Sunday, 28 February 2016

A trio of (modified Mabels)

After the raging success of my modified Mabel Skirt I jumped right in to the stash and decided to finally sew up my BELOVED teal butterfly ponti that I've been hoarding for about two years. Of course, because I love the fabric so much it turned out less than perfect.

This one should have been a #woohoomake but sadly it's more #meh due to wonky hems (the hem became totally wonky when I overlocked it, like I was drunk sewing - so the whole thing is now uneven), dastardly overlocking of the waistband (overlocker is still not stitching over the elastic at the seams very well) and it not being pegged in enough for my liking, plus I'm thinking the waist is a smidgen too big (cannot seem to get the length of elastic needed quite right). On this make I also increased the length by 3cm which I think is a bit long.

All stuff other people won't notice but I know so I'm not enjoying this as much as I'd hoped too - which is gutting as the fabric is beautiful. Nevertheless I am still wearing and I could remove the elastic, and fix up the hem too at some point.

Next up we have a simple black ponti skirt made for wearing to work. It's WAY too long, as I still kept the 3cm addition to the length but other than that it's OK.  I also wish it was more pegged in.  The elastic waistband is comfortable though the overlocker is still playing up here (I think it's the needles, they don't seem long enough to handle the elastic at the seam - any thoughts people)? The good thing about this skirt is that there's always black ponti out there, so I can remake this as some point to better suit my tastes - but for now, it'll do Pig.

And lastly! I've been desperately scouring the shops for a pull-on denim skirt to replace one that I have that it's getting a bit ratty. Of course when you want something, you can never find it. Nor could I find jegging-like denim in the fabric stores -- stretch denim that I've found just does not have enough stretch to work for a Mabel.

After a quick Google search I found some "denim ponti" online from Emma One Sock (an online store in the USA). I ordered 1.1 yards which was way too much, and with postage it come in at under AUD$40 which is OK I think.

Image from Emma One Sock

For this skirt I removed 1.5cm off the length and pegged the bottom in a tiny bit, 0.5cm off each pattern piece. I think the shape is much better BUT this skirt is super snug - I just cannot cop a break with this skirt can I? It's still wearable, but with a longer top - but I've ordered another length of fabric to make another that fits better. I think this fabric must not have enough stretch as my other skirts; and the fabric has a rayon content, not cotton (like most of my other skirts) so I guess that's affecting the stretch too.

I'm telling myself it looks like a denim skirt but Dave thought I'd made the skirt for a suit. Sigh.

I still have two pieces of fabric in my stash for two more of these, but I think I have Mabel fatigue at the moment and I think there's about 10 of these in my wardrobe now and that's enough.
Pattern: "Mabel Skirt" by Colette Patterns
Size: XL, sewn with 3/8" seam allowance
Modifications: 5cm elastic waistband (added 10cm to the pattern to accommodate for this), 16.5cm added to length, pegged in the bottom by 0.5cm at each seam (so 2cm in total).
Fabric: 4-way stretch rayon blend ponte from Emma One Sock
Changes for next time: none.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

A shirbori class in Kyoto

On my previous trip to Kyoto I missed out on visiting the Shibori Museum and taking one of their classes in shirbori dyeing (just ran out of time). This made me very sad. I nearly missed out this time too as they were closed for New Year, right up until the day before we flew out. Talk about cutting it fine!

Way back in 2014 I took part in a Spoolettes shirbori workshop that for some reason I've never written about. During that class we learnt about quite a few techniques for dyeing fabric and got stuck in to folding, clamping wrapping, tying and scrunching our fabric before submerging into vats of stinky indigo dye.  I was surprised to see that the class in Kyoto does not use indigo dyes (not quite sure why, that was a bit "lost in translation"), but rather chemical dyes that allow you to produce pretty much any colour combination you want.

I decided to try the wrapping and scrunching technique for the silk scarf I was going to dye as I loved the pattern it produced (that's them over on the right). It seems so delicate compared to the techniques shown on the left (which are folding and clamping mostly). Wrapping and scrunching  was something I avoided during the class in Sydney as I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by information and options so I stuck with simply folding and clamping with pegs.

I have to say, the array of colour choices in Kyoto was a bit overwhelming but in the end I decided to go for a red base with a blue over-dye. I didn't dye the plain scarf first as I liked the effect of having some white showing through. I love that I got to dye a silk scarf as it feels lovely to wear. My teacher explained that in Kyoto they dye on to silk and in Nagoya (the other shibori area in Japan) they dye onto cotton. Glad I got the "silk town" is all I can say!

The process was pretty simple: wrap the material around a tube, tie it with string/elastic, scrunch it down, wet the fabric, soak in the red first dye, soak in the blue dye next, and voila, you're done!

The moment of truth...

The scarf ended up way more purple than I was hoping, but I still really love it. The scarf has great memories associated with it of a great holiday in one of my favourite countries and I'm bummed it's only been cool enough to wear it once since we got home in January.

Apart from the class there's quite a few exhibitions to explore on the second floor of the museum. My teacher took me around the museum and explained some of the displays to me which was great.
This shibori kimono is for sale at the museum for about US$50,000. It look about 18 months to make and all the knots were hand tied. It's only basted together as it will be tailored to fit its eventual owner and then hand stitched together. I feel I need to up my sewing game after seeing this.

The class I did cost 5000 yen, so about AUD$60. Not cheap, but it was a lot of fun, and I'm totally chuffed with my me-made souvenir from Japan! I would highly recommend this class and a visit to the museum of you have an hour or so up your sleeve.

Details on the Kyoto Shibori Museum can be found here. It's a good idea to email ahead (via their online form here) and let them know when you want to come in so they can be prepared for you.