pro, and such a lovely and friendly person. I usually sew for my children -- you can see some of my other makes on Instagram (I'm @e_shimokawa here) -- so it really takes something special for me to make the time to sew for myself. And let me tell you, the Greenwood Tank is that something special.


Sunday, September 6, 2015

Madeit Patterns Fashion Week 2015 - Part 2: And all the rest

So here I am with Part 2 because I just couldn't stop with just one post. This is a mini-round-up of some of my other "creations" (heh heh, I always laugh when I hear that word) using Madeit Patterns. Most of them you have probably already seen on my Instagram feed, but I thought I'd put them together here for your viewing pleasure (wow, I'm so full of cliches today).


Friday, September 4, 2015

Madeit Patterns Fashion Week: The Fold Collection

It's here! It's here! It's finally here!! I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I am to be part of this tour. Beyond excited, actually. Have you seen what has been showcased already? Totally amazing. In fact, I can't believe I am part of the tour.


You may already have seen some of my posts on Instagram, showing you bits of what I have sewn using Olu and Anna's cutting edge Madeit patterns. Well, here is the one I have been saving for the tour.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

"Not Just a Sunsuit" Tour

You might remember my post about the gazillion options that come with the Paneled Sunsuit by Call Ajaire. I will warn you in advance. Be ready for picture overload. As you might have seen from all the great stops along this tour, this is not just a sunsuit! Don't forget to scroll to the bottom for info about the giveaway.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Newbie Project Updates : Vlog by Tina

While I realize most of the readers of this blog are very very experienced seamstresses, I will share my sewing journey with you anyway.

As I've mentioned many-a-time, I'm the noob of the trio of sewers.

Also, because I'm a lazy person, I choose to vlog instead of write.
I guess that's what makes me such a shitty great crafter ;)

Today, I talk about a lunch box bag I recently made, a planned tote bag, and a leather tote which was done awhile back!

(And if you're wondering about why my eyeliner looks messed up, be sure to watch to the end!)

Enjoy!

Emi's Instagram
Jen's Instagram
Tina's Instagram

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Jennuine Design Moto Jacket Pattern Tour

Not too long ago, I was given the opportunity to test Jennuine Design's Moto Jacket. It's a really cool motorcycle style jacket for girls and boys, ages 2T - 12 years old. There's an asymmetrical zip (and an accompanying video tutorial on how to shorten the zipper here), shawl collar, knit sleeves, and welt pockets.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Friday, August 7, 2015

Time for School Capsule: Tops


Next on my list is tops.

I was going to sew up a couple of T-shirts and have that be the end of it, mainly because they are a staple that my daughter needs for after school (gymnastics, soccer, you get the idea). I also need to make some more tank tops -- my favorite is the Twisted Tank by Titchy Threads. It sews up so beautifully. I recently made one for my younger daughter (you can see it here and here), and I dress her in it all the time.

But of course, I am feeling a bit ambitious now that I am making my list, and I have chosen more tops than I had originally intended (I think I said I would stick to one). Let's see how many I actually end up making, ha ha.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Time for School Capsule: Dresses

So. Dresses. I wanted to choose items that I felt were in line with the "Umbrellas of Cherbourg" Back to School theme while still being "practical" enough for a kindergartener -- meaning not too short that it looks like I forgot to put pants on her, and not too long that she's tripping over herself when she pretends to be a horse, galloping around on all fours. (Oh, did I just say that?) My daughter plays in dresses all the time (usually with leggings in the winter and shorts underneath during the summer) and they are my favorite items to make, so it was a no-brainer to start planning her autumn wardrobe with dresses.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Pattern Testing: Hula Hoop Dress by Puperita

Puperita patterns have long been on my to-sew list, but you know how sometimes you keep putting things off until you "finish this one more thing"? I think it's called procrastinating. Not that I do that....so often. But after testing the Hula Hoop Dress, my first thought was "I love it! Why did I wait so long to sew something of hers???"

This is the picture of the Hula Hoop Dress from the Puperita Etsy shop:

Isn't it cute? It's for newborns to 6 years old. The pattern is beginner-friendly, and offers the option of snaps or buttons on the back, which was perfect for me. I was also hoping for something that was relatively quick and fun to sew (sometimes a girl just wants to take it easy, you know?), but I was surprised at how quickly this came together. I tested the 2YRS size on my two-year-old.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Pattern Testing: Tip Top and Dress by Petit à Petit and Family

The newest pattern by Petit à Petit and Family, the Tip Top, Tunic and Dress, was released today, and I am in love with this pattern!


