Inspiring Home Decor

I’m stash busting so I really shouldn’t be at a fabric store but I desperately needed to stock up on machine needles and tracing paper so my husband and I made a trip to Spotlight. I grabbed them as quickly as I could and totally avoided the fabric section for my own sanity! After congratulating myself for the good exercise of self-control, we decided to lunch at a charming little cafe located right next door. It is called Tea Cosy. I have gone passed the cafe on many occasions. Surrounded by hundreds of white angel statues, the cafe only has around a dozen tables and looked extremely cosy and quaint. Little did I expect to find beautiful toile fabrics and retro inspired furniture in it!

Baby blue, brown and red toile fabrics were used as tablecloths and for chairs while gingham fabric was sewn into cushion covers, tablecloths and place mats.

The fabrics are not for sale but the chairs covered in toile prints are…in fact they sell all the fabulous retro inspired furniture too. So essentially it is a cafe cum showroom concept. I love the look of the place and off course the huge photo print of Audrey Hepburn! I want that gorgeous picture and the black leather chair in my sewing room so badly! Okay, the red chair and the hanging candle-stand can come along too!

How’s your weekend so far? I hope it has been cosy, relaxing and sew wonderful!


My first muslin

I have been sewing garments for myself on a regular basis for the past three months and it is the first time I have made a muslin. I thought I better make one since there are so many new things I’m learning from this project. So many firsts. It’s the first time I’m playing around with boning and padding while modifying a top pattern.  I used a really inexpensive floral print fabric I got from Chinatown sometime back and took my time.

I took so many photos of the muslin creation process, in fact, every single step so that I won’t forget what I did with it.  It is a brand new experience for me. The process was more enjoyable than I thought. Nonetheless, I still stand by my old ways and belief that muslins are not required for every single project.

This particular muslin, however, is not staying a muslin. I liked it so much that I’ve decided to upgrade its status. It is gonna become part of my wardrobe for two reasons. Firstly, it is important enough- it’s my first muslin 🙂 Second, it doesn’t look that bad so I cut a pair of red shorts and attached it to the top. I didn’t show you the back cos the colour of the zipper I used completely didn’t go with the outfit…it was a muslin after all. I will replace the zipper once I get one in red.

Now that the muslin is completed, I can start on the actual project. I am so excited about it and will definitely share more details with you when I’m done and if you are interested a step-by-step should also be available given the number of photographs I have snapped.

Meanwhile, besides deciding on which pair of jeans to sew for my Holiday Wardrobe Project, I have gotten myself involved in two exciting sewalongs. The first is Grosgrain’s A Frock By Friday (August) happening next week. This time we are creating the Alexander Dress! It’s so pretty, I can’t wait! I’ve chosen the fabric and it is drying as I type this. The second sewalong which is starting late September is Gertie’s Lady Grey sewalong using this gorgeous design from Colette Pattern. We are starting off with a muslin as well. Although it won’t be in time for my October trip, I am hoping to buy the actual coat fabric during the trip.

Join us for the sewalongs, won’t you?

Mystery Cardigan Completed!

This lovely yellow cardigan stood out in the Japanese Sewing Book  “Les couleurs francaises” but the sewing pattern for it didn’t come with the book. I used to call it the Mystery Cardigan. When I really needed to make it as part of my Holiday Wardrobe Project, I made modifications to the sewing pattern of project m (below) to create a long green cardigan.

Instead of woven fabric which I believe the book suggested or cotton jersey (I couldn’t read the rest of the Japanese words but I recognized ‘cotton’), I used a very stretchy knit fabric which felt and looked like what you would usually find in RTW cardigans. I needed this to keep me warm and am happy I finally used this fabric. When my mum saw the fabric, she told me “That’s gonna be difficult to sew.” At the end of the project, I gave mum an update “It wasn’t that difficult to sew, it was horrifying to cut!’. Compared to what I now think is a lycra blend knit fabric used for my Melissa dress, this knit fabric was not difficult to sew. However, cutting it was a nightmare because the ends kept rolling, making it almost impossible to match the selvages. I just hoped I got the grain lines right!

The ruffles at the bottom of the cardigan worked well and looked lovely but those attached to the sleeves didn’t. Somehow, they turned out too short after I gathered them for the sleeves. I think it might be due to the direction of the stretch of the fabric so this might not be an issue if you use woven fabric. Unfortunately for me I used up all the green fabric and did not have any extras to redo them. Do you think a thin elastic sewn just above the gathered fabric would ruffle them up or should I just leave them alone? I am happy to hear any suggestion on how to improve the lack of ruffles situation.

