instant pancakes

the sewing fever has begun for me from the early days of January this year, except that i had also successfully failed them.

first i tried making a wallet from real leather (first time attempting to make a wallet AND sew real leather), but for one reason or another (wrong needle, wrong thread tightness) the result looked like a sad looking lump of skin. i even got worried that i broke my new sewing machine because of this project.

so i quickly tried sewing something else to test my machine, and chose this fun fabric i got last month.

looks super yummy right? i thought so too, which was why i decided to get the fabric. the odd thing is that the print makes it look like it suits little kids rather than a +35 year old woman, and yet the material is viscose jersey which is super flowy and usually works better for drapey dresses etc. for grown ups. but whatever, i thought, i’d still make it work somehow.

and on i sewed, without a pattern, using the same way & model as forΒ this top, until i finished the ruffles on the hem made out of lightweight cotton denim. that was when i realized my mistake.

since the denim is a lot stiffer than the viscose jersey, the ruffles added even more strain to the bottom which made the whole ruffle part spread out like unintended tulle skirt. (it looked much worse on me than on the clothe’s hanger.)

the failure

after i gathered more energy, i took the whole ruffle part out, un-ruffled them, and had to think of a new way to still add some sort of element to the bottom of the top using the same denim fabric (because i just couldn’t let this be a pyjama top!).

i only came up with this.

self-made top, Zara Kids skirt, necklace given by A of Indonesia in My Pocket blog, earrings from Jakarta – Indonesia

even when i have taken off all the ruffles, as you can see, it still looks like the denim part spreads out of the top’s bottom instead of falling straight down. so you can imagine what the ruffled version looked like on me.

other than that bottom part, the top itself was easy to make. this time, i decided to use the decorative stitch for the sleeves as well.

i’m sort of happy with the result, even though my husband still thinks it looks like a pyjama top. well, at least it is as comfortable as a pyjama top!

and i was even happier to find out that my sewing machine was not broken after the leather wallet project, phew! so that was reason enough for my big smile.

just like instant pancakes, the result can make you fulfilled even if the taste is just so-so. this top was certainly quick to make and makes me quite contented, even if the look is just so-so.

if you disagree with me about instant pancakes and know a good brand that i should try, do drop a hint in the comments! πŸ˜€

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my 2018 in sewing (late post)

first off, happy new year to everyone!

well, 2018 ended in quite a hectic way for me so i couldn’t write this post earlier. but anyways, as i had done for the past few years, here’s a recap of my 2018 in sewing.

honestly, i wasn’t expecting to sew as much as i did. with the depression, moving, and back pains etc., i had little hope that i would have enough will and energy to sew. but 14 sewing projects in a year, that was quite an achievement! πŸ˜‰ (the coordinated set was put twice up there because there are 2 items, the pants and the top.)

out of these 14 items, 8 were done without pattern. the french bulldog top was done by putting an old top over the fabric and cutting the fabric straight out. the knot dress’s idea was taken from Named’s Kielo dress. the twist knot tops’ idea was taken from a Zara top.

last year i have fallen out of love and fallen back in love with sewing and clothes. who knows what will happen next in my journey of sewing, but at least having invested in a better sewing machine helped, too, in getting myself re-inspired.

with my new sewing machine, i’ve also been more inclined to learn new techniques. since my new sewing machine makes it a lot easier for me to sew things like button holes and decorative stitches, i can concentrate more on making my garment more neat and polished instead.

other than these 14 items, i actually also made 2 small pouches that i never posted. one is made for my mum by her request, and was the very first time i made a pouch with zipper. i still used my old sewing machine for that, just before i wrapped it up and sold it.

the other one was my very first project with my new sewing machine, a test run, so to speak. it wasn’t that neat, but i needed to test the zipper presser foot and overcasting presser foot (something i never had before!). the pouch works perfectly well, so i’ve been using it to keep my keys.

these 2 pouches were unfortunately the only ones i made using old fabrics that i had… all 14 sewing projects were otherwise done using *gasp* new fabrics! the knot skirt and polka dot twist knot top fabrics were given to me for free, though, so… at least i don’t feel too guilty for getting so much new fabrics, haha. πŸ˜…

i don’t have any new sewing resolution for this year, it stays the same as last year and the year before: to sew only the things i need or will definitely wear until it breaks. those 14 up there i have been wearing daily, except for the last dress, LBD, which i have yet to wear due to lack of formal party invitation, LOL.

