Pink Potpourri- arrives in Kimchi Land

안녕하세요! Greetings from Seoul! Yes we’re finally here!

I have been counting down to do this post. Here’s presenting to you my first holiday collection for my twins, Pink Potpourri.

This collection was inspired by the hanbok 한북 ( traditional korean dress; clothing from the Joseon period) , Qipao 旗袍 and Changshan 长衫 (both are chinese traditional costumes for female and male respectively).

I wanted the twins to don in something korean ( twin’s virgin trip to Korea) and yet have some Chinese elements in it (yes, we’re Singaporean Chinese). So here’s my mish mash of the 2!

CHAR’s Dress

I am totally in love with this dress! Here’s Char in it. ( This photo is so vogue don’t you think?)

This was my first attempt in designing a totally new dress from scratch. It was altered along the way for practicality and Char’s comfort. Below is a shot of the first sketch I had of her dress.

The TOP

Initially, the top of the dress was almost haltered like. Char had tops previously which had cut in sleeves; she looked adorable in them. However, the high collar, a common sight in qibaos ;which I wanted for the TOP might make it too stifling for my little girl; I decided to opt for a looser fit. The final design: sleeveless, high collared but looser neckline TOP for the dress.

TOP deconstructed: Floral Fabric, Bias tape, Frog buttons

The Cotton fabric which I used for Char’s dress was quite thin. I double layered the floral cotton fabric ( TOP) and ruby cotton fabric for the skirt before sewing the parts together.

Process of doing the TOP

As you can see from above, the process was tedious. I had my first go with bias tape edging. Having so many curve parts did not help as well. I took a week to get this TOP together. (This was done in the wee hours, after putting the kids to bed at night).

Getting the Skirt down

I decided on a bright coloured ( Ruby) , Long full length gathered skirt for the dress. Like the hanbok Chima 치마, which was usually gathered or pleated from a rectangular piece of fabric into the waist band; I did the skirt of the dress similarly. However, the waist band is hidden internally in the dress.

I decided on a gathered lining for the skirt as well. The weather in Seoul now is quite hot as we’re in the midst of summer. Therefore, Cotton Voile was the chosen fabric for my skirt.

Before sewing my gathered skirt close, I attached a hidden zipper to it. I wanted the dress to be easily worn and taken of as I did it according to Char’s body measurements for a good fit.

Hidden snap buttons were also sewn to the side of the TOP so that my little girl could slip in and out of the dress with no struggle.

Here’s the dress itself, in it’s full glory

I couldn’t help but did a matching 배씨댕기( baessidaeng-gi), a traditional hair ornament worn with the hanbok; inspired head piece for Char. (Read my earlier post 배씨댕기 DIY tutorial)

Elli’s TOP

Boys being boys, 2 year old boys to be exact, are never going to let u get a desired photo of them. This was the best I could for a self portrait. This photo doesn’t show the best of the shirt I did, but at least the best of little Elli. Cheeky but adorable.

His shirt is a replica of the pineapple frenzy shirt I did previously. This time I added a contrasting trimming for the sleeves. I sew frog buttons to his shirt to complement char’s dress. My modern take on a Changshan.

Putting the shirt together

Hand sewn frog buttons

Here’s a tip with Frog Buttons, if you decide to sew them on your garments. Frog buttons by the way are ornamental fasteners used commonly in Chinese traditional costumes. It consists of 2 parts, namely the button and the loop. When sewing them down, I find it so much easier to use fabric glue to fuse them to my desired position on my fabric before securing them by sewing.

A Quirky Twist to the Changshan

You can see from the above, I used the similar flora fabric from Char’s dress for Elli’s shirt; contrasting fabric for the collar and the sleeves trimming. Peach coloured frog buttons were used to give a softer look to it.

Unfortunately, my serger broke down before I could get Elli’s pants done, right before my trip. I was pretty upset as I had his pants, baji 바지 korean inspired in mind. His Zara maroon jeans couldn’t be a better match though. It added a updated look to his outfit.

