2015 Sewing Review

I often get the question: how do you have the time to sew, AND have a full time job (that requires frequent meetings at night), AND take care of two kids? The truth is, I have a really awesome husband and really awesome parents. They share the load quite a lot, and every night, I sneak into my sewing for 10min – 1 hours (if I am REALLY lucky) and work on something. Some weeks, I go without sewing for 3 days and I’d start day dreaming about sewing and even get insomnia until i get to sew.

This year, I have made quite a lot of things considering how busy I was. However, I feel that I have made quite a few things thats quite not me.

Already in the recycle bin to be made into something else.

I liked this initially. But Hubby really did not like it and he’s starting to convince me. aii!

Hated it from the beginning – hubby loved it but could not sway me this time!

This one was difficult to wear. Next summer I will cut off the length and see if I like it better then.

Still just a “meh” about this. but may be I will like it more next year.

Not the greatest handicraft here. Probably will get re-made next year

This was worn very occasionally, I am not super into it.

I wore this frequently for a bit – but I am now out of love with it. I think floral is just not quite my thing unless its a dress.

The dress is not super well cut, esp on me – so I am not 100% in love with it. I am waiting for breastfeeding to be over to see if I like it more after my boobs get smaller.

Photographs well, but I dont wear it often. I might just not be into black tops.

Here are some of the stuff I liked, and worn often. 

Fun addition to my wardrobe, definitely not a workhorse coat, but occasionally it is kinda fun.

 

Worn very frequently in the summer.

Two knit material tops – worn often.

lounge clothing – worn somewhat frequently.

She is probably going to wear this to death. She wears it at least once a week, not to mention that she wears it for all special occasions.

I only wore this once – but I liked the fit quite a lot. There’s not a lot of occasion to wear something like this.

Just a casual tank, worn often but not super special.

I wore this one almost every other day. Very good at home dress.

knitted scarf for my best friend K – she loved it!

Cardigan – worn often :)

striped sets – worn often!

I love how this looks, even though its a little like a chef coat or “ethic garb”, haha! Still love it!

 

 

Here are the clothing that I LOVED:

Worn almost every week in the spring, and I cant wait to wear it again when it gets warmer.

 

For a “special” designer piece that looks pretty impractical, I actually worn this REALLY frequently. I love it a lot and might make another one sometimes.

 

I love how this dress flutters in the wind. I wore it every week in the summer. Unfortunately this had worn apart in the wash. Next summer I will make another one.

 

I wore this one surprisingly often. I find that as I get older, I dont care as much about other people’s opinion, and I do not mind the extra attention from others from wearing something unconventional doing conventional things.

I LOVE this dress. the color is amazing and the cut is perfect.

And of course, the corsets:

 

 

 

Total makes: 33 pieces!

Project started : project completed/kept : project often worn ratio this year:

 

33:31:23

Even though the number made is higher than last year, they are mostly quick serger knit projects (15 of them!)

number made
sergered top/sweaters 12
corsets 2
coat 1
summer jacket 2
dresses for me 11
Skirt 2
Little K dress 2
scarf for friend 1
total 33

 

 

The sewing have really slowed down starting September – my work got very busy then, and little A started waking up more at night. But I actually feel like I need to slow down my sewing and focus on making just a few pieces that I really love.

As for my new years resewlution last year to comment more on other blogs – that is not going so well. I dont sit in front of my computer when i look at blogs anymore – its mostly when I am putting little A to bed on my phone. Its way too hard to comment on blogs on my phone – and impossible if the blog is hosted by blogspot, even on a computer. So… I stopped stressing about it. Its making me a little tempted to try out instagram/twitter, though I am not sure how many sewists are on there.

Anyways! I am quite happy with my 2015 sewing, I am especially happy with finally completing my attempt at vogue1316 and Alexandar McQueen’s crazy kimono jacket pattern, as well as expanding my sewing skills to corsetry.


Corset Belt

I’ve always wanted a better belt to wear with my kimonos. I often hang out around the house in my kimonos when the kids are sleeping, with no special occasion to celebrate. I am not Japanese, by the way, but I do love how kimonos look. In fact, one of the first things I sewed was a kimono robe. However, once I’ve ordered some vintage kimonos from ebay and seen how a lined kimono is made, making a proper kimono had became a little too daunting to take on- its actually a lot of work!

Anyways, you are suppose to wear an obi with your kimonos. However, tying an obi around your body without it falling off a few hours later is quite an art. Though I like the look of an obi, I’ve always thought it would be good to substitute it with a belt with boning. So after my recent discovery of corsettraining.net, I made a corset belt with the free pattern.

