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Tiger cat skirt and top

This was written by Leslie for the Miss Matatabi Makers series.

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Hello Miss Matatabi fabric lovers! It’s my favourite time of month again – sewing up my monthly project.

For April I chose two fabrics that complemented each other and that I thought my little girl would love. First was the really cute tiger cat cotton and linen blend and the second was that lovely blue linen and rayon fabric.

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The fabrics are nice and soft – and therefore they drape quite nicely!

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I have only ever made one thing from a Japanese pattern so making two more things this month stretched me mentally a bit. I am hoping that tracing patterns get easier because there are so many great patterns. And fabric choices to go with them!

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The back of this top is my favourite part of the outfit. My little one saw the pattern and told me she didn’t like it but once I made it and she had it on she changed her mind. The back is quite drapey and airy so I may have Anika put a tank top on under the blouse.

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I love how fabric choice can change the feeling of an outfit. I love that the blue linen may not be the first thing you choose for a child but it is so beautiful and drapes so well. I can see how my (or Anika’s) fabric choices will change as Anika continues to grow up. Luckily Frances always has a lot fabrics that both Anika and I love.

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The blouse pattern came from the Japanese book on the left (ISBN978-4-579-11289-0), which also has lots of other cute clothes that are now on my sewing to do list. And I picked up that Japanese skirt pattern years ago and finally decided to use it.

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Thank you, Leslie! Connect with Leslie on instagram, pinterest, and flickr.

 

Jersey knit duffel bag

This was written by An from StraightGrain for the Miss Matatabi Makers series.

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Hi everyone! For this month’s Miss Matatabi Makers post I used another very special fabric from Frances’ shop. This striped knit has a very minimal stretch (10%), and stretches in only one direction. So, if you like the structure and softness of knit fabric but have a project for wovens in mind, this fabric is perfect!

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I originally ordered the fabric to make a sundress, but it turned out heavier than I thought it would, so I decided to use it for a duffel bag instead. Born and raised in Duffel, the Belgian town which which gave its name to the duffel coat and bag, I was bound to make a duffel bag someday. Noblesse oblige and all.

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I reinforced the fabric with interfacing to completely do away with the stretch. For the lining and shoulder strap, I used a thick, coarse mustard canvas from my stash. I also used two pieces of lambskin leather to attach the shoulder strap to the bag.

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I didn’t use a specific tutorial for the bag, as it really consists of little more than a rectangle and two circles. I wanted to play around a bit with the stripes though, so along the zipper I added two strips with perpendicular stripes. I first stitched the zipper between the shell and lining rectangles, and then improvised as I was sewing. I’m quite happy with the result; the soft texture of the knit gives a special touch to an otherwise rather masculine bag.

You can find the striped jersey here; it also comes in black and white, and in navy and red. See you next month!

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Thank you so much An! Connect with An on her blog, instagram, facebook, and pinterest.

Cotton + Steel Beatrix top

This was written by Cherie from you & mie for the Miss Matatabi Makers series.

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Hellooooo Miss Matatabi readers! How are you doing? I’m doing great, though I’m a bit sleep deprived – but aren’t we all?! You know what makes me feel better though? A new top just for me!

Beatrix Blouse by you & mie

For this month’s project, I knew I wanted to make a new top for myself so I decided to try something from Frock, Cotton + Steel’s rayon line. This rayon is soooooo amazing. It’s soft and smooth and drapey and perfect for garments. I’d seen it during the Frock Tour (see Rae’s top and links to all the other stops on the tour for some Frock inspiration), and then I saw it in person at the store and was in LOVE with how wonderful it felt.

Beatrix Blouse by you & mie

 

Look how beautifully it falls. It’s like silk, but without all the fuss. I was worried that it might be slippery to sew, but it really wasn’t difficult at all! Unfortunately, I wasn’t really in love with any of the prints, but this Gemstone one definitely fits in my wardrobe. I thought I’d give it a try just so I could see how the fabric washes, sews and wears. And honestly, I’m a huge fan.

Beatrix Blouse by you & mie

 

This blouse is a pattern that I tested for Rae called the Beatrix Blouse. It is still in testing, but will probably be released at the end of May. The pattern is great! It’s a pretty simple button-back blouse with two views (different sleeve lengths and hemlines). It came together really quickly. The thing that I appreciate about Rae’s patterns is how well put together they are. Her and her team work ridiculously hard to make sure everything is perfect, from the pattern to the directions to the illustrations. Even though I was testing, I felt comfortable using this fabric because I knew the pattern was probably pretty near ready to go. And they didn’t let me down! It fits wonderfully.

