Category Archives: sewing

Indigo Sashiko Dress

I made this dress during the summer, but never quite had the chance to take photos with it. I found this amazing fabric in Joanns a few years ago – it is a deep indigo rayon with thick Sashiko threads running through it. Indigo is not really the kind of color I wear, but this 100% rayon fabric was thick and drapery and I love the texture, I couldn’t resist!

When my butterfly dress broke in the washer and became really too big for me, I wanted to remake the dress with this fabric. But I had a really hard time deciding which side of fabric I should use. In the end, I decided to cut the skirt part in a way that shows off both sides 🙂





img_0057 img_0058 img_0059

I love wearing this dress, even though the cut on the chest area is not the most… enhancing 😉 The fabric is so luxurious and supple, it makes me realize I should really shop in person at Joanns more – sometimes they can have amazing apparel fabric! I would have never picked this during online shopping.

I’ve been pretty bad at blogging this year 😛 You can follow me on instagram! I try to post sewing progress & handmade outfit there… but sometimes the girls are just too cute i cant resist! I still have a few more projects to post to catch up!

Happy new year everything! Thank you for following my little adventure in sewing!


2013 Review

Wow, another year has passed by, I hope everyone’s having a great holiday so far! This year had been more productive than the last year 🙂


Screen Shot 2013-12-26 at 1.58.48 PM


Project started : project completed : project often worn ratio this year:



Some of the pieces that has seen the most amount of wear:

Sewist Encounters and MMM

Sometimes I see random things that reminds me that WE the sewists exists outside this online sewing world, and puts a smile on my face. I saw a SUV with license plate ***SEWS in socal when I was driving up from a friend’s wedding last year. I actually have a picture of it but for privacy concerns, i decided not to post it. But I was very excited when i saw it!

The the other day I was shopping at the Goodwills (chain non-profit thrift store in the US). I saw this pair of pants that was just beautifully made. It looks like it was fitted to someone with a very small frame, and made from  very nice, drapery and natural material. I could tell right away from the inside that it was sewn by someone! I was so excited to know that there’s a talented tiny sewist somewhere near me. I wonder if its someone on the sewing blogsphere and would really love to know who made it! Did you or someone you know made this?!Its too bad that I dont need formal pants for work, or I would totally consider buying it if it fits! which reminds me – I should really put tags on all my creations. that way when I donate them, curious people like myself can look up who made them!

Lastly, I’ve really enjoyed watching the blogs that participated in MMM this month and actually posted pictures of their daily outfits. There are quite a few bloggers that I loved, but my favorite MMM posts are from Handmade by Carolyn. She has such a great sense of style and SO MANY hand made clothing! And on top, her whole family got into MMM (which should then be renamed to mom-made-may), which is extra exciting. I considered participating in MMM this month, but I knew i wont have the else discipline to not wear something I feel like wearing. But I did try to take a picture of my outfit every day.I learnt a few things:

1. i just cant manage my face into a nice smile when there’s no one around

2. i seem to like to repeatedly wear a few of my favorite pieces of clothing

3. Out of the 31 days, with some days where i forgot to take a pictures and some days i had two outfits, I wore a me made item 23 of the days. 6 of the days I wore an outfit without any me-made items. Most popular item been my big pocket cardigan, worn a total of 8 times!

Last lastly, I have like 4-5 things I’ve made and yet to have photos taken of. Hubby is experiencing post-photo-processing-fatigue (PPPF) after being the photographer for a large conference so I am not bugging him too much for photos. But I cant wait to show off the stuff I made!

2012 Sewing Review

I am so late to the party, but I just finished posting my last creation of 2012 a few days ago. This year is a year of unproductivity sewing-wise. Most of the items I made were fast and simple. I did started knitting a lot more, thanks to my pre-birth boredom that made me finally sit down and understand knitting terms.

Screen Shot 2013-01-14 at 10.25.24 PM

Screen Shot 2013-01-14 at 10.27.54 PM

Well, at least my Project started : project completed : project often worn ratio is pretty OKAY this year:


I got a bit adventurous in the middle of the year and started two dresses with my precious silk. And Murphy’s Law upholds – projects with the most expensive fabric is project likely going wrong. They ended up fitting very weird, and not even presentable as failures here. (Okay, in truth I am so sad about the ruined fabric that I rather not look/think/blog about them).

