Last Saturday;

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

I love flowers! It has been a passion since young. I would stand by the market florist while my mum does her marketing, help out with the flowers at wedding in church (and conveniently take a few bunches/left over home after), and recently designed and planned the flowers for my wedding!

Processed with Moldiv
I also enjoy playing with flowers for the home.

Processed with Moldiv
So to up my floral game a little and for some pleasurable me time, I signed up for a Flower Boxette workshop at One Olive.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

The whole idea of flower boxette is to present flowers like a gift in a box, rather than a bouquet, which I thought was rather novel. It also makes an elegant accent for home. Through the workshop I learned the wiring technique, boxette arrangement basics, textures, ribbon tying and handled flowers that I never saw and smelt before. We also had floral tea and some yummy cookies while interacting with other participants. The workshop was kept, in an intimate setting at One Olive itself. It was time well spent, and I made and kitten friend.

IMG_1041

IMG_1081

 

The Frilly Sorbetto

IMG_1079This blouse is made as part of my first MDO (mother-daughter outfit), which I brought along for my Made-Me-Holiday. For the adult version, I  used my self-drafted sorbetto and improvised the panel to be added as a ruffle/frill down the center front. It’s such an easy top to wear and sew!

IMG_1078

 

I made a handful of other dresses and tops with extra space before. What I did was simply to add a couple of inches to the waist and connect the armpit to that point and extend to wherever the hem is. This method workED for me before pregnancy. What I don’t like about it now is that, it is very roomy at the side and not all around. So I needed a new pattern. I infused the flare skirt concept to my front bodice block by cutting up my bodice block down the dart and opened up the pattern, which creates more space on each quarter.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

 

I am loving the extra space that this pattern gives! Makes a perfect fat-top too!

Tutorial: Elastic Waist Rectangle Skirt

An elastic waist skirt is probably one of the easiest and fastest project that you can take on. It’s easy to wear, fits all sizes, perfect for preggie days (pre and post as well!)  What’s even better is that you don’t need a serger for this. I will be using french seams for this project in replacement of serging. Sew away comrades!

IMG_0916You will need:
fabric (100cm by 140cm)*, matching thread, elastic band (waist measurement + 1 inch), sewing supplies.

*This is the dimension of the fabric that I used for this project. I am making use of every inch of the fabric on hand. However it can vary according to the width of your fabric, your measurements and preferences of skirt length.

** I’m using 1cm seam allowance for this project.

 

Screen Shot 2015-08-15 at 8.35.53 pm
1. Fold the fabric and cut into halve along the breadth. This is the front and back pieces of the the skirt. The selvages is the ‘hem’ of the skirt.

 

2. Cut out fabric for the waist band. The elastic band that I’m using is about 2cm wide. So the fabric for the waist band is about by 7cm (including 1.5cm allowance on each side) by 100cm. The rest of the fabric will be used for the skirt itself.

 

IMG_09543. Pin and sew the side seam, wrong side to wrong side.

 

IMG_09584. Trim 0.5cm off the seam.

 

IMG_09595. Flip the fabric over. Press the seam. Pin and sew the side seam, right side to right side.

 

6. Repeat Steps 3-5 for the other side seam.

 

7. Repeat Steps 3-6 for the waist band.

 

IMG_09608. Pin, tag, sew the waist band onto skirt, right sides facing. Also make sure that the side seams for the waist band is all facing one side. I prefer to align them facing right.

 

IMG_09489. Fold over the waist band, tuck in 1cm of seam allowances, leaving about 2-3 inches opening. This is where you will slot in the elastic band.

 

IMG_094910. Attach the elastic band to a safety pin. Use the safety pin to help you loop the elastic band through the waist band casing.

 

IMG_095111. Once the end of the elastic band is looped through, overlap 1inch of the end of elastic band. Sew to secure.

 

IMG_095212. Stitch up the opening. I choose to hand stitch.

 

IMG_096113. Double fold the hem, approximately 2.5cm upwards. Sew to secure.

 

IMG_094714. Voila, there you have a new skirt in an hour’s time!

An Elastic Waist Rectangle Skirt

For the month of August I needed a quick project to sew to keep me sane amidst the overwhelming work, a baby who don’t want to sleep early and wanderlusting (oops!). So I drew inspirations from Dubrovnik, one of my favourite cities from my summer trip last year. Just look at the waters!

IMG_2846

We stayed in a lovely apartment with the most splendid view, spent the day wandering around the Old Town, tasted the best risotto in my life and ended the night with an incredible performance by the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra. The following morning we visited the morning market at Gunduliceva Square and bought some local produce before heading off to Konavle (Radovčići Village).Please allow me to spam some photos here.

