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!!

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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.

Passion vs Craftsman mentality

Recently I re-read the book “So good they can’t ignore you. Why skills trump passion in the quest for work you love.”

I am changing jobs and recently I’ve been feeling guilty of not staying in this current job longer. Though I have laid out my reasons in earlier blog posts but I can’t help feeling my career profile resembles that of a job hopper. There were several reasons why I changed job over the years, but deep down I really want to stay in a job for long. (my family probably will roll their eyes because that is my constant refrain) 

So I find myself re-reading the book and reminding myself along the way that my craftsmen mindset is not what the job can offer me but what value I can offer to the world. This is in stark contrast to 2 years ago where I was still living a life blindsided by social media on finding my dream job and following my passion. However along the way, I come to realize accumulating career capital (I.e rare and valuable skills) is vital, thereby becoming good at what you do and so good that others can’t ignore you.

Reading some parts of the book made me realize that having too much autonomy without career capital is disastrous. In the early part of my blog, I detailed my journey on switching to a fashion career without accumulating any career capital. Thus I subsequently did not have enough money to sustain my lifestyle and impending housing loan and I had to go back to sales in the IT industry. At least it beats starting a business and ending up in debt.

However, this journey also allowed me to learn more about myself and redefine my career goals and direction. I set a target to build up my sewing skills. I still have not decided if I will ever go back to making it as a career, but I do know I want to be better and more skilled in making clothes. The upcoming competition allowed me to be uncomfortable and stretch my skills and hone the craft which is good.

I also learnt that sales is something I really enjoyed doing and being better at it since I have accumulated experience of 10 years. (albeit not staying at a company for longer than 2 years). Reading the book did cause me to reflect a lot, what value do I bring to the job?

And as there’s a change in company direction in my current company, it resulted in me not being able to accumulate the career capital that I will like to have.  At the same time, I was approached by a HR and had a job offer with a company that seemed like what I want to do, thus after many rounds of discussion with my boss, I decided to leave the company.  At the end of the day, I still want to work for a company that I can grow with and accumulate career capital.

If you ask me why I sound so vague about the new job, it’s because I have yet to start and one never know until one gets there right? Still I will make a list of career goals and list out what I can bring to the job.

Till then, be happy developing the craftsmen mindset to hone your skills and find the job you can be good at, who know? It may just turn out to be your dream job! 

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^^

Will Karl leave Chanel?

If you don’t already know, I’m a big fan of Chanel. I may not be able to afford most of their stuff, but I love reading up on the history of the house of Chanel, the life of Mademoiselle ‘Coco’ and how Chanel Number 5 came about, stuff like that.

So today when I saw one of the fashion mag I’m subscribing to have the headline “Is Karl Lagerfield leaving Chanel?” Naturally my interest was piqued. Of course the house of Chanel refuted the rumors immediately. It’s not the first time these rumors surface, and yesterday’s Internet were rife with these rumors.

  
Kaiser Karl is around 83 years old. He has declared publicly that he is younger than that, but people who interviewed his teachers and friends did ascertain he was born in 1933, so that will put him around 83 years old. I have great admiration for Karl Lagerfield. There are not many designers out there who can command fashion at this respected age. And I don’t think he officially studied fashion, but claim to fame in a design competition winning first place in the coat category, and becoming close friends with Yves Saint Laurent, another competitor in the contest.

(On a side note, there’s a photography exhibition on Yves Saint Laurent, starting 28th Apr at Alliance Francais, ok digress over)

Over the years he has helmed and perfected the Chanel Haute Coutre, reviving a brand and bringing it mass appeal. The Chanel runway show is always a surprise, with elaborate settings. Who can forget the one where they changed the runway into a supermarket, or the one recently at South Korea, where the set was transformed into a futuristic child’s play board. Or the iconic Fendi show stopper on China’s Great Wall in 2007?

 

The little supermarket/shopping mall setting that I adored

 
 

Fendi unique show on Great Wall of China

 

There are many other grand shows that Kaiser Karl created. His shows always have that flair, with the opening and closing dresses, painstakingly adorned either with lace, beads or other embellishments. I remembered watching the documentary on Chanel during my Taftc days, and it gave me a glimpse into his work life and what goes on in the House of Chanel. How the receptionist will flutter to attention and alert the rest by phone when they hear Kaiser Karl is coming to the headquarters. How the dressmakers will be concerned when they are idle so close to a show for they know they have to work doubly hard once Karl finalize the designs. 

