Sunday, May 17, 2015

MAGAM May Floral Shorts done - Butterick 5044

I got on the floral trend and made myself a pair of Floral shorts! I dug into my fabric stash and found 1 metre of this orange floral cotton. I thought it would make a pair of cute shorts with my tried-and-true Butterick 5044.

I washed and tumble dried the fabric and found that it was a bit thin. To avoid showing my panty lines, I decided to underline the entire pair of shorts with a cream cotton blend broadcloth. I also added back pockets to the shorts (not included in the pattern). However, I made an error and the pockets are too low. Oh well! One can't really tell unless I put my hand in my pocket. The floral pattern disguises the pockets quite nicely.



The shorts are a little snug due to the underlining. I do plan to lose a few pounds before July. But I think I'll actually tweak the pattern a bit and add 2cm to the width of each pant leg next time.

I can't wait to wear this for the Me Made may 2015 challenge!

Refashion: Too Small Zara Beaded Crop Top to Bolero Jacket

I thrifted this Zara beaded crop top from Goodwill last week for only $8. It was too tight for anyone bigger than an A cup and too short for me (lower boobage was showing! LOL!). The back had a centre back zipper which I couldn't zip up (actually down for this top). But the garment was in excellent condition and I was really drawn in by the excellent workmanship so I bought it for refashioning.
Garment before front

Garment before back
I looked at it for a few days and decided to turn it front to back. Using my trusty seam ripper, I carefully ripped out the centre back seam and the centre back zipper, hand sewn the lining back to the beaded fabric and voila! A beaded bolero jacket! It took me less than an hour to do and I'm quite pleased with the result:

I think it can look good with a black tank top and jeans or with a black evening dress. Quite a versatile piece. Hubby saw it and asked me if I was going to dress as a Matador for Halloween! Funny man!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Me Made May 2015 - May 14, 15, 16

The weather has been cool the last few days but I couldn't wait to wear my summery clothes. So I tried to 'winterize' them. Here are the pictures from my Me Made May 2015 challenge for the last few days:

May 14:
Me Made blue quilting cotton floral sundress
Me Refashioned wool sweater from a men's L sweater
Thrifted necklace and thrifted boots

May 15:
Me Refashioned merino wool sweater from a L long sweater dress
Me Made red stretch cotton skinny jeans
Me Made scarf from stash fabric remnant
Thrifted leather jacket
Thrifted boots

May 16:
Me Made stretch denim shorts (Vogue 8041)
Me Made stash fabric remnant scarf

I'm having fun so far digging into my closet for some rarely worn garments. Looking forward to the outfits for the rest of the month!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Pattern Review - A Little Linen Jacket - McCall's 4928

I wanted a little unlined short sleeves black linen jacket to wear in the summer. The fabric is from my stash (probably bought 10 years ago) and the pattern is also a stash one from 2005. I like this pattern because of the shoulder seams which allow me to do the FBA easily.

The pattern is very straight forward. I only read the instructions once. I made view A in size 14 which is my usual for big 5 pattern companies. I did my usual short waist adjustment, FBA, omitted the pocket flaps and the sleeves band. I used elastics to gather the sleeves at the arms which was a mistake in hindsight.

(It's difficult to take good pictures of black garments at night! I'm wearing my matching black linen shorts.)
(Much better! I can actually see the jacket now in daylight!)

I like the look of this little jacket very much. Now that I have tweaked the fit to my body. I think I'll make another one in a wintery fabric for the Fall! You can see my review on

Me-Made-May Outfits - May 4 to 13

The weather has been fluctuating - hot, cold, sunny, rain, etc. The morning can be really cold and then the afternoon can be scorching! Here are the outfits for the last week:

May 4:
Me-refashioned thrifted teal silk tunic
Me-Made knit checker leggings

May 5:
Me-refashioned thrifted tablecloth lace dress
Me-refashioned thrifted XL white slip

May 6:
Me Refashioned thrifted Silk Tweed jacket
Me-Made grey jeggings (with a fun design on the pockets) with my Tried and True McCall's 5273!

May 7:
Me-Refashioned thrifted cotton cardigan

May 8:

May 9:
Me-Refashioned slip

May 10:
Me-Refashioned thrifted black cotton cardigan

May 11:
Me-Made yellow print faux wrap top (New Look 6729)

May 12:
Me-Refashioned RTW jeans

May 13:
Me-Refashioned wool blend sweater from a thrifted Men's XL sweater
Me-Made Polartec pants (it was cold today!!) - McCall's 5273 again!

