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!


Drape Wrap Skirt: A tutorial

Hello my sewing comrades! Finally, the Drape Wrap Skirt Tutorial as promised. I hope you find it useful:) Please do not hesitate to ask if you have any query.

Materials used:

Note: You can always experiment with different fabrics. I would recommend  using something light weight and with good drape. The yardage requirement might vary depending on your preferred measurements. 

Update: I mention 2.5 yards of fabric previously but I was mistaken, I had quite a lot of remnants so 1.5 to 2 yards will be more accurate.

1.5 yards of chiffon

1.5 yards of lining fabric

Commercial bias tape in contrasting color (you can also make your own)

One button

Iron-on interfacing

One chiffon rosette or any other embellishment you wish to add

Step 1: Cutting the fabrics

You need some basic measurements:

a) Your waist (W). I’m using mine as the example 27″

b)Your preferred length of the skirt (L)=25″

c) Calculate P, the upper width for the skirt pieces which is W/2 +3= 27/2+3=16.5″

d) Calculate H, the hem width for each skirt piece, P X0.5=16.5″+8.25″= 24.75″ (I rounded it off to 25″)

e) For the waistband, W X 2.5+6=73.5″ for the length and 4″ for the height.

Cut 3 pieces for the skirt as shown in the diagram below. If you are lining it, cut the lining similarly in reverse direction.

Cut 1 piece for the waistband

Cut 1 waistband interfacing  half the height of the waistband. In my case, 73.5″ (L) and 2″ (H), iron onto the waistband fabric

You will be cutting 2 identical skirt pieces with the third having an extended top width  (additional P/2) and an arc from that point to the bottom edge of the skirt. Ensure before cutting that the total hip measurement of the 2 identical pieces are greater than the measurement of your hip.

You will have these pieces after cutting

Step 2: Iron on a small square piece of interfacing onto point D. (Please ignore all the rest of the points for now 🙂 Explanations will come later.) Join the 3 skirt pieces together at the side seams with the exception of the extended seam. Repeat for the lining in reverse direction.

Step 3: Stitch the top and side seams of lining and skirt together, right sides facing, notch edges and clip seams. Turn over and press.

Step 4: Place the skirt around your waist and mark using an erasable fabric marker or chalk where the skirt ends and drapes.

Step 5: Pin and stitch contrasting bias tape from the marked point to the bottom edge of the skirt.

Step 6: Place the waistband against the fabric

Mark skirt and waistband at Point A and Point B (refer to diagram in Step 2). The length from A to B is where the waistband is attached to the skirt.

Point APoint B

Press the waistband at the centre lengthwise right side facing and stitch around the edge leaving a gap between point A and B. Clip seam allowance and turn the waistband over. Press and fold in the seam allowance between point A and B.

Step 7: Pin and stitch the waistband from Point A to B onto the skirt by topstitching  around the entire waistband.

Step 8: Create a buttonhole at Point C and sew on a button at Point D, stitch over interfacing (Refer to diagram in Step 2)

Step 9: Finish the hem and sew on the rosette (optional)

Wear the drape wrap skirt as we are done!

Drape Wrap skirt

Have a blessed week and happy belated mothers’ day to all yummy mummies (that’s all of you)!

Behind the Seams: The Rainbow Fish Outfit

An inspiration from a kids’ story book, how whimsical! I love this week’s Sew Weekly Challenge theme! You can find my post on how my book of choice inspired me to create a blouse and jeans outfit here.

The Considerations

There are so many wonderful children’s books which made this a really difficult decision-making week and I was still fickle till the very last minute!

These were the books/ projects I’ve considered besides what I’ve ended up sewing 🙂

All Around Us by Eric Carle, a lovely collection of three books on the world around us- in the sea, on land and in the sky. I had this lovely Laura Gunn fabric for ages and it even matched the theme and colors from the book’s illustration. I imagined sewing a simple vintage sundress with it.

