Stylish Dress Book 3: Dress N

Black and red batik dress

Black and red batik dress

Still not a sunny day today, but eventually I managed to take some decent pictures of my new dress. By the way, I really like this dress, the shape, the ruffled sleeves, the pockets, and the pattern of the fabric. It’s officially spring now!

The fabric is vintage Javanese cotton batik that used to belong to my mother. It has black and red pattern, which are quite unusual choice of colours for traditional Javanese batik. The quality of the cloth itself is fabulous, the weaving is so tight that I had difficulty pinning through it. The fabric has a little hole in the corner so it’s not perfect anymore and that was why my mother allowed me to cut it. When she gave it to me, my mother said that I can use it for myself, but I can not use it to make stuff for other people. Can’t agree more with her, this fabric is too gorgeous I’ll definitely keep it for myself!

Beautiful vintage fabric is always so intimidating. I’m always afraid that I would make mistake when making something out of it. But when I browsed through my new ‘Stylish Dress Book 3’, I noticed dress N and  thought that it would be perfect for this pretty fabric. The shape looks pretty simple with rounded neckline, pockets, and ruffled sleeves. Well, you might have noticed that I like ruffles or gathers as I’ve used them for almost all of my dresses (or maybe all of them!).

Dress N - Stylish Dress Book 3The ruffles on the sleeves of this particular dress are attached after the dress is finished, so they’re sewn onto the dress and not on the armholes. I cut my ruffles on the edge of the fabric because I like the white strips on the selvedge. Then I handstitched them to the dress with red embroidery thread.

The dress has neckline facings sewn on the outside. In the book, it uses different fabric for the facings, but I just use the same fabric and added some red Japanese cotton binding strips to define the shape. The same binding strips are also used to finish the inside of the armholes.

The pockets are actually very interesting as they are not patch pockets, but parts of the lower front dress. The pattern of the fabric makes it hard to see the pockets, but you can see it more clearly in the technical drawing.

I use the side edge of the batik cloth for the hem, it has these interesting triangle patterns and I don’t have to finish the hem! Just like almost all projects from Stylish Dress Book, this dress has no zipper, buttons, or any other fastenings. You can put it over your head as easy as putting on a T-shirt. Love!

Black and red batik dress Black and red batik dress

Black and red batik dress Black and red batik dress

Black and red batik dress Black and red batik dress

Pattern is Dress N from Stylish Dress Book 3.

I made a dress today

My new dress!

Here’s a glimpse of a dress I made today! The pattern is dress N from 大人のクチュール毎日着たいワンピース、ブラウス、パンツ…―Stylish Dress Book 3, the newest of the Stylish Dress Book series. Yes, number 3 has just been published and since there’s already Stylish Dress Book 1 and 2 in my book shelves, I couldn’t resist buying the number 3. Things that come in series are my weakness.

Anyway, I love this new dress. It has ruffled sleeves and a pair of pockets and the fabric is perfect for spring. Unfortunately, the sun is not my friend today so I couldn’t take proper pictures. More pictures of the dress tomorrow!

Dress N - Stylish Dress Book 3

Necklaces love

I love necklaces. And I love them colourful and loud. Dainty, small, and delicate are not my things. Here is some of my most favourite necklaces.



These are my birds. The newest one is the yellow macrame owl, it was bought from macraMe at Etsy and just came in the mailbox today. It’s sooo cute! But my favourite is the silver hummingbird, I wore it when I met my husband for the first time ♥♥♥

Stuff with wings

Stuff with wings


The red enamel with big gold chain is vintage Monet and it used to belong to my mother. It was often used as photo shoot property when I worked in fashion magazine.

I bought the whistle and citrine  necklace from LoveErica at Etsy. The whistle really works! When I wear the necklace, Sidra would sneak on me and blow the whistle, startling me. 😀

The silver fish was actually a leather brooch, bought from sacaclaques at Etsy. I sewed a jumpring on its mouth and put a vintage white chain on it. It strangely looks real, like a fish caught in a hook.