I made a very long belt, as you can see and that turned out to be really interesting to  play around with. I got to tie my cardigan in so many ways! I didn’t plan for that to happen and only realized its potential when putting the belt on for the photographs. When I wore it this way, it created a cross knot at the back. I love it!

To create the Mystery Cardigan, I cut the paper pieces of project m and put them against myself, I then used the measuring tape to determine how much I needed to lengthen the front and back pieces.  Mine was lengthened by approximately 17″.  I only lengthened the sleeves by 3″ but the very stretchy knit and the weight of the ruffles pulled it down, making it look even longer. I created my belt from my leftover fabric but if you want one exactly like the photo, you can follow the one from project x, 185cm by 5cm before adding on the seam allowances. Oh! I also drafted  smaller pattern pieces for the shorter ruffles at the sleeves. There is supposed to two layers of ruffles at the bottom of the cardigan but I left that out, opting for only one row of ruffles.

Have a fruitful sewing week everyone!

Fall 2010 Inspiration

I have always enjoyed reading magazines. My focus was always content. Since I started sewing for myself in May, I am no longer seeing fashion magazines the same way.  I absolutely need my phone next to me so I can snap away at all the little details on images that inspire me. Here are some that wowed me.

These cute scallop edge pockets on this Miu Miu dress on the magazine cover.

or this beautiful and elegant lace dress.

It is such a basic shift dress. What a difference fabric choice and added bow make!

Then, there were other images which led me to check out full collections at Like many women out there, I am totally in love with the Louis Vuitton Fall RTW 2010 Collection especially these 50s inspired dresses with corset tops, wide shoulder straps and circle skirts. The pointy heels, ponytails, skinny belts or ribbons completed the look. It has got to be my favorite collection this fall and the autumn hues are awesome!

Sophia from iroiro, had also expressed her adoration for this collection on her blog. Here are some sewing patterns with great potential which I’ll like to highlight for the sake of anyone, like us, who love to sew and love the look.

First up, Vogue 8288 which Suzannah from Adventure in Dressmaking used for making this super sweet corset dress.

As Sophia highlighted to me, there’s also Vogue 1174. When I saw the photo, I remembered Tasia’s (Sewaholic) stunning dress.

For the long circle skirt, there is a tutorial here and an alternative is the panel skirt. You can find a brief tutorial by Un Chic Petit.

There is another collection that rocks in a different way. See the mix of mesh fabric over cut outs on these dresses in Proenza Schouler’s Fall 2010 Collection? Love them! I thought the black and white plaid dress was magnificent and love love love that crazy plaid print! Is it even plaid when laid flat I wonder?

This vintage sewing pattern of a similar babydoll design is from SewingwithMissDandy. It’s McCall’s 3832. The neckline has to be raised though for the cut out to be above the bust.

How adorable are these dresses with 50s vibes from the Prada Fall 2010 Collection?  The ruffles on the upper bodice works wonders for body proportions. However, I couldn’t help thinking if the bare midriff was necessary. What do you think?

I thought Vintage McCalls 4120 is not only perfect for modifications (In fact most 50s dress patterns with a round circle skirt will probably do) but I liked this one in particular cos it contains pattern pieces to create all those fabulous retro necklines! It’s available at Tricotgirl.

Do you have a favorite dress? Are you already working on a sewing project similar to these?

This is my second runway cum vintage pattern related post since Resort 2011: Retro Inspiration. I hope the images and patterns inspire you.  As for me, I need to think about how to adapt the vintage and new patterns I have or search for pdf ones online to recreate the look. The problem is the shipping cost to where I am. It is almost always higher than the pattern cost.

Did someone say Holiday Wardrobe Project? Yes, I am still working on that. Aren’t we ladies created to be fantastic at multi-tasking? Now, back to reading the magazine’s content. Have a great weekend my sewing comrades!

Photos source: Elle Singapore and

Sew Convert Blog Refashioned!

I have been thinking of refashioning my blog but didn’t get to do so until last evening. A simple, clean and white look was what I envisioned. One that is more conducive to read and more intuitive to navigate. After going through five to six themes, trying out layouts with two or three columns, I settled on this and certainly hope you like it.

I like that the hyperlinks on blog entries are now easy to spot since they are in blue and there is a wider margin between paragraphs. There is a new widget I added which tells you the Most Popular Post in the last 48 hours. You can find this at the top right column.

I also uncluttered some mess. I tried to, anyways :).

1) The Pages are better defined on the top of the blog. ‘Made Kids’, ‘Made Me’, ‘Who Am I?’ and so on can be seen more easily as they are demarcated by tabs.

