Thursday, February 8, 2018

Drawstring Backpack

Whenever my niece visits me, no matter how many gifts I buy for her, everything feels a bit incomplete without a handmade gift. This time, I made this drawstring backpack with a casing on the outside, gusset, a flap that has a Velcro closure and a pocket on one side. 

I used a heavy weight cotton for this. The casing for the drawstring is made of polyester fabric. If I had used the cotton it wouldn't  have been easy for the child to pull the drawstring. Fortunately, I found the fabric that was the exact same colour as the pink used for the gusset, flap and pocket. Since the main fabric itself is a bit heavy no interfacing was needed. The lining has two layers of muslin which I treated as a single layer while sewing. 

While planning the pattern I started with Debbie Shore's fantastic duffle bag tutorial and made my own changes from there.

Pattern pieces

2 pieces of main fabric - 14 inches x 15 inches 
- Rounded off the bottom edge while drafting the pattern

Lining - as above 
Straps 6 inches x 44 inches 
Flap 6 inches x 7 inches
Side Pocket 10 inches x 7 inches
Side Panel 43 inches x 3 /12inches. The length depends on the round edge at the bottom of the bag. All the above measurements include a SA of 1/2 ". 

Attach gusset to the main fabric pieces. Do the same for the lining piece leaving a 3" gap in the gusset. Flap - with right sides together sew 3 sides with a 1/2" seam allowance. Turn right side out and press. Sew on casing to the main fabric. Sandwich the flap between the lining and main, body pieces and sew around. Turn the backpack to the right side through the gap that we had left at the side of the gusset . Sew on the casing. The casing on this bag starts and ends on the gusset with a 1 inch gap between the front and back casing strips. The casing strips are made by cutting fabric on the bias.

Make straps by enclosing all raw edges and sewing all around. Sew the straps onto the backpack leaving a loop of about 5-6" at the top. Finally sew in the Velcro closure. Finally I just think a pocket on the other side would make the backpack look more balanced. 

Meera loved her new backpack. It holds her favourite dog softies Shongu and Shonguli and her water bottle.  


Sunday, December 31, 2017

The 32nd Annual Dastkari Haat Craft Bazaar

It is no secret that I love craft fairs. I hear about one in my city and I just have to be there. I truly believe the weavers, artisans and craftsmen of our country do some really spectacular work and they could do with as much encouragement as is possible. And whenever I have  bought anything from these fairs, I have most often got a 'Wow! Where did you buy that from?' 

So when I got this mail from The Dastkari Haat Samiti  making a note of my work and inviting me for the 32nd Annual Dastkari Haat Craft Bazaar  I was super thrilled. I have been following this organisation and I know that they do some outstanding work in providing a wonderful platform for Indian handicrafts and handlooms.  Dilli Haat is a place I have never missed whenever I have visited Delhi,  Like every year this year's craft fair too, curated by Ms. Jaya Jaitly, founder of the Samiti, will be working with Indian artisans and weavers to bring their craft in focus and also 5 renowned artists from Israel as well. It is a great opportunity to see a variety of work from artisans from all over India. The organisation also requested if I would share it on my social media. Would I? Of course, I would!! This is a place not to be missed if you happen to be in Delhi between the 1st and 15th of January 2018.

This is also an excellent place to shop for unique textiles and handicrafts also gifts that come handy when you have sudden visitors. I do that most of the time and the quality and artistry is always appreciated. Not just that you will also get to meet the artisans  Do catch it if you can. And don't forget to let me know, I would love to see what you bought.

Below is their entire detailed press release.

