Fuchsia top

Fuchsia top

Summer is really here! It’s getting hotter everyday so I made another sleeveless top for summer. There is nothing too special about it, the pattern is top R from Stylish Dress Book 3 that I also used for my previous top.

Fuchsia top

The fabric is swiss dot cotton in fuchsia that I really love. It was actually a thrifted dress that I never worn because it kinda look weird on my body. I should have took some ‘before’ pictures of the dress but I cut it up last night so the lighting wasn’t good.

It was a short dress so the fabric wasn’t too much. I managed to use the skirt part for my top and cut the bodice part to make bias strips for finishing the neckline and armholes. Since the fabric is thin, I use french seam for the sides and shoulders, no raw edges on the inside!

I wear it here with my kinda new shorts. You might remember the high-waisted pants that I made sometime ago with vintage McCall’s 4822 pattern. They were never worn because I don’t feel comfortable with the proportion. I decided to shorten the legs and slimmed down the hip. I think they look better now!

Fuchsia top Fuchsia top

Top pattern is top R from Stylish Dress Book 3.
Pants pattern is 1958 Mccall’s 4822, shortened and slimmed down. Original is here.

Summer shorts and top

Summer shorts and top Summer shorts and top

I was thinking of making a pair of shorts for summer and decided to make my own pattern as an exercise in pattern drafting. The shorts have shaped waistband, pleated fronts, front slant pocket, and darts on the back side. I also made cuffed legs and used button fly instead of zipper. The fabric is linen chambray with interesting texture that I’ve used a little for the top part of this dress. The pockets are lined with striped linen, also leftover from the same dress.

Summer shorts and top Summer shorts and top

The result is still not too perfect. There were some (very) faint diagonal lines on the front, might be the results of the pocket lining pulling on the fabric.  The front pleats are also a bit too close to the center front, I would move them a bit to the side if I make them again. The back seemed quite okay though. Maybe I should have made a muslin first, but these fabrics are leftover so I can say that these are very wearable muslin. Or maybe there’s nothing wrong with this pair of shorts at all and I was just too critical. You see, when you make your own pattern, you tend to get too critical of small things like these.

However, I really love the row of buttons and the shaped waistband! The waistband sits perfectly just they way I picture it to be. The shorts were also very comfortable to wear and this really helps me to overcome my initial reluctance to wear anything that define my waist.

Summer top Summer shorts

Summer top Summer shorts Summer shorts

Stylish Dress Book 3, Top R

Stylish Dress Book 3, Top R

I made a simple top to go with the pants. The fabric is nani IRO double gauze, leftover from my husband’s shirt. The pattern is top R from Stylish Dress Book 3 without all the ruffles. I use ready-made double gauze bias tape for the neckline and armhole since the nani IRO fabric was not enough.



I must say that I love this ensemble! It is a bit different that what I usually wear, my wardrobe is mostly consisted of dresses with not too many pants or skirts. But five to six years ago, I only wear jeans and fitted T-shirts, as you can see in this picture of me from 2006. Now I only have one or two fitted T-shirts that I only wear for layering. I guess one’s personal style is always evolving.

Several years ago, I suddenly thought that I didn’t look good wearing jeans, so I’ve been avoiding jeans and pants since then. But now I realize it was probably just bad fitting of store-bought pants. I’m quite small so store-bought pants usually have to be shortened for me and as a result, the fit is not quite right anymore. Since I make my own clothing now, I should be able to make something that really fits me. So I guess I’m starting to get back to wearing pants again!

Shorts pattern is self drafted.
Top pattern is top R from Stylish Dress Book 3.



Camouflage print T-shirt

T-shirt T-shirt


Eiffel thread

Another T-shirt for Sidra, made with cotton knit in muted camouflage pattern. I don’t really like camouflage print, but Sidra asked me to make something for him in this print. I found this fabric in Yuzawaya, Shunjuku. The camouflage print is a bit desaturated, which makes it not as harsh as the original camouflage and actually I kinda like it! It was in the section for babies’ fabric, so the fabric is very soft and comfortable.

I usually use zigzag stitch on my sewing machine for sewing knit fabric, but this time I used straight stitch with special thread. The thread looks like ordinary thread but it has some elasticity in it. This means I can use straight stitch because the stitches are stretchy.

