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: 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!

Behind the Seams: The Glossy Jumpsuit

How are you my sewing comrades? I’m been busy feasting, perhaps a little too much during all the festivity. Behind the Seams this week is gonna be short and sweet as my hubby is on leave for a couple of days.

This week’s TSW theme is stash busting and I made a jumpsuit out of black cotton fabric from a 1970s sewing pattern, both of which have been in my stash for around 4 months, which is essentially half my sewing history! My TSW Challenge post can be found here.

Jumpsuits is something you either love or hate. I am just wondering which is it for you? Is it something you’ll never wear or something you’ll wear readily? For me, I have been wearing jumpsuits a lot, it’s my favorite outfit after dresses:)

The Gallery

Pattern Review

I used View C from McCalls 5366 sewing pattern from the 1970s. The ‘Quick and Easy’ bit really motivated me to use this sewing pattern as I had very little time to sew during lunar new year.

Like most of the jumpsuit sewing patterns I saw on etsy, the 70s jumpsuit is an easy-going outfit with centre front zip and some sort of tie belt like these:

I was surprised that the pattern came with no darts for shaping and so I had to take in the sides. The gathers at the front of the jumpsuit is the only thing that makes it interesting. I also opted for no collar for my version.

The fabric I have used was bought in Shanghai. It was the first time I saw such woven cotton fabrics with a satin glossy finish and slight stretch in the width. I love the gloss and how elegant it made the otherwise ordinary jumpsuit looked.

We are sewing for Valentines’ Day next so why not join us for TSW Challenge! I’m all excited about the upcoming themes, they only get better!

Have a great sewing week everyone!

Merci mister mailman!

I don’t know about you but I love receiving mails the traditional way. I love the feel of sealed envelopes with my name. The suspense of what the contents might be.

Today, I was thrilled to receive two complimentary tickets to the Valentino Retrospective exhibition courtesy of Resorts World Singapore. It was a pleasant surprise when I received an email from RWS letting me know that they have decided to allow photography at the exhibition (without flash off course) after reading my blog post! I was utterly  flattered that my lil blog made an impact and visitors can now commemorate the master’s work through inspiring photographs. The people at RWS were so thoughtful to have sent me open date tickets so I could revisit anytime and yes, snap away!!! I can’t wait!

To boost my excitement further, I received some vintage sewing patterns I ordered sometime ago. There are patterns from the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s. Seeing them made me even more tempted to participate in Sewing Through the Decades Challenge!  Are you joining in the fun?

And have you heard? Coco Chanel is the theme for the first week of The Sew Weekly Challenge. I am happy to have completed my first dress for the year. The post will be up this Wednesday (Pacific standard time) so do look at for it! Meanwhile, do check out what the rest of the Sew Weekly team have created for this theme.

I’m now working on the Pendrell blouse (check out Tasia’s sewalong!), my sew weekly garment, a blouse for mum and a dress for my lil princess. I’m sew swamped and utterly happy! What projects are you working on right now?

Have an amazing week everyone!

‘The Blues’ Resort Dress

As part of my resort style theme, I used Simplicity 8442, a vintage pattern from the 1970s to create a resort style dress. I chose to sew the version with sleeves though I did shorten them a little. I wanted a very relaxed look and  love the shape and cute slant of the humongous pockets!

But, this dress at certain points, gave me the blues. Yes, it did. The issues occurred on the front and back bodice pieces. When I first tried the front bodice on I thought OMG the shoulder straps might be too short! That was deceiving as it turned out there were huge gaps on the front and back opening of the dress, like these.

These gaps were very ugly and annoying. It made me wondered if this was a design that called for shoulder pads as there seemed to be just enough extra space for them. The envelope didn’t mention them however.

