Thursday, April 9, 2015

Spring has come.


I have been quiet and it was probably the longest silence of this blog. I hope you've been having great days in sewing-wise and otherwise!

As for me, I hadn't sewn much for months because my motivation was like a well that went dried a hundred years ago. It was sad, but it was a naturally occurred silence of my sewing. Anyway, the last couple of months was for the time to confirm that I technically had more than enough handmade clothes to live my life too (shame). There was, and is, no need to make new clothes for me.

Having prefaced with some mutter, the warmer season has come finally. It came to my family as well as others in the neighborhood, rather promptly. Our daughter entered the college in this spring and she needed some new clothes and new fabric equipments, such as curtains and a pretty laptop PC sleeve, and she asked me to sew them in the fabrics of her choice. How can I NOT be excited to be asked to sew for the person who I thought was the last human being to ask me such things? I recently restarted sewing a bit upon her request, and I find I love sewing (yahoo!)

PC sleeve: lined, interfaced, and heavily padded for protection

Daughter in Spring shirt: pattern Archer from Grainline Studio 

Though I have only few rambling pictures of my recent results to show you in this post, I hope you see that I'm sewing and doing very fine. I hope that I will have a chunk of time for sewing my clothes very soon. I hope I'll be able to blog something a little bit interesting here too. I think I hope everything that I can hope this moment. Haha:)
And above all, I hope you all are having a great day.

Archer has butterflies all over (the fabric is pretty, isn't it?)

Cloud-like cardigan: pattern Pris from Tamanegi-kobo

Skirt for a breeze: pattern Snowdrop from Tamanegi-kobo


P. S. These photos are almost the same ones as I posted to Instagram sometime before. I'm occasionally posting photos of my sewing projects to Instagram at the moment. Many of my regular pictures are not very sewing-related, though, please check my account if you are interested. I hope to see you there too!

Something extra: my mother in her Sashiko jacket, presenting her new Sashiko fabric in progress.

Saturday, January 17, 2015


This is a post about my disarraied idea on faux fur and a postponed retreat.

Please be warned, the first half of the post is muttering and it ends without clear conclusion. The latter half is an apology. I just couldn't avoid this post. I hope you will have a brighter day!

Faux Fur
It was a very cold night in December. When we were living in England many years ago, we often went out at night for various musical concerts in London. It was at Royal Albert Hall, or maybe it was at Royal Festival Hall, I'm not too sure but that night was very cold. We enjoyed the music in the choir seats (tickets for the choir seats were much cheaper and it was so much fun to share the moment facing to the conductor and other part of audience beyond playing orchestra. We loved those seats.) and then some memorable thing happened to me after the concert.

When the program was over, everybody stood up and tried to exit the hall as usual as in every concert. People were slowly heading to the exits, like being a flow in a complicated shaped river. It was crowded around me, as usual. And then I felt someone grabbed my purse that was hugged with my both arms. In the moment I turned my head back to see the person who was vigorously kneading my purse, the woman behind me barked

"Bowwow, wowwowwoow!!!"

with her hand still on my purse. She had a very evil grin (I'm sorry to say so but this is my polite expression) in her face as if she demanded me to reply back to her kneading or barking.

I didn't know what happened at first, and my initial guess was that she was too much affected by the moon or alcohol. She was wearing a colorful long knit cardigan over a Boho long dress. She seemed a civilized person rather than a growling wolf, although her lifestyle seemed slightly hippie side at the same time. Then I noticed that she accused me of having too much hair on my belonging. I was carrying a clutch-type small purse made of faux fur. I think I bought it at TOPSHOP because it was before my sewing era.

I realized that she was trying to criticize me on animal abuse. She didn't have paint to spread over me, so she barked at me instead.

In a second after realizing, I reflexively replied to her saying "Excuse me, this is faux."
She loudly said "Reeaally??"
I said "Of course."
A 5-second silence.
And, she stormed off bumping everyone else to make her way. That was all about the incident. Nobody got injured, technically nothing happened.

However, it kept raising some questions in my head since that day after all. Although she promptly gave up accusing me falsely, it influenced me later. I keep asking myself the questions that I can't find right answers for. Probably she's done an amazing job in a different way without knowing it.

I personally don't think that production of animal fur for fashion purpose is any good or gorgeous at all. I think we should be intolerant of unnecessary animal abuses in the present day. We have plenty other options now especially for garments. I have no doubt in this part. However, hey, is it really OK when the subject is faux fur? Especially when it is purposefully similar to the real one? What's the point of faking it while I don't appreciate the real ones?

I wonder other questions too.
Will there be people who'd attack me or say bad at me because they wrongly think my items are real, again? And is there nothing I can do about it? Do I always have to make excuses that my items are not real? Why don't I give up entire idea of fur material rather than appreciating fauxness of faux fur fabric? Is faux fur pretty by the way? Doesn't it lose the glory even a bit even if no one uses real fur any more? Is real fur pretty, in the first place? If I think faux fur cute, why? Why on earth do I love those hairy synthetic fabrics while I don't approve them if they're real? Doesn't this mean I am indirectly supporting real fur?

Of course those questions are rather pointless (maybe you don't know what I am saying at all. I'm sorry if this post is utterly unreadable) and I don't know the right answers at this moment. What I understand so far is that I feel that faux fur is mostly cute but I have no legitimate reason for it.

I made a casual jacket in a long haired faux fur fabric. I think it is pretty. And wearing it is fun. It's like cos-playing. But I don't know whether I'm doing right or not because I don't know the answers yet. I'm not feeling guilty too much but it is possible that I'll be feeling differently in 10 years. At this moment, I think, it's OK. I hope it's OK.

Sewing-wise, it was one of the least precise sewing garments in my entire life. Too much hair and too much self-propelled movement in the fabric! I'd say I was cleaning the floor rather than I was sewing a jacket. It was fun though. Of course it's always fun when things get messy.

Sewing Retreat

As I wrote in this post, with helps of my friends, I was planning a "sewing retreat" which I wanted to carry out in this coming May at a beautiful lakeside near Mt. Fuji. We visited candidate sites and discussed schedules and other things in the last Summer. I was really hoping to throw a great event in 2015.

However, regrettably, I have to say that it has to be postponed for a while because of my private situation.

At this moment I have several private issues that need my strong commitment quite hugely and urgently, and I find that I literally have no time (or energy) for preparing well for this event to make it successful. One year ago I didn't know that these things were coming to occupy me... Thus it shall be postponed for a year or two.

I imagine that not many of you would be disappointed by this news as only few of you can actually come to Japan to attend it anyway. However, please accept my sincere apology if you were considering to attend the retreat in this May and if you were disappointed by this postponement. I hope your 2015 will be full of excitement and joy of sewing.

Happy sewing to you, everyone!


Faux fur jacket
A cardigan-type jacket without lining. The only feature of the jacket is a pair of side pockets. Giant snap buttons for closure.
Pattern: Jennifer from Annee-patterns (PDF) 
Fabric: Acrylic fur fabric with polyester knitted base, lighter than it looks, very furry. Brown and off-white.

Coco sweater
I knitted a close fitted turtle neck sweater.
Pattern: Coco from Jo Sharp
Yarn: Cashmere yarn, pink and white.
More info about the sweater here.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Giveaway Winners!

Happy New Year! I hope your 2015 will be a brilliant year, and I also hope we will have a more peaceful year ahead everywhere on the earth.

I have picked three winners of the giveaway at, by generating a set of three numbers between 1 to 51.  The numbers are 16, 30 and 47

and the winners are Lynn(the first Lynn), Sharon, and Melanie Y, who have left comments in the respective orders(excluding my reply in the comment section). Please contact me at yoshicomo(at)gmail(dot)com with your mailing address if your have won the prize. Congratulations to the winners, and a very big THANK-YOU to all of you who entered the giveaway!

As for myself, I still have one more day before I get back to my work from our new year holiday. I've been knitting a pullover (I'm a 100% seasonal knitter) for some days and would like to finish it in a week or so... sewing not much, but I will post about the faux fur jacket very soon. It is pretty much funny thing when worn. It can be amusing to look at, I think. Said that, I'm having a problem with writing about it to tell the truth, because it is made of faux fur. I had a very memorable incident about this material maybe 10 years ago in London in December at Royal Albert Hall after the concert when all of us audiences were slowly moving towards the exits pushing each other slightly politely but hoping crowd's faster flow. Well... the story makes my writing even slower. I hope I will manage to write it up.

Happy sewing to you!
Talk to you soon,


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Season's Greetings!

Hello, I hope you're doing super fine!
I know it's all kind of sudden, but this is a giveaway post!

I have got some of these pink capsules recently. As you might be able to guess from the picture above, each capsule contains a miniature toy that is handcraft-themed. I love these cute miniatures, and guessed that you might like them too. So I decided to have my annual mini giveaway event now instead of having it in February. Please join this event if you don't mind to take your time to leave a comment!

In Japan, we have small toy-dispensing machines that sell these kind of capsuled toys everywhere. It's obviously a way of purchasing toys, but it's a kind of game too. It's called "gachapon" game. You can choose which series of toys you pay for, but you can't really choose which specific toy you get. It seems a silly way of spending money, but all children (and many mature people) love this game. If you are not too sure about them with my written expression, please have a look at this video which explains "gachapon" very well (a bit long, but still interesting, I think).

So, of course, we have handcraft-themed gachapon too. I have got a sewing machine, a skein of knitting yarn, and a card of button thread for myself. All these are so cute, aren't they? I would like to send each capsule of unopened gachapons to three giveaway winners. Only the winners will know what's inside (because the prize capsules haven't been opened ). The series has 5 types of gadgets with some color variations and each winner will get one of those in the pictures below. Do you fancy? I bet they will bring you better sewing skill in 2016 2015 too ;-)

courtesy of

courtesy of

== please read ==
If you would like to join this giveaway and get one of those gachapon toys, please leave a comment in this post with your name. Leave your comment (no need of contacting address) before new year 2015 of your standard time. Comment section will be closed after deadline. Anyone can participate. Three winners will be picked by me, randomly. The winners will be announced in the next blog post. Be one of the lucky winners!

By the way, I've finished my faux fur jacket lately. I hope I'll have a chance for photos very soon!

Have a really good time, everyone.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

a basic set

It's getting much colder here in Japan. This year, tree leaves seem turning red and yellow particularly beautifully, probably because of the huge and sudden temperature shift during recent seasonal transition. We went out to a park in the nearby mountain for hunting red leaves yesterday. Trees were so beautiful and we thoroughly enjoyed a walk in the woods in the early morning. (Even our teenage daughter admitted it was great, from this you must be able to guess how much it was beautiful. Modern age teenagers are the last creatures that would enjoy walking in the woods without selfish reasons.)

As I have finished two warm garments recently, I took the chance to wear them yesterday for these pictures.

I sewed a pair of pants and simple V-neck pullover. They're pretty much basic and I think I have nothing particular to say about them except the fabric I used for the pants. It was a stretch cotton velveteen (something like stretch cotton corduroy without cords) that I used for garments for the first time. Ah, velveteens are warm, I didn't know that! I love this fabric for wintry pants and have placed another order for some other colors of the same fabric, already.

The only setback of this particular fabric is that it causes puckering and wrinkles where uneven stretch tensions are put, because the fabric is rather clinging but isn't enough stiff to hold its shape by itself. There are many horizontal pulling lines particularly in the back of this pants. I have noticed them quite much, but when I asked my husband and daughter about the lines, they insisted that they weren't looking bad at all in real life and that they showed up prominently only when I stand straight like a statue (oh yeah thank you).

the cotton velveteen and wrinkles

I'd guess that less lines would be seen in the pants if they had more ease in the legs or if they had more 4-way negative ease all over the pants, though, I decided to have them as they were, because I preferred not-very-skinny-but-comfortably-snug pants of this kind. Sewing own basic garments is fun. I can do whatever I prefer and get some useful garments that fulfill my needs much better than retail ones. Before sewing, I didn't know my clothes could have been more comfortable, could have fit me better, and could have made me look slightly happier if those sleeves were an inch (or two inches) longer. I thought that long sleeves primitively meant something slightly short and that was the reason why winter was cold. I'm not joking. A human could be this silly.

I really love my self sewn basics. That may sound boring for some of you, but that's rebellious and strong statement for me (probably).

Anyways. Please enjoy your season wherever you live!

For the pants I used my five-year-old skinny pant pattern. For the pullover, I used the pattern Edelweiss, which is definitely one of my staple patterns from Tamanegi-kobo. This pullover fits me like a glove (I find this expression funny), generously covering my arm without unwanted sag at shoulder seam. BTW, Tamanegi-kobo is going to have a winter sale and it will start on 27th Nov 2014. I'm a fan of this shop but unfortunately I don't think I can make any purchase this time because I already have all what I have to have from them, so I write the news here as a compensation of my sorrow.