I never heard about this kind of thread before, so I don’t know if it’s available outside Japan. The brand name is ‘Eiffel’ thread, I bought it in Yuzawaya along with the fabric. It was Yoshimi who told me about this thread. Thank you so much, Yoshimi! ^_^

Since the thread is stretchy, the bobbin should be winded up slower to avoid breaking the thread. I practiced on fabric scraps beforehand and decided to use slower speed when sewing the T-shirt. I still use zigzag stitches for shoulder and side seams, while the hem, sleeves and neckline show two rows of straight stitches. They look like coverstitch from the outside, but actually I just topstitched them twice.

T-shirt T-shirt

Unfortunately my little model was not very cooperative for the photoshoot, so I just took a couple of quick snapshots on the stairs before he changed for bed tonight. He’s been wearing it for two days in a row!

P1210646.JPG P1210648.JPG

T-shirt pattern is from クライ・ムキの子供服―Simple+one (別冊家庭画報), with added little pocket.

Yet another floral bra

Cotton bra with lace trim

Cotton bra with lace trim

One shoulder dress

One shoulder dress

I’ve been cutting up my old clothing again! Here’s another dress that I made last year but I’ve rarely worn since. I guess I have problem with showing bare shoulder….

I cut it up to make another non-stretch bra. This time I added a trim along the bustline, made with white stretch lace. The pattern is my usual one, Pin-up Girls Classic Bra #1230 in size 30B with the same alteration as the previous non-stretch bra. I didn’t line the lower cup this time, but topstitch the seam allowances and trim them close to the seamline. This is the suggested way as in the Pin-Up Girls instruction. The red notions are bought as a kit from Merckwaerdigh at Etsy.

This is a pretty pretty bra that are not suitable to wear under close fitting clothing because of the ruffled lace. But sometimes I want to have a pretty bra like this but don’t want to spend money on something that I don’t wear often. So it is nice that I am able to make them myself. What a perfect excuse!

P1210573.JPG I’ve used some of the red elastics for other projects, so the panties aren’t finished yet because I ran out of the elastics. Very annoying, I should have planned it better.

There were several questions about the fit of these bras, so here’s a picture of me wearing them. I hope it can show how they fit me. You can (probably) see that there are wrinkles around the seamline, which is caused by the non-stretch material. Sorry if the picture is all blurred out! (^_^;)

Cotton bra with lace trim Cotton bra with lace trim

Bra pattern is Pin-up Girls Classic Bra #1230 from ElingerieA

Floral lingerie set

Floral lingerie set

I’ve only made one set of lingerie before, but here I am already starting to make experiment. I wanted to know if making a pair of bra from ordinary fabric without stretch is possible, so I made this yesterday after finishing Sidra’s jeans.

Floral tube top

Floral tube top

You know, sometimes you make something that looks good but somehow you never wear just because you never feel like wearing it. It’s the case of this tube top that I made about a year ago. I think I wore it once after that. It looks good, but maybe I just don’t feel too comfortable wearing something that leave my shoulders completely bare. So I decided to cut up this top for my bra experiment.

The pattern is the same as my first bra, Pin-up Girls Classic Bra #1230 in size 30B. The top has pretty embroideries on the edge that I use for the upper cup. I added about 0.5 cm to the length of the upper cup to anticipate the non-stretchiness. Other than that, there was no pattern alteration.

The band was cut on bias, but I did line it with powernet to make it stronger. I use bra notions kit in jeans blue from Merckwaerdigh at Etsy, it has enough supplies to make one pair of bra and panties, not including fabric. I also use underwires, salvaged from my old bra. It does give the bra more shape.

The finished bra is not as smooth as bra made with lycra. With all those embroideries, they are not suitable to be worn under T-shirt. But they look very pretty and surprisingly comfortable! I don’t know if it’s because I don’t have too many things to support, so maybe things will be different for the more well-endowed ladies. I think the bra would be perfect to be worn under thin loose blouse or with the floral straps peeking.

