Kate dress (and thoughts about sewing everyday clothes)

Kate dress Kate dress

Kate dress / picture from Style Arc website

Kate dress / picture from Style Arc website

Next from my growing Style Arc pattern stash! This is Kate dress, a wrap dress inspired by Kate Middleton’s engagement dress. It has several reviews on PatternReview who mostly highly recommend it.

As usual for Style Arc patterns, I cut size 6. I shortened the bodice about 2 cm, but next time I might reduce it to 1 cm. The original hem is quite long and I had to shorten it about 20 cm. I left out the sleeves at the end of sleeves and lengthened the ties about 15 cm. My fabric is polyester knit with abstract floral pattern.

Kate dress Kate dress Kate dress Kate dress

Per the instructions, the neckline is finished with clear elastics. I overlocked the elastic on the wrong side, folded it iniside and topstitched using coverstitch setting. I also used a piece of fabric selvedge to reinforce the shoulder seams. This is very important in sewing with knit fabric so they won’t stretch out.

Kate dress Kate dress

I put on the dress and asked my husband’s opinion. He said, “It’s pretty. And… shiny.”

The slight hesitation in his voice got me start asking myself about my choice of sewing projects. I love making dresses, I love wearing them, and I feel good wearing them. But as a stay-at-home mom, I have to admit that these dresses are not practical. I practically live in old cardigan and skinny jeans that I didn’t make myself.

This recent post by Sallieoh about finding TNT pattern resonates well with my thought. When I look at my wardrobe, it’s a closet full of beautiful, handmade clothes, and yet nothing to wear. It is a problem that many of us have to face.

I think that is why I really love my previous project, the floral bomber jacket, because it is something that I do wear everyday. My Sara leggings and Plantain tee got a lot of wear as well. They’re both quite basic so it says a lot about what I need in my wardrobe. I need more wearable things that suit my reality.

My reality is taking care of the house and the dogs. I cook and clean. I pick up the dog’s droppings and sometimes scrub the floor when they have ‘accident’. Slippery floral wrap dress has no business being worn in situations like these. I can probably wear the dresses when I go out, it’s just that I don’t go out that much. No need for a wardrobe full of dresses. How about weekends? On weekends we often go to the adoption events where I usually sit on the floor with the dogs. No wrap dresses please.

I guess I need to spend sometime to think a bit more about this. I love looking good and wearing this old cardigan and jeans everyday doesn’t make me feel good. But I have to understand that to look good, I don’t always have to wear pretty dresses. There are other things that I can make, ones that look good and wearable at the same time:

  • pants: skinny jeans, comfortable pants.
  • tops: not just T-shirt but also blouses and shirts (I don’t have a button down shirt!).
  • skirts: not too short, knee length and long ones are more wearable.
  • jackets and cardigans: a well made one has proven to be so wearable.
  • dresses: maybe long dress made with comfortable knit fabric. But not too many!
  • etc: coats, hats, and I can still make pretty lingerie!

It’s funny that by writing this down, I can see that there’s a big hole in my wardrobe. So many things to sew!

Pattern is  Kate dress by Style Arc , size 6.

Floral bomber jacket and knit skirt

Bomber jacket and knit skirt Bomber jacket and knit skirt

Bomber jacket and knit skirt

I love my new jacket! The pattern is Rigel bomber by Papercut patterns. The first time I saw it was in Sophie’s blog with her wonderful polkadot version. Since then I couldn’t get rid of the image of my own bomber jacket from my mind. I wanted a bomber jacket, and it had to be in floral pattern. Why? I don’t know, it just had to.

Rigel bomber description: “An easy fit unlined raglan sleeve bomber jacket with the option to make with a geometric sleeve detail or plain sleeve. It features front welt pockets, neck, sleeve and hem ribbing, open end front zipper, and front facing.”

I found the perfect fabric in a small fabric store in my neighborhood. The fabric has a bit of stretch with fuzzy flannel on the wrong side with dark floral pattern that looks like watercolour. The zipper and ribbing fabric all came from the same store. Since the store sells end of bolt fabric in cheap price, I only spent about USD10 for the jacket.

The alteration: I shortened the bodice about 1 cm across the neckline. This way I shortened the bodice as well as the neckline. Then I altered the sleeves to match the length. The jacket actually sewed very quickly but I spent a bit of time with the pockets.