and with that, 2018 is officially closed and i warmly welcome the new year! what will you have in store for me, dear 2019? πŸ’•

faking it

ladies and gents, i am at that point in life where not only do i copy ready-made garments, but also ‘fake’ clothing patterns.

self-made dress.

i’m talking about the most famous dress pattern for the past few years, Named Clothing’s Kielo Wrap Dress. and here’s my confession: i did not buy their pattern nor did i borrow anyone’s. πŸ™ˆ

you should know by now that i am such a lazy seamstress that i couldn’t even be bothered by the thought of having to copy the pattern, and then trace it to the fabric, and so on…. instead, i just did a bit of a mathematical calculation and drew it out, took an old top pattern just for the neckline and armholes, and started cutting away! if you can’t stand copycats, piracy, and the sorts, then i suggest you skip this post. but if you’re curious, here’s my so-called technical drawing 😝:

the measurements were my own, of course, so feel free to adjust. first thing to know is at what height your waist is when you measure yourself from your shoulder, because that’s where you want the widest part of the dress to be. then you need to measure your whole waist circumference, and divide it by 2. for my measurement, i thought adding 20 cm to each side should be enough because i wanted the ‘wrap’ parts to not overlap with each other. after you got all these measurements, you’d know how much fabric you need.

in my case, i used my fabric the wrong way, using the selvedge as the hem of the dress (lazy). i used about 180 cm of my viscose fabric in total, cause i needed to make the ties on the sides. judging by the pictures of the dress in Named’s website, i estimated the ties to be about 120 cm long on each side. it worked for me, but of course as we come in different sizes, yours might be different so i suggest making longer ones first since it’s easier to cut them shorter than make them longer afterwards! my fabric’s width was about 140 cm, so this would be my dress’s length which is just perfect for me.

after you got your measurements, it’s time to find the perfect pattern for the neckline and armholes. my choice was pattern no. 127/128 from BurdaStyle magazine 02/2015. whatever your pattern choice is, remember to cut the back side of your dress 2 times (one left, one right) instead of one time on fold, because you need a slit for the back side of this dress otherwise you can’t walk. measure your own measurement from the shoulder to the waist, put a mark there and draw the diamond shape. one thing to make sure when you draw the line from the widest part of the dress to the bottom of the hem is that about 20 cm under the waistline is your hip, so you want to make sure that the dress’s width on that area fits the measurement of your own hip (i did this by measuring my hip and divide it by 4).

i made my dress’s hem to be quite narrow, 30 cm for the front side, and 15 cm for each back side. and as for the height of the back slit, you can decide it yourself, but since i like to be able to walk freely, i made mine open at 50 cm above the hemline.

then you can start cutting and sewing! i added pompoms to the armholes, just to add a little something. had to sew it by hand though cause my poor old machine just couldn’t handle it. and oh, in case you decided to use the same pattern as i did for the neckline, don’t be absent-minded like me and forget that the neckline is quite narrow. you might want to either make another slit at the back and close it with a button or…. if you’re lazy like me, just cut off an extra 3-5 cm around the neckline (which i did AFTER i sewed a bias tape onto the original neckline, and tried it on, and realized my head couldn’t even get in, duh).

and now, on to the exciting part: the result!!! 😍 oh, it was just everything i dreamed of, and even better because i cheated, LOL! πŸ˜‚Β and i understood right away why so many people love this pattern. the dress is just so very versatile, as it can be worn many ways, depending on where you do the wrap, how tight the wrap is, and where you wrap the ties. (warning: loads of pictures coming up!)

here’s the first way (including the 1st pic way up there), wrapped tightly to the front.

the second way, wrapped loosely to the front:

the third way, wrapped tightly to the back:

you see? how can one not fall in love with it? and i think i chose a pretty good fabric for it, both material and print.

this will definitely be a summer fave dress for me! ❀

whether you choose to buy the pattern or fake it like me, i really think Named Clothing did a very cool job to come up with this pattern. so thanks for inventing the pattern, ladies! 😁

checking out Czech

well, okay, Prague to be exact.

neither my husband nor i have ever been there, so this was our first time ever. and my verdict is: love the city, hate the tourists! πŸ˜€ (i guess that includes us, LOL!)

i’m too tired to put descriptions in the pics, so here’s the short(er) story of the whole trip.

upon arriving, i immediately noticed something in the air that was quite familiar. it was very hot and damp that night, so that already brought me back to Indonesia, but the air was filled with incense scent. and i mean like everywhere! this of course brought my mind back to Bali, where they have incense-scented offerings everywhere on the street. i had no idea why there was an abundant smell of incense in the whole city, but when i heard church bells near our hotel, then i thought maybe the reason was that there is plenty of these churches in Prague, and perhaps they use incense in there? i didn’t hang around in churches to find out, so i guess i’ll never know.

