1 pattern, 3 dresses, and 3 worlds (1 year late, pt. 3)

we’re in summer 2021 (play along with me, people, i told you i’m a year late!). ’tis the time when the weather gets really hot and all i want to do is stay home… and sew!

now that i got my sewing mojo back after sewing the Kaksoset shirt, it was time to sew some new fabrics… as well as an old one.

a co-worker of mine brought into my attention this super easy summer dress style that everyone–and i mean everyone–can sew without any pattern. so i suppose i lied on the title of this post, because: there is no pattern needed!

self-made dress.

the idea of this dress is just the same as a million other easy sewing projects i had had before: box shape. this is how i made mine:

the first version i made was the Donald Duck dress. the fabric is viscose, and i think i got a bit more than 150 cm, probably 170 cm, so i got both sleeves and pocket pieces from the length of the fabric. the top part, as usual, is just made of box shape parts. the bottom AKA skirt parts are rectangular, and i gathered the top edge of those pieces.

this was the very first time i made this kind of pocket, where–instead of 2 inner pieces–it uses only 1 inner pocket piece. you sew that piece to the inner side of the skirt’s front piece, and then sew both layers and back piece together on the side seam. since this was my first time, you could see all the mistakes there as i made the pocket hole way too big and had to sew parts of it close after i tried on the finished garment!

the sleeves were always a joy for me to make, as i got to decide what kind of gathering or pleats i wanted to make. this time, i decided to fold it so that the inner side also have the right side, and just pleated away as symmetrically as i could.

with this dress, since we were all still very much locked down, i imagined that i visited Hawaii (remember Donald Duck in Hawaii, together with Mickey Mouse and Goofy? yeah, that’s the one i meant!).

self-made dress.

the next dress made me dream of going to Bali. not because this batik a Balinese batik (it’s not), but because i bought this fabric in Bali in 2015. Indonesian batik like these are usually sold per piece with borders on both edges, and the size is usually about 110-120 cm wide & 200 cm long. this one in particular is stamp printed onto a cotton fabric, and was just enough for me to make into a boxy summer dress…

… with the same kind of pockets as the previous one!

i even managed to use the border in all the right places too! one for the center back and then on both pockets’ mouths.

immediately after i finished sewing this one, i was sooooo sorry that i didn’t get more of these batik fabrics while i was in Indonesia that time. sigh. it’s such a beautiful fabric and super easy to sew.

in order to ease the pain of not being able to travel, also because i turned 40 last year, i got myself a present.

it turned out to be just perfect for the next dress. 😊

self-made dress, Marimekko purse.

this was the third and last summer dress i made in 2021, and it has since become my most fave summer dress of all time!

for this last model, i broke the skirt part into 2 tiers instead, and the first tier was made of 2 pieces of 100 wide rectangles, while the bottom tier was made of 2 pieces of 150 wide rectangles. i have also managed to finally perfect the pockets (well, knowing me, nothing is ever THAT perfect though), and look at the hand-pleated sleeves!!! ❀ i’m so proud of myself.

this lovely fabric is from Nerida Hansen, part of a collection made by Holli Zollinger called ‘Bazaar’. this specific print is called Gator Cosmic. as always, please Google it up to see the full print and fall in love with it!

one of the biggest reasons why i fell so hard for this fabric, other than the fact that pink alligators are just so cool, is because last year i came across this lovely book called Cayman Island, written by Jennifer Brasington-Crowley. i love everything about the book, the characters, and most of all, the book cover, which the author drew herself!

so when i saw this fabric, i knew it was meant to be mine! i call this dress my Cayman Island dress. πŸ₯°

with this last dress, my mind of course went straight to Australia (where the fabric brand comes from) and my heart went all the way to Cayman Island, the book.

and that, people, was how i got to 3 worlds with 3 dresses and 1 non-pattern pattern.

well, what do you know? we’ve gotten to the first half of 2021 already! there’s not much sewing projects left in 2021, hopefully i’d be able to post something more up-to-date after that. thank you for bearing with me! πŸ˜‹

1 year late, pt. 2

still doing last year’s late posts, this here was my next sewing project.

self-made blouse, Mango jeans, Marimekko bag.

everything in the previous post was done in January 2021, and the next time i picked up my sewing machine again wasn’t until… July 2021. πŸ˜› many things happened in between, including that mental health problem i mentioned here.

seeing this fabric was the first time–after a long while–i actually smiled and could picture myself wearing it again. (even though the base colour is beige. again. albeit a bit greenish this time. i guess i’m starting to like beige!!)

