A Fresh Start

The first sewing week of 2011 and I spent the first day organizing and cleaning up my sewing room. The reason: I wouldn’t see my sewing machine on the table due to the mountainous mess! A result of my laziness as I have not been cleaning up for sometime. Oops!

While moving things from one cupboard to another, I found these cute Disney containers and boxes from days when I was working in TV. I didn’t even remember keeping them. These were sent to me by programme distributors during Lunar New Year and the Mooncake Festival and used to contain love letters and mooncakes respectively. Now, they’ve found a new lease of life as containers for my sewing room. Using them, I sorted out the buttons according to colors…
rearranged my threads (most of which I won from a sew retro giveaway)…

placed the essentials- sewing needles, pins, bobbins (in an ice cube tray) in a box on a roller tray just below my sewing machine.

I managed to free a cupboard for fabrics while the rest were placed in plastic boxes. For those in the cupboard, I tried to label them with yardage and content details using tags stuck to the cupboard door…

Finally, I rearranged my sewing patterns…now I have a tray of modern day and a tray of vintage sewing patterns, some Japanese sewing books, burdastyle magazines and a few other sewing books all laid out neatly on the table. More importantly, the room is now wonderful to sew in and I can see the machine! 

So, what would I like to do differently in 2011?

Sew less but of better quality: My focus this year will be to sew less garments but to achieve better quality not just on the outside but also on the inside.

Take time for better photographs: I want to become a better photographer with my tripod and to get photos taken in places other than my living room or bathroom.

Be a better hanger: The clothes I made would look better on me if I look and feel better. So this year, I am committing myself to up my fitness level. I am going to attempt brisk walking around my estate at least three times a week besides the occasional swim.

An organized sewing room: I have never been a very neat person so I would like to be more disciplined in 2011. I want to be able to clean up more thoroughly after each project so that it’s easier to locate stuff. This is especially so after I’ve given the room a new sense of neatness today.

What about you my sewing comrades? What sewing or related objectives are you committing to this year?

Before I end this post, I just wanted to share some family photos which my lil prince has taken with his camera over the festive period ( It’s a Christmas present). He’s four and a half so I am really quite impressed with his skills!

I’m wearing my Little Folks Blouse and my lil princess is in a Tea Pony sunsuit handmade (though not by me) using a vintage fabric.

I’m in my Never Say Never dress and my lil princess is in her It’s Raining Cats Ribbon dress!

I think I need to make more stuff for dear hubby. LOL.

Have a marvelous week everyone! Happy 2011!


Holiday Wardrobe Completed with ‘Take Manhattan Tunic’

It’s a little past the deadline but I have finally completed my Holiday Wardrobe Project. My target was to finished these five pieces by the end of September but, with these many distractions (here, herehere and here), I am glad it actually got done 😛

Here’s my take on Twinkle Sews‘ Take Manhattan’ from the same titled book by fashion designer Wenlan Chia. I love the original in grey so I used the same color.

This design called for a viscose fabric but I used a heavier, stretchier cotton jersey from my stash as I find jersey great for travelling.

I am a size 4 according to Chia’s designs and one great thing about the pdf files is every size comes with its individual file so there is absolute no confusion of converging lines here. I printed the sewing pattern on letter sized paper and when I stuck them together, many of the edges didn’t meet. So, I focused on getting the pattern lines to meet instead and thank God that worked! I have been warned that Twinkle Sews pattern were designed whole instead of half. Usually, we print half a shirt front and cut on fold but for this book, you print the full shirt front and cut one. I tried to print only half a shirt to save trees but being inexperienced with this book’s sewing pattern layout made it tough to execute. Sorry trees 😦 …

My favourite part of this tunic has to be the crowl neckline. It’s the first time I tried such a neckline and I adore it. I also thought this tunic looks somewhat similar to a garment I would expect to find in a Japanese sewing book. With Chia being originally from Taiwan, there must be strong Japanese influence in her designs.

This pattern was rated Easy by Chia and rightly so. However, her instructions are pretty brief which subjects us to our own creative interpretation. Not necessarily a bad thing for more experienced seamstresses but a beginner might be left with lots of questions. For anyone who is not sure about getting Twinkle Sews, I would recommend trying out these free patterns which are also found in the book. Here are the links to a summer dress pattern which is rated intermediate in the book on Craftstylish and an A-line skirt pattern listed on burdastyle.

