Nani Iro Atelier Dress K and more

Three examples of Dress K. I made all three too large, and I am going to undo all of them.

The first, made from unbleached muslin. This is when I learned that, rather than tracing the lines for all the gathers, it would be far easier to simply measure where to put them on the fabric. I highly recommend this course of action if you’re making the dress. I spilled tea on it, don’t look.

Next, from one of my favorite Nani Iro prints, in cotton double-gauze.

A final version, which I’m in the process of picking apart. I’m excited to reuse the fabric. I appreciate how the pattern for the dress was created to use as much fabric without cutting as possible. This gives me more to work with when I reuse, and preserves the beautiful prints in the dresses. This is also cotton double-gauze.

Here’s the dress in the pattern book:

And, it’s from this book:

This ring came into my life yesterday. It was love at first sight.

It’s impossible to take a non-weird picture of your own hand! If you’re me! Anyway, here, have a leg as well!

When I went to pay for it, it was on sale, THEN the woman at the register gave me sweet compliments and discounted it FURTHER, which means now the ring is so full of good vibes it almost glows. I feel so happy whenever I look at it.

Cheese update! Four additional cheeses were eaten this week. Cheeses 29-32 are:

A honeyed, hard, goats milk cheese which was fine. Good. I’ll finish it, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to get it again.

Cheddar bathed in Chartreuse. Yes. Yes. Would absolutely go out of my way for this.

Also, I ate Cotija, which is delicious, and Jarlsberg, reliably good.

More Kokka 3 Minute Dresses, plus miscellany

I’m still going through old projects I never posted. I showed you a couple of my Kokka 3 Minute dresses before (here and here). These are the other four (!) I’ve done.

These are all Nani Iro cotton double-gauze, a supremely lovely fabric which I think it’s obvious I can’t get enough of. I don’t even want to tell you the kind of yardage I’m sitting on at the moment. I’ve been collecting it for over a decade, receiving some at Christmas or birthdays, or both. To me, it’s both beautiful and represents something more, because it was always a gift.

This print. I love it so much. I have it in, mmm, five colors? At least. I have only used two so far.

This hand-drawn herringbone print is so great, isn’t it?

Also, as I was photographing these, I was asking myself, “How in the world did cat hair get all over everything? I kept it folded, away.” My answer sauntered through the frame. How, indeed.

I wasn’t sure if I liked this print at first, but it grew on me and now I really do.


These photos were difficult to take, but this was my first try at the sewing pattern. I wasn’t sure I’d like it, so I pieced together scraps to try it out. I did the neckline inside-out on one side, ha.


You can see it’s a voluminous garment. The pattern is one-size-fits-most.

I like how comfortable it is. I like how it folds neatly into a square. However, please note that it’s incredibly unflattering, and plan accordingly.

For me this is a ‘no way in hell am I getting out of the car’ sort of garment, a ‘they told me I have to wear clothes but I am doing my best not to’ thing to throw on when I am cranky and uncomfortable. We all need those clothes, though! Right?

This week has been a lot. Doing more than usual of this:

She was the best Miss Marple. Oh, I loved her.

Should I show a photo of dinner? I didn’t plan to, I wanted to talk about other food, but I don’t have the energy to get into it. Maybe next time. Here’s dinner:

It’s pork with a whiskey sauce, rice, and a pile of crunchy vegetables (green beans, snow peas, broccoli slaw). Baby romaine underneath. Raspberry poppyseed dressing on the vegetables.

That’s all for now. It’s time for a walk. The night just got perfect and I don’t want to miss it.

Here in summer

Some dresses I made years ago.

Nani Iro fabric
An older print on Yuwa lawn
I made this one in Liberty Tana Lawn

I used pattern number one from this book to make the dresses:

I have several duplicates I made of another pattern, and decided to disassemble them and cut some Wiksten tank tops from them.

I botched the very first one. We have been going at one another for a week and a half and are currently at an impasse.

My nemesis

Janssen’s Market has been nestled in its cozy corner of a Wilmington, DE shopping center for quite some time, but I’ve never managed to make it in. I finally went yesterday. It’s perfect.

Here’s my tiny haul from yesterday which is pleasing me to no end as I plan what to do with everything.

