Wednesday, April 27, 2011

some goals

I keep visualizing this image illustration of a year 1951 pattern, latest in my possession; a shirt and pants ensemble in my mind. I really want to make this outfit, particularly the pants (I love the pocket detailing and that the fly and button fastening are at the back!) and if I could have my way, the exact colours. But the fabric shopping trip yesterday only yield a dark green canvas and a white dotted swiss for the top. Still, they are an essential and lacking colours in my wardrobe.

It will be a bit more challenging for the pattern obtained is not in my size and I'd to redraft it. I had already made a muslin mock up of the pants and the waistband needed further lengthening. I hope to make the muslin for the top sometime later this week. I'm giving myself a time frame of 1-2 weeks or so to complete this project for I'm afraid I might have to face a potential domestic change upfront and I'm currently still nursing a cold.

So...(sniff)  do excuse the crickets for while.

The second challenge I decided to impose myself is to wear my handmade garments more regularly, to be precise on consecutive days, say 10? 14 days? My handmade garment is limited yet so I can't do a whole month. My tentative start date is the 10th of May. I'll like to put on my handmade, go places and take some pictures. With this as a goal, I hope to strive at making better quality clothing to wear so I won't ridicule myself in public. nah, I'm not that serious. I'm hoping this self challenge will be fun and with hindsight, perhaps, bring some insights and reflections on what works, the mehs and the no-nos on me.

Friday, April 22, 2011

summer tent dress

summer tent dress

cotton friend summer ed '10 vol.35 p.33

Before undertaking the task of making the sleeveless tent dress of which the pattern is from Cotton friend summer edition 2010 vol.35 p.33, I was apprehensive that I would not be able to carry the dress off well. It's a very loose design which could really pass off as maternity wear and with wide gaping armholes. The reasons I decided to go ahead was I thought my precious batik would be suitable for the pattern and I want to make a loose dress to wear over my yoga wear. Something that I could easily wear over my sports tank top and provide coverage when I slip on, right before class, the tight pants which I refuse to be seen in outside the gym room.

Brian commented that my completed summer tent dress evoked an island feel. Bring on the coconut trees, sea breeze and fine sandy beaches. yes, bring me to Bali please.

I wore my new dress (the only pattern change I made: patch pockets in front instead of at the sides) out for a trip to the mall this Good Friday morning, layering it over a camisole and matching it with a brown belt. I also brought along a brown bolero which wasn't really necessary. It was hot! I treated myself to a batik print wooden bangle later on at the mall, just to spiff the look. Fun!

summer tent dress

summer tent dress

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

cloth drawsting bags

drawstring bags1

drawstring bags

Over the period of a few months, I'd accumulated a bundle of presents for friends and relatives in Singapore, from the previous travel trip and shopping in town. Instead of wrapping them up in paper, I decided to put them in individual drawstring bags for each recipient so it'll be easy to pack in the luggage. No paper wrinkles to worry about! The recipient could reuse the "wrapper" bag too. The best part? All the materials (except thread) of those bags I'd made are from pre-loved used clothing, scrap cloth and strings/ribbons I'd scavenged.

fabric scrap bags
Bags of scrap fabric. Can't help wishing they're filled with money instead.

and while I was at it, I cut up a wide leg off a pair of old Bali brown wrap pants and made a bag for my scrap fabric.

Monday, April 18, 2011

a Singaporean in Palembang

click on (scanned and uploaded) image to read

An article introducing Palembang :: travel snippets, published on 17 April 2011: The Sunday Times, the Sunday edition of the The Straits Times by the Singapore Press holdings, written by me. All revision by the editor and journalist, Huang Huifen. Many thanks to you, Huifen!

After this number of years living in Palembang, I can only count my brother in law and his family who are Singaporeans that I know of living in this part of Indonesia. Just one family! I have more expatriate friends from the United States than from my hometown (zilch, for the record!) over here. Anyone knows a Singaporean living in Palembang? Brian and I will be happy to talk weather, kids and the upcoming G.E. over homecook hainanese chicken rice and laksa with a new friend. oh, how I wish!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

polka dots, peter pan

I'm not up for blogging after my last post however I'd been sewing still. Two pieces of clothing for myself made this week and I shall condense my writings about making them in this blog post. No more clothing making, for awhile. I'll write again, next week.

'too many dots' skirt

simplicity 4949

A vintage pattern Simplicity 4949; no specific year stated, circa 1960's finally arrived after a month of my purchase and I started off with making the wrap skirt. I decided to use the brown and white polka dot cotton fabrics already in my stash. Not too sure if it was a good decision. Might be too many dots for making a skirt like this.

peter pan collar blouse

Feb 1983

Over at the The Sew Weekly, this week's theme was to draw inspiration from the clothing worn in a photo taken when one is very young. All my childhood photos are back home in Singapore except for one I kept in my journal with me. At the back of the photo shows the date taken: Feb 1983, taken at the zoo. I was a few months short of turning three then. I don't recall having any fond memory of the dress I was wearing but I certainly know that I weren't too pleased with the elastic round the sleeves. I have a vivid memory of myself complaining to my mother about those darn elastic sleeves, which were probably a prominent feature on a few of my dresses.

