Monday, April 29, 2013

2013 Refashion #5: Sweater Dress to Peplum Tunic

With the Me-Made-May'13 challenge looming closer, I am starting to take a closer look into my self-made wardrobe to see what works and what doesn't. 

I have been sewing (or daydream about sewing) pretty much all the time for maybe a year and a half now and sewn quite a few item of clothing for myself. However, there are still some huge gaps in my wardrobe, and then there are some me-mades that I wear all the time, and some that have never seen the light of day.

First outfit being investigated was my buttery yellow wool knit sweater dress (Butterick 5523). Made early last year, I searched high and low for a suitable pattern for this fabric. Chosen for the pretty cowl neckline (I heart cowl necklines...), I also was interested in the back tab in the pattern. Pretty sure I changed up the sleeves (made it bell sleeves than a slim one), but no thanks to my not so detailed blogpost, can't recall if I made any other changes to the pattern other than making it A-line.

It was a very cozy sweater dress. I love the fit around my shoulders and of course I love the neckline. But I don't like that the pleats in front and back were not kind to me and makes me look frumpier.  And the back tab (I could probably have attached it better) further highlight the messy back skirt pleats. 

Wearing the sweater dress, the back skirt part clings to the back of my legs (curved inwards), which is definitely not helping my case... Also because I have the tendency to wear my dresses with pants. Yeap. Or leggings. I think it is because I get cold pretty easily, and/or the traditional style influence of my Southeast Asian culture ;)

I did wear it out quite a number of times last year, most of the time it remained under my huge black down jacket out of public view...

So with all that in mind, I decided to redo the outfit into a top so that I can wear pants/skirts with it and not have the skirt part of the dress cling to my legs.

I unpicked the skirt part from the bodice part (including the back tab portion) keeping the upper part intact, and add peplum to the raised waistline. I used the Vogue 8815 pattern for the peplum part. Luckily I had enough leftover fabric, so I used those instead of the original skirt part of the dress (not wide enough). Worry not, I have plans for it very soon.

This refashion is very straight forward. It took me just a night for most of the work including basting the hem. By the next morning, I had it all hemmed and ready for MMM'13!

Sharing with friends @ Refashion Co-op and Recycled Fashion Finds...

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Jumping on the Me-Made-May'13 Bandwagon & Note

Bean @ the park 2013: Stop and smell the flowers
First off, I would like to thank all of you, my sewing blog friends and readers, for your kind positive wishes, thoughts and prayers on my dad's recent illness. I am deeply touched and truly humbled. I am back in Seattle over the weekend and my dad (or Ayah, as we children call him) is back home after probably a lil over 2 weeks of hospitalization. He had an angiogram test that found 3 blockages in his heart and a bypass operation is in the cards for him in not so distance future, pending tests and complete resolution of his lung infection, etc. He is truly a fighter, and it was a great thing seeing him recovering, and then chatting with his constant stream of visitors from the many different stages of his life, although the family do try to limit those as the doctors want him to rest. It's been quite a roller coaster ride emotionally for us, esp so on my mom I imagine, and while we are rejoicing on his external recovery, we are sad that he is still not fully out of danger. But, as Ayah is prone to say to this crybaby daughter of his, "relax, Ja (Ja being the family nickname for me)", and so life must go on, albeit with some major changes to his lifestyle... :)

There are still a few days left to April. Surprisingly or not so surprisingly, I have not yet regain my sewing mojo and blaming it on jetlag (and a lil bit on emotional fatigue)... I have tonnes of things I plan to work on, but zero the energy... While back in Malaysia's capital, I did receive some Unsolicited Compliments from my mom, aunts and cousin-in-law on my me-made clothes (LOL, UCs from loved ones do count, don't they? I didn't even have to say the I-made-this-what-do-you-think spiel)... It sure is nice that they like what I made for me, quite an encouragement really. In fact my dad from his hospital bed while still with his breathing tubes in insisted that my mom take me to the fabric stores (no no, we ended up not going, but don't tell him that!).

Thankfully, after catching up on my sewing blog reading list, I am reminded of the much looked forward to Me-Made-May'13 Challenge of the ever glowing Zoe! This is definitely going to be the kick in the back I badly needed :)

So here's my original pledge:

I, Far of Memoryseed blog (, sign up as participant of Me-Made-May '13. I endeavor to wear (and document that fact) at least one self made/refashioned garment everyday in May. Repeats are a possibility. It is also a time that I am going to truly 'investigate' my relationship with my Me-Made items. Time to take stock, and cull when necessary.

 ***from this point onwards, I might use self-made and me-made interchangeably, and those I usually refer to both clothing sewn from the scratch and refashioned items***

Being a slow sewer/sewist/bla bla meant that I don't have that many me-made clothing yet to be able to wear something without repetition for the duration. But not only that, I found that I often reach for the same ones over and over while overlooking the others. Some may be because they are orphan pieces, some because they do not suit my lifestyle and some because they don't fit well/look good on me. 