Jaya Jaitly, Founder of ​
Dastkari Haat 
​Samiti brings 
the 32nd Annual Dastkari Haat Craft Bazaar
​the fortnight 
extravagant exhibition of art, textile and culture

Where: Dilli Haat, opposite INA Market, New Delhi

When: 1st – 15th January 201

Timings: 11:00 am – 9:00 pm

Entry: Rs 20

Jaya Jaitly, Founder of ​
Dastkari Haat 
​Samiti brings 
the 32nd Annual Dastkari Haat Craft Bazaar
​the fortnight 
extravagant exhibition of art, textile and culture
 at Dilli Haat from 1st - 15th January 2018 

 January 1, art enthusiasts will get to see a mélange of colorful and traditional handicrafts, textiles and classical dance performances as artistes from India and Israel will come together to showcase their cultural legacy
 while cementing cultural and diplomatic ties—a vision seen by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his recent visit to 

The 32nd edition of the annual 
​craft bazaar
 which will take place at Dilli Haat, will witness 
​the ​
participation of around 200 artisans from different states assuring a peek into the myriad art and craft traditions.

For this year, Dastkari Haat Samiti has collaborated with Ministry of Textiles to create an interactive platform where local artisans from India and Israel will exchange their skills and art while creating intricate art pieces that are significant of artistic legacy which both the countries are known for.

Five craft persons from Israel will work with their Indian counterparts from Jammu and Kashmir, Bihar, Delhi, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan to create two completely new art pieces each combining common understandings and skills in entirely new designs under the guidance of two Indian designers.
​ ​
The Israel-India workshop which will be held between January 2- 14 will showcase fresh art pieces to the public. During the workshop, art connoisseurs will also get a chance to interact with artisans and watch their work in progress.

“This festival is a unique platform where our craftspeople get to interact and share their skills with their foreign counterparts. Our vision is to bring back the original essence of Dilli Haat where only those artisans who don't get to display their work 
​in New Delhi could showcase 
their work exclusively ," 
​says ​
Jaya Jaitly,
ounder of Dastkari Haat Samiti.

​15 day Dastkari ​
​Craft ​
ar will showcase a mix-bag of art pieces which will be created with finesse by Israeli artists
​ ​
in different art forms—papier machie by Vered Otmy, patchwork by Orna Shahar, embroidery in textile by Sassona Schits , paper cutwork by Janine Golbert and wire mesh by Nihad Dabeet.

The bazaar will also touch upon the important aspects of the craft producers' life by showcasing myriad cultural performances including folk music from Rajasthan, the exotic tribal martial Chhau dance
​rs who will be dancing as well as demonstrating the mask making​
 from West Bengal, the mesmerizing ‘Pinguli Art’- a unique style of painting that incorporates storytelling from Maharashtra, traditional weaving and singing performances from Gujarat and soulful flute renditions by a Varanasi flute player who will be willing to teach to the interested viewers.

​annual bazaar ​
cites to serve as a platform that provides unique inputs to the crafts sector while creating employment opportunities for local artisans.

​decor of Dilli
 Haat will replicate the unique pap
er machie art created by 
 folk artist from Chhattisgarh, Sundari Bai. 

Work by Israeli artists


Thursday, November 30, 2017

Shift Dress

This is a very special make. Designed for my sister as her birthday gift, it contains all the elements she loves in a dress. Its comfortable, elegant yet casual, has no zippers and most importantly has pockets. My sister would wear a trash bag if it had pockets (her line, not mine) :)

The pattern :

The pattern is derived from the dress block/sloper. It has bust darts and side seam pockets. The hem is slightly flared. The sleeves have a ruffled edge; the ruffled edge is one and a half times the width of the sleeve edge. The sleeves follow the rule of thirds. the plain sleeve and the ruffled part are 2/3 and 1/3 respectively. The ruffled edge is cut on crosswise grain since I wanted it to flare out.

The dress is modelled by me here. The idea was to blog about it as soon as I had made it. But this has taken so long  that my sister has already worn it numerous times. She loves the dress. And I am one happy girl!!
P.S. The knee high boots are from Zara which I absolutely love- a gift from my sister :)

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Jersey (W)rap in Manhattan

This started out as a wearable muslin which I finished in time for my US holiday.

