where have all the flowers gone?

self-made slip dress, Nevada top, Oura ring.

it was the ’90s. i was in my pre-teen and teenage years. i used to draw girls wearing different clothes on sheets upon sheets of A4 paper. i pretended that they were fashion magazine spreads, and always had them titled, according to the theme of the clothes i drew on them. i used to even have a set of ‘imaginary models’ (ie. the girls that i drew) that i’d sometimes use over and over again for different ‘fashion spreads’.

when grunge music started to become a trend, so did the ’90s fashion come to its peak: flannel shirts, Dr. Martens boots, choker necklace… and one trend i never forget was slip dresses + t-shirts.

that last combo made it to one of my imaginary ‘fashion spreads’, and i titled it ‘Flowers and Stripes’. it seemed like such a big hit back then, wearing stripes and flower-print, though now that i think about it, it was basically ‘any prints that clash = wear them together’.

the funny thing is, though, because i was such a shy teenager back then, i never did wear a slip dress + t-shirt. the t-shirts i had back then were all loose and baggy, i only wore a tight one for personal photo shoots (that sounded much more fancier than it actually was. these photo shoots were actually done by my sister’s classmates just so that they could practice their photography skills, so they needed ‘models’… my sister and i were often their ‘victims’). in other times, my fave attire was baggy jeans & baggy t-shirts. i never owned a Dr. Martens either.

but suddenly, now, in 2022, the slip dress was back on trend. and i happened to have this flowery viscose satin fabric lying in my closet. it was only about a meter long, and summer 2022 had just started, so i wanted something quick and easy to make.

i found a gazillion tutorial/DIY sewing instructions for slip dresses online, none of which was easy enough for my taste. 😂 i wanted shortcuts everywhere, and yet my fabric wasn’t enough for me to make bias tapes for the straps. i didn’t want to use ready made bias tape either, i wanted the straps to have the flower pattern!

well, needless to say, it was a huge mistake as the straps would never be as neat & tidy when not done on a bias cut. i used my overlocker for the hem, and because the wrong side of the fabric is white, i used white thread. it was a trick i learned from a stranger at my work place, and i think that went okay. the shape of the dress is awkward, because i did not use any pattern in the end, and just cut A shaped pieces for the front and back. it ended up too baggy in all the wrong places, so i had to tuck in the sides a couple of times! but whatever. i have a slip dress now!

and i had fun living it up like the ’90s just for taking these pictures.

and of course i had to use a striped t-shirt underneath it, otherwise it wouldn’t feel authentic.

so apparently the flowers had gone to my new slip dress. but honestly, i had another thing in my mind when i wrote this blog post’s title.

i am noticing that many sewing bloggers i used to follow have stopped updating their blogs. i don’t know if they had the same problem as i did, or other things in their lives that prevented them from sewing as much as before the pandemic started. i found that one or two of them have ‘migrated’ to IG & deserted their blogs. but the rest, i really have no idea what happened to them.

i must say, i miss them. i hope that wherever they are, they’re safe and well, whether or not they’re still sewing.

popping the bubble

is this thing on?

the past few years had been hard on all of us, hadn’t it? for some, i’m sure, it still even continues.

it kind of made me feel like i had been living inside a gum bubble: sticky, stale, and i couldn’t break out from it.

i’m not really sure what finally changed this year. maybe it was the professional help i got, maybe it was the moral support from my loved ones, or maybe it was the combination of those two. even when things are still not completely ‘back as it used to be’ for me right now, i feel like i am currently on a much better place, and that’s something to celebrate.

this year started in a hopeful tone for me. this blouse, which i dub as the bubble gum shirt, was my first sewing project of the year 2022.

self-made blouse, Reserved jeans.

the fabric is sort of like a cotton poplin, but the pop of colours make it look more fun for me. and, they remind me of bubble gum colours. i immediately had the idea to make it as a buttoned blouse, and to make it even more fun, i asked a co-worker of mine, M, to make custom-made buttons for it. i LOVE these buttons!

