Old Jeans Wiksten Haori upcycle

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I made a Wiksten Haori!! It seems to be all in the rage on Instagram, and honestly seeing so many beautiful versions can be quite tempting… I finally decided to de-stash my “upcycle” pile and make Wiksten Haori from it.

The pattern itself is very easy, I cut a Xs, and took 2 inches off from the mid-length. Next time i need to take 2 inches off the sleeves too – its a bit long.

I made the whole thing “wish-washy” – the patch work is all made up as I went without much pre-meditated plans. I tried to keep one side light and one side dark – so its not too chaotic. I made sure nothing is really quite straight or parallel or symmetrical so that its easier to just sew without pressure to do any measurements. I added in some fabric from a dress mid-way because it was looking a little dull. I thought the color choice for lining was quite brilliant, though i almost ripped it out for something softer. The lining fabric added some stiffness to this jacket, which desperately need more drape. But i think it turned out alright, and i hope it will soften with wash.

Oh i ran out of fabric at the end! This pattern uses more fabric than i imagined, also i had to cut around hubby’s knee bags on his jeans. So at the end I ended up cutting through actual purchased fabric for the outer collar. I didnt mind it so mind – its kind of nice to have a clean upper collar with a patched under collar.

All in all, a very organic patch working sewing process, which i really enjoyed. I had been trying to go away from the oversized look the past few years, so i hesitated with sewing this for a while. But the jacket turned out pretty cool –  i reach out for it more often than i thought i would. I think it will be great for camping, as its so sturdy and wind resistant. Hooray more casual outerwear!

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2018 Sewing Review

Another year of sewing had come and gone! I think I’ve had a pretty good year sewing-wise – some very successful projects! Some are unblogged – so you are going to see some new stuff below.

Kids Clothing

First up, some unselfish sewing. I made quite a few toys for the kids this year – we often make a random bag or pillow or soft animals here and there. I didnt keep track of them much – i suppose I get much more excited about apparel sewing. So here are stuff I’ve made for them.  Its really not much comparing to how much I sew for myself, but honestly, A has more than enough cloth, and K is very particular about what she wants. She tells me to not sew stuff for her unless she’s very sure its a style she wants. What she wants and what I want to sew hasnt overlapped too much. I do feel pretty lucky to have such a conscious 7 year old who doesnt want me to waste time making stuff that she might not like.

made : kept : frequently worn ratio is: 8 : 8 : 6

Matching sweaters dress:

I love how these looks on them, but for little K the head hole was a little small so she doesnt love wearing this. little A is a lot more receptive to my outfit suggestions and wore hers pretty often.

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Matching Poka dot dresses:

They loved these dresses – they are in every. single. laundry load. They do love their rayons! I plan to make more for them this summer 🙂

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Little rope Rayon dress – little A likes this dress quite a bit:

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(Unblogged) This amazing (if I may say so myself) butterfly top. I love it a lot and little K did too, but maybe its too much – she didn’t want to wear it after the first time she did… So I need to wait for little A to wear this for a insta-dad picture set.

(unblogged) A very Swirly dress for little K, she likes it a lot!

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She was a bit sick over the weekend so we stayed home and spent quality time in the sewing room together. Her request for a puffy skirt morphed into this super twirly gathered patch skirt, and I still need to brace myself and finish that monster of a hemming job. She made that bag herself, and I got to show her how boning works with a pair of 🥢 😂 (was too lazy to find my boning and the bag is just the width of a chopsticks! @tinkerbunk I kept thinking about your story of your grandma-made skirt that gets a new layer every time you grew taller as I was making this 🙂 . . . #handmadekids #sewingwithkids #handmadekidsclothes #sewing #handmade #memade #memadefashion #diy #diyfashion #slowfashion #imadethis #imakemyclothes #handmadewardrobe #imakemyownclothes #instasew #handmadeoutfit #diyoutfit #sewersofinstagram #ilovesewing #juebejue2018

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(Unblogged) Rayon velvet rope for little K.

She had requested the same rayon robe I made for myself last year. I had such a hard time hemming the velvet so I just lined this one with grey jersey so i dont have to hem it. This rayon velvet is stretchy, so it was really hard to make! She loves it though, so all worth it at the end!

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Accessories

Not including random toys I made for kids, I made two bags this year and they are both big, long, but enjoyable projects! All kept and used frequently.

Mr Elephant Bag – perfect As a “basic” black little bag! It worked especially well after I got a smaller phone.

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Quilted Tool bag: it has been and will be heavily used. I put my knitting project in there so its perfect!

