Sunday, April 29, 2012

Dropped waisted dress refashion - a quickie project

For the first time ever, I was able to complete a project in a day. Mind you, it still took me many hours since I don't work straight and got distracted by Hulu, FB, site hoppings and so on, but yet it's done.

Before: A dropped waist long denim dress by Alexander Campbell, thrifted from my favorite local thrift store (can't remember for how much, but most probably on sale for $.25).

I first chopped off the top part from the skirt part, and for this project just used the pleated bottom half.

Took the seam ripper to the sides a bit (about 10 or 11 inches) to make room for the arm. Folded the ripped sides in by 1 inch and basted, and then just like those pillow case type tops, fold what is the top part now about 1.5 inches to make a casing for where I then insert a tie into (the tie is from one of my old maternity dress)

After: A pillow case type dress but for adult :)

This is how I wear everything when I do go out, with my down jacket, all year round, in winter and summer. Yeap. Me-Made-May '12 is gonna be "fun"! Haha :)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Good morning USA

Good morning... Yawnn...

The pyjama party has gone LIVE on Karen's side of the pond, so it's the perfect time for me to jump in :)

This has been a long and crazy week, including a trip to the ER for the Bean on Wednesday (he's fine, but we needed an X-ray to tell us that he is), among other things that added up to making it a crazy week for me. It is a week like this that further drive home the repercussions of my immigration to the US. Okay, maybe repercussion sounds too dramatic a word. But yet it is a fitting one.

But Friday came, and everything seems better on Friday, and exceptionally better when I drink an extra creamy cup of hot chocolate. Haha. And so I sew my pyjama pants with the Bean playing and climbing on my chair as usual. In the evening, we went out to an event organized by Malaysian students for a while and that warmed up the heart a little more - seeing young(er) people having the time of their lives with mostly exams to worry about... and when we get home and had dinner I hemmed and iron the pyjama pants in time for zzz...

Behold my very first pants/bottom ever (that is for me and not the Bean). It is very simple to make, with straight-forward instruction from the Butterick 3314 pattern I used and the visual steps and tips from Karen's Pyjama Party Sewalong. 

I made size XL and I admit that it is very very roomy. Even the L will be roomy too looking at the pattern, but roomy for PJs for me is good. Definitely not when I sew pants to wear with my tops though (some day).

Fabric used: a lovely brown 100% cotton with small cream and orangey colored flowers and greyish green leaves...

Haven't been reading on the bed nowadays. But reading, like sewing, both mainly solitary type hobbies IMO, are my passions. Currently I am rereading Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo on my Kindle.
When I like something I tend to do it repeatedly. Like ordering the same food when going to that particular eating place, or reading the whole Harry Potter set 7 times...

I do love to hold and touch and smell books. But we're always in the state of moving somewhere, that I've donated most of the physical books I picked up here in US, with some exception that by now I can't remember what that were - they've been in one box since 2 moves ago and will stay that way until we move out of state someday.

Now I'm gonna hop over the party and check out what the others came up with...


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Caftan Top

The Vogue 1181 misses' caftan that I converted into a top is completed. Working with silk charmeuse has been super tricky and the thing unraveled on me on quite a few occasion (the bottom part before it finally got hemmed). 

This was a slow project for me because of that (and the fact that the 20 mth-old Bean likes to climb on my chair while I work, or pull things off the table), despite it being an okay  to follow pattern. I think it probably took me a week at least, eversince the conclusion of Faye's Starting at the Top Challenge 2012.

As the pattern sleeve describes, this top have overarm dart, front opening and shaped middle section. I left out sewing hook and eye for the opening closure, hence the gaping at the neck. I am going to test wearing it this way with a tank top underneath of course and see if I am going to need a closure or leave it as it is. Either way is good of course, but with such a print, it is going to closely resembles my Malay traditional dress too much and I want a more casual easy breezy type top in this project.

Front view:

The caftan looks like the pattern sleeve IMO, other than the fact I left out the bottom panel and adjusted the middle panel. It now falls around my upper hips I think.

Back view:

So... :) One more top to wear in May for the Me-Made-May'12 thankfully...
Verdict is that I will sew the hook and eye at the top of the opening as suggested by pattern. It's such a hassle without :)

Monday, April 23, 2012

A bunch of un-donate-able clothes...

Yesterday was Earth Day, and a Sunday, so I started to sort out through our mountains of clothing to figure out which are staying and which should be packed for donation. I usually do this periodically, but I think ever since I took up sewing last year these kind of activity (and intense cleaning in general) seems to take a back seat.

Anyways, what would you do with a bunch of un-donate-able clothing items? 

Sorting through (the top of) our things I found some torn and some stained clothes. Most of the times I cut em up into rags to wipe the floor or cleaning the kitchen. This time I around I made 3 pairs of play pants for the Bean (2 are 3/4 length and 1 longer, all elasticized pull up types, using the same pattern as the Choo choo pyjama bottom, which is McCalls 6458).

