preparing for Christmas

self-made top and culottes, unbranded necklaces from Jakarta – Indonesia and from mum-in-law

finished making this top just in time for Christmas.

it’s the same model as this and made the same way too, in part just to see if i still remember how to do it. so the short answer is, i do. 😁

the fabric i used is merino wool knit jersey that is made in Finland. i probably had about 1,7 m of it and it’s about 120 cm wide. this time i didn’t make any mistakes on the front part, and that means i had enough fabric to make long sleeves.

this fabric was relatively easy to work with. the only problem i had was the fact that it shed quite a bit of dust/fur as i sew (even though i already washed it before sewing), so the cleaning up took a while longer than usual.

after i was done with the sleeves, i just realized that i didn’t make the cuffs as neat as i should have (and as i had done many times before). i was too lazy to open them up again, so what-evah.

i’ve never really been a ’red’ person, so i think this green colour is going to be my Christmas colour theme this year. surprisingly, the colour of this top matches perfectly with the colour of the culottes i made in the summer! all i needed to complete the look was some red accessories.

and i think i did a pretty good job! i’m all warm and comfy in this top, and i really love how it turned out, too. i’m still deliberating whether or not i should add some gold studs to the neckline, but for now i will let it be like this. ❤

Christmas, now i’m ready for you!

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co-ordinate

my back is still hurting at times, and i’ve been going back to work and back to sick leave again, but i try to slowly co-ordinate my life back to the way it was.

and speaking of co-ord….

self-made co-ord set, New Yorker t-shirt, COS shoes, H&M earrings

… i have also been well enough to sew! phew!

this was a super cute fabric i saw and just had to get. i mean, look at them bunnies! and i love the art nouveau style of the print. the fabric tag says Maria Natali Collection, however my googling didn’t find any result of who that is.

but who cares! the print is too cute to miss!

at first i only wanted to make pants out of this fabric, but then it turned out that i bought enough for a whole suit! i have always wanted to do a co-ord set like this, so now was my chance!

first, i made the pants. the fabric is a stretch polyester that’s also quite beefy, so it reminds me a bit of scuba. i used the same pattern as these pants, and i can tell you that with this fabric i succeeded much better than the previous attempt!

i am super proud of how i managed to align the print on all pieces. this has never happened before, haha!

i also learned to make the end result look a little bit more neat than usual by putting bias tape on the edges of the waistband lining.

the only part i kind of struggled with were the hems, mainly because i stupidly forgot to make the seam allowances wider as they go down, since the pants themselves get narrower as they go down. so i opted to sew the hems by hand and they look alright.

for the zipper, i used my fave technique: exposed zipper.

then, with the rest of the fabric, i made a blouse that can also be worn as a jacket.

i didn’t use any pattern for the blouse, just a boxy top with added amount on the center front (for the buttons) and big enough squares for each sleeves so i could pleat them.

again the fact that the print was placed perfectly amazed me! look at how the bunnies placements on the blouse even matched the placements on the pants on both front parts!

this was the first time i tried making button holes with my new super smart sewing machine, and my jaw dropped when i found out how easy it was. i literally didn’t have to do anything else but press the foot pedal! 😱 the buttonhole presser foot measures the button i wanted to use automatically and made the perfect-sized buttonhole for it.

i tried making the inner side as neat as the pants, but by this time i was unfortunately growing impatient so you can see that the collar was done terribly. but i don’t care, ha!

the buttons used are given to me by a workmate who bought it from Marimekko outlet store. i used contrasting pink thread to sew them just for added fun.

this project (or the results, to be exact) cheered me up a lot and helped me to stay positive about my health problems. at least i could do some things right! 😊

i’m hoping your November had been much better than mine, and soon it’s Christmas already, yay! happy start of December, everyone!

if i were crazy rich…

warning: this is just me rambling about nothing. proceed to read only if you have nothing better to do. 😝

it has been quite a hard last few weeks for me as i have been on a sick leave due to severe back pain. my age is starting to catch up with me, it seems.

it’s quite bad that i can’t even sew, so yeah… i’m in a situation where it’s so easy to go down and be depressed about things. or everything.

so in order to cheer myself up, i started to daydream. what if i were to be a crazy rich Asian? not that i have seen the movie (or read the book, though it has been on my shelf for quite a while now), but my inspiration came from blog-walking.

