2017 Sewing Review!

Hello! Another year has done by! This year marked my 10th year of starting to sew clothing for myself, so its fun to look at what I have done!

You cant tell from the blog, but I’ve been using instagram as a quick record of what I have sewn. If I count up everything, I have made 30 items total this year, but actually lots of them are small toys….

  • Blanket: 3
  • Toys: 6
  • Kids clothing: 7
  • Women dress: 7
  • Women top: 1
  • Women coats: 4
  • Women’s pants: 2

So If i just think about clothing, I’ve made only 21 items… If I count only clothing for myself – 14 items! This is all much higher productivity than last year though. Seeing that I am getting slightly less selfish with my sewing, I’ll add another metrics:

Selfish sewing : non-selfishsewing (clothing only!) –  14:13; plus 9 non-clothing non-selfish sewing!

Sewn:kept:worn often (excluding toys & blankets): 21:20:17

On the selfish sewing side – what I have done this year is to just spend my precious sewing time on items that I enjoy sewing and is tough to buy for in RTW stores. This means dresses and coats. For pants/tops/sweaters there are often decent-fitting, good fabric, and cheap options in the stores. However, it is much harder to find dresses & almost impossible to find coats that fits. I do enjoy sewing dresses and coats so much more – and I’ve allowed myself to buy more clothing from the stores. It’s a bit of a departure from the usual RTW-fast/sewing-the-basics on the sewing scene, but with a full time job and two young kids that is just not possible.

Item sewn but not kept: I made this black pair of high waist, pleated pants that immediately went into recycles without a picture. It’s hard to make “relaxed” pants that also look good with my bum, esp if the fabric has no stretch. I ended up just buying a pair from gap >_<

Items kept but not worn often:

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I didnt blog about this because I didnt wear this much. I was somehow in love with the idea of making more non-stretch jeans (See a theme here?). Well I made this, and i can tell you, non-stretch materials works well/okay for flared jeans, but NOT a good idea for skinny jeans – the knee area becomes baggy quickly unless you intend to never sit down. And I ended up not wearing it much (it does well for my booties so I might cut it off for jean shorts though).

I didnt blog about this, but had plenty of picture up in instagram. It’s a reversible fur coat! It was a good marriage of two very unique fabric that otherwise I had no idea what to do with. And for how crazy it is (fur coat seems to be all the rage this season though, I feel ahead of the curve!), I liked how it turned out. The fur is soft and nice so I like wearing it with fur inside, but it is also a very heavy coat (~ 7 lbs?), so I don’t feel all that comfortable wearing it. So I don’t wear it often.

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The nature of making a dress for an event that celebrates things 100 years ago – I cant find too many other occasion to wear this to!

Items worn often:

Sleep pajamas for the girls – they like them!

Rayon pants for the girls – they LOVE them! (I had to hide them for the winter because they keep picking those and rayon is too light weight for winter).

The “party” dresses for the girls at their request. They are very loved and most importantly, they make them feel extraordinary. I need to blog about the black and the cat dress! Oh – all the dresses for the girls are made from Tadah Pattern’s tea party dress pattern!

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This robe I never blogged about. It’s made from a wonderful rayon velvet, lovelist thing to wrap around on a not-so-chill day. Because its pink and covers a lot, Ive provably worn it more often than hubby would have liked.

 

My dresses – I love all of them and worn them often. I really need to blog about the red one sometimes though!

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The only top I made – but loved!! Work very often in the fall.

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Of course, most importantly and my true love in sewing – da coats!! I’ve worn all those very often and couldn’t image how I managed the wardrobe without them before! (Jk, kind of!!) I have been working the neutrals the last two years though – so I am looking forward to making more fun colored coats next!

That’s all!! I’ve had a productive year and surprisingly – most of the stuff had been blogged despite that I try to not pester my hubby too often for photo sessions.

This year I’ve also picked up a few more hobbies – fashion drawing, standup paddle boarding, and dance classes. Ive enjoyed them and didnt mind less sewing time especially for the more physical hobbies. I’ve realize I need to keep in shape in order to keep wearing my creations! (ESP the coats as they last for years!).

For 2018 – I am planning to sew from my stash, do some more instagram sewing related challenges (#2018makenine, #burdachallenge2018), and make some more coats, dresses, and kids clothing! Thank you lovely readers for reading and commenting – I’ve enjoyed you accompanying me on my 10th year of sewing!

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Girls Matching Purple sweater dress

Happy new year everyone!!! Thank you for the very nice comments in my previous post 🙂 what a great way to start a new year!

Also, for some reason I see a huge jump of traffic and a few new subscribers when I logged in to post this today – where do you all come from? The referral doesn’t seem to be any blogs I can click on… I am curious! 🙂

Now to the meat of this post! I just recovered from a two week colds/flu, and didnt do much sewing during that time. But I finally felt better last two days, and what is better than a quick project to get my sewing mojo back on? I had this pretty, soft purple sweatshirt-ish material from a friend, and had the perfect amount to make some cute purple sweater dress for the girls.