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Clothing for MEEEEE

Of course, mostly i like clothing for me! Lets start with my least successful one!

Knitted sweater – not worn even once! But I did learn how to purl properly with this one. I cannot unsee the mistake and its too warm. I might frog this for making a sweater jacket or something.
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July 4th dress. It looks pretty great on the photos but its just… not me. I tried altering it and ended it being too short. It is wasting away in my scrape fabric pin.

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Grey Dress, i like this one but for some reason just dont wear it often. I think it will work better on my body if I opened up the bottom of the skirt.

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(Unblogged) Olive skirt – super simple rectangle skirt, i made it slightly larger so I passed it to my mom. But its pretty nice!

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(Unblogged) Rayon pants – very basic, and comfy. I wore it a few times but should wear it more!

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(Unblogged) two tops from the same fabric – mostly to test out the cover stitch I bought and while I am not all that excited about them, I wear them since they fill a wardrobe gap.

Striped top + black linen skirt – I wore this combo to work so often!
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Grey sweat shirt + Jade skirt combo – I wore this combo a lot! Though these two are more versatile with other stuff in my closet!
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(Unblogged) I actually love this make but haven’t had the chance to blog this. I made this trench inspired skirt and love the color. The black button makes this one combo well with black.

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I also made some Ogden top/dresses, and wore all of them often:
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Okay, now the Dresses that I loved wearing! Most are all blogged and I really like them:

(Unblogged)  I made this apron dress and need to make a tutorial for this! Hence Unblogged.

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My favorate dress of the year:
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Okay, now it comes to my favorate type of things to make – jacket/coats!!!

This one is striped moto jacket, its a little crazy so I cant wear it to many places. However,  I still love it!
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I love this pink coat design, but the interface sucked and its a little wonky now. I still wear it but am now stocked up on better quality interface! It’s worth every penny.
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And lastly, my favorate make of all year, this crazy convertible trench coat!
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I noticed that I am out of the “lets make the basic camel and black coat” phase – all of the coats I made this year has some colors!

So for apparel I made myself, ratio of made : kept : worn often is:

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Summary

Total made:kept:worn_often ratio is 36:34:30 – probably one of the worse ones in recent years. But I’ve also made some very cool stuff so I am quite happy.

My selfish: non-self sewing ratio was 28:8 – I had been much more selfish this year comparing to the last O_O

Here’s the types of stuff I made:

  • Toys: 3 (no pictures!)
  • Kids clothing: 8
  • Fancy bags: 2
  • Women dress: 11
  • Women top: 7
  • Women’s pants: 1
  • women’s skirt: 4
  • Women coats: 3

I am surprised by how many things I made this year! I’ve had an very busy year with work, and picked up night swimming later in the year. I wonder how I managed to make more than last year! Maybe  the average difficulty of most of the things I’ve made is less? Or maybe because the kids are playing more together on the weekend and I often have 10-20 minutes of “sneaking into the sewing room” time. Anyways, what a productive year! In the new year I aim to read more instructions and learn better techniques for sewing! Thank you all for reading my sewing ramble for another year!!

 

 


Pink and Grey Fuzzy Yates Coat

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My first finished project for 2019!! I made a Yates Coat! When the Yates coat first came out – I was admiring it from afar. It is not something I normally go for, but i loved the ingenious way the pocket is constructed, thought of all kinds of dual-colored coat this could make, and kept in mind that fit from Grainline Studio has always been very chic.

So when I spotted some fuzzy/furry grey AND pink wool on fashion fabric.com, I immediately thought it would make a great Yates coat. Honestly, how often do you come across furry fabric that is made 92% of wool? and how often do they come in two different, but coordinating colors? I just had to get it and make something with it, and the Yates coat is perfect. But oh my – there was drama of getting the wool. It went out of stock after I ordered, and i worried a little because they have in the past had fabric going out of stock but is still on the webpage. Then my order came in and i was so sad to see it didnt have the wool I ordered. Then the wool got back in stock a few days after my order came in, and I huffed and puffed and then decided to email them. The lady who helped me was very nice, some and she was able to get the last bits of the pink plus the grey wool to me (they had a mistake when they filled the order). Then I got my order and was a little shocked to see how “sparse” the back of the wool is. Its normal for fur piles but I was just not used to my wool looking like that! Then I learnt the wonder of fusible woven interface, which worked very well on this fabric. Whew – are you following the drama? definitely some emotional ups and downs with acquiring the fabric and making it work. and yes, maybe I have a problem.

(for my own record I used Pellon SF101 Shape-Flex Interfacing).