Bomber jacket and knit skirt Bomber jacket and knit skirt
Bomber jacket and knit skirt Bomber jacket and knit skirt

Pocket - first version

Pocket – first version

At first I used red rayon lining for the pocket bag. I wore the jacket a couple of times before I decided that I didn’t like it. The pocket bag was too small, the red lining showed too much, and the fabric is not strong enough. I really like the jacket though, so I decided to unpick the whole pockets and redid them using the same fabric as the jacket. It was a risky move but I’m glad I did it because now I adore the jacket!

Bomber jacket and knit skirt Bomber jacket and knit skirt

Floral bomber jacket Floral bomber jacket Floral bomber jacket Floral bomber jacket

Fleece lining Fleece lining Fleece lining Fleece lining

I also made a detachable fleece lining to make the jacket more winter-friendly. The sleeves were also lined with rayon lining so they won’t cling to my clothes when I wear the jacket. The fleece lining is attached to the jacket by rows of buttons along the center front, neckline, and end of sleeves.

I think everybody needs a floral bomber jacket! This is absolutely my new favorite clothing item. The jacket is stylish, comfortable and very wearable. In fact I’ve worn it almost everyday this week, even when the pockets weren’t properly finished and the lining wasn’t made yet.

Ali knit skirt / picture from Style Arc website

Ali knit skirt / picture from Style Arc website

The skirt pattern is Ali knit skirt by Style Arc. I was quite happy with my first Style Arc pattern that I decided to join the Professional Pattern Club. The membership includes 10% off all pattern, free pattern of my choice, and a gift. The package arrived yesterday and the gift is black Bengaline stretch fabric enough for a pair of pants! I was so happy that I already ordered more patterns so I can use the fabric.

The Ali knit skirt desciption: “Latest fashion, this slim line pencil skirt featuring front draping, plain back and elastic waist. For a plain skirt just cut 2 of the back panels, or for a rouched all round skirt cut 2 of the front panels.”

10-P1320562 11-P1320565 Ali knit skirt
This pattern was such an instant gratification! It only has two pieces and everything was done on overlocker so it only needed less than an hour to finish. I didn’t make any alteration other than shortening the hem about 5 cm. The fabric is rather thick jersey that I bought in the same store as the jacket fabric. The color is actually not truly black but rather very dark brown that matches the dark colour part of my jacket.

The skirt is very comfortable and the style is versatile. I can see myself wearing this skirt quite often in the future. So far I had had two successful result with Style Arc patterns, can’t wait to work with the next one!

Jacket pattern is Rigel bomber by Papercut patterns, size 34.
Skirt pattern is Ali knit skirt by Style Arc, size 6.

Basic colors

Plantain top and Sara leggings Plantain top and Sara leggings
In my previous post, I talked about my plan to sew more solid neutral colors. I have many printed fabric in my wardrobe that can’t be worn together because they would clash. So a few plain tops and bottoms are in the sewing plan this year.

Plantain top Plantain top

There’s where these two came into my plan. The top is Plantain T-shirt is a free PDF pattern by Deer & Doe, a French-based pattern company. “T-shirt fitted at the shoulders and flaring at the hips, with elbow patches. Short, long and 3/4 sleeves included in the pattern.” It is perfect for a basic T-shirt pattern that I need!

I cut the smallest size, 34, then I made petite alteration by making a slash across the bodice that also cut across the neckline. This alteration shortens the neckline and armholes as well. It is similar to what I did for the Ikat Sigma dress alteration. I also shortened the hem a lot to make it reach mid-hip.

Plantain top Plantain top

The fabric is grey jersey with interesting green color on the wrong side. You see, I still can’t help finding not-so-basic fabric! Sewing T-shirt is one of my favorite project as it is finished so quickly, especially using overlocker. The sleeves hem are merely overlocked so they curl a bit, showing a peek of green color. The elbow patches are quite subtle with only a thin line of green color peeking around the outline.

Sara zip leggingsSara zip leggings

The leggings pattern is Sara ankle zip leggings by Named patterns, A Finland-based pattern company. It is part of their new Spring/Summer 2014 collection. A few weeks ago, I was contacted by Saara and Laura, the founders of Named, to try out one pattern from their newest collection. The entire colection is gorgeous! I had a hard time choosing one but finally settled with the leggings because I wanted something basic.

