Lazy me ( Beware! A really long rant)

Well lazy me has not been sewing. Of course I can make excuses that I am busy with studying my Intensive Japanese preparatory class (weekly mini tests and mock exams monthly)  and hopefully pass JLPT level 1, the highest level of the Japanese proficiency, but really who am I kidding? Sometimes I look at hila’s blog who I have been following and I feel ashamed, like mega shame. I mean she churns out all these little pretty outfits on a regular basis and for me I have a ton of half finished stuff… 

I guess it’s why I keep spending on sewing courses, not only I can improve my sewing skills, but attending a class helps me to be more disciplined. And the Singapore Government is really nice to us citizens, they gave us $500 to upgrade ourselves and I can take sewing courses with it! 🙂 but now my plate is quite full with the intensive class, all the way till 1st week of December where I can take my exam. Yesterday, I was just thinking if only I can go to Bunka for 2 weeks – 1 month course, that has always been a dream of mine, to learn the Japanese way of pattern making. 

Well I know I really need to force myself to carve out 1 hour on a weekday night, stop surfing the FB & Instagram for once and just focus on doing something Fashion related. I think even drafting and cutting paper patterns is good. Or even hand sewing and improve my couture sewing techniques.

Ok, I am signing up for a crafternoon at Meetup to just have time out to do my sewing. Sigh, I still draw and design regularly, but sewing has always been my Achilles heel. Except for the fashion design competition the last time which really force me to sew a lot in one week. Other than that, I am just sucked back to work and the daily grind. Having said that, recently I really want to give myself a pat on the back. What happened is that I did super well in last quarter. Overachieved 200%, then came the spanner in the works, the finance dept just refused to pay me for my overachievement… I was like wut?!!! But yet I am calm now and not even angry. In fact, I even told my boss earlier In the sales kickoff, “forget it, let’s just focus on this FY. Let’s not piss the finance lady off, else she makes things difficult for us this FY. ” my boss was like no no no, I need to fight for you, at least 120%… but I heard from my colleagues that it’s really challenging apparently they been doing this for long time, the company is just not inclined to pay people above 120% due to the commission multiplier. Oh well, I am actually amazed how zen I am about this. I guess it’s a sign of maturity. If you read my first few posts, you will know I used to be the type to go bang table and demand my comms etc, but now I am like really chill, not even a hint of anger. Well I guess that is the reality of corporate world.

Presents from my 2 bosses from today’s kickoff event, it’s enough to make me feel blessed. I am easily content nowadays. Note: I won the Kindle bid at really attractive price


I gave myself a 10 year plan. In 10 years time, I hope to save enough to start my bespoke atelier, and from now till then, I will focus on improving my fashion skills, especially my sewing skills, adopt the craftsmen mentality and improve.

Only then I can achieve.

Somehow master sifu quote from Kungfu panda really stuck with me, and it’s my personal motto for now


Sew often, pray often

Sayonara Minnasan, mata ne! (It’s means goodbye folks, till next time)

3 days to competition

Well I got a call yesterday that one of my models has a very bad outbreak and I need to change models. So I rushed down to do fitting for the new model again.

forgot to take her face


As you can see the puckering issue is still there. I have tried several ways and none seems to work..

Such as unpicking and resewing, adjusting the tension of the machine, adjusting stitch length, not pulling the fabric and letting the feed dog do the work

I also tried ironing the seams with an iron on the hottest setting (you have to put a cloth over it, just in case) then pressing immediately with a marble tile. For a while, this seems to work and initially I was elated, happily pressing all my seams but alas, when I am done with the ironing, the puckering came back.

So I am left with the last method which is using fusible interfacing on one of the fabric, as I am suspecting that the blue fabric is thinner than the white fabric and hence its causing the puckering. However, silly me thought I am done with sewing and have brought my interfacing back to my mother’s house, so I have to go collect it tomorrow.

Oh well

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!!

My love hate relationship with organza

I am taking a short break after battling with sewing organza. It’s one of the fabric I will be using for my competition piece, however it’s a pain to sew. It frays like crazy and just sewing the hem made me feel like taking a break even though I am abit behind schedule.

see how much it frays?


One of the tips I have learnt while interning with F is that we can use a flame to burn the edges and thereby sealing it nicely. However, as this is the competition piece and I only bought just enough for the organza, I can’t bring myself to use this method. Thoughts of turning the fabric black and accidentally burning down the house flashed through my mind. However, I must say that I did do it before when I had the luxury of time and it is one of the better methods to seal off the hem of organza neatly. 

