April 7, 2010

New projects

I received few things in the mail.

First 3 Vogue patterns I mentioned.

Then a silk jersey from Ebay seller, Organic Fabrics.

Such a pretty pattern!!!!

But it's actually a little thinner than I expected. I was going to make a dress using Vogue pattern 1091. I'm not sure if it'll work out. And I guess each pattern piece was a little bigger than I expected. I wanted to use the circle (?) motif in the middle to show in the middle of my dress, but it doesn't look like I can... (it would be too short)
I'm planning to cut the fabric in half, and place it back & front. We'll see how it goes...

I also ordered fabrics for my other Vogue patterns from http://www.fabric.com/.

For Rebecca Taylors Vogue 1152, I got a solid plum-red (YUM!) reversible crepe fabric.I wish it was silk crepe, but no, it's polyester. But it's reversible and back side is satin. I thought it was perfect for this dress.

I was reading few reviews on this pattern, and everybody mentioned how low the v-neck is.I thought I would just make it, and wear a camisole underneath.But I think I'm gonna attempt to bring up the v-neck so I can just wear the dress on its own. I mean, that's one of the reason why we sew... so because we can adjust it to however we want it, right?

Then for Vogue 8379, I got brown/beige flower patterned ITY knit. I was debating if I want something subtle, or something bold... Then ended up going with subtle.

Aaaagh, I'm such a chicken when it comes to clothes now!!!!I used to wear whatever...

but now I seem to settle on something conservative.

And when I see other people wearing bold clothes, I always want them!!!

www.fabric.com was pretty good.

Their price is cheap (about $6/yd for the fabrics I chose), and shipping is about $4-7 (and up) depending on how much you spend.

But if you spend more than $35, s/h is free.

My s/h was about $7, but I found a 25% off coupon code which turned out to be about $7, so it voided the s/h cost.

I don't mind that!! I think I'll be ordering from them again! :)

Linen pants

I finished one of my project, which is a drawstring pants for my friend.
She has one linen drawstring pants that she loves, which is getting old, but cannot find anything to replace it because she can't find anything that fits her.
When I started sewing again, I promised her that I will make her the pants.

So this past few weeks, we've been working on her muslin, and after 4 fittings, we perfected it!!!
Using the pants pattern, her hip area was perfect.
But she needed to take in some waist, side/inseam, and shortened the crotch area.
We were so happy...

I transferred the adjusted pattern to the linen, and finished sewing in 2 nights!!
...But I felt iffy on the result.
First of all, when I was stitching the waistband to the rest of the pants, it didn't match.
The waistband was about 2 inches shorter than the rest!!!!
That made me question... what did I do wrong?
I remade the waistband, matching it to the rest, figured that it's better to be big than small...

I brought the finished pants to my friend today, and as I suspected, it was too big. :(
It wasn't too bad, but I still want to fix it... (A little perfectionist here... OCD?)
Not only that, but EVERYTHING seemed a little bigger.
I transferred all the adjustment according to our findings...
I understand the waistband, maybe the side/inseam (maybe I didn't count the seam allowance?), but even the crotch area???

Then I realized, maybe it's because of the fabric...
My friend pointed out how "heavy" the linen felt compared to the muslin.
Maybe the linen draped, or stretches more than the muslin therefore everything came out slightly bigger??

I'm just amazed, how much is involved in simple clothings we wear!!!

I also made a bag using the leftover linen and stashed hawaiian printed fabric.
I gave her the pants in this bag, and it made her very happy. :)

April 4, 2010

Kariza dress top

So awhile ago, I mentioned that I'm trying to recon my Kariza dress to something...

There're two layers of silk fabric on this skirt.

I've made two tops out of this.

First using Simplicity pattern, with the bottom fabric.

I used the edge border as a little accent on the bust area.

Although it looks pretty cute, there're still some improvements needed...
First of all I made the bust area a little too tight.
I didn't want it to "open", so I made it fitted, and it turned out a little hard to breath. :p
And straps are a little misplaced, so it keeps sliding to one side.
I fixed the strap today, and it's a little better.
But I'm too lazy to fix the bust area anymore. It's good enough.