I used burda style 03/2009 #137 For little A and burda style 06/2009 #144 For little K. Little A’s came out perfect. Little K’s came out pretty fitted and I had to make a long cuff to make it long enough. Then I added a skirt and white eyelet trim on the bottom, hand embroidered their initials so that they don’t get it mixed up, Tada! It really didnt take too long!

First a picure from my iPhone. Hubby took some really cute pictures of the girls in it and between all the cuteness and my overaries exploding I forgot to make sure there’s one with them standing:

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Now some insanely cute photos (sorry, can I be such about my own daughters?):

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I just love the dresses on them! Hoping this would give them another pretty, but warm option in their winter wardrobe!


Black long line coat

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First of all, let me just say this is probably the last and only black coat I will be making as long as we still have a cat with white fur in the house. It is almost impossible to get all the cat hair out for the photo shoot!

When I was in boston freezing my legs off earlier this year, I started craving for some ankle length coats. Ive always made hip length coats – they are easier to wear for petites. However, now that I am fairly confident with fitting my body, I wanted to try a longer length coat on myself – a fun sewing/fashion challenge!

I had been stash busting my wool coating and the last one left is this twill wool coating that I am not super excited about. It is your basic wool coating, and not super tightly woven like the ones I am used to. However, that means it drapes well, and fantastic for this coat Ive been saving in my Pinterest.

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(My attempt to copy the inspiration picture from Wendy- I probably need a tighter white dress and skinnier legs heeheehee)

I again used my TNT pattern Talea coat from burdastyle, made my same alteration to change front to a single piece with a dart (instead of two piece each side), lengthened it, and drafted a notched collar. I originally planned to do a kick pleat vent, but totally forgot to cut the extra fabric for it while cutting. I definitely had no extra fabric left to cut another one, so I had to go with a split vent. I also debated whether to flare the coat as the original inspiration, but decided against it because flared coat tend to not flatter my figure for a day-to-day wear (e.g. not with a 50s dress), and also, I didnt have enough fabric (yes yes i thought in that order). I am quite proud of my collar drafting hack – as it turned out beautifully and was easy to sew.

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I chose to do a clean welt pocket, it is lined with black satin, and the front piece is reinforced with interface so that I can actually put my iPhone inside.

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A single black metal hook as closure… I plan to wear this coat open most of the time.

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One of my favorite parts – the lining. The reason I liked the original inspiration is the white and black lining, so of course I need to make this coat accordingly. I found a 50% rayon white shirting on fashionfabricclub – it worked very well for lining and is comfortable. But its not slippery enough for the sleeves so those are made with 100% rayon satin from fashionfabricclub. (If i remember right the wool coating is from there too… can you tell I am a fan of fashionfabricclub?I actually bought 10 yards of those amazing black rayon satin – I love them for coat lining!)

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I didnt think I would have finished this coat before end of the year, so I timestamped it 2018…  oh wells! The OCD in me wanted to push back the completion date… but we can just say, winter 2018?

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I refrained myself from my usual top-stitching and ironed the seams flat instead to allow the coat to drape better. It took a lot of self-restraining because I know the seams are weaker this way. But it makes a lot of sense for this coat to not have the top stitching. But I am debating whether to do a round of top stitching around the edges (collars, front lines, bottoms). I always need to make the lining baggier , and when the coat falls naturally the lining piece in the front folds out a little, which drives me crazy. any opinions?

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The coat fit very well, its very clean and very basic – quite a departure from my usual detailed/designed coats, but I am enjoying the very different lines and all the different types of outfits it is allowing me!

Lastly – I am ringing in the new year nursing a food baby on the couch… I hope you are all having a fun celebration, whether its a quiet one or a robust one. Thank you all for your readership for the past year, happy 2018 everyone!

 

 


The Year of Blankets

This year, I made three blankets! A whooping three blankets, probably the highest count since I started sewing.

The first blanket is for my little one. When my older one was born she was given three hand made blankets and we love them and use them all the time. So Ive been thinking about another one now that I have two girls. This was made from a cute alphabet fabric gifted by a friend who was trying to downsize her stash. I saw the fabric and I could not resist just making a simple baby quilt from it. Since its just one piece of fabric, it was easy to make – just quilt the squares, sew a border in, and viola! I am done. I did decide to hand sew one side of the border so that there’s no extra threads showing through.

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This quilt is perfect for keeping a doll warm, or to shade the window during long car rides, or for a little picnic. The girls used it quite often! Here it is with all the other (gifted) handmade baby blankets.

 

The second blanket is for my hubby. He used to wear a lot of cute woot T-shirts, featuring shows/movies/culture we love together. Some of them has holes and I’ve collected enough of his old shirt to piece together this T-shirt quilt. For the back I used a sturdy cotton twill from Ikea featuring orange cat faces. When I told him I am going to use the ikea cat fabric, he said “really? You are going to use that cute cat fabric for MY blanket? I feel so special!” Lol, my hubby understands my possessive nature with my fabric well!

