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. ❀

my 2016 in sewing

last year for the good half of it i sewed as i normally did, guided by my passion. but then for the other half of the year, i started to veer into a whole different direction: only sewing what i needed. truth be told, i don’t think i actually need anything, which is why i haven’t touched my sewing machine for a while now. it pains me for not having any sewing project, but it pains me even more to sew something that i know i am not going to wear. so in order to ease up the pain, here’s my regular ‘end-of-year’ list of what i had sewn in 2016.

that was a total of 17 sewing projects, out of which only 10 are repeatedly worn throughout the year. i could have saved my energy and time just to make these 10 useful ones instead of 17, though of course to be fair i think i learned something out of the 7 non practical ones as well.

6 items were done without any pattern, and 3 were done completely out of some ready made patterns. the rest were done by modifying ready made patterns.

in 2015 i figured out what sewing actually meant for myself, and 2016 was a journey much like that. while i will always love fashion and sewing, and figuring out how to sew something or some shape i want, i took a deeper journey within myself and found that i don’t always have to turn my ideas into being.

i grew up and lived for a long time in a big city. a big city that, as i grew up, tells its people more and more to buy this, buy that, you need to have this, you need to have that. it’s not just the advertisements (which are literally everywhere), but also the people in it. as if not having this or that means you’re poor, or worse, you don’t even belong in this city.

and then i moved here. i don’t live in a big city anymore, though for many years i think my mindset was still the same. i needed this, i needed that, and i had always wanted to dress up differently than others, so the cheapest & best way to do that (other than thrifting) was to learn how to sew. i was excited about this newfound hobby for 8 years, and sewed whatever idea i had in my mind. i had an unsatisfied hunger for new and trendy clothes, and was feeding my hunger by always sewing what i envisioned.

i’m not in any way saying that this is a bad thing. but when i really think about it, count the things i actually wear versus the things i made over the years…. i was suddenly overcame with the feeling of having given births to stillborns (and i apologize beforehand if i offend anyone with this example). i went through all the trouble for things that i couldn’t even fit into my closet, things i ended up not wearing for more than once. that was when i realized i was still the same ‘big city person’, believing that if i don’t sew the latest trends or come up with at least 1 sewing project every month i would be left behind. i had no idea by whom i felt i would be left behind, but that was how i felt anyway.

for a while after that realization, i went through a sort of abstinence period. October and December went without me sewing a single thing. my hands are itching for a new project, but i really need it (my next project) to mean something. i want to feel again what i felt when i first learned how to sew: doing everything nicely, with my full effort rather than ‘just get it done and over with so i can wear it once’. i was calm enough when i wasn’t sewing, and did everything else normally, like reading, etc. but i still have (fashion) ideas, and i still have my own dreams that i want to nurture.

looking back at these pictures of projects i’ve made, i’d like to think that all is not lost even with what i decided to do. i just need to remember what makes me wear an item over and over again, what makes me feel the satisfaction of having completed, and that, yes, they can go hand in hand.

if i have to name my favourite sewing project of 2016 (yes i do, because it’s my own blog!), it would have to be my universe bomber jacket. that was done after more than a month of abstinence, and it felt really good to do something that was completely me and completely useful. i’ve been wearing the jacket a lot lately!

the boyfriend jeans come close at number 2, because i also put a lot of effort to make them my own by the details and they’re the most comfortable jeans i’ve ever had in my life. i wear them like all the time!

the green slit dress is my number 3 because of its simplicity: simple shape, and everytime i put it in the laundry machine & tumble drier, it came out perfect without any wrinkle. no ironing needed! i could wear it straight away again the next day if i wanted to!

the African wax cotton dress is not the most practical dress (it’s stiff and cannot be easily ironed due to its glitters), but i love it so much and have always found occasions to wear it. i once wore it to the COS store and a salesperson suddenly came up to me only to say, “what a lovely dress you have on! and with your necklace and shoes, they all go so well together!” (i was wearing it exactly as in the picture.) since Finns don’t usually comment on one’s appearance (much less a stranger), this was a rare occasion i will always remember!

so i would say that i had a pretty good sewing year last year. time will tell how this new ideology of mine will go, but for now i am satisfied with what i have made so far. i hope 2017 will be that year for me, when i can finally build a bridge between the ‘big city’ me and ‘show me the meaning’ me.

