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Tag Archives: Sewing

It’s summer and I have a baby, so that means that like it or not, there’s a lot of sitting involved. I decided to revisit the glorious train wreck that is Once Upon a Time. I got hooked on it a few years ago and it remains my favorite guilty tv pleasure. The acting is mostly good and in some cases very good/spectacular- Robert Carlyle clearly acts rings around everyone, going from manic to menacing to tender in the blink of an eye. But the writing suffers from one of my least favorite narrative devices- telling instead of showing.
Seasons 1 and 2 are delightful. Imagine Dynasty and Dallas where everyone is magical. ZOMG! Beginning with season 3 and going forward the writers seem to just churn out stories with some new novelty and forget about developing the characters we’re (supposedly) invested in. Season 4 in particular was a nearly complete waste until the very last midseason episode. Luckily the second half of season 4 picked up a little.
Seasons 1 and 2 also have some of the best costuming. I’m not talking about the Enchanted Forest scenes, which are pure Alexis Carrington run through Drag Race- in the best way possible. No, I’m talking about what they wear in Storybrooke, which is a twee girl’s fantasy.

Mary Margaret Blanchard is werkin’ the Amelie vibe so hard! Of course I love it.
number 1- buy a cardigan in every color. Every. Color.

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I frequently page through my collection of Burda Magazines late at night and play dress up in my head. Can you tell I made a lot of paper dolls when I was a child… and a teen… and still. Anyway, Burda seems to have some holes in their pattern collections. I couldn’t find a simple shell with a lace inset collar. Obviously you can make one, which is what I’ll probably do. I don’t get paid by Burda, this is just because I love their patterns and find them incredibly reliable. But, I don’t spend much time on their website anymore since it turned into Craftsy.

I’ve recently figured out that the sewing world has changed enormously in the last couple of years- and not in a way that interests me. There are a lot of beginner seamstresses, which is great, but as a result there’s a trainload of money to be made is in simple, beginner patterns. And that’s trickled into every pattern company, including Burda. Along with the current fashion trend of simple shapes paired with expensive fabric this has resulted in the same ultra simple patterns all over the internet. It’s not that I hate simple. I just made a shift out of quilting cotton for crying out loud. But I’m definitely suffering from samey pattern fatigue. So, I’m consoling myself with my stack of magazines. These however I pulled from their website bc I’m not up for scanning everything.OUAT1x03_1838

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blouse

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plus blouse

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I’m so into this outfit. I love the shoes. I used to have 2 pairs of lace ups that unfortunately wore out over the course of 15 years. I’m currently on the hunt for replacements. And how hot was Graham? He was on some British show I tried watching with Gillian Anderson, but I decided watching serial killers with my kid was a bad idea. 117A_tech_dwg_large

pants

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plus pants

OUAT1x06_0855 OUAT1x06_1068So many cardigans, right? Anyway, this was my least successful Burda find. While I enjoy a mandarin collar, i thought it was weird that there weren’t more sleeve options. I like the skirt pleats though. I’m so in love with both of the plus dresses.Jan_109_tech_drawing_large

shirt dress

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plus shirt dress

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plus 40s style shirt dress

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Have I mentioned how much I hate pockets on dresses? Or anywhere on the lower half of my body. I think I’ve sewn one things with pockets and they were totally decorative. Oh- they work. You could put items in them, but never in a million years would I actually do that. Probably bc I don’t want to look like my saddlebags are giving birth to my keys. Anyway, this dress has been on my “easy make” radar since the issue came out. I love the Dior darts.117b_c_tech_dwg_large

strap dress

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plus strap dress

This one was impossible to find! It’s such a basic design that it seems weird that it wouldn’t exist. But I’m thinking that since most plus women are rectangular or ovoid with waists close to their bust measurement that maybe it’s not a popular style? I do know that the plus sized women I know in real life won’t be caught dead in a dirndl skirt, so maybe there’s that too.

I’m not going to make any of these anytime soon, esp since I already have my Autumn sewing plan. But I do love to day dream. Between Mary Margaret in season 1 and Belle in season 2, I have lots of clothes pr0n to ogle ;D

Ugh- procrastination over!

