I was dying to know this. Out of all the garments I’ve sewed in 2011, which were the favorites amongst readers and your responses during my birthday fabric giveaway have given me some insights. The competition was fierce and here … Continue reading
Sorry I have been away from the blog for so long. I think a month to be exact. Besides feeling rather burnt out, I’ve also been terribly busy- mostly due to kids activities and domestic helper issues.
I’ve also been thinking about my plans for next year, after my sew weekly commitments come to an end. As some of you might know, I started sewing because of my lil princess, who will be turning 3 really soon. The sewing attention shifted from her to me because she was wearing school uniform but since transferring to the same pre-school as her older brother in August, she has been wearing her own clothes. So, come next year my focus will be very much on mother-daughter fashion and I am blessed enough to have located a few matching mother-daughter vintage patterns to start 2012 off with. Some of you have asked me about how I go about sewing jersey/ knit and chiffon since I do not own a serger so I will also be sharing my own experiences with these fabrics. I also hope to add a few self drafted patterns which you can download from my blog. My problem is the lack of a working scanner at the moment so I might have to get that resolved.
Well, that’s my very basic plan for next year. Meanwhile, I still wanna document the projects I’ve done on Sew Weekly so here are the stuff I’ve created for the past 4 weeks and links to the posts.
Hope you enjoy reading them and happy sewing!
1) Theme: Think Pink
2) Theme: Spanish Harlem
Project: The “Shall we Dance?” Outfit
3) Theme: Musicals
Project: The “Gone Tribal” FELA dress
4) Theme: Lounging around
Project: The “Rusty Bed jacket and slacks”
After sewing with woven fabrics for sometime, I always find it refreshing and exciting to sew with knits! This week’s project is from a 1946 reissue pattern, Vogue 8728 which is still available on its website.
What attracted me to this pattern are its design element with the adorable gathered yoke and the fact that it can be sewn using woven or knit fabrics! I’ve never sewn a vintage pattern in knit before so it’d be interesting to sew one up. This resissue pattern has been available for sometime now and most seamstresses sewn it up as a summer dress. For this week’s Sew Weekly challenge, we are using our fall palette. So, while this garment is weather perfect for Singapore, I found it fun to use a fall color on it. My fall palette is made up of mustard, deep teal, rust, deep plum and fuschia and in reality I have already started using these colors for some of my projects such as the dresses here. How fun! What’s you fall palette and have you started sewing from them?
For this week’s project I chose a deep teal poly jersey fabric which is slightly stretchier than matte jersey. Here’s my “Gather & go” dress, so named because it does not take much work to complete after gathering the yoke and skirt. I was able to finish the dress after 2 and a half hours. Oh yes, I paired the deep teal dress with the mustard belt I made earlier this year for this blouse.
And as usual I show you my fave part of the dress, the gathered front yoke.
I think my dress turned out fine because I read quite a few reviews on this pattern and was blessed enough to learn from what other seamstresses shared. Otherwise, this dress could have been a disaster. The trickiest bit of sewing this dress is probably the neckline binding. Two darts on the back bodice provides more shaping to the dress. A common complaint was that there were too much gathers on the yoke and skirt, so I followed the recommendations and cut the yoke 2 sizes smaller and the skirt a size smaller. I also skipped the shoulder pads and since I used knit, I didn’t sew a zipper. In the end, I was rewarded with gentle gathers and the flows they create, the texture and the fluidity they lend to the dress. I am quite certain that if I find time, I could make this pattern in a spectrum of colors and wear them any day! So, with the little tweaks during pattern cutting, this jersey dress is fast and easy to sew. A staple to keep.
More photos and details on my TSW post here. Next week on The Sew Weekly, the theme is tickled pink. So, if you have any pink fabric or even just a hint of pink in your stash, this might be a good time to take it out and sew away!
Have a blessed week my sewing comrades!
I have been too swamped with life’s many happenings to update my blog these couple of weeks. I have not been feeling as well physically and the symptoms still require further investigation. That was followed by quite a few public holidays, school holidays and hubby on leave which left me less time to sew and even less to blog. Apologies also for not responding promptly to emails, I will respond to them shortly :)
This week for the Sew Weekly Challenge, we were to sew a 1920s/early 30s creation in line with The Gatsby Summer Afternoon event in California. To cut the long story short, my failure in the first dress (which was 99% completed) led to a mad rush to complete a second one and that took up too much time at the sewing machine. Here’s the story.
