Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Wishing you a Joyful Christmas and a Happy New Year

My Christmas Tree
Notes from the Sewing Studio 2009

Wishing you a Christmas that's full of Joy, Peace and Happiness.
May 2010 be the year your dreams come true.

See you in the New Year.

Monday, December 21, 2009

MFDC Shoe Design Competition - I've been shortlisted!

What a lovely Christmas surprise!
I've been shortlisted for the finals of the Malaysian Footwear Design Competition (MFDC) 2010, organised by the Perak Footwear Association.

Design teacher, Jasmi, helped me to focus and fine-tune my design for the leisure shoe category.

So Jasmi, a BIG "thank you" to you!

Finalists will take part in a fashion show to be held in 2010.
Next step is to get the shoe design made up.
The folks at the Perak Footwear Association have offered to help source an interested manufacturer.

This is sooooo exciting.......

Saturday, December 19, 2009

I feel a new hobby coming on.......

Limhwa Half Elf
photo credit: needoll @ flickr

My original purpose was to get a ball-jointed doll to practise draping/pattern-making and design sampling.
After doing my research on what's available out there dolly-wise, I'm hooked and well on the way to joining the ranks of all the ball-jointed doll addicts out there.

I've made my first purchase: a 57cm Limhwa half-elf.

I requested red hair and green eyes as she's going to be an Irish elf-princess.
I'll get additional wigs and eyes later on for different looks. And I'm going to be doing the face-up for her.....apparently, all it takes is some practise......

I ordered from their US-based international site, http://www.limhwa.com/ , and had some queries which were answered promptly by 2 very helpful ladies, Catrina and Joan.

There are so many dolls out there and deciding which one to get is a real headache. It was a good thing I found the Den of Angels Forum, as they have discussions going on for all the various types of dolls.

Thanks to the discussions at Den of Angels, I realised I needed to get the optional high-heel feet as well as the normal feet and I was able to make the order together with the doll, saving me additional international courier fees.

There is also a thread comparing the poseability of the dolls, which is an important factor for me as I intend to use the doll as a photo model for my design samples. And the biggest bonus? some helpful person measured up her Limhwa elf and now I have a full set of measurements which means I can get some new clothes ready for her. The poor thing comes naked.

I also found the Flickr Ball-Jointed Dolls' groups to contain tons of photo's of the various dolls, which is great as I could see the dolls in various angles and different poses.

Here are some of the groups I looked at.

Be warned though......

photo credit:  Sⓘndy @ Flickr

How can you  resist these?
..........which is why I'm my way to the Latidoll site......

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ever wanted to try drafting your own dress patterns?

Pattern Drafts
image from wkdesigner.wordpress.com

Welcome back Don Morin (aka Weekend Designer)!
Yes, it's true and it says so on his Wkdesigner blog.

Folks, this is the place to go if you've ever wanted to try drafting your own patterns.

The Weekend Designer has 100 posts giving pattern drafting lessons from belts to evening gowns.

here's the link:

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Spring 2010 Trends: Corsets / Bustiers

Spring 2010 Trends: Corsets
images from style.com

Designers continue the trend for corsets / bustiers into Spring 2010.

A new development: peplums.
I like Lanvin's elegant flowing cocktail number and Karl Lagerfeld's chic top which looks great paired with a short skirt or shorts.

Victor and Rolf's ruffled corset is perfect for Spring 2010's  lighter mood.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Fall 2009: Bustiers and/or Corsets

Fall 2009 Corsets
Images from Style.com

There's something about a corset that makes me feel all dressed-up, whether I'm pairing it with a pair of jeans, loose evening trousers or over a full skirt.

note: Some people may refer to the above-type corsets as bustiers to distinguish between lingerie and well, not lingerie. So what do you call a bustier with a built-in bra?
A Cortier?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Personal Style: Dr Porntip Rojanasunan

Dr Porntip Rojanasunan
images from Dr Porntip Rojanasunan Fans Club Facebook

For someone known as “Dr. Death”, Dr. Porntip Rojanasunan, widely accepted as the best forensic pathologist in Thailand,  is not what you expect and certainly not someone you easily forget.

The 50-something Dr. Porntip has her own personal style which I can only describe as glam-punk with spiky, multi-coloured hair paired with trendy, fashionable outfits. And she looks great!

But she’s more than just a pretty face.

She’s been interviewed by numerous magazines and newspapers worldwide and has a Facebook fan club, for her work in fighting for justice for those who can no longer speak for themselves.

Dr. Pornthip is an outspoken human rights activist, using her skills in forensics to find evidence of police abuse. Despite harassment, threats and lawsuits, she frequently challenges suspect autopsy findings by police, pointing out cases of abuse.

Criminal forensics was directly under police control until, due to Dr. Porntip’s efforts, the Central Forensic Science Institute was set up, reporting directly to the Ministry of Justice.

Dr. Porntip is the current Director of the institute and has introduced DNA evidence to Thailand.
Her next goal is to set up a national missing persons institute, to record the many cases of unexplained disappearances and deaths in Thailand.
After the 2004 Tsunami, she headed efforts to identify victims in Southern Thailand, and assisted in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

The energetic Dr. Porntip is the author of several crime books and a frequent crime commentator on the news.

On a personal level, Dr. Pornthip has successfully undergone treatment for 2 cases of cancer. She relaxes by spending time with her family and cooking.

Explaining her unique personal style, she says she had wanted to be an interior designer. She chose forensics over conventional medicine because she liked solving puzzles and because,

“As a doctor, I can’t wear whatever I want. I suppose I express my creative side through my dressing. And the dead do not complain about the way I look.” *

* source: the star publication

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Textile Design Competition

photo credit: qusic at Flickr.com 

Ever wished you could try your hand at Textile Design?

Well, now you can, at Textile Republic, an interactive community for designers from around the world.

There's an ongoing design competition on their website, where winning designs and logos are used to create a line of fabrics, clothing, wallpaper, stationery, and other merchandise.

Winners receive $1,000 cash and a 5% royalty from profits generated from sales of their design. Designs are selected for production every 2-3 months.

Visit their website to see the winning designs, browse the fabrics and keep a look out for the next competition submission date.

Here's the link:

Monday, December 7, 2009

Monday Musings

Image credit: wikipedia.org

It’s that time of the year when we think of peace on earth and goodwill to all mankind, putting the Christmas tree up, getting Christmas shopping done, planning the Christmas menu and worrying about what to wear for Christmas dinner.

It’s also that time of the year when I wait expectantly to see if the Great Goat of Gavle, Sweden, will survive another arson attack.

Since 1966, when the Great Goat was first erected, it has survived Christmas only 10 times. It was burnt down almost every year, with the following exceptions:

1972: sabotaged and collapsed
1976: run over by a car
1978: kicked to bits
1983: legs were cut off
1997: attacked by fireworks

In 2005, “Santa Claus” and the “Gingerbread Man” shot flaming arrows at the goat which burnt down.

The goat has, in past years, been guarded by a 6.5 ft fence, by Securitas, Police, Homeguards, the Gavle Infantry, volunteers and a web-cam. It has been fire-proofed and soaked in flame retardant.

The arsonists weren’t just locals. A Norwegian was arrested for attempted arson in 1998 and in 2001, an American, Lawrence Jones, set fire to the goat on 23rd dec. Jones was arrested, spent ½ a month in the slammer and fined 100,000 kroners (though apparently the fine is still outstanding).

His cigarette lighter was also confiscated.

Said Goat was treated with flame retardant in 2006 and it escaped with just a smoldering foot.

But in 2008, the Goat Committee of Gavle decided to leave the goat untreated upon complaints that the retardant made the goat “look like a terrier”.  It burnt down on 27th Dec.

This event has been blogged about, has its own fan site and is featured on the town’s website where Goat Fans can read about the history of the goat, watch a film of the goat being erected, keep up with goat news through the blog, and help keep a watch on the goat through 2 webcams.

English bookmakers have been taking bets on the survival or demise of the goat since 1988.

Current odds are 6:4 arsonists to authorities.

Watch Christmas lights on the Goat through webcam at the Gavle website below:

Saturday, December 5, 2009

How to make your own Ball Jointed Doll

Obitsu Doll: Model Gretel
Photo credit: parabox.jp

Collector’s dolls make a wonderful Christmas present for someone special. If you can sew, you can make your own doll parts, construct your own custom doll and sew period costumes for it. I’ve posted the link to a doll-making lesson below.

For those of us who like working with draping, dolls are really useful for trying out new designs like Vionnet did. She would drape fabric on a 24” doll while working out the patterns for her draped garments.

I’ve been thinking of getting a doll for some time but it was hard to find one suitable for the purpose. Then I discovered Japanese dolls. After doing some research and lurking on doll making/collecting forums, I’ve settled on Obitsu, who make a ball-jointed doll with a soft torso, which makes it easy to move around and pose.

Proportions are 1/6 to 1/3 of human proportions which is ideal for experimenting. I was really excited to find the 1/3 version is 60cm, the same height as the one Vionnet used!

These collector’s dolls are pricey, and one could easily spend up to USD600 for a fully-finished smaller model constructed from Obitsu parts and hand-painted in the US.

So I wavered for quite some time on the pro’s and con’s of getting a (much cheaper) 27cm model vs a 60cm model. I’ve decided to go for it and get the 60cm Gretel model (shown above) from http://parabox.jp/eng/index.html, which comes with assembled body and head; and add on a doll's wig and a doll's stand which I will need if I'm going to use the doll as a draping model.

This will cost around USD400, which is more expensive than what I paid for Sandy and Mandy, my dress forms! But hey, it's Christmas after all!

How to make Ball Jointed Dolls:

The easy way is to buy the doll parts, assemble them, paint on the face (or purchase a ready-painted doll's head) and add a dolly wig. There are loads of doll making resources on the internet, and doll parts on eBay.

However, to make your own doll parts, read on.......

Dollhouse Noah from Japan, who makes and sells dolls, has generously posted a step by step lesson on how to make and construct your own ball-jointed doll parts using styroform, sawdust and a bonding agent. You then string the parts together, do the finishing and add a doll’s wig.

Her instructions are in English and very easy to understand. So if you’re interested in trying your hand at doll-making, you'll end up with a 100% custom-made collector’s doll!

Take a look at a couple of the dolls she made below. Aren't they beautiful?

Here’s the link: http://www2d.biglobe.ne.jp/~dhnoah/make_00.htm

Photo credit: Dollhouse Noah

Make a Fashion Statement this Christmas: The Bib Necklace

images from style.com

The accessory statement this season is the bib necklace.
Seen everywhere on the catwalks, they range from Dries Van Noten’s understated braided collar to Vera Wang’s beaded and diamanted extravaganza’s.

Or add a Victorian touch with these beaded bib necklaces featured on trendhunter:

images from trendhunter.com

Friday, December 4, 2009

Smoothing out the Lumps and Bumps

Notes from the Sewing Studio 2009

I call these my “investments”*lol*.

They pay multiple dividends in saving clothes which I would have dumped into the bin, and works a treat to smooth out those lumps and bumps. Now, even wearing body-hugging lycra is no longer a challenge for me. Bring 'em on, gals!

In the 50’s, Mum and all her friend wore them and they looked great with their wasp-like waists and smooth bodylines. Mum looked fantastic in her form-fitting cheongsams way into her mid-60’s.

Corsets have come a long way comfort-wise. Unlike Mum, I don’t have to squeeze myself into something obviously too small for me in an effort to obtain the requisite hourglass figure. I can breathe and eat full-sized portions at dinner parties.

What works best for me when buying corsets, is to find one that fits well, feels comfortable but smooths out the body line. By having a sleeker figure, I automatically look slimmer anyway.

for the latest lingerie trends, take a look at the lingerie trend report in my previous post HERE

The new Fashion Accessory?

With the outbreak of H1N1, you see people wearing them everywhere.

But why wear a boring white surgical mask when you can wear these?

Yoriko Yoshida is a Japanese illustrator who has put a silver lining into the H1N1 scare and turned swine flu surgical masks into colorful and witty fashion statements.

There are lots more designs on Yoriko Yoshida’s website. Here's the link:

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Free pattern for Junya Watanabe party dress from Show Studio

photo credits: showstudio

Designed by Junya Watanabe, this dress is perfect for the upcoming party season with a camisole top and 50's inspired skirt. Make it in one colour or sew up a plain coloured top with a print or plaid skirt as shown in the pic above.

You can download the printable pattern from the Showstudio site HERE

Note: the pattern is given in one size only

Fashion School: What I am doing now

photo credit: Si1very at Flickr.com

Researching spiders.

I don't particularly like the creatures, but I'm looking for something original for my design project, for which the final result would be a small collection for the end of course fashion show.

As budding designers, we have to be creative and original.
We can't just look at other designers' work and add A sleeves to B collar to C bodice and D skirt.

Jasmi is tough and he'll make us re-work our assignments until we get something original (This is my 3rd attempt at this assignment). But that's a good thing as he challenges me to expand my limited mental horizons.

At the same time, having been a left brained techy for most of my life, I'm having a lot of difficulty changing brain gears and finding an original theme without Jasmi saying "that's been done before."

