Friday, September 30, 2011

I shall call you HIPPIEDOOM!

Image from
I bought 4.8 meters of Lecien's "My Folklore" quilting cotton on a whim a couple of weeks ago and I knew I had to make some kind of maxi dress with it. The fabric is a strange brownish eggplant with a blue and yellow flower motif and a really sweet looking border. I was also set on trying my hand at making a Gunne Sax-esque dress I've been drooling over at Etsy for the past couple of days.

Image from

Image from

Image from

Image from
The whole dress is self-drafted, but heavily based on the Weisn Dirndl from Burdastyle. I love the princess armhole, the pleated looking skirt and the slightly puffed sleeves.

I made the princess armhole bodice from my basic sloper and added sleeves. I eliminated the button down at the front and put a zipper at the back. I embellished the front bodice with cotton lace, bias piping and bias tape before I sewed the pieces together. The bodice I drafted was a little too short, so I added a "belt" so the waistline would sit right at my waist instead of above it (I felt that a too-high waist made my own waist look bigger). I also pleated the skirt, rather than gather it.

And after about three days of sewing (about an hour a day, it was so hot in my sewing room),  voila!


I love this dress, the skirt has great swish and I feel pretty wearing it. The bodice fits me perfectly and my waist looks smaller than usual. Wearing it reminds me of my younger days as a Goth (though I am still a Goth, I'm hardly what you would call "young") when I used to wear long skirts even in tropical weather. This is definitely a wear-again for me, but now that I'm older, I'll wait for cooler weather.

Lyra, all of nineteen years old in 1999.

Monday, September 05, 2011

A New Dress for Mom

I got this very retro fabric from a very popular fabric store in Manila for CHEAP (less about USD1.75) It looks slightly canvas-y but it's very soft, unlike real canvas. I got about three yards without a real plan for it (I just fell in love with the cute geometric tree print)

Then last Saturday, I was inspired and made this:

I don't plan to do anything fancy to it. It has an exposed metal zipper which I installed by hand because I was in the mood for pain. I still need to install the facing and finish the hem. I'm quite happy with it. It fits my mom and I perfectly and REALLY sucks all those loose bits in, since the fabric is sturdy like canvas, but soft and smooth but not shiny like fine cotton broadcloth or high quality quilting cotton. That's me modelling the unfinished dress, but I'm hoping that my mom would be willing to model this for me when I've got everything installed (facings and waist stay) and all the loose threads snipped.

Sunday, August 07, 2011


As much as I wanted to update my portfolio and make pieces for the Project Runway audition, I had to go to the hospital and stay there for a week because of a liver infection. I was brought to the emergency room with a gigantic belly ache, vomiting and just feeling terrible. They quickly hooked me up to an IV and told me that I would be confined to a room while they run tests. They also found a stone in my gall bladder through ultrasound and it all sounded scary to me.

These past few weeks were an eye opener for sure. I need to improve every way. I need to not only try to improve my sewing and pattern making skills, I also need to get healthy. I have been neglecting my health and this experience inspires me to never set foot in a hospital unless it's a routine checkup. I need to live longer. I have a small boy I love and he is everything. That reason alone is compelling enough.

Friday, July 15, 2011

I Am Torn

Image via Google Images

Project Runway Philippines is gonna be holding auditions soon and I am still kinda on the fence about auditioning. There are reasons why I REALLY should and there are also reasons why I REALLY shouldn't. So what do I do???

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Sew Retro: Sewing A Bombshell Dress

Picture stolen from

I recently enrolled in an online sewing class called Sew Retro taught by Gertie of Gertie's New Blog For Better Sewing. I have to say I am really enjoying it. The class teaches you to make the BurdaStyle Bustier Dress with the weird looking bath lily front drape omitted. I find the process of making a dress from start to finish seriously fascinating and I can't wait till I get done taping my pattern together so I can start my own Bombshell dress. Gertie guides you through taping up your pattern, making a muslin, fitting the bodice using draping techniques and sewing the actual garment. She is engaging and she really knows her stuff. I like her teaching style, it's casual. Like you're old friends and she's right there next to you, patiently explaining the importance of hand basting. The class is just a goldmine of information, resulting in a lot of of A-HA! moments for me, for sure. I won't give much away, suffice to say I learned so much from those 15 videos and I'm eager to learn more. I hope she makes more classes!

