Pattern Review // About Time! The New-to-Me Emery Dress

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I must be the last person in the sewing universe to finally try out Christine Hayne’s Emery Dress pattern. This timeless fit and flare pattern has been a favourite of many serious sewing bloggers and beginners alike! Just look at Roisin’s gajillion versions and the cornucopia of Emerys that appeared during Me Made May and you’ll see what I mean.

I’d bought the Emery Dress pattern over a year ago as it seemed like the perfect pattern from which to build a bodice block, but never got round to using it as the idea of having to do a SBA really sapped my sew-jo. Thanks to Indie Pattern Month 2016 I’ve FINALLY bit the bullet and muslined, altered and made up a final version using an Indonesian batik with a border print that I’ve been hoarding for ages.

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Without further ado, here’s the lowdown on this make and my entry to the IPM 2016 New-to-Me contest!

Pattern: Christine Hayne’s Emery Dress Pattern

Fabric: 100% cotton Indonesian batik purchased in Medan, Indonesia

Notions: Black 16″ invisible zipper and yellow bias binding to finish the neckline and armholes

Pattern alterations: (1) SBA, (2) narrowed the shoulder straps by 1/2″ tapering out to nothing at the middle of the armsyce, (3) altered the slope of the shoulder strap on both the front and back bodice by removing 3/8″ from the neckline tapering down to nothing at the shoulder point.

Design changes: Created a V-back by starting the zipper 6″ down the centre back and cutting a straight line from the shoulder strap to the zipper start point. (Would you believe that the idea for this v-back hack came from my boyfriend?! Who knew he was such a fashionista…) I also chose to forgo the skirt pattern and to create a dirndl skirt using the width of my fabric in order to use the border print. It ended up being a little too long, but I like the midi length! Very modest, if not a little stiff looking as the fabric hasn’t yet relaxed with repeated washing.

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Comments: All in all I thought it was a great pattern. Right off the bat I expected I would have to do an SBA (as the pattern is drafted for a B cup and sadly I am a definite A) but thought that I would do up a muslin just to see if I could get away with it. I shouldn’t have second guessed the instructions – I needed it all right! The great thing about this pattern is that there is a sew-along readily available on Christine’s website City Stitching and it has a really wonderful SBA tutorial that walked me through the process without a hitch. Apart from the SBA only minor adjustments were needed that were no problems at all – even the bodice length was perfect for me which is a first!

The instructions used a lining but I chose to forgo it and left the dress unlined to preserve the breathability of the cotton batik. I finished the armsyces, neckline and v-back with bright yellow bias tape turned under and top stitched. The skirt is simply gathered and attached to the bodice and the zip I installed from memory. I did skim through the instructions, however, and they seemed clear and easy to follow.

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Things I loved: It was easy to alter and fit to my body shape, particularly with the sew-along as a guide! It’s a great pattern for showcasing a printed fabric and works well for pattern hacks and alterations (swapping out the skirt, hacking the back etc). Also, extremely versatile! I can imagine making dresses for work, play and glam events using this same pattern.

I’ve already got 3 more emery dresses/hacks in the work so you can bet you’ll see more of them soon 😉

 

 

 

Eat Pray Love Pants : A Named Alexandria Pants Review

Hello again! I know, I know it’s been a while, and so much has happened since I last blogged! I haven’t been completely idle in the sewing department though! As always, I’ve been posting sneaks of WIPs and UFOs and just life in general over on my instagram (and trust me, I update much  more regularly over there so if you’re a fellow ‘grammer come by my handle at @jessiehuen and say hi! You might have noticed me tagging #huenmade on all my makes recently 😉 that’s an exciting new update coming to the blog at the year end, so look forward to it!

In another news, I was so stoked to get the chance to do a guest round-up of free tutorials over on Sew Mama Sew featuring gifts for HIPSTERS. You heard me right – hipsters! Love ’em or hate ’em, I’m sure everyone has someone on their gifting list that falls within that category. Sew Mama Sew also has a whole bunch of giveaways happening every day as part of their “Handmade Holidays” series, so be sure to check it out!

And lastly (phew, I told you there was a lot of catching up to do!), I’m really excited to be starting a pattern-drafting and sewing course tomorrow with Fashion Makerspace. It will be my first real experience with drafting patterns and I can’t wait to explore this whole new area of garment-making!

Right, I know you’re all here for the real sewing stuff, so let’s get right to it!

