Japanese Sewing Week

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Welcome to my little spot on the First Japanese Sewing Week Tour!! For those who are visiting for the first time, I began sewing from Japanese patterns back in 2013. I loved the clean lines of the patterns I kept seeing, and I was eager to accept the challenge of trying to decipher a pattern in another language. Plus, I purchased my first book on a fun trip to NYC! 

I just counted my Japanese book library, and I was surprised that I have 10 at my disposal!! Many of these are the recently translated books by Tuttle Publishing. I have sewn from most of the children's books, and I have done several book reviews for children's and women's books. You can find all of these previous posts here.

The pattern I chose comes from the Japanese sewing book: Heart Warming Life Series: Chiisana Onnanoko no Oyafuku (Clothes for Little Girls)by Yuki Araki. I have previously sewn patterns S, S, H, K, and a modified L from this book.

This is pattern T from the book. Most, if not all, of the patterns in this book are created with stretch fabrics. 

Again, you see the clean, simple lines, but with sweet details like the belt and bubble hem.

And button back. I was thrilled to find the vintage buttons in my stash that perfectly matched the vintage velvet ribbon I used for the belt. 

Based on her measurements, I made size 105cm which is a perfect fit.

The pattern calls for a fabric belt, but I loved the idea of using this velvet ribbon. I had to press back the edges of the ribbon to fit my belt buckle, so I sewed them down with gold thread. I love the fancy touch the belt gives to the knit dress. The pattern did not call for an belt loops, but I knew they would be helpful. I followed this tutorial for thread belt loops. So easy!!

For those of you who are curious, this is what the pattern looks like inside the book. Most of the time you can get away with strictly looking at the detailed diagrams. They really are superb!  

The other day someone posted about using the Google Translate app for Japanese sewing patterns. (Thanks Ajarie!) This is a total game changer!! Simply take a photo of the text you would like to translate within the app, highlight the text, and it will give you a translation. How cool is that!?!

I thought I would include a couple more tips for those who might be interested in diving into Japanese patterns for the first time. Every Japanese pattern I have used does not include a seam allowance. Tracing with two pencils tied together is a fast, simple way to add a 1/4" to 3/8" seam allowance.

Once you've traced all of those pattern pieces, a good storage option is a mailing envelope with a copy of the book cover taped to the front.

Ok, just two more photos showing the dress layered. Glad this comfy dress with work for all seasons!

Now here's more fun! First, be sure to visit all of the other sew along participants on the Japanese Sewing Week tour.

Next, head over to Made by Sara for all the details on how you can sew along for a prize.

Finally, there are prizes to be won just by entering below. Best of luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Prairie Day Charlotte Dress

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The week after Halloween, I was tasked with another costume of sorts. Avery's second grade class is reading The Little House on the Prairie, and they held a prairie day field trip to try to experience some of the things the Ingalls family may have experienced. The had fun making butter, lemonade, rag dolls, etc. (I'm pretty thrilled with the tiny dent those rag dolls made in my fabric scrap stash!!) Of course, Avery had a long skirt we could have easily used to pull a look together, but I couldn't just stop at that! It's an illness folks! 

The Modkid Charlotte just seemed like the perfect style for a Laura Ingalls dress. I also knew the dress would be fabulous beyond just prairie day. I think I already mentioned how I love the way the Charlotte combines a vintage feel with a modern look.

I used Anna Maria Horner's Honor Roll fabric for the long ruffle and ties. The maroon solid is Michael Miller Cotton Couture Broadcloth. The cotton couture was a dream to sew with, and it gives the garment such a great feel. I need more of these solids in my life!!

Love this sweet little button cuff! I made the dress in a size 7 with the length of the size 8. The sleeves ended up a little on the long side, so I tightened up the button after these photos were taken. 

The bonnet was mine as a child. I'm so thrilled my mom was able to find and send it for our use!

My little Laura!!

It's not a completely traditional Laura Ingalls looks, but I think Avery felt awesome that day.

I love the interesting details on the bonnet. If anyone recognizes the pattern, I would love to know what it is!

Super Simple Mermaid Costume

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

With Tandy's birthday so close to Halloween, costumes were a bit of a scramble this year. In the past, I have been able to do double duty with birthday outfits and Halloween costumes like Mary Poppins and the clown and tightrope walker. This year I had a plan for Avery's Cleopatra costume, but nothing for Tandy. It didn't help that she kept shifting her request. She went from an apple, to Fancy Nancy, to a mermaid. I had done Fancy Nancy before, and it would have been the right size for her this year. But, she finally settled on a mermaid, so the day before while she was at pre-k I went to work.

It had to include her favorite color, hot pink. The Vivid Fireworks turned out perfect since we thought it could be bubbles in the water. I've had the small piece of ruffle fabric in my stash for ages along with all of the other bits and pieces for the accessories. This was a no additional cost costume!!

The shirt is a complete mess. It is a few rectangles sewn on to a shirt, but I had to finagle it a bunch. It would be embarrassing if you looked close, but Tandy was happy. That is what counts.

