Sunday, 30 March 2014

My Japanese Fabric "stash"

As promised, here is a little look at the fabulous fabrics I bought during our visit to Tokyo's "fabric town" area. All of the fabric came from a store called Tomato. The name of the store is so kawaii (cute) I can hardly handle it!

Of course, hindsight is twenty twenty and I'm kicking myself now that I didn't go wild and BUY EVERYTHING as I have so many things now I want to start sewing.  Meeting up with other sewists, plus a spate of classes has given me so much confidence and motivation!

First cab off the rank is a FANTASTIC cotton with an uber cute CAT print! I love cats (as evidenced from this post on Japan's cat cafes over on my other blog) so I couldn't walk away without 1m of this. I've earmarked this for another Grainline #tinyPocketTank...once I'm up to sewing another one. Or perhaps it will become some other sort of top (feel free to throw me ideas) this space.

This is another lovely, lightweight cotton that I'm thinking will be nice in Tessuti's Gaby dress.  The Gaby might need a more...sturdy, crisp fabric...but I figure this will be a nice beach dress if all else fails. It feels as soft as a kitten and what could be better than that!

Another lovely cotton with palm trees! This fabric is slightly more heavy than the floral above and has a lovely feel....nice and soft almost like flannelette in a way. I'm thinking another April Rhodes Peplum Party Dress as I really like that sewing pattern and I think it suits my shape (though I may need to go down a size...still thinking about that).

I didn't want to buy anything I couldn't already sew with so I steered clear of ALL knits (which I'm now regretting since the release of the Coco Dress and my recent Mandy Boat Tee class at Tessuti). That said, I was quite taken with Tomato's huge selection of printed, lightweight corduroy. This will become a skirt...once I learn how to sew a skirt that is!

So there you have it. My very modest haul from Tokyo. What do you think of my plans for each fabric -- if you have some other/better suggestions I'd LOVE to hear them.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

The universe may not always play fair, but at least it's got a hell of a sense of humor (or #sewingDollyClackett)

I wasn't initially going to join the #sewingDollyClackett shenanigans, which has been started to celebrate the impending nuptials of sewist and blogger extraordinaire, Roisin (aka Dolly Clackett). As much as I love her style (those dresses, those fabrics!) the "fit and flare" shape just does not suit my body.  As a long-time food blogger I need a little (ok a lot) of room in my clothes to accommodate what we food bloggers call "our food babies".

But then I thought if Dolly Clackett was...fatter (or a food blogger) she'd totally go for the April Rhodes Party Peplum Dress. It's a style that emulates the "fit and flare" dress, but with a bit more room. Plus, there's no way I'm at the stage yet of going anywhere near zippers, lining or pockets. As Dolly would say, "fuck that"!

So here we have my Dolly Clackett-ish dress....this is actually my fourth attempt at the Party Peplum Dress, but only the second one that is a keeper. Like the first "keeper" it still gives Good Twirl!

From the denim dress disaster I shortened the bodice from an XXL to a S in what I am terming an FBA (full butt adjustment). This means that the bodice is no longer bunching up on my caboose and sits much better (though I still think the back bodice could be a little shorter). I actually did a toil of this before I cut into this lovely fabric...a first for impatient me. After wearing this dress for a day it's a little big...I might try and go down a size, or sew large side seams next time around. In the meantime I've run this in a little at the sides so it's not quite so...sack like.

The fabric is a cotton that I nabbed from the fabric swap at our first Sydney Spoolettes meet up. It was a dream to sew with - really sturdy and no slipping or sliding around.  I wore the dress out to a lunch a few weekends ago and on the way home popped into The Fabric Store. They recognized the fabric and said it was a DKNY Cotton. SCORE!

So there you have it. Happy impending nuptials Roisin and Nick. Wishing you a lifetime of happiness...and pretty dresses (well, not so much for Nick, but you know what I mean).

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Fabric Shopping in Nippori, Tokyo (Japan)

Last month I was lucky enough to celebrate my birthday in Tokyo. Wow, WHAT A PLACE! It's such a vibrant city - so fast-paced, busy, noisy and frantic, yet also so orderly and calm in a way. I've never seen people queue to get on a train before...I LOVE Tokyo!

Besides eating, one of the things I was really keen to experience in Tokyo was shopping for fabric in Nippori "Sen-I Gai" or Fabric Town.

This area has over 80 shops selling all manner of fabrics, buttons, trims, clothes, leathers (and furs - yuck), lace, ribbons and kimono fabrics. If you can't find what you're looking for in fabric town, then you're not looking!