i used the same blouse pattern as this denim blouse, which is tried and true. unfortunately, this time i couldn’t place the buttons in the right place (i was too lazy to take out the denim blouse from the closet to copy the placements, so i have no one else to blame but myself 😅), so if i try to tuck in the blouse to my trousers, the stomach area at the front part will gape open and expose my skin. no thanks.

i’ll just have to keep wearing the blouse outside of my trousers.

but it’s okay. there are already enough twists and details on the blouse to keep me happy and proud of this project. it was my way of popping the stubborn bubble, and slowly getting back to becoming who i used to be.

hello, i see you!

for those who are still here with me, even with all these ups & downs going on in the world, and scarce blog posting from yours truly, i want to express my gratitude. i am and will still be here, writing and blogging, even if it may seem like i’ve forgotten about this blog. thank you for always reading my blog posts, and hope you’ll stay around! âĪ

life before like

every once in a while, i stumble upon my past in the form of an old blog.

no, i don’t mean an old blog post, but literally old blog. before wordpress, before multiply, there was my livejournal.

just like reading an old diary, reading my old blog makes me smile, cringe, slap my head, all on repeat. but there was also something else i noticed.

i noticed how easy life was, not because i was still young & stupid (i mean, i still am these 2 things right now ðŸĪŠ), but because there was no ‘like’ button.

i was blogging just to give an update to the people i care, who lived in different parts of the world already back then. i was blogging just to express myself, let out the anger, the happiness, the frustration, and the excitement, about anything and everything, without a care in the world on whether or not anyone would read it, let alone if anyone would ‘like’ it.

it makes me wonder about us, humans, in the present time, and especially the later generation that’s never felt life before ‘like’ buttons came out. will they ever know how easy life could be? how carefree everything is when you don’t have to try to be ‘liked’ all the time? how many times have they felt like they have tried everything to get more and more likes, do crazy selfies or spend extra money on things that will surely get them more likes, only to find that there will always be someone out there with even more likes? will we ever realize how the current social medias are basically dictating how we should behave/be in our lives? to be accepted, to be liked, to be validated. sure, some old traditions in some societies have always had these ‘mindsets’ as well, but this thing about the like buttons… they’re quite global and the impacts on people’s mental health have been quite scary.

at first, i envied my old self for not having these thoughts. but then i realized, i am still me. i can still think that way if i want to. i can decide to ignore the like buttons, the heart buttons, the thumbs-up buttons, or what have you.

i live my own life, and it’s not my problem if you don’t like me because i’m not pretty/trendy enough. i’m okay with living my own life the way i want to, without hurting others, and knowing for sure that the people around me like me for who i am, not what i post in my blog or whatever social media i have.

so i wanted to write this little post just to remind my future self (who knows what kind of self-deprecating buttons there will be out there in 10-20 years’ time?) to live life like the way it used to be, before the ‘like’ button existed. every time i post here, or wherever else, let it be just for myself, and not for anyone else. maybe, in time, i’ll learn to like myself–without having to press the ‘like’ button on my own blog post! 😉

1 year late, pt. 5 (the final one!)

i honestly can’t think of a better title. may i just dump this post here? 😛

seeing that this is my own blog, the answer is yes. i may. and i will.

so we’re finally in winter 2021, and i’m finally posting my very last sewing projects of the year. i’m actually very proud of each and every one of the items i made last year, it’s just that i want to get going with this year’s projects already. 😅 now, shall we start?

self-made blouse and shorts.

if you’ve been a reader of my blog for a long while, you’d have known that i always have a soft spot for Moomin fabrics. i may not grow up with Moomin books/cartoons, but seeing the characters and their behaviours, and the fact that i used to saw a lot of their merchandise in Japanese fashion magazines made me feel just as close to them as a true Finn.

this one i had to get because it’s a scene from a story that meant a lot to my husband. the print is called Tivoli and it’s cotton jersey with a bit of elastane. i got about 80 cm of the fabric, and the width is about 150 cm.

