Wake up call

April 23, 2012 § 2 Comments

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I know, I know, I’ve been away from crafting for almost a month (yeah, that was my cut-off and I made it a few hours early). It took a completely unexpected message from a stranger to wake me from my stupor and make me want to write again. While I’ve felt bad neglecting my sewing machine, I realized that there will be times when you have to give yourself permission to slack off and just stare into space if that is what you feel like doing.

So I did a bit of soul-searching this past month, thinking of the things I really want to do and those I don’t. I also got to thinking about what I want to have in my life (people, more than things) and what I don’t want to have. So let’s just say this time away was a sort of spring cleaning (though don’t tell my house because it’s looking quite the disaster area at the moment) from which I hope to emerge as a more focused person with clear goals and the gumption to follow through on them. First on the list is definitely in the works. Keeping up to my goal of one original tutorial on this blog a week is the second one and something I will most definitely work on by hook or by crook this Friday. The rest will come through as I slowly peel off the cocoon of apathy I have been living in for the past few weeks. 

Somewhat apt for my first post in so long is a set of funny welcome mats from dumpaday.com. They’re not strictly DIY, but you can see how with a little creativity and fun-thinking you can come up with a more personalised mat to entertain your guests with even before they come through your door.

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Two maxi dresses

March 24, 2012 § 4 Comments

I didn’t really have time for a step-by-step this week but I just wanted to show off the two maxi dresses I made. As mentioned in the last post, I was invited to a fashion event on Friday and had nothing to wear. I decided to pattern a dress from this one by Lex:

But I’ve never sewn jersey knit fabric before and I’ve heard so many horror stories about it, so I decided to make a backup dress too in case things didn’t go well for the original idea. This time I went for the tried and true:

You’ve seen the tank top dress before. It was my first dress. Basically you just take a tank top, cut it mid-rib, attach a “skirt”, and voila! Dress! Only this time I made the skirt part ankle-length and I “stole” a crochet panel from a curtain and used it as a belt 😀

Side note: I’ve been eyeing these sandals for so long but they were a bit pricey so I convinced myself I wouldn’t use them in winter anyway and didn’t get them. Well, i walked past the shop, and there they were, half off and my size was one of the last three pairs. Of course I got them 😀

Now on to “the dress.” Many thanks to Lex for so generously sharing how she made her gorgeous dress. But there were a few things that made this project challenging for a beginner like me. First, she did her fittings on a dressform, which I don’t have. Second, the bodice is made up of four triangles sewn together. You could cut four triangles of your fabric and then try fitting as you go, but I felt you’d waste so much fabric this way so I actually took measurements for mine. Also, I knew from the picture that she was a lot thinner and taller than me and the dress wouldn’t drape as becomingly on me as it did on her. I decided for a “sleeker” fit rather than relaxed, that meant cutting to my measurements with only a quarter inch seam allowance.

One last thing. When sewing jersey knit, I read that people use that 3-stitch zigzag on their machines. Others would use the longest straight stitch with 0 tension. I tested both of these out and found out that the longest straight stitch with the tension at 2 worked better on my machine. You just have to take the time to experiment. And here is what happened.

I ended up going to the party in my backup dress since I felt this one was too “revealing” (you know how unforgiving jersey knit can be if you don’t have the right “foundation”) and I had places to go before the party. Can’t wait for the right occasion to wear this though. All in all I can say it was a good crafting week, don’t you think? 🙂

 

Liebster Award

March 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

I’m so happy that one of my most admired bloggers, Angel of Just Call Me Miss DIY, awarded me with a Liebster. Liebster, I found out from yet another favorite blog Peace, Love and Stitching, is a German word that means favorite, dearest or beloved. Thank you, Angel!

I started this blog to remind myself that I can do things myself and that “easy” and “instant” do not always mean “best”. Now it’s my turn to show my appreciation for fellow bloggers who’ve inspired me along the way.

