Friday, February 26, 2016

Clean and Natural Frilly Collar Pullover

That's me, coaxing my daughter to take pictures of me in my new top. I've discovered taking outdoor pictures eliminate a lot of unnecessary photoshopping. The pictures come out bright already and leave almost nothing for me to tweak --- a real time saver. However, she's got an agenda of her own now that she's in charge of the camera. I've managed to selected three pictures that actually have me in them. Taking pictures outdoor can be ... quite distracting.

Weekday Bits

"Are we having processed food again tonight?" That came from my husband....Well to be fair, it's not processed, but pre-prepared. I pop it in the oven while I'm doing the evening rituals with C, and supper's done when we are done. That meal option has somehow sneakily become my household regular.  I used to prepare things in the mornings so I didn't have to rush in the evening. But now I don't bother with any sewing unrelated chores.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Zipper Pouches with Skinny laMinx DIY Fabric Squares and a Tutorial

I love these DIY squares from Skinny laMinx. They are ideal for zipper pouch making. It's always the first idea that comes to me when I have a load of scrap fabric. It's so simple that no brain cell is harmed. The best thing with these fabric sqaures is they are all pre-cut. All you need to do is to trace the same square on the lining fabric. You will be ready to go.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Black Smock and White Linen Wide Leg Pants

Or shall I call it Smock Take Two? My first attempt to make this smock was a year and a half ago. I just started to sew/blog and was a complete immature. It's funny reading what I said back then about how C refused to wear pants. Nowadays she prefers separates. I think she has lived in the simplest tank top and shorts this summer. "Dresses are too girly." she says. My sewing skills have also evolved. It used to take me days reading instructions back and forth and looking for tutorials just to produce one top, now I almost always put a complete outfit together.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Skinny laMinx DIY Squares Coasters and Tutorial

Hello there, I'm back with another tutorial using Skinny laMinx DIY Squares. It hit me one morning while making pom poms. OK the truth is the night before that I started watching a Taiwanese movie called First of May. I enjoyed it but had to switch off the TV to go to bed. One of the benefits of a SAHM is you are always in a relaxed environment. So to finish off the movie, I grabbed my pom pom maker and a cup of tea. I don't spend a lot of time in front of TV, and when I do, I make sure I have something else to work on at the same time, because watching TV for pure leisure sounds just too luxurious and time wasting --- I admit I can be a strong candidate for workaholism.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Kids Headband Made from Skinny laMinx DIY Squares and a Brief Tutorial

Have you seen Skinny laMinx's DIY Supplies range? You really need to check it out. Such cute fabric squares. The very kind and genius mind Heather behind Skinny laMinx offered me some fabric to try it out. First of all, I want to say when you are offered fabric from her, you should never say no. These are locally produced top quality upholstery fabric we are talking about. Even though I'm not covering any couches right now, there are still endless possibilities to play with here. Remember I made a jacket from her Palmetto line?

Monday, February 15, 2016

A Flared Cape Sleeve Shirt

Good morning! Have you survived a Valentine's Day weekend? It felt like I just spent the whole weekend on kids birthday and dinner parties. It was a weekend that freed me from channeling my brain power for activity ideas. It was great.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Zipper Pouches with Pom Poms

I'd say big social developments come with Grade 1. Kids have more freedom to bring small items to school and hide in their gigantic school bags. They have their own break-time show-and-tell. Tuck shop is open to them on Fridays. I usually give R20 for tuck-shop day and I tell C that she can choose to buy or not buy anything. It's her money. She always comes home pennyless. Last Friday, one friend forgot to bring money, so C bought a bottle of water the friend, and some ice bites for other friends, then eventually she ran out of money herself and another friend bought a bottle of water for her....It's not just the tuck shop time only. C comes home with little figurine gifts here and there. There's a lot going on in their little social lives now.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Traditional Chinese Qipao

