Maternity Pencil Skirt

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While the month of January is traditionally used to sew a new cheongsam for CNY, I got distracted by my lack of maternity clothes and this amazing tutorial that I found. Quite out of point from the target o set at the beginning of the year (I blame the hormones) but at least the workshop is still very much functioning!

I have been reading cottonandcurls for a while and she is totally amazing. She has quite a number of tutorials on sewing DIY that doesn’t even require a pattern! I took the idea from one of her tutorials and made my own maternity skirt!

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A few things I learned:

1. I read online that I should change to a ballpoint needle when sewing jersey knit. I didn’t and it turned out okay.

2. I also used my pencil skirt pattern for this project instead of tracing it out from an existing one. Not sure if it’s a maternity wear (can’t differentiate between baby and fats. Ha!) or I’m using jersey knit which sits nicely on the belly, I end up taking in a couple of inches at the waist for a better fit. Still working on the ideal ease allowance.

3. Jersey knit curls! It is best to cut and sew immediately.

I forsee that this skirt would be a staple for now until I decide to do something to the post partum body. It might even be a good non-maternity pencil skirt because it helps to keep the tummy in place!

A Massimo Dutti inspired skirt and a furry baroque-esque blouse

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This skirt was made two years back but I just didn’t have the time or opportunity to document it on photograph. So here it is, featured for the first time in Me Made May 2015! So sometime in 2013 I walked past Massimo Dutti and was attracted to a black lace skirt on display, which I do not have a picture of unfortunately. I stood at the window display and examined the skirt very closely. It is black, made of sturdy cotton lace and it’s essentially a rectangle skirt with lots of gathers. The original was a mini-skirt which I did not fancy so I made mine longer.

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Then immediately, I went to my favourite fabric shop at Chinatown and asked for the specific kind of lace. The always so helpful owner showed me a beautiful piece of black lace, which didn’t cost much. $8/m and I need just 1m. Perfect lace, perfect price. I lined the lace with a soft polyester lining in white, to bring out the pattern of the lace. It is one of my favourite skirt that sits in my wardrobe. This skirt is extremely versatile. I can dress it up with a formal work blouse for work, or down with a denim shirt. I even wore it till the mid of my second trimester during pregnancy.

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Featured in the same photo of the all black lace on lace ensemble, is the furry baroque-esque blouse that was my project for the month of March. It is a really basic blouse, made in my favourite Anda. I also love the main feature of this blouse, that is the fabric itself. It is lace of some sort, furry velvety patches on really fine tulle/mesh. The prints reminds me of the baroque style. Hence the name furry baroque-esque blouse. It is another versatile number in my wardrobe that I’ll most likely be wearing very often!

 

The Black Flare Skirt;

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This year I wanted to sew a lot more basic staple pieces to add to my wardrobe. To be more specific, I need more basic skirts and blouses so that I can wear separately so that they are a little more breastfeeding friendly. I have already made two pencil skirts (1 plain and 1 printed) and it is time for a different skirt shape: my favourite flare skirt. I decided on black because I want a plain black skirt. I drew inspirations from the following outfits, some exuding a bit of French flair with the stripes and basic colours:

The skirt is made from a material called rose skin, which feels so much like the texture of rose petals! It is a heavy fabric (I wouldn’t want to deal with flying skirt with a baby in tow), falls and drapes nicely and have a matt finish. It is another versatile number, which I can dress up or down with. I also selected a modest knee length, which is much more convenient as a mummy on duty and for teaching. I wouldn’t want to worry about exposing myself when I bend over or chase after my baby!

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I also used an interfacing to tidy up the waist line, instead of the usual waist band.

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The Pencil Skirt

First project of the year is a simple pencil skirt. It’s a basic skirt that works for me, which I discovered very recently. I have no idea what took me so long to sew a pencil skirt for myself! I used to shun away from it because I thought it’s only for people with smaller and skinner frames. Oh I am so wrong! I love it how it brings out the curves and smoothens the thighs. It can be worn on a casual day out and as a formal work wear, depending on the material and the entire ensemble. It’s so versatile!

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I sew my first pencil skirt last year, for a wedding, as part of a two-piece ensemble which didn’t turn out as pleasantly as expected (So no photos for that!). However the individual pieces are lovely as they are. I love the pencil skirt especially. It is made from duchess satin. It was the first time I worked with duchess, man, it was such a beautiful experience! Unlike silk satin, duchess satin doesn’t slip as easily. It is also very luxe, and not as shiny. Though it may fray rather easily, this can be solved by overlocking the pieces with a serger.  For this particular skirt, I took in quite a few inches at the hem. It was comfortable to wear, no problems when walking but there was some restrictions when getting up and down the stairs. I decided to reduce the amount to take it for my second pencil skirt.

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For the second skirt, I selected a printed cotton, which I bought from Kluang a couple of years ago. It’s in a vibrant red batik print, just what I need for my dull wardrobe and as I reminisce the time spent in Bali. Disclaimer: My skirt has been ironed! I just seem to smoothen it out for a creaseless photo.

Now that I have a staple solid and printed skirt that works for me, I will definitely need more additions to my wardrobe, such as a basic black one like what Amanda Seyfried wore in her role in Letters to Julia. I will also be sewing more skirts, bringing back Project MNS!

