Do you miss The Sew Weekly?

Do you miss The Sew Weekly?

Having sewed on a common theme each week with Mena, Debi, Sarah and Veronica for an entire year in 2011 and being an avid follower of the blog in 2012, I was refreshing the blog’s home page in the beginning of 2013 when no updates came. That was totally unexpected.

I miss The Sew Weekly…

The tablecloth dresses

I miss sewing with the community on a common theme…

I miss seeing what everyone has created…

I miss all the inspiring works…

I miss the notion/pattern swaps…

and all the excitement!

And one day, I received an email from the lovely Debi asking some questions on a vintage pattern we swapped in 2011. We “spoke” about The Sew Weekly, how much we missed it and thought it would be great if we could sew based on a common theme again! Sarah and Veronica too were excited to sew as a group again! We can’t wait!

WE ARE HAVING A REUNION!!!

And we would like to extend the invitation for you to sew with us in The Sew Weekly Reunion! Everyone and anyone can join! There is no project that’s too big or too small. Come sew with us!

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!

My first meet up and two halloween outfits

It’s so difficult to keep a secret! Especially one that I’ve been so excited about!

Fellow Sew Weekly contributor Veronica Darling and I met up two weeks ago during her stopover in Singapore! After a few exchanges via email, we decided to sew outfits for the Halloween theme and have photos taken for Veronica’s Sew Weekly post. We wanted to keep this top secret and a surprise for all so I decided sew another outfit for my own TSW post. I stumbled upon Spanish designer Agatha Ruiz De La Prada’s quirky 2009 runway creations while researching the Spanish Harlem theme and shared the inspiration with Veronica. Here are the quirky, ‘alice in wonderland-ish’ inspirations behind both my Halloween outfits.

We decided to sew tablecloth dresses. Veronica’s dress was made from a real vintage tablecloth and came in vivid green, blue and read. You can read more about it from her TSW post here. My dress was made from Simplicity 4288, a pattern which was not dated but I am guessing it was either 1940s or 50s. I chose this pattern as it was labelled simple to make and I had only a few hours to sew before Veronica’s stopover. I found the most tablecloth looking wavy blue and red gingham print from my stash and started sewing. Turned out it was a breeze to sew and what took the most time were the button holes at the back of the dress. I used some pink heart-shaped buttons from my stash to add Alice in wonderland cuteness to the dress.


The sunny side up splashed on my sleeve was made from an old onesie and some yellow felt at the last-minute. It was hand stitched onto the dress and  has since been removed as the egg or what my mum thought was a huge flower, was drawing too much attention. I have worn the dress twice since our meet up sans sunny side up off course :)

We managed to spend four hours together taking photos, enjoyed a local seafood lunch and visited my favorite notions and fabric stores in Chinatown. She is truly a darling girl, absolutely sweet and adorable and I totally enjoyed our time together. Hubby was skeptical at first since we were ‘strangers’ (the exact word he used!). But, having read each other’s blog posts for almost a year, I felt like we knew each other and couldn’t stop chatting :) I certainly hope Veronica will visit Singapore again soon with her hubby!

The second Halloween dress I sewed was totally different, it’s meant to be more costume than dress. And it’s the one eye thick lip monster dress. The LBD is made from a modern-day knit pattern, McCall’s 6243 and the lips section was self drafted.

The good thing about this dress, I can also unpick the lips which was hand stitched onto the LBD to ‘reclaim’ the dress for normal wear :P You can read more about the dress on my TSW post this week.

Happy Deepavali and halloween to everyone celebrating!

Four new projects

Sorry I have been away from the blog for so long. I think a month to be exact. Besides feeling rather burnt out, I’ve also been terribly busy- mostly due to kids activities and domestic helper issues.

I’ve also been thinking about my plans for next year, after my sew weekly commitments come to an end. As some of you might know, I started sewing because of my lil princess, who will be turning 3 really soon. The sewing attention shifted from her to me because she was wearing school uniform but since transferring to the same pre-school as her older brother in August, she has been wearing her own clothes. So, come next year my focus will be very much on mother-daughter fashion and I am blessed enough to have located a few matching mother-daughter vintage patterns to start 2012 off with.  Some of you have asked me about how I go about sewing jersey/ knit and chiffon since I do not own a serger so I will also be sharing my own experiences with these fabrics. I also hope to add a few self drafted patterns which you can download from my blog. My problem is the lack of a working scanner at the moment so I might have to get that resolved.

Well, that’s my very basic plan for next year. Meanwhile, I still wanna document the projects I’ve done on Sew Weekly so here are the stuff I’ve created for the past 4 weeks and links to the posts.

Hope you enjoy reading them and happy sewing!

1) Theme: Think Pink

Project: “Oops! Did I wear it the wrong way ?” blouse 


2) Theme: Spanish Harlem

Project: The “Shall we Dance?” Outfit

3) Theme: Musicals

Project: The “Gone Tribal” FELA dress

4) Theme: Lounging around

Project: The “Rusty Bed jacket and slacks”

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.

“11.13.10
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 endless.com (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 fabric.com 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 :P

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!