the fabric is from Marimekko, and the print name is Kaksoset (which means ‘twins’ in Finnish, designed by Maija Isola. to see the full print, please search in Google or go to Marimekko website. it’s so cute, i promise you won’t regret it! 😻

as soon as i saw the fabric and did a calculation in my head of how much fabric i’d need, i immediately knew that instead of breaking up the leopards, i wanted both leopards to be on the front piece part… which also means i’d rather not have any seams on the sides of the garment.

well, i managed to do just that, mwahahaha!

but before i go there, let’s rewind a bit to the beginning. because the print is so big, and it depends on where it was previously cut (the fabric’s not sold per print repeat, so you may get the beginning of the fabric at the middle part of the print), i counted that 80 cm of the fabric (around 147 cm wide) should be enough for a boxy shirt.

boxy shirt means exactly that: i didn’t use any pattern, just made 2 rectangles (because i didn’t want the sides to have seams, remember?) and joined them at the back. then i cut the arm holes by copying one of my t-shirts. for the collar, as usual, i used Burda pattern 7936–only the collar stand this time instead of the whole collar, and added about 2-3 cm of the height to make it look more ‘oriental’. i had wanted to do sleeves in the beginning, using different fabric, but in the end i figured this model is much better.

i also imagined that i might want to use it as a vest sometimes with the buttons unbuttoned, so i made sure the inside looks neat too. i added polka dot bias tape to the inner side of the button list, also because i wanted to keep the leopards’ faces & bodies intact and not fold too much to the inner side. for the arm holes, i used off-white bias tape.

and the buttons? they were from Marimekko Outlet, so i imagined it’s like a small reunion between them and the fabric! 😁 i still love the idea of using different coloured thread to sew buttons in place, but since i didn’t have orange/brown thread, i used red instead. it seems to be working just fine.

so this is the ‘new format’ of pics i was talking about. these pics were at least much easier to take (and edit) and a lot more fun too! from now on (until who knows when) i’m gonna stick to this format.

how’s everyone’s 2022 been going so far? better than the previous year, hopefully!

1 year late

hoooo boy, where should i start? (should i even start?)

well, the story goes like this. i sewed a few things last year. took some pictures, too. and then… it’s suddenly 2022 and i never got around to post them! actually, some of the items i didn’t even get the chance to take pictures of until after the year changed, so… πŸ˜… whoops.

but i’m here now, and–probably for the whole 2022–i’m gonna reminisce what the year 2021 was like for me, in sewing. mwahahaha. yep, this is just part one of the ‘1 year late’ posts that will come after this. much, much later after this.

i’ll try to make things quick and short so that maybe, some time this year, i can catch up with myself and actually LIVE in 2022. πŸ˜‚ we’ll see.

self-made blouse, Muji pants.

i like blouses and button-up shirts with a bit of a twist. so when i found this Saraste blouse pattern from Breaking the Pattern book by Named Clothing, i knew i just had to make it!

the fabric i used this time is a lightweight cotton denim with airplane print. ✈❀ i used the wrong side for a few details, as you can see from the pics.

i actually had a blast sewing this (no sarcasm)! maybe after sewing jerseys and viscose over & over again, it was just such a relief for me to sew good ol’ cotton. the only annoying thing is that of course i had to finish all the edges with overlocker, but it was still relatively easy.

i played around again with the buttons, using different ones for the center front and the cuffs. life is serious enough as it is, so why be serious in sewing, right?

i like the blouse pattern so much, i already have another fabric that i’m gonna make into this same blouse (cotton again, of course). hoping to be able to sew it this year! (yes, by this year, i mean the actual year of 2022.)

self-made t-shirt, New Yorker skirt.

next project was a super simple boxy t-shirt. the fabric is from Verson Puoti (Finnish design brand!), and i got it a few years ago at the Ommel festival. it was expensive (for me) so i only got a small piece of 80 cm (around 140 cm wide). i just fell in love with the print, and the colour is also perfect for my taste!

ever since i learned how to use the elastic edge band, i had wanted to sew it EVERYWHERE. thank goodness i didn’t. because, well, how would my clothes look if they’re everywhere?? instead, i used it for this project’s neckline. the tulle fabric i used for the back side is the same one i used for the leopard t-shirt i made the year before.

in fact, the whole model is exactly the same as that leopard t-shirt, except that this fabric is cotton jersey. so… the sleeves didn’t come out as frilly as i wanted them to be!

but since when has that bothered me? right–never. so i still proudly use this shirt wherever i go. the sleeves are asymmetrical? well, they’re meant to look that way, ha!

