Mood Indigo: Gather One-Piece

Gather One Piece: Yoshiko Tsukiori

The Gather One-Piece is the second dress I've made from Yoshiko Tsukiori's Easy Cute Straight Stitch Sewing book. It's a very simple, straightforward make - in fact you probably don't really even need to draft a paper pattern (though I cautiously did) and could instead just mark the measurements out onto a piece of fabric. The dress is basically three rectangles of material, one for the body and sleeves which is folded over with a hole cut into it for your head, and two more rectangles to form the front and back. 

Easy Cute Straight Stitch Sewing: Gather one piece

I made a neck facing instead of using a bias trim and added a practical front pocket but apart from that the design is just as it says in the book (or as I think it says - the written instructions are in Japanese). It seemed apt to use these two Japanese indigo cotton fabrics, one with a scalloped waves design and the other has a star grid pattern, both from The Eternal Maker in Chichester.

Gather one piece in Japanese indigo cotton

I'm really happy with how it turned out - another success from this book! It's made me less wary of buying other untranslated Japanese sewing books in the future, but there are several more garments I'm itching to make from this one first...

Does what it says on the tin: Easy Cute,Straight Stitch Sewing

School's out for summer (and so is my shop)!

Happy holidays from Ivy Arch!

The Ivy Arch Etsy shop is closed for the school summer holidays and will reopen on 6th September 2013. While the shop's shut you can see my creations (and inspiration) at the Ivy Arch Pinterest page.

Ivy Arch at Pinterest

During the summer break I'll still be sewing (making new items for sale in the autumn) and blogging, as well as taking spontaneous short trips with my family (including a spot of camping) and of course swimming in the sea – whatever the weather. Happy holidays!

Dare to be Square: Easy Cute Straight Stitch Sewing

Easy Cute Straight Sewing: Square one-piece

An image from Yoshiko Tsukiori's Easy, Cute, Straight Stitch Sewing appeared on my Pinterest home page. It was the cover photo of the book and exactly the sort of garment I love to wear - a roomy square shaped tunic with elbow length sleeves. Simply beautiful. I searched in vain for an English translation and realised I'd have to bite the bullet and order the book in Japanese, or these boxy garments would remain forever out of reach. Encouraged by the Japanese Sewing Books blog I thought I should be able to muddle through. I ordered a copy from Pompadour24's Craft Cafe Etsy shop and it arrived 11 days later in a cute package sent all the way from Japan.


Yoshiko Tsukiori Easy Cute Straight Sewing

The layout is similar to Tsukiori's Stylish Dress Book series with stylised photographs of an elfin model wearing the designs in the front half of the book followed by a simple list of instructions for each pattern with numbered diagrams at the back.

I decided to make the cover dress "square one-piece" and used inexpensive large checked blue gingham reckoning that this would be a less painful waste if I made a mess of it.

The illustrations were very easy to follow and to my amazement I drafted the pattern, cut and sewed the dress in two and a half hours. The only part I wasn't sure of was how to finish the neckline. The cutting diagram shows bias strips, so I think the neckline is probably meant to be finished with a bias binding. I wasn't too confident about this working out so drafted and cut a neck facing instead (which worked well). The dress pattern has two pockets which I think are meant to be stitched one on the front and one on the back. Instead I put both pockets on the front and cut one of them from a contrasting pink gingham for fun.

I'm wearing the dress today, it hangs beautifully and feels loose and airy to move around in - perfect for the current heatwave!


Square one piece by Yoshiko Tsukiori


Twirling around in my new square one-piece in front of an imaginary Vogue photographer (camera set to self-timer, balanced on top of a biscuit tin on the ironing board as usual) the serious business of posing was interrupted by a mischievous child creeping up on me. 

Summer sale: 20% off at Ivy Arch Etsy shop

Ivy Arch summer sale!

I'm having a super summer sale in my Etsy shop - 20% off everything for 5 days using the coupon code IVYSUMMER20. Go to IvyArch Etsy shop here.

♥ Take advantage of this super soaraway special offer before the shop closes for the school summer holidays!  Enter the discount code at checkout using the 'apply coupon code' tab on the right hand side of your shopping cart page. ♥

Cute lavender bags in the Ivy Arch summer sale!

Eduardo Paolozzi's hands: Collaging Culture at Pallant House

Eduardo Paolozzi: Collaging Culture

Cycling back from playing a ukulele gig at Lancing Royal British Legion club (they fed us tea and biscuits) with Wukulele's Harriet Booth, she told me that she had once met Eduardo Paolozzi. Harriet remarked on his charming manner and the size of his incredibly large, chunky hands. A photograph of Paolozzi's hands hangs outside the doors to the Level 2 rooms at Pallant House Gallery and it's hard to believe that these jumbo fingers created such intricate Pop Art collages, finely detailed drawings and textile print designs as well as his famous large scale sculptures.