i didn’t use any pattern for this one and did the usual square method AKA boxy shirt. just for a bit of a twist, i decided to add black lace between the body and sleeve pieces, aaaand some pompom trimming on the cuffs. because of the lace addition, i managed to get semi-long sleeves for this one, so it’s perfect for autumn/winter.

for the neckline, i used the trusted elastic edge band again (of course)! this one is not made of the same material as the previous ones i’ve used, though, and because of the tiny ribbing lines, it looks a bit more ‘sporty’. not that that’s a problem, it still makes my life a lot easier than to make a separate neckline band or use a bias tape for necklines.

the next project was supposed to be my last sewing project of 2021.

self-made dress, COS shoes.

ever since i worked with punto jersey (can’t even remember when that first time was!), i had always loved how easy it is to sew it. it’s just as easy as working with scuba jersey, but the material itself is usually much more comfortable and less ‘plastic’ky than scuba, which is nice.

so when i saw this solid coloured one in green (gotta love green!), i knew i had to get it. in the beginning i was thinking of making pants, but i unsuccessfully tried a new pants pattern last summer (i mean, summer 2021) and so that plan went out the window. thankfully, that time i used another fabric, so this one was still completely unscathed.

i had about 1,5 m of this fabric, and the width was around 140 cm. i was feeling too lazy to copy new dress patterns, so in the end i decided to use the same pattern as the one for this dress.

i didn’t remember what was so hard about making this dress, especially since i could omit the zipper because i was using a stretchy fabric.

but as soon as i started sewing the v-neckline, it all came back to me. needless to say, it’s not exactly neat and crisp, but i did my best.

what i’m most proud of is, of course, the origami pleat at the front part of the waistline. it came out beautifully (for my standard), so i’m super satisfied with that. to make it look more polished, i used ochre-coloured topstitch thread for the yoke’s topstitches… and of course, a few metal studs on the yokes wouldn’t hurt.

after finishing this dress and feeling super proud of it, i couldn’t help grabbing another fabric. i mean, hey, i was feeling super lucky!

self-made fanny pack.

it was that time of the year! you know, the time when my previous self-made fanny pack broke down (the fabric just frayed too much, the zipper got stuck way too often) that i just had to make a new one!

this time, i copied a co-worker’s fanny pack which had just one wide elastic strip covering the width of the bag to put the tools in. the fabric i used is some sort of neoprene, so this time it shouldn’t fray at all, ha!

i’ve been using it since the beginning of this year, and it’s been great so far, except for the elastic band that holds the whole bag that’s been stretching and stretching non-stop because of all the weight inside the bag. 😂 i just have to keep shortening it, but whatever. at least the bag itself is still usable! it does make me wonder how much stuff i carry around at work. and i don’t even carry my mobile phone there!

but what do you know? i’ve finally caught up with myself in the year 2022, whoppee! now let’s just hope the next post will be some time this year! 😆

matcha-matcha-matcha-me

what did i do in summer 2021?

other than the obvious (going to work & hiding away at home when i wasn’t at work), as you can see from my previous blogposts, i sewed and baked and cooked. while the pandemic was going out strong and we did not have vaccines yet, one of the few ways to entertain myself and my palate was to make our own food.

and because there weren’t (still aren’t) many places that offer matcha food/beverages in Finland, of course i had to crave for matcha flavour. 😋 good thing that the trusted tea shop i always got my matcha powder from was–and is–still around!

i wasn’t too picky about what exactly i would make. the usual ‘sponge cake’ go-to recipe was enough for me, i thought while i ordered the matcha powder. and, i was thinking of making the matcha souffle for my birthday.

but then, while waiting for the powder to arrive, i remembered another thing i missed: carrot cakes!

to be honest, what i missed was not the carrot cake itself, but rather the topping, or icing as some might say. in Finland, most of the icing is made of cream cheese, which i find is the BEST icing!

so i tried to look for recipes for cream cheese icing… that can be put on top of matcha sponge cake. as luck would have it, i found the perfect one, as the icing itself also uses matcha powder!

when the matcha powder finally came, i went to work right away!

first, i made the ‘sponge cake’ into smaller cupcake sizes, and i did this the same way as i did many times before: changing the baking soda into baking powder and adjusted the other ingredients according to that change. but somehow this time the outcome made my ‘sponge cake’ a lot more dry and they cracked on the top, as you can see from the picture.

well, but who cares. i had a secret weapon now: matcha icing!!

now they were crack-ey no more! 😂

so here’s what i put into the icing: 100 gr cream cheese (non-flavoured), 50 gr butter, 300 ml icing sugar, 1 teaspoon of matcha powder. whip them all up and store it in the fridge to keep it cool & firm.

so what about the taste?

one bite, and i thought i was going to heaven.

i’m not kidding. if you’re a matcha lover like me, i warmly recommend you to try this combo!

the matcha powder was enough for me to make many more batches of these (the souffle idea went out the window), and i finally did buy baking soda + yoghurt to try the sponge cake recipe the ‘right way’. the result was much fluffier and much spongier cupcakes, and it made so many more cupcakes than when i used the baking powder, i had to only use 2/3 of the whole dough!

unfortunately i did not take any pictures of the fluffier version, but let me assure you that no matter what version you decide to make, these matcha cupcakes are sure to satisfy your matcha cravings!

simple things for simple mind (1 year late, pt. 4)

we’re at the end of summer 2021, nearing autumn. (ha, finally, some progress with this catching up thing!)

after traveling around the world inside my head with the clothes i sewed, it’s time now to keep things simple.

i picked up a lovely cashmere knit fabric the previous winter (about 1,2 m long and 1,4 m wide), thinking i’d make a simple butterfly shirt to make the birds on the print shine. it should have been a super simple sewing project.

self-made shirt and culottes.

when i was cutting the fabric, i didn’t get a single clue what i was in for. it was all nice and flowery (or birdy, in this case) until the first time i put the fabric underneath my sewing machine’s presser foot. then, the nightmare began.

i mean… guys: stay. away. from. cashmere. knit.

it’s the most horrible fabric i’ve ever handled!!!!! it stretches and stretches and stretches and never seemed to get sewn the way i wanted it to, like, ever!! ugh.

what i thought was going to be an easy breezy project of 30 minutes tops turned to be a 3 hour gig.

i think you can see how i’m still holding a grudge toward this blouse by the fact that i only took these pictures. don’t get me wrong, i love wearing it. i love the feel of that smooth and comfy cashmere knit, and when people saw me wearing it, they said they could tell it’s a high quality fabric.

this picture is here to remind myself of what was the hardest part to sew in this project. it’s the darn neckline.

emphasis on the word ‘fabric’ though. i’m sure they can also all tell it’s got crappy craftmanship. 😝

oh well! at least it’s done now and i’ve been wearing it on repeat last autumn/winter.

another simple project i did before the cool air started to blow last autumn was this shirt.

self-made shirt, Mango jeans.

i got this French terry fabric years ago, and because of the bold print, i’d been thinking long and hard on how to best show it on a clothing item. the print reminds me so much of a Marimekko print, even though it’s not.

in the end, i chose to do the same type of shirt as this Frenchie and pancake ones.

for the bottom frills, i used the last scrap of dotted tulle fabric i had to make 2 layers of frills, and of course it wasn’t wide enough to create the kind of frill i wanted. i was also kind of sorry that i only got 1 print repeat of this fabric… if i got 2 repeats, it would’ve been enough to make a dress. this one was only about 80 cm long, hence the limited style of clothing.

just like the birdy cashmere shirt, people around me would say that this shirt’s fabric is so nice. but yeah, i know that the sewing is just so-so.

so basically this is kind of a sorry post. 😅 but the good news is, i still wear these shirts a lot, even if the craftmanship isn’t anything special. they both–as with all of my other self-made clothes–are ‘feel-good’ clothes because i made them myself and that’s what’s most important, right?

and as long as i am still able to sew, this is enough to keep me and my simple mind going. 😊

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!!! âĪ 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. ðŸĨ°

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! 😋