Polkadot dress

Well, I am not that crazy about this dress. Hubby had been hounding me to make a poka dot dress with a black belt and black stripe. So I busted out my trusted Simplicity 3745, as the last one fitted me quite well.

But the modification i did for the black belt part didnt go so well. I wanted a thinner middle stripe, but instead of cutting a thinner stripe, i had cut out a normal stripe adn just sew it smaller. The result is that the middle pulls in a weird manner.

Which is a bum because I even have pockets on this dress, and hubby just love it. But I cant get over the technical failure and how it makes me feel real… pregnant. I have a photos of this dress from our vacation a while ago, and i dont think i can give enough care about the dress to do another photoshoot. so you are going to have to take my words that this dress is a fail.

However – the picture is quite nice :)

Qipao revisited – summer rayon

Remember a few years ago i had a Qipao craze after watching “In the mood for love“?

I had made three qipao so far. The first two fit very poorly and i have salvaged the frog buttons from there. The last one fit very well – Ive worn it to work parties and its pretty good! Though recently I’ve been wanting a even better fitted, and classic cut qipao.

I found Lekaka’s chinese dress pattern– Ive been wanting to try their customized pattern for a while and the cost of a pattern is pretty low. I entered my three measurements and entered some adjustment – narrower shoulder, shorter back, etc. It was easier than i thought! And guess what? the pattern came out quite perfect – i just had to pinch in an inch in the back!! (I didnt like how the sleeves fitted here though. I redrafted that for the next version). I added $0.50 to add seam allowance, so the pattern came out to be around $3. If my figure changes in the future drastically, i will need to purchase another one with the new measurement. But for the low cost, i really am digging this pattern company!

After consultation with hubby we decided an ankle length for this qipao looked the best. I did not over fit the qipao – this rayon challis feels pretty stretchy and not very strong – so I didnt want to stress the fabric. Having it just skim over my figure feels pretty good. Besides I still got that pooch to hide. Being a short girl, I used to never wear anything ankle-length. But recently I’ve stopped feeling the need to “look tall and skinny”. I really like this look on me – esp in the mirror. I feel cute and petite and pixie.

Love the fit in the back!

Silk remnant for edge of the front closure. I also made tiny delicate frog closure. This Qipao opens the classic way – meaning a zipper on the side and it opens up in the front where the purple line is. By the way – sewing with a smaller seam allowance is SO MUCH EASIER – esp when you are dealing with curves and zippers!

Wish i have a corner in the house to do a poster shot like these, but for now this will do.

Obviously I dont make dresses that is modest all the way. If the top is covered the bottom will see some light!

The rayon is very soft – and the pattern feels quite casual. I originally made this to wear to a friend’s wedding. But then I decided is this casual and more suitable for daily wear. I’ve work it to the library, market, etc. If you live in the US (maybe just california), you would know – I am dressing up WAY TOO MUCH for America/California. But when a girl loves a dress… she will defy social code to wear it :P I’ve gotten quite some double takes from random people – not just guys – but its not quite the bad kind, i think :)

Curtain Wrap Jacket

(excuse the wrinkles. I saw a chance for some photos and did not have the time to iron out the wrinkles! beggars cant be choosers!)

I am in LOVE with this jacket!! When I saw Crab & Bee’s Vogue 8926 I was quite green with envy. The next time Hancock had a Vogue Pattern sale, I snatched up the pattern and stored it away.

I was in a particular weird mood with summer sewing. I felt that I dont have any appropriate summer dresses, for any occasion. every dress I had bored me. Anything I could sew bored me. So I picked up this pattern and decided I should make this. But nothing in my enormous stash (I dont think I’ve shown you guys my stash yet. should i? its embarrassingly large) seemed appropriate. Then I started rummaging through my home-deco stash. That had some Ikea curtains that we used to use around the house.

Funny detour – we used to hang white curtains in every room around the house. We wanted all the rooms to be bright and cheery and happy. After children, every bedroom’s curtain eventually got switched out to the darkest curtains we could find at ikea. Keeping the children asleep past day light became much more important than good taste in home decor!

Anyways, I digress. I got some nice cotton (? or maybe this is linen) curtains, that has some very nice texture on there. Its got a good weight and a good drape. and you know, I happen to lack good summer jackets! It seemed like the stars (or rather, fabric+pattern) aligned and I whipped up this jacket in a week (which is quite a record for this year).

I just LOVE this jacket. My husband thought its a robe, my mother thought i should sew one for little K when she takes taekwondo class, and a french coworker asked if this is an ethic garb when I wore it to work. But I think I just look so darn good in them! It actually feels like a summer version of my blue coat, but with a even better relaxed shape and a cuter collar.

My measurements indicate i should make a S. But given the relaxed fit, and that my shoulder are generally more narrow than most with the same chest measurement, I decided to go for an XS. BINGO! The fit on my shoulder is spot on! I added two in-seam pocket that is generously big. Also did french seam on the collar and back seam (yes, around the pivoting points as well!). Also, I cut off about an inch and half from the bottom.

