craft, sewing, Uncategorized

Back in action. No Bobbin!

I haven’t posted a bit because I’ve been on a restorative vacation to my hometown in America (Madison, WI).

Now I’m back in Japan, my first morning back in my apartment, waiting for my luggage to be delivered.

Nothing was lost but it’s never fun to lug a giant suitcase on the trains. That’s why there are delivery services to take your luggage to the airport before you leave and to send it home after you arrive. As usual I took one suitcase there and have returned with a full suitcase and duffle bag. There be new bras that fit, dresses, fabric, crafting items and…my new sewing machine.

Well, it’s nowhere near new and I grew up with it.


Meet the Singer Sewhandy model 20-10! It’s been my mother’s since childhood.

The original Singer 20’s were made in the 1912 and often traveled with sewing machine salemen working door to door. They’d give any young girl in the house the toy version to play with as they tried to make a sale of the full-sized machine to mom. Then, if the full sized didn’t sell, they’d be understanding but regretfully inform mom that they’d have to be taking the toy-sized machine back with them too. Usually moms would be willing to pay a few bucks to keep their child happy and the salesman would earn a few dollars for his time.

Over the years the body changed slightly, to encase some of the moving parts, but the mechanics stayed the same. Singer 20’s made after 1926 also had number stamped onto the machine parts to make it easier to thread the parts in the right order.


NOT A TOY! My mom still has this box somewhere but we couldn’t find it on this trip.

I, of course, quickly took to fixing it up. I figured that if I could get it to work it’d be interesting to sew some doll clothes with it.

I set to work at the kitchen table and took it all apart to clean and polish.


Much better.

It still had the original instruction booklet (which I have since copied) so I was able to figure out if any parts were missing.


It’s only missing a thumbscrew for the adjustable seam guide. I guess I’ll be the weirdo in the DIY store carrying around a small sewing machine to find a good replacement.

This machine takes smaller needles but you CAN still order size 24×1 for it. Done.

I clamped it to the table and tried it out!

Now, I know that’s not a great quality image. But maybe you noticed…There’s no bobbin? It’s just using one single thread to create a stitch? What magic is this?

Here’s a better video of the magic. The mechanism can be seen working at the 1:00 minute mark.

My first tests had the tension a little tight but I’ll have more time to futz with it here in Japan. It’s going to take a lot of trial and error to figure out tension AND setting stitch length.

I’m back in Japan. I only teach dance for the next few weeks. Craft TIME!


Online harrassment, Uncategorized

Alexandre Chebeir News

Early in 2017 I used this blog to keep screenshots of how Alexandre Chebeir (who I sometimes called Chbeir because he went as both online) harassed women.

You can check the Chebeir tag.

There is new news on him.  It’s further proof that people who habitually harass women online shouldn’t be treated like social goofs who don’t know any better.

In addition to sexually harassing women on all social media platforms as Alexandre Chbeir/Chebeir, he was also using a fake account to threaten feminists and feminists organizations with photos of Marc Lépine, a mass murder whose suicide note claimed political motives and blamed feminists for ruining his life.

These threats were BEFORE he came onto the radar of belly dancers.

There were hoards of people who harassed the dancer who put him on blast with screenshots (which went viral). They acted like HER behavior was wrong and like he was the victim. People with no connection to Chebeir  went out of their way to harass/silence/threaten her (and it worked, she became afraid to talk about this) and implied that her reaction was out of line and might have escalated him to worse things.

He was already doing worse things. Each online outing of his behavior with screenshots made it easier for other victims of him to Google and know that this is how he treats women and that it wasn’t because of any failure on how they  present themselves online.

The news from my inbox today

Letter 1

I wanted to let you know, we are several feminists in Montreal who filed a complaint for harassment and some of us recently won our case against him. He has pleaded guilty and has been in jail since Feb. 22, awaiting his sentence on March 15th (prosecution asked for 6 months). He will also be tried in Gatineau on March 12th in another case of harrassment I don’t know much about. Here’s the article (in French) that was published today.

Feel free to publish this info (but not my name). Women who experienced harassment from Chebeir may also contact me if they want to know more.

