Life begins today

On my tenth birthday, I decided that I wanted to die before the age of forty. Yeah I was a strange little girl, I drew a tomb with my name on it and ravens flying over it. My mother was not amused when she found the drawing. At that time, forty seemed so far away, so unimaginable. Everywhere I looked around, there were unhappy 40 years old people. Adults seemed so unhappy. I felt unhappy enough as a ten years old, why would I want another 30 years stretch of unhappiness?

But what did a ten years old girl know anyway about being forty?Even those forty years olds don’t know anything about it, nobody knows. So it goes that I continue living those 30 years and finally arrived at the point today. Sometimes it feels like yesterday, but I celebrated my 30th birthday with a bunch of people and lots of stuff. Everyone got wasted at the end of the night.

This morning, my husband quietly entered the room with a humble-looking cake and three candles on it. Sidra gave me a fluffy pillow and blanket that he bought with my husband a few days ago. I guess he noticed that I get cold easily.

It was just the three of us, sleepy in the morning, murmuring happy birthday and then continue with the usual breakfast before getting ready for school and office. I was a thousand times happier this morning than ten years ago.

People say that life begins at forty. But forty is just a number of years that we had spent living, of course life has begun 40 years ago. Maybe people just need something to hold onto when things feel so unbearable. I’m glad that I survived those 30 years since my tenth birthday. Whatever that had happened since that time doesn’t matter anymore now. I’m just happy that I’m here.

The Burdastyle Sewing Handbook!

The Burdastyle Sewing Handbook

The Burdastyle Sewing Handbook

It finally arrived! It has been more than a year since I sent the blouse variations that I made for the book, and it is kind of strange to finally see it worn by a model in this  beautiful pattern book. I’m so excited! (more…)

Weekend, November

Last Saturday was observation day at Sidra’s school. My husband and I went to see teachers and students in class. There was also an art exhibition at the school hall, showing creations from all students: embroideries, sculptures, paintings. So lovely.

pictures from my Instagram

Fall jacket (Minoru by Sewaholic)

Minoru jacket

Minoru jacket

Minoru jacket Minoru jacket

Minoru jacket Minoru jacket

Finally I can post about this jacket! This is my favorite jacket at the moment, I’ve been wearing it everyday and loving every moment of it. The pattern is the newly-released Minoru jacket by the talented Tasia from Sewaholic. I was fortunate to be one of the pattern testers who can have a try-out weeks before its release.

When I saw the pattern for the first time, I was very excited! It is definitely created with a woman’s figure in mind. The jacket has gathered neckline and raglan sleeves, front zipper, and an optional secret hood hidden inside the wide collar. The waist is elasticized, making the overall look slim and comfortable. There are also a couple of patch pockets on the lining side with velcro closure for small tidbits.

Minoru jacket

Minoru jacket

Other than my usual shortening the bodice and sleeves about 3-4 cm, I didn’t make any alterations. The instructions are very clear with helpful diagrams, so it came up pretty quickly.Actually I spent longer time on fabrics and notions than the the actual sewing. The outer fabric is navy blue cotton canvas found in local store and the lining is Indonesian batik from my stash. I thought they would be perfect teamed with gold rust-colored zipper and topstitching. The problem was I couldn’t find the zippers in that color! I spent a week procrastinating because I had to find gold rust-colored zippers for my jacket.

Tired of my whining about gold rust-colored zipper, my husband offered to drop by Okadaya to hunt for the zippers after office. It is a huge craft store in Shinjuku. ‘I want zippers with metal teeth in this exact color, one is 70 cm separating zipper and the other is 50 cm non-separating zipper’ (as if he knew what’s the difference between separating and  non-separating zipper). With this instruction, he went to the zipper section in Okadaya and got overwhelmed by the choices. But after several back and forth phone consultations, he emerged from the store with the perfect zippers! I love him (♥_♥)

Although the pattern is rated for intermediate, I think it is suitable for anyone who want to try sewing their first jacket. The step by step instructions are very clear. The most challenging part might be sewing the zipper on the collar for the hidden hood, but it can easily be omitted if preferable.
Minoru jacket Minoru jacket
Minoru jacket Minoru jacket

It is too bad that one can not have too many jackets in the same pattern, because I really love this jacket. But I would like to make it again in water resistant fabric for rainy season next year. Tasia is planning a sew-along in January that will also cover sewing with water-resistant fabric, so I’m going to join in. I would add side seam pockets to my next jacket though, because I love walking around with hands buried in pockets!

Pattern is Minoru jacket by Sewaholic, size 2.

Red cowl dress (Vogue 2333: Diane Von Furstenberg)

Red cowl dress

Red cowl dress

I was preparing to make the pants that I talked about in the last post when this pattern came through the mail slot. It was a vintage Vogue 2333 – Diane von Furstenberg pattern, probably from the late 70’s or early 80’s. 

From the pattern envelope: “Very loose-fitting, pullover dress with bias blouson bodice and straight skirt, five inches (12.5 cm) below mid-knee or evening length, has front cowl neckline, elasticized waistline, side front slanted pockets, side hemline slits and short kimono sleeves. Self belt has D-rings and edgestitch trim.”

Vogue 2333 - Diane von Furstenberg

The pattern is labelled as ‘very easy’, and who can resist such an instant gratification?! I put aside the pants and started on the dress instead. It was very easy indeed, despite several alterations that I made.

As usual I shortened the bodice by 4 cm, an alteration that I always need to do with commercial patterns. The fabric is rayon with purple flowers on red background. It is a bit see-through, so I added lining to the skirt part. The bodice pieces are cut on bias and kept unlined. I think the drapes would be enough to keep the top part from becoming too see-through.

Red cowl dress

Side slanted pocket and elasticized waist

In the instructions, the waist seam allowances are stitched up to make a channel for the elastic. Since I’ve added lining, I sandwiched the top part between the skirt and skirt lining, then topstitched the waist toward the skirt to create the channel for elastic. I kinda liked it better because there are no visible seam allowance on the inside of the dress. I also omitted the self belt and preferred to wear the dress as it is or with a different belt.

The thing I love about commercial pattern is the instructions where I can learn a lot about construction. This dress doesn’t have any visible topstitching. The back facing and pockets are understitched and the hem is blindstitched. I didn’t blindstitch by hand though, gotta love the blindstitch button on my sewing machine!

The hem was initially longer that the final product, as I kept them proportionally in the same length as the description on the pattern envelope, which is ‘5 inches below mid-knee’. But the length definitely wasn’t working for me when I tried it on. I shortened the dress a bit, put it on again and still didn’t feel comfortable with the length. Cut and tried again several times and suddenly it is now drastically a mini dress. Or maybe a tunic? Anyhow, I feel that this is working now!

Red cowl dress Red cowl dressRed cowl dress Red cowl dress

Pattern is Very Easy Vogue 2333 (Diane von Furstenberg), size 8 (bust 31.5″).