Tuesday, February 23, 2016

What Happens When You Go to Sham Shui Po on a Whim?

I Died and Came Back to Life

It's alive! By "it" I mean my blog, along with my creative life, and me. I'm alive. We're alive. One and a half years later.

Much has changed since I last wrote. I moved to Hong Kong in October 2014, got a real job, got some friends, moved out of my parents' house into my own apartment, and now I am here, typing up this blog post.

Saturday, in a rare bout of inspiration, I went to the stalls on Ki Lung Street in Sham Shui Po and bought some fabric.

New favorite way to spend Saturday morning: wandering around the fabric stalls in Sham Shui Po.

Treasure from the Stalls of Sham Shui Po

Here's what I got (prices in HKD):
  • $20 x 3 yards of denim = $60 
  • $15 x 2.5 yards of patterned cotton (I think) = $38
  • $1 x 12 brass-colored buttons to go with the denim = $12
I wonder if I should learn to bargain? Nah.

There was a shop selling fabric covered in knockoff Gudetama (bloodstained yolk and all) and other knockoff cartoon characters. I think the fabric was mostly for bedding because they had a lot of pictures of beds and stuff. There was a table with small rolls of fabric that could each be had for $14. Here's what I got:
  • $14 for like 1.5 yards of polka dotty canvas stuff
  • $14 for like 1.5 yards of canvas stuff with a cute leaf print on it

I got seven placemats out of the polka dot fabric. What to do with the leaves?

To get reacquainted with this sewing machine, I made some VERY SLOPPY placemats with the polka-dot fabric. Next time I will take the time to sew mitered corners. No more cutting corners. *rimshot*

The Day I Got a Sewing Machine

I bet you're wondering when, why, and how I got a sewing machine. Here's the story.

A couple months ago—maybe it was September?—Alice and Diana came over for a crepe party. 

Diana and Alice, pro food stylists.

It was the best meal I've ever eaten in my apartment.

Damn, that was a good brunch.

Why is the crepe party relevant to this post? After we made and ate the crepes, they talked me into getting a sewing machine from the Singer sewing machine shop in Sheung Wan. The shop was having a sale to celebrate students returning to school.

I am now the proud owner of a Singer Tradition model 2250. And have been since September.

The Singer Tradition 2250 at my window. I think I am living my dream life.

The machine lay dormant until Halloween, when I sewed up a Batman mask and logo thing out of felt. 

LOL my friend Juro took this picture. It took a really long time to get the garbage bag to hover properly in the wind.

Resurrecting the Sewing Machine with New Projects

But I'm happy to have dusted off the sewing machine. I wish I didn't have to go to work and could just stay at home cutting and sewing stuff all day.

Here's What I Plan to Make

  • Alder Shirtdress from Grainline Studio, made of denim. I need to find some heavier thread and get some more needles for my machine.
  • The Staple Dress by April Rhodes from the cotton print. Need to find elastic thread somewhere, maybe from the Needlework Shop at lunch time ;)

Friday, September 5, 2014

grainline alder shirtdress, take 2

I liked my first stab at the Alder Shirtdress so much that I decided to make another one.

grainline studio alder shirtdress view b, shirt dress

Evan was a good sport and helped me take a bunch of pictures during our walk. Maybe too good a sport. I actually really don't like to be photographed.

grainline studio alder shirtdress view b, shirt dress

This one is also made of cotton that I got in Sham Shui Po. The fabric looks like when you flick toothbrush bristles to spray paint everywhere. It also makes me think of somebody who's just thrown up birthday cake. I like it!

grainline studio alder shirtdress view b, shirt dress


  • Raised the bust darts by about an inch.
  • Instead of trying French seams again, I used the sewing machine's overedge stitch with the overedge stitch foot.
  • The overedge stitch foot is awesome! It's great for topstitching.
  • Used this tutorial by Four Square Walls for the collar bit because reading through the Grainline sewalong tutorial still confuzes me. Sigh.
  • Accidentally put the topmost button at the top of the button band rather than on the collar stand... heh heh heh.

grainline studio alder shirtdress view b, shirt dress

Next time (and there will be a next time):
  • Raise the pockets by about an inch.
  • Make it in this black/white fabric that Mummy chose. It'll look totally different, I'm sure.
MAKE IT! The pattern is amazing!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Grainline Alder Shirtdress

This post is about the Grainline Studio's Alder shirtdress.

