Welcoming the Year of the Rabbit!

Happy Year of the Rabbit! I didn’t expect to but I have a couple of hours of free time today and decided to upload some photos of the festivity.

Day 1

As per our family’s yearly tradition, everyone gathered at my uncle’s (mum’s eldest brother) place for a potluck lunch feast. Hubby and I couldn’t resist posing in front of my uncle’s neighbor sparkling silver ferrari for a pic. My lil princess ran in and held my hand at the last minute which is why the photo turned out this way.

I wore the Mademoiselle dress but had a really hard time getting my relatives to believe that I made that dress or my lil princess’ reversible retro dress or my son’s robot shirt or my dad’s Peacock Jakob shirt. It was actually rather funny but that became quite an ice breaker and I had to convince them that it was my new found hobby. One that I grew really fond of.

I didn’t have a chance to snap photos of the robot shirt and the Peacock Jakob beforehand so I took the opportunity to document them yesterday. Here are the kids with their cousin. The boys kept making cheeky faces! Boys will be boys…

My lil prince is wearing the Robot shirt which I made last week using burda magazine’s 5/2010 Boy’s shirt with Mandarin collar downloaded from the burdastyle website. I gotta let you know that I am so glad I just completed the JJ Blouse and shirts because the steps given in the boy’s shirt instructions didn’t help at all. There was also no information on sizing either. This is probably the last time I will be downloading a burda magazine pattern online. In the end, I ditched the instruction sheet and relied totally on what I’ve learnt making the shirts to sew this garment. When I finished sewing it, my son asked me to add some buttons for him just because he liked them. I agreed though I knew he wouldn’t be able to button up so instead of a traditional buttonhole, I sewed two buttons, one on each side of the shirt and looped them together with a knotted elastic band. A fun buttons and knot combo!   As for dad, he was *ahem* too preoccupied to pose for any photos as you can see below.

But I managed to snap a closer view of the shirt he was wearing without disturbing his social activity. The fabric is Alexander Henry’s cotton lawn in Regent Peacock and the sewing pattern is burdastyle’s Jakob. Just like hubby’s shirt, all seams are finished with french seams and rolled hems.

Day 2

Today’s lunch was Henghua mee suan which my aunt (dad’s older sister) cooked for the lot of us at her place. It has to be the most delicious noodles on earth and something my hubby looks forward to every year:) My kids are wearing fusion traditional today. Actually, they were supposed to be wearing traditional costumes but my son preferred wearing the traditional top with jeans. He spent half an hour lamenting that the blue top is ugly and he wanted to wear only red tops as red is his favorite color. Hubby and I finally convinced him by pronouncing a mandarin collar day in which all four of us would be wearing clothes with mandarin collars today.

My lil princess wasn’t easy to handle either. She would only wear skirts so I had no choice but to layer her traditional outfit with a tutu, much to her delight.

And here’s hubby and I with our mandarin collar outfits. The Alexander Henry Jakob and “In the Mood for Love” cheongsam.I’ve learnt a few lessons from sewing some of our own new year outfits this year and thought I need to put them down just for next year’s reference sake

1. Dad has requested for pockets on his shirts as he has a habit of placing his pen and some notes in there.

2. Red shirts for lil prince but best to have him select the fabrics himself. Save ourselves from all that whining.

3. Hubby has suggested that I sew lil prince and him some dad and son shirts so they could wear the same print out. That sounds like fun and I would really wanna try creating them.

4. Mum is still really fussy as I have yet to see her wearing the Liberty JJ blouse. The Lunar new year celebrations is for 15 days so let see if she does.

5. More skirts and dresses for lil princess. No pants. Tutus make her smile.

6. Dad and hubby loved the cotton lawns and commented on how comfy these are.

7. For some weird reason, lil prince is into family fashion themes. Figure something to minimize potential issues.

Looks like I’ll need to start planning and sewing for the year of the dragon a little earlier:)


Jakob Shirt with stand collar

I finally managed to take a photograph of mum trying on the Liberty JJ Blouse I made her. Here’s the snapshot. I am so glad she gave her nod of approval! The fit is definitely better on her than on me.

For dear hubby’s shirt, I used the tried and tested burdastyle’s Jakob sewing pattern once again and here’s the mister modeling his brand new shirt for me. They said every girl would marry someone like her dad. Well, my husband and dad wear the same size shirts!

At my husband’s request, I made his version with a stand collar which came out surprisingly well.

I even managed to find matching buttons for the fabric at a vintage button shop in Chinatown.

