Made Me Holiday!

It was tough packing for my summer holidays this time round. I need to pack light (just in case luggage overweight for the return leg like my previous trip), and I have limited wardrobe selection for my all-rounded body. I packed some dresses, leggings, various outwear (cardigan, jacket, sweater) all prepared for a 10°C-20°C. Lo and behold, it was above 20°C most of time, and even rose as high to 35°C, so there goes the chance to layer and I had to repeat my clothes as they are. Nonetheless, I managed a made-me-holiday wardrobe this time round and here are they (some of which are featured for the first time)!

 

IMG_1548 Happy Birthday Dress as a top and my alibaba pants for the flight and Day 1. I wore the dress as a dress subsequently in Berlin. Please pardon the stoned face and oily hair as this was taken after 10 over hours of flight and 3hrs of driving.

 

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset I made a last minute smocked beach wear using a fabric I bought in Vietnam. Paired with the same alibaba pants because it was too short to be a dress.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetThe same smocked tube top paired with leggings for canoeing in Spreewald. Tube top and leggings because I do not want ugly tan lines.

 

  Frilly Sorbetto Tunic is made as part of my first MDO (mother-daughter outfit). For the adult version, I improvised the sorbetto’s panel to be added as a ruffle/frill down the center front. I wore the same outfit, but with an infinity scarf instead of a denim jacket for shopping and Britzer Garten in Berlin.

 

IMG_1985 This is what the husband calls the “curtain dress” because of the prints, which is based on an ancient print. The dress takes on a simple shift dress pattern – a favourite pattern whenever I have a pretty fabric to work with. It is serving me well, just that it’s just a tad too short for teaching now. Definitely another favourite!

 

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Pretty in Pink which is my first Anda, one of my favourite pattern and even more so now.

 

IMG_1829Denim cheongsam, which is also essentially an Anda, paired with my new shoes from Dubrovnik. They are from Guliver, handmade, full leather.

Project20ne: The Dress

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Here’s the promised post about my wedding dress, which I really missed making. I miss conceptualising the design, sourcing for fabric, and finally getting down to sewing it. For my dress, I wanted a short gown in lace and tulle with an illusion back. I also knew I want something re-wearable (though I doubt I will wear my wedding dress again). I also decided to wear blush, instead of the usual white.

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As I had a solemization and a church wedding, I needed wanted 2 dresses. So I made a tulle skirt to wear over my knee-length dress. Voila! I also wore the skirt for my 1st entrance at the solemnization. The skirt was made with 5 layers of tulle in various colours to achieve the shade of blush I want, especially to match the satin of the underlay. I am so ecstatic that it is the exact shade of blush I want! So much for customized colour!

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Now I am hoping for a fairytale theme for Teachers’ Day dinner in the future so that I can wear my tulle skirt as a fairy godmother!

 

The Denim Cheongsam

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The Inspiration
I make an effort to sew a cheongsam for every Chinese New Year. I made one in 2011, 2012 (which I doubt I will be ever going to fit into them again), and the above is a very low resolution photo of my 2013 cheongsam. It was a peach cotton lace overlay with Shrek green cotton as a contrast. It is also finished with scalloped hem which I trimmed from the lace. For 2014, I needed a loose fitting cheongsam with more mileage in the coming months then.

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The Dress
The plan was to infuse cheongsam elements into the Anda pattern. However, I was down most of the time throughout the first trimester (yes I worship the great white throne almost every evening) and ran out of time eventually. So I decided to discard the idea of attaching the Chinese collar. The end result turns out to be a pleasant marriage of the cheongsam and Anda, a perfect maternity wear.

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The Fabric
I chose denim for a more casual look, especially when this piece of denim has been sitting in my stash forever. Red polka dot piping was for that pop of ‘auspicious’ colour just to please the aunties. I’ve got matching nails to go with my outfit too! It’s one of my favourite dresses to wear to date, however ironing is quite a nightmare. This particular denim creases like mad when washed or spun in the machine.

 

I’m starting to plan for my 2015 cheongsam which may be quite a challenge: time, nursing needs and possibly a matching outfit for the little one. We’ll see!

