Tutorial: It’s A Wrap!

While shopping for some notions in Chinatown, I chanced upon some pretty Japanese cotton gauze at my usual hunt. They are in the cutest prints and perfect for a swaddle blank. According to the shop owner (who often travels to Japan to bring in Japanese fabric), gauze is highly popular in Japan for babies during summertime. It’s lightweight and extremely breathable – cooling enough for Singapore’s hot climate too. It also turns extremely soft after washing. Cotton gauze is often referred to muslin. You can also pick up a plain solid colour muslin and decorate it as you wish, especially if you don’t fancy cute baby prints.

I bought a generous portion of 4 pieces (they make great baby shower gifts too!),did some quick search online, and decided to make a blanket version instead of a wrap, which can be doubled up as the former when the little one outgrows the swaddle. Practicality for the win!
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Version 1 (unlined)
You will need: fabric and the usual sewing supplies. My fabric is 45″ wide and pre-cut to slightly more than 1m. You may like to buy a square piece, depending on the width of the fabric.

1. Neaten the edges by trimming the fabric, so that you have nice square rectangle/square piece of fabric.

2. Overlock all 4 sides so prevent the edges from fraying. Voila, a swaddle in less than 5 minutes!
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Version 2 (lined with flannel)
You will need the same materials and flannel of the same size as the fabric. I bought the flannel from Fabrics.com as my local suppliers brings in only 38″ wide flannel.

1. Pre-shrink/Wash both fabrics. This is extremely important as different fabrics have different shrinkage. This is what happens if the fabric are not pre-shrunk before sewing – puffy edges.
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2. Pin both fabrics together and repeat Steps from Version 1 and you have a really warm (kicked off) blanket.
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Tutorial: Baby Mittens

Baby mittens are probably the cutest stuff I’ve ever sewn. Babies wear mittens for the first few months to prevent them from scratch their faces as their nails are rather sharp. I did some window-shopping online and hey, they cost a few dollars, sometimes 10 over dollars for something so small, worn for only a few months. I just wouldn’t part with that money. Since I have lots of fabric scraps, I decided to make my own. I can choose my own prints, match them with my clothes (mommy-child outfit) and that saves me a lot of money.

Most of the tutorials online includes a flannel lining but I omitted that out as it is not practical in Singapore. Simple cotton ones will do for now. I also used elastic thread instead of elastic band for easy wearing.

You will need: cardboard/hard paper (cereal boxes are excellent choices), fabric, water soluable fabric marker, elastic thread and the usual sewing supplies.

1. Draw the template on the cardboard and cut it out. I’m using 4.5″ by 4.5″. I borrowed a mitten sample from a friend, traced it out, added seam allowance and ended up with this measurement. You may use a plate to guide you through the rounded portion or simply draw it free hand.

2. Using the fabric marker, trace out the template on the fabric. You need 4 pieces for 1 pair of mittens.
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3. Cut out the shapes and overlock to neaten the edges.

4. Place the fabric right side to right side and sew around the U-edge, leaving approximately 2-3cm of allowance on the other end. This is to facilitate sewing on of elastic thread later on. I used the edge of the footer as a guide for my seam allowance.

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5. Hand-wind the elastic thread on the bobbin as you wouldn’t want to stretch it. Fit it into the bobbin case and use normal thread at the top.

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6. Adjust the stitch length to No. 4 or what you would programme for running stitch.

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7. Using the markers on my machine, I used a 2cm allowance from the straight end and sew on the elastic thread along throughout.

8. Flip over the mitten inside out and stitch up the opening that you left in Step 4.

9. Trim off excess threads and you are good to go!

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I’m really happy with how the mittens turn out because they are the only ones that can fit my baby’s tiny hands for now :)

Tutorial: Buntings

Buntings make excellent decoration especially for birthday or wedding backdrop, or anywhere that needs a signage or words. I made some for the wedding and reused 1 of them for home.

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I also made 1 for my favourite boy who turned one last month.
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You will need:
cardboard, pencil, fabric (scraps), ribbons, pinking shears/scissors, pins.

1. Cut a stencil out from the cardboard. The dimensions of my buntings are 21cm by 21cm. I used a cereal box for the stencil.

2. Using the stencil, trace out as many flags you need. If you only need one-sided bunting, cut out triangles. If you need 2 sided buntings, you need to cut out diamonds, folding at the base of the triangle.

3. Cut out the flags using pinking shears. Scissors work fine as well, if you prefer the straight edges.
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4. Align the flags on the ribbon and pin in place. The length of the ribbon depends on the size of your flags and how many flags are there. I usually leave about an arm’s length of allowance on both ends.
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5. Sew the sides of the flags.

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6. Trim off any uneven sides using pinking shears.

7. For buntings with words, I followed the tutorial on Adventures in Dressmaking

 

 

Walking with May;

A couple of weeks ago, I received a lovely comment from May of Walking In May to share my journey in making the Cheongsam. It was quite a pleasant surprise and to know that there are people who read my humble blog.

May is an avid vintage and cheongsam lover who is based in London. She also blogs about her love for cheongsam in a series called ‘Qipao Love (All about the Qipao)’. Following this series, she intends to feature one cheongsam lover a month in her new series ‘Qipao LoveR’. I was indeed honoured to the kickstart the series. You can read her beautiful post here

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Charming Croatia

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset“You are a romantic who enjoys strolling through cobblestone streets

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Processed with VSCOcam with m5 presetYou are inspired by art

IMG_2928and architecture,

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetand thrive being surrounded by other artists and intellectuals.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetYou enjoy the bustle of a city,

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IMG_2913sitting at a cafe, and having a glass of wine or coffee.

IMG_1870Your soul is nourished by being in nature,

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and the meaning of life.”

(Text from PlayBuzz)

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!