August 31, 2011

Nomad Hobo Handbag

My next project is Nomad Hobo Handbag from
I love and Hot Patterns for posting free patterns!!

This is the start of my x'mas gift making.
I'm making this in greyish beige suade and paisley cotton lining.
Right off the bat, I made a mistake... or should I say I didn't pay attention.
They called for 3/4yd of lining.
I measured the pattern, and figured I only need 1/2yd, so that's what I ordered.
I was cutting it out, and realized that I needed 4 pieces of lining instead of 2 pieces that I thought.
I had to CUT at the seam allowances to make the pattern fit.
So the finished bag will be a little smaller.
Well, in another words, you CAN make it with 1/2yd of lining fabric as long as you don't mind it a little smaller!
Is glass half full, or half empty?

The thing I like about this bag is, that it doesn't need interfacing.
After making Amy Butler's Cosmo Bag and that it took forever to fuse the interfacing, I'm glad that I don't need to do this process.

I ironed the fabric and cut the pieces.
Then attached the magnetic snaps.
(By the way does anyone need a tutorial on attaching the magnetic snaps? Maybe next one...)

Ready to sew!


I can't believe how easy that bag was put together!
I finished it last night - after cutting the pieces, it only took me about 3hrs to sew it altogether.
Bring it on, X'mas!

Few comments...
The inside pockets are suggested to be sewn on the panels with the handles, but I prefer it on the side.

This is mentioned so many times on the reviews as well, but... especially after the size was reduced, it's just impossible to "put your hand up the handle, and pull the other handle in."
I actually did, using a tweezer.
After I pulled it all the way through, I realized I had to pull the outside handle in as well.
At this point it was 10:30pm and I was working on this for 3hrs...
So I didn't even try.
I just sewed the handles together from outside, with the seam shown.
If I could pull it off (literally, pull the handles off!), it would've been a really nice finish...
This bag wouldn't show ANY seams outside.
But it doens't look that bad.

I really love this bag!!!
I want one for myself, except suade is too hot-looking for Hawaii.
Plus I carry a huge diaper bag now days, and not these small purses anymore...
It's perfect for my young family members!

This is the handles attached, sewn outside.



I made another one.

I actually like this one better, using Kitty Yoshida's City Girl Oversized Paisley in pink. I luckily got this fabric on sale at for $3.99/yd (about $2, since I only needed half yd).

When I received it in the mail I really loved it - I wish I ordered more, but it looks like they discontinued this. :(

They have it in darker pink, but it's not as cute. :(

This is how it looks like holding it.
I'm 4'11", so I think it's a little long on me, but for someone with average height, it's probably perfect. If I was to make it for myself I'll probably shorten the handles.

OK, a breakthrough.
I found a way to follow the instruction and put one handle through the other.
I used a good old safety pin.
I use this big safety pin as a tool to turn some straps for different projects.
So I pinned the right side of 2 handles, and put the safety pin inside one handle, and pulled the safety pin through the handle.
This method makes the finish clean without showing any seams, however it's a little hard to make sure that handles are attached straight together.
First of all I wasn't sure if the handles were twisted inside the other (it might have helped if I pressed the handles first), and when I sewed the handles and pull it back out, there was a big wrinkle in the middle. :(
So I had to do it over again...
But I pulled it through the wrong handle, and had to pull it back out the other handle... Just a hassle. :(
So this is how it ended up.
I'm not sure if I like this finish that much, compared to having the seam outside, which was so much easier.

August 29, 2011

Batwing shirt Tutorial

I finished my Amy Butler Cosmo Bag... washed all my fabrics and ready to sew!
On last batwing shirt blog page, I mentioned that I wanted to make a tutorial...
I do! I do!

Before I start, I apologize in advance if my spacing is a little off.
Everytime I edit the page, the program re-spaces on its own, and it's really annoying. I'm planning to fix it once I'm done with everything.
Also, I'll be updating as I progress the project.
I'm doing this while my kids are taking a nap, so bare with me if I take long to finish it!

I'm not sure if I can upload a pattern.
It's handwritten so I scanned and tried to make it nicer using photoshop.
But I'm not sure how the sizing will go.
First of all, I'm XS/S, and this is the size I made for this pattern.
If I was able to upload a pattern, I think you can just printed out in enlarged size for bigger sizes.
But rather than printing, enlarging, etc, I think it's easier if I just show what I did.

Here's what I did.
Pick your favorite shirt.

Fold it in half lengthwise, on the back side, and trace the neck/shoulder area (colored in red) on a paper. (I taped about 6 pieces of paper)
You can decide how long your sleeve wants to be...
But from the tip of your sleeve, make a semi-circle (Or should I say quarter-circle, since it's folded in half?) to the bottom of the shirt -or however the length you want- colored in purple.
Also draw a line where the side seam is (colored in light blue). This is where your side seam will be.

