Free Beret Pattern for Kids: Kids’ Sewing/Felting Machine Project:

Beret with no band
Use this pattern to make beret without band. Pictured above.
size: 22"
Beret no band.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 27.2 KB
Beret with band
Use this pattern to make beret with band. Encase 3/4" wide elastic in the band. Suitable for regular sewing machine use.
size: 22"
Adobe Acrobat Document 20.2 KB

Free Pattern: Contour Mask with Side Darts

I know there are a lot of mask patterns out there--- and i tried many of them.  However, I couldn't find the exact shape I liked.  I wanted a contour style, because pleated masks take longer to dry when washed, but I didn't like how some of the contour masks looked like duckbills on my face. (As I was writing this, I found out that there is a type of masks that's actually called a "duckbill mask", which are supposedly easier to breathe in.)

The contour shape of masks needed to be a bit different for my rather flat asian face from that of masks meant to fit other types of faces.  So, after fiddling around with paper towel mock-ups and several wearable muslins later, I think I finally have the shape that flatters my face.  

There is an abundance of fashion masks in stores nowadays---but making masks is a quick, satisfying sewing project which also has practical uses.   So I decided to share my pattern for anyone still searching for a flattering fabric mask pattern, especially for my fellow flat-faced sewists.  

These fabric masks are not meant to replace medical grade masks---please use your own judgement when to use it.  Also, this is a basic pattern without any pockets for filter, etc.  I use them as is, or with a piece of paper towel between the mask and my face for extra filtering.  Also, please don't use my pattern for commercial use.  

Mask Pattern 1/2
Adobe Acrobat Document 17.5 KB
Mask Pattern (Lining) 2/2
Adobe Acrobat Document 17.7 KB

If you need a tutorial for making these masks, you can watch my (embarrassing) first YouTube video. 

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How to Adjust Waistbands on Kids' Clothes Quickly 2

Since my daughter was growing out of her clothes so fast, I decided to buy her this Hello Kitty themed mini capsule wardrobe in the size that was two sizes bigger than her actual age.  (She was 4 years old at the time and I bought them in the size intended for 6 year-olds.)   Turned out, they were okay in the length but way too big in the waist.  

I COULD have ripped all the seams and made the waist smaller by doing it in the right way, but I was pretty sure that she was growing up so fast that I would have had to adjust the size again before too long.  So, I decided to do quick adjustments that were easily reversible.  

You can see how I did it on a pair of leggings and the pink skirt pictured above in the part 1.

On this jump skirt, I decided to add a piece of elastic in the back.

First, I took out these buttons that were holding the shoulder straps.

I used these grosgrain ribbons I purchased from Joann.  They are on the thin side for a grosgrain ribbon, but perfect for my purpose. 

I folded the cut edge of the 1" wide grosgrain ribbon, and laid it on the inside of the back waist band, as close to the side seam as comfortably possible, and then sewed it down on the two long edges.  

The casing for elastic is created on top of the waist band.  I inserted a piece of 3/4" wide elastic and sewed the open ends through all thickness, including the elastic.  the edges of the elastic piece will show a little bit on both sides.  You can keep the elastic ends long (like 1-2 inches) so you can adjust the tightness of the elastic later.

I also sewed through all layers at the center back to prevent the elastic rolling.  

A piece of 1/4" wide grosgrain ribbon was added to the inside of one shoulder strap where the two shoulder straps crisscrossed in the back.  This makes the straps to stay on the kid's shoulders better.

I re-attached the buttons on the inside of the back waistband and --- done!

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How to Adjust Waistbands on Kid's Clothes Quickly Part1

These are quick and dirty ways of fixing the waist band, and they're very basic.  If you already sew at all, you probably already know them.  So, you can skip to the part 2 of this series, which might still interest you since I thought I was pretty smart when I came up with the idea. (You still might already know it, and in that case, I was the last one to know the method already existed.) 

Pictured below is the start of my daughter's fall 2019 wardrobe.  Maybe her (and my) obsession with Hello Kitty is obvious.

Not pictured above, but I also bought a pair of black leggings which was too big for my daughter in the waist.  So I folded the center back right sides together, and sewed double thickness of the waist band in straight stitches 1” from the folded edge.  This made the waist band smaller by 2”.  This gives a bit of bulk and awkwardness in the back when worn, but it’s incredibly easy to adjust later.  Kids are probably going to grow out of the size (hopefully) before they notice anything awkward in the back..

This skirt was slightly more complicated.  The reason is because its waist band is flat in the front and elasticated in the back, which means there is more fabric bunching up in the back.  I could have taken it in in the side seams, but that would have been the double thickness of the waist band plus the thickness of the waist elastic.  So I decided to take in in the front mimicking pleat details.

I first marked the center front with a pin (red), then folded the front skirt in half to mark the same distance on both sides of the center front pin (blue and light green).

Then, i folded right-sides together around one of the second pins, and sewed the waistband in straight stitches 1/2 inches from the folded edge.  this made the waist band 1 inch smaller.  


I repeated on the other second pin (light green) mark, and shortened the waist band by 2 inches in total.

After only stitching pleats on the waistband part and looking at the result, I went back and made the pleats longer, about 1/2 inch past the waist band bottom.  I just thought the waist area looked better and intentional that way.

In the part 2, I added an elastic casing to the back waist of the Hello Kitty jump skirt. 

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Floral Print Shorts

As a part of Burda Teaching Certification Course assignments, I made a pair of shorts.  The fabric is stretch twill from Joann. I bought this fabric a few years ago with the intension of making a pair of shorts and never got around to it (as with all my stash fabric..).

I usually like slant pockets on shorts but the assignment required to have in-seam pockets.  After trying the shorts on, I do like the way these pockets look.  I think they look more clean-lined.

I like putting cuffs on shorts.  For one thing, I think they make my thighs look (slightly) skinner... (could be my imagination.)  The other reason is that It's much faster than hemming by hand.  I could just fold the hem up, stitch it down with the machine, fold the cuff up, and then machine-tuck it down in a couple of places.  

This time I also caught the bottom of the pockets in the hem so that they wouldn't flop around while wearing the shorts.

Fly-front zip insertion was a part of the grade, too...

"Burda way" of inserting the Fly-front was slightly different from what I was used to, but pretty easy and effective.

I do like the end product!  Even though it is a pretty busy print, I think these shorts will go with tops in many different summer-y colors.  I also love that the fabric has stretch.  The stretch makes a world of difference in the comfort level!




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Simple Jacket <Burda Challenge 2018 : January>

This is my January post for Burda Challenge 2018 (read about the challenge here).  I am aware that it is already February, but I swear I made this jacket in January!  Just didn't get around to writing about it...

After completing my Burda Teaching Certification course (more about that coming up...), I wanted to experiment with the patterns that came with the course.  This simple, no collar, no buttons, and no complicated interfacing jacket is a breeze to sew with a great outcome.  It is my favorite pattern from the course, and I'm sure I'll be making more of them.


I wanted a jacket which has slightly more put-together feel than a hoodie parka, but soft and casual enough that it suits my stay-at-home-mom-to-a-toddler life.


I used poly-blend fabric from, which is super light and bouncy.  One of the great things about this jacket is that it only uses about 1 yard each of fashion fabric and lining fabric.  I used bits and pieces of leftover interfacing, so the total cost of material was less than $10. (Not too bad! )

"Burda way" of sewing up this jacket uses a lot of hand sewing, and it generates a great result.  But I wanted to experiment and compare that to the "bagging" method, so that's what I did this time.  It came out okay, but I have to say I like the result of the hand stitching method better.  I'll continue to experiment with the next jacket...

Burda チャレンジに参加中です。毎月BurdaStyleのパターンを使って何か作る、というものです。もともとBurdaのパターンは完成度が高く、ラインの綺麗な洋服に仕上がるので気に入っています。






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New Pages: Japanese Sewing Books Guide

I wrote a quick guide to start sewing from Japanese sewing books, and a list of Japanese sewing vocabularies ("vocabulary" is such a hard word to pronounce for a Japanese!).  I am hoping that these might help people who are intimidated by books full of foreign language, or when diagrams alone are not clear enough to explain sewing processes.  



Although nowadays, I mostly sew from new and vintage printed tissue patterns, my Japanese sewing books and I go way back.  Ever since I started sewing my own clothes in 5th grade, I've been collecting (or buying and not being able to throw away) sewing books, and part of my beloved sewing library moved with me when I came to America.  

If you are interested in sewing from Japanese sewing books, or you already own them but puzzled by their sewing instructions, these pages might be worth a look (I hope!).  Also, I'd love to hear about any questions and comments you might have about Japanese sewing books! 

Hover over "sewing" in the menu bar right under the blog title at the top to show links to these pages, or you can click these links here:


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Toddler's Winter Leggings

I made a pair of leggings for my daughter using a pair I bought for myself.  

The original pair had some problem I could not live with, but I loved its fabric so much that I decided to keep them to use as material for another pair for my daughter.  



