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!

Me-Made-May ’14: Weeks 1 & 2

I started a new day job recently, so perhaps it was a bit crazy of me to commit to wearing Me-Made clothing for most of the month of May. But so far it has been going really well! #MMMay14 has pushed me to break my skinny-jeans-plus-roomy-top uniform that usually dominates my style this time of year, and instead reach for those garments I’ve spent so much dang time working on. I post daily evidence on Instagram, but here is a quick recap:

I pledged to wear Me-Made garments 3 days a week and so far, so good. How about everyone else?

Me-Made-May ’14

Does it count as pledging before May 1 if I’m still sitting in my pjs while typing this? I declare yes.

I, Angela (sakepuppets.com), sign up as a participant of Me Made May 2014. I endeavor to wear a me-made garment at least 3 days a week.  

I have some new adventures brewing and my handmade wardrobe is erratic, so I can’t commit to wearing me-mades every day this month. I was ready to sit on the sidelines again this year, but noticed that not everyone commits to 100% handmade 100% of the time. It’s OK to define your own rules. So hell, count me in.

For those of you new to the concept, Me-Made-May is a challenge to encourage people who make garments to actually wear them. I definitely let my handmade items get pushed to the back of the closet – I sew dresses that don’t match my style or integrate into my everyday wardrobe, or I’m not happy with the quality of sewing or the fit. This is the month for me to push my limits a bit. It will be interesting to see what I enjoy wearing, what works, and where my wardrobe holes are. Hopefully by the end of the month I’ll have some new project ideas for wearable handmades that fit my new NYC lifestyle.

OK, so now to get dressed for the day…

MMM14logolarge

A practice dress, some daffodils, and a barn cat

Practice Cambie dress by Saké Puppets, sakepuppets.comI took advantage of a sunny afternoon and some daffodil-wrangling to capture a few photos of my practice Cambie.A practice Cambie dress in a daffodil patch, by Saké Puppets sakepuppets.comPractice Cambie dress by Saké Puppets, sakepuppets.comThis dress started as a muslin for the Sewaholic Cambie dress, but after I assembled the bodice I decided I really liked the fabric. I added the skirt in cotton sateen and a neon zipper, and now it makes a great play-dress for summer. I left the skirt unlined and spent time hand-stitching a blind hem. I really enjoy hand stitching, and love the way quality details can transform something that started as a waste muslin.Practice Cambie dress by Saké Puppets, sakepuppets.comIt didn’t take long before the barn cat paid us a visit. Cat attack!cat attack in a daffodil patch, sakepuppets.com

Saké Puppets around the Web

Hello! I thought I’d share a quick update on some things happening around the Saké Puppets studio. First, I am very excited to share that I am now contributing to the Miss Matatabi Makers, where each month I’ll be sewing a new project with the delightful Japanese fabrics available in Miss Matatabi’s shop. You can take the girl out of Japan, but she’ll take the fabric with her. (^_−)−☆

Saké Puppets for Miss Matatabi MakersRiding Peplum by Saké Puppets for Miss Matatabi MakersClick on over to check out my first post, the new Riding Peplum pattern by April Rhodes in JUBILEE cotton lawn. Whoosh!

I also recently contributed a sashiko tutorial and coaster pattern to Kindred Stitches, a digital hand-craft magazine available on the Apple Newsstand. There are some very sweet projects included in the Japanese issue, so if you are interested, head on over to iTunes to check it out.

Snowbirds

The consensus in New York is that people are done with winter. Over it. Fini. Every time I hear someone mention this, I respond with my best empathetic nod. “Hmm. Yes, I totally understand. It is so awful.” But really, I’m not over it. I, dare I say, like winter.

I missed the snow while we were in Japan (though they are getting record amounts this year!). I love it when snow falls. I love big flakes that stick to your hair and the kind of snow you can brush off your coat and even the icy mix that crunches under boots. When I wake up to snow falling, I still get excited. My days are not affected by school closures or weather in general, but that feeling of snowy morning glee is hard to shake.

Now, I realize that snow in New York is very different from snow in other places. With temps here hitting the 40s, the snow is packed down into wet, slick ice. Mixed with gray skies, exhaust fumes, soggy dog poo, and garbage that hasn’t been picked up in weeks (garbage trucks are too busy plowing), the snow is not a pretty sight. But it doesn’t bother me.

WInter color and an Archer shirt, via Saké PuppetsI’ve found other ways to combat the gray. I started sewing this shirt, oh, five months ago, so it carries a warm-weather vibe. I bought the fabric for 100 yen a meter in the Nippori fabric district in Tokyo and thought it would be ideal for a wearable practice Archer. And boy did it deliver.

Finding winter color, via Saké PuppetsI have made two button-up shirts before, so I had some confidence going into this project. Collar stand, cuffs, button holes = no problem. Some of my top stitching is a little wonky and my seams are finished with a plain ol’ zig-zag stitch, so it definitely feels like a practice shirt, but the fabric is light with nice drape so I think I’ll get a lot of wear out of it this summer.

Back it on up, Archer. Via Saké PuppetsI made View B with the gathered lower back, though it is hard to see in these photos. I really like the gathered detail, and I think it would look great with even thinner fabric, like maybe these flamingos? I wanted to make View A in flannel and snaps, but at the rate I’m sewing this year, I wouldn’t get it done before the snow melts. Guess I’ll have to check out the Garment District for more Archer fabric. Darn! ;)

Grainline Archer by Saké PuppetsYou can take the girl out of Minnesota, but it is much harder to get her out of her boots. Flurries in the forecast today, folks!

Hitomezashi sashiko: a tutorial

Yesterday I posted the result of my year-long endeavor with hitomezashi, the “one-stitch” style of sashiko done with alternating over-and-under stitches.

hitomezashi by Saké PuppetsToday I thought I’d post a tutorial so you can try this style of sashiko at home. I bought a pre-printed pattern, but once I got going I realized it wasn’t necessary. Hitomezashi is straightforward, with alternating stitches on a grid. Much like knitting, the repeating pattern is easy to memorize and follow.

Let’s begin by drawing your grid onto your fabric. I made my lines 1/4″ apart. Draw lightly, you want these to wash out later, but you also don’t want them to wear off too soon.

sashiko tutorial by Saké PuppetsNow you’ll simply follow a pattern, making one stitch per space on the grid.

a sashiko tutorial by Saké Puppets

Stitch all of the horizontal lines first, then proceed to stitch all of the vertical lines. In the end, your pattern will emerge!

a sashiko tutorial by Saké PuppetsI have broken the kaki no hana (persimmon flower) pattern down and isolated just the horizontal and vertical stitch lines in separate graphics. This pattern is done on a repeat, so you can make your project as large (or as tiny!) as you’d like.  The key to remember is that as you work your line, you are always alternating stitches — one up, one down, one up, one down, and so on. If you skip a space on the grid, it will throw your whole pattern off.

Once complete, wash or spray your project with water to remove the grid lines. Hem or use bias tape on the edges for a nice finish.

You can create different designs by changing the patterns on the horizontal or vertical axis. Enjoy! I look forward to seeing your masterpieces!

step 1: horizontal linesstep 2: vertical linesVoila! the pattern emerges! A sashiko tutorial by Saké Puppets