if you are an honest and naive tourist like me, you might want to be extra careful where you buy your groceries. :p i learned it the hard way there when on our first night, since it was hot and we were tired, we only managed to go to a nearby mini-mart to get some water bottles. we had a small idea of how tourist stores ( = any store in a tourist-y area) mark up their prices, but it wasn’t until we got back to our hotel that we found out how badly ripped off we were. 11€ for 2 big bottles and 1 small bottle of water is NOT normal, i can tell u that. πŸ˜€ the next day we found a bigger mini-mart and paid 1,50€ for 2 small bottles of water. go figure.

if you’re an anti-tourist like me, avoid Charles bridge at all cost! LOL. i put a picture i took from there just to show you how many people there were at that time… and remember, this was not even a peak season yet, and the temperature was somewhere between 30-32C degrees. it was blazing hot, and tourists with their selfie sticks were just taking pictures upon pictures with every effin’ step they made, people walking behind them would just have to wait patiently because, well, the crowds were everywhere…. unbelievable.

there are soooo many castles in Prague, and soooooooo many beautiful gardens to come with those castles. so they said. we tried to see just the gardens (because, well, the castles would be filled with tourists… again), and since we’re so used to free gardens in Finland, we were taken aback with the fact that we had to pay tickets to view the gardens of the castles in Prague. πŸ˜€ and since apparently they really don’t want to let people view it for free, they had to make walls around the gardens as well. no castles and no gardens, then! πŸ˜€

we did go to the Alphonse Mucha museum, for my sake. it was small and non air-conditioned, but whatever. i’m glad it wasn’t as famous and hence full of tourists, so that was nice! no pictures are allowed in there, that’s why i don’t have any.

i got this tip from a colleague of mine, and apparently it’s true: you can only buy stamps in Prague in the post office. πŸ˜€ in Finland (and i think even in Indonesia) you can buy stamps from kiosks and mini-marts, but when i asked a souvenir store in Prague if they sell stamps… their answer is: no, but the post office is right there on the main street. so off i went there, took a queue number from the machine (in case you’re wondering, it’s “other services>selling stamps and other products”!) and went to the cashier just to get 1 stamp for a postcard! wow. and then there’s the matter of figuring out how to work out the mailbox. there are plenty of them around the city, but the instructions (or whatever they are) are all in Czech. hmm. i hope my postcard arrives to where i’m sending it to! πŸ˜€

you will find many places offering Trdelnik aka chimney cake, for various prices. however, after the water bottle incident, i was quite careful about spending money there. i remember seeing a place selling traditional Trdelnik for as cheap as 20 Kr, but since it was far away and i was too tired to go back there, i decided to go to the one nearest to our hotel that offered it for 50 Kr. i tried the cinnamon one, and boy, was it good! i wish i had tried the one filled with ice cream, but maybe i’ll do it some other time!

another thing worth mentioning is the dogs of Prague. i can’t tell for sure if they are local or tourist dogs, but i found many dogs were let loose in Prague (as in, not bound on a leash) and yet they didn’t run away! ❀ the first one i saw was a cute dachshund on the loose and i had to fight back the urge not to pick it up and bring it home! πŸ˜€ another one i saw was inside a small souvenir shop, with no leash of course, just looking out of the store as if it’s the owner of the store, looking for new customers. i managed to take a candid picture of 1 dog i saw that was just sooooo sooooo sweet, i couldn’t resist it…. if you’re the owner of that dog, i’m sorry i had to steal a picture of your doggy! good thing you put a leash on it! πŸ˜€

lastly, just a few pics of the hotel we stayed at, called Blue Oak.

it was such a lovely place! we were looking for a place with air conditioning (not all hotels in Prague have them, we knew there would be this heatwave coming when we were looking for the place) and possibly a microwave. and wow, we didn’t even expect the room to be so big, but it was! on the last day of our trip, there was a big thunderstorm with lots of hail and we got to view it from our bedroom window. just like in a tropical place, it only lasted for a short time, and made the weather much more bearable afterwards.

and there you have it, Prague from my very small & short point of view! πŸ˜€ i highly recommend it if you appreciate architecture… and beer, obviously, LOL. but if the larger-than-life tourist thing bothers you, you might want to go there when it’s really a very low peak season instead. πŸ˜‰