As I'm only new to sewing I decided to only buy fabrics that I know how to sew with - so that pretty much means cottons. This also helped to expedite the shopping processes which my husband was thankful for as he was tagging along behind me.  

I'm now KICKING myself that I wasn't looking for knits as Tilly and the Buttons has just released her new pattern, Coco - a perfect beginners knit dress. D'oh, d'oh d'oh! There were some FANTASTIC printed knits in the stores I went into but I hardly gave them a second glance.

For a new sewist an experience like Nippori "Sen-I Gai" is totally fascinating, and totally overwhelming.  In order to minimize the chance of me having a total fabric flip-out on the streets of Tokyo I decided to just visit a few stores...and get in, look around and get out. You could literally spend DAYS in this area. DAYS I didn't have!

The main store I visited was called Tomato (oh, LOL Japan you are so funny)! Tomato has a few stores along the main "fabric town" strip - some selling notions, some selling fabrics and some selling outlet fabrics and clothes. One of the stores had about EIGHT FLOORS of fabric...holy moly. There was about two floors just of knits (again, kicking myself)!

After our stint of fabric shopping we headed back towards Nippori JR station.  It was about 3 degrees outside yet we saw this poor old guy set up outside his shop, sewing away on the street. He must have been freezing, it was SO cold!

You know what's good for fighting of cold weather? A steaming hot bowl of ramen. We found this totally dodgy looking place right near Nippori JR station and wandered in when the waiter came out to confirm they did indeed serve ramen. Boy, it was good - some of the best ramen I've never had!

How to get there:  take the JR Yamanote line to Nippori Station.  From the South Exit turn right, and head towards Nippori Chuo Dori (that's a street name). Hopefully this (badly scanned) map will help you out.

Oh, and stay tuned for my next blog post - a show and tell of my Japanese fabric purchases!

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Pink Polkadot #tinyPocketTank

I know, I's another Grainline Tiny Pocket(less) Tank. I think I was at a loose end as to what to sew next so I grabbed this cheap, spotty cotton (?) from my stash cupboard and started another tank top just so I'd have something to sew whilst I contemplated "what's next".

I had no issues in the construction of this version. I think I've mastered the basics of bust darts, using bias binding to finish the neck/arms as well as doing french seams. I've finally found a method of hemming that does not involve bias binding so that's some good progress for me. 

All of that aside, there was something very wrong happening in the bust/dart area of this tank. It's probably difficult to see from the photos but the bust darts/front bodice just weren't sitting quite right and the top has some crazy wrinkles above my bust. I'm not sure what the problem is? Whilst there is a similar "issue" with my floral #tinyPocketTank it's not quite as noticeable as the fabric is softer and the busier pattern hides it.

I've decided to pop this tank into the charity bag. I'm not loving the feel of the fabric and the crazy bust fitting issue drives me bonkers whenever I put the top on. I'm constantly adjusting it and driving myself nuts. It was all good practice, but sadly this top is not a keeper.

If you've got any ideas what my fit issue is here please drop me a note in the comments. I'm seriously stumped. Is the top too big or too small? Are the darts in the wrong spot or perhaps too long...or too short? Have I perhaps lost my mind?

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Sydney Sewing Meetup

On the weekend twenty lovely Sydney sewists met up for a lunch, gossip, fabric swapping and a little bit of fabric shopping. I've been to A LOT of food blogging meet-ups but this was my first foray into meeting "real life sewing Bloggers/Tweeters/Instagramers" and it was a blast.

A small group of us met up early and scooted out to The Remnant Warehouse in Alexandria for a look around. Massive thanks to both Catherine and Maria who really helped me out with fabric hunting for my upcoming attempt at Tilly's new Coco pattern. As I'm basically learning to sew on my own it's been so wonderful to have the help of the online sewing community when I do get stuck...which is fairly often actually.

I walked away from The Remnant Warehouse with this "mystery fabric" that I think will be good for my first test of Coco.

Because I'd organised this meetup, and cannot organise anything that does not involve food, I'd booked a table for lunch at Parma Cuccina in Surry Hills. Pizza and salads all round. We were a pretty big group so special thanks to the restaurant for letting us take over half of their downstairs area...including sequestering a table for our fabric/pattern swap...

I walked away from the fabric swap with a nice piece of cotton that I think I'll make into my third attempt of the April Rhodes Party Peplum Dress (wish me luck). I also picked up some cotton drill which will become a skirt once I work up the guts to go down that road...a road of zippers, waistbands, interfacing, darts...and tears. 

After lunch we mozied on down to Tessuti and then The Fabric Store. I was very restrained and managed to look but not buy...that must be a first for me!

Thanks to everyone who came along...I hope we get to meet at another sewing meet up soon.