1. Life Through My Eyes

2. Cozywalls

3. Sweat Pea’s Kitchen

4. jthornburgArtistry

5. A Detailed House

The rules of the Liebster Award are:

1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog

2. Link back to the blogger who presented the award to you

3. Copy and paste the blog award on your blog

4. Present the Liebster Blog Award to 5 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserve to be noticed

5. Let them know they have been chosen by leaving a comment at their blog.

I’m back . . . I hope

March 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

 

I decided I’ve had enough of feeling down, and since I need a dress for Friday (no more buying RTW, remember?) I thought I’d get my act together and make one. But I haven’t touched my machine for almost a month and I thought I’d ease into it with a super simple one first. Granted I had planned on a maxi dress to wear as my “tropical best”, but this fabric was just right to fall a tad away from my knee and it was just laying around,  so soft and flow-y, it had “dress” written all over it. So I followed this tutorial and made myself a dress in one hour. Trust me, it’s so easy. It’s just two rectangles sewn together and tied together at the top with a sash. If you had a big enough pillowcase you’d be off to a good head start. Now excuse me while I sew my real Friday dress in my new ultra comfy dress. Ta-ta.

I see the light

March 19, 2012 § 2 Comments

How do you get a down-in-the-dumps crafter sewing again? Invite her to an event for which she has nothing to wear, of course 🙂 I’ve been invited to an event with a “Tropical Paradise” theme, and while I do have a sundress, the weather has been erratic and I don’t want to chance freezing among a very well-dressed lot. A cheeky friend said that since we are from the tropics anything we wear should be appropriate, but I thought sewing something might just be the push I need to finally lose the doldrums. Besides, I feel like stretching my newly formed pattern drafting muscles. I’m going to make myself a maxi dress. All three designs look perfectly fine in my head but we’ll see what works out best. The major difference between the three is the neckline but one will be a tank-maxi, another will be an upcycle patterned after my old sundress and one will be completely from scratch. Watch this space 😉

Look, Ma, another engineer

March 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

My mother raised two engineers and me, the kid who’d quote lines from Snooky Cerna movies in shouting matches with her sister. Since I’d get an asthma attack at the sight of numbers, I steered myself where words led me and my resume is now a weird mesh of occupations that all bottom line to either the spoken or written word. Well and good. Except that I suddenly decided garment construction was something I wanted to do. And now my weekends are spent measuring tape around the neck and trying to figure out which ruler measures what in pattern-drafting classes with the gracious Tsufa and five other wonderful ladies.

To all crafters and sewing enthusiasts who share patterns they made themselves so generously to the rest of us, I raise my hat (if I wore one) and everything else to all of you. PATTERN MAKING IS HARD. Just taking measurements and trying to do them properly and then drawing a block IS HARD. After each class I feel like grabbing the first tailor I see in a bear hug and saying, “There, there,” to them as I rub their shoulders. It has been an eye opening experience, finally understanding how garments are supposed to be constructed and knowing the importance of (having the patience to) taking the right measurements. But is also frustrating because where I used to just sew willy-nilly, I now sit back and think every detail through before even gathering materials. Which has sadly resulted in no finishes these past two weeks and I’m feeling such a slacker now. And this hasn’t helped:

My (just a few days ago) very timid and docile bunny has decided that she is now going to be a ninja, constantly popping up in strange places when you least expect her to. And because she’s such fun to watch, I automatically turn into a two-year-old and start hopping around the house with her. VERY PRODUCTIVE INDEED.

Anyhoo, I found out at the last class that I did my first draft so badly and had to spend the last quarter sitting quietly taking notes over my useless center front bodice. I MUST MAKE A NEW ONE (emphasis for my benefit) before next Saturday’s class and redeem myself among my more crafty classmates. I must do at least one craft project before Friday. I MUST MUST MUST . . . oh, hey there, Bunny, of course I want to play . . .

 

 

Inspiring laundry room makeover

March 8, 2012 § 2 Comments

  Every Thursday Amy over at Life Through My Eyes writes a post called Delightfully Inspiring Thursdays, which I always enjoy. This week’s post is about doing over her laundry room, which for me was inspiring indeed. I don’t have a laundry room but I have a space in front of my wardrobe (my developer apparently ran out of money when fitting out the flat and left me with just one instead of two) which is dying for me to do something with PLUS I have a storeroom I’ve been thinking to convert into a craft room. Whichever I decide to do first (and when), will owe much credit to Amy’s post. Spending very little for something that looks awesome (and neat, as in clean and organized neat) is something I always aim for and that’s what this entire post is about. Get the full before and after story from Amy right here.