The failed 1935 Afternoon frock
Some of you might remember this Eva dress reproduction of a 1935 German Afternoon frock which I had originally planned to sew as part of the Sewing Through the Decades Challenge. I even found a rayon fabric which reminded me of the illustration on the pattern cover and couldn’t wait to get started.
What I loved most about this pattern were those sleeves, the inverted V bodice matching the V seam of the waist band and the bias skirt.
I encountered a minor issue after cutting out the pattern pieces. The paper pattern for the back waist piece and the underarm gussets were not included. I looked at the pattern layout again and they were both rectangular/ squarish pieces I decided to draft them myself. However, after sewing everything in place. Yes, everything, I realized that the instruction on finishing the sleeves were missing. I searched the web for a review but non were found and that eventually led me back to this blog post on the eva dress blog where there was a note concerning the dress pattern.
Here is a note about the Afternoon Dress and Coat shown above:
I failed to publish the fact that the art shows a pink insert in the sleeve opening at the front, but the pattern does not give this piece nor any instruction to the effect. I believe this to have been an error on the part of the pattern illustrator. The instruction and pieces call for the sleeve to be left open, the raw edges of which are narrowly faced with no insert. One may certainly add an insert of fabric here, if desired.”
I was disappointed.
For the sake of anyone else who has this pattern, there are three separate pieces of hanging fabric at the sleeves. On hindsight, I think the sleeves could work (but will look nothing like the cover) if you cut them shorter (but still beyond the underarm gussets) and join the seams instead of finishing them separately. What is seen as the pink insert is actually part of the shoulder yoke (the middle piece).
Another “inaccuracy” in the illustration are what looked like closed seams at the shoulders. In the picture we see two pieces joined together and opened up towards the bottom of the sleeves revealing an insert. This seam does not exist and in reality there are three pattern pieces left open until the end of the sleeves. It is definitely not as flattering or well designed as illustrated.
My first attempt with an Eva dress repro pattern was such a wonderful experience so I am not about to give up on repro patterns yet. Another thing I have learnt is finding a fabric which resembled that on the pattern cover does not necessary lead to a good looking dress. The beige tone is totally unsuitable for me and I felt like I was wearing pajamas in it. Totally unbearable! My mistake in fabric selection.
While frustrating, this attempt was good practice for my topstitching and seam matching.
And I learnt to sew my first underarm gusset (not perfect but a good experience). I am surprised how much ease it creates and how comfortable it is to have gussets included in the sleeves.
I wished this worked out but it didn’t for me. Nonetheless, I am actually happy with how the dress turned out technically. For such a design, I think a bright solid fabric will work better than a pastel shade with print. One day, I might feel brave enough to sew a version with modifications.
The 2nd attempt: Sewn on borrowed time dress
Unwilling to give up and give in, I started on a second early 1930s dress. Butterick 4588 which was a dream to sew with only 6 pattern pieces! It took a while to sew as I used a chiffon fabric and finished all seams either with french seams or bias tape.
You can read more about this dress on my TSW post here but I wanted to show you my fave parts of the dress. The cape that covers the shoulders but are not joined to the sleeves. The W shaped seam which joined the drop waist bodice to the skirt.
The back slit which was not part of the pattern but something I had to do to save fabric. I do like this slight variation.
The W shaped seams are on both the front and back of the skirt but I chose to embellish the front with beaded trim to make it more obvious but not the back as that would be an overkill in my opinion.
I love the length and drape of the skirt.
In this pattern most of the darts (back shoulder, front and back waist) are marked with two dots, something I not seen before and I had to create darts 1/8″ from the bottom dot. Totally a new experience for me. Here are the before/after shots.
These darts created a flattering bloused effect at the waist. The pattern called for underarm closures but I was able to slip this dress on effortlessly so I dropped the closure. I love how this one turned out but had to “borrow” sewing time from the next project to get it done. My mum and hubby loved the dress too, much to my delight so it’s all worth it!
Last but not least, in case you have not seen them, here are the links to my TSW projects from the last two weeks.
