Bear skirt

I should show more completed creations here, so that people don’t think that I just have a big mess of work in progress projects. I also happen to finish some of them sometimes! I still don’t have any real good picture of my flower dress to share with you, so I’ll show you something a little older : my teddybear skirt, named after the fabric I used.

The pattern comes from a japanese book. I don’t have it so I’m not sure which one it is. Might be this one. The clothes is this book are quite classic ones, and didn’t really interest me, except for this skirt. She was almost exactly what I’ve been wanting to make for some time! Long, but not too much wide, with corners at the bottom (see the picture bellow to understand). It looked really nice. And the pattern is really simple since it’s based on a half circle skirt with an elastic waist.

I fell in love with this fabric the first time I saw it. I love tartan/check fabrics. So when I went back to the shop later, after have discovered the pattern, and saw it again, I knew it would be perfect for the skirt! And I was right! I was happy to have an excuse to get it. ;p I love the mix of check and teddybear prints, with the elegant shape of the skirt. It might sound strange, but it definitely works! The fabric is not so thin but flowing, perfect for this skirt. It’s so light that sometimes I have the disturbing feeling that I’m not wearing anything… ^^;

The above picture was taken the first day I wore this skirt, when we went to Design Festa. The event was my motivation to make it. It looks really great with a fitted black top (to emphasize the waist and accentuate the retro feeling of the skirt) and those autumn colored tights.

In conclusion: this is a great pattern! Quick and very easy to make, for a result that is very comfortable to wear and looks pretty. My husband loves this skirt which he finds very feminine and elegant, and I totally agree. I think it will have little sisters (a skirt is a “she” in French).

Spotted: new releases

Yes, already some new books! They release new publications very often around here. And since I haven’t posted here as often as I’d like, you get two of those posts very close.

“Furi ! Fuwah ! Otona fuku”

This is a book with patterns for skirts and tops with lots of frills. The tops are of the usual type for a japanese pattern book. I saw some skirt ideas quite interesting. They’re less common (I find there are a lot more tops and dresses patterns in those books). Nothing really caught my eye, seing what I like and the patterns I already have at home, but it might be interesting for others. The really good point: their use of not so common fabrics (at least in japanese books), like this skirt made of taffeta. I really liked this, first because it’s a nice change, and then because you get to see through the pictures how those fabrics look once sewn.

“Kawaii kodomo no onepiece” (“Cute child dresses”)

This book shows lots of dresses for little girls. I didn’t think of looking what ages it was for. :s But they had some really nice things! Some dresses are very casual, and others are quite dressy for more formal occasions. All in all I found it was an inspiring book. For the little girls that might appear around me in the future, but also… for Blythe dresses! Which would be a much quicker use of it. ^^ I’d love to rescale some of those for Blythe size. I’m still toying with the idea, maybe I’ll give in and get it in the future. The full size patterns are not given, but they tell you all the measurements you need to create the dresses.

“Natural taste ~ linen & cotton no nunokomono” (“Natural taste ~ small fabric objects in linen & cotton”)

As the name says, this book is all about accessories made of linen and cotton. Mainly small objects for the house: placemats, coasters, pot holder, aprons, cushion covers, small blankets… The models shown are quite nice, and you can see a number of variations for each object (colors, shapes…). I think you can find some nice decorations ideas inside, whether to use as is or to adapt to other projects. The feature I liked best: two very sweet colored pages with some very nice ideas (they had placemats and coasters and I think cushions). Sadly it’s not enough to get the book, so I hope I’ll find a scan of those pages in the future to keep in my “inspiration” folder. ^^

Cute fabric

I bought this adorable fabric during my crazy week of meetings and fabric shops hunting last June.When I saw it I immediatly fell in love. It begged me to be brought home. I decided I would make a cute skirt out of it. Something simple. I didn’t have the exact image in mind, but I knew I wanted to make a skirt. Problem: once I got home I still couldn’t get a precise idea of which skirt… :s And I started to hesitate and wonder if a skirt was the best idea, of if I should make something else. I finaly settle on a skirt again, and changed my mind like three times. I cut a first panel, tried something, thought it wouldn’t look so nice, changed my mind, cut again. Now my decision is taken, there are too many panels cut to change my mind again. Let’s hope it will end up really pretty (and not just “okay”, which would be a shame with such a cute fabric).

