Monday, September 09, 2013

Trews and PJs for J

It is just starting to cool down a little here, with top temperatures now barely scraping 30C each day. However, that means it is still too hot for James to model either the trews or the winter PJS that I recently made for him. Hopefully I will add some photos to this post later, when the weater cools some more. [20th September update: just about cold enough to bear the wearing of long trousers, so here they are!]

Both were repeat of previously sewn patterns. The trews were made from a cotton fabric bought this spring in Cortez, which is near Mesa Verde National Park, in the USA. I'd been a little concerned I might not have enough fabric as the bolt in the shop was finished with less than the length I'd requested. But it was actually just right. 

The PJS were from a rather narrow bolt of printed brushed cotton, and, although I bought many many metres (purchased in Yuzawaya in Kamata), the pattern pieces were actually a tighter squeeze onto the fabric than the trews. I had to cut out the arms separately in order for it to fit. It was only while laying out the jacket pieces, after having cut the legs, that I realised that the pattern on the fabric ought to be positioned nicely and could be matched across the pieces. So the jacket looks quite smart in this repect, while the legs are a little off! 

Thursday, April 04, 2013


They never made Ron Hill running legs long and thin enough for James, but in the early 90s at a rowing regatta we found something called "4runners" that did fit, and he bought two pairs, in blue and black, and they've been used for running and cycling ever since. I spotted some rather similar looking/feeling fabric in Yuzawaya in Kamata. Just this year James decided that his blue pair were past it so he wore them on a trip to Kamata and we decided the fabric was near enough to give it a whirl. 

I took the pattern off the old pair, using the voile left over from making the beer-bag. It is partly transparent, supple but not stretchy and I was able to make a pattern without cutting up the old pair. The trick I missed was that, although the widthways stretch was similar to the originals, the lengthways stretch of the new fabric was quite a bit less than the 4runners fabric. I'd already added an extra inch to the legs for luck, but it really wasn't enough, and I ended up having to add 5cm to the under-foot straps. I actually put the cord and toggle from the old leggings back in the new pair. I didn't bother with the piping on the sides for this pair, which were really a test fit. He is wearing them for a while before I embark on another pair. Apparently I may need to lengthen the rear crotch too next time.

Brew in a bag (BIAB)

Apparently, after millennia of evolution, in the last 5 years, the Australians have discovered that making beer is much more simples than anyone had ever thought. But, in order for brew in a bag to work, you first need to get your stitcher to make a bag. We bought some lightweight white voile from Swany in Kamakura and here's the bag:

And here's the bag again in its pan, bought super cheapo in Yokohama. I made a french seam and used two circles of ribbon threaded through the casing to make it easy to pull the ends, close the bag, and hang it up to drain. 

It seems you heat up the grain in the bag in the pan and then lift up the bag and let it drain. The beer tastes pretty good, and is much more flavourful than the results from brew-kits, although a bit cloudy.