i dream of Tibet

as promised on my last blog post, i’m trying to no longer sew just for the sake of sewing. it took me 2 months to figure out what was missing from my wardrobe, something i will definitely wear over and over again & i am also always up for trying some new techniques.

a quick window shopping over at Mango and H&M websites gave me an idea, as always.

mangotassels

inspiration board images borrowed from Mango.com and HM.com.

i had been eyeing this universe quilted fabric for months and now finally i had a purpose! a bomber jacket would be useful for me as i did not have any, and at the same time i would learn how to sew the ribbed band to the neckline and welt pockets. and to make it just a little bit more special: tassels, fringes, and pom poms. all of them in one jacket!

universebomber1

self-made bomber jacket & tulle skirt, Logo dress, leggings from Dappermarkt – Amsterdam, COS shoes.

i didn’t find any ready-made tassel band, and the only fun coloured fringe bands i found were quite expensive. so i ended up doing colourful tassels on my own and attach them to a white fringe band i bought. if you feel like making your own tassels, there are plenty of tutorial videos in YouTube. i used the one with a fork and embroidery floss. i had 4 different colours and did 6 mini tassels of each colour to fill in a 50 cm space (25 cm for each shoulder). it took me about 7 minutes to make each of the tassel, but it was fun to do while listening to some music. 🙂

universebomberdetail3

for the jacket, i did not use any pattern. it was the usual ‘boxy’ style that i have used many times to make sweatshirts and t-shirts, only this time i inserted a zipper & welt pockets at the front.

universebomberdetail1

i used the leftover denim fabric from my last pair of boyfriend jeans for the sleeves & pockets and lined them with the leftover sweatshirt fabric from this sweatshirt i made.

i found a very clear & easy tutorial for sewing welt pockets from YouTube (again). this was my first time ever to sew welt pockets and i know i chose a difficult fabric (quilted fabric + my sewing machine = enemies), but i could live with the result. the only awkward thing about them is that since i made the pocket openings diagonally and the pocket linings are straight rectangles, the upper part of the pocket linings are just dangling lifelessly if you see the bomber jacket from the inside. but that doesn’t happen unless i use the jacket with the zipper open, right? :p

after everything was done, i only realized that the neckline is a bit asymmetrical. *rolls eyes* and of course i am toooooooo too lazy to re-do it, so… asymmetrical neckline it is!

universebomber2

the universe print and pom poms & fringe reminds me so much of Tibetan clothes. some might say it also resembles Hmong style, but maybe it’s because i’ve always been attracted to Tibet, spiritually (universe) and physically (clothes/pom poms/colours), i immediately see my Tibetan dream in this bomber jacket. one day if i ever get the chance to visit Tibet, i will surely bring this jacket to climb the mountain and pray.

universebomber3i can’t tell you how proud i am to have waited for the moment to sew something useful & meaningful and actually put extra time for making the tassels & welt pockets. the jacket itself was done in about 9 hours from cutting the fabrics down to the last stitch. right away i felt the connection to this piece of garment and i knew that i would appreciate it more than other garments i made without the extra effort. finishing this jacket gave me the same feeling as when i just learned how to sew and every garment was an achievement. this is an achievement for me. this is special.

universebomber4

it’s as special as my dream of Tibet. ❀

my boyfriend’s twin

2 years ago i sewed my very first pair of (boyfriend) jeans. i have been using those jeans ever since, like, a LOT. they are still in good shape too, but i wanted to have another pair. i wanted to have another go at it, with some slight modifications.

enter my boyfriend jeans’ twin.

paleboyfjeans4

self-made sweatshirt and jeans, Mango belt, unbranded socks, Bianco shoes, salmon pink earring from Indonesia Wholesaler store, purple tassel keyring from Morocco (worn as earring).

before we go any further, i just want to warn you that i am super proud of myself for sewing these jeans and thus please be prepared for the many pics in this post. :p

paleboyfjeansdetail1

anyway, i used the exact same pattern as last time, Named’s Wyome Boyfriend Jeans pattern. i made the leg parts below the knees slightly wider this time for more ease of wear. i also made diagonal seams from the side pockets down to the knees, just for fun. just like last time, i didn’t make the decorative stitches at the back pockets, because i wanted to save my topstitch thread.

now, for this pair, since my fabric’s colour is so pale, i decided that i wanted to have pink decorations: pink topstitch thread, pink buttons, pink lining, and pink bias tape (you’ll see them soon).

