Rhinestic's Knick Knacks

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Honey Dahlia Autumn Dress (Selfish Sewing Week Fall 2014, a week late)

Besides the sewing done for the shop, craft markets and clients, it's been quite a while since the last time I've sewn a piece of clothing for myself.

I had been wanting to design and sew something more appropriate for Singapore weather, but was too busy with another project (stay tuned for this next week!) to start on it.  Also, I got the dates for the Selfish Sewing Week mixed up! I thought it started this week Monday! By the time I realized it, it was already the last day of this online community event.

But hey, that can't stop me from participating in it, albeit 1 week late... To keep to the theme of Fall, I decided to self-draft and sew a autumn dress instead. Perfect for me to wear to my Tokyo trip next week!

The fabric that I used here was actually intended for another drafting project I had in mind. But I thought the material (a stretchy cotton blend fabric, I believe) was suitable for the transitional season (weather is just getting a little chilly there, still on the warm side) and the mustardy honey color was perfect for fall.

I drafted the bodice based on a top I have, but I altered the neckline and length. The skirt with pockets and mini curved side slits was drafted from scratch. Before sewing the pieces, I screen-printed my dahlia design onto part of the bodice and 1 of the sleeves.

The bodice was lined and I added buttons and button holes to the slits so that they can close up and create a slight balloon shape silhouette. The buttons are a variation to my handmade "Beady-eyed" acrylic resin buttons which can be found on my Etsy shop.

Handmade this necklace too!

Pattern: Self-drafted
Fabric: Stretch cotton blend, screen-printed with my own dahlia design
Notions: My handmade acrylic resin buttons (variation of my Beady-eyed buttons)

Preparing to fly. Preparing to paint.

A little nerve-wrecking, what with the pretty recent news about the eruption of Mount Ontake in Japan. Plus the news of typhoon which will be making landfall on Tokyo later today.. At least the weather seems to look good for the few days after. *Fingers crossed*

XB and I will be flying to Tokyo for a short vacation the coming week. Amidst the research on craft places and mountains to visit, I was contemplating on getting a watercolor travel kit to jumpstart the habit of doing some kind of fast illustration/artwork daily by getting my feet wet during this trip.

I must have not been looking hard enough, but I had a tough time searching online for a local arts supplies shop that sells renowned brands of water color travel kits. 

I tried looking at Art Friend, but couldn't find any at the Clementi branch (I went back to the Bras Basah branch a few days back, and I saw that they had restocked the Daler Rowny full pans kit). "Overjoyed" near Little India MRT station stocks only Pebeo brand, which I am not too sure if it is any good since there is almost zero reviews on it..

Out of exasperation, I almost bought the Akashiya Watercolor Palette Box from Jetpens.com while toying myself with the idea of also getting the Sakura Koi Watercolor set to justify the high shipping cost from the US. 

Eventually, I managed to find a local art store (one with a pretty long history too.. Since 1967..), Straits Art Co., that sells a large array of paints, brushes, papers and canvases. The lady recommended the Van Gogh (from Royal Talens) watercolor pocket box kit for beginners like me. Apparently, this is a student grade watercolor paint higher up on the quality scale as compared to other student grade brands.

Let's see how this goes!

Friday, September 05, 2014

Craft x Chill

2 weekends back, I met up with my dear friend, XZZ, for our own crafting session. She got this macaron coin case kit, and she needed a bit of help with the Japanese instructions and some of the hand-sewing techniques.

We tried this 'pay-on-demand' cafe called Coffeemin where you pay by the hour ($6 for the first hour, $1 every 10 minutes after, capped at $30) and you can do whatever you want as long as you don't create chaos. There are also free-flow drinks and cookies as well as a variety of facilities.

Overall, it's a nice place, though I won't call it a place conducive for "zen" time during the weekends. Not when you have groups of excited teens playing card games.

They have nice utensils.

Cute cushion! (It's quite a cozy place, really)

Let's start crafting!

Here's the completed macaron coin case!

The inside. With room for a single coin.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Commission: Washi Tape x Watercolor Mini Clutch Wristlet

Hi peeps! Have been busy with custom orders for the past couple of weeks and one of them is a commission to create a custom design for my washi tape mini clutch wristlets. I was given free play based on the theme of "simple and elegant".

For some reasons, I was feeling the nature vibe from the client, so I was thinking either florals or feathers. I had wanted to cover the whole piece with large floral/feather cut-outs but wasn't too sure if that would be "simple" enough.

Eventually, I decided to do a watercolor background on rice paper and have it as the highlight of the wristlet. And then, to add some elegance, I cut out pieces from washi tapes to form some kind of a focal floral scene. To finish off, I gilded some tiny 18K gold leafing dots to tie in all the gold bits together. I then went through the same process of laminating to make the rice paper water-resistant and sewable.

This time round, I added some zipper ends to neaten things up and followed this sewing technique that prevents dents where the ends of the zipper and the corners of the fabric meet. What I wasn't too keen was the hand-sewing on the laminated rice paper. Though I must say the technique makes the wristlet look more finished. I also made the strap and added a butterfly charm to it. :)

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Crafting Update 2: Yarn Bombing and my Glazed & Fired Knitting Bowl

Good morning, peeps! It's 5:30 am here in this little island called Singapore, and it's our National Day today! (And while I'm typing this, I'm hearing this weird squeak-chirps outside my front door...)

But anyways, back to my crafting updates in July.. So while I was busy with the washi tape wristlets, I managed to sneak a few hours into my schedule to do some yarn bombing at Senja-Cashew Community Centre, in conjunction with the Singapore Mini Maker Faire that was held there.

Sewn this portion of squares together!

