The “Happy Birthday” Dress

“Dear I have no more clothes to wear!” I declared one morning. So I decided to sew something quick and comfortable for this everchanging body of mine. Plus I was getting real bored of my limited wardrobe selections.

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The dress is modified from my basic bodice block Version X – I edited my bodice block countless times. This latest one is modified with larger darts and more allowance at the waist, hip and basically everywhere else. I simply drew an A-shape starting from the arm pit marking to the hem length I want.

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Besides sewing something new for myself, I meant to clear my stash, albiet slowly. This gorgeous floral silk chiffon from Cho Nam, Hanoi has been in my stash for 3 years. It is extremely smooth to touch but not my best friend. It frays easily and runs on both my sewing machine and especially the serger, which is one of the reasons I procrastinate working with it. The fabric lined with plain black cotton, finished with concealed pink piping.

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I thought the design is kind of boring. I have many of these shift dresses, in different fabrics. So I added some frills and non-functional gold buttons (from Troyes) for an additional touch. Bonus points for using my notion stash as well!

Fabric Shopping Overseas

I hoard fabrics and I enjoy buying fabrics overseas. I have bought quite a number of pieces from abroad and my favourite shops/fabric market can be found here. So what do I exactly look out for when buying fabrics?

1. Price
What attracts me most is the price, especially if it’s significantly more affordable than what I can get locally. The more affordable selections are mainly from my South-East Asia trips, such as those form Hanoi’s fabric market. Fabrics from Europe are generally more expensive due to the high amount of tax charged on non-food products.

However, that doesn’t mean I don’t buy expensive fabric. I do, especially if they are of superb quality and unique, such as the Dior runway blush number I acquired from Troyes 2 years ago.

2. Made locally
Fabric made locally in whichever region I visit is always a plus point, especially when it contains cultural significance and such. Instead of buying souvenir items, I usually buy fabrics for myself. At the very least, I can declare that this piece of fabric is from this particular city and that. During my trip to Cambodia last year, I visited the silk farm founded by Artisan d’Angkor and purchased a gorgeous piece of Cambodian Silk at the end of the tour. They have a boutique that sells silk products – fabric, garments and such. It is in a lovely shade of Dazzling Blue, at USD18/m.

Now that I am planning for Europe in summer this year, I can’t wait to grab some goodies in Croatia and Berlin. I have yet to find any reliable information on fabric shopping in Croatia. If you have any recommendations, I would really love to find out more from you! As for Berlin, there seems to be more bloggers blogging about fabric shops in Berlin than 2 years ago when I last visited. I have shortlisted a few shops that I would like to check out in Berlin. Not having high hopes but I’m definitely looking forward!

Project 20ne – Cake Toppers

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If there was ever to be a wedding cake at the wedding, the cake gotta be edible (and delicious). We decided to have a cake and it is baked by a very talented Samantha from LingerFingerr . We got the cake settled, now comes the cake toppers. I did a quick search online and didn’t fancy the commercial ones. I have no idea why it didn’t occur to me to make my own.

After some researching, I found some really lovely designs from Etsy such as the wooden bird toppers to suit the venue as we are holding the reception at the garden.

Source: etsy.com via Samietra on Pinterest

I also fancied some of these cute wooden couples. I showed the fiancé and he said, “let’s make it!”

After some researching, we finally decided on the shorter torsos, rather than taller ones. These toppers are not difficult to make. The challenging part was to search for suitable materials,especially for the body. Initially we combed ArtFriend to look wooden dolls but they were not of suitable size. All we found were wooden structures like this:

Source: etsy.com via Kristin on Pinterest

 

The fiancé decided to improvise by getting a wooden ball, and a cone like structure. Here are the list of materials that you will need:

2 wooden balls, we bought a 2.5″ one from Daiso

2 cardboard cones from ArtFriend

acrylic paint

pencil

craft glue

1. Give the face a white-wash. This covers up the wooden grooves.

2. Paint the face with the desired skin-colour.

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3. Use a pencil to outline the eyes and hairlines.

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4. Fill in the colours accordingly.

5. Repeat Steps 2-3 for the body. The designs for the head and body are pretty much up to your preferences and creativity: hair colour, parting, choice of outfit etc. I cut a small piece of tulle for the veil and attached some faux pearls for the necklace and hairband.