previously, instead of regular topstitch/quilting thread, i used the bear thread for my first jeans. i also used an old needle, from my late grandmum’s stash. and i also made a lot of mistakes while sewing with thick thread, like going back and forth at the edges for ‘locking’ the stitches, which is apparently a big no-no as it would jam your sewing machine! (no wonder my sewing machine almost died that time!) the correct way to do it, so i learned, was to just keep on going forward, leave long enough thread leftover at the edges, so you could then knot them by hand! clever! 🙂

so that’s what i did this time, and i also used a brand new needle (regular 100/16, NOT the jeans needle because my sewing machine can’t take it for some reason). everything went so smoothly, i nearly cried from happiness!

another difference this time was the fact that i have an overlocker! i did most of the seams with this, it really makes my life a lot easier.

i even put interfacing on all the correct places this time (i skipped that the last time and really regretted it), even though my fabric choice this time doesn’t really have that much elasticity. but anyway… i’m still glad i did it.

because this time i decided to line the waistband with a regular cotton fabric, which is also the fabric i used for the pockets.

it’s the paper doll fabric i used to make my coat many years ago. look how cute that came out on the jeans!

instead of installing 5 buttons as the pattern calls for, i used 4 this time. on my previous pair of jeans, i rarely even need to open/use the fifth button, that’s why i thought 4 is enough. and as if these details weren’t enough, i went the extra trouble to add one more tiny detail… bias tapes on the inside of the side seams! so that when i roll up the hem, you can see more pink on my jeans, mwahahaha!

anyway, i can again only praise the clarity of the sewing instructions of the Named pattern. everything was clearly written & drawn, i had no problem at all sewing these ‘complicated’ jeans.

paleboyfjeans2

i only encountered one problem when sewing this, and it wasn’t even the pattern’s fault. somehow, when i was sewing the crotch edges using my overlocker, though i thought i was extra careful, i still managed to end up with a big cut right in the middle of the front part of the jeans! the overlocker’s knife got to it when i wasn’t looking, i swear! 😩

because of this, i had to sew the crotch parts together quite a lot smaller than the original pattern, so that the hole would be covered underneath the seam, and i only prayed to God that i could still fit into the jeans. thankfully God was playing nice to me, and gave me my wish. the waist/crotch even fit much nicely and better than my previous pair of jeans exactly because it’s smaller! 😀

paleboyfjeans3

for attaching the upper parts of the belt loops to the waistband, i still had to do them by hand, because there was just no way that kind of thick layers of denim fabrics could go under my sewing machine’s foot.

paleboyfjeans5

but i think they look alright! and of course i had to test the jeans while squatting… (yep, they’re very comfy!).

paleboyfjeans1i think i’m already falling in love with my boyfriend (jeans)’s twin. i just love everything about it, all the small details that probably will never be found out by anyone else but me (like who’s ever going to take a peek inside my pockets??) but just the fact that they’re there and that i made them myself is really something special. ❀

now i just keep wanting to make more jeans! LOL… but i don’t think my poor old sewing machine will appreciate that. and girl, you are just about to cheat on your first boyfriend jeans with your second one, and already you’re thinking of a third boyfriend?? 😀 pfffft, stop it!

my first pie

in middle school, while reading my fave Betty & Veronica (of the Archies) double digest comic book, i came across one story in which Veronica read an article in a silly teen magazine that if a woman was to ever get married, she must first know how to bake a pie. Veronica wailed and cried and confessed to Betty, her best friend/rival, that she couldn’t bake anything, let alone a pie.

while we all know that baking pies is hardly any “condition” for women to marry these days, i must say that my heart went out for dear Ronnie. because: i also could not bake a pie. thankfully, i am already married. ha!

but here is the irony: my mum-in-law had actually won, many times, the annual local competitions for the best pies. oh yes, she’s been queen of pies for many years. she always comes up with the best ingredients for pies, salty ones and sweet ones, and they always taste yummy. we’ll talk about those someday, but let’s stay on topic for now.

ever since i had “mastered” making apple roses, and as my husband always has a soft spot for apples, i had been thinking of trying my luck in the world of pies. and what else would be better than asking for a recipe from my mum-in-law?

if you are not familiar with Finnish pies, i must first remind you that it’s not really the same as American ones. most pies here are not “covered” with another layer of crust; instead, the “topping” is just there on the top. if you remember what egg tarts look like, well, imagine that… but bigger and thicker. 😀 there you have it, Finnish pies.

