Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Cowardly Baldie

I'm suffering from pleated bag fatigue. So I have temporarily refrained from sewing or even looking at pleats. I've turned my attention to slouchy bags.

This bag is extremely easy to make. Mainly it comprises of rectangles and a couple of curves. It is the handle which is more of a challenge. Because I make the strap adjustable, it has to be very long. Turning it right side out is a lot of work. This time I asked my husband to do it. I'm only sorry I forgot to take photos of his face while he's at it. I think he'd rather climb Mt Everest.

For this bag, I use a Robert Allen fabric. How I scored this fabric is a story worth telling. I was at a fabric store when I noticed a Robert Allen print nicely wrapped up. On it was written the price per metre. I approached a cutter and asked if the fabric was sold by the metre. The male cutter, let's call him Baldie studied the wrapped fabric and told me yes. Then he proceeded to unwrap it and cut off 1 metre's worth for me. I was paying the cashier when she looked closely at the fabric and started yelling at me at the top of her voice. She informed or yelled that the fabric is only sold by the bolt which was over a hundred dollars. She went on and on. Surprisingly I wasn't angry. I just wondered at which point Baldie who was just behind the cashier would come to my rescue. The coward! Finally when I had a chance to speak, I pointed at Baldie and explained he said I could buy by the metre. Baldie received a round of blah blah from the cashier which for me was round 2. I wondered at which point the cashier would realise I was a customer. Finally she did and apologised.

Anyway, whoever buys this bag is one lucky lady!
Get it at myEtsy or

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanks For Giving

This morning I woke up at 11am (I slept at 3am last night so it's ok) to hear my husband on the phone wishing a family in US Happy Thanksgiving. He had caught the tail-end of the holiday.

I like the idea of a ThanksGiving holiday. There's food and family and you are thankful for all the good things in your life. We don't have such a holiday in Singapore. We have a month's long Hungry Ghosts Festival but that's another kind of festival.

I made this bag last night so you could call this my thanksgiving bag.

As always, go myEtsy and if you want to see more pics. This bag was made for customers who want bags which are easy to match with their clothes.

Anyway, the idea of thanksgiving has stuck with me and I will start a new tradition on my blog of thanking the people who have helped me in one way or another. This year, my first Thanksgiving year, I wish to thank 2 very special women.

But first a very long story.

A long, long time ago, I was 12 and in primary school and money was extremely tight at home. Mainly there were so many of us. My mother had to take care of 9 children! I rarely had money for food during recess. So I was horribly underweight and possibly looked hungry all the time. My form teacher, Miss Tan who liked me a lot would ask me to help her finish her food. It seemed she overestimated her appetite everyday! This went on for many months until one day it hit me that Miss Tan was feeding me. I was quite slow in those days. I probably never said this enough. Thank you Miss Tan. You saved me from starvation. I'm forever grateful.

My next story also involved food. Hah hah. I was 14 and money was just a little tight at home. My mother had started giving me money for food in Secondary school. However, once a week I had school the whole day from morning to evening. So on that particular day, I needed to eat lunch out as well. But my mother for her own reasons, did not give me extra money. So once a week, I went without lunch and it was horrible. A classmate who was in the same predicament suggested we join a church across our school for bible study and after the lesson, we could have a free lunch. And that was our way out. Thinking back, it was deceitful of us to pretend to be interested in the bible when all we wanted was a free lunch. But we were such hungry girls. I had a mentor whose job was to study the bible with me and teach me hymns. I really pitied her because my hymns were always off-key and I needed a lyric sheet! My stomach also growled really loudly. My mentor kind of knew we were there just for the free lunch but she still fed us and welcomed us warmly every week. I have forgotten her name but thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Bt the way, I don't blame my mother for anything. She did the best she could. And I survived.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Earth Calling...

I'm on a roll. I've made another pleated shoulder bag and I'm still not sick of it. This might not be obvious from the photos I show. But for this batch of pleated shoulder bags, I made a change to the bottom of the bag to make it sexier. Yes, sexier.

I had fun with this one. Firstly, I had saved this Lecien print for a long time. It is another linen-cotton blend. For those who aren't familiar with linen-cotton, the cotton in linen makes the fabric easier to manipulate. At least I think so.

Nezt, I had bought a whole bunch of fleece. Not just any fleece. Pink-Purple fleece. Yes, I got sucked into the pink-purple fleece hype all the rage here. :)

Put the 2 together and I felt I had a winner.

This is a bag any high-class madam would be proud to own!

Go to myEtsy or for more pics.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Daze Of My Life

Yesterday I had 2 encounters with taxis which left me a little shaken.