Hide and Seek Ocean, a board book my kids enjoyed was also considered as I had this Odyssea fabric by Momo’s Wonderland. I was thinking of sewing a sunsuit in a red and white striped fabric (inspired by the lighthouse illustration) and using the quilting fabric to sew a wrap skirt as coverup. I really loved this idea so I may actually make one someday:)

Maisy’s rainbow dream was another project I really wanted to attempt ever since I laid eyes on this Kate Spade dress in a fashion magazine!

The major bummer was that I couldn’t find a colorful stripe fabric which I thought was suitable to create a knock off. I shall continue to search for it!

So, with all these potential projects going through my mind, how did I end up with the Rainbow Fish?

I got to let you know that what sealed the deal was first practicality (I needed more separates) and second, the Spring Top Sewalong at Made By Rae! The very first blouse I have ever sewed myself was a free pattern on Sew Mama sew blog by Made By Rae so her annual sewalong event got me really excited to sew a blouse for this week’s challenge. And third, I’m gonna participate in So, Zo’s Made Me June next month and after Made Me March 2011, I knew I needed a simple pair of jeans (Yes, no more lack in this area now! Yay!). And this time, I’m increasing the stakes by one notch. I will be wearing a complete made me outfit (top and bottom) excluding underwear/ socks/ accessories everyday for the entire month! So, it looks like I’ll need to sew up more bottoms for my wardrobe:)

The Gallery

I didn’t manage to convince myself to dive underwater wearing a chiffon blouse and flare legged jeans so here’s the outfit on land.

A braided belt which reminded me of the scales of the Rainbow FishWhat will the Rainbow Fish be without its shiny scales? I hand stitched groups of sequins randomly on the cape section of the blouse.

Close ups of the jeans front zipper section (it’s my very first front zipper and I got lost!). The tute at The Last stitch helped tremendously and I managed to sew a passable front zipper section.  

Fabric selvage for the top of the back pockets and front pockets lined with cotton polka dot remnants.

Pattern Review

The blouse pattern I used was Vogue 2850, an Anna Sui blouse. The pattern is straight forward and easy to sew but after reading through the many reviews at Pattern Review, I made some modifications to the pattern.

1) I lowered the waistband and belt hole to the waist area as the original ends just below the bust (it was more of an empire style blouse though it didn’t seem that way on the model)

2) I lengthen the peplum section by 3 inches as many mentioned that the blouse was a little short.

3) As I hand stitched sequins on the cape section, the entire section is lined with the same fabric. This way, the stitches on the back are hidden and the cape has the same vibrancy on both sides.

4) Instead of a normal waist band, I created a braided chiffon version. (The step by step is below)

Kwik Sew 407 1970s Jeans

The vintage jean pattern I used is from the 1970s, Kwik Sew 407. I’ve always been intimated by front zippers and it took me this long to actually attempt my first. The pattern came with two options-flare legged or straight legged and I chose to sew the former. It is not quite a bell bottom, much closer to a modern-day bootleg jeans. I love the fit of this pair of jean. Very comfortable without being shapeless. The pattern is suitable for both woven and stretch fabrics which is great. It’s easy to sew with clear instructions, though I got really lost at the zipper instructions. I’m sure I will be using this pattern again and I need a lot more practice for the front zipper section. I want to make a really vintage pair in pale blue denim!

Braided Band

The braided waist band idea came to me all of a sudden one evening when I was lamenting over how I could incorporate the three different colored chiffon (most outstanding scale colors of the rainbow fish) into the blouse and yet create a balance with a colorful blouse fabric. I think besides being a good alternative waist bands (but I would only recommend using chiffon or very light weight fabric, otherwise the belt can get bulky and unflattering) and shoulder straps.  Here’s how I created mine:

Step one: I cut chiffon pieces of three different colors using the original waist band pattern. For one of the colors, I doubled the width. Pin one set of cut chiffon piece together right side facing.