Fabric Shopping in Siem Reap, Cambodia

The husband and I went to Cambodia for our honeymoon last year and boy, it’s a charming country to visit. We spend 2 days in Phnom Penh and 5 days Siem Reap. The people are extremely friendly, food is amazing, beautiful sights – a very affordable place. The husband is an outdoor person while I prefer a more relaxing-shopping-chill itinerary, so we had a good mix of shopping, good food, chill and adventure. Can’t believe we got it all covered!

While in Siem Reap, we visited the Silk Farm owned by Artisans d’Angkor. It is a tour conducted by Artisans d’Angkor. We gathered at the workshop and went to the farm off city center in a mini bus. Over in the farm, we were introduced to the entire process of silk processing – from rearing of silk worms to the weaving and dying of the fibre.

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The husband was so intrigued by the whole process that he actually asked if I want to purchased some silk! At the end of the tour, we were given some time to look around the boutique that sells silk products, from fabric to garments, shawls and other little trinkets. I picked up a Dazzling Blue number from their sales selection at USD18/m.

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While in Phnom Penh, we also visited the Russian Market where I spotted a couple of fabric stores. I didn’t manage to buy anything from there because the owner was taking her.own.sweet.time. to cut 1 yard of fabric for me. We were in a rush to head to the airport and didn’t bother to wait. If not I might have explored the market in greater detail :)

Bridesmaids dress for a peacock wedding;

A close friend of mine is getting married in December and the theme is ‘peacock’. We sat down and finalised the colour schemes for decor, flowers and bridesmaids. She will be having a mighty entourage of 14 bridesmaids and we will all be decked in shades of blue and green. While she gave me the liberty to wear any of the colour in the chart (yay!), I picked navy blue initially.

So while in Berlin, I couldn’t resist this lovely piece of lace made from natural fibres at 16€/m. It is sturdy, like Alençon lace, with a beautiful scalloped hem.

The problem is: I only have 1.1m, which is insufficient for a lace-dress like this:

or this, which were what I planned to make.

So I need to reconfigure the design now, of which I need to consider yardage, postpartum body and nursing needs.

#1 Two piece lace top and french dior skirt with lace border ensemble. It doesn’t show in the photo but the idea is there.

#2 Cowl neck and a flare/gathered skirt dress.

#3 I’m also considering other colours such as forest green,

#5 or teal in this design,

#6 or a shorter version of this.
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I would definitely love to make use of this new purchase so that I do not accumulate fabrics (I’m running out of space. Help!). Then again, I’ll be going fabric shopping with the bride-to-be later this week so I’ll see what the fabric market has to offer. Till then!

Fabric Shopping in Berlin

Fabric shopping in Berlin was rewarding! I was careful of my purchases since they are generally more expensive than what I can get at home. Nonetheless, I still had to get some, since it isn’t the best time to shop for clothes and shoes. I did my research prior the trip and found more bloggers sharing their fabric finds in Berlin, which made me excited to check them out. Most of the fabric are about 60″ (153cm) wide (so thankful that I have my friend to translate for me!)

 #1 Mauerpark Flea Market
Bernauer Straße 63-64
13355 Berlin, Germany
Opens Sunday 0700-1700

First stop of our Berlin itinerary was the Mauerpark Flea Market. We were lucky that it was not extremely crowded by the time we reached at around 3pm as there’s a couture carnival happening else where. It seems that the whole Berlin is at the carnival. My friend based in Berlin told me that this flea market has become very touristy over the years, so much so that Berliners do not really visit this market anymore.

The market houses a variety of stalls, from old records (in fact there were many record stalls) to young labels (not at flea market price), leather goods, second hand and some other miscellaneous stuff. There was only 1 fabric stall, and it’s the first stall that sell non-food product that I saw! Fabric was at flat rate of €3/m which is extremely affordable for European prices. My friend and I tried to ask for the material but the stall owner simply replied “stoffe” which means “material”. Based on touch, there were some cotton, jersey, and polyester mix.

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Here are  the floral pieces I got from the flea.

 

 

 #2 Frau Tulpe
Veteranenstraße 19
10119 Berlin, Germany
Monday – Friday 10:00 – 20:00
Saturday 11:00 – 18:00

Besides the flea market, I designated an afternoon for fabric shopping and sisters time with my friend while the guys visit the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. I didn’t want to bore 3 men with my own shopping and I prefer to shop for fabric at my own pace. Frau Tulpe is small but very well stocked with American and Japan cottons. Some from England and the region. They also have an extensive collection of notions and such.