Collaging Culture is a compelling and thorough retrospective of Paolozzi's work. The breadth of media he worked (and excelled) in and the diversity of his art is mind boggling. Exhibits include sculpture, screenprinted fabrics, drawings, prints, ceramics and film, as well as his collages - the main theme of the exhibition.

Paolozzi postcards from Pallant House Gallery
Postcards from Collaging Culture exhibition and superb free Pallant House Gallery Paolozzi bookmark!

It's difficult to say which parts of the show excited me most as I really loved it all. His printed textiles produced with Nigel Henderson for their Hammer Prints Ltd company are amazing. The fabrics feature pen and ink drawings of junk, fob clocks, toy trains and stuff found at Portobello Road flea market. There's a beautiful barkcloth top coffee table – a collaboration with Terence Conran – and a wonderful mustard furnishing fabric printed with fossils and organic forms produced by David Whitehead (you can still buy pieces of this for a pretty penny on Ebay).

Nigel Henderson & Eduardo Paolozzi: Hammer Prints Ltd 1954-75
I bought a copy Nigel Henderson & Eduardo Paolozzi: Hammer Prints Ltd 1954-75
at Pallant House Gallery bookshop. An excellent book.


I found it absorbing watching the changing patterns and textures in Paolozzi's black and white film The History of Nothing. It's a collage of sounds and textural images (found photographs, prints, specially created collages). My scrawled notes read back as a fairly accurate description of the film: domino, tower blocks, cogs, scratching music, huge macrame, sound of bells, clocks, Victorian girl doll in long knitted cape, sound of dog yapping, the word 'progress', hideous monkey grinning, skull with teeth, static din, engine starting, man/machine/robot, plinky plonk piano sounds... It's witty and whimsical and I loved the soundtrack of seemingly random bursts of noise.

With a head full of monochrome the next part of the exhibition took me by surprise as I stepped into the themed room Language Games: Prints and Sculpture in the 1960s. This is a riot of colour. Eduardo Paolozzi's art had a huge impact on the international art scene of the 60s and continues to influence artists and designers today – contemporary print designers owe much to his work. Melody Miller's fabulous Ephemera fabric reminds me of his Moonstrips Empire News series, Cilla Ramnek's glorious modern psychedelic patterns recall Paolozzi's As Is Now screenprints and Alison Milner's exquisite decal designs for ceramics reference Paolozzi's Sea Beasts collection of 19th century engravings of marine subjects which were printed onto ceramics, fabric and furniture.

I urge anyone with an eye for pattern, print and design to go and see this beautifully curated and inspirational exhibition. 

Eduardo Paolozzi Collaging Culture is at Pallant House Gallery, Chichester until 13 October 2013. 

Pallant House Gallery, Chichester
Left: Pallant House Gallery from the outside
Right: Jonas Ranson's Paolozzi inspired wallpaper hangs in the foyer Garden Gallery

July Butterfly Smock: Stylish Dress Book - Y (again)

Stylish Dress Book Y - July butterfly smock

A trip to Brighton's budget dressmaking emporium Fabric Land harvested this beautiful butterfly and bird print cotton. I chose a ditzy beige and pink floral to contrast, having Stylish Dress Book's smock dress Y in mind as the perfect garment for this fabric. 

July butterfly smock dress

I've made dresses using this sewing pattern a few times now (see my first effort here) and haven't had a result I'm unhappy with yet. Dress Y seems to work in all fabrics from lightweight gauzy cottons to a textured barkcloth as long as the contrasting material for the bodice panel trim is the same weight as fabric used for the body of the smock. 

Stylish Dress Book - dress Y

At £3.69 a metre for both gorgeous printed cottons, the dress cost £11 and took me just under three hours to make. I plan to wear it to waft into my daughter's infant school leavers' concert on Thursday.

Do the butterfly smock rock

Retro telephone lavender bags in the Ivy Arch Etsy shop


Pink retro telephone lavender bag

These red and pink old-fashioned telephone lavender bags would make perfect end of year gifts for hard-working teachers. Plumply stuffed with fragrant French lavender, they're made using 'Phones Go With Me' fabric from Melody Miller's Ruby Star Sparkle collection for Kokka.

Also making an appearance in the Ivy Arch Etsy shop today are some more Typewriter Love lavender bags – these ones in a delicious turquoise and blue colourway with green hearts. Both sets of handmade lavender bags are available to buy from my online shop now and are ready to ship straightaway. 

Old fashioned typewriter and telephone lavender bagsIvy Arch's favourite...
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