all right, that’s all for now! on my next sewing-related blogpost, i’m trying out a new format for the pictures. because, frankly, i can’t be bothered to take pictures these days, or make any extra effort to look nice in front of the camera–you know, when all i want to do is just sleep, eat, and sew somewhere in between.

hope it’ll still come out okay, and fear not: i have not forgotten this blog!

happy new year, everyone!

pizzazz for the pizzas

Barcelona, 2007

me, saying to the waiter at a restaurant: i’ll have the burger and fries, please. thank you.

husband, looking at me with bewilderment (after the waiter had gone away): that’s the third time in a row you ordered that meal here. aren’t you going to try the pizzas? they’re so fresh & good.

me, thinking of the Pizza Hut & Izzi Pizza back in Indonesia and Koti Pizza in Finland, and wondering what could be so special about pizzas: no, thanks.

14 years later, and he still hasn’t let me forget this conversation. πŸ˜…

as a silly Asian tourist, back then when we had our first trip abroad together as a married couple i chose to eat burger (what? i love meat!) rather than try a fresh pizza that was–according to my husband–different than the other pizzas we’d had. in my head, pizzas were just pizzas no matter where you go.

that was before i got to know what a Neapolitan pizza is.

based on a page in Wikipedia, Neapolitan pizza is different from the other pizzas from the fact that it has to have specific tomatoes in the tomato sauce and Mozzarella di Bufala Campana in the topping, and also that when the pizza is done it is soft & tender from the middle part.

my first experience of eating a Neapolitan pizza was actually done in Finland. there is this hip & trendy Neapolitan pizza restaurant in the city center, and after our first try, my husband & i fell in love with it. we’d go there for special occasions, and for the first time in my life, i really understood what my husband meant when a pizza can be ‘so fresh & good’.

the restaurant’s pizza con salame.

the restaurant’s diavola pizza.

and then, just like the other things, 2020 happened and ruined it.

for over a year, we couldn’t go to that restaurant and we missed those pizzas so much.

but 2020 didn’t only bring bad things.

it brought me new friends, and one of them is my lovely Italian friend, E.

during my mental health problem days in 2021, i asked if she knew how to make Neapolitan pizza dough. to my delight, she said yes, and generously gave me the recipe!! 😍

i was so excited to try it, and even though we don’t have stone oven (my Italian friend doesn’t have one either), we decided to give it a go.

FYI, before that, i had never made pizza dough on my own in my whole life. so when it all came out perfectly & the taste was exactly the same as the one we used to buy from the restaurant, i was so damn proud of myself!

kneading the dough by hand is supposedly a ‘must’ for making Neapolitan pizzas.

i’m too shy to share the actual recipe (because who knows, a Neapolitan might see it and scold me that it’s incorrect or whatever), but i can tell you that the dough consists of flour, yeast, water, salt, and sugar. olive oil is optional, but of course i use it all the time. i personally think this is what makes the dough taste exactly the same as the restaurant’s pizza.

olive oil… yum!

the original recipe from my friend said to use less amount of yeast, and the rising time is 12 hours.

let it rise… for 8 hours!

12 HOURS?!?!?! yeah, i might have fainted when she said that. but then she said if i double the amount of the yeast, i can let it rise for ‘only’ 8 hours, so i opted for this method!

slice into the tomatoes just a tiny bit…

for the tomato sauce, my friend said it’s okay to use canned tomatoes, but we really wanted to have the best ingredients possible, so we found a recipe online on how to make a Neapolitan pizza tomato sauce. just like the Wikipedia page said, it needs San Marzano tomatoes.

… and let the tomatoes simmer in boiling water for a few minutes.

it may sound like a hassle for some, but believe me, it’s actually kind of addictive. being able to do everything from scratch gives a new meaning (to me) to eat this delightful food, as if there is a purpose to everything i do. ❀ it gave me back my appetite which wasn’t around for a time back then, and it made me love eating again.

now the tomato skin gets off very easily!

so for the tomato sauce, we used fresh San Marzano tomatoes (peeled and crushed), olive oil, salt, oregano, and basil leaves.

crush, crush.

before reading the Wikipedia page about Neapolitan pizza, my husband and i planned to copy the topping ingredients from the restaurant’s menu. our faves were the Con Salame pizza and Diavola.

more olive oil.

i asked my Italian friend if she knew good mozzarella cheese for the pizzas. she was the one who told me about Bufala mozzarella, and trying our luck, we searched for it.

chopped basil leaves: check!

luckily for us, we found it, and also found some salami that is also from the Naples, and even Nduja sausage (a very spicy sausage ‘spread’), all of which are the very same things that were written on the restaurant’s menu!