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I’ll be honest – the track pants style never appealed to me. It always seemed to me to be more of a European / American style that just wouldn’t fit in over here in Singapore. To be honest, before the track pants trend really took off this year the only people I ever saw wearing them were backpackers who had just come from Cambodia or Thailand (or one of those other Eat-Pray-Love type South-East Asian countries that are considered exotic). So naturally, when I signed up for a missions trip to Cambodia this year and was told that I’d have to wear long pants the whole time I was there… I concluded that maybe this trend was worth a try after all (it took a LOT bit of self-convincing to get there, but I did in the end).

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I had a couple of choices – the True Bias Hudson Pant , the Named Alexandria Peg Trousers and the Papercut Guise Pants were my front runners. I was leaning very heavily in favour of the Hudson pants, but was conscious of the fact that it was a knit pattern when I really wanted to make it up in a woven nstead. Then on a particularly tough day at work,  Named decided to run a sale and magically I found the Alexandria Trousers in my basket. Do I regret not going with the Hudsons? Maybe. But I do think that with a few adjustments, the Alexandria has the potential to be a very tasteful addition to my wardrobe – maybe even work appropriate if made up in a black cotton sateen!

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Now, on to the goods. I made this up in a drapey rayon from Spotlight that I got on sale – since these were Eat Pray Love pants, naturally they had to be made up in the most obnoxious, psychedelic, rainbow-coloured fabric I could find. The pocket pieces were made cotton lawn left over from my beloved purple paisley Flora dress.

As it was made over 2 months ago, I don’t recall the exact changes I made. I do know that I took at least 5″ off the length to account for  the fact that Named patterns are drafted for a height of 170cm. I found the fit true to my measurements, although on hindsight, I would go a half size up as I tended to get a very slight wedgie every time I bent over (too much info?).

I did mess up on one of the side pockets though, as I didn’t read the instructions for the pleating (which covers the pockets) right. By the time I realised, I had snipped off the excess and it was too late to redo it – thank God for busy prints!

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All in all, this was a well-drafted pattern, though I don’t really like this particular make on me. Maybe it was the botched-up pocket that bothered me, or the fact that long pants make me look even more vertically-challenged that I already am, but I just don’t think these pants will be on constant rotation in my wardrobe. It did serve me really well whilst I was in Cambodia – the rayon did a great job of keeping me cool even in the sweltering Russian Market that you see in the photos above! (P.S. sorry for the quality of the photos – it’s really hard to ask for time to snap decent photos when you’re on a mission trip x) you’re there for the people after all, not to be narcissistic!)

What do you guys think about the track pants trend? Love it hate it? Should I try it again with a heavier fabric – a chambray or maybe a work version in cotton sateen?

Patriotic Pants : Angelia Shorts x Fictive Fingers Fabric Bundle Challenge

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If you live in Singapore (heck, if you live NEAR Singapore or have Singaporean friends) you’d probably know that Singapore is celebrating its 50th year of independence today, locally known as “Sg50”. That’s right, our little red dot turns 50 today and from the scale of the celebrations you’d have thought we were turning a 1000! Sg50 car decals, flags, fashion shows, lighters – you name it, there’s a merchandise or event being hawked in Singapore with a Sg50 label on it.

Lots of people my age have poked fun at all this hype (which was probably exacerbated by Lee Kuan Yew’s passing earlier this year) but I have to admit… I kind of like it. Singaporeans don’t often come together to do things (except when it involves free stuff then everybody loves helping others to game the system) so it’s sort of nice how the general population is so excited about this affair. So when local print artists and sister duo Fictive Fingers announced a fabric bundle challenge to coincide with National Day, I knew I had to get in on the fun. How it works, is you buy a mystery fabric bundle from Fictive Fingers consisting of cloth pieces of various sizes. You then make something using materials from the fabric bundle and enter the competition! Simple? I thought so!

Taken from Fictive Finger’s website.

As it turns out, things weren’t as simple as all that. Before my fabric bundle arrived, I thought about possible patterns using the fabric pieces as features – a yoked tessuti ruby top maybe, or the roza pattern from kate and rose? Neither of these worked out as the fabric pieces turned out much too tiny for a yoke, even with cut in arm-holes. So it was back to the drawing board again.

This time, I tried to look at what I had to work with before picking a pattern. The biggest two pieces was a white and grey hourglass print, and a green leaf print. Long story short, the hourglass print really reminded me of old-world colonial architecture, which in the spirit of Sg50 (lol) I thought would be a very fitting source of inspiration. It was, and this is the end result: white denim mid to high-waisted shorts with feature slash pockets, cuffs and belt loops.