2) The search function is right on top, you don’t have to search for the search box anymore 🙂

3) New sub pages have been created,  for easier retrieval of information. What used to be ‘Made Me’ now has three subcategories- Dresses, Tops as well as Jumpsuits & Bottoms. Just scroll over ‘Made Me’ and you will see them. I even indicated Y next to a garment I have worn out of the house and a YY, if I worn it on a regular basis just to have a better idea of how I fare. I think I need to wear my Made-Me garments out more. I know I would in September since I am gearing up for Self-Stitched-September but I would also like to wear them more often before and after that.

Do you like the changes? I hope I have not inconvenienced anyone in the process of my minor blog refashioning.

Oh yes, before I forget, you can now subscribe to RSS feeds from your preferred reader such as google, yahoo or blogline besides email subscription via wordpress. Simply scroll over the RSS feed icon on top to select.

As I am not used to blog entries without images, I added two. The photos you see here were taken using my phone camera, often in a spurt of the moment just to capture scenes of nostalgia, images fast disappearing in our urban landscape. I hope you like them! If you have any suggestions on how I can further improve the blog or think there is something else I should add, do let me know. I love to hear from you!

Have a blessed day!


Images (Top to bottom):

Peranakan (Straits Chinese) tiles

Old mail & switch boxes

Two looks in one Esther coat

Silly silly me…I thought I was mixing woven with knit when I was planning to sew the Esther Coat but as I felt the corduroy, I realized there was some stretch in it. This is my first time sewing with this fabric and I was glad to have read this informative post on working with nap and pile on Colette Pattern’s blog just in time. After reading it, I ensured that I cut the fabric in one direction.

I needed this coat to go with anything and everything I would be wearing for my trip to Shanghai in October so I chose to make it in black cord and black jersey. Why the mixture of fabrics?  This is part of my stash busting effort and they were the only combination that I could get together to formulate a coat of sorts.

Leopard prints are everywhere, I think it’s wild and like it quite a lot. But, it does age the wearer if its overwhelming so I added a leopard print trim on the sleeve facings instead just to up the meow factor. I love it!

Nonetheless, I felt that leopard print only goes with black stuff and  jeans and nothing else. So, it might not be that practical for a holiday coat. Not to worry,  the Esther works in such a way that if I were to fold the sleeves higher, the leopard trim could be completely covered and the coat goes with everything and anything in the world!

See what I mean, I am wearing the same tee and shorts I have been wearing the entire day and just threw on the coat and a scarf.

Now let me reveal the source of the leopard print trim. No, I did not buy any new fabric and no it wasn’t originally a trim. One day while browsing through Daiso (US$1.50 store), I was immediately drawn to this cute little leopard print pouch and thought I could sew a thick elastic around it and make a waist pouch.

But, my husband thinks waist pouches are the most unflattering accessory a woman can wear. I dropped the idea and the pouch has been on my sewing table for months until yesterday morning anyways. I am happy with how it looks on the coat. At least it has been put to use.  I love the texture, the furry feel and the contrast against black cord.

I thought I would need at least a week to complete a coat but this pattern was so easy and fun to sew! It only had 4 pieces! I took my time and finished this in a day including cutting and sewing.  For my version, I made 3 pieces out of the black cord and piece number 2, which covers the upper sleeves and upper back area in black jersey. For a burdastyle sewing pattern, this one has reasonably clear instructions. This coat is designed to keep you warm, with the exception of pattern piece number 2, all the rest had the fabric folded in half. This means there are two layers of comfy cord shielding me from the cold!

P/S: I have to thank dbsewer from Pattern Review who told me the coat looks hunter green on her monitor. I had to compare a black and white shot to realize the difference and did a color correction. Thanks so much. This updated version is closer to the actual color.

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.

Esther William Swimsuit & Tribal Kaftan

I have been waiting patiently and it’s finally here! My very own Esther William swimsuit!  Without knowing who Esther William was, I have been eyeing her stunning swimwear on ModCloth for months. Then, I read Casey’s post and checked out Esther William’s online store. There was a sale going on! How could I resist a discounted 1-Piece Classic Sheath I have been drooling over and at a more affordable international shipping rate? All the positive reviews I read on ModCloth really did it for me. Furthermore, I knew I needed a regular fitness regime since I last exercised on a regular basis a decade ago and swimming sounded good to me at that moment.  I chose the black fabric with white polka dots as it looked so adorable and retro. I ordered a size 8 and as per many reviews I have read, the fit is very flattering and it has to be my favorite piece of swimwear ever!

If weather permits this weekend, I will try to snap some photos with my family at the pool. That should be fun!