So I ended up with a crappy hem, not the best I did and the twist is quite bad, though I hope a good iron will rectify most of it. I don’t really wish to unpick it as it will just get worse with all the fraying. (I tried in the past).

Thank God that halfway through sewing, I suddenly remembered I need to cut the fabric into 2 pieces to accommodate the zip. But I am putting off cutting as the moment I cut, its going to mega fray again. Sigh.

Still I love Organza, it gives the garment a nice floaty quality which is what I am looking for in this dress and I am really happy when it’s pinned onto the mannequin but of course not when I am sewing. That’s when swear words starts to form in my mind and there’s nothing I can do but be patient and plow through it.


I have moved my sewing machine back home, now it’s temporarily housed in Hub’s old room.


I really missed the ample space I had at my friend’s house. His old room was so stuffy that I had to request he moved my fan from our bedroom to his old room. I realised I really need a conducive space to sew and a happy me produce better work. 

And with the ironing board so far away and the ironing room is like the maid domain (it’s on the first floor, room is on the 3rd..) I missed those times when I can happily iron at every stage and basically leave fabric scraps on the floor since my friend wasn’t at home and I can clean up later. Since I am sharing a house with Hub family, you can’t help but be on tender hooks of keeping the work space as tidy as possible. 

Oh well, break time over, back to ploughing the machine.

Busy! Busy!

Recently life has been shuffling between work and my friend place to sew. Her place is pretty far, it takes around one hour to commute but I love the space to spread the cloth and cut and sew in peace. 

I made a fundamental mistake when cutting the cloth, I didn’t cut along the straight grain but cut along the cross grain !! Thank God I discovered my mistake before sewing and managed to re-cut the fabrics. Still after sewing I discovered to my horror it’s too small. 


Was panicking that I may have to resew the strips but thankfully I noticed I have left one panel paper pattern out, so just a little unpicking and adding two panels will do the job phew!

I am still contemplating what to do about the rayon fabric that I can’t find. The organizer has told me I can tell the judges it’s out of stock and switch fabric but it will somehow affect my scoring in the competition.

So I now have 2 choices either using the blue cotton which I have submitted on the board albeit for another design, or just use rayon but another type of fabric.

I am slightly behind my schedule, so I hope next week leave from work will help me to catch up. Gosh another 19 days to go, gasp.

Hope I can complete it. 

Busy sewing 

I have been busy sewing for the fashion competition. I am abit behind my own personal schedule because of the hectic work life. And I ran into a hiccup where the fabric swatch I submitted can’t be found in Singapore and now the organizers said nothing can be changed or added to the board. I have informed them the fabric is out of stock, so I either have to risk changing the fabric and explaining to the judges or I am thinking to use another fabric already on the board that I have submitted.

Anyway, I am very blessed that my friend has given me free usage of her place and being in her place has allowed me to focus on the competition. I progressed a lot last weekend, drafting and sewn the mock up.

Currently I am awaiting my friend to come by my place, so I can fit the toile on her. The organizers have not given the length, thus my friend who is model height will allow me to gauge better.

 

lovely place right? so much ample space

 
I really adore my friend’s place. It’s a colonial black and white in a quite ulu (remote) part of Singapore. I actually thought of going back to continue sewing today, but silly me left the keys at home.

I am abit apprehensive that I may not have enough time. I am only on my first garment (shucks!) and hopefully I can see faster and progress more in upcoming weeks.

By the way, I have decided to leave my job. I haven’t told my boss yet, but it’s gotten to a point where I no longer have some personal time. And the company’s direction is gradually getting further away from what I really want to do. I am going to miss my boss the most. He is one of the most understanding boss I have met, albeit a workaholic at times. In fact, we had many conversations prior to me reaching this decision. And with a heavy heart, I decided to part ways with the company. At one point of my conversation, I told him if I was single I can continue. But currently I hardly had time for Hub, my late nights are spent replying emails then dropping off into a tired sleep. 

Well, hopefully my next job will be better, less crazy hours and some time that I can devote to things I like to do.

Gunning for Fashion

My work day is now typically 16-18hours days and even sometimes on weekends, customers will call me. I contemplated changing jobs just so that I can spend some personal time with Hub. On one night while I was checking work emails, I got an email from TAFtc. It was a maritime port authority fashion competition. Usually they send job positions and I will look at it wistfully then remind myself the salary can’t sustain my upcoming BTO nor my insurance premiums and then delete it.