2013 has proven to be a good year to start though! I have completed another machine knit sweater and it came out exactly the way i wanted! I cant want to force hubby to take some nice photos to show you!

Orange Rayon Jersey Shirt

I wanted to add more colors to my neutral closet. So I made another shirt from rayon jersey! Same pattern, just slightly shorter with an easier pocket. It is very comfortable!

Screen Shot 2013-01-13 at 8.59.07 PM

Screen Shot 2013-01-13 at 8.59.39 PM

Screen Shot 2013-01-13 at 8.59.29 PM

This concludes all the stuff I’ve made in 2012! whew!! Let’s hope 2013 would be a lot more productive sewing-wise!

Looking back on 2011 and forward on 2012!

I know I am a little late to the party, but I finally got some time to reflect back on my sewing journey in 2011, and post about planned project for 2012!

In 2012, not counting any projects for Kaylee or hubby or utilitarian projects (hemming *blah*, curtains *blah*, wallets, baby stuff… etc), my ratio of cloth sewn : cloth completed : cloth worn often  is….


Not half bad I might say. I might have erased an UFO or two from my memory, as I am sure I had more failures than just two. There’s this top that I only wore once, the weather just got a little too hot for polyester knit that is double layered, and it wasnt exactly my style. But I will keep it around for the next pregnancy. Other than that, almost all completed garments got some pretty good wear out of them. So even though my rate my sewing had slowed down to one every 2 weeks, especially given that there was only two coats… wait, there’s three. why do I feel like I havent sewn enough coats? 😉 I have an unhealthy obsession with coats it seems. I also completed two knitted sweaters once I learnt how to knit and machine knit. It was a good 2011! I saw Toferet’s charts here and i just had to make one for myself:

In my defense, dresses are just the most comfy thing for a pregger!

Anyways, I have a lot of plans queued up in 2012 so far in the following order:

1. Silk blouse (50% there)

2. horizontal stripe wool skirt

3. boy pants for someone else

4. tan tailored jacket with elbow patch

5. fitted coat with grey 100% wool I found in hancock

6. sweater with horizontal cable

7. grey jersey draped maxi dress

8. one more flowy blouse in silk or rayon

9. flowery rayon maxi

10 black lace top/dress (undecided)

11. green jersey dress in a vogue pattern

only a few dresses, I am proud of myself! 😉 In a life before Kaylee, I’d probably make all those in 2 or 3 month. But I think this year it will take FOREVER, if I stick with them. The good/scary thing is, all the projects planned are from my stash… I should really stop buying fabrics!

I am not going to make anything for Kaylee until she can walk. She had out grown the few things I made for her even before I had a chance to make her wear them. When she cant yet sit up on her own, footed overall just seems like the most comfortable clothing for her. She is growing very fast too. She just turned 3 month, but she is wearing 9 month clothing already!  While she is not too chubby or skinny for her height, I dont want to make things for her ahead of time just yet. Anyways, I am looking forward to her different stages of growth. She’s already a lot of fun now! Here is a cute picture of her playing/talking with hubby:

Fabric Shopping in SF

It seems like when I stop to sew, all I do is shopping for fabric! my sewing room is still a mess from storing stuff for remodel, and I dont get in mood for sewing when its so messy! (Did you know that a women’s sex drive is on average, higher when the house is cleaner?  I am not implying that sewing feels as good as sex– but there’s a correlation here).

