let’s do the twist

we’ve been having such a wonderful summer this year in Finland that i’ve just been taking walks whenever i can (read: whenever i am not working) just to enjoy the weather and views. this is of course not a reason for me to not write or sew, but it happened.

another fake (but true) reason is that whenever i feel like an inspiration is coming for me to sew, the fabrics i want to sew are the ones still in the fabric store and i really should first use my own fabrics before buying new ones! the dilemmas of a fabric addict, right? 😝

but one day i just had to sew something, and thankfully i found the right fabric from my own closet.

self-made top, New Yorker shorts, woven bag from Bali – Indonesia.

this spring i bought a super cheap top from Zara that i wore for my photo shoot here (shown on first picture). my secret motive was so that i could copy it and make many more similar tops! (insert devilish laugh here.)

after months of pondering about it in my head, i finally felt ready. the fabric i used was one i got for free from my co-worker J last winter. it’s a synthetic knit fabric which was about 1,5 m wide and long.

remember how i said i felt ready? well, i was wrong, LOL. i cut the fabric first for the front part… and struggled to make the twist just right. in short, i failed. so i cut another piece for the front part, for the second time. this time i just put it on top of my dummy and worked from there. this seemed to do the trick, so now i know that whenever i can’t figure out some cut/pattern, all i have to do is trust my dummy! 😁

but since i already cut the fabric the first time for the front part, i was left with too small scraps to get a full back part. so to save my sewing project, i had to improvise… as per usual. in the end, i think i managed to save it. 😊

if you ask me how to do that twist, i can answer truthfully that i don’t know, hahaha…. i put some detail pics above just to remind my future self of how it looks like from the inside, but i know i also won’t understand it just from the pictures. my brain just can’t think in 3D, so my best advice is to invest on a dummy.

originally, i wanted to make this top have long sleeves, so i could wear it for winter. but again, since there wasn’t enough fabric left, i had to change that plan too. so ‘short super wide and pleated sleeves’ it is!

as you can imagine, i am super proud to have accomplished this top! πŸ’•

so come on everybody, let’s do the twist!

frenchie flamingo

my love of dogs in all shapes and colours still continues (of course… i don’t think that’s something that will ever die down! LOL), and seeing this fabric made me squeal. without thinking too long, i bought it and made it out into a simple top almost immediately, too.

self-made top, New Yorker shorts.

i mean, what’s not to love about this print? French bulldog pups in cow pattern, looking in all directions. ❀

i got about 70 cm of this cotton jersey fabric because it’s super wide (about 180 cm). i wanted to do something super simple yet try out another decorative stitch from my sewing machine, so i decided to copy an old top i got from a thrift marketplace in Jakarta, Indonesia.

the ‘twist’ is at the front part where the seam between the bodice and the sleeves are. this was where i tried the decorative stitch (top left pic) and i am sooo in love with how it turned out!

the original top i have has these lace frills on the hem, but seeing the salmon pink colour on the dogs’ ears made me think of my flamingo fabric and so i decided to use remnants of that instead.

other than the hem, i used that same flamingo fabric for lining the edges of the sleeves… so that when i fold the sleeves up, i can show the lovely flamingos!

and that’s the story of how my French bulldogs get to meet the flamingos! probably not the most logical relationship in the world, but i must say, it works on my top, hahaha… and that’s all that matters! πŸ˜€

gonna take my frenchies and flamingos out for a walk now, while the summer days are still here. πŸ˜‰

magic mushrooms

in my 10 years experience of sewing, i hadn’t got the chance to sew Finnish design fabrics other than the big brands like Marimekko, Finlayson’s Moomin, and Nanso. to be honest, i didn’t even know much about Finnish ‘indie’ design fabric brands that much, until some colleagues of mine started introducing them to me some time last year. and what a wonderful alternative they are to the other bigger brands!

i had wanted to get my hands on them ever since, but compared to the fabrics i usually buy & sew, these Finnish ones are naturally quite pricey. for example, i usually spend about 5€-10€ for a single fabric for one project, but these fabrics cost around 24€ per meter. so i wanted to be careful when choosing the fabrics to buy from these brands, and not end up regretting the purchase.

luckily for me, some months ago there was an arts and crafts event called Ommel where these brands sold their fabrics for cheaper prices. this event was also where i got to learn about & test the sewing machine i ended up getting (didn’t buy it from the event itself, though). in short, this event was my perfect opportunity to get deeper into my passion of sewing.

after some hours of deliberating, i decided to get 2 fabrics from Verson Puoti. the other one is to be posted later when i have made something out of it, but this first one is called Sienisato.why i decided to get this one is actually another story probably worth telling.

