It’s layering season in Vancouver. As you can see, I’m currently obsessed with faux fur. I made this faux fur grey vest (for fabric and pattern details read here) and layered it under this H&M coat. I absolutely love the drop shoulder and faux fur collar detail. I went up two sizes as I wanted an oversized fit.
Speaking of H&M, did you know that they recycle used clothing (no matter what brand or material) and even leftover fabrics pieces?! Donated garments are sorted into three categories: rewear (sold as secondhand), reuse (turned into other products) and recycle (turned into textile fibres).
This garment collecting initiative was launched back in 2013. Since then H&M has prevented more than 55,000 tonnes of clothing from ending up in landfills. The surplus then goes towards social and recycling projects.
What’s more, for every bag of clothes/fabric that you donate, they give you a $5 off voucher for your next purchase (over $30).
Pretty cool huh? You can read more about this at H&M Sustainability.
photos: Vancouver, Alexandra G
Happy Faux Fur Friday everyone! Here it is my first ever experience sewing faux fur. I’ve never actually had a piece of faux fur clothing before, but this year I’m obsessed and bought 6 different faux fur fabrics! So far I’ve made two, including this vest, so hopefully more faux fur sewing to come.
Bought this furry grey fabric at OUR SOCIAL FABRIC (OSF) for only $10! OSF is a textile recycling initiative, that aims to keep textiles out of the landfill and into the hands of our community’s crafters, sewers and artists. They receive donations of textiles, fabric and sewing related supplies from the film industry, theatre, manufacturing etc. Their team of volunteers sort through the donations and sell them back to the community at really cheap prices. If you live in Vancouver, I definitely recommend checking out their bi-monthly sales!
As for the lining, I used a low-quality, polyester lining that I had stacked away in my fabric stash since last year. I usually always opt for Bemberg lining but at the time I thought why not use this one up and boy did I regret it. It ripped easily and the hem area is already torn only after two weeks of wear 🙁 I definitely need to replace it with a Bemberg lining one of these days.
I based the pattern on the open-front vest pattern in McCall’s M7260 Coordinates Pattern (Misses’ Open-Front Vest, Jacket, Top and Pants). I just changed the shape of the neckline, skipped the collar and added a facing to match my new neckline.
Very simple project, no interfacing needed. I only used a hand needle and thread to finish off the lining with some hand stitching.
photos: Vancouver by The Wolfie Style
Here it is, my second coat made from wool! Now that I have more experience sewing coats under my belt, I rarely buy coats from the stores anymore. Especially since I now have several coat/jacket patterns that I have tweaked and perfected according to my liking. All I have to do is buy coating fabrics, cut and sew!
I’ve only been buying real wool fabric and avoiding synthetics for the past year. Real wool don’t pill like synthetic melton wool and does not melt when ironed! Definitely worth it!
The same Burda 7184 jacket pattern that I used to sew my camel coat and hooded coat! Let me emphasize that this pattern is sew easy guys! The instructions were really clear and easy to follow, even for beginners. This time, as I already modified the pattern to fit my frame, I didn’t have to do any additional pattern hacking/tweaking.
But in case you are curious about how the pattern fits, these are the tweaks that I did: I followed size 10, tapered the shoulders and left the bodice a little oversized. I also lengthened the pattern about 2 inches and made the wrist opening bigger. The original pattern has super narrow wrist opening for some reason!
As this is a casual coat, not a tailored one, I chose to serge the edges instead of hemming. Finally, I added a belt using my leftover fabric because I love having the option to wrap my coat.
Now all I have to do is add some colour to my winter wardrobe…
Photos: Vancouver, by Tomo
Happy mid-November everyone! It’s starting to get really chilly here in Vancouver but once in awhile we still get some (warm-ish) sunshine. I find it still warm enough to wear my DIY ripped boyfriend jeans as long as I wear boots and layers of clothing.