I didn't do this for myself (I noticed it after I started sewing), but please add any seam allowance.

Voila! That's it!!
I'll be cutting the fabric tomorrow...



Here's my fabric.
First fold it in half, lengthwise. Then fold it in half again.
This way, you can cut front & back pieces at the same time.

Layer the pattern over the fabric, matching the folds, and cut your pieces.
This is how it should look like, 2 pieces.

We'll make one of the pieces a front piece, by lowering the neckline.I just guess-timate it, but you just cut a semi-circle from the edge of the original neckline, to the depth of neckline of your choice.
Don't cut too much, because when you use a bias finish, it'll be even more lower.
You'll also need a bias-tape.
I use the same fabric. I measure the neck line (length) and cut a strip in 4cm width.
You can use any width, I just like 4cm.
So for my shirt, my neckline is 64cm, so it'll be at least 64cm x 4cm strip.
I like to have extra, so I'll make 70cm x 4cm just in case.

OK! Ready to sew!!


First, sew (in my case, I serged) one side of the shoulder seam.
After one shoulder seam is done, attach the bias tape to the neckline.

I'm not the best person to do the bias finish, but this is the method I learned from one of the sewist from website, and it's so much easier!!

First fold the tape in half, lengthwise, RIGHT side out.
Then attach this to the RIGHT side of the fabric.

Then sew the MIDDLE of the (folded) bias tape.

Half of the bias tape should be around 2cm (in my case), so there should be 1cm on each side of the seam. Cut about 0.5cm.

Fold up the bias, and press.

Now sew the other shoulder seam.

Now when you fold over the bias, raw edge is enclosed. Sew.

That was the hardest part of this project, and believe it or not you're almost done!
All you have to do left is to sew the hem, and side seams!

I used my serger to do a rolled hem on my shirt.
I used the good old fold twice & sew method (I'm not sure if there's a proper word to describe this?) on my last batwing shirt, but because it's a knit, it turned out too wavy.
This was my first rolled hem, and even though it could improve some more, I like the look of it. Plus it's only one-step! I love it!

Then you sew the side seams.
It's the line you drew on the pattern where the side seam on the normal shirt.
I'm not sure if you can see, but there's a seam line on my shirt.
You just have to try it out, but it worked the best for me when I sew up to the hip area.

I'll be wearing this tomorrow and upload a picture. :)

August 26, 2011

Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector

Few weeks ago I bought Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector...
Actually the 3pc set from Sephora including Dark Spot Corrector, 7-day scrub and Dark Spot Corrector day moisturizer with SPF.

I've always had freckles since I was a kid.
After the pregnancies those freckles became bigger and darker, and more suited to be called "the dark spots."
So I always like to try something that correct the uneven skintones, or brightens, or whitens.
I wanted to try this product after seeing their commercial, and jumped on it when I saw the 3pc set that included everything I planned to buy separatedly.

Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector...
The texture is a little thick, but turns skin very smooth after application.
It's not oily nor too dry.
Well, does it work??
Surprisingly, YESSSSS!!!!!
I've only used it maybe 3 weeks, but my spots are definitely lighter.
The smaller, lighter "freckles" are pretty much gone.
If I put foundation, you can't even see them anymore.

Considering the price, I'm happily surprised at this price.
I have used the Caudalie product that costs about $100/bottle, and it didn't give me this much result this fast.

I'm very happy with it... I'll keep buying this product!
Very much recommended!!

August 25, 2011

Amy Butler Cosmo Bag

Moving on to bag making.
I got Amy Butler's Style Stitches Book.
I like the Cosmo Bag, the first project on the book.
I need a new diaper bag, and this seems like a perfect bag.
....except it's a little too big, so I scanned the pattern and reduced it to ~90%.
After cutting the fabric, I think I got a good size.

I'm using Amy Butler's Midwest Modern Optic Blossom Linen for the lining, and grey solid cotton for the exterior, which I got from about a week ago, and it should be on the way...
For recommended interfacing, I got Pellon SF-101 on ebay.
I got 10yd bolt for $29.99 (free shiping).
Considering it's about $5/yd at walmart, and I know I'll probably use 10yd for something, I thought it's a better deal.

Bags... it sounds simpler than garment making, but it really is not.
There're many pieces involved, and it takes time to fuse all the interfacing pieces.
Last night, I got to cut all the lining fabrics and got to fuse 1 piece of interfacing. Then at 10pm, both my kids woke up, and I had to put then back to sleep.
Aww, life of a mother.