This pair of shorts is made using the Itch to Stitch Angelia Shorts pattern which I helped to pattern test.  Previously, I made up a straight size 4 in view A which was way too big. I ended up having to take a lot off the centre back and sides until it fit. This time, I made up a straight size 2 with view B length cuffs which was an almost perfect fit as is. The only alteration was to lengthen the behind butt dart (weirdos be damned, there isn’t a way to avoid saying the word!) by a good 3cm. It improved the fit, but didn’t eliminate pointy-ass syndrome altogether – do any of you have suggestions? Perhaps I should be doing a full butt adjustment on a size 0 or something instead…

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In any case, this pattern was really quick to sew up and as usual, Kennis’ instructions were spot on. I especially like the instructions for the fly zip! I got it wrong the first time, but after giving my feedback to Kennis I think the instructions were made a little clearer in the final pattern.

To add the slash pockets (the pattern only comes with patch pockets), I followed this tutorial from By Hand London which was really useful. It’s a fairly simple job – I’d probably have shied away from this alteration if I didn’t know how easy it really is!

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I really like the end result of this make – it’s practical and stylish and really meaningful (to me at least)! Besides, every girl needs a pair of white denim bottoms in her wardrobe. This pair isn’t too tight which with white denim would make me look even more bottom heavy, and it doesn’t ride down in the back when I sit – it goes a long way towards class factor! I shied away from white denim before because I thought it would amplify my booty size, but I think the way the angelia shorts skim rather than hug your behind is sufficiently clever to defeat the colour choice! White bottoms – yay or nay? Let me know what you think below!

P.S. the fabric bundle challenge is ongoing today, hop on over there and root for your favourites!

P.P.S  Happy 50th birthday Singapore!

P.P.S. I was given a copy of this pattern to pattern test and the final copy to keep. But as always, all opinions mentioned above reflect what I really do believe about the pattern!

Why I Chose to Stop Consuming Fast Fashion // #FashRev

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Disclaimer: I am not an expert on fast fashion or on the production processes of the fashion industry. My aim is simply to share with you, the reader, my thoughts on this issue, and to encourage you to think seriously about what goes on behind the production of fast fashion. 

Under a year ago, before I thought seriously about handmade fashion, I used to be a fast fashion consumer. Living in a wealthy country like Singapore, with close proximity to less affluent neighbours who are an integral part of the fashion production system, it’s inevitable that consumers often play fast and loose when it comes to buying and discarding clothing. With new clothing collections being launched by blogshops (online boutiques selling clothing at lower price points than brick and mortar shops) on a weekly basis, and high street brands running regular sales promotions, and a “fashion wholesale heaven” like Bangkok just a short plane ride away, it was little wonder that I often found myself buying new clothing (and discarding new clothing) extremely frequently. I had no qualms about spending on cheap, poor quality garments (because I could afford to just donate or toss them if I didn’t like them anymore) and never questioned where my clothing came from.

My introduction to the sewing community has changed all my perceptions of all that. First of all, I realised that I didn’t wear 75% of the clothing I bought regularly because they either didn’t fit right or weren’t comfortable. Second, rather than buying something I only liked because I wasn’t sure if I would find something better, with a little effort I could make something I loved and customise it to fit my vision perfectly. But most of all, now that I have first-hand knowledge of how much time, effort and skill goes into the designing, drafting and creation of a quality piece of clothing, I simply no longer feel that buying cheap, low-quality clothing is justifiable.

This is how I see it: Assume that there are two pieces of clothing that are perfectly identical in style, quality of fabric, finishing and workmanship. The only difference is that one was hand-made by a seamstress mum of two who is selling her wares on Etsy, and one was made in a garment factory in Bangladesh and is being sold in a high street fashion store or in an innocuous flea market stall full of fast fashion clothing. Would a regular consumer pay a premium for one over the other? I think they would, I know I would have. What’s the difference then, between the garment in the Etsy store and the garment in the retail store? Both types of clothing involved human effort and the same number of steps to achieve the end result. Are we saying that one human being’s time worth more than another’s? No. Is the price differential due to a difference in skill level? If the garments are identical, I don’t see why it should be a factor. Why then are we willing to fork out so much money for items that are perceived as “hand-made” and “hand-crafted” and that have come out of a “creative enterprise”, but are reluctant to pay even a fraction of that amount for the effort and skill expended by someone in a garment factory in a distant country?