just before this event, i celebrated my 10th year anniversary at my work place. my colleagues had secretly prepared surprise gifts for me, and one of them was a skirt made out of a Marimekko fabric. ❀

i really love that skirt and want to use it everyday, however i found that i only have plain t-shirts to wear with it, either black or white. so i was looking for another special fabric that i can use together with that skirt, and thought that black and white print would be lovely.

self-made top, hand-made Marimekko skirt from colleagues, handmade earrings from another colleague.

but you can be the judge of that! even though i haven’t been using crazy prints that much lately, i do still like to mix prints and colours. now with this Marimekko skirt, i can go all out!

this piece of fabric that i got was cotton jersey, sized 70 cm long and about 160 cm wide. it’s wider than most jerseys, so at first i thought i would still be left with a small piece for some other project. but alas, the first sleeve piece i cut was much too narrow that my arm couldn’t fit it, so i had to cut new ones.

since i promised to really make use of my new sewing machine, i tested different stitches for this project. for the sleeves, since they are still quite tight even after i cut new pieces, i used an elastic stitch (left picture above) which is not really straight but also not really ziggy zaggy, more like a combo of these two. for the added detail, i decided to make straps from black cotton jersey and used decorative stitches on it.

i had worried that the decorative stitches would be uneven when i do it to a stretchy material, but since i folded the fabrics twice (so that it’s 3-layered) i suppose it helped to stabilize it, and i would say my machine did a pretty damn good job! (can you tell how much i love my new machine already?)

for this project, i used the good ol’ Ottobre design magazine pattern that i have used numerous times on different types of dresses and tops. since i am still learning on how to make my own patterns, i did this one the ‘idiot’ way: first i traced the pattern and cut the fabric as they were supposed to be (minus the neck pieces), and then i sewed the sleeves and back & front pieces together, and then cut the neckline so that it would be slightly off-shoulder. then, i added the straps.

as you can also probably guess, i love the result so much! i’m just so proud of myself and my sewing machine for being able to put the lovely print design to a good use.Β maybe it’s because of these magic mushrooms! also, i’m happy to be able to support these local indie textile designers, i do hope i don’t disappoint them by making this top out of their magical print.

brand new

again, i was offline from my blog for a while. but i had a very good reason this time.

you see, we just moved to a new house. again. πŸ™‚

this new place is so close to our first home together (the one before our previous one), closer to the city center, closer to people. i am a city person, so imagine my delight when we got the news that our application for this new place went through.

the moving was tiresome, especially since it had to be done in parts and during the most hot times of this year’s summer. but we are optimistic that this will be our home for a loooong time. longer than 5 years, at least. πŸ˜€

moving means packing, and packing sometimes mean leaving out some replaceable things. this time, it meant leaving out my beloved sewing machine of 10 years.

it wasn’t that it got broken or anything. in fact, if you see my previous post, i sewed that dress using my old sewing machine.

but time has changed. and when i got that sewing machine, i wasn’t even sure if i would still be sewing at all after 10 years, or was it a passing hobby. it was my first ever sewing machine, my learning one, my basic one. and now that i know i still got that sewing passion in me (and my birthday was just around the corner at that time), it was time for me to move on… to a better machine.meet my Brother’s replacement, Juki! ❀ this pic was taken just when it arrived, so those tapes are long gone now, LOL! this is my first computerized sewing machine ever, and i promise i will make the most of this machine!

but first, when the days had been so very hot here, i started with a very simple project. any guesses what that would be?

& Other Stories top, self-made culottes, COS shoes.

why, culottes, of course!

i was so amazed by how easy it was to make my previous culottes that i had to make another pair. this fabric was embroidered on one side, which i then used as the hem part. i got 2 meters of the fabric, and after washing it (so that it shrank) i divided the fabric’s length to 2 and used each piece for each leg. i was left with enough fabric to create something else later.the whole project took me about 2 hours from cutting the fabric till the very last stitch. i got 80 cm long of the elastic band for the waist and absent-mindedly put it all inside the tunnel without measuring my actual waistline… so after i sewed in the tunnel, i tried them on and only then realized that the waist was way too loose.

so out of the 2 hours i spent to make these, 20 minutes went to rip open the waist tunnel stitches (enough to take out the elastic band), adjusting the elastic band, and closing the tunnel again. still considerably quick, though.

and let me tell you, a girl can never have enough of culottes! i’ve used these culottes so many times already, just like i had the previous ones. this is the summer of culottes for me!

there you have it, from brand new home, to brand new sewing machine, and brand new culottes! i feel like i’ve finally found a brand new passion for sewing again, after a long time. but that’s for another blog post! 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! 😁

the 1000th culottes

i’m still playing the same old records. the same old tricks. the same old fave.

Zara shirt, self-made culottes, COS shoes, earrings from Indonesia Wholesaler store.

i’m talking about the fact that i am still making culottes after all these years. i can’t seem to stop myself, they’re just the easiest things to wear. ❀

this was my third encounter of the pleated kind… i mean, pleated fabric. the first one was pleated tulle so i didn’t need to think of how to finish the hem on that one, but the second one–pleated chiffon–was quite a nightmare to work with. so i thought i would never, ever, work with pleated fabrics ever again.

it all went down the drain when the ‘pleated trousers’ trend came around. as usual, at first i was not interested at all…. but as i kept seeing them over and over again, every where i looked, and then i came across a beautiful green pleated fabric…. my heart melted like warm butter. πŸ˜…

so i braved myself to do it, with the least possible work and pain & suffering. here’s the cheat sheet. (no step by step pictures cause i was in a hurry to finish these culottes, honestly, who has time to take pictures???)

the pleated fabrics are usually sold with pleats going sideways (from selvedge to selvedge), so if you want to have the pleats going vertically on your finished garment, remember to buy the fabric according to the width that you want to go for. in my case, the fabric was about 150 cm wide; since i only wanted culottes (not full-length trousers), half of the fabric’s width is enough for the length of the culottes. so all i needed to get of the fabric was the width i wanted for 1 leg. that was about 80-90 cm.

then i folded the fabric ‘sideways’ to two (selvedges together) and put a pattern of any pants i could find on top of it. i only needed the crotch yokes from this pattern, but since i wanted the culottes to be quite loose i used the crotch yokes from Burda pattern no. 7688. i put the back and front patterns side by side and cut the fabric as a whole leg piece ( = not separating the back and front anymore). this way i wouldn’t have to sew the sides and risk the pleats not being matched. cut the part where the fabric was folded, this would be the waist part of the culottes.

so i got 2 pieces now, the right leg piece and the left leg piece. the hem of the culottes is where the selvedge is, so there would be no need to think of how to finish it!

since i only had elastic band which is 5 cm wide left at home, i had to be quite creative with the waistband. you can do what you like at this point, but my idea was to make a tunnel and just put the elastic band in after everything was done. i didn’t want to make the culottes shorter by making the tunnel out of the self fabric, so i used a remnant of a jersey fabric for the lining of that tunnel.

as always when sewing pants of any kind, start with the inner seams of each leg parts, and then sew together the crotch yokes. then it was time for the tunnel and then put in the elastic bands.

self-made top and culottes, Crocs shoes.

voilÑ! you are done! 😎

New Yorker shirt, second hand vest from Pasar Senen – Jakarta, self-made culottes, Just Kulkith shoes.

rock the look with cropped top, loose shirts, singlets, or whatever else you please.

now that i’ve made these i feel like making other pleated culottes! 😁 LOL…. i can never have enough of culottes, and these pleated ones are actually quite fun and easy to make.

and btw, i sewed everything for this project only with my sewing machine. still too lazy to change my overlocker threads. ask me again next year. zzzzz. πŸ˜ͺ

meerkat manor β™₯

yep, i was a fan of that Animal Planet show many years ago. who doesn’t love meerkats, anyway??

self-made top, Marimekko x H&M shorts, New Yorker sunglasses.

that’s why when i saw this fabric, i just had to get it, no questions asked!

in case you’re wondering what table lamps and teapots doing together with meerkats, bisons, and armadillos… don’t worry, you’re not the only one! it’s an absurd print, but that’s just what i love.

the fabric is viscose crepe, and i think i got about 1,3 m of it (140 cm wide). almost all of them went to this oversized blouse. i used the same pattern as the one i used for this rainbow blouse, but due to the smaller amount of fabric i didn’t make the back side as long.

for the piping, i used leftover fabric from this cardigan project. i didn’t put any filling in it, just folded small strips of the fabric into two. it’s a little bit more successful than the rainbow blouse’s piping, but for some reason the back parts still sometimes look awkward in some positions…. so i came to the conclusion that maybe the blouse model is just not good for pipings of any kinds. 😝

other than that, this project went by without any problem. except for the fact that i couldn’t find my traced pattern for it, so i had to re-trace it from the magazine’s pattern and mistakenly traced another pattern’s back side of the blouse, AND i didn’t even realize it until i cut the fabric.

thankfully the other pattern’s back side is much wider than this one, so i just cut off the excess fabric. another good thing is that since this is viscose, it’s quite easy to pull and reshape the fabric on the neckline area (hidden under the collars) because of course when i cut the excess fabric of the back side, the other pattern’s back side’s neckline no longer aligns with this pattern’s neckline.

but i bet you can’t see it in the end result, right? (go on, examine the 3rd pic from this most bottom/last one here!) HA. i feel like a genius. 😁

so all is good! and all is summery and lovely! and off i go to have fun in the sun with my meerkats, bisons, teapots, telephones, cuckatoos, etc. life in the meerkat manor is always absurd and never boring! πŸ˜‰