I bought this pair of vintage Levi’s from a thrift store (it was originally dark blue). I didn’t know how to sew at the time so I took it to a tailor to get them altered as it was just a little bit big on the hips. Then at home, I bleached and distressed them myself. I find that the distressed jeans sold at the stores often doesn’t look natural on me. The holes or rips would be in all the wrong places. So what I did was to put on the jeans and marked where I want the most distressing to be. For example below the knees would be the most worn-out part so that was where I made the rips. Then I just throw it in the dryer and voila perfectly distressed jeans. For more details on the bleaching and distressing process, check out my first ever post here.
When I was in London last year, I got this suede Rino and Pelle jacket from Mary’s Living and Giving thrift store in Portobello Market. It is a boutique charity shop of new and pre-loved clothing from brands and designers ranging from Alexander McQueen to Zara. Proceeds from each item sold are donated to Save the Children. I love buying fashion that makes a difference. Let me know of any charity boutiques that you think I should check out!
Jeans – vintage Levi’s, bleached & distressed by me (details here: http://www.thatsewcute.com/?p=60)
Jacket – Rino and Pelle
Bodysuit – Topshop
Boots – Geox
photos: Vancouver by Esther
Last Thursday, Nov 2nd, I woke up at 6 am for fashion. H&M collaborated with Erdem this year. It was my first time to shop their limited edition designer collaborations. I wasn’t too sure what to expect and was a bit anxious about the crowd. However, I was really curious about the material and quality of the collection. Hence why I decided to go in person instead of shopping online. That way I can try on the clothes and inspect the fabric quality and finishing. (Plus in order to successfully shop online, I’d have to wake up at 5am as the web portal opened at 8am east coast time. So, no thank you.)
The doors of H&M Pacific Centre opened at 8 am. I arrived around 7 am with about 40 people already lined up in front of me. There were less people than I expected actually. By 8 am there were probably only another 20 people behind me.
A little bit about Erdem Moralioglu. He is a Turkish Canadian fashion designer based in London. Known for his romantic silhouettes and detailed craftsmanship, he often mixes vibrant prints and laces. His floral dresses are super popular among celebrities and the British royal family such as the Duchess of Cambridge.
So let’s get down to it. I had only 15 minutes to grab any items that I want to try on. I tried on about 10 pieces ranging from dresses, sweaters, blazers, coats, pyjamas and hoodies. QUALITY: Overall, I must say that the quality is much better than the usual H&M production. Not only are all of the fabric of higher quality but also the finishing and sewing techniques used.
FABRIC: I am really impressed by the fabric used. The floral silk pyjamas (picture above) are made of 100% pure silk. The grey hoodie (picture above) is made of organic cotton as part of H&M Conscious effort. The popular sequined dress (picture above) that is currently being sold by resellers on Ebay for $600 plus (originally $250) also did not disappoint. Even though I don’t really like the straight fit of the dress, the sequined fabric used is of good quality (the sequins would not disintegrate after a couple of wears) and the pretty floral embroidery was well done. The jacquard ball gown (picture above) is made of heavy jacquard fabric with embroidery that would last. The leopard fur coat (that I was super tempted to buy but didn’t) was made of super soft faux fur. The only disappointment was the maroon and blue (as in picture) mohair blend sweater. I really loved the crop fit but it sheds like crazy! As soon as I put it on, I was covered in fluff as if 10 cats had snuggled on me. So as much as I love the colour and fit, I had to pass.
FINISHING: The silk pyjamas were finished really well considering it was factory produced. The hem was finished with a blind hem stitch as you can see in the picture below. The blazers were also finished quite well. The quality of the invisible zipper on the jacquard ball gown is not that great unfortunately, it doesn’t zip up smoothly. I also did not like the exposed metal buttons on the leopard faux fur coat which I think cheapens the look (and at $300 it is not exactly a bargain). Hook closures would have been perfect.
ACCESSORIES/SHOES: I was thinking of keeping the floral brocade slip ons but I’m not too crazy about them. The brocade print is very pretty and I think the quality is pretty good but I’m not a big shoe person so I prefer to keep the clothes instead. I did end up buying the floral tights. The nylon is made in Italy so I have high hopes that it would last a little longer than the usual H&M tights.
