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December 23, 2015 / fionamakes

Paxson sweater

Hello, sewing friends! We are on our annual family vacation, so I send greetings from Japan! 

Since it is cold enough, I finally managed to get photos of the Paxson sweater I made for my husband. 

The fabric is a quilted knit with a lovely leaf pattern, that I bought online from Japan. It feels very cozy, but doesn’t have too much stretch. I had some head-scratching moments when I bought the Paxson sweater pattern and found out that it needed fabrics with a significant amount of stretch. 

Eventually I decided to size up one size. I made sure to measure the pattern pieces and realized that I had to shorten the sleeve length. 

Construction was very straightforward. There’s no hemming involved at all since there are cuffs for the sleeves and a hem band. But I found the neckline somewhat perculiar. When I first made the sweater, my husband was away so I tried it on myself when it was done. That’s when I realized that the neckband stood up away from the neck. I hoped that it was did that on me but it was the same on my husband too, as you can see in the first photo. I’ve seen this is a couple of other photos online too. I’ll have to redraft the neckline if I make this again. The husband isn’t too bothered by the neckband thankfully and has already worn it on two trips to wintery climates! 

This will probably be my last post for the year. After our vacation it will be full on get-ready-for-school mode! 

Blessed Christmas, friends! I hope you have a season filled with joy and peace!

December 15, 2015 / fionamakes

Kate top

Hello, friends! I hope you are all well as we head into the Christmas season! 

Today I’m sharing a new top I just made for myself. The pattern is the Kate top pattern from Tessuti. It’s a very simple sleeveless cropped top. Perfect for Singapore’s weather. 

I dug into the stash for this fabric. It’s a Kaufman chambray with a crosshatch texture. Very simple and versatile. 

I had the idea to add a row of sequins around just the neckline. The neck and armhole bindings are applied to the wrong side and then flipped out and sewn down on the outside of the top. After I finished the top, I hand-sewed the sequins on the bias binding, picking up just the top layer of fabric. 

I had the sequins in my stash already! I think I bought them to make Christmas ornaments that never materialized, but at least now I’ve put them to some use. 

Because I chose to sew the option with a higher neckline, the back has a faced slit. A faux mother-of-Pearl button closes the top. I seriously love these buttons as they go with everything. Wish I had more of them but my local shop seems to have stopped carrying them. *sad face*

I am planning one more Kate top with a lace overlay on the front but for that, I want to remove the bust darts. Something to do for next year! 

December 7, 2015 / fionamakes

Hatteras hoodies

My littlest, L, professed such love for my latest Linden sweatshirt that I just had to make her a sweatshirt of her own. And I had just enough of the white quilted knit left over from my Linden. 

I decided to go with the Hatteras hoodie from Hey June patterns, and chose the version that was without the hoodie. I’d bought the pattern on a whim when it was released because it came with a discount. I really like how the side seams twist to the front. It’s a really nice detail. I tried to accentuate that with some silver piping I dug out of my stash. I remember picking up the piping at the store and wondering what I’d ever use it for. Well, good thing I followed through and bought it, huh? 

The sweatshirt has a high-low hem. I decided to use ribbing for neckband, waistband and sleeve cuffs because the quilted knit doesn’t have a lot of stretch. And I like how the color contrast turned out. 

Naturally, big sis had to have her own sweatshirt too, once she laid eyes on little sis’s. 

Hers is made with a steel blue quilted knit, left over from my husband’s yet-to-be-blogged Paxson sweater. Same silver piping but with purple rubbing. E’s gotten to the stage where she really doesn’t like to be matchy matchy with her sister. She’ll get to be matchy matchy with her dad instead, but she’s happy about that prospect!  

The sweatshirts are such a quick sew which is really nice. And the quilted knit feels very cozy. I’m hoping they will work out great when we travel to a wintry climate next week. 

December 2, 2015 / fionamakes

Going away presents 

We are in December! How’d that happen so fast?? 

This and November were pretty busy months for us. Apart from all the travelling that we’ve been doing and will be doing, we’ve also had to fit in saying good bye to several good friends. One family is moving away to a different part of Singapore and so moving on to a different church. And another family will be moving to Thailand to begin a new season of training to become missionaries. For the first time, our children have to say good bye to friends that they’ve known almost their whole lives, and whom they meet and play with regularly every week. It’s been a sad, bittersweet experience for them. 

The family is that moving to Thailand has three girls: the older girl is about my E’s age and the younger twin girls are around N’s age. 

As a going away present, I made a few outfits for the girls. Their mom had a few pieces of fabric that was gifted to her, so that is what I worked with. 