since i’m still not an expert in any baking stuff, i will not post any recipe. but the main ingredients i used for this pie’s crust are: all-purpose flour, baking powder, whipping cream, sugar, butter. i forgot that i wanted to add cardamom while making the dough, so i ended up adding it when the dough was already on the mould. oops.

for the topping, i used 5 big apples, small amount of butter, and lots & lots of sugar and cinnamon.

and when i took it out from the oven…

applepie1

… ta-daaaah! i was so proud! it looked just like a real Finnish pie! ❀

and now, for the texture & taste.

applepie2

oh, yes. it’s a Finnish apple pie alright. 😀

too bad i didn’t have vanilla ice cream to eat it with (= how the Finns usually consume apple pies), nor vanilla cream. i did, however, have tiny leftover of the whipping cream, so we used it as an extra.

applepie3

i was so happy and touched as i ate it. somehow i never thought i could finally be able to make a pie from scratch, but i did it!

now i feel even more contented because i am married AND i can bake pies! 😀 wherever Veronica Lodge is now, i hope she is just as lucky & contented!

selvisin!

at first i was afraid, i was petrified…

se alkoi kun saimme liput yhteen teatteritapahtumaan mun mieheni isoisĂ€ltĂ€. hĂ€n sanoi samalla, “nyt (minĂ€) voit samalla harjoitella suomen kieltĂ€!”. aivan, teatteriesitys onkin kokonaan suomen kielellĂ€.

rakastan kaikkea teatteri-, ooppera-, musikaali-, tanssiesitystÀ. mutta en ollut koskaan aikaisemmin kÀynyt missÀÀn teatterissa tÀÀllÀ Suomessa, missÀ esitetÀÀn suomen kielellÀ. mun suurin pelko on se, ettÀ en ymmÀrtÀisi mitÀ ne puhuvat, enkÀ nauraisi vitsejÀ. nÀin on mennyt 9,5 vuotta elÀmÀni tÀÀllÀ. ehkÀ nyt olisi aika.

menin sinne mieheni kanssa ja kun saapuimme, musta tuntuu ettĂ€ kaikki silmĂ€t katsoivat minua kohti (varmaankin vain kuvittelin niin, mutta…). ensinnĂ€kin olimme luultavasti ainoa “nuori” pariskunta kun kaikki muut olivat n. +60v. 😀 ja se ettĂ€ en nĂ€ytĂ€ perinteiseltĂ€ suomalaiselta oli varmaan toinen syy. voin melkein kuulla mitĂ€ he ajattelivat: onko hĂ€n (= minĂ€) vÀÀrĂ€ssĂ€ paikassa? miten hĂ€n voisi nauttia tĂ€stĂ€ esityksestĂ€ kun ei ymmĂ€rtĂ€isi suomea? kyllĂ€ jĂ€nnitti. mutta, the show must go on!

kun esitys alkoi… hei, minĂ€hĂ€n ymmĂ€rsin mitĂ€ tuo sanoi. ja tuo, ja hĂ€n, ja se. ja hei, se oli hauskaa! hahaha, ja nauroinkin vitsejĂ€, vaikka ne olivat kaikki suomen kielellĂ€! enkĂ€ teeskennellyt, vaan oikeasti ymmĂ€rsin kaiken! yes, i did it! selvisin sen! aivan mahtava fiilis tuli sen jĂ€lkeen! 🙂

kyse oli siis komedia esitys, jonka nimi on Kaktuksen Kukka (perustuu 60-luvun samannimiseen ranskalaiskomediaan, Cactus Flower / Fleur de cactus). siinĂ€ esiintyy mm. Santeri Kinnunen, Satu Silvo, ja Eija Vilpas. Silvo oli mun suosikki, hĂ€n on niin hyvĂ€ nĂ€yttelijĂ€! rooli sopii hĂ€nelle tĂ€ydellisesti. tykkĂ€sin myös Vilpaksen toiminta (vinkki: jos olet menossa katsomaan tĂ€tĂ€, etsipĂ€s hĂ€nen 2 muuta ‘salaroolia’ siinĂ€).

venue oli Areena, ‘pieni’ teatterisali Hakaniemen kauppahallin edessĂ€. se muistuttaa mua erÀÀn teatterisaliin Jakartassa joka veikkaan on yhtĂ€ vanhaa ja pientĂ€ (mutta just sopiva koko). lavaste ja rekvisiitta oli tosi hyvĂ€ ja toimiva, sillĂ€ kun kohtaus vaihtuu nekin vaihtuvat samalla nopeasti ja vaihto oli saumaton.

