Handsewn

Tackling Designer Fashion: The Best Way to Save Money

Arguably, one of the main advantages of knowing how to sew is never spending thousands of dollars on designer clothing. Sure, it doesn’t entirely alleviate the temptation of copping a few garments from Moda Operandi, but there’s definitely a level of pride in thinking, ‘hey, I could totally make that.’ Over the years, my skills in pattern-making, drafting, and machine sewing have improved to a level where I can confidently construct my own haute couture closet. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no expert. I’m still a work in progress.

My next project consisted of a semi-easy DIY: the Ivory Ruffle Apron Top from Selkie. At first glance, it’s relatively simple in construction. I didn’t have to worry about fit as much, as the most complicated step is the short bodice. I made my own variations in terms of the shoulder straps and back. Instead of opting for a corset detail or a zipper, I decided to install shirring for a more comfortable fit. I’m pretty proud of the end result, as it offers the right amount of volume and drama.

What I’m Wearing

  • Top: Handmade (Inspired by Selkie)
  • Skirt: Aritzia (Sunday Best)
  • Bag: Prada
  • Hair accessories: Sukoshi Mart
  • Boots: Thrifted

Next up, I wanted to tackle the Paris Georgia Singlet top. This proved to be rather detail-oriented, as it was quite difficult to nail the heart neckline as I was sewing the bias in. Additionally, I wasn’t keen on buying special fabric for this project, given that I wanted to reduce the amount of material I had on the backlog. The best that I could do was black satin, meaning that I needed to add in darts to ensure the perfect fit. Since the fabric offered no stretch, I decided to opt for shirring again in place of a zipper. The end result gives me mixed feelings, as it’s not totally on point with the real Paris Georgia top, but it does bear a slight resemblance.

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Handsewn

The Pink Sunset Romper

The story starts at the thrift store, because of course it does.

More specifically, I spotted this gorgeous silk polyester blend that was hanging around in the drapery section. It was originally a curtain, considering that it had a scalloped hem with a tasseled trim. I loved the stitching details, as it showcased this stunning floral decal from top to bottom. Since the fabric looked so regal and sophisticated, it was only fitting that I make a dress. If you’re a long-time reader of this blog, then you already know of my obsession with sewing skirts and gowns. Obviously, I don’t need another dress in my overflowing closet, but when the material speaks to you, you listen.

Instead of opting for the usual mini, I wanted to add shorts underneath to make it more wearable. In the past, I’ve had my fill of wearing bottoms underneath for extra modesty, but it always made the resulting outfit look too bulky. Fortunately, the fabric at hand was relatively thin, so I didn’t have to worry about excess material. To keep things flexible, I decided to shirr the front bodice. Originally, I thought to make a corset to make the dress more romantic, but I knew it would sacrifice a bit of comfortability. Trekking forward, I used a pre-existing pattern I had for shorts and fused them together with the finished top. I pleated the remaining fabric and managed to sandwich the hem into the waistband.

The result is a half win. At first, I wanted the waist to have a more v-line cut to help accentuate the torso, but that proved rather difficult for stretchy fabric. I think it would’ve been easier if I stuck with the corset bodice, but I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t have gotten many uses. Secondly, the shorts aren’t as obscure as I wanted them to be, but it did remind me of those early Victorian bloomers that women wore for biking. All in all, I think this is a super cute romper to wear for the summer season.

What I’m wearing:

  • Romper: handmade
  • Boots: ASOS
  • Necklace: thrifted
  • Pearl earrings: Sukoshi Mart
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The Ultimate Cottage Core Dress

A couple of days ago, I chanced upon BestDressed’s Instagram page to view a project she originally designed. It was this gorgeous mini dress with a flared skirt and puff sleeves. I’m assuming that Ashley was originally inspired by the Insta-famous Selkie dress that’s all over social media. I happen to own the Baby Banana Puff number, so I absolutely had no reason to make another version. But, c’est la vie—I still wanted to try. 