"Is there anything someone hasn't done before?" I asked petulantly.

"You can have an original viewpoint, a fresh take on an existing subject." said Jasmi. There was just the slightest hint of exasperation in his tone.

He has repeated himself so many times to so many of us, he is almost hoarse. All the students apparently go through this process of trying to cut a new path through the creative wilderness only to find that someone else has gone before them and built a highway.


A fresh take on Spiders.

I may be jumping ahead of myself but I'm already imagining this would be good inspiration for some Goth stuff with a hint of Yamamoto minimalism, a bit of decaying Victorian grandeur a la Miss Havisham of Charles Dicken's "Great Expectations" and a touch of Anne Rice.

But don't tell Jasmi.
I'm supposed to go through the design process step by step.
And researching spiders is step1.

btw, did you know that the hogna helluo consumes the male after mating?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Madeleine Vionnet: Exhibition at the Musee Les Arts Decoratifs

The Musee  Les Arts Decoratifs in Paris has one of the biggest collections of decorative arts in France covering the period from the middle ages to the present day, housed in 10 "period" rooms.

The Vionnet exhibition runs until 31st January 2010, so if you happen to be in Paris.......

If not, you can still browse through photo's of some of the exhibits, read commentaries on Vionnet's work and download a catalogue (with photo's of her garments) on the Musee Les Arts Decoratifs' website HERE.

What I am reading now: The Collection of the Kyoto Institute: Fashion

Notes from the Sewing Studio 2009

This is without a doubt, my absolutely most favorite book on fashion!

If you're like me and love Fashion History, you'll positively covet this book.

I ordered it online some time back together with a ton of other books and chose the courier option.

When I opened the door, the poor DHL guy was perspiring profusely and panting from lugging the two large boxes up a couple of flights of stairs!

This contributed to most of the weight!
It came in a boxed set of 2 large books with beautiful photography and is a fantastic resource on fashions from the 18th to 20th century, which makes this a real bargain at under USD70.

I especially liked the close-up photos of the embellishments and garment details.

Vol. 1 covers the 18th and 19th centuries and Vol 2 is dedicated to the 20th century.

Here's a peek at some of the beautiful photography:

Notes from the Sewing Studio 2009

Notes from the Sewing Studio 2009

Notes from the Sewing Studio 2009

Notes from the Sewing Studio 2009

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Little Black Dress (2)

images from style.com

Here are some of my other favorites from the Fall Winter 2009 collections.

I like Devi Kroll's lace over blue satin, Malandrino's retro look, Elie Saab's sequins with cut-out, Erdem's waisted sheer sleeves with embroidered sequined skirt, and the edgy urban Proenza Schouler number.

Since The Little Black Dress does not actually have to be black these days, I have LBD’s in black, dark chocolate and a satiny taupe which takes me through all occasions all year round.

I love my LBD’s.
By mixing and matching them with different accessories – shoes, bags, scarfs, ear-rings and necklaces, and by doing my hair differently I can get different looks.

The original Little Black Dress is the one designed by Givenchy and worn by Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. You could wear it today and still look to the minute ……the hallmark of a true classic.

You can see it HERE

The Little Black Dress (1)

Jil Sander
images from style.com

Not sure what to wear to the office party, to the opening of the new art gallery, to meet his family ?

You can always fall back on that classic standby:
the Little Black Dress.

This season, look no further than Jil Sander for the modern LBD: minimalist classic with an edge.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Party Season: Glamourous Gowns

images from style.com

If you've got an invitation to a Black Tie or a White Tie occasion, lucky you!
 You can pull out all the stops and go for the glitz and glamour.

I like Donna Karan's edgy geometric, Christian Dior's ethnic shocking pink chiffon lace, Bottega Veneta's Old Hollywood glamour, Reem Acra's one-shoulder drape and Elie Saab's bejewelled shoulders offset by soft flowing chiffon

Saturday, November 28, 2009

It's Party Season Again!

Cocktail Dresses
images from style.com

3 more days to December and it's Party Season again!

Soon, streets will glow with Christmas lights and shop windows filled with wonderful Christmas displays.

 Christmas is not the time for dull colours.
Bring on the satins, silks, tafettas, velvets and rich, rich jewel colours.
Or be a contrarian and go for icy colours or black.

Here are my favorite cocktail dresses from the Fall Winter 2009 collections.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Jewellery - Ring Designs by Adris

Jewellery Design - Rings by Adris
Notes from the Sewing Studio 2009

From left to right: aquamarine in a baguette-cut, mid-blue sapphire in cushion cut, deep-blue sapphire in oval cut.

