here we are again, at the end of one year. i think i managed to stick to my resolution this year to only sew what i needed, or what i knew i would wear over and over again. but with … Continue reading
summertime is the best time for blog hibernation, but now i’m slowly coming to life again with new sewing projects.
Skoci is an Indonesian brand that produces bags, purses, and home accessories with cute handmade prints. you can see their works here and here. i just adore their prints, and i personally think these would sell well in Finland & other Nordic countries, heehee!
years ago when they just started their business, i had begged for them to sell their ‘rejected’ scraps of fabrics with hand-stamped prints so i could use them for my own sewing projects. well, now i finally got what i wished for when some of their relatives visited Helsinki a few months back & brought me some of their fabric scraps for my birthday present! ❤
the first project i made was a simple one. small fabric scraps are easiest to be used as pockets on clothes, and i happen to like dresses with pockets!
i used medium weight cotton jersey for the dress. for the upper part, i used the ever-so-versatile pattern from Ottobre design woman magazine 5/2016. i extended the length and made it wider as it went down so i could attach elastic bands on the sides & they would scrunch up nicely.
other than the pockets, for an extra detail i made a low scoop for the backside and added a strip of elastic band to keep the shoulder parts in place.
for the second project, i literally had to push myself to even start it (i was still half hibernating that time). i had to retrace the pattern #126 from BurdaStyle magazine 03/2015 because the last time i used size 38 the culottes fell on my hips, not waist. so this time i used size 36 and prayed that they would fit me. (they did. phew!) of course it was a good thing i also lost a little bit of weight during my hibernation!
i used viscose twill fabric i got from Marimekko Outlet last year. i would like to point out that when i was checking out my purchases at the cashier there (less than 10€ in total for 2 fabric ‘scraps’) the cashier lady laughed at me/the sum of my purchases. i don’t know, i guess she was used to seeing tourists and Finns alike going all out there and buy things for at least 50€ and above. i would love to show this cashier lady what i managed to do out of my ridiculously cheap purchases. :p
back to Skoci now. i knew i wanted to make shorter version of these culottes with the viscose twill, and first contemplated adding pockets to the backside where i could again use the Skoci fabric scraps. but i decided that i wanted the culottes to look a bit more formal so… how about using the scraps for the hidden pockets instead?
for that, i first sewed some scraps together (like patchwork) and then traced the pocket pattern on it. since these scraps are made of stiff cotton fabric, i only used them for the inner side of the pockets and used the viscose twill for the other side.
and then i added orange pompoms underneath the waistband (i know i said i wanted them to look a bit more formal… but don’t you agree that the orange pompoms work well with the green fabric??). i got this pompom band for free from my friend J, and i had been waiting for the perfect project to put it to use! however, attaching the pompoms here was a pain to do, and i had to redo some parts of it a few times because i just realized after they were done that the pleats on the culottes were not symmetrical. they still aren’t, and the waistband’s center back seam is also off but this was the best i could do so i’ll leave them at that.
lastly, the button i used was something i got from Indonesia back in 2010. i almost used a dark green one that L–another friend–gave me (she also got it from Marimekko Outlet store), but then thought that yellow button was what the culotttes needed.
i was so happy to get the culottes done and saw & wore the result!
the 2 projects were perfect combinations of Silverain & Skoci, and i hope R & P from Skoci agree, too! ❤ thank you ever so much for the birthday present, guys! you rock!
… 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.
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.
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.
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!
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. 😉
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.
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.
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. ❤
“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!
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.
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.
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. ❤