  • Nielsen-Massey orange flower water
  • Rose petal preserves
  • Bonne Maman do a chestnut spread, how exciting!
  • Boston Harbor tea, which boasts having been tossed into the harbor. Was it truly a loss, or should they have taken a hint? We will find out. (Update: I think it has a really nice flavor, and it’s not too weak. Medium-strength, I’d say. It’s good, and I’m enjoying it.)
  • Bonne Maman lemon tartlet cookies (Update: these were cute and nice with coffee, good to keep on hand for friends who drop by.)
  • Brianna’s, my favorite brand of salad dressing (so far), in varieties I haven’t seen: Lemon-Tarragon and Blueberry Balsamic vinaigrettes. (Update: Lemon-Tarragon is now among my top 3 favorite salad dressings and will enjoy Staple Item status)
  • Better than Bullion soup base in a mushroom variety I am freaking out about. I hope it’s good!

Kochi Jacket 2, and soup

I finished my second Kochi Jacket, and I like it.

I ended up piecing together the sleeves and the neckline, because I didn’t have large enough pieces to cut them from. I was reusing fabric from a dress I took apart.

You can see my lines are a little wobbly, but I ended up liking the pieced look, especially with the neon stitching. I think it gives those parts of the jacket a little more structure, too, which is nice. Also, it was fun to notice the little star I had stitched on my dress and forgotten about.

I think I may make more, because this little jackety thing very conveniently fills a wardrobe need. It’s been nice to have one fewer thing to think about.

This soup was inspired by one I had at Longwood Gardens in the pre-Covid days. I had been meaning to try making something similar ever since, and finally got around to it. It was so long ago I can’t remember exactly what the soup tasted like in order to tell if I matched it. I just remember sort of southwest-ish spices, but not too much spice. It was full of vegetables and chili-esque, but not chili. I mean, they may have called it chili, but it was definitely soup.

I think I got the vibe right, even if not the details. Here’s what I did, and I’m offering estimates at spice measurements because I didn’t measure. Maybe you would like more or less seasoning?

In a couple tablespoons of oil over med-high heat, sauté just until slightly softened:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 6 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 8 oz carrots, sliced
  • 1 red, orange, or yellow bell pepper (I had a frozen blend of all 3), chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped

Add and stir around:

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (or fresh garlic if you feel like), or more or less if you have feelings about garlic
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dehydrated onion (really I would normally use onion powder, and a little less than this if I used the powder form, but this is what I had)
  • 1, 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth

Time for more seasoning! Add these and stir them in:

  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • And I added about 1/2 teaspoon of Penzey’s spices’ Turkish seasoning, which has more of what I already added above, but with the addition of ground sumac, which I like as an addition to, well, I throw it into lots of stuff. It adds a vegetal sour tartness without the fermented flavor or acidity you may get from other ingredients which would add sour tartness. If you don’t have sumac, you can get some, or ignore this ingredient, or add some of a similar flavor in another way, maybe by using a tiny splash of vinegar or lemon juice or perhaps even rose hip or hibiscus tea. I was going for a little something to, along with the heat of the cayenne, add a small challenge to the tastebuds. So if you have a go-to for that purpose, just very small amount.

More ingredients, final stretch. Stir in:

  • 1, 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • A handful of wild rice
  • 1/2 of a 15 oz can of puréed pumpkin
  • 1 green zucchini, sliced into quarter-moons
  • 1 yellow zucchini (or other summer squash), sliced into quarter-moons
  • A shot of brandy. Just use whatever. I would.

Simmer that for an hour or so. The wild rice and squash need to cook. I like them good and squishy, and the flavors will blend together.

I wanted mine with a more flavorful cheese (feta) and Rob went for the gentler mozzarella. We also had bread and avocado slices.

Important Trader Joe’s find:

My once next-door neighbor and dear lifelong friend used to make these and, when she did, was kind enough to share. I moved away, and it has been a long time since I’ve had a blintz. I almost cried when I saw these in the case, it just felt like the sweetest thing. They’re good! It’s no homemade blintz, the filling is a little watery from being frozen, my friend would say it’s too sweet, but still! A happy find and one I’m enjoying.

More Old Projects

Catthew wanted to help with photos today.

A tote bag I made from Japanese canvas.

The first garment I made 14 years ago when I decided to try to sew my own clothes.

I had Home Economics class in middle school, and we sewed a garment or two. I hated it. When I took Home Ec. again as a senior in high school, I refused to participate in the sewing portion of the class. I realize this was bad behavior, but I hated sewing so much I couldn’t accept the idea of sitting in a sad, hot room fumbling over a cursed sewing machine when all I wanted was to be left alone, had I not endured enough of being forced to do annoying things in this godforsaken, cinder block-lined pit? Why was my time being wasted so?