I bought the pair of leggings from a nearby drugstore.  They were folded and wrapped in a cardboard band, so I could not see the whole deal before I bought them.  The second I opened the package at home, the problem was obvious--- terrible pattern matching!! The big borders did not match at all---or rather, it was as if the person was trying to connect a snowflake border to a dot border on purpose.  

The fabric had the really cute pattern and warm, furry backside, so I thought it was worth remaking it to something else.  So I just made a smaller pair of leggings, this time trying to match the borders as much as possible.  I was so focused on matching borders horizontally, and I actually forgot about matching the snowflake patterns in the center front and back. 

luckily, the center front doesn't look THAT bad---though of course, not anything close to acceptable if I was actually trying to match... (and the center back is worse.)  But what's done is done, and the problem areas were mostly hidden anyway when my daughter dresses up in her whole winter gear.  

Fabric: poly knit with furry back

Pattern: from a Japanese sewing book: "Mainichi kiru onnanokofuku" by Yuuki Katagai

Size: 100

Pattern modification: since the fabric was thick, I used one size bigger and shortened the legs.  




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Thoughts on Sewing and Sustainability

Last year was a slow year for my sewing and creativity.  Partially (ok, maybe a big part), it was because I was taking care of a one year old baby for the first time.  

However, the biggest reason is that I felt guilty about creating more "things" when I already had so many.



 I know it's such a cliche for a new parent to suddenly become all environmental -conscious for the sake of next generation (= her own kid) , but that's totally how I was and am now.  

Apparently, donating old clothes does more harm than good in some cases. 

I decided to use old clothes as waste cloth and salvage notions as much as possible...

I watched this great documentary film "The True Cost" (you can watch official trailer on Youtube here), and I passionately recommend everyone to do the same.  It's about (I think) the raise of fast fashion and the burden that's forced upon environment and people in production (often in the third world countries).  It opened my eyes to something we all knew in the back of our heads but ignored so we could keep enjoying cheap, disposable fashion... for what cost??

I pledged to myself that I wasn't going to buy from fast fashion retailers which exploit worker's rights and do harm to environment.  I tried to up-cycle my and my husband's clothes to make baby clothes.  I wasn't going to buy any new items for myself unless I really, really need them ---then I broke down and bought some cute t-shirts for my daughter from one of those evil retailers.  (She looked really cute in them, and sometimes you don't have time to whip up t-shirts...excuses excuses......)

So my attempt to be a really good, environmentally conscious consumer was failing.  And there was my "stash".  

Is sewing up a clothing item after another any better??  Probably.  It doesn't involve deprived, underaged stitchers in dark buildings with no windows.  But I don't know where my fabric comes from. Chances are that there are many many dark, windowless buildings that produce yards and yards of fabric for $2.  Isn't compulsively sewing up things that I don't wear many times the same as an irrational shopping habit in principle?? 

When you shop, you can really look at the fit, fabric, design, and how they all come together in the final product.  The problem is that it's hard to find something that's exactly what you want.  But when you sew, unless you are really experienced in both sewing and designing, it's again difficult to end up with the final product that's exactly what you envisioned.  

I have been considering pros and cons of these different options, and yet not come to a conclusion. This is the reason for my sewing rut that lasted for more than a year now.



But the truth is, lately I really miss sewing.  Sewing and creating is directly connected to joy I feel in life, much like meditation for me.  So maybe for now, I settle for a median approach: Consider purchases before actually buying.  Carefully plan and take time to sew something I'll really love.  Take care of things I already own.  Try to buy from small local businesses as much as possible.  



So in other words, I just settled for some common sense stuff after much ado of thinking and rambling to my husband... (Poor guy. But that's what husbands are for, right?)



"The True Cost" というドキュメンタリー映画を観て、ファストファッションの陰で汚染された環境や、人権侵害問題などについて考えるようになりました。(オフィシャルのトレーラーはこちらで見れます)












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Yellow Turtleneck shirts for twin babies

I have twin baby nephews who are 2 months younger than my daughter.  I needed gifts which I can send to Japan via airmail without going bankrupt. After thinking about it for a while, I ended up making something my daughter wears daily and I consider to be some of the most useful pieces of clothing I made for her: turtleneck shirts.   



Fabric: yellow organic cotton knit from

Pattern: from a Japanese sewing book: "Mainichi kiru onnanokofuku" by Yuuki Katagai

Size: 90

Pattern modification: the book suggests to just turn and stitch down the sleeve hem, but I did mock-bands to finish with serger.  


I used fusible web to baste the hem, and then used twin needle. 

I'm not sure if boys are naturally drawn to tractors or just giving in to the society's expectation, but my nephews are obsessed with them.  So naturally, I added iron-on tractors. 




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