A Tartan Cheongsam

Hello fellow sewing comrades, I am back in action after the longest hiatus! 2016 was spent being pregnant, caring for the new born and shifting to our current place. Fabrics were left on the work station and eventually packed and stored in the cupboard. New outfit for Chinese New Year was the largest motivator this time round.

Since daddy has a tartan-plaid kind of shirt, I thought we could all be matchy matchy. The fabric which I bought from Nomura Tailor in Kyoto came in useful!  And apparently it is very difficult to find nice tartan. I know because I ran out of fabric (for J’s pants) and combed through spotlight and Chinatown to no avail! I started a little too late on our outfits this year so I didn’t have time to finish up J’s pants. I hope to make J something real soon!

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Back to the dress, my dress is modified from the nursing dress pattern that I drafted, which I realized that I never got to share the pattern tutorial. I am tidying up the post and will be sharing real soon! I extended 5cm at the hem which I joined to the end of the dart on the bodice for a little flare.

Besides the tartan print, my favourite part of the dress is the black lace trim, which I was trying to destash. I think I got it from Troyes.

 

C’s dress is drafted from a Japanese pattern book and I added the mandarin collar for the occasion. She also had matching cotton crotchet trim for a softer look.

 

Now that I have overcame the inertia, I hope to continue to sew this year. For the obvious reasons: wardrobe crisis! I still have clothes, just that I need a little more variety because I have retired many while I was packing for the move. I hope to be able to sew 3 dresses (1 down, 2 more to go), 3 tops and 3 bottoms for myself this coming year. If time permits, I hope to squeeze in some clothes for my little humans too! And of course, destash!

January: Sewing for CNY

Earlier this year, I targeted to sew a shift dress for myself every month. Well it totally slipped my preggie brain that I will most likely be spending January sewing for the Chinese New Year in February! I did just that except that I was sewing for our little friend (and got distracted by a maternity skirt).


For CNY 2016, I planned to wear a loose fit cheongsam that I made last year for Teachers’ Day. The cheongsam was made from a beautiful batik bought in Bali and we had plans to make a family outfit with it. CNY 2016 was the time to! I had intended to make a shirt for the husband but my test attempt wasn’t quite successful so we sent his shirt for tailoring instead. I spent the second half of January working on a little cheongsam: a shift dress for my daughter. Goal half met?
I drafted a bodice block based on Pattern Drafting (a book we photocopied from our teacher) and a few dresses of her size. Feeling unconfident, I went on Singapore Spoolettes for recommendation of patterns for 2yo girls and was recommended the Tinny Dress from Straight Grain. It has the shape that I am looking for and I used it for a size reference. I cut out the size for 2yo but it looks really huge for our little friend. Using Tinny as a guide, I did some modifications to the original pattern that I drafted and here is what I made.

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The dress was made from the fabric scraps from nursing dress so I had some issues with the length of the dress. I had planned for a cheongsam dress but decided to make a 2-piece dress instead. The skirt portion was a piece of light weight crimson cotton from Perth. I finished the dress in 3 nights, of which I spent the last night hand stitching the insides of the collar. There is still room for improvement on how I handle the mandarin collar. Not my neatest work, but that will do for now. Planning a family outfit is so fun and I have already have some idea for CNY 2017, with another one joining us!

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.

Wearing Fields of Lavender and Pink Dandelion

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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.

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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!

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“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.

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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!

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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!

 

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On National TV!

My dearest sew-mate and I had the prviledge to be interviewed by the local TV station on our passion: sewing! The programme features people with interesting hobbies and our story was about sewing our own wedding gown. It’s my first time sharing about sewing in Mandarin so pardon me if I sound too nervous. The feature is on a Chinese channel, hence in Mandarin. For my non-Chinese speaking readers, I’m sorry that there’s no translation. But basically the feature was about my sew-mate and I making our own wedding dresses, where we got our inspiration from, and why pick up dress-making. I’m also unable to download the video so I’ve attached the links as follow:

http://www.channel8news.sg/mobile8/ca/morningexpress/episodes/20141121-me-interest/1485536.html

We were also requested to do a tutorial for the feature, hence I decided to show a toy/bottle/sippy cup leash which is extremely useful for growing kids. (I had to goolge translate velcro in Mandarin. Heh)

http://www.channel8news.sg/mobile8/ca/morningexpress/episodes/20141121-me-sewing/1485768.html

I began sewing due to pure interest. It has been almost 5 years. I’m not the best seamstress and there’s definitely much room for improvement creatively, yet I’m so thankful for the recent features which provided a platform where I can share the things I love.

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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