Me Made Maldives – East Meet West edition

Next up are items made from a couple of my Indian outfit kits. I was half thinking of taking one of my sari outfits, but in the end thought I’d be too uncomfortable to relax. Beautiful as they are, they’re not my heritage & I don’t feel I can pull them off so nonchalantly. Instead, I went fusion. For these outfits I canabalised the Dupatta scarves, bits of the main Anarkali tunic, & the fabrics for the Churidar trousers from my Jinaam Floral Tulip outfit kits.

Jinaam Floral Tulip 7363

For the marroon outfit, my inspiration was a Spring/Summer 2015 Dries Van Noten outfit featured in a travel magazine.

Self-drafted Bandeau Tunic Top

Fabrics: sleeve fabric from Jinaam Floral Tulip 7363 Anarkali tunic for the bodice & Dupatta scarf for the skirt part, nylon/lycra stretch Bodystocking & Silhouette fabrics from Funki Fabrics for bodice underlining & lining.
Pattern & construction: The skirt part is just a rectangle pleated at the princess lines. The strapless bodice was based on my last bodice cling film wrap. To minimise risk of wardrobe malfunction I made a muslin. Good thing I did because I forgot that because it takes a while to do a cling film wrap, you inevitably wrap in breathing ease. So without taking away this ease, any strapless top based on this will flash strangers. For this one though, because the shell fabric is woven, I decided to keep the ease, but used negative ease stretch fabric for the underlining & lining + elastic at top & bottom of the bodice for extra insurance. Because the top has minimum ease, I had to add hook & eye opening at one side seam to get in & out. I added rigilene boning to the bodice side seam & side opening to minimise the bodice collapsing / wardrobe malfunction. Unfortunately the boning ends poked through while I was on holiday. I melted the ends like previous times, so I’m not sure what I did wrong this time. Maybe it’s the nature of the fabrics I used this time. I may have to retroactively pad the ends with something sturdier … if I get a chance to wear this more often.


Self-drafted Slim Elasticated Trousers

Fabrics: Jinaam Floral Tulip 7363 rayon Churidar trousers fabric, border from the Anarkali tunic’s skirt
Pattern & construction: Although I went for a Western elasticated + draw-string pajama pants look, the pattern is based on traditional Indian churidar trousers pattern instruction. These are usually drafted directly on the fabric using hip & leg measurements. They’re cut with only seams on the inseam & crotch, and side seam on the bias fold. Normally they’d cut the wasitband separately, but mine is just cut-on. I also wanted pockets, so I added small waist dart at the side seam to attach side-seam pockets. Unfortunately this approach didn’t work out for me. I thought the bias grain would provide moving ease while creating a slender look. But it was rather uncomfortable to wear despite not being skin-tight – the front thigh feels tight at the same time the front crotch looke unsightly baggy. I ended up having to take a wedge from front crotch through the thigh area and add that back to the back crotch as gussets. Not an elegant solution & still a bit uncomfortable. Maybe I have strange legs, maybe it’s an acquired taste. Anyway, now I know to stick to my legs cling film wrap Trousers Block.


Jinaam Floral Tulip 7365

Inspiration for the beige outfit was a hodgepodge of things…

Franken V1390 Gigli Wannabe Wrap Top

Fabrics: Jinaam Floral Tulip 7365 Dupatta scarf
Pattern & construction: The wrap top was inspired by Romeo Gigli 1989 Spring/Summer collection. I had already attempted to recreate one before by adapting 90s Vogue Genny Designer Pattern 1390. But because I had limited amount of fabric to work with this time, I couldn’t reuse that pattern as is. Instead, I used the slide & pivot method to tweak that pattern for a more economical layout. I also changed the neckline border trim from shaped to straight for a stand-up collar look that’s more like Japanese kimono collar. The CB seam wasn’t necessary design-wise, but because I wanted to squeeze a skirt out of the scarf as well, this was the only way I could fit both garments into the yardage I had. Because the fabric is translucent, I went with french seams & manual blind hem.


Self-drafted Cover-up Panel Skirt

Fabrics: Jinaam Floral Tulip 7365 Dupatta scarf
Pattern & construction: The panel skirt was inspired by one I saw in a K-pop video. The back panel is just a rectangle with elasticated waist. The front panel is shaped to fit the leftover fabric I had & to provide dart shaping without seaming or gathering. I had hoped the skirt would work well as a beach cover-up, but I don’t think the translucent fabric work well with this design. It’s not so bad worn as a floaty overskirt over an underskirt though.