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He uses this blanket all the time – as his sleeping blanket during the summer and as his throw blanket when he put the girls to bed. It makes me look forward to his next themed blanket!

 

The third blanket is for my older one, but I use it quite often. I made this fur coat for myself and the girls love to rub themselves on the fur side whenever possible. They just love how soft the fur is! The fur is a little too long and overwhelming for me to want to make something wearable for them, but i thought they would enjoy a blanket made from it. So I hunted for a suitable fabric around the house, which came out to be this 1 layer wool blanket I “made” a few years ago. (By “make” i just cut it to shape and pulled threads out for the fringe.) I sewed them right side together and turned them inside out, the girls love it! I use it all the time myself too.

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It is actually currently being used as her sleep blanket, she just loves the softness. Because its so soft and slippery, I couldn’t refuse her even though this is pretty much all polyester and the fabric snob in my is screaming a little. Luckily, it doesn’t seem to cause much static!

Thats the three blankets I made 🙂 I quite enjoyed them and i love how much they are loved!


Simple Double Layered Grey Rib Knit Dress

I’ve been wanting to make a simple long-sleeve, slightly-below the knee grey dress, mainly inspired by a bunch of grey-dress+leather jacket + scarf inspiration pins.

The pattern itself is simple enough – something I made many times before. This time, I wanted the fabric to be thick – I didnt want it to cling to every little features of my curve 😉 So I decided to double up the fabric and use two layers instead of the default one. And then I decided that instead of struggling without a cover stitch machine, I would simple serge the two fabric together at neckline, sleeve hem, and hemline, so that I’d have a pretty professional finishing on the edges without having the cover stitch. It came out great- stretchable and clean and not a thread in sight!

 

 

With me wearing it (sorry, no full body shots of the dress as i am feeling the lack of time to properly take photos of me wearing the dress!)

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I pretty much used much all the fabric I had available – because I doubled up, It came out knee-length only, but its nice and thick and warm, and works well with 👢 instead of sneakers in my original planned outfit. I feel the slight need to make two more – one short body con and one longer, midi length dress!

 

 


Water Resistent Trench Coat

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I’ve caught the trench coat bug since the last trench make. Trench coats do have a lot of details though, so I really only have the energy for one a year. Earlier this year I decided to try a raglan sleeve pattern with a water resistent (but cotton) fabric, and i really had to put the project aside because:

  1. The raglan sleeves just didnt look right on me – its a pretty stiff fabric so it looked oversized and boxy
  2. The top stitch thread I choose didnt look strong against the fabric
  3. the fabric slips under my presser foot, making sewing it not at all a pleasure
  4. I totally forgot to add a back flap – which REALLY bummed me out

I used BurdaStyle trench coat 09/2012. #103. I had to take in the sleeves and the sides by a bit – so the pattern does run a little big. (Ideally I would take it in from the top sleeve/shoulder seam but I already top stitched the seam and this fabric is not forgiving). I also added a sleeve extension so it hit my nuckles instead my of wrist.  My favorate part about this pattern is its generous collars – the ratio just seems right to me!

The fabric is a water resistant cotton coating/jacketing from fashion fabric club. Ive had pretty good luck finding nice trench coat material from them! The wrong side is coated for water resistance, so it was slippery to sew. the right side however, feels like soft brushed cotton. It feels really good on! I hope this coat softens over time as well.

Usually trench coats are not lined, and that’s probably better for drape as well. But I just cannot resistant a pop of color on the inside. I lined it with smooth cotton satin, and did my usual embroidery. I love how it looks and feels!

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I am so glad I picked this UFO back up and finished it. Now that its done – I am wearing it quite a lot for the fall! I cant wait for rain so I can see how it does in the water!

Now that I have hade a knee length trench coat and a mid-thigh trench coat, I am ready to think about my next, hip length trench coat! Maybe a more fitted one! 🙂

 


Asymmetrical Sweater Top

Made a quick top – took me a few weeks because, life. But I love the result – just in time for fall too! I became aware of this pattern because of Raliat’s version – and i just had to have one after seeing her outfit!

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I used a pattern – McCall 7194. The top was really long on me initially, I had to lower the whole arm hole/shoulder seam/neckline down by 3 inches to make it fit (thus both shortening the bodice and narrowing the shoulder. The two asymmetrical seams ended up starting from the arm hole – but it actually didn’t look bad. Next time though I think I might try to make this even shorter – maybe a 4 inch reduction.

The fabric is this quilted knit from Joann, and its very squishy and warm. I like the subtle difference in the “bubble” pattern on the top and bottom of the sweater from the way its aligned differently. The whole thing is serged together and zigzagged on the edges.

I love this outfit – something I gravitate towards in the fall – sweater, legging, and boots. Love that the legging’s front and back seams are covered by the hem so I feel a bit more modest, and yet the sides and high enough that its a good proportion on my petite frame. I am also wearing my hand made splats here- it goes quite well in this outfit!