Sewing For Your Girls–Hospital Bed Jacket

Here’s a hospital-friendly reiteration of “Basic Pattern 8” from “Sewing For Your Girls” by  Yoshiko Tsukiori.042

I simply split the sleeves, and added 1/2″ (+seam allowance) to the back piece, and 1/2″ (+ seam allowance) to the front piece. Than I added snap tape and sewed as usual. I also added snap tape to the front, and took about 2″ of width from the back.


This was a really emotional garment for me to sew. It’s hard to explain, but even though it is a garment for Katya’s comfort, it feels like sewing it solidifies and makes real the fact of her future pain. Every time I see it, or handle it, I worry that maybe she won’t be able to enjoy it. Maybe I’ll have to fold it up and send it to some other little girl.  But Katya is touched that I’m making things for her–Katya loves a good act of service. And so, I suppose the only thing to be done is to put teary thoughts aside –after making a good plan of action, of course, in case our worst fears should be realized–personally I plan on alternating between crying hysterically, dripping quietly, and retreating to some out of the way nook to brood –as I was saying, to put teary thoughts aside, and focus on making these days as happy as possible.  Dear, sweet Katya.

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“Stylish Remakes” by Violette Room, Book Review

Another book sent to me by Tuttle Publishing. As usual, all opinions are my own, I was not paid for this review, etc.

It seems to me that for every “sew” pun this side of the Atlantic, there’s a “stylish” Japanese pattern book. Although, “Stylish Remakes” isn’t really a pattern book.  It has no pull out pattern sheet, and only two patterns inside. It’s really a book of instruction and inspiration. But what it is about most of all is upcycling.


I was inspired by three projects in this book;

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to follow the book’s advice,Stylish Remakes Review 021

and make this:

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Mum gave me this shirt, which though lovely in fit and lovely in color, was so plain it could make your eyes water. So I added simple beading to the neck, and a vintage hanky bow, which I never would have thought of without “Stylish Remakes“!

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Now to the basic stuff:

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The “College Sweats” section is one of my favorites–although I can’t figure out why the shirts are all American. Perhaps they restyled this book for an American audience?   Whatever the case, this outfit is my favorite:Stylish Remakes Review 009

I thought this shirt would be hilarious done up in Buckey’s/Michigan.

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Here’s one of the instruction pages for the above shirt. As you can see, the measurements are all approximate.

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There you have it–a brief summation of Stylish Remakes” by Violette Room.  Go forth and upcycle!

First Day of School 2015

Katya was a little sad to go back to school. She enjoyed her summer vacation, and was nervous about changing classrooms and teachers.  She felt better when I explained that one of her old teachers is just across the hall, and will check up on her–and once we got it straightened out that she was *not* switching schools!

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Her outfit is Gymboree, which mum got on sale and saved for her. I was thrilled that I didn’t need to take the waistband of her skirt in! She’s plumped up over the summer, and changed shoe sizes.

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Katya was very sleepy this morning, and didn’t feel like smiling much,

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but she was excited to see her old van drivers, and went off happily.

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We’re very hopeful for a great school year for Katya.

Sewing For Your Girls, by Yoshiko Tsukiori: Pattern Review

Tuttle publishing very kindly asked me to review “Sewing for Your Girls” by Yoshiko Tsukiori.  They sent me the book, but I was not paid for this review, and all opinions expressed herein are my own.

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Since we expect, if all goes well, that Katya will be spending a lot of time in bed after surgery, I decided that “Basic Pattern 8” was appropriate. Because, you see, it’s also a bed jacket. I chose the brightest flannel in my stash–it’s a peanut-butter and jelly print.

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The Pattern: There are two pattern sheets, with a front and back, both sides printed. Each side has a helpful index, detailing which pattern pieces are on that sheet. The pattern sheets are printed all in black. This makes it easy to see the lines, but difficult to find and stay with the piece you are looking for. The Author says to use a graph ruler to help you trace. It probably works, but I haven’t a graph ruler, so I use the cm. side of my tape measure, and go along making little dots or dashes, and then go back and connect the dots. “Basic Pattern 8” is a simple pattern, so there was no trouble.Book Review bed jacket 043

Sizing: I used the second smallest size–Katya wears an old 9 or a new 10 in Gymboree– and it fits well, with extra ease.  The Author designed the garments to be worn for several years.

The instructions were easy to follow, simply because it was a super easy pattern. Seriously, I got it traced, cut out, and sewn in the equivalent of a day.

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Instructions didn’t say 

  • Which way to iron the seams–it’s towards the back, BTW.
  • That it is rather necessary, esp. with bulky flannel, to make a careful clip in the seam allowance where the sleeve and the side seam come together.
  • How to gather–‘though those instructions may have been earlier in the book.

I liked the bit about marking the fabric by cutting it. Just little snips, nothing drastic, mind you.

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I changed very little. I misunderstood the seam allowance for the front opening–I read it as 2 inches when it was supposed to be 2 centimeters, but that was my own fault and in no way ruined the garment.

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I also lengthened the jacket by four or so inches–Katya is very long, proportionally– and extended the bias tape into ties, rather than a button, because hospitals are fond of ties.

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I will make this pattern again, this time with snap tape in the shoulders to make it IV friendly. I’ll let you know how it goes.

BTW, Katya says she likes the jacket, esp. the sleeves, and would like me to make her another one.

Pensive Musings

This is where we find Katya most days.  021

She’s so alive.


I wonder what we would do without her? Tomorrow is August 1st, and then there is only a very little over a short month ’till her surgery.  Our eyes are turned towards Sep. 9th, and we wait.  It’s harder, this time.  Her first surgery, in 2012, was a difficult, scary thing–but though we loved her determinedly, we could see her dying in little bits daily.  If the operation was not a success–if she died– we lost what we barely had.  Now we have so much more of Katya to lose. She is happier than ever before, relatively healthy, confident, and very loving. Katya is as amazing as we believed her to be, and we are only beginning to see her true personality.  And we are so afraid that we might lose her.

Katya hugging

Remember us in your prayers.