Screencaps from http://kissthemgoodbye.net/onceuponatime/index.php?cat=2


Even though it’s only August, the trees here have already started to turn. I’ve been thinking about Autumn and everything that goes with it: shorter days, cooler weather, beautiful foliage, PSL (and everything pumpkin- I don’t care! I love it!), and cute clothes. Ahhhhhhhhh the clothes! Karl will be starting Kindergarten which means I’ll have a few hours (sort of) to myself in the morning, provided Tony naps on schedule.
I lost the baby weight so I’ve been eyeing my patterns and daydreaming. But, after buying some fabric over the summer I’ve vowed to work my way through my fabric stash before I buy any more. I’m pretty confident I can sew at least 2 things.
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I like the neckline on the Eleonore (from the Republique du Chiffon book). I plan to transfer it to my Built By Wendy shift dress so I don’t have to make a toile for this. This is seriously the only way I can ever get anything done, sewingwise. These days I just don’t have the time to make endless muslins (esp from newer companies) trying to get a decent fit. The fabric is cotton from Stonemountain & Daughter in Berkeley.  I’ve been meaning to peek in there for the last few years, but never got around to it. I really love their selection. Someone complimented me on my geometric dress and collar! But I was too shy to tell her I’d made them. Unfortunately the aisles aren’t big enough to get my stroller through, even though it’s not very big- which I understand. Space is at a premium in Berkeley. I ended up taking the kids back outside, putting the stroller away, and carrying the baby. Unfortunately carrying a baby and trying to carry a bolt of cloth to the cutting table requires a bit of dexterity. I’m going to have to remember to pack the Babybjorn or more likely just wait until Mikael’s days off.

Karl has been on a dinosaur roll so I’ve been making him paper dinos to color. He’s been hogging the dining room table with them. Archeopteryx and Pteranodon like to nest in the flowers. I have nightmares of the vase overturning and destroying any books I leave on the table.

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I’m definitely going to have to make a muslin for this. It’s Burda 8/2009 #112 (BEST issue ever). I’ve had this pinwale, twee as fuck, corduroy laying around forever. I think it’ll be perfect for Fall. My son’s dinosaurs agree. I’m really, really excited to make this bc in the same issue there’s a more complicated version that I’ve been eyeing for a gazillion years. And yes, I have fabric for that too.

I also sort of inherited some clothes from Mikael’s Great Aunt. She was quite the beauty and a clothes horse. The clothes were shipped to my inlaws and I was given the chance to pick anything I thought might fit me. I’m also the closest to her in build, being tall and somewhat slim- although she had more of an athletic 1940s body as opposed to my pear shape. Her mother did quite a bit of sewing for her when she was young and turning the skirts inside out has demystified welt pockets for me like nothing else has managed to do. I picked out a few wool skirts as well as 2 Pendleton wool suits, a couple of beautiful day dresses, and a long cotton dress with a crazy puffed shoulder jacket that looks like something Rachel from Blade Runner would wear while picnicking with Deckard. I’m going to have to alter everything, but it’s doable so I’m incredibly excited. The best part is the colors! The most beautiful greens and deep blues. Gah! I feel incredibly lucky. The few things my Grandmother kept stopped fitting me when I turned 13 and grew into the kaiju I am today. I am happy I have a dress my Grandmother and I made together.

Back to work! I’m almost finished with a new illustration- then I have a painting I’m itching to do- and THEN I should be able to knock out the Eleonore dress and the Burda cape(let).


My son Karl just graduated from Preschool and I wanted something special to wear as well as something to wear with the Twin Peaks collar necklace I made last year. I found this lovely geometric fabric at Joanne’s in the quilting section. I washed it a couple of times and it got very soft, which is pretty standard for most quilting cottons I’ve gotten there. It’s thin enough to be breathable in summer, but thick enough that I didn’t have to line it or wear a slip. Here it is on the morning before we left for the ceremony. photo (6)

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And here we are after. I’m so proud of him! Yes, I’m a little wrinkled post sitting and socializing. Plus with a belt it has a tendency to creep upward, but all in all it’s very comfortable and easy to wear.

IMG_3939 IMG_3940I added cuffs and a sleeve pleat from a Burda Easy pattern. I wanted an early 80s look with the shoulders which I think worked out nicely. I’m one of those broad shouldered women with even broader hips (Hello Joan Crawford!) so a strong shoulder balances me out nicely and makes me look less pear and more hourglass shaped.

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I used the Built By Wendy Shift pattern from her Dresses book and swapped in the sleeve head from Burda Easy Spring/Summer 2013 (one of Burda’s best issues in my opinion).IMG_3950Given that I’m 35″ bust and 41″ hip post baby, with a few more pounds and LOTS of toning to go, I should have cut a Small bust and a Large hip, but I like my clothes slightly more fitted & in my experience most modern patterns have loads of ease. Loooooooaaaaaaads of it. I used the Xtra Small through the bust and graded out to a Medium in the hips, which ended up being totally unnecessary and I ended up with a Small through the hips ( which is bonkers).

IMG_3951As for the sleeves, I used the Built By Wendy sleeve and added the Burda Easy sleeve cap. It turned out perfectly!

I added an invisible zipper, which took forever for me to remember how to put one in, but eventually it worked out. The insides are just pinked so there’s no fancy finishing to show off and instead of a facing I used bias tape for the neckline, which reduced bulk.

Now I’m off to the store and hopefully I’ll be able to get some drawing done this afternoon~


I made this dress last year when I was pregnant with Tony. These photos were taken in late August or early September- when I was around 8 months pregnant. The pattern is from the book, Simple Modern Sewing by Shufu To Seikatsu Sha. It’s pattern 3, the “Boatneck Dress.

