Ebony & Ivory Kaftans

The inspiration behind my Kaftan or rather my subsequent decision to make one myself without a sewing pattern was this Chanel resort 2011 runway photo I blogged about previously. It was long, flowy and looked rather effortless to put together. So, I experimented and ended up with the Tribal Kaftan. After creating two more versions here, I dare say I’ve found the easiest way to make a stylish Kaftan. It takes only about an hour and a half to sew and another half hour if you are adding embellishments or trims. There are no zips nor buttons required (unless you are using buttons for embellishment). So, this is definitely something a beginner can sew or something you could whip up for instant gratification! The good news is the step by step tutorial is up. Yes, finally!

While the Chanel design is meant for next year’s resort collection, this full length version closely resembles what you can find on vintage sewing patterns from the 70s like the one below. So, the look is retro yet up-to-date!

My versions here are mid-length and a short top but if you use more fabric, you can achieve something very close to the Chanel look above.

A mid-length version because I wanted one that can double up as a swimsuit coverup and look presentable enough to be wore as a tunic over skinny jeans or leggings. I used approximately 2 meters (slightly over 2 yards) of fabric for this version.  The short blouse version came about because I had a meter (slight over a yard) of lace fabric which I love and wanted to sew into a top but was not sufficient for any blouse pattern I have. I am happy I managed to create two very different looks out of the same method.

Ebony Kaftan

An ethnic style Kaftan with an external facing for its v-neck and embellished with bronze iron-on studs and a bronze centerpiece from this store in Chinatown.

The fabric is a black cotton voile with white circular prints and some circular embroidery in orange and white I bought at this fabric store in Chinatown. It’s a unique print from Japan.

I cut the bottom hem slightly shorter on the front centre and love how flowy it looks:)

Ivory Kaftan Blouse

My husband thought this was store-bought and commented on how vintage it looked, much to my delight off course 😛

This ivory kaftan blouse has an internal facing, round neckline and long draping sleeves. It’s absolutely sweet and charming.

When I found it at Spotlight, this pretty lace fabric only had one meter left but I decided to get it anyway as I loved everything about it.

The actual lace fabric ends were my hand is on this photo as I added a lace trim to lengthen the ‘bodice’. The lace trim is from the same embellishment shop in Chinatown. It’s filled with wonderful items and I wished sometimes I could buy half the store:) Definitely a place my purse wants me to avoid! And finally, a close up of the wonderful lace fabric and trim.

I’ve also decided to include wherever possible the store details for fabric and notions used as there have been some enquiries on these and who knows, some of you might be visiting Singapore some day and wish to know where are the good fabric places to visit:)

Meanwhile, have a blessed weekend everyone! I gotta start thinking about my birthday dress…that actually slipped my mind!


Bambi Tara

The first blouse from my Tara Experiment Week is done!  It’s  cool and comfortable, definitely something I will wear. I thought there is some retro vibe in it as well. It’s a sweet  blouse compared to the usual t-shirts I wear but I don’t mind it.

This time, I used a fabric slightly heavier than the last and I think it is a cotton/linen blend. That’s partly why I decided to go ‘sleeveless’ so that I can remain cool on a hot day.

My deviation from the Tara sewing pattern:

– Added flaps with white piping at the neckline and also a button.

– Used bias tape and lace for the sleeve in place of the butterfly ruffles.

One down, two more to go!!!

Tara Experiment Week

In preparation for Self-Stitched-September, The Sew Convert has turned her wardrobe inside out. There is a need to investigate what she needs to create from now till the end of August. Off course, she also had to decide which were the Made Me outfits she dared to adorn outside the refuge of her home. She figured that she has at least 2 tops and 3 dresses that are pass-able. The rest, she would rather hide at the back of her wardrobe. The Sew Convert came to a realization that she has been happily sewing dress after dress but what she really needed were more tops, shorts and if possible a jumpsuit or two (though dress-making can still continue concurrently:) Yes, for the records she loves making dresses and is not going to stop making dresses:)

Being a stay-at-home mum, weekdays usually means a top + shorts combo for The Sew Convert as she chauffeurs the prince and princess to school and back. The exceptions are her fortnightly trips downtown where dresses could be more appropriate. Saturdays are for shopping with the family, grocery buying and visiting the in-laws. Sometimes, the family also visits the zoo. So, she is happy to wear casual dresses (except for the zoo) or a top + jeans combo. On Sundays, the family goes to church. The Sew Convert would love wearing some dresses to church for a change.

To get some quick gratification from blouse making, The Sew Convert immediately turns to Burdastyle’s Tara, the first sewing pattern she used for a Made Me project half a year ago which resulted in this plaid blouse. The original Tara pattern has short ruffle sleeves which The Sew Convert will never ever wear so she created longer sleeves for her version.

The Sew Convert liked the Tara neckline. She enjoyed sewing and wearing it.  Tara is perfect for the perpetual summer in Singapore.  She is also very much aware that she has quite a few pieces of 1.5 metre fabrics sitting around. So she made a quick decision and set out to challenge herself. She shall attempt to create three (hopefully very) different tops from the Tara pattern this week.

Today, she managed to print the pattern and cut two fabrics from it. A third fabric is still drying and shall be cut soon. Even at this moment, she is still toying around with ideas on the adaptations for the third fabric. She managed to sew a little with the first fabric before playing chauffeur today. This is a sneak peek at the Bambi Tara. This Kokka fabric from Japan is so cute, it contains a zillion baby Bambis. Some details she added include front flaps with piping. She also intends to  stitch on the matching white button.

She hopes to get all three adaptations done by the deadline so that she can start working on other blouses next week. Thereafter, it will be two weeks dedicated to shorts and pants which would bring us to July, time to re-evaluate and re-plan. Oh and in case anyone is wondering why The Sew Convert is not making any skirts. That’s because she hates wearing them:)

Featured Project on Burdastyle

The Sew Convert has a habit of browsing through and checking out new projects listed on burdastyle.com. This evening, as the homepage became fully loaded, there it was.  My Cloud Nine Plaid Blouse was starring back at me. OMG!!! The blouse is a ‘Featured Project’ on Burdastyle! Can you sense that I’m hyperventilating as I type???

Sew Retro!

The Sew Convert is now a member of Sew Retro! It’s so exciting to be part of a group that loves sewing vintage and retro inspired clothing:) What’s more, these ladies are so talented! I thought I should take this opportunity to share some of my favorites by Sew Retro members!

Simplicity 4194 by Sewing and so on

I love how the fabric choice and style add to how effortlessly vintage this blouse looks. It’s  a beauty!

Bestway 19665 by Cargo Cult Craft

The Sew Convert heart this gorgeous outfit and all its intricate details. You have to visit her blog to see the close up photos! Love those shoes too!

Refashioned 1940s frock by The House of Mirth

This black and white gingham dress looks so amazing, I want one for myself!

Cloud Nine Plaid Blouse

I have to be supernaturally blessed! Last week, the retro reversible dress I made for my princess was featured in Grosgrain’s Flickr Favs. This week, my scallop hem floral mini dress was featured! The Sew Convert is officially on cloud nine!

Still brimming with excitement, I made a blouse today.

Made of a Japanese plaid fabric, this blouse has a slanted v-neck. I decided to make the neckline different from the norm as the eggplant fabric has a very clean and simple design.

I drew the neckline I wanted straight onto the fabric while using a blouse pattern as guide for the dart lines.  By extending the shoulder to create sleeves, I didn’t have to stitch them on:). While attaching the blouse’s sides, I also ensured that the plaid lines matched.

A button at the back keeps the blouse in place. I used a wooden button and a pink and white polka dot bias tape. Ta da, my Cloud Nine Plaid Blouse.

Good Start to the Weekend!

OMG OMG! What an amazing start to the weekend! My creation, the retro reversible dress was featured on the Grosgrain blog as a Flickr Fav! I love Grosgrain’s creations and to have the photo there made The Sew Convert absolutely out of this world happy!!!!!!!!!!!

Today also ended up being a Made Me Saturday. I didn’t plan it but my princess and I were both dressed in my handmade clothes! Finally, I managed to take some clearer photos of the Little Folks Blouse using a camera (other than the low resolution ones from my Macbook Camera:P)

I know I have said this but this blouse is SO comfortable  and I love the fit and the colour! This photo allows you to see the details of this beautiful voile. I must tell you that since making this blouse I’ve ordered more voile cos they make amazing tops. These are on the way.

Thought this pink voile will look great as a tunic blouse like this, while the citrus a blouse with bow collar, like version 2 on Burdastyle’s Ute Blouse pattern. I’m also inspired by Crochetie‘s version.

Oops! See how I can get distracted easily!  Here’s my princess in her retro dress turned top. She has grown so tall that she has to wear it over jeans.

Have a blessed weekend everyone!