Daze 1:
While trying to hail a taxi to get to SMU, I crossed a road without even looking and there were vehicles coming from both directions. It's a miracle I wasn't hit. My husband was right behind me and of course he gave me a lecture.

Daze 2:
After leaving SMU, I waited at the curb to get a taxi and another taxi meant for someone else drove past me and suddenly swerved too sharply and it ran over my luggage! It was so loud I thought it ran over my foot. But I was unharmed.

Why am I getting distracted and careless? I really must stay more alert. Meanwhile I'm sticking to train.

Selling at SMU yesterday was tough. I sold 6 items. So, not a big success. It's a different market. The shoppers are mainly students. If you remember, students are exactly my biggest customers. I didn't count the total number of booths. But it was a lot.

This is Adeline, Eunice's stand-in

It was fun sharing a table with I met Eunice when she first sold her accessories at red dot design museum. She has very nice jewellery and feather-hair accessories. Check her out. She ships internationally too. Eunice was busy so she sent her friend, Adeline. I had a nice time with her!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Check Mate

Remember the pleated bags I made some time ago? I love the look so much I decided to make another one using the same beige and white checkered Lecien linen/cotton blend. I love the way it turned out that I'm thinking of keeping it for myself. But I may not have enough bags to sell at December MAAD so if no one buys it....

This pleated bag may look structurally simple but it's not easy to construct. There are so many different pieces to seam together. Plus there's an external zip. But I think it's worth the effort.
Now listed on Etsy and

This Saturday  I'm selling my bags at SMU. Details are in the poster above. This is my first time selling here and I'm sharing a table with a friend. It's going to be tough selling here as there are many stalls. I'm going to have to compete on price as well. We'll see. I'm taking the opportunity to sell my smaller items. Check back and see how I did. Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Obama Connection

Last week I gave myself a 2-day break from sewing. Somehow, the 2-day turned into an entire week. Try as I did, I could not sew anything. I had sewer's block! I tried looking at my Flickr photostream but nothing. I tried flipping through some craft books for inspiration but nothing. I stood in my fabric storeroom but nothing. I started to panic. What if this was it? I even started deep breathing exercises and desperately tried the "Imagery" exercise. It was futile. I felt hopeless.

Then Obama swept into Singapore. I did not have a chance to run into him. Oh yes. How do I get past the zillion security officers? But the thought of him being in Singapore was exciting enough. I don't know why. I'm not related to him. I don't hail from Indonesia or Hawaii or Japan Obama town. (Hurhur) Maybe it's that big ol' smile of his. It's so infectious. It gave me hope. To give myself a break from sewer's block, I went shopping with my family. It was the Saturday Obama landed in Singapore. We caught the tailend of a road closure. It was so exciting. Was it Obama the Traffic Police closed the road for? We decided it was.

There were many extremely attractive police officers around Orchard and Suntec. Them with the broad shoulders and steely looks and dark uniform. I felt so safe.

The following day I saw a photo of the leaders dressed up in the Singapore Apec leaders formal attire. I laughed until I cried. The "attire" was so ugly. And they made Obama wear it! Good thing he is tall and lean and able to carry the attire. The short stout ones would have some trouble....

After wiping the tears from my eyes, I started thinking about the ugly attire I had made in my previous life. Once upon a time, my primary school friend suggested I attend a dressmaking course with her. I was either very lonely or very bored because I agreed. I expected to be given a template and just sew. But I had this really old-school teacher and she insisted I draft my own pattern. It took me ages to do the drafting for my first skirt. The teacher did most of the work because I was really bad. Finally I got to transfer the pattern to fabric and sew. I think it took me 1 whole month. The result? A big ol' black skirt which didn't fit very well.

So I made a bag of that big ol' black skirt I sewed so long ago.
The fabric I used is Lecien linen/cotton. It is fabulous. I love the texture of linen/cotton. Have you heard of Lecien? It is a Japanese brand of fabric. It is also very expensive. Anyway, my sewer's block is gone. I'm back!
The bag is now available at Etsy and

And if you must know, I never ran into my primary school classmate at the dressmaking "institute". It seems we went at different hours.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Piggy Felt Pin Tutorial

I'm a Pig!

This is a tutorial to create a simple piggy felt pin and it can be done within an hour. I hope you have fun with it.

What you need:
For pinning : A 2 hole or 3 hole brooch pin or even a safety pin
For sewing : embroidery thread (I used DMC)

Download template:here

Cut out the big circle for the head, the oblong for the snout and the ears. Trace the templates onto felt and cut. The head: Cut 2 pieces of felt. I used light pink for the front and grey for the back. The snout: Cut 1 piece. I used dark pink. The ears: Cut 4 pieces. I used pink polka dot.