Derived from the jersey block this faux wrap has a couple of side pleats and a quarter circle skirt and three - fourth sleeves. The fabric belt is 1 1/4th inch wide. The skirt and the sleeves are not hemmed - I didn't have enough fabric to make the skirt longer and hemming it would have made it too short for my liking. I used ball point needles this time (my husband got it for me from his trip to Amsterdam) and it made a world of difference.

I will be making changes to the pattern since the pleats are not too deep.The fabric is lightweight and not of great quality, I think a medium weight jersey would have been perfect which I haven't been able to find in India yet. My search continues. All the flaws aside, it still is one of those dresses that makes you feel fabulous. I wore it the day we visited Bryant Park, NYC. What a memorable day it turned out to be! There was a free figure drawing class with a live model which I got to participate in. Thoroughly enjoyed it. We had a lovely picnic near the Central library. And the day ended with some really fun square dancing in the park with a bunch of happy and enthusiastic but absolute strangers. It might still not be the perfect dress, but I do believe that when you feel fabulous, a perfect day just happens. 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Tulle skirt and a Turtleneck top

I made these a few months back. It is somehow the photographs that take time. So though I have made quite a few garments in the past couple of months I have yet to photograph them all.  I finally did it. So lets begin with this turtleneck top and this tulle skirt. One of my sewing resolutions is to make a complete garment set. This is because it usually happens with me that if I make a skirt there is no top in my wardrobe that goes with it which makes all the hard work seem pointless. Add to it the shopping for a top. So once I decided to make a tulle skirt I decided to make turtleneck top to go with it. The colette sewing planner has been a huge help in planning my sewing so far. I am so glad I bought it. Here's my inspiration page:

The tulle skirt:
I just love how tulle makes you feel like a princess. This one has four layers of tulle - two layers are black and two are grey. I used the half circle skirt pattern that I made here : Royal Blue faux wrap dress . Though the dress was for my sister I could easily use the skirt pattern for me since we are almost the same size and the skirt is attached to a 2 inch elastic waistband so no worries there. The skirt has a black satin lining and was quite a quick sew. Love how it turned out.

The turtleneck top:
Is made from my first jersey block!!! :) Here's the tutorial that I followed : Jersey Bodice Block and Sleeve block   To the bodice I added a turtleneck following this tutorial : Drafting a turtleneck.  This video by Threads was very helpful in sewing the turtleneck.   iI used the stretch stitch and sewed the sleeves flat (the sleeves are sewed first and then the bodice side seams). This video is great for sewing sleeves flat.
I'm getting more comfortable sewing with jersey. I used size 11 needles for this one since I just could not find ball point needles which everyone recommends.

I think I will have to make some changes to the pattern for a better fit. But for now this one is completely wearable.


Thursday, March 9, 2017

Frozen's Elsa Dress - with all my love

Of all my projects past present and future, I am sure this dress will stand out in my memory as my most loved project. Made to please a darling little girl who I love very very much - my niece Meera. I have made dresses for her before here. here, and here but this time it was she who asked for the Elsa dress. When I told her that I would be making a dress for her, she immediately asked me if I could make her an Elsa dress. Elsa is her most favourite person and she is her number one fan. Of course I said yes. Because I never say no to her. I was very scared as to how I would go about it since I had never made anything like this before. I believe that love makes things happen. I put in so much love and affection and work into this and this beautiful dress did happen!!
The dress yoke and sleeves are made of knit jersey, the bodice is sequinned fabric and the skirt is satin. 

Here are the project notes:

1. The Pattern

I drafted the pattern myself after my sister sent my niece's measurements. This wonderful You tube channel was extremely helpful : Studio Lot13

The bodice : I drafted the bodice pattern using this tutorial . I have always loved all tutorials from this channel and this is the first time I have drafted something using them. The tutorials are very well explained and very easy to follow. I drew the yoke line on the bodice freehand. Notice that the back yoke is 1" below the arm hole. The front bodice was cut on fold and the back bodice had two pieces since the zipper was inserted at the center back.  I lined only the bodice.

