Sew Geeky: Jiji the Cat

Jiji Sweatshirt by you & mie

So so so much sewing going on over here!  I wish there were more hours in the day so I could sew more!  But who doesn’t right?  I’m here with a post for Sew Geeky, a fantastically nerdy series hosted by Sew Chibi and Max California.  Each month, they pick a theme and invite some people to sew along with them!  In fact, everyone can sew along!  Everyone is encouraged to celebrate their inner geekiness!

This month’s theme is Studio Ghibli.  I jumped on this opportunity, because I’m a HUGE Ghibli fan.  If you’re not familiar with Studio Ghibli movies, I urge you to go and look some up and watch them immediately.  The director/writer/producer that is most strongly associated with Studio Ghibli is Hayao Miyazaki and he has created some of my favorite movies.  He is the genius behind My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Ponyo, Howl’s Moving Castle and many others.  And Studio Ghibli has produced other amazing movies as well, like Grave of the Fireflies, Arrietty and Whisper of the Heart.  Seriously, go watch them all now. Continue reading

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Strawberry Skaters

Strawberry Skater Dresses by you & mie

 A month ago, I talked about a bunch of clothes I had made a month before that, and well . . . I still haven’t blogged half of it.  So two months later, but here are some dresses I made. :P

The fabric may be familiar to you . . . it’s from Heather Ross’ Briar Rose Jersey Knits line.  It came out about a year ago and it was all over the place at the time – I feel like everyone was making cute things with them!  Strawberries!  Knit fabric!  Cute!  But since I’m not one to follow the crowd (*cough* I’m actually just super lame), I decided to sew with this fabric when it’s not so popular and no longer available.  Haha. Continue reading

Watermelon Dress

Watermelon Week!  All watermelon!  All the time!

So yesterday I shared the watercolor watermelon invites that Yuki and I made for her party.  But what would a watermelon party be without a special watermelon dress?  I was having a hard time deciding between a color blocked dress that mimicked a watermelon slice like this one, or a solid fabric with watermelon printed all over like this one.  I was leaning toward the color blocked dress since that seemed easier, but finally I just asked Yuki and she said, without hesitation, the all over print dress.

Watermelon Dress // you & mie

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Cosi Swimsuits For Two!

Besides the summery “Elsa” dress, I made 6 other garments for the girls before our trip to Florida and they are all MATCHING outfits (3 things for each girl)!  Haha.  Didn’t really think that I was the type to go all crazy with matching sibling outfits, but I can’t help it – it’s just too cute!  I hadn’t made anything matching since their panda shirts, but Yuki really gets a kick out of it, and whenever she’s wearing her outfit, she usually wants Kaya to put on hers too.

Cosi Swimsuits for Two by you & mie

Anyways, these projects are also exciting to me because they are SWIMSUITS.  I don’t know about you, but sewing swimsuits has been on a different level of sewing in my head.  Something a little more intimidating than regular kids clothes, it just seemed complicated and tricky.  The fabric, the elastic, the fit . . . I was nervous to try it, but since I love learning new skills, I was also really excited to try it.

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Another Elsa Dress

I know, I know, the last thing the world needs is another Elsa dress!!  But here’s one for ya anyways :P

So a month ago, my family and I traveled across the country to Florida for a reunion.  We stayed in Fort Lauderdale for the first part of the trip, but we figured we might as well hit up Disneyworld while we were all the way out there!  I knew there was a good chance that we wouldn’t be going back out to Florida any time soon and we also knew that Yuki would have an absolute blast.

But I kept hearing horror stories about the Florida’s heat and humidity.  So between the unavoidable heat and all the fun activities we were going to be doing, I came up with a sewing list that was ridiculously long.  Then I had my very own Kids Clothes Week and though I didn’t even get through half my original list, I did make 7 pieces of clothing in about a week or so!  I’ll be sharing them throughout the next couple of weeks.  First up, Elsa’s summer dress.

Elsa's Summer Dress by you & mie

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Iris Shorts for Me!

Hey!  It’s Shorts on the Line time!  Have you been following along this series hosted by imagine gnats and small + friendly?  If not, you can catch up here.  So many awesome shorts have been shared during Week 1!