Self-drafted Tulip Trousers

OK I lied. This one didn’t actually make it to Maldives. I wanted to take it, but I ran out of time to birth it. So it wasn’t made until I got back.

Fabrics: Jinaam Floral Tulip 7365 rayon Churidar trousers fabric
Pattern & construction: Since the traditional Indian churidar trousers pattern instruction didn’t work well for me, I went back to my Slim Trousers Block for this take on Indian tulip / samosa pants. I’m still a bit timid with volume – especially with fabric that isn’t limp as fish. So I chose a slimmer modern version as my inspiration. Mine is basically slim pants without side seam & with the front double-layered at the waist. It looks like there is some drapes on the inseam side in that inspiration photo, but for the life of me I couldn’t work out how they’re formed. So I experimented with waist pleats on the inner front layer. I couldn’t be bothered to work out complicated closure, so I just elasticated the back waist up to the Block’s front side seam. Back waistband is just a rectanglar casing for the elastic. Front waistband is contoured & interfaced, with a fake closure at the left princess line – which was a pain to construct because I didn’t think the order through. The end result is certainly more comfortable to wear than the slim churidar trousers above, but the legs flare a bit rather than wrap snugly like in the inspiration photo. I tried salvaging this by tacking the hems closer at the ankle and added buttons to disguise this pattern-drafting mishap. Doesn’t look too bad. But the front top layer pulls a bit at the waist forming those unsightly diagnol draglines. Ah well, nothing ventured nothing gained. I can always wear it under a longer top to hide the draglines. Or just own these battle scars proudly.

Vietnamese Ao Dai robe top

This one is a straight replacement for an authentic Vietnamese Ao Dai robe that a friend gave me when it no longer fitted her.

The original is made of a silk-rayon mix and is absolutely heavenly to the touch. Originally I was a bit disappointed to learn that it wasn’t 100% silk. But then I learnt that rayon is not only more comfortable for hot humid weather, it may also be partly responsible for the superb softness of the Vietnamese jacquard, which none of the other Asian silks have. Sadly it’s impossible to find this variety of jacquard in the Western fabric shops. I would have just kept wearing this original, except the moths loved it as much as I did. And now it’s shredded in places.

The fabric I end up using I got by chance. It doesn’t have the same softness & drape, but is the closest I can get in the West.

Style Shots & Mug Shots

WORN WITH: 1-2 high-rise Ginger Jeans 2018;

The Pattern

Block Used: Fitted Top Block

Design Changes Made

  • Change to raglan sleeve by loosely following the instruction in Designing Apparel Through The Flat Pattern. My personalised Block is too irregular to follow these standard drafting instructions to the T.
  • Disregard front waist dart
  • Marked side splits to end 1″ above waistline
  • For lengths & bodice hem widths, follow the rough measurements of the shifty original
  • For neck opening under-flap draw styleline on front neckline as guide & copy with side bust dart closed.
  • For mandarin collar, started with a rectangle the length of the jewel neckline circumference, then slashed & lapped the top edge to make it fit closer to Q my custom dressform’s neck.

Fabric & Notions Used

  • Fabric: Cotton/Rayon ? Jacquard from Minerva Crafts UK
  • Notions: Linen interfacing from the stash for madarin collar. So Sheer interfacing for neck opening binding/facing. 7-mm snaps x 10. Size-2 hook x 1.

Construction Notes

  • I mostly followed the original’s approach to seaming & hemming. So seams pressed open with overlock finishing. Double folded hand blind stitched hems.

The Verdict

Not bad. But the stiffer fabric does make it look more boxy. Next time I think I’ll start the side splits at the waistline instead to for a bit more shaping if I can’t get hold of a softer jacquard.

It’s not a top with many styling option, but oh the romance of the panels flapping in the wind – it’s a sensual pleasure I can’t resist. So there definitely will be a next time!

Floral CdG FW1996 wannabe hoodie top

This one started with the fabric. Rejected for the Burda draped back T I felt I owed it one. Unfortunately it’s handicapped by having a 70s polyester hand, so not so comfortable against the skin. But the print reminds me slightly of a beloved 1996 A/W COMME des GARÇONS collection. I love the fancy duvet look, the contrast between rich brocade print & humble muslin – a bit yin & yang, just my cup of tea.

The Design

For the specific design, I went with a sketch of a CdG top I saw a lady wearing at the NYC Met Museum back in the days.

The runway shots don’t look as appetizing anymore, but the memory’s still rosy. And the fabric not precious enough to not risk it!

Style Shots & Mug Shots

WORN WITH: 1 Self-drafted Petticoat Skirt; 2 mid-rise Ginger Jeans 2018 + Camisole based on Burda 2012-04-128;

WORN WITH: 3 Self-drafted Lace Straight Skirt; 4 Modified Burda 2012-04-128 dress + Altered RTW HiLo Skirt;

WORN WITH: 4 Self-drafted Lace Straight Skirt; 5 Altered RTW HiLo Skirt;

The Pattern

Base Pattern Used:

Because I haven’t quite worked out a boxy Block yet I went with a commercial pattern as the base. There’s actually two versions of this Burda pattern and I had wanted to make both since the magazine came out. The other version – a tie front top – looked like the right amount of volume for my vague design. But my sketch had no CF seam, so I went with this pull-over version instead. It’s the exact same base pattern.

Size Used

Graded down to 34 instead of the 36 recommended by the size chart.

Changes Made

Fitting changes

Compared with Tunic Block & made the following changes to give me 3″ extra bust ease on top of the 1.5″ ease already in the looser fitting Tunic Block. As I said, baby steps!

  1. Removed 1/4″ from CB
  2. Removed 3/8″ from Front shoulder-sleeve seam to bring B & F to the same level

Here’s how this one compares with my recent ventures into loose fit tops…

pattern block block ease design ease total ease
BS 2014-02-117 v-neck T woven tunic 1.5″ 16.75″ 18.25″
BS 2018-01-106 draped back T knit loose fit 2.5″ 0″ 2.5″
BS 2016-08-125 tie front T knit loose fit 2.5″ 0.5″ 3″
BS 2014-03-119 (this top) woven tunic 1.5″ 3″ 4.5″
Design changes
  1. Omit sleeve & bodice peplums
  2. Extend bodice & create high-low hem (muslin lining is slightly longer than shell fabric to create the hem border)
  3. Extend sleeves
  4. Separated the kimono sleeve from bodice to conserve fabric
  5. Widen front neckline by 1/2″
  6. Bring back neckline up to jewel neckline (based on Block)
  7. Added hood with drawstring tie

Fabric & Notions Used

  • Fabric: Polyester 93% Lycra 7% Floral Jersey from Minerva Crafts UK
  • Lining: Cotton Muslin from the Stash
  • Notions: Vilene Bias Tape to stablise the necklines
  • Tools: Corn starch! (for temporarily stiffening the jersey & tame the edge curling for easier sewing & handling)

Construction Notes

Another blur I’m afraid. That’s the problem with the more experimental self-designs – figuring out the construction as you go along & not remembering the steps afterwards!

The only thing I remember is that the corner where the hood overhangs join the sides of the square front neckline was tricky to do neatly. I had to fudge with hand-sewing afterwards. Oh and that I might have bagged the lining with the opening at the hood-neckline seam (hand slip-stitch closed).

The Verdict

Not bad if I may say so myself. Unfortunately I ran out of fabric to make the matching dress long & kabuki like for full-on CdG effect. But otherwise a cute top. Just a shame that London has gotten too global warminingly hot to wear this right now.

Stripy Burda 2016-08-125 T with front neckline ties

Or Stripe & Drape Take 2… This one started out as an after-thought: Ms Cheapskate insisted on squeezing a second top out of the stripe fabric. But I ended up liking this better than the star of the Stripe & Drape show!

The Pattern

The pattern is actually designed for woven. But I struggled to find another loose-fitting knit top pattern in my Stash that would both showcase the stripe and fit the scraps I have. The direction of the cut-on tie patterns vs the direction the finished ties hang makes it a more successful match than the drape on my Burda 2018-01-106.

Style Shots & Mug Shots

WORN WITH: 1 mid-rise Ginger Jeans 2018; 2 Self-drafted Slim Trousers;

WORN WITH: 3 Refashioned RTW pleated skirt; 4 Self-drafted Lace Straight Skirt + Mom’s shrug; 

Size Used

34, instead of 36 recommended by the size chart, chosen because it’s closest to my Dartless Semi-Fitted Knit Top Block

Changes Made

Fitting changes
based on comparison to Dartless Semi-Fitted Knit Top Block

Sorry, my changes seem a bit whimsical & hard to summarise into any clear principles…

  1. Shortened above bust to bring bottom of armhole no lower than bust line & back neck-shoulder point hitting my Block’s back shoulder line. (This also brought the pattern’s back waistline closer to my waistline.) On the front did this only on the simpler half without the tie (right side).
  2. Tilted right front at armhole bottom level to bring front shoulder slope closer to the angle of my Block & front armhole hem slope closer to back armohole hem slope.
  3. Ensured there’s at least as much ease in the bodice as my Block – back needed no change, front needed more ease at the hem so tilted at bust point.
  4. Ensure back & front side seam are same lengths – shorten back below the waist to match the front.
  5. Folded front in half. Shortened & tiled the left tie piece to match the right side shoulder & armhole hem slopes. Shortened & tilted the left side of the main front piece to match the raglan seam slope & front neckline… or something like that 😕
Design changes
  1. Added Front Neckline Facing as I was worried my fabric would be too limp for the ties if used single layer.
  2. Change banded hem to high-low hem with side seam slit… Because I wasn’t I can rock the blouson silhouette… And because I ran out of fabric anyway!

Fabric & Notions Used

  • Fabric: Cotton & Lurex Stripy Jersey from Moods Fabric NYC
  • Notions: Vilene Bias Tape.
  • Tools: Corn starch (for temporarily stiffening the jersey & tame the edge curling for easier sewing & handling)

Construction Notes

  • Stablised the necklines.
  • For neckline finishes used standard Burda cowl neckline instruction (binding-facing for back neckline, sandwiched shoulder seam between front & front facing).
  • Stretch-stitched seaming & overlocked edge finishes. Hand catch-stitch for bodice hem & stretch stitch for armhole hems.

The Verdict

Despite the struggle to style this multiple ways this one is a win. I can definitely seeing myself sewing a replacement should this one wears out from too much love.

Something about the drape that I can see (rather than one in the back that I can’t see) just turns me into a kitty chasing a laser point! 😻

Stripy Burda 2018-01-106 T with back drape & cutout

In theory this combination of pattern (just enough twist in the back) & fabric (just enough sparkle in the stripes) should have given me Sports Luxe. But Reality always gets her own ways and the result was a bit of a disappointment.

The Pattern

I mean look at that back. Just look at that back. How can I not be seduced? I knew I wanted to make this, but wasn’t sure which fabric – this stripe or the floral you see in the dress below. Of course I asked DH & promptly picked the other one. 😈

Style Shots & Mug Shots

WORN WITH: 1 Burda 2012-04-128 Dress;

WORN WITH: 2 Ginger Jeans ’18;

Size Used

36, as recommended by the size chart & chosen because it’s closest to my Dartless Semi-Fitted Knit Top Block

Changes Made

Fitting changes
based on comparison to Dartless Semi-Fitted Knit Top Block
  1. Bodice – tried to get shoulder angles to match my Block + back side seam to mirror my Block (ensuring between F & B there’s similar amount of ease to my Block)
  2. Sleeve – shortened. A bit too much. Ended up with uncomfortable thumb holes, so had to close them up & live with just plain old long sleeve.
Design changes – none

Fabric & Notions Used

  • Fabric: Cotton & Lurex Stripy Jersey from Moods Fabric NYC
  • Notions: Vilene Bias Tape.
  • Tools: Corn starch (for temporarily stiffening the jersey & tame the edge curling for easier sewing & handling)

Construction Notes

  • Stablised both back neckline & shoulder seams
  • Tidied up the innards by
    • sandwiching the seam allowance of right back facing / drape / left back seam
    • used binding on left back cutout to hide ugly interfacing

The Verdict

Meh. Both front & back look a bit more frumpy than in the pattern photo, which looks longer (bum length?) & with more fluid drapes. I didn’t shorten the pattern, so I’m putting this down to different body proportion compared to the model.

Sadly, unlike my last foray into loose fit, this one I haven’t quite made peace with yet.