PACKAGING: I must say that this collection wins packaging design award of the year. All of the packaging is composed of different versions of really pretty floral prints and thus created a very cohesive look. I love all of the packaging/branding designs, from the floral fabric covered hangers to the floral printed shopping bags in maroon and green hues
WHAT I BOUGHT: In the end, I only kept the silk pyjamas, grey hoodie, floral tights and statement earrings. As much as I love the dresses, I can’t picture myself having many events where I can wear the jacquard ballgown. The sequined dress is very wearable but it is too heavy and delicate for me. I like not to worry about ruining my dress when I go out. All in all, I am quite satisfied with my purchase although I wished I had the chance to shop some of the sweaters from the men’s collection. By the time it was my turn to go in, the men’s rack was almost sold out.
Anyways, I hope you enjoyed my two cents on the Erdem x H&M collection. I cannot wait to know which designer is going to collaborate with H&M in 2018!
Fall is my absolute favourite season for fashion. Even though the days are shorter, the weather is still warm enough for a light coat. Light, drapey coats are some of my favourite pieces of clothing. They are easy to style and layer.
This fall I love pairing my homemade camel coat with embroidered Topshop shorts and these gorgeous Steve Madden over the knee boots. Black over the knee boots are warm and make any outfit sexy. As for the coat, I used a Burda pattern, it was simple and easy. Check out my camel coat: sew easy post for more details.
Enjoy the beautiful autumn weather! Til next time!
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photos: Vancouver by RY
Fall is here and I just made a mini skirt! Either I’m a season too late for Spring/Summer 2017 or too eager for Spring/Summer 2018. Anyways, I have not worn mini skirts since the early 2000s and I’m absolutely lovin’ it!
I bought a pair of pre-loved vintage Levi’s 501 with the aim to tailor it into a modern, slim fit. As you probably know by my previous posts, I was obsessed (and still am) with the idea of having a modern fit jeans made of vintage fabric.
Anyways, I was not able to tailor these jeans to get the fit that I want. I kept having un-attractive extra fabric at the back of the thigh. (note to self: take more pattern drafting classes) However, I love how this jeans fit in the waist and butt so I cut off the legs to make shorts.
Then, mini skirts made a comeback (after years of domination by midi & knee length skirt) and I decided that I want one ASAP. So I turned the shorts into this little cute number.
Super duper EASY y’all! Only 3 steps:
1. Undo crotch seams with seam ripper
2. Sew front and back flaps (overlapping)
3. Trim excess fabric from flaps and hem
(Extra easy since I left the hem RAW because I’m lazy and cool like that.)
2 things: jeans thread and needle
Anyways, if you even have the slightest desire to try this DIY project, DO IT now! Super easy and super cute result, I promise.
pictures: Vancouver, by Tomo
I finally sewed my first dress! I decided to sew a slip dress as it is not only one of the most simple dress styles but also quite versatile, I can wear it on its own in summer and over leggings in winter.
Since it was my first time sewing a slip dress or a dress of any kind for that matter, I stayed away from silk and used polyester satin instead. Polyester is definitely the beginner friendly option compared to silk. I can tell you a million reasons why starting with polyester is the way to go but mainly it is a lot cheaper, less slippery, easier to press and less likely to show pin marks.
I did not use a ready made pattern but instead learnt how to draft a basic dress pattern from my sewing teacher. The pattern itself is quite simple and comprised of only 6 pieces: front, back, bust front facing, bust back facing and two thin spaghetti straps. After adding bust darts to the front piece, I sewed the front and back pieces together and added a side zipper. Then I sew the two bust facing pieces together, attached the straps and sew the bust facings to the dress. Finally, I just had to hem the dress to my liking.
Even though slip dresses are traditionally cut on the bias, if you decide to use a zipper, its completely fine to cut it on straight grain. For this dress, I decided to use a side zipper so I cut it on straight grain.
Interfacing for the bust facings and an invisible zipper for the side.
Sewing the bust line is tricky when you don’t have a reliable pattern. My sewing teacher gave me several useful tips to help mold the bust line to my body and prevent gaping. She advised me to first try steaming and pressing the bust line on an ironing ham. The steam and heat from the iron will help shrink the area that is too large. If that didn’t work or you need to tighten the bust line a bit more, do small hand stitches on the bust facing, without grabbing the outer fabric. Hand stitch about 4 cm long along the bust line and pull the thread at one end to create a slight ruching. It is a quick fix to tighten gaping bust hem and won’t show from the outside.
