19 July 2017

Fabric Haul - Introduction

Since I started sewing, I have been slowly feeding my fabric stash with all sort of random fabric that I have found on eBay, Facebook fabric groups and random shop purchases.

So I thought wouldn't it be lovely to document each time I buy more fabric.

One it would give me a visual record of what I have brought and also share my thoughts on why I brought it.

I suppose I should also include trimming purchases as well since this is sometime the hardest thing to buy.

23 May 2017

Making a Dress - Modern hanbok (dress)


So I have a jeogori but now I need a dress.

Lucky a modern hanbok/dress seems to be simple enough although this time round I am going to concentrate on a some elements.

One, pleated skirt.  That seems to be a defining feature on a lot of the dresses I have seen.

Two, this is not on all of them but on lots of the Leesle dresses they have a little loop on the front for a decorative accessory.  How cute is that?  Definitely putting this in.  If not for decoration, I could make a little purse to put some change.

Three, as you can see from the pictures above they are quite high waist.  Normally hanboks are quite quite up the chest, similar to empire line dresses so this seems only natural.

And for me an additional feature I want to put in is pockets.  I really can not live without pockets and it is annoying that modern day dresses that you buy these days seem to be lacking them.


So time to trawl through my Otome no Sewing for a suitable pattern.

This time it is Book 8!

The two major changes.  One, I made is the neckline as this one is suppose to be square but I am aiming for a rounded one and two, the skirt will be pleated rather then gathered.

Now as I have just come back from Hong Kong with a few metres of fabric I thought I might make this dress out of the light denim I brought.

I need some lining as I have decided that all of my dresses will be made with lining unless it is a design feature.  Luckily I had some polycotton lying around from an order I made a while ago.  Yep it is multicolour dots.  Well at least it will be fun!


This all started off very easy.  Cut out the bodice pieces and sew them all together.  This was done in one weekend.

Then came the fun part, the pleated skirt.  My first pleated lined skirt with pockets!

Now I have made pleated skirts before but the lining has never been attached the lining to the skirt and never with pockets so this took a bit of thinking.

Measurement-wise I use the times 3 formula and cut out 3 panels.  One for the front and two for the back in both the outer and inner fabric.  I used the off-cuts from the main fabric to make the pockets as I didn't want to cut up more of my precious fabric from Hong Kong.

Now how should one sew pockets into a lined pleated dress?  Should the pockets go in-between the outer fabric and lining or behind it all.  It turned out that it had to be the latter because I didn't want my pleats to sit neatly into each other.

And that is when things went a little bit tricky.  Because I went with this method, I was essentially sewing my lining to the main dress.  This mean I have to be careful with construction or I could inadvertently twist things or worst sew my pockets in the wrong direction.

In the end it turned out fine although one of the pockets there is a little puckering on the outside but luckily this will be covered up by pleats!

Then I had a bright idea!  I should use some of the light blue and white striped trimming I brought for the loose sack dress!  It is the perfect colour.

If I just sewed the trimming onto the main outer fabric it would have been simple but no I decided to sandwich it between the lining as well.  My reason for this is to remove as many raw edges as possible as I wanted a professional finish.

However because of the way I sewed the pockets, I had to sew the trimming in two parts because I was not able to flip the fabric but no matter I somehow managed it.

Now to pleat the skirt and attach it to the bodice.

Add in an invisible zip and finally sew down the bodice lining.

Finally press with vinegar and a steam iron to set the pleats and ta-da one modern hanbok


Here it it.  The front.

With my fleece jeogori.

The little loop for hanging a little ornament.



There are small imperfection that I have noticed.

One, the pleats are not lined up perfectly with the pocket so you can see the opening.  You see it in the above image.  I could have tried harder but pleating is a pain with two layers so next time it will be better.

Two, I have never been able to add in a zip without some bunching of fabric but luckily the pleats will hide that ;)

And three, pleating.  It is a bit uneven but it can't be helped I suppose since I am folding two layers of fabric and each one slip past each other.  I suppose I need more practice here.

1 May 2017

Making a Dress - Modern Jeogori


Lately I have been staring at modern hanbok,

Don't they look refreshing and light.  Probably completely inappropriate for the summer here in UK but they are so pretty.  Not to mention perfect for a work capsule wardrobe.

So what should I aim for?  On Leesle site there are plenty to choose from but I when for something simple and chic.


It seems the basic elements of a modern hanbok is the jeogori (or jacket) and the chima (or dress).

However which one to make first?

I decided that since the chima/dress of a modern hanbok looks like a simpler make, I would tackle the jacket first.

I have to admit, I am not good at making jackets and the first decent one I made was the navy blue polka dot loose sack dress/jacket I made last time.

Therefore like a good cheat I used this pattern as a base.

So I followed the pattern around the armscye part as that is the hardest part for me and I found polka dot jacket was very comfortable.

Now rather then cutting it like in the picture I extended the line down from the bottom of the armscye by 13cms to create a short little jacket.  Then I create the front pattern to create an crossover.

Now I pinned the paper pattern to my Miffy 2 and added a collar.  What I didn't take a picture of is the issues I found.  The summary is that I could not create the collar I wanted with the back neck curve.

