July 14, 2019

D20 Dice Bag


I had abandoned my sewing machine for a month but finally got back to it to make a dice bag for my brother-in-law who plays Dungeons & Dragons.

I know nothing about D&D and I really don't understand what they do with the game master narrating the battle behind the cardboard. (You know, the S1E1 of Stranger Things.) But I know the 20-sided dice is the thing for D&D... right?

I somehow encountered this 20-sided dice printed fabric on Spoonflower, and it was green, and it reminded me of my brother-in-law (he wears a lot of green) so I got really excited and decided to make a dice bag.

This was my very first purchase from Spoonflower. It was kind of interesting to receive a piece of fabric with white border all around it (because it's on-demand printing, only the requested length is printed). I got it printed on a regular cotton fabric. The ink definitely makes the fabric stiffer/thicker compared to the white border. I pre-washed the fabric to soften it a bit but still pretty stiff.

I used the leftover faux suede vinyl (same vinyl that I used for my Clematis wristlet and Boronia bowler bag) for the main exterior. The top half of the exterior is Kona cotton so that the bag can be cinched tightly. The hot pink fabric you can see in the photo above is a scrap fleece used as an interfacing for the bottom.

There are 6 pockets inside.
I also bought a d20 patch on Etsy in green to match the d20 fabric. It was bigger than I wanted but oh well. (No fault on the Etsy seller; the size was clearly listed but I just wished it was smaller.)

The finished bag looks exactly how I imagined (well, except for the patch being bigger than I wanted) and I'm really happy with it. But when I showed it to MOTH, he immediately gave me a funny look. He did not like it. Oh well. I enjoyed making it and I'm giving it to my brother-in-law.

July 13, 2019

Japan Trip


MOTH and I went to Japan last month. We visited my family for a couple of days, went to Kanazawa, then to Tokyo. It had been 6 years since MOTH and I traveled in Japan last time (I went back 4 years ago for a class reunion but stayed in my hometown so I did not travel), and this time we were surprised by the number of Chinese tourists. All the touristy places were so crowded everywhere that I was glad I decided against going to Japan in 2020 (Olympics in Tokyo).

Kanazawa: I had a soft serve ice cream with gold leaf. I forgot to check if the gold came out shiny in my poo.

Odaiba, Tokyo: Ginormous Gundam was very impressive. It actually transforms, too. This is what I like about Japanese people: the fact that it's totally normal for them to build a life size robot (well, it's actually a "mobile suit") in front of a mall.

Kabukicho, Tokyo: Again, it's totally normal for Japanese people to have a giant Godzilla head sticking out of a building.

Kamakura: The big Buddha was made in the 13th century and you can walk inside it too.

Yokohama: We went to China Town and did not even eat a single bao. What is wrong with me?

Kichijoji, Tokyo: Unfortunately we got rained on at the Ghibli Museum, but while we were at the station avoiding the rain, we were lucky to see an Awa Odori dance performance by Takarabune. Their performance was so great I almost cried, seriously.

June 7, 2019

Simplicity 1805 Glitter Sweater


I made a summer sweater. But then, it's already so hot and humid in the Deep South that I won't be able to wear it until fall. It was a relatively cooler evening today so I grabbed the opportunity to wear it for an evening out.

The pattern is Simplicity 1805. I made view E without the hem detail. I cut a size XS. I used this pattern before for another summer sweater and followed the same alterations: shortened the bodice by 2.5" (I'm 5'3") and shortened sleeves by 1".

The fabric is 100% poly, very open weave sweater knit with gold foil freckles. I bought this fabric in 2013 so I am so glad to have finally used it! 

Because of the loose weave and that it's a sweater knit, there was no precision sewing in this project. My neck band is so wonky and my hems are total mess, but I'm ok with that.

And look at my brand new Boronia Bowler bag with tassels in action!
Also worn together with my Kaufman Ginger jeans. Hooray for me-made outfit.

June 4, 2019

Tassels on Boronia Bowler Bag


The zipper pulls on my brand new Boronia Bowler Bag needed bigger pulls so I made tassels using the leftover faux suede.

I just cut the fringes and glued it using contact cement. Added a rivet for a bit of a bling.

June 3, 2019

Blue Calla Boronia Bowler Bag

型紙はBlue CallaというとこのBoronia Bowler Bag

I will be traveling soon and need a bigger bag than my regular shoulder bag that only fits my wallet and a phone. So I made a handbag.

I know, the pattern match is not perfect, but close enough for me.
The pattern is Blue Calla's Boronia Bowler Bag. It has a zip from one side of the bottom to the other so it opens VERY wide. In fact it opens too wide for me that I consider shaving off the gusset pieces by 1" if I ever make this again.

I think there is a big divide in pattern quality between garment PDF patterns and bag PDF patterns. Or maybe the expectation is different? I think many bag pattern makers come from quilting and craft sewing background so the "patterns" are quite different from what I, a person who's used to garment patterns, expect. So I need to remember the bag patterns are not as user friendly as garment patterns.

And this particular pattern did not match very well. The pattern I got was supposedly a revised version but I guess nobody complained about the pattern pieces not matching? The exterior main piece and the contrast overlay did not match about 1/8" at the bottom corner. It really bothered me so much that I had to re-print the pattern pieces and trace the shape and re-cut the pieces.

