Thursday, January 28, 2016

Something exciting, this way comes

The year of the monkey... feeling inspired!!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Colour blocking maxi dress

After many years, colour blocking still can be used in amazing ways. Here's some beautiful example from I love the colour combinations and the little strip of yellow complements the whole outfit

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Fabric bowl covers

Very practical!!  Fabric bowl covers. Just what i need, especially for various shaped bowls & containers

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Colour combination

 just love the colours chosen for this afghan

Hi, earthling!

We come in peace... and love your sofa!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Spiral crochet

If u like crochet, this blog written in Arabic has lots of interesting crochet techniques, like the one above. Check it out

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Clothes Tell Stories

Clothes Tell Stories is an on-line Costume Workbook, a web-based resource for museums, students and the general public about how to use costume to tell stories. Costume is extremely evocative and always has an immediate appeal in museums.

Clothes so easily illustrate many kinds of stories because, when correctly used, they bring an extremely personal, engaging aspect to our history.

Costume Committee members – expert costume curators and conservators from museums all over the world - are contributing their expertise in this project. It will illustrate many aspects of working with historical costume which will be useful for non-specialists: terminology, exhibition techniques, successful labels, contemporary collecting, aspects of proper storage and handling, exhibition walk-throughs and much more. 

Since many small and/or specialty museums do not have access to personnel trained in working with costume, we hope Clothes Tell Stories can help teach how to store, handle and show costume and accessories. This will not only bring less-known historical costume out in the open, but will contribute to creating valuable new contacts between museums and ICOM specialists.

Blog note : So happy to have found this site.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Wrap around shorts

A fren asked me to do this many years ago but i never got around to it. Today i saw a tutorial of a beautiful scarf made into this type of shorts. It looked so cool!

Source :

Friday, August 9, 2013

Tiered skirt from t-shirts or different sizes

Colour blocking's still the rage after so many years. The success of this project is in the selection of colours and the sequence. For most 'trouble areas', choose a darker colour/a patterned fabric for the first level of the skirt. This will make a big bum less obvious, reduce panty fabric showing through, hide a protruding tummy, etc.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Ingenuity of Paul Poiret, French fashion designer

This garment is made from just one loooong piece of fabric. No cutting!!

According to curator Harold Koda ; 82nd & Fifth: FRENCH DRESSING by Harold Koda

Poiret constructed this garment by taking one fifteen-foot-long piece of fabric, twisting it, and connecting it with just one seam, leaving openings for the sleeves. “It’s maddening because you would never think to approach the making of a garment in this way before,” says curator Harold Koda. 

Paul Poiret (French, 1879–1944) | Paris | 1919

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Crochet by Cantinhodavall

A interesting crochet twist by

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Not just a piece of cloth - Sanitary Pads for the poor

When the monthly period comes, most of us ladies just reach out for a pre-packed Laurier or Modess (in the old days) to handle Nature's 'gift' (or plaque, to some). But in times of disaster, as flood or the recent earthquake in Japan, I sympathise with those who have already gone through the trauma of losing all their belongings & even loved ones, but to also had to suffer the trauma and indignity of this 'natural' occurence. It's unthinkable, which is why I tried to offer a little comfort by organising to send their 'valuable' commodity to the quake victims via CREST (a crisis relief group) recently through my group.

Now I just read in yesterday's Star paper that the similar fate is faced by millions of  under-privileged women in India (everywhere as poverty has no boundaries) and it's worse! They have been facing it ALL their lives (since puberty, of course). When they are too poor to buy commercial sanitary pads, what's the alternative? -- dirty rags, ash, sand and cocunut husk!! Ouch... So sad :((

But luckily, there is an NGO that collects old cloth/clothes from the rich and re-process it into cheap, sanitary pads. Another example of RE-CYCLING, creation of JOB OPPORTUNITIES, maintaining gynaecological HEALTH and DIGNITY.

Here's some excepts of the article :

In such a bleak scenario – whereby government spending on health is barely 2% of its GDP while defence expenditure is 17% – non-governmental organisations (NGOs) like Goonj are a godsend. The New Delhi-based outfit, launched by founder Anshu Gupta in 1998, collects unused clothes from rich, urban households to manufacture, among other things, cheap sanitary napkins for the poor. Priced at Rs5 (approx 30 sen) for a pack of five, these innovative aids provide a dignified solution to a traumatic personal problem for underprivileged women.

