May 082015

This past weekend, I was so excited about Me-Made May that I made two Sewaholic Belcarra blouses. At first, I was all despairing because it calls for 2 yards of 44″ wide fabric and I only had 1 yard cuts of shirt-appropriate fabric… but then I realized that I could squeeze a blouse out of 1 yard as long as the print is non-directional. Yay!
belcarra blouse in voile

I had many doh moments while making these shirts! I made my first one in Bari J. Ackerman’s budquette voile, and while rummaging through my apparel stash, I finally understood the difference between lawn and voile. I could feel how voile is drapier and lawn is crisper, so now I know that I prefer voile for tops and (lined) lawn for skirts.

The last time I checked, my measurements were 32.5″ bust, 27.5″ waist, 36″ hips, so I made this voile version as a size 6 at the bust and waist, graded to size 4 at the hips (because it seemed crazy to grade to a size 0). I think in the end this made the blouse a little boxier than I liked, but I’m not sure if part of that is how voile drapes. What do you think?
belcarra blouse in voile, back

I also narrowed the neckline by about 3/4″. This worked perfectly to keep my bra straps covered, but I didn’t like how squared-off the neckline looked, compared to the original Belcarra’s lovely boatneck. Instead of following Sewaholic’s neckline facing instructions (5/8″ seam allowance, 2″ bias tape), I used the Eucalypt tank‘s instructions, which calls for a 1/4″ seam allowance and 1″ bias tape. I preferred this since I noticed that some other Belcarras seemed to have necklines that didn’t quite lay flat.
belcarra voile neckline

On my next version, I made a straight size 4 in polyester crepe de chine. I feel like this one fits much better! I kind of wonder, though, how much of that is because the crepe de chine is drapier than the voile, and how much is because I sized down.
belcarra blouse in polyester crepe de chine

I have to be a little bit careful when putting this on since it’s a little more fitted around the chest, but it’s not so tight that I have to do the funny wiggling thing.
belcarra blouse in crepe de chine, back

I didn’t alter the neckline on the size 4 (other than using the narrower seam allowance), and it mostly keeps my bra straps covered. Hooray! The last time I sewed with a similar crepe de chine, I had problems with the neckline facing pulling in a yucky way. I realized that it happened because I had pulled the bias facing taut as I sewed it to the raw edge. I’m used to pulling bias tape taut as I apply it to bags, which generally have outside curves (the corners), but necklines and armholes are inside curves, which means I should not pull the bias tape taut. doh!!!

Also, on my previous crepe de chine shirt, I made the bias tape from self fabric, and I think that these crepes in particular don’t have much bias stretch. On this crepe Belcarra, I made the bias tape from some scrap voile that had normal bias stretch.

Also also, on my previous shirt, I think I used a universal needle, whereas this time, I used a sharp. So much doh, but now I’m happy with how the facing turned out!
belcarra blouse size 4 neckline

I’m a little worried that the size 4 is slightly too small because the sleeves or armholes might be too tight. It’s not so tight that it bothers me, but when my arms are down, there are big folds in the fabric in the armpit area. Are those not supposed to be there? They don’t appear so much on my larger voile version.
belcarra poly arm down

The big folds go away as long as I keep my hands on my hips. 😀
belcarra poly arm up

On my first Belcarra, I followed the instructions for attaching the sleeve cuffs in the round. This was a big pain, so I sewed my second Belcarra in the flat. That was so much easier! Then I tacked down the underarm seam allowances at the intersections to make everything lay nicely.
belcarra poly guts

I’m super happy with my two new work shirts! Also, as a big cheapie, I’m excited that I can make Belcarras out of just one yard of (non-directional) fabric. If you have any fitting advice for me, please let me know! I wish I someone more experienced would come over and measure me — I think my self-measurements might be a little off… >_< belcarra blouse in crepe de chine

May 072015

I’m posting over at imagine gnats today about Quilt Lovely and Flutterby, which I made from it.
flutterby quilt, from Quilt Lovely

I really like this one! I made it almost all from scraps and for three weeks I worked on only it (I kept wanted to procrastisew other things), so I’m really fond of it! I’m a little sad that it’s going to Mr. Yazoo’s co-workers, but on the other hand, it would be really silly if I kept all the quilts I made. :}
flutterby, with a baby for scale

There are a bunch of other quilts I want to try from the book, now… after I get through my current clothes-sewing kick!
flutterby and my baby hehehe

Apr 302015

(Just to keep this from being a big old wall of text, I’m throwing in some pics of clothes I made but never got around to blogging. Oh, and some of these pictures were taken by Cosmo, so that’s why the tiltovision.)

I’m so excited — this year I feel like I can participate in my first Me-Made May! Here’s my pledge:

I, Alli of (right here, hehe), sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’15. I endeavour to wear at least one me-made garment each day for the duration of May 2015. Also, I will sew up at least four new garments, two of which will use stashed fabric.

sj tee and hollyburn skirt
SJ tee in a fab knit and a Hollyburn skirt in Shibuya lawn

I actually have already been wearing my self-made clothes almost every day, but I tend to wear the same stuff over and over, so this month, I want to work on things like not wearing the same pair of shorts all week and having more than a one-week work clothes rotation. Case in point: I wear this Hollyburn skirt to work every week, even though it’s my wearable muslin made from remnant shelf twill. >_<

A photo posted by Alli H (@sayonion) on

So some wardrobe gaps I’d like to fill this month are:

  • Another pair of shorts (either Chataigne or Thurlow)
  • Another pair of ponte Tania culottes (my current pair is super pilly, but I still wear it all the time)
  • Two more work shirts — it would be awesome if I made a Granville shirt, but more realistically, it’ll probably be Eucalypt and Ondee
  • Another work skirt: I’ve been cycling through six skirts lately (3 Hollyburns, 2 modified Alders, and one La Sylphide), but the La Sylphide makes me nervous in the wind tunnel outside of my work, and two other skirts are almost the same shade of teal, so I tend not to wear them in the same week. So for May, I’d like to make a Chardon skirt… it looks different because it has pleats! 😀

modified alder skirt with ribbon trim
This is the modified Alder that looks very similar to my ponte Hollyburn.

And my wishlist items are:

  • A giant grampa sweater with pockets — I keep waffling about whether I want to knit or sew this, so it’s really not happening anytime soon.
  • View B of V9108
    It’s a little crazypants, but I love it and couldn’t stop thinking about it when the new Vogue patterns came out. I already bought the pattern and I miiiiight have enough appropriate fabric, so this one might actually happen! (I must secretly want to be an artsy painter lady.)
  • A Granville. siiiigh. I bought enough fabric for two of them and I have the pattern, but I need to psych myself up for my first collared shirt.

I’m optimistic about being able to get at least a few of my wardrobe gap items done since I already have fabric and patterns for all of those things. I just needed the kick in the pants to get started! How about you — are you participating in Me-Made May?

sj tee
My other SJ tee… and I have stashed fabric for one more. Oops, but that’s not one of my goals for this month, hehehe.

Apr 282015

Back in February (haha, my late posts are kind of catching up to now), I actually managed to finish my sister’s and brother-in-law’s presents for their March birthdays early… and then I almost forgot to mail them in time!

My sister took a finance class and has been really good about keeping to her budget by using a cash system. The finance class gave out checkbook-cover-looking pouches with paper envelopes to keep different budgets separate, but my sister mentioned that she felt a little embarrassed pulling out it to pay for things. What’s a sewerery sister to do? ;D
modified mochi della wallet

I had been all set to buy the Necessary Clutch pattern, but then I realized that the Della wallet would work just as well with some modifications, and with the added benefit that I already owned the pattern. 😀

The Della is designed with two exterior zippered pockets and two interior billfold pockets, but since my sister has three budgets, I changed the billfold pockets to be two additional interior zippered pockets. I figured she could use the extra zippered pocket for her phone… you can never have too many zippered pockets!
mochi modified della wallet, open

I actually made two at once — I tried out the modifications on the extra one before duplicating them on my sister’s wallet. I love this Harajuku Rose print!
Harajuku Rose Della wallet

I had meant to keep this one for myself, and I was particularly excited about the funny mix of new and vintage zippers that I used in it. Unfortunately, even though I like it on its own, the coral print inside bothered me too much, so I’m keeping it on the side for an emergency gift. Also, I think that I should have topstitched the card pockets with pink thread instead of blue.
Harajuku Rose Della wallet, open

My poor brother-in-law is having back problems, so I made him a hot/cold buckwheat pillow. I made it using Sew Mama Sew‘s instructions for the cover, but with The Green Wife‘s dimensions, and this is my new favorite size for buckwheat heat packs! (I made one for myself with more Harajuku Rose fabric, but I didn’t take a picture because it’s pretty boring to look at.)
buckwheat heat pack

I added some belt loop-type thingies on the back of the pack so that my brother-in-law could belt the heat pack to his back — I meant for the loop and belt to be on the outside, keeping the the heat pack closest to the back. However, it seems like my sister’s appropriated it to keep her shoulders warm and landed up with two birthday presents. 😀
buckwheat heat pack back

Apr 132015

I’ve really been loving being a part of the Oahu Modern Quilt Guild — the other ladies are so fun and kind that it’s awesome meeting up with them every month. Since I’m behind on blogging (as usual!!!), here’s some things I’ve made for OMQG events since I joined…

