Finally accomplished

Today is the day of the fashion competition. I really regretted tweaking so much on the dress with puckering, as the more I did the worse it got. In the end, it almost couldn’t fit the model, as it became too tight. Nearly had a mini heart attack when one of the models went MIA and remained uncontactable. The organizer had to scramble to find another replacement model who arrived 2 hours before the show and didn’t get to rehearse at all. 

Luckily the dress that the model was supposed to wear is a loose fitting one and fitted the replacement model still.

Here are the pictures. I didn’t win but I am really happy to have this experience. It really pushed me to create outfits in a short span of time.

it became so tight and puckered way badly

with my favorite model and look

Hope this will spur me to sew more and continue to polish my skills.


Alterations Day! 

Today is a public holiday in Singapore, it’s Hari Raya and I will like to wish all my Muslim Friends Selamat Hari Raya Adifiltri, and may God’s peace rest upon you and your household. I think peace in the world is very important in view of the increased terror attacks and especially the recent bombings and shootings. Let’s all do our little bit for peace.

Ok, coming back to sewing. So I had my first fitting with the models if you recall, and I now have to make alterations. I always feel alterations is another level of skill all by itself in sewing. To make subtle changes to an already made garment is truly a feat. So I have 3 garments and I tackled the easiest one first. 

Model Juliana’s arms were a tad skinny and i just have to take in 4cm at the sleeve area

This was the easiest, I did it in 5 mins. Now comes the difficult one, remember my beautiful strapless maxi dress?

too small for the mannequin and too loose for the model, you cant please everyone

Repost the pic in case you can’t remember. It was too tiny for the mannequin, but the models are really skinny so it’s actually a little loose. Well Thank God, it’s loose at least I just have to make it tighter, if it’s too small, it will be even more difficult to alter. So I rattle my brains on what to do for the alteration. I have to take in 2cm. Forgot to take the model wearing it, so no pics sorry. I first thought of altering from the zip. Due to the complicated nautical rope design already hand sewn in, I will have to unpick tons to alter from the sides.

I next googled “How to keep a strapless dress up” there were many helpful tips. I finally settled on sewing in silicone strips to make it tougher, as the waistband is shantung and quite satiny feel, so I am really worried it will slide down the model as she struts down the runway, given the garment is pretty heavy.

And also fashion tape! Lots of forums advised using fashion tapes, so I got some from the departmental store.

There were 2 brands on sale one more pricey than the other, I asked the shop assistants what is the difference and they can’t answer me. One tried to point out that the more expensive one is pre-cut with 24 pieces but as the cheaper one clearly says 36 easy to use strips so I just quietly grabbed the cheaper one and turns out there is a 20% sale on that one. Yay!! 

I have to figure out how to use it, but the instructions makes it sound like double-sided tape so it should be pretty easy. I just have to caution the models on benign careful when taking off my dress. Remember the nautical rope was falling after they tried it?

I was again trying to find out where to buy silicon strips, tried googling no use. Then one of H relatives suggested Chinatown. Yes! I should have thought of it earlier, so I dashed to my favorite shop this morning. Lye Nai Siong, it’s an old school family run shop that stocks various knock knacks zip and what’s-not. The young lady( I suspect it’s their daughter) asked if there’s anything in particular I am looking for, so I told her I need silicon strips to fix to the strapless top. So she replied well we don’t have those and my heart sank. Luckily her next words were, but I have these type not sure if it works, it can’t hold the shape.Ooh and it’s just what I am looking for! Too bad they didn’t have blue, so I settle for a turquoise green.

if you look closely, there is silicone strip in the middle to grip better

So happy and then I went to golden dragon store to hunt for a better bead cap to have a neater finishing for the ropes since the last one is falling off. Not much luck, though I bought the biggest I can find.

The strip was elastic so I quickly change my alteration plan and think that just fixing the strips to the strapless band may just work. And it did! Although sewing it on was a huge challenge. And I had to loosen most of the nautical ropes to sew it on.