Of course her name is redacted here and you’ll have to contact me privately if you want connection to her.

The second letter had similar info but was mostly quotes from the French article.

Here is a google translation of the article:

A breeze of hope blew over the day of March 8: a group of feminist researchers believes to have finally been heard in a case of criminal harassment where a man has used photos of Marc Lépine to threaten them. Judged potentially recidivist, the man, who pleaded guilty, will remain incarcerated until he knows his sentence, on March 15th. The Crown has asked for the maximum for this type of charge, which is six months in prison.

“It surprises me that a prosecutor decided to take the case to court. In my experience, there are some who take responsibility and do not have the audacity to go further because they are circumstantial files where it is difficult to prove beyond doubt. It’s a systemic problem, “said Devoir Mélissa Blais, a researcher and specialist in anti-feminist movements, on the sidelines of the sentencing hearing at the Montreal courthouse. She herself was the victim of cyberbullying in another cause.

On July 23, 2016, Sandrine Ricci realizes that the Facebook page of the Quebec Network of Feminist Studies (RéQEF) she coordinates is the target of a stalker who publishes under a fake Facebook profile almost 20 links to photos of Marc Lépine and “#JeSuisMarc”. Fearing, she talks to the women directors of the group and complains to the police the next day. The investigation starts. Shortly afterwards, another complaint to the same abuser is filed by the administrator of the Facebook group of the campaign “No yes, no! “, Against sexual assault on campus.

One year later, on September 12, 2017, Alexandre Chebeir, a resident of Gatineau, pled guilty to criminal harassment in both cases. With mental health problems, the man does not have a criminal record. While awaiting sentence, the perpetrator was arrested again in February for hate speech against a woman on the Internet.

“It was sent to good service at the SPVM, which was so horrified by the messages that were [published] that it took over computer services that normally only [are] for pedophile or child pornography files” , said Crown Attorney Jimmy Simard, about the case of the RÉQEF.

Survey problems?

At the courthouse, in the group of scholars who came to support Ms. Ricci, questions were shouting from all sides. Why are not all complaints of such hate crimes against women being withheld? Why do not some people go to the trial stage, as was recently the case for a UQAM feminist magazine?

Many also questioned the fact that thorough investigations are actually conducted in all cases. Sandrine Ricci was surprised to learn that the investigators and the prosecutor had not even typed in a browser the name of the accused, where it is possible to find several complaints of women who say they are harassed. “If you do not use Google in the case of a hate crime committed on the Internet, from the point of view of the methodology of work, there is a problem,” she said.

In the SPVM’s crime, prevention and urban security division, Detective Lieutenant-General Lemay ensures that serious investigations are conducted for each of the reports that constitute hate crimes within the meaning of the Criminal Code. But she admits that investigators sometimes lack time. Applying for search warrants to seize a computer or obtaining an international order to access Facebook’s servers takes time. “Some files are very complex and require a lot of resources and efforts. Delays will work against us, unfortunately, “she says. It recalls that for certain summary offenses, the time limit is six months. “It’s very short.

More than “trolls”

In Mr. Simard’s opinion, if Ms. Ricci’s complaint went to court, it was because the record, in this case, was complete and convincing. It was easier for a prosecutor to defend him before a judge.

Mélissa Blais, who received e-mails from death threats from a man who also made references to Marc Lépine, was unable to take his case to court because the prosecutor asked for an amicable agreement against him. his will. “We are being banged on 810, that’s how we deal with violence against women,” she said, referring to a section of the Criminal Code with conditions to respect that exempts the abuser from a criminal case. “There is also the subjectivity of prosecutors that comes into play.

Sandrine Ricci was nevertheless satisfied with the turn of events in her case. “The attorney and the judge seem quite aware of the political issues surrounding hate crimes against women. They seem to appreciate the extent of the use of the symbolism of Polytechnique and Marc Lépine. It’s something that’s positive, “she said.