This year, I'm giving Mum a special Christmas present.

It's fun popping into our long time jewellers, Adris to discuss designs. Adris is no longer around and his son Chola runs the family business.

Chola scans the gemstones into his design software, then uses the software to simulate the real thing, and sends us a sample of the design. It's a great way to see what the completed piece of jewellery will look like.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Bias Cut

Photo credit: flippinyank at Flickr.com

In a bias cut, the pattern pieces are cut diagonal to the warp or lengthwise grain of the fabric giving the garment more stretch, drape and “cling”.

The bias cut is ideal for designs requiring a lot of drape or stretch such as grecian draped dresses or gowns and the “tube” dress.

Body curves are emphasized using this cut, so if you’re like me and shaped like a stick, try a bias cut dress and you will be amazed to find you’ve got curves after all!

Peplums, draped frills and edge bindings are some of the items cut to leverage on the drape and stretch of the bias.

The bias cut was first developed by Madeleine Vionnet in the 1920’s. Her highly popular designs catapulted her to fame and set the direction of fashion in the 1930’s. I've posted a brief write-up on Vionnet HERE.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Fashion Competitions - Miami Fashion Week 2010 - Fashion Design and Fashion Photography Competitions

Miami Fashion Week 2009
photo credit: miamitoday.net

Those who aren't in time for the GenArt "Plastics make it Possible" competition, here's another opportunity to enter a Fashion Design competition.

The 2010 Miami Fashion Week Student Designer Competition and Emerging Designer Competition is a great chance for fashion students and emerging designers to showcase your talents on an international platform.

There's also a Fashion Photography Competition for Photography students.

Closing date for all submissions is 15th Jan 2010.

Student Designer Competition:

The competition is an international platform for fashion students anywhere in the world.
You have to be enrolled in a fashion design, fashion mechandising or fashion management course to be eligible for entry.

Here's the link to the Competition rules and instructions for submission:


Emerging Designer Competition:

You have to have been in business for at least 1 year and less than 5 years, and be producing 2 collections a year and be selling in 1 store at the minimum.

Here's the link:

Student Fashion Photographers:

You have to be enrolled in a photography course at an accredited institute to qualify for entry.

Here's the link:

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Fashion Design Competition: GenArt "Plastics Make It Possible"

image credit: discover.genart.org

Found out about this recently and the deadline for submission is 11:59pm EST 1st Dec 2009.
So if you're quick with the needle........

All themes are acceptable but you must use Approved Materials whch are fabrics derived from plastic material, such as polyester. Embellishments, thread, trims, buttons and embellments need not be plastic based.

There's a list of approved materials in the official rules on the GenArt website. Here's the link:

Monday, November 23, 2009

What I'm Reading Now: Madeleine Vionnet

What I am Reading Now: Madeleine Vionnet
Notes from the Sewing Studio 2009

Our Malaysian bookshops don't stock a lot of fashion sewing books.
So a while ago I ordered a whole bunch of books online including this book on Madeleine Vionnet by Betty Kirke, which I am reading and thoroughly enjoying. I thought I'll give you a glimpse of what's inside.

When it first arrived, I expected it to be just another coffee table book with pretty pictures. That's mainly because of its size:  15 x 11 inches, and heavy! It's definitely not something I can pop into my bag for a quick perusal while waiting at the dentists.

But the book actually had what I was looking for, which are close-up photo's of Vionnet's designs and write-up's on her techniques including features on her key designs/patterns.

According to the write-up on the inside front cover, there are 38 patterns from Vionnet's original designs and over 400 illustrations and photos.

There are no actual usable dress patterns in the book, but there are quite a number of  illustrations on the schematics including how the pattern pieces were placed on the fabrics before cutting. You can see what I mean in the pic above.
If you can draft patterns, you can probably figure out how to make a pattern from the schematics with a bit of trial and error.

I'm definitely going to try doing this once I complete the Sew Along capsule, or maybe I might replace one of the Sew Along items with a Vionnet-Repro?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Work in Progress - Sew Along: Lemongrass Silk Top

Casual Capsule Collection
Notes from the Sewing Studio 2009

I have resurrected the Sew Along project which had been put on hold for a (long) while.
It's nice to sew some casual clothes for a change, and nice to sew something for myself too.

Unfortunately, I won't be winning any prizes for the Sew Along as the deadline is 31st Dec to complete 6 items, but I may be able to complete 2.

