Saturday, 28 November 2009

Basic Children’s T-Shirt from Adult’s Tee Refashion

I've wanted to do this for quite some time. When Aisha said today that she doesn't have enough simple t-shirt to wear with the skirts I made for her I know I can't delay it any longer. I made her a basic t-shirt from an old adult tee and embellished with fabric appliqué. This is a simple, no pattern project and of course many mamas have figured this out. What fun this project is!

I took some pictures in the process but figured this is perhaps too basic a project for a tutorial. I used the tracing method coz it's fast and cheap, perfect for a t-shirt meant for daily wear. I might put it up if I get enough request though J

The appliqué is my first ever fabric appliqué using fusible web. Love how it turned out! I just cut up a fun floral motif from Sandi Henderson's fabric scrap from previous project, fused it to the t-shirt and used zig zag stitch around the edges. I think what matters most is Aisha loves the comfy t-shirt.

I'm relishing my current state of sewing skill. I could feel it's improving with each craft project. I've never attended any formal sewing class or anything. I just have this huge appetite for knowledge on this hobby of mine. I devour the books and learn from resources on the net as well as sewing patterns. I wish all this will rub off on my children. I want them to revisit this space often too. Hope they will grow up with beautiful souls and a much more meaningful life.....

Friday, 27 November 2009

Mendocino Dresses

It's Eid úl Adha and this year we decided not to go back to Kota Bharu as hubby gotta work this weekend and my parents are also celebrating here in Putrajaya. So the girls and me spend the night at my parents' place and I've been sewing up a storm for the girls. I had barely a day to sew from the time I got back from work Thursday and my mom's Eid breakfast . So, at 7.30 am this morning the dresses are ready.

As usual, when pressed for time, I go for simple peasant style. Again, I rely on CarlaC Portrait Peasant pattern for guaranteed result. Another very important reason why I always use her pattern is because her range of sizes covers both my girls (8 and 2T).

The main fabric for both dresses is from the Mendocino line by Heather Ross. Love those whimsical mermaids! The pink & yellow dots fabric is from Summer Soiree by Paula Prass and Hanan's brown-yellow dots from Garden Party line by Anna Maria Horner.

Valuable lesson I learned from this project - I realized when I received the fabric that the Mendocino line is actually lightweight cotton. It is lighter than other quilting cottons. Therefore when I sewed the dresses with the medium weight cottons (the polkadots) the main fabric tend to be weighed down especially by the heavier double thickness ruffle at the bottom. I know now it is best to sew fabrics with similar thread count for best results.

Oh, I also sewed matching headbands for the girls. Great use for scraps and Aisha especially loves it! Hanan and the headband is a different story though. Let me try to relate to you what happened...

At first Hanan refused to put on the headband. Here's Aisha gently coaxing her.

After awhile she decided she wanted it and tried to put it on herself.

Headband in place, suddenly she's happy to pose.

Can you tell how she looks up to her big sis?

The pose is an answer to mommy's question "Show mommy your teeth!"

And of course behind all those whirlwind of activity is a crazy momma with a camera LOL
Happy Eid to all friends and families, enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Black Linen Tote

I made this tote bag last weekend, a birthday gift for a friend at work. I wanted a fabric combination that's a little bit more understated, simple yet modern. I chose black linen as the body fabric and medium weight printed cotton as the contrasting fabric. The lining is made of lightweight polkadot cotton.

There are still some imperfections in making this bag but I love the feel of linen and am quite satisfied with the end result. I can't say enough how much I love making bags!

Monday, 23 November 2009

Tutorial : Simple Ruffled Apron

Fabric : Barefoot Roses and Darla by Tanya Whelan, Grand Revival Designs

I consider this simple because I did not make pockets and was able to finish this in an hour. The result is cute and it jazz up a bit the basic full apron pattern. Here's how I make my new ruffled apron :

1. Start with the basic pattern for the body. Use the measurement above and draft. I drafted mine directly on the fabric. Just fold the fabric, right side together and draw the shape using your ruler and fabric marker/chalk on the wrong side. Of course you can also draft it on paper first if you want.

Cut along the drawn line, 1 piece from main fabric. Then take the cut main fabric and pin it to lining fabric as a guide to cut the lining piece.

REMEMBER: This pattern is cut ON FOLD. This means the long side (25" here) lies on folded side of the fabric.