The researcher from UQAM would like to encourage women to denounce, themselves sometimes having a tendency to minimize this cyberviolence. “We are in a logic of trivialization of sexism and misogyny as it is omnipresent in society. The term “troll” itself helps to minimize. The trolls are small smiling and grimacing creatures, but they are not very threatening, “she says before adding,” I want to send the message to women and feminists that we can oppose it. And send the message to men and predators of this world that impunity will do.

craft, sewing, Uncategorized

I am Alice.

Brain: You leave for America on the 16th and you only have one full day off between then and now.  However will you do all the things you need to do?

Also Brain: Why don’t you redecorate your toilet room?

So I did.

Wednesday is usually a day off for me but today I substitute taught a bellydance lesson at a sports gym and then taught a private dance lesson at the studio.

And redid my toilet room.

Why do I say toilet room?

My bathroom here is actually three tiny connected rooms. One is the shower/tub room, one contains the toilet and a shelf for my cleaning supplies, the third is the general sink/mirror and toiletries room.

The room I redid contains a window, a windowsill, a toilet, and a shelf.

8+ years ago when I moved in I made a curtain to hid my cleaning supplies and a toilet paper-roll thingie. A dripping soap dispenser ruined the finish on the windowsill so I added a laminated fabric to that.

Today I re-did all of that for less than 2,000yen (20$usd-ish).

I love making curtains. Ready-to-buy curtains are ugly, expensive, and rarely the right size. My whole apartment is adorable with great curtains. No pictures today because my place is also a mess because I’ve been making stuff instead of cleaning.

Most of the money was spent on fabrics.

Two cut fabrics I bought and pieced together to hide my cleaning supplies.


The toilet paper thingie.



It’s a fairly normal style in Japan. Most toilet roll holders have this over-flap to pull the paper against to ease in separating the segments. This fits over that flap and has space for a spare roll.

I used four different scraps of leftover Alice fabrics and canvas to make it.


I used waterproof wipe-able fabric for the windowsill mat. If you’re thinking that Japan is FULL OF ALICE FABRIC you’d be SO RIGHT.

We’re gonna pretend my stenciled turtle is a mock turtle and just leave it there.


The previous owners left the hooks above the window. At the 100 yen shop I picked up a curtain rod, curtain rings, a frame to hold a postcard my friend gave me (same friend who gifted me the lego Alice), and a tiny saucer to go with the tiny cup (it has a painted bunny design inside it) I’m using for my soap…tea party!

The cactus cup came from work. Someone was throwing out a chipped mug with a cat in a bow-tie on one side and a cat nose-mouth on the other. I re-purposed it for my many cactus. It’s now my Cheshire cat.


I also made the red curtain. I have yet another Alice fabric I could have used but I figured it’d be better to go with some red to tie the red accents together. I have mixed feelings about the mis-matched curtain rings. I think the curtain would probably look better with wide fabric loops so less of the rod shows…but I can do that later after I’ve lived with it a while.

After all, I’m supposed to be wrapping up things before my vacation.


craft, Disney, Doll, sewing, Uncategorized

Moana Wrap Dress Tutorial

I’m taking my Sunday to make a free tutorial. Why am I working for free? I’ve benefited from SO many online free tutorials that I’d like to give back.

Please don’t hesitate to give me feedback on what needs to be tweeked…or show me pictures if you use this.

Disclaimer: No one wants to read a story before a tutorial, they want to get the info, so my struggles will not be documented but know THEY EXISTED.


Disney’s Animator’s Collection Moana has a different body size from the other Animator’s collection dolls. She’s wider in the tummy and chest. This is adorable but  renders closely fitted dresses the other dolls wear too small. That’s why I made this. Her size shouldn’t limit play.

Here are links to PDF’s I made with the bare bones pattern. Let me know if there are issues with my links or PDF’s. I don’t have a printer at home.

The seam allowance is 1cm. I use centimeters in this tutorial because I live in Japan and it’s what I use everyday.

The pattern shows the front panels of the wrap dress and the back. Not pictured is the skirt because you’ll just be cutting a rectangle 62cm wide and 13cm long.

Let’s get started

Top: I’m using the red polka dot fabric for the outer fabric and the light blue for the lining. You don’t need to use a different colored fabric for the lining.