View from our apartment!

View from our apartment!

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

And the flight of stairs from our apartment to town

IMG_2287

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Visited the morning market for gifts and fresh fruits
Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

 

IMG_2300

IMG_6884

 

Back to the project. I decided to make a navy flare skirt, but it has to be something quick so a skirt with elastic band it is. And a rectangle skirt, no less. It was done in 2 nights. The skirt doesn’t require a pattern and all I had to do was to stitch the sides, sew the casing, insert the elastic band, neaten the hem and viola! I have a new skirt to wear. I am currently working on a tutorial for this project so stay tune for that!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

It is made of French Dior in a beautiful shade of navy. I really love how flowy and soft the fabric is, somewhat like satin, but a lot more breathable and less ‘synthetic’. Another bonus point is that French Dior doesn’t leave ugly water marks. You know, sometimes when satin get in contact with water and has dried, it leaves behind ugly water marks? French Dior doesn’t. This makes French Dior my best alternative to satin. Length is also perfect for mummy’s duties whenever I bring my little friend out too.

Then again, there is just something that I don’t quite fancy about the skirt. I’m not sure if it is the shape or that it is too rectangular that doesn’t bring out any shape. Or I just need to be a little hardworking to maintain a slightly more active lifestyle.

Tutorial: Sippy Cup Leash

This post has been sitting in my draftbox for the longest time but I didn’t have the time to photograph the steps to this tutorial. Finally as I need to make a few more of these leashes, I made some time to document the steps. Sometime last year, the cousin-in-law requested for a few of these leashes for one of my favourite boy. These leashes hold on to sippy cups, toys and such, prevents your baby from throwing them all over the floor and you from picking them up. A leash that is full of win!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetYou will need:
Ribbon 1 yard, velcro, D ring, lighter and usual sewing supplies.

1. Cut the ribbon into 2 pieces: 12″ (30cm) and 24″ long (60cm). I am using inches here because the ribbons I bought is sold by yards and I wanted about x and 2x in length.

2. Lightly brush the ends of the ribbon against the lighted lighter to prevent fraying. Be careful not to burn the ribbon.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset3. Loop the shorter ribbon through the D-ring, fold over the straight edge, leaving enough allowance for the longer ribbon to loop through. Sew to secure.

Processed with Moldiv4. Loop the longer ribbon through the loop that you just created, fold over and sew to secure.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset5. Make a loop from the other end of the longer ribbon by folding about 10cm up. Sew to secure.

6. Cut the velcro pieces: 7cm of the rough prickly side. Approximately 17cm of the furry side.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset7. Align the prickly velcro on the free end of the shorter ribbon. Sew around the edges to secure.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset8. Align the furry velcro beside the prickly velcro. I like the furry velcro to take up the rest of the shorter end, which measures about 17cm after aligning the prickly side. Sew around the edges to secure.

IMG_08279. C’est fini!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset10. Attach the 10cm loop side on the high chair and use the velcro side to wrap around the toy/sippy cup. Loop through D-ringt o secure

For those who understands Mandarin, you can also refer to the video tutorial here.

Introducing Fish and Meat;

Oops. I have been clearing my drafts and I found this from the introducing solids series unpublished. So here goes the last installment on introducing fish/meat.

Somewhere at 8-9 months you can start introducing fish/meat to your baby because your baby needs the extra supplement of protein, iron etc from food, especially from this developmental stage onwards. There are sources that suggests meats as one of the first foods to introduce but I chose to delay to 8-9months as I do not want overload her digestive system. I am doing the how to introduce in this post and not going into other details such as clean meats because they are all due to health and personal preferences and availability.

For a starter, you can try to let you baby get used to the taste of meat with soups cooked with meat. The soup will contain the essence of meat for your baby to enjoy. You will need to portion out the soup prior to seasoning or go easy on the seasoning. I usually add just enough to bring out the flavour.  I am a huge fan of soups, which I often cook in slow cooker. Just put all the ingredients in the slow cooker in the morning and you’ll have a bowl of hearty soup for dinner! I grew up drinking  soups so many of these recipes are from my mum or mother-in-law. Or you can refer to for Noob Cook some ideas.

For fish, I first began with salmon, cod fish (so expensive!) and white fish, which are safer fishes, because they are lower in mercury level. I add about to 1/4 slice of cod fish to her soup porridge, and subsequently introduced salmon belly porridge. If your baby has eczema or other allergy, it is better to consult your doctor before introducing fish. For meats, I have only introduced chicken and pork so far. No beef and lamb because we don’t usually cook them at home. For chicken, I chose chicken breast because it is higher in protein and lower in fats. For pork, I try my best to buy the better quality (lean) pork.