Lastly, I have started IG finally. Some time ago Sveta suggested me to use IG in her comment on a past post in which I mentioned about my photo diary. I couldn't say "Yes" to her suggestion because I wasn't quite ready for square iphone pictures at that time. However, I have persuaded myself and am now wishing to connect with other sewists through the platform too. Thank you for suggesting IG and sorry for being this late to start, Sveta.
Please give me a shout at IG if you have an account that I can follow. My IG account is yoshimitheflyingsquirrel. Many of my pictures are sewing-related but I have a few pictures that are other than sewing too. I have some pictures of red leaves, of course. Sorry for that...


Monday, November 3, 2014

Vogue 8930

I sewed a coat. It is a simple single layer coat. The pattern was Vogue 8930. I made it reversible too.

For almost a month, what I wrote in my blog hop has kept me thinking about malaise kind of conflict between my standpoint on sewing written in the post and the rest of my self. I've been particularly trapped in one subject (it is so silly to be trapped in what oneself wrote, I wouldn't be able to stop laughing cynically if I am cheerful enough now...) it is about the thought on my sewing skill. I had noticed that I had some inconsistency within myself on this issue for several years. After all, writing blog hop post broke my balloon of concealed problems and I couldn't restore as it was before.

This coat was born after my introspection on the issue. This following long muttering is completely personal and contains nothing useful as a sewing reference. Please scroll down to the second three stars(***) if you simply like to check the link to the pattern and some other small info about the coat. That would help you!

In the blog hop post, I wrote "If my stitches are straighter than ZARA's, I pass the test", and it was not a lie. By the sentence, it must have seemed to the readers that I didn't care about immaculate sewing at all, but I have to say it was not the case either. Actually I always do care to sew 'well' a lot. Not completely, but I have been a bit dishonest about it in public for years. I wrote it in that way presumably because I wanted to avoid making the readers think that I was one of those who would believe in the predominance of neatest stitches when evaluating garments. I didn't make further explanations in the post though. I had a mixed emotion on having neat seams in my garments, as you will hopefully know below.

There are some people who are fascinated by the garments with neatest stitches, most complicated constructions and most sophisticated techniques. I completely agree with them that beautiful executions give garments a class and the best garments will never be accomplished without them. But unfortunately I've regularly witnessed that there are people who believe in neat stitch supremacy and they tend to look down on other garments because of wonky stitches, boring constructions and other unsatisfactory sewing elements to their standard, too. There I feel unnecessary assumptions of superiority of something, and it makes me uncomfortable. My opinion is that making own garments is not a competition. Everything can be successful including imperfect projects as long as talking about hobby sewing. Better technique is nice but trying to master neat stitches doesn't include shaming others' stitches. I think comparing excellence of executions is too easy, or too simple, to appreciate/depreciate any garment. I don't know how much high level we have to reach before feeling 100% proud of our techniques and who drew the standard line between bad and good, anyway.

Feeling weirdly sensitive to this issue for so long, I became pretending to have no problem with zero improvement in my sewing as if I wished to prove that garments that were made by a less skilled person could be reasonably fine and she could live in them without embarrassed too much. As if I wished to prove there could be many more factors to make garments lovely other than swing techniques. It is difficult for me to explain this silly logic even in my mother tongue, and I'm sorry if you get confused, it's all my fault to have buttons buttoned up incorrectly. I'd say I kinda wished to stay amateur to defend imperfectly stitched self-made beloved garments from being ridiculed by imaginary someone, by setting my personal example, if I was possible. Ah, and finally, the blog hop gave me a chance to understand my logic was way too silly and I had to reconsider. I have unconsciously wished neatness in my sewing but couldn't admit it. I guess it was a little period of rebelliousness in my sewing life. It was childish to feel too uncomfortable with other's opinion. It was silly to be dishonest about motivation to learn.

So I grew a bit, and regretted my laziness and sins about being pretentious on this matter. I reconsidered many things, became a new human, and decided to make a fresh start with sincerer attitude to my hobby. I will try hard to improve my sewing skill openly, like everybody else does. I will try to choose projects that would be particularly good for mastering skills too. I won't laugh at others' stitches but I will do at mine when they're wonky and also when they look brilliant. In the end (or maybe in the first place), skills and experiences are very important factors to make a lovely garment, that's for sure. I still don't believe in supremacy of stitches too much, but I think it's OK as much as everybody else thinks differently.