Anyway, my latest sewing-buddy-victim Tracy wanted to visit some fabric shop in SF that I had been dying to check out. You see, being in the silicon valley means not much good fabric shops besides the chains. So we went to three stores:
Sal Beressi Fabrics Company
Fabric Outlet
Discount Fabrics

I must say that I was quite disappointed. Fabric outlet turned out to be a big basement stacked with mostly low quality fabric, while discount fabric was a fabric-costco without labels, which made it hard to browse for fabric for non-pros like us.  Discount Fabrics:

I really really loved Sal Beressi Fabric store though, everything was displayed in the most easy to browse way, and walking in I felt like Harry Potter walking into one of those Wand stores — it was cramped, hazy, full of stuff with a few busy employees (okay, it doesnt sound as appealing in word, but you just gotta be there!). Their fabric are of very good quality as well. The ONLY downside? the are a freaking upholstery fabric store!!!  But I still did manage to find a very nice cotton linen blend (i love cotton linen blend! they tend to be so soft) for a plaid summer dress. Oh! they give it to you on a spool so that it doesnt wrinkle, how awesome is that? I felt like a pro as I walked out with a spool of fabric in tow.

Thanks Tracy for the fun trip, i love new enthusiastic seamstresses!

Coming up on Vivat Veritas — a post for tips on buying fabric online!


Update: some suggestions from my awesome readers:


Fabrix: Personally, I like going to Fabrix (it’s a really small, cramped discount fabric store on 2nd and Clement) and they have a lot of random fabrics. They have some things labeled, but not much. Their staff though is always informative.


Satin Moon: 32 Clement Street San Francisco, CA 94118 – (415) 668-1623
Small shop with quality fabrics. Parking is difficult but it is worth the trip.

Piedmont Fabrics: 3858 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611 – (510) 655-1213
Another small shop with quality fabrics. The owner used to work at the now defunct Poppy Fabrics.

Stone Mountain and Daughter: 2518 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704 – (510) 845-6106. This a my go-to store for fabric. They have a sale area upstairs that has a lot of lovely wools.


Fabric Review #2

Woohoo! I am back from a 5 day vacation in Lake Tahoe. It was such a snow wonderland there — we had so much fun snowshoeing, sledding, and snowboarding/skiing with some of our best friends. I tried snowboarding for the first time, and although my butt is still hurting from all the falls, I loved it!! It snowed for two days and this is very near to where we stayed:

Beautiful, isnt it? I havent lived in a snowy place since I was six, so it was rare to sit in a warm and toasty house, playing boardgames and enjoying good food and company, with all the fluffy snow drifting down from the sky. Occasionally, we would see our icicles come crashing down, and even spotted some yellow snow! 😛

Now back at home, we spent the past two days packing up our kitchen to get ready for our remodel. I would probably be quite slow in my sewing projects for the next two month due to the remodel as we are doing part of the work ourselves. For now, I have an incomplete  skirt that I am thinking about giving up. I made the mistake of using too thick of a material for a skirt that has many darts. *gasp*, my garment attempted:garment completed: garment often worn for year 2011 is currently:


Gotta work on that ratio! 🙂 For now I am looking through my latest fabric horde and drooling after all the possiblities.

Shetland Wool Heathered Palm Leaf :

Very good quality wool, i think it is thin enough for skirts and good for jackets and thin coats. It can be stretched a little on bias as well. sadly, the real color is a lot lighter than pictured. I was hoping for a forest green short skirt. I guess I didnt see this. now I am not so sure about what to do with it. Any suggestions?

It was on sale for 10 dollars last year, so I also bought the same material in white, which is beautiful (and unfortunately sold out). I want to try and knock off this look:

Vera Wang Silk Check pale pink 54″ Wide

Sometimes, the difference between polyester and silk is so subtle! I like this shade of pink, sort of a grey-pink with interesting patterns on it. I think it will make a interesting, and simple top.

I also bought some Wool Tricotine in camel color for a new trench coat — the old one I made has some issues with the interfacing, the buttons are pulling the fabric in a weird way, cotton twill is not the greatest material for a trenchcoat, and topstitching everything in green thread was not one of my brightest moment. The material turned out quite nice and crisp, but unfortunately it is already sold out.

Slate Blue Bamboo Knit 60″ Wide

I just love bamboo knits. they are so soft and so heavy, super comfortable against the skin. I saw this top that the beautiful and pregnant hanamik was wearing:

And I really want one! (Her looking so gorgeous while pregnant also makes me look forward to being pregnant in the future 😛 ) I was thinking about making something like that out of the bamboo knit, but make it flexible so that it looks good on just the normal old me, or a preggy me in the future. Well, actually, I just really like the idea of flexible clothing. I think all the ties makes it possible to do that, but we will see how it goes.