I was very much over high school.

My teacher allowed me to skip the sewing project. I did an embroidery project instead, which I also hated and never finished.

I surprised myself years later when I considered sewing something. I still feel surprised whenever I sit down at the machine. I mean, I still hate it, I do, but for both practical and ideological reasons I sew.

I used to cry when I sewed. Every time. Now at least I don’t cry, and I hardly ever yell.

Sometimes I wonder if my sweet Home Ec. teacher would be surprised at me, too. Bless her, she was so kind. Kinder than she needed to be.

Anyway, this tunic thing started out as a dress which was, in fact, a sack. I made it of bleached muslin, a totally inappropriate fabric for the pattern. It was weird. I dyed it in tea. Less weird but boring, so I put a bird on it. Eventually I decided I didn’t like it as a dress and cut it off to be a top. It’s okay? I guess? I like the bird.

The pattern for the bird came from Embroidery, by Katrin Cargill. This is a great book with beautiful patterns in it. I’ve used a few of them and they turned out nicely. I like that the ideas are taken from antique textiles.

Another Old Project

A small cushion made of silk dupioni, embroidery done in cotton. The earrings are made of vintage glass beads and brass. I think I wore them once before realizing I was allergic to the metal. Whoops.

I pinned the earrings in place in order to ascertain where I should embroider loops which would hold earrings. I later gave the cushion away with a different pair of earrings attached.

The embroidery pattern is from the book Kyuuto! Japanese Crafts, Wooly Embroidery, a Chronicle Book, pictured below. The designer’s credit goes to Tae Sasao.

Merchant and Mills, The Dress Shirt

I made this one in Nani Iro cotton, and I can’t remember if it was sold as lawn or gauze. I think it feels like lawn.

It’s a garment which is long enough to actually be used as a dress, and I’ve worn it as both, depending on the season. Actually, I’ve made seven of these I can remember off the top of my head, in different fabrics, of course.

Have a look at the pattern on different body shapes before you try it. It is not the most flattering on my body shape, and I think it is the rare person who could wear this and look like they’re living their best life. I wore mine when I was living my second-worst life, so it worked for me.

If you love the look of the fit on your body type, or if you just love the shirt anyway for your own reasons which are nobody’s damned business, enjoy! It’s not hard to sew, it comes together really quickly, and it looks like a thoughtfully designed garment when you’ve finished. People will possibly even compliment you and be surprised you made it yourself, which is always gratifying, isn’t it? Even if, at the time they’re complimenting you, you involuntarily break eye contact and mumble something self-deprecating, it feels good later. Yeah? Yeah.

Wiksten Tova Tunic

My version of the pattern done in an ancient Heather Ross print.

I made the dress version, although I don’t wear my dresses quite so short, so I wore it with jeans. It wasn’t at all difficult to make. I did a few and they served me well.

I’ve since changed my uniform, so I’m going to shorten this shirt. I think it could be good for a while longer with cutoffs? Maybe? We’ll see.

Summer Blouse

I made this years ago, from linen. The fabric is almost tissue-thin, ideal for muggy summer days.

I made a couple of them, actually. Okay, a few. More than a few, although at least two of them I adapted to be dresses, and the truth is I don’t know how many I made.

I don’t really like the ones that are dresses. I plan to unmake those.

In general, I really like this pattern a lot. It’s actually somewhat flattering, and easy to wear.

It’s from a book by Heather Ross called Weekend Sewing.

Anyway, this is a very easy sewing pattern I’d recommend trying. The book has other cute stuff in it, too, although I seem to recall mistakes in some of the patterns and instructions, so be sure to seek out errata.

Kochi Jacket

It’s my first try at this sewing pattern. I have mixed feelings.

In the con column: in this fabric it’s not a very versatile garment, because I semi-hate it.

In the pro column: I think I may like the pattern itself.

I have found one (1) outfit I can wear this with that feels like Something I Would Wear ™️, and, in fact, I have worn it and I think it was fine. It helps that the fabric, while not being a print I find myself wanting to be draped in, reminds me of an album cover which amuses me.

It really is a stretch.

So, why did you have that fabric in the first place, Shin Ae? Good question. I don’t have an answer to that one.

Anyway, I like the pattern enough to try it again, and I’m in the process of doing just that. I disassembled a dress and am using that fabric, because the dress, it was…perhaps you know what I will say…

a sack.