If I looked at the pattern for making a traditional jeogori, this would be straight and when I look at this picture below, it seems the back part is straight so I thought why not give it a go.

So I re-drew the back piece with a straight back neck.

Mockup time.

Hmmm so far so good.

Oh maybe a little care is need when I join the collar to the shoulder seam.

However it looks like I have a pattern.


I was going to make this a lined jacket as I had some multicoloured polycotton in my sewing room taking up space but then I remembered my remaining stash of fleece.  As this is going to be a work wardrobe I might as well make something from that.  I do love wearing a fleece as I hate cold arms.

Also it would mean I don't have to line it!


Okay time to bite the bullet and make this.

Going well.

Oh good this has worked out nicely.

And this is where the WIP photos ended because the rest is just attaching the arms and hemming the bottom seam.


Not bad at all!  Almost like the jeogori in the picture.

Looking nice and smooth

Oh and as I had some ribbon with hearts, I thought that would be nice to use as a tie for the otherwise black little jacket.


Overall I am very happy with it, I can certainly wear it to work and it is nice and cosy but of course there are things I would like to change.

One, taper the sides a little.  On closer inspection of the original jacket, the sides are not straight down but taper in slightly to the waist.

Two,again closer look on the collar, there is a slight curve on the collar but only slightly.  This might mean I will need to re-design the collar but this curve is similar to the one I normally sew on a kimono so maybe it might not be too hard to incorporate.

Three, lengthen the bodice a bit more.  This is a bit short for my liking but it is still okay.  I will just have to look at it as a bolero jacket.

3 April 2017

Making a Dress - Navy spotted Lolita Sack Dress

I promised during my hiatus on blogging I have been sewing.  

This was the dress I made before I completed the lolita apron dress.


For some reason, I wanted to make a loose lolita dress.  I had the idea of making a dress which I could wear under any overdress or skirt.  So it had to be made from durable fabric which was not too fussy.


As every Otome no Sewing comes to the rescue and this time it is book 6.



I didn't have a fabric in my collection which would be suitable for making this dress and I thought it would be one of those projects where I would be looking for the fabric for a long time.

However luck would have it, one of my favourite haberdashery shops in Belfast was selling some cotton fabric and one just stood out from the rest.

It was a lovely herringbone weave cotton with white dots printed on top.  It was lovely and I brought the remaining 3 metres of it without battering an eye.

Funny thing is that it was only when I got home when I realised that the fabric was similar to the one used in the book.  Clearly a sign!


Yeah no photos I'm afraid.  Was just too excited to make it.


Yeah one sack dress!

This is the first dress I made which has such a high "waist" line.  I thought it would make me look pregnant but it didn't.  Maybe it is the overall look that helped.

Unlike any of my other lolita dress, no bow!

Lovely sailor collar.

I was quite please with my cornering skills.

Pockets because we can't live without them.

Sleeve details.  Just the cotton trim something simple but very striking.

The original design was a bit too short for my liking and it didn't occur to me during pattern drafting that this needed to be lengthen so I went with the easy option and added some frills. 

Which was a good choice as I think it made it less look like a pregnancy dress.

Once I finished making the dress, it dawned on me that it also makes a lovely summer jacket.  So this this actually the most useful clothing item I have made to date.

2 April 2017

Making a Dress - Lolita Apron Dress

It has been too long!

Really it has and I have no real excuse but sewing, games and kanzashi have been taking up a lot of my time and unfortunately I always get carried away and forget to update you lot.

So start now I will do my best to report on each of my new creations whether it is sewing, kanzashi or kimono.

So today I have for you my latest sewing project completed today.


Continuing on with my aim to make a lolita work wardrobe I have decided it is time to make another apron style JSK.  They are very versatile as they can be paired with any of my work shirts and are very comfortable.

As always my Otome no Sewing mooks have come through and I have found the one I will based my JSK on.

As this is for work, I omitted the shoulder frills, lace and pintucks along the bottom.  I wanted this to me nice and simple so it could be worn often and it can be washed easily.


Finally I am able to make a little dent in my fabric hoard and I decided on a nice grey with shots of red kimono bolt.

There is a faint floral pattern woven into the fabric as well which make it a little more interesting.


As with all my dresses made from kimono bolt is the width of the fabric.  Luckily the bodice pieces all fit perfectly and although the pattern calls for a circle skirt I went a rectangle skirt to make things easier (oh famous last words).

 Here are pockets and bodice pieces on the fabric.

And here is where the construction photos ends.  I always end ups sewing in the afternoon and the lighting in my flat is terrible so photos are the last thing on my mind.

I will try better in the future.

Finished Dress

Here it is!

Isn't is dainty?

As I used no trimmings on the dress I decided it was a good time to practice my topstitching.  I used red thread to complement the red in the fabric.

As always a lovely bow is needed.

I may have made it a little small on the waist but I had just had my lunch so maybe that is the reason for it being tight?  Well it is a good enough excuse.

And I can't live without pockets so this one just had to have them as well.

Now time to look at my to-do list and tick some things off.