So here it is! I really love this curtain fabric. If I remember right – this was actually quite cheap at ikea and this jacket only took up a single panel. I’ve already wasted some curtains on coat muslins but perhaps more curtain sewing for actual garment in my future! *Cues sound of music soundtrack*

Lastly – a picture with the last white curtains left in the house:

Butterfly dress

Hello! Its been a while since I’ve last updated. The blog update had been slow lately, but my sewing has not stopped. I am about 10 garments behind! Its just so darn hard to get out there for a decent photoshoot with two kids.

This dress is a pretty recent make and I’ve been wearing it a lot. I have a yellow silk-cotton blend dress in the same shape from goodwill that Ive worn to death (about 4-5 rips I’ve repaired, i think the fabric is about to die completely). So I wanted to make up a pattern that would capture the same cut.

This is my second attempt on my drafted pattern,which is actually based on Mccal 3571. I simply extended the 6-gore top to a 6-gore dress, with aggressive flaring at the waist (my first attempt didnt have enough flare). At first, the neckline felt too big – but I decided to go with it anyways. After washing it shrunk down to the perfect size. But with my next attempt I may make the neckline more fitted.

I made the back pretty high – which is atypical of my recent dress makes. I realized a higher back actually makes me look taller from the back. Also, I used a tutorial similar to this for the zipper insertion. I cant believe I’ve never done this before – its absolutely the best way I’ve inserted a not invisible zipper! (It wont work for invisible zippers).

The flare from waist really helps hiding my pooch. I still have a pooch >_< it is much harder getting back in shape with the second pregnancy. I did get comments from my friends on how flattering this dress looks on me!

When I first finished this dress, I was :meh: about it. It felt… plain and uninteresting. But after wearing it out once, I was in love!! the fabric is very light, and it would catch wind and sway in the most romantic way (without expose too much… i think). It really makes me feel like a butterfly fluttering in the wind. Sometimes, its more about how the dress makes you feel than how it looks, right? :)

A-Line Linen

I made this cutsy little dress with some details that I’ve spotted in pinterest. In fact its a almost copy of the second dress. The pattern I modified is burda 2010 January, dress #130. Its a very simple pattern with a dart at the chest. I had to do some hand stitching at the collar to make sure it stays flat, which was surprisingly enjoyable.   The pocket detail was not too hard to figure out as well. I made sure to make the pocket deep enough to fit the ever growing smartphone. I also happened to have the exact shade of red for the zipper in my stash! The dress came out exactly as I had envisioned. I love the contrast between the beige and pop of red! Unfortunately hubby is not a fan of this dress. He thought it looked too 70s (the shape), cutsy (the collar), and sack-y (the fabric+shape). But I cant help but love this little dress for all the little pops of reds and how well-made it is (if i may say so myself). I think he’s looking forward to me getting bored of it and giving it away :P Do you have any sewn garments that your SO just abhors but you wear anyways?

Upcycled Sweaters

I made these two about 2 month ago, but currently hubby and I are both quite bored of backyard photos. So we decided to make sure to wear hand-made clothing on trips and take photos of them with more scenic background.

This is from our trip to Pajaro Dunes. It was a wonderful trip and we stayed at this condo literally right on the beach. Of course, being a beach in north california, i had to hide all my sundresses and bust out my sweaters. I took off my jacket for these photos :P Though the cold did not hinder our fun on the beach!

Made from hubby’s old sweat shirt. Again – I love having existing matching ribbings to work with. I used Burda 2010/2, #112 again, just lowered the neckline. not much else to be said – except that I will be eyeing hubby’s unworn sweatshirts with darker intents ;)

Also an upcycled sweater – same pattern as above. This is a cashmere find from goodwill, it was very oversized, but got a hole in the armpit after a few washes (yes, i wash my cashmere sweaters in machines – they generally cost $5-$10 from goodwills and I just throw them in and cross my fingers).  I just serged all the seams together – and re-used existing ribbings by including them on my cuts. For the neckline, I actually serged a folded piece of black jersey to the neckline, and then hand stitched it down. Very comfy and a more modern cut to wear.

I am also wearing my maternity linen pants here. They fit rather well after pregnancy :P  (Should i really count that as a win? I am hesitating here. but oh well, two good pairs of wearable pants are two good pairs of wearable pants)

And here’s little A wearing the bonnet I made back in the days.

Upcycled Hoodie

Just a quick project that only took, maybe an hour or so? Hubby found that one of his hoodie shrunk too much. I actually loved that hoodie on him, and kept it around to maybe upcycle it for little K.

But lately I’ve been wanting a few sweaters for the summer (CA has chilly nights) that’s long-ish on the body. Its hard to find a sweater thats long on the body but the right length on the arm for me. So I cut up hubby’s sweater to make this for myself. I kept the hoodie, pocket and shoulder seams and cut up and re-sew everything else. I used my TnT burdastyle generic top pattern for the bodice and arm. (its been used over and over again for my tops, but I cannot figure out which issue the top is from!)

One thing I love about upcycling hubby’s old sweater is that there’s already matching ribbing. The fabric is already shrunken (and often shows that it was cut off-grain but can be corrected when I sew it up). And I often can skip a few steps like the neckline and pocket. Plus, It fits me very well :)


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