Saturday, April 25, 2015

A Pink Princess Dress for my Birthday girl

My preschool daughter's birthday is coming up and she had been hassling me to make her a Pink Princess Dress for her birthday. She already has lots of clothes so I wasn't going to make her one. But my hubby persuaded me to make it because he said that I had too much fabric in the sewing room! LOL! So I went through all my pink fabric stash and found this medium weight metallic pink denim remnant. One side is silver metallic pink and the other side is a rich pink. I had used this fabric to make many bags before but never a garment. I thought that since my daughter expected her princess dress to endure her running, crawling, climbing and jumping, denim would be a good fabric choice.

I also went through my stash pattern and found this one that an acquaintance gave me - New Look 6579:

I didn't look at the instructions. I used the bodice of view D and a modified skirt of view A. I added a lot of length to the skirt because my daughter wanted a longer dress. I used to the wrong side of the fabric for the bodice (warm pink) and the metallic pink for the skirt to add interest.

I used a reclaimed invisible zipper from a dress of mine, silver ribbon remnants from her Frozen Elsa inspired dress, and orange poplin remnant as the lining. Ultimately everything was from my stash except the tulle that I added to the bottom of the lining. I had never sewn with tulle before so this was a learning experience. I added double layer of tulle to the skirt lining but I realized that the tulle was too soft and it didn't really 'puff'' up the dress enough. Next time I'll get some stiff tulle for this purpose.

I cut a single layer for the back ribbon tie because I wanted to show off the different colours of the right and wrong side of the fabric. The only problem is I'm rubbish at doing a bow:

And this is the front:

I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. I busted some stash and I learned to sew with tulle. I hope that the dress will wear well on my daughter at her birthday party!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Copycat Fashion - Strapless Peplum Gown 2 Done!

I have been busy making my dear friend's Red Ponte Strapless Peplum Gown these past 2 weeks (see my prototype here). And it's done! She will be wearing this as a wedding guest in May. This is how it looks on the hanger:

It was a great learning experience for me to make someone else a fitted gown. It took 2 fittings and around 2 weeks to make. The fact that the gown is strapless makes it super important to fit snugly at the bust. The give more shape to the bust area and help it 'stand up' a bit, I added plastic boning in the side front and side back:

I lined the dress with a thin knit lining to make sure that there is no VPL showing. My friend requested a narrower hem than the hip and a centre back slit. I narrowed the hem circumference about 10cm compared to the hip circumference.

I also added a centre back invisible zipper so it's easy for my friend to get in and out of the dress without ruining her hair. The original pattern doesn't have any zippers at all.

I have made dresses with this pattern before and it's a relatively straight forward pattern. The key is the fit has to be right and that took 2 tries to get it right. Also, all the other changes I made to the pattern (the back zipper, boning, lining the dress, the peplum, the narrowed pencil hem, the centre back slit) took more time to plan and to do.

All in all I'm pleased with the final outcome. My friend won't be wearing this dress until early May so I'll have to wait till then to have a full dressed photo from her! I hope she won't lose or gain weight between now and then! My friend has 3 kids and fabulous body. Even with no shapewear and a regular bra (she will be buying a strapless bar soon), she looks gorgeous in it:

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Sewing cures Negative Body Image?? A Rant

I have a young daughter so I'm always interested in studies about mental and physical health of young girls and young women in our society. Of course, we hear about negative body image and eating disorders amongst young women (and young men too now) frequently which concerns me a great deal. However, this past week I also read somewhere (sorry can't find the article anymore) that Sewing one's clothes had helped some young women change their negative feelings about their bodies.

I totally agree with that article, especially for someone like me with a very unusual body shape. If I had to buy all clothes from the stores and not know how to sew or alter these RTW clothes, I would be very depressed as well I think. In truth, the main reason I started sewing for myself years ago was that I could never find anything from the stores that fit properly, and that I always had to make lots of alterations on those RTW clothes myself.

Now that I wear mostly self-made clothes, I feel more comfortable and more confident than when I relied only on RTW clothes. How liberating is it to be able to custom make something just for my body? This applies even more to items like fitted jeans and swimwear. How many times did I hear my female friends tell me how depressed they got after going on a jeans or swimwear shopping trip? Of course, the ability to create something wearable also gives me great satisfaction and is extremely therapeutic for me.

My daughter is now old enough to understand that I make my own clothes and I make clothes for her as well. When she sees something in the stores or a picture in a book/magazines, she doesn't ask me to go to the store to buy it. Instead she asks me to make one for her. I hope that when she is a bit older, I can instill in her the love of sewing, the love of creating one's own unique garments. And most important of all, she doesn't need RTW stores/designer to make her feel bad about her body because the RTW clothes don't fit her properly. I want her to know that her body is fine the way it is; it's just the RTW clothes are of the wrong fit and poorly made.