6. Attach the head to the body using craft glue. And voila!

*As the cone was hollow and could not support the weight on the cake, we found a bottle cap of a suitable size, wrap it in aluminium foil and secured the toppers on the cap with craft glue.

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Here’s our chocolate cake with earl grey frosting topped with the topper for upper tier, dried edible roses for the lower tier. Yumyum! I love it that it is a combination of some of our favourite things :)

Project 20ne – DIYs

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It has been a delightful 5 months since the wedding :) I think we make a great tag team! While I am still sorting our my DIYs, I lost of the photos from my other SD card. Major booohoo! Nonetheless, here are some of the items we made for the wedding, taken by the professional photographer on the wedding day. I’ll save my dress for another post.

Paul & Tiffany 006This is our ang pao (red packet/money packet) box, my husband’s project. It is made from an A4 paper box (main structure), corrugated board for the roofs, wooden scraps fro the fence and dried flowers/fish tank gravel for decorations.

Paul & Tiffany 007We also customized our own hashtag. Chalk board paint on a whiteboard from Daiso. The husband made the icons using acrylic paint and cardboard.

Paul & Tiffany 008The ring holder made by my maid of honour and myself. Never fancied a pillow and she suggested using flowers and the eiffel tower. We bought a basket of a suitable size, cut the green floral sponge to fit the basket, used floral wires to attach the towers on the sponge and arranged our own selection of artificial flowers on it. We had to redo this project because we did not weave the lace to conceal the green sponge before placing it in.

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Paul & Tiffany 010This was a DIY project from long time ago. The husband painted an old lime plant white. We called it Project White Tree then. We made use of card that we didn’t want, fabric scraps, some ribbons and made our own bookmark with some of our favourite quotes printed at the back. You can find some of these templates online and they make very easy gifts for any occasions.

Paul & Tiffany 025Since it was a picnic-affair, I designed this for the solemnization table. We collected glass bottles of various sizes, painted them in white with acrylic paint and decided on cheery gerberas for a simple arrangement.

Paul & Tiffany 037The husband also made the arch using bamboo poles which are secured in a tin (1 for each leg) filled with cement. The lace was bought from Ikea. The heart was a random decoration we bought.

Paul & Tiffany 043Last minute make shift vases using paper bags. This was unplanned but quite pretty, aren’t they?

Paul & Tiffany 056The lego boutonnieres! I assembled some lego bricks (we wanted something colourful yet represents us, or rather the groom) and leftover flowers from the ring holder, and followed the instructions from Adventures in Dressmaking . She also had an impressive DIY wedding.

Paul & Tiffany 265And finally our cake toppers. Tutorial coming soon!

The Prada Dress


The Inspiration
I acquired this absolutely gorgeous Venice lace, or Prada lace as the boss calls it, from Arab Street some time back. I did not have that ah-ha moment but I knew what I want to make the moment I saw the fabric.

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The Dress
It is a basic shift dress with basic sleeves, aligned to the scalloped hems of the lace. Nothing fancy to compete with the gorgeous lace.

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The Fabric
These suppliers are so smart to name the fabrics after big names – french dior, prada lace, miu miu lace, chanel tweed – just because they are so similar to those that debut on the runway. So what exactly is Prada lace? I don’t think there’s such thing as Prada lace and these are the not exact ones from the Prada supplier. I believe these are from Italy (if genuine) and they are called Venice lace. Venice lace is sturdier than the French ones. It is well explained here.


Prada also debut these lace on their Fall’08 show, which is when they are known as Prada lace.

Please exercise caution when shopping for Venice lace. There are imitation in the market, at around $20/m. They are thinner and flimsier, and not made in Italy, possibly Indonesia or China.

(Images from style.com and Prada LookBook)

The “Happily Ever After” Dress

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The Inspiration
One of the sewing goals I set is to embrace more solids. Having sewn a red and orange number, yellow follows suit. This dress was made some time in December last year, but I didn’t have time to capture them decently on image. Here’s a couple to share from my engagement shoot!

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The Dress
It is a fairly simple boat-neck dress in princess cut, which is one of my favourite cut and shape. I can make this in every possible colour!! I made it a little loose, which explains the pleats when I belt the dress. The hem is also slightly asymmetrical, with the back a tad long than the front.

The Fabric
There’s nothing fancy. Just basic cotton. What I really love about the fabric is the lemon zesty yellow, which happens to be one of Pantone’s Spring 2013 palette.