Catalog from 1900

I was talking about it earlier, here is the promised post about this japanese/french catalog. Here is the cover (thanks to Amazon):

Inside you can find a small introduction in japanese (I don’t know what it says) and then the  reproductions of the original catalogs. They come from several department stores in Paris, some that are still well known (like le Printemps or le Bon Marché) and others whose names I didn’t know. All the descriptions are left in French. You can see a lot of clothing pieces with their descriptions (materials used) and their price. They are shown as drawings, with lots of details. I think this is a very interesting book for those interested in vintage clothes. It might also be of interest for lace lovers, since it was sold in a lace shop.

I did some research since my last post. I wanted to find whether they publisher had made other books like this. It seems not. That’s a little disappointing, I would have loved to find a similar book about crinoline dresses. I love that kind of dress! Among the 19th/early 20th centuries fashions it’s one of my favorite. I’m not as crazy about the style of clothing they wore in 1900. And considering the price old catalogs and magazines go for, such books covering many era would be very interesting. This book has 303 pages and is sold at 2940 yens.

That said, while browsing through Amazon I discovered a good number of English books about Victorian fashion. Some of them have good reviews and seem interesting, I think one day I’ll take one or two. What I find sad is that all the books I found are in Japanese or English, while at least half of the material they’re based upon is French (catalogs or magazines). Why don’t we release anything like this in French??? Or maybe it’s only me and I didn’t search for the right thing… that would be sad if our resources are only used by other people. :s

Here are some of the English books I found that seem interesting:- Victorian and Edwardian Fashion: A Photographic Survey- Victorian and Edwardian Fashions from “La Mode Illustree”- Victorian Fashions and Costumes from Harper’s Bazar, 1867-1898- Elegant French Fashions of the Late Nineteenth Century: 103 Costumes from La Mode Illustree, 1886- Full-Colored Victorian Fashions: 1870-1893- Children’s Fashions of the Past in Photographs- Children: A Pictorial Archive of Permission-Free Illustrations- Children’s Fashions, 1860-1912: 1,065 Costume Designs from “LA Mode Illustree”

Oups !

Sorry, it’s been far too long since my last update… :s I have some notes in the making but I didn’t have time to finish anything. I had too much work and a bad organization. But I’m working on changing that! And I seriously intend to give you a few things to read by the end of the week-end.

Spotted: new releases

Lately I discovered something about Graphic-sha (the company that publishes the “One day sewing series”): they like to republish their books. I’ve had some doubts about this before, but I wasn’t sure. Now I am, since among the “new” books I saw the first japanese pattern book I bought last year. The new book has a new publising date and all. I’m quite surprised, I don’t really see why they republish them. They are still available on Amazon, so I guess even if they’re not directly available in bookshops they can still be ordered. Or maybe they do that to have more advertisement (since they do back in the top shelves of shops)? I don’t know… maybe they’ve been publishing the same few books over and over again… XD Anyway, here is the book I’m talking about.

“Natsu dakara kantan ~ Ichinichi de dekichau fuku” (“Clothes you can make in one day ~ Easy because it’s summer”), which I got last summer. A little visit to Amazon told me it’s actually the third time the book is release: the release date they display is May, 2007. As I said it was the first japanese pattern book I bought. I didn’t know a lot of their books at that time. I had started to browse the books in the shop some time before, and this one got me. Not that I’d say it’s the best ever of their series, but it’s cute and I didn’t know the other summery ones then. That said, I really like it and don’t regret buying it. I still haven’t made anything from it (I know, it’s shame -_-), but there are many projects I want to make (some for which I already have the fabric). You can see all the outfits here.