My son still doesn't care about fashion much. He is happy with my creations for him. Once in a while he would ask me to add a simple applique (e.g. a number, a letter, etc) to his t-shirts, or make a bag for him with Thomas the Tank Engine on it. But most of the time he doesn't really care much about his clothing. I hope to teach him how to sew as well (he loves all kind of machines) in the next  year or so and see how he gets on.

Copycat Strapless peplum gown for MAGAM done!

I have had so much fun making this dress. I love sewing with knits! This mystery cheapy bin knit that I bought years ago has a good 4 way stretch (about 20% each way) and it's slightly textured (more for sportswear I think). It is a great knit for something like leggings. However for a long tube gown, it's a bit heavy and I probably will have to keep pulling it up if the dress if not pinned to my strapless bra (thank goodness for safety pins! ;-).

I used Simplicity 8764 before so I didn't look at the instructions much. I had already tweaked the pattern to my body so everything seemed straight forward enough. I made the long tube dress first (with no peplum), and moved the centre back slit to the left side. I felt that a side seam would make it easier to walk around and it would be nice to show a little bit of the leg. I added a slip from under the bust to just above the side slit, with a nude slip that I thrifted at my local thrift store last year.

After I have sewn the plain tube dress to my satisfaction, I drafted the peplum. Most websites suggested drafting the peplum into a full circle. I thought it would be too frilly for me so I made it into 3 quarters of a circle. In hindsight, a full circle would have looked better I think. I sewed the peplum end to end, then sewed the top of the peplum to a ring of narrow elastic. This allows me to position this detachable peplum to wherever I felt best. And best of all, if peplums are out of fashion next year, I can just wear this tube dress without the peplum (I like flexibility and versatility in all my garment creations).

I have learned much from making this dress. I had been avoiding the peplum thinking that it would make me look more stumpy but I think I was wrong. This peplum covered my mommy tummy well enough and I didn't look too stumpy. I guess I will try to make more garments with detachable peplums from now on!

I am quite satisfied with this attempt of the strapless peplum gown. Now I feel more confident in making my friend's strapless peplum gown!

You can see my Review for this Pattern on

Saturday, April 4, 2015

A Strapless Peplum Gown - A CopyCat Fashion for MAGAM April

My dear friend is going to a wedding and asked me to make her a gown. I'm so excited that she asked me! She showed me this picture:
(I believe this was a Ralph Lauren dress)
 She wanted the same style dress in a tomato red ponte knit that she had purchased. I decided to make a prototype for myself in a bubblegum pink knit that had been in my stash for at least 6 years. I don't have an exact pattern for this dress but I have this old strapless knit dress pattern that I had used before - Simplicity 8764 from 1999. I will just draft the peplum myself.

I have a month to get my friend's dress done so I'd better get cracking with my proof of concept dress! ;-) So exciting!!!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Refashion: Men's jeans to Boy's jeans

I like sewing for my kids. The garments are small and they are so quick and easy to do. My boy has grown quite a bit taller in the last couple of months and needed longer pants. I inherited these men's jeans from a family member that are too short for hubby:

They are of a good weight so perfect for the rouge and tumble of a young boy. I used a thrifted pattern that I have modified. It has no side seams so it's fast and easy to do.

I cut open the inseams of both of the pant legs and then laid the pattern onto the pant leg. I positioned the side seams of the jeans to approximately the sides of the pattern:

The 2 pairs of jeans were completed in about 2.5 hours (including cutting and sewing and finishing).

And this is how it looks on my son:

Yes they are a bit big on him right now. I always want to make things that will last him at least 1 year. My son actually really likes pants I made him with elastic waists because he is still not too proficient with pants buttons and zippers. Another quick and easy refashion!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Refashion Blitz - A Recap of 4 items in a week

Here is a Recap of the 4 refashions in a week challenge (except it took me 8 days ;-):

Item 1 - Thrifted white yellow tablecloth lace to tunic dress:

 Item 2 - Unused Long Red Scarf to Practical Infinity Scarf:

Item 3 - Thrifted pale yellow tablecloth lace to gathered calf length skirt:

Item 4 - Re-refashion of the pale yellow tablecloth lace to a less bulky lace skirt:

I had fun doing it and it really helped get me back into my sewing/refashioning mojo. Thanks Shawn from 'Some Assembly Required'!