Theme: Back to School (Plaids)
Project: “Waiting for the bell” outfit
I received quite a few queries on the shoes I wore in the photos. It is from a very affordable and quirky label I just discovered recently called T.U.K. and I got mine from endless.com (Love the free international shipping!)
The outfit was made from this 1940s Simplicity 3719 pattern.
Here’s a in progress photo I took when I cut the pattern pieces out individually to match the white dashes on the fabric.
Hi everyone, remember my 40s Sweetheart dress for Valentines?
Some of you asked me about the pattern then and my copy was the only one I had seen. But while browsing through ebay recently, I actually saw another copy of it. The 1942 Du Barry 5357 is up for bidding from bluehearse if you are keen.
This week for the Sew Weekly Challenge, I made another red dress for the Hitchcock inspired theme. Can you guess the source of my inspiration? It’s pretty easy :)
Did you guess right? I was inspired by this red lace dress worn by Grace Kelly in ‘Dial M for Murder’.
But, my dress looks so different? Find out more about my thought process and the ‘struggles’ I went through to get this dress done on my TSW post here. I can only say red lace is tricky and not everyone can look as elegant as Princess Grace in this outfit.
Or you can also laugh at my reenactment of the ‘fight back with the murderer’ scene with various ‘weapons’ out of which one is the right choice.
My pattern of choice in the attempt to make the impossible- a casual as possible, demure, sexy in a subtle way red lace dress- was Project 6 from Japanese sewing book ‘Retrospective is Stylish’. My conclusion is red lace can never really be casual though I do think my dress turned out rather demure and not too sexy :)
I modified the sleeves, skirt length and shape for the final dress but I wanted to put on record this: Beware of the collar piece. The collar worked great at the sides and back but didn’t sit properly in front until I shortened it but that in turned caused another problem, this time, the collars didn’t meet in the centre. What I did was to draft two smaller arcs, additional collar pieces to create something like a petal collar. Other than that the pattern was not difficult to sew.
The petal collar in my opinion actually made the dress more demure which was what I wanted in the first place. What joy a fluke incident brings!
Have a blessed week everyone, I am flying off tomorrow night so see you in August!
Oops! I’m a day late with this post. Actually, it might have been even later as I’m struggling to finish up next week’s project before I start packing for the family trip. We take off mid week for two weeks! Oh Gosh! I have so much left to do! It also didn’t help that I keep changing my mind on 1) the source of inspiration and 2) what I want to do with the fabric ie. switching from this pattern to that and even changing the lining choice. Big major ‘sigh’. It has been quite a journey and I have to complete the dress today as it’s errand day tomorrow. I’m typing this out while waiting for my lil princess to finish breakfast before ferrying her to school.
The Sew Weekly Challenge
For The Sew Weekly Challenge, we are taking inspiration from a music album cover. You can find my TSW post here.
As usual, I had to make a choice from these three Korean girl groups. They are also some of my fave music videos on YouTube. I’ve linked them to the videos so if you have time, take a look and I hope you get inspired as well!
Hoot by Girls Generation (SNSD)
These girls have churned out hits after hits with catchy music and wonderful dance moves. Genie and Run Devil Run are also on my fave playlists. They are also big in Japan and hence many of their songs also come with Japanese versions. Even my kids love watching their MVs!
Nobody by The Wonder Girls
The song Nobody is not only a hit in Korea but worldwide. This is the only song I know which also has English, Japanese and Mandarin versions all sang by The Wonder Girls. They made their US debut in 2009 with the song reaching 76 on Billboard 100, making them the first Korean group to be on the charts.
Shy Boy by Secret
This is truly a stumbled upon while I was searching for inspiration and my album cover choice for this week’s sewing theme.
The blouse pattern is very straight forward and probably one of the easiest I have done for a Japanese sewing pattern and for a blouse, mainly because instead of having to attach the collar, you simply flip it over after attaching the facings. The sleeves are also part of the main blouse pattern and finished with bias tape. So, the result – a very gratifying and quick to finish piece of sewing.
From sewing the Mystery Solved Dress , I realized that there was quite a lot of ease in the patterns from Japanese Sewing book, ‘Retrospective is Stylish’ so this time I went one size down and chose a size 11 to cut before adding the seam allowance and I am totally in love with the fit of the blouse. With the waist darts (front and back) and bust darts, the blouse can also be wore untucked and with good shaping too.
The skirt pattern comes absolutely free. I first saw the awesome Scallop waist pattern from Chie of Vivat Veritas from Grosgrain’s Free Pattern Month and that was one of the two patterns I downloaded immediately. I even bought the blue poly fabric (yes, no crinkling) just for that so I am happy to finally sew it up. I am in between size 10 and 12 so I took a little off the waist and seam from a 12. The skirt is so easy to sew and you can follow Chie clear step by step guide here and the best part is how flattering it is!
I lengthened mine by approximately 5 inches. What I did was to measure 5 inches all along the arc of the pattern and cutting from there. I definitely picked up a few sewing tips from Chie just by sewing this skirt!
Here are just some additional photos taken around the back streets of Joo Chiat in Singapore where some semblance of good ole days in Singapore remains. I love the spiral stairs and letter boxes!
The blouse fabric is vintage rayon from etsy. I love the mix of stripe colors and couldn’t resist getting it sometime back.
Veronica, also a contributor to The Sew Weekly and such a darling, asked “Oh Adey, did you scream when that chevron/button matched up so well!” I didn’t scream on the outside but inside I was going “Oh Yeah!”. Now I can’t imagine the blouse without those flattering diagonal stripes!
Happy sewing everyone! Have a blessed week!
It’s the 4th of July week and for The Sew Weekly Challenge, we are working on pieces inspired by an American fashion designer. To make selection easier for myself since I am not really familiar with most designers on the list, I went straight for the shorter list of designers of Asian descent. But, the list wasn’t comprehensive. Later through google search, I discovered a couple of amazing talents such as Prabal Gurung and Thakoon. They simply wowed me!
I’m inspired by Prabal Gurung’s bold use of colors and prints in his collection, the most recent being his Resorts collection.
And Thakoon’s use of Asian motifs and prints in his collections. Seen below is Thakoon for Target collection.
I have also been feeling guilty not working on patterns from the Twinkle Sews book I have. But, what deterred me was the potential waste of paper since the patterns, unlike conventional ones are not printed in half (and cut on fold) but printed as an entire piece and my printer’s low ink levels. I need to get those ink cartridges replaced! If I were to sew a dress from the book, it would have been the Next Big Thing Dress.
In the end, I chose something wearable on the daily basis, the bow dress inspired by Taiwan-born American designer Jason Wu. Wu and his use of edgy, modern, prints on vintage styles was what inspired me.
I was even more inspired when I found an edgy, nearly forgotten criss-cross border print and a bow dress pattern in my stash and was convinced that they can be combined to create a Wu inspired piece.
It’s official! The 1940s has to be my favorite fashion era! I have not done many outfits from the decade but am convinced by the few patterns (my other fave is this dress) that I have attempted. I’m totally utterly in love with this Bow Dress pattern which a seamstress, probably its first owner, bought on 30 September 1943. It also happens to be my second vintage pattern contribution to the Vintage Pattern wiki.
Like last week’s pattern, this is from the Advance pattern company and I was skeptical if the fit would be good as I had to make quite a bit for adjustment for that outfit. However, the fit for this dress turned out just nice, which was phew! great! Instructions are very detailed and clear. The bow is tied onto the dress’s otherwise cowl neckline as a separate piece! How cool is that:)
I took most of my photos at a hotel’s courtyard this week for TSW post here. And, oh boy, it was the first time I was told photography wasn’t allowed since I started taking photos out of the comforts of my home this January. I am so not going back to that hotel. So, the photos with the reflective glass background were taken at a separate location. I took about 15 photos in total before heading back to the air-conditioned area as it was piping hot on the day of the shoot. I had to use my photo editor later to adjust the colors so that the fabric looked closer to what it does in real life. Mainly, the navy blue patch of the yoke wasn’t coming through as they should in some photos. Now, it’s looking nearly as vibrant as the actual dress :)
I really enjoyed sewing this dress and I think it’s always fun sewing with a border print and a unique fabric. The next few weeks leading up to my family vacation is gonna be crazy as i have a whole list of errands to run and a few more outfits to sew! For my last few MMJ posts, I may just schedule them for later, most probably during my vacation as I will bring you on a little virtual sightseeing in Singapore :)
Have a happy sewing week everyone!