Anyhow, I wasn’t too keen to add shoulder pads for this dress. Instead, I turned the dress inside out, pinning and taking in the extra fabric at both shoulder seams the best that I could. I baste the ‘new’ seams at both shoulders, tried on the dress again before stitching them. I also added snap button above the invisible zipper to secure the back. The dress is still far from being perfect but I tried my best and am happy that it is now wearable.

I used voile for the dress and it is underlined. It’s the first time I tried underlining and I followed the instructions closely. Underlining is different from lining as it is sewed onto the wrong side of the dress while lining is sewed right side to right side of the dress.

The voile tends to crinkle easily but still I love that the dress does look relaxing and definitely has the resort feel to it. I’m glad I managed to contain the gapping problem.

A close up view of the cute pockets embellished with silver ric rac and a sparkling purple button.

BTW, have you heard of polyvore? I think I must be one of the last to use it. LOL.  I had a little bit of time while pondering what to do with the gaps on the dress so I starting selecting accessories for it on the website. So, here’s my dream resort combination with this dress. My very first collage from Cute?

I know, it’s not fair for some of my sewing comrades to see these when it’s freezing cold autumn/ winter where some of them are. So, I did a cold weather version too, just for fun! I know the dress was made with resort style in mind but with the right accessories, it can be a completely different outfit. I am also one who believe that a dress from a vintage pattern can go well with accessories from today, though I am bias when it comes to sunglasses…the look is retro any day! 🙂

Off course, I wished I owned all these accessories so I can see what the outfit looks like in real life…but that only happens on polyvore. LOL. I did, however, put my name in the ballot to win those cute Whooga gold ugg boots! The giveaway is ongoing and you can enter by follow Whooga on Twitter or subscribing to their newsletter. All the best my sewing comrades!

Have a happy week everyone! I am chasing the blues away by sewing more tomorrow:)

A Sunny Day Dress

I’ve finally completed my Alexander Dress from Grosgrain’s ‘A Frock By Friday’.  This is not an easy dress to sew so I loved the challenge of tackling it. It’s the first time I learnt I could cut open a dart, gather one side of it, sew it back to create cute sleeves like these. Grosgrain’s detailed and clear sewalong instructions made constructing this easier.

The sewing pattern for the bodice came from burdastyle’s Alexander Blouse.

I normally sew using a size 38 pattern but for this dress, I used a size 36. I elongated the center front seams by 1″ each, dropped the waistline by 2″ and lengthen the peplum by 4″, so it would hit the hips. I also added a fire engine red bias to the waistline before attaching the peplum as I thought that would accentuate the waistline and it would go well with the huge red buttons I used.

I didn’t use the free McCall pattern recommended by Grosgrain but the skirt pattern from a vintage sewing pattern. My overused vintage butterick B5032.

I thought they looked rather similar, but my vintage version might be narrower and I could save some trees 🙂 However, I did shorten the length and change all pleats to darts at the top of the skirt. The skirt is lined as cotton voile is a little sheer.

For the back of the dress, I used an invisible zipper but it does not start from the top but around chest level at the back. The top has a hidden button attachment (Are they called press studs?).

The fabric is from Anna Maria Horner’s collection and is extremely comfortable to wear. My favourite part of it is the front bodice with the pleats and red buttons.

I hope you like it too.

My weekend starts tomorrow as it is a public holiday in Singapore, so happy weekend in advance!

Fall 2010 Inspiration

I have always enjoyed reading magazines. My focus was always content. Since I started sewing for myself in May, I am no longer seeing fashion magazines the same way.  I absolutely need my phone next to me so I can snap away at all the little details on images that inspire me. Here are some that wowed me.

These cute scallop edge pockets on this Miu Miu dress on the magazine cover.

or this beautiful and elegant lace dress.

It is such a basic shift dress. What a difference fabric choice and added bow make!

Then, there were other images which led me to check out full collections at Like many women out there, I am totally in love with the Louis Vuitton Fall RTW 2010 Collection especially these 50s inspired dresses with corset tops, wide shoulder straps and circle skirts. The pointy heels, ponytails, skinny belts or ribbons completed the look. It has got to be my favorite collection this fall and the autumn hues are awesome!

Sophia from iroiro, had also expressed her adoration for this collection on her blog. Here are some sewing patterns with great potential which I’ll like to highlight for the sake of anyone, like us, who love to sew and love the look.

First up, Vogue 8288 which Suzannah from Adventure in Dressmaking used for making this super sweet corset dress.

As Sophia highlighted to me, there’s also Vogue 1174. When I saw the photo, I remembered Tasia’s (Sewaholic) stunning dress.

For the long circle skirt, there is a tutorial here and an alternative is the panel skirt. You can find a brief tutorial by Un Chic Petit.

There is another collection that rocks in a different way. See the mix of mesh fabric over cut outs on these dresses in Proenza Schouler’s Fall 2010 Collection? Love them! I thought the black and white plaid dress was magnificent and love love love that crazy plaid print! Is it even plaid when laid flat I wonder?

This vintage sewing pattern of a similar babydoll design is from SewingwithMissDandy. It’s McCall’s 3832. The neckline has to be raised though for the cut out to be above the bust.

How adorable are these dresses with 50s vibes from the Prada Fall 2010 Collection?  The ruffles on the upper bodice works wonders for body proportions. However, I couldn’t help thinking if the bare midriff was necessary. What do you think?

I thought Vintage McCalls 4120 is not only perfect for modifications (In fact most 50s dress patterns with a round circle skirt will probably do) but I liked this one in particular cos it contains pattern pieces to create all those fabulous retro necklines! It’s available at Tricotgirl.

Do you have a favorite dress? Are you already working on a sewing project similar to these?

This is my second runway cum vintage pattern related post since Resort 2011: Retro Inspiration. I hope the images and patterns inspire you.  As for me, I need to think about how to adapt the vintage and new patterns I have or search for pdf ones online to recreate the look. The problem is the shipping cost to where I am. It is almost always higher than the pattern cost.

Did someone say Holiday Wardrobe Project? Yes, I am still working on that. Aren’t we ladies created to be fantastic at multi-tasking? Now, back to reading the magazine’s content. Have a great weekend my sewing comrades!

Photos source: Elle Singapore and

50s Inspired Sabrina Cape Dress Part 2

Thanks for waiting, I am now ready to unveil the 50s inspired Sabrina Cape Dress. Yes, the entire outfit!

With cape

Without cape

This outfit was inspired by the image below originally posted by the Selfish Seamstress. Do you think my part modern, part vintage pattern combination successful delivered the outfit?

My review on burdastyle’s Sabrina dress sewing pattern can be found on my previous post.  I adapted the cape portion from my seriously overused butterick B5032.

It’s funny that I’ve used this cape pattern for two very different capes and never the one on the pattern cover. The other one is here. I cut the pattern pieces for the front and back of the cape, did the darts, sewed the front and back pieces together and did a fitting with the dress on. I identified where the front had to end so that the cape can be buttoned to the dress. I cut away the excess fabric and sewed on a poly lining.  After another fitting to ascertain the placement, buttonholes were sewn on.

Oh! And I just wanted to show a better photo of the cute egg colored buttons i mentioned in the last post and the iron-on hemming tape I discovered at Daiso.

I read about the Very Purple Person using the hemming tapes on her projects and was curious about it. So, I decided to give it a try when I found it. It is a dream to use! Your hem is finished beautifully in a few seconds!

TGIF! Have a fantastic and rejuvenating weekend everyone!

Vintage 70s Jumpsuit

Here’s my version of the vintage jumpsuit from Simplicity  9677 made with ikea fabric. The pattern comes with doggy ear collar, puffy gathered sleeves and a zipper front. I love the idea of a zipper front. It is just so convenient and easy to put on.

