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!
I had two other pieces of ill fitting clothes from a Taiwan shopping trip. This tank top looked like it would fit but had ruffles that ended up being too scratchy to wear and elastic that made the fabric bunch up at an unflattering angle. My trusty seam ripper soon fixed things.
Now I have a lightweight skirt that’s great to wear in this hot weather. Next up was this blue top:
The fabric is a soft t-shirt material but off the shoulder sleeves with tight elastic made wearing it quite uncomfortable. I turned the sleeves inside out, sewed the bottom edge to create two pockets.
This skirt is one of my new faves-soft, comfortable and light enough for summer wear.
Selfie skirt pic
Clothing mods are now done. Now it’s time to buy a sewing machine to make some new clothes!
There’s a lot of clothing stores in Taiwan and while shopping here is fun there are some challenges. A lot of the stores don’t have dressing rooms so I can’t try on items before buying and many of the clothes are too small for me. I now take a measuring tape which helps tremendously. These pants had a nice stretch waist and cool pleated legs but when I tried them on at home I realized the pants were too tapered for a comfortable fit.
What to do? My trusty seam ripper saved the day! I took out the inner seams, laid out the open pants and realized I now had an excellent skirt.
The open seams make excellent side splits which give the skirt an excellent drape. Plus it gives some extra ventilation, much needed in this hot Taiwan weather. Drapey scarves are easy to find here and I bought one in a soft lavender. Rebuilding my wardrobe feels so good.
Josh and I love the new apartment and the abundance of nearby restaurants. We still cook at home too. The other day I made an easy lunch by frying up tofu and veggies with kimchi. So spicy and delicious!