fabric gifts

July 11, 2008

summer thus far...

the weather is beautiful outside this friday afternoon, a little humid perhaps, but i love the smell of summer air. it smells like vacation.

it’s probably not very nice to admit, but life without blogging or crafting had been fun for the past couple months. work has been busy but i just love how fulfilling days have been for me. we have been doing lots of little excursions around new england area- visiting families in boston, an afternoon in newport, fresh lobsters in gloucester. fireworks and broadway shows in new york. we are not even half way through summer yet.

summer is also about reading. reading steph*nie’s twil*ght series to be precise. i can’t tell you how much i’ve enjoyed reading these books. it’s such a compelling story. i am now one of the followers of her imaginary world. i am sure there are a lot of people out there, waiting for the final book to come out in a few weeks.

oven mitts

oven mitts

pattern: oven mitts by denyse schmidt
difficulty (1-5): 2
pattern size: n/a
fabric: bits and pieces of leftover fabrics of all kinds
notions: bindings

i also did a little bit of crafting, a pair of oven mitts for a coworker who bakes the most incredible cakes. this project also gave me an excuse to work on denyse schmidt’s pattern and to use up some of my fabrics. again, i enjoyed the process of piecing together fabric pieces more so than the actual sewing part.

next time i’d probably use a heavier batting. other than that, i’m quite happy with the end result.

tomorrow, we are catching a train to spend a weekend in philadelphia. i’ve never been there, not sure what to expect, except having a big philly cheesesteak.

March 25, 2008

sew :: weave

wool skirt :: lining

pattern: amy butler's barcelona skirt
difficulty (1-5): 2
pattern size: small - medium
fabric: 1.2 yd of wool and cotton
notions: invisible zipper

a while ago i asked brooke if she would be interested in swapping some of her amazing weave works for some handmade items from me, she agreed to my proposal. naturally i was delighted, for i have been following her journey as a weaver. while not able to indulge into this craft myself, owning a piece of a fellow crafter's weaving art seems like a much better end of the bargain.

that being said, sew something for another person was challenging, fitting in particular. i like brooke's almost monochromatic photos and details in her work very much, and i wanted to make something that would fit in. so a piece of textured charcoal i have in my stash was chosen to be made into a skirt. i also wanted to incorporate my take on her style, so i added the bright cotton print as lining. it adds the moment of unexpected joy. which really is my belief in style and fashion in general - moments of unexpectedness, hiding out of sight, only reveals to those who also appreciate such wonders. she did like this little pouch with a pink patch i made before, so i don't think she mind the splashed yellow underneath the charcoal.

and the weather was getting warmer as the swap was progressing. spring is really the time for cotton and washed denim. i was really inspired by the textural work of brooke's weaving. so i thought of waves... waves of fabrics folded, creating interesting shades. lines were created to stabilize the creases, sometimes they would be out of alignment, but that's the point of waves, a little bit unpredicted. handles were hand stitched.

waves in bag

pattern: wave bag (my own)
difficulty (1-5): 2
pattern size: medium
fabric: 1yd of denim
notions: cotton for lining, a pair of handles

more pictures can be found here and here. the beautifully woven tree top shawl from brooke arrived at my doorstep this week. it is as light and airy as the photograph and has now become the most amazing shawl in my closet. thank you so much, brooke!

March 05, 2008

winter crafting

with the house progressively being set up, i am having more crafting time during the day. in fact, i have been sewing these past few days! so wonderful, the first thing i do in the morning this week has been cutting fabrics, ironing, threading... while listening to music.

bloomer set

today i was making the dress/bloomer set for my niece. it's red and white mostly. with sock monkeys all over the place. my sister suggested that i made a little quilt to go with it, too. i'm still thinking about that one.

orange tweed

and this orange cardigan is for husband. i tend to work on this when we are watching tv. progress is slow and winter is slowly moving away. oh well. i heard connecticut has long winters, though.

what i really want to knit is a pair of socks, but i really don't like casting on for socks. it's so cumbersome in my hands. i'm still meditating on what yarn/pattern i'm going to work with.

we went ski/snowboarding in vermont this past weekend. i finally learned how to ski properly, after three lessons, i went down a few green slopes. the snow was so powdery in vermont, every skiier was in love with the condition. i'm still too new to this sport to truly appreciate that.


vermont was completely covered in snow, i don't think i have ever seen this much snow in my whole life. we were also completely fascinated by the icicles. winter takes on a completely different meaning in new england.