a looong long time ago, i followed a bunch of fashion bloggers. you know, when blogging was still a thing, before twitter and instagram existed. i’m not gonna name names, but those days were awesome. these bloggers that i followed were so cool, because their sense of style was like way out there (just the way i like them!) and they were so… for lack of better word, ’pure’.

there was no endorsements from any brands or stores, they didn’t have much money (just like the rest of us), and yet with what they had they created the most fun fashion they could, and they were so incredibly creative that way.

for a long time, i still followed them. even after the numerous brands and stores gifted them with free expensive stuffs, i still peeked at their blogs, once in a while.

however, in my opinion, one by one they started to lose the touch. some of them became walking advertisements (if there is even such a thing), always posting whatever their endorser wanted them to post, even when they claim they are being honest about it. some of them only wore branded stuffs, things that—let’s face it—most of us would never be able to afford in a million years, unless we buy it all with credit cards and bring the huge debt of that damned Chanel purse to our graves.

i’m not here to judge, though, and people are free to do what they want in their own personal space aka blog. but i am quite sad to see the creativity that was once over-flowing from them faded away because of money.

that was when i started daydreaming, or actually more like reflecting… if i were rich, whether the money came from endorsements or my offline career, what would i do with all those money, in relations with my passion, which is fashion?

would i start splurging on designers clothes or accessories, one after another? i wonder what it would feel like to buy my first Chanel purse. would it give me such pleasure that i would want to spend more on a second one, and keep buying more and more? i have often wished i had the money to buy Vivienne Westwood shoes; if one day i were rich enough to buy my first pair, and still had more money, would i buy more than just one pair?

of course it’s hard to say when i’m not actually in those shoes (pun intended), but i would like to imagine that i wouldn’t go that way.

i wouldn’t mind buying good quality products that will last through this lifetime, but that doesn’t mean thousands of euros for just one purse, let alone buying many purses of the same price range.

i think i would still want to leave a biiiiiig empty space for my creativity (read: sewing), which probably means i would spend some money on designers brands’ fabrics, bahahaha…. i don’t know, i guess the difference of buying the ‘raw material’ than the ‘finished product’ of a designer brand is that (this will sound quite strange) i would feel more involved in the creative process of the whole designing thing. this would also mean i would get to make the material to be more uniquely me, i guess.

maybe that sounds too snobbish or proud to some, but well, this is my daydream on my own blog anyway!

i would like to think that i would pretty much stay the same even if i had lots of money. i would still stubbornly try to sew things on my own, and maybe buy some items that i cannot make on my own like—yep—that Chanel purse or Vivienne Westwood shoes. but i think i would rather stay productive and creative by sewing my own clothes than hunt for those limited edition dresses or whatever.

let’s see if i do become crazy rich one day, and i would go back reading this blog post to remind myself not to be a crazy, rich Asian. 😁

let’s do the twist

we’ve been having such a wonderful summer this year in Finland that i’ve just been taking walks whenever i can (read: whenever i am not working) just to enjoy the weather and views. this is of course not a reason for me to not write or sew, but it happened.

another fake (but true) reason is that whenever i feel like an inspiration is coming for me to sew, the fabrics i want to sew are the ones still in the fabric store and i really should first use my own fabrics before buying new ones! the dilemmas of a fabric addict, right? 😝

but one day i just had to sew something, and thankfully i found the right fabric from my own closet.

self-made top, New Yorker shorts, woven bag from Bali – Indonesia.

this spring i bought a super cheap top from Zara that i wore for my photo shoot here (shown on first picture). my secret motive was so that i could copy it and make many more similar tops! (insert devilish laugh here.)

after months of pondering about it in my head, i finally felt ready. the fabric i used was one i got for free from my co-worker J last winter. it’s a synthetic knit fabric which was about 1,5 m wide and long.

remember how i said i felt ready? well, i was wrong, LOL. i cut the fabric first for the front part… and struggled to make the twist just right. in short, i failed. so i cut another piece for the front part, for the second time. this time i just put it on top of my dummy and worked from there. this seemed to do the trick, so now i know that whenever i can’t figure out some cut/pattern, all i have to do is trust my dummy! 😁

but since i already cut the fabric the first time for the front part, i was left with too small scraps to get a full back part. so to save my sewing project, i had to improvise… as per usual. in the end, i think i managed to save it. 😊

if you ask me how to do that twist, i can answer truthfully that i don’t know, hahaha…. i put some detail pics above just to remind my future self of how it looks like from the inside, but i know i also won’t understand it just from the pictures. my brain just can’t think in 3D, so my best advice is to invest on a dummy.