I was excited to join in the series, but Yuki doesn’t wear shorts, so I figured I’d make some shorts for the baby.  But then Britex so generously offered to provide me with some fabric and I couldn’t turn that down.  And when Britex offers you fabric you don’t use it on your 10 month old baby who will literally just poo poo on it.  So I decided to sew for myself and use the one shorts pattern I own for women but had never sewn, which is Colette’s Iris Shorts.  I bought this pattern in August of 2012, people.  2 years ago!!  So I’m really glad I got this push to finally try it.

Iris Shorts by you & mie

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Watercolor Dress {and tips for painting fabric}

Watercolor Sundress and Tips for Painting Fabric // you & mie

So I have exactly one project coming out of this Kids Clothes Week, but I’m pretty damn excited about it!  The (optional) theme for this season was Kid Art and while this dress was probably the last thing I needed to make, I got really excited by the idea of getting Yuki involved in creating a one-of-a-kind garment for herself.  I had all sorts of ideas like fabric painting, stenciling, iron on transfers, etc.  But I knew I didn’t have much time so I could only pick one thing.  If you know me, you know that I looooove fabric painting (like this cardigan, this hat and bag, and this dress) and I thought Yuki should have a go at it since she loves painting too!

Watercolor Sundress and Tips for Painting Fabric // you & mie

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Birds Eye Skirt

July is a pretty busy month for me and I’ll be spending a lot of time with family and away from the computer.  So I thought it was a good time to bring some posts home, especially all the stuff I’ve been sharing on Miss Matatabi the last few months.  This one is back from February!

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I love to sew for my daughters, but recently I’ve been trying to sew more women’s clothing, so today I’ve got a skirt that I made for myself and I’m so excited to be here sharing it with you!

everydayskirt1

If you know me, you know that I’ve been a HUGE Nani Iro fan for a few years now, but unfortunately my local fabric store stopped carrying the fabric.  I had to search elsewhere to feed my Nani Iro addiction and that’s how I found Miss Matatabi.  Frances has been my official supplier ever since!  I started out only buying little bits of fabric and using it only for my daughter because it’s pricier than most other fabrics and I didn’t want to buy a large amount of yardage.  But after realizing that a toddler does not need or appreciate the perfection that is Nani Iro, I was determined to start using the fabric for me.  And I’m so glad that I did!

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I love nani IRO!

To tell you that I love nani IRO fabric is pretty much as high on the list as “I love sewing” on the ‘duh-that’s-obvious’ statements about me.  I love nani IRO and that really shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who knows me.  I found some nani IRO double gauze in my local fabric shop three years ago and I softly gasped at the beautiful painted flowers, then I sharply inhaled at the price, but then slowly sighed when I felt how soft and luxurious the double gauze was.  And I haven’t looked back since!

nani IRO is designed by Japanese artist, Naomi Ito.  I love the unique hand painted designs and the high quality fabric.  It’s really like nothing else out there.  I decided to go through and find my old nani IRO projects and round them up for you . . .

nani IRO projects by you & mie

Sweetheart Bubble Dress // 1st Birthday Dress // Floral Baby Dress
Everyday Skirt // Little Letter Halter
Signature Look Top // Foldover Clutch // A-line Tunic
Ethereal Dress // Neon Dot Double Skirt // Reversible Spring Coat

Looking back at these pictures, I noticed two things.  1. I’m really drawn to her dots and florals – she just does them so well.  I’ve never used any of her other prints.  And 2. Out of all of these projects, only ONE was for me!  I figure it’s about time to change both of those things :)

Nani IRO fabric isn’t cheap.  Before, I loved the way it looked, but could really only afford to buy little pieces, which is why it was easier to sew things for a kid, or use it for an accessory.  But after a while, I realized that even though I’d have to spend a lot of money buying several yards of fabric to cover my adult body, it would still be totally worth it.  I appreciate this fabric and will wear it a billion times more than my toddler ever will.  I spend the time, effort ,and money to make the garments – why shouldn’t I get to enjoy it?

So then I decided ALL THE NANI IRO FOR ME!  Haha, just kidding.  But you know, I deserve nani IRO, and I think that you do too . . .

