Little Clothes for Little People: The Breezy Bali Dress

Wanted to create something that was balloony, fun and roomy for the girl to enjoy herself in Bali.  Inspired by a design by How to Kiss a Frog, 

How to Kiss a Frog Dress

How to Kiss a Frog Dress

I ended up with this.  Love the halter and the broad ribbon tied on her left shoulder.  It’s not as balloony as I had hoped, but still good enough for me!  I loved this Japanese printed cotton design that I bought the yellow and blue version as well!  Looking at the Bali photos makes me long for my next holiday.  More beaches please??  

The Breezy Bali Dress

The Breezy Bali Dress

Why I Would Throw a (an elaborate) Birthday Party for a Kid

I used to think, why would kids need to celebrate their birthdays in school or throw an elaborate party complete with a bouncy castle, clown and fireworks?  After all, I didn’t have them as a child and I grew up fine.  I don’t think I was deprived and besides, my family made sure the day was remembered and celebrated.  But I did remember my 12th birthday when my youth group gave me a surprise party at my house on a weekday.  They (poor secondary school students and young working adults) even pooled money to get me rollerblades, which was like, way cool and awesome then okay…  I remember I felt really touched, not at the gift but at the effort and gesture of love.  Ahh…  So this is what it’s like to be surprised and celebrate birthdays with friends.

For K, I didn’t think I needed or wanted to throw an extravagant party for her.  In fact, I was a bit hesitant about throwing a party in her school, complete with cake and goodie bags for her friends.  Would it be spoiling her?  Am I doing this just because I cave in to peer pressure?  But since January, all her friends (Really.  ALL) will have some celebration.  They will walk around a “sun” x number of times depending on how old they are, representing x number of years has passed.  Then birthday girl/boy’s friends will gather round and and say “Happy Birthday” and he/she will sit on a chair and call out her friends’ names one by one to receive their goodie bags and they will hug him/her and wish him/her happy birthday.  It’s quite a well-rehearsed ritual, considering there are 30 students in her class, you’d think the kids will get bored of celebrating birthdays right?  But NO….  They are still crazy over it.  Crazy crazy.  Like stars-in-their-eyes-googly-crazy.  Especially K.  She was so excited at her birthday drawing nearer that everyday (for the past 8 months) she walked past the birthday calendar chart, she would point to her name and say, “My birthday is coming soon right?”  

So yes, she had her school birthday party, will be having a family birthday party, and another mini one at an indoor playground with her friends (ok, more like my friends with kids her age) during the September holidays and the idea was to keep letting her blow candles (her favorite part) and celebrate the momentous occasion.  I might have gotten carried away as well cuz’ since the idea is to GO BIG OR GO HOME right, I sewed her a birthday outfit – the Elsa dress (a poor imitation) to fit her Frozen theme.  Admittedly, it was because I procrastinated too much and cannot pre-order the dress in time. 

'THEE' Elsa Dress

‘THEE’ Elsa Dress.  Not quite the reaction I was hoping for, but she went wild and was super happy.  So I was pleased. 

 Her grandma spared no expense sourcing for gifts and packing the goodie bags.  (We did involve K in the work session of packing goodie bags and it was a good opportunity for her to practise counting and sorting.)  Is it extravagant?  Not in terms of money, but I think it exceeded my initial expectations in terms of effort.  But yes… It made her really really really happy so it’s all worth it.

Compilation of photos from K's birthday party in school

1. K’s Frozen birthday cake from Bengawan Solo.
2. Lots of kids crowding around the cake.
3. Walking around the sun very very very slowly, savouring her moment of glory.
4. K’s beloved teachers.
5. Z: Wait. What’s going on? It’s not my birthday? Then why did you drag me out from my nap?!
6. Grandma and K.                                                                                                                                                                                 I discover (belatedly) that I have all my pictures taken on my iphone are blurred, hence this puny, sorry picture collage.  Is this a ploy to get me to buy the iphone6 in Sept?!?

Of course, this is not considered crazy (but don’t forget, this is only Part I.  There is still Part 2 and 3).  So why do we do crazy, elaborate things for the kids?  Because seeing the smiles on their faces is priceless and so precious. The day will come when even if we parents want to do something crazy for the kid’s birthday, it cannot compare to a simple celebration by his/her friends in school, or the efforts of a significant other.  This is the season and the time, so why not, according to your means and what you think is appropriate?  Don’t hold back, just Let It Go… Hah… Now the song’s stuck in your head right?

Happy 3rd birthday Baby!  Yes, you are a Princess because you are the daughter of the Most High.  Let no one cast doubt on how precious you are and how worthy you are of extravagant love. You are worthy not because of your external appearance, or talent or gift, things the world can take away and fade with time, but because God says you are beautiful and well-loved.  May you discover your place, position and purpose and learn to see the good in every situation.  Always dance, like you already do.

Love, Papa and Mama


Little Clothes for Little People: The V Back Skaterskirt Dress

Love when she moves and twirls with the skirt!

