Category Archives: how to

Iphone Running Armband (with tutorial)

Between more satisfying and intensive sewing projects I like to sew practical things, since I dont really enjoy them that much and need the leftover sewing mojo from good projects to power through the practical stuff. I made this iphone armband thing so I dont have to hold my phone in my hand when i go running (yes I did that for a while).

It works well, is pretty cute, and took only an hour or less to make, cant complain! ūüôā (though you can tell from the workmanship that i am not super into this project ūüėõ )

I drew out how I made this. There’s a reason i am a seamstress and not a comic stripe artist. Please note that I did not provide any measurements – I just sew and tried on as I sewed so that it will be as tight and secure as possible. ¬†Leave a comment if you have any questions. If you made yours from this tute, please leave a comment and let me know! p.s. the “window” is made similarly to my wallet here.

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Rayon Kimono Robe and a howto!

Soooo, Kaylee is making herself comfortable in my tummy — she’s over due by a few days! Turned out I was wrong guessing her gender AND her birthday. We really do hope she comes out soon, as we cant wait to see her, (and also its getting pretty tiring and painful trying to get out of bed 5 times every night!).

I’ve been trying to be more active and walking around the house a little more so that she can come earlier. One good way to get me to walking is sewing — I cut, pin, serger, and sew at different places, so there’s actually lots of walking! I had wanted another kimono robe for a while — I’ve been wearing my old polyester one a lot as it is comfortable,¬†convenient, and provides enough coverage in case of visitors. A second robe would be great during breast feeding time as well as I can open it up easily for skin on skin time.

I just used my own “pattern”, and this time I just used a single long tie and tie it to itself. Here’s the measurements & instruction of my “pattern”, in case anyone’s interested in making quick kimono robes.

Sorry for the messiness, I drew it up quickly on our ipad and its hard to draw with a blunt tip. This kimono will require about 3 yards of wide 54/56″ material. Its okay to modify it a little, as I had made mine bigger than needed since rayon is so drapy and the size doesnt matter as much (and I havent prewashed my material, so I made it bigger in case it shrinks — I can always undo the hem to make it longer). Here is how I usually cut it out on my fabric (the reason why you need a 54/56 wide fabric for max efficiency):

Steps to make this kimono:

(note, I had sergered everything together for quick sewing, but if you are not sergering, use a seam allowance of 1/2 inches)

1. sew the two front pieces to the back

  • Sew the 9 inch shoulder seams to eachother
  • Sew the side seam to eachother, but leave about 10 inches from the shoulder seam down so that you can attach the sleeves
(note: blue is one of the front pieces, black is the back piece, red dots are the stitches you should be making)

2. sew the sleeves:

  • For each sleeve pieces: fold it with right side together, sew a U, leave 10 inches not sewn as sleeve hole on one side, and cuff on the other.
3. Attach the sleeves to the body:
  • With the 20 inches of opening, sew the sleeves onto the bodice
4. finish the edges besides the neckline
  • Finish the cuff, and two¬†vertical¬†front edge however you like. I just folded my seams in twice and top stitched it.
  • Hem the bottom of the robe to the height you like
5. Finish the neckline with tie:
  • attach the ties together to make a 7″ X ~100″ (the length and thickness is really just your preference) long rectangle
  • With the right side together, stitch along the long side of the tie with as little seam allowance as you think is strong enough, then turn the tie around.
  • Iron the tie, but leave some room ¬†between your stitching and the edge, preferably about half and inch, here’s the cross section of the tie, green line is the fabric, and red dot is where your stitching is. That room is where you will be encasing the raw edges of the neckline
  • pin the tie onto neckline and sew with raw edge of neckline encased inside the tie. The extra tie is wrapped around your body and you can tie it with itself!
Here’s how my neckline looks like:
robe this around your body, you are done! Here’s the finishing “technical drawing”:
This komono is on the large side for me, as the sleeves reaches all the way to my wrist. As for you, measure your shoulder point to point, hips/2, and chest/2. if the largest of the three measurements are less than 19 inches, then this kimono should fit fine on you horizontally. your shoulder to floor should be less than 56 inches (accounting for shoulder seam and hem). If you happen to use this tutorial, please leave a comment with a link to a photo, or email me a photo! ūüôā Let me know if there are any questions as well.
Note on the material: I got my rayon from here, as I cant seem to find any cute prints from Hancock in their rayon section. The material is on the thin side, but very soft and flowy. When washing, you want to put it in one of those protective nettings or do gentle cycle, as rayon are pretty weak when its wet!
Now I am just lounging around in my new glasses and komono robe, hoping Kaylee would arrive sooner than later!

