This month's Project Run and Play theme was handwork, something I typically don't do. BUT one of the last things I did before leaving Tokyo was to sign up for a sashiko embroidery class. It was such a fun experience--a friend and I did it together, and it really felt like sitting in on a sewing circle with several Japanese ladies. Most of the people in the class were repeat customers, bringing their ongoing projects back to work on them with some company. I started a great embroidered panel (that I've since finished; not sure what I'm going to do with it yet!) while getting tips on the technique from the woman teaching the class.
|Just getting started!|
|Making progress--a great project for sitting on the patio with a friend!|
Those of you in Tokyo, I recommend it--the class is on the first Thursday of the month at the Blue and White Store in Azabu-Juban!
In any case, my new sashiko skills were fresh in my mind when the ladies behind Frances Suzanne posted their challenge for Project Run and Play this month. So while a couple of months ago I probably would have passed on this one, I actually had some excellent inspiration.
Unfortunately, the timing was a little difficult--on August 9th, we left Tokyo after living there for 15 months, so I sold my machine and packed up all of my fabric and kissed it goodbye until our shipment arrives in Portland in October. But I held out a special piece of double gauze from Kokka--it's called Ihme Chamber, and when I visited the Kokka showroom in Tokyo I got to see the original watercolor for this print hanging on the wall!
|The display of the different colorways|
I thought it would be perfect with my sashiko accents to make a really special item for returning to school this fall. I was planning on making a top for The Boy, but Little Sister really wanted to get in on the action too, and so I made one for her as well.
|Little Sister's top is the Norah Dress/Tunic pattern from Mouse House Creations, and|
The Boy has the Prepster Pullover from Blank Slate Patterns.
|Both tops have the same sashiko embroidery detail on the pockets and the back yoke.|
The Boy's shirt is the Prepster Pullover from Blank Slate Patterns in size 8, with some extra length (instead of doing a standard folded under hem, I just did a bias facing so I didn't lose any length from the cut pattern piece). Otherwise I made the pattern exactly as written, and I really liked it! I was nervous about doing the placket (I've never done one before), but it came out perfectly and the method was ingenious and very simple! It made me want to start putting plackets on all the things.
|About to start 2nd grade!|
I got the free printable sashiko embroidery pattern from the tutorial posted by Jo of Dotta on Imagine Gnats. There are lots to choose from--I'm excited to try more of them! I printed the pattern out at 100% and it was a perfect fit on my pocket pattern piece for the Prepster Pullover.
I can't remember now where I found this tip, but it worked so well--I traced the sashiko pattern on to a piece of the thinnest fusible interfacing I could find, then ironed it to the backside of my fabric. Then I had the design right there on the back!
|I love all the little characters in this print--there's a cow, a swan, a fox, a frowny bird, |
and of course the little guy poking his head out of a garbage can...
The embroidery on the back yoke was kind of an afterthought--as I was putting it together I thought that some extra detail would look nice there, but I had already partially sewn things together and didn't want to attach interfacing. So I just traced the pattern with an air erasable marker and worked quickly! I'm so glad I added it back there--I think it makes a huge difference.
She really wanted a shirt, not a dress, since she wanted hers to be a close match to her brother's. She also vetoed the center panel (thankfully I hadn't started embroidering yet, or she would have been out of luck) in favor of a pocket like Big Brother's. I re-cut the front to put that big tree front and center for the tunic length with no embroidered center panel. Then she wanted a button placket too, but I didn't have enough fabric to cut another front panel out and I wasn't going to chop the focal point tree in half, so we compromised on the red bias tape neckline instead of the clean neckline with lining. Honestly, even though I would have loved to do a few things differently design-wise on this dress, it's so worth it to listen to her input because then we end up with a garment that she will actually wear. It's not worth it to make a dress my way that sits in the closet because I ignored what she wanted!
|Turns out the pocket placement is PERFECT--she keeps putting things in there!|
I used the same pocket pattern from the Prepster Pullover pattern.
I love the fit on this top--I was worried that the sleeves might be too full, but they are just right. I did french seams since I was using double gauze, so that did take the side seams in a tiny bit more. My kids are opposites in sizing--the 7-year-old is almost too big for the size 8, and the 5-year-old is almost too small for the size 4!
Oh, and speaking of fit, since I added the embroidery, I shortened the opening in the back of the tunic. But I shortened it too much--oops! I had to widen the neckline slightly so that Little Sister's head could fit through. But all's well that ends well!
|Back to school|
|Can you tell we enjoyed our photo shoot today?|