In December, we had a mini swap as part of our holiday party, and I made mine based on Carolyn Friedlander’s Bartow quilt. I actually got to see the Bartow quilt and other Kona anniversary quilts in person! A local fabric shop close to my work had them on display, and I wanted to visit and take pictures for our guild during my lunch hour. Since I was nervous about going and taking pictures in the shop, a fellow guildie who goes to there a lot stopped by to go in with me and make me feel better. 😀
bartow mini

I think you can see that I did matchstick quilting… even though it’s only a mini, I got SO BORED while I was quilting. I fell asleep a couple of times.
bartow mini

More recently, we finished up a Bonnie Bucket Bag sewalong. I had a smallish piece of my squirrels and hedgehogs having tea fabric left, and I wanted to use as much of it as possible, so changed my bag to have just two panels instead of three.
bonnie bag

For the exterior zipper, I left off the welt pocketiness of it — in almost all of the Bonnies I’ve seen, the welt things remind me unpleasantly of lips.
bonnie bag, back

My bag was not as impressive as others finished for the sewalong, but people seemed to get a kick out of the gnomies inside. :}
bonnie bag, inside

Finally, the quilt block due this month is for our guild quilt. The blocks had to be made using only our guild colors in solids and could be any size. I made another humuhumunukunukuapua’a; luckily, I had at least saved my initial drawing, although it didn’t have any seam lines drawn on it. I kept referring to my old blog pic while I was sewing this one, heh.
omqg humuhumunukunukuapuaa

Mar 252015

I needed a top to go with a skirt I made for something coming up next week, and I luckily just found out about Boostrap Fashion, so I poked around and found a simple drapey neck shirt that I thought would be perfect. And it pretty much was!
black shirt yar

At first, I sewed it right off the the pattern (since it was generated from my measurements!), but I found that it still had way too much room around the chest, plus the cap sleeves flared out so much that they gave me super linebacker shoulders. (It would have been nice if I’d taken a picture, shucks.) I took in an inch under the arms and 3/4″ along the side seams, and then I loved it! I also left off the bottom band because the shirt seemed long enough, and I hemmed everything normally instead. I still haven’t gotten around to buying a twin ballpoint needle, so I went around all of my hems twice to get the twin needle effect. 😀

Hm, I guess the shoulder seams tend to want to pull to the back since the back piece is smaller than the front, but I think that can’t be helped — otherwise there couldn’t be the drape in the front, right?
black shirt side shoulder seam

I know it’s kind of like (waving hands), OOH, I made a butt-easy shirt! — but I bet I’ll wear it every week to work for at least the next month. I’m happy because I like it and it’s so useful.

Now I’m excited to try more patterns from Bootstrap Fashion… I have to be careful because I’m tempted to get stuff that I’m almost positive won’t work for me, like this drapey front pocket thing tunic that I’m probably too short for and will make me look like Domokun with longer legs. Plus, I never wear tights (which seem like the bottoms you have to wear with this) since it’s always so hot here. But I want it! :>
black shirt tilty

Edit: I should include the actual name of the pattern in case of googling — Bootstrap Fashion Made To Measure Sewing Patterns – Cap-Sleeved V-Neck Blouse. 😀

Mar 192015

I’m definitely not a mass production-loving person, but in the past couple of months, I’ve made three wide open zipper cases for presents because they’re awesome! They’re pretty quick to sew, look great, and I feel confident that people like receiving them because anyone can find a use for a pouch. Sometimes I talk myself out of making people bags because we can have really definite bag preferences, but pouches are universally useful. :)

Back at Christmas, I made the first wide open zipper pouch for my cousin who’s a teacher. Teachers need to keep things places!
fishies zipper pouch closed

I love how wide these open up! This first one was a little bit of a pain to sew when I was going around the U-turn, but it got easier with the next ones. I completely forgot to include the ribbons at the ends that give you something to grip when you’re opening or closing the zipper. Fortunately since the pouch is brown, I think it won’t be too noticeable if it gets the ends get a little grungy from being grabbed, instead. ;D
fishies zipper pouch

Next, I made one for my dad, who’s addicted to buying little pouches for his USBs and cords and things. I think he was happy…! (I can never tell with my parents.)
pac man zipper pouch closed

I remembered the ribbon end thingies, but forgot to include my label on his, which I felt bad about since he once specifically mentioned to me how much he likes them. >_< pac man zipper pouch

The last one was for my awesome co-worker’s birthday. I finally realized that the ribbon ends were a perfect place to put my labels!
whales zipper pouch closed

Usually, I dither for a long time when I’m trying to put together fabrics, but this time I felt like the orangey triangles really went with the whales. Was I right… or delusional?
whales zipper pouch

For all of these, I was a big cheapie and used not-fat-enough yarn inside the piping, which is why they all look a little suspect. But I recently bought a cone of fat packing twine to use for piping, so hopefully things will improve! 😀

