Monday, March 30, 2015

The Pain of Pattern Drafting...

I was thinking to myself that sewing a skirt should be as easy as ABC. I started reading on methods of drafting the pattern. The usage of the verb 'reading' is out of topic. There wasn't much to read as there were hardly any intelligible sentences to be found in the old printed books from Japan neither were there much well-written study notes from the Western-printed book. After fondling those books for weeks, I realized that the basic they taught newbies were never to be found in the front pages but at the last chapter. How horrifying to learn that~! After wrecking my brain for hours and days, I flipped those books right to the back to find that what I've been thinking were being explained in Mathematics formulae in the last chapter.
I studied the pattern then I changed them into my own measurements to fit myself, of course~! Then when it came to the hip measurement with the line being drawn slanted up, I started to think by how much should I slant the ruler? Shouldn't they tell us the angle? I was so frustrated I was about to use my protractor and used the scale drawing method to get them right. Then, when it came to drawing the lines for darts, the lines were not even perpendicularly straight. Then, I was about to use Pythagoras' theorem to solve it until I flipped through another book and found some more formula. I was erasing those lines so many times. Having to use rulers, pencil and rubber, shouldn't this be like an architect. Mi mama said if we're the architects, confirm the buildings would collapse. I have never used a pencil for many many years.
The printing was so minute, after squinting for so long, I ended up not knowing whether it was a 0.5cm or a 1.5cm. In the end, I used my camera to take a clear photo and enlarge it on screen. You see that word 'CONTINUE'.... Hello~!! Continue what? Again, I brought the book up to the bed and started wrecking my brain, thinking about what does 'CONTINUE' mean.... when I thought I have got the idea of what 'CONTINUE' means, then I saw those two double-edged sword arrow. I checked out the meaning of the symbol and it was written there 'grain line'.... WHAT THE HECK WAS THAT??? I know multi-grain porridge and grain for chicken feed. I ended up having to Google for the meaning and in the end, I found the meaning.

I continue drafting the pattern only to realize that there's a huge gaping space in between and I did not get the similar drawing as the one in the book. I went to shit in the toilet while thinking. I suppose after releasing a small portion from the bowel, the brain will have more thinking space.

Actually, I planned to draft out what I wanted to sew on the brown paper, then transfer that brown paper drawing to the cloth for my prototype sewing. Then, when it's done I will be rejoicing. I ended up achieving nothing and then dragging the hubby up to brainstorm together with us. Mi mama was of no help. Mi mama literally cheat her way in sewing.
I became extremely tired after spending so much time on thinking. I told hubby that this is the most difficult hobby. Hubby said sewing and making clothes ain't a hobby. It's a vocation. *oooppppssss* Totally wrong choice for this year. But I'm adamant to succeed on this~! I called up two tailors who are running classes for those who are interested to learn. One refused to answer the call or to even reply to the text message. The other way never switch on the mobile phone even with such huge banner with the phone number printed. I'm not meant to attend any classes I guess... not that I have any extra time on weekdays. Let's see what I come out with next week.

Remembering Babitto...

I managed to finish two more applique designed towels. This is mi mama's towel. The towel is extra long maybe it's the mistake from the factory in India. Thank you for the wonderful mistake, though. We got a really good bargain. Mi mama wanted the rabbit applique so machine-sewed them on. This was the most perfect work without much wrinkled up designs.
I'll remember Babitto for life. I have not written a tribute post to him yet. Cannot come to terms that he died just like that. He's my most precious rabbit of all. Funny how I have 8 rabbits but I only loved him the most.That looked just like Babitto with fat and short legs, chubby face but the ears over here were too short.
Hubby wanted the dove designs. The towel just came out from washing and it's the hardest I've ever sewn. Two more towels done. Two more to go. But I'm into another different project now. The towels will have to wait.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Study of... Towels... ヅ