I am aiming for 1 top in Nov, and the dress in Dec.

The colour scheme has changed from the pic above.
Colours are now Khaki, Lemongrass and Burnt Orange.
You can see the fabrics by clicking here.

I am using the lemongrass silk for the top, and can't decide between Burnt Orange and Khaki silks for the dress. But, one thing at a time.......

 Here's the work in progress for the top:

WIP Lemongrass top: Main and Lining
Notes from the Sewing Studio 2009

Pic 1 shows the main pieces which have been joined and Pic 2 shows the lining pieces which also has been sewn together. The lining is habutai silk.
Now I'm working on joining the lining to the main.
I find the easiest way is to join the pieces at the neckline, then the sleeve line.

This will create a sort of "tunnel" at the shoulders. I then pull the back pieces through the "tunnel" and voila! the seams will magically end up in between the main and lining.

(Note: if you are thinking of trying this technique, you have to do this step before sewing the back seam).

The difficult part for me is ensuring that both main and lining are the same width at the shoulders otherwise the top will not lie absolutely flat at the shoulders, and I will have to do the dreaded unpicking which is not easy with fragile silk.

So I need to iron, iron, iron and will probably tack both pieces together at the shoulders before machining.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Another Casualty of the Downturn: Luella Bartley

images from style.com

Luella Bartley is the latest fashion casualty of the downturn which is a huge shame.

I thought Luella's collection for Spring/Summer 2010 is young, fresh and very Audrey Hepburn-ish.
Just right for the mood for the coming Spring season.

The company has stopped trading after losing its financial backing.
Last month, its ready-to-wear producer in Italy closed, resulting in the company being unable to fill its orders for Spring/Summer 2010.

Not being able to fulfil orders is a really BIG deal with fashion buyers as there is a domino effect on their retail sales.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Batik: Block Printing Method

Batik Printing Blocks
Notes from the Sewing Studio 2009

Some old batik printing presses I got from my last trip to Jakarta, Indonesia.
These would have been used in the block printing method described here

I thought they were really nice and I'm going to display them as decorative items.

The designs are traditional Indonesian batik designs. The press at the top left is for printing borders in the batik fabric.
The presses were hand-fashioned from sheets of iron, and have a handle at the base.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Shoe Design Competition : Museo Salvatore Ferragamo

Calling all budding shoe designers!

Salvatore Ferragamo is one of the top labels in the shoe world, known for their quality and superb craftsmanship. Their museum in Florence, Italy has a collection that spans Ferragamo's career from 1927 until 1960.

The Museo Salvatore Ferragamo is holding a shoe design competition for students enrolled for the current year at  international fashion and design schools.

Closing date for submission is 10th December 2009.

The winner will receive a scholarship worth Euro 15,000.
And reimbursement of travelling and hotel expenses to attend the prize-giving in Florence.

Here's the link for the contest rules and entry forms:


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Yellow Taffeta and Net Ball Gown - Final Version

Notes from the Sewing Studio

Final Version almost completed.
 Lining, hemming and finishing left to do.

looks very Scarlett O'Hara don't you think?

unfortunately, missed the deadline for the ball so this will be put on hold for the time being.

the sleeves have changed quite a bit from the original version.
my fav is still the previous version shown here

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Safari Style - the real deal, dude

jean's travel pics - sri lanka elephant safari

I had a great time in Sri Lanka.
Every day was packed with activities and sightseeing in spectacular historic sites.
i've just started a new blog for travel bloggings and will be posting my travel pics there.
here i am with travel buddies pow and kat all kitted out in our safari hats, ready to go elephant safari'ing.
well, ya'll know Safari Style is in for spring 2010, right?

now, if i could only figure out how i can look like this on the next safari........

Saturday, October 24, 2009

jean is on vacation. back on 30th October

jean's travel pics: pow in hanoi

well, i'm packed and all ready for my adventure in exotic Sri Lanka. travelling by budget no-frills airline Air Asia and with a small tour group. there are 10 of us.
having globetrotted since my teens, i now know better and always travel light. there's nothing more stressful than wandering around strange airports, lugging around a lot of stuff i don't use.

for anything more than a week, i usually pack for 5 days. i don't pack consumables which can be purchased at the destination. a couple of dollars for mosquito repellent is small change, compared to the cost of air-tickets and hotel. and excess baggage charges.