Refashion Blitz - Last item - A Re-Refashion

For the last item for the Refashion Blitz, I re-refashioned this yellow tablecloth lace skirt. It was fine as a fancy dress skirt but just too bulky for me to look normal in it. So I took out the elastic and cut off about a quarter of the width of the dress, both front and back. And this is how it looks now on me:

My daughter will probably be disappointed when she sees this new re-refashioned skirt though. She really liked the bulkiness because she said it was more 'princess'-like. Oh well! I think I may be able to wear this outside and look a bit normal this Spring.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Refashion Blitz Day 3 - Another Lace Tablecloth to Lace Skirt

I guess I'm in mood for lace! This is another Lace Tablecloth that I thrifted from my local thrift store last year that had been sitting in my To-be-Refashioned pile for a while. It is much softer than the lace dress I made a couple of days ago and it is of a pale yellow colour.

Since I already made a lace dress, I thought I would try to make a full lace skirt. Normally I would never had made a full skirt because it just makes me look even stumpier. But since my daughter had been asking me to make a full skirt to play dress up with her, I thought I would just try to make one for dress up purpose.

The pale yellow looked a bit whimpy to me so I added this sunflower yellow challis lining to the skirt. Normally this colour looks horrid on me but I figured that as a skirt (not close to the face) I might be able to get away with it.

I folded the tablecloth in half and cut down the middle. Then i cut the lining to the same size. I serged the sides of the front and the back of the skirt and lining . I sewed a channel on the top of the skirt and inserted a 1" elastic into it. And this is how it looks:

And the only way I can wear this full skirt in the least stumpy way is with a cardigan and a thick belt to somewhat define the waist (which I don't really have):

I think it looks fine for playing dressup with my daughter. I'm not sure for what occasions I can wear this outside the house. It is actually a very easy to wear skirt and very travel-friendly too. Perhaps I will try to wear it to a close friend's house first to see if she would laugh her head her when she sees me! ;-)

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Refashioning Blitz! 4 things in 7 days challenge

Shawn from the blog 'Some Assembly Required' issued a challenge earlier this month for her readers to do 7 Refashions in 7 Days. I was in a sewing/refashioning rut so I thought it would help motivate me. I signed up to do a 4 Refashions in 7 Days. Unfortunately, I was hit with the flu the day after I signed up. Everything got so behind that I had only started this challenge this past week.

The first item I refashioned was this White Lace Tablecloth to Simple White lace Dress in the previous post.

The 2nd item I refashioned today was this long red scarf. Someone gave this to me as a gift about 10 years ago. I rarely wore it because it was too long and not too practical for taking care of 2 young kids. I put it in the Refashioning pile hoping to be able to make it useful one day.

I looked at it again today and decided an infinity scarf would be more useful. I first measured how long I wanted the scarf to be and cut it and serged the raw edges. Here is the result:

I wore it out and it was super warm! And I don't have to worry about it hanging too long and getting caught in things. Awesome!

I have plans for the rest of the scarf - stay tuned!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

March MAGAM Refashioned Lace Dress done!

It's done! Yay! I refashioned a thrifted white polyester lace tablecloth into an easy breezy cap-sleeve lace dress. It was actually very quick and easy to do and a great learning experience in sewing woven lace as well.

First I cut out the dress front and back.

Then I used this mesh tape called Seams Soft to bound the neck edge and armholes before sewing the front and back together. This mesh tape is slightly stretchy which worked well in the curves.

Then I simply serged the front and back together. I found that the pattern at size M was actually too large for me. I cut off about 2cm from each side seams. I used the original hem of the tablecloth so I didn't even have to hem this lace dress. And this is how it looks on me:

For Spring, I plan to wear this dress with a denim jacket. It is actually a very travel friendly dress since it folds into nothing and doesn't wrinkle at all. I can wear different colour slips under the dress to make it look slightly different. Also I think it can make a good coverup for a swimsuit too!

The only complain I have is that this lace is slightly itchy. But then even with lace that are made specifically for dressmaking, I find them itchy anyway. So perhaps I just need to make some slips with good coverage  to go with this!

Friday, March 13, 2015

March MAGAM Project Plan - Refashion a tablecloth to Lace dress

I thrifted this piece of white tablecloth lace from my local thrift store last year. I had wanted to make a lace top with it but I'm now thinking perhaps it will be better to make an easy breezy lace short dress.

The March theme for the Make A Garment A Month challenge is Spring/Autumn (depending on which hemisphere one lives in). I think I may be thinking too far ahead towards the summer with this lace dress. I suppose a denim jacket over a lace dress would be acceptable for Spring? I have never sewn with woven lace before so this would be a good learning experience.

I will be using this thrifted pattern - McCall's 8048 - from 1982. It's just a simple cap sleeve dress with a slight A-line. I am hoping it will be quick and easy to complete.