I haven’t bought new clothes in a while because every time I see something I like in a store I find a detail or something that isn’t quite right and convince myself to make it instead. This would be fine if I actually made the thing.
I finished my wool Hollyburn skirt just in time for … spring. As the weather warmed up, wearing a full wool skirt felt silly. And hot. So I tried to think a season ahead when choosing my next sewing project. Enter the Elisalex dress in Nani iro blue waltz.Tokyo’s summers are really hot and linen dresses are ideal. A lot of Nani iro fabric comes in this linen-cotton blend or double gauze cotton, which are great for sweaty Japanese summers. Coincidence? I think not.
I love the way this dress fits. The bodice is lined and just the right amount of snug.
I made a muslin for this dress which helped me decide to lengthen the bodice an inch. The muslin is still wearable though I’m not in love with the fabric, so I have designated it as my clean-the-house dress. Scrubbing floors in a dress = much more fun than scrubbing floors in sweatpants.
I went with an exposed zipper using this tutorial by Gretchen Hirsch and after seeing this tip by Closet Case Files added a very thin interfacing to give the skirt a little more poof. I don’t have a full-length mirror and now that I see these photos I might shorten the hem to the knees. I purchased the Nani iro from Miss Matatabi and lined the bodice in an orange and red cotton voile from my stash.
Summer, bring it on.
While visiting the Kawaii Nunohaku craft fair last month I bought two small pieces of fabric from a Kamakura-based shop owner. The fabric was a beautiful pairing and I knew right away that I wanted to use them in a scarf.
I know nothing about these fabrics except that the colorful one is incredibly soft and light, is screen or maybe woodblock printed, and the other is linen. It might be hand-printed, too. I decided to make a circle scarf like the one I saw on Miss Matatabi’s site. I cut each piece into two 12″ by 30″ rectangles and sewed the short ends together. Following the directions here, I sewed the two fabrics together along their long edges then turned the scarf right-side-out, hiding the seams and pressing it crisp. I joined the remaining short ends and finished it with hand-stitching.
I’m really pleased.
I’m really excited to share the news — I’m writing a book!
My friend Frances of Miss Matatabi and I have joined forces to put together the Tokyo Craft Guide, an ebook showcasing our favorite Tokyo craft shops, cafes, and project tutorials.
We have accumulated a list of over 50 craft stores (!!) and organized them in a series of craft-shopping-excursions complete with illustrated neighborhood walking maps, shop highlights, and favorite cafe spots. It is like a treasure map with the best kind of treasure – fabric! ribbon! buttons!
The idea for the Tokyo Craft Guide was born when we realized our favorite independently-owned craft stores are sometimes hard to find. They require extra effort to get to, but when you do you’re rewarded with lovely nooks of fabric, supplies and project inspiration, each with its own character or style. This is the type of experience we want to share.
The Tokyo Craft Guide ebook will be available next month, and in the meantime you can visit our blog for additional shop profiles, events and interviews. Much of the content I have offered previously on Saké Puppets will move over there and get a much-needed update, so fear not! You can also find photos and Japanese craft chatter on our Facebook page, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.
We’re really excited to finally share this project with you! Please take a look, and thanks!!
I am in love with Kokka’s new fabric Candy Party Tsuzuki. When Miss Matatabi gave me a few chunks I jumped right in and made this tiny punky needle book. Then … I stalled out. I put it on my desk and stared at it. I was dizzy with infatuation. What to do next? Do I cut it up and re-piece it, or do I use the pattern as-is? I thought about making a skirt but decided that is too bold, even for me, even for Tokyo. I considered a clutch, a backpack, more zipper pouches. I wanted something big to show off every combination of patterns I could muster.
My laptop needed dressing up, it was an ideal match. Now, when I dig into my shoulder bag I see my Candy Party laptop gettin’ down in there.
This envelope-style laptop case is a combination of the pink-gold and blue-lilac colorways pieced together. I think it rocks, so much so that I ordered more of the purple-mint. What next?!
What could it be?! It is probably obvious. This project is really about the fabric, Muddy Works by Tomotake for Kokka. A lovely double gauze. It seems to be offered exclusively at Okadaya and a handful of other shops in Japan. I wish I’d bought more.