However the fashion competition caught my eye. It’s not the first time they send a fashion competition but I think the last one was uniforms and I didn’t had time to prepare. So I decided to take part in this. The theme was nautical and I literally only had 3 days to prepare. So one night I hastily googled some inspiration for my mood board. Below are the ones:

   
    
    
    

I really like the coat, however as we are supposed to create these garments if we get selected, I didn’t design this in the end.

It’s been 10 years since I last join a competition. When I look back, I am amazed this is my 11th year pursuing my fashion dream. My NAFA certification course which I had to defer after a semester and did not complete due to work  schedule was in 2005. Time really flew.

If you ask me, I’m ashamed to say my skills have not really improve a lot as I do not sew regularly. But I have always been a strong illustrator. So it’s with surprise and excitement when I got notified that I was one of the top 10 finalists! I had to rush till 2am on Sunday to do the submission. If you ask me, it’s not my best work, but I am just really happy I got in.

I was a little sad as none of my family members shared my joy. Hub asked me how many entries they got and I snippily replied that even if there are only 10 entries, I am just really happy I got in. Mum and sis kept saying they don’t understand why I took part given how busy I am in my current job. Thus once again, I am brought back to 10 years ago when no family member turned up for the fashion show of my fashion competition. And my sis who was in the same area in the same afternoon just refused to come over.

Oh well, at least my friends and colleagues are thrilled for me too. I just kept reminding myself about the frog story I read before. Where the frogs that were jumping up the mountain and listen to others saying you won’t make it, it’s too high etc dropped out in the end. But the frog that didn’t listen to anyone and just focus on the goal and kept jumping towards the mountain top finally made it to the peak.

 

I have to be the frog that focus & don’t listen to naysayers!

 
But it’s not easy. I teared that day during an argument with Hub who didn’t want me to wear my own design out to meet his friends as he find the top “funny” with the long ribbon trailing which he likens it as a tail. Maybe it’s too fashion forward, but I do get compliments whenever I wear it out.

The other day when I was at an interview, the HR expressed concern if I will ever return to fashion. Of course I told him I won’t contemplate the fashion career as it can’t sustain me. But deep in my heart, I do harbor a hope that one day when I saved enough money I will do my dream. Not retail, not even my own label, but just little bespoke projects for my friends & referrals.

My stint in the luxury brands company made me realize I am just not into retail industry. I prefer my internship at the bridal studio where I help in a small part to create one-off gowns. That is what I want to do.

My teacher in TAFtc once asked us to dream big and pen down our business plan on a piece of paper and set a timeline to fulfil that dream. I keep that in my journal. Sometimes, I will read it. The timeline I set was 40, which is 5 years away. I don’t know if I will ever reach that goal in 5 years time. However, step by step I will get there.

Today I pop by F’s bridal studio after purchasing some fabric from Gim Joo. She has moved to bugis and better location than her previous industrial park location. She wasn’t in. I look at the beautiful gowns and hope one day I can intern there again. Even if it’s for free I don’t mind, I can learn so much from F. I love Gim Joo they have all these lovely fabric at half the price of spotlight. The same guy served me, though I doubt he remembers me and he gave me some tips on how to better create my competition design. I am supposed to sew 3 pieces and because of the sustainable component, I submitted swatches using organic cotton and rayon. I am having a lot of trouble finding the rayon and I really hope I find it soon. 

In my haste to submit the fashion board, I actually used swatches from my Hong Kong trip. And the email stated we need to stick to what we have submitted and now changes. I regretted submitting the swatches, as its not a compulsory component. That one I will have more leeway for the fabrics. There is no way I can fly to Hong Kong now to buy the fabric. I need to sew 3 garments this month and I have not started! I planned to draft initially, but now I am thinking maybe draping will save me a lot of time. So I will probably drape 2 garments and draft the last one, the rayon one.

In case you are wondering, I am not sharing my board here now. I will share it after the competition. As 10 years ago, during my first competition, I stupidly showed one of the contestant my design and in the finals, I realised he took my concept and made a better version of it and he eventually won the competition. After that experience, I learnt never to show people my designs until the day of tue completion itself.

I will keep you all updated as I go along. The fitting and presentation day is 1st July and fashion show is on 16th July.

Wish me luck!

Till then, keep sewing, keep keeping on with Him.

Have a blessed weekend! ^^

Running the Rat Race and Passion

Its been a while since I last posted anything. My work took control of my life and I find myself 24/7 tied to the job, working past office hours became a norm. At 1-2am, my conversation with Hub is like “are you texting T again?” And “can’t that email wait till tomorrow?” 