What made Ashley’s version so enchanting to me was not primarily the silhouette. Her fabric of choice featured this gorgeous vintage floral fabric. In a bizarre turn of events, I happened to chance upon the same kind of material at my local thrift store. Don’t get me wrong, it’s very different from what Ashley had, but it still imbues that same antique vibe. Instead of flowers, I got fruit, which in my opinion is a lot more decadent. 

The construction itself wasn’t very hard. With that being said, I did run into a few problems regarding fit, so I had to add more fabric in the back. It’s a bit janky, but you honestly couldn’t tell unless you really squinted at it. The dress itself is relatively heavy, due to the fact that it comes with chiffon lining on the inside. 

What I’m wearing:

  • Dress: handmade 
  • Shoes: Vivaia 
  • Necklace: thrifted
  • Rings: The Black Market
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Lookbook: A Taste of Summer Elegance

I’m well aware that this is my billionth post about summer fashion, but what can I say? The beauty of nature, the tranquility of chirping cicadas, and the flirtatious attitude of sun-swept afternoons beckons to me. Plus, it’s the only season of the year in which you’re free to wear a mix of autumn and springtime fashion. For this collection, I wanted to imbue that fantasy of summertime romance, something that you’d find in a classic Ghibli movie. 

The three garments featured are 100% handmade. I made these over the cusp of 2 months, with one taking the majority of my time. The two short-sleeved blouses I crafted were relatively easy to create. To be fair, I did have the help of a pre-made pattern I bought on Etsy. Shout out to Anna the Tailor; she did the real grunt work in regards to measurements. 

So, without further ado, here are the three projects I’ve completed so far. 

The China Porcelain Blouse

Using a pattern I bought from Etsy, I created this poetic blouse using chiffon silk. I wanted to imbue that delicate nature of blue-painted porcelain, so I thought to embroider the neck collar and the cuffs manually. I didn’t plan to add the pearl buttons on the sides, but it helped to provide that romantic element to the entire look. The shirring detail helped to give the blouse some shape, especially when paired with the dramatic sleeves. 

What I’m wearing:

  • Blouse: handmade 
  • Skirt: thrifted 
  • Shoes: Vivaia 
  • Bag: thrifted 

The Pink Tie-up Top 

A couple of weeks ago, my uncle gifted me this gorgeous pink fabric that was originally used as a tablecloth. Originally, I wanted to make pants, but I dreamt of this cute blouse with tie-up detail. It’s a little hard to see, but there’s a sizeable cut-out on the back to help give the garment more oomph. The fit is perfect, minus a few raw hems here are there. It’s a little bit stiff, but I think it gives the blouse some needed structure. 

What I’m wearing:

  • Top: handmade 
  • Pants: thrifted 
  • Shoes: Converse 
  • Bag: gifted 

The Silk Cowl Neck Top 

I bought this luxurious creamy silk eons ago, and I originally made plans to make a bustier out of it. It didn’t turn out how I wanted it to look, so I thought to make use of the remaining fabric into a silk top. Using a pattern bought from Etsy, this cute blouse was relatively easy to construct. I think I used a polyester/silk blend, so it didn’t drape the way that I wanted it to fold. As a temporary fix, I used some double-sided tape to help create that dramatic ‘curtain effect.’

What I’m wearing:

  • Top: handmade
  • Pants: thrifted 
  • Shoes: Vivaia
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The White Summer Dream Dress

Yes, I’m fully aware that I have wayyy too many dresses in my closet. After getting my hands on more clothes hangers this weekend, I was surprisingly shocked about how many summer pieces I own. To be fair, most of them are sewing projects that I’ve made in the pastso I can’t be bare to part with something I’ve spent hours on. You can partially blame Pinterest, the internet central of aesthetically pleasing fashion. I chanced upon this gorgeous v-neck linen dress a couple of days ago and I was super tempted to make a version of my own. But instead of opting for traditional red, I decided to work with creams instead for a more neutral look.