They go quite well together, dont you think?

Here’s the innards of the corset:

As you can see, I went a little crazy with making sure the area around boning is sturdy. The corset has three layers – silvery silk brocade, cotton duck, and purple silk lining; with cotton twill tape around boning area to add sturdiness. However, with the boning channels around the seams, I didnt add twill tape. The seam allowance was enough.

Here’s how it looks on the inside.

Notice the new logo? A very talented friend of mine designed this logo for me, based on “JueBeJue”. I’d have to do a special post for this. Points to anyone who could guess the representation of this logo! :)

Laced up from the back. Also, I am not sure if this is due to the eyelets being closer, or that I am using a double faced satin instead of corset lacing, but the lace does not slide as easily in this – so this is actually a little harder to get out than my last corset – which had a longer back.

Laced up from the front.

As you can see, it gives some curve to a usually flat kimono outfit :) It looks very… the west meets the east!

A little side story here. These pictures are taken in UC Berkeley, where hubby and I met. This is taken near Dwinelle hall. It was when finals were over, so there was not a lot of people around, and this spot was pretty private. So here we were going about shooting photos with a kimono in the rain, all of sudden I saw two painters having their faces plastered on one of the windows in Dwinelle hall to see what we were up to (they were really close).  It was kind of funny – especially that we had seen one of them peeing right out Sather gate… oh Berkeley…

That bottom part really bothered me. I didnt cut the binding in bias – because I was being lazy and also wanted to preserve more of this expensive silk. Luckily, after I washed the corset, the binding softened up and lies flat against my body.

 

Lastly, I leave you with my favorite picture to close out my last creation of the year!

 


The Leftovers

As the year draw to an end, I’ve got to finish blogging about all the stuff I’ve made this year! Well, I give up on trying to find the time to model all of them, so here are some creations that hasnt made it to the blog yet!

boxy off-the shoulder number. I actually wear this quite often. I have a grey version that is in the wash that Ive also worn quite a bit.

 

Striped dress, pretty good one to have around autumn.

I am quite sad about this one – a very special blue fabric with gold tint, a cotton terry knit. Blue + gold = Cal. But I butchered this one with some poor sewing. My sewing machine was also acting up badly during this make. But you can tell – things stretched out unevenly around the front band. This looks okay on me – but i think eventually its going to goodwill :\

Simple light cardigan with pockets, good for the summer. I am not crazy about this for some reason.

A wool skirt made from a goodwill skirt, that I made my mom wear for two years before finally making it into a short skirt. I was quite in love with the stripes, but after making it, I dont feel very crazy about the skirt and have only worn it once, even though its perfectly fine.

Thats all for now! There is one last make coming before the year close out, its one that I am quite excited about – another corset! :)

 


Smooth Black Corset

I made a corset!!! I MADE A CORSET! I cant believe I did it and I think I have a new thing to sew in the winters besides coats.

I’ve been thinking about making a corset for forever. So many reasons that triggered my corset making:

  1. I hurt my back recently. It hurt to breath and I could barely sit up without pain. Work was very busy so i did not want to just stay at home. I decided to put on a store bought corset to go to work – it really helped me manage the pain and heal faster. But the store-bought corset shows off the breast too much and I was uncomfortable wearing something too sexy for work. I wanted an underbust that doesnt curve below the breasts that I can wear under my clothing.
  2. I’ve ordered a hand-made corset for my wedding years ago. It fit horribly above the waist – so I wanted to try to alter it to an under-bust – this requires me to get tools for corset making.
  3. I’ve been watching StarTrek – Voyager. I have a huge woman-crush on Seven of Nine. I thought her figure is un-real and amazing in the show – turned out the actress wears a corset and breast mounds for the show.
  4. CationDesign’s corset got me interested in sewing one a while ago, but I didnt really find any corset patterns that appealed to me
  5. Petit main Sauvage’s recent corset is so awesome, and finally put me on a roll. She linked to corsettraining, where i saw some amazing corset patterns.

So I set out to do the project that seriously requires so much ordering of tools and parts. I must say though – I am addicted. Seriously addicted. Good thing that I ordered bulk on most items – I can easily make another!