As promised previously, I will be flooding this posts with shots of them in my holiday collection. So, here goes.

The following shots were taken at Gyeongbokgung Palace 경복궁 , and Bukchon Village Seoul.

Char’s little Dance outside the palace

Getting Curious what’s inside the Royal Courts

Searching for Oppa in the Palace

Mama and her little girl

Their first encounter at Bukchon Village

Finally,Bingsu 빙수 to cool down a hot day

Our first day out at Seoul was filled with joy, tears ( unexpected tantrums all the time) and surprises;on our way back to the hotel from Bukchon, we chanced upon a cat cafe. The kids were thrilled. We spent a good hour in there playing with cats.

I am crossing my fingers and praying that we will have more good times ahead of this vacation. It was a dream come true to bring the kids here to Seoul.

배씨댕기 Inspired Hair Accessory

Korea, Seoul will always hold a special place in my heart. I made many fond memories there when I wasn’t a Mum yet. Travelled there many a times with friends and each and every time was an adventure( highly influenced by the filming locations from Running man back then); accompanied my hubs during his conferences; went there alone for solitude.

I have not returned ever since I had my twins, but planning a trip back have always been on my mind. When my tots turned 2, all eager to explore and fascinated 24/7, always happy for an adventure ; I thought A trip back to Seoul might just suffice my worn out soul.

I am Glad to say our trip to Seoul with my tots is truly happening next week ; and in commemorating my first trip with my tots, I did matchy outfits for them once again. My first holiday collection: Pink Potpourri . ( Will be sharing it in my next post, so look out for it!)

This holiday collection is inspired by the traditional korean costume, the hanbok( 한복) . I am always in awe with the Hanbok; how elegant the Koreans don in them, man and woman alike. The vibrant colours, geometric structure and texture of the Hanbok are so exquisite.

In line with this, I thought I will do a hair accessory to jazz up Char’s outfit; very much inspired by the 배씨댕기( baessidaeng-gi), a traditional hair ornament worn by korean girls and unmarried woman in the Joseon period. It is worn now with the Hanbok ,during traditional festivals and celebrations.

Here’s how I did my hair accessory and how to do it if you intend to do one.

The flower

You will need:

Fabric for the flower:

Circle Cut Outs- 3inch in diameter x 13 ( petals)

– 2.5 inch in diameter x 5 (petals)

– 2 inch in diameter x 1 ( backing for flower)

3 Pearls

Needle and Thread

Scissors

Fabric Glue

Black hair band

Steps

After cutting circle cut outs, fold it into half and press it.This will make sewing easier ( especially when using thicker fabrics). Do for all cut outs except for the 2 inch cut out that will serve as the backing for the flower.

Sew a running stitch along the curve part of the first petal (3 inch) in the following manner.

Thereafter, pull tight as shown below.

Using the same thread, start on the next petal( 3 inch). Sew and pull it in the similar fashion.

Do 8 petals (3 inch).

Secure the last petal to the first.

Start the next layer by doing 5 petals ( 3 inch) and the final layer by doing 3 petals ( 2.5 inch). Do not cut away the thread after securing the 3 petals. ( final layer). You will end up with all 3 layers shown below.

Sew 3 pearls on TOP of the last layer.

Attach the first layer (8 petals) to the circle cut out ( 2 inch) with fabric glue. This serves as a backing to the flower.

Now, using fabric glue, combine all 3 layers together.

You will get a perfect flower!

Attach it to your hair band and you’ve got yourself a pretty head accessory. My personal take on the 배씨댕기. Cute and befitting for my little 공주 (princess).

Fabric Covered Button

Ever tried to find the right buttons to sew to an apparel or a craft item, but can’t seem to find the right one? Fabric Covered buttons might just be the solution.

Recently, I did some clothings for the twins ( check out my Pineapple Matchy Matchy post on it) Accessorizing them was the most exciting bit. I was spoilt for choices over the buttons or rather couldn’t decide which were the perfect ones to give an extra oomph to the outfit.

I chanced upon these fabric buttons makers in Daiso. They were perfect.