Here is other vintage necklaces that used to belong to my mother. The far right one has Chinese character on it, it used to have solid perfume inside. When I was little, I loved to play with the perfume and put it anywhere. Years later, the rest of the perfume had dried,  so I cleaned it and put another solid perfume in it. I use Flying Fox solid perfume from Lush, the smells of jasmine reminds me of the old perfume.

There used to be more of my mother’s necklaces, but I’ve given them away when I moved to Japan. I only brought two big suitcases to Japan, everything else was left behind and given away.

Vintage from my motherSolid perfume

Orange bow necklace aka my Anthropologie knock-off

The orange knock-off.

Burst of chiffon necklace by Anthropologie

The real thing.

As if I don’t have enough necklaces already, yesterday I made one myself. It is actually a blatant knock-off  of the ‘Burst of chiffon’ necklace by Anthropologie (picture courtesy of Anthropologie).

The Anthropologie one is made with green chiffon, but I just used some orange fabric scraps. The colour has gradation of orange with gold-bordered round shapes on it.  This necklace was very easy to make, it’s actually just a strip of fabric ruffled in the middle. As my fabric is a bit stiffer than chiffon, the upper part is not as droopy as the Anthropologie necklace.

I use vintage gold chain with white plastic beads on it, and attached a pair of red crystal on the ends. Then I suddenly got this idea of attaching a tiny locket on one of the end. I will put tiny lovely pictures inside it! More necklace to love!

Orange bow necklace aka my Anthropologie knock-off

My own handmade knock-off!

Orange bow necklace aka my Anthropologie knock-off

Orange bow necklace aka my Anthropologie knock-off


March 13, 2010March 13, 2010You know, we actually have pet in the house, although I rarely talked about it. But we’ve almost never seen it around because it is living in a plastic box buried under a heap of soil. In fact, it hardly can be called a pet at all, because we can’t, you know, pet it or play with it. The only thing we can do is watching it while it’s growing.

Anyway, meet our pet: a Colombian Hercules beetle larva! Sidra calls it ‘Herakuresu’, which is simply how the word ‘Hercules’ said in Japanese. He’s crazy about all these kabuto (rhino beetle) and kuwagata (stag beetle), so my husband and I finally agreed to have one.

It was bought last August in a beetle store in Shibuya, the store owner said that the larva was *maybe* a male. He showed me how to differentiate the male from female by looking at some spot on its tiny belly. Although he said that there was a certain thing to see there, I have to admit that I couldn’t see anything. So I hope this larva would really turn out to be a male. Because male Hercules beetle will have this most impressive long horn. It is said that an adult Hercules beetle can reach more than 15 cm in length. A 15 cm length crawling insect! How cool is that!

Aug 31, 2009: here

Aug 31, 2009

The larva is a pretty low maintenance animal. A container is filled with some special soil and then the larva is put there. It will consume the soil for about 3-4 months until the soil is changed to new one. This should continue for several month, and sometimes years. Then one day the larva will suddenly decide that the time has come to begin a metamorphosis process, it will stop moving and eating for a certain time, and then emerges as a cool, menacing-looking beetle.

While it’s living buried in soil, sometimes a glimpse of the larva can be seen when it stays near the side of the container. The three of us often take a peek together and comment on how it has grown so big or how it moves around etc. My husband is not an ‘insect person’, but he’s grown to love this larva. Although he still doesn’t want to tough this wriggly thing, he would check the temperature and humidity of the soil before he goes to bed and adjusts the lamp or sprays some water when necessary.

Because the soil is only changed every a few months, the occasion is something that we wait for excitedly. I would dig the larva and pick it out, then all of us would scream at the sight of the larva and how big it has became! So far, we’ve done it twice. I hope the larva will turn into a beetle this year, although I will miss this fat wriggly thing.

In case you like wriggly things, there’s more pictures of this Herakuresu in my flickr set.

Nov 3, 2009: hercules beetle larva

Nov 3, 2009

March 13, 2010

March 13, 2010

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