As she grows a little older, the fish and meat are added from the adults’ dinner. So we cook and take a portion out for her. There are times when I add chicken breast specially to her food, such as the chicken risotto.

So how do I prepare and store chicken breast?

Processed with Moldiv

I usually buy one whole breast from the wet market, deboned. I use the bone for making soups. Depending on the size, I slice up the chicken breast into 5-6 strips, about the width of 2 fingers. I placed them in a plastic bag, each piece separated and send them into the freezer. I use 1-2 strip of of chicken each time, when I prepare for about 7x60ml.

Other posts in this series of Introducing Solids:
Introducing Solids
Pasta
She Eats What We Eat
Oats to Joy
Storing Baby Food
Porridge
Barley

Wearing Fields of Lavender and Pink Dandelion

IMG_0849
Finally our little friend is able to fit into the first dress I made for her, which calls for a little celebration so we dressed up in mama-daughter outfit combination for a picnic with our friends. This is our only matching outfit: me in frilly sorbetto and hers in a test pattern that I drafted.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Fabric is a field of pink dandelion and lavender from Liberty which I bought from Tissus Reine in Paris. It gotta be one of the softest  that I’ve ever sewn with. Initially I planned to sew a simple sundress with it. Since I have to share yardage with the mini version, I decided to go with a tunic instead. Fabric is extremely breathable, which is very suitable for the hot and humid weather in Singapore.

Kindly pardon the untidy creases

Kindly pardon the untidy creases

I made the dress for our little friend while I was pregnant, with zero knowledge of sizing for babies. So I decided to test the pattern for a size 0 from a Japanese pattern book that I have. The next size is size 2 for 2yo so size 0 it is. Since our little friend is a premmie, she is a little small in size and took some time to be able to fill up the spaces of this roomy dress/top. The other time I dressed her up in it was in March, and the dress was loose so neckline was drooping a little. It is still a little low but fits a lot better. Haha. I might just dress her up in this a little more often before she outgrows it!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

An Atelier Brunette V-neck Tank

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

While packing for my Japan trip, I realized that I need a longer blouse/tunic for a trekking kind of itinerary. I didn’t want to repeat what I wore to Europe last year for the same purpose, so I decided to make one a few days before the trip for my project for June!

Since I only had a few days to complete it (including drafting), I planned for a very basic v-neck tank in Twist Dark Blue from Atelier Brunette. It is a beautiful piece of printed cotton,  lightweight and breathable. Perfect for trekking and Singapore’s unforgiving weather. I may just make a few more basic tank with all my fabric from Atelier Brunette!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset
What I made for the trip had one major flaw, the V-neck was too low! Well, too low for me to wear to work. Major boo!

I managed to save it with a pleated patch in the same fabric. I would also love to make it slightly longer, but the yardage doesn’t allow me to. I have already maximised the use of every single inch of the fabric.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

 

It is now a new favourite basic, with a twist!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

 

Traveling with a 10-Month-Old Baby: Other Logistics

After settling the itinerary, gearing up for the flight, booking the accommodations and deciding what and how to feed your baby, there are other logistics to settle. One big item for us to decide was whether to bring a stroller for the trip. Some mummy friends have also asked about my breastfeeding experience in Japan, whether Japanese are okay with breastfeeding in public etc. Some also asked about the availability of changing stations. These will be the 3 items, plus a shopping tip,  that I will be sharing about in the last instalment of this series.

Should I Bring My Stroller?
After reading a few posts on traveling in Japan with a baby on some travel forums*, we decided to wear her in the baby carrier and not bring our stroller along. It was a decision made at the very last minute: a week before we leave. Though the stroller can relieve us off her weight or hold our shopping, we are more mobile with our baby in the carrier. While most subway stations in Kyoto and Osaka have lifts and/or escalator, some sightseeing venues aren’t that stroller friendly.

Ginkakuji and Fushimi Inari

I am sure you wouldn’t want to bring your stroller to Ginkakuji and Fushimi Inari

There are also places that allows you to push your strollers along. Two main reasons why we decided not to bring the stroller. 1. It is another piece of ‘luggage’ that we need to handle. We choose a small luggage over the stroller. 2. We don’t want to be carrying the stroller up and down all the time. We also don’t want to restrict ourselves to stroller-friendly places.

