Saturday, July 21, 2018

Remember the Japonesque?

I do. One memory I have is when I got on a hotel elevator wearing my version. The woman on the elevator said "Japonesque?" I affirmed this and asked if she'd made it. She said  "yes, several times, once as instructed, once with two right fronts and once with two left fronts!"

It is one of the old - maybe early 2000's - Sewing Workshop patterns designed in the spirit of Issey Miyake. Maybe more of an Issey Miyake one-off. It has dropped shoulders, deep armscyes, and runs large. It has a floating pocket on the back right hip.

The chocolate piece is all shades of brown, my favorite color!
I've been holding onto 3 special one-yard pieces of fabric from Christina Daily. They are Essex linen-cotton dyed by Christina in what I'd call free-form shibori. I am unfamiliar with her process. One yard was chocolate and the other two pieces were indigo blue. It's fairly beefy and so a good weight for a jacket.

Christina and I became acquainted on Instagram. I love her hand-dyed fabrics as well as the lovely ways she uses it. Check it out here. A few months ago, out of the blue, she offered to send me some of her fabrics to see what I'd make. I was amazed and delighted. This version of the Japonesque aims to showcase her fabric.

Initially I thought I'd place the pocket on one of the fronts but it really seems to belong on the back. It was a fun pocket to construct given that it floats, attached only at the top of the pocket.

It's a detail I like and will use again. A similar pocket is on another Sewing Workshop top - the Icon (it's on sale right now). That's another oldie I'd like to revisit.

I experimented with the tab closure that is part of the pattern. It is intended to be inserted in the left side and buttoned to the right side at hip level. This is not a part of my body to emphasize and so I omitted it.

I also experimented with closures and decided on a single button shown below. It can also hang open for a slightly different look.

Even though I made this pattern 15+ years ago, construction felt novel to me. I love puzzling through a new pattern and this was quite satisfying. Several construction details required reading and re-reading instructions. To me, that's fun.

That brown next to the indigo blue looks almost like suede, doesn't it?
As I recall, my first version of the Japonesque was intended to be a shirt, made in a rayon batik. I did not wear it much and I do not recall why. This time I shortened it about 2 inches in the back. I'll enjoy it as a fall jacket.

Sunday, July 8, 2018


The past 3 weeks have been a blur to me as I attended a workshop at Shakerag, followed by a brief week at home, and then a week+ in Colorado with family. I'm home for a while now and I cannot wait to start a sewing project!

While in Colorado, mostly Breckenridge, I've been hiking, biking, and painting. I had the opportunity to shop at Fancy Tiger Crafts in Denver. What a sweet and inspiring store.

In fact DH and I went to their shop soon after landing before the huge family reunion began. You can see I'm a bit rumpled  from cross-country travel in my Sewing Workshop MixIt top and Hudson pants.

I stumbled across Fancy Tiger Crafts on Instagram initially where I admired the sewing and knitting projects. I am not much of a knitter but I loved their fabric and pattern selection. Their pattern selection was the most fun for me because it included brands I typically would need to order online.

I bought three patterns and one cut of fabric that I believe is cotton but may have some linen in it. It is a cross dye in black and white producing a textured look I love.

They had an interesting selection of fabrics too, including these Pendleton wools. If I lived in Denver, I would have been tempted by those.

The remainder of last week was spent primarily enjoying family activities. Breckenridge and the surrounding Rocky Mountains are wonderful for outdoor activities like biking and hiking. Also there was much inspiration for painting.

One of my favorite events was painting and drawing with my grandgirls.

The week prior to leaving for Colorado I scrambled to complete two pair pants from TNT patterns - cropped Helix pants in navy ponte and the Hudson pants in a textured rayon, all from the Sewing Workshop. The Helix and Hudson pants are real favorites of mine from the Sewing Workshop.

Helix pants require stretch fabric and have a smooth waistline.

Hudson pants require fabric with drape. I took mine in about an inch at the ankle for a bit more shapping.

The week before I was in Sewanee TN for a Shakerag workshop with Christine Mauersberg. We spent the week in meditative hand-stitching. It was delightful. I've learned that I may or may not make something I love in these inspiring workshops, but I always carry something useful into future sewing (or sketching) projects.

As it happened, Linda Lee from the Sewing Workshop was teaching right down the hall from our hand-sewing classroom. I made a few trips down to her classroom for further inspiration, as well as to visit with Linda and her fabulous students. I left with the fabric for my Helix and Hudson pants above.

So I'm back now, doing laundry, and dreaming of what I will make next.

Shrine Ridge Trail near Vail CO

I hope you are making something right now!

Street art on July 4th in Breckenridge CO