Till next time! Hope I can sew more complicated dresses from now on!
outfit photos: Singapore, by Yvonne
flatlay photos: by me
Usually summer calls for bright colours such as yellow or orange. However, I’m currently obsessed with grey and blush muted tones to keep me cool this season. I sewed this grey skirt back in winter but its slitted and airy so it transitions well into hotter weather. (Check out my post about the skirt fabric and pattern details in ‘Finished Pieces’, Fleece Skirt Self-Drafted) To brighten up the whole look, I added some white such as this off-shoulder top and sneakers.
This blush coloured Rino and Pelle jacket is made out of a single layer of suede, so it’s perfectly light for summer. Got it for a steal at a Mary’s Living and Giving thrift store in Portobello Market, London. Make sure to visit this store when you’re in London! It is a boutique charity shop of new and pre-loved clothing from brands and designers ranging from Alexander McQueen to Zara. Proceeds from each item sold are donated to Save the Children.
I love discovering charity boutiques and buying fashion that makes a difference. Let me know of any cute charity boutiques that you think I should check out!
Jacket Rino and Pelle
Bag Straw the Label
photos: Vancouver by Tomo
So here it is, my first venture into tailoring! Before we go on any further, yes tailoring is as difficult as it sounds but yes it is also super rewarding! I was really excited to sew my own tailored coat and intimidated at the same time. And I definitely had plenty of ‘first times’ in the making of this coat and learnt a lot of valuable tailoring tips…check them out below!
I bought this 100% wool fabric long before I thought of making this coat. I fell in love with the colour (I’m nuts about neutral) and texture. This was my first time working with 100% wool and it was just heaven! No more worrying about melting fabrics and it pressed so beautifully!
For the lining, I used BEMBERG lining, a type of rayon, that feels luxurious and presses well. I highly recommend spending a little more and getting Bemberg lining if you’re making a coat. Coats take a lot of time and work, it definitely deserves a high quality lining. I for once, will never go back to polyester lining.
I bought my first ‘difficult’ pattern, Burda 6875, I barely understood the instructions! Thankfully, my sewing teacher was super experienced in tailoring. I wouldn’t recommend this pattern if you are a beginner sewer and/or have never done tailoring before. The pattern itself is really nice and fits well but the instructions skipped a LOT of steps. Anyways, for the fit, I cut size 8. I’m quite petite at 163 cm and 53 kg so I had to shorten the pattern. I shortened the centre front and back by 1 cm for the top portion and 3 cm for the lower portion. I also shorted the sleeves and shoulders by 1 cm. The result was perfect.
I skipped the pocket flap and just made a normal welt pocket. Oh yeah, it was my first time sewing a welt pocket too..ugh. I need to do more practice on scrap fabric.
Ironing: I learnt so many new tips while making this coat. First of all, a good iron AND a slab of marble or other stone is a must! The heavier your iron, the better. The gold standard would be gravity feed iron but if you don’t have one, you can still get a professional press with the following tip. I just had a normal domestic iron but after each time I run my iron over a seam, I made sure to press a slab of quartz over the seam. I didn’t have marble but quartz works just fine. The idea is to set the seam after each press. Both marble and quartz have weight and cooling properties so they absorb the heat from the seam after a steam and sets the seam. Trust me, your seam will look professionally pressed. And make sure to add steam when you iron wool fabric.
Shoulder pads: Even if you have defined shoulders, a light padding is important to create a tailored, structured look. So do not skip on the shoulder pads! Also, the right shoulder pads are important. Look for thin, light ones. For example, these shoulder pads from wawak.com. Do not buy those big, chunky ones unless thats the look you are going for.
Sleeve heads: Aside from shoulder pads, sleeve heads are also super important for a tailored shoulder. You can buy them or make your own. My sewing teacher taught me how to make my own from my leftover wool fabric. (I’ll write a separate post about this)
There were so many other useful tailoring tips that I learnt but I think I’ll write a separate post for them. Soon!
pictures: Vancouver, by Alexandra G.
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