Processed with Moldiv

Other parts of Fushimi Inari, Philosopher’s Walk, Kiyomizu-dera area, Arashiyama and Dotonbori are more stroller friendly

We encountered a family who brought their baby in the stroller up on the bus and it was taking up most of the space of the aisle, so it was a little difficult to pass through. I am not sure if the stroller is not foldable, but if you are bringing your stroller up the bus, it would be considerate if the stroller doesn’t take up almost the entire aisle :)

Wearing our baby in the carrier though can be a little tiring, it gives us a lot of mobility. It gives us some handsfree moment while we sightsee (especially when we need to take photos) or shop, Our baby also take her naps while we travel from place to place in the carrier itself. It also keeps us warm in colder days. You can even breastfeed discreetly in the carrier!

Processed with Moldiv

*Many mentioned that they brought both the stroller and the carrier but if they were to do the trip all over again, they would prefer to use the carrier exclusively. 

Breastfeeding in Japan
My breastfeeding experience in Japan has been pleasant. Even though I was prepared to nurse in public, I was a little concerned about the nursing culture as it is contained within an Asian culture (which tends to lean towards the conservative side). I am not sure whether I was oblivious or the Japanese are generally supportive (they are extremely friendly towards baby by the way), I do not feel intimated, or uncomfortable nursing in public in any way. 

I use a nursing cover whenever I nurse on the bus, at cafes, restaurants, Fushini Inari and up at the Ferris wheel in Osaka. I also made sure that my attires are all separates as I don’t have any nursing tops or dresses. I also wore bra tops from Uniqlo underneath my tops. They are one of the best nursing bras around – provides support and avoids any unnecessary exposure of skin when you lift your tops.

Processed with Moldiv

Changing Stations
I wouldn’t say that changing stations are abundant but they are definitely available in Kyoto and Osaka, mostly in the malls or larger/main subway stations. When we are unable to locate a changing station, we change her in the handicap toilet. There was once we changed her on a wide bench in a discreet corner.   

IMG_0244

Wherever changing stations are available, there are very spacious with sufficient space for a stroller. We have seen or use one at Tokyo Haneda domestic terminal, a couple a Arashiyama (one at the foot of the hill along the river, one at the main station), and one at Osakako Station (nearest to Kaiyukan). We are more flexible regarding the availability of facility, but are more concerned about getting the deed done.

Changing room in Tokyo Haneda Airport. I am standing in front of the changing table.

Very spacious hanging room in Tokyo Haneda Airport. I am standing in front of the changing table.

Shopping for Japanese Snacks/Tidbits
Everyone buys snacks and tidbits from Japan when they are there! You can buy most of them such as Meiji, Collon, Glico, Kitkat etc from the supermarkets or the speciality shops downtown. We did our snack shopping on the last day at Dotonbori, lug them all the way back to our accommodation, repack before heading to the airport. If you would like to save all these trouble, you can actually buy most of them at the airport. Prices are more or less the same! All you need to do is to prepare a (huge) bag for dump them all in.

This concludes the series of my experiences of traveling with a baby. The other three instalments of this series can be found here:
Before You Travel with Your Baby and Itinerary
Accommodation and Food
On Flying and What to Bring On Board

I hope that it has provided some useful information on traveling with a baby and make it an enjoyable experience for the whole family. It is important to be a little more flexible on the usual routine and make do along the way. Our first family trip to Japan was definitely an experience and I am looking forward to our next family trip!

“Let’s Go To The Zoo” Dress

Ever  since the baby came along, I don’t have much time as expected to sew for the both of us. I sew more for myself than for the baby. So for her first birthday, I want to sew a dress for her. In fact I want to sew something for her every birthday!

I planned to sew a dress in floral print but ended up with an animal print by Michael Miller which I think suits her a little better. For the pattern I chose the peasant dress. I have no idea where it originated from but you can find many patterns available online. I modified the pattern to a 12-18mo from sewmuchado and prettyprudent. I am not quite sure if it is the generic 12-18mo but it definitely fits my baby. I took 2 nights to complete the dress. Thank you little friend for sleeping early. It is not my neatest work. In fact I have a lot to work on the insides.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

 

I had about 1/2 yard of fabric left after completing the dress so I made a diaper cover to match it. Pattern and directions from Dana Made It. There is a little more fabric left so I might sew a pocket patch on my favourite tee just to match her dress!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

 

The peasant dress got to be one of my favourite to make because the combination is countless. I foresee myself making a million of peasant dress in many different colours and prints. Prior to this, I made 2 other dresses for our little friend before. Both require a little more time to work on the finishing, especially the bias tape at the neckline. The peasant dress is definitely a keeper and I might figure an adult size for myself!

 

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset