Monday, July 21, 2014

yukata dress


Hello!!

First of all, thank you for the kind inquiries some of you made privately or publicly to ask if I was doing OK recently, I'm doing very fine! Actually I've been doing much better in this summer than usual but haven't been knocked out by the heat, I mean, not yet. I hope you're fine too.

I've got a Yukata fabric and made a dress from it.



Japanese Yukata is a casual summer kimono and is usually made of cotton. Yukata fabrics are narrow and long, same as traditional Kimono fabrics, and are usually sold as a roll of 12-13meters to serve one garment. I bought a roll which was sold very very cheap because of its imperfection. In other words, the fabric had a smidge of lightest sunburn at the both edges of the roll (not at the edges of the fabric surface!) from a longer storage. I couldn't see any problem with its quality as a fashion fabric.

Although I was happy to find it for an affordable price, I have to say that I also felt a bit sad because this pretty fabric was treated as a defective product even though it had only an almost unnoticeable imperfection. It was sold for about 1/5 of full price, I guess. We are sometime (maybe, often) too avaricious on newness and perfection on general merchandise, I think. Some people buy only magazines that are completely new and have never opened by any others because they believe in newness is the best commercial value of all. I wonder... But hey, I anyway got it and tried to make the most of its charm by making it into a summer dress. I love myself because I can sew and could use it! I could make it into a yukata, but I made a simple dress because I don't wear yukatas very often.


This weekend, my daughter and I visited Tokyo and stayed at a hotel which had a pretty garden with lots of greens. We enjoyed the stay very much! DD took photographs for me and the dress in the garden promenade. See the endless row of wind bells for entertaining the guests in the garden! They sounded so charming. Sounded like tiny fairies chatting everywhere in the garden. Now I'm well spellbound and I can survive this summer by the power of tiny green fairies.



I love you all! Have a great day!

Love,
yoshimi

 


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pattern: 847deux* from Annee-Patterns
fabric: yukata cotton, plain woven, flower prints over indigo shibori-dyed, light, coarse density, smooth surface, relatively firm, 37cm wide. used approx. 6m long.
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Saturday, June 28, 2014

white sleeveless shirt

Hello!

It is rainy season in Japan and greens wield power everywhere. I've been feeling even busier since April, but I think this idea is one of my delusions. I am a lazy person and I could never be "busy" in the meaning you use this word for! I'm probably feeling busy because I don't want to work hard. That makes sense to me.

Meanwhile, I hope you've been doing super good!




I sewed a white sleeveless shirt from a Patrones pattern. The Patrones magazine was a surprising gift from Merche who super generously sent me a copy to try their patterns. Thank you, Merche, so much for your kindness! I knew you were very kind even before the gift but I can't tell you how much I am thankful to you for your idea of getting extra copy for me :)
If you are interested in the magazine that I'm talking about, you may like to read Merche's this post.


**
By the way, I always respect you and everyone who are nice to others in the on-line sewing community, and I'm also feeling so lucky that I can be a part of it. I'm not telling you that gifts matter, but I'm telling you about the atmosphere that we are creating there. I mean, supportive attitudes and environment. Thank you for the good air we breathe, you supportive hobby sewists!!
**


As for the shirt, this was my first use of Patrones patterns and it was also meant to be a check for sizing/fitting. It is always good to know how different my frame is from the new-to-me company's targeted body, and I wanted to check it by using a very basic garment with narrower ease like this shirt.

I usually care height of bust line, height of narrowest point in waist, ease above bust line, ease above shoulder blades, length between neck and shoulder point, angle of shoulder lines and room for busts in a pattern for upper body. Size charts hardly tell such information, because they aren't about the sizes but they are about the frames of maker's targeted bodies. It may sound that I'm nagging about fitting detail, but I have to say that I'm rather not interested in fitting garments perfectly on a human body like pasting rubber sheets on it. I'd love to tell that I am interested in skimming some volume from critical area or adding some to it of my garment (hoping to look *delusionally* better.)

I rarely keep actual patterns (because, eh, I   rarely   trace) but I keep notes about what I did for adjusting the patterns to my frame, written digitally along with some photos, on every garment I make so that I can read my history whenever needed for future projects.