And I will be like ferociously tapping away on my phone replying to my boss and saying “Sorry dear, it’s urgent..”

In fact the past week was another whirlwind of 16-18 hours of work. Last night I slept at 3am till 1 plus I was still trying desperately to find a solution to a work problem and Praise God I did.

Well it’s a sad life of a corporate rat but don’t get me wrong, I like what I am doing. I’m blessed with a good boss albeit a workaholic one who loves to text me outside of working hours asking about deal status. The money is good. HUB & I achieve our renovation fund target ahead of time. I can even afford to fantasize maybe I can have real parquet flooring instead of laminate. And I have extra money to purchase my very first Chanel small Leathergoods, which cost more than the monthly salary I had in fashion.

On the flip side, I am tired and drained. I start to develop these annoying habit of checking my email every few hours, even on weekends. (which I force myself to break away by chilling out and turning off the phone) I had customers who call me when I am sick/at the doctor/at a wake and also on wkends (just received a text today)…and requested I reply them immediately even when I told them politely I am at above locations and indisposed..

Well I learnt to say no. Not that I don’t want to solve my customers’ problems but I found out through the hard way that often, they don’t appreciate and they become even more demanding. And most of the times I realised, their “urgent” request is not that urgent at all. My previous supervisor once told me nobody dies if they don’t get a quote, and it’s very true. I mean of course for really urgent matters such as a tender is closing in 2 hours, I still push myself to quote my customer, despite having really bad gastric flu at that time. 

Recently I found myself wondering if I even have time to start a family? That is why when a few recruiters contacted me few weeks ago, I started agreeing to explore instead of turning them down like what I often do. I like working with my boss but the job has came to a point where I felt overwhelmed and overloaded. 

I missed being able to go out and have social gatherings on weekdays and I really wanted to use the Government SkillsFuture fund to take more fashion courses but I can’t foresee how to work that in to my weekends, seeing my work load is at this point.

When I came back from a 5 days honeymoon in Boracay recently (hoping to write a travel post of that in future) it took me almost 2 weeks to clear my backlog that I don’t dare to go away in end Apr anymore..

 

The amazing Boracay, miss it already

 
Well enough of the rant, I actually want to share happy news! I recently joined a fashion competition and am shortlisted as one of the top ten finalists. Yay!!

It’s been 10 years since I joined a competition, and I still remember my feelings back then and how the finished product differed so much from my drawings that I felt ashamed, yet silently vowing one day I will do well enough on the stage again.

That time has come and I am nervous yet very excited! I have one month to create 3 outfits and the fitting is on 1st July with the fashion show on 16th July. My heart is thumping as I write this. Honestly I don’t know how I am going to accomplish it with my current work load but I will find a way because passion and love for fashion pushes you to find it.

I told my boss about my entry and he was surprised that I found time to join the competition. I only knew about the competition few days before it was due. Taftc sent out an email. I love Taftc they often send emails about job positions and competitions. It was on nautical theme and I just had those brilliant flashes of inspirations. I didn’t had much time to do AI drawings, so I just hand drawn and colored it (not my best) and took half day leave for my submission. I thought then, it’s not my best work, but at least I really tried my best. 

So imagine my joy when on last Friday night, after putting down a phone call with customer, I saw an email in my gmail and its was a formal email saying I am shortlisted! HUB being ever practical asked me how many entries were there? 😑 maybe there were only ten or maybe there were hundreds, I don’t care. I am just really happy to have an opportunity to push myself back to sewing again.

To have a platform to do what I love.

I may not ever go back to pursuing a full fledge career in fashion. Retail is just not for me, but I really treasure these moments for me to learn and polish my skills. Someday I will focus on bespoke, similar to F, but more on project basis, I don’t think I can do it full time. Too arty a nature to want to make it commercial. And as my teacher famously put it, if it doesn’t sell its just a piece of art, not fashion. As ironic as it sounds, I want it to be a masterpiece like gowns and stuff and not commercial fashion.

I don’t have the skills yet, but every little step takes me closer. Now I hope that through this competition, I can put some creations that show myself if I have advanced in skills in this 10 years. If I did, I am happy. If I did not, I still want to love myself and be happy, and not bash myself up.

Finally on passion. I found my passion in my career path. My passion is in doing sales, closing deals, bringing solutions to my clients. But what about fashion, you may ask? It’s something I really like. It’s passion too, but it won’t be a career for me. More like an interest, a hobby.

I am not saying never, ever, just not now. But one day, who knows?

P.S: I will keep you guys updated on the competition as it goes along^^

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