Step 2: Sew the pieces together at the seam allowance, leaving a gap for turning over.

Step 3: Clip seam allowance and notch edges

Step 4: Turn fabric over and press. Using a matching colored thread, seal the gap by top stitching. Repeat the same sewing process for the other two colored fabric strips.Step 5: Fold the widest fabric into half at one end and insert all other fabric edges/ ribbons/ piping etc into the edge and stitch across the end to secure all pieces. Step 6: Braid the fabrics (same method as braiding your hair)

Step 7:  At the end of the braid, secure all pieces of fabric by tying a knot and sandwiching them in between the widest fabric (the remaining length is up to your preference). Stitch down the side to secure.

We are done!

Hope you find that useful:)

The drape wrap skirt tutorial is in the works (sorry, it’s taking so long) and should be posted by early next week.

It’s elections week for us here in Singapore and polling day tomorrow. Have a great weekend wherever you are!

Behind the Seams: “A new lease of life” easter dress

On The Sew Weekly, our challenge is all about creating a dress to go with a particularly charming hat. For me I chose to sew a dress for easter. We don’t have an easter parade here so as a christian, we celebrated the day in church. Read more about the inspiration behind this dress on my TSW post here.

Using easter and my savior’s love as its basis, I chose a vintage fabric (yes, my first made me garment in vintage!) and gave it new life in the form of this dress and likewise I chose to have my photo shoot this week at CHIJMES, the location of my junior high school which have been conserved and redeveloped as a lifestyle venue. Hence, the name for the dress.

Given the hot and humid climate in Singapore, I started wearing hats for sun protection and that slowly but surely grew my hat collection. I chose a knitted brown hat and decorated it with brooches for this challenge and used a US$10 for 5 yard cotton fabric to sew the matching dress (I used 3 yards and still have 2 for another project!). The vintage fabric is from an estate sale and re-sold to me from an etsy seller. It was a really blessed find as looking for vintage fabric on etsy and ebay is very much like searching for needles in a haystack.

The gallery

The Danielle free pattern

The pattern I used is the Danielle free pdf pattern from burdastyle. I drafted the additional neckline pieces, modified the original neckline and went sleeveless for my version which was inspired by Chie (Vivat Veritas’) version. I kept mine a little more modest at the neckline and with a longer pleated skirt. I decided not to put a how to for the neckline here since the dress is from Chie new collection.

Back to my review of the Danielle. I was skeptical of the high midriff band but it actually worked out pretty nicely. I did however add a few inches to it. The fit of the dress came as a quite a surprise, it was both flattering and comfortable to move around in.
The pattern provided me with very well drafted and thought out facings pieces so it is very easy to create a sleeveless version. Given the many versions of Danielle I have seen, this pattern is a great basic piece to start with, to make just like the original design or with modifications.  The pattern is part of the older burdastyle downloads with better instructions than the burda magazine downloads and comes with seam allowance. The best part is it is free so I’ll recommend giving it a try if you like dresses.

I am gonna keep this post short and quickly finish up my next project before another long weekend here.

Have a blessed week and if you haven’t, do check out my guest post on Grosgrain with a free blouse tutorial.

Guest post on Grosgrain

Oh! It’s up, it’s up! I am so honored  to be guest posting on Grosgrain today with my tutorial on making this Sunny Resort Blouse. Do check it out and you can create your own version. Use more fabric and you can make a dress out of the same method!

I have always been in awe of the stunning outfits Kathleen from Grosgrain has made, her ingenuity and creativity as well as all the love she spread with her giveaways!

The Grosgrain blog is a must visit for me on a daily basis. Besides being an avid reader of the blog, I have also participated in her Frock By Friday sewalongs and learnt many great tips from her tutorials and refashioning posts.

I adore the photographs and styling too and know I have so much to learn in those areas.

