Tuesday, December 22, 2015

a tale of remnants

I have this fushia silk crepe remnant from my previous project and I kept thinking what to do with it. I spent sometime analyzing my own wardrobe to find ways to expand it yet defines my style. I realized that all of my dresses and skirts are handmade yet all of my jackets are RTW in "safest" colors possible (blacks, blues and greys).

I'm always interested in making my own jacket that I bought this book ages ago and had signed up for 3 online courses. Plus, I always wanted to have a jacket in bold color.

An opportunity presented itself!

I used Butterick pattern 4610 which was provided with one of the online courses. I shortened the bodice by an inch and half, which I usually do, made a muslin, tried on and to my relief there were no alteration needed. Perfect!

As I wait for my  sleeveheads and shoulder pads to arrive, I cut the lining and the silk crepe. The lining is a blended shirt material that was a remnant that I actually bought from a fabric store. While I was block-fusing my jacket pieces, I realized that the side front and side back pieces for the lining were missing and I didn't have any fabric left! So rushed back to the fabric store. Unfortunately, the store didn't restock the same fabric of the same print, so I have to settle with another *sigh*

The button, pretty isn't it?

The button down shirt is Vogue 8772 ; I liked this so much I made multiple shirts with this pattern.The skirt is self-drafted, first seen here.

In other news, I participated in Burdastyle's Member Model Holidays Challenge. You can see my entry here. I'll be discussing the pattern modification, cutting and sewing process in my next post.

Until then,

Happy Sewing!

Monday, December 7, 2015

insta-recap: november, 2015

I have to be honest, I didn't do alot of sewing last month. In my defense, temperature finally dropped, the cold season is finally here and all I could think about is having a bowl of comforting soup or having barbeque for dinner. However, I did try something new:

I was watching food channel one evening, and the chef was making a marinade. I didn't get the name of the dish but I realized I got all the ingredients in my pantry: rosemary, thyme, lemon, chili flakes, roasted garlic, olive oil so I gave it a try.

I did tried something fancy and cooked a steak with chimichurri sauce. Plating is, admittedly, not something I am good at but, I am willing to learn.

Finally, got my sewing mojo back on, but my little George disrupted me by sleeping on my project, delaying it even further.

Another new is the Mexican Chicken Soup and Cheese Jalapeno Cornbread which is lovely and for sure, I will make these again.

Christmas is just days away and I am excited!

Catch these in real time via or via 

Until then,

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

insta-recap:: october

As I prep for my next project, here's a little recap of what I've been up to:

These are the cut fashion fabric and lining. Since there is no notches, these are marked "SB" as in "side back" so I won't get confused when I sew the pieces together.

I spent my Muharram holiday learning how to pipe flowers using royal icing. These cuties are supposed to be red in color; I used one of those food color paste that comes in tube packaging but the icing turned pink. So I added liquid food color but it turn to orange-red hue instead. When learning something new, making a mistake is inevitable and I have to remind not to beat myself up when I do. Lessons are learnt from those mistakes.

Here are another batch of cuties: the "petals" looked more refined than of the  first batch. The above cuties, because of the added liquid food color, the royal icing had thinner consistency so the different consistency gives different results. Lesson learnt! Plus, I found a reason for me to make more cupcakes!

I'm a selective eater, meaning there are still some dish that I avoid.   Its primarily the reason why I want to know how to cook: there are some dish that I want to know or cuisine that I want to explore. On this particular evening, mom made a fish stew which I avoided eating by making myself a spaghetti carbonara. I think I overcooked the eggs this time but, I didn't care.

Finally, I made a dress!

Catch these in real time via or via 

Until then,

Sunday, October 25, 2015

the sew must go on

Whenever I walk in to a fabric store, I usually don't have a specific project in mind.  My decision-making process happens when I check the fabric details: print, texture, width, or how it drapes, if it reminds me of certain silhouette or lifestyle I saw on website, magazine or sewing patterns I have already pinned; if its a yes, then I'll start negotiating for a good price. The process would be in reverse if I'm making a formal evening dress.

