Why I Make Tablecloths in My Down Time

One of the biggest challenges of being an entrepreneur is to have consistent work coming in every month. Some months might be great and some months might not be so good in terms of the amount of incoming work. When you’re in busy season, you have to manage your work and triage it to get everything done on time. On the other hand when you know it’s not your busiest month, you have to work hard to create more work.

In my recent downtime, I made tablecloths. Many of them. It was commissioned by one company I work with. I pressed the fabric hem and sewed straight lines over and over again. It is not sexy nor Instagram worthy but I take on work like this for several reasons.

One is to keep the client happy and build a trusting relationship. They might not give you the work you absolutely love at all times, but work is work. When you are starting up, you cannot be too picky.

Two, it was surprisingly relaxing to do this simple task. It was a good break from creative work. It felt similar to knitting, where you repeat the simple pattern over and over again. Knit, purl, knit purl….

Lastly, it helps me keep going with my business. The money I earned from making tablecloths can be put elsewhere to grow my actual business. So regardless of its sexiness, I take on work like this sometimes to have healthy finance for my business.

P.S. Other small business tips here and here.

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Tips on Sewing with Kimono Fabric

Tips on sewing with kimono fabric

Tips on sewing with kimono fabric

As you might have seen on past blog posts or instagram photos, I had some opportunities to sew dresses using kimono fabric. I wanted to share a few tips I picked up while sewing modern style clothes using this kind of fabric.

Kimono roll fabric(1) Consider the fabric width and choose the pattern accordingly.
If you buy a roll of kimono fabric, the fabric width comes in 36-38cm, which is quite narrow considering regular fabric width being between 90cm to 150cm. Usually the length of the roll of kimono fabric comes in 13 meters. For obvious reasons, some dress designs don’t fit. Dresses with princess seams, fitted dresses, and I-line skirts do fit the bill. If you want to use a top pattern with darts as opposed to princess seams like this, you might have to modify the pattern to fit the fabric width.

Matching patterns on kimonozipper insertion kimono dress(2) Pattern placement
It would be very difficult to match every single pattern perfectly, but you should try to match the pattern as much as possible. Before starting to cut out the fabric, I usually take a look at the whole 13 meters of fabric, and take a note of patterns and colors. Does the same pattern show up in a roll? If not, is there a similar one? What about the color? Sometimes a kimono pattern has color gradation as you can see below, from green to lavender to white. Even if you cannot match the floral motif, if you match the general color scheme, the mismatch of the floral motif will be less noticeable.
Once you decide generally which fabric part you will use for each pattern piece, cut out one piece (if it’s center front piece, cut center front), serge the seam allowances and press the seam allowances. Then, place the particular piece beside what you are going to cut out next (in this case, side front piece). That way, you take the seam allowances in consideration when you cut out the next piece.

cream mermaid kimono dresskimono dress in cream kimono dress in emerald(3) Decide on focus point
When you consider tip (2), you might want to consider where the focus will go on the dress. I usually decide where the best motif will go first, and then try to see the overall balance of the pattern placement. If I put a focus on front hem with a floral pattern, I go the top and sleeve light with solid color part of the fabric.

(4) Where to source kimono fabric
I found this site, Ichiroya with great selection of antique kimono fabric. The price is very reasonable considering you get the whole roll! Etsy is also another great place, although the price is higher since most stores sell by the yard or meter. I think this crane print is beautiful.

Hope these tips will help you in working with Kimono fabric! Overall, I do enjoy sewing this kind of fabric. Although it is silk (most of them are anyway), it is easy to handle having no stretch and weaved in twill. Pattern matching is the most challenging part, but also the fun of working with this kind of textile. If you plan well ahead, I’m sure you will end up with a gorgeous piece.
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Organizing Sewing Place

sewing supply organizationSewing place organizing is stuck with every sewing person. It’s hard to stop increasing sewing supplies if you love sewing. These supplies are easily messed up while sewing. I’m sometimes surprised at the cluttered room when I finish making a garment. It seems I don’t really like to put notions back into their original place…

This basket is my favorite! I throw frequently used notions in the basket. Pins and pincushion, thread scissors, measure, stiletto… anything I need. I don’t have to open and close a drawer, and am able to make a stitch everywhere I’d like to with the basket.

paper box organization

I made a small Origami box. I always set the box next to the sewing machine, and throw out lint and remnant in it, so that I don’t have to keep a trash box closer all of the time.

threads organization by rina for vivat veritas

It also annoys me to look for matching bobbin thread. So I got rolled paper into sewing yarn and matched bobbin thread.

 

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ミシン周りの整頓は常に私の課題です。どんどん物は増えて収納に困るし、何かを作ることに熱中すると気がついたら足の踏み場もない部屋になっている、なんてこともしばしばあります。きっと洋裁をする人にとってはミシン周りの整理整頓は共通の課題なのでは?

私が少し工夫してやっていることを紹介します。

まずは籐籠に、頻繁に使うものをなんでも突っ込む!工夫もなにもないけど、必要なものがすぐに手に届くし、この籠を持って行けば家中どこででもチクチクできます。

それからオリガミで小さな箱を作り、いつもミシンの横に置くようにしています。糸くずや布切れをポンポンとこの箱に放り込めば、いちいちゴミ箱に捨てるより楽ちんです。

ミシンの下糸を探すのにいちいち手間取るので、丸めた紙を糸とボビンがバラバラにならないように通して収納しています。見た目もすっきり!rina signature

More Rina’s posts….

 

– DIY: Bead Necklace
– Fashion’s Night Out in Tokyo
– Silk Painting Groom’s Vest