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.
Excuse me while I go off on movie stuff here a bit! One of the things I love most about many of these Ghibli movies are the many strong and independent female protagonists. The movies often feature a young girl as the lead, usually with other female supporting characters, which helps create a diverse cast representing a wide range of people and personalities. The young girls and women are shown as complex people who struggle, support each other, learn, grow and overcome. It’s so refreshing to see the huge range of characters that females play in these movies, as opposed to the movies with maybe one female whose role is solely to help move the men forward in their story line. I bet most Studio Ghibli movies would pass the Bechdel Test with flying colors! And don’t even get me started on the straight up badasses like San from Princess Mononoke, Chihiro from Spirited Away and Nausicaa from Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. So much awesome girl power!
Many of these movies provide great role models for young people and explore really important lessons. They are an amazing blend of original and meaningful story lines, complex characters and breathtaking artwork. The movies are entertaining and uplifting and most of all, magical. I’m not saying Studio Ghibli movies are perfect, of course, but many of them are wonderful and these are the movies I want my kids to grow up watching!
But on to the SEW part of Sew Geeky . . . This isn’t my first time sewing from a Studio Ghibli movie. I made a Totoro costume for Yuki a few years ago, and a Mei-chan outfit too. I had HUGE plans for sewing this time – 3 outfits to be exact. But then reality set in and I just had too much going on, so I only got ONE thing done. 😦 I might eventually get around to the other projects, but for today, I want to introduce you to Jiji the cat!
Jiji is a character from the movie, Kiki’s Delivery Service. The movie is about a 13 year old witch, Kiki, who leaves home to find a new town to complete her witch training in. She needs to find a way to make it on her own in a new place, with new friends and a new job. She struggles to find herself, especially when she loses one of her strongest abilities.
Jiji is Kiki’s cat and best friend. While Kiki is bright, optimistic and cheerful, Jiji is cynical, pessimistic and sarcastic. But he’s there for her always and he is quite hilarious and an important character in the movie (If you do watch this movie, try to watch it in Japanese with English subtitles though, because I CANNOT STAND the voice in the American version. It’s awful).
My original plan was to make a Kiki outfit for Yuki and then have Kaya as Jiji, the trusted sidekick. But Kiki’s outfit never happened, so Kaya gets the spotlight today!
I just thought this Jiji sweatshirt would be a fun thing to make and wear. It features Jiji’s unique ears and huge eyes, though you may not recognize him if you’re unfamiliar with the movie. The shirt is based off of my Panda Raglan Tee Tutorial and I used the Oliver + S Field Trip Raglan T-shirt Pattern.
I freezer paper stenciled the face onto the body of the shirt. For the ears, I cut out two purple triangles and two black. I sewed them together and flipped them right side out then folded one side in to get that ear shape (the red arrow shows the side I folded in).
Then I attached it to the shirt just like in the tutorial. These shirts are honestly so fun and easy to make! And so many possibilities!
I added cuffs at the wrist and a waistband, mostly because I was too lazy to hem. But also because it’s made with a thicker french terry fabric, which made this shirt into more of a sweatshirt. The bands just made sense.
And that’s all for my Studio Ghibli sewing for now. The other thing I was planning on making was another Totoro costume with a tutorial, since I get requests for help with that all the time! I’m not making any promises, but really hoping I get that done before Halloween!
As for now, bye bye from Jiji! Are you a Studio Ghibli fan? What’s your favorite movie? I could never choose . . .
And be sure to head over to Max California and Sew Chibi for their awesome Sew Geeky posts and check out all of the others who sewed up some Studio Ghibli goodness as well! Click each picture below to check out the stars of this episode of Sew Geeky!