I decided that since I would be swimming on a more regular basis, I needed  to sew a pool kaftan which will take me from my apartment to the pool and back.  I didn’t have a kaftan pattern and didn’t want to buy one as I thought it should be relatively simple to sew.  I decided to  go with the tribal trend. Here’s my tribal kaftan which I think have the potential to be wore out as well, either on its own or with skinny jeans.

I cut two rectangular squares out of the tribal fabric, created a V neck out from the front piece, drafted an external facing for the v-neck using a black scrap fabric and sewed a gold piping onto the facing.  I loved the idea of longer sides so this kaftan ended up with that as well.

This Kaftan is so really easy to sew, it only took me half a day! And because some basic body measurements are taken, it will fit all sizes, even kids. I intend to make a light weight version for visiting the pool and another with a sash for going out.  If there is enough interest, I will post a tutorial for the Kaftan when I sew the next one. I have to look through the stash first.  And if I can’t find suitable fabric to go with my retro swimsuit, it will be a priority when I go on holiday in October.  I am so excited, I can’t wait to tell you more about my next theme!  This project will probably take me to the end of September now that I am going to start swimming. I’m still busy researching and matching my stash to patterns. I found it pretty challenging as it is not easy matching my existing stash and the fabric requirement of this new theme…will tell you more about it tomorrow. Happy Monday!

Echino Grassy Plain Dress

The dress that got me interested in Japanese Sewing Books is this purple scarf dress featured on the cover of ‘Les couleurs francaises’. It is also my reward dress for completing the target I set for myself in my Japanese Sewing Book challenge. I used my precious Echino Grassy Plain fabric which I thought was so appropriate for the design. The fabric was in my untouchable stash but I am glad it has turned into this dress!

The dress is Project C from ‘Les couleurs francaises’. It is relatively easy to make with many detailed diagrams. I used the pattern for size M, the shoulders fitted well but it was huge on the sides so I took them in quite a bit. The original design had a tie scarf collar. To make the most of this outfit, I decided to make some modifications and made the collar and scarf separately.  Here you see the dress with a collar I drafted myself. I wanted a collar that would look hidden when I wanted to wear it with the scarf.

Here’s the version with scarf which looks similar to the photo in the book.

And here I wear it slightly differently. I love the idea of a separate scarf, it is so versatile and you can wear it in so many ways, even with other outfits!

The scarf could also be used to drape a crowl neckline.

Or as a head scarf 🙂 I actually like this boho look quite a lot.

I love this Echino fabric! I tried my best to match the print on the side seams but it was not possible given that the print was wavy.

I hope you like my reward dress 🙂 I love it and can’t stop looking at it! I can’t wait for my princess to grow to be 100cm, that way we can wear matching dresses like the ones in the book! TGIF, have a fabulous weekend everyone!

Nani Iro Tunic

While I was away from my sewing machine, my husband and I managed to catch three movies (Inception, Salt and Eclipse), get our hair trimmed at the salon and enjoy a couple massage. We even brought the kids to the beach, the park and went swimming together. Couple and family time have been great but it has been almost a week since I last had my sewing machine plugged in. I was very much looking forward to creating again. However, I must admit that when this day came, it was not easy getting my sewing groove back.

It took some effort to pull myself away from my Macbook and to get into the fabric cutting mode this morning. And after I changed the machine needle, the machine threader was not working properly so I’ve been relying on my eyes to do the threading the entire day which became rather exhausting.  I never knew how much I have taken the threader for granted. *sigh*.

Anyways, I am happy that at the end of the session, I completed my first project of the week and my final project from the Japanese Sewing Book ‘Feminine wardrobe’. That means, I get to make my Echino dress! Yipee!

Here’s me sporting a new tan and my Nani Iro Tunic. I love this Double Gauze fabric I got from Fabric Tales Japan. It is too gorgeous! I was crazy enough to leave the collection and designer names on one of the sleeves!

I knew I wanted to make a tunic with this fabric when I bought it but I have not tried Japanese sewing books then. The fabric print is very serene and reminded me of watercolor paintings. I wanted to use a pattern that is different yet simple. I’m very glad I waited and finally used this Japanese pattern and adapted it for a tunic.

This is the original photo from the book and the dress pattern which I adapted.

The pattern is C3 from the book and I used the bodice pieces from C2 as they were essentially the same pieces, only shorter. I didn’t use elastic for the sleeves as I thought that would be too puffy for my liking. I used french seams for the inside of sleeves so they looked neat even from outside. I love the front yoke and the pleats on the front bodice, back bodice and sleeves.

I love this tunic. It is super comfy and perfect for summer! Think I am getting the groove back.