When I sewed Named pattern for the first time, I talked about how I wish that the instructions have more diagrams instead of a wall of text. They really listen to the buyer’s feedback! Now they have step-by-step drawings that are really helpful for visual person like me. Each purchase now includes all sizes instead of just two sizes, helpful for people who are between sizes.

Sara is a fitting leggings with an ankle zip in front seam, revealed zipper at the back, front and back seams on legs, fitted ankles, and ankle zippers. It also includes option for micro shorts. I cut size 34, and shortened it considerably. As a note, Named patterns are drafted for an average height of 172 cm/5ft 8”, so I shortened 1 cm on the hip line, 5 cm on the knee line, and 5 cm on the hem. 

Plantain top and Sara leggings Plantain top and Sara leggings

I use beige stretch cotton twill and shocking pink plastic zipper at the back. I decided not to put the ankle zipper because I’m afraid it will add to much details to my not-so-long legs. The hem is overlocked to keep the stretchiness.

I have to admit that I’m not quite used to sewing with solid, neutral color fabric. It was not as fun as sewing printed fabric! But I’m glad to finish these two items, they will definitely get much wear time!

Top pattern is is Plantain T-shirt is free PDF pattern by Deer & Doe, size 34.
Leggings pattern is s Sara ankle zip leggings by Named patterns (PDF), size 34.

My first Style Arc pattern: Lola pants!

Lola woven pants Lola woven pants

Scheduling the daily walk with the dogs became a bit complicated since Shiitake came along. He is young and bigger than Fuwawa, so he is not satisfied with the time Fuwawa needs for a walk. On the other hand, Fuwawa gets too tired if she has to follow Shiitake. I have thought about taking them separately but it would take too much time. Anyway that is why I haven’t posted anything sewing-related. I’ve finished a couple of things but never had time to take proper pictures of them. I usually take pictures in the morning while the sun is at its best, but my morning has been spent for the walk.

For the last few days I’ve been taking the dogs to a quiet park where I can put Fuwawa off-leash safely while Shiitake and I ran around. I suppose I can bring my camera and tripod there, but it is not easy while handling two dogs. These are not two happy go-lucky dogs as well, Fuwawa gets startled easily while Shiitake is scared of strangers.

Since today is weekend, my husband can help with the dogs while I took pictures. I rarely take pictures outdoor because I’m embarrassed if people see me. But this park is very quiet, I think I should take more outdoor pictures here!

Lola woven pants Lola woven pants

I’ve been hearing about the goodness of sewing patterns by Style Arc all over the sewing blogs so I finally got my first one. Style Arc is based in Australia but they ship internationally. The patterns are not multi-sizes, so it means that you have to choose a size closest to your body measurement.

Lola woven pants / picture from Style Arc website

Lola woven pants / picture from Style Arc website

My first pick was actually Kate dress, a wrap dress pattern for knit fabric. The Lola pants was a freebie for each pattern purchase in November. From the description on the website: “Lola woven pant: The new pull-on pant pattern of the season featuring a soft drape through to a narrow leg opening. Optional angled zip pockets and elastic back hem detail. The centre front waistband panel eliminates the bulk of a regular elastic waist pull on pant therefore is very flattering, fashionable and comfortable.”

I made the pants in size 6, the only alteration was shortening the legs about 6 cm. I didn’t put zipper on the pockets and also omitted the back hem elastic.

The instructions are quite brief with not too many diagrams, but they get the job done well enough. I love that the pattern is printed in 49 gsm weight paper, which is much more strong and durable than the usual tissue paper. It means that I don’t have to worry when folding the pattern and store them.

Lola woven pants Lola woven pants

The pants are quite comfortable as it has elasticized waist. The flat center panel reduced the bulk usually caused by these kind of pants. It is a nice addition in my wardrobe as I don’t have too many separates at the moment. Making more tops and bottoms is part of my unofficial sewing resolutions this year. The other resolution is to use up my stash of fabric and if I really have to buy more fabric, I can only buy solid neutral color. It is unofficial though….

Pattern is Lola pants by  Style Arc, size 6.

