Saturday, April 30, 2016

Me-Made May 2016

Guess what?

I love that meme. May is the time for the Me-Made May challenge! 

This will be my first year participating. Since I really just started sewing garments, I'm making a very small goal for myself. I will wear one item of clothing that I have made on each day I'm not working. I also plan to finish at least 3 items on my sewing to-do list. 

So why only my days off? First of all, I only have 4 tops that I've finished so far (to be blogged soon!). Second, my job is messy. I get saltwater everywhere, not to mention fish meal, algae, standing water, shrimp, bloodworms, etc. I really don't want to be wearing anything other than a t-shirt and running shorts (and swimsuit maybe). 

So that's my goal! Hopefully I can post some pics on Instagram (@corr_w) and a summary blog post at the end of the month. I'm also currently sewing up a McCall's M6083 romper (view D) that I hope to finish this weekend. 

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

To the future!

I think I've finally, officially, recovered from my trip. With that said, I haven't been able to sew as much as I'd like the past week or so because I'm pet sitting. That's my job actually. I'm a part-time pet sitter/dog walker.

I have, however, finished a top that I need to take pictures of (coming as soon as I find the camera tripod and there's a sunny day). I also have a few projects that I'm planning on starting in the near-ish future that I'm really excited about.

  1. Shorts! Specifically, the Grainline Studio Maritime Shorts! I pretty much live in shorts, so I'm super excited to have a pair that I made myself that will (hopefully) fit me well! So far I've made a muslin (whoa I actually did it! And I used an old sheet to do it.) for a size 14 (way too big) and decided to make my actual pair in a size 12. I'm still deciding if I want to make a muslin for that size before cutting into some denim. I generally have pants/shorts fitting issues in ready-to-wear so I probably will.
  2. Re-do of the Butterick B6217 top! This top is a Pattern by Gertie that I love. Unfortunately, the first attempt didn't turn out so well. I used a very lightweight chambray and was too chicken to try buttonholes and ended up using plastic snaps. There were a bunch of fitting issues (bust too small, tummy too small, neckline too something) that I need to work out before I'm willing to cut into an awesome cotton fabric I bought.
  3. Shorts for Grandma! My grandma also lives in shorts (I guess that's where I get it from). Hers are all stretched out and fading. She wants drawstring and elastic with large pockets. And she likes it baggy (yay!). 
  4. Bag for Grandma. When cleaning my grandma's house my family came across all of my late grandpa's old work ties. I really want to make a bag out of them for her as a memento. I initially was going to make her a vest (she loves them), but the colors really don't go well enough together to make something wearable. 
  5. Knit top for me out of the tropical fish fabric by Charley Haper for Birch Organic. My master's thesis research was with triggerfish (humuhumunukunukuapua'a) and this print is full of 'em. FROM THE FRONT. Fish look so dumb from the front; I love it. I'm thinking something simple like the Kirsten Kimono Tee by MaiaDenmark. Oh yeah, it's a free pattern!
So, that's what I have planned for now. What do you have planned sewing-wise?
Happy stitchin'


Friday, March 25, 2016

Fabric shopping in Kyoto and Osaka

I finally made it home (yay!) and have the energy to put together my post about fabric shopping in Kyoto and Osaka.

Here's my Kyoto haul: 

Two more sewing books from a bookstore at Kyoto Station, a sewing kit and needles from Misuyabari, and fabric from Hand Craft Dream in Aeon Mall

First, the books. I'm really excited in particular with these two because the patterns include larger sizes! The one with the blue cover covers sizes S-3L and the white cover book has sizes 7-15.

I'm sorry about the quality of the photos. The light in my room makes everything yellowish. 

I made sure Misuyabari was on our to-do list. I've seen such great things about this little needle shop and I was excited to visit! It did not disappoint! I was practically skipping down the alleyway once I recognized the pink shop from photos posted by Cashmerette. The alley opened up into a cute little Japanese garden with the little shop. 
I got a cute little sewing clips which included little handmade snips, some thread and little thread spools, a small pack of needles, and a little wooden box with a pin cushion in the cover. So cute! I also picked up some sashiko needles (short and long) and two cute little handmade decorative pins!
If you want to visit Misuyabari, the best source of directions is the Cashmerette blog.

I wasn't planning on shopping for fabric while on Kyoto. I know there's Nomura Tailor and Nomura Tailor House, but since I was traveling with my family it just wasn't going to happen. However, in the mall near Kyoto Station (and our hotel) there was a craft store called Hand Craft Dream. It's on the top floor of Aeon Mall and has all sorts of craft supplies from beading, leather craft, embroidery, and fabric. I was so overwhelmed by all the fabric! Most of it was quilting cotton in precut amounts. There were also some apparel fabrics and tons of notions. I ended up with a couple of cute cotton prints (musubi and kokeshi dolls), a small bit of double gauze (raindrops), and two remnant pieces (the yellow with flowers and the white with blue and green flowers). I'm excited about these! I'm planning on using them mostly for my Etsy business making pet accessories. Imagine little dog and bunny bandana in the musubi print or the doll fabric. Too cute!

