SSS

… stands for a Surprise Short-trip to Singapore!

just like the name, it was a surprise trip–not something we planned for from a long time–and it was short. the main idea was just to meet my parents and spend quality time together.

and that we did!

and because that was the main idea, i don’t really have much to tell about the trip itself, nor that much pictures. we mainly stayed in, going out only to get lunch and dinner, talked & played cards. might be boring for you to see, but it was so much fun for us. 🙂 most of the pics we got was from our last full day together, when we visited the Botanic Gardens, the only place we went to other than restaurants/grocery stores. 😀 (okay, we also went to Mustafa Centre, of course, but that doesn’t count.)

though the jetlag left us tired but it was at the same time so refreshing and came at just the right moment when i was so fed up with work. i miss my parents again already now, but hopefully our next gathering isn’t too far away from now. 🙂

happy summer & mid-year (and soon midsummer), everyone! ❤

PS. the pictures were taken by 4 different people and 5 different cameras, hence the quality differences.

swirl it, girl

it felt like it had been a while since i sewed a scuba fabric, so when i saw this swirly patterned one, i just had to get it. i bought only 50 cm (about 155 cm wide) to turn it into this top.

self-made top, Monki jeans.

when it comes to sewing, i’m sure you know perfectly well that i’m a copycat. so this one was no exception. if you google ‘R/H mickey tee’ you will see what i mean.

i just see it a LOT around the internet lately, and can you guess what else is seen a LOT lately? ruffles. ruffles here, ruffles there, everywhere a ruffle. well, i thought, why not marry them together?

i did not use any pattern, this was again a boxy shaped top with small modifications on the front part.

instead of using another fabric as the contrasting top part, i used the same fabric but the wrong side. that’s the beauty of scuba fabric, you can also use the wrong side as the right side!

for the lowest curve of the U part, i had to sew it by hand. i did try sewing it by machine like twice, but none of the results was pleasing enough. when in doubt, you should always go with bare hands, i say.

i really, REALLY love the outcome. i am so going to wear this top many times!

the real price of ‘cheap’

when i think about it, i’ve been selling things almost all my life. starting from when i was in elementary school, i used to sell name labels/stickers to my classmates, the kind that i ordered by mail with pre-set images & sizes. and then i as i grew older i moved on to selling Avon, Triumph lingerie and eventually Oriflame. these are of course the kinds that i did as a side job thing, but the real kind of ‘hard’ selling happened when i had a small boutique in Jakarta along with my 2 friends.

it was during this time that i learned the real price of ‘cheap’. or to be completely honest, i learned how annoying it is to hear customers bargaining for a cheaper price. i mean, i’m not gonna lie: i also bargain sometimes. but when i knew it firsthand how much work went into our own work (our boutique sold one of a kind clothings, specifically designed by yours truly, the fabrics all chosen by us three co-owners straight from the fabric shops, and all clothes sewn by one single tailor) and someone dared to bargain the prices that we carefully counted so that we got back our work’s expenses & effort, i found it quite insulting. i felt like saying, if you want to bargain, go shop at a market place.

but then i realized something disturbing. why did i feel like saying that, as if a market place is a good place to bargain when usually those markets (at least in Indonesia) are run by people who don’t even have much money. what makes it okay for people, including me, to bargain from an already ‘poor’ person? don’t we appreciate their effort? and instead, most people don’t even blink an eye when they buy overpriced designers clothings. ever heard of anyone bargaining at a Louis Vuitton store? of course not, don’t be ridiculous.

but why? what makes it okay to accept some high price for something that was created with the exact same effort & work, and for other things you just feel the need to bargain until the salesperson finally gave up their original prices and lets you have it for a lot cheaper price?

now let’s imagine how the process goes for almost every thing in this world, excluding fresh produce. somebody, somewhere, had the idea to create something. whether it be a piece of hairclip, a mobile phone, a computer game, or even a logo, after the idea came the work process. this could involve only 1 person or many people, time, effort (sometimes many efforts as there are no guarantees that someone succeeds after only the first try), the final production, and shipping/how to get the thing(s) to the sellers/straight to customers. in some cases, this whole process last hours, but in most cases they could last for months or even years. and all that process are in the end reduced as one specific product, what you actually see & purchase, of which you try to estimate the real value before bargaining and paying. how many of us can honestly say that we think about all the processes as opposed to just the end product before determining how much we are willing to pay for it?

