a different kind of paperdoll

when i was a kid, my sister & i had these special Japanese colouring books. they were otherwise normal colouring books, except that they were small (about 12 cm wide and 25 cm long), each page only consisted of 1 manga-style woman figure in certain positions, and each page were meant to be cut in 2 places (the cutting line were marked on the paper) exactly cutting apart the head, the torso + hands, and the legs. the idea was that we could mix and match the heads/hairstyles, clothes, and shoes that the woman figure on each page had. it was like a different kind of paper doll. and as a paper doll lover, you can probably imagine how much i loved those books. i could not properly colour them back then (i was probably younger than 5), but i liked flipping the pages randomly and got a random mix & match fashion tip of the day (or more like tip of the minute, since i did it ever so often!).

fast forward a few decades and i stumbled upon this book when i was in Amsterdam last year. it’s called Flip Fashion, illustrated by Lucille Clerc.

i was drawn to it because, well, i get easily drawn by anything that has to do with fashion illustration. when i opened it… it was exactly like that colouring book i had!! except that i don’t need to colour it anymore, ha! 😀 and instead of 3 parts, each page on this book has 4 parts. that’s more fun!

i didn’t immediately bought the book back then though… but i kept thinking about it, dreamed about it, because honestly, i missed playing with my old colouring book! so finally, a year later, i decided it was time to ‘spoil’ myself with it.

another difference is that this book has ‘labels’ on the left side of each page. but i’m not complaining. this was one of my first randoms: Romantic Ivy League Casual Countess.

and then there’s (left-right): Edgy Rodeo Anarchist Chick. next came Sixties Noir Fairytale It Girl. and lastly (for the day), meet Twenties Clubbing Classic Lolita.

i’ve got plenty more randoms, but i’m sure you get the idea already. 😀 this book is my new inspiration bible.

so, the verdict: if you love paper dolls, need fashion inspirations, like finding random things to do with your free time, love fashion illustrations, get this book. or, if you just like randomness, get this book.

i got mine from Book Depository for around 12€ (free shipping worldwide!), and i can personally guarantee you loads of fun.

odd shapes

last night i suddenly realized that i haven’t drawn anything for a while. i don’t mean just doodling, but “serious” drawing. last time i did it was i think at the end of year 2012. wow.

and to think that when i was younger, there was not a single day wasted without me drawing.

so i took a piece of paper and started drawing…. i may have become a bit rusty, but whatever.


as i drew this, i could hear my dad’s voice in my head, just as he did in reality many years ago when i was a child. he would criticize how i always draw people. human figures, nothing else, night and day. why couldn’t i draw something else?

i don’t know. nothing else interested me more than the human figures. i like drawing people doing anything and everything (hence i made lots and lots of comics back then), figuring out how a hand or leg looks from this and that angle, what is a possible pose for humans and what is impossible. and of course, i LOVE drawing the clothes. that was the cream of the cream for me, trying to decide what this figure would wear, and what that one would wear.

when i went to the manga course, my sensei often gave me comments on my drawings, like “oh, so trendy!”, because even when we were only supposed to practice drawing human figures from all directions (frontal, 3/4, and back), i made the extra effort to dress up the figures as i pleased. it made me happy that she encouraged me to give style and personality to my own characters by the clothes they wore.

when i went to the fashion illustration course, my mentor told me that i should explore the human figure poses more. back then i was always drawing the same old poses, and he told me to be brave, give stronger strokes & colours, and choose different poses, poses i’ve never done before. he was right, of course. in fashion, you are allowed to exaggerate the poses.

back to the drawing… i didn’t really have any specific theme in mind when i started it. but as i continued drawing, i felt like i wanted to try drawing “odd shaped”-clothings. well, not as odd shaped as some haute couture-kind of fashion, but things i’ve never tried to draw before. so there you have it. i used 2B pencil to draft it, pigment ink to trace the outlines, copic marker to colour the skin, and coloured the rest in Photoshop.

i wonder if my dad was actually disappointed that i never got in to Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) as he, my mum, and my sister did. (yep, they all went in there, and they all went to the Faculty of Visual Arts and Design! except me. :p) i was (am) the only one in the family that has never gotten a formal education in Design.

but then again, i wonder, if he sees this, will he still ask the same question as he did back then. or will he, finally, understands my passion?

failure is not accepted

in my 6 years of sewing experience, i can’t tell you how many times i’ve come face to face with problems that might just make me have to accept defeat and call the sewing project a failure. ask my husband. he knows how many times. 😀

at times like those, i usually stopped sewing (usually from being too disappointed) and did something else to take my mind off of it. then when i felt like i was ready, i would resume the work and try to fix the problem.

up to this very moment, thankfully there is only one sewing project i could honestly call a failure (because i ran out of ideas on how to fix it, and the amount of energy spent on it was too much for me to try to fix it again), and that was years ago. so i’ve come to get used to accepting no failures at all.

some weeks ago, i wanted to make this lovely cocoon cardigan from BurdaStyle magazine (November 2013 issue, pattern no. 107):

i had the perfect fabric and time, and while i was doing it, i could already imagine wearing it at work, etc.

when it was done, i tried it on… and found out the problem immediately. it was the wrong choice of fabric. it was too stiff, the kind you would use for coats (and doh, it IS supposed to be for coats, i just thought it would work as a cardigan too). looking for reassurance, i turned to my husband and asked what he thought about it.

this is what he said, “Yes, that’s a nice bathrobe.”


there’s nothing wrong with a bathrobe, except that this wasn’t supposed to be a bathrobe, dammit! (moral of the story: you should never turn to your husband/spouse for reassurance.)

so i tried cooling down my head by cleaning up my work desk, stowing away my sewing machine and fabric remnants etc.. i was not going to give up, but i was depressed since i just spent the whole day sewing something i thought would look cool and MOST DEFINITELY NOT A BATHROBE.

that was when i started browsing for cocoon/oversized coat images around the internet. well, guess what?

there really are such things as bathrobe-looking coats. 😀

i compiled these pictures and showed them to my husband with triumph all over my face. one, because even if he was right and my cardigan looks more like a bathrobe, bathrobe-looking coats are actually IN (okay, they’re called oversized coats, some are cocoon coats, some are oversized cocoon coats). and two, i may have failed in making a cardigan, but i turned out to be making a coat instead. this counts as a score! 🙂

so i began hatching these ideas on how to dress up my cocoon/bathrobe coat. suddenly i got quite a bunch of ideas, i needed to sit down and draw them. the results?


vintage blouse from UFF, self-made top and coat, Zara trousers, studded flats from Dappermarkt-Amsterdam, batik bag given as a gift from my aunt, Miffy watch, jersey fabric worn as headband.


Lord Shiva tee from India, loose pants from Dappermarkt-Amsterdam, self-made coat, Bianco shoes, CottonInk tubular shawl, Zara belt, vintage purse from UFF.


second-hand shirt from Pasar Senen-Jakarta, self-made top, skirt, and coat, H&M tights, ASOS cage shoes, & Other Stories clutch, Miffy watch.


H&M boys blouse, H&M girls dress (worn underneath blouse), self-made tights and coat, Bianco shoes, H&M necklace, Sophie Martin clutch, Miffy watch.

just so you’ll understand why i thought this was the perfect fabric, i have to show it in close up:


it’s a kind of furry wool fabric, much like what was shown on the BurdaStyle pic up there. i bought 2,3m of it for only around 15€. seeing how many ways i can dress it up now, as a COAT, not a cardigan, i must say it was way worth it.

once again, i think & i believe i have successfully avoided a failure. 😉

PS. all illustrations are drawn by me using 2B pencil, coloured pencil, and copic pens.

my imaginary spring

it’s April, and there’s still snow outside. the roads are still icy in some parts, and at nights, the temperature is still below 0C degree. it’s hard for me to imagine that spring is really coming, but these things might help:

1. remembering that the daylight saving time has started. that should mean spring is coming.

2. with the daylight saving time starting, the days are getting longer. the sun sets around 8pm. yep, spring is coming, alright.

3. put more colour into your wardrobe. no, better yet, put flowers into your wardrobe. okay, i WANT spring to come, whether or not nature is ready for it.

… if they all fail, then draw yourself a full spring scenery. nothing too fancy, even black and white will do. and…


self-made dress, & Other Stories straw hat, Swatch watch, gift bracelet handmade by Sekar, Up shoes.

ta-daaah! spring is here!

i used printed viscose crepe for the dress, instead of a knit fabric as recommended for the pattern. i just fell in love, as always, with the print on this fabric. i’m sure you’ve noticed it too, that there’s a faulty on the print, but at 4.50€/m, i’m not complaining. (and come on, it makes my dress one of a kind! nobody else in the whole world would have a dress with faulty print like this!)

the pattern is the no. 3 from the Drape Drape book (vol. 1), Drop-Waist Gather Drape Dress. the whole dress consists of only 1 piece (meaning no side seams, or top and bottom parts… it’s all in one). should be easy, right? wrong.

perhaps it was because of my fabric choice that i encountered problems with the back seam/zipper. when i first sew the dress as was (according to the measurements in the book, i’m a size L), the back seam/zipper looked so terrible. it was loose in all the wrong places, and because the fabric is loose as well, and the zipper is stiff, it made me look like i have 2 humps on my back. i repaired the neckline and resew the zipper 3 times just to get it right. oh, and 55cm zipper is also too long for me. i used 50cm in the end.


even so, when i saw the dress from the back on this picture…


… i had to cringe. the zipper still goes right and left in all the wrong places. ah well, but that was the best i could do, and if you had seen what it was before, you’d understand my being proud. :p

the gatherings came out nicely, thankfully.



in the original pattern, the hemline is straight. i modified it because i wanted to learn how to make the hi-lo hemline. i think i got it quite right, seeing the second picture from the top. it was a good thing too that i made it like that, because otherwise the dress would be way too short for me to wear. i wouldn’t be able to squat and feed the duck without showing off my butt.


so, can you smell the spring air now? the fresh grass, the newly bloomed flowers, the moist ground from the rain… yeah, neither can i. 😀

but i’ll hang on to these pictures and imagine that it’s here. soon (hopefully) it really will be!

PS. the background images for these pictures were hand drawn by me.