When we were young - Week 2: Sanae Ishida

June 19, 2013

For the second week of When we were young, I am excited to introduce the lovely Sanae from Sanae Ishida.  I discovered Sanae's blog earlier this year and was very impressed to find that Sanae has only been blogging for eleven months but she is already very well known for her unique style and styling.  Her creations for her daughter, K, are always beautifully made and photographed.  Sanae often sews from Japanese patterns as well as drafting her own lovely designs.  Her blog is a mix of sewing, art and yummy food - three of my favourite things.  You can read more about Sanae here.

I want that long stripey cardigan for myself!!  In fact, I want all of those outfits for myself!

A mini interview with Sanae about when she was young...

Where were you born/where did you spend your childhood?

I was born and raised in the heart of Los Angeles, but we moved around a lot for some reason so I went to five different elementary schools, all in L.A.

Who did you grow up with?

There are five in my family: my father, mother, me, younger brother #1, younger brother #2.

Did you have a childhood ambition?

I was dead set on becoming a fashion designer. In the off-chance that wasn't going to work out, I was willing to settle for a children's book illustrator.

What did you like doing when you were little?

Do you remember that game called fashion plates? Like these. Obsessed. I also doodled and read books all the time.

Do you see any similarities between yourself and your child/children?

I have one daughter, K, who is almost seven-years-old. I always joke that she's 90% my husband and 10% me. K and I both love to read, and she does like artsy things, and like me, she's a routine-girl. I think the main difference between us is that she's an extrovert through and through, and I'm definitely an introvert. It's fascinating to see how much energy she derives from being with other people, and she's just a social butterfly.

Do you live far from where you grew up?

My parents and brothers still live in Los Angeles and I live in the Pacific Northwest. It's about a three hour plane ride away, so not too bad.

Where do you live now and who with?

In our little household in Seattle, it's just M, K and me. We love the PNW!

Sanae has been excited to share her creation for this series and has even got her Mum on board watching along!

Hello lovely sewpony readers! I'm so happy to have the chance to prattle on about two of my favorite topics: my creative mother and sewing.

I sew all the time for my daughter K (almost 7! Her birthday is in a little over a month). Well, the reason I even started sewing is because I remembered how my own mother single-handedly created the wardrobes for me and my two brothers. My mom is a prolific creator and pretty much handmade everything in my childhood. Above is a photo of me in one of my mom's favorite items to sew: a yukata. She made me so many! A yukata is a summer kimono and is typically made from cotton. And yes, she made those giant flowers and that rug and I believe those are floor cushions by my foot that is most likely handmade as well.

Now, my version is probably not completely traditional since I made up the pattern:

I also couldn't find the all-red obi (sash) in the mess we call our home, so I had to make do with a much fancier obi that is not meant for summer kimonos. And although the print of this yukata isn't exactly the same as the original, it's actually authentic yukata fabric that comes in 14-inch wide rolls.
I didn't have quite enough of the fabric so I shortened the yukata (normally they are at least ankle length), but it actually looks more like the one that my mom made for me that way, so I'm pleased. I'm probably about three-years-old in that photo above, so K is a lot older and her pigtails are crazy long.

The bow in the back is inserted via metal hooks, and is not technically part of this obi. I love the way it looks and again, I was happy it made the whole outfit mimic the original because I tell you, my model absolutely refused to pose the way I did in that very first image. I was even going to draw in the background to make it look exactly the same, but oh well.

In terms of making up the pattern, I consulted a few online resources, but they were all too detailed and text-heavy which made my eyes glaze over, and I figured the pieces were all rectangles, so how hard could it be to figure out? I cut out 7 rectangles: the back panel, two front panels, two sleeves, two collar pieces on the bias. Then I just attached them in a way that made sense to me, and voila, a yukata! There are side arm vents (I don't know why - for air circulation? To make it easier to raise the arms?), and that was the trickiest part. Overall, these are really easy to make. I'll have to do a tutorial one day...

A Karate Kid moment.

K loves it. She wore it to the end-of-first-grade picnic and also brought it with her to camping. And actually wore it during camping, which was hilarious. She decided that her white bathrobe sash was much more comfortable than the obi.

This was actually my second "When We Were Young" outfit that I made. I'm quite clumsy and forgetful, and accidentally and prematurely published the original post on my own blog. I felt bad that I wasn't providing Suz fresh content, so I frantically made this yukata, and now I'm so glad I did. Yukatas make me think of Japanese street festivals and sparkly fireworks and dancing for hours with my mom as a kid. The best memories. To check out the original When We Were Young outfit I made, see my blog post here.
This was such a fun project! Thank you so much for including me in your fabulous series, Suz! 

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  1. Suz, interesting series, will watch it 'till end :)

    1. Thanks yeka. Look forward to having you along:)

  2. I love it!! Old also love to get my hands on some of that gorgeous fabric;)

  3. I love this, Sanae!!! It's so beautiful, and I love K's Karate Kid moves too...haha.

  4. Lovely Sanae! It was one of my favs to choose. I like everything about it.

  5. Beautiful!
    The yakata is so stunning on K and I love the bow in the back. Hey, K forgot to "wax on- wax off"! ;)

  6. Lol!
    Love it!!
    I can see a lot of resemblances between our girls (she's also so much more social and extrovert than I am) and those karate moves - she rocks!!

  7. Beautiful Sanae! The fabric is divine.

  8. This is amazing... What a great outfit and lovely pics (and Sanae, you were such a cutie!)

  9. Sanae is a force to be reckoned with...i love her sewing superpowers! And really this kimono is so cool.

  10. i love that she wore it camping!! it's beautiful, sanae - a real work of art. i'm loving this series!!


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