The second of my previously mentioned Big Projects (“big” in this case perhaps not being the most appropriate term) has now been completed, dispatched and happily received by its new temporary recipient, L, in preparation for the arrival of her baby in September. This is what I have been working on; some photos of it and a bit of blurb behind its construction.
L, being ahippy too, asked for organic baby clothes. I couldn’t find any here, nor could I find any organic fabric from which to construct something from, so I thought about what else I could make and settled on the idea of modifying second-hand baby clothes. That way they are still environmentally sound, but also personal. There is a shop in Nagoya that sells second-hand baby clothes, and from there I picked up this cute Baby Gap cardigan:
At this point I didn’t have any plan of what to do, apart from “something natural involving leaves and plants”. Also, at this point I didn’t know the sex of the baby – I found out halfway through, and ended up modifying the design as I worked on it. This, I should just mention, is why this post is marked as NSFP – Not Safe For Parents – it will give you a very big hint as to the sex (“hint” as in “you’d be stupid not to work it out”). I have emailed to tell them not to read any posts with this in the title, but just in case – Mum, Dad, you can go away now ;)
I started off making leaves from some pretty green fabric by drawing a leaf shape onto the fabric, cutting them out leaving a margin, and folding and sewing the edges down. This was quite tedious and time-consuming, as I had to make quite a few. I also embroidered a “stem” of sorts around the cardigan, using a “loop” stitch. It may surprise you to know that I won the sewing prize at school, and it certainly surprised me to know that I remembered what I had been taught all those years ago! Beyond fixing things, mending buttons and adding elastic to old pyjama bottoms, I have done absolutely no sewing since the age of about 15, when I won said prize, so by this point I was already quite pleased that things lookedok!
The next major task was sewing the leaves onto my stem, which I did using what may or may not be a very loose “satin” stitch (Google hasn’t really provided a definitive answer to what this is, so if you know better please do say so in the comments!). This took ages! I worked on the train, at school and in the evenings. It was a source of surprise at school – everyone knows that I do lots of karate so to see me working on something so feminine definitely caused amusement, but also approval – I could hear some of the teachers speaking in Japanese about the “girls activity” that I was doing! Here is a close-up of the leaves. I used thread of alternating colours – cream and green – for a bit more interest (don’t forget you can click all these photos to get bigger versions):
It was during this phase that I found out that what we all thought would be a “he” was in fact a “she”, and after seeing some pink fabric I thought would look good with the cream-coloured cardigan and the green leaves, I added a Japanese style flower to the front. The final design ended up looking like this: