FO: Japanese knot bag

My friend loves her new tote! Now I can show you what I did:

First I made enough fabric. I cut out fabric using the bag I already have as a template.

I then started sewing together fabric, within that form, to create interesting cloth. A pink strip here, a gnomey pocket there. Ad an extra line to a seam. For stability and as an eye pleasing thing.



Untill I had enough fabric for the two sides to the bag: an inside and an outside.


The fuchsia fabric is sturdy cotton. I chose to have the fabric fold at the bottom of the bag, making it unnecessary to cut the bottom.

Now the real sewing started. I made sure both pieces were laying with their right sides together.

I began by sewing together the top of the handles.


Then I sewed all around the bottom of the sides. From handle to handle. Obviously I interupted this line at the bottom of the fuchsia where no seam was necessary.


I then flipped one piece inside out and put it inside the other piece, right sides together.


I noticed that the inside of the handles did not play well together with the outside. The soft pink one was way larger than it’s shell and it was bulking up.


I carefully measured the difference and made a new seam at the top of the soft pink handle


now the inner and outer seam match up nicer and there’s no bulk:


I carefully pinned together the round parts at the top:


sewed it:


trimmed it, clipped it:


I folded the bag right side out. (As by miracle the inside was right side out too.) I pinned it.


The next day I carefully sewed a seam on the right side of the seam I had sewd the previous day.


I then folded the seams of the holes of the handles on the sides. Pinned them. Sewed them, from the right side. Here’s the big handle in the process of pinning. I pin the outer fabric first, then match the inner fabric to that measurement.


Here’s the small handle finished. It seems the seam has not caught all the inner fabric.


I had to do some repairing.

Then I reinforced the lower ends of the handle holes.

All that was left now was “to weave in the ends”. That’s what knitters call it. Sewists probably say something else. “Hide the loose threads”?






parcel send to my friend, she is a crocheter:


card from in Dublin. International shipping at a flate rate!


Gnome Couture Dress lesson 1 and 2: pattern to muslin pieces

Determined to make this dress according to the Craftsy Course The Couture Dress by Susan Khalje but also benefit from the sloper I’ve made I spend a day tinkering with the pattern pieces of Vogue 8648 and my sloper:
I put them on top of each other, looked for clues, tried to marry their lines, inserting the ease I had chosen.

Here I try to determine how much the pieces should overlap when the midriff pieces rest on my waistline but the bossom pieces honour my apex. Those midriff pieces have to be shortened, the bust piece must come down. But what to do with the shoulder?
Also I brought in the Center Front line (CF), I made the mid piece less wide.

A scary process as I really have not much of a clue yet. However I know the sloper is correct, I know commercial patterns add way too much ease and I have Susan Khalje’s course The Couture Dress as an example and guide.

I did a lot of things to the pattern…
for one I did shorten the midriff section. The original is 9 cm high, I opted for 8 cm.
Here you see the new line in pencil, at the top. At the bottom the waistline coincides with the seam allowance of this pattern. As I am only interested in seam lines and not in cutting lines this serves me well.

Then there’s that horizontal slice of fabric that has to come out because I’m a bit bend. You can see it noted on the sloper. It will get a place above or below this midriff section as the midriff section is an eyecatcher and should not vary in height. I’m thinking below, in the skirt pieces.

Another thing I did was because my apex is more near to my waistline than it is in the Vogue pattern. I cut the paper piece and folded it so that it matched the sloper better. Then I altered the bust piece even more:
I let the curved line follow the princess line of my sloper. It automatically ended up being a Full Bust Adjustment.

I had so many doubts about all of this, redrawing these lines, adding ease and choosing sites to do so! In the end I watched the video lesson 2 from the Craftsy Course The Couture Dress and I was reminded that the lines do not matter that much. It will all come together when fitting the muslin.

It gave me the boldness to push through. I just drew what I thought was good. Always keeping in mind the waistline, CF, CB and grain. And letting the sloper be leading (that is: my sloper + added ease). The Vogue pattern was following.

Because I brought the pattern apex closer to the waistline (not only in the bodice side sections but also in the bodice front midsection) it brought the neckline too low so that has to rise.
I reserved a bit of extra fabric in the muslin to determine how high I want to have it later, while fitting. How to do this and many more little and big tricks I learned from Susan Khalje, it really is a good course.

In the end I was confident enough to pin all the pieces to my muslin (again with lots of nifty tricks) and cut the muslin. (I am such a mental cheap skate. I had to actively give myself permission to “destroy” this piece of cheap muslin and just try it and see where it will lead. I’d rather not venture than run the risk of a waisted effort. Really, I’m squirrel poo.)

a nice pile of pieces, ready to trace. I use waxed paper. Again, watch the course.

Raising the back. Making notes on all the pieces before laying them aside.

