Saturday, December 26, 2009

What can I do with Japanese Double Gauze?

Shaerie here, taking over Daniel's blog while he works on his next amazing project. We have had a bunch of people ask about this great fabric! Double gauze consists of two layers of sheer cotton gauze sandwiched together with tiny, almost invisible stitches. Heather Ross' "Far Far Away" and the Spring 2009 Echino collection by Etsuko Furuya plus many of Naomi Ito's Nani Iro designs are printed on double gauze.  It's cool and incredibly soft, opaque and a bit spongy with a good drape - so what do you do with it? Many people have been making children's garments and quilts out of double gauze because it is so soft, but it translates into fantastic garments for big people too! Especially the more sophisticated prints, like LIONS!


I recommend picking a pattern with simple lines and a minimum of details. A simple, loose shift dress or tunic would be ideal! Double gauze is not stiff like woven cotton, so you can pick a loose style and it will drape over the body better. Of course, the many Japanese pattern books out there have great designs that work well with double gauze. I picked a tunic dress from the book "Stylish Dress Book" - the one on the cover actually - to make out of my turquoise LION double gauze from Echino's last collection.


Double gauze frays easily so you have to finish the edges - I used a three step zig zag on each separate seam allowance so I could press them open. It presses beautifully, so the tucks down the front of the dress came out straight and crisp, not too bulky. A small amount of gathering works fine (as in the back of the dress) but if there is a lot of gathering pleats or tucks might work better. Too much gathering might end up being too poofy. Make sure you pin darts and pleats well as the fabric can shift easily!


If you are curious about how to use Japanese pattern books, I'll be hijacking Daniel's blog again shortly to do a demo of how to trace the patterns and add the correct seam allowance. Stay tuned!

posted by Shaerie, posing as Daniel

Sunday, December 13, 2009

And so it begins...

And so it begins…with a big mess. Let this be a lesson to us all; don’t put bobbins full of thread in the washing machine. It took me twenty minutes to release my freshly laundered clothes from the mouth of that fierce, golden-toothed beast.

Little “Zakka Sewing” Linen Basket
When I was told I was getting my very own blog I rejoiced, and when I was done rejoicing I picked up one of the cutest books I’ve ever had my hands on. I’d had my eye on it for a while, and now I had a wonderful reason to actually tackle some of it’s cuteness. “Zakka Sewing” by Chika Mori is that book and the linen basket was just the right level of cute to start with. I decided to make my basket with a putty colored cotton linen blend, line it with a stunning traditional Japanese indigo, and use a sew in fleece as the stuffing. All ingredients combined are collectively cute enough to suit the basket. Tired of hearing the word cute? Too bad, you’re in the wrong place.      
For starters, the book says to use a 12” square of fabric, but either my printer didn’t enlarge correctly or that’s just not true. I cut 3/8 yard for each fabric, and once they were cut they looked like this.


After the pieces were cut, the thing to do was to make the straps which just required two pieces at 2x5 inches. Draw a line right down the middle at 1” down the length of each strap, and fold and press each side to meet that line. Then fold the whole strap in half, press and sew shut close to the edge. This will give you two straps at 1/2x5 inches.

The next thing to do is to pin and baste the lining to the batting at ¼” making sure that you’re sewing them together with the wrong side of your lining fabric down.

Once the two pieces are basted together you can start sewing the side seams of the lining together. Pin and sew each side at ¼” right sides together. Then put your beautifully constructed lining to the side and admire the halfway constructed cuteness. Also, you can choose to press the seam allowances open. I did, and typically recommend that you do as well. It just looks better.


 Next you’re ready to sew the outside fabric together. Follow the same steps as the lining and sew at ¼”, but this time only sew three sides together. Leaving one side open allows you to sew a nice decorative stitch around your basket about an inch from the bottom.  If you’re not into those kinds of details then you’re probably reading the wrong blog, but go ahead and sew all four sides together anyway.

Now that you’ve sewn three sides together and added a charming decorative stitch (I very lightly marked a chalk line as a guide) it’s time to sew up that other side, place your two pieces next to one another and imagine how much more cute life is about to be. You’re almost done! Don’t forget to press those seam allowances open.

 Now take those handles that you made all that time ago and pin and baste them to opposing sides of your basket, straps facing downward and on the right side of your outer fabric.

Place your outer basket inside of your basket lining right sides together and pin and sew the tops together at ¼” leaving one side un-sewn. Helpful hint: the side you leave open should be one of the sides without a handle. This will make it much easier to sew the hole shut.

Lastly, turn your basket right side out using that handy hole you left and sew the hole shut with a simple whipstitch. If you really want to add another element of  cute, add a decorative button or two. Either way you’ve got a ridiculously cute basket to hold whatever your heart desires. Here at the shop ours is holding some pattern cards, but you can make them in whatever size you want. And with the holidays coming up, they’re perfect for festive treats. I made a king size one for cookies and bourbon, and I just know when I show up to my holiday party with a basket full of belly-warming goodness our humble host will jump right out of the window with joy. I can’t wait!

posted by Daniel