Give me wings and I will fly!

It was my less-evil-twin-sister’s birthday the past Monday, and I decided to make her something very cool as her birthday present. She’s a pretty easy person to gift — she loves ultimate Frisbee, she loves cooking good food, she loves gardening, and she loves smart pale looking guys with glasses. She’s also a good gifter, together she and a few friends bought me a set of screen printing kit for christmas last year and I had been wanting to try screen printing for FOREVER!

So I had the greatest idea ever! A very comfortable T-shirt with a cool print in the back for her to play frisbee in. Inspiration stroke and after some looking for cliparts on the internet +¬†manipulation¬†in Window’s painter program, I came up with this:

With some help from my husband, I eventually got it onto a screen ready for screen printing. It was pretty decently easy, but you have to do it in the middle of the day in order to catch a direct sunlight. To see how to create a template for screen printing, you can check out these youtube videos.

Then I made a very simple Tshirt from the most comfortable bamboo jersey ever! Luckily, my less evil twin sister is about the same size as me(duh!), so I used one of my Tshirt as a template and traced off the shape of my creation. Since this bamboo jersey rolls on the edge, I did not have to hem it. All I needed to do is to serge the sides and shoulder seam!  I wanted a no set in sleeve shirt, so that the sleeves flutters casually around the shoulder. It is easier and I actually like it better than the regular Tshirt sleeve.

Then it was screen printing time! That part was a little hard. Perhaps this jersey is more furry than normal, but the paint had a hard time sticking onto it clearly. The first time it looked so terrible that I immediately washed the paint off to try it again.

I think it looks really cute! I really love the softness and comfort of this material, and I LOVE the print!  This is one of those rare instances when I actually feel motivated to make something for a non-family member! My less-evil-twin-sister really loves it!

Semi-DIY wedding: Ring Pillows

I made a ring pillow yesterday! It seems like wedding crafts never ends! I keep on finding stuff I could do. This time I decided to make a ring pillow out of stuff I had around my sewing room (last minute sewing). So some scrapes from my white Maui dress, a random button, and a red ribbon later, I got a ring pillow!

You can imagine how easy it is to make — sew a square together, leave about an inch or two so that you can turn the square over. Stuff it with cotton or poly-fill. Then use a thick thread (or multiple threads together in a big needle) to sew a button and the ribbons in place in the center of the pillow. Tada! It took me less than 2 hours!

This is how the back looks like:

I really like how mine looks — not shiny, very organic and light. My almost-husband loves it, he thinks we are more like “peasants”, so this is perfect! ūüėõ

Of course, there are much more pretty pillows out there, check etsy for inspirations:

Surprisingly, they are all sold at a very reasonable price! Definitely beats the one for 20 bucks from Michaels!

Semi-DIY Wedding – Veil

Have you ever wondered why veils are so expensive? I was looking through Davids Bridal’s veil selection — they are mostly made from polyester tulle that I can buy from Joanns for 2 dollars a yard with some crystals or beads or ribbons glued/sewn on them. The non-barebone options cost 70 dollars and up!

The thought of spending 70 dollars on a piece of slightly decorated polyster just drove my little chinese (read:cheap) brain nuts. I decided that I should make my own veil – how hard can that be, right? For 70 dollars, I can get a nice silk veil, no problem! So I set out to make my own veil.

