Author Archives: juebejue

Red Convertible Coat



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.



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!




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!





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 🙂



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.







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 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!




The Tool/Yarn bag



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!!


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



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.




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:




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!


Yellow Wasp Dress


After sewing for over 10 years I still had quite a lot of techniques I have not explored. Bias inset strips in the seams is one of them. Of course, I chose the dress with the most amount of seams to try out this techniques! Ever since I saw Carolyn’s dog bed dress I’ve been wanting to make one for myself. I finally got myself some yellow linen and shamelessly made a copy!

Pattern is Vogue 1316  – this is my second time making it, I learnt my lesson from last time and cut one size bigger(8). The upper body area fits perfectly this time but the bum area is still too tight. I understand though – I’ve been working on that booty! So I did the same adjustment as last time and added a extra panel (without extra trim so it bends in), in such as way that I can easily adjust the fit as my body changes in the future. It fits quite well right now!



One thing though – I wanted to use the black rayon satin I had in my stash – I had gone crazy and bought 10 yards of it because its such an amazing winter coat lining – supple, natural (and breathable), slippery, and black. After a bit of sewing with it and casing all the seams in seam allowances, I wished I chose a thinner fabric. I also decided to go for a wider bias – to allow some room for a few mm of inaccuracy, as its my first time doing bias casing for the seams. While I definitely wouldn’t have had the patiences to unpick to get to a perfect, thinner bias trim, I do feel this dress is much louder than my original inspiration.


Here’s a few photos of the inside – I am quite proud that every seam is cased – its so comfortable to wear. Oh and yes, i followed Carolyn’s lead and put pockets in the seam. Stealth pockets!!!


Thanks for reading!! This was a controversial dress in my circle. Some loves it, others hate it. Little K said i look like a bee and hubby said its more like a wasp. I’ll go with wasp since they have better figure! 😆


Striped Midi Sweater Dress


I bought these really awesome sweater knit from Indie Sew – probably around 5 yards of it, because I had been on a look out for a black on white stripe for years to replace the one I made 4 years ago that has been quite worn out and is on camping duty. The material is thick and soft – and the right amount of width for the black stripe part!

My first project with it was the top shown in the last post. And then I decided to make a midi length sweater dress. I love some of the fashion outfits I see with midi sweater dresses and high heels, or with a leather jacket, sneaker and scarf.

I used a raglan sleeve BurdaStyle pattern, and it came out really great!


Yes it makes my back look great! 😀

Black Satin Pocket Skirt and matching striped top


Ive been wanting a black skirt for work for a while – I find myself often wishing for a knee  length fitted skirt. I have made many winter skirts in the past, but only one survived the years and style change and warm California winter- my grey wool skirt with BurdaStyle 03/2009 105. I love the fit and flare shape and most importantly, that awesome pocket.

Of course, a straight black garment really isn’t my thing. I wanted to highlight the pocket with a different texture. So I chose a linen for the main skirt, and a rayon satin for the pocket. I love the subtle contrast and it feels great to stick my hands against a smooth fabric.


After making the skirt, i found it hard to match it with any stripe top i already have – either my top is too thick and doesnt fit tucked in, or its too loose and doesnt look good. So I made a cropped stripe top with fabric from IndieSew to go with it. It’s a pretty comfy pairing!!


I love the combo – if anyone is looking for a great skirt pattern – this one is a very quick make!! The pocket is very easy to make and so very smart.

We took a trip back to Berkeley (where we fell first in love) for our 15 year anniversary and my lovely hubby took photos of a bunch of my creations. The ground of our little hotel are just so cute and irresistable.  Its so funny to visit there as a grown couple without kids, we constantly wondered if we still can pass as  (fashionable) grad students.