Mar 022015

hehehe, I’m blogging about two months behind my actual output…

Since Sunshine’s been in preschool for half a year, it was about time for me to make him a naptime quilt. ;D Also, at that time, there was a guild sew-in coming up, and I wanted to have a project prepped for it. So I started cutting out the pieces for a Hazel Hedgehog quilt… and it was so fun chain piecing everything together that I finished the top in two days! (Oops, sorry about the creases in the picture.)
hazel hedgehog quilt

I used the baby sized blocks and just added another row and column so it would be a better size for Sunshine. I wanted to make sure it would cover him, but not be so big that it would be difficult for him to put away in his cubby. The whole quilt is made from my stash, which I was a little bit proud of, since I usually end up buying sashing and backing fabric for specific quilts. I very carefully laid out my blocks beforehand to make the different colors spread out evenly… and then I messed up and sewed the rows together in the wrong order!
hedgehog quilt sunshine

I thought Elizabeth Hartman’s quilting was perfect, so I copied it as best I could with pointy stippling. It was my first time doing this kind of fmq, and I thought it was fun! I didn’t have enough light grey thread so I used light purple, and while I was quilting I kind of didn’t like it, but in the end I don’t think it’s really noticeable.
hedgehog quilt close up

The pattern is brilliant and so easy to follow — probably the reason I wasn’t able to stop and save any of the quilt top sewing for the sew-in. I thought it was super cool how all the pieces came together to make the hedgehog blocks. And they’re so cute!
hedgehog quilt in use

Feb 182015

I got to try out some lovely knits from imagine gnats, so I sewed two new things to wear to work. I’m really excited to make myself simple work clothes since I noticed that a bunch of my RTW collared shirts that I wear all the time are so worn out that the interfacing is peeking through collar points and hem edges. 😀
wine briar top

First, I made a Megan Nielsen Briar top out of wine-colored French terry. (SO COZY. Stealth pjs.) I’ve been wanting to get this pattern for a while, but I was nervous that I was being taken in by the pretty modeled pictures and how great it looks on Megan Nielsen herself. I suspected that it wouldn’t actually work on my body since it seems to look best on more hourglassy people… but I got it anyway because I am an incorrigible consumer. :>
wine briar side

I redrew the hem halfway between the cropped and full-length views — the cropped hem was way too high for me, and the full-length hem was practically a dress since I’m 5’2″-ish. The longer backside is perfect because I have a couple of slightly-too-snug, no-lining work pants that I can wear again, now that my butt will be covered. hehehe.
wine briar back

The pattern has instructions for two neck finishes: a bound neckline and a t-shirt style neckline. I did the bound neckline… the instructions don’t tell you to trim down the seam allowance, and even though I did do that for my wearable muslin, I didn’t trim the seam allowances on this version, and the neckline came out a little wonky. I do like the bound neckline since I think it looks a little less casual for work, but I don’t care enough about how I look at work to unpick this wonky neckband and redo it. :>
wine briar normal

One of the reasons I really wanted to get this pattern was the elbow-length sleeves, which is actually not marked on the pattern, but is available as a pattern modification tutorial. I love these! The next time I make a Briar top, I’m going to try making the shoulder seam shorter since I think the sleeve starts further out on the shoulder than I need. Oh! I treated myself to Joi Mahon’s Create the Perfect Fit, and I was excited to see that there’s a table of contents entry for that neck-to-shoulder adjustment, but when I went to that page, it was one of the only ones without alteration instructions! >_< It kind of referred to another page further into the book, but when I flipped there, I didn't see anything specifically for the shoulder, and my attention wandered off... wine briar hiding

The second thing I made was a Sewaholic Hollyburn with teal ponte. This was awesome — it was the first ponte I’ve used that didn’t pill almost at all after washing! (I could only see a verrrry slight texture when I looked at the fabric sideways in sunlight.)
teal hollyburn skirt

I loooove the Hollyburn skirt. This is actually the third one I’ve made (oops, haven’t gotten pictures of the others yet), because I love how it defines your waist and then flares out so your tummy has room to be normal-person-tummy-like. :> I had originally intended to make a comfy comfy elastic-waisted version, but I forgot to cut the waistband with stretch in mind and had to put in a zipper instead. I tried out my new tricot interfacing and interfaced the center back seam allowances in order to hopefully make sure the bottom end of the zipper wouldn’t stick out strangely, and I think it worked!
teal hollyburn back

Unfortunately, I didn’t interface the outer waistband since I thought I was going to put elastic in… I hope it doesn’t sag too much!
teal hollyburn goofy

Mr. Yazoo was so patient and helpful taking pictures for me — he kept retaking and retaking them when I complained about how I was making weird faces, and the first thing he said when we started on the Hollyburn pictures was, “suck in your gut!” hahahahahahahahahaha! (But really, that was super helpful because I totally would have made him retake even more pictures if he hadn’t. :D)
teal hollyburn silly