The month of June has officially been named “nani IRO month” by Frances of Miss Matatabi.  She’s asked some of her friends to help her showcase the latest collection of nani IRO fabric and I’m pretty sure we all just JUMPED at the opportunity.  Be sure to check out her blog for all the latest projects being shared throughout the month.

For my first project, I chose a really unique fabric called Freedom Garden (A – France) and decided I wanted to sew something for me.  It is double gauze and comes in three colorways and the design is kinda crazy and out of control, but in a beautiful way.  I went back and forth about it – can I pull it off?  What would I make with it?  Is it too crazy?  I asked people on Facebook and Instagram what they thought I should make and I got some reeeally great suggestions.  But in the end, I decided to make a good ol Wiksten Tank.

Freedom Garden Wiksten Tank // you &  mie

I knew that this would, by far, get the most wear and I am in need of some basic tanks and tees for the summer and as I transition back to work.  Sure, I could have made a special dress, but honestly, I just don’t wear dresses very often.  This tank, on the other hand, I’ll reach for again and again.

Freedom Garden Wiksten Tank // you &  mie

LOOK AT THIS FABRIC!  It’s like Naomi Ito just went all craaaaaazy with her paints!  I felt like I was sewing and wearing some modern art.  Should this be a museum exhibit?  I love the variety of both bold and subtle colors in this fabric.  And the interesting variety of brush strokes.

Freedom Garden Wiksten Tank // you &  mie

Double gauze is dreamy fabric.  It’s soft and airy, it’s comfortable and breathable.  It’s lovely to sew with too.  The only things to look out for is that because it’s a looser woven fabric, it can stretch out when sewing curves.  And it can get wrinkly when it’s worn/washed.  But I still love it.  It just feels soooo nice.

Freedom Garden Wiksten Tank // you &  mie

I’ve made the Wiksten Tank before and I really like the fit.  It’s perfect up top and then conveniently covers my mid-section.

Freedom Garden Wiksten Tank // you &  mie

I did make a couple of slight modifications to the pattern.  I lengthened the tank by a 1/2 inch for just a little extra coverage.  I also raised the neckline by about 2 inches, because as much as I like the look of the original neckline, it was always just a little too revealing and I felt uncomfortable at work since I’m constantly bending over to work with young kids.  Since I noticed a little gaping at the neckline in the back with my previous Wiksten, I made the same alteration as Rae did to decrease that, except I only moved the pattern over by 1/2 an inch, instead of a full inch.  Worked fine for me.

Freedom Garden Wiksten Tank // you &  mie

I can honestly say, I don’t have anything else in my wardrobe quite like this!  It’s fun to have a little something different from everyone else too :)

Freedom Garden Wiksten Tank // you &  mie

Be sure to check out the entire nani IRO stock in the Miss Matatabi shop.  They are all soooo gorgeous.  I have several other prints in my stash just waiting to be sewn up, but I mostly just like to stare at them and pet them :)

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the bloggers participating in nani IRO month!  I’ve got another project coming up later this month with more nani IRO – but this time with a fabric I’ve NEVER sewn with before!  Wish me luck :)

*This fabric was generously given to me, but everything I said is 100% my own opinion – I wouldn’t lie to you about nani IRO!  And trust me, I spend my own money on nani IRO too. ;)*

Frozen’s Elsa-Inspired Dress

LET IT GOOOOOOOO
LET IT GOOOOOOOO
CAN’T HOLD IT BACK ANYMOOOORE!

Elsa Inspired Dress by you & mie

Every.  single.  day.  Yup, we’re still living in a Frozen obsessed world over here.  You know, we actually held out (and still do) when it comes to letting her watch “princess” movies.  Frozen is the first and really only that she’s seen, but she has dove head first into obsession and we’re just kinda going with it.  What’s the point of being a 3 year old if you can’t be an awesome ice power yielding queen.

Elsa Inspired Dress by you & mie

After my last blog post, I decided that I wanted Yuki to earn the dress since she’s so used to getting things all the time and she’s starting to think that things come so easily.  So I created a little sticker chart and told her that she needed to help out around the house to earn stickers and when she got 10 stickers she could have her dress.  She did things like putting away everyone’s laundry, hanging diapers for drying, setting the table and wiping it clean after dinner, etc.  She didn’t complain too much about doing the work and was super psyched to earn each sticker.