BurdaStyle's Bustier Dress.

Anyway, you can take the class over at Craftsy. I think they're having a 50% off special. 

Monday, July 04, 2011

Sewing? Oh you slay me, you're so funny.

I have been trying. But trying and doing are completely different things. This is what my project is supposed to be:

But it looks more like this:
This is why I can't get anything done. @_@

Sunday, June 19, 2011

To My Dad

To the silent and solid man who love, guides, provides and cares for me. To that frighteningly intelligent Engineer who leads not by words but by example: Thank you, Daddy. Thank you for driving me to parties, then staying up to wait to pick me up when it's over, thank you for eating with me at three in the morning when I have pan de sal and liver spread cravings, thank you for trying fixing anything that is out of order: be it a sewing machine or my life, thank you for being such a wonderful husband, father and grandfather. Thank you for being Papa to Connor. There's isn't a more perfect Dad in the world. I love you.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Cotton/Silk Embroidered Blouse for Mom: DONE!


The Details

MATERIALS: 4 yards (yes, you read that right) 60 width Cotton/Silk (70/30), 1 pack of cream colored bias tape, five spools of white thread (four for the serger, one for the machine) and half a yard of cream colored cotton twill tape.

DURATION: May 5 to June 7, 2011. Embroidery from May 5 to June 2. Sewing took a total of two days, June 6 to 7. 

PATTERN: Self-drafted according to Mom's measurements.

CONSTRUCTION: I really enjoyed making this blouse. The planning, embroidery, modifying the design and sewing was so much fun. 

The front bodice is doubled, so the embroidery is protected from skin and friction. 

I did change a lot of things from the original design. It was supposed to be a tunic with set in sleeves, but it ended up being a raglan peasant top instead. 

On to the horror stories: a bit of fabric got caught in the knife of my edger (eek) and there was a big hole next to the right arm-scythe and while I was doing the embroidery, Connor ate a melon popsicle and left an orange stain on the neckline. (DOOOOOOOOOM) So I cut away the offending parts and made the blouse raglan sleeved. Mom liked this silhouette better than the original so I'm relieved. 

I also originally cut the sleeves to be quarter sleeves, but mom changed her mind and wanted long sleeves instead. I cut more leftover fabric and connected it to the existing hem. I covered the unsightly seams with bias tape and hereby declare it a design feature. 

On to the next project! YAHOO!

Monday, June 06, 2011

So true.

"I always feel like I’m struggling to become someone else. Like I’m trying to find a new place, grab hold of a new life, a new personality. I guess it’s part of growing up, yet it’s also an attempt to reinvent myself. By becoming a different me, I could free myself of everything. I seriously believed I could escape myself- as long as I made the effort. But I always hit a dead end. No matter where I go, I still end up me. What’s missing never changes. The scenery may change, but I’m still the same old incomplete person. The same missing elements torture me with a hunger that I can never satisfy. I guess that lack itself is as close as I’ll come to define myself."

Haruki Murakami

Thursday, June 02, 2011



And here's a couple of mostly unflattering behind the scenes photos. No makeup, hair unbrushed, no dignity:

Stitching while watching North by Northwest. Yahoo.

Taking a Connor break!

He is the one I love the most.
Sewing the tunic is gonna happen tomorrow, bright and early. Hurray! Can't wait.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Almost DONE!

The embroidery for Mom's summer tunic is almost DONE! I can't wait to see this thing on an actual body (before summer ends too) I do miss the sound of my industrial machine. While I am enjoying doing all this hand embroidery, I also want to get some actual sewing done. I have so many projects in line and I want to finish them all before the 20th of June (my birthday). I just want CLOTHES, demmet! 

Cotton Silk Blend (70/30) from Fabric Warehouse in Natural, DMC Rayon Floss in different colors, my largest embroidery hoop and size 26 DMC Tapestry needles.

