Wednesday, February 24, 2016

My first attempt on Amigurumi

I have ALWAYS wanted to try my hands on making Amigurumi. I know basic crocheting but I have never made a plush or doll before. It looks difficult and I am scared to try. I have made granny squares for the yarnbombing 2 years ago. No. Not once attempted Amigurumi.

When I saw the instructions from the books and blogs, there are so many variations. There are symbols for Japanese, US and UK versions. My mind just went haywired. I did not understand how to attach the various parts of the body of the doll. The best bet for me will be learning from Youtube but that means I will not be able to follow instructions on the books. Sigh!

Till I went to a sharing session organised by the Yarnbombing Singapore team last Saturday. Yaney, one of the organiser, gave me a one-to-one guidance and taught me how to read the US instructions. Magic circle was not hard at all. I have to make sure the holes of each stitch is not big so that the polyfill will not shown. I am very determined.

After some time, I managed to make one head of the BB8. I am so thrilled! There are still so much to learn on Amigurumi and now I am not so afraid to try on other beginner designs.

My first Amigurumi
Certainly a breakthrough in 2016. Hope I could share more of my creations soon. I can't wait to try out and practise.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Handmade Cheongsam for my kids for the Monkey Year

I thought that I will not be sewing any Chinese New Year clothing for my little girls. I am busy to the max and have no idea what to sew. I am also lazy to trace out patterns from the books plus time is not on my side (less than a week to the festive season).

Until I chanced upon a free girls Cheongsam tutorial from Japanese Sewing Books website which has a step-by-step tutorial plus YouTube videos to refer. You can check out her tutorial here. I followed Yi Farn's blog closely as I love reading about Japanese books and magazines reviews. I am an avid Japanese sewing and craft books and magazines reader even though I could not understand Japanese. Luckily for me, the instructions are pictorial and quite easy to follow after a few tries. :)

I set myself a goal to complete the 2 cheongsams within 2 days. Not impossible with midnight oils! By the way, it is my first try on sewing Cheongsam. I selected one of my favourite Lecien Fabrics from Japan of the Flower Sugar series and checked if I have the rest of the materials at home. I went to Chong Pang wet market the next morning to purchase the silk bias tapes, invisible zippers and Chinese knots.

Materials needed for the sewing.
I printed out the pdf patterns from the website (see above) and arranged before pasting and cutting them out. I did both cheongsams at the same time. Then I cut out the fabrics and serge the parts needed. In fact, I sewed with my machine and my laptop alongside so that I can refer while preparing the next steps. Sewing the silk bias tape was tricky for me as the stitches were not consistent and I had to unstitch a few times to make sure both sides were sewed.

I stumbled upon my first hurdle during installation of the invisible zipper onto the apparel. I realised I do not own any invisible zip footer for my machine. Argh! I googled if there were an alternative and asked my friends. Most concluded that using the invisible zip footer will be so much easier. Well, I did not have much time. In my desperation, I picked up my needle and thread and handsew the zipper manually. It turned out pretty well I must say.

Handsew the invisible zipper is a good alternative if you don't own the footer.
Lastly, installing the metal snap buttons and Chinese knots can take a long time as the kids had to try out the apparels many times just to be sure the positions were correct. The children are so happy that they have their first Cheongsam and specially made by their mummy.

Buttons and knots are up.

Maiden piece

I love the flower patchwork print of this Flower Sugar from Lecien Fabrics. Just nice for the Chinese New Year theme. Maybe I should sew up more cute dresses for them and not wait for the festive seasons. I am going to try on pajamas with button holes after Chinese New Year for my next sewing project. Wish me luck!

Happy Monkey Year to all and Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

NHK Sutekini Handmade - Atsuko Matsuyama Monthly quilt "Fruit Fantasy" Sew A-Long Block 7 & 8 - Dresden Plate and Flowers patchwork (NHKテレビテキスト すてきにハンドメイド 松山敦子のマンスリーキルト「フルーツ・ファンタジー」)

February is a very very busy month for me. In fact, I started to do my spring cleaning for the new year in January. So much so that I did not have time to do much handsewing or patchwork. I was so exhausted de-cluttering my house and have no mood at all. 5 more days to Chinese New Year. I hope I can rush out 2 cheongsams within these 2-3 days.

I am catching up on my sew-a-long. There are just a few more blocks and the next March issue will be the finishing part. Gee! I will be happy to complete one handsew quilt if I quickened my pace. I combined both 2016 Issue 1 and 2 NHKテレビテキスト すてきにハンドメイ and did the patchwork blocks before handling the applique blocks.

I also bought Cotton Time magazine to get inspirations.
Sewing patchwork pieces was a breeze to me as they are pretty straight forward. I have never sewed a round dresden plate before but glad I did. I hope to try out more in the future if I could. You can viewed my pointed dresden plates by colours in my previous post.

Laying out Block 7

Block 7 completed
Next, it was the flower blocks. Very easy to sew as they are just straight stitches. I completed in less than a day. You just need a rectangle, square and triangle-shaped templates.

Preparing for the block.

I can't wait to finish this one in a day.

Block 8 completed
The next 2 blocks will be strawberries. I have prepared the materials for block 9 but no time to sit down and sew.

Nevertheless, I wish all an advanced Lunar New Year !