I can’t wait for her sewing patterns to be up on site! I can foresee myself sewing up quite a few of her designs and am looking forward to learning about grading from her tutorial! Oh and if you are a sewing mama, like us, you absolutely have to check out all the breathtaking costumes she has made her girls!

It’s gonna be a fantastic month of free patterns! Oh gosh! Mum, I’m on Grosgrain!

Grosgrain’s Free Pattern Month

Who doesn’t love a free pattern? And as a lead up to some exciting changes on Grosgrain, the amazing Kathleen has lined up an entire month of free patterns from guest bloggers and I feel so honored to be chosen to start the month! I was surprised when I received a really sweet email from Kathleen. Afterall Grosgrain was the first blog I’ve followed even before I started taking an interest in sewing. It has ALWAYS been a fabulous source of inspiration. I’m even more honored to be part of the lineup which includes some of my favourite blogs in the world! Mena from The Sew Weekly, Gertie from Gertie’s New Blog for Better Sewing, Casey from Casey’s Elegant Musings and Novita from Very Purple Person will all be sharing a free pattern! Here’s the tentative schedule. I will definitely be following the entire month!

Yes, this was the secret project I was working on and hoping to finish before the easter break. So, do stay tuned to the free pattern month starting next Monday, 25 April on Grosgrain.

Blessed Easter my sewing comrades!

Behind the Seams: That 70s Frilly Dress and the drape wrap skirt

Going through my old photos, taking to mum about them and thinking about my childhood made me quite hopelessly nostalgic this week.  I ended up making a dress and a skirt. For The Sew Weekly Challenge, I’ve chosen to sew my interpretation of a 70s frilly dress made by mum as it was one of my most memorable dresses and was the last dress mum made me as a kid. To find out why, check out my TSW post here.

At the same time, I remembered that I loved wearing those batik wrap around skirts my parents bought from Malaysia all the time. They were the only skirts I wore but I was never photographed in one so that doesn’t qualify it for this week’s theme but that does not stop me from recreating my own interpretation of it. There are some quick photos of it below and I’m working on the tutorial so anyone interested can recreate this drape wrap easy to wear version I came up with. I’m totally in love with it!

But, first let’s see the types of dresses mum made me wear as a kid.

Mini Me in Dresses

Shirred dress. I must have loved that dress, I looked happy in it. I absolutely can’t remember LOL

The shirtdress. My cousin and I at grandma’s. I remembered liking that one cos it was in green, my fave color and had little orange/ white embroidered flowers on it.

Ruffle Sleeves dress. Grandma and I. No recollection of that dress at all. I was starting to cruise.

Puffy Sleeves Dress. Cheeky me and cousin at grandma’s again. I remembered loving to overfeed granddad’s singing birds with worms and giving them bath time a lil too often cos I just enjoyed seeing them hopping into the bathing cage.

Pom Pom Dress. I can’t get over this one. It’s a mini Taiwanese tribal costume I think. Cousin and I at grandma’s.

Lined Sheer Dress with Lace at my birthday party. This was the dress made by mum for my seventh birthday which I have chosen to recreate for TSW this week.

The Pattern

This 1970s boho hippie dress pattern tucked in my stash reminded me of mum’s creation with its small bell sleeves and lace trims.

The pattern was really straight forward and come with only six pieces and must have been the fastest dress I’ve finished for the Sew Weekly Challenge. I used a stretch lace fabric for the yoke/sleeves and lined cotton voile for the rest of the dress. The seams are finished with french seams. The dress did turn out shorter than I have hoped for as the sash has a tendency to pull up the skirt which I totally didn’t factor in.

I was browsing through Modcloth today and saw three other dresses which could be made from this pattern. Not bad for another questionable pattern cover.

The Gallery

The Drape Wrap Skirt

Here’s my interpretation the wrap skirts I loved wearing as a kid and the first skirt I have worn in a really long time.