Anyway, Patrones patterns seem to fit similar to the retailed garments and relatively true to the size. And also I had some adjustments to the shirt pattern for my frame, and I think these will be automatically applied to my future projects with their patterns.




I love Andrea's collarless placket shirt, and I'm thinking this pattern with those plackets at this moment. It can become a pretty summer vest kind of sleeveless blouse. I'll see.

Have a very happy weekend!


Love,
yoshimi


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white sleeveless shirt
pattern: Shirt 45 from Patrones Extra, Easy Sew No.29 (Patrones Costura Facil) magazine, collar omitted.
fabric: cotton stretch shirting fabric, soft and thick, white, seersucker-like, with most subtle silver pinstripes, 110cm x 1.2m used
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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

summer blouse and boyfriend pants

Hello!

I finally made a Vogue 1247 blouse after seeing so many beautiful versions from all over the world. For my first version I used a lace cotton that was not very supple, and the blouse was ballooned quite a lot because of the fabric. But I love it as it is! This is a summer blouse which breathes a lot. I'd love to sew the next one with a different kind of fabric. Rayon? Linen? Don't know yet... I'll see.


I also made my second Gilbert pants from République Du Chiffon. I used a very plain light beige cotton with a bit of stretch. Though there is nothing very unusual in them as a garment, I just wanted to let you know which pattern I used for them because some of you might be interested in the pattern for your casual, cute, useful and easy-going pair of "boyfriend pants".


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Blouse: Vogue 1247
Front neck line was raised by 1.5cm. Front horizontal darts were lengthened by 10cm to make the blouse slightly flattened. Raw lace trim was placed in the front neck line. Bottom hem was executed by bias strip binding.

Pants: Gilbert from République Du Chiffon
Sizes for the pattern seem true to the measurements for me. As I used a cotton with stretch, the garment looks loose on me. No alteration to the pattern.
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(off) topic 1
After I had the last post of our one-year photo blog project with Carolyn, photo maisonette, I noticed how much I had enjoyed taking photographs of my surroundings regularly. I'm not going to be a *photographer*, but I now feel that I'd better to keep learning how to press the shutter release button by this habit. I newly set up my own photo diary on Tumblr platform. I think it's going to be updated irregularly, not daily. If you like to drop by and see my UFOs(UnFinished Objects) and other miscellaneous pictures, you're most welcome :)


(off) topic 2

In the last May, I had a small trip with two of my best friends, Chigu and Miho, to Lake Yamanakako that locates in the north side of Mt. Fuji. We went there not only to enjoy the grand view of Mt. Fuji, but also for scouting location for our premature idea. We are wishing to organize a kind of sewing-related mini retreat, which any hobby sewists can apply to join in, at Lake Yamanakako in May 2015. Not much has been decided yet or we have no concrete schedule or program either. However, I felt the location was perfect to get together with other like-minded sewists and to spend an extraordinary time as a retreat. Very soon we will need to discuss all sorts of things for making it happen. You know, we have to plan fun workshops and to arrange cool accommodations and many sewing machines etc etc. Please wish us luck and also please do join in if you will be in Japan in 2015!




Love,
yoshimi


P.S. Thank you so much, Mariko, for this vogue pattern! I finally made it!


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

white linen denim Vogue 2900

May is over. Upon approaching to the end of Me-Made-May'14 challenge, I made a call for a meet-up and asked on twitter if any of participants could come to Tokyo on the last day to get together for celebrating the final day. Eight of us (including me) managed to come up to see each other under the very fine sky on that day. It was a really lovely day.

On the day before, I felt that I had no proper clothes for the meet-up (a very ordinary problem among us anyway). The thing was, by the 30th my options had run out because I had an undeclared rule for not repeating items during the challenge. Almost being forced, I sewed a new dress in the evening.

MeMadeMay14Day31

I sewed V2900 dress from Vogue Patterns again. In solid white linen denim. Wore it, loved it, and was glad that I sewed. ta-da! Today's report, done.


***
By the way, I once sewed a V2900 dress in plain woven white linen four years ago, and I'd say it was one of the most kindly recognized item of my handmade garments by non-sewists as well as by sewists. So I guess some of you may remember that dress too. And if you remember it, you may wonder whether I just replaced it with a new one because it was worn out or what is the difference.