Around 3 weeks ago, I went to a store that has a good selection of brocade and jacquard fabrics. I haven't been to this store for a long while (like 3-4 years) since price went way over my budget range, I only went in as there was a massive "sale" sign on their showroom window. I have to make a cocktail dress though I didn't have specific silhouette in mind. The first few fabrics I saw was too shiny for my taste; the owner suggested to head upstairs to see their other range of fabric. I went and met the most annoying salesman - ever! I am not exaggerating but he kept asking the question "what are you looking for? cotton? print?" like every minute! So I explained what I was trying to make yet, he kept asking the same question. Mom insisted I have to make up my mind. What was I was seeing around me didn't stimulate me to think creatively, so I look onto my phone and found this:


This silhouette reminded me of Princess Sheath dress I made twice (here and here) Finally, something clicked! I knew it's impossible to find a similar print, so I settled with this:

I also got my notions, and lining for the project. I adjusted the pattern - raise the neckline and chopped off 3/8" across the bodice (somewhere in-between the arm cycle) - made the muslin and it was as fitted as I thought it would. As I lay my patterns to the fashion fabric I notice that the motif has 'direction' (see those smaller motifs around the big one?) and there are chances that the big motif would be on my derriere... Sugar, Honey, Ice Tea!

Plan B.

It was almost midnight and I got less than a week to make my dress; so dig in to to my stash, luckily I found this brocade and jacquard:
Hacking Process: Fashion Fabric part 2

I also got black habutai silk, thread and invisible zipper. The brocade fabric has a small width (44/45") so I didn't went obsessively match the motif at every seam; the reverse side has this rows of colors so I did try to match those so at least there would be a sense of continuity to it (you get what I mean, right?).

Darlene made this: "Hacked" Princess Sheath

Darlene made this: "Hacked" Princess Sheath

I made an obi-belt with the jacquard fabric. I didn't make it too wide as I have a short torso.

Darlene made this: "Hacked" Princess Sheath

Here's some pictures, taken at the party:

Darlene made this: "Hacked: Princess Sheath

Darlene made this: "Hacked: Princess Sheath

Until then,

Sunday, October 4, 2015

insta-recap:: september, 2015

I'll be posting about my recent project soon, at the meantime, you can follow me via:

 A glimpse of the cutting process and the finished bodice of the dress I made recently.

My family and I celebrated the feast of my hometown with my variation of Fresh Lumpia which I served along with a fiesta-staple Menudo.  This is my variation of my mom's variation of lumpia, I know sounds confusing. My mom's variation of this recipe, since she doesn't know how to make fresh lumpia wrapper, is sauteed shrimps, green beans, julienne carrots & jicama with thickened sauce and minced fresh garlic and chopped toasted peanuts. I, like my mom, doesn't know how to make fresh wrapper, so I wrapped the sauteed veggies with plain crepe. Traditionally, the sauce or at least all of what I have tasted in the past, is a thickened and sweetened broth with minced raw garlic - which I never really appreciated. So instead, I made this sauce using shrimp broth, peanut butter, soy sauce, brown sugar (just a *hint* of sweetness) and seasoned with salt pepper. So my variation is more like a sweet & savory crepe, a very eclectic but, my family loves these and that's what really matters. 

New fabric in my stash! I supposedly shopping for suiting/coat fabric but I bought this instead. Well, it looks so pretty I can't resist. I've been contemplating to make Alder shirtdress for so long; maybe its about time. 

I missed having heavy breakfast, so I made some chicken longaniza which I served with fried rice and fresh tomatoes. I have made this before, but my earlier version was too dry but this time it wasn't as I added some pork. There was some pork chunks sitting in my fridge, I just cut the fat part of it, put it in a food processor and added it to a mixture. 