It’s now a nice 68 cm and still extends to 80 cm when pulled so I hope it will fit on the model better. I will be redoing the nautical rope to re-fix it to the waistband. I am thinking to change to bead wire which will be stronger to hold the rope up and not so easy to come off. I recalled when interning at F’s studio, she often use the fish wire to sew beads onto her gowns as beads are heavier than lace, so I hope it works.

I am contemplating whether to skip the final fitting session with models. It’s a huge risk but I have not much choices. I am starting my new job next Monday and it just doesn’t seem right to keep taking leave during probation.( I am already taking no-pay leave for a pre-planned trip in September) the organizers have notified that the final fitting will be to pre-arranged with them if I need one, so I am in a dilemma…

Any suggestions will be helpful?

Till then, happy sewing! ^^

10 days to Fashion Day!!

Pre-Judging Day-Nautical Fashion Competition

Just finished my pre-judging session. The last 48 hours was a mad rush of sewing, didn’t help that I caught a cold halfway, so was dealing with a runny nose, cough and sewing away.

I am so happy that the first hurdle is cleared. I was the first to present to the judges, very nervous, basically I didn’t know what to say to them, so I jus repeated my inspiration story then there was awkward silence for few minutes. It seems like the judges were impressed with me developing nautical knots design using rope. But the sewing wasn’t that fantastic. One of the judges (incidentally he was one of TAFtc speakers) noticed the puckering, and advised I should either find a good steam iron or resew it.. And the bad hemline on the 2nd piece. I told him I know, I just didn’t had enough time to finish it. I hope the steam iron will work.

Here you go, an unveiling of the first design, notice the puckering?

The fitting was next, and one of my models was really late. But it went well

I was really worried my second dress may be too small as it did not fit the mannequin

this is the piece where hemline is uneven, going to unpick and redo

The models were pretty rough, my nautical clasp came off after the fitting, luckily I managed to salvage the pieces and will probably use a strong glue to fix it back.

Nonetheless I will have 2 weeks till the fashion show to make all the adjustments.

The last piece fit the model very well, so just a little tweak is needed on the sleeve.

The modeling agency manager in the background was pretty fierce, kept shouting at the models and he was like, “take all your clothes off!” Some models were a bit shy and wanted to keep their tight fitting top on and he is like no, the dresser will think it’s part of the outfit, off! take it off!

All in all, I thank God for this experience. I have pushed myself beyond what I normally do. My first time experimenting with cut out sleeves and self fabric binding went well. And looking back at my first competition 10 years ago where I barely knew how to sew, I felt I have come a long way.. Of course my sewing skills didn’t improve as much as I would have like, since I don’t practice sewing so much.

But I am happy. The rest of the finalists’ standards are pretty high, most are fashion students, so I am like the only amateur there. I may not get any placing in the end, but I am happy with my work and what I have done. The sewing may not be the best, but at least I have crafted something from scratch yay!

6 days to the competition

I am down to my final 6 days and left with my third garment to sew. I decided to use draping technique instead for the final garment. I love draping. It allows me to figure out a garment really fast, whereas if I draft I have to kind of think to translate 3D in 2D.

So in a short span of time I managed to cut the desired shape of my garment. 

pardon the really wrinkly fabric, didnt iron it

It’s a nice off shoulder design and something new, as I have never sewn an off shoulder design before. I will still have to “true” the pattern and translate it to a paper pattern. This is the piece where I had so much trouble finding the rayon fabric. I most probably will substitute it with another rayon fabric. Spotlight, thank God was having a sale the other day and I grabbed the rayon fabric, but will still try out the drape etc before deciding. I am still considering whether to overlock the fabric for this garment, but this means traveling to town to my friend’s parents shop, since I don’t own an overlocking machine or just use other methods instead. For my second garment, I researched and use a simple finish taught on the web 

However, with the final piece I may not use such wide seams, thus I may travel later to town after all. I did consider whether to invest in an overlocking machine, but it seems a splurge currently as I don’t sew so often. 

The organizer just notified me that they are not having models for the pre-judging and there will be another fitting session prior to the fashion show. It got me abit concerned, as I am starting my new job in 2 weeks time and I won’t be get any leave. Fingers crossed that the fitting will be after office hours or on a weekend.. 

Oh well, I better hurry back to sewing! 6 days more to go!!

