leopard under peacock skin

… or is it peacock under leopard skin? 😀

self-made skirt and necklace, tights from Pasaraya Blok M – Jakarta, Zara knit top and boots.

my first sewing project of 2018 happened in February! 😀 LOL! what an achievement.

some time in January, a friend/co-worker, J, invited us to her place to grab her fabrics for free. yes, you read me right. apparently she had too much fabrics and she just knew that she wouldn’t sew most of them ever, so she decided to give them away for free for us lucky people. ❤

i found this slightly stretch stiff satin (S4) fabric and could instantly see myself wearing it as a skirt. the colour palette is just like that of a peacock’s, yet the print is that of a leopard.

gosh, what a terrible picture… i swear the hem is straight! 😀 the knots at the front make the skirt flop down if i try to hang it on a hanger, that’s why i decided to put it flat on the floor for this pic, but the angle makes it look like the hem is asymmetrical, LOL… whatever.

anyway, the pattern and the knot technique is the same as what i used for this skirt many years ago. to my delight, my size has gone back to the way it used to be in 2010!!! woo-hoo! that means i didn’t even have to trace a new pattern!

since there was only about 1 meter of this fabric, i didn’t have enough to make the knot parts with only the scraps. thankfully i found some other old fabric scraps from my own cupboard, so i used them as a lining for the knots.

instead of making the knots exactly on the center of the front part, this time i made them a bit on the sides. only after i sewed the sides did i realize that the top knot is a little bit too high, almost covering the waistband. :p ah well. can’t be too perfect in life, right?

another change i made was the location of the zipper. the original pattern calls for a zipper on the side, but since this fabric is already a lot thicker than what i used the first time and the side is full of the knot parts, i thought it would be easier to put the zipper at the back.

and of course, instead of the invisible zipper, i used metal zipper and sewed it so that it would be exposed. i like that it adds a bit of a ‘rocker’ feeling to it, hihihi!

all in all, i think this is somewhat more successful than my first skirt, in the sense that the bottom doesn’t scrunch up weirdly. i guess it’s because this fabric is more stiff, so it holds its shape better. but i did wear that first skirt like a gazillion times, so i can’t really say that one was a failure either. :p

i already love this skirt now even though i haven’t gotten the chance to wear it outside yet (hello, -16C!! ). while waiting for that to happen, i made another accordion necklace! haha… okay, i lied, i actually made the necklace already before the skirt, but hey… don’t they go along together quite nicely?i made it using a cork fabric. yep, they sell those these days, haven’t you heard? a very thin layer of cork material pressed on top of a fabric, so you can sew it into all kinds of things. anyway, i cut the fabric to 1 cm wide strips, and put 2 strips back to back so that it won’t show the fabric side when i make the accordion shape. yes, i’m da*n proud of myself to come up with this idea, hahaha! this necklace i have used many times already; no need to wait for spring for that! 😉

so there you go, the first 2 months of my 2018 in a very short summary! 😀 LOL. hope you’re all having a great 2018 so far as well!


(silverain x skoci)²

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!

self-made dress, H&M socks, Zara sneakers, Skoci pouch.

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.

see? simple.

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!

H&M sweater, self-made shorts, Just Kulkith shoes.

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!

swirl it, girl

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.

self-made top, Monki jeans.

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.

instead of using another fabric as the contrasting top part, i used the same fabric but the wrong side. that’s the beauty of scuba fabric, you can also use the wrong side as the right side!

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!

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. ❤

be like bambo (shoot)

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!

vintage karakul fur coat (c. 1960-1970) gift from Grandmother-in-law, self-made dress and necklace, Topshop tights, COS shoes.

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.

back then i sewed the bamboo shoots part by machine and it made them look too flat. i decided to try sewing them by hand this time.

i still have to figure out how best to iron that part with bamboo shoots, but at least i believe i made the right decision to do it by hand.

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.

there’s just something about the colour & the shape of the dress that made me think of vintage. which was why i just had to wear my fur coat for the first picture!

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. ❤

the long awaited spring

it’s just what it is. winter equals laziness, though i can assure you what i had was far from being lazy. on the contrary, i was far too productive at work, that when i stayed home all i wanted to do was anything but think. writing on my blog, reading (including reading people’s blogs), sewing, and baking requires thinking. so for months now i stopped all activities at home and just enjoyed a well-deserved break.

but spring is finally here! and with it, came my will to sew! yay!

this organza fabric reminded me of Kenzo from the very first sight. i can’t explain why, maybe it’s all the flowers. anyway, at first i was thinking of making a buttoned up shirt out of it, but then i thought i was too lazy for that. something simpler, please. and then i got it! a sweater! an organza sweater, whoopee!

self-made organza sweater, New Yorker t-shirt, Monki jeans.

as usual, i didn’t use any pattern for this kind of simple sweater, just cut squares etc.. except i suddenly had the brightest idea to copy a COS sweater/dress and decided to have a bow at the back of the sweater.

so i added triangular ‘flaps’ on each side, left & right, front & back side of the sweater. i gathered them at the back and sewed them together to create the bow.

the bow is completely loose (not attached to the sweater itself) and if i want to, i could even put it to the front side. but considering the size of my tummy, i don’t think i will, ever. 😀

just like when sewing chiffon, i found out from someone’s blog/article that organza is to be sewn with a sharp needle (so i even bought a new pack of needles) and long stitches. it worked like a charm!

i had also read somewhere that the best & neatest way to sew transparent fabrics are by doing French seams. i had always been tempted by doing things in a shortcut, like instead of French seams, i would just serge the edges and sew normally, but this time since i hadn’t sewn for 2 months (yep) i thought i had to try the correct way.

it turned out to be quite easy! and the result really is neat. just see the right detail picture up there if you don’t believe me! i used the French seam on almost all seams except when combining the organza with the ribbing.

… which was actually the hardest part of this whole project. the ribbing i got is not that stretchy at all, so the collar looks kind of weird, standing up instead of flat like they normally are.

but do i look like i care?

that’s right, i don’t! mwahaha! because i have pretty flowers on my transparent sweater, ladeedah! and this sweater can be worn with t-shirt & jeans or even a dress underneath. now that i succeeded in making this sweater, i kind of feel like sewing organza all the time! 😉 we’ll see what’s next for my sewing project, eh?

have a great Easter and start of spring, everyone! ❤