First Jeans: Retro Dots Bella

I am so excited to have completed my first pair of made-me jeans! I named it Retro Dots Bella but I would most probably be the only one to see those dots when I am wearing this pair of jeans. Made from burdastyle’s bella sewing pattern, I used an indigo denim for the jeans and a retro dots fabric from my princess’ stash for the lining at the waist and front pockets. Here are some photos of the Retro Dots for your eyes only :)

I also did some stitching on the back pockets to make them more interesting before top stitching onto the back of the jeans.

Perhaps denim is thicker so I had to go over the lines twice for them to be this obvious. I love the fit and I must say it looks really flattering from the side and back. I usually wear low waisted bootcut jeans so when I told my husband I was making a high-waisted jeans, he laughed  as he thought that it would look nerdy. But, nerdy the bella wasn’t. I think if anything, it is a little flirty. I showed it to my husband last evening after sewing on the buttons and he gave his nod of approval, which made me a happy gal :)

The jeans wasn’t difficult to make as I have already done a pair of shorts based on the same pattern but this time I used the size 34 patterns instead of 38 and it fitted really well. I think I have lost a little weight and also I realised and was also informed by some of you (thank you so much!) that the bella loosen at the waist with wear. Here’s a closer view of the buttons and stitching (sorry about the blue glare from my camera!) The toughest part for me was the buttonholes as this denim was rather difficult to cut/ rip so they took longer than normal to finish. At certain point, I was pulling my hair to get it done.

I finished the hem at floor level as I read in a fashion article that high-waisted pants which finishes there gives the illusion of longer legs. Sure hope that’s true!

This pair of jeans was part of my holiday wardrobe project and after this I have two more tops to create before my trip to Shanghai from 15 to 23 October.

For the two tops I have identified previously, I have a little change of mind. I will still sew a piece from the Twinkle Sews book but for the second piece I will be sewing this top from a new Japanese sewing book I acquired called ‘Drape drape’ by Hisako Sato. It has a cape like structure and I think it is great for layering. Definitely something I will wear on normal days too :)

Have an amazing week my sewing comrades!

Self-Stitched-September: Day 1 to 3

Self Stitched September has been fun fun fun so far and I’ve been bringing my camera tripod around a lot more. I didn’t want SSS photos to look exactly like those I’ve listed in Made Me, where you can find my entire self stitched wardrobe. This month is really a test for me. First to see if I would really wear what I have made so far and second to see which are the item I have made but would never wear. I’m still not sure at this point which are the pieces I wouldn’t wear as I’ve taken the easy approach of donning worn before items on the first three days of SSS. I hope I won’t be relying on these few pieces I’ve grown so fond of for the entire SSS! So, without further ado, a summary and personal thoughts on the Made Me garments I wore Day 1 to 3.

Day 1

On Day 1, I wore this comfy and easy outfit. My fave pair of shorts, black & white Bella teamed with my Mr Bump tee. It was my princess’ Teachers Day holiday so we had some bubbles fun at the park. My verdict: Bella is oh so comfortable, I want to make a whole bunch of them!  Three huge buttons on the front closure made putting and taking them off a breeze. Think button front jeans easy. I love the pleats at the pockets. This design element makes the shorts so unique and chic. The pattern isn’t difficult either, it just takes time. I wore these the entire day and didn’t feel self-conscious at all. Off course not, I have used my Bella countless times :) A few more of them in autumn hues sound good to me!

Day 2

I caught a cold on Day 2 so the highlight of the day was running some errands down at the post office *yawn*. I didn’t get to swim nor sew. But the good news is I managed to complete my dress tutorial. Phew! I really admired all the sewing divas out there who produce tutorials like all the time. It is really quite a time-consuming endeavor. And, honestly, I missed being at the sewing machine when I had to work on a tutorial. So, kudos to those of you who are so committed to doing and sharing them!

My Plaid Tara was put to the test. It was the very first item I made for myself using a sewing pattern (Burdastyle’s Tara) ever. I modified the sleeves as I didn’t like the original short ruffled version.  The blouse was made a few months after my princess was born and I have not touched it for sometime. When I wore it on Day 2, it felt loose fitting with huge sleeves and bodice, not flattering at all and I was feeling self-conscious. Hated that feeling! In my sewing basket it goes so that I can work on the fit again. The blouse was not difficult to sew but using quilting cotton for this piece did make it look kind of stiff. So, if you are making Tara, I would recommend using a light weight fabric.

Day 3

It’s my son’s turn to enjoy school holiday in lieu of Teachers’ Day. We went to the neighborhood playground, visited the airport and took a short subway ride upon his request even though I drove. Boys will be boys! Transportation never fails to intrigue him.

I wore a fire engine red knit top with my Red Denim Ruby. I love this first pair of shorts I made. I love the color, the fit and it’s pretty comfortable. While the side button closure attracted me to the pattern in the first place, I do have to contest with them when making a dash for the loo. I might need to find an easier alternative should I sew this again. It’s really a design versus practicality issue. For my love of sewing, the adventures of creating new things and the many things I’ve still got to learn, I don’t think I will skip sewing items due to such practicality issues, at least not yet :) Guess that means I am not at all a practical crafter hmmm…

My prince wore a very old pair of echino scooter pants I made by combining two different prints from the ni-co collection. It’s my favorites from the pile of pants I’ve made him. There is clearly something magical in echino fabrics. The prince was so excited to see two huge dogs during our Friday morning neighborhood walk but he became very weary of this sweet mannered Golden Retriever.  I told him the dog was friendly and was only sniffing his scent but the little prince complaint that it tickled…a lot :P

So at the end of the third day while typing this post, self-realization took place:

1) The Sew Convert isn’t sew practical when it comes to what she sews though she tries to be.

2) The Sew Convert is full of contradictions and tries to justify them. She needs a few more pairs of shorts with easy closure but will rather create a few more Bellas though they have button closure too. Somehow, front buttons are easier to manipulate compared to side buttons or maybe it’s the button size that made the difference. ha!

3) The Sew Convert seems pretty fond of wearing the garments she made from burdastyle patterns. Bella, ruby and tara are all from burdastyle! Gosh!

Anyhow, I don’t usually dress up on weekdays since I am normally at home sewing or blogging or just playing chauffeur to His and Her Royal Highness so I’m really looking forward to this weekend…a Made-Me weekend!

To my sewing comrades enjoying the Labour Day holidays, have a good one!

Holiday Wardrobe Project

I am planning a simple holiday wardrobe for my trip to Shanghai in October. Yes! Shanghai!  Can you imagine me going crazy at the fabric markets!!! I am going nuts just thinking about it LOL! If you have shopped there, I welcome tips, recommendations and any information :)

From now till end September, I wanna sew a few essential pieces to squeeze into a luggage I am sharing with my hubby and kids. With kids around, we always try to travel as light as possible.

I figured layering is the way to go. The weather has become temperamental. It was just 40 degrees Celsius (typically, it should be 30) in Shanghai a few days ago and by past years’ records, typical weather in October should be 15 to 22 degrees Celsius. My plan is to sew my first fall coat, first cardigan, first pair of jeans and to create a few coordinating knit pieces to bring along. At the same time, I am hoping that all these pieces will be versatile enough to be wore back home.

1) My first coat

I am gonna tackle the coat first. I have the Butterick 5295 sewing pattern but I am constrained by my stash busting effort to sew this-Insufficient yardage. Major major bummer! So, this pattern has got to wait.

I considered some coat sewing patterns on burdastyle where I chanced upon my dream coat named Alden.

This looks so retro. I love the back details! But alas, I still have a fabric constrain issue. I relooked at my stash and reluctantly let this go. It shall be made for my next fall holiday. It has been raining so much in Singapore, I just might get to wear this here if I use a waterproof material.  I convinced myself that Alden has got to wait. Stash busting is my priority at this point. That’s when I met Esther and got totally inspired by this lovely cosy version made of woven and knit fabric by Kitzler. I checked the yardage required and am a happy woman! By mixing knit and woven, i have enough to get this going! What an ingenious idea! Thank you Kitzler!

2) My first cardigan

I fell in love with this long cardi from Japanese sewing book ‘Les couleurs francaises’ but never thought I would actually make it.

The good news-I have the fabric for this in green! The bad news- the pattern is not provided. But, they did provide pattern for a shorter similar version (image below) and the sew gutsy in me said I’m not gonna let the lack of pattern get the better of me. I shall modify this to create a slightly longer cardi.

3) My first jeans

I am still tossed between making jeans from Wendy Mullin’s Sew U pants pattern and a high-waisted pair from burdastyle’s bella pattern. Afterall, the shorts version is so comfortable. The only certainty is I’m making this pair of jeans out of the only denim fabric in my stash, in Indigo.

Here’s what bella jeans look like. I love this pair by the Cupcake Goddess.

But, I am equally smitten with this Sew U pair by Le Printemps Jolie

What do you think? Bella or Sew U jeans?

4) Twinkle Sew Tops

These two tops from Wenlan Chia’s Twinkle Sew caught my eyes when I was going through my sewing patterns and I hope to create them in cotton jersey fabric from my stash. I have heard issues with printing out the CD Rom patterns but would still love to give them a try.

This project is going to be challenging. I have only sewn knit fabric twice.  Knit fabric. First Jeans. First Coat, First Cardigan. I’m ready.

Black & White Bella

My Black & White Bella is done! This is based on burdastyle’s Bella sewing pattern which is originally meant for pants. The only changes I made was to shorten the length and skipped the interfacing.  I used black cotton twill for the shorts and selected black and white buttons to go with it.  This black & white Bella is now my favorite pair of shorts for many reasons.

1) The high waist with princess seams is very flattering to the waistline

2) The wide legs makes this pair of shorts super-duper comfy

3) It is a superb sewing pattern which is well thought out. Imagine back pockets that are so strategically positioned under the seamline. Go beyond the 1.5cm seam allowance and they could be gone…haha. You can imagine how the princess seams, side seams, pocket seams etc matched perfectly.

4) I learnt how to create my first pouch pocket and it was fun! I love the pleats on top of the pocket. They are rather flattering too as they accentuate the hip area from the side.

5) Compared to the Ruby pattern, the instructions for Bella must be commended for its clarity. If anyone is making shorts for the first time, I’ll recommend Bella for sure!

6) Black and white not only makes the outfit look more classic, it can go with many different tops. 

7) I am happy I do not have to alter the waistline fit. Size 38 is perfect for me. Yay! For a person who has been having problems finding shorts with a waistline that fits, it’s a double YAY!!!

UPDATE: Oops, thought I should also show a clearer photo of the back as I really like the details. I could not take a clear one wearing it though so I will live with this. Color of the actual pair shorts is very similar to the photos above. The one below had exposure and definition blasted up so the details can be seen in the shot :)