So I got really excited to do the Alder Sew-Along. Maybe a tad too excited, because I jumped the gun and made one before Jen finished posting all the tutorial thingies!

grainline alder shirtdress, view B
Knitting, biking, and eating junkfood at the park. My kinda day.

I made view B because I thought it might look more flattering than view A.

grainline alder shirtdress, view B

grainline alder shirtdress, view B

  • I made a size 2 because it matched my measurements pretty much to a tee.
  • I tried to do French seams... and ended up having to fudge the bit around the pivot point (where the skirt fronts meet the front) because I had no idea what to do re: the French seams! I am looking forward to seeing suggestions from the sew-along about this.
  • I misread the bit about attaching the collar and nearly messed the whole thing up, but managed to fudge stuff around a bit. I think it looks okay because the fabric is so busy.
  • This is some cotton I got in Sham Shui Po in Hong Kong.
  • These pictures are bad. Maybe I'll post a better one later.
grainline alder shirtdress, view B

Monday, August 4, 2014

Simplicity 1880 faux wrap dress

Here's my first stab at Simplicity 1880. I made style B, the fake-wrap version.

Evan helped me take these pictures.

simplicity 1880 faux wrap dress

I had made a muslin for this dress, which helped me determine that the waist was around 2 inches too high and the front gaped like mad (hooray for flatness). For the ~real~ version of the dress, I lengthened the bodice so the waist actually hit my waist, butI  didn't do a small bust adjustment. I should have!!!

simplicity 1880 faux wrap dress

The result? The "wrap" neckline bit gapes quite a bit. I ended up sewing the overlapping pieces together to avoid, um, flashing the universe. But for future renditions of this dress I will definitely figure out how to do an adjustment.

simplicity 1880 faux wrap dress

I had done a sloppy job with the invisible zipper because I thought watching a 10-minute tutorial video would be too time-consuming. Ha! Another lesson learned. Feeling productive a couple days later, I unpicked the zipper and re-inserted it and now it looks much better! I mean, I spent so long on the dress anyway, so why was I willing to settle for the ugliness that was the zipper?

simplicity 1880 faux wrap dress

I made this dress out of cotton that I got in Sham Shui Po in Hong Kong. Mummy picked out the fabric for me. Sham Shui Po is fabric HEAVEN!!!! Blocks of streets lined with shops filled with fabric swatches, and roadside stalls with fabric on bolts and rolls. Roadside stalls selling muslins and rows of shops selling buttons, zips, leather, and all kinds of other sewing bits and bobs.

Here are swatches of the other fabrics I got! At 35 HKD a yard (around 5 CAD)... how could I say no?!

sham shui po fabric shoppingI'd gone to Sham Shui Po by myself earlier but was not confident in my Cantonese skills to actually try buying anything. That, and I was scared they were all wholesalers. With Mummy's help, we were able to determine that you have to order a minimum of 3 (or was it 5?) yards of fabric and then return to the shop to pick it up a couple days later.

simplicity 1880 faux wrap dress

Oh, and I learned how to slip stitch for the sash. Cool!

Reversible bag

Saw this bag by Very Purple Person on Pinterest and decided to make one of my own because I don't have a purse to carry stuff around in. The pattern is clear and very easy to follow!

I didn't have a good fabric to match it up with so I ended up using the same fabric for the inside and outside. I added a little pocket to the inside for my phone and wallet.

very purple person reversible bag

City Gym Shorts!

It seems like every sewer (sew-er?) on Instagram is all about these City Gym Shorts from Purl Bee... including me! They are flattering and adorable.

purl bee city gym shorts

Used the leftover bright floral fabric from my Circle Skirt dress to make these. I got the fabric from King's Textiles at Queen and Spadina. It might be for quilts. I don't know. It's cotton.

purl bee city gym shorts

BRB, I'm going to make some more.

Rectangle dress

This was my first attempt at, um, making up my own design. Basically I cut out two slightly-wider-than-me-sized rectangles, sewed them together (with French seams), bias-bound the neckline and armholes, hemmed the bottom, and made a tie belt. Oh, and I put in a pocket.

The fabric is from a thrifted bedsheet from Value Village.


After making that, I decided to make my twin sister Jessica and me matching dresses out of blue linen! Who wore it better? She did! Accesories are key.

Pretty Jess in a blue dress.

Me walking and talking.