The yarn bombed pillar. Borrowed this photo from Yarn Bombing Singapore~

My friend and I also went back for the 2nd session of our ceramic class to do our sanding and glazing. Sanding the bisque-fired piece was pretty much straight-forward, albeit messy.

Glazing, however, was a different story. We were given the choices to dip or paint. After a little consultation with Mr. Chew, I opted to paint due to the gradation effect that I wanted. My friend decided to do the dipping process. Since we're newbies and had no prior experience, it was hard to get our bowls evenly covered, especially for me who was slabbing the glazes on with a small brush (quite pathetically, if I must say so..). At the end of the glazing session, I was kinda crossing my fingers, hoping that everything would turn out okay after firing.

I wasn't expecting anything great, but I was really surprised to see the outcome when I went to collect the fired pieces last week!

My piece might not have the smoothest glazing, but I do love the colors and the water color effect a lot!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Handmade Mini Clutch Wristlets for Sale at MT SG 2014

Here are my mini clutch wristlets, which are for sale at the MT Masking Tape Singapore 2014, Autumn/Winter launch! This ongoing event is held at Great World City, Singapore, Basement 1 and will last till this Sunday, 3rd August.

5 different designs, S$38 each

Crafting Update 1: Washi Tape Mini Clutch Wristlets ( + a little rambling )

Slightly more than 3 weeks back, I was going through my Facebook feed and chanced upon a post by MT Masking Tape Singapore, calling for fans to join the "Handmade with MT" campaign. Participants were required to create something using only MT tapes for decoration and shortlisted entries would then be displayed and sold at the Launch of the new MT tapes selection. (In case you're wondering, MT tape is the very famous and original brand for washi tapes.)

Thinking it would be a fun experience, I decided to participate, while at the same time, egging on Ailyn from Tat'sWorthy@such to take up the challenge too, which she did.

Both Ailyn and I were of this "since there would be a shortlist, perhaps it's better to up the game instead of purchasing pre-made blank products and taping them" mentality. We went maker-mode and decided to go the "made-from-scratch" route. Ailyn is a new scrapbooker, and she had the brillant idea of making scrapbooking decorations from unexpected supplies and, of course, MT tapes.

As for me, I went through a few possibilities in my mind. I was thinking resin accessories but for some reason, my knitting needle pockets (which I made entirely out of MT tapes) + the act of sewing kept flashing in my head. And then, I suddenly remembered I had this almost-forgotten paper laminate kit which was chucked away in a corner of my sewing studio. *My light bulb lit*

In case you're wondering why a paper laminate kit was sitting in my SEWING studio, that kit was meant for creating sew-able waterproof paper fabrics. With the possibility of creating my very own MT fabrics, I eventually settled on making some kind of MT pouches. I wasn't too sure if MT tapes would work with the paper laminate kit, so I devised a technique of taping the tapes onto a very thin sheet of white paper and did a test swatch...

It seemed to work! I also wanted to make sure the paper fabric was able to withstand a reasonable amount of weight, so I sewed a sample purse (with lining, zipper and all... I must say the paper fabric is not the most pleasant material to sew with...) and brought it out everyday before I was cutting too close to the deadline (we only had 2 weeks to work with)...

Excuse my chipping nail polish and the mismatched strap..

Seemed sturdy enough! (In fact, I am still using it!) And the interesting texture really gave the purse a lot of character! It almost looked like some kind of crumpled leather.

And so, I proceeded to plan the actual bag design. Since the focus was on MT tapes, I decided to go simple on the shape of the bag and go fancy on the fabric designs. I finally came up with the mini clutch wristlet design which is a rectangular pouch, half the size of a normal clutch, and includes a handmade removable strap.

The concept behind this size is to allow the user to either use it as a stand-alone wristlet or as a supplementary pouch which can be put into a bigger bag. I wanted each wristlet to stand on its own, so each of them has a unique fabric design. As with all the other bags I made, the wristlets are fully lined. I also handmade the removable straps from strips of suede.

I managed to make 3 wristlets before the submission deadline, having the intention to make a few more if I got shortlisted. (Ailyn was also thinking of making more only if she's shortlisted) Problem was we were not told when the results would be out and they mentioned they would only message us through FB if we were shortlisted..

A couple of days on and 4 more days (2 if weekends are excluded) to the new MT tapes launch, there was still no news. Ailyn and I were pretty much giving up hope on getting shortlisted, while thinking at the same time that the standard must be pretty high. Then, that very night on the second day, Ailyn told me she was shortlisted! That prompted me to check my FB account... Lo and behold! I was shortlisted too! Yay? We only had 3 days to continue making what we could...

2 more wristlets were all I could manage but I went nuts with the fabric design on them. I guess I was on an adrenalin high. I was crazily punching out hexagons and cutting out parallelograms by hand, and aligning and pasting them one by one on my pieces of paper. Gosh...

And so, I made a total of 5 wristlets (check my next post for a clearer shot of each one!) and brought them down to the event.. Perhaps we should have lowered our expectation a little.. Ailyn and I weren't too impressed by the very small "Handmade with MT" section... There were only 4 types of items, including ours. And looking at the decor-ed notebooks and decor-ed plastic card holders, both of us were wondering why we even put in that much effort... (They later added a decorated stool.. But it's still straight taping...)

Mini Clutch Wristlets, decor-ed stool, scrapbooking goodies, decor-ed card holder, decor-ed notebooks (The rest are MT products), photo by MT SG

Perhaps what is worse is that up till now, there doesn't seem to be much (or any) sales. (I know my wristlets have yet to have any sales.. which is, I won't lie, disappointing...) Not sure if it's the lack of advertising on MT SG's part, or the people here are still not adept to buying handmade items.. We still have until end of this week, so fingers crossed...?
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