Also got navy charmeuse and navy cotton satin from there, which are sold out. I find that fabric mart almost never disappoint me in terms of quality of their fabric. However, their color on picture and in person occasionally doesnt match too well!

So much dreaming about sewing. I should really go sew. But knitting in bed next to hubby sounds much more warmer…

Customized Men’s Bow Tie

For our wedding, we wanted a small, intimate one. So one of our friends became our MC. Though he is not a professional MC, he conducted the party like a pro! So I wanted to give him a Christmas present. He’s a dude who is pretty into fashion, and I swore he wore bow ties to our wedding or some other events. But looking through our photo album, he only had ties! So I decided to make him a silk bow tie:

I used my embrodery machine to embroider “Johnson, MC”, like a doctor/PHD, pretty fun, eh? My husband’s idea there.

Silvery metal vest slider from Hancock:

I kind of wish i embroidered is a little further away from the bow portion, never had a bow tie before and did not know you need so much room for the bow:

It was a very quick job – 3 hours tops, and it looks very nice and presentable, a great gift for a guy who likes to dress up! Do you need a special gift (albeit last minute) for a dude (or a girl who likes to play bunny)? Download burdastyle’s free pattern here.

p.s. if your guy is thick necked, you might want to make one side an inch or two longer — it felt barely long enough for my hubby, who is a lot bigger.

How to Alter Your Basic Coat Pattern for a Flared Coat

Its almost the end of 2010!  One thing I wanted to post before the end of the year is how I made my lady grey inspired coat.

I used a basic coat pattern — McCall 5525:

The alterations are fairly simple. Here are the 4 bodice pieces:

All you really need to do is to add volume between the seams from the waist and down. I liked my coat fitted at the waist, so I  started adding flare at about 1 inch below the waist mark. You can make that longer if you want the  coat to flare out at a lower point:

Another thing to calculate is how much you want the coat to flare out. Determine the length of the coat, and the think about how many inches you would like to add  to the circumference of the skirt. I wanted a really really flared coat, so I added 4 inches to each side of my bodice pattern — this resulted in 8 inches added per seams– 7 seams total, meaning 56 inches were added! You can increase or decrease this number.

Do not add any flare to the front seam where your coat opens — that seam should remain a straight line. If I were to make this coat again, I might not add volume at the back center seam also — it feels a little awkward, but that is just a matter of personal taste.

Zooming into just the center back piece, (every seam adding was the same for me) to give you more details:

Note that I chopped off a little triangle at each hem corner. I did that when I have decided how long I wanted my coat to be. Then I folded over the excess fabric that will be on the inside of the coat, and chopped off the extra fabric at the end. I did this so that I did not have to gather the  hem seam to deal with the fact that the hem line is smaller than the hem seam line (hope this make sense). However, if you want to do it properly, dont chop those corner off and look at Gertie’s hemming tutorial.

Now you got the skirt part done, lets move onto the other alteration – collar. The front center bodice piece will need to be altered to create the big lapel. I dont have a set pattern for you, but I just added a lot more lapel as below:

Then when I was making the coat, when I have finished the shell, I tweaked the lapel size while wearing the half-finished garment by cutting it down to desired size and shape. Keep in mind that you have a seam allowance to consider. Also, the tutorial from Gertie also talks about how to minimize the lapel for petites.

Lastly, my colar is simply a piece of half circle with a smaller half circle cut out from it with the sides a little trimmed (hope that make sense):

I just took a piece of felt — it was cheap and about the same weight as my wool, and attached it to the coat with pins to make sure I like the look.  After a few tries I got the look I wanted, and cut it out with seam allowance and made the collar.

Tada! That is it! I apologize for the terrible drawing — I am no artist. But I think it should convey my thoughts sufficiently. If you happen to make any use out of this tutorial, leave me a comment! I would love to see the result!