Back to Draping ^^

I must confess I actually wrote this blog post last month and I couldn’t publish it earlier as I have exceeded my data plan for last month, I wonder if anyone else faces this problem. I never seem to exceed when I was on iPhone 4 and of course my old plan of 12Gb. Now I’m surviving on 3G network and a paltry 3Gb data every me a tech dinosaur, but I don’t have wifi at home.

Anyway, enough of my data rant, back to sewing! 🙂 

I am determined to continue sewing even after going back to the corporate world, so this morning I pushed through and continued with my draping. I mentioned the cowl skirt in my earlier post and was toying with the idea of turning it into a one piece, as I wear dresses more than skirts. Much thought was placed into the fabric. I wanted something not too casual, as I will still love to wear it to work but yet not too formal that it loses the fun drapey feel of it.

I initially wanted to do a toile, but lazy me decide to forgo it and drape directly on the mannequin with the actual fabric. I am glad I did that. I still have leftover lovely purple viscose fabric that I got in a sale in expensive Chinatown, so I used that. Why I am glad I didn’t do a toile, is that by right you have to find another fabric that is of the same weight as your fabric. However, initially I wanted to use the white sheeting cotton for the toile. And after using the actual fabric, I realized how very different it would have been if I have used the sheeting cotton for the toile.
Still, I will find a day to true the actual pattern from the drape pattern I had from my La Salle short course. The final result is something I love a lot. I like the length and especially the back. Still thinking about the zip placement. I know I should have fixed all these prior to draping, but I got caught with just moving with the fabric. There’s a little concern about the pleats at the waist area. I followed what I learned during draping class in La Salle, but now I wonder if it will add bulk to my waist with the numerous pleats? 

The front with the many pleats at the side, wonder if it adds bulk to the waist

The front portion, I initially wanted to do a centre seam but planning to change it to one with a slight overlap as I think that looks much nicer. But as I have limited fabric I may still end up with a centre seam eventually, as I have to do a self- fabric lining if I overlap, will try to sort it out as I go along..
By right I should do the lining piece first, from my past experience in the short course in Taipei (How I missed that school) but as I was concerned about my fabric, and wanted to get a feel of how it will turn out. Thus I went ahead with the actual design first. It still lacks the bodice and I am going to do horizontal stripes for that. Will continue to update this project as I go along 🙂

The lovely back, still trying to figure out the zip placement, its probably gonna be centre back as I’m creating pockets at the side for this cowl skirt

It’s still a work in progress and what do you guys think? Please feel free to leave a comment. 😊

Draping again ^^

It’s been really hectic lifestyle going back to the corporate world. The first two months have been trying to adapt back to the work tempo and the industry since its been more than a year since I left it and several changes since then. It didn’t help that the role at my new job involves dealing with several time zones, so I find myself replying to emails as late as 11pm or midnight. However I was determined to set aside time for sewing and improving my fashion techniques, as I promised to myself earlier.

Prior to starting my job, I had a one week break where I finally got to complete sewing my wool lined Jacket. Really happy with the accomplishment. I took pictures and wanted to blog about it and then was flooded once my new job started and never got round to it. I shall post that at another time.

Today is part of the Easter break and grateful that there is a long weekend, where I finally get to rest and what better time to pick up my draping again? I chose to work on the cowl skirt. I actually had the draped pattern back from a draping course I did with La Salle ard 2 years back and always wanted to sew up the garment.

Took me a while to recall the method and pin it back on the dress form. This dress form is more to my size, so it’s slightly bigger than the one I used in La Salle but still managed to somehow fit it. 


my messy shelf is exposed

I need to translate it to a paper pattern, but somehow I’m not satisfied with the overall shape. It looks a bit different from the one I did at La Salle. I couldn’t find the picture I took then, so I can’t compare it with the original. If you all have any ideas on how to improve the cowl skirt, please feel free to leave me a comment.  As the shape look abit off, I am now thinking maybe I should do up a toile, and can play around with placement of zip and also whether to have a slight flare near the skirt bottom. 

I will have to go and purchase more sheeting cotton for the toile. Will post again, when I have done it up. 