From daddy's pants (the very same cotton twill pants from which I made Bean's Fisherman Hat #1) is this grey/blueish 3/4 pull pants (elastic was from my old pants). Pictured folded: Dark red checkered fabric was from an old shirt and the black one underneath was from a stained sweatshirt.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Didyoumakethat's Pyjama Party Sewalong

As bottoms go what best way to learn how to make one but by starting with pyjama pants dontcha think? And what best way to force you to actually do it but by joining a pyjama party with some fabulous peeps on a specific deadline (28th)...

I've found my pattern in the stash (a Butterick 3314) but have not decided on the fabric yet. There is a probability that I am going to make 2 but we shall see...
image from Butterick website

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Saved by the bell...

Sometimes you think you have a great idea in your head and yet the outcome is so horrendous that you wonder how could you even thought it's gonna be good in the first place.... That happened with me re my supposed to be anniversary dress...

What was I thinking???

The pattern is Butterick B4443, and a first attempt. I planned to make View E and I made a muslin, decided to amp it up with red piping at the princess seams front and back. And a play on the fabric prints (main bodice horizontal, side bodice of princess seams were cut on bias and the waves are facing towards the middle, and the skirt part the waves are placed vertically.)

Then when I try it on (before sewing in the lining) the noon of what supposed to be our anniversary dinner day, I really hated it. Like super HATE. It's so ugly. The print of fabric. Sooo loud. and a whole dress with the print, OMG. My only explanation is that I have been having flu and stuff that I'm not thinking straight....

Of course there's other issues (with fit), but that print ugliness dwarfed all the other headaches... And I was so sad that I can't even finish a dress for our dinner.... But, I ended up wearing my buttery yellow sweater dress and we (the 3 of us) had a lovely dinner at Red Lobster...

So what is a girl to do with the mess of a dress? I was really close to chopping it up and use the fabric at my machine quilting class I'm attending (first class was really nice... i like the teacher a lot, she's very laid back in terms of her approach to quilting, and that gives me hope haha...)

Since the Starting at the Top 2012 challenge is ending (today), I decided to save this project by converting the ugly dress to a cute-sy top. Let me tell you, if the challenge wasn't ending this soon, I would've moved on to other top projects and ditch this one in a second!

I addressed the fit issue: shortened torso and back, added design element of shorter front with longer back (hi-lo?) and added gathered lining that peeks out at the bottom. I also decided to add piping at the neckline.

So here's my 4th top for SATT 2012:

Back view:

So that's that. Truthfully, I still need to stitch down the lining to the inner zipper, but I can't be bothered right now. I wanna sew with my other fabrics. I'm not giving up on quilting cotton, but next time I will know better...

Fabric: Charcoal and white cotton from Amy Butler's Lark Collection
Lining: Cherry red cotton voile
Piping material: cord saved/harvested from bedding covered by same lining fabric
zippers: 18 in black poly zipper from stash

Starting at the top challenge 2012 - Top # 4

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What I'm working on today

Cutting out my fabric (cotton from Amy Butler's Lark collection) for the anniversary dress. Not sure if I will have it done on time though.... But sure hope so...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Me-Made-May '12

Zoe, of 'So Zo... What do you know' blog is hosting her famous self-stitched/me-made challenge this coming May. I first stumbled across this sometime last year when I was dreaming about sewing my own clothes but didn't have the nerve and the time to learn.


Fast forward to April 2012, I have quite a few self made clothing item on heavy rotation. In fact I mostly wear what I made now (that they are in tatters) and have donated a lot of RTWs I have. My relationship with the things I made, hmmm... it's almost (but not quite) like giving birth to my son. A proud mama. Flaws and all. But then again, I do have things I wear more often than the others. So it is also the time to evaluate them...

People stumbling on my blog page will be bored to tears seeing the same few things on my back but I still decided that this is the time to participate! As Zoe said, this is a challenge to ENCOURAGE people like us who make things for themselves. To do what exactly? Well, from my understanding, it's totally up to us how we want to challenge ourselves.. So...

'I, Far of Memoryseed (, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '12. I endeavor to wear at least ONE item of me-made clothing/accessories each day for the duration of May 2012'...

When I think about it, I mainly sew the things up, but for the most part haven't taken picture of me in them or style them. This is a very cut and dry variety of blogs. After all, this blog is in existence to document what I make. Isn't this one challenge to take on, then? At least for May. Take pics of me in my things. (which is a huge problem. me and hubby take crappy pics. :( must get that tripod for camera ) Don't think I will be posting them everyday tho, but in weekly clusters... in May...

As I said, I have only a few items so far, and I just made tops/dresses. Same with my refashions. Thankfully self made accessories will be counted in, so there is a little variety thrown in there. Hmmm... okay, am also challenging myself to make at least one bottom (pants or skirt) by end of May. It is part of my 2012 sewing plan anyways, and I badly need them, so while I'm in the spirit of encouraging myself to take this on, why not ehh?