I also made a matching panties. The pattern is from a Japanese pattern book that I borrowed from local library sometime ago. The panties are cut on bias, so  they are stretchy. I love this floral set! The fabric definitely wanted to be a pair of bra than a tube top!

Floral lingerie set Floral lingerie set

Floral lingerie set Floral lingerie set

The band is cut on bias and lined with power net.

Floral lingerie set Floral lingerie set

Matching panties, cut on bias.

A couple more panties that I made before. The white one is made completely of stretch lace. Very easy sewing. It has high waist and is very sexy, leaving half of the lower butt hanging out. They are not very comfortable for me, but I guess there are people who love this style of panties.

The pink one is made with lycra and stretch lace. They are originally in white, but I dyed them red which resulted in this pink colour. Maybe I should let them soak longer for the red color. I also found out that my body doesn’t like working with dyes and chemical, I was coughing a lot when using the dye. Note to self: use mask for next dyeing project.

White lace panties White lace panties Pink panties Pink panties


Bra pattern is Pin-up Girls Classic Bra #1230 from ElingerieA
Floral panties pattern is from an old Japanese pattern book
White and pink panties pattern is Merckwaerdigh Mix30

Boy’s cropped jeans

The newest jeans that I made for Sidra. The fabric is leftover from my husband’s jeans, which happen to be just enough for a pair of cropped jeans. I hate throwing things away! The pattern is my usual self-drafted one, I think I’ve used it for 5-6 times with slight variations. I use red topstitching instead of burnt orange like in my husband’s jeans.

Boy Boy

Don’t worry about that peeping tom in white shirt, it’s just my husband (-_-)

Boy Boy

Sleepy-faced boy is going to school.

Boy Boy

Boy Boy

Sidra is crazy about skull and cross pattern now, so I put a little label on the back pocket.

Boy Boy

The pocket lining is some leftover striped linen fabric. I sewed a casing on the inside of the back waistband and put elastic in it. The elastic has several buttonholes to make it adjustable.

When I was sewing it yesterday, suddenly I got a pang of boredom about sewing pants and felt like, “Ooooh it’s so boring! There’s nothing new anymore.” Well, I’ve made several jeans and pants lately so maybe that was the cause. There was a big temptation to leave it unfinished but fortunately I managed to finish the pants! I’m glad it was finished because unfinished projects always make me feel guilty.

However, I think I should take a break from sewing pants for a while. On the other hand, I just ordered 2 yards of indigo denim to make another jeans for my husband. Maybe I can try installing rivets to make it feel like learning something new again.

Jeans pattern is self-drafted.

Hercules beetle!

What came out of the soil last night!

There were some crackling sound from inside our larva box when we woke up this morning. My husband peeked inside the box and found this huge beetle! After two years of waiting, our larva has emerged as a huge Hercules beetle last night!

I completely missed his pupa stage, which is in between the larva and imago (last stage development of an insect). In Pupa stage, he would stop eating and silently begin the metamorphosis process. This is the most delicate stage, so maybe it was a good thing that we didn’t disturb him at that time. The tip of the horn is a little bent, maybe because of his position during pupa stage. But he is huge! I haven’t measured him properly, but it seems that he’s more than 15 cm in length.

Turning into a beetle: May 30, 2011

He eats beetle jellies

We asked Sidra to gave him a name and he said the beetle will be called ‘Redojiimu‘ (Red Jim). Red Jim? We asked him why? Sidra said, “No reason.” Oh, okay.

After Sidra and my husband left for school and office, I tried to take some pictures of Redojiimu. I put him on my palm so I could use the other hand to operate the camera, but he ran towards my arm! He then bit me when I tried to take him off. Don’t worry, his mouth is underneath those gigantic scissor-like thing, so it was only a bit warm and not painful at all. This beetle has serrated claws on the ends of his legs so they cling to my arm. It took some time to take him off and now my arm is full of tiny red marks.

Anyway, if you ever got the chance to have one of this thing clinging to your skin or clothing, don’t pull it off. It will just make him tighten its grip and you might hurt the beetle by pulling him off. Just pat gently on his back rear and he will move.

What came out of the soil last night!