Package comes with clear instructions at the back of it.

They come in different sizes.

Here’s what you need:

Fabric of your choice (Thin fabrics work the best)

Tools from the button maker show below

Here are the steps:

In clockwise direction starting from the diagram at TOP left hand corner.

Begin by cutting a circle shape piece of fabric using the pattern given ( 22mm diameter in this case)

Place fabric on the the tray given by using the metal button to push it down. This is to Ensure the fabric is centralised

Use the Pusher tool to press the fabric down first before pushing the button backing. I find that by doing this step, the backing goes in much easier.

Finally press down button backing firmly with the Pusher tool. At this juncture, I like to remove the button from the tray and use the Pusher tool one more time to press the button back firmly down.

And there you go! A fabric covered button In less than a minute.

I feel these fabric buttons give such a polished look to the final project. Like a professional touch to it! Best part, it is so cheap. Considering, I get 20 pieces ( 15mm) from Daiso for $2. Such a steal!

The only down side to this button maker would be, not working well with thicker fabrics. Denim and Corduroy as suggested are not suitable. I find thicker cotton fabric difficult as well; especially making buttons 18mm in diameter and smaller.

Here’s my fabric buttons on a TOP I did for Char previously. The yellow fabric buttons gave a perfect touch to it,I think.

I am currently doing a whole batch of buttons using my previous scrap!

Happy Button Making!

TOTO’s Bandana DIY

This post is dedicated to my dear loyal canine, my little Brother, Toto; who shared my joy and sorrow for the past 8 years with me; and definitely more in time.

Initially, when the twins arrived, he wasn’t thrilled at all. These days, they love each other (Elli and Char’s point of view). Well, he lets them cuddle, pat, and is friendly with them most of the time; so I Guess he agrees with them too?

It all started when my tots were getting some shots taken for my Pineapple Frenzy collection. Dear Toto decided to join them.

And I thought he looked pretty lonely.. ( Elliott definitely sympathise with me here.) That’s when I decided, TOTO definitely needs some dressing up too! A shirt could be a little too much for the hot and humid weather in Singapore. I decided a bandana would be perfect!

TOTO Bandana Step By Step

Here’s what you’ll need:

2 pieces of contrasting fabric

A dog collar

2 buttons ( optional)

Measurements of bandana ( Small Size)

Sizes Chart for Dog Pattern

Toto is small size ( He is a toy poodle). Above, is a photo for reference and a size chart; if you are planning to do one for your furry Friend.

Just in case,if the measurements a little confusing in the diagram; I’ve listed it down below:

Sizes: A x B x C (inches)

Extra Small: 1.5 x 10 x 5

Small: 2 x 12 x 8

Medium: 2 x 14 x 9

Large: 2 x 16 x 10

Extra Large: 2.5 x 18 x 12

You will need to cut 2 pieces of these in contrasting fabric of your choice.

Band Across Bandana ( optional)

Next, you will need to prepare 2 bands that will go across the Bandana front and back.

You will need 2 pieces of (7 x 2 inches) contrasting fabric. Fold it and press it ( iron down) like the photo above. You should end up with all your pieces like the photo shown below .

Preparation of Bandana and Band

Here’s a Tip: After deciding on where to place my band, I placed one side (I.e Front above Back) above the other. This is to Ensure that the bands are placed at the same position on both individual pieces of fabric . Refer to photo below.

Pin band down on fabric when you have decided on the position.

Once done, flip it to the wrong side

Bend the band down in the following manner as shown in the photo above. Once done, draw a straight line with an air erasable marker; so that you have a mini right angle triangle. Cut along this purple line.

Do this for both sides of the bandana.

Once done, glue it down with a fabric glue. Do it for both pieces of fabric. Flip over, and your fabric should look like the photo shown below.

Once glue is dry, sew the band down as shown in photo below.

Do this similarly for the other side of the bandana.