The reason I line these is because it will protect the raw seams. These dolls are for kids and kids are dirty. The things they play with need to be washable.



Cut a rectangle 62cm wide and 13cm long.

I didn’t have fabric long enough so I added some to the right hand side with a french seam. Realistic tutorial.  If you’re adding 20cm or less to get the 62cm length, the seam will be hidden by the wrap.


Before you start sewing

When was the last time you changed you machine’s needle? If you can’t remember, do it now. Needles wear out quickly. It’s a good to get in the habit of changing them each time you start on a project.



Have you read through this WHOLE thing first? Free tutorials don’t always flow well or give you the information when YOU need it. This one, for example, doesn’t even tackle the notions you’ll use until the very end…because I illustrate three different ways to finish the dress.

If you use the last method “Out of Order Mixed Method” you’ll want to read it before you start putting everything together. I’ll put a OOMM* astrix where it might be helpful

OK! Constructing the Top

Join the front of the wrap top to the back at the shoulders.


Press those seams with an iron. Then, open them and press them open.


Snip the edges to reduce bulk.

Multiple layers of cotton fabric on a human body is negligible but on a doll they quickly add to bulk.


Now to stitch the lining to the outer fabric.

Put the right sides of the fabric together and pin or clip to hold in place.

OOMM* if planning to use OOMM, insert your ribbons between the fabric before stitching.


Sew the neckline AND around the arm holes.


Liberally snip away triangles before turning it right side out. I could have done more triangles.


Now turn the top right side out by pulling the wrap/front through the shoulder openings and out the back.


I’m using a special tool to hook the fabric and pull it through. This isn’t essential but makes life easier.


Turned right-side out BEFORE pressing.

Get your iron and press that out.


Now it’s time to join under the  arm holes.


use your iron to get inside the lower part of the arm holes where you’re going to join them together and press those seams open. Then, pin the lining to lining and the main fabric to main fabric (right sides together) as seen below.


And sew.

img_4953Once you’ve stitched under both arm holes press those seams open.


Snip to reduce bulk.


Now press your lovely top and cheer for yourself.


Mid-Project Check-in


If you’re feeling hungry or tired and are trying to work through it as not to lose your sewing mojo. STOP. Eat or rest or whatever. If you’re tired or hungry you’re going to make mistakes. THEN return to your project. I did. That’s why you get that picture. Spring is coming!

Skirt Construction.

Fold the edges the fabric in 5mm and press. Fold in 5mm again and press again. Stitch this hem in place.

On the bottom long edge of the skirt fold 1cm and press. Fold in another 1cm and press. Stitch this hem in place.

img_4978After hemming your skirt should be 60cm wide. With a fabric pen or fabric chalk, you’re going to mark the edge you’ll gather. Mark at 22cm and 38cm. This means your 60cm length will be visually divided into a 22cm section, a 16 cm section and another 22cm section. 22+16+22=60cm

These marks will help us line up the skirt with the side seams when gathering to help keep gathers even.

First blurry picture. Sorry.


Maths: You can skip this if you don’t care where those numbers come from. If you plan to make a fuller skirt with a longer rectangle it’s worth reading.

The bottom edge of the top you assembled is 45cm long. First wrap section 16.5cm, back, 12cm, second wrap section 16.5=45cm. 16.5+12+16.5= 45cm

We’re taking a 60cm long fabric and will gather it until it’s 45cm. ( 60 divided by 40 is aprox 1.35. 60cm is aprox 135% the size of 45cm.  6

Because we want to try to evenly distribute the gathers it helps to mark the skirt fabric where it will join the seams on the top.

16.5x1.35=22.275 (we’ll round that to 22cm) 12 x 1.35=16.2 (we round that to 16) and check the math 22+16+22=60cm.

If you want a fuller skirt, say 70cm after hemming. 70 divided by 45 is aprox. 1.55. Multiply 16.5 and 12 by that 1.55…double check…and that’s where you’ll mark.

Maths over

To gather the skirt we need to sew two seams along the top edge of the skirt, closer to the edge than 1cm (our seam allowance). Keep the seams wide (3 or 4 stitch setting), don’t back stitch and don’t cross the seams.