By continuing to maintain this mindset towards fast fashion and continuing to support the tyranny of fashion brands over their suppliers / producers in garment factories, we are contributing to squalid and unsafe conditions that these men and women find themselves in when they report to work every day. By demanding ever lower prices, fashion brands are applying pressure on garment factories to churn amount huge amounts of clothing at low costs – eventually, something’s got to give. Maybe workers’ salaries get cut, maybe factories compromise on the quality of the equipment used, or maybe they neglect to maintain the building and factory environment their employees work in.

Some people may argue that fast fashion provides jobs for unskilled workers and gives them a source of income (ie. the same kind of mindsets that the upper classes had towards workhouses in Victorian England). Possibly, but at what cost? On 24 April 2013, it cost the lives of 1134 garment workers employed by companies working out of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh.

But let’s not forget the garment workers in other countries as well. Actually, let’s not forget all workers in all industries working under these conditions due to the increasingly ridiculous demands of our consumeristic societies.

This is a long essay, and I don’t usually talk about serious issues on this blog, but I thought it was important to remember this on the 2nd-year anniversary of the Rana Plaza collapse. How do you feel about fast fashion and the production practices of fashion labels? Do you know of any articles or organisations that you think others would benefit from? Let me know in the comments below!

If you would like to get involved and do something about this issue, there are numerous movements and organisation targeted at improving the plight of garment workers. I have listed some here, but please do let me know if you are aware of any others: 

Fashion Revolution (#FashRev and #WhoMadeMyClothes)

Ethical Fashion Forum

Fairwear

Pineapple Party // A Lucky Pineapple Ruby Top

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Yes I know, I’ve gone and neglected my blog again for almost the whole month of February. I have a good reason this time though! The last 4 weeks have been a solid month of celebrations – beginning with my birthday and Valentine’s day, and peaking with the Chinese New Year. The Lunar New Year is the main annual celebration in the Chinese culture, with whole host of traditions that can seem equal parts amusing and confusing. My family in particular loves to “lo hei”, which involves tossing the yusheng (a salad) for good luck – the higher you toss, the better your luck that year! … Except my relatives seem to have made it a matter of family pride to turn every lo hei into a legitimate food fight – if you follow me on instagram you would have seen the carnage (warning: turn down your volume – there is a lot of screaming involved):

It so happens that today marks “Chap Goh Mei” or 元宵节  ( the last day of the Chinese New Year celebrations), so what better time than the present to share with you guys my favourite (and luckiest) new year outfit this year!

Chinese New Year is a time for new beginnings, and more importantly, new clothing, so I wanted to make it a point to sew up a new outfit befitting of the occasion. Enter this pineapple-print cotton polyester from Spotlight:

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Pineapples are considered by the Chinese to be an auspicious icon to have around the house during the new year as the hokkien name for pineapple is “ong lai” which sounds similar to the hokkien phrase for “luck” and “coming”. The opportunity to usher in the new year with an ultra-lucky handmade pineapple top? YES PLEASE!

The moment I saw this fabric, I knew that Tessuti Pattern’s Ruby Top would be a perfect match for it. Simple and classy, yet casual and a perfect complement to denim shorts, I thought the pattern would help to downplay the ridiculous-ness of wearing a gazillion pineapples on one’s chest… AND IT DID. I even wore it to work and only got one snide “wow you’re lucky today”-esque comment.

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You guys, I LOVE this make, especially for the new year festivities! In fact, my boyfriend had to ban me from wearing it too many times as I wore it to 3 different gatherings over a 4 day period… a bit obsessive, I will admit.

I really like the high neckline and cut in armholes of the pattern, I think it just makes it that much more current and formal than a regular tank top. In a solid coloured voile or chiffon I could easily imagine wearing this to work on a regular basis! I also love the way the pattern is designed to fit in the bust and swing down past any unsightly bulging bits – perfect for wearing to a buffet or a big dinner.

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Look at the amount of room I have to hide a muffin top under there! 

Did I mention how neat the insides of my top are for once? I have the pattern instructions to thank for this.

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I sewed up the Ruby pattern exactly as prescribed in the instructions, and it took me about 4 hours from cutting to hemming. It would probably be a lot faster if not for some unpicking I had to do! I did deviate from the pattern instructions slightly though:

– Tessuti’s instructions have you use vilene shields which are meant to prevent the neckline and armholes from stretching out. As I haven’t been able to find them anywhere in Singapore, Fiona advised me to omit the vilene shields and just stay stitch instead.

– The instructions provide for the keyhole back to be closed with a button and thread loop. Tessuti has helpfully produced a tutorial on how to create the thread button loop, but I decided against it and opted for a hook and eye closure instead (easy way out as usual, whoops!)