If you remember my first post about him, we bought him when he was just a tiny little larva in August, 2009. So it took almost two years for him to fully develop and got ready before transforming into a beetle. I feel happy and sad at the same time. After reaching adult stage, a beetle has only a few months left to live. A beetle spent most of his life underground eating and eating for several years. Then one spring, he transform and emerge as a beetle. This is actually the last stage of his life and he only eats very little. Then he will die before winter.

Sidra just found out that Redojiimu will die this year, he was very upset about it. But this is the life cycle of a beetle and we had the chance to experience it by ourselves. We saw him as a tiny little larva and now he’s a giant beetle. Transforming into a beetle is not the beginning of  a journey, it is a journey about to end.

When I think about it, it does make sense. That is why we never see beetles in winter because they all have died. Life is a funny thing.

Aug 31, 2009: here Nov 3, 2009: hercules beetle larva

August 30, 2009; November 3, 2009

March 13, 2010 Hercules beetle larva: July 24, 2010

March 13, 2010; July 24, 2010

Hercules beetle larva: November 20, 2010 Turning into a beetle: May 30, 2011

November 20, 2010; May 30, 2011

Green Bathing Suit

Green Bathing suit Green Bathing suit

Green Bathing suit

Green Bathing suit

So one day I thought that I should try making my own swimsuit. I can’t swim (seriously!), but I do enjoy playing in water and having some good time at the beach. All I have is a set of bikini I bought several years ago and maybe that is more than enough.

But making swimsuit was something that I had never tried and I love to learn new things. Alison is a vintage style bathing suit from Burdastyle, I love how it is one piece but still accentuate all the necessary curves without being too revealing. It is also free, perfect for first project.

A lot of Burdastyle members has warned that Alison is lacking of  helpful instructions. There are only 6 steps in the instructions. The pattern is in 3 sizes but they are all in the same black lines, making cutting the pattern a bit difficult because you tend to forget which lines to follow. There is also no marking lines or points in the pattern. I browsed through a lot of other Alison projects to learn before actually sewing it.

I went to my favorite local fabric store near my house that sell dead stocks fabrics in cheap prices, hoping to find some jersey for my muslin. Instead I found this green swimwear fabric that is less than 10 USD for 2.5 m! I only need 1 yard for the bathing suit, so there would be lots of spare fabrics if I make some mistakes.

Janome Equle CP 4850 stitches

Janome Equle CP 4850 stitches

I mainly use stretch stitch for sewing this bathing suit. You can see it in this picture, stitch no. 6 that looks like lightning. I had expected to find difficulties sewing swimwear fabric, but my Janome had absolutely no trouble.

The breast insert end up too big for my taste, making voluminous gathers on my chest. So I unpicked it (unpicking stretch stitches from swimwear fabric is not really fun!), and cut 5 cm off the length. I made the neck strap longer so it can be tied. My fabric is quite thick and don’t need lining. I also didn’t use bra cups since I don’t like it.

The instruction didn’t mention anything about finishing the legs, so I use elastics. Several member’s projects show additional leg band, which is also a great idea. Since I didn’t have swimsuit elastic, I only use ordinary elastic for the leg. It was attached using zigzag stitch first, then turned in and sewed down again with 3 step zigzag stitch, a method that I learned from sewing lingerie.


Green Bathing suit

The end result is something! I think it looks quite good (my husband said it looks really good!). I was planning to buy some real swimwear fabric after this muslin, but I think I might cancel the plan. This ‘muslin’ is good enough and I don’t need that many swimsuits. Maybe I would buy some swimwear lining for the crotch (I use ordinary jersey from old T-shirt) and swimwear elastic and fix them later.

If you’re planning to make this beautiful bathing suit, I recommend to check out the two links at the end of this post on step-by-step tutorial for sewing Alison by Burdastyle members. I found the links after checking almost all the Alisons in Burdastyle during my ‘research’.

Anyway, I still trying to find out what I’m going to do with 1.5 m leftover of this fabric. My husband and Sidra absolutely refused the idea of matching green swimming trunks!

