Sunday, 28 November 2010

Pleated Skirt for Aisha

In between sewing custom order dresses for my customers, I took a break, like, for 1-2 hours to sew up something simple for my girls. If I don't do that, they keep pestering me with their requests, I could go crazy! So some skirts would pacify them...for awhile lol

Just a simple pleated, cheerleader style skirt for my sweet Aisha. She wanted one to match the hat I made her. The result looks a bit stiffy coz I did not cut the contrasting print and sew rectangles like what Maya prescribed in her simple instruction for making this skirt. I just simply top stitch the polkadot print on top of a long rectangle of the main print. It works the same but naturally mine is bulkier.

Oh doesn't really matter when the girls are this happy, right? 

Hanan took one look at her big sis's new skirt and immediately ask about her similar skirt I made before. I blogged about it here. Hers is in denim and so cute for this style of skirt. I made Hanan a new skirt too last week but that will be for the next blog post.

I also managed to finish these camera strap covers ordered by Azah months ago. Now that my good friend Maya is back sewing and listing some camera strap covers in the shop, I am temporarily closing orders for these. 

I am so happy Maya is back, we have this unsaid pact that if one of us is unable to sew (due to work demands etc etc) at least we can pass on customer queries to another one of us who is sewing. So, you see, even though we're operating a separate business, with our own separate labels, we are sewing similar stuff. But instead of competing with each other, and be all sour, we turned this into a cooperation thingy, which is healthy. I remember what Maya once said to me, there's no point hoarding the orders, we are so small (one woman operations), it's not like we are able to sew up all the orders on our own if we get say, hundreds of them! Let's share and help each other. So true Mai, I am so lucky to have a level headed, mature sewing friend like you *hugs*

Last but not least, I've drawn up some fun plans for this blog based on your response in the previous post. Thank you so much for the insight, at least I have an idea what my audience is looking for. And BIG hugs to you who are keeping me company on this blog. Will blog about what I have planned soon. Stay tuned!

Friday, 26 November 2010

Sisters Sisters & This Blog

Remember this dress? I sewed 2 of these beauties for a lovely customer Allyza as she wanted her girls to wear them to a blue themed wedding, size 2T and 5T. I personally love the combo, as I rarely sew anything blue. For this vintage style dress, its best to pair large scale print with a smaller scale lining & ribbon sash. Absoulutely stunning. And I just squealed with delight when Allyza sent me the pics of her girls wearing them!

Adorbs!! Pretty, cheeky sisters, in Lovemelots dresses. Love them at this age, aren't they beautiful? Thank you so much Allyza for sending me the pics, I truly appreciate it :)

And about this blog. I've been thinking of some new content to make it more interesting. I want this to be more than just a place for me to document my sewing, but also where you, lovely readers, could come for some fun activities or read about some useful info related to sewing and the small business that many aspires to do. 

We Malaysians are an entrepreneurial lot. Especially us, ladies. The drive comes from mainly one thing - our children. Being in a developing country where women makes up almost 50% of the total workforce, you can totally understand why more and more of us ladies want to start our own business, perhaps from home, and be able to raise the children ourselves. Going out to work for most of us is not by choice, but being good at multi tasking, we can still manage, even though in our hearts we struggle with the guilt and desire to be close to our children at all times.

Let me know if you have some suggestions what you'd like to see more in this blog. Would you join me if I plan activities such as swaps or sewalongs? Or how about a beginner sewing series? Or Sewing/Craft Business 101? A sewing challenge? More tutorials? Recipes? Or you'd prefer the blog to stay as it is? Please share in the comments, I'd love to hear from you.

Till later, lots of love and so much more from Putrajaya to the special, beautiful YOU. *hugs*

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

The Sweetest Little Princess Dress

I know many of you were smitten with this dress I sewed in previous post. The feeling is mutual! I sewed the dress for the first time, using this pattern. It's a small 3 months size but the loose, swingy style would easily fit the baby for a lot longer.

