29 Sep. 2009

Fourth project - refashioned dress

This is the No. 3 in this post so you can see how it all started. It was a very plain top of my mom's and she left it here and I sometimes wore it. But I didn't really like it coz it's too plain. But the fabric is very nice so I left it in my 'refashion' bin. Now it's given a new life and I guess DD can wear it for a couple of years since it's quite a lot bigger than the one that I made the pattern from. This is my favourite project of the day. :)

My post on wardroberefashion.

Third project - Yellow skirt

I made this peasant blouse and I thought I needed to make something to go with it. So I used the remnant to make a skirt. The fabric was not big enough to make an interesting skirt so I used a piece off the big white bed spread to make an 'under' skirt. I think it's quite interesting although it does look weird to me. DH felt kind of the same way and he decided to tell me the 'under' skirt looks too 'under'. So I guess I'll have to make some modifications. I'm thinking about taking the bottom part of the white under skirt to make a ruffle for the outer layer. I may try it when I have time.

Almost finished second project - jumper/dress

I overestimated my handsewing speed. I couldn't finish the first project on the train yesterday. And I couldn't finish the second project today either. Obviously making clothes takes more time than making bibs I'll have to say. And my eyes (not just my fingers) are so sore during and after handsewing that I decided to give up and finish the unfinished project on my sewing machine.

This is related to No. 4 in this post . It was very difficult for me to work out how to sew it on the train. And finally I made the mistake by sewing the wrong way and when I turned out the right side it couldn't make right. So I had to rip the last seam. I finished it off on the sewing machine after folding and ironing. Now it's ready for snaps before it can be worn.

It's reversible, which I haven't done for a long time.

28 Sep. 2009

Finished first project in my sewing queue

I just love the peasant blouses! To make a matching item, I used the remaining of the fabric to make a skirt. The fabric wasn't enough so I cut a piece off the remainder of the big white bed spread and made a ruffled piece to make the skirt long enough. Now I guess it's long enough for her to wear for a few years!

This cute fabric was given to me by my mom last year.


I saw this Qipao that was hand sewn by a mom and decided to try for my DD too. So I took out the Qipao DD wore at kindy's Chinese New Year celebration last summer and traced out a pattern. I cut out some fabrics and this project is in my sewing queue. I'll post photos when I finish.

Making my own patterns

I find myself starting to learn how to make my own patterns. Or maybe I started long time ago and I just got some progress recently. I guess I'm the kind of person who prefers doing everything from scratch with minimal aid. Maybe it's because I hate anything commercial, or maybe I just hate spending money.

I've browsed a lot of Chinese websites where people discuss about making their own clothes and upload their own books which have illustrations to tell you how to make your own patterns. After seeing many many photos, I kind of have an idea of the basic shapes of the basic patterns, and I've also got a bit of idea of some simple variations. I find myself starting to try to draw the simple patterns on a piece of scrap paper and think about how it'll work and find errors and modify it.

It seems that there's no real sized patterns produced in China. All the patterns are illustrated on books with measurements (which I can't understand) and you need to work out your own from the books. I think it's great because you don't rely on commercial patterns. Thinking of how much it costs to buy a commercial pattern for RRP price, it'll save the sewer a big amount of money by just making her own patterns. I used to buy patterns at half price sale in Spotty but they were still too expensive for me. Then I bought a lot of vintage patterns from charity shops for 50c to $1 each. Then I realized that most of them are quite similar. Maybe just some small details are different and it's called another pattern.

I remember when I was little I saw my mom drawing out her patterns using chalks (maybe sewing chalks) straight on fabrics before she cut them out, or cutting her patterns from newspaper for future use. These techniques cost almost nothing, yet you get a very good fit because you use your own measurements to make the pattern, not the approximate commercial pattern.

I also find using commercial pattern is annoying because the paper is too big and I need a big room to lay it out and I need some kind of transparent paper to trace the pattern so I have to spend money on buying the transparent paper too. Newspaper cost nothing as we receive community newspaper twice a week.

I don't think I'll buy any more patterns. I believe the patterns I've got at the moment can give me enough inspirations to design my own clothes.

26 Sep. 2009

cutting my top

I ran out of fabrics to make myself clothes so I bought 9.5 metres of dressing fabrics and 4 pieces of scraps from the remanent shop at Sydenham for $23 in total. The scraps were about 1 metre each so I reckon I could make some garments out of them.

This is the black scrap. I knew it would be nice for some tops. I guess I could make one top out of it but I decided to try to make two, by combining it with other dressing fabrics. So I folded the pattern to waistline and cut out the top part of the top, and cut out some rectangles from the scrap of this dress to complete the bottom part of the top.

It's in my sewing queue (I guess I've cut out at least 8 garments so far to sew on the train) and hopefully I can post a photo of the finished project soon. I think it'll be very exciting.