When he tried the shirt on for the first time, I was pleased with the fit but the sleeves were a little too long and the garment also needed an additional buttonhole. These were quick and easy changes to make. I am very pleased with this shirt and it is so true that practice does make perfect as this is already version 3. All seams including sleeves are finished with french seams in this one which is a great thing with cotton lawn. Dear hubby said after trying on the shirt that he doesn’t mind having a few more cotton lawn shirts in different colors and I took that as a compliment 🙂

Having just completed the shirt using Alexander Henry’s cotton lawn, I couldn’t help comparing the Liberty tana lawn with Alexander Henry’s version. Here’s my verdict:

Post wash: There seemed to be less crinkle on the AH fabric after washing and drying.

Ironing: Both were equally easy to iron and crease.

Sewing: Equally easy.

Color and vibrancy: Liberty colors are way more vibrant compared to the AH collection. Somehow, AH’s cotton lawn is slightly on the dull side in terms of color but I think that makes them rather perfect for men’s shirts.

Skin test: I didn’t perspire the entire time when trying on the Liberty blouse which is unusual for our climate. It feels amazing on the skin. The AH collection feels good but not as good as Liberty when touched.

Drape: I do not feel there is much difference in terms of the drape of both fabrics.

Price difference: Very significant!

Conclusion: Liberty is THE choice for vibrant color/ print as well as top comfort, something to pamper yourself with. AH is great for projects requiring less vibrant prints and definitely a superb quality fabric for its price.

On a separate note, this week’s TSW Challenge theme is “Something floral, something blue”, do check out the creations for this week or join us for this challenge. The garment I sewed is scheduled for showcase Friday PST and as usual I’ll be doing a Behind The Seams on this blog.

It’s the middle of the week. I hope you have had a great week so far. I am looking forward to more sewing and more completed projects! Are you looking forward to Spring yet?

Sewing Gifts And Fathers’ Day

I couldn’t really recall when I started sewing clothes as gifts for my loved ones.   As I looked through my image files for some clues, I realised that I have never mentioned them on the blog. I believe it started in December 2009 . Just before my mum’s birthday last year, I thought I should start giving handmade items as gifts as it was a sincere expression of love which would continue to be tangible, unique and would always be special to the recipient.

This is the Floral Ute for my mum’s birthday last year. I followed the Ute Blouse sewing pattern from burdastyle. I enjoyed making this blouse. The pattern has two variations. Blouse A with a Peter Pan collar and blouse B with a tie collar. My mum chose blouse A but requested for the neckline to be raised.  I’ve seen her wearing it on three to four occasions so far and each time, it makes me smile. I thought the princess seams gave the blouse a great fit which showed how slender she is:P I would love to make blouse variation A and B for myself someday. That’s one thing I love about pdf patterns. They are always available when you need them:)

A reversible dress was made for my seven-year old niece. I have been making this dress for my princess (here and here) so I’m pretty familiar with this pattern and was able to complete it quite quickly. I sewed the buttons back to back so that you can see them (instead of button stitches) on both sides of the dress. My niece is kinda shy and didn’t say much but was happy to model it.

Reversible Dress Side A

Reversible Dress Side B

Off course, there was the first men’s shirt I made. A valentines’ gift for my husband this year which was based on burdastyle’s Jakob sewing pattern.  I took 3 days to finish this and was glad that he was really pleased with the fit and wore it pretty often.

He has since requested that I make him a few more of these shirts and have selected two fabrics three months ago. But, alas, I have been too preoccupied with dress making to start on them. Sorry dear 😛

With fathers’ day around the corner, I thought I should perhaps make him one of them, just to show how much I appreciate him. He has been a great dad and husband. He tried it on immediately when he got home 10 minutes ago and here’s the photo:)

For Fathers’ Day, I made another Jakob for my dad. A girl has got to be fair right:) My dad’s shirt was made from a Michael Miller stripe fabric. When I chose this fabric, my mum thought it was too vibrant but after she saw the end product she actually liked it. Phew! Thank goodness!

I have always liked my dad in vibrant print as it goes well with his darker skin tone. For many years now, I have either bought him shirts, belts or wallets. This is my first handmade item for him:) Happy Fathers’ Day daddy!

The instructions for Jakob pattern was very easy to follow. I have used quite a number of burdastyle’s patterns and I must say Jakob has one of the clearest step by step instructions. I managed to finish dad’s shirt in a day and my man’s in half a day. Practice must have really helped me sew faster!