My review of this pattern would be, a dream to sew! It has facings, which provides me with the extra challenge I crave. I enjoyed the learning process and of course the fabric combo just made it sweeter! After sewing the many dresses, one thing I learned is the smaller the size, the more challenging it is to sew! You see, those teeny tiny armholes....oh well...I am so forgetting that mighty task when I saw the picture of the precious little princess wearing the dress...

Isn't she adorable? pretty as her name...thank you Fyn for sending me the pics and am so happy you love the dress :)

I'll be back with more posts soon lovely ladies, thanks so much for stopping by *hugs*

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Hats Off!

Yup, hats off to you for sticking to this blog and keep coming back to read even when my posts are few and far between. Thank you! *hugs*

Now, I have two little girls whom are still at the "love-everything-mommy-made-for-me" stage. Deep down in my heart I know this won't last forever (especially with my pre teen Aisha) and I have to cherish it while I can.

My girls love to hang out in the studio. And when I'm busy sewing custom orders for the customers, the little one would be on my side saying "Tiut nya mommy! Ni Anan punyer terr?" Translation : Kiutnya mommy ni Hanan punya ke? aka  "So cute mom, is this mine?"

And my answer will always be the variation of - No dear this one is for auntie's baby. And she'd show her disappointment by asking WHEN exactly I'm going to sew for her! After much pestering and the big sister joining the request, I made my girls some hats.

I made four of them actually (NOT in one sitting lol)...and they are all reversible so the girls actually have 8 hats! Enough to last till next year :)

I'm sure Malaysian readers are well aware of the big name in handmade sunhat, Okinokiyo right? Mai, the owner/sewer is my twitter sewing buddy and I love all her bright and fun sun hats for little ones. I would have bought from her if I don't sew, but the fun part of making these hats is when the girls open up my stash closet and chose the fabrics themselves. The one above is what Aisha wanted, a fan of purple. I mixed solid heavy cotton with Monaluna's lavender dots. Very sweet!

Now, this little miss wanted the same hat design but a different print. I was really surprised when she chose this Sis Boom paisley and not the many fun kiddie print I have in stash! She must be attracted to the bright colors. I paired it with a bright pink & blue print. These hats have pleats on top part of it which makes it very forgiving in any wonky-ness when sewing lol

These two were actually made a few weeks ago. A tulip hat which Hanan calls topi ayam (chicken hat) LOL...she saw the print and immediately decided on the name. It's a tad small for her but so very cute! The one Aisha is wearing is a wide brim hat which was a nightmare to sew. And as you can see, I paired quilting cotton with a heavier beige corduroy (bought locally at Nagoya). Thus, it's droopy and weird looking. But the girls love how girly that hat is.

This is my first time making hats. The patterns are all from Japanese pattern book, Cucito. It's a highly gratifying project because it takes very little time to finish. But, I must say, sewing anything circular is not what I do well. Like the wide brim sunhat & the flat round top hats, they all give me headache as little pleats would form whenever I sew the circular things in urgghhh....

But these are for my girls, and because they adore their sewing momma, a little wonky-ness means nothing to them compared to the loving and new handmade stuff they get hahaha

Thanks for reading lovelies, have a beautiful day!

Monday, 15 November 2010

Experiential Learning

Thank you friends for the wonderful advice and insights in my previous post. I made the decision to temporarily close new custom order at least for this semester. I will complete all orders I have committed to before this and what left of my time would go to my studies and family. I also would like to sew more for myself, without the pressure of on time completion lol

Speaking of experiential learning, life itself is exactly that. We grow from our daily doings and learn from our mistakes along the way. But, formal learning is a bit different in a sense that it is guided, meant to achieve a certain set of learning objectives. This semester I am undergoing an experiential business training program organised by the university with an International consultant. Just 30 of us, together in a group, going to work in  Jalan Ampang, every Monday & Tuesday, for 12 weeks! The CEO is a Londoner, with 3 locals in the top management. And yes, I am taking the train to work gosh...I've never done that and I totally NOT liking it :(

I am only in my 2nd week there. We are right now employees of a company. Next 2 weeks we are expected to set up and run our own business, in simulation. This program is running concurrent in 42 countries and we are expected to do international trade. It's very, very exciting for me as I learn the proper document flow in a business. The important lesson I've learned so far : What is the main reason majority of new businesses fail? 2 things : No proper document (recordkeeping) & poor cash flow management!