2. Next, cut the ruffle fabric. Cut 1 piece using the measurement above from contrasting fabric. No lining is needed for ruffle.

Now, cut the ties pieces :

Neck = 2 pieces Main Body fabric 2.5" x 20"

2 pieces Ruffle fabric 2.5 " x 20"

Waist = 2 pieces Main Body fabric 2.5" x 24"

2 pieces Ruffle fabric 2.5 " x 24"

3. Take the neck ties main and ruffle fabric, right side together. Stitch 1/4" on both long sides to create a long tube. Turn the tube right side out. Do the same with waist ties. You will have four tubes.

Turning tubes can be a nightmare. Here's how I do it :

Press all four ties. Fold in short end of each ties and press.

4. Now, top stitch the ties using narrow 1/8" stitch, enclosing the raw edge of the short edge of each ties.

5. Place the main body piece and the lining fabric right side together. Sew ¼" seam on all sides except the bottom. Leave two inches gaps as shown above to insert the ties later. Turn the main body piece inside out and press well.

6. Insert the ties at the neck and waist openings. Next, topstitch the body piece edges (at neckline, armsyche and sides), securing the ties. You can also backstitch at the ties to strengthen the seam.

7. Make the ruffle. Fold 1/2 " of the two short ends and press. Then fold the ruffle in half along the long edge, wrong side together and press again. This will make double thickness, no lining ruffle. Stitch 1/8" the two folded in short edges to close the sides.

8. Use your preferred technique of gathering for the ruffle (either use a ruffler foot, manually using two rows of basting stitch or by adjusting the tension of your sewing machine). Align to make sure the gathered ruffle piece is the same length with the body piece.

9. Flip the ruffle and align the raw edges on the right side of the body piece as shown. Pin the ruffle in place. Stitch the ruffle to the body piece. Trim and finish the seam either with zig zag stitch or serger. Press the seam towards upper body piece.

10. Top stitch the body to the ruffle and you're done!

Enjoy your new apron! J

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Inspirations - Sew Hip Magazines

I wanted to write about where I draw my sewing inspirations other than the fabulous creative indie blogs I frequent every day.

Sew Hip Magazine published by Kalmedia. I love it. It turns sewing, an endeavour once exist out of necessity into a modern women's avenue for expressing creativity, sharing love and inspirations. Every issue is packed with wonderful projects with full sized patterns plus step by step instructions. More than that it includes valuable information about all things related to sewing and crafts.

This magazine is from the UK, thus it arrives here in Malaysia one month late. I don't have a subscription. Every month I haunt the bookstores to get the latest issue. Most bookstore only carry one copy so if it's gone, it's gone. You can order back issues from it's website here.

Oh, one perplexity I would like to share here. Lately I noticed that sewing magazines are getting less and less space on our bookstores' magazine stands. Instead, a lot of knitting magazines being offered. And by a lot, I mean multiple issues of knitting magazines put on the shelf. I understand the trend for warm, knitted clothing in other countries where winter is approaching. But in this land of perpetual summer (even in the current rainy season), I just don't get it. Can't help wondering if our local magazine dealers did any research about Malaysian craft scene.

But then again, perhaps I'm wrong. Perhaps there is indeed a large community of knitters in Malaysia I don't know about. I'm wondering aloud here mainly out of frustrations. It's so difficult to get good quality sewing magazines here. Especially when my favourite mag, Burda World of Fashion (BWOF) was no longer distributed in Malaysia. I'd been a faithful collector for years and it's so sad now that I can no longer buy it. I'll write about that magazine in another post. For now I'm enjoying my divine Sew Hip magazines.

Till then lovely peeps, have a great day ! :)

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

The Garment I Was Talking About

It's the popular Simplicity 3835 Built By You pattern by designer Built By Wendy.

I read rave reviews all over the net on this pattern and how it's the best pattern for beginners. I got it at a bargain, on sale at for only $2.99!

I sewed the tie sleeves version. I did pretty good with the sleeves and the tie band facings. But I had a hard time with the neckline and back zipper. I used 16" invisible zipper instead of the 20" lapped zipper as in the pattern. Sewing invisible zipper is not as easy as it looks. The neck facing was a struggle for me. Once, when I realized I need to rip the seams and reattach the neck band, I put this project aside for 2 weeks!
I sewed size 12. The tunic is wearable but it is a tad too tight for me in the middle (my ample tummy doesn't help :P). I know this can be fixed by reducing the generous seam allowance.