This is why I'm taking a while. Try doing some hand-embroidery with this cheeky monkey on your back. Hee.

In other news, I really need to do something about my hair. Hmm.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

CEBU! and the end of the world...

Hello, my lovies. Just a quick update. We are now in Cebu (we flew in Tuesday night) and we are going to be here until August. The embroidery is going well, but it has slowed down considerably because of all the packing and preparation for Connor's and my extended stay. 

The REAL work (sewing, embroidery etc) begins Monday. This weekend will be used to celebrated the world not ending. HURRAY.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Mom's Embroidered Summer Tunic

The embroidery bug bit me recently and I have also been thinking of what to give my mom for mother's day. So I decided on making a nice summery tunic for her. She had hinted several times that she wanted several tunics to wear now that the temperature has risen in this country. And because I currently want to embroider until my fingers fall off, this tunic is the perfect excuse to kill two birds with one stone.

It's FAAAAR from perfect, but I'm quite happy with it.

I am using a cotton/silk (70/30) blend fabric and DMC Rayon Embroidery Floss. I WISH I could use 100% silk on this project. Sadly. it's not available in this country and this project was planned on such short notice that I wasn't able to order pure silk embroidery floss ahead of time. Perhaps for another embroidery project, we'll see.  

Thursday, May 05, 2011


VOSS, spring/summer 2001
Jacket of pink and gray wool bird’s-eye embroidered with silk thread; trouser of pink and gray wool bird’s-eye; hat of pink and gray wool bird’s-eye embroidered with silk thread and decorated with Amaranthus.

at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Monday, May 02, 2011

Wehhh. (Sewing machine woes)

I have three sewing machines at home (and one in my other house in the province, so that makes four). How in the world did I manage to get ALL three machines broken when I have a deadline? My Juki industrial has a sticky pedal and WON'T stop even after I take my foot off it. Instead it accelerates until I pull the plug out. I have never seen how fast my Juki can go until yesterday afternoon. I nearly sewed on my hand, almost had a heart attack because of the frightening roar it made accelerating when the pedal got stuck and it absolutely destroyed the chiffon and satin I was stay-stitching. @$%#$%^ it's so hard to cut chiffon and satin!!! My white and vintage Singer have timing issues so they're pretty useless as well.

So! I shall call the repairman tomorrow and have them come on Wednesday. Then when everything is fixed, I'm going to sew in peace and it's going to be ZEN.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Quick Outift Post

Cebu was fantastic! We really enjoyed it there. The food was wonderful and the people were so nice. We did not meet a single bad cabdriver. BLISS.

This dress is what I pretty much wore while we were out (there was also the green Japanese fabric shirtdress, but I posted about that already) Glad I brought dresses because it was HOT over there. I don't think I would have survived the heat wearing jeans. 

These pictures show Connor and I where we love to be: Timezone and Red Mango Frozen Yogurt. 

Photobooth Picture from Timezone Cebu.
This is probably the loudest dress in my closet. This is probably the loudest dress I've ever owned. EVER. The contrasting collar is hot pink and the print is a combination of turquoise, pink and red. I fell in love with the fabric the second I saw it. It was so uncharacteristic of me to buy something so cheerful. So off it went to my seamstress for her to do another Red Cross uniform shirt-dress. I realize that with the sudden mushrooming of nursing schools in the country, this dress could resemble nursing school uniforms in terms of silhouette. I've seen several schools use white shirt-dresses as school uniforms with those large, hideous and translucent shank buttons. There was even a school that used red and white striped fabric, like a peppermint, for their uniforms. But with this print and contrasting fabric you cannot possibly mistake it for anything other than a loud loud button-down floral dress that's perfect for this summer heat.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

I love my boys so much, it's making my heart hurt.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Off We Go!