another form of bargaining actually happens without us knowing it. it’s the kind that happens within the work process instead. big companies bargaining sweatshop’s workers’ wages, sometimes even bargaining their lives. and that’s not all. a dear friend told me once that she used to do dozens of creative designs (let’s say clothing designs) per week to then be shown to a big clothing store company who will then decide which one(s) they could ‘buy’. usually out of 12 or 20, there would be only 1 or 2 that was accepted, and the payment for those creative designs were only bearing 2 or 3 digits at the very max. and then those big clothing store companies would mass-produce the designs and sell them for 5-10€ each. she told me this: “so remember, behind every cheap thing you see in stores, there is always someone suffering for it.” either the designer, the tailor, the shoemaker, the seller, or even the ones who prepare the raw materials, ‘cheap’ means ‘suffering’.

i mean, would YOU want to work your a** off and be paid for 2€ a month? no? then why would you bargain at someone else’s cost?

after all this pondering, i can tell you that i very rarely bargain for anything. if i go to a market place, i look for those who sell stuffs for a fixed price, just to avoid bargaining. i feel sorry for paying 3€ for a pair of nice looking earrings, but then again i don’t do it every month or even every year. and i suppose it’s still better for someone out there that gets paid for each sold goods, so as long as i don’t add to the bargaining part, i have to believe that i’m not making things worse.

sometimes, very rarely, i do still bargain. for example when going to Bali, and i knew that when my husband wasn’t with me, the sellers offer me cheaper prices (local prices) and when my husband was there the prices doubled up. well… excuse me for knowing the real price, then. but still, mostly i don’t have the heart to do it. not after realizing all of this.

our work and effort should mean something more than cheap prices. i hope in the future we can all start seeing more of the work & effort that goes to one product instead of just the end product. then maybe bargaining in all shapes will cease to exist. 😉

drizzle, ripple, wave

your words, your acts, however small, affect others. first they may feel like a drizzle to the skin: light, barely there. as time goes by, they slowly create ripples, reverberating in the minds, until finally they become big waves of reactions, whether they be directed to you or not. have you ever thought of that?

i’m not trying to preach, though. that’s just how i feel in general, and that was what i saw embodied in this dress i just made. drizzle, ripple, wave.

self-made dress, Casio watch, Moody Monday earrings, ASOS cage shoes.

the drizzle is on the print. this was one of those fabrics i couldn’t say no to, because the print reminds me so much of Marimekko. it is 100% viscose and i got a bit over 2 meters of it, thinking i would make a maxi dress out of it.

old pic borrowed from (X)S.M.L’s website.

but then i remembered this dress i once saw in Indonesia in 2011 from the brand (X)S.M.L. the part that i really liked was the flap on the top & hidden underneath it some small pleats. and i realized how in all these years i had adored it, i never had gotten the chance to really think of how to do it myself (carbon copy is my middle name). i mean, it seemed pretty easy. until i realized that it’s not that easy. 😀

rather than spending too much time–longer than 2011-2017, that is–pondering about how to make the pattern for the dress, i decided to just drape the fabric straight onto my dummy. i mean, that’s what dummies are for, right? duh.

within an hour or so, i finally got it. so i put pins here and there, and started sewing. just like that!

the ripples are the small pleats under the ‘flap’. this was the first thing i sewed before anything else on this dress. after putting the pins to know exactly where the pleats should end, i moved the fabric from my dummy to the sewing machine.

the waves are the flap on the top of the dress and the drapes at the bottom part, creating the asymmetrical hem. the drapes at the bottom actually came accidentally, meaning i didn’t even think of doing them, but made them up as i went along.

the back side is just an A-shaped piece with just enough width so that i could still walk freely while wearing the dress.

just for the record, i am extremely pleased at myself for making this dress! i can’t remember the last time i did something like this, working straight on top of the dummy without any pattern and actually succeeding to make what i had in mind! i even joked to my husband that i guess this means i’m ready to join the next Finnish Project Runway, if ever there is going to be one! 😀

that original dress i saw in Indonesia was my drizzle. the picture of the original dress & the fabric were my ripples. and this dress? this is my wave. ❤

be like bambo (shoot)

