Comfy in Coral

kawaii cutsew with lace

I live in t-shirts and go to great lengths to find clothing that is both comfortable and stylish.  That isn’t always easy.  Cotton is king in my world and I out right refuse to buy items full of polyester and synthetics. In fact I will put back a perfectly wonderful item if it has less than 90% cotton content.  This includes socks; although I have caved on my standards for a few Japanese alternative-fashion brands.

Then a couple of years ago I took the plunge and attended sewing classes in Manhattan.  The curriculum including learning how to work with lovely, stretchy knits.  I bought my first serger and can’t imagine how anyone ever sewed without one!

handmade lace t-shirt

Knit + Woven = animated hearts

My latest experiments have been on how best to mix both knits and wovens together.  For this project, 3 fabrics in various shades of coral and peach were pulled from the depths of my stash.  I bought them together at the Discount Fabric Warehouse but was lost on how to successfully combine them.  So a couple weeks ago, while feeling adventuresome, I opted for a ruffle collar t-shirt confection.  The coral fabric is a bit thicker than the soft peach, so that necessitated it being used as the base of the shirt.  The lace was selected for its airiness in order to cut up the heaviness of the densely, ruffled, woven fabric.  Was tempted to embellish the sleeves with a ribbon but showed some restraint.

I really like the result.  And the application of the woven fabric to the neckline was pretty straight forward.  Just needed to be careful that everyone was lying nice and flat when being stitched down.

The biggest learning was to use a ball point / rounded tip needle when working with knits on a regular sewing machine.  For example, when finishing the hem and sleeves.  Thanks to the internet I learned that important lesson – they didn’t tell me in the class I took.  The round needle more easily slips between the fabric threads and is less likely to skip stitches on knits – or worse damage or curl the fabric.

What do you think.  Is it a successful blend of the fabrics?

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Project Kickoff: Rabbit Print Dress

There are 3 websites that I frequent regularly to find cute Japanese fabric.  The first is Super Buzzy, the second is Fabric Tales, and the third Emi Craft in Japan on Etsy. They all have a very good selection of prints that span from cute animals, to sweets, to fairy tales.  And all these shops carry fabric prints that you will not find in your local JoAnn Fabrics collection.

Rabbit Tea Party Sewing Project

Last month I came across a fabric called Rabbit Tea Party in a black and gray colorway on Emi Craft.  A few clicks, quick checkout with PayPal, and before long it arrived in the post.  It has since stayed tucked away in queue behind several other projects being finished up.  [While I love that inspiration strikes and projects amass, I should know by now that it is so much better if I focus on one thing at a time. Anyway…]

Rabbit Tea Party cute fabric

The challenge with this fabric will be how best to maximize it.  It is a precious 2 yards.  I am not sure if it is possible, but ideally I want to make a one piece dress.  Now for the inspiration – a  favorite Japanese brand, that I would gobble up if it wasn’t for their oh so petite Asian sizing, Emily Temple Cute.

Emily Temple Cute Dress

After browsing Marui One’s online catalog of ETC dresses, came across not only the dress styling I want to mirror but a somewhat similar fabric as well. Stripes and macaroons clearly go well together.

Since I have so little wiggle room for mistakes due to the amount of fabric, this project is going to take some time.  First step will be to find a few patterns that will get the closest shape, then onto a muslin draft, adjust the pattern, and then go for it.

But first things first… got to make it through the work week.

Sweet Dreams, Sheri




Winter Warmth

2012 has been off to a very busy start.  Between lots of business travel, starting classes, and a bout with a nasty cold, I did sneak in a bit of time for myself.  While it has been a very mild winter this year the fact remains that I live in an older home.  It comes with “character” I believe is the polite expression.  Meaning it has with its age developed many quirks, one of which is that it stays relatively cool inside all year round.

To accommodate this charming character, I now have a growing collection of fleece vests.  They add just the right extra amount of warmth. The challenge is they are not exactly cute.  I do keep hoping that Timberland or The North Face will release a collection in pink… but am not holding my breath.

So I squeezed in a sewing project to add a pink fleece vest to my room wear options.  Nothing fancy and there are many things I would change if I made a second one. But all-in-all it does its job nicely.

Lolita Pink Fleece Vest

Cabin Fever
Looks like I have been over indulging in the cutesy, frilly stuff as of late.  So with March approaching think I will dive a bit more into Life’s Essential #3 – Shelter.  Seems appropriate to spend some time talking about Home Sweet Home as I always suffer from cabin fever in the last month of Winter.  Time can drag on anxiously awaiting spring so let’s make good use of the time spent indoors.

Sweet Dreams, Sheri




Harajuku Holiday Sew-a-thon

I have a creative job working in digital marketing, but I like to dabble in more traditional crafts in my spare time.  It is such a rush making something by hand that you can use.  Taking advantage of the long holiday weekend I had some fun.

It would be an understatement to say that I like Japanese Alternative Fashion.  The challenge – my comfortable U.S. size medium is a Plus Size by Japan’s standards.  Some of the most extraordinary designs are out of reach for me.  So I mustered up my determination and whipped up a cutsew blouse and one piece dress this weekend.

Pink 100% Cotton Cutsew T-shirt

I favor a more relaxed form of Lolita fashion, so a comfortable cutsew shirt is a critical staple; works well under a jumperskirt or as is with a skirt.  As far as patterns go, I use them more as guides than as rules.  For this I took some liberties using New Look’s pattern 6078.

The collar was a bit of a challenge, as I wanted a pullover and the pattern was for a button up, but it worked out very well in the end.  My only regret with this piece is the ruffle at the hem.  I used left over fabric from another project and there wasn’t a lot of wiggle room.  Would have preferred the ruffle be about a 1/2 inch wider, but this was all I could mange.

Rose Print 100% Cotton Cutsew Onepiece Dress

The dress again is made from knit/jersey.  I was going for something more Otome Kei than Lolita with this. My muse was Milk.  I followed Vogue pattern V8411 pretty closely for the dress, but added neck straps and altered the pleating a bit.

Added a little decorative stitch as well across the front. It is a subtle touch that added some extra structure to support the weight of the pleating.

The inspirtion for this weekend’s projects: Aoki Misako, Baby the Stars Shine Bright, Angelic Pretty, Milk and Emily Temple Cute.

Well it’s back to work tomorrow.  Hope everyone had a lovely holiday.  Happy 2012!

Sweet Dreams, Sheri




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