On the other hand – the lining is also from fashion fabric club, and was in the first order 🙂 it is SO dreamy – 52% rayon, very slippery and amazing, soft sheen. I was pained to cut into it for lining – i feel it should be saved for a lacy slip or something. But the color is perfect for this coat, and worked out perfectly. I still have a little left and might make a little biased something.

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I decided to follow the pattern completely, which means less room for embroidery tags, so i embroidered a smaller sign in the back, and “juebejue 2019” on the bottom side.

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And the pockets – I worried a little my Iphone would create too much weight/drag lines, but the top piece is interfaced and have good support. Yes, the pocket is roomy enough for an iPhone! Also, look at the cross road of the two seams! How sharp! (Sorry, patting myself on the back for that one).

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Due to the porous nature of the fabric, I was tempted to interface more than what was recommended in the instruction (like, every piece). I am glad I didnt, the wool help up well on its own (esp the back, which is not interfaced) and showed nice drape.

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I added two snap buttons instead of 4 – it was enough to keep the coat closed.

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I actually bothered to read the instruction in detail and for the first time did the “bagging the lining” method by turning it through the sleeves. I also learnt to understitch seam allowances to the lining to keep lining from poking out. It was one of the quickest coat make – not too many pieces and the pockets were a piece of cake to do. I also printed the patter @ 91% as the pattern is drafted for a 5’5 woman, and then used a size 6 for bust , 8 for waist and  hips. I didnt make a muslin – that’s how much faith i have in Grainline Studio! The fit was pretty spot on, i love how its comfortable and oversized, but still fit at the shoulder.

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Thats all! After the project I realize I have some pink remnant and grey remnant wool in my stash already (abeilt different texture)… so i didnt need to buy this fabric per-say, but the fuzziness is just so adorable i do not regret my decision to go through some emotional roller coasters for these fabric. Now I still have quite a bit of the grey fuzzy left (this only needed 1.5yd of the pink and .5 yd of the grey @ 55″ wide), wonder what I can make with that!


Red Convertible Coat

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I love convertible things. If you ask hubby -I am a very non-commitmental person. (Though if you do get me to commit to something I stick to it stubbornly). I think for that reason, I really like to think of ways to make convertible clothing if I cant decide upfront some of the details.

So I made this convertible coat! It has a base coat, plus three optional features that can be attached independently of eachother. It has a hoodie, a vest, and longer-length bottom.

First, check out a video when I just had the coat, vest, and longer bottom:

The base is my TNT pattern – a modified burda style Talea coat. I did borrow the collar from another burdastyle pattern, since my last version of it had just the right proportion for my taste.

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On top of the base, I added a little vest – this would be the gun flap and the rain guard in the back. The vest has a little slot on each of the side to allow the belt loop to go through. I drafted the vest myself – its actually a single piece – no seam on the shoulder. It is secured by the epaulettes on the shoulder (show on the right side below) which actually unbuttons. The vest came out so well – the gap in the back is exactly as I had envisioned. I actually dont ever wear the coat without this little vest, but having it as a vest rather than in a built in gun flap + rain guard significantly reduces the seam bulk around the arm area – so I’d do the same thing if I were to do this again!

 

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The coat itself is unlined – I enclosed all the seams with Hong Kong bias binding made from a red stripy fabric left over. It was a lot more work than putting in lining, but the end result is quite worth it. Besides, I needed a more light weight coat. The white -based bias binding also resulted in picking white for the label embroidery, as well as the little white button on the shoulder. I love how the white contrast with the red!

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Then I also added separating zippers to the bottom hem, so that i can attach the extended length on. The zipper is the thinnest i could find online, but it still does add a little bit of stiffness. It is not obvious at the shorter length, but when I wear it at longer length, it is more obvious. I wonder if i would do snaps in the future – but snapping like 20 snaps would certainly makes me too lazy to attach the thing.

I didn’t think i would wear it often at the longer length, but i ended up wearing it a bunch on a winter trip to Joshua Tree National Park – it was so good at keeping out the wind even though it was single layered! I had to layer it quite a bit, and wished for some buttons 🙂

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After the project was over, I had a bunch of left over fabric. I thought about what else I might want – and decided the way I had constructed the collar is rather perfect for adding a hoodie. So I did, hopefully the photo and video below shows how it is done easily.

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Video:

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All in all, there are 8 different ways you can configure this coat – which is quite fun. I usually put on hoodie if it is rainy, and the longer length if its windy.

