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. πŸ˜‚ 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 πŸ˜…), 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! ❀

1 year late, pt. 2

still doing last year’s late posts, this here was my next sewing project.

self-made blouse, Mango jeans, Marimekko bag.

everything in the previous post was done in January 2021, and the next time i picked up my sewing machine again wasn’t until… July 2021. πŸ˜› many things happened in between, including that mental health problem i mentioned here.

seeing this fabric was the first time–after a long while–i actually smiled and could picture myself wearing it again. (even though the base colour is beige. again. albeit a bit greenish this time. i guess i’m starting to like beige!!)

the fabric is from Marimekko, and the print name is Kaksoset (which means ‘twins’ in Finnish, designed by Maija Isola. to see the full print, please search in Google or go to Marimekko website. it’s so cute, i promise you won’t regret it! 😻

as soon as i saw the fabric and did a calculation in my head of how much fabric i’d need, i immediately knew that instead of breaking up the leopards, i wanted both leopards to be on the front piece part… which also means i’d rather not have any seams on the sides of the garment.

well, i managed to do just that, mwahahaha!

but before i go there, let’s rewind a bit to the beginning. because the print is so big, and it depends on where it was previously cut (the fabric’s not sold per print repeat, so you may get the beginning of the fabric at the middle part of the print), i counted that 80 cm of the fabric (around 147 cm wide) should be enough for a boxy shirt.

boxy shirt means exactly that: i didn’t use any pattern, just made 2 rectangles (because i didn’t want the sides to have seams, remember?) and joined them at the back. then i cut the arm holes by copying one of my t-shirts. for the collar, as usual, i used Burda pattern 7936–only the collar stand this time instead of the whole collar, and added about 2-3 cm of the height to make it look more ‘oriental’. i had wanted to do sleeves in the beginning, using different fabric, but in the end i figured this model is much better.

i also imagined that i might want to use it as a vest sometimes with the buttons unbuttoned, so i made sure the inside looks neat too. i added polka dot bias tape to the inner side of the button list, also because i wanted to keep the leopards’ faces & bodies intact and not fold too much to the inner side. for the arm holes, i used off-white bias tape.

and the buttons? they were from Marimekko Outlet, so i imagined it’s like a small reunion between them and the fabric! 😁 i still love the idea of using different coloured thread to sew buttons in place, but since i didn’t have orange/brown thread, i used red instead. it seems to be working just fine.

so this is the ‘new format’ of pics i was talking about. these pics were at least much easier to take (and edit) and a lot more fun too! from now on (until who knows when) i’m gonna stick to this format.

how’s everyone’s 2022 been going so far? better than the previous year, hopefully!

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˜€

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 13 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 13 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 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 13 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’•

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˜‰