We’ll be machine joining the to the outer-shell of the wrap top, NOT the lining…but first, gathering.

If you’ve never gathered using this method, enjoy a youtube tutorial.

I’ve used a red thread in the bobbin and a black thread on top to make it easier to see. If you do this, make sure your different colored threads are the same thread weight/thickness.

You’ll  be pulling at the bobbin threads (the threads on the underside) to gather the fabric.


You’ll hold the fabric in one hand and pull the bobbin threads with the other. There’s a lot of moving the gathers with your fingers so they are evenly distributed. You do this at both edges of the fabric.

Use the marks on the skirt and the seams of the  wrap top to make sure the gathers are evenly spread along the skirt.


All pinned! Now sew the skirt to the outer fabric (right sides together).

I prefer not to sew over pins, to reduce the chance of my machine needle breaking. Instead I stitch slowly and remove the pins right before they’re about to go under the presser foot.


Blurry picture. Sorry! The skirt is now joined to the outer shell of the top. Press so the raw edges are pointing up.


Now turn the edges of the lining under, pin, and whip-stitch it by hand. Turn your piece over from time to time to make sure your stitches don’t show from the outside. Steam or press when finished to smooth out wrinkles on the outside.


We are so close to being finished!

Now let’s tackle how to close the wrap dress on your doll.

How to close the dress, 3 methods.

Top Stitched Ribbon Method.

I’m trying to keep >me< out of my tutorial…but this fabric is a shout out to Ebony. I didn’t have any more skeleton/spooky fabric in doll scale so I couldn’t have Moana being a  toddler POC goth (a group seriously under-represented in visuals) so I made her Rockability instead.

This ties at the side. I wish it tied in back. I’ll give measurements for both a side tie and back tie.

Both use 1 meter of ribbon.

SIDE TIE (pictured): 42 cm ribbon. Start stitching after 18cm (the tie part)  from the edge to a little more more than the center of the back to the edge of the “top” wrap (24cm stitched to dress).

Back Tie (not pictured): 52cm ribbon. Start stitching after 28cm (the tie part) to a little more more than the center of the back to the edge of the “top” wrap (24cm stitched to dress). 


SIDE TIE (pictured): Now take the 58cm ribbon. Tuck the end in and start stitching it from the other edge of the dress to 24cm. You should have 34cm to tie with.

Back Tie (not pictured): Now take the 48cm ribbon. Tuck the end in and start stitching it from the other edge of the dress to 24cm. You should have 24cm to tie with.


Last, use Velcro/Magic tape or a snap to keep the inner flap in place. Put the dress on the doll and mark where to attach with fabric pen/chalk.



Snaps or Velcro/Magic tape method.


This was my first draft of the pattern so the top fit is a little off.

This is the easiest version. Put the dress on the doll. Mark where notions should go with fabric pen/chalk.


These snaps are probably too small for little fingers. They are all I had on hand. You’ll know what your child can use.

Stitch notions on the inside to lining  and on the outside through the outer layer or both layers. You could also use a loop and button on the outside. Go crazy. It’s a FREE pattern.


Out of Order Mixed Method

This is a fuller skirt made from a 70cm long rectangle.

This method is out of order because I thought if it AFTER finishing the dress body. It would have been easier to do some of these steps while putting it together.

This method uses two 30cm long ribbons. I opened the seams at the edge of the wrap top, inserted the ribbons and stitched them in place.

I SHOULD have just stitched the ribbons in place when joining the lining to the outer fabric at the neckline and arm holes

In a perfect world I would have used light blue bobbin thread and red top thread to reduce stitch visibility.

Then I opened the seams under one arm and made a button hole. The button hole pictured is really rough. If I give this to anyone I’ll un-stitch and re-do this buttonhole.

But I think threading the ribbon through the button-hole might be too difficult for little kids. Use your common sense and what you know about your kid’s ability to manipulate objects. I’m a grown woman with good co-ordination and object permanence.


Then to wear it you just thread one ribbon through the button-hole and tie in back.


And that is THAT! GIPHY