Book Review Series: Wrapping with Fabric

Book Review: Wrapping with FabricTuttle Publishing specializes in English-language books on Asia, and has produced some great translated craft books from Japan. Recently they asked if I was interested in looking at a couple. Yes, please!

The first is Wrapping with Fabric: Your Complete Guide to Furoshiki, The Japanese Art of Wrapping. This 112-page full color book covers the basics of furoshiki — history, basic knots, gift wrapping and easy carry-all bags — but it goes further with some really imaginative ideas. I’ve picked up my fair share of free furoshiki handouts over the years, and this book provides instructions for wrappings I’ve never before seen: how to carry a yoga mat or wet umbrella, methods for covering a handbag (for protection or ugliness?!), and my personal favorite, the watermelon wrapping:

How to wrap a watermelon, from Wrapping with Fabric, Tuttle Publishing via SakéPuppets.comThis might be the most Japanese thing I have ever seen. When you pay $100 for a watermelon, you better be sure it’s wrapped, y’all.

Also, it seems the author and I have a little something else in common:

Wrapping with Fabric, Tuttle Publishing via SakéPuppets.comWrapping with Fabric, Tuttle Publishing via SakéPuppets.comDrinks, drinks, double drinks.

I enjoyed this book a lot, and was eager to give one of the projects a spin. I started with the simple bottle gift wrap — because sometimes I give my hooch away and cheap wine looks much better with a classy wrap. Also, I was worried that my botched first-try wrap-job might send this bottle crashing into the street, so better to start slowly with a singlet.

Wrapping with Fabric, Tuttle Publishing via SakéPuppets.comFuroshiki test, via SakéPuppets.comThe result? Not bad! A little more chaotic than the book promises, but certain to wow any crowd of semi-tipsy pot-luckers.

Wrapping with Fabric, Tuttle Publishing via SakéPuppets.comNot surprising, but the key to a successful fabric wrap is all in the fabric. Thankfully this is something the book covers generously. My trusty polyester Japan Society furoshiki was ideal — thin and smooth but not slippery like silk can be. I also appreciated the book’s coverage of wrapping etiquette, tips that would have been useful while living in Japan. Apologies to all those I offended with backward knots.

If you are looking to enhance your furoshiki game, this book is a good choice. Need supplies? I love the designs from Link Collective, who I met at an Etsy event in Tokyo. You can also embroider or sashiko simple cotton fabric using one of my patterns, available for download here.

And lastly, you can find more information about Wrapping with Fabric on Tuttle’s website or on Amazon. Happy wrapping!

Wrapping with Fabric, Tuttle Publishing via SakéPuppets.com

This book was provided by Tuttle Publishing for review, but opinions are all my own. Thanks!

Happy New Year!

2014

I hope this greeting hasn’t gone out of fashion yet. We’re still holding on to January, so it still counts! Happiest of New Years to you all!

Maybe you noticed I haven’t been ’round these parts lately. Or maybe you didn’t, that’s fine too. In either case — whew, Life! She gets away from me sometimes. It is crazy to think how the new friends/jobs/hobbies/routines that fill my days weren’t there a year ago. Thank Taco Tuesdays that they are all here now.

Sometimes I really miss Tokyo and the quiet-within-the-chaos life I had there, the creativity and adventure and amusing misunderstandings. But now it’s New York, and I feel good about the way Life has adjusted her settings. I work more and sew a little less, but I’ve also found a whole array of other things to try, like sports and books and cereal for dinner. Sometimes it just happens.

Do you ever binge watch Twin Peaks or eat hummus and bagels every day for a week and then realize you need a break? I think that happened to me and sewing. But slowly I feel myself coming back, finding a new balance. And, I really want a Rigel Bomber. 2015, let’s go!

Cheers for New Years! A happy and healthy 2015 to you all! 

Matatabi Makers: City Blazer

Hi friends. I’m still here! and I’m still sewing/stitching/(mis)adventuring! Just being a bit slow with writing and photos and … with life in general. But I recently made a linen blazer for this month’s Miss Matatabi Makers contribution, and I love it. LOVE IT! So I wanted to share it here with you, too.

Saké Puppets for Miss Matatabi Makers, ByHandLondon Victoria blazer in linen and nani IROAs I mentioned over on Miss Matatabi’s blog, I purchased the ByHandLondon Victoria blazer pattern months ago and then let it sit on my sewing table. I couldn’t find the right fabric. I went to Mood more than once in search of something fancy, but it was Miss Matatabi’s linens that hit the mark. To bulk it up for cooler weather, I lined the blazer in one of my favorite nani IRO prints. Linen and double gauze are a dream combo, and the natural fibers let the blazer breath but still provide warmth.

Saké Puppets for Miss Matatabi Makers, ByHandLondon Victoria blazer in linen and nani IROThis pattern has a clever construction and was quick to put together. At first I though it was too slouchy and casual. But after wearing it for, uh about 20 seconds, I realized it is exactly what my life needed. So comfortable! So versatile! These photos were taken after a bike ride through Brooklyn while waiting for the ferry. The wind picked up a bit, but I was ready. Sunset and autumn chill? No problem, man. This city blazer can handle it!

You can see more details over on Miss Matatabi’s blog. Thanks, friends! I’ll be seeing you all around again soon!

Matatabi Makers: nani IRO month

This month Miss Matatabi is celebrating nani IRO month, so in honor of my favorite Japanese fabric designer, I got in on the fun, too.

Saké Puppets for Miss Matatabi Makers' nani IRO monthI admitted to the world that I’m a sweaty beast, and sometimes I call Japanese double gauze my sweat sponge fabric. I think I’ve talked about this before, but the breathability of Japanese double gauze is ideally suited to handle Tokyo’s humid summers. I’m already hearing horror stories about NYC in the summer, so I thought I might as well attach it with some breezy nani IRO for the sweaty days ahead. Saké Puppets for Miss Matatabi Makers' nani IRO monthThe fabric is Pierre Pocho double gauze from the 2014 Spring nani IRO collection and the pattern is Sewaholic’s Belcarra blouse. The few changed I made include omitting the cuffs on the sleeves and instead finishing them with a rolled hem, attaching the neckline facing differently to create more of a border, and finishing it all with French seams.

Take that, summer.

Click over to Miss Matatabi’s site to check out more details, and all of the other wonderful nani IRO projects emerging this month.

Thanks Frances!!

nani IRO month!

Me-Made-May ’14: Weeks 3 through 5

A final (very belated) recap of Me-Made-May.

Week 3:

and a couple of bonus days!!

Week 4:

Week 5:

My biggest shame for the month was my failure to post my final #MMMay14 submission, a silk dress that I worked on for weeks, and which remains … undocumented. It turns out that the wedding it was made for had too many cocktails and disco dance floors, and not enough time for a photo op.

In truth, the biggest hardship of Me-Made-May wasn’t figuring out how to integrate these garments into an everyday wardrobe, it was taking the damn selfies to prove I was doing it. Oof. No more!

I did, however, learn a few things about my sewing style and habits.

1. It is time to learn to sew pants.

2. I haven’t blogged most of my finished projects. So many of the garments I’m sewing these days are un-photoed, un-blogged. I guess it doesn’t really matter, but I learn so much from everyone else’s sewing notes, I’d love to be able to share in the collective knowledge if I can.

3. If I could sew my own underwear, I’d nail #MMMay15. Though the selfies would be a bigger problem…

Overall, #MMMay14 was a positive experience. I’m not going to completely replace all the ready-to-wear pieces in my closet, but instead use them to compliment the unique pieces I enjoy making.

Huzzah! Now, time for more stitching!