I made the skirt in Chiffon and lined it with voile. I’m wearing it over my Mademoiselle Dress for these pictures as my red knit top is being washed. Do give me a few days to put together the tutorial. I hope someone will find it useful. Like the Kaftan tute, this will be for both kid’s and adult’s sizes.

Have a blessed week!

Behind the Seams: “A letter to St Patrick” Dress

We are celebrating St. Patrick’s Day on The Sew Weekly Challenge and everyone is making something in green! Green has been my favorite color like forever, I even chose to go to a primary school which had the word green (in Mandarin) in it when I was six and my mum was crazy enough to agree to it!

I have never sewn a green dress and since I had just a few green fabrics in my stash I thought it would be an easy straight forward decision this week. How wrong can I be? I spent almost half the week deciding and through all that change of heart, I ended up washing all the green fabrics I have. ALL! That’s how fickle I was this week! At the end of it all, I even started on one project and ended up finishing another! Without further ado, here are the combinations of patterns/ green fabrics which got my brains working overtime!

The crazy combos

I wanted to sew the sundress in lime green with the floral fabric for the yoke and the blouse from the other pattern in lime green too. They could be worn together or as separates. However, I realized after studying the dress pattern closely that the seams for the front yoke and at the back didn’t meet and that spoilt the fun for the florals.

A knit dress in an animal/ paisley print was also considered but I was motivated to create more casual dresses as my son has requested that I pick him up from school in dresses. LOL! My lil man!

A dress with tie neckline using a chiffon with splatter of colors. This one troubled me a little intermittently as I felt there wasn’t enough green on the fabric.Okay, I used this Echino print on the project I started on but didn’t finish. I have actually completed the bottom but have not started on the top so I will continue with it later.  Eventually, I started on a sage green/ choco mint dress and that was when the drama really started. Read my letter to St Patrick here to find out when happened!

Pattern Review

I used the bodice from Simplicity 6327 and created my own skirt for the dress without a pattern. The bodice pattern was well designed with gentle cowl neckline with I adore. I decided to sew a different skirt as I wasn’t a fan of drawstring versions. The instructions were easy to comprehend and follow. The cowl neckline was created by sewing what I could describe as a combination of darts and pleats which I found pretty interesting since it is the first of such that I have sewn. The Take Manhattan tunic required an additional piece of fabric to create the neckline. I love the hairstyles and shoes featured on the cover of this pattern:)

Off course, I created a challenge for myself when I accidentally ripped bits of the bodice fabric near the back zipper. I hyperventilated even more when my seam ripper went missing (It is still missing!). I had to cut away the ripped area and zipper to savage the dress. Strips of the skirt fabric were cut to create two interfaced panels for the buttons and buttonholes in place of the zipper. I gave myself a lot more work on an otherwise easy to make dress.

The Gallery

The Photography Session

The location is Emerald Hill, a few blocks of conservation architecture tugged amongst shopping malls along Orchard Road. I have almost forgotten about the place though I have walked past it numerous times. The entrance to the lane is blocked by a pub so it’s not that visible from the main road. There are a few commercial establishments near the entrance but as I walked down the lane, most are private residences of the super rich.

It’s funny but a scout from St Patrick’s School (Yes, St Pat’s can you believe it!) actually asked if he could help me with any task for a small donation and he ended up taking these three photos for me.

Thank God for him as those were the only shots I had with the balloons which I thought added to the atmosphere of a St Patrick’s Day Parade. They flew away while I was busy setting up tripod for some barrel shots at a pub nearby. *Sigh*

The marvelous thing about Emerald Hill is so few people live there so there were hardly anyone who walked by while I was taking pictures and even when they see you doing so they are used to it. Many tourists drop up just to take photos of the place as do couples having their wedding photos taken. The buildings are just gorgeous!

Nice finishing for facings

Thanks to the brilliant Tanit-Isis, I now know a more efficient method of finishing the facings and I took photos of them too! I hope I understood the method correctly:) No more zig zag stitching on the facings for those of us who are serger-less!

