Archive for the ‘Sewing’ Category

Kanariya fabric store sapporo

In Sapporo there is a great craft store called Kanariya. If you ever happen to be in Sapporo you must visit, it is just GREAT. Four floors full of fabrics, quilt supplies, knitting wool, sewing notions, felt, beads, books, buttons, zippers, etc, etc. And there were lots of kits, for example for making your own rabbit-basket (a basket in the form of a rabbit, that is, or any other animal), the cutest needle-felt animals, bags and purses like these:

Kanariya Japanese sewing kitsI just love the Japanese style for quilting and sewing. There is so much eye for detail, and I like the muted colours. There was a large division with Japanese fabrics and I bought a whole bunch of fat quarters. They were quite cheap compared to the prices in Europe.

Before we went to Sapporo, we stayed in a super nice pension in Hakodate. The owners were so kind, and the house was really cosy with hand-made pillows and other things.  When we left, the hostess gave me a wonderful bag and a handmade purse as a gift. I was so delighted, but I also thought I had to give something back. So I used the fabrics I bought in Sapporo to make them a set of 6 coasters for their breakfast table:

Coasters of Japanese fabric

The back is a piece of black felt, attached with festoon stitch. I finished them in a few days and send them by post to Hakodate. One day later I received an email, with a picture showing the coasters on their table:

Japanese table with sewn coastersSato (the hostess) put a cat on the table that a friend of hers made of kimono fabrics, so cute. The pension is called Jokura, by the way, and it is highly recommended for anyone appreciating a clean and cosy pension serving delicious Japanese breakfast.

I’m now making another set, because I like them myself as well :-)

Japanese coasters Japanese coasters

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In August, my husband and I have been on holiday in Japan. While enjoying the nature, cities and culture of Hokkaido (Japan’s northernmost large island), I picked up some craft ideas.

In a pension I saw dried lotus seed cones filled with small balls of fabric.  I really liked the idea and took two seed cones home with me, as well as some fabric with flowers. This is the result of my work:Lotus seed cones filled with fabric balls

At first the cones looked like this:

Lotus seed cones filled with fabric balls

To make the fabric balls simply cut a lot of fabric circles, stuff them with cotton wool, tie them and put them into the holes in the lotus seed cones.
Nice decoration, isn´t it?

Lotus seed cones filled with fabric balls

Lotus seed cones filled with fabric balls

Lotus seed cones filled with fabric balls

In a Japanese magazine I saw a garland for the kitchen, made of red peppers and peanuts tied together. I tried to make one yesterday, but it doesn’t exactly look like the one in the magazine because I could only find peppers that were a bit too large. I also did something wrong with the tying, because in the original all peanuts and peppers were neatly lined up while in my garland they stick out in all directions. But I still like the idea. :-)

Red pepper and peanut garland

Red pepper and peanut garland

Red pepper and peanut garland

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Flowy skirt

The author of one of my favorite blogs came up with a very simple & very nice pattern to make a summer skirt. There even was a tutorial, so decided to give it a try. Thanks for making and sharing this tutorial Kessa!

Flowy skirt
Flowy skirt fabric

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After writing in a previous post about my Viking age coat/kaftan, I was asked which pattern I used. Well, I used a very basic Viking age dress pattern and simply cut open the front panel to create a coat. I made a graph and some instructions for those who are interested. Although I did my best, I can’t guarantee that all is correct as I’m not an experienced pattern maker, so please use your common sense while using this pattern.
Viking coat kaftan pattern

ab = your length from shoulder to ankle (or whatever length you like the coat to have)
cd = circumference at breast height devided by 2, plus a little extra to avoid tightness
ef = distance from ankle to waist
gh = 30 to 40 cm
ij = length of your stretched arm from shoulder joint to wrist
kl = 10 to 12 cm
mn = ± 40 cm

Always add seam allowances to the measurements above! Also when cutting out for example the neck-hole, remember that it will become larger when you sew the hem.

Textile finds from Birka show that the tunic-type garments from 9th and 10th century Sweden did not have separate front and back panels with shoulder seams, but were cut as one large piece with a hole for the head opening. For the wider fabrics that we have today this is likely an inefficient use of fabric, therefore I assume here that you have separate front and back panels.

Cut front and back panels as rectangles of size ab x cd; you will make the front opening and the split for the back gore later. Similarly, cut the sleeves as rectangles of ij x mn, you will shape them later. Cut the neck-hole out of the front and back panels. At the back it should be 3 to 4 cm deep (after sewing the brim), at the front it doesn’t matter because you will enlarge it later on.