I LOVE this pattern. It’s incredibly easy. The neckline is wide enough that you don’t need a zipper, but it doesn’t gape. Be warned, the sizing on this is… interesting. The dress is supposed to be loose, but I like my clothing a little more fitted. Initially, I made a size Small, which is a finished bust measurement of 38.5 inches, including ease. this was way too big for me, even in the shoulders. I ended up making an XS, which has a finished bust measurement of 37″ and grading out to a Medium for the waist and hips to accommodate my tummy. At the time, my bust measurement was 36″, but post pregnancy, as I’ve been going back to my normal weight, I’m going to have to take it in quite a bit. I know a lot of people shy away from Japanese patterns, thinking they’ll be too small, but trust me, the fit is usually so loose that you often have to take them in for a more American look. I am 5’9″ so I had to lower the bust dart, but I didn’t have to lower or widen the arm at all. On the book model dress length is mid calf, but I cut mine to right above the knee for a slightly 60s look.

After these photos Karl and I made cookies!
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I was ready to start making doll clothes before I’d even finished my doll. I’ve been drawing their clothes for the last couple of years and going to fabric stores & picking out fabrics & trims. Basically endlessly geeking out.
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Concept art of Posy Rabbit’s clothing. She wears a Biba inspired outfit. As you know from this post- I love Biba.

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Working on the slopers in Photosop. If you haven’t seen “Moon” starring Sam Rockwell and directed by Duncan Jones (David Bowie’s son), then you need to.

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Posy is a patient model during the fitting

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Drafted & sewn tiny shoe prototype along with a sketch of Posy’s teddy or camiknickers

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hand sewing the scallops on the teddy muslinclothrabbitdoll02Fitting the teddy muslin. The final will have ribbon straps. I tested out the dress muslin over the teddy & they’re a perfect fit!

Well, tomorrow I have to get the apartment ready for out Wednesday night get together. I have a full day of cleaning, grocery shopping, & baking peanut butter cookies scheduled. Then, Mikael’s parents are coming up for a visit. They’ll be here Thursday which means I won’t have any time to work on the final versions of her dress, teddy, and shoes. She has a caplet too, but the drafting on that is obviously very, very fast and easy.

I have a couple of blog posts I’d like to work on about my favorite illustrated books that remind me of summer, as well as a post about Biba fashion. Hopefully I’ll get to them along with the Sherlock t-shirt I’m working on.

If you want to see my wip in a more timely manner, I’m on Instagram. 


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Thusday evening, Mikael brought me flowers and candy. See’s is my absolute favorite! (Yes, I already have candy on my pants.) We went to dinner at a local mexican restaurant and relaxed and people watched with our son.  IMG_1719

Friday I took Karl into San Francisco to Kinokuniya in Japantown. I found an awesome sewing magazine, “Female.” Afterwards, Karl and I went to Arizmendi Bakery and had coffee, milk, and treats. We picked up Mikael and got take out from Big Lantern (our favorite!). Their General Tso’s meatless chicken is to die for.IMG_1740IMG_1741 IMG_1743 IMG_1742

I love the fashion sense here! Everything is so clean looking!IMG_1744 IMG_1745

Some color photo instructions and some line art instructions.

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There were quite a few patterns, but some also required you to draft them yourself using a sloper. A great challenge for a seamstress!

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These are the patterns included with the magazine. So many really cute pieces.

Mikael is such a tv hog, but I got to pick what we watched and I chose “Pacific Rim!” It’s amazing! If you love mecha, Godzilla, Robotech, Voltron, etc, you’ll love it. Every character was an anime type. The movie had very few civilian deaths, little swearing, and no super creepy gender roles that you’re praying your kid doesn’t pick up on.

On Saturday we went to Berkeley. Browsed two books stores, got coffee and ice cream, and finally came home and crashed.


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Feeling incredibly rejuvenated. Karl is back in pre-school. Finished a large job for a client. And I have personal projects organized and ready to create. Today I put on Grant Morrison talking on Keven Smith’s Fatman on Batman podcast. I loved Morrison’s “Supergods,” which made me feel like I could accomplish anything despite my anxiety. I knew that since I was going to begin painting “Brooksie,” that I would need an extra shove to get me started. Strangely, the detail work on a painting is the least stressful for me. It’s actually very relaxing to take each piece and tap away with my tiny brush. But the initial laydown of color always freaks me out. I start procrastinating. But I knew Morrison’s unique abundance of creativity would inspire and loosen me up- and it did. So much so that I started putting together a muslin of Karl’s shirt while the layers of my paint dried.

And I finally signed up for Instagram. Yes, filters are fun.


Saturday Mikael, Karl, and I went to Big Wow, the San Jose Comic Con. I’ll blog about tomorrow. On the way home we stopped by Kinokuniya and I found this beautiful sewing pattern book. I freely admit, I bought it for the gorgeous William Morris wallpaper behind the model, as much as the simple, lovely patterns.
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