Now, on to my haul from Osaka. The first place I went to was Toraya, the three floor fabric store mentioned by many bloggers. 

It was pretty easy to find. Betty Stitchup has some good directions, but I just got the address from the shopping area's website and plugged it into Google Maps. If I thought the craft store was overwhelming, this topped it by so much. The first floor has so many different fabrics. There were vinyls, cottons, double gauzes, polyesters, and much more! I had to make sure I shopped wisely or I could've spent so much money and time there. 

This is what I ended up with:
The plaid and blue crab fabrics were remnants that I'm hoping to make a button down (up?) and maybe a boxy tee or tank from. The purple fabric on the right had some fat puffball bunnies on it. This is definitely going to be some pet accessories. The bottom purple fabric is a lovely double gauze. I've read some awesome things about double gauze and decided to give it a try. It's light and soft and I'm looking forward to working with it! I bought enough for a blouse though maybe I could make dress bodice and add a different fabric for the skirt. If I recall correctly it was 115cm x 2m. We'll see.

I also found a fabric store in another Aeon Mall in Ibaraki in Osaka called Pandora House. I stumbled on this shop accidentally. Like the other mall store, it had a lot of cute cotton prints, but I ended up with this:
The three fabrics on the left are knits. Yeah, three. The blue, grey and white stipe, and purple. It looks like two thin knit layers sewn together similarly to double gauze. The purple and blue have one side that's a heathered version of the inner color. The striped is a solid white on the other side. I thought these were intriguing but we're only available in precut lengths so I'm not sure if I really have enough to make a full blouse or anything. The sample hey had in the shop was a long sleeve with the knit on the front and chambray back. That's an idea. The other two fabrics would also make cute blouses if I have enough fabric. I'm not sure what type of fabric it is either but I'm not sure I've seen it before.

So that's my fabric shopping in Japan round up! To recap, I found some fabric and sewing books in Kumamoto, books, fabric, and needles in Kyoto, and lots of fabric in Osaka. If you're visiting Japan, I definitely recommend shopping for fabric! Even if you're a beginner like me, it may be worth picking up a sewing book or two with patterns that look interesting to you. Something to work towards!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Shopping in Kumamoto, Japan!

Hi there! 

I am currently on vacation in Japan with my family. I stumbled upon a fabric shop near the Kumamoto Castle area that I want to share.

I was walking along in the Shimotori shopping arcade and spotted a fabric shop! At first I saw the trays of cotton out on the table outside the store. I was sucked in! I unfortunately didn't take any photos inside the shop because I was too busy looking at all the fabric. Since my mom and I planned a stop at Toraya in Osaka later in the trip I tried to limit myself to some Kumamon fabric. If you don't know what Kumamon is, it's the mascot of the Kumamoto prefecture. It's basically the cutest black bear with red Pikachu cheeks. 

That's just his head but you get the gist. He's adorable. So here's what I ended up with:

I'm sorry for not having the best photo quality right now. I'm using my phone. So I ended up with a little more than just some Kumamon fabric. I got a red quilted Kumamon fabric, three cotton Kumamon with dots fabrics, a blue bunny fabric, a hexagon design fabric, and laminated Kumamon fabric. Oh, and also a coin purse frame. The store worker was nice enough to include two fabric Kumamon buttons for free :)

If you want to get to the store its at the Shimotori shopping arcade. If you're facing Kumamoto Castle on Ginzo Dori, it's on the left side of the intersection. From there, it's a little ways in on the left 
Go through that way. 

The shop has a lot of cotton and tons of buttons. So many buttons. They also had some apparel fabrics and faux furs. It's worth a look if you're shopping there anyway. 

I also picked up a couple of Japanese sewing books at a bookstore in the area called Tsutaya that are found all over Japan.

The one on the left is actually a "draft your own pattern" book (which I didn't realize until I took this picture...oops) and the one on the right is called I Love Tops. Both books are all top patterns. (I'm not much of a dress/skirt wearer and I'm afraid that Japanese pants sizes don't even come close to my size). 

The I Love Tops sewing book was reviewed on Japnese Sewing Books

This is from the other book:

There are 173 different tops total. WHAT!? That is so many. 
This is an example of the drafting instructions. This is definitely a book I'll wait to try until I'm more comfortable with sewing. It's so nice to look at though!

I'm planning on posting about my visit to Toraya in Osaka within the next week or so, so keep an eye out for that! 

Happy sewing!


Sunday, March 6, 2016

My first garment!