Sewing in 2013

Can’t you believe that it is already the end of the year again??

As usual I love to put together all things that I have sewn in one post to see how I have been doing this year. Some pieces got worn a lot, and some don’t get much wearing time. I think it helps me to see what I should be making next or what kind of style that I’m into at this moment.

For myself: tops, pants, skirt, a coat, a bathing suit, and as usual more dresses!
Velvet Tiramisu Dress Butterick 5601 Robson coat Scout woven tee and Moss skirt McCall Pineapple dress (Vogue 8901) Bombshell swimsuit Fruit jersey dress (Vogue 1351) Shweshwe Hazel dress Garnet tops Garnet tops Garnet tops Jamie jeans Laurie tee Zebra print lady skater

Lingerie: Still continuing my journey in lingerie-making. I also made a corset!

Lace Racerback Bralette Here Kitty Kitty lingerie setBaby blue gingham setPink set

Push-up longline bra Strapless bra

Nude and black slip Red plaid set Dotty red set

For Sidra: Not too many, mostly pants  because it seems that he is growing in such a fast rate nowadays. I made him a jacket every autumn, and this year it is a cape per his request.

Checker print shirt Green corduroy sarouel Grey sarouel Banana cut pants Denim knee-length pants Shweshwe Sarouel Boy tee and dog hoodie

For my husband: Err… just a pair of jeans so here’s a single big photo of the jeans (-_-;) He recently asked for a long-sleeved T-shirt so maaaybe I can make one before the end of the year (which is tonight??).


For the dogs: We started to foster dog this year so I have another one to sew for! I love making pet clothes as they are small and such perfect projects for recycling old clothes. When the dogs got adopted, they got to take the clothes with them so I can sew for the next foster. One of the happiest news this year is that we finally adopted one of the foster!

Dog onesies Dog onesies

Also: a yoga mat bag for my sister in law.

Yoga mat bag

I finally got a pixie haircut after negotiating with Sidra for 6 years. Although it is not directly sewing-related, but the hair kinda affects my choice for the next sewing projects. Maybe it shouldn’t have to, but I can’t help thinking if those dresses in my wardrobe still suit my hair or not. I got bored with myself frequently and always tried to make changes, although sometimes subtle, to my appearance. So maybe it is time to explore other style of clothing than what I usually wear in the past. Let’s see what 2014 will bring!

Have a happy holiday and see you next year!

Zebra print Lady Skater dress

Zebra print lady skater Zebra print lady skater
To tell you the truth, I’ve never heard of Kitschy Coo before they released the Lady Skater dress pattern a few months ago. Every version of the dress that popped up around the net is looking so good that I couldn’t resist joining the bandwagon.

Here’s the description of the Lady Skater dress pattern from the Kitschy Coo website: “This funky yet functional knit dress has a fitted bodice, scooped banded neckline, a curved flared knee-length skirt, and options for trimmed cap sleeves, or banded ¾ length sleeves or long sleeves. It’s designed to flatter the figure with a waistline that hits at the natural waist and a skirt that gently skims over the lower waist and hips.”

I made the long sleeved version in size 2 with shortened bodice alteration of about 2.5 cm. My fabric is rather transparent zebra print jersey that I bought locally. The instructions are very clear and even come in two versions, one version with step by step photos, and the concise with only a list of steps. I think this is great because I can read the whole thing first and then use the list as a reminder along the way.

Zebra print lady skater Zebra print lady skater

I also love the instructions to stabilize the shoulder seams and waistline seams with clear elastic. I think I’m going to use this trick the next time I’m sewing knits. Almost all the seams were done on my serger except for topstitching the neckline binding and finishing the hem. I use knit blindstitch setting on my sewing machine for the hem.

Zebra print lady skater Zebra print lady skater

It was quite a quick project and I love the result! The skirt flares nicely and the fit is great. Too bad the zebra print fabric is rather transparent so I have to wear something underneath, but I can see more Lady Skater dresses in my future! Please excuse my shoeless feet in tights. I took photos in the tatami room so I couldn’t wear shoes except for some slipper boots. You can also see that I still have some leftover to turn Okowa into a zebra!

Zebra print lady skater Zebra print lady skater

 Pattern is Lady Skater dress pattern by Kitschy Coo (PDF), size 2.

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