First up, a Roller Skate dress. As the fabric is very striking, I wanted to use a pattern with as few lines as possible. 

I’m really happy with how it turned out. The fabric has a slub texture which made it a little hard to sew but otherwise construction was quick. 

A little triangle button to close off the dress. (And this pic is a truer representation of the color of the fabric.)

Older sister also got a Made by Rae Geranium tunic

This one got the notched collar and raised pink buttons down the back. And for the first time, I went with the gathered skirt. The fabric feels like a cotton batik. 

The younger girls got two Geranium dresses. I’ve made so many Geranium dresses by now that I can whip one out very quickly and that was what I needed since I was working with a time crunch. 

Nothing much to add about these: they just have the basic rounded collar with a pleated skirt. 

Making these dresses felt a little emotional. For me, it was a way to say good bye to their family. As much as we are excited for them, it still feels sad to see them go. Sewing was therapy for me!

November 30, 2015 / fionamakes

Fabric shopping in Hanoi

Wow, I’ve been super swamped by life lately so I’ve had to step back from sewing and blogging in the past couple of weeks. School preparations for next year, a gymnastics competition in Hong Kong, and a short excursion to Hanoi have left me with little free time. But I now have a breather of a couple of weeks before we take off for our family vacation so I’m hopeful I can catch up on the blogging front. 

I thought I’d share a little about the fabric shopping part of my trip to Hanoi just this past weekend. We decided to check out Ninh Hiep fabric market, which we were told is more of a wholesale market so prices would be significantly cheaper than elsewhere. We had a couple of local Vietnamese friends to help us in getting there. 

Some scenes as we walked to the market after the taxi dropped us off. It’s not immediately obvious how to get there so I was very glad to have our local guides! 

Once you get in the market, it’s just rows and rows of fabric shops. I was feeling pretty overwhelmed so I didn’t get a good picture. But I did buy two pieces of fabric at a steal. 

The quilted knit was less than USD4.50 a meter while the cotton lace was less than USD3 a meter. They were too good to pass up!

Later that day, I walked over to Hang Bo in the Old Quarter, which is where we were staying. Hang Bo is basically their sewing street. I saw all manner of sewing notions from thread snips to interfacing to zippers.

There were also a lot of buttons. Seriously. 

I also made my way to Dong Xuan market, which is a huge market selling everything from dried foods to toys and souvenirs, to fabric on the second floor! I chose two pieces of striped knit. Prices here are higher than at Ninh Hiep market, but Dong Xuan really is a lot easier to get to. 

I’m thinking maybe a couple of Maritime knit tees for these! 

I really liked Hanoi, more than I expected to. The local people are very friendly and helpful. We attended a cooking class and a leather craft workshop, and both were great experiences. I also learnt what a silkworm and a fried patty of river worms taste like. Can’t say that I’d recommend those but apart from that, Hanoi was fantastic!


November 12, 2015 / fionamakes

A basic City Stroll skirt

Hello, friends! I seem to be losing steam on the sewing and blogging front, now that it’s the end of the year. The kids are off their regular school schedules and holidays are imminent, which means sewing time will be drastically reduced. Good thing I have a few more things that I’ve sewn but have not yet blogged. 

After my first City Stroll skirt, I decided that I needed one more, but in a basic color that would go with more of my tops. 

The fabric is a lightweight cotton indigo fabric that could pass for denim if it were any heavier. I really like the dark indigo color. 

The pockets and hem facing were cut from scraps leftover from my Cotton and Steel double gauze Onyx top. I had the scraps still out after I had cut out the pattern pieces for the Onyx top, and it makes me happy to use up as much of the scraps as I can. 

I don’t have much else to add, other than this skirt will get a lot of wear since it is such a basic color. I can’t think of a top that I have that won’t go with it. Yay for basics!

October 28, 2015 / fionamakes

Quilted knit Linden

More cold weather sewing today! It’s been a rainy morning here, after a few hot and hazy days, so I’m definitely looking forward to colder temperatures. 

I really decided to make this sweatshirt on a whim. It’s something I don’t ever see myself wearing here in Singapore since it never gets cold enough for it. But once I got the idea in my head, I had to do it! 

I already had the Linden sweatshirt pattern, and the two short sleeved versions are in regular rotation in my wardrobe. This is my first long-sleeved one though. I was heavily influenced by this version. I like the split hem detail a lot, but I’ve only just realized I forgot to get a good shot of it! 

I posted a pic of it on Instagram, but that was when the hem was just pinned in place. 

I lengthened the pattern pieces about three inches, I think, with the back piece longer than the front.  The fit is pretty good, and there’s enough room under the sweatshirt to pull on a t-shirt first. The really nice thing about the Linden is how quick it is to sew up once you’ve figured out your sizing. 