Then today, I just finished this other one using Butterick pattern I was going to make dress out of.
Once again, it looks ok, but needs improvements...

First of all, the pattern calls for a lining.
First I made it without a lining, because when I made a muslin for the dress last time, it felt too bulky.
Then I found out that it would just look very messy to seam around the v-neck area without a lining.
So I actually seam ripped the entire thing and made it over with a lining.
I cut apart an old dress (I used as a pajama) for the lining.
Both fabrics were so hard to work with... silk and polyester.
I don't know, maybe it just wasn't a good match.
I only used a lining on the bust area, because I didn't have enough fabric for it, and I figured it doesn't really need it.
But once it's done, it just feels funny... that some parts are lined and some are not.

I used an invisible zipper on the side seam.
I LOVE the look of invisible zipper!!! You really can't see anything!!!
BUT... how the heck do you sew on an invisible zipper to a lined top(/dress)!?
I ended up sewing it onto the fabric, then hand stitched the lining to the zipper afterward.
It just looks...CRAPPY.
So once again, it looks ok from out side, but once you turn it inside out... not so great.
But I think it's good enough for a recon.

I just hope I can figure out how to do the zipper part for my dress.
I want it to be perfect!!!

April 1, 2010

Muslin finished!

I finished the muslin of Butterick 5319.

Thank goodnes I made a muslin... cuz I messed up so much!!
First, I attached the waistband on the wrong side... wait, I think the skirt is sewn on the wrong side too.
Ok, these are the things I would probably not do if I was using the normal fabric, because the right and wrong side are easy to differentiate.

But I was glad to do the muslin, so I could make any adjustment.
I'm 4'11", so everything was kinda falling downward on me...
The V-neck was too low, waistband was too low...
The skirt length was ok (although the skirt and lining length don't match), because I already cut about 3 inches off the fabric before I even started sewing.

So I pulled up about an inch on the shoulder, and everything fit better.
But it also brought the V-neck up too much, so I think I need to fix that.
Also, although the lining is very nice, because it enclose most of the seams, and it gives more formal look to the dress... but I think it's too bulky.
Especially when you live in Hawaii... you'd rather go flowy.
So I might try taking this muslin apart, and make the same dress without a lining just to see how it looks/feels.

I'm just so anxious to receive my fabric, so I can make the "real" dress!!!


I also finished the drawstring my friend asked me to make.
I'm Asian, and she's caucasian, so our body shape was so different, that I learned so much on adjustment!!!
We did total of 4 fittings...
We tucked in the waistline, hemmed in side/inseam, raised the crotch area...

I don't really pay too much attention to details.
If I was to buy a pants, I'd be happy if one part of my body fits.
If my hip fits, I'm ok with just tightening the waist with a string (for drawstring) even if there're extra fabrics bunching up, or if crotch area was too long, just wear a long top and hide it...
But when she pointed out, it made me think "hey, I make my own clothes now... why don't I perfect it too?"
So when I made a drawstring shorts using the same pattern, I fixed my waistline too, and it's nice to wear something that's actually perfect!!!
She was very happy with her muslin too.
Now we'll be making it in linen.


March 30, 2010

Sewing frenzy

Sewing frenzy... ok, not really "sewing", more like "buying for sewing" frenzy.
In my past blog, I mentioned that I was so disappointed when I missed the Vogue/Butterick/McCall's pattern sales.
It's on again!
This time, I think it's even cheaper. $2.99 for Butterick/McCalls, and $3.99 for Vogue patterns.

Once again, I sat in front of the computer trying to decide which pattern I want to get.
Their s/h is $4 for first 3 patterns, and $7 for up to 7 patterns (I think).
So of course, the more I get, cheaper the s/h is, therefore I had lined up about 7 patterns in my shopping cart.