These are the stuff I had to gather for the corset:

  • blue silk – stash
  • black rayon satin – stash (oh this is seriously the must luxurious satin ever!)
  • white steel boning – $11 from corsetmaking.com (10yd)
  • spiral steel boning – $12 from corsetmaking.com (10yd)
  • boning tips – $4.5 from corsetmaking.com (36 pieces) [though I end up using pipe sealing tape instead – had it in my garage and cheaper and easier to deal with]
  • corset lacing – $5.2 from corsetmaking.com
  • size 0 grommets – $12 from ebay
  • grommet tools – $9.1 from amazon
  • bolt cutter (to cut boning – it looks a lot easier comparing to what they sell for corset specifically) – $13.5 from amazon
  • twill tape – $15 from ebay (100yd)
  • grosgrain ribbon – $16 from etsy (20 yds)
  • Angel Underbus Pattern – $12.75  from Scarlett/corsettraining.net

Total: about $130 after shipping, excluding fabric, and I didnt even bother with a busk or coutil! This is probably the most expensive starter project. I now understand why people buy kits. Luckily, there are enough left overs of everything to bring my average cost down a little. It really makes me wonder about material cost of all the corset makers on etsy and their cost of labor – $200-$400 a corset just seems too cheap at this point!

While I am extreme thrilled with how the corset turned out and had been wearing it throughout thanksgiving weekend, there are some things I would change:

  1. I didnt read the instruction on how to measure hip size properly and had cut out a size 12 pattern. The hip of this is actually too big for me – according to instruction i should have measured above my hips, which is a bit smaller). It doesnt show in the dress, but when I wear pants I do notice that the corset is not flushed with my natural hipline, even when its closed all the way in the back. I could take out about 3 inches total and still close the back. I cant decide if I should do a size 10 or just take out a few inches from the side hip seam – any suggestions?
  2. I got lazy and did not want to deal with a busk. I should have put in some boning in the front to flatten the tummy area. I am slightly tempted to take out my seam ripper to add some boning in the front

The combination of 1 & 2 makes a little blob around tummy area which i dislike – hope to get rid of it in the next version. However, the fact that the corset is a little too big + that I didnt do a busk closure – means that I didnt have to have a super long lace to be able to get out of the corset. I made the grommet spacing around 1.5 inches – longer than suggested, in order to be able to lace up quickly. Its actually not too annoying to get in and out of this corset at all.

I am just in love with those hip gores. I probably didnt choose the easiest pattern to sew my very first corset. There are some curves to deal with around the gore. But I fell in love with the pattern and could not resist. By the way, I found another maker Emerald Erin who made a really cute version as well!

I now have two more corset in the plans – the cupid corset and the free corset belt from Scarlett /corsettraining.net again. Her designs really appeals to me. Now that I have most of the supplies, I think sewing one would go much faster! I cannot wait!


Matching outfits

Finally, this is my third matching outfit I have with little K, and the only one where I managed to get a photo of us wearing them together :)

Didnt bother getting detailed shots because they are pretty standard shirt (for me) and shirtdress (for little K). She loves stripes and matching dress with me. I debated on whether to do a dress for lil A – but decided that she wont appreciate the matching at this age yet.

For those who celebrates, hope you had a good thanksgiving holiday! Mine was good except for little K dealing with a cold/flu :( and yes i still dragged her out for a photo with fresh air for an excuse, she’s such a good model!

 


Eye popping mask 2.0

WARNING: heart-melting adorableness ahead.

I needed a one-eye mask to be Leela from futurama for Haloween, and figured I’d like to add another one to my awesome eyemask design from last time. Hubby and little A played around with my masks one nice Saturday morning. Adorableness ensues.

 

Yaiks! you look scary!

 

Wait, whats that on my head?

 

Well…. maybe you and i… are not so different…

 

OOOOOH You ARE my daddy!!

 

This is great news all around!

 

errr whats happening, I cant see!

 

This is better

 

And yes, mommy is supposed to feature the eyemask on the left, but totally got caught up with my cuteness!


Oversized Cardigan

I encountered a really nice 50% cotton knit material at Hancock this fall. Promptly bought it and serged up a cardigan I’ve been wanting for a long time. The inspiration is here, but i dont think I correctly captured the essence of the design, so I have to try again in the future.

I probably need to make this a little less oversized – and narrower for the front panels and sleeves. But I still really love this sweater  – very comfy and versatile! So many outfits to be had.

Extra bonus photos: I went to San Diego for a work trip with some awesome coworkers. They modeled the sweater for me as well!

Who wore it the best? They look pretty cute in the sweater to be honest, I was almost tempted to give it away. I also managed to convince one of them to start sewing on the trip. I think I seriously need to become a sewing machine distributor on the side!


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