The “Back to School” Goldstream Peacoat

After sewing hubby a 70s Melton wool coat (below) in 2012, I wanted to sew him something different last year for our 15th wedding anniversary. The plan was to sew Thread Theory’s Jedediah pants and Newcastle Cardigan. But, I took longer than expected sourcing … Continue reading

Too Late for Valentines’ Green Lace Dress

This gallery contains 13 photos.

It was love at first sight when I saw this simple lace dress on the September 2012 cover of burdastyle. The original fabric, which I adore, costs OMG 85 Euros per meter excluding shipping from Europe.  Despite searching high and low, I simply … Continue reading

Two mod dresses and a pin-up

The family will be off to Hong Kong mid December till 2012 so I’ve been sewing, sewing and sewing, trying my best to finish all my Sew Weekly projects for this year. In addition to that, my boy has taken up Taekwondo with 3 hours of lessons a week and lil princess, not to be outdone, has also started ballet lessons and is surprisingly attentive in class. These have kept me swamped as well but in a really good way:)

Hence, the lack of new bog posts.

Things might only get crazier here as my Indonesian helper will be going home for two weeks later this month. This would most likely mean I’m gonna be spending more time cooking than sewing and definitely not likely to be blogging.  This might be my last post here until she returns in early December. But, not to worry, with my birthday coming, I’ll be scheduling a giveaway between now and my return to this blog space.

Here are the projects I’ve done for the past 3 weeks. On top of these, I’ve sewed another knit dress (not for Sew Weekly) and two hobo bags (mum and daughter versions) as birthday presents for my old friend and her gal. I’ve yet to find time to photograph these but will post once I find time and if I still remember them. kekeke

Theme: The Color Orange

Project: The Orange Tab dress

Vintage 1960s sewing pattern front and my modified back as inspired by Prada. Orange isn’t my color but I’m happy to have it as a contrast color. More info on my TSW post here.

Theme: Pin up

Project: The “Much Needed Curves” Dress

Yes, it’s a macaron! My evil twin Curvy Kitty took over for this pin-up project and writeup. Find out more here.

Theme: The Burdastyle Sewing Handbook 

Project: The Mod Oriental Dress 

This amazing sewing book was mailed to us with compliments and there are so many projects I wanted to try. In the end, I sewed a mod oriental dress which I could wear for Lunar New Year in January. Here’s the original burdastyle dress pattern I used. More  on the project and the modifications I made to the pattern here. Off course, I was happy to sew another book based project to fulfill my Craft Book Challenge target;) I have not been doing book based projects as much as I wanted to for the past couple of months as I ran out of tracing paper and Spotlight stopped selling them. A  couple of weeks ago, I found a shop in Chinatown selling them in bulk and bought lots. Now, I’m back to the books.

Have a blessed week!

P/S: I’ve received quite a number of emails and tried to respond to as many as I could. If I missed yours, please resend them and I will followup. Thank you and happy sewing!


The “Gather & Go” Jersey Dress

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!

MIA and new projects

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 (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.

Theme: To Dye For (fabric dye, fabric paint etc)
An easy skirt I made on a week which I had no time to sew. I hand painted a border print of white dotted waves and nautical artifacts with fabric paint, a really easy way to create a unique skirt! Perhaps I will adorn my kids’ nautical outfits with fabric paint too! That’ll be fun!
I hope you and your family have a blessed week! Happy sewing!

Making up for Nautical and the Keyhole Mod Mini

Kids in Vintage

I missed the nautical theme week on The Sew Weekly as I was on vacation and decided to make up for it with a middy top and dress. They were not for me though but my kids. I showed the cover of Simplicity 2402 to my son and he immediately told me he wanted his outfit exactly like View 4. I’m not surprised since his favorite color is red. So, I bought some red and white stripe seersucker fabric from and sewed the outfits for my kids to wear for a National Day gathering at a friend’s place. (Note: Red and white are our national colors) 
Here are my kids in their matching sibling outfits and the result of my very first attempt with kids vintage pattern.

The pattern used for my lil princess’ 1940s sailor dress is Simplicity 4246.  The collar is embellished with red and white polka dot bias tapes.  My lil prince’s middy top is from the 1958 Simplicity 2402. His collar is also embellished with bias tape but in gingham. He’s only 5 but tall for his age so I used a size 6 pattern. It was good that the 1940s pattern was unprinted while the 1950s one was so it minimized my confusion when sewing these up since I cut the pieces together. The 1950s pattern also contained both girls and boys versions so I hope to sew the girls’ version for my princess when she’s 5 or 6 years old, only if she’s still willing to wear the stuff I sew.

The princess was in one of her moods and not very willing to pose for photos, but the happy older brother was pretty enthusiastic about it so here’s his solo shot. To allow his gigantic head to go through, the vestee was designed to be attached to the neckline with buttons but instead of creating a buttonhole under his collar, I used snap buttons. I finished all seams with french seams and was happy with the technical construction of both pieces. However, I do think that the outfits look too much like uniforms.

Wished I had some of this irresistible buttons to adorn them with so that these outfits look less uniform like.