...But I settled on 3 patterns.
I figured, I have too much projects to do right now, that who knows when I'll even get to finish these 3 patterns, and by then they'll probably have another sale.
And I decided to stick to Vogue patterns, because I realized NONE of the stores in Hawaii sells Vogue patterns!!!
Even online, they're normally about $10 (not downloadable), so $3.99 is a steal.

So these are the patterns I got:

1. V1152 Rebecca Taylor Dress

This is what I'm most excited about...
Thanks to VeryPrairie's review on http://www.sewing.patternreview.com/.
When I saw this pattern on Vogue, I didn't think much of it...
But when I saw VeryPrairie's top version, it just looks so much nicer!!!
I was so inspired by it...
I think solid pops out the details more.
I want to make it both in top & dress!

This pattern is made by designer Rebecca Taylor. Appearently she does sell these dress/top at the store (Nordstrom?).

I guess the dress is about $350, and top is about $250!!! Whoa!!!

This is when sewing pays off!!! And thank Rebecca Taylor for making the pattern!!!

2. V8379

I read so many reviews on http://www.sewing.patternreviews.com/ about this pattern. Appearently it won their awards for the past few years
I guess it's very simple to make, but very flattering, and can look different depending on the fabric you choose.
I'm debating what fabric to use... Big flower print (beige), small geometric print (orange/brown), or just solid.

3. V1152
I'm waiting for a pattern I got on Ebay (International seller, organic fabrics), and I wanted some plain knit dress to show off the pretty pattern. (Although the picture in the pattern is solid)

This was inspired by, once again. http://www.sewing.patternreview.com/.

This time, it was by http://sewing.patternreview.com/cgi-bin/readreview.pl?readreview=1&reviewnum=42008

I was just cruising through their review gallery, and her fabric just popped.

She was so nice to list where the fabric came from, so I looked it up on Ebay, and the seller was still selling it. It's a silk jersey panel. Looks very nice and soft. :)
Hopefully I can pull it off. I think I really have to strategically place the prints.

March 22, 2010

Cats & Patterns

When I see blogs from other people, I noticed that alot of people seem to have cats - and they like to "interfere" with your project.
Mine is no exception.

While I was cutting the muslin for my Butterick 5319, my boy just walked on it and tried to fall asleep. Hmm... Why do they like to sleep on something you're working on...
I had to keep telling him "you're gonna get pinned!"
But of course he doesn't care! If he gets pinned, it's your fault, not his!!

Anyways, as I said, I'm SLOWLY making a progress on Butterick 5319.
I finally got to cut all the pieces...

Since I started sewing the patterns, I'm just so amazed how long it takes to just cut fabrics!!!
Of course, I have to do everything while my baby is sleeping... either his 1hr nap during the day, or after he goes to sleep at 8pm.
And this is after I finish all the house chores - cooking, cleaning, laundry... then I go to work...
Basically I only get to do a little bit of sewing at a time, so it seems like one project takes forever! (Not that I'm whining...)

By the way, I can't seem to find that many people that used this pattern.
There was only one review on reviews.sewingpatterns.com (which helped- thank you!), and maybe one or two more blogs.
It's such a cute dress. I wonder why?

March 18, 2010


I wanted to make a dress similar to alot of Anthropologie dresses, and found Butterick 5319 to be similar.

So I went to the local fabric store, and found out that Butterick patterns are not on sale, as opposed to Simplicity or McCalls.
So it's $16.95.
If you've read my past blogs, you know me already.
I don't want to pay $16.95 for a pattern, on top of getting a fabric.

So I looked around on the internet.. and realized that I cannot find this pattern on Ebay, or Etsy, or anywhere for cheaper than $16.95.

Then I saw http://www.sewingpatterns.com/.
This website not only sells patterns for cheaper, but also does downloads.
I found the Butterick 5319 pattern for $5.99 for download.
The only thing is, this website's review is HORRIBLE!!!
I see that people don't get their patterns shipped, or get a wrong one, and if they order downloads, although the website says you'll receive it in 15min, they never got it even after few days... And supposedly this site doesn't have a contact phone number.
So people would email a question about their orders, and never got it...

