Yuki Clothing

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The Great British Sewing Bee is back!

If you haven’t already heard, the Great British Sewing Bee is back with a new season! Three of the six episodes have already aired but it’s not too late to watch them. The first episode is still available for 16 more days. If you don’t live in the UK or haven’t yet figured out how to fake your whereabouts, checkout out my post from last year on “The trick to watching the Great British Sewing Bee outside the UK“.

I hope you enjoy the show!

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Asymmetrical Neckline Dress (part2) – the muslin

In a previous post, I wrote about making the pattern for this dress and now it’s time to show you what the final product could look like. As you can see, the cotton muslin is a tad bit see-through and enables you to see what the interfacing looks like as well as the outside.

I designed this dress with one thing in mind – to fool people in to thinking that I’ve got an hourglass figure. My body type is actually a mix of pear and hourglass and whenever I gain weight, the pear shape gets more emphasized. For example, if I compare my measurements with H&M’s sizes (who seem to be making clothes for skinny, rectangular people), my bust is 38, waist 36 and hip 40. With this data in mind, I wanted to make my bust appear a bit bigger. I think I succeeded with the front of the dress, however… the back side is another story. The shape of the skirt doesn’t exactly draw the attention away from a certain area.


Asymmetrical Neckline Dress (part1) – making the pattern

Ever since we came back from Japan, I haven’t done much bloggin’ about my sewing escapades. However, this doesn’t mean that I haven’t spent any quality time with my sewing machine. On the contrary, I’ve actually finished a number of projects! The one you’ll be hearing about today is a dress made for a wedding that took place just days before our flight left for Japan.

My first plan was to make something from a book called Pattern Magic 2 by Tomoko Nakamichi. I had my eye set on the “cowl neck” for the back of the dress and “the facing is a curve” for the front. I followed every instruction but the end result looked absolutely horrible. I’m sure something must’ve happened when I picked out the size because it ended up being too big and overall ill-fitting. I quickly abandoned ship and decided to play around with the fabric instead.

This thing is just too big, especially around the waist.

This thing is just too big, especially around the waist.

Inspired by the bias drape of the cowl neck, I went for a bias drape on the front of the dress. The fabric has such a nice fall and drapes really well. I’m also totally in love with the colour! Depending on the light it shifts between graphite, brown-ish and green-ish.

Amazingly enough, I found a pretty cool shape on the first attempt and proceeded to make a muslin pattern. For the top, I prepared two muslin pieces. One to go on the back and one for the front. I wanted a smooth neckline without any seams so I took a large piece of cotton, folded it on the bias and basted horizontal to the fold to keep everything in place. To mark the CF (centre front), I basted perpendicular to the folded neckline. The back piece needed a bit more stability and was folded on the crossgrain and then basted in place. The last preparation of the back piece was basting the CB (centre back) line perpendicular to the folded neckline.

First step when draping the front was to roughly fit it over the shoulders and then match CF on the muslin with CF on the dressform. Next step was to mark the bust points to be able to work with the look of the bust darts. Then adjust the shoulders and cut away excess fabric. I decided to only have two bust darts directed towards the centre and down to the WL (waist line). The side seams were pinned in place as well as the armhole. With side seams and CF in place it was easy to pin the bust darts. The same procedure was then repeated for the back piece. The only exception was that I made, in total, 4 darts in the back. To finish off the top, I marked out the WL with a black ribbon and cut off any excess fabric.

The muslin preparations needed for the skirt was to cut out two pieces (front and back) and then mark CF, CB and HL (hip line). I had previously marked the HL on the dressform with a black band and now I only had to match CF, CB and HL to that of the dressform. Next up, I pinned the side seams roughly in place at the HL with a little ease added. Then I added the darts to the skirt, all while matching them to the size and placement of the darts on the top. To add some more shape to the skirt, I pinned the side seams in place while sloping it inwards towards the knees.

Paper pattern:


Curtains for the sewing room (+pattern for back-tab curtains)

The finished curtains!

The finished curtains!

With Christmas long gone, I think it’s time to change the curtains and let the light in to the room. This wonderful light linen fabric really puts me in the mood for springtime :)

Over the years, I’ve tried a number of different hanging mechanisms for the curtains I’ve made. For example, the simplest solution was one long tunnel for the curtain rod. It does the job but the top of the curtains tend to get all wrinkled and the “fall” of the fabric isn’t very pretty. I’ve also tried one of those ready-made bands that you just put some hooks in, and then all of a sudden the top of the curtain is pleated. It’s quick and easy and looks good. However, I’ve come to like the back-tab style of curtains very much. The last couple of times I’ve had to re-invent the pattern. I decided to put an end to that nonsense and make a pattern once and for all!