Happy Chinese New Year to those who are celebrating. The last time I sat at a dinner table celebrating the new year with my small familly in Shanghai was 10 years ago. How time flies. Both my parents have 2 siblings each and everyone (with extended family members) lives in the same city, but the only time we saw each other was during the new year's holidays, if there's no emergency family affair to attend. We are just not one of those tight-knitted families.... Even with my own parents, we had never shared emotional feelings within our little family of three. My parents could go on years without speaking a word to each other. It was horrible growing up in that family. I guess that's one of the reasons I chose to move to Cape Town, just so I can get away from all of that as far away as possible. Not long after I moved, my parents divorced, which really untrapped them both.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Purl Soho Summer Romper

"Umama", "Pakamani", "Tulani", "Pakamani", "Tulani...." Xhosa words are chanted in our household this week. Please excuse me if the spellings are incorrect. So two weeks into little Grade-1 pupil's routine, the kids are already having compulsory Xhosa lessons. It feels a little strange to me hearing all these unfamiliar words, but C seems to be enjoying learning this African language, which is often accompanied by the tongue clicking sounds. I've found an article online that explains the clicking sound, with videos, way better than I do.
The old me is probably going to react immediately and ask how useful this language is, and if I should move her to a more international school that's teaching French instead of Xhosa as a compulsory subject. The new me? I'm forcing myself to be more chilled and let the child explore first. After all, she's only in Grade 1. C's class teacher has the kindest heart, who's clearly not academical results driven and I think that's totally OK for kids at this age. There's no need to push kids now so they become weary of school for the rest of the years. Do you see my transformation from a tiger mother (remember Kumon from two years ago?) to a totally relaxed yet encouraging mom/friend?
Change of subject. Our summer is not going anywhere. We still have the average highest near 30C. A summer romper? I've never sewn any jumpsuit like garment. It's the thought of that inconvenience at the bathroom, especially for kids. But C's been asking for one for her hip hop extra mural. Consider it done. The pattern is a free download from Purl Soho. They have some really nice easy patterns, for sewing and knitting. If I ever become a knitter one day, I'd like to try all of these loveliness.
The fabric is washer cotton in black. C and I often say that our color is black, however I think she can still get away with floral or cute prints. Me, not so much. I cut up a straight size 6-7 and it fits her perfectly. It's a great yet simple pattern that I shall keep on going back to.
Doesn't this look fun?
Have a great weekend.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Deep Blue Draped Collar Dress

I've been spotting beautiful pictures of heavy snow on Instagram. When I was growing up, it didn't snow much in Shanghai. I remember one year in primary school when it really snowed a lot. It's like all kids' fairy tale dreams had come true. We played in the snow and got ourselves soaking wet, our fingers frozen until they couldn't move anymore. The fun times.... Now as an adult, I immediately link snow to low temperatures. That fun part becomes non-existent. No wonder kids always say growups are boring.
Compared to the snow storms in the northern hemisphere, we had some heat waves coming last weekend. I sat at my sewing table most of the afternoon on Sunday. While I was making this dress, I couldn't stop picturing C and M at the beach, dipping themselves in the cool ocean. I was born not a beach person --- I suppose 99% Chinese aren't. I'm too protective of my skin to let it roast in the hot sun. Although the idea of sitting under an umbrella and having that cool ocean breeze on me is appeaing when fighting the heat. At least, the fabric I was working with reminded me of the deep blue sea.
When they came home after the beach at around 7pm I totally ignored that my daughter had turned to a piece of charcoal and rushed M to take pictures of me. I've left my tripod behind in the other house. The pictures weren't perfect because it was getting dark inside, and somehow my eyes were closed in most of them. Anyway, with my eyes closed, it should help you focus on the dress.
This pattern caught my eye when I got the book Feminine Wardrobe. Simple silouette, yet not all boxy. I admit I am a huge fan of baggy clothes. After a few projects with printed fabric, I needed to work with this plain blue. I think with the right choice of accessories, I can even go to a party with this. Or if it was made in orange color, I could've been sent to a temple with it. Often fabric plays a major role, don't you think? The entire hem is made with bias tape. That little triangle gusset at the bottom softens the hem and adds a subtle and feminine look to it.
This dress is not suitable for wearing for temperature above 30C. I almost melted in those 5 minutes of photoshoot. Good news is Autumn should be here anytime now and the dress and I are going to be BFF.