I was so debating if I want to get it from them.
But it's either take a chance and get it for $5.99, or $16.95.
Hmm... I decided to take a chance, since I had some spending cash in my PayPal account.
(whatever I have on PayPal account is my "play money".)

I ordered from them, and checked my email every couple of minutes.
...and VOILA! I did get it!
I was pleasantly surprised.
I got their download pattern, printed, and ready to go.
I'm excited to make this dress! :)

I just wanted to write my own experience with http://www.sewingpatterns.com/, and hopefully other people wouldn't be too scared to order from them.


3/22/2010 Adding on...
I have written that I got my patterns from sewingpatterns.com just fine.
Yes, it was fine.
But just to let you know... whoever is interested in downloading a pattern...
Putting together the pattern is already alot of work.
The pattern came in 45 pages (!) of letter-sized paper (you can choose different sizes of paper), then you put each of them together at the matching point into one humongous paper of pattern with a tape.
Then you cut the pattern.
It wasn't too big of a deal to me, because I like crafts in general - cutting, taping, whatever, so I'll probably order download patterns from them again.
But if you're the type of a person who doesn't like these tedious work, I recommend you get an actual pattern from the store!

March 17, 2010


I was on VoguePatterns.com forever to figure out which pattern I want to buy...
Because they had a St. Patricks Day sale for $4.75 for all the patterns.
I picked some, checked out the review from patternreviews.com...
I was going to get at least 3.

All of the sudden, everything was at full price!!!
WHY!? I looked at the clock, and it's 7pm.
...Meaning, it's 12AM ET.

I tried to find out when the sale ends, either PT or ET, and never figured it out, and completely forgot about it.
Obviously it was ET!!!!!
Sigh... oh well...
I have too much recon projects to do.
I guess I'll wait for the next sale... :(

March 16, 2010

No more "relaxing"

So, I finished all my projects -
I've made a linen drawstring pants, pleated top using the Nani Iro fabric, and some bridal jewelries for a customer from Etsy.

Since I've been so busy with them, last night I figured I'd take a break and relax after work so I went straight home, around 7:30pm.
When I got home, my baby (ok, I guess he's no longer a baby since he's 14months old now) was still awake.
He was half asleep, but when he saw me he got really excited and didn't want to go back to sleep.
So sweet... but so... sigh... change of plans...
He ended up not sleeping until about 8:30pm.
I lied down next to him to put him to sleep, and passed out, probably before he did.

So I'm looking for a pattern & fabric for my new project.
I'd like to make a nice top or dress that I can wear to a party.
We went to a birthday party this past weekend, and the host (baby's mom) was wearing such a nice dress!
I'm looking for a fabric like it, and found it at gorgeousfabrics.com for $8.50.
I probably need 2yds, so $17.
...Then their shipping is $10.
Hmm... $27 for a dress... I can probably get a nice dress from BCBG outlet for a little more.
But I still want to make my own, so I'm off to looking for a cheaper fabric.

February 27, 2010

NANI IRO Fabric ordered

I ordered the Nani Iro fabric.
I was having such a hard time deciding whichi fabric to get.

1) Nani Iro Majorca (spell?)

2) Echino collection

From the start, I liked the Majorca pattern, and thought Echino was a little too plain.
Then I saw this picture.
How pretty is this!!!!

Then I thought, is Majorca too colorful?

So I searched around google to see if anyone made anything out of these fabrics...
Not much found.
But on Kocca website, I saw they made a girl's dress with Majorca, and it was also very pretty, not too flashy.

So I decided on Majorca.
I still want something conservative in black (so I can wear it to work too), but with a little "Bam!"
This should be it!! :)

The price was $26.10 including s/h. Whooooooa!
As a sewing beginner, I couldn't imagine spending this much on a fabric...
I mean, don't we sew to save money?
But I rationalized, that you can't really find this kind of patterns anywhere.
And if you do, it must be at some expensive boutique, and not for $26.

By the way, I'm making a top out of Simplicity 2892, and settled on the pleated one without sleeves.
I wanted to make the gathered one, but it took more fabric...
I didn't want to spend *too* much on a fabric!