Pattern is Alison from Burdastyle (Free PDF pattern)

Helpful links:
The Curaçao Swimsuit (review and step-by-step tutorial) at Kitty Couture
The Alison- Bathing suit at My Heart’s Debacle

Men’s Jeans

Pumila Men Pumila Men
I finally finished my husband’s jeans! It seems that everyone has finished their jeans, and Peter has even gone to another adventure in making pajama and playing with his serger. But it is still May, so I guess I’m not too far behind the sew-along…. (^_^;)

Pumila Men

Wearable muslin

The pattern is Men’s Jeans from Pumila, a Japanese pattern shop. If you still remember my muslin, this is my problem with this jeans pattern. There are a bit of pulling and wrinkles around the back crotch area. I have no experience in fitting pants (I only made dresses!), so I really had no clue what to do about it. It seems that a lot of my husband’s pants also have this problem.

I examined several of his pants that have less of this problem, and compared it to the muslin. It turned out that the Pumila pattern has straighter curves than the other pants. My husband is a bit prominent around the bottom area, so that might be the problem.

I added more curves around the back crotch and length on the ‘fork’ area. The crotch is also lowered a bit because it seems too high in the muslin. And maybe that was causing the wrinkles?

Other alterations made were per my husband’s requests: making bigger back pockets and changing the straight shape to a slight bootcut by decreasing the knee around 1 cm all around and added about 2 cm to the width of the hem. I also changed the front pockets to jean’s style instead of slanted pockets like the original pattern and made button fly instead of zipper fly. I used this helpful tutorial on Peter’s blog on how to make button fly.

The fabric was found in a little fabric store near my house. It sat on a dusty shelves with lots of various fabrics. This is a small store owned by an old couple, so it’s not a chainstore. The fabric was less than 10 USD for the whole pants. I thought I can use it as a muslin if it was not a good denim, but after it was sewed and finished, it looks so good!

The alterations I made seem to work out, no more pulling and wrinkles! My husband really liked the jeans when I showed it to him last night. The fit was good and he said they were really comfortable. He liked them so much that he wanted to wear them this morning to the office, so I hemmed the jeans rightaway. He already asked for another pair of jeans. I’m very happy!
Pumila Men Pumila Men

Pumila Men Pumila Men

Pumila Men Pumila Men

I use the selvedge area for waistband to avoid bulk, but at the end I think it doesn’t look too good. Next time I will fold the seam allowance under like in RTW jeans. The topstitching thread is special thread for jeans, made in Japan. It is not as thick as topstitching thread in RTW jeans, my machine has no problem handling it. I love the contrast between the burnt orange against the dark denim.

Pumila Men Pumila Men

A bit of red on the back pocket. The pocket lining is quilting cotton with newspaper print.

Pattern is Men’s jeans from Pumila (paper pattern), altered a bit.

PS: Thank you for all the comments in my previous post! Still can’t believe that I won, the top I made is so simple! Rae just sent me email this morning, informing of these prizes that I won. Oooohhh! (^O^) (+_+)

A guest post and A Best Top!

It is raining outside and the sky is a bit dark, but there are sunshine in my house because I have two wonderful news today!

By now, you must have been following the Free Pattern Month over at Grosgrain blog. If you haven’t, you should check it out! It is a whole month devoted for wonderful free pattern and tutorial by several guests from around the blogosphere, one pattern each day! Kathleen is always so full of ideas!

Scallop hat

I’m so honored to be one of her guest too! Please check out my guest post today where I’m sharing a pattern and tutorial for this scallop hat. This wide-brimmed hat is perfect for summertime. And if you want, you can smooth off the scalloped edge on the pattern to create an ordinary wide-brimmed hat.

The fabric for my hat is orange thick twill fabric that I found in a local fabric store for a very cheap price, and I still have lots of leftover. I use quilting cotton for lining. Sewing this hat is not difficult, the most time-consuming part is the scallops because they need to be done carefully. But careful work will give the best result!

Scallop hat

Guest tutorial post is HERE.

Download the pattern here [wpdm_file id=11]

Free Pattern Month


The second news is: I just found out that my broken striped top has won Judges’ Choice for Best Top in Spring Top Sewalong 2011! I’m so happy! Thank you so much to Rae and the judges! \(^_^)/

Broken Striped top by Novita

Best Top Judges’ Choice


Page 30 of 59« First...1020...2829303132...4050...Last »