Mmmmm, I'm a little disappointed.
I just got my fabrics from
I ordered grey kona cotton, called "snow".
...I thought it was grey when I saw it online. It actually came out to be grey-ish white!!
I don't mind using white for a bag, it'll probably look nice.
...It'll just get dirty fast!! I guess I can wash it...

On the same topic, they sent me a wrong fabric.
I got this paisley cotton to make another bag, and they sent me this bright yellow, kids monster print fabric. Hmm... totally different...


After comtemplating, I decided to use the print for exterior, and whits kona cotton for the handles.
I just couldn't do all-white bag, especially as a diaper bag.
This thing will be taken to the beach, park, etc, and it'll soon be grey bag.
(Hey, isn't that what I wanted? Ok, not this way)
I'm glad I had enough Amy Butler fabric.
I wanted to make a dress for my daughter with it, but oh well....


It's 2am and I'm up.
Why? Because I passed out when I put the kids to sleep at 7:30pm, and woke up at 12:30am. That's already 5hrs of sleep. I couldn't go back to sleep right away, so I decided to sew.

I finally fused all the interfacings, and am ready to sew!!!
Then I realized... Wow, the first sewing job on this project is a curve!!
Hmm, I haven't done curves in awhile...
It turned out ok though.

BUT. In the middle of top stitching, my needle broke. :(
Actually, it was bent.
It kept pulling up extra thread, and about 20min of "why!?!?!?" and trying to figure it out, I realized that the needle is bent.
I thought, "oh, ok, at least I bought some today at Walmart."
...wait. I remember putting them into the cart.
But I don't remember paying for it... or taking it out of the bag...
I checked the receipt, and I guessed right, I didn't buy them. :(
I must've left them in the cart. :(
So I had to stop sewing... oh well, I was getting sleepy anyways.

Almost done with my Cosmo Bag.
It was fairly easy project. I think the worst part was cutting all the pieces and fusing the interfacing.
Once I started sewing, it only took 2-3hrs.

I made a small mistake...
Without paying attention to the directions, I just assumed that exterior bag and lining bag are identical.
So I made 4 front band pieces.
Once I got to the lining, I tried to attach the band, and realized it was too long.
??? Did I miss anything?
I figured I'll just cut and adjust, so I sewed it on, and clipped the v on the curve.
It still felt weird, so I looked at the pictures closely, and realized that the lining doesn't have the front band!!
It only has the handle pieces.
Luckily it didn't cause any damage.

I think the hardest part about this bag is to attach the exterior and lining together.
I've made bags before, so I knew what the instruction was talking about, but if this was to be your first bag project, it might be hard to understand.
So I took a picture of what happens when you "pull the lining through the hole".

After this, you put the lining into the exterior bag.
I'm not sure yet how to sew the bags together.
Am I supposed to press the edges in, and stitch them?



I had the hardest time finishing it up, because my bobbin thread kept getting tangled. After few fights, it ran out of the bobbin thread, and once I changed it, it was fine.

REVIEW of this pattern...

Amy Butler Cosmo Bag from her book Style Stitches.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Somewhat. I've made bags in the past, but I had to read each steps few times mostly because of many pattern pieces. I have to make sure that which one is "exterior", "lining", "lining pocket", etc.
On some occasions I wished there were more pictures.
Especially the end, where you attach the exterior and lining together. It's just a simple paragraph without any pictures. It might be hard to figure out if you've never made bags before.
I've taken a picture of this step on my blog, hopefully it might help some people who's attempting to make this...

The worst part about this bag was cutting the fabric & fusing the interfacing. It seemed to taken me forever - but once I started sewing, it probably only took 3-4hrs from there.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the size of it, even though I reduced the pattern to around 80%. I also like the covered button on front. I think it makes a big difference on appearence

Fabric Used:Amy Buttler Optic Blossom Linen on exterior/lining, Snow Kona Cotton on handles

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: This bag is huge!!! I scanned and reduced the pattern to about 80%. It's still quite big, and it's probably the right size for me, but I could've left it alone if I wanted a diaper bag.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I would like to sew this again over and over... the only thing is, it's not very cheap to make it, depending on what kind of fabric you use. Plus it uses so much interfacing!! It says over 6yd in the instruction. I got a 10yd bolt for $29.99, but if you were to buy it at Walmart for $5-6/yd, that's over $30 just on interfacing alone!

Conclusion: Overall I really like this bag. I like the style so much, I would like to make more - I also want to make some for x'mas gifts. But because of the cost of material, I probably won't make it as much. :(

August 22, 2011

Self drafted pattern - batwing shirt

I'm attempting to draft a pattern...