Adding Buttons ( optional)

I wanted my bandana to look matchy with my twins outfit; thus, the buttons. If you do want to add the buttons, here’s how:

First, mark 2 inches from the edge of your fabric. This would be where your buttons should be sewn. (Sewing too near the edge will cause some hindrance when you sew running stitches along the sides later.) 2 inches is the Optimal point away from the edge.

You will end up similar like mine as shown above if you get all your steps right. Mine’s bursting with tropical goodness already don’t you think?

Sewing all the pieces together

You are a step closer to getting your bandana done. Wait for it…

Place wrong sides together and pin it down. Then, sew running stitches along the sides ( black arrows), pivoting when you reach the corner to sew the other direction. You should sew 1cm from side edge. For me, I like to line my fabric and use the footer as a guide. See photo below.

At Pivot

Once done, do a little cut as shown in photo below. Ensure you do not snip of the the running stitch. This cut is done so that you will get a nice pointy corner when you flip your fabric ( right sides) over.

Here’s a Tip: while flipping over, I like to use a ruler to aid me in folding down the edges of both fabric. It makes a nice edge and allows me to iron down in ease later.

This is the tricky bit. You need to unpick 1 cm from the edge sewn down at both sides. Fold in towards wrong sides of fabric. Do it for both front and back of fabric. See photo shown below, for a better understanding.

Glue it down using fabric glue

Next, fold the TOP edge 1.5cm down( double fold to prevent fraying of the fabric).

Sew running stitches. First, A stitch on individual fabric. Second, B stitch both fabrics together.

So here it is, put the dog collar through it and you have your very own bandana. Mine’s reversible, so I get 2 designs in one!

Toto looking smart in his new collar

The Pineapple triplet!

Pineapples Frenzy- Matchy Matchy

Finally! I am done with my Twins’ Matchy Pineapple Outfit. We are definitely welcoming summer with a tropical blast!

Monday Playclub Term ends for my tots. This term they learnt all about food. From yogurt to rice to plain old water; they got to taste, touch and play pretend with food. It was good fun! The kids were asked to dressed up as anything ‘food related’ for graduation day; and being the over zealous ‘Mama’, I decided, a chance to DIY again!

I dropped by Spotlight to do some fabric shopping and once again was spoilt for choice. However, the ‘Pineapple’ print fabric caught my eye. It was just what I needed for a zesty outfit!

Char’s Thick Strap TOP & High Low Skirt

This set needs special mention as I did it from scratch. I got the inspiration from one of Charlotte’s TOP ;which I totally adore!

Here’s basically all the parts of my deconstructed TOP

I started of with the straps first:

This quilting cutting mat came in really handy for my straps. It helped a lot with the precision of my measurements.

Next I sew the hemming and attached the inner lining for the TOP.

Here’s a little Tip; when you are sewing right sides together, before turning right sides out, clip corners. (I skipped the curves in this case for aesthetic reason as I could iron down with much ease since the inner lining is very thin. )This is so to make nice right angle corners and curve fold nicely in without bulk. Lastly, I attached the straps down on my desired location.

Mini Pompom trims on the right side of fabric

Probably, the most exciting yet daunting part of the TOP; Attaching the Mini Pompom trims! I was excited as it would really spice up the whole look of the TOP if sewn on properly. However, being my very first time on it, I was not sure how to approach it. In the end, I hand sewed it on the TOP and used the sewing machine for the skirt. On the right side, I thought both looked pretty similar, but the back was another story.

Mini Pompom trims on the wrong side of fabric; TOP: handsewn BOTTOM: Machine sewn

As you can see, the machine sewn one had a nice running stitch, whereas the hand sewn one was a little erratic. I did like the overall effect of the handsewn one though. It reminds me of a yellow scribble of a child trying first hand on a straight line. I Guess it’s individual preference. A good thing about a hand made product.; you can tweak and change about almost everything along the way; no hard and fast rule. One thing which would deter me from doing it handsewn again; Super duper time consuming! Front view TOP

Back view TOP

Here’s the final look of my TOP after attaching the buttons on. I used fabric buttons to give a cutesy feel to the TOP and hidden snap buttons for opening and closing. (Will do a separate post on doing fabric covered buttons soon.) I really like how my top turned out, and definitely having plans on doing a Mother Daughter Matchy outfit!

I did 2 gather skirts for my little girl prior to this project. The high Low skirt is my first time; figuring out the construction of it certainly took some time. I did my own paper patterns first before executing the outfits. I thought it really did help in getting accurate cut outs for the pieces

The high Low skirt is sewn similarly to how a gathered skirt is done. Gathered skirts are definitely a good beginner’s project to children’s clothes. Firstly, there is no need of paper pattern and secondly there is learning skill of doing gathers (useful in skirts, dress, puffy sleeves,bolster cases etc).

I started the skirt by sewing the side seams of both the front, back panels of skirt and waist band. Next, I attached the Mini pompom trims. For the skirt, I used the sewing machine to do it. This was followed by doing gathers for both the skirt and the lining. Last casing for the skirt was attached and elastic band was inserted.

A good tip for doing a poofy skirt would be using correct lining material. This is why tulle fabric are often recommended. They are stiff, and give a voluminous effect to under skirt. However ,young children and toddler with sensitive skin in particular, find it itchy and uncomfortable. My suggestion would be using Siri which is a cotton/ poly blend. A medium weight one has more volume and thus will give the skirt a more voluminous effect. Voile is a good choice for a more breathable and washes easily too. Check out http://www.blogforbettersewing.com/2013/06/linings-for-summer-dresses-and-skirts.html?m=1 for more information on linings for skirts and dresses.

Here you go, presenting the high Low skirt!

Elli’s Two-toned Stand-Out collar shirt

The shirt is a review for me from a recent sewing series I attended. It is still as challenging when I did my first shirt for Elli; definitely not a beginner’s project.

I found the sewing of the yoke, sleeves and collar very much demanding for a beginner like me.

However, the final product was very self fulfilling and a show stopper, I must say.

The most exciting part of doing the shirt would be the selection of contrasting fabric for the the collar as well as the type of buttons.

I wanted to give it a cheery vibe so went for yellow fabric ; yellow and orange flat buttons. I had these cute pineapple buttons which I wanted initially, but I thought the flat ones would match Char’s outfit better.

The completed shirt. Isn’t it adorable?

Front view Shirt

Back view Shirt

Final thoughts…

Seeing your tots dressed in your own handmade creation is like one of those moments, etched in your memory forever. Proud moments.

Presenting to you the Pineapple Frenzy collection this summer..

Twin Power!

Toto my toy poodle looks needy for some pineapple frenzy. Maybe a new collar this summer?

Beanbag DIY

Who doesn’t like a beanbag? A place you could just cozy up in with your favourite book, to catch a cartoon or 2, or simply to jump into it and play pretend. The squeaking sound of polystyrene beads, one could say, almost sound therapeutic.My tots  would definitely second that!

I was googling for beanbags DIY and ‘Sew a Kids Bean Bag Chair In 30 Minutes’ at projectnursery.com definitely caught my eyes.

It had well written instructions and pictures to follow through for a child size beanbag. It will take more than 30 minutes if you are deciding to do an additional cover and if you are as fastidious as me.

Here’s a run through of what I had and some tips I believe will come in handy if you decide to do a beanbag for your tot.

The instructions on projectnursery.com is just for a beanbag. Therefore, if you are intending to do for a tot like me. It isn’t advisable to stop just at the beanbag. You will probably want to do a cover for it as well. Firstly, it is Safer. You wouldn’t want your tot to have his fill with the polystyrene beads. ( CHOCKING HAZARD) Secondly, it is definitely more hygienic. My tots are always getting their hands soiled. Be it food, saliva, or what not. I am certainly in for “Play dirty and build immunity”. However, changing the sheets and covers once a week is mandatory in the household. Having more than one cover at hand would definitely do more good than bad.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Beanbag:

2 pieces of fabric ( 45x 32 ) inches

22 inch zipper ( optional if you decide to sew the bag shut)

Pellets (Polystrene Beads )( 1.5 kg)

Cover :

2 pieces of fabric (46 x 33) inches ( use 2 different fabric for a 2 tone look)

24 inch zipper

**Always wash fabric before any project, so that you know shrinking is done before you proceed with sewing it.

Tip1:When cutting the fabric especially big pieces of fabric, I always find it easier if you cut out one first and pin it down as a sampler for the following similar dimension piece to cut . Firstly, you will get similar dimensions for both cloth. Secondly, both fabrics would have been pinned downed already so you are all set for the next step.