Made Me June
It has been cloudy and rainy for the past few days with even some flooding at various places on Sunday. Trying to get water, flowers or playgrounds in my MMJ photos was harder than I had imagined so I just had to get more creative with it.
day 4. saturday. rainy. 23 to 32 degrees celsius
Puddles of water after the rain LOL. Hope that’s acceptable :)
Outfit: Reflection of the moon frock
Hours worn: 6 hours
day 5. sunday. rainy. 23 to 31 degrees celsius
Indoor kiddy rides- hope that passes as playground :P
Outfit: 50s Inspired Sabrina dress (without cape)
Hours worn: 7 hours
The Sew Weekly
This week at The Sew Weekly, we are making a garment from a single or pair of pillowcases. It was really tough finding cheap pillowcases in Singapore (no fabrics, tablecloths or pillowcase at the thrift shop, yikes!) and you can read more about my pillowcase shopping attempts on my TSW post this week.
When I finally found these pillowcases on sale at spotlight, I grabbed them thinking they are perfect for a mod dress. I love the purple/ black and white print!
These are European pillowcases so they are not longer but wider, squarish in shape. The texture was stiff and reminded me of my son’s swim shorts. So, eventually I decided to make a vintage bathing suit out of it and some swimwear lining I have in my stash.
I tried to match the print the best that I could but didn’t have enough fabric to match the lower band of the top which was quite a bummer. For contrast and to make the garment more interesting, I used some red bias tape and buttons on the top.
The top photos were taken by with my new canon camera but I realized I couldn’t use that camera for my bathroom shots (Or rather I’m still unsure about the settings to use in that environment). They all turned out too dark so for those close up shots, so I used my automatic camera.
A scallop bias (which works like piping) was used between the bra cup piece and the lower band to make it more interesting and I also used a plastic zipper with lace like edge for the shorts.The patterns
I used Simplicity 3250 for the bra top and Simplicity 1124 for the shorts. As I have used the shorts pattern before, I knew it didn’t require much fabric and was high-waisted enough to cover my stretch marks. My only modification was to shorten it by not cutting the hem band and replacing the grosgrain ribbon (waist facing) for the waist with red bias tape. It’s real quick and easy to sew!
The bra top pattern turned out to be really easy to sew as well and instructions were very clear. I love the shaping formed by the pleats in the middle and gathers at the side of the top.
I am gonna be making full use of this at the pool on weekends for sure! Absolutely loving the 1950s vibe of the bathing suit!
Have a blessed week my sewing comrade! Next week, we will be sewing a black and white garment for the ascot races (Yes, inspired by My Fair Lady’s ascot scene!), do join us for the challenge!
Made Me June
I’m sorry today’s post is late. I’d been busy these couple of days preparing for my boy’s fifth birthday celebration at his school and we had so much fun this afternoon with fifteen five-year olds:)
I was so preoccupied with shopping for the birthday goody bags yesterday that I only found time to snap this shot last evening. It was rather cloudy by then.
day 2. thursday. sunny with a light drizzle. 24 to 32 degrees celsius
Outfit: The Explorer Outfit
Hours worn: 10 hours
day 3. friday. sunny. 24 to 33 degrees celsius
Dress: Festivity Macaron. I am happy that I wore this bright and cheery dress to celebrate my boy’s birthday.
Even though he readily eats corns, long beans and carrots, my son detests leafy vegetables and has been telling us that he would start eating them when he turns five. I’m very skeptical that it will materialize but let’s wait and see. If you have any tips on getting kids to love vegetables, please let me know :)
My son is a transformer fan. He is turning into a little collector of these toys and spends quite a bit of time honing his logic skills with his attempts to transform them from vehicle to robot and back. So, it wasn’t surprising that he asked for either an Optimus Prime or Bumblebee cake. I found a home bakery that created this amazing 3D Optimus Prime cake which all the boys loved! My boy couldn’t take his eyes off the cake. It turned out to be soft and yummy and not too sweet, which was great!
