Sewing Blogging Anniversary Giveaway: Japanese Edition

I sewed the first dress for myself on 29 April 2010. Two weeks later, I renamed and moved my blog to wordpress. How time flies cos that was exactly a year ago!

I’m celebrating my Made-Me sewing/ blogging anniversary with two giveaways – one starting today and the other on 12 May! Here are the goodies up for grabs and I mail worldwide.

The Japanese Box contains:

– An issue of Japanese sewing magazine “Cotton On” (seen below)

A Japanese sewing magazine with patterns (never used) and easy to understand diagrams. Lovely patterns for hats, bags, garments (adults and kids) such as those in the images below.

– Japanese fabric

A yard each of these cute Japanese fabrics. Great for craft and kid’s clothing.

And in conjunction with this anniversary, I would like you ask you dear readers, what improvement would you like to see on the blog.

So, to participate in this giveaway, please leave me a feedback in comments or if you are already happy with what you have been reading, please give me a link to a beautiful dress you have seen on blogsphere recently as inspiration. If you are subscribed to my blog, you get a second chance and if you link to this post, a third.

This Japanese box giveaway will end 12 May and I will use the number generator to select a winner.

Blessings and let the fun begin!


Sew Mama Sew Giveaway on The Sew Convert

Thank you for visiting my blog for the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway! This is the second time I’m participating in the giveaway. The last one was awesome and so much fun!

I had no idea what to giveaway as the ‘handmade item’ until I received a sewing book from my sister-in-law for my birthday two days ago and it’s ‘SEW!’ by Cath Kidston. Her floral fabrics are so beautiful and I was thrilled that the book included her fabric to sew the exact bag on the cover.  So, the first item I’m giving away is this bag which I will sew for the winner. Pretty isn’t it?

The second giveaway item consists of two yards (one yard each) of these cutesy Japanese fabrics, both depicting animals at the farm. Great for quilts, clothes for little ones and other simple sewing projects:)

So, there will be two winners for this giveaway. One will get the bag and the other, both fabrics. For a chance to win, take a look at the items I’ve made under ‘Made Me’ or ‘Made Kids’ and let me know which is your favorite item from the lists. In your comment, do let me know if you would like the bag or the fabrics, otherwise I’ll assume you don’t mind either 🙂

You can get an additional chance to win by subscribing to my blog and for a third chance to win, you can link back to my blog. So, you can get a maximum of 3 chances to win.

The entry deadline is by midnight on Friday, 17 December 2010. The winning entries will be picked randomly by the numeric generator on I will announce the winners on my blog and email them for mailing information by Monday, 20 May 2010 when I’m back from a short getaway. I ship internationally so keep your comments coming!

Also, do check out the rest of the giveaways listed on the sew mama sew blog, I know I’ll be going through them 🙂

Blessed Giveaway Day everyone! I hope you win something!


The Sew Convert

Stash Busting!

I have a yellow sticky on my MacBook dashboard and it says “Stop unnecessary spending!”. I needed it to be there so that every time I felt the need for more fabric while browsing through etsy or other online fabric stores, it would hopefully play the part of a deterrent. It has been effective on a several occasions but one this month, which is pretty good for a person who finds beautiful fabric irresistible!   This morning I’ve committed myself to more restraint. I’m participating in The Train To Crazy’s The Great Destash Challenge!

There are three main things I have to do for this challenge:

1. Organize the stash. You’ll keep buying fabric if you don’t really know what you already have… how true!

2. Use only fabrics from your stash.

3. Decide the length of time or the amount of pile you’d like to reduce.

When I first started sewing, I bought many quilting cotton in one yard each as I was only making clothes for my prince and princess.

These are  stacked away in three small shelves, like the one above.  When my princess started school last month, I decided to stop buying fabric until these are used up. She wears a uniform now so it does not make sense to accumulate the stash.

Now, let’s move on to my stash. Off course, every one of the projects I sew contribute to stash busting but I think I have been accumulating stash a lot faster than I can sew. And, I am already sewing quite a lot. Anyhow, I spent my entire morning re-acquainting myself with them.