Lastly, the fabric is a beefy Kaufman Ventana cotton twill from fabric.com. It was my first  time working a coat with a 44” wide fabric and I severely underestimated how much I needed. I had to re-order fabric for the first time in my life – luckily this thing is in stock all the time. I bought 8 yards (4 was definitely not enough) total – still have a little more which I haven’t decided what to do with. Do you have any good idea for additional attachment? 😛 I am debating on a vest that could carry bullets on our skeet shooting dates.

Anyways – this has been a long post! There are just so many details to this coat that I am excited about! 🙂 Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed reading about this as much as I did making it!

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The Tool/Yarn bag

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I made a quilted bag!!! A coworker’s wife introduced me to her version of Penny’s tool tote pattern and i fell in love with how sturdy and pretty her bag is. I had to make one for myself, especially that my portable sweater knitting project has grown large enough to not fit into the tiny bag i and I’ve been looking out for a good project bag.

So I got the materials, chose the brightest, happiest possible fabrics/zipper I had in my stash, and started making the bag. This is my first real quilting project that follows a pattern, and oh my goodness, i had so much trouble putting the pattern together! The instructions are well written and funny (it feels like Penny is a friend who is talking to me and guiding me through the project). However, I am so used to garment patterns, where things have different shapes and i can tell easily which piece goes where. But this one is made from all rectangles, and while they are labeled all clearly, my brain just could not process the words to visualize which piece goes where. I eventually got it all figured out (with many, many seam ripping), and i love the end product. I learnt a little about my brain – i definitely think more visually, and not so much with words.

You can tell from the video – the bag has really excellent shape and support. This is because it has very good fusible foam batting, and strong wires along the openings (both recommended by the pattern and provided in the shop by Penny). It opens all the way up like a box, and closes all the way up with the zipper. It has pockets all around for anything i might need to bring along for my project – extra needles, scissors, scrape yarn, needles, markers, and of course enough space for spare yarn and the sweater itself. It reminds me of a doctor bag. My heart feels so happy whenever I take it out to continue my knitting project (especially when i open and close the bag), i suspect I’d be making other versions of this pattern in the future!!

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Here’s a picture I took on our road trip this winter – i was knitting while the girls were playing with sand. Having a structured bag that is big enough makes knitting on a go such a pleasure.

On a slightly related note, I remember taking a home economics class in my first year in Singapore, where I learnt how to use a electric sewing machine. The teacher was a little anti-immigrant – when she first met me (as a new student/immigrant half way through the semester) she questioned what I was doing in Singapore in the tone of “you are not really welcome here”.  But by the end of the semester, I was one of the best students (at least in sewing, i cant remember if i was any good at cooking) in her class. For my final project I made a backpack and everyone thought it was pretty awesome. That was my first bag project! I have come a long way from then… but when I  think back about that teacher, I am still slightly shocked by the openness of her unwelcoming attitude, slightly proud that I “showed” her, and mostly, grateful that she still did her job despite her opinions, was part of my sewing.


Simple Sweatshirt and Jade Skirt

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I have two very simple knit sewing creations in this outfit!

The top is a self-drafted sweatshirt from tracing one of my favorate RTW sweaters. It was very easy –  dolman sleeves with a extra, extra wide cuff, and a wide boat neck. For something I just hacked together it turned out very well and very… me.

The bottom is a jade skirt from Paprika patterns. I had a lot of fun making the pattern, so I suspect I’d probably be better in a size 2 instead of a size 1 – this one was a little tighter on me and feels more like a body con skirt than a mini skirt.  I also popped a few mystery seams when I first tried it on –  (Okay, need a wider zigzag too next time).

Not much else to say! This might be my last post of the year but i have a few very exciting project coming up (gotta take advantage of the days off to do some blogging!!). Happy new year everyone and thank you all so much for listening to my sewing rambling for another year!!


Swingy Gingham Wrap Dress

I made a dress earlier in the summer – from this very soft, drapery rayon I found on IndieSew. I was on a lookout for a nice gingham for a while – but its hard to come by one made in rayon – I bought 5 yards of it!

Then I was inspired by the winning entry for Tessuti’s skyline competition. I made it up as I went – didnt turn out super close to the inspiration (lacking the off the shoulder and chunky feel of the dress). But its a very nice piece to wear to the office. The circle skirt made it very twirly and fun to move in.

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I had originally had a stripe of bias cut around the neckline, but it stretched out a lot over a few washes (because its on bias). So even though it looked really nice I had to fold it into the neckline and stitch down. You scan see it here when it was first made:

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These photos taken at a little hotel in UCBerkeley –  living in the suburbs for the last 10 years made me wish I appreciated Berkeley’s many architectural details more when I was studying there for sure!

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