Photo from Flickr via Google Images.
We are busy packing for Cebu! It's going to be our first vacation as a family in a long time. We're so excited about the sights, the food and seeing my parents of course. They recently bought a house and we can't wait to see it and stay there. There is also talk that we may be having a day trip to Bohol to see the Chocolate Hills. Pictures soon!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Review: Pond's Cold Cream

We all know what this is. My mother, two grandmothers and my aunts used it. There was always a pot of it on their vanities and bathroom counters, right next to their makeup and hairbrushes. Being young and lacking foresight, I didn't want anything to do with cold cream because to me it was some kind of anti-aging device (it's not, but I used to think it was) Arrogant younger me didn't want to think of myself having wrinkles, dry skin, fine lines or the possibility of actually struggling with hard to remove mascara and eyeliner.

Then I turned thirty. Suddenly, the reality of age-related imperfections were all too real. My short stint in the mid-west with its bitter winters left me with dry spots on my face the won't QUIT. I also live in a congested city, so just living and doing stuff everyday make my face dirty. I can just sit and do nothing all day and I'll still end up with a coal miner's face.

I picked up a pot of it on a whim the last time I went grocery shopping with my parents. It was at the bottom shelf in small packages. It made me a little sad because I remember my grandmothers dipping into gigantic pots of Pond's back in the day. It was used liberally everyday, so they needed a lot of it. Oh yeah, the pot was made of glass. I do miss that.

I was wearing my usual makeup look that day: MAC Studio Tech in NC-30, MAC Russian Red lipstick and MAC Gel Liner (black). I used to use Connor's baby wipes to take my makeup off, then do my usual Apricot Scrub and Neutrogena facial wash, then finish with a moisturizer. I found that I needed to scrub extra hard to get the liner and the lipstick off with the wipes and I'd still end up with raccoon eyes the next day, even after the scrub and facial wash.

So I try the cold cream: I dot pea sized amounts of cold cream on several places on my face and I rub gently then I wipe it off with facial tissue. KABOOM. All the garbage and makeup went from my face to the facial tissue. It was delightfully DISGUSTING. I wiped it all off and did another round of application until the tissue was clear of dirt and makeup. HOLY COW! Where WAS this stuff when I was a tragic, heavily-eyelinered Goth teenager? The knowledge that is was there all along just made me so sad. 

It has been about two weeks of daily Pond's use and my dry spots are gone, my fine lines are hardly discernible and I seem to have regained some my skin's lost elasticity. I also don't sleep with a face full of makeup anymore, even after repeated scrubbings. I'm just very happy with it. Best part of all this? It's CHEAP. I can drown myself in this stuff and still have leftover cash for more fabric.

So yeah, I'm a believer!

P.S. Your mileage may vary, okay? Pond's cold cream may work for me, but it may not work for you ESPECIALLY if you have sensitive skin. I don't have sensitive skin, it's pretty close to cast iron (my stomach's the same way, I can eat practically anything) So here's my disclaimer in case you break out in bleeding sores after using this product. Also, Unilever's not paying me to review this product. They used to pay our bills, but Mom changed companies.

P.P.S. So what's next on my agenda? Why, making my own cold cream of course. I shall indulge my inner mad scientist using a wire whisk and a bain-marie. Mwahahahahaha!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

I have no idea where this came from...

...but I suddenly developed a MAD MAD MAD obsession with Nautical Dresses. Looks like I'm gonna be paying a visit to my favorite seamstress this weekend with navy fabric and red and white trim.

I seem to have some kind of sewing curse on me as of late. Anytime I try to sew or embroider for myself, something ALWAYS comes up. If I try to draw or paint or even read (YAYHUNGERGAMES) I am for the most part, undisturbed. Fortunately, I have the same good luck when I'm sewing something for a client or a friend. It's (whatever it is) just not in favor of me making my own clothes right now. The white surplice dress I blogged about a billion years ago is still very much unfinished (the front and back are done, but the side seams are not sewn together and a zipper has not been installed) and I fear it's going to stay that way until Christmas. (Please no.)

As always, I shall prevail. Somewhat.

I apologize for being kinda incoherent. Too much chocolate and sailor-y/nautical goodness, I guess. :)

PS All of these pictures are from my hard drive. I have no idea where I got these from anymore (I was on a right-click-save spreee) If any of these pictures are yours email me at lyra_kristine *at* yahoo *dot* com or comment on this blog so I can take it down or give you credit. Thanks!