So those were the Me-Made and Me-Refashioned outfits for the last 10 days. I am happy that I had been able to keep my pledge of wearing at least 2 pieces of me-made or me-refashioned garments (mostly thrifted from my local thrift stores) each day without repeats yet. Looking forward to the outfits for the rest of the month!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Me-Made May 2015 has started! May 1, 2,3 Outfits

Yes I have signed up for SoZo's Me-Made May challenge again. This is the 3rd year I have participated in this challenge. I had enjoyed the challenge a great deal in previous years. It made me think more about wearing my me-made, me-refashioned clothes/accessories creatively. I have the same pledge for this challenge as in previous years: to wear at least 2 pieces of me-made, me-refashioned clothing/accessories each day for the entire month of May. The weather has just started getting warmer so it would be fun to mix and match my warm climate and cool climate clothing!

Here are my outfits for the first 3 days of May:

May 1, 2015
Dress - Me Made yellow black grey patterned knit dress
Shirt - An RTW denim shirt that I refashioned. I altered the back darts to fit my short-waisted frame.

May 2, 2015
Dress - Me-refashioned red ponte dress
Jacket - Me-Made denim jacket with Upcycled Men's Jeans

May 3, 2015
Dress - Me-made denim dress
Cardigan - Me-refashioned black cotton knit cardigan (I changed the buttons for a thrifted cotton cardi)

It's been more than 7 months since I had exposed my legs. I think I will be wearing lots of dresses, skirts and shorts with bare legs for the month of May!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

A Pink Princess Dress for my Birthday girl

My preschool daughter's birthday is coming up and she had been hassling me to make her a Pink Princess Dress for her birthday. She already has lots of clothes so I wasn't going to make her one. But my hubby persuaded me to make it because he said that I had too much fabric in the sewing room! LOL! So I went through all my pink fabric stash and found this medium weight metallic pink denim remnant. One side is silver metallic pink and the other side is a rich pink. I had used this fabric to make many bags before but never a garment. I thought that since my daughter expected her princess dress to endure her running, crawling, climbing and jumping, denim would be a good fabric choice.

I also went through my stash pattern and found this one that an acquaintance gave me - New Look 6579:

I didn't look at the instructions. I used the bodice of view D and a modified skirt of view A. I added a lot of length to the skirt because my daughter wanted a longer dress. I used to the wrong side of the fabric for the bodice (warm pink) and the metallic pink for the skirt to add interest.

I used a reclaimed invisible zipper from a dress of mine, silver ribbon remnants from her Frozen Elsa inspired dress, and orange poplin remnant as the lining. Ultimately everything was from my stash except the tulle that I added to the bottom of the lining. I had never sewn with tulle before so this was a learning experience. I added double layer of tulle to the skirt lining but I realized that the tulle was too soft and it didn't really 'puff'' up the dress enough. Next time I'll get some stiff tulle for this purpose.

I cut a single layer for the back ribbon tie because I wanted to show off the different colours of the right and wrong side of the fabric. The only problem is I'm rubbish at doing a bow:

And this is the front:

I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. I busted some stash and I learned to sew with tulle. I hope that the dress will wear well on my daughter at her birthday party!

My review of this pattern can be found here at

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Copycat Fashion - Strapless Peplum Gown 2 Done!

I have been busy making my dear friend's Red Ponte Strapless Peplum Gown these past 2 weeks (see my prototype here). And it's done! She will be wearing this as a wedding guest in May. This is how it looks on the hanger:

It was a great learning experience for me to make someone else a fitted gown. It took 2 fittings and around 2 weeks to make. The fact that the gown is strapless makes it super important to fit snugly at the bust. The give more shape to the bust area and help it 'stand up' a bit, I added plastic boning in the side front and side back:

I lined the dress with a thin knit lining to make sure that there is no VPL showing. My friend requested a narrower hem than the hip and a centre back slit. I narrowed the hem circumference about 10cm compared to the hip circumference.

I also added a centre back invisible zipper so it's easy for my friend to get in and out of the dress without ruining her hair. The original pattern doesn't have any zippers at all.

I have made dresses with this pattern before and it's a relatively straight forward pattern. The key is the fit has to be right and that took 2 tries to get it right. Also, all the other changes I made to the pattern (the back zipper, boning, lining the dress, the peplum, the narrowed pencil hem, the centre back slit) took more time to plan and to do.

All in all I'm pleased with the final outcome. My friend won't be wearing this dress until early May so I'll have to wait till then to have a full dressed photo from her! I hope she won't lose or gain weight between now and then! My friend has 3 kids and fabulous body. Even with no shapewear and a regular bra (she will be buying a strapless bra soon), she looks gorgeous in it:

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Sewing cures Negative Body Image?? A Rant

I have a young daughter so I'm always interested in studies about mental and physical health of young girls and young women in our society. Of course, we hear about negative body image and eating disorders amongst young women (and young men too now) frequently which concerns me a great deal. However, this past week I also read somewhere (sorry can't find the article anymore) that Sewing one's clothes had helped some young women change their negative feelings about their bodies.