October 15, 2007

sending off


after spending the past couple months working on the baby package for my sister, i made two muslin drawstring bags for mama and baby. i think it should wrapped this up nicely.

these elephants have been happy being residents of my craft room. but sadly one of them is going to be living with my sister's new baby. to send the elephant (i'm calling this one molly) off, i made her a bag.


it has nice, plushy pink lining, and linen tape as ties.


oh, finally i have time to knit! i

sunrise circle jacket

this is the "almost finished" sunrise circle jacket. i'm really eager to finish the last piece so i can seam it up and wear it this winter. it's going to be interesting to see how it fits. my gauge had been all over the place. and i had a feeling that my sleeves may be too long. not to mention the back and front seam may not line up, my front half of the circle looks like an inch longer than the back side seam.

oh well, it's wool, so let's hope some blocking will do the trick.

September 26, 2007

baby tote

baby tote

pattern: baby tote, my own
difficulty (1-5): 3.5
pattern size: n/a
fabric: 1/2 yd of amy butler's lotus in cherry wall flower, cream cotton linen and kaffe fassett's light yellow cotton for lining
notions: 1/2 yd of cotton batting, 2 inch wide leather for handles, bias tape for binding, wood button, 1/2 inch wide leather for closure, buttons

the journey of making this diaper bag was such an adventure. initially i was going to use amy butler's patterns, or some japanese craft book patterns. discussions went back and forth with me and my sister. i finally decided to just make my own version of what i envision a diaper bag would be. of course, we all learned now that leather strap may be detrimental to personal sewing machines. but i do love the end result. it's a baby tote for a chic mum.

i love amy butler's bold prints. but sometimes it could be a little bit overwhelming, like vera bradley. i wanted the baby tote to look chic so i just added the print to the mid section, keeping the rest of the design minimal, and somewhat japanese (the black leather strap, wood button and bias binding solidified the look of eastern flair).

the interior was my favorite part of the bag. it had two large compartments for baby clothes or diapers. and the other side to put paci and momma's cell phones. i had so much fun making them. also, i added a layer of cotton batting in between. so the bag feels soft and plushy.

using leather was a rather impromptu decision. i was browsing at my favorite fabric store, looking for webbing, but their collection of leather was too tempting. in retrospect it probably was not a good decision, for the sake of my sewing machine. but i do love the combination of texture. anyway, this project will be the first and last with leather. and honestly i may not recommend you to try. my machine is working fine now, after a trip to the shop, but i paid too much for the repair it kind of sucks.


now the best thing, i feel, about the bag was that i would even use it. for work! it really does not look like a diaper bag. it's big, it's cute and at one point i even consider keeping it for myself. oh well, i will probably make another one. sans leather.

August 13, 2007

nantucket dress

nantucket dress with lobsters

pattern: based on mccalls 2213
difficulty (1-5): 2
pattern size: large
fabric: approx. 1yd of linen/rayon fabrics with lobsters. little bits of kaffe fassett's light yellow cotton for lining, two buttons.

last week was a wild one. that heat, the worse i have experienced. and got stuck in newark airport did not help, either. we also had friends from out of town staying with us over the weekend. friday night's dinner somehow was mixed with several different types of reds and whites. i felt like half drowning all day saturday.

at least i made this little nantucket dress for my sister's upcoming baby, using fabrics from my previous projects. and the pattern was roughly based on mccall's pattern. the bodice lining was not that nicely done, which i may have to improve upon by tacking the sides down. it was nonetheless a cute dress for a baby girl.


and finally, i created a label of my blog. with stamps and some linen tape (i was inspired heavily by alison's version). i was going to get a set of gocco, which i still might. but for now, i think stamping is fulfilling the need of a personalized label. and really, every one is going to be slightly different as i am stamping them one character at a time.

and you know, the best part of stamping, i can even give out hints of what's in the bag (presents to an old friend in jersey).