Place the snout on the front of the head and using grey thread attach with blanket stitch. Next, sew the smiling mouth using back stitch. (I used the same grey thread)

Next use black thread to sew the 2 nostrils. I used back stitch to form a circle before filling it with satin stitch. (I forgot to sew the smiling mouth)

I finally did the smiling mouth. The eyes are done in the same fashion as the nostrils in black. Sew the brooch pin onto the back of the head. All knots are hidden on the "wrong" side of the head. The filling of the felt can be done in 2 ways. Either you use a batting or add polyfiber. If you use batting, cut 1 circle of batting slightly smaller than the head. Place it between the wrong side of the heads before the next step. If you are using polyfiber, just carry on.

With wrong sides together, sew the front of head to the back of head using blanket stitch. I used black thread. If you used batting, sew all the way through. Ignore the next step.

If you are using polyfiber, stop sewing 3/4 through to put in the polyfiber.

Place 2 pieces of ear felt wrong sides together and sew using running stitch. I used grey thread because it matches the back. Sew through all layers for the parts where the ear touches the head. This will anchor the ear to the head. Do the same for the other ear.

This is what you should get.

View from the back

Below are some felt pins I made. I hope they inspire you.

* * *
Below are my bag patterns which are available for sale at Etsy (instant download). Clicking on the images will take you to my Etsy shop.

hand sanitizer holder pattern

For more Applique Resources
For more Tutorials

Monday, November 9, 2009

I Rocked

This post is going to be very long. So run for the hills or get a cup of tea or coffee or whisky or whatever you need to get thru my rambling.

Still too early in the morning to crack a smile!

Over the weekend I had my bag sale at the red dot design museum and business was slow on the first day but it ended well on Sunday. I exaggerate. I didn't exactly rock. I mean I didn't sell everything! I sold 11 bags and 2 accessories. Yay! I'm swaggering all the way to the bank.

I won't show you all the bags I sold mainly because I already spent some time looking for the photos and got too lazy to carry on. My filing system needs to be reorganized.

But I'll show you the ones I'm most happy with.

The guitar skulls and bones bag. Remember I had much criticism from my husband for the applique? Well, who's the man (woman) now? Hurhurhur

This is a new brown canvas with applique bag which I haven't posted. It is similar in shape and fabric to my first diaper bag which I made for a customer (will have a posting on my diaper bag soon). I wish I have enough fabric to make another bag for myself. It's really cool. This bag and the guitar bag were sold to 1 young hip girl.

I don't know what it's like for other bag makers but I treat each bag like my baby. With every bag I make, l learn something different about fabric, patterns or sewing. I also learn something about myself in the process. So when I sell my bags, particularly the ones which I had invested a lot of time and effort, I feel the sale has to be more than just a sale transaction. How do I put this in a way that doesn't make me sound vain? Oh, I can't. It is nice to be paid for my work. That's without a doubt. But I want to know my efforts have not gone unnoticed. Hope you all aren't rolling your eyes. So when this lady who had previously bought 2 bags from me bought my black and white quilted bag, I was overjoyed because she noticed the details. It's all about the details!

One lady bought 5 bags from me. You heard it right. I nearly fainted. These are 3 of the 5 bags she bought. This green white butterflies-Japanese print was made a few months ago and I had listed it on Etsy. It's really elegant and inexpensive yet no takers. The lady told me she liked it so much she's refusing to put it down. Maybe it doesn't photograph well?

My husband really liked this rainbow quilted flower garden bag but there was little interest in it until this 5-bag lady. And she noticed the hand stitching!

This last bag was the star. It's so simple yet many people liked it. The canvas is terribly expensive though.
 On Saturday, I got a little bored because the crowd was thin and I amused myself by using the self-timer to take pictures of myself. It kept me from falling asleep.

On Sunday a young Yunan (China) girl selling handmade stuffed toys at the museum noticed that I used hand stitches on my bags and being a fan of handmade stuff, she gave me a beautiful tie-dyed scarf she handmade herself using natural plants for the coloring. Don't I look good in it? Hurhurhur. (this is my official new laugh-at-self laugh)

 My dear friend, Sweetie-Pie whom I had not seen for a couple of years dropped by. I'm not showing all of her face because she's shy. She looks the same as before - not a day older. Still so gorgeous and sexy. I really enjoyed her visit. We laughed loudly like the popular crowd in school. As usual I laughed until tears flew everywhere. Ok, maybe some saliva there as well. Hurhurhur.

I'm giving myself a break for 2 days before I start sewing for my December Christmas sale. It's going to be a different MAAD in Dec seeing how another baazar will also be taking place inside the museum. Time to make some dazzling bags Jane!

Take care.
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