suosittelen tĂ€mĂ€ esitys lĂ€mpimĂ€sti kaikille joka haluaa hyvÀÀ fiilistĂ€, varsinkin kun ulkona on nĂ€in kylmÀÀ ja muutenkin masentavaa. huomasin vain yksi juttu kun olin lĂ€hdössĂ€ pois teatterilta silloin: kaikilla oli rento, kukaan ei lĂ€htenyt huonolla mielellĂ€ vaan jokaisessa kasvoissa oli vĂ€hintÀÀn iso hymy. jopa miehenikin sanoi ettĂ€ se oli hauskaa, eikĂ€ hĂ€n muistanut milloin hĂ€nellĂ€ oli niin paljon hauskaa missÀÀn esityksessĂ€ tĂ€tĂ€ ennen. olen samaa mieltĂ€. 🙂

lue lisÀÀ esityksestÀ tÀssÀ.

in short: for the first time ever in my life, i went to see a comedy play which was performed completely in Finnish. and i understood everything! i even laughed at the jokes, yay! thanks to my husband’s granddad who gave us the tickets and hinted that this would be the perfect way to brush up my Finnish. he was right, and i had so much fun! (hence i felt compelled to write the story in Finnish.)

PS. i know there must be plenty of mistakes in my Finnish writings, anteeksi vaan. well, practice makes perfect! 😉

my 2015 in sewing

this year i didn’t really have any target. which was probably good, considering my unexpected dark moments in the middle of the year. i just sewed when i felt like it, and some of the projects i made this year were quite simple. and yet, i still managed to surprise myself when i counted how many sewing projects i made.

that’s 22 sewing projects in 12 months. whoopee! that is my personal best achievement so far, in terms of quantity.

other than these, i also made 2 remake projects:

whew, that really was quite a productive year!

so let’s see how it went: this year was rather special because i finally got an overlocker, yaay! by now i’ve slightly gotten the hang of it, though i am still wary of handling the threads. a small confession, i still haven’t got the guts yet to only use 3 or 2 threads. maybe next year i will!

also, it looks to me that this was a year of giving. out of 22 projects, 3 of them were gifts for other people. giving a gift is always a joy, but the feeling of creating something out of nothing and giving it to someone else AND they actually use it… it’s priceless. 🙂

what i learned this year, other than using my overlocker, was to make children’s wear. they are tiny and easy, so i might just keep doing them in the future as well!

i also learned how to sew piping (= not a very nice experience). i still have a lot to learn on this one, but yep… i’ve done it!

i learned to love solid-coloured/non-patterned fabrics, which opened a new door to a whole lot of new possibilities! not that i have any new fabrics yet for future solid-coloured sewing project, but i already have some ideas in my head. 😉

lastly, though definitely not the least, i learned that for me sewing should always be to make myself happy. fashion and sewing have been my greatest passion and hobby now for almost a decade (longer than a decade for fashion), and somewhere along the line this year i got derailed when i started comparing myself to other seamstresses and their achievements. i would love to blame it on the social media, since other seamstresses have more followers, they get more comments and likes and thumbs up and whatever else. but gradually, i realized that i had no one to blame but myself.

once i started comparing myself or my work to someone else’s, i would lose my happiness. in fact, i would never be happy, because i would feel like whatever i did, it was never good enough, not for me, not for anyone else.

so i started by not looking elsewhere and concentrated only on my own feelings. what did i feel like sewing? something cute and frilly? something simple and quick? and when i was done figuring that out, i did the project and kept it personal (= posting it only on my blog). if some friends and family liked it, i was grateful. if they didn’t, well, it was okay, because i did it for myself. i was happy when i sewed, and i was happy with the result. that was enough.

nowadays, i have gotten a bit better and started to take a few peeks at other seamstresses’ works. just enough to know what is going on in the sewing world, which i think is healthy, right?

all in all, it was another good year of sewing for me, and i am so thankful for it. i love each and every one of my sewing project, but if i have to name my most favourite this year, it would have to be the layered buttoned-up shirt. maybe it’s because i came up with the idea myself, and managed to do it just right. i’ve been wearing it like crazy ever since i made it.

i hope your 2015 also went well! merry Christmas to all and have a blessed new year!