the wait was finally over! phew!

out of laziness (hello, this is me we’re talking about), i always spread the dough by hand. and funnily enough, now that i found that Wikipedia page, it turns out that it should exactly be made like that instead of with a rolling pin!

i do try to make it as thin as possible, but since i’m not a pro, i guess sometimes they’re still a bit thicker than 3mm.

con salame: Neapolitan salami, Bufala mozzarella, basil leaves.

the first few times we made the pizzas, i cut the Bufala mozzarella into small pieces like the picture above. lately, though, i’ve been cutting them in thin slices but let the whole width be the way they are.

fresh from the oven!! πŸ˜‹

the first time we made this pizza on our own & ate it, i almost cried from happiness. it was just so surreal to taste the exact same Neapolitan pizza as the ones we used to buy from the restaurant after more than a year of not having them, and the fact that we did it ourselves was just an unforgettable experience.

sometimes we add chili flakes to the con salame pizza just for a bit of spiciness.

we’ve been making these pizzas now at least once a month. not only does it save a lot of money, it gives me such a pleasure to make them.

diavola: Nduja sausage, Bufala mozzarella, pecorino romano cheese, basil leaves.

even when it’s a workday for me, i’d just get up an hour earlier to make the dough in the morning, leave it to rise as i go to work, and then after coming home we’d continue the rest of the process.

a slice of the diavola pizza, before the Nduja sausage is spread.

if you ever want to try making your own Neapolitan pizza, i suggest you splurge on the topping ingredients. try to go as close to the original ingredients as you can. believe me, you won’t regret a single penny you spent on it!

after spreading the Nduja sausage, this is what it looks like.

next time we can travel again (and i’m already dreaming of going to Italy, of course), i’m definitely going to try to eat the local pizzas. who knew there are all kinds of pizzas out there?

for now, at least, these pizzas are my newfound treasure & hobby. πŸ•πŸ₯° buon appetito!

when life is ‘so sew’

before we start: I FOUND THE CLASSIC EDITOR BUTTON!!!! i’m so happy! hooray!

alright, now we move on to the next exciting topic, which is no longer a surprise if you’ve read my post early this year… that is: i’ve been sewing again. πŸ₯²

the real chronology of things is that i was happily sewing earlier this year. when i had my winter holiday, i sewed 4 things (2 of which will be featured here in this post) and thought for sure i was gonna be sewing once a month at least from that point onwards.

but that wasn’t what happened.

as mentioned on my previous post, i had mental health problems which made me lose my appetite, not only toward food, but also toward sewing. it wasn’t nice. but it wasn’t the first time i had it either, as old readers of this blog might have noticed. so i gave myself time to heal and time to rest.

it wasn’t until about 2-3 weeks ago that i finally got the will and strength to pick up my sewing hobby again. in a matter of a week, i sewed 6 items of clothing. 😱 i haven’t taken pics of all of the newer ones–i need another form of will and strength for that–but with that kind of achievement, i now finally feel ready to post about my previous sewing projects (the ones i made in winter). just 2 of them per post, so this post won’t be too long.

the very first project i made this year was nothing ‘extra special’, but it was out of necessity.

it’s a fanny pack. it’s a necessity for me at work, as i need to have all kinds of tools with me all the time! and it was my very first time trying to sew a real, functional fanny pack, so of course it wasn’t all trouble-free. (btw, in case you’re wondering, the background of the picture needed to be edited because otherwise you won’t be able to see where the fanny pack is. πŸ˜… so sorry for the weird pic!)

anyway, i didn’t use any pattern for this, but a lot of calculations. i used a sort of awning fabric because i thought it’d be durable, but holy moly… it frays a lot! even after i serged all the edges, they still fray! πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

also, i’m not quite sure how it happened, but even when all my calculations were correct, i still managed to have extra length on one side of the fanny pack when i was sewing the back side, so as you can see on the above picture, there’s quite a big of a ‘folding’ on the seam between the back side and the left side part. i was too tired to fix it, and i doubt anyone will see it, so it stays that way till now.

other than those mishaps, i also sewed the elastic band inside out (you probably won’t be able to see it from the pics, which is a good thing). of course i also realized it too late and was again too lazy to fix it. i had meant to attach plastic clasp on the elastic band, but in the end… just couldn’t be bothered. πŸ˜…

when it was done, i felt quite proud of having made something like this… but couldn’t help feeling like it was too plain. so i added the ‘handmade’ label which i bought from a small haberdashery store in Krakow in 2019.

