Summer break has arrived and I finally have time to hang out with my sewing machine again. Mostly I’ve been working on my mending pile which had grown considerably this past semester. My first sewing project was tarting up a new summer hat.
I have a pretty pink hat that’s my standard go to but it feels weird to wear if I’m dressed all in green or blue. This option was found in Taipei’s underground mall on sale for $150 NT (about $5 US). The sash came from a dress I recently scored at a clothing swap.
It seemed cute at the time I tried it on but once home the design seemed a bit off. So I’ve been recycling it and am happy with this first result. The flower was a nice score also found underground.
Josh and I took another trip to our new favorite place Oia Cafe. It’s an alpaca and cat coffee shop. Yup, you can sip a latte and pet an alpaca. We made our first trek earlier this month and Josh blogged about it here.
This time we got to bath one of the alpacas, a one year old named Kurosawa, after the famous director. It was not an easy task but Kuro forgave us after we offered him carrots.
This little kitty was my new friend for half an hour during our first visit. He was adorable and I so wanted to take him home! But alas, we’re living pet free for the foreseeable future. Isn’t he adorable?
Living in Taiwan means access to fresh fruit and varieties not easily found in the US. Josh and I scored some cheap durian recently and it was delicious.
I’m happy that I managed to finished one more sewing project before winter break ended. Spring semester is another heavy load of classes so my sewing machine time will be limited yet again. The above jacket was originally this top:
The elastic created an unpleasant silhouette but the pattern design was quite lovely. The design reminded me of a painting I saw at the National Palace Museum in Taipei. Even better it was on sale for $100 NT which is roughly $3 US.
First that elastic had to go. After it was completely removed the top was a loose fit. It felt like an artist jacket so I sliced it up the middle.
The shoulder laces were an odd detail but would be problematic to replace as there was none of the garment underneath. I went to my favorite neighborhood-Dadaocheng to find some trim that matched and sewed it onto the front seams.
I’m really happy with how this turned out! It pairs well with several tops and makes a great cover up that is lightweight and has excellent drape.
My friends P&T gave me this awesome vintage fabric. The design was so colorful and detailed I knew anything I made with it had to be simple to highlight the gorgeous elements. I cut the fabric to showcase a full circle and half circle on both front and back panels of a skirt.
The fabric had colorful edging so I cut one side off and added it to the bottom edge. The other side was thick enough to be featured on each side of the skirt. Josh, as always, was making me laugh during the photo shoot.
Though it’s currently cold in Taiwan, even in Xiao LiuQiu where these photos were taken, I knew the hot temperatures of summer weren’t far away. Side slits will help keep me cool this summer. In the meantime the skirt is light enough that it doesn’t add too much bulk when layering.
Wild Boar Trench is a beautiful nature walk on Xiao LiuQiu. The banyon trees curl gracefully around large rocks and vines have beautiful, large leaves.
Xiao LiuQiu also has a lot of stray cats. Locals feed them and there is a spay and neuter program.
They also have an adoption program. We could have taken a dozen of them home!
Last week I finished another sewing transformation project. This one actually started back in November. Grad school is great but also intense. You can tell Josh took these photos because he’s making me laugh.
These leggings were supposed to be one size fits all but they didn’t fit me. I really liked the pattern though and suspected I could turn them into leggings. I took my trusty seam ripper and took out the elastic waist and separated the legs. After attaching them together by the waist ends, I sewed on some ruffled black trim I bought at a fabulous store on Dihua street that sells trim and groovy patches.
There’s an abundance of art, history and food to explore in the Dadocheng neighborhood but if you love to sew like me it’s Dihua street that’s the gold mine. There’s so many fabric stores with a dizzying variety of textiles for sale. Josh wrote about the neighborhood here.
The legs that became the sleeves were too long so I took a few inches off of them. I’m very happy with how it turned out.
These leggings made a shrug that’s stretchy and comfortable. I can see wearing this a lot in the spring when Taipei is starting to warm up but there’s still a hint of chill in the air.
While walking around Taipei we found this cool street art.
This is an interesting bit of graffiti. The Formosan black bear has become an icon for Taiwan and is portrayed as happy and smiling. This gritty reboot is a new twist.
Grad school is great but demands most of my time these days. Josh and I recently went to Maokong, one of our favorite spots to get out of the city and into nature.
This decoration is from a tea restaurant and takes me back to my favorite PSU class-History of the Dress.
My lotus project is slowly progressing. I laid all the petals out to inspire me to keep working. After this next skein is worked out I’ll make larger petals and one day get to switch to green yarn.
I squeezed some time and made it back to the Taiyuan Puppet Museum.
It’s so nice hanging with Kim and the puppets again! I’m helping her on making a new costume for demo purposes.
It was wonderful to take a day to focus on costume problems instead of international ones. A much needed break!
Maokong was beautiful as always and this time Josh and I joined our friend Olivia for a hike to a waterfall.
So beautiful and peaceful and only a short ride from Taipei.
On an unrelated note, I always take free tissues from people handing them out. Spare tissue is practical to carry but sometimes I get delightful surprises like this package:
These ladies feel my current mood under all this homework. Three more weeks of fall semester left!
I brought home another dud from my last shopping trip. There was no dressing room but this tank tank looked pretty cool on the hanger.
But when I put it on at home these poofs at the bottom made me look lumpy. They were not flattering at all so I cut them out. The inner black tank top fit wonderfully and was super soft so I left it as is.
There was almost enough for sleeves but not quite. I cut off fabric from the bottom tapering down to the front sides. The tank top had a tie at the back that I removed and reused as trim for the front opening.
With the tapered front ties the fabric flow was kept intact.
The sleeves had to be patched together but since the fabric is so thin the seams aren’t really noticeable when wearing.
The tapered front makes a really great tie.
I’m so happy how this top transformation turned out!
A sewing success.
In other news, Josh wrote up two great blog posts for My Taiwan Tour about traveling in Taiwan while gluten free.
Gluten Free Eating in Taiwan Part One: Restaurant Dining
Gluten Free Eating in Taiwan (Part Two): Wheat Free Snacks and Gluten Free Night Market Fare
We learned a lot of this while traveling around the island for our upcoming book Formosa Moon. If you have a gluten allergy fear not-there’s still plenty for you to eat in Taiwan. As for the book, stuff is happening behind the scenes. I’ll post news as soon as I can!
I finally got a sewing machine! After two failed attempts with second hand machines I decided to buy a new one. Costco not only had my trusty Singer brand but one with flowers.
Dihua neighborhood has fabric galore and after a shopping visit I set about making a cover for my new machine. It’s so wonderful to be working with fabric again!
This is my first sewing project since leaving Portland. Not only does it fit great, the fabric is a cheerful print.
I finished it off with a blind hem stitch for practice and it turned out great.
Speaking of new additions
Hazel is welcoming the puppets’ newest roommate to Casa Twosh.
And speaking of puppets, I managed a couple more visits to the Taiyuan Asian Puppet Theatre Museum before school started. I got to hang out with my friend Rosie before she leaves Taiwan and work on more pillow supports for puppet costumes. This internship has taught me so much!