Handmade Hanbok for My Girls

img_2952-18pmEvery year at the new cycle of the lunar calendar, there ensues in our household, a discussion between my Korean self and my Chinese husband about the ‘political correctness’ of calling the New Year holiday “Chinese New Year” vs. “Lunar New Year” (instigated by me, of course).  My husband is all for calling it “Chinese New Year” which is not THAT big of a deal, since the Chinese do celebrate it so extensively, (but then it sort of is) so I’m left wondering why my children are bringing home art and “Times” pamphlets from school solely about “Chinese” New Year  and how it’s celebrated by the Chinese, when there are over 20 other countries that celebrate it as well. But I’m not here to start a debate on one or the other, we’ll save that for another time.  I AM here to share how my latest sewing project has turned out and I think they turned out nicely, if I say so myself.

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My “A” has long since grown out of her Hanbok (Korean dress) and my “C” probably wore her  First Birthday Hankbok for the last time last year.  Last Lunar New Year 2016, my A wore her Chinese dress and my C wore her Hanbok, which nicely represented their Korean and Chinese heritage.  This year, the girls wore their Chinese dress on Saturday and wore their Korean Hanboks on Sunday.  I’d been wanting to make a hanbok for my girls for years now, but never got around to tracking down a good hanbok pattern until this past Christmas season when I pulled the trigger and bought a Korean Dress pattern book on Etsy.  It was mailed to me in California from South Korea and it took about 2 weeks to get the book.  I bought it here on Etsy

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I offered to make a Korean boy’s outfit for my son but he wouldn’t have it.  He said he would never, ever wear it… makes my life easier.  He also refused to wear a Chinese jacket sent from his grandpa in Hong Kong… But what can you do? You move on and make cute things for the girls while they’ll still wear it.

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I love the bright and vibrant color combination of C’s hanbok (right) with the little floral design top.  Hanboks are traditionally more vibrant in color and I wonder if I should have picked a bright, mustardish- yellow for A’s hanbok skirt (left) instead of pink to go with her mint top.

Did you notice that the girls’ hanbok bows are on opposite sides?   I made C’s hanbok first (left, below) and accidentally reversed the front bodice pattern pieces and ended up having to put the tie on the incorrect side.  I didn’t have enough fabric to fix the mistake so I figured I would just finish it and no one would really notice… unless you put side-by-side photos of them together like so…

hanbokcollageSo the mint/pink Hanbok has the correct tie placement on the right side of the Jogori (top) with the 1-bow pointing to the left.   (Yes, it does matter, but let’s just assume for C’s hanbok it doesn’t)

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This is the skirt portion of the hanbok that you wear under the Jogori (top).  It’s basically a wrap skirt/dress and you bring the ties to the front and tie to secure.

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The pattern book is all in Korean but it has good step-by-step photos that illustrate each step that made it fairly easy to follow along.  They do use specific vocabulary associated with the pieces of Hanbok that I had to look up, and the book does have a handy picture chart with labels and their corresponding names.

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I think I got the hair right… I recall from watching Korean dramas (yes, Korean dramas, an excellent source) set in the old Joseon time periods usually having a small braid on the side, woven into one long braid in the back for girls and I think it was buns for married women.  Regardless, the girls looks adorable with their braids and hanbok.

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A and C tried to convince me to wear my hanbok to church with them, but I didn’t really want to wear my hanbok from my wedding (which comes with a huge petticoat) to 3 hours of church.  Maybe next year girls… and that’s a BIG MAYBE.

Thanks for reading and Happy Chinese, Korean, Lunar New Year !!!

-Flora

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Toki Hops, Toki Sews

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“Toki” (rabbit in Korean) hops to it this Easter, but not soon enough and only finished one dress for my two girls!  Uh-Oh.  Good thing I pulled out a pretty satin dress with coral flower prints on it that the older one outgrew and was brand spankin’ new to this younger girl so we avoided a possible melt-down.  Whew!  Well, actually, if my younger girl didn’t get a dress, she probably would have pouted for a second then forgotten about it.  She’s pretty easy-going and very forgiving, which is a blessing since I’ve supposedly (according to some health articles) lost memory brain cells every time I had another child; quite unfortunate for all children involved.

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Speaking of memory loss, I really wish I could remember where or when I got this pretty fabric, but I bought a lot of it (maybe 5 yards) and I had been saving it for a special occasion to make a dress out of it.  Not only is the big watercolor floral prints just beautiful, but the material itself is gorgeous; silky yet thick, definitely isn’t slippery, and doesn’t wrinkle too much.  Perfect material for a dress!