As it turned out, I adored the collar. It didn’t come out as long as what was showed on the sewing pattern cover. I used interfacing for it despite using a medium weight cotton. Oh! I didn’t make it jet black as I kinda like the little off-white detail on the extreme left side. Other than that, the collar is completely black. Since, I do not wear skirts, I didn’t bother making the add-on. I have not gotten used to the puffy sleeves though as I think they are kinda over the top.

Did I adhere to the sewing pattern? For most parts I did. Nonetheless, I reduced the seam allowance for the shorts to 1cm instead of 1.5 so that it is more roomy.  I thought the back of the jumpsuit was a little too straight forward  so I did an oval-shaped cut out which I love. I also like the shaping created by all the darts at the back of the jumpsuit.

After making this jumpsuit I actually think knit fabric rather than woven ones would be more appropriate for this design. I also think the pattern can be pretty versatile. I might create a sleeveless or cap sleeve version in knit someday, perhaps with a hood instead of the collar.

In terms of sewing instructions, they were clear but I didn’t follow all the steps. I figured out I didn’t need the front and back facing for the jumpsuit if I folded in the seam twice behind the zipper and for the collar, I attached it the way I did a men’s shirt, by folding in its bottom.

Vintage Jumpsuit Work In Progress and Plans for July

I’ve finally started on the jumpsuit from this vintage Simplicity sewing pattern, Simplicity 9677 from 1971. It took me some time to settle on the fabric. I was deciding between polka dots or stripes, nautical or jet black. The fabric recommended by the pattern didn’t help either. Suggested fabrics include double-knit, denim, polyester knit, jersey, light weight wool, wool flannel, broadcloth, canvas, crepe and the list goes on and on as you can imagine…:P

I finally settled on a home decor fabric from ikea. Yes, ikea. I have never sewed garments using ikea fabric though I really love some of the prints. The only items I’ve made using their fabric are these cushion covers for my living room early this year.

There is an ikea 10 minutes drive from my place and I was there to purchase bookshelves for my son when some lovely fabrics called out to me. This was mid way through my week of sewing shorts so what was previously categorized as ‘non-garment’ fabric was now viewed from a fresh perspective. They could be great for shorts, pants and even jumpsuits! So, I ended up with these in my stash 🙂

Navy blue gingham fabric and navy blue leaves fabric

Red & Orange Tulip fabric and Black & White print fabric

The minute I saw it, I knew I would be using the Black & White Print fabric for the vintage jumpsuit pattern. I was not sure about making the collar according to the vintage pattern as it reminded me of cute doggy ears so I cut it according to specs with some extra fabric I had and pin it on.

They turned out to be rather charming I think so I should be sticking to the original design for the collar but I would be making it out of jet black fabric for more contrast.

I did a little review and realized my sewing productivity was pretty high for June. Let’s see, I have made 5 tops, 3 pairs of shorts and a jumpsuit. 9 items for myself in 4 weeks. That’s not too  bad and the tally excluded the two fathers’ day presents I sewed. I have never made that many things in one month! More importantly, I am pretty certain I will be wearing all these Made Me garments for Self-Stitched-September! I also realized through my Tara Experiment Week that I really didn’t like sewing under time pressure. At my own pace, sewing is fulfilling and energizing but the fun from creating three blouses that week was significantly reduced and I was truly exhausted at the end of the week. So, I am gonna stop giving myself such ridiculous timelines. However, I did enjoy having a specific theme every two weeks. What then should I create in July?   Once I have completed this vintage jumpsuit, it shall be two weeks of dresses!!!! Yay!!!! My current plan is to start on Colette Pattern’s macaron and I’ve narrowed the fabric selection to these two very different sets. I might just make two macaron dresses.

Floral & Dots set

Picnic Illusion set

I also intend to sew a knit dress out of this fabric.

That’s all for now folks but I’m certain I will be coming up with new project ideas if I happen to finish these 4 projects before the end of two weeks. I’ve gonna re-pace myself and enjoy the process more. Have a great week everyone!