This is the skirt mid back:
On the left you can see how I altered the lines. I put the ease (decrease) for the back mostly in the princess lines and not in the side seams. Because I have such a curved back (and not much of a waist)

On the lower right you see that I added a vent. Using this tutorial and my experience with the Wriggle Dress that had a vent too. It is very easy and looks good.

All pieces cut, traced and noted it was time to put away the paper.
Tracing paper and pattern paper are now snug in their envelopes again. Usually I run away mid project and forget to tidy up. This time I am regarding tidying up as part of the process. And it feels good!

Gnomes in progress: insecurities

– I ironed the cotton. Ready to cut my muslin now.

– figured out the ease from this previous post. I’ll do 2,5cm on the waist, 5 cm on the hip and 7,5 cm on the bust but will cut wider so it may even end up with up to 7 cm around the hip. I want to wear this dress over a longsleeve and tights so I may add a little bit of extra ease. However, I wore the Anemone Dress today, it has no ease, and it was too loose around the hips. Apart from when I sat down, then it was good. So I guess minimum ease works for me.


– figured out how to adjust for the extra fabric to be taken out at the side and back. I cannot make the taille detail less high, I think it has to come out from the bodice parts and the skirt part. Probably divide between the two. Perhaps sneak in a little bit of decrease in height into the waist band.

– before cutting: insert vent instead of slit in the skirt

– watch the video course on by Susan Khalje and follow the steps.

Then I got really insecure….  my body sloper is not very good I think. It fits well but sections may not be straight. Not if I have fitted it all by myself. Fitting should be done by someone else.

I put the waistline of Vogue on the waistline of my sloper and the apex on the apex. It seems I should make the waist band less high…

Then I really had my doubts about the paper I cut. I cut without ease and wanted to add the ease whilst transferring it to the muslin. This is difficult. So I threw away to papers and redrew the pieces onto another piece of tracing paper.

Then I got insecure because my pieces are not very well balanced. Although the princess lines run right through the apex I fear the mid block section will not appear of equal width on both sides of the Centre Front.

Then I fot the papers from the waste basket. If I were to buy another piece of stretchy cotton I could use them to make another sheath dress….

Then I laid the pattern pieces of Vogue 8648 on top of my pieces. I grew very insecure. These pieces had their left and right mirrored, they would be of equal width, But there was so much more ease on these than I planned.

Right now I’m leaning toward just doing the course as is, from the Vogue pattern. Forget my sloper.

But with a little shortening of the top part since my back is shorter. My front too, come to think of it. I’d have to do a Full Bust Adjustment (or in this case, adjust the waiste)

all in all, gnomes are very insecure today.

New Dress: Gnomes at work.

SPOILER ALERT: I want to use some of this fabric for DE KIKKER so if you know her, please keep it a secret. And if you are De Kikker, do not scroll down.

jaja, ik heb een geheimpje voor De Kikker.  Gaan we het verklappen?

So, I’m planning a new dress, in fuchsia pink with a front panel of gnomes on wheels:


On the left an old sheet to be used for…. backing/lining. I have not decided yet.

The pattern is based on the pattern that is used for the Crafty Course The Couture Dress by Susan Khalje: Vogue 8648

A sheet dress with princess lines and a broad band around the waist.

I’m planning to make the front panel with the gnomes but still have to decide if/how I will bring them back in the front panel of the skirt.

I traced my sloper and made the darts into princess lines.


I must remember that these lines have not yet got ease in them.
If I use these to trace unto fabric I must add ease first.

The other decision is wether or not to line this dress. Or use backing. I’d want to because it makes finishing the seam allowances so much easier.

But the dark pink fabric is stretchy cotton (though not as stretchy as the Anemone dress). It is “keper katoen” of which I only know the Dutch name.

Where I to line or back this dress with the light pink fabric I would use a non-stretch fabric on a stretchy fabric. I have to think about that first.

What guides my thinking is how I am going to use this dress. If it’s going to be a day-to-day dress I’d like a sturdy finishing. I’ve been known to do forest maintenance and saw trees in dresses and I bought this sturdy cotton for a sturdy working dress.

Right now I am leaning towards backing the cotton and just forgetting about the slight stretchiness of the fabric. But I’ll ponder some more.

UPDATE: thought about it.

1. make a muslin. This way I can play around with the ease and I will end up with pattern pieces I can re-use. THis dress pattern will probably be a staple in my wardrobe.

2. trace the seamlines onto the light pink fabric. This will probably become a backing.

This way I get to follow all the steps in the Craftsy Course and get a chance to soak up all the knowledge I missed by merely watching the videos.

first step now: iron the muslin.
Pity I’m getting visitors at any moment now. Our coffee table is my ironing board.

UPDATE on the UPDATE: I started pressing the cotton anyway. I only get visitors who appreciate life and living 🙂

this is as far as I got before the doorbell rang.