Pattern for the back-tabs

Pattern for the back-tabs/straps. The numbers (1,2,3) indicate in which order the seams should be sewn.

First cut out as many long strips with a width of 6cm as you need to make the tabs. The width of my fabric was 150cm and I needed to cut out 3 strips that were 6x150cm. Also cut the fabric in two so that you get two curtains. Next, hem all four length sides of the curtains with a 1,5cm hem. Also serge top and bottom.

Now it’s time to make the tabs. If you have a serger, serge the long sides of the 3 strips. Make two cardboard/paper patterns for the tabs. The first one should be 6x12cm and the second one 5x12cm. Use the first pattern to cut tabs from the long strips. Serge the two short sides of each tab. Don’t forget to chain sew the tabs (don’t cut the thread after one is finished, just continue with another). Now use the second pattern to quickly and easily press a 1cm seam allowance on both sides of the tabs. Chain sew the seam marked (1) in the pattern picture above ~0.5cm from the edge.

Next I attached the tabs to the curtains. Fold down the top of the curtains 14cm and press with an iron. Using the formula above, calculate the number of tabs/straps and the spaces in between them. (143-4*14)/(14-1) = 6.7cm => 14 tabs and 6.7cm in between. Pin the tabs with the short side 4cm from the top edge and sew 3cm from the top edge (seam marked with (2)). Fold the tabs down and pin them down. I like to baste stitch them before folding over 1cm of the edge. Sew the last seam marked (3).

Last step would be to try them on the curtain rod and finish the bottom hem. Aaaand you’re done!

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Fabric shopping in Tokyo

There are so many different things that I love about Japan and the shopping is one of them. On the first trip I briefly explored Nippori Fabric Town in Tokyo and, while there are a lot of lovely stores there (Tomato is worth mentioning), my favourite store is called Okadaya. Since I simply refused to leave Japan without re-visiting Okadaya, I got to spend a couple of hours in my own fabric heaven :)

Street view, courtesy of Google Street View. A) Building with sewing material. B) Building with fabrics

Street view, courtesy of Google Street View. A) Building with sewing material. B) Building with fabrics

Finding Okadaya can be a bit tricky. It’s located (in 2!! buildings) in Shinjuku, a ~10min walk away from the huge train/metro station. I find their blue and white sign very modest compared to the neighbour’s and I think I walked past it more than 10 times the first time I was looking for it. In the first building you’ll find 6 floors filled with different kinds of sewing materials. They have a great selection of buttons, ribbons, threads, zippers, rulers, knitting material, you name it! There was sooo many beautiful ribbons and lace on one of the floors that I didn’t know what to do with myself. I wanted to get everything but the rational part of me talked me out of hoarding. This doesn’t mean that I left there empty-handed. I found a very cool black and white zipper (ok, I have no idea what I’m gonna do with it, but I definitely need it!). Then followed some regular hidden zippers. The price on these was amazingly a third of what I usually pay. The blue and orange thingamajigs from Clover are for keeping track of your knitting. At the moment I just use them to see how much I’ve knitted in one evening but I guess you could use them to keep track when knitting after a pattern. Next up is the magical “iron-on seam stabilizer”. I always use this to stabilize and prevent fraying around neckline and arm holes. The tiny clothes-pegs are for materials (e.g. leather) that you cannot pin together with regular pins. An awl may come in handy and the brown little thing beside the awl is a Japanese leather thimble. I’ve been using this kind of thimble for a while now and while it takes a bit of getting used to, I like it more than the regular ones in steel. On the bottom row are some corset supplies. I’ve wanted to make a corset for years and maybe it’s finally time I got started. Another thing that I’ve wanted to make is a recreation of an old bikini (that is falling apart now) and I got the padded cups for that reason. Last but not least, some buttons for a shirt and maybe a future Halloween costume.

The second building (just across the small street) contains 5 floors filled with beautiful and affordable fabrics. On the top is a rather heavy chequered cotton fabric that I intend to make a tight and rather sculptured dress of. The white cotton fabric under is very stiff and should work as a foundation for a corset. The brown/grey knit will become a top for a friend and the bright orange will become my new bikini! I’ve never even seen swim wear fabric in the stores at home so I’m very excited about this.Next up is something red and black that I was thinking of using for a Halloween costume. Can you guess what I have in mind? I this love the texture on the red and black fabric and I was pleasantly surprised to find this silk chirimen (crepe) in matching colours.

The shopping spree was finished with some tulle in black and some odd raspberry colour. At first I thought it was bright red but the lighting must have been a bit wonky. Not really sure what I should make of this but I always think of something.

Okadaya’s webpage: http://www.okadaya.co.jp/shinjuku/