Bamboo is flexible, bending with the wind but never breaking, capable of adapting to any circumstance. It suggests resilience, meaning that we have the ability to bounce back even from the most difficult times. . . . Your ability to thrive depends, in the end, on your attitude to your life circumstances. Take everything in stride with grace, putting forth energy when it is needed, yet always staying calm inwardly.” — Ping Fu

have you tried being a bamboo? i’d like to think i have, at least tried to. and to further plant it into my brain (pun intended), i even made a bamboo shoot dress!

vintage karakul fur coat (c. 1960-1970) gift from Grandmother-in-law, self-made dress and necklace, Topshop tights, COS shoes.

so this was my most ambitious sewing project so far in 2017. the story began years ago when i made this dim sum dress and much to my dismay i found out a few years ago that i had grown out of the size of that dress…. i can’t wear it anymore unless i lose like 10 kg. such is the life!

i decided that i had to make a new one. that first one was made of silk, but i haven’t found as nice-looking & affordable silk as that one, plus i wasn’t even sure if i still had it in me to make something as complicated as that dress; so i got a linen fabric instead.

i’m sure you know by now how i feel about green? come on, it’s the colour of 2017! i personally don’t like linen, because it wrinkles too quickly & too much for my taste, but since this linen had the best green colour, it would just have to do. the good thing about linen is that it’s a lot more down-to-earth so that i don’t need a special occasion to wear this dress. perfect for my new year resolution!

for this project, i used Burda patterns 8347 for the top part and 7660 for the skirt part. by using the Pattern Magic book vol. 1, i modified the top part to have the bamboo shoots pattern. that’s the name for the pleat pattern, Bamboo Shoot. and that’s why i call this dress my bamboo dress.

back then i sewed the bamboo shoots part by machine and it made them look too flat. i decided to try sewing them by hand this time.

i still have to figure out how best to iron that part with bamboo shoots, but at least i believe i made the right decision to do it by hand.

believe it or not, i just ironed the whole dress before taking these pictures. and look how wrinkled it was again already! *rolls eyes*

anyway, just a quick intermission: my accordion necklace has also now evolved into something better than the previous version, yay! this one needed about 8 meters of 2 cm wide ribbon, and don’t be fooled by the colour in the pictures. in reality, it’s neon green!

okay, back to the dress now. as with my other projects this year, i put extra attention & carefulness to sew it. for the armholes, i used black satin bias tape for a neater finishing. the neckline also has lining & i did edgestitch to make the lining stay put. for the zipper, i again sewed it to be exposed, just to add another small detail. i am still learning to love solid coloured clothes, so to compensate that i needed something to jazz it up. the hemline was done by machine, the hidden seam.

there’s just something about the colour & the shape of the dress that made me think of vintage. which was why i just had to wear my fur coat for the first picture!

before you criticize the fur coat, let me tell you that i am against real fur myself. except for the fact that this was already done back in the 60s or 70s, and i think it would even be more sinful to waste it when it was once already done. so when my husband’s aunt said no one in the family could wear it (because the women are all much taller than me) and i was the only one whose size is like my husband’s grandmum, i agreed to take it & put it to use. it turned out to fit me so well, i think! 😀

as for the dress itself, i am so happy with the result! i know there are many more successful bamboo shooters out there (i mean seamstresses/tailors who have done this pattern much better than me), but i love mine for being small, barely there, but it is there. i think this small version suits me better. 🙂

being flexible, bending with the wind but never breaking, taking everything in stride with grace…. yes, i am trying to do it all with this bamboo dress. i am trying to be like bamboo. ❤

the long awaited spring

it’s just what it is. winter equals laziness, though i can assure you what i had was far from being lazy. on the contrary, i was far too productive at work, that when i stayed home all i wanted to do was anything but think. writing on my blog, reading (including reading people’s blogs), sewing, and baking requires thinking. so for months now i stopped all activities at home and just enjoyed a well-deserved break.

but spring is finally here! and with it, came my will to sew! yay!

