Friday, 30 May 2014

A Birthday Surprise and Outfit Along Plans

I have such a cool husband. I drag him along to fabric shops, he actually listens and doesn't stare blankly at me when I talk to him about my sewing projects, he puts up with all my swearing when I have no choice but to get the seam ripper out AND he knows how to choose the perfect birthday present!

He got me an overlocker (or serger if you prefer) - Yay! - I had a little play on it today. Thank goodness it comes already threaded as I watched the instructional dvd and I'm none the wiser. I've yet to have my free lesson at Janome to learn how to use it properly. It's a little bit scary, but I'm very excited!

I'm also getting all excited about the Outfit Along co-hosted by Lauren (Lladybird) and Andi (Untangling Knots). It's a sewalong and a knitalong combined to create a complete outfit. I'm going with Andi's Myrna cardigan which is really cute and I'm hoping not too difficult as I'm not really much of an experienced knitter.

I also really like the dress chosen by Lauren for the sewalong but I haven't been able to find the right fabric for it so have decided to make a skirt with some fabric from my stash.

I'm not sure I'll be able to finish the cardi in time (end of July is the deadline) and I probably should be knitting a less summery outfit seeing as we're just moving into winter here but hey, I can't resist a sewalong - it's gonna be fun.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Tokyo Twist

I'd been wondering for ages what I was going to do with this fabric and then when Project Sewn announced this week's theme - "Going Global", inspiration came to me - a Japan dress! The fabric came from Tokyo and my connection with Japan is a musical one, so it all just fell into place. 

My dress fabric came from Marunan in Shibuya, Tokyo, a wonderful family run fabric shop with 5 floors crammed with all sorts of fabrics and notions. Unfortunately I've heard it's now closed down but there are plenty of other places for the fabric fanatic to explore in Tokyo (definitely the subject of another blog post I will have to write soon).

The design just screams Lolita style but I've decided to go for a more classic retro feel. As much as I continue to use the stage as an opportunity to dress "age inappropriately", I think I'll leave Lolita fashion to the cute, young Japanese girls of Harajuku who wear it so well!

I used the bodice from Butterick 5748 (I really like the low back neckline) and added a bow for the front to balance it out. I also went for a centre zip instead of a side one just because I prefer them, it's so much easier to step into a dress than slip it over your head and it means you don't have to put your dress on before doing your hair and makeup.

I've never worked with a border print before and it seemed a dirndl skirt was the best way to go to show off the design. Due to the way the fabric was printed and given that I only had 1 metre, I cut it in half lengthways to make the front and back pieces. I experimented with the width using some muslin first as I had never made a dirndl skirt before. My first attempt was way too full and fluffy and I eventually settled on a width of 70cm (front and back) for just the right amount of fullness.

Harajuku, here I come!

I've been extremely lucky to have toured Japan with my band quite a few times which has been a completely different experience than if we had visited as tourists. It's been wonderful to make friends with likeminded musicians from a completely different cultural background. Each visit has been an exciting, eye-opening experience and we are privileged to have been embraced by the warm, generous, enthusiastic music fans that make up the local rock and roll scene. There are a lot of women in the scene too, which is fantastic, and most of them make their own stage outfits which is even better!

There are many sides to Japan's culture and fashion but my dress reflects my experience with the people in a scene that I've come to know and love - they're colourful, they're loud and they love their rock and roll!

Please vote for me on Project Sewn this Friday if you like my Tokyo Twist Dress.

Soundtrack: Stompin' in Tokyo by Rocket to Memphis