Beanbag (itself):

I trust that you follow through the steps easily at projectnursery.com. After sewing the 2 fabrics. I used a serger for mine and it really saved a lot of time and and prevented the fabric from fraying. If you don’t, a zigzag stitch followed by a straight stitch over it as proposed would do the trick.

Tip 2: After drawing a curve and removing 6 inches of that fabric, it is a good idea to save this unwanted portion as a guide for the curve you are going to remove again for the cover.

Tip 3: Attaching a zipper would be a very good idea if you decide to change the pellets in future. However, it would be better to sew up the ends after that . I hand sew using a ladder stitch for that. This will also hide a portion of the zipper (Pull tab and TOP stops ) . This is definitely recommended to prevent young tots from unzipping beanbag. Replacing the beads in future will just require ripping the ladder stitches.

Tip 4: Filling up the beanbag would probably be the most challenging but satisfying step. Challenging: You cannot imagine having all these polystyrene beads spill all over your place, especially with tots around! Satisfying : You are 1 step away from getting your beanbag done! Projectnursery.com suggested pouring the beads in the beanbag in your bathtub which is a really good idea as any loose beads would be easily cleared once done. However, if you do not have a bathtub at home like me, here’s a tip. Place your cover over the opening (opened) of the polystyrene bag. On TOP of the the cover have a bigger plastic bag over it. A trash bag would do fine. With 2 hands, grab the sides ( cover and plastic bag )tightly leaving no GAP. Slowly reverse the the polystyrene bag so that you are pouring it out in your bean bag cover. Once done slowly remover the polystyrene plastic bag. There will probably be a handful of beads left and caught in the bag. The trash bag would be able to catch any spill overs. Do this really slowly, because you would rather do it slow then have a whole lot of pellets all over your floor. I got my bean bag fill from Spotlight Singapore. This would be the biggest bag and you will need 3 bags full.

Tada! Here’s a photo of my beanbag. I did it in the wee hours of the night when my tots were in bed, so their plush cat got to snuggle in first. I think he looked pretty pleased.

The beanbag cover follows the same steps as the beanbag . My suggested measurements for the cover could vary depending on how you would like the final look of the beanbag. I wanted more ease in slipping my beanbag in, thus the additional 1 inch for both the length and width. However ,if you decide for a more fitted look, I suggest using the suggested measurements first and adjust accordingly to your preference after fitting the beanbag in.

Little Char looked pretty pleased with her new beanbag!

Elli insisted is his new ‘ boat’?

Overall, this is a very good project for a beginner to sewing. However you do need to be able to handle straight and curve lines. In this case, very Long ones too!

I had a good time sewing the beanbag, my tots definitely raved about it ( mostly in enthusiastic baby gibberish). Definitely no regrets in doing this one. Wait no more, start yours today!!

An Overnight inspiration

An overnight inspiration. I decide to blog, my creations of nothing but fun stuff for my little tots.

They just turned 2 recently, and I must say being a mama of 2 ( I literally have 2 of them!) is like being on a never ending emotional roller coaster.Cliche, but very true. Words of encouragement flood in during their 2nd birthday: “ Terrible 2 is just a phase”, “ They are learning to be independent” etc . Only time will tell.

On a brighter note, 2 is truly a fun age for imagination, experimentation and role play. Being a SAHM gives me all the time I need to enjoy my little ones and work those creative juices of mine 24/7. Recently, insomnia kicked in but that resulted in bouts of artsy craftsy projects I endeavoured. I can hardly wait to share. So, here goes…