I am glad today I carve time out to do this. Draping and working with fabrics really relaxes me. Going back to the corporate world, though it gave me a boost to my much needed finances, has been really stressful at the beginning. Now into my second month, things are better. I am very grateful that my new boss has been very encouraging and colleagues are helpful and nice. Thus even though the work load is heavy, the office environment does help to make a difference. 

With the career switch, albeit short, I learnt that what you perceive as your passion may not be a dream job in reality. Especially when Singapore has the highest cost of living in the world. I was surprised to learn that in a recent study, our groceries are 11% more expensive than New York!  It sucks being broke for the past year, and it actually took me 2 months into this job to started feeling more comfortable about shopping and spending again. Maybe my passion is not strong or fervent enough that I can be like those struggling artists on the streets. But at the end of the day, I guess I have to be realistic too. Just like Steve Jobs whose passion is in new age living, if he had pursue that, he may be a guru now and not enjoy the kind of successes that he had at Apple. Would he be happier? I don’t know. 

Still, I have tacked a notepaper on my bookshelf reminding me of my eventual dream. One day, I still dream of having a small bespoke studio to do my dresses, gowns and all and selling interesting knick knacks. (Though my fiancé often reminds me such a business will be a losing money venture, but if I’m financially free, then it won’t matter rite? ;p) But now, I will take it one step at a time. Build up my finances and skills then make plans. Maybe reading the book “So good they can’t ignore you” changed my perspective. Prior to that, I always thought I should quit my job and pursue my passion. That’s what a lot of media tells us today; find your dream job and you won’t feel like you are working etc.. But I think they left out the part where if your dream job doesn’t pay much and you are struggling to make ends meet, it actually adds a lot to the stress of making the career switch and also in turn starts affecting the relationships around you. 

Thus my current goal is to focus on improving my techniques and actively seek feedback from people. I started offering to help people do alterations ( most of the time is for my immediate family, they can’t fault me much if I make mistakes :p) but recently, I just did one for my close friend, and boy, was I nervous. It’s a jersey material not exactly the easiest fabric to sew and I am glad everything turned out ok and my Friend is really encouraging, will be passing her the garment tmr and getting her comments on it. 

I am ending off with a pic of my jacket with cowl skirt. My fiancé actually commented the Jacket sleeves are too big, so he doesn’t like it, will post more about my sewing experience of this jacket in the next blog. 


Jacket looks weird paired with cowl skirt

~Enjoying life adventures, living a day at a time in His plan ~

Transformational Draping Workshop by Shingo Sato

This week has been really intensive for me. I signed up for Shingo Sato’s Transformational Draping workshop or TR for short. My school specially invited him over to Singapore. I’ve always been interested in draping and have taken courses in Lasalle and Taiwan, thus was keen when my teacher mentioned this course to me.
Honestly, prior to the workshop I had no idea who Shingo sato was, so I googled him. He is very famous and have a YouTube channel that shows videos of TR cutting patterns. He also lectures at Parsons and Bunka Fashion College. His works are wow.
However, the price tag of the workshop is a hefty SGD 1250 even after government grant. As it is a WSQ course, they changed the name of the workshop to some really long and fancy sounding one, but the content is the same.
Now into day 4 and soon the last day in a few hours time, I must say it is money well spent. I really enjoyed his class. Though his Japanese accented English may be a bit hard to understand sometimes, but he shows you videos and explains in a step-by-step manner.
I was awed the first day to know that my classmates are mostly lecturers from nafa, Lasalle, Temasek polytechnic and ITE. Not to mention some local designers and my trainer fr Taftc. However as the week progress, I am able to catch up so I don’t feel so stress. I’ve probably done the most sewing this week and at a fast speed, probably the fastest I’ve ever sewn.
Usually after Shingo sato shows the technique then off you go to cut your fabrics and sew it up. Due to time constraints, we usually only do half a bodice, which is really fine. I think I will die if I have to sew the entire bodice in the short time.
Here are some of my works up to the 4th day ^_^


See the 3D shape?


The 3D pocket


Heart with Ribbon sash tied two ways




One of my favorites!

