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!