From Malaysia to Melbourne and now Michigan, sharing my experiences, tales and passions with anyone who will listen (or read)!

Category: Sewing

It’s getting cold in here! = Vogue V8854 Tunic

Right at the end of August, I decided that I should probably start making some clothes for when the weather gets a little colder. So I chose a pattern from my collection (i.e. bought but hadn’t gotten around to making in the last couple of years) and bought the fabric. I was ready to go. That pattern was a sleeveless tunic off Vogue 8854:


Fast forward a couple of weeks, and I still hadn’t made this tunic. The weather suddenly turned. It became harder to get up in the mornings, and we even had a 10 degree Celsius (50 Fahrenheit) day. Almost Melbourne winter temps. Almost. At that point I thought that maybe I had missed the boat for wearing a sleeveless tunic/vest!

The daytime temperature rose a bit last weekend, so I approached this project with ‘fervour’ (as the hubs described it) this week to ensure that 1) I have something to wear on those colder mornings that didn’t quite require a full jacket, yet 2) I have sufficient time to wear it before it gets too cold and I have to wear a jacket.

I had originally envisaged this as a more casual top, sort of like a vest. Goodness knows what gave me that impression, considering the packaging told me it was a TUNIC. So I made it, with some modifications (of course), and tried to style it for a catch-up with some friends this morning. I ended up being far more dressy that I would normally be (give me trackies and a hoody on any cool/cold day) but I guess it encouraged me to take some photos with me in it to show you, which I wouldn’t normally do (cue awkward posing!).

Finished tunic:

Vogue8854-1 Vogue8854-2 Vogue8854-3

Made the back hem longer for added styling. Used some bias trim I made (woohoo! my love affair with bias trim continues) on the inside of the sleeves and the back hem, so I wasn’t just showing an exposed hem. I actually shortened the overall length, so I’m not sure if it qualifies as a tunic anymore. It’s too short to be worn on its own/as a dress now.

And here is how I wore it today:


Mustard is just about my favourite actual colour (others are black white and blue lol). Excuse the knee crease in my jeans and the funny turnout on the back hem. Both the result of a fun 2.5 hours this morning with Kookaburras πŸ™‚


Myrtle by Colette Patterns (Versions 1 and 2 mashup)

It’s been a while since my last post – the last few weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind – and this will be a short post, but I needed to share.

I finally got around to purchasing a pattern from Colette Patterns – very cute blog with sewing patterns for even cuter clothes that I first heard about while living in Australia. The pattern I bought was their latest – the ‘Myrtle‘, a pattern for beginners. The website has done sewalongs for their patterns in the past, and this was no exception. I bought the pattern, fabric and notions, and eagerly anticipated the start of the sewalong…

Unfortunately, the challenges and activities that come along with moving to a different country prevented me from following the sewalong as the various instalments were released. BUT I eventually got some time to do it, and I’m so glad I did.

The finished garmet:


Baroque Myrtle 1


Baroque Myrtle 3

Ok peeps, ‘sewing talk’ from here on in πŸ™‚

In the introduction to this pattern, the creators had this to say:

A quick make with a fun twist

Like most knits, Myrtle is a quick sew (and it’s pretty fast in a woven too).

With only four main pattern pieces (plus pockets), cutting time is minimal. Just like Mabel and Moneta, you can whip this baby up in a matter of hours.

Plus, it is honestly really fun to put together. Myrtle has a clever self-lined front bodice that is cut all in one piece, folded, and sewn to help give a clean finish inside.

Now although I made this dress, I won’t call this a pattern review. I don’t kid myself that I have the expertise to critique what could have been done better or easier, etc. However, I will say that while I was making this dress I found it, for the most part, a breeze. And let’s be honest here, they had me at ‘pockets’. I LOVE pockets in a dress.

I wanted to a knee-length version, but in the model photos of Version 1, the dress looked below knee length. So I sort of cut the fabric according to the XL length for version 2 (just the length, not the width) and without the shoulder tabs. So I actually just mashed up the 2 version to make what I wanted. Call me lazy. Call it creative. Call it making life harder for myself. I just can’t follow a pattern like I’m supposed to πŸ™‚

The hardest/most time-consuming parts for me were:

1. Trying to match up my fabric pattern while cutting the fabric to ensure the fabric didn’t look TOO disjointed when I sewed the various pieces together. The more I sew, the more I notice this in garments. I know mine still looks disjointed, but I was trying to minimise how obvious it was…

2. Sewing the shoulders – I just found the instructions a little too vague/contradictory. This could be down to my inexperience…

I didn’t do the small bust adjustment even though I really need it, but I did force myself to follow the instructions for sewing the waist band. Normally I would sew the casing, leave a gap, thread elastic through, and close gap. I was very tempted, but I told myself that I should learn a different method of doing it. I think both methods work; what I use next time I need to sew a casing for an elastic band would probably just depend on how I feel πŸ™‚

I have a short torso (torso:leg ratio) so I shortened the top (at the shoulders) and this seemed to help as an alternative to the small bust adjustment. The cowl neck doesn’t flop open as much when I lean over, and the bodice fits me much better. Less slack in the fabric under the cowl. As I mentioned before, I lengthened the skirt so the finished product hit the top of my knee.