There are still many more but I didn’t had time to take everything on the mannequin. Shingo sato will be having his one day introductory workshop at Bunka Fashion college sometime in Aug I think. If you are an aspiring designer or student who loves geometrical 3D Draping, do check out his workshop.
On a side note, found out from the local designer in my class that Bunka has summer classes. Checked it out today really interesting but it’s during end Jul and early Aug where I still have my internship, so probably next year when I am financially more stable too =)

Sew More, Learn More

Evening gown sewing patterns

After what the fellow intern shared about googling on how to sew an evening gown, I was really intrigued. So I thought of buying a paper pattern and trying to attempt one. Thus rush down during lunch hour to spotlight and spent time poring over vogue, McCall, burda and simplicity patterns. Simplicity patterns were on sale 4 for Sgd12 but I really wanted to concentrate on gowns and evening wear and their designs were not really nice. Vogue was the best but cost a bomb and I think I will be better off buying it online.

I settled for some burda paper patterns but looking at it jus made me feel like I can do the patterns on my own and seems silly to fork out $20 to get them. Still I am happy I found the exact dress pattern that I have been eyeing very long from this local designer shop and now I have a better idea how to make it. Will put that on my list of projects to attempt.

I also tried to find places that teach couture techniques but none available in Singapore. I kinda toyed with the idea of going back to my school in Taiwan for a 3 month course, it’s so much cheaper. My Shingo sato draping course for 5 days next week cost almost the same as the 3 month course, but that will mean I need to stay 3 months in Taiwan, so money and visa is an issue. Will talk more about couture sewing techniques in a separate post

Unexpected day off

Today I had an unexpected day off from school as I was able to complete my assessment earlier yesterday. So one more module down and left 2 more! Yippee! Looking forward to next week where we will get to go for Asian Fashion Summit. It’s the first time TAFtc gave out free passes to students, so just feeling really blessed to have chosen the right school. I am also going for Audi Asia Fashion designers competition, will have to miss 2 hours of my class on Monday, but I really want to see what the Asia young designers are doing.

I spent my day off attempting to continue my jacket project that I have put off for the longest amount of time. Many years ago, Spotlight was having a sale and I bought gorgeous wool fabric and decided to make a jacket. I also purchased some paper patterns for the jacket. Looking at the patterns now, I seriously wonder why it is labelled as easy on the cover of the patterns. Still trying to figure how to sew the lining and the fabric together but quite happy to see my progress. If I am still in my corporate job, I won’t have this luxury at all to sew anything, so I shall just treasure this time


I really wonder how my photos looks in the blog, as I am blogging from an app most of the time. Hope it turns out good.

I finally changed my linked in profile. I guess previously some part of me was kinda holding out that if this career switch doesn’t work out, I can go back to my old life and just update this period as studies and internship. But I am glad I did it. I was getting too tempted by all the job opportunities that recruiters keep sending me..

Last night, the Partner and I has a little tiff. It stemmed from him worrying over not having enough money to cover the expenses of our BTO flat in 4 years time and the unspoken expectation that I need to find a stable paying job soon. So I kind of got ticked off as its not my first time hearing it. I too know our commitments and yet one part of me really want to follow my dreams. I know it’s much easier to get another $3-3.5K job, but if I really went for that, then this 7 months of attempting to job switch will be for naught.

The realities of life of course may force me to make a decision soon. My lecturer was telling us that designers only get $1.8K a month as a starting pay coupled with long hours of work. I really hope that it will be slightly higher, as my current insurance premiums already come up to $1.1K and if I really take on a $1.8K job, I will have to find other ways to supplement my income to make ends meet and have savings for the house.

On a lighter note, my classmate M told me that for the next batch there are having more internships openings like asst designers, fabric testers etc. Lucky next batch people! This batch there are really few internships only 3 for my course and 3 for marketing and merchandising and its all for asst merchandisers and asst buyers positions, none design related. It’s strange as I heard the last batch they had plenty of internships available, so maybe it’s a seasonal thing.

Also, F invited me to her grand opening at her studio. Pleasantly surprised that she still thought of me 🙂
Ok off to more sewing and working on my jacket! ^^

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