Beatrix Blouse by you & mie

 

One of the things I love about this particular colorway is that it’s so versatile! When when I was picking out buttons, I felt like almost any color could work – from aqua to navy to yellow, coral or orange. But somehow I got it in my head that the buttons had to be chartreuse. When I couldn’t find buttons in the right color, I decided to go with fabric covered buttons. I like this combo, but when Yuki saw one button hanging out from beneath my cardigan she told me I had playdoh stuck on my back! Haha. Not sure if that’s a good thing.

Beatrix Blouse by you & mie

I really hope Cotton + Steel comes out with another rayon line! It’s such awesome fabric. I’d love to make more tops or a dress with this fabric! But until then, you can the current collection, Frock, here!

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Thank you, Cherie! Connect with Cherie on her blog, instagram, facebook, and pinterest.

Leslie’s picnic blanket

This was written by Leslie for the Miss Matatabi Makers series.

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Hello again! Sewing my monthly projects for the Miss Matatabi blog always put a smile on my face. There are so many amazing fabrics to pick from and often all you need is a simple project to showcase the awesome designs.

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I instantly fell in love with both of these fabrics: metallic speech bubbles and city houses. Both are a nice medium weight and the houses are a cotton and linen blend. Both of these fabrics come in different colours as well!

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This month I didn’t have a project in mind when I chose the fabrics but I quickly decided on a new picnic blanket. It is spring here and that means it will soon be picnic season, which our family loves. A new and fun picnic blanket is what we needed!

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I knew I wanted to use big squares to be able to show off the fabric designs. After laying them out I realized I needed to switch things up a bit. That is when I threw in some triangles and solid colours. I backed the blanket with some lightweight denim and skipped putting batting in between the two layers. This way it wouldn’t be very bulky and a bit lighter for carrying.

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There were a couple of things I wanted to experiment with a bit while making this picnic blanket. The first was paper piecing. My gosh. It took me a bit of time to wrap my head around it but once I did it was a lot of fun! I also wanted to sew on the binding with my sewing machine opposed to hand sewing it. With more practice I think I could learn to love it but for now I definitely prefer binding that has been hand sewn.

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Another cute and practical project checked off my to do list!
 

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Thank you, Leslie! Connect with Leslie on instagram, pinterest, and flickr.

 

Linen stones dress

This was written by An from StraightGrain for the Miss Matatabi Makers series.

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It’s been years since I’ve sewn for myself; not because I don’t like to, but simply because I never got round to it. For years I’ve been dreaming of finding the perfect pattern for me, and then make it in a few dozens of pretty fabrics. When I spotted a beautiful linen in Frances’ store, I thought I’d take the opportunity to finally start my search.

I ordered Burda 7137 and made it in the smallest size. Unfortunately, it turned out to be too big, especially at the shoulders and in the waist. Odd, because I’m not super skinny. And super skinny is definitely not what this dress makes me look. Mr. StraightGrain called it ‘anything but flattering’ (twice), and he’s completely right. They often say that the camera adds 10 pounds, but this dress adds at least 20 for me. Fifteen of which to my butt.

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Nevertheless, I really see this pattern as a useful step towards finding the perfect dress pattern for me. I just need to make a few alterations: narrowing the shoulders and waist; going for the short sleeves instead of the 3/4; altering the bust darts (which currently seem to add an extra pair of nipples), and redrawing the skirt into a more flattering A-line shape. Because: there are many things to like about this pattern! I love the shape of the neckline; the 3 other pairs of darts are perfect; it has a blind zipper in the back; and this very simple yet tailored shape is exactly what I was looking for.

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But let’s talk about the fabric. When I think about linen, I think: thick, coarse, and full of wrinkles. But this Linen Stones fabric is soooo different. It’s is light weight, with a very fine weave, a great drape, and it doesn’t seem to wrinkle easily. It’s just the perfect material for a garment. It also comes in three other colorways.

 

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Thank you so much An! Connect with An on her blog, instagram, facebook, and pinterest.

French terry knit tops

Takubo-san recently made some additions to her wardrobe with some new French terry knit we have in stock. The hoodie pattern is from Cotton Friend Autumn Edition 2014, Vol. 52, page 66. The pattern called for way more yardage than was actually needed so she had enough left over to make another top. This particular pattern isn’t available outside Japan but you could use Grainline’s Hemlock Tee pattern as a base to make a similar top. Over to you, Takubo-san!

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Charms half-round tote bags

This was written by Leslie for the Miss Matatabi Makers series.

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Spring is coming and that means it is time for some new bags. My favourite type of bag is a very simple tote bag. Something I have been sewing for so many years from a pattern that is easy to make up as you go.