Sri Lanka is 6 days, 5 nights.
weather is hot. 25 - 30 degress celsius. and humid.

very strenous sightseeing all the way and all but one night are overnight stops.
that means 4 hotels in 6 days. no time to send stuff to the laundry so more tops needed.

i have 2 bags: 1 check in with wheels, and a backpack.
passport and tickets goes into the bum bag for easy access.
photocopies of passport goes into the backpack and one set is kept at home.

here's my capsule:

in the check-in:
2 pairs jeans; 1 skirt, 6 t-shirts, 2 which can be dressed up if needed; scrunchable canvas hat, 1 pair spare sandals. 1 cotton "gym" pants and t-shirt for sleeping.

in the backpack:
jumper, shawl, socks
air asia's no-frills = no blankets.

i'll be travelling in jeans, t-shirt, sandals.

see you all on the 30th October!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Work in Progress - Shirley's Ball Gown (2)

This is part 2 of this ballgown in progress.
pics for part 1 can be seen here

if i've not been my usual prolific blogging self, it's because of sleepless nights beavering away on the gown which is for a ball on the 31st, and which meant i had to complete it by saturday.

because, come sunday, i'll be flying west to eat lobsters and admire gemstones in sri lanka for 5 days. not that i've done that before......this will be my first trip to sri lanka and i'm really looking forward to the break. hope i can find some nice indian cottons and sari fabrics. And a nice beach.

spent 3 days experimenting on the draping for the asymmetric neckline on the gown to get the effect i wanted.

this is version 6, at least. i really liked version 5 which had numerous overlapping folds/pleats, done on the bias, making the tulle look like a different, textured fabric!

but it had less transparency.

i wasn't sure if shirley would like it. so i reduced the folds and ended up with this version.

today was the 1st and only fitting, since i was running short of time and still had tons to do.
being the good sport that shirley is, she tried on the gown sans side seams, side godets, lace on the bodice, zip and lining. i pinned her in and thankfully the body of the gown fit, and i didn't injure anyone with the super-sharp japanese pins. the bottom of the neckline V was a bit slack and needed some adjustments. pulling the excess fabric down 1 cm resolved the issue. 

she really liked the neckline and the diagonal folds/pleats. of course i had to tell her about the previous version and guess what? she liked that even better, especially when i did a little demo with a bit of tulle.
there was no way i can make the change and finish the gown by saturday.

after some discussion, we both agreed the gown will not be worn for the tatler ball on the 31st but for the prestige ball 2nd week november. this is cool as i really wanted to do version 5.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Spring 2010 Trend - Style - Femme Fatale

images from style.com

The femme fatale is making a comeback led by John Galliano at Christian Dior.

Galliano is worth watching for two reasons: a. he is said to be the models' favorite designer, and we all know fashionista's watch what models are wearing;  b. he tends to be a trendsetter for other designers.
last season, he shows the boudoir look and voila! this season underwear is everywhere.

The femme fatale had always existed .......the original femme fatale was mother-of-all-mankind, eve from the bible, who caused the downfall of not just one man, but everybody. Lucrezia Borgia, poisoner extraordinaire from the italian renaissance period and Mata Hari, a dutch exotic dancer turned spy during the 1st world war were femme fatale's from the archives of history.

But it was Hollywood who really made the femme fatale famous in the 30's and 40's, with stars like Lauren Bacall, Joan Crawford and Marlene Dietrich.

Must-have's for budding femme fatale's are the smoldering eyes and lipstick red lips, parted ever so slightly. Helpful items would be the Veronica Lake hair-do, preferably covering one eye and the killer heels. You can be a blonde or redhead, no rules here, but being brunette definitely adds to the dark mystery.

Get some dress to kill ideas in the pics above.

MFDC - Shoe Design Competition 2010

image from www.dezeen.com

added on 2nd Dec 2009: for other shoe design competitions and fashion design competitions, please search under LABELS (right) or click HERE 

The Malaysian Footwear Design Competion (MFDC) deadline has been extended to the end of the month, so there's still time to finish up your designs and illustrations. Or prepare another submission!
The competition is open to Malaysians.