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– The pattern has you cut out bias tape using your main fabric to finish the neckline and armholes, which I did. However, I didn’t like how the print on the bias tape clashed with the direction of the print on my main fabric, so I opted to turn the bias binding under and top-stitch it down (kind of like the method employed in Megan Nielsen’s Eucalypt Tank).

I can’t wait to make this up in the dress version – I’ve already got the perfect leopard print chiffon for it! I’ve also got a hack planned for this beauty of a pattern, well done Tessuti!

OH and did I mention my brand new and very first pair of Swedish Hasbeens, bought through the Amazon sale that had the sewing community gushing for days (I have Heather Lou to thank for the tip-off). I’m still in the midst of breaking them in, but goodness, they are SO COMFY despite their height. To the wonderful swedish hasbeens-obsessive sewing community and instagram, THANK YOU, you guys just keep on giving and giving.

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#SewingSanta International Style

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The last 2 weeks have been kind of dull as I’ve been cramming for exams (4 days to freedom!) and haven’t had any chance to do any sort of making. It doesn’t help that my family hasn’t gotten round to Christmas decorating or shopping, so the atmosphere at home has been decidedly un-Christmassy. All this changed today when the arrival of a very special package hit me with a sudden wave of the holiday spirit and I felt I had to share this with you guys right away!

As you may be aware, home-sewing isn’t a big thing in Singapore (yet), and as I have lamented (one too many times) before, I don’t know too many people within the sewing community based locally either. The direct result of this is that I hardly (in fact, never) get any sewing-related gifts which is well, kind of depressing.

Enter the #SewingSanta Blog Link-up run by Stitched Up from the Start which is essentially a secret santa exchange for people who love sewing. Though the main #SewingSanta link-up is being run only in the UK, I managed to link up with Natalie of Thread and Bobbins who I found through a fortuitous comment on Making & Marking!

Since Natalie is based in the US, and I’ve only heard amazing tales of the vintage sewing paraphernalia that one can find at their magical thrift shops, I was beyond excited to receive my package – and boy oh boy, it did not disappoint.

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Vintage buttons (love the wings!), craft and crochet ribbon, floral fabric and the most adorable monkey fabric (I think it might be flannel? I’m not quite sure!) – how Natalie managed to get all that with our budget of GBP10, I will never know! Plus she wrote me a really sweet Christmas card (cue collective aww-ing).

I have plans for the monkey flannel to become a really comfy pair of Love at First Stitch Margot pyjama shorts and will most definitely be saving the floral fabric and buttons for a special project. Thank you so much for agreeing to do this international #SewingSanta exchange with me, Natalie, I hope you like your package as much as I love mine!

[Update: So Natalie got my package and she loves it! Hurray! Take a sneak peek at what I sent her here.]

In other news, I’ve decided to link my blog up to Bloglovin’ (since I use it on a daily hourly basis myself), so be sure to look me up and follow me for more updates! (I’ve got a whole series of Christmas making and sewing posts lined up *hint hint*)
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Sew Many Sales, Sew Little Time // Black Friday Pattern Sales 2014 Part II

Following on from the my post earlier this week, here’s a quick update on some NEW Black Friday / Cyber Monday sales that have just popped up yesterday and today!

Colette Patterns 

30% off ALL patterns, ending TONIGHT, Friday Midnight PST!

Colette Patterns needs no introduction in the indie sewing sphere; from the Myrtle to the Laurel and their new Dahlia pattern, they’ve had sewists across the blogosphere raving about their easy-to-follow, beginner-friendly patterns and instructions.

Despite the great reviews, I only own one Colette pattern, the Dahlia, which I bought on impulse during their 15% off introductory sale. The thing is… Colette patterns are really quite expensive (U.P. US$14 or $12 for a PDF pattern), and that’s put me off buying any more of their patterns so far. If you’re budget-conscious like me (it sounds so much better than “cheapskate” doesn’t it), THIS IS YOUR MOMENT! CARPE DIEM!

As for me, I’ll be taking this chance to snap up copies of the Laurel and Iris (pictured above) patterns, both of which have been on my wishlist for a long, long time.

Megan Nielsen

20% off all PDF Patterns throughout this weekend!

 

Now to my knowledge Megan doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving (her being in Australia and all that) so I was thrilled to find out she was throwing a Black Friday sale anyway! Megan’s patterns were the very first few patterns I bought when I was just starting out, and I would highly recommend them to anyone who likes her style. (She’s also incredibly responsive on instagram, which is so encouraging for anyone who is just starting to discover the wonder that is the online sewing community! Thanks Megan!)