I used the Modkid Rachel pattern to make the skirt. I omitted the left front side and cut the right front side down to match half of the back skirt. Then, I lengthened the pieces to get a maxi length dress minus the 4" ruffle. I used this super easy elastic waistband method, but I did stitch the elastic down all the way around the waist with a zig-zag stitch instead of just tacking it at the seams. As you can tell, I didn't bother to match prints.

 We thought the blue puff hair clip made the perfect seaweed accent. I made the shells for the wand and headband from felt, stitching in the detail lines. It was relatively quick and quite comfortable, just the way we like it.

Cleopatra Costume

Monday, November 2, 2015

 Avery has been studying the history of Egypt in school this year, so Cleopatra was a natural fit for a costume. As it turns out, a large percentage of the girls in her class all thought the same thing. Thankfully, I can safely say Avery's Cleopatra costume is completely unique!

The dress is pattern C from this Japanese sewing book "Girl's Going Out Clothes" in the largest size. I lengthen the pattern and added the skirt overlay. The fabric is from Hobby Lobby and the ribbon trim is by Patty Young.

 I think the makeup was Avery's favorite part! We found all of her accessories at Walmart.

I wanted to be sure to include a picture of the ribbon bodice without the necklaces. This is a very simple to sew pattern. I had to make a couple of changes since I was using ribbon instead of the bias trim as instructed. There is also a top version and sleeves provided in the book. Speaking of sleeves the arm hole ran a little large in our case.  

We went to a local park with a pond to try to visualize Cleopatra standing next to the Nile. It's a stretch, but we made the most of it!

Peter Rabbit Birthday

Friday, October 30, 2015

Soon after Tandy's last birthday, she determined that she wanted a Peter Rabbit fourth birthday due to her love of the Nick Jr. Peter Rabbit episodes. It has been nothing but Peter Rabbit ever since!! I was easily able to get behind such a classic party theme.

For all of the detail on Tandy's Peter Rabbit Dress with applique and blue cardigan (that was too hot to wear on  the day of the party) be sure to check out this post

It seems I use my Ikea cart for every party. I just wish it made me clean out the sewing projects I usually have stacked on it instead of just dumping them on the floor!

The advantage to my kids picking their party themes so far in advance, is that I can gather items at discounted prices. You better believe I stalked all of the after Easter sales!

This shelf held some chocolate carrot favors and a scavenger hunt list with bags for collecting.

Most of the decor items are derived from the classic Peter Rabbit story, but for the garland I used quotes from the Peter Rabbit Nick Jr. show. Tandy loves to quote the lines, "A good rabbit never gives up" and "Rabbits are brave". For the animal shapes, I simply traced around some cookie cutters.

Tandy's grandparents brought the cutest vintage watering cans for display as well as a wheel barrow that held ice and drinks. The twine carrots were from an after Easter sale at Pier 1. We made the coffee filter cabbages largely from this tutorial. Instead of dip dying the leaves we painted them with our liquid water colors to get variations in the colors.

The main party favor was a play-dough carrot.

I used this play-dough recipe. We stuffed the play-dough into pastry bags, trimmed off the tops of the bags, and tied them up with strips of gingham fabric.

First the snacks, then the treats. 

We served pots of veggies for dipping. 

The ranch dip was served from a hollowed out cabbage. The veggie pizza is delicious for any occasion. We garnished the strawberry soup with a slice of radish just for fun. 

Coming up with the sweet party treats is always my favorite part! I already told you about Tandy's Mississippi grandparents bringing fun items for the party. Well, her Texas grandparents had a few things to contribute as well. Yes, both sets go all out, and they never know what I may request! My mom found the perfect Peter Rabbit tablecloth at a Pottery Barn outlet. And my dad brought tree slices on the plane from Texas for my use. That's love people!

I normally have the gate from our Texas ranch in front of my fireplace. Adding a simple chalkboard sign and Peter Rabbit scarecrow made the perfect backdrop.

The carrot cookie cutters were another after Easter sale item. Score!

I don't think Tandy had ever had carrot cake before, but that's what she requested. I love when those requests are so easy to accommodate!

The pie pops were a first for me. They are so much easier than cake pops!! I used store bought blueberry pie filling and store bought crust. Easy!!

Somehow I can't help making those pesky cake pops once an idea gets in my head.

I had to incorporate radishes somewhere, and red velvet radish cake pops were just the thing. I simply wrapped the stick in green fringed paper to complete the look.

The tree ring fudge was delicious, but if there were to be a next time, I would bake some spiral tree ring cookies! These were no small feat. The tutorial makes it seem so much easier than it actually was!

As I previously mentioned, we had a scavenger hunt that the kids really enjoyed. Todd played the role of Mr. McGregor, and we hid plastic toy vegetables in one area to simulate his garden.  

The other fun activity was painting rabbit hats for party hats. 

Here are a few more images of the party girl enjoying all of the fun!


At one point during the party, Tandy came up to me and thanked me for her party. That's all the encouragement that I ever need!! I simply love doing this for my girls!
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