Things I plan to do during the challenge:
1) self-imposed photo documentation of wearing my me-mades (with a weekly post, and maybe also a weekly post on the flickr group)
2) me-made wardrobe assessment
3) me-made wardrobe reorganization
4) sew something to commemorate Mother's Day
5) sew something to wear for my May birthday ;)
5) refashion something for Refashion Co-op and Recycled Fashion Finds ;)

Those are quite a list I made up as I type! LOL. 

Last year I managed 3 weeks of MMM'12 before we upped and moved from Iowa to Seattle :) Hopefully this year I will do much better to address the challenges I set up for myself.

If you are interested to know more about the Me-Made-May'13 or even to sign up and join me and the rest of the participants, do click on the logo above my pledge. :)

Warmest regards,

Friday, April 5, 2013

Send us positive thoughts...

My dad fell ill a few days ago and is hospitalized. Things were going okay and he's recuperating fine due to his active lifestyle and that I don't need to go back. But a few hours ago he suddenly suffered a heart attack or blockage to his artery. Last message I got from my mom and brothers are that he's stabilized and being watched by doctors. I'm kinda numb right now. No tears anymore after the last few days of worry, and then finally happy/relieved skyping with my dad just hours before the current development. :( This time I'm leaving for home ASAP.

Friends, we are praying that things will be okay. Please keep us in your thoughts.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A White Ponte Cardigan Top

Not a knitter, I've been on the lookout for cardigan sewing patterns to try out for a while. I think right now I have 3 cardigan patterns which I fully intend to work on until I get my TNT (tried and true) pattern. I chose the Silhouette Patterns #311 Victoria Top to start off my cardigan TNT exploration, and as my 2nd top for the Essential Top Sew-A-Long.

Pattern: Silhouette Pattern #311 Victoria's Top
Sizing: 1-4 & 5w - 8w with Exclusive B, C & D cup sizing
Fabric: White ponte knit 
Notions: 6 pcs 7/8" thrifted pearl buttons and thread

This is my first Silhouette Patterns make, and I must say that it is very easy to follow! I purchased this pattern (along with 3 others) after attending a seminar by Peggy Sagers on Tissue Issues at the recent Sew Expo in Puyallup, WA.

 The pattern came with cup sizing for B, C and D. The measurement given were for finished garment measurement and include ease. Just like in the class, the patterns remind us to measure the circumference of several of our favorite blouses and use those numbers to select our sizes. I measured my favorite purple cotton cashmere cardigan, and chose to cut the size 6w for bust and tapered to 7w for the high hip. 

The fabric I used is a white ponte knit I got online from Vogue Fabrics a while back with the intention of making skirt/pants. So it is a nice beefier ponte i think, hence the stretchiness of this fabric is not the same as my RTW cotton cashmere cardigan. It has much way less stretch (something I only realized after the fact... I bet a more experienced sewist will notice this right off the bat). 

While I like the fit of my white ponte cardigan on the shoulder and bust and sleeves, it will benefit from an inch more fabric around the upper hips/tummy. This won't be necessary if I have used a different type of fabric, like a proper sweater knit fabric for instant, and not a white ponte knit :) I also had to recut my fabric for the collar. The pattern piece was too small and due to the less stretch, I was't able to force fit the original collar without a lot of puckering. I added 4 extra inch to the collar... Still look like the pattern envelop pic i think...

 p/s: it looks fine on the dress form, coz the dress form does not have my tummy. ;)

The pattern asked for 8 of 3/4 to 1 inch buttons, but I only had 6 of this pearl buttons. I left out the top 2 buttons and buttonholes.

This was also my very first self made buttoned up top, and my first using the overcast stitch. My machine is not so good on sewing a straight overcast without missing out on some stitches...  But still, I like it (the stitch). I don't like that the pattern show my overcast stitches on the top part (unbuttoned collar) though. If making this pattern again next time, I would leave it as it is if using a sweater knit where the stitches can disappear, or plan to cover it by adding ribbons.

I think this cardigan is too long on me. I would probably chop the bottom off just above the last button so that it will sit on my upper hip (i do have a short torso after all). Pictures below are with my tardy floral skirt from Vogue V1082 that I made for Faye's Carnival of Skirts Sew-A-Long. I haven't worn the skirt out yet since I have nothing to wear it with, but now I do! It's more fall color than spring though, but better late than never. At least now I have an outfit than just orphan pieces yeah? :)

Other than it is too long, I am not sure I like the shape/style on me. The collar and that the white ponte fabric made me feel like I'm wearing a shirt, and I don't like collared shirts. Hmmm... I am kinda worried that I might not want to wear this often. Such a pity tho since it is sooo easy to sew. We'll see how I feel when I make some tweaks to it later on...

This top achieved the following for me:
1) First buttoned down cardigan
2) Test towards finding my cardigan TNT
3) Something to wear with my floral skirt
4) Meet the gap for plain white tops in my wardrobe
5) Fabric stash busting? :)

:) Happy sewing!