Anyways, the fabrics, both the main exterior (upholstery weight cotton) and the contrast vinyl (faux suede), are a left over from my Blue Calla Clematis wristlet. I gave away all the wristlets so I don't have a matchy-matchy set, unfortunately.

My very first purse feet! These were 12 mm and I think they can be bigger.

I also added a "Handmade" metal label.

The pattern has an interior zipper pocket on one side and a slip pocket on the other. I added an extra slip pocket under the zipper pocket.

The bag zips out wide so the final construction was relatively easy.

I did make a cross-body strap as well (seen in the bottom picture at the bottom of the bag).
The handles were perfectly fine for a handbag but I tend to carry my bag on my shoulder and the handle length as instructed was a bit short for that purpose.

It's a pretty simple handbag, and maybe a tad too simple for me. I'm too picky about bags and this one just did not have all the things I wanted in my bag and the shape was slightly off for me. Nothing wrong with the pattern (other than the corner shape not matching), it's just me... I bought a couple other Blue Calla bag patterns so I will try them after my trip. My search for a perfect bag continues.

May 31, 2019

Ginger Jeans #3

型紙は前回と同じCloset Case PatternsのGinger Jeansです。

I wanted a pair of light colored jeans for summer so here we go, my third Ginger Jeans.

The fabric is a left-over stretch drill from Zoe Washburne costume. It's rather thick but surprisingly stretchy (and it's a 4 -way stretch). I had just enough fabric to make this capri length.

It is definitely nice to have two sewing machines when making jeans. I really like using my Kenmore. I just wish it had a knee lift!

Since the fabric was so beefy but stretchy, my top stitching got somewhat wobbly.

I used left-over cotton poplin for pocket and waistband facing.

-I cut a size 8, mid-rise skinny.
-Shortened 2" above knee and cut the legs from 6 7/8" from hem to make a capri length.
-Deepened the back crotch curve for a more L-shape (low butt).
-Back pocket is size 6 and using size 6 pocket position.
-Flattened the front crotch curve about 1/8".
-I did a flat seat adjustment by adding a diagonal darts at the back leg about 1" at center back and 0" at the side seam. I "think" it made some improvement to the back leg but not sure.
-Straightened the hip curve at side seam from hip notch to mid thigh.
-As I predicted, the skinny was a bit too skinny for my chunky calf so I let out about 3/8 all around.

Worn with my collarless Butterick 5526 shirt I made for my Hobbit costume. I accidentally (well, just wasn't paying attention) cut the back bodice NOT on the fold so I had to add a strip of fabric at center back. Let's call it a design detail.

May 27, 2019

My Very First Leather Craft


MOTH has recently bought a very old car. A piece in a trunk that keeps straps in place had broken in pieces from sitting in leaked oil so I was recruited to make a replacement piece.

The original piece was made of some kind of plastic or hard rubber but I used a piece of veg tanned leather. I've been watching a lot of leather craft YouTube videos but this is my very first attempt to work with leather.

I cut 2 pieces of rectangular strips, glued them together, and hand-stitched around. I think I got better at the very last 4 inches. Glad I did not use a contrasting color thread, which was very tempting.

The leather I bought wasn't the finest quality and one end was very soft. I could not bevel and when I sanded the cut edges, the edges got mushroomed. Took many rounds of slicking and sanding.

I then painted the car's logo on it just to make it a bit fancy. I didn't want to bother buying a leather paint so just used regular acrylic paint. We shall see how long the paint will stay on. I am very interested in leather work and I would love to do more in the future.

May 22, 2019

Hobbit Costume: Simplicity 8771 Cloak




I did make the collarless white shirt under my waistcoat for this but alas no photos.

Anyway, the Hobbit costume. I made the costume to go to a Renaissance Faire. I'm still not sure if Hobbit costume is appropriate for Ren Faire but I think more people wear fantasy costumes these days than actual Renaissance costumes at Ren Faire. Reading the post from 2016 about going to a Ren Faire in the Desert, it's funny to think that I made the Hobbit costume this year that I thought was way beyond my sewing skill back then.

The cloak pattern is Simplicity 8771. I'm sure some advanced sewers would laugh at me using a pattern for a simple cloak, but when you can buy the pattern for $2, that's worth it. Good to be back in the U.S. and being able to buy patterns for $2.

The pattern piece was actually bigger than the tissue paper so this pattern required taping of the pattern. I made the short version (View B). It's a unisex, one size only pattern.

The fabric is a 100% poly faux micro suede. Unfortunately, it was too hot to wear a polyester cloak on a nearly 90 degree weather in Deep South so the cloak was never worn at the Ren Faire.

The hood has a facing around the edge but it's unlined so the center seam is exposed. I am ok showing my serger seam at the hood's center seam (and also the center back) but if you are a more strict costume maker, you will need to think about the proper seam finishing.

I bought this Fellowship leaf brooch on Amazon for like $6. You know, you get what you paid for. I did not like the gold color on the leaf's stem and the general paint job so I painted it over myself with some model car paint I had.

I thoroughly enjoyed making the costume. It is so exciting to think that the whole outfit was made by me! Can I call myself a cosplayer now?

Worn together with:
Self-drafted waistcoat.
Vogue 9032 pants.
Butterick 5526 shirt.