Step 1: Pin the wrong side of the interfacing (non iron on) to the right side of the facings

Step 2: Stitch together

Step 3: Trim, clip and notch the seam allowance

Step 4: Turn the fabric right side out and press. When you press, the iron-on side of the interfacing will attach itself to the wrong side of the fabric.

It is now ready to be attached to the neckline:)

I was too stressed to take photos of the button panels but if anyone is interested, I will try to document it next time I do button closures:)

Eva Dress Contest: Do some voting!

Last but not least, I’ve submitted my Abandoned Hangar Dress for the Eva Dress Contest and all the entries are now up!  There are so many amazing works!!!  Go to Facebook and friend ‘Eva Dress’ and you can vote for your favorite entry (one only per category). Winners get vouchers for even more yummy patterns.

Enjoy your loved ones and your family. Have a safe week my sewing comrades!

Behind the Seams: The ‘Floraide’ Frock

It’s Colette Patterns Week (Yay!) at TSW Challenge and each of us gets to sew a different dress. I chose to sew the Oolong but was surprised that very few people have attempted this sewing pattern after I googled it. I’ve seen numerous versions of the Macaron, Ceylon, Roobois, Chantilly and Parfait but very few Oolong. The completed Oolong dresses I’ve found were made by Colour by Number, Pleasant View Schoolhouse, Hazel Agnes and As I said. That’s it?

Check out my TSW post and the girls’ versions of the popular Colette Pattern dresses here or get the discount code and make your own! You can also join TSW Sewing Circle and post on the forum to win the dress patterns.

Have you tried sewing from a Colette Pattern? Which is your favorite?

Pattern Review

I found the Oolong sewing pattern to be pretty easy to sew. The important part is in the cutting as every pattern piece is cut on the bias making the fabric kind of stretchy. For the same stretchy reasons, it was also essential to let the fabric rest after cutting and to hang the dress overnight before finishing the hem.

This is a slip on dress with no zipper, no buttons, no button holes. With the clear and detailed instruction booklet from Colette Patterns, I feel that this is a suitable dress for a beginner though it is graded as an intermediate project.

Based on past experience with Colette Patterns, I sewed a size 6, which I knew would be a good fit and true enough, I did not need to make any modification for this dress.  My favorite part has to be the bodice  which is ruched vertically at the center front. It is also hard to believe that such a flattering dress can be made as an easy slip on garment. I really felt fabulous in it, as with all Colette Patterns dresses I have made so far!

Thumbs up, definitely!

The Gallery

As my sewing machine only returned from the Brother Service Centre last Wednesday afternoon, I only had last Thursday and Friday to work on the dress. The photos too were taken at the last minute and as usual I relied on my not so trusty tripod.  I always wondered if the tripod which is shorter than me (it’s only at my waist) when fully extended distorts the way the garments looked and if one my height would show it more accurately. Do you use a tripod? What do you think?

To reduce my anxiety and to escape from all those neighbors I bumped into during my last photo shoot for the Blue Garden Frock (I am seriously fearful of bumping into them again!!!), I went to a quiet corner between two blocks and away from the main paths. Being alone really helps and I felt more relaxed for the shoot.

The bathroom close up shots…

Tackling the V Neck

I remembered some requests on how to tackle the V-neck coming in last year and since I’m finally making a V-neck with facing this time, I thought I should document how I did it so I could share them.

Step 1: Iron on fusible interfacing to the wrong side of the facings.

Step 2: Stitch the facing pieces together, right sides facing. Press the seam allowance open.

Step 3: Press the lower seam in twice and zig zag stitch or if you have a serger, just serge (I’m jealous:P)

Step 4: Pin and stitch facing to neckline, right sides facing, matching notches and seams.

Step 5: Notch corners (at v neck and seam turnings) and clip along the seam. Trim seam allowance.