Love when she moves and twirls with the skirt!  Btw, it’s not my dress that’s making her grumpy.  She just woke up.  😐

V-back beige bodice with salmon pink skater skirt

Cute apple button at the V-back

Really proud of my first attempt at sewing Miss K a dress from scratch!  I wanted to do a simple circle skirt and ended up with something more challenging (unintentional) with the bodice, which I ripped and sewed 3 times to get it to look how I wanted it to.  I wanted to have something that K can twirl around in and the circle skirt had beautiful drapes!! 

There’s just something deeply satisfying about handcrafting something from nothing, though the economics really doesn’t add up – the costs, time and effort involved, instead of just going online and buying a ready-made dress.  I now have a lot more respect for the tireless seamstresses slaving away at the factories, perfecting that crease, that pleat, that fold because it really is hard!!  Thanks to encouraging comments from friends, especially a certain fashionista who said she loved the colour combi and wanted me to make her a skirt (I said sure!  Then I remembered her up and coming baby bump and hmm… that would indeed be challenging for me…), I’m even more motivated to practise more to perfect that stitch and add to my repertoire!  Little clothes for little people!! 

*You can get skaterskirt dresses with a lovely flare at our store too, if sewing’s not really your thing…

skaterskirt dresses in bright blue, navy blue, bright pink and mustard

Beautiful flared skirts



My First Hand-Made Romper!

owl print boy's romper

Z’s romper! Owly fun

Out of curiosity, I just wanted to see what were the limits of my sewing ability.  Through this process, I’ve learnt that… one can really learn anything on google (and from kind people posting online tutorials) and your limits are defined by what you’ve decided beforehand.  That, and the fact that i’ve mangled my sewing machine in a previous project (see How a Beginner Sewed a Tutu Skirt) and can only sew straight stitches now.  😛 

Too kiasu though!  I only had the pattern for 0-3 mths from Melly Sews and over-compensated for size, possible mistakes and erroneous calculation of seam allowances… and ended up with a romper too big for 9-month old Z!  Nevertheless, still quite satisfied with it and can safely say, it should survive rough-wear by a boy toddler and the washing machine, unlike my last Tutu Skirt project.  Can’t wait for Baby Z to grow into it… maybe in another 6 months’ time! 

How a Beginner Sewed a Tutu Skirt

If anyone is interested in sewing a tulle skirt, you can find a really simple and do-able tutorial at these 2 ladies’ websites!  They are fairly simple to follow and with the help of Google, I REALLY sewed a tutu skirt for K!

The Ballet Dress

Simple Child’s Tutu

I went to Spotlight to choose some material and spent some money on fabric and sewing supplies.  On hindsight, I really could have just bought the darn tutu from any shop and it would still cost less!  Okay, never mind… It’s really all part of sewing my own clothes for my own beloved daughter right?  So after a week of tinkering with the machine, practicing stitching (whoa… the first few stitches were horrendous!), I finally can sew straight lines and gathering stitches (chey… even know the term now), though it made me relive Sec 2 Home Econs nightmare. Tada… My masterpiece!

  (Sorry, didn’t trim the hemlines, hence so uneven.)

A tutu skirt is really forgiving of uneven hemlines, imprecise measurements and terrible cloth-cutting (a shearing scissors cost $30!  I used any cheapo art and craft scissors instead, which wasn’t a good idea).

I had to cajole and bribe her to put it on because K said flatly, “I don’t like it.”  …

  What do u mean you don’t like it?!?!  It’s got polka dots, it’s a dancing skirt!

So I told her, “Sweetie, no no… You don’t understand!  If you want to be a prima ballerina, you have to wear the skirt!” (We’ve been reading Angelina Ballerina books).  Finally I got her to wear it long enough to snap a photo before she stripped it off very roughly. (Almost had a heart attack fearing my fragile threads would tear.)

This was the look I was going for.

  Image   Image NAILED IT!!

Dinner time:  “Why don’t you like your skirt?  See, you can look like Elsa if you wear the skirt.  It’s the same!”  Showed her this.    Image  Quite similar right???

K says, “Because it’s scratchy.”  Sigh… Fair ’nuff.

So, if this skirt never gets to see the light of day anymore, you know why!

Note to self and other novice seamstresses who care to read:

  1. Precise measurements are very important!  I actually did 2 versions of the skirt.  The first was based on agaration (which was so bad), it looked like a spotted, diseased, hideous tent which sent K scuttling out of the room when I said “Let’s try it on.”  I had to strip the skirt and cut it down to size.
  2. Sewing clothes is not easy!  Needs a lot of concentration. Do not watch “My Love from Another Star (or any other random Kdrama)” while sewing.  Will save me a lot of pain and anguish.
  3. Get a more willing model – not someone who says “I don’t like it”.  Z Z darling… Come here!

Edit (31 May ’14)  We now carry tutu skirts in our shop!  If you want to save the pain of making, your own, we have them in 3 striking colours!  They come with attached tights.