Start the assembly by sewing the body halves together at the shoulders. Sew the four side-gores to either side of the front and back panels. Sew the two gore halves of the back gore together. Cut the opening along the back to insert the gore, but be careful not to make the slit too large, it should be a little shorter than the distance e-f because of the seam allowances. Sew the sleeves to the body, centered on the shoulder seam. The square gussets, that serve to relieve tightness in the armhole, are sewn into the corner of the sleeves and the front panel, as shown in the graph.

Finally, fold the whole thing in half and sew each side from wrist to armpit to hem. Shape the sleeves while doing this, but do not make them too tight, your balled fist should still be able to fit through. While sewing the armpit area, the square gusset is folded into a triangle, attaching the point indicated by a * in the graph to the other armpit, also indicated by a *. When you are finished, you have a dress. Now, make a coat out of it by cutting open the front panel along the centre, making the upper part into a V-shape so that the front opening lines up with the sides of the neck-hole. Fold over the fabric to the inside and secure with small stitches that are not visible on the outside. Do the same with the sleeve ends and underside of the garment.

SleeveShaping the sleeve

To finish, press all seams open with your fingers and sew the seam allowances flat with a stitch that is invisible on the outside. Finishing the seams like this is especially important in places where multiple seams come together, such as at the top of the gores, and it will improve the drape of the final coat. For thinner fabrics such as linnen I prefer not to press the seams open, but to fold both seam allowances to one side for more strength. Mostly I trim one of the allowances to 1/4 inch or 1 cm and the other allowance to 1/2 inch or 2 cm, then press them to the side of the shorter one and fold the longer allowance around the shorter one.

You can decorate your coat by adding some nice embroidery or -which was probably more common- by attaching woven band or metal-brocaded braids. In Viking times it was also very common to accentuate the seams with decorative stitches. For more information on decorations as well as general information on Viking clothing and coats, visit this nice website.

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Tonight we will be visiting a collegue of mine who is expecting a baby soon. I made her a baby blanket out of a charm pack Flirt by Sandy Gervais (actually I used half of the charm pack and will use the other half to make a blanket for another collegue who is expecting).

  Baby blanket Flirt Sandy GervaisI like the colours of this fabric series, not ‘too baby’, but still nice for a baby blanket. As you can see I took it easy, no sashings, no real quilting, just plain squares with a border. I also did not use any batting but a fleece backing.

Baby blanket Flirt Sandy Gervais back

It was all done by machine, except the embroidery within every other square and along the edge.

Baby blanket Flirt Sandy Gervais edge

I had never tried mitered corners before, but now I really love it, it looks so much neater! With this tutorial it was easy peasy.

Mitered corner

Flirt Sandy Gervais ModaBaby blanket Flirt Sandy Gervais

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In the last post I talked about a band I was weaving to decorate my Viking age coat or kaftan. Here are some pictures of the finished coat.

Viking coat with woven band

The coat was made of wool in a very dark shade of grey, almost black, which contrasts nicely with the colourful band. I also like how the colours of the band match the glass and amber beads. Fashion at that time was to have strands of beads hanging from the two brooches that fasten the straps of the apron dress (the green one) at the chest/shoulder (brooches are not visible on the pictures).

Viking coat with woven band

Last weekend there was a re-enactment event at a castle where I wore my new coat, and it served its purpose of keeping me comfortably warm. The only thing I still need are a pair of clasps to fasten the coat at the front.

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Bedroom makeover

A few weeks ago, we changed our bedroom and I’d like to show some pics!
This is what it looked like before:

Bedroom before

(Apart from the not-so-well made bed, ahum) it was a very pale room, with white curtains, white bed, white carpet. And this is how it looks now:

Bedroom after

On the floor we laid cork, and two fluffy sheep carpets from IKEA.Cork floor

Bedroom after


I sewed new curtains out of a beautiful red woven fabric (with light-blocking fabric sewed against them at the backside). The same fabric was placed in the two heart-shaped frames on the wall.

When we moved into this house three years ago, we removed a small bush from the garden en used some of its wood to make curtain rods. I think they look better now with this country style fabric.

The wooden book shelves and night tables were treated with a red stain (again from IKEA) and I love how they turned out.

The only thing left to make now is a nice bed quilt!

Book shelves

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