MADE | Chunkeanie by Woolly Wormhead

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As a sewer, I had stayed away from knitting. I thought knitting was not productive, as it takes hours to complete one project, whereas you can sew up a piece of clothes in a few hours, especially for easy items like a t-shirt or a simple top. If it takes 6, 7 hours to knit up a simple hat, it makes more sense to buy one!? But my friend gave me a book on knitting in exchange for a can of pumpkin (bought during my recent Hawaii trip since they don’t sell a can of pumpkin in Japan..You have to mash them yourself) recently, and convinced me that I should knit. So when I picked up three balls of wool yarns for this simple knit hat project, I wasn’t the most excited. However, when I started the simple motion of knit, purl, knit, purl while watching the Tudors, I was hooked. Something about the simple repetition was so soothing.

Another reason why I had stayed away from knitting was because the knitting patterns confused me. For instance, the pattern I used, Chunkeanie by Woolly Wormhead read, “Rnd 1: *ssk, P16, k2tog; rpt from * to end [72 sts]”. I had no idea what it meant. Learning English was enough for me and I wasn’t ready to learn another language. Thankfully, we have a wonderful thing called Google and by just searching “ssk knitting”, I was able to find videos on youtube to explain what I should do.

I made the largest size in the pattern (the one starts from 80 stitches), and it fit Andy’s head perfectly. Every winter, he wears the ugliest black rib knit hat. I don’t even know where he found it. He said it wasn’t particularly comfortable so he agreed to let me replace his hat with this new one.

This was my first time knitting circle in DPNs. The end stitches are a bit loose, but it ended up being not noticable since the whole hat stretches out when you wear it.

I’m knitting another one for my friend, and thinking of embellishing the hat with some Swarovski crystals. After that, I might try Benton sweater by Brookyn Tweed. Jen’s version looks so good.

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Woolly Wormheadというサイトの、Chunkeanieという無料型紙を使って作りました。

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Three-Way Gold Lace Wedding Dress

gold lace wedding dress

I love the idea of a wedding dress that can be worn in multiple ways. You put so much time and money into your dress, why not wear it more than once? I got to wear mine twice since I had weddings in both Japan and the U.S., but since then the dress has been abandoned in the back of my closet.

I worked with a bride this summer to make a dress that can be worn in three different ways. The first one is the simple strapless mini dress. The bride had in mind that she would be wearing this to go to weddings or events in the future. Then for her actual wedding, we came up with the idea of making a tulle skirt that can be worn on top of the mini dress. To change it up for reception, I also made a peplum top in matching sheer lace fabric.inspiration and sketch

The above is the inspiration image for the dress. It is in peach color but since we found this gorgeous gold lace fabric, we decided to go with it. They sell it in white and black as well. The fabric is very delicate and pretty. I was scared to put the shears through for fear of cutting a wrong piece or the tip of the shears poking through the lace. gold lace wedding dress2gold lace dress inside frontThis is what it looks like inside before the lining was attached. Instead of using fusible interface, I used muslin fabric as the interface. This is my favorite method for wedding dresses, as you can use the muslin for the fitting, which is thread traced for the sewing lines. I stitch the muslin on satin each one by hand. This takes a long time! Also the bra cups are catch stitched, neckline is reinforced with twill tape and all the seam allowances are pressed and catch stitched to the muslin fabric. gold lace dress inside backWe decided to go with laced up back instead of zipper or fabric covered button since the bride just had a baby and her sizes were changing. I am happy with our decision since it is less stressful for both of us not to have to worry about the small size changes. Also this way, she can wear the dress for other occasions in the future.

When you see the ready-to-wear wedding dresses or rental wedding dresses in Japan, they usually use big white bra hooks looking things to lace up the back. I went to Okadaya in Shinjyuku and asked if they have the same notion, but they did not have it. They recommended using metal eyelet, but they are silver and did not look right on delicate gold lace. I decided to buy the bra hook and eye set and just use the eye part (talked about it in this video). I used 13 in total. It worked well since the satin ribbon I used for the lace up was thin. The eyes don’t really show in the right side of the fabric, and I was pleased with the result. front and back inside of the gold dress

Lots of hand sewing involved!

bridal sashThe bridal sash was ordered at Garter Queen on etsy. I ordered the color which look the closest to the dress, but the one that arrived look slightly different from the satin ribbon I used for the lace up back. So I ended up making a trip back to Okadaya and picked up the wide width satin ribbon that matched perfectly, and glued the pearl and crystal part to the ribbon.

Check out this page to see the bride’s wedding pictures!
gold lace dress back


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MADE | Ballet Leotard

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Kiko recently started taking ballet lessons. She loves it. She gets to run around with other girls and she is enamored by all the girl clothes, and the little girl’s tutu leotard was no exception. I am a bit surprised by how much she is into tulle, dresses and pink since she spends a lot of time with Andy, who is all about boxing, weight lifting and other sorts of sweaty activity.

We went to her lessons a few times with just leggings and t-shirts, but all the other girls were dressed in pretty ballerina attire so I decided to make one for her. First thing I had in mind was to use up the fabric leftover I used to make jazz dance costume. I had a lot of white spandex fabric left over but I could not find it…I must have thrown them away during the move last year. So the only acceptable fabric for this project was the ivory stretch lace from this dress. It was an easy project and I am pleased with how it turned out. I like how it is a bit different from regular solid spandex leotard and I got to reduce the amount of ever growing fabric stash. girl leotard pattern drafting1

As for patterns, I started from Kiko’s bathing suit. I roughly traced the front and back of the bathing suit and added about an inch to the torso for length.

girl leotard pattern draftingHere are all the pattern pieces cut. There are only three: front, back and straps. Very simple! I can use this to make a bigger leotard by adjusting the base pattern when she grows out of this.girls leotard sewingThe leotard is fully lined with a skin color jersey. I first sewed the crotch for both fashion fabric and lining, then right sides facing, I sewed the leg hole (?) area. Before turning them inside out, I added the elastic bands in the seam allowances. I cut them an inch shorter than the length of the leg hole measurement, and stretched them a bit as I sewed. attaching tutu skirt to leotardI had some soft tulle left over from making this veil, so I cut them in long rectangle, gathered the top and attach it to the waist line. I still don’t like cutting and sewing tulle fabric. I get the urge to pull all my hair out whenever I have to deal with this fabric. It drives me crazy that there is no grain line and the fact that it rips so easily. little girls lace leotard4 little girls lace leotard1

This made me want to make Nettie bodysuit by Closet Case. I had seen Sonja and Inna made them and they look great on them. That is going to be the next project after I finish the silk Archer button up!lace leotard娘が最近バレエを始めたので、レッスン用のレオタードを作りました。
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