Earning her Elsa dress with chores // you & mie

And she was reeeeeally excited to finally get her dress!

Elsa Inspired Dress by you & mie

Ok, on to the dress . . . this is inspired by the dress Queen Elsa wears when she “lets it go” and embraces her ice powers.  It’s definitely not a replica of what she wears in the movie, but heavily inspired by it.  I had a few criteria when designing the dress in my mind.  I wanted it to be knit – comfy and easy to put on and take off.  I wanted it to be easy to clean.  And I wanted the materials to be inexpensive.

At preschool, there is a group of kids that is REALLY into “dress up” and almost every time I go to pick Yuki up, she’s got a raggedy piece of tulle tied around her neck or head or wherever and she’s walking around like she’s the queen of the world.  It made me realize that these kids don’t need some fancy expensive costume to make believe – they can pick up any simple prop and turn it into whatever they see in their fantastic imagination.  So my goal was to make it special, but keep it simple.

I went to my favorite cheap fabric store, Fabrix.  It carries “off-price surplus and closeout fabrics and trims” so it’s hit or miss what you’ll find in there, but sometimes you come across something perfect for a really low price.  I get a lot of my solid knits there when I find good colors.  Anyways, I walked in hoping to score some blue knit when I laid my eyes on this:

Frozen fractal fabric from Fabrix

And the words that immediately popped into my head were FROZEN.  FRACTALS.

Now, I have no clue what frozen fractals even look like, but if you’re familiar with the song, “Let it Go,” Elsa belts those words as she is constructing her beautiful ice castle at the climax of the song.  Here are the images from the movie that I think of when I see this fabric and what became the inspiration behind the dress.

Let it Go - ice castle scenes

I actually went back to the store to see if I could buy more yardage to give away to one of you, but it was already gone!!  :(

And that’s the actual Queen Elsa dress.  So with those images in my head, I went to design a simple and kid friendly dress.  Along with two yards of that frozen fractal knit, I got two yards of whatever sparkly tulle they had and a little bit of trim, all of it costing about $2.39 per yard.  Score!  For the sleeves and top of the bodice I used leftover burnout knit that I think probably also came from Fabrix, but I used in this shirt here.

Elsa Inspired Dress by you & mie

I started with the ever awesome Flashback Skinny Tee pattern by Made by Rae for the bodice.  I widened the neckline to more of a boatneck shape, but I think I went a little too wide and deep.  I brought the sides in a little, rather than slightly flaring out at the bottom, shortened the bodice and changed the shape of the bottom to a slightly curved V.  I cut the pattern along the colorblocked lines that you see and added seam allowance to attach the pieces.  The sleeves are unmodified.

Elsa Inspired Dress by you & mie

I was just going to make the dress purely knit and leave off any tulle so that I could throw the dress in the washer and dryer without working about it.  But I worried that it looked too plain and not special enough, so I gathered some of the tulle and attached it with the skirt.  I like the way it looks, but it does make cleaning the dress a bit harder.

Elsa Inspired Dress by you & mie

Watch out!  Ice power! 

With the rest of the tulle, I gathered it a bit and zig zag stitched it to a piece of sparkly elastic from Jo-Ann, to make the cape.  Elsa doesn’t even wear a crown for the second half of the movie, but Yuki wanted one, so I sewed some trim onto a piece of craft felt, and folded and sewed the bottom 1/2 inch to make a casing to slide a headband through.  Took me just a couple of minutes – yay!

She loves it.  She wants to wear it every minute of the day.  She’s started telling people her name is Elsa.  I’m happy that she is happy, but I really hope this phase doesn’t last forever because I can really only handle listening to “Let it Go” so many times.

Queen Elsa does her chores // you & mie

And the Queen does her chores.  She wore her well-earned dress to a Sing-Along Frozen showing at the Castro Theater over the weekend.  Her classmate wore a beautiful mom-made dress as well.  They got to walk across the stage in front of the entire theater with all the other kids in costumes.  She belted out the words to her favorite songs and stuffed her face with popcorn.  She said it was the best day ever :)

Queen Elsa and her baby sister // you & mie