Untitled


The answers are yes, and the grain lines. They have different grain lines. The former dress was cut in lengthwise straight grain. The new one was cut in bias. From similar fabrics.

Because the material and pattern are almost (but neither fabric or pattern was completely same, I have to mention this) identical, the dresses seem to look almost same when you look at them separately in the pics. However, you may find it interesting to see them side by side in the picture below. Don't they give different impressions especially on human body and especially side by side? We all know grain lines influence shapes in the garments, nevertheless, it is very interesting for me to find that they give such different impressions. I'm not talking about which one looks better, or which one is better on me. I mean one dress looks more casual and more fresh and the other does more manipulated and more mature on me, to my eyes. Your impressions on them may be different from mine, but it is not very important today, the important thing is to witness that grain lines affect a very significant ingredient of how people look, if I am correct.

please excuse me about the creases in the new dress. I should have taken care of them more.

V2900 innately has both options (straight grain and bias grain) and I know that it is not always the case for most commercial patterns. But still, I hope you have fun with seeing this example. I also hope you see it with your eyes half closed, so that you don't have to see the creases which weren't that bad in the real life...


Happy sewing!

Love,
yoshimi

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Some tips for indoor shooting and other thoughts from yoshimi the flying squirrel.

I'm recording my handmade outfit for Me-Made-May'14 challenge every day since May the 1st.



Until recently, I was taking my blog pictures mostly in a dark emergency staircase because I was thinking it was the only space I could use for my photo shooting on weekdays. Now I changed my mind and I'm trying to take chances of outdoor photos on weekends as much as possible, though, the long and sad indoor experience grew some clues for taking outfit pictures in darker and closed spaces in me. Although I can't be very helpful for you who have healthy lights or already conquered similar conditions to mine, I think it might be helpful for some of you who are struggling with indoor photos right now. I'm going to share some of my humble ideas on it today. I am very happy if you find this post a bit helpful.



Find the backdrop. Three angles to find your own.
1. Less items
We tend to notice every item in a photo. I mean, the small electric socket there and the half opened curtain here. Especially in indoor photographs, such items can interfere with the attentions of viewers, even though we wouldn't care or look at them when we are actually on site. Eyes process much information to ignore the reality to "see" things efficiently, but they tend not to do it to the scenery in photographs. If you are a novice photographer and would like to get some simple and focused indoor outfit pictures, be conscious to find a frame that has miscellaneous items as less as possible, and have only some furniture that you can use as an effect in your frame.



2. Some lights.
You need lights. But my suggestion is this. Never use flash lights unless you know them well. Find your place near a large window and use it as your illuminant from front-ish side. Indirect lights usually give prettier results, as far as I know. We can also use bounce lighting for pretty pictures, but it needs more explanations, so I leave it untouched today.

3. Enough distance.
If the camera has a zoom, photographs taken from distance using long zoom would bring so-called "better" proportions of human subject in the pictures. Find your place where you can keep distance between the lens and you. Put the camera at between the levels of navel and chest, and slant the camera upward slightest much, especially when taking from head to toe pictures.

Think of "Portrait" function.
"Auto" can take pretty pictures, but if you are an adventurous amateur photographer and also if you have the function in your camera, try Portrait function and see whether you like it or not. More than sometimes the function gives smoother, brighter and prettier skin on the human subjects. I think no one has any problem with smoother looks of oneself in the pictures.

Try longer exposure after trying to find a large window.
I'd suggest to use AE mode to fix the lens aperture, and to try different exposures to check how your test photographs. You can fix the lens aperture to the smaller number, perhaps the second smallest one, so that you can get more light with shorter shutter speeds and also relatively shallow depths of field. Try "Automatic Exposure Bracket" to find the exposure of your favorite. Compact digital cameras have the function too. These photographs are my examples for test bracketing. I preferred +1 exposure to -1, and 0. I had a waist-high and large window on your right in the pictures.
-1EV
0EV
+1EV
Then I tried a second test with +0.7, +1, and +1.3 to go into details. I chose +1.3 and continued the photo shoot with this setting. I didn't go further with much longer exposures, but of course you can try longer ones if you need.

