Category Archives: finished pieces

Heart Quilt

After the baby quilt for my friend, I had to make something similar for the girls. I originally wanted to make something big, full sized, with a heart on the lower left corner and pieces falling out. But I didn’t do any math and just assumed things looked about right. Turned out the heart was too big and things just didn’t look right. After it sitting in my room for a while I decided to hack the white space off and make it heart shaped. I like it!

The back of the quilt is actually one of those flat bedsheets that comes in a set (and you really only want the fitted part). Its really comfortable! It doesn’t seem to be a huge hit with the girls though… but I am sure they would love it with time 🙂

 

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Rayon Floral Wrap Dress

Made this dress from burdastyle’s recent pattern, wrap dress 07/2016 #101. I printed it out at 91% and just followed the pattern, and added adjustable straps (just so that I don’t have to figure out the right length from from the start).

It was a very easy project and I think it’s very flattering 🙂 Though I think next time I might interface the bodice to get a better structure, as well as making the neckline a little more curved out.

 

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Been feeling a little lazier with photography lately, with about 5 more projects unphotoed, so just iPhone photos for some, no fancy SLR photos!!

 


Post-Ballet Wrap Skirt

Little K started ballet classes lately and she loves it! I decided that she should wear a wrap skirt around her little butt when she hangs out in her leotard after class. She chose this rayon fabric (she’s a BIG fan of rayon) for her skirt. It was very easy (just one rectangle with pleats), and took about an hour to finish. I love the vibrant color and little K loves it too!

Jewelry by little K. Styled by little K 🙂


Diagonal Baby Blanket

A good friend of mine is having a baby, and while I was thinking about a baby blanket as a baby gift, he offhandedly mentioned donating some old clothing. I thought a blanket made from his shirts would be pretty cute. So I set to cut his shirts into little squares and sewn them together.

It was lucky for the baby that I chose to make the blanket out of his shirts, because afterwards I really wanted to keep it for myself! (So did my two girls.) There is definitely another blanket in my sewing queue now!

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This is definitely more of a quilt comparing to my last one. I caught a bit of a quilting bug and am now thinking about a walking feet 🙂 now every piece of old cotton dress/shirt is going in my bin as possible quilting material. Let the fabric hoarding start!! The only thing is that’s quilting takes quite some time, even for a simple piece like above – definitely not an instant-gratification kind of project!


Classic Trench Coat

I made a proper trench coat! Years ago I have tried making my first trench. While I liked it – I had made it out of pretty soft cotton twill, got too greedy making it more fitted, and the whole thing just really didnt work together after our initial honey period. (Do you have a honeymoon period with your handmade garment? I surely do!)

 

Anyways, I felt a need for a coat that is not too heavy and fussy – something made from cotton. I wanted one thats fitted on the shoulder so it doesnt overwhelm my frame, but loose around the bodice so it has a classic… “clinched” look. I also looked over Burberry’s pictures to see what details I would like to put in for my trench coat – and loved the way they top stitch the neck band, brassy closure on collar, topstitch and D-rings on their belt. I decided to re-made that the trench with almost 7 years of added sewing experience.
After many weeks of sourcing the right fabric, and then many many more weeks (6-8 weeks to be exact, started beginning of March) of sewing, and dealing with some sewing machine issues, the coat is finally done!!
First, I am proud to present the list of materials (because they took a while to find):
1. shell fabric – 100% cotton jacketing twill from fashionfabricclub, 4 yards, $22 (sold out, but similar weights here)
2. Lining fabric – 100% cotton sateen from fashionfabricclub,  2 yards, $5
3. buffalo horn buttons from etsy, bigger & smaller – $17
4. hook and eye for collar closure, D-rings for belt details, leather wrapped buckles for belt and cuff – $30
5. grommet for holes on belt – $15  (end up not using them for now… might add later)
6. heavy duty threads for all those top stitching- around 3 or 4 spools – $5
I am quite proud of being able to find all that I wanted to add to the coat, but am myself a little taken back by how much they all are together (almost $100 and trust me, i had gone with cheaper options wherever i could)! I had wondered if it would be cheaper to buy a coat from fast fashion stores with similar details – and just strip its hardware 😛 Granted, I have some extra hardware left, but i dont think I will be attempting another trench for another few years! (Though I do have SO MANY IDEAS).
The pattern I used is from burda magazine, march 2009 – it has a whole section of trench coats in there. I added the back “wings” and added lining.
Those buttons were a bit of a pain to sew on – they kept popping off with my first round of tying knots. the last step was to cut open the button holes and that was nerve racking. I am considering handsewing button holes in the future.
This coat is 100% cotton – lining and shell both. This satin cotton from fashionfabricmart is just amazing – smooth, thin, comfortable and strong. I love this shade of gentle pink. Of course, I have to put my logo and handle on this coat!
Just the collar took about 2-3 sessions of sewing to complete. I wanted to embroider the logo onto the back of the collar (inspired by Burberry putting their signature fabric in the undercollar). All the rows of topstitching on the stand took quite a lot of effort as well, but I love how it makes the collar feel so beefy. I also inserted metal closure for the collar, even though I would never use it. Just because 🙂
The belt was top stitched a few times to give it that beefy look, and also added D-rings for the classic trench coat details. (though i believe they were meant for grenades…) My strongest sewing machine (bought a new one!) couldnt even handle the leather+belt, thus there  were quite a few skipped stitches.
Leather buckle for both belts and sleeve belt (is this the right term?)
 the front has flaps, and  I wear it open most of the time:
Side view:
I will end with my favorite picture of the back, I look SO COOL.