It seems like the trend is the batwing sleeves. They're everywhere!
I found this shirt at Target.
It's so cute, but when I see it, it seems like such a simple pattern!!
Two pieces - back & front, semi-circle (although the shoulder is a little slanted), with a little seam around the waist.

I used one of the t-shirt as a template. Then from the shoulder, I made the sleeves in semi-circle... I drafted the side seam, but I think I'll just need to wing it after I sew the pieces together.

This is just the back piece... I'll cut 2 pieces like this, and will cut the neck lower.

This is the front piece. I cut the neck a little lower than the back.
I matched it on my shoulder, and it seems like the result will be what I'm looking for. :)
I can't wait to start sewing this!
If I am successfully able to make this, I'll upload the pattern & tutorial. It's simple enough. :)
There're so many free patterns/tutorials on the net that have helped me.
I hope I can return the favor. :)

I just ordered a whole bunch of knit fabric from They were having a massive knit sale, that alot of them were $2.50-$2.99/yd. I was gonna make another peachy-beachy cover up, try their new fringe tie shirt, another maxi-length dress and maybe this batwing shirt. Hopefully it turns out well! :)

It's a deal compared to $25 Target shirt!

Is it just me... or is it more fun picking the fabrics and debating what to make with them, compared to actual making process...
Now I've ordered the fabrics, I feel like the fun is done. :p


So, here's the finished product.
After sewing the neck binding, I thought it was too long overall, so I cut the sleeve/hem length by about 1in.
I think I should've left it the way it was...
After hemming the edges it got so much shorter.
I'm pretty happy with the sleeve length, but I should've kept the hem.

Also, I think this pattern should be made in patterned fabric.
When it's solid, it looks like I'm just wearing a poncho!
I had to add a necklace in order to make it a little interesting.
I would probably finish edges with rolled hem next time...
Whenever I serge & straight stitch, it always ends up wavy. :(
It'll probably look more neater in rolled hem.

Hopefully I can make a tutorial next time I make this.
I'm just waiting for more fabric to arrive...

August 21, 2011

v1152 dress - pretty much done

Here's the "almost finished" v1152 dress.
It's almost finished, because I still need to hem the bottom but broke my needle on my serger and can't continue. :(

So here's my review which I'll post on as well, but since I write too much, I'll write a long version on this blog.

First of all I just LOVE LOVE LOVE this dress.
I just love everything about it. How girly it looks, small details, and the best of all I love this puffed sleeves.
When you think of puffed sleeves, you'd think of "princess" - but this is a little slouchy that it makes it look more modern and not as fairytale-ish.
I really want to use this sleeves on some other patterns, like a simple t-shirt with maybe few gatherings around the neck.

I had the love & hate relationship (?) with all the small details.
I didn't do this when I made the muslin, so I didn't realize how time consuming it was, although the instruction is very straight forward.

For example, alot of seams are covered - the back of the front piping details is covered with a facing.
Shoulders also has a facing.
I think the only visible seems were the sides & armholes.
I used a serger for these areas.
All these facings made the dress look very neat, but it needed alot of hand slipstitchig which was time consuming.

The front band - piping (oh, the piping...) and gathers...
This is the detail that makes this dress pretty, but it really shows your sewing skills...
My piping job was so uneven and wavy, I don't think I can wear this outside the house. :(

I will try this again though, with a different fabric.
Matte jersey or silk de chine was suggested but I used regular knit jersey.
I thought it would be cooler than matte jersey, and certainly cheaper than silk.
But it was such a bad selection. It just doesn't look right. It needs a little weight or stiffness.
I want to try using silk de chine as suggested.
I already made this twice, so I shouldn't mess up too much.
I want to make it for my daughter's first birthday party in December.

August 10, 2011

Amy Butler craze

Ok, I'm not even done with my Rebecca Taylor dress...
(In fact, I'm in the middle of cutting the pieces. I haven't even started sewing.)
But I want to start sewing a bag.

I hate to jump on the band wagon, but I decided to jump on the Amy Butler wagon.
I borrowed one of her books from the library, and since it was missing the pattern, I bought one online.

By the way, I got this book from
Appearently it's a British company, but they offered free shipping everywhere in the world, and prices were cheaper itself.
This book was about $30, but I got it for $18.99 on this site.
The shipping was pretty fast too. They claimed 7-14 business days, and I got it maybe in about a week and a half.

I want to make the Cosmo bag, that's on the front cover of the book...
but this thing just looks HUGE!!!
Since I'm small, it'll probably be like 2/3 of me. Haha
I'm thinking about make a copy of the pattern in the reduced size, but I wonder if it'll work?
The size of the handles seem fine. Would that look funny?