Little details make me happy, like this perfectly aligned seam. Hey, if I’m gonna make it myself, I might as well ensure details like that are right, right?! πŸ™‚ No one else will notice, but it makes me far more satisfied about what I make when I’m able to do this.

Baroque Myrtle 2

Long story short: I would definitely keep this in my arsenal of patterns to make again and again, It was quick and with different fabrics, can be dressed up or down. LOVED IT.

Am I biased?

O.M.G. I am IN LOVE. And it’s completely unexpected. It’s not what you think…

Through most of my schooling in Malaysia, there was a subject called (loosely translated) Living Skills or Life Skills. It was a mandatory subject for every student and covered things like woodwork, wiring, gardening, and sewing. I took to the first 2 with gusto, and the 3rd I managed to pass on the goodwill of my friends because I didn’t (and still don’t) don’t have a green thumb. As for sewing, well, my tomboy rebellious teenaged self in an all girls’ school thought, ‘I’m not doing that. Why would I need to sew? They’re just trying to domesticate me and I won’t fall for that!’. Clearly, I didn’t see it that way when it came to cooking! Do you see the flawed logic of that teenager? πŸ™‚

Fast forward 15 years and not only have I learnt to sew, I actually enjoy it. I’m still at a beginner level but I love having a physical final product.

But back then, it was a different story altogether and this memory illustrates it perfectly. I remember the scene like it was yesterday: our assignment for the term was to make an apron. Now, this shouldn’t have been hard – the whole class was doing it / mainly straight lines / finished off with bias binding – but my care/interest factor: ZERO. Nada. Zilch. It didn’t help that the fabric was this horrible orange-bright pink-yellow flowery polyester blend thing and the bias trim was, from memory, an equally horrendous pink. I wore clothes that were predominantly navy blue, black, and white, thank you very much. We were also in the afternoon session so some of these classes were late in the evening in a poorly lit room, sometimes with the tropical monsoon rain banging down on the tin roofs bringing relief from the humidity…great time to doze off especially when you can’t hear the teacher over the rain… really old Singer sewing machines and slide-in bobbins that I could never work out… the thread would bundle up and jam on me… oh, it just wasn’t working. At all.

Days before I was due to hand in the assignment, I asked my mum if we could get some help with the apron. I still had my main apron piece, the front center pocket and the bias completely detached from each other. (Whoops.) We didn’t have a sewing machine at home at the time, so even though mum knew how to sew, she couldn’t help in that way. She did however pick up the phone to phone a friend (get it?) who was an interior designer and we drove over to this friend’s shop. We chatted with her for the next hour, while one of her workers SEWED THE APRON FOR ME. That’s right. I cheated and got an A! Thanks Mum! πŸ˜‰

Earlier this week, I watched a video by the supertalented Dana at danamadeit about making bias binding. Bias binding is kind of like a strip of fabric you use to add a trim to clothes (like here and here). There are other great uses for it, but this is one of the most obvious examples if you don’t sew. You can easily buy them pre-packaged in a store, but these may not necessarily match your fabric, so an alternative is to make it yourself. I have read tutorials online on how to DIY-it but it always seemed too complicated. Until I watched this video. Dana made it look SO EASY I just had to give it a go! So off I went to buy me a bias tape maker. I also found some cute fat quarter fabric on sale. And this morning I attempted it and that, my friends, is when MY LIFE CHANGED.


Can you belive this? CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS?? I can’t.

Ok, let’s be honest. It wasn’t all smooth sailing. I started off with seams like these:


And my perfectionist side went, ARGH!!! That’s not acceptable.

Then my other, more rationale side said, You dufus. It’s going to be folded in anyway so WHO CARES? (See, I have developed a more rationalse side in the last 15 years. Still developing, though). I tried to get it as close to lined up as possible, but relaxed my standards a bit. I’m sure I’ll get better at it… *Fingers crossed*!


You know what’s crazier? This fabric has pink in it. PINK!!