Saturday, January 20, 2018

$100 Sewing Machine

Brother Sewing Machine


I bought Brother XR-65 15 years ago. I think the price was a little over $100. Back then there were not many petite-size clothing available so I needed a basic machine to hem up my skirt and pants. What I wanted for the machine was really simple - straight stitch, zigzag stitch, and button hall. Just thinking about how much joy that the machine brought to my life over years, it is one of the best $100 I have ever spent.

All the things I have posted on this blog were sewn with this $100 machine. There are some clothes that I have worn more frequently than others.

Vogue 8784 Cotton Wrap Dress
Great day dress that took me from workplace with a casual dress code to day trip to a winery.

Simplicity 2443 Cynthia Rowley Jacket
Cotton double knit made this jacket really comfortable to wear. I love the hand stitch detail all over the jacket. 

Hand-Painted Cotton Skirt
After so many wears, this skirt still keeps its shape thanks to the horsehair braid hem.

CH Cocktail Dress
I love everything about this dress. I spent long hours to analyze the original design and mix and match patterns... it was pure joy. I have already worn it so many times, but my closet still has a designated room for this dress.

But really, what you can get from $100 sewing machine is not just custom-made dresses. Beside sewing techniques, you learn about fabric, yarn, and fabric mills. You read up on your favorite fashion designers and fashion history. You get to know yourself - your size, body type, and what works for you. You discover colors. You find yourself being able to spot high-quality material and construction during shopping. You will acquire art of living through learning sewing - and it does not require high-end machine to begin with. 

My Brother XR-65 started to make noises and jammed often while I was sewing the maxi dress last month. I think the time I graduate from the beginner machine has come. So this post is a thank-you and goodbye note to my Brother XR-65, a super awesome $100 sewing machine.



でも…100ドルのミシンで得られるものってカスタムメイドの服だけではないんです。裁縫技術のほかにも、布や糸、布を作る世界中の老舗の工場について学んだり、好きなデザイナーやファッション史を読み込んだり。自分のサイズや体形、似合うもの、似合わないものを知ったり、色についての知識も増えるし、買い物に行けば一目で高級な素材や縫製を見抜けるようになっていたり。服作りを学ぶということはart of livingを会得することでもあり、高級なミシンを初めから使わなくとも身につけることは十分可能です。


Thursday, December 21, 2017

McCall's 7591 Maxi Dress



Pattern: McCall's 7591 View D 
Fabric: Printed Italian Cotton/Viscose Challis from Elliott Berman Textiles

McCall's 7591 View D is a pullover blouson style maxi dress with elastic waistline. The pattern calls for tricot lining for the bodice but I used self fabric. The skirt is unlined. As per my petite alteration (I am 5'2"), I shortened the bodice an inch and the hem three inches. 

My motivation for this project was that I wanted to make a long dress to wear for the San Francisco Opera. Unfortunately, the finished dress was too casual for the evening concert so that I chose another dress... but that was okay!!! Now I have a new maxi dress for spring. 

突然サンフランシスコオペラに行けることになりました。週末、プッチーニ、トゥーランドット。サンフランシスコのオペラハウスはサンフランシスコ講和条約署名の舞台となった美しい建物。折角だからロングドレスを着て行きたい…。たった2日で仕上げるにはテストドレスを作って型紙を直している暇はないと判断して、選んだ型紙はMcCall's 7591 View Dです。型紙のパーツ数が少ない上ジッパーも不要なので手間もかからず、2年ほどミシンに触っていなかった自分にとってリハビリ的な意味でもぴったりなプロジェクトになりました。仕上がったドレスは想像していたよりもカジュアル過ぎたので、オペラには以前作った赤黒のカクテルドレスを着て行ったんですけどね。


Sunday, December 27, 2015

Black Shawl

My Facebook post a night before the trip back in September:

"Want to make a shawl in two hours. 
 It has to be all hand-sewing to retain softness. 
 Wish me luck! 

明日からの旅行に急遽持っていくことにしたストールを作るところです。柔らかさを殺さないように全て手縫い。2時間で仕上がるのか??? その後パッキングは終わらせられるのか??? なんともチャレンジングな夕方になりそうです。"

Of course, it took so much longer than two hours to finish. 

Fabric: Mixed content woven purchased from Emma One Sock
Dress: McCall's 5466 + Vogue 8555

I was truly fortunate to attend opera at the Semperoper/Le Nozze di Figaro and the Wiener Staatsoper/La Traviata in this me-made outfit. The trip was a blast and I will be ever thankful to the person who took me there. 

Friday, December 25, 2015

Hello Again!

I have to admit that I once used this beautiful fabric as a tablecloth for a dinner. Luckily nobody spilled wine or anything on it, but even if that happened, I could probably pretend that the stains were part of the painted design. For that, this was the perfect fabric for a tablecloth. 

However, I wanted it to be a skirt. 

Fabric: Hand-painted canvas-ish cotton purchased from Emma One Sock  
Lining: Polyester or acetate lining fabric purchased from Fabric Mart
Pattern: Skirt from my TNT dress (modified Vogue 8555 - out of print) plus belt from Vogue 1247
Cardigan: Elie Tahari

To support the hemline, I first thought of applying fusible interfacing. However, when I opened up my interfacing bag, I discovered few other choices: silk organza, netting, and a bias strip of hair canvas. I grabbed the hair canvas simply because it was ready to use. 

I was happy to see that the hem interfacing made a difference in the overall silhouette of the skirt.  

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to everyone!