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I chose Ellen Baker’s Charms Half Round fabric because I fell in love with the design and it is that beautiful cotton and linen blend weight. So perfect for bags. This fabric also comes in gold, which is super lovely as well.

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I chose to line the bags with some Japanese fabric from my stash from years ago. Since I went with a not so bright lining I wanted to add a pop of colour to our bags. Something a bit subtle so it didn’t distract from the lovely fabric design. I chose some pinkish purple embroidery thread and did some top stitching before sewing the bags together. I got a bit adventurous and had fun with the A on my daughter’s bag.

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Ani and I are both super happy how the bags turned out. And she quickly announced that this it the fifth bag that I have made her. I am sure we will get a lot of use out of these bags and you will see them pop up in our photos over the next half year.

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Thank you, Leslie! Connect with Leslie on instagram, pinterest, and flickr.

 

This was written by Cherie from you & mie for the Miss Matatabi Makers series.

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This month I decided to try out some nani IRO laminated canvas. I had a completely different project in mind when I ordered my yardage, but then I realized I wasn’t taking advantage of the water repellent nature of laminated fabric and decided to make something else we really needed, which was a new portable diaper changing pad. The one that we had been using came with our diaper bag and it is of really poor quality! The binding started fraying and falling off immediately. So I thought this would be a really awesome fabric to make a new one with! And a really simple project too.

Laminated nani IRO Changing Pad and Diaper Clutch by you & mie

The fabric is everything you’d imagine it to be. Beautiful and sturdy, but not too thick. It’s laminated on one side. Machine washable, but easy to wipe down for quick cleaning. It really is the perfect fabric for this project, but would also be great as a bib, any pouch, lunch sack or tote bag. Fellow Miss Matatabi Maker, Leslie, used laminated double gauze to make a gorgeous laptop case.

The print is called Water Window and it’s so simple, yet stunning. And I love the watercolor details that you can appreciate close up. It’s not your typical print for a baby product, but I think that’s what Hideko and I love about it. And we’re the ones that have to carry it around and use it, so that’s all that matters right?

Laminated nani IRO Changing Pad and Diaper Clutch by you & mie

For the changing pad, I just cut two large rectangles of the fabric and then rounded the corners. There are 2 layers of thin batting in between and then I finished the edge with store bought bias tape. I love this color combo, it just never gets old to me! I was originally planning on attaching the whole thing by machine (top stitching one side while hopefully catching the other side underneath), but since both sides of this project were going to be very visible and I knew the “wrong” side wouldn’t look that great, especially around the corners, I decided to hand stitch the binding on. I’m so glad I did! It looks much cleaner this way.

Laminated nani IRO Changing Pad and Diaper Clutch by you & mie

One of my latest discoveries is magnetic snaps. I LOVE THEM. They are so easy to install and so functional and infinitely better than velcro! I used 2 layers of fusible interfacing on the wrong side of the fabric before inserting the snaps. How did I not know about these before?

Laminated nani IRO Changing Pad and Diaper Clutch by you & mie

I also wanted to make a little diaper clutch to carry a couple of diapers and wipes around. Sometimes when you’re out and about, you don’t want or need to drag the whole diaper bag or backpack with you for a change. It’s nice to be able to just easily grab what you need. My diaper clutch did not come out perfect and there are some parts of it that I’m not thrilled with, but it’s definitely functional and I know we will use it!

Laminated nani IRO Changing Pad and Diaper Clutch by you & mie

Also a very simple project, this started out as a rectangle as well. I bound the two short edges with the same bias tape. I used magnetic snaps here as well (with interfacing to make the fabric for stable), cut out a hole for the opening of the wipes package (bonus, this fabric doesn’t really fray!) and then sewed up the sides to make little pockets.

Laminated nani IRO Changing Pad and Diaper Clutch by you & mie

The biggest problem here is that I didn’t have enough fabric. Like I said, I originally had a different project in mind and when I changed directions, I was determined to squeeze these two things out of what I had. Unfortunately, it wasn’t really enough, so the size and shape of the clutch is a little off. I also cut the hole for the wipes lid a little too big. Well, I cut it the exact size of the plastic lid, but since fabric stretches and it’s so close to the bottom of the clutch, it naturally gets pulled open more than I hoped. In hindsight, I should have cut the opening smaller and stretched it to fit over the lid snugly.

Laminated nani IRO Changing Pad and Diaper Clutch by you & mie

 

It’s not perfect, but we’ll get tons of use out of it. And I learned a couple of lessons here, so there’s value in that as well. Here are a couple of tips when sewing with laminated canvas!