i’ve been using this pack every day now at work, but sadly it’s been fraying too much that the zippers have gotten stuck in some places. i’ll just have to sew another one with better fabric next time. well, it was good while it lasted.

my next sewing project was not made without mistakes either (after all, what am i, if not a lazy and full-of-mistakes seamstress?) but let me start off with the good things first.

self-made dress, flight socks, Zara boots.

when i saw this viscose crepe fabric, i just had to get my hands on them. i mean lions! zebras! leopards! what’s not to love? me and crazy prints belong together forever. ❀ even if the base colour is beige (me and beige do NOT usually belong together, ever).

i made this dress using the same pattern i used for this one. i even used the same lace on the back shoulder part!

i had had that previous dress for ages and only now (well, earlier this year, before i sewed this) i began to wonder why i hadn’t made any new dresses using the same pattern. it was fairly easy to make, very easy to wear, and this style seems to be trendy at the moment.

since i got about 2 meters of this fabric, it was just perfect for this project.

on the left circle up there, you can see that the topmost button is a different colour than the rest of the buttons. this was partly due to the fact that i didn’t have enough of the other buttons and partly because i saw my husband’s button-up shirt from Zara with similar design and thought it looks so cool. so i decided to copy that style. πŸ˜‰

this time i wanted the hem to be longer so i won’t have to fuss around with it when i wear it to work.

having this in viscose also means that it won’t get static in the dry winter here.

looking at these pictures you might think there are absolutely no mistakes made here. well….

as you can see from the right picture above, that’s how crazy my sewing went under the collar! πŸ˜‚ the first stitch did not attach the lace to the collar at all, so i had to do another stitch, which was the ugly one. and of course i decided not to take off the first stitch, because two stitches will hold better than one, right?!? and it’s under the collar all the time, so no one else but me (and you) will ever know about it. ha!

this dress went straight to my list of fave dresses to wear to work this year, so i’m very proud of it. my life right now may be just so-so, but with this newly refreshed appetite for sewing, i’m hoping to turn it into a ‘so sew’ instead. 😊

as always, thank you for reading wherever you are, and i’ll try to be back soon with some more sewing & baking stuff. have a wonderful August, everyone!

butter makes everything better

raise your hand if you agree with me. πŸ™‹πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

okay, so i haven’t been exactly diligent when it comes to writing blog posts these days, but i’ll blame it on the pandemic, along with everything else that’s been wrong with me and my life. it’s the truth, though.

earlier this year, i had some health problems that made me unable to eat as usual. and i used to LOVE eating. when we go traveling somewhere, eating something new and unique is one of my fave things to do. it made me double sad when i couldn’t go anywhere during the pandemic time and couldn’t even find the joy in eating.

so i pushed myself to start learning new recipes. together with my husband, we learned to cook new things. food that we usually bought ready-made or frozen, we now do from scratch.

and, i pushed myself to bake new things. it had been a while since i last tried any online recipe for sweet stuff, and the first thing i decided to try to make this year (because it looked so simple) was something called voisilmΓ€pulla in Finnish. the name literally translates to ‘butter eye bun’, hence the title of this blog post.

i used this recipe and it worked out so well!

there’s always something magical about seeing your dough rise. kind of like watching your baby grow, in a lot smaller scale! πŸ˜„

this bun recipe is slightly different from my mom-in-law’s bun recipe, but i followed it to the t and it was a successful experiment, even for a beginner like me!

time to add the butter! ❀

so where does the butter go, you ask?

right to the top center of each bun! the above picture was taken when i first tried the recipe, which was why the ditch were quite small. i have since learned to make them bigger so i can fit more butter into the bun!

the white thing is the additional flour after the butter and sugar are inserted to the ditch.

time to bake them!

needless to say, just smelling the fragrant scent of the butter made my mouth water already. and because i did it all from scratch, it made me feel useful (like i had a purpose) and want to eat them, because otherwise it would be such a waste!

so buttery. so good.

yes, they tasted as good as they looked!

after baking these, i started seeing food the way i used to again. it made me work up my appetite and the more i cooked & baked, the more i felt like eating normally.

and you know what? having good food always make me feel instantly great. for me, it’s the butter that did it this time. it really did make my life better!

i’ll try to post more from now on, as i do have more baking/cooking/sewing stuff lined up for blog posts. in the meantime, i hope you’re all keeping yourselves healthy, both physically and mentally!

PS. i’m having a hard time using the block-editor to post this, as the image captions can never look like the way i want them to anymore. 😒 since there’s no way i’m paying to upgrade my blog to be able to have the classic editor plugin, i’ll just have to live with this weird-looking caption now.