I was working on my project  last week and my tailoring chalk fell from the table :( 

Until then, 

See you on my next post!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

a series of unfortunate events

Darlene made this: Cocktail dress

This is the dress I made for my sister. Inspired by a 1950's cocktail dress using a saree fabric. The bodice is based on Burda pattern Princess Sheath Dress and I drafted the skirt pattern based on this tutorial

 The saree has a beautiful border, I tried my best to carefully place the pattern so the border would match along the seam:

Darlene made this: Cocktail dress - Borders

Bodice is lined and interlined with lightweight cotton; while the skirt is interlined with tulle and is lined with a lightweight cotton. 

The dress is a tea-length cocktail dress but because of the fullness of the skirt I decided to sew a horsehair braid at the hem.

When I was making this dress, I thought I will not be able to finish on time - I was down for 3 days with a flu, broke my needles twice and I ran out of scallop lace trim (for the skirt lining hem).

But when the day came for my sister to wear this, it rained. My sister and I stayed home and spent the night watching old episodes of our favorite TV show.

Until then,

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


I'm currently working on two big sewing projects so for the meantime, you can follow me via

I ventured again into bread making recently *successfully* this time. My earlier attempt were disastrous: I did dehydrate the dried yeast with water that was either not warm enough or too hot. I finally learn the correct temperature and made some of my favorites: (on the left) Pan de Sal (salt bread) and (on the right) Ensaymada (brioche covered with butter and grated cheese).  

Its monsoon season in other part of the world - - I definitely missed the rain and a bowl of warm and comforting bowl of soup.  So I cooked Lomi

I spent my Eid al Fitr holidays sewing 3 more of V8772; my first can be seen here. My first plan was to sew more projects, but the holidays was shorter than anticipated so I settled with these. 

My gym shorts and my first tee; blogged here

I bought another vintage sewing pattern and my collection is growing - oh my!

I was excited that I saw some fresh banana leaves at the grocer the other day. My excitement drew attention of some shoppers that they've approached me and asked if I eat these leaves! ***not funny*** I cooked Maja Mais (mah-ha-ma-is) a variation of a coconut pudding with corn kernels and butter. The pudding was set in a spring-form pan lined with banana leaves. 
And finally a weekend roast. Ina Garten's Perfect Roast Chicken. I first made this many Christmases ago and my family loved it. Since then, they requested this every now and then often times I use chicken thighs while I would cook the whole chicken for celebratory dinners. 

See you on my next post!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

making a start

Basic Tee via
Gym Shorts, free pattern

I made a start. 

I've been excising since last month. No, its not that I want to lose weight but because I want to be healthy and fit. I am enjoying the comfort of the modern life - I drive a car that takes me from point A to B, arriving to a shopping mall minutes after its opening hours so I could park near to its entrance, use conveyor or elevator whenever possible and always grateful to those who always let me cut in line at the payment counter whenever I have 1 or 2 items with me.

So since last month, I started living a healthier lifestyle via exercising. I bought DVD and exercise every morning for 30-minutes, 5 days a week at my home. I prefer exercising at home - free from shaming (first discussed here)

I made a start.

Sewing-wise, these are the first shorts that I made. Regardless of how many years I've been sewing or garments I've sewn, making pants is a new territory for me. For sometime, I want to learn how to make pants yet I stayed away because of the technique required  intimidates me - installing fly-front zipper, sewing belt carrier, pockets, etc., - hence, I started to conquer my fear by making these. I do hope I will build up new skills as I move to more complicated project. I made 3 of these - blue (above), white and pink as seen here.

I've worked with woven fabrics A LOT (and rarely with lace) but knits scares me. And because a simple tee could sometimes costs a fortune, I decided to give it a try. So I signed up for this course and made my first tee and it made me confident enough to make this dress.

Until then,

Thursday, July 9, 2015

insta-recap july, 2015

We're half way through the Holy Month of Ramadan and it's 45C outside. I stay indoors yet trying my best to bear the heat in the kitchen, literally. I lined up my sewing projects anticipating for the long Eid holiday, at the meantime, you can follow me via:

Darlene cooked this: Mustard Chicken

The scorching heat of the summer made me lazy to cook. I marinated these chicken thighs the night before, put in the oven late afternoon and voila! Mustard Chicken for dinner! Roasting didn't require me to be in the kitchen as my dish cooks - just let the oven do its job.

