Monday, September 24, 2012

what I did since my last post

I made a tunic top/blouse from a silk fabric (perhaps it's crepe de chine or habotai) that now it's done I think perhaps people here (in the US) uses more as a fun jacket's lining... If they are Malaysian like me, we turn it into a Baju Kurung (direct translation is confined dress, although it is quite roomy IMO) or Baju Kurung Modern (modernized version of baju kurung, which usually might mean maybe shorter, with shaping darts, have zippers, whatnots, and often also esp nowadays incorporate what's on trend in the runways). 

A lot of my tops/tunic and so on can fall under the category of baju kurung modern top I think - I realized now that I just gravitate towards that kind of silhouette. I can easily wear them with tights and boots as I would wear them with long skirts to events. Many might think it's too dressy, but in Malaysia, women (mostly Malay women, but others would too sometimes) wears them daily to work (in lieu of suits/shirt-pants combo) in colorful fabric of silks, lace, cottons and so on. :) 

Anyways, I had a pot-luck party to go to the Saturday before the last with fellow Malaysians that require us wearing traditional outfit :) My hubby and the Bean have their Baju Melayu (Malay dress for the men) ready (my mom had theirs made by a local tailor for my brother's wedding -for which we went back to Malaysia for a short time back in July, but I didn't have one color coordinated with them (in my family including extended family we like being color coordinated during celebrations, hehe) because of a mishap!! by another tailor there. FYI, i totally planned to make my own clothes for the wedding, but my mom changed the color scheme on me after I bought yards and yards of red silk chiffon and silk charmeuse and bought me a really nice beaded light silver/grey silk chiffon fabric back at home to make into a baju kurung which will match hers and my sis-in-law. With the sudden move to the West and packing etc, I'm happy to have the dress made in Malaysia, but it turned out too small!!! Even my mom's was ruined and too small eventhough he (the tailor and "designer") took her measurement himself! But mom had another baju kurung that she can wear that conformed to her color theme dressy enough for mother of groom, but I had to be the only one from our immediate family in red that night....) so I wanted to make a top that can pass as a Baju Kurung Modern top to wear with a long black skirt that I have. 

Problem is that I took forever making (franken-nizing) a pattern for it, so the night before the event I managed only to cut the fabric before I put them away and concentrated on cooking the food I promised to bring to the pot-luck... Instead I wore my silk charmeuse caftan top with a grey tank top underneath and the black skirt. I was colorful, but fit right in ;) We had a lot of yummy food and met quite a number of Malaysians and their families.

This top took me a little under a week to finish.
With a wonky hem to boot!
I love this sleeves, but note to self: the armscye could use more (ease?!)

The inside of the neckline binding, hand stitched
A little bit of gathers to adjust the fitting across my chest. This was added after I already sewn in my darts and so on and realized that the pattern i based the darts on is for the fabric to be cut in 2 and not on fold. I wanted to keep the fabric for the much needed room, so I made the gathers and finished the neckline with a self-fabric bias binding
I think a lot of time I take a while to finish a project because I am trying my best to have a better finish on the inside (however, my stitches still not that straight!!!)

French seams on most with hong kong seams on the rest (pics above are of my hong kong seams, looking much better than in my pink silk charmeuse top). Then I reached a snag...
The darts and its raveling fabric not covered by my french side seams!
So I stitched the darts together (fold the ends inside the darts itself and whipstitch? it closed)
No pic of me wearing it, but I went out to dinner with hubby and the Bean last Saturday in it. My thought: next time I should try to do full lining for such a top using such fine fabric so that it will flow better over my lumps and bumps!

Other than the above top, I also made a little alteration on my Fuchsia Exposed Zipper dress. I love the dress, but I felt that I needed to cover my neck with scarves (the dress also run a tad too wide across the chest for my comfort) all the time. Maybe I have a narrow chest and wider upper back situation going on...

What I did was I unpicked the dress's neck facing, and also raglan sleeves (the front side of the sleeves that's attached to the front bodice only). I took in an inch from the top of the bodice (tapered towards the lower armscye), and then sew the raglan sleeves back in. And added the collar, like so:

Since wanting to alter existing clothes and salvaging fabrics from otherwise can't be worn clothes were what brought me to learn garment sewing, taking apart my own sewn from scratch clothes and alter it is not a problem. Now I have a dress with a lil different look for Fall :D


  1. What a beautiful caftan!

    Hurry up now and cut your skirt out!
    Can't wait to see it. Hope it turns out to be the best skirt in the world too!!!!

    1. Hehehe thanks Faye... I'm prepping the skirt!!

  2. I love bajus and they're colours - admired them during Hari Raya, but somehow they don't really suit me.

    1. Hi Agy! Problem with baju kurung is the yards/metres of fabric on th ebody!!! hehehe... maybe you should try baju kebaya, another of the traditional style of the Malay region: it's close fitting, button up front/wear brooches i think it will look nice on you!

    2. Thanks, Far. Will check out the baju kebaya - I think I know which one you mean :-)


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