Sew Weekly Reunion: The “Asymmetrical Geometric” Dress

  My new make is an asymmetrical dress from a 1945 vintage McCall sewing pattern using a geometric print chiffon fabric and some black crepe back satin remnant. Full blog post and more project photos on The Sew Weekly Reunion.  … Continue reading

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: Valentine’s Day, 40s Sweetheart Dress and a Poll

I hope you had a splendid Valentine’s day! (If you are from neighboring Malaysia, I’m so surprised and sorry to learn recently that celebrating Valentine’s day is banned over there).

After a lovely lunch date, hubby took me fabric shopping in Chinatown and bought me a surprise present! I said surprise because  I’ve already received my presents- two pairs of Irregular Choice shoes. Yay!  Before I reveal our surprise find, check out my new shoes! The first is a super cute pair in bright red, blue stitches, floral ribbon and orange lace and faux fur on the back.

The other pair is very tame in comparison, a simple black with ribbon and ribbed heel. Rather vintage looking.

Okay, back to the surprise. Hubby and I have been searching for a reasonably priced dress form locally for quite a while now and besides the adjustable one selling at Spotlight for almost US$425 (*faint*), there seemed to be no other options besides buying online and getting it shipped here. On Valentine’s Day, we found a fabric dress form mannequin exactly my size at US$100 in a Chinatown notions store! While it isn’t adjustable, I’m thrilled to finally have a body double to sew with. I have to not put on weight though. LOL. Here’s the beauty. Yay!!!

So, what did I get for darling hubby? He has been a pencil enthusiast since I got to know him eighteen years ago. Last month, we watched a Korean drama series called ‘Coffee House’. The protagonist-a novelist by profession, had a perfect wooden holder for all his immaculately hand sharpened pencils and my hubby commented how nice it was. Here’s a very similar handcrafted one I got him from this etsy seller for Valentines’ Day.

In conjunction with this lovey dovey day, the gals at TSW created our own versions of the valentine’s day dress. I love love love all the girls’ gorgeous creations so do check them out here.

The gallery

The bathroom close ups…

Back view without belt

Pattern Review

I used a vintage 1942 sewing pattern by Du Barry (5357). To be honest, I’ve never heard of Du Barry so I did a search to learn more about them. These patterns were manufactured by Simplicity Pattern Company in 1931 for selling exclusively at Woolworth Company Stores (Are these the equivalent of Woolworth supermarkets?). The latest date on patterns found is 1947 so it is possible that the brand was only around for 17 years.  I did a search on Vintage Pattern Wiki and realized it does not have an image of this pattern so I uploaded one, my very first photo contribution:)

I chose this pattern for Valentines Day as the sweetheart neckline and the inverted sweetheart seam below the waist reminded me of two joined hearts on a dress. And, what made it truly attractive, I have never sewed from an unprinted original 1940s sewing pattern!

Du Barry 5357 (1942)



Despite them being cramped on one page, the instructions were easy to follow and diagrams were of great help in enhancing my understanding of the steps. There was however no instruction on how the self fabric belt was made though it provided an estimated dimension for the fabric requirement for the belt.

Yay to my first completed project for ‘Sewing through the Decades‘. One down and nine to go:)

Photography Session

The fabric I used is the silk/cotton blend bought during our December trip to Phuket Thailand. I have never sewed with silk or silk blend and having used this material, I have to say that this is a completely different ball game. The fabric is the toughest that I have cut so far because it is so slippery. The good thing is, after I underlined it with poly lining, stitching it was not as difficult as I had imagined. Nonetheless, I took much longer than expected to complete the dress and when that finally happened I was excited (can’t wait to snap away) and exhausted (didn’t want to leave the house) at the same time so I decided to just have the photos taken in my living room. I am also deterred by the hot weather these days. Yes, we are officially back to the days of  sunny (or rather scorching) 34 degrees Celsius and I would have probably melted even before I set up the tripod if I were to venture outdoors. I kept the fan blasting in my living room the entire time and now I remember the reasons I depended on the white walls all the time!

Not to worry though cos’ hubby was around to take some photos for my next project… and yes, outdoors! Sure beats setting up the tripod anytime! Gotta get my lil prince better trained with the camera:)

Easy to make fabric belt

Note: I used this method as I purchased a belt interfacing which I realized is very much thicker and tougher than normal interfacing. Hence, turning the interfacing out with the right side of the belt didn’t seem possible. Unlike, ordinary interfacing, the belt interfacing comes with a standard width which usually fits perfectly into belt buckles.

Step 1: Loop the belt interfacing (BI) around your waist and ensure there are some excess for looping through the belt buckle.

Step 2: Pin the BI on the fabric fold and add seam allowance to the unfolded sides and at both ends of the BI. Cut fabric.

Step 3: With right sides facing, stitch close to the BI width down the full length of the fabric, leaving a 0.2cm allowance

Step 4: Trim allowance and clip edges before turning fabric right side out.

Step 5: Attach a safety pin to the end of the BI and pull the BI through the fabric tube.

Step 6: Turn the seam allowances at the edges into the wrong side of the fabric at both ends. Top stitch fabric to BI if you wish.

Step 7: Loop ends into belt buckles on both sides and pin. Ensure that the belt buckles meet. Try the belt on to ascertain fit. Trim BI as necessary.

Step 8: Stitch ends of belt close to back of buckle. You can use a zipper foot to get  closer or you can hand-stitch like I did. All done!

Phew! That was another long post! Are you sewing for Spring already? I’m sending my sewing machine in for servicing today as it has been rather cranky recently so I’ll be taking a sewing break till next Wednesday. I am gonna take my time and enjoy some fabric cutting before its return.
Before I end this post, could you do me a big favor by doing the poll and letting me know which of these two sewing patterns has a more hideous cover. I’m having a hard time deciding and its for a future project. Thanks a lot!

1980s dress

1950s dress

Enjoy your weekends everyone!

Dress Pattern Shopping Day

The Sew Convert is not herself today. She is feeling lethargic and lacks the motivation to sew. She is literally melting at 34 degrees celsius!

So, instead it turned out to be a pattern shopping day for The Sew Convert.

Colette Pattern’s Rooibos and Macaron dress patterns are on the way! The Sew Convert can’t wait to make these yummy dresses!

Rooibos Dress

Macaron Dress

My oh my! What other good deal did The Sew Convert discover?  Vogue Patterns is having a two-day sale. Most patterns are going at $5.75! The Sew Convert’s patience had paid off .  These are some of the lovelies that ended up in her shopping cart. Oops:P

Vintage Vogue V1171

Vogue V1158

Besides ordering the vintage jumpsuit pattern she mentioned previously, The Sew Convert also got herself a Vintage McCall pattern with cape inspired collar. The cape collar is full of potential and can possibly go with other outfits!

Now, The Sew Convert is not a ladylike person. In fact, she is most comfortable in her bootcut jeans. However, her infatuation with vintage outfits might be revolutionizing the way she dresses. If so, it would be documented right here on the blog.

While The Sew Convert did not make an immediate purchase, this 1940s Swing Dress from Sense & Sensibility Patterns also caught her eye.

1940s Swing Dress

What’s more, there is a downloadable pdf pattern while all instructions are online! Gorgeous as it is, The Sew Convert shall get this when she is done with the rest:) Who knows, there might be a sale when The Sew Convert is ready!

On a separate note, Grosgrain’s A Frock by Friday was postponed to this week. While tomorrow is Day 2  of the sewalong, The Sew Convert will only be able to continue sewing on Thursday as her mum can’t babysit.  Hopefully, she’ll be able to catch up with the rest. Nonetheless, she looks forward to a fun-filled day with her princess. Fabric shopping might very well be in the itinerary:)