Homepage, baby!My dress made it to the Burdastyle homepage! Darlene cooked this: Chicken Pastelle
Chicken Pastelle is a dish I learnt when I was in high school. No, it wasn't a part of home economic class but rather it was a packed lunch brought by one of my friends. I liked it so much that I was shameless to ask for the recipe. It's chicken sauteed in onion, garlic and celery, then add mushroom, waterchestnut, carrots and a can of condensed mushroom soup. It is still one of my favorites.

Darlene cooked this: Lentil Soup

Though I am not a Muslim, I cook something light for Iftar for my family everyday during the Holy Month of Ramadan (since I only cook on weekends). So whenever the clock hits 5pm, my family asks me what I'm going to cook for them. This time however, I didn't plan my dishes - just raiding my cupboard and fridge and see what I could come up with. This one of the dishes I came up with: Shrimp Scampi.

I made alot of soups. Far too many that, my mom often teased me that if she'll visit me in my house someday, I'll be serving her nothing but soup. It was an irony that she actually asked for a soup the other day - HA! So I made a batch of lentil soup.

Darlene's Fit and Flounce Jersey Dress

And finally, the dress I made recently. My second fushia (or magenta) dress in my closet - for this year, that is.

Thank your so much for reading...!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

aiming for the stars

From the moment I saw this dress, I knew I have to make it. However, the pattern calls for stretch double knit jersey, something I haven't seen here so is the walking foot and stretch needles that are required for sewing knits.

 Aim for the stars, right?

Luckily, it is reachable. Around 6 weeks ago, I went to my favorite fabric shop and I found 4 or 5 rolls of textured stretch knit in yummy and beautiful colors. I chose fushia, of course. I ordered a walking foot and stretch needles online as soon as I got home.

Once it came, I printed the pattern and grade down the bodice by 2 sizes and the skirt to a size. I also shortened the bodice by an inch and half. I read somewhere that, Burda makes knit patterns too small so, I added an inch for side and back seam allowance for good measure. It was a good call: knit is knit - it hugs to your body too damn well it would require me to wear multi-layers of shapeware.

Honestly, I struggled a bit when I was sewing the neck facing - with those seam allowances, it simply became too thick. Perseverance had prevailed.

I took these pictures in my dining room - it wasn't too messy and has a good light though, pardon me for all the serveware in the background :D

Darlene made this: Fit & Flounce Jersey Dress by Burda

Darlene made this: Fit & Flounce Jersey Dress by Burda

Darlene made this: Fit & Flounce Jersey Dress by Burda

Pretty godets!

Darlene made this: Fit & Flounce Jersey Dress by Burda

I initially thought, I would be using invisible zip but I wasn't able to find a zip of the same color. There was zipper I found of the same color however, it was an old fashioned one. But a lap or center zipper looked odd to me so,  I dug deeper into my stash and found this metal zipper. It worked.

Darlene made this: Fit & Flounce Jersey Dress by Burda

I handpicked a 5/8" grossgrain ribbon as zipper guard. Here's a closer look:

Darlene made this: Fit & Flounce Jersey Dress by Burda

By the way, I used an inch wide woven fusible interlining - just to prevent the knit from stretching as I sew the zipper.

Off to a dinner party:

Darlene made this: Fit & Flounce Jersey Dress by Burda

The dress is too pretty so I didn't want to wear so much accessories. I think I should have shortened the skirt by 1 1/2 to 2 inches - - maybe next time.

Darlene made this: Fit & Flounce Jersey Dress by Burda

I like this pic; its blurry though :(

Thank you so much for reading...!

Wishing my Muslim readers a Ramadan Kareem...!

Happy sewing, everyone..!