I chose a shabby rose print cotton and soft, pinkish polkadots trimming simply because I wanted to see how does a retro-ish pattern like this would look like using feminine, girly print. Some might think it's not modern enough, but I love this combination.

Overall, I think the tie sleeves view I chose is a little bit ambitious at my present skill level. I should have started with the easier option. But once completed, I fell in love all over again with the design!

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

3rd Margaret Bag for Aisha

Whatt?? Another one??

YESS! It's for Aisha...The first one was too big for her, the 2nd one was for my sister and I don't have the heart to say no to her as she likes the 2nd one so much and wanted one too.

After making it twice, the process for the 3rd one is so much easier. To make the bag smaller for Aisha, I scaled down around 1/2 inch of the pattern and used the shoulder bag variation. The bag turned out so cute and actually make a perfect purse for me! But then again, this is for Aisha, I must not be tempted :D

I used another fun Chocolate Lollipop print by Anna Maria Horner. I wanted a darker colour so that it can withstand stains a bit longer than a lighter coloured fabric.

The inside is lined with dark brown tiny polkadot basic print from RJR Fabrics. I used decorative stitch for the pockets too.

As you can see from the 1st pic, Aisha's happy and smiling with her bag. She can actually sling it across her body, just the way she wanted it. And I know that when she brings this to her extra classes (school is almost over, so it's gonna get a lot of use next year), she will have a unique, one of a kind bag coz it's handmade by her momma.

I love making bags!!

Monday, 16 November 2009

Easy Lounge Pants, Express Version

I need lounge pants. Desperately. Because I've worn mine to death, especially those in comfy woven cottons. I decided I gotta make one, pronto. Too lazy to trace any paper pattern in my collection, I used the following method.
I used my old, trusted lounge pants. Fold it, making sure the crotch part is pulled all the way out and pin to folded fabric. Cut the fabric (on the fold) with seam allowance i.e 2 inches longer at waist and hem and 1 inch bigger on the sides.
Unpin the old pants. Take the above piece and pin again to the remaining yardage to cut an exact second piece. You will have two folded pieces of fabric for the "new" pants at this stage.
Open the 2 pieces of cut fabric. With right sides together, sew (or serge) the crotch top sides as shown above.
Now, take the middle of the pants and pull open so that it lays like above. Sew the inseam as shown by arrows, going all the way round. Zig zag stitch or serge the seams edge.

Hemming - Press the hem 1/4 inch, press again 1/2 inch for both legs. Stitch hem. Do the same for the waist, but do not sew all the way round. Leave a 1 inch gap to thread the elastic in.

Elastic - measure your waist and take off 1 inch - that is the length of elastic you need.

Thread the elastic using a pin through the gap created before. Overlap the elastic ends and stitsh to secure it. Sew the gap close once elastic is threaded.

Press all seams and voila!

So comfy! Am totally hugging myself here :P


Friday, 13 November 2009

I'm In!! Stash Swap Group 3

I saw the stash swap organised by sweet Hani over at her blog. I missed the first two groups and managed to join the 3rd Group, yeay! I wanted to join the fun so badly, thanks so much Hani for accepting me in this wonderful Stash Swap, you're the best!! :)

I have yet to know my swapping partner, but already planning the stash to prepare for the swap. The requirements include :

1. 10 buttons
2. 3 fat quarters (18"x22")
3. 3 ribbons (1 meter each)
4. 2 pieces of felt (A4 size)
5. A special (suprise) stash

The best part of this swap is definitely #5. I love surprises!! Off to prepare the stash! :D

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Sew It - Margaret Bag

I joined this week Sew It organised by the lovely Mayya over at Sew Chic and Unique. This time it's the Margaret Bag, the same tutorial I attempted before in my previous post here. I wanted to join this one coz I promised my sister a shoulder bag of the same design and needed the extra push to do it :D

And look at the result! I simply love it!! I used this cute Chocolate Lollipop print by Anna Maria Horner.

This design is so pretty and once done looks really great! As before, I omitted the interlining coz I don't have it. But, since the fabric I'm using is quilting cotton, I used fusible interfacing to make it sturdier.
I lined the bag with black and white gingham and attached pockets. I have to say the topstitching around the bag is challenging especially working at the bulkier multi-layer middle part.

Overall, I am much more satisfied with the result this time around. And of course the girls could not resist the bag and wanted some photo actions even if its bigger than them! LOL


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