“Menstrual hygiene is one of the most neglected and least discussed topics in rural India,” says Dr Himanshi Behl, a Delhi-based obstetrician. “Millions of women use sand, wood ash, old rags, newspapers and even plastic bags due to their inability to afford commercially available sanitary pads.”

.....Napkin preparation is a systematic though laborious process. Cloth received from donors is first soaked in water for one night and then washed with antiseptic detergent. It is then dried, and the buttons and chains removed. The cloth is then cut into pieces of uniform size and thickness. The cut pieces are ironed to remove the remaining moisture. A magnet is run over the pieces to ensure no sharp objects are left behind. These are then packed in newspaper bags, which are also made by Goonj. The napkins are now ready to be distributed.
Each set of napkins has three parts: a waist-string, a small absorbent pad and a palm-wide strip to hold the padding in place while its ends are tucked under the waist-string. Ten sets are packed with care into a drawstring pouch for a women to receive without embarrassment.
The NGO’s volunteers hold meetings in villages across India and sensitise them about health and hygiene issues.....

Overall, the mass participation of housewives, professionals, schools, collages, corporates, exporters, hotels and hospitals behind Goonj’s recycling and distribution centres helps to send out over 50,000kg of recycled waste materials every single month! A vast network of more than 250 grassroots agencies are also helping Goonj – which means “echo” in Hindi – reach parts of 21 states of India.

The NGO also has a repertoire of products made from waste materials. For instance, it makes backpacks from torn jeans, mobile pouches from ties, skipping ropes from saris and balls from sofa cushions...

SIDEBAR :  I was at a craft bazaar not so long ago and a girl was trying to sell me her home-made sanitary pads, made from new, cutely printed cotton at a premium price. Her marketing pitch :  It's washable, re-usable and cleaner!   ...  With a raised eyebrow and weak smile I said - thanks, but no thanks. But apparently in certain religions, you are suppose to wash away the stains before disposing a used sanitary pad...or in this case re-using it.
It's been a long-time since i sewed but i still appreciate this technique of how to sew a dart on the bodice of a blouse without the distorting the print on the cloth. Image a fabric with bird motives and the dart runs through the motif and the bird may lose it's head!

One way to solve this would be to move the dart slightly but that may result in fitting problems. Another way is shown in this tutorial.
She snips around the motif and applique that part on top of the dart. Ingenious but only if the fabric does fray easily and workmanship must be delicate.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Dont 'buy any clothes for 1 year?

Malaysians love their mall! They love window shopping & buying clothes. I've talked to young adults whose only criteria for buying clothes is 'They like it". No consideration for price or necessity.Many do not know about fit or workmanship. As long as they look fashionable, it's ok!  Even many boutiques carry low quality clothes. The kind that have 'curry-puff' hemlines (sewing so bad that the hem curls to one side). I have complained to shop assistants to no avail....

And with the availability of cheap clothes (&bags & shoes) flooding the market, it's so easy for one to keep buying, & buying!, yours truly included.  My closet's practically packed & 2nd one on the way. But i have one excuse. I cant part with my old clothes to make way for new. Shopping has been such an experience that each item i buy or have worn has a memory attached. Hence the overflow! And wth fluctuating waistline & weather, i have to hold back certain clothes until i can get into them comfortably again. Some fabrics r just not made for our sunny, sweaty weather. Then there's clothes for weekend outings / formal functions / arty events / gym / travelling / stormy weather / business meetings / ...list goes on..

So i read with interest the following article..

Since last September, a group of women have been on a fashion fast, refusing to buy any article of clothing for 12 months. What have they learned so far from The Great American Apparel Diet, as the experiment’s called? 

Saturday, August 13, 2011


Stylish finds :


Latest trend : COLOUR BLOCKING

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Would u wear vintage fashion?

Fashion is a cycle. When I was a wee kid in primary school, I was wearing "baby doll " dresses (as it was called back then). Now its the 'tent', 'smock' or 'mini' dresses worn with leggings. Luckily, I still can wear them, but not with leggings (still think I'd look like Big Bird)
Paper patterns to help one make their own dress. One pattern, 3 outfits

I love the cut of a Mary Quant 60's mini dress (minus the tall boots). There are people who are interested in these vintage fashion, either wearing the real stuff from that era ("previously-loved" clothes, to vintage connoisseurs or "secondhand clothes", to the uninitiated!) or an 'inspired' piece (copied lah!)
Many would prefer the first as the workmanship is much, much better. They don't cut corners. Stitches are strong - even the thread used is of better quality. The sewing techniques are neater & accurate. You don't get one sleeve longer than the other, crooked lapels (collar) or buttons dropping off! Many are hand sewn according to proper needlework techniques. I studied sewing, so I notice stuff!
Our 'bible' in those tailoring days...
Notice how the stripes line -up perfectly?

The cut or fit is better, provided you have the same proportions (body measurements) as model the dress was made according to. This can be a problem as most of the clothes are fitting and cut to a specific body and the fabric is usually not stretchable. And most people do not have the wisp (24") waist & hourglass figure to carry off the clothes. Think "cheongsam". There were no fast-foods back then!
I think I will have problem with the fabric. Fabric technology has come a long way since Chanel first used jersey (stretchable knit fabric) and bias cut fabric to give her wearer some flexibility and ease of wear. Vintage fabric are usually stiff. Darts at various places (bust, waistline) were used to fit the fabric to the body so that it looks figure-hugging. But everyone realises that when one sits down, certain parts of our body expands (tummy-lah!!) and it can be quite uncomfortable.

I remember reading that filmstars of yesteryear (50's) used to have a few copies of the same dress on set - why? When they are standing, the dress is made to fit exactly. But when the scene requires her to sit, she has to change to another simillar dress but looser!! Hollywood magic!!!!

The 70s, was the time synthetic fabric was introduced - polyester, nylon fibres (brand=Teteron) - were scratchy & hot. Believe me! I am very sensitive to the feel of fabric & had to suffer wearing the many dresses, culottes, jumpsuits mom made for us. And cars, rooms & shops did'nt always have air-conditioning! I spent hours at fabric stores everytime Chinese New Year comes around, not spoilt for choice, but desperately looking for soft, comfortable fabric. I once bought a white textured fabric, so soft & comfy, I sewed into a long-sleeved blouse & wore at many occasions. On retrospective, I think that was a kind of 'diaper' fabric.. really!!
Notice the fit & stiff fabric which makes the dress (and wearer) stand out regally!

If you are into vintage, the range of designs are quite wide - 50's =regal looking 'Jackie Onassis' style suits; 60's Mary Quant=minis; 70's ="flower children" hippie dresses, bell-bottoms, ponchos, maxis & caftans; 80's=high collared, long sleeved, pleated dresses (Victorian inspired), mutton-sleeves... (personally, I find 80's clothes the most hideous)

An observation: As I take public transport (aka LRT - train), I have been people-watching or rather fashion-watching. There is a senior couple that always take the same coach with me.

Side story : Regular users like us have a favourite spot on the train. Many like to take the middle section (which is usually crowded, because it is nearer to the station's exit turnstiles). Some diehards like me prefer the front of the train - why? It's nearer the driver. If there's any emergency like a power failure, I'd like to know what's being done. If I'm at the back of the train, I'd go crazy not knowing what's happening. That did happen once in a regular night mail train. I bought the ticket late , so was assigned the last coach. The train stopped at a station for an extra-long time but we were in the dark as to what was happening. Only much later did the train conductor tells us to alight the train in near darkness and board the last of the 24 buses waiting for us. Almost did'nt make it if not for a kind gentleman who helped me load all my luggage!

Back to the observation - This senior lady I've noticed has been wearing only 3 dresses of similar design, cut & fit, throughout the many months I've seen the couple. No joke!! The dress is an 80's original - from the look of the fabric & style - fitted at the bodice with a finely pleated skirt attached at the waist. The waistline joint is covered with a piece of bias fabric which is so worn out, it's literally falling to pieces! The fabric looks fragile too, having been washed so many times but because its polyester from the 80's, the colour is still fast & fabric still wearable.

Frugal? Eccentric? Obsessive? Stuck in yesteryear? Lover of vintage?.. I only can say that they are a loving couple. I've never seen the lady by herself. The husband is always smartly dressed in long sleeved shirt & dress pants, by her side. Once a while a third lady (a friend or relative) accompanies them. They look strong & happy. What else does one need? To each his own...

Check out these vintage lovers blogs:
Vintage Socialites - a blog selling vintage clotes at very reasonable price (approx RM50). Visit the blog & enjoy a great retro song selection.

Soul Doctor's Flea Market directory

Soul Doctor Fashion blog - vintage finds do work for her
Note :  This is a re-post from (my other blog)

Saturday, April 2, 2011



Here are a few things I know that might be helpful to you, the conscious clothing consumer:

Understand the difference between organic and sustainable or green.
Organic has a specific legal meaning for agricultural products (cotton, wool, linen, foods, herbs) in the United States and most of the world, and must be certified as compliant with the law. So, while anyone can call anything sustainable, only those whose products meet the legal standard can use the term organic in the marketplace.
It’s not just about the fabric. Companies that aspire to true sustainability should be using, or making substantive plans to change over to, low-impact processing, finishing and dyeing treatments, rigorous standards for ethical labor practices, and environmentally responsible packaging and distribution.
Watch out for green hype. Look for transparency and accuracy in marketing claims. Much of the hype I see centers on bamboo; most fabric sourced from bamboo has been subject to considerable chemical treatment to turn it from woody stalks into supple fabric (as have many other fabrics). Bamboo isn’t a bad fabric source by any means – it’s got tremendous potential as a phenomenally useful, eco-friendly, versatile plant — but the textile industry must become as innovative with manufacturing and processing it as they are in marketing it. In general, evaluate all claims carefully.
Cheap fashion has a high environmental price. The textile and clothing industryis enormous and has a huge global environmental and social footprint. As a consumer, it’s a good strategy to rethink your fashion values. Stop looking for lots of cheap, trendy clothes. Take the European or Slow Fashion approach: Invest in a small wardrobe of well-made pieces that work together, made by manufacturers with integrity. Use accessories to add spark and variety.

Slow fashion - using Reverse Applique

Somewhere out there, there are people still using hand stitching to join and sew togther a dress! Wow!

Lots of technical question marks in my head. eg. is the hand stitching gonna be strong enuff to hold it together?  How much time is it gonna take?  Quality of the stitching? Are there people willing to sewer it?  And the final two marketing question - how much more will it cost? & will anyone buy it?

Here's the link to the story

Here's some excerpts that may answer my questions :

From 2001-2006, Project Alabama earned rack space in boutiques from Tokyo to New York City and appeared in Vogue, Harper's Bazaar and many other publications. All this despite Project Alabama's location in Florence, Alabama, far from the fashion centers of New York or Paris.

The company got its start in 2001, when native Alabaman and former stylist Natalie Chanin needed something to wear to a party in New York City. Chanin deconstructed a t-shirt, cutting it apart and sewing it back together with visible stitches. The one-off shirt was a tremendous success, earning compliments and inquiries about where it was purchased. Based on the success of her spontaneous design, Chanin decided to make similar t-shirts for retail sale. At first, Chanin wanted to produce her t-shirts in New York, but quickly realized that she'd have more success producing garments with a handmade appearance if she hired sewers skilled in hand-sewing techniques. This led Chanin back to Alabama, where handwork, particularly quilting, was still an important part of local culture.
Tank dress with reverse applique

Each Project Alabama t-shirt or dress was handmade, start to finish. Local sewers, called stitchers in company parlance, worked from home to produce garments with a distinctly handmade appearance. The basis of each garment was cotton jersey, which was then hand-stitched into t-shirts, dresses, skirts or other garments. The unmistakable appearance of Project Alabama's garments resulted from multiple types of embellishment, including applique, embroidery, stencil. beading and visible stitches.

Project Alabama garments rely entirely on hand-stitching, no machines allowed!
Bodice of the reverse applique dress

Because they were entirely handmade, Project Alabama garments were expensive. T-shirts were priced from $150-$300, while a dress could run as high as $3,000. These prices, however, allowed stitchers to earn a living wage in an area with little industry. At its peak, Project Alabama employed 200 stitchers.


Project Alabama was also an early purveyor of what is now called Slow Fashion, a movement that rejects the quick turnover of contemporary fashion and advocates quality over quantity. Slow Fashion is also concerned with reducing the ecological impact of fashion by re-making, mending, shopping second-hand and examining the supply chain for the production of new garments.