To be quite honest with you, this isn’t my best work. I screwed up a lotmore specifically the lining part of the dress. On top of that, I had a few fit issues and haphazard seams. I tried to cover most of it with embroidery patches, but you can really see my mistakes up close. Regardless, it’s still a functional outfit. Just a little pointer for future me: don’t wear this dress while carrying a food baby.

What I’m wearing:

  • Dress: made by me
  • Jelly shoes: thrifted
  • Navy jacket: hand-me-down
  • Tote bag: gift from a friend
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The Uncategorized Sewing Hodgepodge

Sewing is a spontaneous moment for me. Not to sound pretentious, but I only turn on my Brother H537ST when I feel myt creative juices flowing. My skills, patience, and attention seem to falter when I’m clearly unmotivated. It’s the reason why I only sew every other weekend, or on a random Thursday night. Yes, you can probably slag me off for being lazy, you can hold me to it.

For the reasons stated above, my sewing projects are a mix of completed garments and quick-fix thrifts. First up on the bat is the upholstery corset. I scored this gorgeous floral material from my local Value Village, which I think was originally used for furniture. Nevertheless, I decided to ditch dining room chairs and opt for a classic corset.

By now, I’ve constructed nearly 7 designs over the past year, but I couldn’t see past anything but a Bridgerton lace-up moment. I utilized a pattern made by Nava Rose and cut out two copies: one for the main fabric and one for the lining. I adjoined the two pieces together and turned the whole corset inside out to hide the raw seams. The result is a stunning corset that can be worn casually with jeans or a cute tennis skirt.

What I’m wearing

  • Corset: handmade
  • Jeans: Reformation
  • Shoes: Vivaia

Next up on the chopping block is a white satin slip. Originally, I wanted to create a poet blouse with puffy sleeves, but I didn’t have enough fabric for it. Instead, I opted for a bustier, spaghetti strap moment with cups and a ruffled front. If I had enough material, I would’ve definitely made the top more voluminous and dramatic. If you zoomed into the picture, you can probably see that the hem is unfinished. Of course, I plan to complete a rolled hem, but I thought the raw edge gave a sort of ‘sensual’ feel to the outfit? I don’t know, but it gave me ‘Elizabeth Bennet and Mr.Darcy conversing in the rain’ kind of vibes. Composed, but oddly seductive.

What I’m Wearing:

  • Top: handmade
  • Jeans: Reformation
  • Earrings: Sukoshi Mart
  • Shoes: Vivaia
  • Bag thrifted

For my last project, I wanted to upcycle this stunning dress I thrifted at Talize. I’m not familiar with the brand, and I can’t seem to find the tag on the gown since I’ve cut it. But, it appears to be a Korean company that’s long been out of business for some time. Originally, the gown touched the ground—which gave the illusion of a wedding dress instead of a casual, romantic number. I decided to make a tiered effect by cutting the outer hem shorter than the lining. The sleeves naturally puffed out into a ‘winged’ effect, but I decided that it wasn’t really my style. So, I opted to gather the puff to help accentuate the shoulders. The result is still a bit outlandish for my liking, but I think I can dress it down with an oversized romper and some sneakers.

What I’m Wearing:

  • Dress: thrifted
  • Shoes: Vivaia
  • Earrings: Oak + Fort
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The Strawberry Romper

Yes, I know this outfit is devoid of actual strawberries, but I thought to keep it light. The pink gingham paired with the red buttons does enough to provide the illusion of rouge berries, plus—it carries the illusion of springtime bliss. With April just around the corner, I thought it best to get a head start on this season’s clothing. I scored this gorgeous fabric at my local thrift. I didn’t realize that it came from Pottery Barn, so I’m pretty sure that the $5 price tag was only 1% of the original cost. Anywho, I used a pattern made by Etsy seller Patternsbybrandijoan to create this adorable romper.