Sounds like a no brainer but you'd be surprised to know that so many businesses are doing it. This applies to ALL business, even if you are operating a small scale, homebased craft/sewing business, these 2 are a MUST.

Ok, gotta go run my virtual business now. I will write more of what I learned in upcoming posts. If  you're bored with all that biz talk, more eye candy for you! I sewed these for the Eiduladha orders. Have a beautiful days ladies!

Selamat Meanyambut Hari Raya Korban kepada semua pembaca Muslim :)

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

A Little Update of My Life

Guess what? The new semester has begun...again! Where did the time goes? Sigh....During the shortest term break ever I cut lots & lots of fabrics for custom orders, finished some and still sewing.

This also means I already received my first semester results (which I've tweeted but recording here for my girls to read one day). Not too bad. I got 2As, 1A- and 1 B+ with a total of 3.813 CGPA, alhamdulillah.... After a long and hard look at the effort I put in last semester and what I managed to pull off, I feel, deep down in my heart, that I COULD get straight As if I focus 100% on my MBA and not sew at all. Could I?

Perhaps I should stop taking custom orders altogether and only offer ready to ship items. You see, I love custom orders mainly because you don't gamble what would sell and what wouldn't. You only produce what the customer actually want to buy and this saves costs. In operations management this is called the Pull system. It's part of lean manufacturing concept adopted widely by Japanese corporations. I discovered that this is the BEST system for even the smallest scale production ie. the business model of most home based sewing/craft business.

BUT if I stop taking custom orders, the game is ON. I like the idea of having full creative control of the designs. The best part of sewing to me is choosing the fabrics, mixing and matching. I can't do this with custom orders. And what most customers don't realize is there are tonnes of fabrics that do not look as pretty in pictures but once sewn & creatively mixed with other fabrics, stunning! However, the downside of this is, being a one woman operation, I can't be producing the same design, one for every sizes. I could only pray that what I produce will be snapped up by someone with a  child of the correct size & there will be the inevitable emails from customers asking me to sew one more of the same design in a different size and I usually don't have the heart to say no...

But of course I could not do it at all, you might say. Close the biz and just sew for leisure! Okay my answer to that is : My girls don't need 200 dresses lol! With all the fabrics in the previous post, I WANT to sew & sell my creations.

Tsk. Decisions, decisions....any thoughts ladies?

This semester I am taking 3 subjects with an additional experiential business training program which is very exciting yet taxing. You'll find me not replying your emails or texts till late at night every Monday & Tuesday. I'll write more about this in the next post.

Before I go, some eye candy of dresses sewn by yours truly. Have a gorgeous day girls *hugs* :)

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Stash Therapy

To be honest, I don't know what to blog about anymore...currently, life is so uninspiring, not exciting at all. I am still sewing, but only for custom orders placed months ago. Other than that...errmm..nothing. I don't really go out except for post office trips where I drag my little one along. At home, I cook, I eat, I play with the girls & I sew. I rarely watch TV too, only some cartoons dvd with Hanan while I do....ermmm.....this!

Mood lifting eh? Yup, these are my big remnants. They are too big for the scrap bin, too small to join the half yard folds, so I invented a folding system (if you can call it that haha)...that perfectly hides the hideous cutouts bits from the pieces and turned them into cute 4" x 4" little fabric sandwiches (please don't be fooled by the zoomed pics, they are really tiny).

So afterwards, turn them over and let them lie happily, folded side up in the crate. Nice?  I'm sure many of you have these precious remnants waiting for the perfect applique, stripwork, piecing project to come by but what a pain folding them! Dangling bits can be annoying. If you're interested I'll show you how I do it, I call it The Reader's Digest Technique LOL *hint hint*

So what about the other half yards and full yards? How did I fare in my fabric folding extravaganza? Errrmmmm.....not too shabby?

 I swear, I AM on fabric diet right now. No more new fabric till at least these are depleted to half.....*bow in shame*

Have a great, wonderful, happy, happy day!!


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