The kids, especially my lil prince, love the outfits so I’m consoled with that thought. Since I know these fit them well, I hope to find time to make another version which is more fun and less uniform looking and with cute buttons too 🙂

I have not sewed for the kids for sometime and just got reminded that small pieces can be harder to sew. Especially these things called sleeves 😛

The Keyhole Mod Mini

This week for The Sew Weekly Challenge, we are sewing up a 70s storm. You can find my post here and more fun photos below. These were taken at the outdoor play area at Vivocity, a mega mall in Singapore.

The plaid fabric is from Ikea’s home decor department and the side front panels were cut from remnant denim. The keyhole opening created an interesting neckline to an otherwise simple design while the contrasting side panels creates the illusion of shape and slimming effect to the wearer.

The thickness of the fabrics and interfacing made it really tough to top stitch the keyhole area and I think I managed to do only an average job with this. Before top stitching I have already changed the machine needle and loosen the thread tension so I am not sure how I can improve on topstitching such thick fabrics. Any tips?

The pattern used was Simplicity 9014 from the year 1970, two years before I was born. The instructions were clear and simple and even taught me how to sew my very first dart seam. My only deviation, as with most 70s pattern, is to under stitch the facings to the interfacing instead of stitching the interfacing onto the bodice. The dress looked rather shapeless and wide on the pattern cover so I was surprised that it was actually quite fitting and yet still comfortable.
I hope you are having a great day! Have a blessed week!

Heads up and the “fighting back” red lace dress

Hi everyone, remember my 40s Sweetheart dress for Valentines?

40s sweetheart dress

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!

Behind the Seams: “Candy Stripes and Scallop skirt”

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 patterns

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!

The Gallery

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!

Behind the Seams: The Jason Wu 吳季剛 Bow Dress

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.

The Pattern

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:)

The Gallery

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!

Behind the Seams: “Separates are more fun” outfit

Being overloaded with dresses in my wardrobe, I really enjoyed mixing and matching separates with this week’s Unfinished Object (UFO) challenge. I have no other UFOs in my sewing room with the exception of this outfit which was originally meant to be a dress. You can read more on why this became my only UFO in my TSW post this week.

The Pattern

I scored this 1950s resort wear sewing pattern on ebay. It was selling at a low price as the jacket piece (which i didn’t need) was missing. I have been wanting to sew one of these shorts with overskirt combo for quite sometime now and was super-duper thrilled when I won the bid.

It is my first Advance sewing pattern. It is one of those unprinted patterns, the instructions and diagrams are clear and detailed but I found the pattern sizing to run slightly bigger than other pattern companies’. I had to make adjustments to all three pieces for a better fit. The halter top was meant to be tucked in so that could be a reason for its original ‘shapelessness’ despite having bust and waist darts, it was just not fitting at the waist. To make it more wearable and versatile, I had to take it in quite a bit at the sides for both the halter piece and the facing piece to make it work as a top that could be worn untucked. I also shortened the skirt and the pair of shorts to lengths I was more comfortable wearing.

This is not a difficult pattern to sew but it can be quite time-consuming as there are 10 buttons, 10 buttonholes and 10 darts in total.

The Gallery

My mixing and matching of the separates begin with the pattern envelope look of a tucked in halter top, shorts with an overskirt. Perfect for a ride on the bike I think 🙂

The floral fabric is vintage from the same estate sale as my easter dress at US$10 for 5 yards. What a bargain! Wished there were more of such great deals on etsy where I found this. The color wasn’t this vibrant before the wash so I was pleasantly surprised by the fresh array of colors that greeted me.

Tucked out halter top with skirt in the photos below. I’m really liking the new fit of the top and the time spent on fixing the fit was well worth it. I can imagine wearing the top just with jeans too!

The blue ‘piping’ looking edge on the entire back of the halter is actually done by cutting the facing piece slightly bigger, ironing it out and topstitching. Love the contrast it creates! 

The halter top with high-waisted shorts. I adore the pockets and clean look of this pair of shorts.

And with the untucked halter top.

Do you have a favorite out of the various combinations?

Aligning the darts

While sewing the pair of shorts, I encountered irregular double pointed darts from an unprinted pattern. I have seen countless tutorials out there on how to sew darts but didn’t see many on how to align them. For printed patterns, it’s easy as you can transfer all stitching and fold lines onto the fabrics but with unprinted patterns, all you have are a few dots as reference. I think darts are extremely important. How well they are aligned will affect the fit and sizing of the garment. The single pointed triangular darts are pretty straight forward and easy to align but I found pins the absolute necessity for times like these.

Here’s my documentation of how I aligned these darts from an unprinted pattern. Hope you find it useful.

Step 1: Transfer the dots on the pattern to the fabric

Step 2: Using a pin, pin a dot through to its corresponding dot. Repeat for all dots and corresponding dots.

Step 3: I pin them onto my ironing board such that they are all perpendicular to the board.

Step 4: If pins are not perpendicular to the board, adjust them. Once they are all in place, double check that they are pin across at the dots. Use the iron and press on the fold line.

Step 5: With the fold identified, join the dots with lines. These will be your stitching lines.

We have completed the alignment process. The dart is ready to be stitched and after stitching, iron in the direction specified by the pattern.

Happy sewing everyone! TGIF!