New Year. New Dress.

A leopard never changes its spots. Nah!

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you probably witnessed my complaint against gathered sleeves and its over puffiness as well as leopard prints and its potential aging effect on the wearer. Probably things I’ll never wear. But, never say never! After thriving season after season, the animal print has kinda grown on me. And when I saw the sleeves on this dress from burdastyle magazine 12/2010 issue, I knew I had to try sewing these!

Here’s the technical drawing of the dress.

So, as a new year approaches, I thought it appropriate to present the Never Say Never Dress which I made using the wrap dress pattern (102) from the magazine.

The bottom of the inner skirt does a peekaboo here due to the way I am standing but when I stand straight, it hides nicely behind the outer skirt. You will notice that my version has shorter sleeves and a different fit compared to the magazine image.

Before I started making this dress, I was concerned about the fit of the dress as seen on the model. It bodice looked too big on her and that would make a wrap dress very unwearable in reality. So I traced the pattern from the magazine and pinned  the pieces against myself to have a better idea of the fit. Turned out, I liked how it looked without the seam allowance. So, I made the dress in size 38, my usual size without adding the seam allowance. 

The leopard print fabric is from The skirt is lined with a beige poly and comes with a facing made with the main fabric.  This way, I wouldn’t have to stay away from strong wind 😛

I love the sleeves and all the pleats on the front and back bodice. Here’s a closer look at them 🙂

I am happy with how the dress turned out and am definitely wearing it for a lunch gathering tomorrow. New Year. new dress.

After sewing regularly for around half a year, what life lessons did I learn from sewing?

– There is a perfect sewing pattern for every fabric, it just takes time finding it. Persevere!

– French seams is still the way to go when you have no serger. I am using light weight fabric a lot more nowadays so I can use french seams for the finishing as I discovered that even with pinking sears, fabric would still fray. I have been reminding myself that practicality is paramount so don’t be lazy!

– Never say never. In sewing garments, it is good to throw out some preconceived notions you have and try new things sometimes. Enjoy the adventure and be brave!

– Habits can be changed. I am wearing a lot more dresses now compared to a year ago and definitely wearing made-me garments a lot more often.  There is always room for improvement and commitment is key. And off course there is always room for….more dresses 😛

– Encouragements rock! I believe I managed to keep on sewing because of all your comments, kinds words and off course, the support from my family and loved ones. Thank you all so very much!

So, what will I be up to in the new year? I have not done much long term planning but for the month of January, I will be busy sewing for the Lunar/ Chinese New Year which falls on 3 February this year, making outfits for myself and my family.

Have a very happy 2011 everyone! Blessed New Year!!! Have a good one!!!


Two looks in one Esther coat

Silly silly me…I thought I was mixing woven with knit when I was planning to sew the Esther Coat but as I felt the corduroy, I realized there was some stretch in it. This is my first time sewing with this fabric and I was glad to have read this informative post on working with nap and pile on Colette Pattern’s blog just in time. After reading it, I ensured that I cut the fabric in one direction.

I needed this coat to go with anything and everything I would be wearing for my trip to Shanghai in October so I chose to make it in black cord and black jersey. Why the mixture of fabrics?  This is part of my stash busting effort and they were the only combination that I could get together to formulate a coat of sorts.

Leopard prints are everywhere, I think it’s wild and like it quite a lot. But, it does age the wearer if its overwhelming so I added a leopard print trim on the sleeve facings instead just to up the meow factor. I love it!

Nonetheless, I felt that leopard print only goes with black stuff and  jeans and nothing else. So, it might not be that practical for a holiday coat. Not to worry,  the Esther works in such a way that if I were to fold the sleeves higher, the leopard trim could be completely covered and the coat goes with everything and anything in the world!

See what I mean, I am wearing the same tee and shorts I have been wearing the entire day and just threw on the coat and a scarf.

Now let me reveal the source of the leopard print trim. No, I did not buy any new fabric and no it wasn’t originally a trim. One day while browsing through Daiso (US$1.50 store), I was immediately drawn to this cute little leopard print pouch and thought I could sew a thick elastic around it and make a waist pouch.

But, my husband thinks waist pouches are the most unflattering accessory a woman can wear. I dropped the idea and the pouch has been on my sewing table for months until yesterday morning anyways. I am happy with how it looks on the coat. At least it has been put to use.  I love the texture, the furry feel and the contrast against black cord.

I thought I would need at least a week to complete a coat but this pattern was so easy and fun to sew! It only had 4 pieces! I took my time and finished this in a day including cutting and sewing.  For my version, I made 3 pieces out of the black cord and piece number 2, which covers the upper sleeves and upper back area in black jersey. For a burdastyle sewing pattern, this one has reasonably clear instructions. This coat is designed to keep you warm, with the exception of pattern piece number 2, all the rest had the fabric folded in half. This means there are two layers of comfy cord shielding me from the cold!

P/S: I have to thank dbsewer from Pattern Review who told me the coat looks hunter green on her monitor. I had to compare a black and white shot to realize the difference and did a color correction. Thanks so much. This updated version is closer to the actual color.