Another new release, although I can’t tell whether it’s really new or not: “Linen, coton, gauze no natural na fuku” (“Natural clothes in linen, coton and gauze”). As the name indicates, the clothes inside are pure “natural” japanese clothes: wide, quite long, with simple lines and natural fibers. That kind of clothing really has a distinctive look. And speaking of width, be careful: the patterns only come in sizes M and L! If you’re really thin and usually use size S, it might be very wide! At first I wasn’t really convinced and thought this book wouldn’t be for me. But now that I’ve looked at the clothes two or three times, I really like some of the pieces and wonder whether I should get it. My favorite piece: the n°5 pettipants (or “petticoat pants”, a.k.a. drawers). They are so cute with the lacy frills! Another piece that I like very much is this tunic (which also comes with pettipants ^^; ).

They also republished this book some time ago: “Ichi nichi de dekichau fuku tsukurou!” (“Let’s make clothes in one day!”, once again titled as “Natsu dakara kantan”). I don’t have much to say about it. There are some cute pieces, but not so much compared to other books, or I already have similar patterns that I could modify to get the same result. If you don’t have any book from the “One day sewing” series, maybe you’ll like it better. The things I like best are the n°5 tunic dress, which is very light and cute, and this striped knit tunic which looks very comfy for summer.

PS: pfew, two days (or is it three?) to finish this note! I wish I had more time…

A week of fun

The week that went by have been really interesting in the craft area. Not that I got much done, I didn’t have time. But I met really nice people and discovered very interesting things! I’m a doll collector, and as such I am part of online communities (and have met real dolly friends in Japan). If you want to read more about those dolls please go check my other blog. Many people of the doll community are into sewing, to make clothes for our dolls. From June 24 to July 2 there is a big doll event in Tokyo. It’s about Blythe doll, which maybe you’ve heard of people she’s getting more well known accross the world. Part of this event is about an international customizing/clothes making competition. The finalists have their dolls exhibited in Tokyo.

Some of my Flickr contacts happened to get selected, so they came to Japan for the event. And if you’re wondering what this has to do with sewing, well, just check the previous paragraph again: this competition is partly about designing and making clothes. Those dolly friends are all into sewing and are as fabric addicted as I am. ^^ A good part of their stay in Tokyo consisted in hitting the fabric shops there. And since we had dolls and sewing in common we decided to meet and have some fun in both areas.

Which led to 4 days of talking, long walks in Tokyo, meeting japanese doll people, going to doll events and shopping in fabric and notions shops. We spend a lot of time talking about fabrics and notions, compare fabrics, exchange tips, asking for advice (at least for me! ^^; ), discover new things. It was really nice and stimulating! It’s much more fun to go fabric shopping with someone else with whom you can comment what you see. Thanks to some japanese friends I was able to discover two very interesting shops. The first one is a tiny lace shop in Harajuku called The Lace Center. They have vintage lace as well as very nice modern lace, and also sell books about lace and clothes and accessories adorned with lace. The prices are a little high but they have very nice stuff. My friend who was with me that day just fell in love with one of their books: it’s a compilation of several french department stores catalogs from 1900. She didn’t get it that day but couldn’t resist and a few days later when I saw her she had bought it! I’ll try to write a post about it to give a little details. The other place I discovered is like lace and ribbons paradise: it’s the two Mokuba shops in Asakusabashi. I think I’ll also write another post about them, because they deserve some details. It’s a pity I didn’t take any pictures. Maybe another time (’cause there will be other times).

It was a really nice week! ^__^ I’d do it again anytime (well, maybe after some rest and a little more productive time).


My dress is completed! Well, not exactly since it’s still missing the sleeves. But technically I can wear it without sleeves so she can be worn now. I won’t have time to add the sleeves before tomorrow… ^^; And it turns out it should rain on the 23rd, so I won’t wear it since it’s a very light/summery dress. I guess the sleeves will wait a little more then…

I don’t have any picture of the whole dress yet. I’ll show some as soon as possible!