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I revisited my favorite little girl’s dress pattern “The Fairy Tale Dress” by Oliver+S.  I bought the digital pattern, downloaded off the site, printed and pieced the pattern sheets together, and traced the pattern pieces for the correct sizes and view of the dress.  I made this dress in the size 6 and it fits my 6 yr old just right with a little growing room.

This is definitely a very “nice” dress, fully lined bodice, sleeves, and skirt with a layer of tulle with the skirt lining to create more lift and “fluff” to the skirt and has an invisible zipper.  It is a beautiful end product.

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I used this pattern last year to make the above dress in a gorgeous blue and green print with the green Peter Pan collar and big green sash in the back.  I followed View B of the pattern to the T and loved how it turned out. Although, I did think the front waist could use a little sash because it did look a little “boring” aside from the collar at the top.  I do absolutely LOVE the big bow/sash in the back though.

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This time, I made View A from the pattern with a few adjustments.  I got rid of the Peter Pan collar and cut the neckline out into more of a boat-neck rather than a very high-neck round.  I also used piping around the tulip sleeves and piping around the waist by using matching purple fabric with some cording to make the piping.  I bought very light gray cotton fabric to line the inside of the dress.
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I LOVE how it turned out!   I think i spent a total of about 8-10 hours on this dress.  I procrastinated and started it Friday evening, stayed up until 1am, then worked on it again off and on Sat afternoon and into the wee hrs of Sat. night.  Good thing this dress will be handed off to my younger girl later so we can get as much mileage out of it before they both outgrow it.  Very spring and a nice sophisticated little girl’s dress perfect for this special Easter season where we remember the miracle and love of our Savior!

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We had gone to the town Easter Egg Hunt for the last 2 yrs but didn’t go this year due to a busy game schedule, but luckily a friend was hosting one in her lovely backyard so the kids got a hunt in this season. We also did a cute scavenger hunt from Pinterest where they followed clues to find 3 big (plastic) eggs filled with candy (of course) at the end of it. They LOVed the clues and my oldest boy has since made a scavenger hunt for his two younger sisters and one for my husband and I with a lovely note at the end of the hunt.

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Hope you had a wonderful Easter weekend and a nice spring holiday for others.

As always, thank you so much for visiting and please subscribe!

-Flora

 

 

 

 

More Gingermelon Dolls!

 

I absolutely LOVE how these dolls came out and had to share!   I revisited the Gingermelon Pocket Polly felt dolls this week and finally finished these dolls for my friend’s girls.  Kind of exciting with it being my first sale, but with how long it took me to finish the dolls… I wonder if I want to be cranking them out to sell when I’m the one making them by hand.  It’s not a difficult pattern, but the embroidery for the face and adding the hair is definitely more time consuming and a bit tedious.  I worked on these dolls over the course of a *ahem* a couple months.  I cut them out and let them rest, I embroidered on their faces then let them rest, I stuffed and sewed their bodies then let the rest… you get the picture.

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My daughter said the dolly with the white hair looks like Elsa.   I thought about giving her an icy blue dress to really make her look like Elsa, but I think I’ve had enough “Frozen” to last me for years.  I loved the movie when it first came out but Disney went a little overboard with it’s Frozen marketing and I see it EVERYWHERE; and let’s just say I need a break from the royal Arendelle sisters.  But, we did watch Frozen Disney on Ice this past week in Oakland and of course my girls were so enthralled that it made the drive, crazy $40 parking fee, the will call, the lines, the “you’re in my seat”, all worth it.

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I added simple details to their dresses and used shaped craft scissors to cut the hems of their dresses to give it that scalloped look.  I really like the blonde dolly.  Reminds me of a fairytale character; like Goldilocks or put a red hood on her and she’d be Little Red Riding Hod.  Just so cute!

If you missed my previous post on these insanely cute felt dolls and how to make them, click here.

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Thank you for visiting and reading.

-Flora

Sewing with Knits: Peplum Top and Dress

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We got a teaser of rain last week and it seems we are jumping right into summer temperatures with most of this week’s forecast in the 80’s.  Quite unfortunate given the drought we are having here in California, but it is another reason to make some pretty tops and dresses for the warmer weather.  Oh, did I mention this time I will be sewing for me!?  I can’t recall the last time I cut out fabric pieces to make something for myself.  It might have been when I tried to make a coral-colored dress for my cousin’s wedding a few years ago, failed miserably after I read the sizing incorrectly for one of the Simplicity patterns, and ended up rushing to the mall and ransacking every store for a coral dress that had sleeves.  I couldn’t bring myself to throw away the hours of work I had put into the dress and it is still sitting in the back of one of my fabric stash bins.  I still feel a twinge of frustration every time I lay eyes on that dress… I should toss it. It’s not healthy.

Pretty fabric is one of my many weaknesses.  I had been eyeing and waiting for the Girl Charlee Knitfix to go on sale for weeks and even set an alarm on my phone so I wouldn’t miss it.  And of course, that morning I had a Kindergarten “Get-to-Know-You” for my A right when they went on sale, but what’s your smartphone for if you don’t use it in these emergency situations? I lucked out too because I had already done the volunteer clearance (for my B), which they were getting the parents to do while the teachers were meeting with my future Kindergartener.  When my precious fabric cargo finally arrived, I rushed it through the washer/dryer and made my first project using the Penelope Peplum pattern by See Kate Sew, soon followed by a dress using the same pattern but tweaking it a bit to make it a dress.

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Initially, I wasn’t sure about this “Lavender Animal Spot” fabric I saw in my fabric bundle; I’m not a huge animal print person. But I have definitely fallen in love with this top. I still can’t say I like animal print, but this one I do love.

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I thought this dress looked ‘frumpy’ when I first completed it, but I’ve since changed my mind.

Peplums, peplums!  I love peplums!  They are flattering and made in a knit, it becomes an everyday wear.  I may be making a peplum shirt out of each one of my knits for each day of the week. 🙂   I’m not usually a dress-wearer (aside from church), but knit dresses are definitely an exception.  I mean, it’s so easy to wear and what’s better than a nice cool breeze flowing through your skirt on an exceptionally warm day when our male counterparts are (usually) confined to shorts that don’t allow them this luxury.

The only thing I changed to turn the peplum top into a dress, was to change the length and width of the “peplum” portion of the pattern.  I had 62″ width of the flower pattern fabric and used that width with 25″ for the length of the skirt.  I think I may shorten the width next time so there aren’t so many gathers around the midsection, which can end up widening your waistline.  The skirt portion ended up hitting me right below the knee, although I was aiming more for right above the knee, but it works.  And of course you can make it even longer and turn it into a maxi dress.

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I laid out the fabric and went across marking (every 2 inches or so) 25″ up from the bottom of the fabric

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Made a bunch of those blue lines to mark 25″

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Then I connected the dots to make a skirt piece that was 62″x25″

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I have all my pieces cut!!! Ready to start sewing them together.

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I like to make marks at the halfway point between side seams on the bodice and the skirt to help me pin them so the gathers are evenly distributed.

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Matching the marks I made to the side seams

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All pinned together with marks matching the seams and halfway marks.  Sew it and hem the skirt.

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All done!

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Now, what to make with the rest of my knitfix bundle of fabric…

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Thanks for reading and have an awesome week!

-Flora 🙂

On the Hunt for Korean & Japanese Sewing Patterns

It’s a week from Easter and here I am sewing a dress in a green that looks like it would be more fall appropriate.  But I don’t care, I love the color, the fabric, and the design of the dress.  It really is simple in construction, but it took a lot longer to finish this garment due to some language stumbling blocks which sent me searching the Korean-English online dictionary for words in Korean I have never heard before (I never learned “topstitch” or “interfacing” in Korean!!!).  Despite the hiccups, I was determined to finish the dress and am going to make almost every pattern in the book.  I’ll have to think about the little capri pants with a sideways uni-suspender though.
I’ve been wanting to get my hands on a few Korean and Japanese children’s sewing patterns books for a while and found them extremely difficult to get without having to pay 2x the price of the book for international shipping.  I know there are quite a few Japanese sewing books that have been translated into English and are available for purchase on Amazon, but they didn’t have the same draw that this book did.  I was able to see sample pictures of the book on a Korean e-bookstore and even tried drafting my own pattern (still in the works) after a cute and simple girl’s tunic from one of the books, but I still wanted the other patterns… Well, I found a copy of the book on Etsy in Korean and ecstatic is an understatement to the joy I felt when I finally got it in the mail; international shipping needs to be quicker.  I did have to pay a bit more than I would have liked in shipping fees, but it was better than other online bookstores shipping from Korea.
Direct translation of the title: My Child’s Closet
I know it’s hard to see the pictures of the patterns making up the table of contents, which is such a cute idea!  The book includes patterns for dresses, a tunic, shirts, pants/shorts/capris, tutu, and one too many jacket/coats; I will likely attempt no more than one coat pattern.  I learned the hard way that seam allowances are NOT included in the pattern pieces and you have to add seam allowances according to the book.  For example, you have a skirt, and it says to add 1 cm seam allowance on all sides except the hem, you add 4 cm.  Also another thing I wasn’t used to was the metric units and the different symbols they use for “fold” when you cut.  I’ve come to realize that I like having seam allowances already built into the pattern pieces.

This dress, “Baggy Look One-Piece”, is one of the first patterns I’ve tackled from this book and it just may be my favorite little girl’s dress design.  I love the loose, comfy linen fabric that’s shown in the picture, the colors, and the cute pockets.  I tried to find a linen-type fabric as close to the one in the picture as I could, but I think mine is a bit thicker and has a bit more structure than I would like.  I actually like the way the dress seems to be a bit baggy and drapey on the model…

My little A loves the dress (of course) and says it’s now her favorite dress, but then she says that every time she gets a new dress. My sweet little girl.  She says it’s her fave because of the pockets.  Come to think of it, I don’t think she has pockets in any of her other dresses.  I love pockets in my dresses too and I didn’t know some wedding dresses have pockets!

I cut the pieces out for the dress a week ago and finally got out my sewing machine last night to construct it.  I really thought I would be done in a couple hours, but like I mentioned before, I got stuck on the Korean…  and here I was pretty confident about my Korean… I guess what other opportunities do I ever have to brush up and practice my Korean?  The only other time I use Korean is when I talk to my mom (over the phone) and when I make a conscious effort to use Korean when talking to my kiddos (which I forget to do most of the time).  It’s hard to remember to talk to them in Korean and it’s also inconvenient because I know they’ll understand me right away when I talk to them in English…

I really do love this dress! I want one in my size!  Probably wouldn’t look to flattering on me though.  That’s why I love sewing for little girls.  They look so sweet and cute in almost anything.

Maybe a muslin-type fabric would give the dress the loose, baggy, look that I was going for.  Next time.

For now, thanks for reading!

-Flora

Night Owl Projects: First Day Dress

Hope everyone had an enjoyable weekend.  I think I did, but then every weekend seems to be a blur of activities with the only trace of it ever happening, safely documented on Instagram thanks to my overgramming addiction.  I do recall purchasing a pattern, tracing and cutting the pattern pieces, cutting out my fabric pieces, and sewing them all late into the night, but then I didn’t Instagram that process so I can only conjecture.  *wink*  As my kiddos are getting older and participating in more activities, our Saturday schedules are becoming packed with back to back activities.  I find it quite fun and fulfilling at this point, but ask me again in a year.

I used to print patterns for boy’s shorts, neckties, skirts, etc. from Dana Made It a couple years ago and really liked all the tutorials and free patterns she had on her site.  That was when I was trying to learn how to make children’s clothes for my littles and had been scouring blogs and printing off everything that was free.  When I revisited her site last week, I found this First Day Dress Pattern that I just had to get and make for my girls.  My older girl is 5 and she will only wear dresses (as mentioned in a previous blog post) and her little sister, almost 3, is following in big sis’s footsteps.  So I have been meaning to make more dresses and skirts for them in hopes to also use up some of my hoard of fabric I have been sitting on for years.  This was the perfect opportunity to kill two birds with one stone.

I love how simple and quick this pattern went and love that you get multiple dress and top options.  I made the A-line dress and the Swing dress both with full linings and it got so many compliments when the girls wore them to the Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday.

I know the navy blue one is not very Easter-y in color but I loved the little apples on it and thought it would be perfect for my my little C since she will be starting preschool for the first time this fall.  I made her dress in the size 3 and my older A’s dress in the size 5.  They fit nice but have to put it on with arms fully extended straight up and my help for now.  There’s enough growing room for them both for the duration of the year or so they wear it.  Good thing C loves hand me downs from big sis.  Such a waste otherwise.

A is loving the skirt portion of her dress and the way it can “twirl like a princess”.  They wore it all day yesterday and today for church.  I’m already thinking of making more of these.  I might even venture to add some pockets on C’s A-line dress.  We will see how that goes and I will document the process on a future post.

Thanks for reading and sharing in my enthusiasm for darling girls’ clothes!