When Celina first posted a sneak peek in her Facebook group (here), I knew I had to make one for my daughters. In fact, I ended up making waaaaay more than one, ha ha ha. I think I might have made six tunics/dresses (or maybe it was closer to um...10...heh heh) of them during the course of testing, which, if you follow me on Instagram, you probably already know this. There is something about Celina's patterns that I find really addictive. In fact, I secretly think of this as the "Lays potato chip dress" because I betcha can't make just one! Go on! I dare you! It's on sale for $7 for the next two weeks in the shop.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Back to School: Creating an Autumn Wardrobe

One of the many things I love about pattern testing is some of the awesome people you "meet." Melissa of Rebel and Malice is a super cool sewist whom I met recently. Seriously, she is all kinds of awesome -- before I started chatting with her, I thought she would be intimidating [shhhhhh! don't tell her I said that ;-)], but she's so down-to-earth and funny! 

Melissa came up with the great idea of creating a back to school capsule for children, and I was so excited when she asked me to join in on the fun. Since I'm so terrible at wardrobe planning, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to try.


Sunday, July 5, 2015

Pattern Testing: Designs by Call Ajaire Paneled Sunsuit

If you like a pattern with a million options (okay, maybe I exaggerated -- it's more like...wait for it....10!!! Whoa! So many permutations -- oh wait, is that "combinations"? Never mind. I was always so terrible at math. But you get the idea. I'm talking about an amazing pattern with SO. MANY. OPTIONS.


The range is NB to 12 years old. Even better, right? It's so perfect for the summer, and if you layer it, it will be great for cooler temps, too. Warning: lots of pictures ahead.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Pattern Testing: The Blue Ridge Dress by Hello Holli


Recently, I tested the Blue Ridge Dress by Hello Holli. You might have seen her amazing spread in STYLO magazine. She is one talented lady. So when I saw her tester call on Instagram, I immediately applied, hoping I would get the chance to test for her.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Year of the Tiger Antalya

This post was supposed to go up during Kid's Clothes Week but I didn't quite make it. I had all sorts of plans for what I was going to sew, but you know. Life happens. Or more like testing happens, ha ha ha! But hey, at least I managed to sew the pretty Antalya pattern by Kid Approved for Willow & Co!

I hesitated for the longest time about this pattern. It looked complicated. It has curves. And a difficult-looking button thing going on in the back (because you know I have an irrational fear of zippers). But the pattern said "confident beginner", and that decided me -- well, that and this pretty version by Maria of Fairies, Bubbles & Co.

I had been hoarding saving this pretty Cotton + Steel fabric I bought from Miss Matatabi, waiting for the perfect project. Francis doesn't seem to have it in the shop anymore, but there are lots of other really lovely fabrics!



Sunday, June 28, 2015

My new pants and first zipper in over a decade!

I don't sew that much.
I do like to sew. And would love to make lots of stuff.

But, I just don't get around to it.
However, the past week I did a bunch of crafting!

I admit, the quiet book was put together with a hot glue gun for the most part, but I did do some sewing too!! Just some buttons, a zipper, and the binding, but still I sewed! :)

Pattern Testing: The Morocco Pants & Shorts - Petit a Petit and Family

When I first began pattern testing, never did I think I would get to test for Celina of Petit a Petit and Family. I know I am not alone in admiring Celina for her impeccable taste and super cool style. If you don't already follow her on Pinterest, you might want to take a look!

When I saw the first images of the Morocco Pants & Shorts pattern, I was smitten (well, as "smitten" as you can get with a pattern, ha ha). It was in another lifetime, but I had visited Marrakech and loved the colors I saw while I was there, particularly the bright blue color. I knew I wanted to make a pair of shorts inspired by what I had seen and experienced. So I put on some Tinariwen (though not Moroccan) and reminisced for a bit. Ahhhhh....mint tea....

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Ishi Dress by Straight Grain Patterns

This sewing project was a bit of a "selfish sew" in the sense that, like many of the dresses I make for my daughter, it was not something she actually "needed" or asked for (though had she seen it, there is no doubt in my mind she would have requested it - namely for its large pockets, perfect for storing treasures). It was something that I had been wanting to make as soon as I had seen the tester call, and I bought it as soon as it was released. I told myself that after all my pattern testing was finished, it would be my sewing "reward." In fact, I got so carried away that I ended up making three of them, ha ha! I won't subject you to my first attempt, since I think it was a bit of a failure in terms of fabric combining. Instead, I'll show you my pretty second version, in nani IRO.

You just can't go wrong with nani IRO!
I'm convinced that my version looks decent because of the fabric and not because I can sew!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tina, lover of green smoothies and sunshine!

Hello, Tina here.

I am the last third and the biggest 
procrastinator of the group!

Currently obsessed with Zero Waste and minimalism, I am looking for ways to reduce my family's household waste.

I look up in awe to Jen and Emi for their sewing prowess. Their creations are simply amazing to me, regardless of their humbleness!! I am continually inspired to create when I see these lovely ladies.

About 18 months ago, my two year old daughter started daycare and was required to have a little bag to carry her bed sheets and a tote bag for her stuff. I wasn't about to hand sew it, so I asked Emi what she recommended.

Although, I took a textiles class in college, I hadn't sewed in a decade! I basically started from relearning how to thread the needle! And there began my love-hate relationship with my Brother N37-FP machine!

What am I working on?
As much as I'd love to make lovely clothes utilizing patterns, my patience wears thin pretty quickly. I am quite lazy when it comes to properly pre-washing and ironing, tracing and cutting patterns...

So instead, I make little crafts and toys for my daughter that require less work! ;)

Right now, I have two ongoing projects--a quiet book for trip overseas (see right) and testing the next generation of these fun 
magnetic alphabet letters!

How does my work differ from others in its genre?
My work differs from others in this genre in that they are very rough and no where near perfect!! Haha.

But seriously the things I sew are for the pleasure of my daughter and use in my home, so I'm not too concerned about if the fabric or bobbin thread match, or if it's a hem is a little crooked.

Emi and Jen generously share their unused fabrics and scraps with me, so I have tons of fabric with which to create! In fact, all of my crafts utilize items that I have either received from friends or off a site like Freecycle.

In that sense, I suppose my work is different from others in that it's eco-friendly by using up things that others no longer require, and would otherwise be discarded or sitting in storage.

--Tina

Monday, June 22, 2015

Emi's Co-blogger Friend, Jen


Hi, I'm Jen. I'm one-third of this blogging trio. Unlike Emi, I don't really sew on a regular basis so I don't have as many sewing projects as her. Also, I'm not as skilled a sewer (sewist?) as Emi either since I sew without patterns and I make things up as I go but I use whatever technique it takes to get the results I want. So please excuse me for the roughly made projects I'll probably share. I also do more photography and various art stuff so I may end up posting a few of those projects too. Oh and since Emi sent me the list of questions she answered, I should probably answer them as a way to get myself started with the blog too...


What am I working on?
I'm not working on any sewing projects right now. I collect a lot of fabric with the intention of sewing clothes for my kids but I haven't actually gotten around to printing out patterns and cutting out the fabric to start any of these projects. I do have plans to get started on the Betty bowler bag by Swoon sewing patterns but I want to make sure I have all the necessary supplies before getting started.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?
I don't really know how to answer this question actually, haha! I look at a lot of different sewing projects for inspiration on the things I work on. So my work is really a combination of things that other people have made. I love sewing bags too so a lot of the bags I made are from patterns that other people created.

The top I made inspired by Anna's coronation dress.        A twirl dress inspired by Elsa's dress.

Why do I create what I do?
I sew things when I can't find the things I want in stores or if the things I am imagining don't exist in the market. I usually just find bits and pieces of patterns and pre-existing clothing and combine and alter them so that they closely resemble what I had in mind. I sew bags and pouches because, well, I'm a bag addict. Plus, who doesn't need more pouches to hold knick knacks and whatnots in your everyday bag?