I used the button-up shirt pattern to construct the upper-half of the two-piece. For the shorts, I just sourced some tailored bottoms I had lying around. I decided I wanted a cinched-in waist, so I adjoined the two pieces to make a channel for the elastic to feed through. I’m pretty proud of the result, minus some raw seams here and there. Occasion-wise, this romper would make for a great casual outfit for the spring and summer.

What I’m Wearing

  • Romper: handmade
  • Shoes: Fila Disruptor
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The Coffee Girl Dress

We are nearing the end of autumn, but I’m still clinging to the last remnants of November. I just don’t want fall fashion to end just yet- there are avenues I want to still explore.

Later this week, I decided to sew up another dress with some fabric I had lying around in my stash. I thrifted this gorgeous, espresso-hued paisley print that gave me such NY-autumn vibes. Initially, I thought about making a skirt out of the material, but I settled for the classic, deep-v ruffle gown that’s currently hot on Pinterest. It wasn’t supposed to be a wrap dress, but what’s a girl gotta do with a few strips of elastic? The skirt came a bit short, so I definitely need to wear a pair of biker shorts underneath.

Overall, I think it’s a pretty cute dress for the fall season. If I were keen on wearing this out, I would def pair these with knee-high boots, black stockings, and a cute leather jacket to top things off.

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Introducing Suki from Fast and Furious

Before Halloween rolled around, I was already dead-set on what I wanted to be. Back a few months ago, I found myself in odd fascination with the Fast and Furious franchise- most notably, Tokyo Drift. From a fashion standpoint, I was mesmerized by the dated, yet stylishly iconic era of the early 2000s. Particularly, I’m referring to the scene where Sean visits the underbelly of street racing in a seedy parking lot. From low-waisted jeans, fur lining, to strangely patterned sequins- I can’t deny that Y2K has grabbed some of my attention, for better and for worse.

Unfortunately, there was no one from the Toyko Drift cast that I wanted to dress up as. My inspiration later came when I watched the first-ever Fast and Furious movie. There, I was graced with Suki’s debut, where she wore this attention-grabbing outfit composed of lace-up pink leather pants with a two-layered tank top set. From there, I knew I had to recreate the outfit. The problem lay in getting my hands on the right kind of fabric.

I spent months googling and going to my local fabric shop to find pink leather fabric. I knew I had to compromise on synthetics since genuine leather is not only expensive but rare to buy. Sadly, I couldn’t find a single swatch that was similar to what Suki wore. Instead, I settled on these magenta stretchy pants I found at my local thrift store. During my trip, I also snatched two tank tops that I thought I could upcycle as well.

The result is far from perfect, but I can honestly say that I’m proud of it. The pants were the real highlight of the experience since I’ve never sewn anything this unique before. Painting the splatters is another story since I used rolled up trash bags to resemble that distressed effect. I can tell you that these jeans are definitely breezy, and not appropriate for the cold, autumn season.

Obviously, I would’ve had a pink car in the background to complete the effect. Just imagine it in the photoshoot.

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The 18th Embroidered Pocket

Most women’s clothing is plagued with the absence of pockets. Worst of all, some come with the illusion of extra storage- but are found to be stitched up with very little room. I found a solution besides the regular fanny pack or purse. It’s a little historic, but I predict that it’s going to come back in style soon. Let me introduce you to the 18th embroidered pocket.

I understand that it’s commonly used for herb picking and key holding- but I think it’ll be great for holding cellphones. While it looks amazing with a peasant dress, this stitched beauty will definitely add some rustic charm to a denim short and blouse combo. Who knows? Maybe i’ll use it to hide some pocket berries or tomatoes.

What I’m Wearing

  • Dress: Garage (thrifted)
  • Headscarf: thrifted
  • Pocket: handmade
  • Sandals: thrifted
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