The “Aprils in Paris” Skirt

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetFor the month of April, I was inspired by blooming cherry blossoms which are so spectacular in Japan, Korea and Paris! I wished I was there to see the cherry blossoms in person but work schedule doesn’t allow me to. I have the perfect fabric to join in the season. If I can’t enjoy the view in person, I might as well wear it! The fabric was from the Mauerpark Flea in Berlin, at 3€/m. It feels a lot like a cotton blend of some sort, smooth to the touch, lightweight but heavy enough to fall nicely, just a tad sheer but is negligible. The fabric, however, wrinkles rather easily.

It was tough deciding what to make with it. Initially I wanted to make a cheongsam for this year’s Chinese New Year but I didn’t have time. I could still make one for next year’s. I was also considering a shift dress, pleated flare skirt, pencil skirt, or a fit and flare dress with sleeves. So I scrolled through the millions of photos of cherry blossoms on my Facebook and instagram. It seems like the whole world was in Japan and Korea catching the spectacular sight. Allow me to side track a little here, among all the photos that flooded my social media, this series by Nathan Wu is my favourite! Nathan shot for my prewedding photoshoot (on film!) and I really love his works. His works focus a lot on capturing the natural lighting, to create a dreamy romantic feel. I also love the soft pastel hue in the photos. This series of cherry blossoms, however, is shot on DSLR. Nonetheless, the cherry blossoms were in its peak of the bloom and the lighting during sunset was equally perfect and magical.

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Amazingly beautiful, isn’t it?

Back to what to sew. After looking through the photos, I knew that it gotta be a flare skirt: I would love to twirl among these blooms! So a pleated flare skirt it is! I used a very simple knife pleat.
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For the finishing of the skirt, I used a biased tape instead of a waistband or interfacing.
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As for the hem, it is a baby rolled hem done with my serger. This is my favourite heming for skirts with curved hems!
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It’s about wearing cherry blossoms so why Aprils in Paris? Aprils because it is my birthday month and April is often when spring starts kicking into action. I hope that one day, while I am still young, I will get to travel in April and witness all the blossoms of Spring. And Paris? I am dying to return to Paris, this time with the husband, the city of love, city of lights. I fell in love with Paris in 2012 and I can’t wait to be back! A trip around France would be perfect too. Cherry blossoms do bloom in France and other countries in the temperate region 🙂 Or maybe one day I will go chasing for sakuras in Japan.

The “Wicked” Skirt

Here’s #3 from Project MNS. It was all done very late last year but I didn’t have any photos taken till today. Shortly after the skirt was completed, I had food poisoning and was confined at home no where to wear it to. Then I wore it to catch Wicked The Musical earlier this year but didn’t take any OTD. Moreover, the skirt needed some alterations. It was a tad too large and I have to take in quite a bit at the pleats.

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The Skirt: Tulip skirt, less tapered at the hem
Fabric: Cotton mix with slight stretch from Spotlight

I can’t resist another tulip skirt so I resued the pattern from my cheongsam. A-lines don’t fit me too well so tulips are the next best alternative for fitted skirts. It’s a shape that is easy to wear. I can never have enough of these pretty tulips!

Hello February!

It’s been one month into 2012 and I’m settling well in new routines. Settled down because it was quite a huge mess when the semester began. Everything is going on a full swing in school, assignments are piling up and deadlines looming. CNY is halfway there. My family usually gets all the visiting down on the first day. I’m looking forward to the last day of CNY because it’s also known as the Chinese Valentine’s Day!

Looking Back 2011

2011 has been a rather fruitful year, sewingly (if there’s even such a word). My sewing journey was aptly summarised in this post:

  1. 4 projects of my Intermediate course (cheongsam, maxi dress, trousers and a kate middleton-inspired lace dress). Other than the cheongsam, the rest were yet to be featured for various reasons. I will try to snap a few shots.
  2. made 8 dress/skirts for Project X
  3. 2 skirts for Project MNS. I’m terribly lagging behind in this because I was busy with preparation and packing/unpacking for my Nepal trip. That said, I am extending this project, because I need the skirts!

As for my 2011 resolutions:

#1 Finish drawing all patterns from Beginners and Intermediate classes
I did finish all patterns from Beginners classes but so so so reluctant to complete the rest from the Intermediate classes: PJs, children’s’ wear and stuff.

#2 Buy less fabric and use up the stash in the black box
Buy less, yes. Use up, not quite. I am hoarding A LOT. Other than the French Dior and loots from Hanoi, my collection of fabric has not expanded. That’s rather incredible!

#3 Make full use of scrap cloths by making more tissue and other pouches
Not at all! Scraps are growing by each projects.

#4 Keep my workstation neat and tidy
Not quite sure if I keep it neat and tidy but I tidied my workstation a number of times and I can find all my stuff!

#5 Be daring and welcome opportunities to practise my dressmaking skills
No opportunities as of now.

#6 Be more diligent to finish up semi-completed projects. I tend to take my own sweet time to finish each project or have very long breaks in between.
All but one uncompleted projects cleared!!!

Sewing Resolution 2012

As mentioned in one of my previous post, I signed up to be a contributor of Sew Weekly 2012! Disclaimer of my contributions: I will only follow themes that inspires, do not require purchase of new fabric as much as possible and whenever time allows. As much as I would like to sew weekly, I will only do so if time allows amidst school work. School is still my priority. I will be graduating in a year’s time and there’s just so much to be completed! With that, I only have two simple resolutions:

#1 Sew as much as I can, as neatly as I can

#2 Continue to buy less fabric and use up the stash

Keep on sewing!

Till the next post!