I've been looking out for affordable white blouses with peter pan collars but to no avail so why not make my own? Drawing inspiration from the details of the collars of the pink dress I'd worn, I used the pattern I'd drafted before, made a simple adjustment to the shape of the collars and added lace round it when sewing. I'd contemplated embroidering some flowers on the top but it would seem so out place on the adult me.

outfit 14.4.11
Heading out for Kaeden's music class this afternoon.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

'Roses' utility apron

utility apron

utility apron

utility apron

I have sewn some aprons and on the route of collecting vintage ones. The ones I'd sewn were either mostly for sale or as a gift. I'd only made and kept one half apron for myself and that was a long time ago. The vintage ones in my collection are a gift and the rest of the few, bought as a lot of five. I'd decided to join this week's theme over at The Sew Weekly and make one full apron to keep and use for myself. I'll like a vintage styled apron but I don't have a vintage apron pattern. Thanks to the awesome apron pattern compilation ::online here::, there is a pattern I'd fallen for: *polka dot* Utility Apron, 1945.

image source

At the fabric store, I was on the lookout for white with red polka fabric and there wasn't any. But a rose print green cotton lawn with embroidered borders caught my eye and I thought it would still be possible for the apron pattern I'd chosen. Drafting out the pattern wasn't as difficult as I'd thought initially and I had the paper pattern pieces on hand in a few minutes. Instead of using bias tape, I hemmed all the raw edges. Also, instead of snap button fastening, I chose to use a button and sewed on a rick-rack loop. Overall, it was a really easy and fun project, combining new fabric with a (free, to boot!) vintage pattern!

black dress
Me, in my 'The Rosy Past' black dress

All photos taken by dear patient spouse, Brian.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

embroidery kit & a rabbit pin

embroidery kit

embroidery kit

rabbit pin

For a friend's birthday, I put together a present of an embroidery kit; making a drawstring bag and filling it up with basic tools such as a hoop, some threads, two cut-up plain and a themed fabric, a pencil, a handmade pincushion and some lace trim and rick rack. My friend sews but I'm not sure if she embroiders. I hope this simple kit will act as a handy start up for her. 

I also include a gold with pink rhinestones rabbit pin which I bought from a favourite stall last evening. I think I'd wiped the last of remaining small stock of the rabbit and deer pins off the table.

Monday, April 04, 2011

'The Rosy Past' black dress

black dress

black dress

black dress

After my subscription to reading The Sew Weekly's newsletter, I learn that this week's theme is to sew an apron and for it to stand out on thy-self, a black dress to go along with it. I aprons! So I decided to take up this personal challenge and it would also be fun to view fellow sew-ists' works in the website's community at the end of the week.

The suggested pattern for making a black dress is from Burdastyle. I recalled cutting up a pattern that I like from a Japanese craft/garment making book, キャミソール&ワンピース (手づくりevery day) ISBN4-579-11043-9 in my possession, a long time ago but didn't get to make. Fortunately this time round, I've had all the materials required. The leftover black linen from making Brian's birthday shirt was just enough! Besides following the pattern, I included in seams pockets for both sides on my own, using cut up fabric from Brian's old shirt which he wore on our wedding night nearly 7 years ago. It was a red rose print on white thick cotton. I remembered teasing him about it.

The above pictures of my completed dress are teasers. I shall name the dress: 'The Rosy Past'. I'll wear it up after the apron (of which I haven't yet decide on a pattern) is made hopefully, by week's end.


Speaking of the recent past, how was your weekend?

My family gave the weekend a good start by baking an apple pie together on Friday evening. I used Betty Crocker's pie crust mix and basically followed the recipe at the side of the box. (view here and here). We had ran through a few different boxes of Betty Crocker's, all of which I bought during the  last trip to Jakarta. Banana walnut muffins? Alright. Chocolate walnut brownies? Really good! Pie crust? Good... with apple cinnamon fillings. t'was great with vanilla ice cream too.

On Saturday, Kaeden joined a music class for the first time. I'd decided that him staying at home  for most part of the week is pushing him and myself too far and hence we need a little stimulation aside from what minor socializing we do during the week. So we had the first lesson of Yamaha Music Wonderland at the latest music school over here in Palembang. The songs in the curriculum are originally written in Japanese and we are learning the Indonesian versions.

"oui! oui! oui!, oui! oui! oui!" 
My current resident earworm...

(watch this to comprehend my statement.)

Friday, April 01, 2011

crisp white

cotton white blouse

cotton white blouse

Perhaps it is a natural progression, that I'm making clothing more of late ever since my overlocker machine purchase. It also makes more sense to me that I start to make more essential separate pieces as they are what I often don on although I would never deny making pretty dresses as well. That will be more work but hey, it'll make me a happy lady. There is always something new to learn in every process of a new garment making project. Also, I'm trying to break out of my shell by posting images of me in my new handmade outfits. It's a mental/confidence challenge as I'm always tip toeing between the decision of putting my face up here. End of the day, I will decide to 'just do it'.

Sometime this week, I used a sleeveless blouse pattern from the Japanese magazine, Cotton Friend  Spring edition 2007 vol.22 and made a similar white cotton version for myself. The only adjustment made is the shortening of the lower bodice part and I used the indispensable white nylon lace for the neckline and arm hole binding. I used a cream decorative cotton lace bought during the last trip back in Singapore. This top could easily be a staple in my closet and it's great for layering over with my grey cardigan or scarves as well.

more photos: