2015/16 Janus Post

Hello everyone. It’s that time of the year again.
Festive cheers to you all!

It’s been a hard year for me with Mom getting stomach cancer half-way through the year. I had to check out of my sewing room & rush to her side. In the end I could do little for her. She passed away just a couple of weeks before my birthday. I had planned to care for her through the holiday season & wasn’t expecting her to go so quickly. So this has been a lonely Xmas stuck in a now-to-me foreign place sorting out the aftermath of her passing. Not sure if I’ll get my sewing mojo back anytime soon. Then again refashioning a few of her outfits may be a good way to honour her & keep her in my life.

Looking Backward

SWAP items sewn:

Number of items completed:
22 including fixes & wearable muslins.

So depending on one’s perspective I either did rather poorly or really well.

2015 Total: 22 makes
Garment types
1ish Dress (2 skresses!)
16 Tops (2 fixes)
3ish Skirts (inc 2 skresses!)
1 Cardie
1 Bag (fix)
Pattern brands
20 Self-drafted
2 Burda
View all 2015 makes at a glance…

This was the year of the selfies…as in self-drafted patterns. By testing in batches of 3-4 wearable muslins, I managed to breeze past last few year’s tallies in the first half of the year. I’m sure the second half would have been just as productive if not more. But Life happened.

The winners of 2015 …

First up, winner in the most wearable but not too boring stake is my Dolce & Gabbana Wannabe Cardi. I lamented my unsuccessful attempt at mock-ribbing at the time. But the result is still flattering & versatile. Came in really handy when it was hot outside but freezing in the air-conditioned hospital.

The next two I’m proud of because they stretched my drafting & design skills, and weren’t total mess at the end.

I wasn’t sure my Fortuny Top would work out what with the complicated innards – the result of a band-aid approach to draping. But it’s actually quite comfortable to wear. And aesthetically it’s right up my alley with a mix of soft & edgy, feminine & masculine. Definitely much more wearable than it’s previous incarnation as a head-in-the-cloud Fortuny Delphos Wannabe Dress.

My Westwood+CdG Love Child Wannabe Peplum Top is more of an one-trick pony. But by Jove, not only was it interesting pattern-drafting, it was also a mind-twister when it came to construction order. Really proud. Pat on back. Smug face.

The next two made my list for being wearable muslins with an attitude.

Camden Town Kids Wannabe Top started out as a bog standard knit block muslin. Simple addition of puff over-sleeves, a tweaked neckline, plus a play with both sides of an otherwise ugly knit turned it into something much more interesting that’s still quite versatile & right up my alley.

East & Easter Tunic was again an ugly fabric sacrificed for block testing which I manage to salvage with addition of ribbons & soutache. That’s why I can’t even part with ugly fabrics. Sometimes they can still be turned into respectable ladies with the right design. Sorry MR. They’re all staying!

And the 2015 misses…

  • I tried. But sleeveless ruched bust tops & I are just not friends. My going-down-south boobs just aren’t flattered. Witness exhibits A Candy Cane Halter Top & exhibit B Strap to Strapless Mustard Top: Too much expanses above the boobs, too little between the boobs & the waist.
  • And Kimono Kaftan is too delicate a flower for my not too delicate manner. Besides, I don’t get enough beachy holidays to justify it taking space in my cupboard. But it is a nice colour & print. I still plan to remake it into something more wearable in the city.

2015 in closing

  • I’m thankful that the groundwork laid last year panned out into more numerous & interesting makes this year, even if majority of them are still wearable muslins. I have yet to memorialise the blocks into something more hardwearing – they’re still all tracing paper drafts at the moment & easily damaged. It’s quite slow-going. I get confused by so many drafts laying about. But I will plough on, and hopefully add some key missing blocks in 2016, like trousers.
  • SWAPing didn’t really worked for me this year. I kept thinking I don’t have the right block for that design yet. Yes, some could have been made with commercial patterns as well. But I thought I’d get better fit & kept thinking I’m almost there. Hopefully SWAPing will resume in 2016.
  • Jungle-January-2015_1600x100016 May 2015
    This year I’ve been unusually social by my introverted standards, what with joining in with all the Jungle January & Me Made May merriment. But both were very rewarding. First JJ pushed me to churn out 4 makes, including two of my Best Of’s. Then MMM expanded my selfie skills by being too much of a hassle if I were to get out the proper camera-tripod getup everday. Now my smartphone is my weapon of choice. I’ve even got myself an octopusy tripod (Joby GripTight GorillaPod Magnetic) so I can experiment with more angles. Now if only I can master depth of field control on a smartphone, or proper camera for that matter…

Looking Forward

I hope I will get my sewing mojo back soon after I’m home in my lair. Right now it’s hard to imagine what the coming year will be like sewing-wise. I’m still trying to catch my breath & process what had just happened this year.

I know I want to honour my Mom by refashioning some of her clothing. I was going to donate bulk of it to charity, but made the mistake of trying them on first. With my fabric hunter goggle on they appear not too shabby even if the sizing is a bit dowdy on me. She has many prints that I wouldn’t have picked up normally. But as they’re there for the taking, I’m thinking this is my chance to be more like all you Mistresses of Prints (you know who you are!)…

So, first up I think maybe some animal prints for Jungle January 2016. Now you have to help me here as I don’t know my animal prints for ****


I think I recognize a black snake & purple zebra & maybe a brown leopard in my Mom’s safari park, but is that grey spotty velvet in the top left an animal?

I’ve also picked out some blindingly bling gold ensemble for refashioning. We shall see what else I’ll manage to squeeze into my luggage as MR’s present will be taking up a bit of room…


Hand IT over!

(No, he is only getting one.
But I’ve been given strict order to keep the Evil One NRFB.)

And finally,
Happy New Year!
And make many promises that you know you’re never going to keep!
Like taming that stash!

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2014/15 Janus Post

Hello everyone. I hope you all had a most wonderful Xmas & festive New Year! Or at least a relaxing holiday!

Mine was a bit stressful: First time catering solo for 7 (we don’t usually celebrate). Plus having to finish up cleaning & home decorating that I’ve been avoiding for ages. But none of that compared with losing my beloved Sewing Room to a visiting teenage boy (sob). I didn’t realize how attached I’ve became to my sanctuary from male messiness. For close to 4 weeks the door was literally shut. The few times I sneaked in to retrieve something or other, I found the room messy, stuffy, & festering with leftover food. I was in shock. The head knew it would happen, but the heart wasn’t prepared to witness it actually happening. I guess it’s just something that those with children get used to. Gradually. Anyway, I hope day or two of airing and cleaning once I get the room back will make it decent & welcoming again. At least no wild party took place in it I suppose. (Respect to all you parents of teenagers out there.)

OK, rant over. Let’s get back to year end review.

Looking Backward

I wasn’t planning on do a round up originally. It’s just too depressing how few projects I finished in 2014. I actually regressed, achieving 2 less than the year before…

2014 Total: 13 makes
Garment types
1 Dress
3 Tops
4 Skirts
3 Sweaters (not blogged yet)
1 Jacket
1 Bag
Pattern brands
9 Self drafted
4 Burda

Oh how optimistic I was back in Feb when I thought I could “easily whip up my New Year Resolution list of…3 pencil skirts, 3 straight skirts, 3 A-line skirts, 3 long sleeve woven tops, 3 short sleeve woven tops, 3 long sleeve knit tops, 3 short sleeve knit tops, 3 dresses, 3 jackets.” That’ll teach me to make NY Resolutions.

Could I at least claim quality if not quantity? While I’m proud of most of my 2014 makes design-wise, I can’t say they’re all that successful in terms of frequency of wear, which is my main criteria of success.

So the winners of 2014 are…

  1. Once again the Self-drafted Tote v2 took the top honor. Finished late in the year it still manage to get more use than all the others combined.
  2. Runner up has to be Franken BS 2013-11-117 Reversible Moto Jacket, despite it’s unwieldy floppy big collar. It has shape without the constricting innards, making it a comfy top-up for never-too-hot London.
  3. And my Self-Drafted Martin Margiela SS 1997 Wannabe Top / Jacket just about made it into the winners circle. Despite being a bit tight, I nonetheless insisted on wearing it (relatively) often. Because it’s neutral-ish, kinda of classy and kinda of edgy. Just my cup of tea.

And the 2014 misses…

The ones I’ve had time to stew on anyway…

  • While I do like how my Self-Drafted Flocked Denim Pencil Skirt looks, it was a mistake not to line this one. When I wear it with tights the front hem hitch up & get caught between my legs in the most unflattering way while walking. I’m not entirely sure why. My unlined RTW wool pencil skirt doesn’t do that. I haven’t checked if it also happens with the Self-Drafted Reversible Pencil Skirt. It doesn’t happen when I go bare legs. I could wear it with a half-slip. But I don’t own one & it’s a fussy solution. I rather just line the damn skirt & forget about it.
  • Franken BS 2012-04-128 Camisole‘s wart was always there. I’ve already talked about it & made peace with it in the write up. The new year hopefully will bring more successful heirs to the Camisole Saga.

2014 in closing

  • I think I’ve laid some good foundation for self-drafted patterns. So while they haven’t panned out into much wearable clothing this year, fingers crossed they’ll make 2015 makes more interesting.
  • I mentioned earlier this year about it being Year of the Skirt. And while I didn’t make 3 of everything, the skirts did win out by a miserly 1. So there, kept my word.
  • I still owe you 3 write-ups for 2014. These are the sweaters I managed to squeeze in just in time. Two are from my F/A Swap Plan. The other is the Michelin Man remade as promised. I’m just waiting to get my Sewing Room / Photo Studio back from teenage boy messiness first.
  • You can see rest of my 2014 makes in my new Finished Projects by Year page (minus the 3 yet to be blogged of course).

Looking Forward

Yeah, I’m not tempting Fate again by making resolutions. Yes I still have my F/W SWAP Plan. But I shall treat it like a menu to keep me from the paralysis of limitless choices & infinite possibilities. Maybe I will add S/S SWAP designs to the menu. Then however the weather changes and whatever mood I’m in I’ll still have a beacon guiding me down the road of …dare I say it…many many makes!

Next on my plate to make I think shall be knit block redux. I’m hoping to get a cardi block sorted so I can whip out 7 in a batch: 5 eminently useful but boring browns & blacks, 1 SWAP, and maybe even 1 rather tame entry for Jungle January. Wouldn’t that be great? Buys me time for half the year just in case productivity fall way down again.


I’ve already drafted & muslined the defunct Stretch Pattern School’s One-Piece Block (with 12% horizontal & 0% vertical negative ease) as a starting point. Once I figure out whether their instruction works for me or not I will derive a 0-ease stretch block, then derive my cardi block from that.

And next on my plate to blog shall be my Tunic Block which one of the SWAP sweater is based on. Wish me luck that it’ll take no time to clean out, freshen up, & reclaim my Sewing Sanctuary!

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