originally, i wanted to make this top have long sleeves, so i could wear it for winter. but again, since there wasn’t enough fabric left, i had to change that plan too. so ‘short super wide and pleated sleeves’ it is!

as you can imagine, i am super proud to have accomplished this top! 💕

so come on everybody, let’s do the twist!

frenchie flamingo

my love of dogs in all shapes and colours still continues (of course… i don’t think that’s something that will ever die down! LOL), and seeing this fabric made me squeal. without thinking too long, i bought it and made it out into a simple top almost immediately, too.

self-made top, New Yorker shorts.

i mean, what’s not to love about this print? French bulldog pups in cow pattern, looking in all directions. ❤

i got about 70 cm of this cotton jersey fabric because it’s super wide (about 180 cm). i wanted to do something super simple yet try out another decorative stitch from my sewing machine, so i decided to copy an old top i got from a thrift marketplace in Jakarta, Indonesia.

the ‘twist’ is at the front part where the seam between the bodice and the sleeves are. this was where i tried the decorative stitch (top left pic) and i am sooo in love with how it turned out!

the original top i have has these lace frills on the hem, but seeing the salmon pink colour on the dogs’ ears made me think of my flamingo fabric and so i decided to use remnants of that instead.

other than the hem, i used that same flamingo fabric for lining the edges of the sleeves… so that when i fold the sleeves up, i can show the lovely flamingos!

and that’s the story of how my French bulldogs get to meet the flamingos! probably not the most logical relationship in the world, but i must say, it works on my top, hahaha… and that’s all that matters! 😀

gonna take my frenchies and flamingos out for a walk now, while the summer days are still here. 😉

magic mushrooms

in my 10 years experience of sewing, i hadn’t got the chance to sew Finnish design fabrics other than the big brands like Marimekko, Finlayson’s Moomin, and Nanso. to be honest, i didn’t even know much about Finnish ‘indie’ design fabric brands that much, until some colleagues of mine started introducing them to me some time last year. and what a wonderful alternative they are to the other bigger brands!

i had wanted to get my hands on them ever since, but compared to the fabrics i usually buy & sew, these Finnish ones are naturally quite pricey. for example, i usually spend about 5€-10€ for a single fabric for one project, but these fabrics cost around 24€ per meter. so i wanted to be careful when choosing the fabrics to buy from these brands, and not end up regretting the purchase.

luckily for me, some months ago there was an arts and crafts event called Ommel where these brands sold their fabrics for cheaper prices. this event was also where i got to learn about & test the sewing machine i ended up getting (didn’t buy it from the event itself, though). in short, this event was my perfect opportunity to get deeper into my passion of sewing.

after some hours of deliberating, i decided to get 2 fabrics from Verson Puoti. the other one is to be posted later when i have made something out of it, but this first one is called Sienisato.why i decided to get this one is actually another story probably worth telling.

just before this event, i celebrated my 10th year anniversary at my work place. my colleagues had secretly prepared surprise gifts for me, and one of them was a skirt made out of a Marimekko fabric. ❤

i really love that skirt and want to use it everyday, however i found that i only have plain t-shirts to wear with it, either black or white. so i was looking for another special fabric that i can use together with that skirt, and thought that black and white print would be lovely.

self-made top, hand-made Marimekko skirt from colleagues, handmade earrings from another colleague.

but you can be the judge of that! even though i haven’t been using crazy prints that much lately, i do still like to mix prints and colours. now with this Marimekko skirt, i can go all out!

this piece of fabric that i got was cotton jersey, sized 70 cm long and about 160 cm wide. it’s wider than most jerseys, so at first i thought i would still be left with a small piece for some other project. but alas, the first sleeve piece i cut was much too narrow that my arm couldn’t fit it, so i had to cut new ones.

since i promised to really make use of my new sewing machine, i tested different stitches for this project. for the sleeves, since they are still quite tight even after i cut new pieces, i used an elastic stitch (left picture above) which is not really straight but also not really ziggy zaggy, more like a combo of these two. for the added detail, i decided to make straps from black cotton jersey and used decorative stitches on it.

i had worried that the decorative stitches would be uneven when i do it to a stretchy material, but since i folded the fabrics twice (so that it’s 3-layered) i suppose it helped to stabilize it, and i would say my machine did a pretty damn good job! (can you tell how much i love my new machine already?)