I currently own her Breakwater Collection pattern pack (pictured directly above) which is a set of 4 patterns sold for the price of 3. A great bargain, if you ask me! I’ve sewed up the Eucalypt Tank and Dress and found them incredibly easy to grade between sizes and a quick make (instant gratification ftw). I also have plans to sew up the popular Tania Culottes (two circle skirts that make up a single pair of shorts how ingenious is that?!) and the Cascade skirt before Christmas, so be sure to pop back by this space if you’d like to see how those turn out! I also happen to think her Darling Ranges dress (first picture above) is adorable and have seen many cute versions on instagram so be sure to check that out too.

True Bias

20% off patterns from Friday through to Monday midnight (EST) using the code THANKS20!

Now strangely enough, this offer hasn’t been advertised on True Bias’ official blog / website (as far as I can tell), but it was posted on Kelli’s instagram page, which is official enough for me!

I haven’t made up either the Hudson pants or Sutton blouse as they don’t really fit into my style profile, but I’ve seen numerous makes across the blogosphere and they look awesome! For one, I’m really loving Heather Lou of Closet Case File‘s rendition of the Hudson pants (below) – how on earth these bloggers manage to make a pair of lounge pants look like acceptable daywear, I will never know.

If you’ve been looking for a comfy pyjama pants pattern, or if you want to get into the track pants trend, then you might want to check the Hudson pants out.

Sew Caroline

Sew Caroline has sales from Black Friday through to Cyber Monday, with a different sale category on offer for each day!

Friday: 50% off PDF patterns
Saturday: 30% off apparel and accessories
Sunday: 40% off printed patterns
Monday: 25% off EVERYTHING!

I’ve been eyeing the Out and About Dress for a while now, simply because I have a RTW dress that looks almost identical to the pattern and is a dream to wear! I may or may not be adding this to my shopping cart today…

If you follow Sew Caroline on instagram, you would have seen this gorgeous tote (below) posted earlier this week. You guys, if shipping from US / Canada was not insane I would be snapping this baby up in a heartbeat. If you like sewing and a good pun, THIS TOTE IS FOR YOU. (Bonus points if you like Iggy Azalea!)

See Kate Sew

All kids patterns $5, all women’s patterns $10, all paper patterns $15 and all tees and totes going for $15 each!

 

They’ve also got special bundles / packages going for a real steal, so if you’ve been eyeing anything from their store be sure to get over there and check it out!

I personally won’t be picking up anything from the store (student budget woes), but if I had the spare cash, or a kid, I would definitely be grabbing a hold of the children’s patterns or a tote (or two!)

Indie Sew

20% off ALL patterns on Monday, 1 December 2014 from 6am to 10pm MST!

I’ve never shopped from Indie Sew before but have spent many an afternoon poking around their site admiring the collection of pretty patterns for sale. In case you’re not familiar with the site, Indie Sew is a platform that aims to bring together the sewing community and promote the work of independent designers. So if your favourite indie designer isn’t hosting a Black Friday sale this year, fret not! Pop by Indie Sew and fingers crossed, they may have your desired pattern in stock.

I’ve been wanting to pick up Delia CreatesPleated Pencil Skirt pattern for a long time now, so I was really excited to find it available in the Indie Sew shop at a really good price. Time to get cracking on that work-appropriate wardrobe for next year!

McCall’s, Vogue, Butterick & Kwik Sew

And last but certainly not least, the McCall’s company is having a sale on ALL lines through Monday, 1 December 2014! Butterick & McCall’s patterns are going for $3.99 apiece, Vogue patterns are selling at $5.99 each and all Kwik Sew patterns are priced at $6.99 each.

I know shops in the US run sales on Big 4 patterns all the time, but as an international customer it simply isn’t worth the money to ship patterns from a single line (eg. Butterick) as and when these sales come out. Having all these lines on sale at once means that I can bulk purchase and ship them back at a lower cost!

I may or may not have already put in an order for 7 patterns this morning… which may or may not be the following:

Vogue V8784 – a wrap dress for woven fabric

Butterick 6129 – an off-shoulder dress

Butterick 6090 (above) – a pleated button-down dress

McCall’s 6696 – a shirt dress that EVERYBODY seems to be making at the moment

McCall’s 6505 – a lace shift dress

McCall’s 6028 – a sheath dress with raglan sleeves and contrast panel

Kwik Sew 3614 – a structure shorts pattern with fly front (I opted for this instead of B6061 as I heard Kwik Sew has a better crotch curve than Butterick. I’m not too sure how accurate this information is as I’ve never sewed pants… EVER, but I sure am excited to find out!)

And that’s all I have for now! I may update if new sales pop up over the weekend, but in the meantime, GO FORTH AND SPEND YOUR MONEY! MAY THE BLACK FRIDAY SHOPPING LUCK BE WITH YOU.

 

Sew Many Sales, Sew Little Time // Black Friday Pattern Sales 2014

This being my first Black Friday after picking up sewing (and generally being clueless about Thanksgiving sales given that I live on the other side of the planet), I was overjoyed by the sudden wave of sales being announced by a whole bunch of indie pattern designers. 20% off storewide here, 50% off paper patterns there – I felt like a crazed shopaholic in a luxury outlet shopping mall with Burberry trenches and Prada Saffianos circling my head.

In a (futile) attempt to rein in my wild spendthrift tendencies, I made a list of sales currently being offered and the patterns I’m eyeing at the moment:

Tilly & the Buttons

15% off all patterns and workshops at Tilly Towers (you lucky lucky buggers living in London!)

Hurry though as this sale ends today (Tuesday 25 November 2014)!

This would be a great time to snap up the new Francoise 60s shift dress pattern or an autographed version of Tilly’s book – Love at First Stitch. I’ve already got her book as well as the Coco and Mathilde patterns (and may or may not have just ordered the Francoise… whoops!), and I highly recommend them all, especially for beginners.

 

Sewaholic Patterns 

20% off your order, ending Sunday 30 November 2014!

As a pear-shaped lady I’ve always taken a special interest in Tasia’s patterns, especially since they’re all so beautifully designed. I’m ashamed to admit though that I’ve only ever bought one of her patterns, the Hollyburn skirt, and have yet to sew it up… Never fear, this situation will soon be a thing of the past as I am even now loading the Renfrew top and Gabriola skirt patterns into my shopping cart!

I’m dying to get the Thurlow trousers pattern though Tasia has not yet made that into a pdf pattern. (I mean if there’s a pattern made for pear-shaped women that we ladies ought to buy it’s a pants pattern amirite?) The only thing stopping me is that shipping costs are a real pain when you live on the opposite side of the globe. Still, with 20% off it may be worth considering hmm…

 

Grainline Studios

20% off all patterns from 29 December 2014 to 1 December 2014!

It wasn’t until a month or two ago that I started following Grainline Studios, but I have seen their now iconic Archer Shirt and Alder Shirtdress popping up all over the sew-cial media (see what I did there?) since earlier this year. I’ve also read some rave reviews about their latest offering, the Linden sweatshirt, and it seems even the ladies over at the ever amusing GOMI thread have given Jen’s drafting skills their stamp of approval, so I’m guessing the patterns are pretty legit.

I’m not a big fan of the Alder shirtdress as I prefer less flare in such a blouse-y garment (also, it looks a tiny bit like maternity wear, don’t you think? No? Just me? Ok) but I have been eyeing their Maritime shorts, Scout Tee and Archer shirt so I may pick one (or all) of those up later this week.

 

Oliver + S Patterns

50% off paper patterns until 29 November 2014!

This one is for all your mummies out there! Unfortunately the discount only applies to Oliver + S and Straight Stitch Society patterns, really disappointing given that I was eyeing the Girl Friday Culottes from Liesl + Co, but great news for you ladies who actually have kids to sew for! (The only relations I have below the age of 20 are 2 days and 2 months old respectively, bummer)

 

Butterick 

Not an indie pattern company, but still a sale nonetheless, all Butterick Patterns are going for $3.99 on the McCall’s website till tonight, 25 November 2014!

I decided to pass on this one (what great self-restraint I have), mostly because the shipping would have cost more than the combined price of both the patterns I wanted. If you live in a more geographically favourable location than me, then this sale is well worth checking out! For the record, the patterns I was considering were: B6129, an off-shoulder dress with a yoke variation and B6090, a shirt dress.

Not forgetting of course, the Marianne Dress 15% launch discount and Caroline’s Blackbird Fabrics 20% discount both of which ended yesterday.

Well, that’s all I have for now! (I have a problem don’t I? I know, I know, I’m getting financial counselling from my boyfriend.)

Have you guys picked up anything from the sales yet? And if I’ve missed out any sales, please do let me know below! This is one shopaholic who likes (read: NEEDS) to keep tabs on simply everything!

Pattern Hacking // Bow V-backed Sabrina Crop Top

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In case you haven’t realised, I may be slightly obsessed with the By Hand London Sabrina dress pattern. I also seem to be riding a severe crop top kick (though I have neither the figure nor desire to be bearing my un-toned midriff in them).

Enter this new franken-garment and my second entry for the By Hand London #Patternhackathon competition: a bow V-backed Sabrina crop top, also affectionately known as the “Sabine top” because it makes me feel like a leggy Eastern European model who walks for Chanel. (Of course I look the exact opposite, but the gorgeous sunset in the background is meant to distract you from my awkward posing.)

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This top was made from a white bamboo knit that I snagged at Chinatown, and is a mash-up of the Sabrina dress bodice, a large V-shaped hole and the Tilly & the Buttons Brigitte Scarf attached as a sash for the tie back bow! On hindsight, I should have taken in the princess seams a little or gone down half a size, given that the back was to be left open and I was using knit fabric this time round… I still think it looks fab though and I’m mighty pleased with the result!

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Hurray for the Pattern Hackathon and I can’t wait to see all the lovely entries by other talented sewists out there!

Sewing // Skirt-Making Lessons at The Workroom

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Picking up sewing on your own is far from easy. I could make pyjama pants (thanks Grandma!), but when it came to things like attaching bias tape and inserting invisible zippers, I was lost. Add to that terminology like “stitching in the ditch”, “interfacing” and “french seams” and it can truly be a mind-boggling affair.

After a disastrous experience trying to pick up drafting from an old school tailoring shop (with a tutor that conversed mostly in mandarin, what was I thinking??), I decided to get myself to a basic sewing class that would familiarise myself with the sewing machine and simple dress-making terminology.  A couple of weeks later, I signed myself up for a 5 week skirt making class at The Workroom and included a field trip to Singapore’s fabric market in Chinatown.

Credits to bukurama.wordpress.com
Credits to ronald-tan.com

I’ll let you in on a secret… the main attraction of the class for me was the field trip. There is nothing in sewing (and I really mean nothing) that terrifies me more than a trip to the fabric shops at Chinatown where the shopkeepers all seem to view me as a youngster who knows nothing about fabrics (which is kind of true actually…). Here’s what a regular exchange with a shopkeeper auntie sounds like:

“What are you looking for?”

“Cotton twill”

“What do you want it for?”

“I’m sewing a skirt” (shows the shopkeeper a picture)

“Cotton twill make this type of skirt not nice one, you must use this kind.”

“But my pattern says cotton twill….”

“I tell you not nice one la, this one better” (At this point my ego has just shrunk 10 sizes and slinked away)

(In a small voice) “Ok… I take that one then”

Credits to bukurama.wordpress.com

You can see why the prospect of following someone with lots of experience to the fabric shops and learning how they choose their fabrics and interact with the shopkeepers would be IMMENSELY attractive to me. And our field trip was everything I expected and more. There’s nothing quite like having someone show you the difference between a light and medium weight fabric, how to identify a denim from a chambray, what cotton gauze vs a lawn or a voile feel like, and what considerations to take into account when buying a border print fabric. I can safely say I learnt a whole lot of things on that one Saturday afternoon that I could not have picked up myself from the world wide web.

Skirt-making with Fiona LeeEnquiries: info@theworkroom.sg

Posted by The Workroom on Sunday, August 31, 2014

Skirt-making with Fiona LeeEnquiries: info@theworkroom.sg

Posted by The Workroom on Sunday, August 17, 2014

So began my journey in dress-making. The classes (and field trip) were conducted by seamstress Fiona Lee (she blogs about her makes here!) and were a joy to attend. We sewed two skirts, the Wiksten Skirt and Libby A-line skirt. I was mostly behind because I missed a couple of lessons due to an overseas trip and a bout of flu, but Ruth from The Workroom very graciously opened up her studio for my use in her free time and helped me catch up with the rest of the class! Fiona’s instructions and demonstrations were also clear and very helpful, plus she spent quite a bit of time helping me out with fitting (I had cut out the wrong size of the Libby skirt whoops).

After just over 5 weeks, this was the result: two very wearable self-made skirts and one very much more confident sewist!

Photo credits: The Workroom
Photo credits: The Workroom

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If you’re interested in learning dress-making and are based in Singapore, I would highly recommend taking one (or more!) sewing classes at The Workroom. They also run other craft lessons like book binding and calligraphy so look out for those too!

Skirt-making with Fiona LeeEnquiries: info@theworkroom.sg

Posted by The Workroom on Sunday, August 31, 2014