+0.7EV
+1EV
+1.3EV (chosen)

*The first set of three was taken by my Canon compact digital and the latter was taken by my Nikon DSLR with a zoom lens. I just wanted to show that we can do the same thing with whichever cameras that you own.


Think of dropping but not keeping.
Keep some but not all of the photographs taken, otherwise it may start coercing your freedom to shoot freely, eventually. Make some efforts for selecting very small number of better ones among many right after shooting. It grows the skill of choosing your camera setting too.

Suspend white balance until next time.
It all depends on the site. Just know that there are options and you can surely change the white balance etc for different temperatures. But it may be OK to learn it later.

Last but not least, be relaxed.
This is the suggestion 100% same as how Margo started in her brilliant blog post about taking outfit photographs. I cannot agree with her more. In my opinion pictures tell things much more than one would think. When talking about portraits and such, pictures are good at highlighting the smallest frictions when your facial expressions are not linked to your heart. They don't tell what exactly the situation in the "real" site is, however, people discern such and such over pictures and smell dubiety instantly. I mean, if you would like yourself smiling in the pic, you have to smile at heart. Otherwise people would sense that you're not smiling and you are pretending, which has the opposite effect. People are enough clever to distinguish shy smiles from pretentious smiles. If your face is looking at somewhere away awkwardly, people think you are resisting from telling how you actually are. I don't know how we do, but we do. If you would like viewers to be interested in you, you have to try to make efforts to be someone who is interesting instead of asking them to think that you're interesting.

The closest way to control the situation is that becoming the person who you'd like to be and then making yourself relaxed about it, unless you're a professional. By the way, I don't think it is stupid to smile at cameras for your sewing records/blog reports/etc. When you are photographed for the purpose of telling your friends how well you are doing, you have a fair amount of reasons to do so. And it's good to present real "you" to the camera, even though your camera is a mere machine on the tripod. It maybe silly, but it is no harm to anybody. Who cares, we can live our lives only once. (I want to time travel and tell this to me myself from ten years ago. Ha ha)


Have a happy day!

Much love,
yoshimi

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Eva skirt

I'm blending into the flowers.

I've been taking photos of my daily outfit every day for about half a month, as I'm joining Me-Made-May'14 as usual. I'm feeling very happy and also super busy!

At Me-Made-May'14 Flickr group, I try to leave comments, "like"s or anything similar on other participants projects as many as possible, but it is quite difficult to commit it as much as I'd like because the party is huge. I think I need 50 hours in a day if I try to do everything I need/want to do in my life at this moment. My other blog, photo maisonette, with Carolyn is importantly having the final month for uploading our photographs too, and it makes me feel that time flies like a shooting star. I hope I am not going to be burned out like a shooting star, by the way, it is just a silly figure of speech. I love my silliness.



*
I sewed a skirt using my newly bought Eva dress pattern from Tessuti. I was planning to make a dress at first, in this African wax print fabric, but I failed to make adjustments of the Eva's bodice in this kind of fabrics. FYI, Eva calls for softer fabrics and I am not saying that the pattern is difficult to fit using right fabrics. After making 6 unsuccessful toiles of bodice in similar firm cotton to my African print, I gave up a dress and made this skirt from Eva. I simply sewed the skirt and put casings for elastic at waist so that I can pull it on. I made a tank top blouse with remnants too. I'm very happy with the result! Eva's skirt is cocoon-shaped and I think it is very charming and worthy of special mention!



Happy sewing to you, friends!

Love,
yoshimi

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Skirt: Eva from Tessuti
Tank top: old pattern
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I finally had an extreme ironing session(fake)

Saturday, May 3, 2014

big baby blue culottes


Hi!
The other day, I sewed a pair of culottes from a new pattern and I really liked the result. I wore it on the next day and asked my husband to take some pictures of happy me in them, and what I found was that all pictures were out of focus. A very typical happy story...

The pattern is Shamrock from Tamanegi-kobo. These wide culottes have an elastic waistband and they were easy to sew. I think I'll make more pairs in the future!

The only alteration I had was for the back pockets. I added a pair of big patch pockets under the original mock flaps to make them less mock.

Have a great month, dear sewists!

love,
yoshimi

the cocktail was good anyway