Sunday, November 30, 2014

Petal Bleu Mini Me Version


Lately, C has her eyes on everything I make for myself. She wouldn't stop after I made myself this outfit, and as usual I take her demand very seriously ;-)
I used the same fabric for both top and pants, as mine. Found a similar pattern for the top. As you can see, I'm far from done with tucks. When it came to pants, it's always a gamble with C. To avoid the heartbreak of her total rejection I opted for a super simple style, and she loved them. And besides that, I was too lazy to add side and back pockets at this stage.

These patterned webbings at the bottom might just be the reason why she loves the pants so much. I was too eager to break my own pattern tracing speed record and completely forgot to extend the bottom seam allowance outwards, which resulted in some severe puckerings. I just had to sew on these webbings to cover them...

The photoshoot nowadays is fun, quick and motion friendly.

She's worn this outfit throughout the weekend, and is planning to wear again on Monday to school. I'd say it's a huge success!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Petal Bleu Outfit

Let me start by saying that I'm so deeply in love with sewing. I don't think that I've ever had so much satisfaction from wearing a new outfit. I'm starting to have a designer's vision now --- or a shop merchandiser's vision maybe? A sewer's vision at least...?

I love tucks and I hadn't had enough from the dress I sewed two weeks back. This top shares the same bodice pattern and has some petal like layers as sleeves. I immediately spotted this flower print fabric as I was walking into the shop and had it cut and out of the shop within 5 minutes. Zero fabric browsing time is my new record.

Oh I have a tripod now. It's still in it's testing phase. I had so much fun yesterday taking continuous shots all by myself. A little weird but fun. Now I've got probably 100 photos of this outfit. When C came home, she quickly learnt how to do it and drained my 8Gs of camera storage space. A new toy!

I've made these sarouel pants before and this time around I made sure that I bought proper linen fabric. They are much lighter and comfy to wear. I want to make a pair in every single color. It's certainly my sprint/summer go-to pants.

C got tiny upset when she saw these photos of my new outfit and demanded that she has the same one, but in her size. I've got some pattern ideas on mind already. I do hope this style will slowly infiltrate her wardrobe.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Ready For Pre-3

No, I didn't make all those clothes in the picture. They are thrifted school uniforms indeed, for the beginning of next year. Less than two weeks of school days before C moves onto pre-3, the year before Grade 1. It still feels like yesterday when we sent her off to pre-school for the first time.

Next year will be a transitional year for the kids to familiarize the concept of wearing uniforms. The school's strict that they have to wear a uniform everyday, but the style is totally up to the kids, be it t-shirt + shorts, or just a pinafore. Since Grade 1 introduces a whole new set of uniform, we went straight to the second-hand sales and got 10 pieces of clothing for a steal.

I have this mixed feeling towards school uniforms. I understand it's ideal that the kids have less or no comparison with regards to what they wear, but as a sewing mama, some part of me feels sad...
On the contrary, C's super keen to try on her new bigger girl outifts, even excited over the colors she normally wouldn't touch. As a matter of fact, she wore a pinafore to school right after I've washed everything.

I'd say she's definitely ready for a whole new year of fun and learning.

Monday, November 17, 2014

High Fashion Witch Outfit

Halloween's long passed but since I had promised to still make C a witch outfit back then, it'd been humming at the back of my ears for two weeks. I went through some pattern pieces back and forth, trying to picture a witchy potential, and eventually I landed here.

I like the simple design of the pattern and obviously lengthened the skirt part to its maximum.

The skirt part is made from some most expensive fabric that I have purchased, to date. I'm usually a very conservative shopper that I always double check the price tag. But when I saw this fabric, what I had envisioned a modern witch dress came alive. That particular fabric roll didn't have a tag and I was too excited to confirm the price. Luckily, I only needed half a meter and the expression on C's face was totally worth every cent.

We found some broken branches as a witch's wand/broom stick.

A witch is not complete without some cat.....

This hat deserves a red carpet of its own, if I hadn't made it teeny weeny too small. I followed Delia's tutorial and added these rolled flowers that I had been wanting to try since forever.

C decided to set up a scene for herself. This is by far the most fun shoot we've had. The power of costumes I'd say.
I'm not sure how to wash this fabric though. Dry cleaning? Well, the good news is it's in black. Maybe I'll never have to wash it, ever.... :-)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Clover Jacket Revisit

Since the epic failure of this what I call the Clover Jacket, it's been hanging in my closet. I knew for a fact then that I would never wear it. Even after the annual winter to summer cupboard spring clean, that jacket was still there. What can I say? It's owned its place there and not letting go just yet.

For weeks C has been saying how she wishes she could have the same jacket. I messed up with the pattern at the first time and what's supposed to be hers is now mine and I don't have enough fabric to make a kids' version for her and it's burning a hole in my head. Besides, don't they always think what you have is always better than theirs? Ah kids....

I revisited the pattern sheet and this time I found the correct pattern pieces for kids, just to show you that I've made friends now with my Cotton Friend. I stripped apart the whole jacket. I was too scared to cut too much fabric, so I chose to use an unpicker. Honestly, I didn't know wheather it was quicker to sew up a jacket or to deconstruct one. I had just enough two small pieces of leftover fabric to correct the mistake I made on the front panel. Now everything's perfect.

It was a quick sew, since I kept the bottom part as is and had all the bias tapes ready. C came home from school in the noon and saw the jacket. "Wow mom, you did all this while I was at school? You are Kini now!"