 


Pokadot Sunshine Corset

 

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Another corset from me! This took a while to actually finish. In fact, I started the project before the JBJ coat, but put it aside because I wanted white grommet. to my dismay, it is pretty hard to find reasonably priced white grommets. I kept putting off ordering from corsetmaking supplies, because it would set me back a whooping $25 dollars to get a good set of grommets. I mean, isnt that a little ridiculous for grommets?

So I debated between using my existing gold or black grommet vs buying white ones. After two months (when I finished my JBJ coat), hubby convinced me to just get what I think is the best for the corset. So here it is! a corset where the grommets probably made up for almost half of the cost, lol. (I still think its a bit of a spurge but… erm, treat yo self?)

I used the Cupid Corset pattern from corsettraining, and honestly, this pattern doesnt fit me very well. I think one need bigger boobs to fill out the bust area. Even if I had bigger chest, I am not quite sure if I love the way bust is cut here with the inset. I think next time when I try to make a overbust corset – I will stick with simpler straight piece patterns and avoid insets.

For fabric, I used cotton shell and cotton duck for lining. I decided to not use a waist stay because I dont like how my corset doesnt stretch evenly with a waist stay. Also, the fabric I chose has a  little give – its more comfortable to wear.

It does go very well with this cute undie I made a long time ago, and it shows up wonderfully in photoshoots. Its such a happy color – I think I will keep it around despite the weird fit. Maybe one day I will be chubbier and would fit better in this.

Year 2016 is proving to be a year of slow sewing. Work has been quite busy lately, kids have been demanding, and Ive been doing time consuming projects. At this rate, I am going to have only 1 finished project a month! (Its end of march – I only finished 2 projects so far with 2 in progress). Fingers crossed for more sewing time!


Nautical inspired JBJ coat

First creation of 2016! Last year – I skipped my yearly Talea coat rendition. This year, I really wanted a toggle coat like this:

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The original idea was to use Grainline Studio’s cascade duffle coat pattern, but after much debate I decided that using a TNT pattern is the safer route to go – I dont have much time to play with the fitting of a new pattern these days and Cascade looks like it would need some adjustment for a person with curve. So I merged the front and front side pattern of Talea, and another rendition of Talea coat is born!

 

Oversized hoodie, as usual. I love the little button poking out.

I really cant get over how awesome that shoulder flap thingy looks with the hoodie. in this picture I look like I am wearing armor! I made sure the arm part of the flap curves with the arm hole. It looks just as awesome in person as it does on the photo

Those oversized toggle & rope is one of my favorite buttons on coats so far. It makes me happy every time I need to button up. I was debating on using an actual shell from a bullet, but decided that I dont want to play with gun powder/lead too much.

Real leather for pocket and toggle button patch. They are a pain to sew on. I lined the toggle patches against the dart on the bust – worked out very well.

My awesome logo on the hoodie. A friend visited wearing a lulumelon jacket – with a logo on top. I decided to copy it and i love how it turned out!

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The inside is lined with a playful poka dot polyester slippery material, and more logo-ing as well.

I wanted to put a tab on the back – but now I am digging this clean vertical lines on the back and also sick of working with this fabric. I think I will keep this as is.

While I love how the coat turned out, I didnt enjoy sewing this coat as much I did with my previous coat. I think its because the material is a little funny. It is a wool with a rubbery, water-proof backing. But the wool feels very thin and the rubber feels thick. So the material is actually a little stretch-prone. The top stitches also sinks in quite a bit since its squishy. It feels like this coat will not last as long as my other makes – at which point I would have to remake one because I love it too much!

We took the kids to halfmoon bay over the weekend. The weather was gorgeous, I always enjoy the California coast in the winter on a sunny day. All the fun and no need to fuss with sun block. Little A is quite something when she gets to the water. A few minutes after the above photo, she was literally waist deep in a tide pool. Crazy little spirit 🙂


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.

 

 

 

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They go quite well together, dont you think?

 

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.

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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.

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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…

 

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

 

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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!