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Sewing my own gown is like pregnancy. It’s an indescribable feeling. Seeing how the gown takes shape, from research to conceiving of the design to it taking shape. I really feel like crying at every milestone of its progress. I have been updating bite-sizes of the dress’s progress on other platforms. It took about 4 nights to for the bodice to take shape. 3 initially, until I noticed a small blunder but that was rectified quickly.

The skirt took more time than I expected. I thought it could be completed in a night, but 2 nights had passed and I’m only half way there. Well, I planned to sew a simple, straight-forward flare skirt. After serging and tidying up the satin lining, I realized that I had forgotten to take the scallop hem into consideration.

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The flare skirt has a curved hem, while my scallops are straight, on the selvage. The scallops were pretty to have so it was tough to decide to include them or not. After arranging the satin millions of times to accomodate the lace and hem, I decided to add on the scallops as a separate piece.

IMG_5953Very beautiful hems of the lace

While working on attaching the scallop hems, I still had to work on attaching the straight scallops onto a curved hem. The initial idea was to include even the floral motifs that stem from the scallops. It was a disaster as there were too much excess fabric in between and they just didn’t fall nicely. Then I have to face the reality. I had a feeling right from the start that this is the only way out, but was avoiding it at all cost so that I can save on some extra work. Solution is: cut out the scallops and sew it onto the skirt individually. Yes i.n.d.i.v.i.d.u.a.l.l.y.

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Alright, I told myself. Then as I arranged and pinned them in place, these delicate little pieces were too soft to handle. I could have tagged them but I used fabric glue to attach each scallop onto the skirt instead.

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The glue also provided some form of support after it dried which will be very helpful when I hand sew them in place. Voila!

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Conformity

It has been a long long while. School has been busy and preparations are going slow but steady. We have completed quite a number of DIY projects: boutonnières, veil, gown, ang pao box, cake toppers, and chalkboards. I’ll be sharing the tutorials after the wedding, when I have more time to gather my thoughts and such. Anyhows, I have been ideas shopping and I came across Kiera Knightly’s wedding outfit again. She had a low-key  French wedding earlier in May and I really love her no frills outfit.

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She wore a short, champagne dress. Best of all, she’s wearing flats which she can leap in! Well, almost exactly the look I’m looking for.

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There are speculations that she recycled a Rodarte dress which she wore in 2008. If it’s true, it is so darn cool! I salute her choice of selecting such an unconventional outfit, very much an inspiration to me.

Project 20ne

Wow, time flies and it’s now April already. I must admit I haven’t been very productive and all I had sewed this year is one cheongsam for the Chinese New Year. It’s not that I don’t have the time to, but the energy. I guess I am still getting used to my new job and all I want to do when I reach home is just to stone.

Anyhows, I’ve procrastinated enough and finally started sewing the wedding dress. Gosh, it’s making me very excited!!! Ever since I picked up dress-making 3 years ago, it has been a dream to sew my own dress. There’s a superstitious saying that the bride should not sew her own wedding gown because it brings along a life of hardship. It does’t bother me because I don’t believe in such myths.

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Some time last year, my sew-mate and I went crazy buying wedding magazines. I even bought some from France and Germany while I was there last year. We browsed through countless magazines, tore down pages with designs that we like and kept them very neatly in a file. Very often, I will be distracted by something else that caught my eye. After sometime, I found my style – lace, tulle, boat/normal neckline, tea-length. I made some sketches based on the ideas I gathered and finally decided on the design.

Source: style.com via Tiffany on Pinterest
Source: style.com via Tiffany on Pinterest

 

After the fiancé proposed, I was given the license to shop for the materials! I knew that I will be wearing a lace dress and lace is not very easy to shop for. You can read about it over here. I went to our usual supplier, saw some really beautiful laces but nope, they didn’t scream “I’M THE ONE!!!” nor “BUY ME!!!”.

IMG_3886the only lace that caught my eye at the supplier’s

I also combed the entire Arab St to no avail either. Then lo and behold, when we were in Bandung last August, to cut the long story short, I found a piece of lace that all of us fancied at the fiancé’s family friend’s shop!!! And best of all, it came free!!!!! Yes FREEEE!!! Since it came free, the budget of my gown is now reduced from SGD 200 to SGD50.

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As much as I would love to update on the progress of the wedding dress, I want to save the final look for the big day. I’ll be updating as much as exclusivity allows me to but I’ll be definitely sharing the DIY projects.