Lots of work today

I spent a lot of time today in the sewing room. Here's only a small part of what I've done:

1. I wanted to sew a new sleep bag for DD so I took out this big Tshirt that no one in the house wants to wear:

Laid the current sleep bag on it:

Cut out the shape. And because it's not long enough I took out a part of the remaining of the big white bed spread and cut out the bottom part:

I'll use polar fleece as the outer layer for warmth:

2. I couldn't part with the scraps after I made DD the peasant blouse so I cut them into strips and hoping to make some ruffles for future use. I reckon it's a great idea to use scraps:

3. This dress was one of DD's favourites last summer. I guess this summer it's gonna be too small. So I want to try to make a bigger one for her using one of my Tshirts:

I'm gonna be very mean and try to use every little bit from the tshirt:

4. I made a dress/jumper pattern out of another favourite dress of DD's:

And cut out a few dresses to sew on the train:

I think DD will have some very colourful dresses this coming summer!

peasant blouse

I came across this tutorial and gave it a go and I was very happy with the result. Following the tutorial I made up my own pattern:

This is how it turned out:

In action:

Even DH said it looks very nice.

free fabrics from the fabric store

I got these free fabrics when I visited a fabric store close to work. The blueish fabrics are very long and stretchy. I'm wondering what I can do with them?

23 Sep. 2009

new seat belt covers

I made these seat belt covers a couple of days ago. I made two trial versions and they'd been working in the cars for over a year before I finally realized how dirty they were and decided to make new ones to replace them.

The top 2 are denim and bottom 3 are quilting cotton I believe, all from my scraps stash. I make seat belt covers because in summer the seat belts scratches my skin (due to less clothes and more exposure of skin), so it has to be cotton.

The other side all polar fleece, all from my scraps stash too, just to add some cushion and comfort:

The size is about 20cm x 15cm. I use snaps to fasten them around the seat belts.

I was trying to take a photo of them in action after I made them at night and the camera couldn't focus well. Below is the only good photo where one of them is on DD's carseat coz she insisted she should have a share too....

17 Sep. 2009

Mandarin Peel Tea

I've been making this mandarin peel tea at work (as recently we've bought a lot of mandarins and I hate to throw things out when I know I can put them into good use) and my colleagues are all surprised and curious about it. So I thought I might share it with my blog world too.

This was widely used at my hometown in China and my parents and grandparents all drink it. Here's how:

When I eat mandarins I peel the skin off. I keep the skin and leave it to dry. I normally leave it for at least 1 day at our air-conditioned office. Then I put it in boiling hot water just like tea, and drink it when I can drink it. It smells nice either warm or cold. When I finish drinking the water I just keep refilling it with new boiling water so the peels from one mandarin can last me at least one day (I drink at least 2 litres a day at office). For the safety of my stomach I don't normally use the old mandarin peel that's been used the day before.

Here you go, free refreshing tea!

I've got a lot of lavender in my yard and wonder if I can make lavender tea as well?

16 Sep. 2009

15 Sep. 2009


My first stencil trial. I'm so excited. I've been researching on stenciling for a few weeks and finally bought a scarlet acrylic paint, knives and some brushes today from the discount shop close to work. I chose red coz I know it'll be bright and will suit my little girl.

So I cut a piece of the homemade freezer paper I made the other day and cut out a 'butterfly'. Then I ironed the piece onto DD's white skirt and painted over it.

Then I thought the colour was too rich so I added a few drops of water into the paint and mixed it and did another few butterflies.

Then I (couldn't wait till they were dry before I) heat set the butterflies with a scrap fabric between the skirt and the iron.

Here you can see the one I did without water doesn't show up on the wrong side of the fabric, but the ones with water soaked into the fabric and show up on the wrong side of the fabric. I guess next time I won't mix in any water.

It's not to bad for me for the first try. Very encouraging. I'll definitely try again when I have time. DD will have red butterflies everywhere on her clothes soon.

cot rail cover

The cot rail has been suffering from DD's jumping and climbing so DH has to constantly fix it. I had enough and cut a rectangular fabric and sewed up a tube to put the cot rail in so hopefully it won't be as easy to break again.

13 Sep. 2009

Shorts for DD

I did quite some sewing today, which made me feel so good. :)

In the morning I made a pair of shorts for DD. It's been 30 degrees this weekend and we're updating her wardrobe. I notice that she needs some more short pants. I used this pattern (I think!) to make this pair.

I made two pairs of pants for DD long time ago, and she never really wore them because they were my 'trial' versions and they didn't work well. But they were very wide which made them easily 'refashionable'. See I cut them and added some embelishments from my scraps and made them into shorts:

They look much better on DD than on the carpet. But DD wouldn't stay still so there's no way I can get a photo of her trying them on. Maybe I'll try again later.

The following shorts were made in a similar way. The original pants were too short and I love the fabric and the embelishments I already made so I made them into shorts as well:

Going back to find the post about the original pants reminded me there're FIVE other similar pairs of pants that I can refashion into shorts. It's exciting!

12 Sep. 2009

refashion - from my jeans to DD's pants

I had these two pairs of jeans, the left pair too big and the right pair too skinny. I kept them in my wardrobe for years and don't want to wear them. I finally gave up and decided to refashion them into DD's pants.


Scrap fabrics that I selected for embelishments:

The white embroidered fabric was cut from one of my DD's dresses during another refashion. I loved the little embroidery work and kept it hoping one day it can show up somewhere else.

I sewed it onto the back side of one of the new pair of pants:

Done. Isn't it pretty...


I like freedom so I didn't deliberately keep it straight. It wiggles like a little snake.

Skinny jeans into DD's pants:


The other pair with more wiggly ruffles:

Two together.

I used different patterns to make them (I don't know why!). The more wiggly pair is this pattern (I think! I'm quite confused now...) and the other pair is this pattern. I know this pattern is for knits but it works well on woven fabrics too. (I only found out because I didn't know I was suppose to use knits in the first place. )

My wardroberefashion post.