100% cotton. 100% cotton. I wanted to sew our own bath towels. The cloth needed was terry cloth. Smart arse like me no Google before leaving the house to the fabric shop. The Bangladeshi guy working at Kamdar who speaks fluent English said I will have to order the whole roll of terry cloth shipped by container all the way from China. My head was making some calculation such as why three pieces of bath towels need a whole container of cloth? I'm definitely not planning to embalm myself in terry cloth like a mummy. In the end, we found terry bath towel on one of the shelves of ready-made bath towels. Then, it clicked in my head, why not I just re-designed the bath towels?
The next question was, what was terry cloth made of? I know it's kinda stupid but we have zero knowledge regarding fabrics. So, we're going to learn through mistakes and by asking stupid questions and let those Bangladeshi and Indonesian and Indian workers laugh at us. We laughed together actually to dismiss the awkwardness. We came back with three pieces of terry bath towels and sat in front of the computer instead of the sewing machine. What you're looking at in the first picture was that of flat cotton bath towel. It's still 100% cotton but the process was simpler compared to terry. The softness was missing in this case and the ability to absorb water was poorer. We went to Queensbay and realized that most towels were flat cotton which cost around RM100. You're just buying the brand name without knowing about the quality of the material.
This over here is terry bath towel. Can you see that those loops were double in size? It has gone through another process to create such fluffiness. The ability to absorb water was the highest compared to other types of cotton. So, you might be thinking how to personalize your very own bath towels. Initials? Nah...
Mi mama and I went to Kamdar the next day to walk around the whole of Kamdar searching for some other type of cotton cloth. There were so many types of cotton cloth that our eyes were seeing stars. In the end, I searched according to the colour and design that I wanted. We walked in circles and went to where we started. Funny how we totally missed this. This is cotton poplin and according to Google, this type of cloth is very easy to work with especially to make men's clothes. Cotton poplin is not cheap. It's RM16.90 per metre. 
I used applique technique to personalize my towel. Search for the designs that you want, cut it out on a piece of paper then trace it on a fusible web. It's like a double-sided tape for cloth. Don't worry if you don't know how to use. Just iron it on. I also don't know how to use it at first. Learn through hands-on trial and error. If you spoil the whole thing then just go get a new one. Or else you will never learn. This was my first time using an iron... a steam iron. The night before, hubby has briefed me on the usage of the steam iron. I happily filled it with water and switch on the plug. But there's no lights on the iron and it wasn't even hot. I placed it back on the iron mat and the next moment was the whole mat was flooded with water. It's still very early in the morning and I woke my precious up to rescue me. She knows how to use an iron because she irons her school uniforms, not me. She said it's not even switched on so I change to another power point and ta-da~! It worked! And the fusible web just fused nicely with the cotton poplin cloth.
Cut them out and peel off the fusible web just like using the double-sided tape. Then, iron on the towel and bring it to the sewing machine and sew them together. Will show you one close-up design. It's not perfect, okay. I have a crumpled dog and a more crumpled dog. Only both paws were perfectly sewn.
Dare to try~! Step on the pedal and just do it~! *woof woof* I have two more towels to go~!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

First Ever Kimono~!

When I wanted to start something, I would start immediately, dropping everything else away. This was started last year somewhere in December. I was using the old Flying Man sewing machine from Shanghai but the thread kept jumping on me. It got jammed once in awhile and I almost tear my head off my neck trying to figure out how the sewing machine should or would work properly. I even Google-d about the damn sewing machine. Mi mama tried helping out but because at home we have that antique hand sewing machine instead of the leg-presser one, mi mama was even more frustrated. In the end, one day, mi mama suggested that we go buy a brand new electronic sewing machine. So, we went as it was just a street away from our house. 

I have sewn the main frame together. Even learnt how to draw on the brown paper by scratch. Trust me, it was harder than Additional Mathematics. It was literally brain-wrecking. I stared at the design without reading every small print and I ended up staring at the design for hours, wondering what were the measurements. In the end, I saw the scales given for the small graph-like boxes. I felt like an idiot after that and I told myself to read every single print, be it big or small.

I don't like to start something and then pick up from where I stopped. I told mi mama that it should be thrown away. But in the end mi mama save the simple kimono. This was sewn using two different design of cloth. Hubby got me the cloth, a metre each to appease me at that point of time. I had no idea what I wanted to sew yet. When I decided on the simple kimono, I realized that for the front and back, I needed at least 2 metres, so I used both different cloth for front and back. The kimono looked rather crisp as it has not gone through its first washing. And it's really cheap cloth just to try out for fun. When I master the art of sewing and dress-making then I'm going to get myself all those expensive and comfortable cloth. Kamdar, I love you. Gulatis and Jakel, do you plan to set up a branch in Penang? If not I will go visit you when I'm in Kuala Lumpur.
It feels wonderful to be able to wear something that has been sewn in the house. The feeling is just like chewing on braised pork belly in soy sauce. I feel smug~!