Step 6: Turn facings to inside of the garment and press the neckline flat.

Step 7: Top stitch neckline.

We are done:)

I hope you are having a splendid week! It’s March already and I almost forgot there are fewer days in February. Phew! Good thing my mum reminded me as Made-Me-March 2011 started yesterday so I will be doing weekly or twice weekly blogs on them:)

Behind the Seams: The “Giddy with Polka Dots” Dress

I was absolutely thrilled when I learnt about this week’s TSW theme “Imitation is the Sincerest form of Flattery” and couldn’t wait to search my etsy favourites for a project to recreate. My TSW post can be found here.

With the busy Lunar New Year preparations, I decided to select a project which was not too difficult, something I could hopefully modify from a sewing pattern I have and finish quickly. I spent some time shortlisting the garments and eventually came up with these.

The shortlist

I love the peplum and back opening on this 80s dress but didn’t really have a suitable pattern to work with for the bodice though I could redo the peplum skirt from the Sunny Day dress. I even considered recreating the second grey ruffles dress with the Selfish seamstress’ Coffee Date dress pattern and simply adding sleeves to it. And the vintage pink dress with rose was just calling out to me but I’m sure I could sew that when I have more time on my hands.



Eventually, I decided to recreate MichelleTan’s Renee 1950s Retro Dress (picture above). If you have been following my blog for sometime, you’d have probably heard about MichelleTan’s shop from my Favorite Etsy Finds post many moons ago. Why this dress?

It is such an adorable dress isn’t it and I have a pattern I could use to recreate this dress by adding a self drafted collar. The pattern used was View A from Simplicity 2591 Threads Magazine Collection and I thought it would be a doable project given the short amount of time I have. What’s more I have had this sewing pattern for months now and couldn’t wait to try it. Yes, besides stash busting, I have lots of sewing patterns to start utilizing!

The Gallery

Here’s my humble knock off version finished with ric rac trim.

Pattern Review

Simplicity 2591 Threads Magazine Collection is a dream to work with. The instructions are simple to follow and very clear. Usually I do have to take in the seams to create a better fit for the dresses I’ve made. This sewing pattern is one of the few which I didn’t have to make any adjustments. It fitted really well. I also adore the hidden pockets behind the front panel’s curve. Most of all, I heart the retro vibe I am getting from the dress and am really looking forward to wearing it later this week 🙂

As I drafted the asymmetrical collar for the dress, I didn’t have to sew the facings.

I will definitely recommend View A which is the dress I’ve made from this pattern and am very keen to make another version with it.

Drafting the collar

* Sorry that the blue fabric pen I used is so light in color. I’ll use the pink one for better clarity next time*

Step 1: Tracing the front and back necklines onto a paper

Step 2: Draft the desired collar shape outside of it. In this case asymmetrical collars

Step 3: Cut and pin the draft onto the dress

Step 4: Fold in the “bulky”/ extra bits. Pin onto the fabric and add seam allowance only to the bottom/ outer seams but not the neckline seam.

Step 5: Cut the fabric and pin to dress again to ascertain that they are fine. We’re ready to sew!

I used a light weight interfacing for the collar as I didn’t want it to be too stiff but as an after thought I wished I’d used a heavier interfacing as it seems to have a mind of its own being so light. Nonetheless, I am happy with my first attempt to draft an asymmetrical collar.

This week, my photo shoot ended up indoors once again. We have been having this kind of weather due to monsoon. And there I was looking forward to Spring 😛 (Photo was taken at 12 noon and we experienced two days of non-stop rainfall!) I hope you are experiencing better weather over there:)

Oh!  And yes, I finally trimmed my hair, all for the Lunar New Year celebrations this Thursday and Friday. This week I also completed 2 shirts, one for daddy and one for my lil’ prince, I’ll snap some photos when they wear the shirts this new year so you can see them:)

Happy Year of the Rabbit my sewing comrades!