March 25, 2007

morning glory & dottie pants

mimi's dottie set
it would be a lot better and convincing if a cute baby girl is modeling the dottie set. we'll have to wait for that. but click to see more!

pattern: mccall's 2213
difficulty (1-5): 2
size: extra large
fabric: amy butler's lotus in morning glory (linen) & blue dots

i'm not sure about you, but i found it challenging to pick the right fabric for the right garment. sometimes a print is only gorgeous as a print. you'd know what i mean, if you also sew. i wanted something cheerful, unconventional and a little bit of europe for my niece's summer dress. i came across amy's lotus collection and found this particular design very appealing. a little bit of marimekko.

like i said, i wanted to try something a little different for baby girl. so i picked blue. i think blue is so gorgeous of a color on a baby girl. the dottie print bordering the dress, along with a pair of dottie pants. i can see my niece walking wobbly on the beach, collecting sand and sea shells! perhaps i need to get her a pair of color matching crocs, what do you think?

October 07, 2006

the fitting

you can never be sure of the fit until she put the clothes on, took the pictures and showed them to you.

love the whole outfit, she said the shoes are from betula!

it looks very american, mary jane-ish, don't you think?

my sister in the clothes i made her a while back! looks like the fit is perfect, even the shorts!!

September 17, 2006

seattle's rain

i'm traveling from the sunny south to seattle for a scientific conference today. the city that is so beautiful in my mind will finally come alive in my eyes. don't be shy to say hi if you see me there.

before i bring back pictures of seattle's rain and seattle's coffee, here's the progress shot of iris:


and the last installment of sister's kimono top. i can't wait to see them on her.

September 08, 2006

yarn candy friday

purly has lots of great ideas, she came up with "eye candy friday"- pictures of gorgeous things. i have none of those here. instead, i have pictures of previously promised intown bag, and sweater projects for this fall.

i'm hoping my friend would not check my post this weekend to find out about her bag, her amy butler's intown bag.

purple japanese print fabric lined with kaffe fassett's cotton

it is surprising how lovely these two tones of colors look together. kaffe fassett's cotton has lots of depth, the green you see here is actually a combination of blue and gold threads. so amazing. i modified the pattern and added a magnet snap. now, let's hope this girl likes it. she is not a crafter whatsoever, i sure hope she appreciates hand crafted goods.



i'm making a couple sweaters for husband this fall (finally, he says!). this is lars from rowan36. i found some cheap rowan's plaid here, among other things.


the second one is LMKG's zipped cardi. the original pattern shows in variegated brown.


husband is obviously in a phase of warm color tones, he requested his in this deep orange color. i found another bag of rowanspun on sale. i love this yarn, can't wait to knit with it again.

i'm thinking of using brown zipper to maintain the contrast. who can suggest a good site for zippers. i want the kind joelle hoverson used with a little loop.


for me, i am finally going to make roxie!!

roxie from rowan's big just got bigger, i'm making it in color temper

let's just hope i won't look like a grizzly when wearing it.


completely non-knitting related topic: i learned about this website from one of y'all crafters, now i'm hooked!!! here's what i bought and finally came.


a cardigan in a bag! how cute!! the instruction says to create the crinkled effect, i must store the cardi twisted in the provided bag.

i love it.

August 21, 2006

camping cats


cats were bored in this house. my husband built a kitty fort for them last week, they were digging it completely. a fort built with couch pillows can last up to two days. we always have to find ways to please/entertain our cats. they were so used to being outside. do any of you walk your cats? perhaps we should try that.



pattern: butterick B4461
difficulty (1-5): 1.2
pattern size: 12
fabric: 1.5 yd of alexander henry's screenprint in melrose, 7" zipper, double fold bias tape

sewing for my sister continues. here's item #2- an a-lined skirt with robert kaufman's fabric. i like it. it fits me, too. i need to find a better way to sew the interfacings prettier. i hope my sister wouldn't mind a less than perfect job. handmade items always have characters, she should know!

close up

August 13, 2006

unselfish devotion

my sister has been saying to me, every time we talk on the phone, "so, i have been checking your blog everyday, hoping to see your progress photos of the pj shorts, the skirt and the kimono top you said you were going to make for me, hmm... i haven't seen them still". she is so good at making me work you have no idea.


pattern: butterick B3314
difficulty (1-5): 1.5
pattern size: S
fabric: 1.25 yd of alexander henry's bright light in white, 3/4" wide elastic band and some pink ribbons

i spent this weekend making this pair of shorts for her (fits me, too... so i can always get it back!), i can't get enough of alexander henry's fabrics. so cheerful!

skirts and top are coming. as well as the iris shrug i am going to make for my friend (i'll show you some of her gorgeous handcrafted jewelry later). and... the harry potter scarf my husband all of a sudden remembers that he still hasn't received... oy.