– Use a brand new needle! You’ll need something sharp to pierce through the laminate and a new needle will make your sewing much smoother.
– Iron the wrong side on a medium/low heat setting. If you need to iron the right side, use a layer of muslin or cotton fabric in between and use a medium/low heat setting. I recommend testing it out on a small piece of scrap fabric first if you’re worried about melting or damaging the fabric.
– If you need to hold layers of fabric together, use clips instead of pins. When I was attaching my binding, instead of pinning together the two layers of laminated canvas, two layers of batting and the folded bias tape, I used clips. Pins will put holes in your fabric and just be time consuming and tiring for your hands.

That’s it! Otherwise, it really is easy to work with and fun to use!

Happy changing!

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Thank you, Cherie! Connect with Cherie on her blog, instagram, facebook, and pinterest.

Hey hello, it’s Selfish Sewing Week time again! Selfish Sewing Week is co-hosted by the lovely Rachael from Imagine Gnats, with Indiesew and Kollabora, and is all about celebrating and sewing for yourself!

This week I made a True Bias Sutton Blouse but turned it into a dress.

sutton dress : miss matatabi

I bought the pattern shortly after it was released because it seemed like it would be a great staple for my everyday wardrobe. I made a muslin (below) which I love and wear all the time. The Sutton features a v-neck, kimono sleeves, inverted back pleat, and slit sides with the front hem higher than the back. I omitted the slit sides on both the dress and the blouse although I do like this feature and will probably add it to future Suttons.

sutton blouse : miss matatabi

The fabric recommendations for the Sutton Blouse are lightweight woven fabrics with a good drape, such as silk, rayon, lightweight linen. I had a rayon / cotton blend lawn in the shop that seemed the perfect weight so I made the muslin with that (this print is no longer in stock but I have a similar fabric here). This is a pretty straightforward sew, but may be slightly trickier if you use a slippery fabric. It helps to go slow and don’t sew while you’re sleepy. Obvious advice I have ignored more than once.

sutton dress : miss matatabi

For the dress version I purposely chose a fabric that differed from the recommended fabrics and used one of my favourite nani IRO by Naomi Ito prints : Water Window in wata gauze. Wata gauze is a loose weave double gauze that is fluffy and a bit thicker than usual double gauze. I was expecting this would make a more casual Sutton than if it were made in a fabric with more drape and it did. It’s a bit sack-like but I can tell you it is the most comfortable dress. Wata gauze is so light and easy to wear and this print, I can’t tell you how much I love this print. It just makes me so happy to look at.

sutton dress : miss matatabi

The wata gauze dress and lawn blouse differ slightly in finished size. The dress is a looser fit, the v-neck is deeper and wider, and the sleeve openings are larger. I made no modifications to the sizing and used the same pattern pieces for both but the wata gauze does have more give and stretches more than the lawn so I’m certain the differences come down to this. I think the dress could do with taking in a little and I may eventually shorten it to blouse length but for now I’m going to enjoy it as it is.

sutton dress : miss matatabi

And if the awkwardness of the photoshoot wasn’t already apparent, here’s some twirling, pretending to be an airplane, scarecrow, dance like nobody’s watching except that they are, and I don’t know what else.

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Ok, so the Sutton Blouse. I like it a lot and I will make it again! Thank you to Rachael for inviting me to take part in SSW again! Are you also sewing for yourself this week? What are you making?

This was written by An from StraightGrain for the Miss Matatabi Makers series.

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Picking a fabric for this month’s Miss Matatabi Makers project was easy: I had been looking forward to the release of Ellen Baker’s new collection (‘Charms‘) of Kokka for months. While everyone is raving over her super cute sheep fabric, I had my heart set on a different one: the scallops. The design reminded me a bit of a print by the Scandinavian home decor brand Ferm Living, which made deciding what to make also a piece of cake: something for the home.

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I saw these little mattresses a few weeks ago, and decided to try and make something similar. I bought three of the cheapest Ikea baby mattresses, ten meters of piping, three hidden zippers, and a few meters of gorgeous fabrics.

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I like how they turned out. And of course, the mattress in Ellen Baker’s fabric is my favorite. Next up was adding some cushions. Here, I mixed some left-overs from my stash with a few Miss Matatabi fabrics. My favorite is this cushion in Kokka’s Muddy Works canvas. Frances added it to my order because she thought it would look well together with the other fabrics. Frances is brilliant. (haha An, Kokka is brilliant 沽 – F )

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Next to it is a pillow in another Kokka fabric: Jubilee Printed Matter Line.

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If you’d like to know how to make a mattress cover, keep an eye on my blog in the next couple of weeks for the tutorial.

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Thank you so much An! Connect with An on her blog, instagram, facebook, and pinterest.