I got this knit on clearance from Miss Matatabi when I got some birthday loot for myself. It’s very cozy and I’m looking forward to making good use of it when we travel at the end of the year.  

October 20, 2015 / fionamakes

A Jac shirt in voile

Hello, everyone! I’m sharing a new top today! 

I recently decided to take stock of my wardrobe. Sewing on such a regular basis means that I keep adding to my wardrobe, but space constraints mean that I have to be more thoughtful about what I make next. After taking stock, I realized that there isn’t really anything that I need urgently. What to make next then?? Well, I have a few trips coming over over the next couple of months and next year that will necessitate some cold weather clothes. Long-sleeved shirts and sweaters it is then! 

I saw this shirt just recently here, and promptly decided that I had to make one too. The funny thing is, I’ve seen this pattern before, and was never really interested in it. I changed my mind when I saw it in polka dots though! 

I dug deep into my stash for this voile. I bought it ages ago thinking that I’d make it into a dress, but I never got past the fact that I had to line the dress, and so the fabric languished in my fabric box. Anyway, it was great for this shirt since I had enough yardage. 

There are some really nice details in this shirt. The back wraps around the front at the side seams and finishes at an angle at the hem. The sleeves have split hem, which also adds some interest. 

There’s no yoke at the back but since the shirt is meant to be quite oversized, I don’t really mind. I shortened both bodice pieces and the sleeves by an inch and I’m quite happy with where the top ends now. 

The shirts has a proper collar stand and collar, with only 1/4″ seam allowances. I did find this a bit fiddly to manage so I might increase the seam allowance to 3/8″, then only trim them down after sewing. 

Now to cut into some Nani Iro brushed cotton for another Jac shirt!

October 12, 2015 / fionamakes

Butterfly skirt and blouse

Hello, friends! I’ve been putting off blogging for a few days because I’ve been finding it hard to get good photos! For the past few weeks, we’ve been blanketed under a haze, so we have really had to minimize any time outdoors. So I’ve decided that indoor pics will have to do for now. 

When L turned six at the end of September, I decided to try out Oliver and S’ Butterfly blouse and skirt. I think I bought this during an online sale a while ago, and L’s birthday was just the excuse I needed to get to it! (L probably has the biggest wardrobe of all the children, I recently realized, because not only did she have what I’ve been sewing up for her, she’s also inherited her older sister’s handmade hand-me-down wardrobe!) 

As always with Oliver and S patterns, I found that everything went together nicely. The instructions were detailed enough without being overly verbose. 

I really love that cute gathered peplum on the top, it’s such a nice detail. The blouse fabric is just a poplin (from Spotlight long ago) with little rainbow dots all over. 

And that skirt fabric! It’s a cotton twill and I spotted it at Toraya in Osaka when we were there on vacation in November last year. I circled the bolt many times before getting just 1 meter. I’m really glad that it was more than enough for this skirt! 

I decided to make a size 6, as L was turning six. But as I was sewing, I stared to have serious doubts about that size because everything was looking so big! I was pretty sure L would be swimming in it! Ugh! But she isn’t. I know the whole outfit has room for her to grow but it isn’t so big that it’s unwearable. How did she get so big?? 

One last shot of the birthday girl with her birthday brownies. (My children don’t do birthday cake!) 


October 3, 2015 / fionamakes

Long culottes!

After making my first two pairs of Emily culottes, I started to wonder how a longer pair of culottes would look on me. Well, I finally got around to give it a go. 

I lengthened this pair by 6″ (I’m 5 foot 2), and took a total of 2″ for the hem. I took about 3″ each off the width of the front and back legs, so that works out to a total of 6″ off the width of each leg. I thought this was necessary because the legs seemed much too wide otherwise. Then, I angled the side seam down. From the top of the front and back leg pieces, I drew a line down to the narrowed hem. 

I’m quite happy with how this turned out. The fabric is a silvery brown fabric with a nice drape. I’m pretty sure there’s some polyester in it though, because I managed to scorch it a little when pressing the crotch seam. Oops. 

The longer length of the culottes needed a more crop-ish top, so I made an Onyx shirt to match. I knew the Onyx shirt was avoid fit for me, as I’ve made it before. But the original length was too long, while the crop length was, erm, too short for my tastes. So this length is about 1 3/4″ off the regular length. 

The fabric is Cotton and Steel double gauze (not Nani Iro, which was what I’d originally wrote!). I really love the colors of this print. I had much better luck with matching the stripes of this side of the shirt than the other, which is why you get to see this side seam!