I bought a muslin fabric to make the practice run.
When I use Nani Iro, I want everything to be perfect!!

Aaaah when I get better, I really want to make a dress out of Nani Iro!!

February 25, 2010


So, I'm trying to move onto making clothes.

However, I find it so difficult to find the right FABRICS!!!

The fabric store that I always go to (Aiea Fabric Mart) doesn't seem to have what I'm looking for...

They have lots of cotton printed fabrics, but not the texture I'm looking for.

I want something very soft, enough to make it a pajama.

What they have all seem to have the crunchy, hard feel to it.

I asked what kind of knit fabrics they have... and they all seemed to be too thick.

Since my family lives in Japan, I go there often and always (of course) shop for clothes.

Their material is so much better!!

During the summer, their material seem to be much lighter and breezy compared to the U.S. ones.

Especially it's always so hot in Hawaii, it's nice to have that kind of fabrics here.

...Then I found them. On Etsy. (Hooray for Etsy once again!)

Under "Japanese fabrics", they have double gauze fabrics with collection name "Nani Iro."

They're priced about $12-16/yd.

It seemed a little too pricey for me, so I checked their Japanese site.

(Good thing I can still read Japanese, ya?)

And the price wasn't actually that much different. Wow! That's pretty cool!!

Then I started thinking what kind of clothes should I make with this material...

A top? A dress?

I decided I want to use Simplicity 2892. It's a top with ruffle or pleats at the neckline.
So cute!!!
...Then I checked how many yds of fabric I need.
I'm probably size 6-8... They require 2 1/8yrd...
With Nani Iro fabric, that would be over $30!!!!
Hmm.... Is it really worth making your own clothes!?
I think I can get a similar cute shirt for about $10 on sale... (;_;)
Well, the good news is, I found some Japanese website that you can buy these fabrics at 10cm increment. ...Meaning, if I can get a precise measurement, I probably don't need to get 2yds like the pattern suggests.
The bad news is, of course, the shipping.
I found ONE website that ship it for the actual weight, which is about $6.
That's not bad.
The others charge like $15.
So I'm gonna check out the pattern and make sure how much I EXACTLY need!!

February 18, 2010

Kariza dress into something else

Have you heard of Kariza dress?

It's one of that convertible, multi-size wrap dress that you see at mall kiosk.
When we were on vacation in Maui, I bought it, falling into the tourist trap. (Even though I live in Hawaii!)
Looking at those pretty girls demonstrating it at the kiosk, it seemed like the best thing ever!
It was $60, so I did think about it over and over while we were there.
I bought it on the last day of our vacation.
...That was about 5 years ago.

How is it?
...well... it doesn't work. Ok, at least for me.
Maybe because I'm just too small (4'11", 100lbs), but it just seems like too much fabric wrapped around me.
I even modified it, by chopping some of the sides off, so it's a little smaller.
It still didn't work. It jst didn't look right, because it's just a piece of fabric, with no shape!
I kept going back to it every few months, try it on, and sigh... it still doesn't look right!

But I held on to the dress, just because it's a nice fabric (silk), and because it was $60, I just didn't see myself throwing it away.

Ok, long enough intro.

Since I'm getting deep into sewing, I decided to use this fabric to make something else.

This is the Kariza dress.

I had a pattern, New Look #6437 for a camisole style top and a skirt, so I decided to use this.
I've tried this pattern before, but measured it a little off , so the end product was too small/tight for me, that I gave us sewing. (Ok, I used the measurement without wearing a bra... didn't realize that you need a little allowance for the under garments.)

I'm planning to make a skirt with the top piece, and a strap camisole with the bottom piece.
We'll see how it turns out...
I cut the material, and so far so good. :)

February 16, 2010

Jewelry pictures

Pictures of jewelries I've made in the past.
I wish I kept all the pictures... :(

Aventurine and Brown pearl set

Purple turquoise, Mother of pearl and Cherry quartz set

Carnelian and Cherry Quartz

Rectangle Onyx

Red turquoise and beads ball set

Lapislazuli and wood beads set

I made this to match jeans...