My knit/jersey (top) and pants fabric (below) stashes are looking very decent.

And so is my semi sheer fabric (chiffon, tana lawn, cotton voile) stash.

Now, comes the not so decent stashes of cotton or cotton blend. You are seeing 95% of all my cotton fabrics, these are two to three and a half yards each and pretty suitable for my made-me projects.

Japanese prints

Quilting cottons

More quilting cottons

Light weight ikea fabrics

Phew! So, after categorizing them, I took out my sewing patterns and started matching fabrics and patterns. These are what I ended up with.

One full box of dresses and half a box of tops and others to be made.

I also picked the fabrics I needed for the next theme I would be focusing on from mid August to mid September. I hope to start working on the boxes of projects after mid September. At the end of the morning, I still have a few unmatched fabrics and patterns but that’s all right. This stash busting exercised has already lined up many challenging (and I can’t wait to do)  projects. Till I finish each and everyone of them, I will not be buying any more fabric in Singapore or online.

Off course, having said that, I would like to put down a few exceptions to the rule. My fabric fast does not apply to:

1.  Fabric buying during my vacations overseas. The opportunity cost would be just too great!

2.  Lining fabrics as I do not keep any lining stash.

Oh Gosh! What a huge commitment I am making and I am actually happy with this plan. My Stash Busting Sewing Plan!

Floral Blouse i

Today I made my first blouse from a Japanese sewing book, ‘Les couleurs francaises’. As I have never tried a Japanese pattern, I thought I better start with an easier project. The 26 projects in this book are identified by the English alphabet and I chose project i as it didn’t look too difficult and more importantly, required the least fabric.

This is the picture of project i from the book.

The pattern consisted of a front yoke, front bodice, a back piece and tie straps for the left sleeve. You could also cut your own bias tape but I used commercial ones.

I made my version using the above light weight Japanese floral fabric from Yuwa and here it is:

I find that having used the Built By Wendy Dresses book helped me in drafting from Japanese patterns. I am already used to tracing the pattern onto my own pattern paper. The only difference was, on Wendy’s book it was obvious where the patterns were, for Japanese sewing patterns, you have to do a search on these papers containing overlapping patterns for various projects. Looking at this did intimidated me a little at the beginning but at the end of the project, I will say it was not too bad 🙂  What an innovative way to save trees too!

Similarly, I am used to adding my own seam allowances. Besides the standard 1.5cm allowance, this project called for 0.5cm allowances for the neckline and armholes and 3cm for the hem. I think I have been a little bit spoilt by how fitting the colette pattern dresses and the Sabrina dress were. I found the blouse had way too much ease at the side seams and probably it was meant to be as I noticed from the project photograph. I did take in the seams to make it more of what I would normally wear. Somehow, more ease looked sloppy on me though it looked gorgeous on the model. I made a size 11 which is medium for Japanese sizes since I normally wear M for dresses from Muji. For a more personal touch, I added a red hand dyed vintage doily I got from this seller on etsy and a vintage green button just before the tie strap.

I soon realized the language barrier was not an issue. While the steps in the pattern book were written in Japanese, there was always a main diagram, like the one below, which showed me the sequence for sewing the project and was a tremendous help. There were also very clear and detailed diagrams for more complicated steps.

Thank God for diagrams as these completely put me at ease and I was able to complete this blouse in approximately four hours. Pretty gratifying!!!

Retro Halter Playsuit Back In Action

This morning, while I was changing my lil princess’ nappy, I realized that she has lost quite a bit of fats in her tummy as she grew taller.  Suddenly, it dawned on me that perhaps now that the watermelon has shrunk, she might be able to wear the retro halter playsuit I made her more comfortably. So, without hesitation I tried it on her.  It was kinda tight when she first tried it on in May, so I thought she wouldn’t be able to wear it for long. I am happy to say that the fit was perfect today!

Front view

Back view

She was in a jolly mood too, greeting and charming almost everyone near us at lunch, at the mall and at dinner with her ‘hello auntie/uncle’ and ‘bye bye auntie/uncle’.

I was feeling blissful just observing her…

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.