Self Drafted Postmark Skirt & “Stylish Skirt” Giveaway

When I said “Yes!” to reviewing “Stylish Skirts”, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I thought this was a typical Japanese sewing book but it wasn’t. I though there were patterns I could refer to.  I couldn’t find … Continue reading

Linen Bamboo Blouse & “Basic Black” Giveaway

Just before our vacation, I received  two Japanese sewing books from Tuttle Publishing that has recently been translated to English for review. “Basic Black: 25 Edgy Essentials for the Modern Wardrobe” by Sato Watanabe was one of them. When I got … Continue reading

An Amazing Start to 2014!

It was an AmaZing Sunday afternoon at the start of 2014 and the weather was just perfect. On the sunny island of Singapore, this was one of those unusually cool and windy days.  Our family visited one of our favorite … Continue reading

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 Mystery Solved dress

In conjunction with Mothers’ Day celebrations, we are drawing on an old photo of our mothers’ or grandmothers’ for inspiration. Yes, this is the week we are honoring our mother’s style and fashion influence. To find out why I named my project this week The Mystery Solved dress, please read my TSW post here.

The Photo Inspiration

My hubby and I were browsing through old photo albums at my mum’s during the lunar new year celebrations in February when we saw this photograph of my parents and hubby said I should make a dress like mum’s since I love the vintage look. There were surprisingly quite a number of copies of this particular photo and so I kept a one for myself.  So, when this theme came up, I knew this would be the photo to inspire my creation. This was a welcomed change after those weeks of having too many choices to consider.

The Gallery

I absolutely do not have the guts to wear a narrow horizontal stripes dress like mum did in the photo. Instead, I used my favorite home decor fabric- Alexander Henry’s Sofia in Gold , which in my opinion adds a 70s vintage vibe to the outfit with its yellow/orange/brown floral print.

I even wore a hairband and backcombed my hair, a little addition to the 70s flavor.

The Pattern Review

I’ve raved about the Japanese Sewing Book, Retrospective is Stylish many times and never thought I would be sewing this 70s pattern as my first project from the book. I mean, this is a great pattern but it was the 1950s dresses that really made me covet the book in the first place.

I used the pattern from Project 7 of the book. (The green dress pictured below)

I’ve sewed quite a number of garments from Japanese sewing books and usually it’s pretty intuitive and the illustration helps a lot. This time, I was stuck because I couldn’t find what I thought were two missing skirt pattern pieces. Googling didn’t help either as no one seem to have attempted this particular dress from the book. So, I’ve documented how it is done, after spending hours pondering about it and going through the overlapping pattern sheet countless times. I’ll illustrate using the back skirt pieces, the same technique applies to the front.

As you can see, the back of the skirt is formed by what seemed to be 3 pattern pieces.

Trace the back (and front) skirt piece (you will only find one pattern piece each for front and back) and identify a line running down the piece with the wordings below (something with 14cm). Trace the line onto the pattern piece of the skirt you have traced.

Cut the pattern piece at the line so one pattern piece becomes two.

Between the two pattern pieces, measure 14cm between them and add seam allowance of 0.5cm (Please note that you are cutting on the fold).

That is your back (or front) skirt pattern piece.

I hope this will be helpful to someone attempting this pattern.

The other thing I wanted to mention is sizing. Typically, I find that there is quite a lot of ease in Japanese sewing patterns and this was the case with this dress. The pattern came in size 7, 9, 11 and 13.  I’m in between sizes for this book (I’m size 12) so after measuring myself I opted to go with size 13. As a result, it did looked one size too big on all areas except the shoulders and bust area so I took in the sides from below the arm downwards.

Other than these, the dress is very easy to put together and a delight to wear. It has a true vintage feel to it and mum even gave her approval saying that the style is very authentic 70s. Yay!

Have you tried sewing garment with home decor fabrics? I am currently very intrigued with sewing with different fabrics and am in the process of experimenting with new ones whenever I can.

My thoughts on using home decor fabrics on garments:

They are great for circle skirts, love the extra sway that comes with it. See Casey’s lovely version in Ikea fabric. I think they can look pretty neat on a pencil skirt too. See the cupcake goddess’ version in Anna Maria Horner’s home decor fabric

They are a good alternative for a spring coat. I made my Lady Grey in an Ikea fabric.

They are not suitable for garments that requires gathering or shirring or smocking. You need light weight fabric for those.

They are as easy to sew, like cotton, but you will need to use a thicker needle.

That’s all folks and I’ll be coming back soon with the next giveaway and announcement of the winners. Have a great week my sewing comrades!