Hello there! This month’s contribution to Miss Matatabi Makers is now up over on Miss M’s blog. I had wanted a little black grunge dress for hell-raising, and ended up with a dance party in my living room. Not a bad trade-off, I have to admit. Click on over to check it out!
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?
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…
Hi friends! Brunch season is upon us in New York, so I used this month’s Miss Matatabi Makers post to whip up a little something suitable for sipping mimosas. Click on over to her blog to check out the project details!
I took advantage of a sunny afternoon and some daffodil-wrangling to capture a few photos of my practice Cambie.This 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.It didn’t take long before the barn cat paid us a visit. Cat attack!
Ah, sashiko for Spring. This is a bag pattern I reverse-engineered from a cotton gift bag I received while living in Japan. It was given to me while staying at a ryokan, so you can carry a few belongings as you wander in your yukata from breakfast to nap time to the bath and back again. I love the way the two handles tie together — loosely to slide over your wrist or elbow like a handbag, or tightly like a pouch to prevent treasures from falling out. I added some freeform sashiko geometry on one side, and used my sashiko sampler pattern for the other. The bag is lined in old nani IRO double gauze, a scrap I had stashed in the depths of a craft box that followed me from Tokyo. Honestly, nothing compliments sashko-in-angles better than a light, floral nani IRO.Well hello, Spring.
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. (^_−)−☆
Click 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.
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.
I’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.
I 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.
I 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! 😉
This winter I am spending a lot of time with knitting needles. My grandmother, who taught me how to knit and indulged my love of crafts when I was young, passed away last month. Together we would make plastic canvas needlepoint houses and bake cookies until there was no more room for cookies or needlepoint houses. Right, like that ever happened.
Over the past few years I have learned how I best handle grief. When I lose someone I care about I like to spend time alone, doing something I enjoy that also honors them. I take that time to reflect and try to focus on happy memories and it helps me feel close to them. So in the days leading up to her funeral, I channeled my energy into finishing the epic cowl I began knitting in November. My grandmother stopped knitting years ago because of arthritis, but she loved to see what I was working on and was an avid follower of this blog. So I dropped everything, and I knit.
The pattern is Empalme, which I purchased from the wonderful shop Yarn + Co when I was in Melbourne. I bought the yarn at Avril in Tokyo, carried it all with me to Brooklyn, and finished it in Minneapolis where my grandmother lived. The yarn is super soft 100% merino wool and varies in thickness, which gives the whole project a very natural, organic texture.
My one note about this pattern, I probably did not have to knit all 13 repeats, since it turned out quite long. But it is incredibly soft and I love the pattern, and it is still the knitting project I’m proudest of to date.I got in the groove with my cowl and wasn’t ready to be done knitting, so I made a hat as a gift for a friend (first hat!) and then another for myself. The pattern is Dreiecke, made with stash yarn. This is the first time I have had stash yarn to use, and, it pretty much blew my mind. I had all the pieces I needed, and on a cold snowy night when the urge to knit struck, all I had to do was rummage around in my knit bin for my knit bits and get started. I now understand the urge to stash-build/yarn-hoard. Who needs the excitement of a new city to explore?! Olympics! Stash yarn! I’m set for winter, friends.
2013 was a crazy whirlwind. I traveled, friends traveled to see me, I lost friends and grieved and traveled to be with people who were grieving too. And at the end of it all I threw everything we owned into boxes and moved back Stateside, with only a few weeks’ notice. I am tired just thinking about it again, though it was all worthwhile when we arrived in the US for a holiday season filled with family and fresh snow. We found an apartment in Brooklyn and were semi-settled before the Times Square ball drop. Thank you to everyone who carried a box, unpacked a box, or listened to me talk about boxes. I couldn’t have done it without you!
The new year holds many changes, no doubt. So cheers to us! To you and me and all of us on our journey through 2014. Here we go!