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Besides fabric and notions, they conduct regular sewing classes where hobbyists meet. If you are residing in Berlin and considering picking up sewing, you might like to check them out!

 

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My main purpose of checking out this store is for their Made in Germany fabric, at least I read somewhere that they have a small collection of them. I bagged home 1 piece of red floral cotton made in Cologne and another summery yellow organic cotton by Cloud9 fabric.
Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset#3 Babie Lato
Schönhauser Allee 182A
10119 Berlin, Germany
Monday-Friday 1100-2000
Saturday 1100-1600

 

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Not far from Frau Tulpe (10-15mins walk based on my preggie speed) is Babie Lato which sells affordable organic fabric such as cotton, linen and silk. Affordable I mean generally in between €10-20, sometimes in single digit. There was a small stash of lace that is made from natural fibre, which I managed to grab the last meter of the navy piece at a very affordable price of €16/m. The lace is very sturdy, feels almost like Alençon lace. For the same quality in Singapore, 1m would probably cost at least SGD50. If only I knew about this shop 2 years back, I would gladly grab some for my wedding dress!  I also bought 2 pieces of linen.

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Besides these 2 shops that I visited, I also shortlisted 2 other but unfortunately there was not enough time.

Frieda Hain
Gärtnerstraße 10,
10245 Berlin-Friedrichshain, Germany
Monday-Friday 1100-1830
Saturday 1100-1700

Volksfaden
Crellestraße 17
10827 Berlin, Germany
Tuesday 10:00-15:00
Wednesday & Thursday 12:00-18:00
Friday 10:00-15:00
Saturday 12:00-16:00

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Update 18/06: I’ve washed all the fabric and they do not bleed! #goodstuffcannotbluff

Tutorial: How to make a waist band for a skirt

There are many ways to handle the waist line when making a skirt. You can make a waist band, attach an interfacing, or use a bias tape.

You will need stiffening, fabric and the sewing essentials. Stiffening is different from interfacing. It is much harder and sturdier, usually with a glued side.

1. Depending on the waist measurement of your skirt, cut the exact same length for the stiffening. If you want a more shapely waist band, you may follow the curves on your pattern.

2. Using the stiffening as a marker, add 4cm to the left and right side, and 2cm to the top and and bottom. The is the dimension of the fabric. Cut 2 pieces out.

3. Iron the stiffening onto one piece of the fabric, leaving allowances all around.

4. Pin, tag and sew the stiffened fabric onto the other piece, leaving about 2cm from the edge. This is to give space for the zip later on.

5. Pin, tag and sew the stiffened side onto the skirt.

6. Pin, tag and sew the zip. I’m using a concealed zip here. Align the top of the plastic stopper tip to the top corner of the stiffening.

7. Pin, tag and sew the portion below the zip.

8. Sew the rest of the 2cm to secure the skirt band and the skirt. Trim the allowance to about 1cm.

9. Flip the back of the skirt band, so that the right side of the back piece is facing the right side of the skirt. Using a one-sided footer, sew the fabric onto the zip, leaving about 1cm of space to tuck the excess fabric underneath. Trim the excess to about 1cm as well.

10. Flip the corner over and tuck the excess fabric underneath.

11. Pin and tag as you tuck the excess fabric

12. Topstitch (on the right side of the waist band).

Sewing for Litte Human

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I’m dying from cuteness when I sew this dress for the little human. We have yet to give her a name but we know she’s a girl! Can you imagine my excitement??? I can sew for her!!

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This is the first dress that I sew for her. I drafted the pattern based on the dimensions in this pattern drafting book (bonus points yay!). It looks a little short and wide so I have no idea how it would fit her. This is the only baby pattern the book offers, as the next largest size is for 2yo.

Fabric is a saccharine sweet piece of pink Liberty I bought from Paris. Her first dress is made from Liberty, from Paris, France!!! while mine is some SGD5 from the fabric market. Jealous much, ha! Since the baby pattern doesn’t require much yardage, I also cut a matching tunic for a mummy-daughter outfit. Can’t wait to complete and wear it together with her! :)

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!