So I made Vogue 8930 in a double-faced plain wool fabric. For the first step as a reborn hobby sewist, I deliberately chose it to learn how to sew double-faced fabrics that was one of completely new techniques to me. I have to say it was so hard to get cleaner seams! I confirmed that I needed many more experiences and practices to be better at sewing, and I felt that it was exciting. And I felt I was honest about it, finally.


I referred some tutorials for executing seams and edges in this coat. You can see better explanations here and here, for instances. Please have visits at those links to get an idea for what I did, and you will know that it needs much effort and neat hand sewing to get a single garment done. It took very long for me, and it was great to have such a meditative session after the rebelliousness period.

Apart from special executions for double-faced fabric, I followed the instructions except the pockets. Since the fabric was double-faced, I wanted to check how it would look on me from both sides and check if I could use it as a reversible garment. I wanted to have pockets in it, definitely, but was yet to know which kind of pockets would be good until the garment was done. I once completed the coat without pockets, and applied them on the whole coat. It wasn't a great idea after all (of course not), because this garment was particularly huge and heavy to move under the sewing machine. But it was a laughable experience and I somehow made it done. It has four patch pockets altogether, two in each side in a completely reversible manner with least top stitches in both sides.

The coat is very warm because of the huge collar. It is also great since this can be worn over bulky sweaters and dolman sleeves without any jam-packing of sleeves. My color choice may have been a bit unusual, but I take it funky.

I reconsidered many other things as well. I wish that they will influence on my future projects and on my blog(s) in a good way, eventually.

can be worn with smaller collar.
this way it is particularly useful to hide away. pretty much invisible.

pattern: vogue 8930
reversible garment. alterations in pockets.
I sewed view B in size S (I am 166cm/5'5")

fabric: double faced wool fabric, plain, warm, slightly heavy.
148cm wide x 2.6m long

Wishing you happy moments!


hey, it's reversible!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Vogue 1351, my new favorite

As I wrote in my blog hop post, I bought two dress patterns from Vogue recently. I had this very pretty flowery fabric and wanted to choose the best pattern for it. It was the birthday gift which Carolyn sent me in this April. So I gave myself two options after a very long thought and finally chose V1351 in the end. I was thinking V1359 at the beginning, however, the more I looked at the fabric, the more I preferred the other option because I felt this bold print strongly called for a sleeveless dress. I decided to use V1351 thinking "Never mind, I can definitely wear it with a cardigan even though it is Autumn. Feeling prettier is better than feeling more practical especially with this print."

I really love this dress. I love the draped front neckline and I was very impressed by how it was well drafted. It sits very beautifully with being held by the lining, but the lining never peeps out even though I try to show it from outside very hard. The parts are cut in bias except the back bodice, and I think this makes the dress fit me quite well.

Construction-wise, I love the way of assembling shoulder straps of this dress so much. The instructions are actually very great (I don't say this often)! I got clean finish and I'm very happy with the minimal slip stitches in the inside seam of straps. The only and probably very helpful advice for those who are going to try the pattern for the first time.... is executing STEP1 differently. I reinforced the shoulder edges of front bodice with small patches of fusible interfacing instead of doing it with machine stitches, and left them intact (uncut) until the exact step in which front and back shoulder straps are stitched together(STEP21). Then it is easier to make precise and clean clippings in the shoulder seams. That gives the garment impressively beautiful shoulder straps! I know you think I'm crazy but you don't know what I am trying to say. "What STEP21?" I know. Actually I'm muttering to my imaginal-novice-me and I want to warn her that there may be no need to snip the fabric too much in advance. Thank you for your patience and I think I'm done. Let's forget it and go ahead together.

By the way, I used a nicely draping woven for the fashion fabric as pattern suggested. For the lining, I used a knit lining. This combination of fashion fabric and lining in this dress worked brilliantly. FYI.

Last but definitely not least, I'd love to thank Carolyn so much about giving me such a nice gift. I hope that I could do the right decision and that I managed to bring a good result on the fabric.

Talk to you soon, my next plan is a coat. I hope you're enjoying sewing too.


I managed to make a cardigan too.

Flowery dress
pattern: 1351 dress from Vogue Patterns
fabric: georgette/crepe, not too sheer, fine, soft
bouncy feeling when squeezed in hand.
-taken some from back neckline to reduce gaping.

Snap Button Cardigan
pattern: Fujiko from Tamanegi-kobo
fabric: cotton/tencel blend, double jersy knits, soft, warm
reversible, stretches very well
-applied a set of plackets and made it as a cardigan.