Saturday, 14 January 2017

Memories of Japan

There have been several pleasant reminders of our Japan holiday this week.  The 2017 calendar arrived that I ordered online using twelve chosen photographs from our holiday, and it's now gracing my desk area where I can look at it every day.

I also made a bag. I had bought a metre of home dec weight Japanese fabric for myself at Okadaya in Tokyo, thinking it would make a nice bag (I also bought a similar metre for the m-i-l so she can make a bag as well).  A colleague at work passed on a copy of LoveSewing magazine this week which I enjoyed reading, and it included this pattern by Melissa Wastney for a Hold Everything Tote.  Apparently it's taken from her book 'Sweet & Simple Handmade'.  I liked the vintage vibe of the bag and thought it would be a great project for my Japanese fabric.

I cut it out on my day off and made a start on it, then I finished it off today. I made a few modifications: I interfaced the lining and the upper panel of the outer bag because my fabric doesn't have a lot of body, I cut the handles in one wide piece each and also interfaced them, and I added a magnetic closure.  The lining is the dragon Japanese fabric I bought to go with the geisha panel, and I added a contrast top to the pocket out of the red sashiko fabric. It was a satisfying make as it wasn't very difficult but the end result looks relatively sophisticated.

I've also been working on the Japanese zipped pouch. I finished the quilting on all three pieces and the last few evenings I've hand-stitched in the zipper and am now hand-stitching the seams to join the three pieces into a pouch.  It's nice to work on something with fine hand sewing. The construction of the pouch is fairly different from how I would normally make a bag here in the UK. Normally you would finish the outside pieces, then seam on the lining so that the raw edges are all hidden inside, and of course you would do most of the sewing by machine including the zip. This kit is designed to be completely sewn by hand, with a lot of patience and detail work. So all three pieces are completely finished before you add the zip and join them together with a whipstitch done from the inside. It's a fun project. I also liked the subtlety of the fabrics.

I finished the Fairwinds hat this week as well, and I wore it out today in about 5 degrees Celsius and found it surprisingly warm.  The double band over the ears is lovely, and this Debbie Bliss Blue-Faced Leicester that I got in the sale at Thread and Patches is silky and soft.  With that off the needles I've started a cowl pattern now using some stash yarn.

On my day off I had ambitions to do hours of dollshousing but in the end I had to force myself to do one hour because I was having so much fun sewing the tote bag (not to mention I was procrastinating).  I hung all five hanging baskets I made a while back onto the Victorian Gazebo porch and touched up the green paint on the bottle tops I used. The plastic they are made out of doesn't take paint very well so it flakes off very easily. I think this project is pretty much finished now apart from fixing down the porch furniture with tacky wax, and we even tidied up all the mess in the workshop left behind from the build.

I bought a fun new patchwork pattern.  I was looking on the website of Poppy Patch over in Great Doddington for something else when I came across this pattern. It's by an Australian designer Hatched and Patched and it's a charming, whimsical mixture of pieced blocks, applique and embroidery.  DH looked at the thick packet of pattern pages and said he looks forward to seeing the finished product in 2025. Cheek.

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