First step, material.¬†I wanted to find silk tulle, but the rumor on the street is that it is extremely expensive, and it is hard to find. I dont really like bulky veil either, so English netting is out. I bought a few¬†yards¬†of natural silk chiffon from Exotic Silk in Los Altos(best silk fabric store ever!), but when I got home, I decided that it is not transparent¬†enough¬†for me. I started searching randomly for silk online and came upon this: Dharma trading’s silk gauze. It seemed perfect for the job — light, flowy, transparent, and cheap! Can you believe that their silk is less than 3 dollar a yard?! I bought 7 yards of the 3mm and 45″ silk gauze.

I know that I would like the veil to be finished with¬† some kind of hemming, but rolling the tissue-y fabric and stitch it up presented with ¬†much difficulties (you can all imagine, right?)¬† So I experimented around with different stitches on my machine to just sort of “serger” up the edge (imagine zig-zagging the edge of the veil) with the thinnest needle i can find (it turned out that number 11 (see left) on my machine worked out the best for this material). Because the fabric is so thin, the threads pull the fabric in to form a nice line at the edge. It also creates some nice waves¬† at the biased edge and the little fraying makes it seem to soft and airy.

I wanted a floor length veil at first, with a blusher. The width of the fabric is 45″, so I had to basically draw a long big oval and cut it out (see design 1). However, that means the sides of the oval is not on a bias cut, and it doesnt create the cute waves (though much easier to stitch), and the overall look was just, weird.¬† But I am glad I did it — because I had lots of practice with stitching the edge, and the transition from the biased edge to the straight grain stitch was a little tricky!

Finally, I decided to make another one without the blusher and just finger tip length. This time, I made a half circle with the straight line along one of the side of the fabric (pattern shown in design 2) and  I did a much better job with the stitching. and at the end I just gathered  the straight edge together onto a white plastic comb I had lying around. Tada!

I feel really beautiful in my veil! Its so soft and I feel like its glowing under the sun ūüôā That fabric made me really wish that I sewed my own wedding dress! Though it took much longer than I thought it would, and all the hours of monotonous edge stitching (you have to go really slow on the machine) wasn’t much fun, I think it is well worth it! I now have something *handmade* for my wedding (yes, I am adding that to the list of old, new, borrowed, and blue!).

Hope that this howto would help some brides out there! Let me know if you have any questions. Readers, did any of you also made your own veil?

p.s. right before this photo shoot, i had my hair highlighted and done as a mock up for the wedding at my hair lady, and then I was heading out for some ¬†shopping¬†with my awesome friend Ngoc. But somehow my¬†fianc√©e¬†tricked me into wearing the white silk dress (in photo) and I showed up to a surprise ¬†Hawaiian¬†bridal shower with lot of my ¬†favorite ¬†girlfriends!! ūüėÄ I had sooooo much fun. ‚̧ maybe when the photos come, I will show them off here! ¬†‚̧ Ngoc(+ her awesome husband)! ‚̧ let-sister! ‚̧ all my friends!

Juebejue’s tips on making a pair of Jeans!

Hello! Now that I have shown you how I altered the Anita Jeans, I am going to share with you some tips. I must first clarify that I am just a hobby seamstress, and I have made only 2 pair of jeans, a year apart. However, I hope my tips here would be useful for you. SS also has a lot of useful tips from making her jeans.

Top stitch, top stitch, top stitch!!!!

I LOVE top stitching, it is so soothing and therapeutic. No thinking, no swearing, just press the pedal  and go. Here is a few reason why you should top stitch: Continue reading

The Making of a Perfect Pair (of Jeans)

I had been wearing my awesome jeans everyday, and now im going to share how I altered the Anita Pattern to make a pair of butt hugging and slightly flared jeans.

(note that all the pictures can be clicked on for full size)

Butt hugging

On the two leg pattern pieces, there is a line across the hip area: “shorten or lengthen here”. I folded along that line and took off a total of 2 inches (the fold was 1 inch tall). Note that I am only 4’11 tall while this pattern was made for someone 5’6&1/4 , so for the taller petite girls, you might want to take off LESS than that. Continue reading