for this project, i used the good ol’ Ottobre design magazine pattern that i have used numerous times on different types of dresses and tops. since i am still learning on how to make my own patterns, i did this one the ‘idiot’ way: first i traced the pattern and cut the fabric as they were supposed to be (minus the neck pieces), and then i sewed the sleeves and back & front pieces together, and then cut the neckline so that it would be slightly off-shoulder. then, i added the straps.

as you can also probably guess, i love the result so much! i’m just so proud of myself and my sewing machine for being able to put the lovely print design to a good use. maybe it’s because of these magic mushrooms! also, i’m happy to be able to support these local indie textile designers, i do hope i don’t disappoint them by making this top out of their magical print.

acceptance

there are many times in my life when i feel like giving up. in any thing.

giving up school. giving up working. giving up trying to get better after a nasty flu. but even through all those times, i never gave up my passion for fashion. after being able to sew, this included never giving up sewing.

until about a year ago. i didn’t know what was happening, i didn’t even know it was happening. i kept telling myself that it was a good thing i don’t sew as much anymore, because who needed all those clothes anyway? i hid behind my own resolution to not sew useless things, and in the end i hardly sewed at all.

but somewhere along the way i realized that i did not even feel good among fabrics anymore. they didn’t call me the way they used to. when i looked at my fabric collection, i got exhausted already, thinking of all the work i got to do to process them into a wearable item. that was when i realized something must be wrong with myself.

i was tired at that time, physically and mentally. there were many things going on at work, and no matter how hard i tried not to bring them back to home with me, i still did. i lost count on how many nights i lost sleep. and even when i did sleep, i woke up a lot earlier than my alarm and couldn’t get back to sleep. this lasted for more than a year, and regardless of how many times my husband encouraged me to go to the doctor for my insomnia, i never did.

funnily enough, at the same time, my work mates were relying on me to get things done. not that they didn’t do it themselves, but it seemed like their favourite person to turn to for help when there was some problem at work was me. and i was/am not even in any official managerial position. i didn’t mind this, of course, but i wondered why i came off to them like i was holding everything together just fine, when i was actually also ready to tumble down.

i wanted to give up everything at that time. including this blog, which i had abandoned for months.

and then earlier this year, i came across this article. reading the first way of its manifest in real life rang alarm bells in my head already.

sewing, and fashion, used to be my rock, my safe haven. it was what i identified myself with. seeing clothes or fabrics used to bring me joy, even to just be among them, not having to own them. when it stopped doing that, then what had i become? who was i?

luckily for me, i didn’t have to go to any doctor to get myself diagnosed for any depression, because the help came almost right away.

some time after reading that article, there came a shocking change at my workplace, something i didn’t think would happen. as with any big changes in my life, i was pessimistic about it at first. but regardless, i stayed, and saw through the change, day by day.

and days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months. suddenly, i could see myself sewing again. i could hear the fabrics calling me again, and i started getting ideas and energy to sew things again. i tried sewing one skirt, and then another top, and another…. before i knew it, i got myself back. 😊

so what was the help that i got? it was first and foremost: acceptance. first, after reading that article and slowly tried to make sense of it, i accepted the fact that i might be experiencing some sort of depression. and the change that happened at work was, in short, a change of superior position. and lucky for me, and all of us, this change turned out to be the best. because she had that in her, too. acceptance.

we are not perfect. and we were all extremely tired at that time. but she listened to all of us and accepted us as who we are. by doing this, she made us feel worthy, and also feel at home, even when we are at work. she stood by us when the one before her didn’t.

it may sound small to some people, but to me, at that moment, it meant the whole world. if the change hadn’t come at that time, i probably would have had to go to a doctor, get some prescribed medication, and who knows whether i would be okay enough right now to sew, and blog, and live happily.

this acceptance, both from myself and outside of me, made me feel like the burden on my shoulders were lifted up. now i can finally turn off my ’work’-mind when i go home from work, not because my superior ordered me to, but because i know things will be taken care of. for the first time after about 1,5 years, i could finally sleep peacefully at night.

i’m writing this down here so that if i ever have the same problem again, i can read this post and know that i had once gotten through this. that i had learned to accept myself, and someone else also had given that to me. next time, if there ever will be, there may not be an understanding person such as my superior, but i hope by then i would’ve learned that self-acceptance is the key to finding myself back and being happy. ♥️