The yoke and the sleeves: The yoke is derived from the jersey block. I lowered the neckline of the jersey and now think it wasn't really necessary. But since I had made the dress before my niece visited, I realised this only later.

The skirt : is a circle skirt and is really easy to draft. While drafting the circle skirt to be attached to a dress, one should remember to keep the bodice waist measurement as the circumference and not the actual waist measurement. 

The cape: covers the back and extends onto the front yoke. To draft this I measured the back yoke line  where it joins the bodice and added about 2 inches on either side(for the extension onto the front yoke). I drew a rectangle using this measurement and the length of the cape. Dividing the width into 5 parts and using the slash and spread technique the cape pattern was ready. 
I added a seam allowance of 1 inch on most seams. For the cape, seam allowance was added only at the top since the fabric is such that it does not need any finished.

Slash and spread technique to make the cape

Bodice and skirt pieces - 6 in total

2. Construction

I was unable to find ball point needles to sew the jersey fabric so I just wet ahead and use needle no. 11. Also using tissue paper underneath satin while sewing ensured that the seams were pucker free. I used a walking foot and a small stitch length. The walking foot proved to be a boon. To sew the jersey pieces I used the stretch stitch (looks like a thunderbolt). It was my first time sewing jersey and it was not very difficult. 

Baste lining to the bodice and treat it like a single layer of fabric. Sew side seams of the bodice.
Sew side seams of the skirt.
The sequinned fabric was quite soft for a child to wear but I still bound the edges once the seams were sewn.

Sew side seams of the yoke.
Attach yoke to bodice only  a few stitches more than the vertical seam allowance for the zipper. The cape is sandwiched between the yoke and the bodice which is attached once the zipper is sewn.
Attach skirt to bodice.
Sew in the invisible zipper.

Sandwich the cape at the yoke line (better if you baste the cape to the bodice first) and sew the yoke and bodice together. Since the yoke is a knit it will have to be stretched a bit while stitching to fit the bodice. You will have to cut into the cape for a few inches at centre back to use the zipper.

I did a set-in sleeve but a better way to sew in sleeves for knits is to use the flat insertion method. This is a wonderful tutorial on how the flat insertion is done : Sewing a sleeve in a knit top
Hem the skirt.

Additional notes: I did not finish the neckline and the sleeve hem. Also, the cape also did not need any finishing.

The little one was absolutely delighted. She declared "The dress is beautiful" and then added "It has just enough glitter" :) She danced around and we were treated to a beautiful rendition of " Let it go".
That day I was the happiest person on Earth!!


Friday, January 6, 2017

Royal Blue Faux Wrap Dress

Wishing you all a very happy New Year!! Hope this year has gotten off to a great start.

I am so excited to start off this year's posts with this faux wrap dress that I made for my sister.

I had the Little Black Dress book by Simon Henry for quite sometime and had always wanted to try out projects from it. So when my sister was visiting I decided to try the wrap dress called Greta in the book. I made a muslin using the draping techniques described in the book where the sloper is made by pinning the muslin fabric onto a live model wearing a fitted T shirt or on a mannequin. In my case my sister was the model. Since I had only made flat patterns before, this was new but quite easy to follow. I made the bodice and skirt sloper separately. But instead of the flared skirt described in the book I made a half circle skirt (The fabric I used - modal is very drapey and I thought a half circle skirt would look better) I attached the half circle skirt to the entire bodice thus making it a faux wrap dress. The fabric belt was made separately and sewn at the waist on the right side. I added flutter sleeves since they are my sister's and my favourite type of sleeve.

The dress has no zippers so it was fairly quick to sew. I take a lot of time sewing invisible zippers :) Since part of the skirt is cut on the bias some portions will stretch out. So I let the skirt hang on a hanger overnight before leveling the hem. I used a bias tape to hem the skirt after leveling the hem.

My sister loves this dress and says its very comfortable.

The half circle skirt pattern was put into use immediately after I made this dress. I made a tulle skirt which I will blog about next.