This week for The Sew Weekly Challenge, we attempt to sew the perfect summer dress. My TSW post can be found here.
The Pattern Review
I used a mail order pattern 3257 from the Kansas City Star. My first mail order pattern and it was postage dated in 1958. I love that I can see history through my love for sewing.
The pattern pieces though unprinted are sound but I was somewhat disappointed with the mock pockets and the lack of instructions. I was quite sad that even the buttons at the back of the dress were embellishments so instead of following the original side zipper, I moved the zipper to the back and drafted a placket for the buttons. I also used pocket pattern pieces from another pattern to create real usable pockets for my version.
To ensure that stripes matched as best as I could, I cut each pattern pieces individually and placed them next to each other before cutting to ensure stripes matched. I had to take in the sides of the bodice quite a bit. To get the stripes to still match while taking in the seams, I hand baste the seams while checking that the stripes matched before machine stitching. A little tedious but pretty effective.
I am so loving this dress and will definitely be wearing it out again soon!
I’m still working out my pillowcase project for next week’s challenge (There’s so much to unpick before sewing even began hahaha) and if you have extra pillow cases in your storeroom, why not take them out and join us for this challenge?
Blessed weekend everyone!
If there wasn’t a Sew Weekly Challenge and I wasn’t a contributor, this dress would most likely have ended up as an unfinished project. It was a dress I had wanted to sew and wear for my cousin’s wedding last Saturday. That however didn’t materialize and what you are seeing in the gallery below is the tweaked version. See the original yucky version and find out why this dress is late on my TSW post.
I used a bronze/silvery satin fabric with embroidered scallop edge for the dress. Boy, oh boy, I think satin is really quite a difficult fabric to work with and I really had to handle the delicate fabric with care at all stages- ironing, cutting, sewing and unpicking. It’s really horrors of horrors to unpick and I had to do so much of that to make the dress work.
I have a love-hate relationship with this fabric. On one hand, I didn’t enjoy working the fabric and I think the sheen makes the wearer put on a couple of pounds. But then again, it is the same sheen of the fabric that really brought out the smocking details in a subtle way that is quite lovely. I have not tried smocking before this but after seeing the very talented Jali’s (Equator Collection) stunning smocked cushions, I was so in awe and absolutely inspired to use the method on garments. See her posts here, here, here and here. I even contacted her smocking instructress but alas, she only has weekend classes (weekday ones were cancelled) which I am not able to attend. My version is really amateurish compared to Jali’s and I’m glad to have tried it :)
I’m also clueless what kind of smocking this is since there are so many different stitching methodologies.
The sleeves and the hem patterns were cut on the scallop edge and I love how they turned out.
The Pattern Review
Since I couldn’t attend the smocking classes, I bought myself a vintage dress pattern-Simplicity 4826- with smocking details. The pattern came with simple instructions on how to smock the bodice of the dress. I was surprised that it was actually much easier than I had envisioned.
There was also an iron on dots transfer paper and I was shocked that it still worked after 50 years! However, due to the long periods of time, there were a few extra dots that transfered from other part of the paper onto itself. The original pattern had 6 rolls of smocking excluding the neckline and area adjacent to the sleeves. When I was done smocking I realized I had 7 rolls on one side of the bodice so I stitched 5 additional smocks to balance it out. The instructions and diagrams were very easy to follow and I really enjoyed the smocking process even though it was time consuming. It was strangely therapeutic!
The Simplicity pattern was an easy 3 piece (excluding facings) pattern with an optional tie belt. I love the smocking details but thought the skirt portion would not be formal enough for the wedding luncheon so I used the skirt pattern from McCall’s 4883. Initially, I used view A despite my intuition asking me to go with B. All because I wanted to make full use of all 3 meters of the fabric I had. Silly me. That resulted in yes, the yucky ‘before’ version. The midriff and skirt sections were really easy to put together and I didn’t have to follow the instructions. The midriff section was however too long so I’ll recommend trying out the length first and if necessary shorten it before sewing. I’m exhausted after working on and tweaking this dress to make it work. Think I need a vacation! I don’t know how Mena from The Sew Weekly did it but she sewed 8 dresses in 6 days! If you have not, check out her Seven in Seven challenge! She’s amazing!