Ooh boy am I excited! I made my first piece of clothing for myself!!! My mom and I have a bunch of uncut patterns at home, so I chose one that looked like it was simple but something that I would actually wear. The pick:

A nice flowy blouse with either a back inset or contrast back. I decided to go with view A which has a back inset and sleeve opening detail (a hole, basically. But a nice hole). Off to the fabric store I went!!

Living in Hawaii, my fabric choices are somewhat more limited than those who live in the big cities (I'm so jealous of MOOD. Seriously). What I ended up with was a some kind of drapey rayon fabric
I'm not sure what it is exactly, but it's really pretty! Anyway, super excited I went home and traced the pattern in a medium. 

I went to lay out the pattern pieces on the fabric like the instructions said and lo and behold, it didn't fit!

Much sad. So sad. Turns out, I thought the fabric was 60" width but it was 45". Boo. What a bummer. So I ran back out to the fabric store, had a mini heart attack because I couldn't find the same fabric and had to be patient while my new bit of fabric went for a spin in the washer.

But, hey! It was worth the wait. The instructions were easy to follow, even though I had to look up a couple of things (understitching? stay-stitching? Now I know what they are). 

These two pics are of the blouse before I sewed up the side seams. Looks a little big, no? Also I love pockets so even though view A doesn't have one, I used the pocket from view B. Not difficult.

I sewed up the side seams, and yes, the blouse was in fact a bit large on me. I decided to take up the shoulder 1", the hem up 1 1/2",  and the side seams about 1/2" on each side. Doing this after I had sewn all of this was a pain (next time, muslin first! but probably not because I'm lazy and too excited to make something wearable from the get-go) especially the shoulder holes. However, the result is something I'm so proud to wear!
See? Much better. I also had to move the pocket since I took in the sides. 

Here's some slightly better pictures of the completed blouse.

The shoulder hole things. There's gotta be a name for these. I actually just noticed that my fabric looks a lot like the drawing on the pattern envelope. Huh. 

Some of the things I learned making this blouse:
  • Stay-stitching is basically stitiching right inside the seam allowance to strengthen the fabric in that area (used on the neckline)
  • Understitching is to keep the facing from rolling to the front. Very important because that would be so annoying. You just sew the facing to the facing+neckline seam allowance after trimming and cutting whatever notches needed
  • Chiffon frays like a bitch. finish the edges before working with it. That would make it so much easier

Friday, March 4, 2016


Hello internet!

As you can see from the blog title, this blog will be about sewing. I'm still a newbie sewer, hence the title sewist-in-training. I'm always learning. I still feel like I'm a sewer, not yet a sewist. (In my mind there is a difference).

Here's a bit about my sewing background.

I went to sewing classes from about age 10-12 or 13. My sewing teacher was a nice older Japanese lady, Mrs. Izumi, and the school was run by another older Japanese lady, Mrs. Hamada. My mom enrolled me in sewing classes because she is a sewist (that's right, -ist and not -er) and has found the skill useful and rewarding. She actually sewed her own wedding dress! I actually liked those lessons.

I learned to sew on old Singer sewing machines. You know, the black metal ones pretty much built into the sewing table? Those sewing machines.
Like this sewing machine, minus the treadle. There was a whole room full of them.

Luckily, they were electric. I can't imagine a 10 year old me sewing on a treadle machine. That would have been horrible. The school did have one though, in the back room where the irons were, that was used solely for making buttonholes. Only the teachers were allowed to use it. That was probably wise on their part. Anyway, the cool part of the sewing classes was that they would draft patterns for whatever I wanted to sew. I still have all the patterns they drafted for me...somewhere. I should really go look for them. I do know that I made some tops, shorts, and a cute little purse (omg the piping they had me make myself). It was a great experience and I definitely learned a lot.

However, I did not learn how to sew from a commercial pattern. They would just tell me what to sew next and how to do it. That's why I eventually stopped taking the class. Well, that and I was getting busy with other things. I didn't sew again for years. Just about a decade. That's when I sewed a chanchanko for my friend's daughter on my mom's sewing machine. It was exhausting, and my mom helped me and basically read the pattern and told me what to do. I took a long nap after that endeavor.

The next time I sewed was when I decided to try to sew little outfits for my pets. I have a bunny and dogs and I started making some cute little things for them to wear like capes, bandanas and bows. I then decided to open an Etsy shop to sell my bunny outfits (it's called ToffeeCrafts in case you're wondering). That was last October (2015).
This is my bunny Pillows in her superbun cape.

I still have the shop (and recently added bunny tuxedos and am working on a bunny aloha shirt), but I really want to get into sewing more for me. As in clothes. That are made to fit me and my *special body*. So, that's what this blog is going to be focused on. My adventure in sewing clothes with the occassional pet stuff post. I also will probably be sewing clothes for my family too, so there will be a variety of *special bodies* to sew for! I hope that other beginners will find this blog useful! I know I definitely learn a lot from other sewing blogs.

On to my next project!

Happy sewing!