The very first bag I made. Pattern by u-handbag.Floor cushions. I used the instructions from livingwithpunks.com


How does my creative process work?
Honestly, I do things very randomly. I usually get an idea in my head of what I would like to make, then I make sketches of these ideas so I know roughly what I should look for. Then I start googling and going through pinterest to find the styles I want. Afterwards, I piece the bits of information I find together and pretty much just start cutting and sewing things together until they fit. In a way, the things I make are a bit like fabric frankensteins because I usually don't know how it turns out until I sew the pieces together. The seam ripper is my best friend because I'm constantly taking things apart and recutting or adding pieces to things. It does get frustrating sometimes to work so experimentally but I do enjoy the process even though it's very messy and chaotic to others.

So that's pretty much me in a nutshell! I guess I'm suppose to tag someone? I'm not sure of the rules of the blog hop....but then again, I share the blog with Emi and she already tagged someone so I'll just not tag anyone.

Hopefully, you'll get to meet Tina sometime soon. She's also really creative and has made a lot of cool stuff for her daughter :)

- Jen


Friday, June 19, 2015

Pattern Testing - The Aberdeen Jacket by Rock the Stitch for Willow & Co

Oh the Aberdeen! Where do I begin? I love this jacket. And I love Rebecca for taking a chance on me and letting me test this jacket. This jacket kicked my "confident beginner" butt.

The Aberdeen was my first ever test, and wow, what a test it was! I learned so much from sewing this jacket; it has it all. Welt pockets! Shawl collar! Asymmetric closure! Buttons! Zips! Lining! Facings! So many of these things I had never even known the names for, and many times I worried whether I was doing things "right."

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Around the World Blog Hop


Hi! Emi here. I was invited by the super talented and very funny Andreia of In a Manner of Sewing to participate in this blog hop. I had so many doubts. First of all, I don't (erm, didn't) have a blog! Even if I had one, people would probably find it boring! I thought. But I didn't want to let her down, and even if only a few good friends read it (if that, ha ha!), what better reason to start? I'd been chatting with Jen and Tina about starting one together, and my sewing friends were so supportive, how could I say no?? Okay, here goes.

What am I working on?
I’m doing some pattern testing, which I only recently got into (and loving it). Posts to come! I'm also constantly adding to my daughters’s wardrobes. I’m hoping to be able to make everything they wear, except maybe socks and sweaters. I envy and admire people who can knit, but I don’t think I will ever learn. I don’t really enjoy hand-sewing (shhhh! don’t tell!), so knitting is out of the question for me.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?
I’m not sure that it really does. I started learning to sew with Japanese patterns, so that is probably my greatest influence, though I can't say it sets me apart. I have found that though I am a fan of flutter sleeves and ribbons (and pink!), I also love clean lines and simple silhouettes.
I guess I really love polka dots, too, ha ha!


Why do I create what I do?
I became interested in sewing in junior high - not that I did anything about it, really. The first thing I made was a sweatshirt - though I have no recollection of how I made it. The only thing I remember doing was going to pick out the pattern and choosing the fabric! 

My mother was trained as a seamstress and made most of our clothes when my sister and I were little. I think she even made a few Mommy & Me type outfits. Aaaaand they might have included some crazy bell bottoms, but I’m not going to post any pictures of those. Hey, it was the 70s. I’m just sayin’.

So why didn’t I learn to sew until just a couple of years ago? Good question. I think I was just preoccupied with other things in my life. It was one of those things on my “someday” list. And then I had kids. Girls. I love children's clothes, and girls clothes in particular. But it wasn’t until I saw a picture of a cute repurposed dress on Facebook that I decided to learn to sew. Properly. I contacted the woman who made it, and she agreed to give me a few lessons. She is incredibly talented, and I am so happy to have met her.

I made quite a few of these tops in the beginning.
I love Japanese sewing patterns! So many cute things.
The first pair of pants I ever made!
I repurposed my daughter's
Aden + Anais swaddle to make pants.
















How does my creative process work?
When I started sewing two years ago (oh wait, is it now almost three??), I just wanted to make dresses, dresses, and more dresses. Plus, I was intimidated by pants. I didn’t know much about the online sewing community or sewing blogs, and so just relied on a few pattern books and ready-to-wear for inspiration.


But then…but then! I discovered a world of talented people creating amazing things. I also joined Instagram (here), and I finally learned how hashtags work, ha! I have been lucky enough to "meet" some fabulous and supportive women through testing as well, and chatting with them has been so inspiring.

With that, I would like to leave it to my antipodean friend, Jenya, of While she was sleeping, and the sweet Caroline of Lovely Cousette in France to continue the tour!
 
Images by Freepik