Once again buttonholes came to good use in this outfit with the crowl neck drawstrings being inserted through two buttonholes and a casing.

The other design element which propelled me to work on this project was the sportswear inspired pocket which should come to good use for keeping my hands warm. The photo below gives a better view of the pockets and I wore the tunic here without layers, the way I would back in Singapore.

I did a Holiday Wardrobe Project collage as a summary of the items completed. My first coat, first cardi and first jeans!

I did a check last night and the weather in Shanghai is expected to be between 22 to 14 degrees celsius while we are visiting so my holiday wardrobe should come to good use. I hope this can be a made-me holiday with me wearing at least one made-me item a day for nine days. I’ll update on whether this actually happens after the trip 🙂 I am pretty excited myself as I have never wore a self-made garment during my overseas trip.

Before I end this post, if you are interested to know a little bit more about dear old me, do check out my little Q&A with burdastyle. I am also incredibly honored that my Sunny Day Dress is in the slideshow for the Burdastyle’s Best of September (It’s #17). There are some superb creations in there, my personal favorite being #11 Pattern Magic Bow Dress by veryprairie. It’s GORGEOUS and she even dyed the fabric herself! I love that lime green!


WIP and Self Stitched September: Day 4 to 6

When I saw this Alexander Blouse variation on burdastyle, I fell in love with it straight away. So, I was super thrilled when Grosgrain suggested making a dress version for ‘A Frock By Friday’. I’m using a buttery citrus cotton voile from Anna Maria Horner’s Little Folks Collection as I adored how soft and flowy this blouse looked.

I’m a week late though as I only started on my frock today! Nonetheless, progress has been good. I printed the sewing pattern this morning and managed to finish the skirt portion and even lined it. I had to line the bottom of the dress as the fabric is rather sheer but the bodice will be unlined. Tomorrow I will work on the rest of the dress and hopefully have enough time to finish up the belt, invisible zipper and sew on the buttons.

Are you working on a project too? I’d love to hear more about it!

Now, back to my SSS updates.  The weekend gave me the opportunity to put on something else other than my shorts and tee ensemble so you get to see more variety.

Day 4

I wore my Scalloped hem floral mini dress over skinny jeans and wore a cute pair of purple and yellow wedges. This is my second time wearing the dress which I made by modifying the sheath dress pattern from Wendy Mullin’s book Built By Wendy Dresses.  The mini dress comes with cute pockets embellished with thin orange bias tape and huge white buttons.

The dress is pretty fitting and flattering so I was happy in it. I adore the scallop hem which makes it unique. Even though the fabric is 100% cotton, it didn’t crinkle much at the end of a long day, which was lovely and an added bonus. Definitely a dress I will wear again!

Day 5

I don’t usually wear a jacket given the climate here but it was a rainy Sunday and the air-condition at the mall was freezing. I teamed my Bambi Tara with a denim jacket, dark green pants, gladiator sandals and an orange bag. The Bambi Tara is my favorite of the four Tara blouses I have made. It is sleeveless with lace details in place of the ruffled sleeves and I added front flaps to create a retro look. It is very comfortable and the Japanese fabric print with hundreds of bambis is just too cute! It is my first time wearing this Tara and I have no complains when it comes to it but my husband thinks the Taras in general are too low-cut and had protested a number of times. Do you care what your man say about the way you dress? I try to compromise or I will have to face Mr Grouchy the entire day, not a very nice experience.

Day 6

It’s Monday and I went resort style. I am wearing my ruffles ruby shorts with a semi sheer blue floral tunic and turquoise cuff. I love this look on a weekday and think I shall dress like this more often. The ruby shorts is super comfortable and very flattering too. I heart the ruffles as they made the shorts so much more interesting an unusual. My issue with the side buttons are still there though. It takes a bit of time to put on and remove. I guess if it looks good, it is worth it after all 🙂

At the end of six days, I realized I have not put my many made-me dresses to good use. So, I will try to wear more dresses. And I must say I have put in a little extra effort in deciding what to wear and in accessorizing these few days. Something I have not done since I became a mum.  That little difference can make me feel a lot better about myself and improve my self-esteem. I am feeling great! Thank you SSS!

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 😛

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!

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!

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