this organza fabric reminded me of Kenzo from the very first sight. i can’t explain why, maybe it’s all the flowers. anyway, at first i was thinking of making a buttoned up shirt out of it, but then i thought i was too lazy for that. something simpler, please. and then i got it! a sweater! an organza sweater, whoopee!

self-made organza sweater, New Yorker t-shirt, Monki jeans.

as usual, i didn’t use any pattern for this kind of simple sweater, just cut squares etc.. except i suddenly had the brightest idea to copy a COS sweater/dress and decided to have a bow at the back of the sweater.

so i added triangular ‘flaps’ on each side, left & right, front & back side of the sweater. i gathered them at the back and sewed them together to create the bow.

the bow is completely loose (not attached to the sweater itself) and if i want to, i could even put it to the front side. but considering the size of my tummy, i don’t think i will, ever. 😀

just like when sewing chiffon, i found out from someone’s blog/article that organza is to be sewn with a sharp needle (so i even bought a new pack of needles) and long stitches. it worked like a charm!

i had also read somewhere that the best & neatest way to sew transparent fabrics are by doing French seams. i had always been tempted by doing things in a shortcut, like instead of French seams, i would just serge the edges and sew normally, but this time since i hadn’t sewn for 2 months (yep) i thought i had to try the correct way.

it turned out to be quite easy! and the result really is neat. just see the right detail picture up there if you don’t believe me! i used the French seam on almost all seams except when combining the organza with the ribbing.

… which was actually the hardest part of this whole project. the ribbing i got is not that stretchy at all, so the collar looks kind of weird, standing up instead of flat like they normally are.

but do i look like i care?

that’s right, i don’t! mwahaha! because i have pretty flowers on my transparent sweater, ladeedah! and this sweater can be worn with t-shirt & jeans or even a dress underneath. now that i succeeded in making this sweater, i kind of feel like sewing organza all the time! 😉 we’ll see what’s next for my sewing project, eh?

have a great Easter and start of spring, everyone! ❤

a study in stripes

i guess i have decided that this year i will be studying stripes and how to best sew them. this is my third sewing project this year, and already my second time using stripey fabric.

crisscrossdress1

self-made dress, H&M tights, COS shoes.

for this dress, i took the idea from my co-worker’s New Yorker dress which is made of rib knit/jersey. the rib knit was sewn so that the lines are diagonal on the front, and the bottom part is vertical.

crisscrossdressdetail1for my dress, i decided that horizontal stripes would be better for the bottom part. and as for the pattern, surprisingly, i again used the one from Ottobre design woman magazine 5/2016. this is now the 4th time i used it, because it’s just such a basic pattern that is so easy for me to modify.

the fabric is thin viscose jersey where the black stripes are knitted (so from the wrong side you can also still see the black stripes) and the silver dots are printed. thankfully, unlike the green-blue stripes fabric, this one actually stretches both ways! phew.

crisscrossdress4i think i did a pretty good job in aligning the stripes for this one! the only mishap that happened was when i was sewing the collar/neckline and some of the dress fabric got crinkled too much.

crisscrossdress2

also for some strange reason my super cheap overlocker has now been acting weird: the left most thread (that goes through the left needle) always snaps off when i sew, no matter how tight or loose the setting is. i finally gave up and started sewing with only 1 needle and 3 threads.

crisscrossdress3

but then again, there you go. i finally figured out how to sew with an overlocker using only 1 needle & 3 threads. i still learned something in the end! 😀

my co-worker predicted that my super cheap overlocker will break down on the second year (which is some time during this year), simply because nothing cheap can last longer than that. so maybe she’s right. but until then, i will still make use of what it can still do. and i’m thankful enough for it to still be able to make this lovely dress!

i’m super proud of this dress. everything went smoothly from modifying the pattern to the aligning of the stripes on all sides, which is a quite rare thing to happen to me! i guess it’s because these days i no longer put pressure on myself to finish everything quickly just for the sake of doing the next sewing project, and instead really enjoy all the process of making a garment.

this dress, along with the other two i’ve done this year, are already my new fave items in my wardrobe so there’s no doubt i will use them repeatedly. all is well with my 2017 sewing resolution indeed!