Friday, July 25, 2014

My Neighbor Totoro: Now in Wearable Form!

The first Hayao Miyazaki film I ever saw was Tonari no Totoro, or My Neighbor Totoro. I think I was already in high school at the time, but I was still utterly enchanted by the adorable little soot sprites and forest spirits, the ridiculous catbus, and of course, the giant Totoro. I loved it enough to get (okay, cajole my my mom into getting for me) a giant plushie from Hong Kong that we had to buy a new piece of luggage for in order to transport home. I've always wanted a wearable something with Totoro on it, but the licensed merchandise has always felt too expensive for my budget...but wait! I sew! I guess it was only a matter of time before I matched up the Totoro tummy to the free By Hand London Polly top pattern.

Is that inset panel perfect or what?

Of course, it doesn't hurt that at two months to go, I feel as huge as a certain big-bellied forest spirit...

I know, I know, it's only going to get bigger. 

I have a hard time wrapping my mind around that thought, though...

I decided I wanted some sleeves on this top, so I slapped on the flutter sleeves from Tanit-Isis' Ariadne tunic. I don't know why I love flutter sleeves so much (they're always impractically bulky when stuffed into a cardigan), but I do. I think these nicely complement the flowiness of the top. Obviously I didn't have to finish the armholes with bias binding anymore, and then the neckline is my standard knit neckline finish, and I didn't bother with hemming. And because I was really that lazy, I didn't even bother to actually set in the inset -- I just laid the whole thing under the outer part and topstitched it, and rather haphazardly, I might add. Probably the most time-consuming part of the whole project was determining the size and placement of the little upside-down V's on the inset. I cut out a bunch of sample V's and experimented with what looked right, and then attached the final shapes to the inset with some fusible web.

Confession: if you follow me on IG you know I actually made this top two months ago, but am only just now getting around to blogging it. 
Consummate V's! I said consummate!

Summary:
Fabric: 2/3 yard of light gray rayon jersey from the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse, a small piece of white rayon jersey for the inset
Notions: Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 for the appliques
Hours: Less than three? I love fast and gratifying projects!
Will you make it again? Pretty sure I will, considering that this is the third Polly top I've made!
Total cost: $1...much better than a $20, mass-produced, non-flattering top!*
Final thoughts: I feel like I should make Walnut a Catbus costume to go with my top. Hah! Who am I kidding, he would hate that. Anyway, I love that this loose, swingy top has taken me from second trimester to third trimester, and there's still room for more growth. The thin fabric makes it a perfect top for the 90 degree weather we're having right now. California's drought really makes for a different backdrop for pictures than the lush green Japanese forest where Totoro can be found!


I've got another Totoro project to show off next, but it's for the SHB this time...stay tuned!

*Have you seen this? Considering that this top is unique, suits my changing body, and expresses my fandom love, I had fun making it, and it was made with cheap fabric on a cheap machine with free patterns...I think sewing my own clothes is definitely worth it.

32 comments:

  1. ERMAHGERD What an absolutely adorable and cutesy idea! I love it!!! It's very flattering on you and looks very comfy. I like that it's kinda a subtle nod to the film; so it's definitely a cooler way to show your love that one of those printed T's. Keep rocking it! :)

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    1. Thanks for all your kind words about my spur of the moment top! I love subtle cosplaying IRL...it's like a secret handshake.

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    2. OMG Yes!!! I love how you described subtle cosplaying as a secret handshake! That's the perfect way to put it!! :) Super neat!

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  2. That is really really lovely! I put Totoro on my favorite pair of jeans this year! Looks great.

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    1. Love that you put him on a pair of jeans! He needs to be on more pieces of clothing :)

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  3. I must copy you!! I also adore My Neighbor Totoro and whenever I see some representation of the Cat Bus my brain reverts to 2yo me and out of my mouth comes...
    "CAT BUS!! CAT BUS!! LOOK ITS A CAT BUS!"