May is also my birth month - I am going to make a birthday outfit definitely, so that is adding another new item to wear for May :)

In case anybody reading this want to better read what it is all about, join in the challenge or see what the others are doing for their MMMay'12, go to Zoe's blog. I'm sure more details on what to do, where to go and so on will be posted come May 1st. :)

Monday, April 9, 2012

V1179: take 3

This is my 3rd top for the SATT-2012 challenge. I've made this pattern (Vogue 1179) twice before, and I think this is one of my favorite patterns so far. Maybe because I like the neckline and shape and it gave me the least trouble when adjusting pattern (because indeed the shape is roomy, hence forgiving...) Easy means you wanna make more, and the more you make the faster it comes together no? :)

For this version I just added long sleeves (like 2nd version), and shortened the length to upper part of the hip on me.
The fabric I got from FabricMart and I love it. It's still for sale on their website for cheap on clearance!

The features that I love about this pattern: cowl neck and pleated front:

The pattern instruction tells you to stitch in the ditch (the cowl neck), but I usually handstitch it down on the inside so that messiness will not show on the outside...

This week is my wedding anniversary week. I will need to sew me a dress to celebrate, so I will have to take a pause on the challenge which ends on the 15th! But I reached my target of 3, so I'm happy with that, but I have a lotttt of tops I have in my mind that I want to make...

I haven't decided what to do yet... I know I am not going to use the brocade-y eggplant fabric I first earmarked for the anniversary dress - I think it is not season appropriate... So, do I make another V1179 dress in a silk jersey print fabric I've been holding on to, knowing that it will be faster to put together? Or do I make a summery cotton dress which means hassling with pattern adjustment and I might not finish in time for the day but probably get done by the weekend when we will go out for our family anniversary dinner (or not)?

We'll see...

Starting at the top challenge 2012 - Top #3

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Draped front neckline top

I bought the above Donna Karan Collection pattern Vogue 1282 during the recent March BMV sale. I love the drapey-ness of the neckline so I figured I will give it a try for my Starting at the Top-2012 challenge top #2.

I got this purple jersey fabric as part of my mystery bundle from my FabricMart purchase. Don't you just love mystery bundles? Hehehe... I love them!

V1282 is not really a difficult pattern to follow since there's only 3 pattern pieces for the top, and of the 3, 2 must be taped together to make one large bodice piece, and the last pattern piece is for armhole facing.

This pattern i think is quite similar to the popular V1250 which I tried once using a wearable muslin but was not too successful (my blog post of V1250 here).

My mistake was that I wanted a deeper drape on the neckline so I added to it but it causes the folds over the tummy to be quite bad which is not an effect that I wanted of course.

I haven't gone back to make pattern adjustments and a redo of the dress as I planned, but I suspect I will one of these days :)

So here is a picture of the completed top:

What I like about this top as I said is the drapey-ness of the neckline. More so than V1250 :) I do have to sew up the neckline even higher than the pattern indicated (for me by 3.5 inches), I think I've read reviews by other sewists that also noted that they did this. I also found that the armhole is very very low (you can see hmmm the side boob? You can see it also on the model on the pattern sleeves picture on top of this post), which means for me that without a cover-up I might not wear this.... (Not that I wear sleeveless top comfortably without anything covering me no matter the temperature... ) But under a jacket or cardigan I think this top is fine.

Note for me: Also to take off 1" off both top of center back seams and taper down...

Starting at the top challenge 2012 - Top #2

Working on top #3 now. :)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Spring Gingham Peplum-ed Blouse

I am participating in the Starting at the Top 2012 challenge and my brain is swarming with ideas and well..... the desire to make this and that top, lots and lots of them - in other words, I am finding it difficult to decide. :)
I also do not have a TNT (tried and true) pattern yet, other than the Sorbetto, so instead of cranking up sewing one after another, I had to also use the challenge time to make adjustments to my patterns of choice (starting today......).

My very first top for the challenge is a refashion project from a thrifted man's checked/gingham shirt to a blouse with what I intend to be peplum:

The blouse has a princess seam on the front, darts on the back, and short sleeves. I binded the neck and the sleeves with white fabric which is remnant from a previous project (also thrifted fabric). I used the button parts on the back (changed the original buttons to lovely thrifted pearl buttons) and left the pocket as it is instead of ripping it out so that I won't have tiny holes there.

This top is based on the pattern McCall's M6518 that I made previously for Valentine's.
I left out the midriff portion and fashioned the bottom part of the original shirt into a peplum for my new blouse. I shouldn't have left out the midriff band I think :) With the midriff band I think the blouse would've look more like the peplum blouse in my head.

I do love this new blouse though. I think it's cute, it's spring-summer appropriate, but I think I can still work on the design part to make it a better peplum blouse.... Maybe the next one will be in eyelet cotton fabric I thrifted, or fabric with prints. Or both? :)

For full disclosure let me tell you that I initially made this top too small (because I wanted to start on this top ASAP and forgot my notes on the adjustments I made to the red dress, so I just directly cut the pattern to a 14...).

Seems like my shoulder is smaller like a 12, my bust & back will be 16 and my waist is a whole another matter! Not that I know this as a fact, this is more of a guestimate. Hell, that's how I always end up needing to make adjustments :)

Starting at the top challenge 2012 - Top #1