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. πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ˜€ (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. πŸ™‚

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.

take it slow

in case you’re wondering (which i’m sure you haven’t been doing) where i have gone to for the past month, here is the answer: nowhere. i haven’t really been offline, though i have been lagging in terms of reading other people’s blogs & updates. here’s something new: i haven’t been sewing either.

it’s not another case of depression this time. it’s simply the realization of just how much clothes i have vs how often i actually wear them. sounds familiar?

usually one would have this problem when one buys clothes, cheap ones, clothes on sale, etc. but when one sews one’s own clothes, is that really possible? well, yeah.

you know how it goes. you can’t seem to stop yourself from getting a nice looking fabric–same thing that goes forΒ nice looking clothes applies as well to fabrics–and you end up getting a few too many. and when you finally have an idea to make something, you open up your fabric stash only to find that nothing there is the right one for your idea! you quickly have to go out and get a new one. repeat by a hundred times.

and then you finally get to make what you wanted. you wear it with pride once, twice, and then you already have another idea forΒ another sewing project, and you repeat the same process all over again.

i’m not saying it happens overnight, of course. i’ve only been sewing now for about 8 years, and already i can see that i have a problem. so i started ‘throwing away’ my old(er) clothes that i bought from stores,Β and by this i meant either giving them up for charity or bringing them to H&M for recycling. but still it seems that my closet is just getting more and more clothes.

i don’t know yet how it’s going to end, but at least i can tell you that i’m trying to reduce it now before it’s too late. i mean… i’m sure we all know by now just how ‘dangerous’ fast fashion is, right? dangerous for the environment and dangerous for the human resources. now if you thought by making your own clothes you can at least reduce that danger, think again. where do you think the fabrics come from? not all of them grow on trees either. there are still human resources, other than you, the seamstress/tailor, involved in the making of that. it makes me sad sometimes, seeing somebody make dozens of clothes a month, either for him-/herself or for others, and this is just because he/she can. of course i can’t tell just how hollow or full his/her closet is, but still… i think it’s wiser to not be excessive in anything, don’t you?

with that in mind, i am trying to be more careful in what fabrics i buy & what i’ll make from them. i no longer set myself to sew at least 2 sewing projects a month or at least 20 projects per year, or whatever, but instead sew something i actually need & will definitely wear for a long time. i hear you, i’m saying “good luck!” to myself as well! πŸ˜€

so anyway, to really answer that question as to what i’ve been doing for the past month, here are some things:

  • read the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child script book. i wish i could one day see the production of this,Β it looked great in my own imagination! πŸ˜‰
  • got a short social visit from my uncle and aunt, yay!Β auntunclenmeit was their first time here in Finland and of course it had to be super windy when they were here. ergh! but at least the sun was shining, the foods were great (i again of course had to introduce muikkuja aka vendace to them), the talks were fun, and i was just so grateful that somebody from the family could visit me!auntnmewe got to visit Suomenlinna – the Fortress island despite the harsh wind, enjoyed our walk in the city and the market square, and also went to the Helsinki City Museum, which is also very nice and surprisingly nostalgic for all of us (even thoughΒ we come from a different part of the world!). they were really nice 2 days that i spent with them! and hey, that’s the second time this year already that i got to play tourist in my own (new) country!
  • my husband & i and my mum-in-law taught our nephew to say our names, and he succeeded! he remembered who we were, and whenever we ‘tested’ if he knew which one of us was which, he always got it right! and he liked our names so much that my sister-in-law sent us a video a week after that, where it showed that he just kept saying our names over and over again. ❀ that feeling when somebody small who couldn’t really say much of anything yet suddenly kept calling your name is just unbearably lovely!!
  • i learned how to make my first lasagne! also how NOT to make it, LOL. i only followed a recipe though, so it really wasn’t any rocket science. the first time i made it i only managed to put in 2 layers of the lasagna sheet, because the sauce were all already used up, ahahaha…. needless to say, i had to make another one, pronto, and with advices (and okay, a little bit of help) from my husband, i finally got it right this time. lasagne1no picture of the first lasagne because it was quite embarrassing, haha! not that this second one is a good looking one either, but whatever! lasagne2it’s a vegetarian lasagne with spinach and cottage cheese as the main content. it was really good for a beginner’s attempt!

that was pretty much it. of course there are other boring things like going to work and doing house chores some time there in the middle, and oh, watching some series in Netflix, but really… nothing else worth mentioning. :p

it’s time for me to take it slow and enjoy life as it is.