We are allowed to submit 3 entries in each category. you can get the entry form from http://www.perakfootwear.com/
40% of points awarded is for innovation and creativity whereas only 10% is awarded for practicality.
Hint, hint.........they are looking for something different from the run of mill stuff.

take a look at the Mojito shoe in the pic above and  here to get some inspiration.
or go to the dezeen blog and read about the design

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Work in Progress - Shirley's Ball Gown (1)

pic 2: front bodice and skirt; back bodice and skirt; added black tulle skirt to back

I'm halfway through sewing this gown and it's begining to look quite decadent!

there are 3 layers and lining to be sewn
layer 1 = taffeta in acid yellow.
layer 2 = black tulle, sewn together with layer 1 as one piece.
layer 3 = black tulle for the skirt , black lace for the bodice and black tulle for the draped shoulder/dropped sleeve.
lining is habutai silk in matching yellow. the lining will be a princess cut A-line.
there's also a wrap around sash in black tulle.....2 pieces which i will sew to side seams.

pics above show
1. front bodice and skirt pieces (layers 1 and 2) pinned to mandy, the M-size dress form.
2. back bodice and skirt pieces (layers 1 and 2)
3. added layer 3 (black tulle) to back skirt .....wow!
pics below:
1st pic: fabrics used.
2nd pic shows skirt and godet pieces pinned on taffeta and about to be cut.
i used 6.5 metres of taffeta 54" and 13 metres of tulle!

counted 62 separate pieces altogether. that's a lot of sewing.

no wonder this feels like a marathon!

pic 1: fabric - black beaded lace, black tulle, acid yellow taffeta; skirt pieces pinned on taffeta

more pics soon........

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fall 2009 - Trench Coats

images from style.com

The trench is perfect for those in-between weathers.

For those of us in the tropics, it's the ideal choice for travelling to cooler climes......light enough to carry on the plane, and less bulk in the luggage if you choose to pack it. layer with sweaters and wrap a scarf to keep the chill out. Three-quarter length is most versatile and looks great worn with separates/pants.

I like Bottega Veneta's classic trench in leather. It looks so chic and takes you right through winter too. Yves Saint Laurent's quilted version is perfect for dressier occasions and evenings.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Designer: Yohji Yamamoto

image from style.com

Yohji Yamamoto is considered one of the most creative minds in fashion.
His clothing has an austere, minimalist, unstructured, avant-garde style and his cutting edge designs often uses asymmetry, drapery and texture plays in somber colours especially black.

Seemingly anti-fashion, Yamamoto’s designs actually reflect the Japanese philosophy that irregularity is closer to nature and beauty is to be found in the textures of fabric rather than added embellishments. Yamamoto has largely eschewed prevailing fashion trends for timelessness and functionality.

He graduated from Keio University, Tokyo with a law degree in 1966 and completed his studies in fashion design at Bunka Fashion College in 1969. His flagship line, Y’s was started in Tokyo in the 70’s.

In 1982, Yamamoto made his international debut in Paris with Yohji Yamamoto for women. This was followed by the launch of Yohji Yamamoto pour Homme in 1984. Yamamoto has stores in Tokyo, Paris, London and New York.

His most famous collaboration was with Rei Kawakubo of Commes des Garcons in the 80’s.

Right after the showing of his Spring 2010 collection in October 2009, Yohji Yamamoto Inc. filed for bankruptcy, a victim of deteriorating sales caused by the global economic downturn.

Yohji Yamamoto will continue to design for Y3 the sportwear line, a hugely successful collaboration with Adidas.

Awards Received:

Yamamoto has received numerous awards, including Fashion Editors Club (FEC) Award Tokyo (1982, 1991, 1997), Mainichi Fashion Award (1986, 1994), Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and Master of Design (1999).

He is the only Japanese designer to receive the French Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres (1994).

In 2004, he was awarded the Japanese Medal of Honour.
In 2005, he received the French National Order of Merit.
In 2006, he was made an Honorary Royal Designer for Industry from the Royal Society of Arts.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Mojito

image from www.dezeen.com

Believe it or not, this is a shoe.

British architect Julian Hakes has designed a shoe of one continuous piece that wraps around the foot giving support to the heel and ball of the foot.

The shoe is called the ‘Mojito’ as it resembles a twist of lime skin.

Judging from the buzz on the dezeen blog, there's quite a lot of excitement over this breakthrough design and they are in the process of readying some prototypes.

  read more about julian's design process and thoughts here

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Spring 2010 Trends - Style - Blocking with Patterns

images from style.com

Colour blocking was shown on the runways for fall 2009. For Spring 2010, blocking is taken one step further with pattern combinations.

3.1 Philip Lim showed a geometric/plain combination. BCBG Max Azria and Thakoon used blocking to create asymmetry. 

Tuleh matched dots of different colours against a black background for a 1950's look.

At Marchesa, lace was combined with sheer to create a distinctive evening look.