    The uninitiated look at me like I'm insane which isn't that off the mark. And this movie was on constant repeat when mine were in the 4-6 age range.

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    1. I've seen a lot of other Studio Ghibli and Miyazaki films and even if it's a simple story, Totoro is still my favorite. The fact that a cat is a mode of transportation is just icing on the cake!

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  4. Wow great idea! I have some Totoro-themed projects floating around in my mind but they aren't as cute as this. Great creativity :-) MIYAZAKI FTW

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    1. Ooh I want to know what you've got cooked up! I think there need to be more Totoro-themed things out there!

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  5. this is super awesome!!! i wish you had your plushy because you two needs a photo together! :D

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    1. I really should get a photo of us together!

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  6. So so cute! Totoro was my first Hayao Miyazaki film too, and I've always wanted some Totoro merch. but haven't wanted to shell out that kind of money.

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    1. Japanese goods are always so expensive, so it's nice to be able to DIY it!

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  7. I love this, and I love the idea of you forcing your parents to get new luggage for a plush Totoro! Great work. Also, TROGDOR!

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    1. YES SOMEBODY GOT MY TROGDOR REFERENCE!!!

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  8. How on earth did I miss the Baby Bump??????? Oh wait, I know....that's what happens when you don't blog or read blogs for nearly 7 months :( Belated congratulations and a bit WHOOPIE for you guys!!!

    Oh, and you and your top are totally adorable :)

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    1. Thank you!! I've been behind on blogging this year (both reading and writing), so totally understandable!

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  9. LOVE THIS SO MUCH! I love how subtle it is, too... Now I want one! :)

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    1. I only had one person realize what my shirt represented in all the times I've worn this top...so maybe a little too subtle!

      Thanks again for the Ariadne pattern...I serious love those sleeves.

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  10. Love this - and I'm so impressed by all the art you've been doing for the wee babe as well! Are you going to blog that too?

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    1. I intend to! Just need to get around to photographing and writing...

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  11. Aww, this is awesome! :-) I luuurv Totoro - it's soo sweet and soothing! I was on a train recently where the closing compartment trains made the sound of the catbus. My colleague had no idea what I was on about, so I told her to watch it with her 6-yr old. Hope she loves it too!

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    1. That would be so cool to ride in a real catbus...I guess catbus noises are the next best thing ;)

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  12. Subtle geek stuff is my absolute favorite! Such a great shirt! I'm glad you finally blogged it - I had forgotten about it after seeing it on IG back when you made it.

    ~ Brooke

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    1. I was a little embarrassed when I went back to my IG feed to find the picture and realized I had actually finished it a whole two months ago!

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    2. Don't be embarrassed! I'm probably at least 3 months backlogged on actually blogging what I teased on IG myself!

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  13. Cindy, I can't even. This is seriously the coolest thing I have seen online in ages!!! I am such a crazy Miyazaki nut that when we went to Japan this year we had a whole day set aside for the Ghibli Museum (I may have teared up upon entering but it was that damn good) I wasn't able to get any Totoro shirts that would fit but this is the perfect solution! Seriously epic work, lovely!

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  14. Super cute! And probably comfy as well since you chose soft rayon knits ... SWOON!

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  15. So cute with the flutter sleeves. Love this!

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  16. Super cute! So fun. Miyazaki is who got me hooked on all this stuff too!

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  17. So so so genius and adorable! I love it.

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  18. I don't read blogs often these days but every so often I read up on some of my favorites and yours is one. I was thrilled to see your Totoro posts. I threw a Totoro birthday party for my youngest last year and thought I would share the fun. I don't expect you to share it - I just thought you might like it.

    Totoro Party: https://www.facebook.com/MelissaMarieH/media_set?set=a.10202916835134992.1073741929.1026314547&type=3

    and some Totoro items I made for her. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10202757449590453&set=a.10202662315652164.1073741923.1026314547&type=3&theater

    Your Totoro shirt really is a perfect maternity shirt and the bouncer was a darling idea.

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