Mademoiselle Chanel passed away in 1971 and at the grand old age of 87, she was still designing. Her most recent work then was designing uniforms for Olympic Airlines. So if you ask me, “Will Karl leave Chanel?”

I will say, “maybe one day in the future, but definitely not yet.”

A little rut in my life..

Recently I am a little down, the work is sucking up my life. I like my boss and the job, but just feeling burned out especially when clients call you after office hours and I find myself working on a Sunday. 

My sis says its a normal phenomenon because economy is bad and everywhere is like this, but I start wondering really?!

There’s got to be work life balance somewhere right? I am grateful for the job. H & I has save enough for the reno fund (one yr ahead of schedule, with help from the in-laws) and I can even think about adding a concept wall when we were limited to basics 2 yrs back. We are even planning to buy another second-hand car at the end of the year when the current one comes to end of COE. All this will not have been possible if I am still with the fashion company. I even recently bought a channel wallet on chain, my personal reward which is more than my fashion job one month salary.

But once in a while, I find myself wistful, hands itching to create a garment, but yet lazy to do anything. I am actually toying with the idea to go for another short term  course with Taftc just to give myself the discipline to sew. I seem to only do well in a guided environment which is bad… Same for work, it’s hard for me to work from home. I have to be at office or somewhere else which is why I am here at a cafe on Sun afternoon, but yet am blogging and journaling instead of clearing my backlog…

Yet yesterday I was thinking why didn’t I go on an extended break to Europe after I graduated? Instead I jumped straight into a job. It was like this even during my career switch.. It’s like I have a need to constantly keep myself busy instead of rotting my days away..

Anyway I am digressing, the reason why I am in a little rut is that recently I am thinking about my passion for fashion again. I start to wonder if I really have to follow my dreams or just be what I am good at,like my current job? After all Steve jobs speech to Stanford graduates which inspired me to quit and came back from Taiwan (amongst other pressing reasons) didn’t really apply to him in real life. It’s like his passion is new age guru stuff, but you don’t see him becoming a yogi. So although I like fashion, it doesn’t mean I have to be a designer right? And recently I am questioning myself, so do I really like fashion and want to start my own label or it’s the artwork aspect I like?

Because I don’t want to come up with a commercial line. While thinking abt this yesterday, I re-read my outline of my business plan which I wrote during my Taftc course, I am 8 years away from hitting that goal and honestly I don’t know if I can do it. It’s like when you get married and if you have kids, all kinds of financial commitment come into play.

I was reading Fuschia Lane’s founder and how she started the label with $2K. I don’t think I have that type of courage and yet some part of me wish I have, contradictory right?

Or maybe those who read this and whoever considered or attempts a career switch will experience it. It doesn’t mean I am giving up totally, I still harbor hopes I will do something, but now with the work sucking up so much of the time I don’t know how.

I am actually going to attend a 2 day workshop end of this month to learn about building a passive Income stream. Hopefully the investment will be worth it and not too complicated and I can have some income to quit my current job.

Not that I don’t like the job. I like what I do and am really thankful for my current boss. But right now the job is a vehicle for me to boost my savings. Ultimately 5-10 yrs down the road, I hope to amass enough to do what I like to do I.e my own dreams

 

my painting I did yesterday


Leaving you with something I saw during my recent BKK trip  

 let’s make that footstep today guys! 

2016 fashion trend

I love Bangkok, recently went there on a short getaway with hubby. I haven’t been there in years and it hasn’t change.

Things are cheap and yet quality is good. Personally I think it’s better than China.

You can see the latest trends all in one wholesale mall such as Platinum mall. So I thought of blogging one whole article about 2016 fashion trend but finally decided to just blog about my newfound love: culottes! 🙂

I never liked to wear pants to work. It’s mainly one piece dresses for me or skirts. But when I was in Bangkok I couldn’t resist buying culottes. They look so chic. I never thought I can carry off the look as I am quite petite only 1.58 cm but it looks good and so comfortable to wear. Great look for office too and best part it only cost me 200 Baht !! 🙂 

  
There are several types the best is to get one over the knees, or longer version ending slightly above your ankles. Do not get one that ends exactly at the knees or you will risk looking like a 70s police officer 

  
And try to pair it with a fitting blouse for a more formal look, no baggy T-shirts or you will just drown in it.

For a casual look a cropped tee will work too. You know the saying that fashion recycles every 20 yr so the 90s is definitely back in a big way 😁

That’s all folks and talk more on other trends next time. 

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