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!

My review of this pattern can be found here at

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 bra 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!!!