I totally agree with that article, especially for someone like me with a very unusual body shape. If I had to buy all clothes from the stores and not know how to sew or alter these RTW clothes, I would be very depressed as well I think. In truth, the main reason I started sewing for myself years ago was that I could never find anything from the stores that fit properly, and that I always had to make lots of alterations on those RTW clothes myself.

Now that I wear mostly self-made clothes, I feel more comfortable and more confident than when I relied only on RTW clothes. How liberating is it to be able to custom make something just for my body? This applies even more to items like fitted jeans and swimwear. How many times did I hear my female friends tell me how depressed they got after going on a jeans or swimwear shopping trip? Of course, the ability to create something wearable also gives me great satisfaction and is extremely therapeutic for me.

My daughter is now old enough to understand that I make my own clothes and I make clothes for her as well. When she sees something in the stores or a picture in a book/magazines, she doesn't ask me to go to the store to buy it. Instead she asks me to make one for her. I hope that when she is a bit older, I can instill in her the love of sewing, the love of creating one's own unique garments. And most important of all, she doesn't need RTW stores/designer to make her feel bad about her body because the RTW clothes don't fit her properly. I want her to know that her body is fine the way it is; it's just the RTW clothes are of the wrong fit and poorly made.

My son still doesn't care about fashion much. He is happy with my creations for him. Once in a while he would ask me to add a simple applique (e.g. a number, a letter, etc) to his t-shirts, or make a bag for him with Thomas the Tank Engine on it. But most of the time he doesn't really care much about his clothing. I hope to teach him how to sew as well (he loves all kind of machines) in the next  year or so and see how he gets on.

Copycat Strapless peplum gown for MAGAM done!

I have had so much fun making this dress. I love sewing with knits! This mystery cheapy bin knit that I bought years ago has a good 4 way stretch (about 20% each way) and it's slightly textured (more for sportswear I think). It is a great knit for something like leggings. However for a long tube gown, it's a bit heavy and I probably will have to keep pulling it up if the dress if not pinned to my strapless bra (thank goodness for safety pins! ;-).

I used Simplicity 8764 before so I didn't look at the instructions much. I had already tweaked the pattern to my body so everything seemed straight forward enough. I made the long tube dress first (with no peplum), and moved the centre back slit to the left side. I felt that a side seam would make it easier to walk around and it would be nice to show a little bit of the leg. I added a slip from under the bust to just above the side slit, with a nude slip that I thrifted at my local thrift store last year.

After I have sewn the plain tube dress to my satisfaction, I drafted the peplum. Most websites suggested drafting the peplum into a full circle. I thought it would be too frilly for me so I made it into 3 quarters of a circle. In hindsight, a full circle would have looked better I think. I sewed the peplum end to end, then sewed the top of the peplum to a ring of narrow elastic. This allows me to position this detachable peplum to wherever I felt best. And best of all, if peplums are out of fashion next year, I can just wear this tube dress without the peplum (I like flexibility and versatility in all my garment creations).

I have learned much from making this dress. I had been avoiding the peplum thinking that it would make me look more stumpy but I think I was wrong. This peplum covered my mommy tummy well enough and I didn't look too stumpy. I guess I will try to make more garments with detachable peplums from now on!

I am quite satisfied with this attempt of the strapless peplum gown. Now I feel more confident in making my friend's strapless peplum gown!

You can see my Review for this Pattern on

Saturday, April 4, 2015

A Strapless Peplum Gown - A CopyCat Fashion for MAGAM April

My dear friend is going to a wedding and asked me to make her a gown. I'm so excited that she asked me! She showed me this picture:
(I believe this was a Ralph Lauren dress)
 She wanted the same style dress in a tomato red ponte knit that she had purchased. I decided to make a prototype for myself in a bubblegum pink knit that had been in my stash for at least 6 years. I don't have an exact pattern for this dress but I have this old strapless knit dress pattern that I had used before - Simplicity 8764 from 1999. I will just draft the peplum myself.

I have a month to get my friend's dress done so I'd better get cracking with my proof of concept dress! ;-) So exciting!!!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Refashion: Men's jeans to Boy's jeans

I like sewing for my kids. The garments are small and they are so quick and easy to do. My boy has grown quite a bit taller in the last couple of months and needed longer pants. I inherited these men's jeans from a family member that are too short for hubby:

They are of a good weight so perfect for the rouge and tumble of a young boy. I used a thrifted pattern that I have modified. It has no side seams so it's fast and easy to do.

I cut open the inseams of both of the pant legs and then laid the pattern onto the pant leg. I positioned the side seams of the jeans to approximately the sides of the pattern:

The 2 pairs of jeans were completed in about 2.5 hours (including cutting and sewing and finishing).

And this is how it looks on my son:

Yes they are a bit big on him right now. I always want to make things that will last him at least 1 year. My son actually really likes pants I made him with elastic waists because he is still not too proficient with pants buttons and zippers. Another quick and easy refashion!