Well the truth was I slipped and twisted my ankle pretty bad that morning. So my mobility was limited. I trapped myself at the sewing table.  Right after my fall, the first thing that came to my mind was "Oh thank goodness, I didn't hurt my sewing foot." Funny.

before and after

Monday, November 10, 2014

Protein Craving

In this past week, I kept having this burning sensation of hunger. It's like there's a hole in my stomach and it couldn't be filled with my usual diet. I was protein hungry.
I went to the supermarket twice in the morning to buy steak for breakfast, after my morning cereals. Plus once before fetching C from school at noon, I had to run into a shop to get something substantial to eat. I was beyond hungry and I don't starve myself for any purposes.

Growing up my mom had honored me the nickname "meat master". Besides the fact that I found meat more tasty than vegetables, I was simply a picky eater who said no to most vegetables, according to my dad, although now I see that I was no comparison to my daughter. I remember once going to a buffet restaurant during my teen years, I polished 8 chicken drumsticks and 3 steaks. My family used to joke that I was the only one that could eat our money back. I guess I had more growth spurts than other kids?

I became a fan of vegetables after I turned 20. It's a transition from nowhere. My taste buds decided to agree with the taste and I ate less and less meat. That's also the time when I became more aware of my figure etc, although I've never been overweight. I met my then vegetarian husband when I was 22 and I had stuck to a vegetarian diet as well, for 2 years.

Nowadays you hear about cruelty and environmental issues related to meat production all the time and it makes you feel ashamed to admit that you eat meat. There are even chances to be instantly framed as some careless carnivore? It's so easy to go from one extreme to the other. I guess listening to your own body's calling is way more important. We human beings are omnivores after all. I believe in a balanced diet and I am just planning to keep feeding myself with some solid protein for a while.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Above-and-Beyond Dress

Feminine Wardrobe.
I bought this book a while ago. Paged it through and loved most of the designs. They're all so me, I thought.  Instantly I had this big ambition to sew at least 10 of them.  However I left the book intentionally on the shelf for weeks. Why's that? It looks like most designs involve more procedures than my other projects....

This is the cover dress that I fell in love with at first sight. I knew it was going to take longer to finish, with hand sewing here and there. I was geared up for it. I even bought my first fabric marker. Oh yes, I've been stealing my daughter's felt pens to trace the patterns onto fabric.

About this fabric marker I had just purchased,
So I was at the store and saw two models. One says "disappearing fabric pen" and "Made in Japan", the other states "wash out fabric pen" and that's it. Of course I went straight for the disappearing model. Who doesn't trust Japanese quality? I tested it on the wrong side of a pair of pants from M that was left near the sewing machine to be shortened. Great result --- the color did fade the next day but it was still there. I had just enough time to cut and mark the fabric before I had to go fetch C from school. When I came back, the marks had all vanished. But that's not even an hour! I'm not sure if it's the fabric or the rubbing, I had to sew as I marked. The color would disappear without minutes!! I think I'm ready to pass it on to C as some fairy magical pen.

There are tucks on the front and back, the sleeves, and the front bow panel. Since I love the look so much, I devoted my time to precisely sew one after one, after one. The front center of the neckline ended up with 10 layers of fabric. All I'm saying is that it's worth every single one of them.

Once I put it on, it just lifted up my spirit. I was like a little girl who can't stop dancing. I truly indeed love it, and consider it mission successfully accomplished.
By the way, I haven't worn it outside yet, too precious ha.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Only Child Syndrome

I bumped into a mom/teacher friend the other day at the gym. She's 7 months' pregnant with child number three. I sincerely worship people with multiple kids. How can they ever manage?!

The friend carried on adding that during the weekends, she can just lie in bed reading her magazines. --- "I don't even have to get up."

How do I spend my weekends? Well, I'm usually woken up by 6 in the morning. I do get a 15 minutes' snooze allowance if I'm lucky. The entertainment officially starts at 6:15 a.m. and never ends till 7:00 at night.

C is not the type that she can just sit and play on her own. She needs company even when she's coloring in or watching TV. Now I don't have the wildest imagination and I probably suck at pretend games, and sometimes I do wish she could be more independent, but I treasure all the moments that I'm blessed to spend with her.

2 days old C. I was mesmerized by her look and had no idea what it's like to be parent, yet.
During the years I did wonder from time to time what it would be like to have had a second child. But do I want the child so C can have a play mate, or more honestly, that I don't have to provide full-time entertainment? The motive is doubtful. What if they don't even get along and fight all the time? I would hate to be a home policewoman.

Five solid years later, C has reached a golden age. She's easy to communicate, and she does make sense most of the time. Yet she's still innocent and cute in one package. Do I really want to start all over? No!

Luckily, M and I are on the same page.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Halloween According to Wikipedia

Two minutes ago, I wikipediaed "Halloween". To be honest, I didn't finish reading the whole story. Although Christmas penetrated China long ago when I was a kid, this whole Halloween concept is still fresh.

This year, C was invited to a dress-up party. That's 3 days after her birthday and on the same day of the school Sports Day. I was recovering from all the overdosed excitement and feeling quite drained. C did mention during the week that she'd like a witch costume, which I failed to even lay my hands on. She has been busy with her newly acquired Lego toys for days and told me on the day of the party that she really doesn't feel like going. What a relief! "But mom, I still want a witch costume." That just erased the deadline. Thank you.

I bought a pumpkin from the store two weeks or so ago. My first ever pumpkin in its original package. I imagined a pumpkin should be more thick fleshed and difficult to pierce through, a butternut's cousin. It is nothing like that. Condensed foam sheets came to my mind. The inside is hollow. I guess that onion I bought to make pumpkin soup with won't be needed.

I Youtubed how to carve a pumpkin with C and giggled so hard when she chose the easiest version. Here goes. Holes drilled and pumpkin cleaned.

We lit up the candle as soon as it got dark. C was super excited, even without dress-up or trick or treat in the neighborhood --- it's still in the growing force here in Africa.
Advice: next year shop for more pumpkins and start the costume sewing much earlier.