Blue Mother of pearl set

Hair pins using Swarovski crystals, or Czech beads

My friends called them "Mika pins"

Aventurine and pearl weaved necklace

Weaved necklace using seed beads (and others)

Rose quartz set

Mother of pearl chips and pearl bracelet with Flower clasp

One of my favorite!

Dragon and Phoenix necklace

It's reversible!

Flower motif made with dagger beads

February 10, 2010

Hooray! Foot attachment

I've been wanting to "upgrade" my sewing machine...
My sewing machine is a basic-basic one, that I bought few years ago when I first started sewing.
What this doesn't have is the "overlock/overcast" option.
You can use this option to sew the edges of fabrics to prevent frey.
I've been wanting this option for the longest time, because I really want to start sewing clothes.

I've tried sewing a dress before, when I didn't know about this overlocking concept.
So although my dress turned out ok, from outside, the fabric was starting to frey inside.
I could hem them, but it'll just make it bulky...
Then I found out about overlocking option, and that my sewing machine doesn't have it. :(

So I was looking into buying a new sewing machine...
A better sewing machine with overlocking option?
Or should I just go overboard and buy a serger?

Then I found out that my sewing machine actually have an optional "overlock foot" that I can purchase!!! I don't need a new sewing machine!!! Hooray!!!
Of course it would be nice to just get a new sewing machine, but after spending $800 on new waterheater this week, new sewing machine would be a luxury item that I don't need...
"The need to have first, not want to have."

I found out that this foot costs about $15.
...I also found out that some companies charges $70 to ship this to Hawaii. Are they crazy!?
I found it on good o' ebay for $15 with free shipping. Gotta love ebay!!!

Watch out, world! I'm moving onto making clothes!!!

February 8, 2010

Purse pictures

Sometimes I email the link to my blog pages to someone from Etsy who's interested in my bags... After so many purse updates, there're few pages to list.

So I decided to put all pictures together in one page. Much easier to see!


This is the bag I made for my friend's birthday gift. It's reversible! :)

"Mother-and-daughter" matching bags.


Bamboo handle bag for "Aunties"

This is the diaper bag I made for my friend who just had a beautiful baby boy. :)
I always wanted a sling diaper bag, with lots of pockets.



Lots of pockets inside... with elastic bands to fit different size of things... I even made pockets for pens! Don't you hate looking for pens all over your purse?

A purse made with placemats. :) Sold on Etsy! :)

Newest... Shoulder Bag. I love this fabric!!

Shoulder Bag

I finally got a fabric that I've been wanted.
I've been eyeing this fabric, but I wanted it even more, after I went to the LeSportSac store with my sister-in-law.
Their "Hawaii edition" prints were similar to this.
And looking at their price... $20 for a cosmetic bag? $40 for a shoulder bag? At an outlet?
I think I can make it... so while my sister-in-law was shopping, I kept looking at their style to see which one I wanted to make.

They had a really cute, big slouchy bag, that my sister-in-law got for my other sister-in-law.
It was so cute, but I've been getting tired of big bags... They are so nice because you can fit everything in, but I can't find anything!!! I can barely find my cell phone.

So I decided to make a shoulder bag that I can just fit my wallet & cell phone.
Ta-Dah! :)

However, this is a prototype... There're so many things that I want to add, that one of these days I'm gonna take it all apart and do it all over.

First of all... I want to add another zipper pocket.
I fit my wallet in the big main pocket, and my cell phone in the outer pocket.
But it would be nice to have another pocket underneath, to fit my lipstick.
I can put it together with my cell phone now, but what's the fun in that?

Second, I want to add an adjuster to my strap.
It's fine now because I measured it to fit me, but it would be good to have an adjuster if I were to make it for someone else.

Third, I think I want to use a thicker interfacing. I guess it's not thick enough right now, that the shape of the purse changes depending on what I put inside.
I want something more stiffer so it'll hold the shape.

Cute though, yea? :)