Browsing Category: sew

Alice in Wonderland Dress

When a friend asked me to help her with her daughter’s Alice in Wonderland themed birthday party, I jumped at the chance! Alice in Wonderland is such a fantastically open-to-interpretation film that the possibilities are endless. We quickly decided on a general theme for the decor (which you can see over on the delightful. website), and I loved putting it all together, but there was something special that I just couldn’t wait to see the birthday girl dressed up in–an Alice in Wonderland dress!

I scoured the internet for other Alice in Wonderland dresses/costumes, but either they would take way more time than I had to make or they simply weren’t true to the Disney version of the dress. Mostly, my issue was with the shape of the straps on the white apron.

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Alice’s apron doesn’t have “straps” OR ruffles…

Alice-PNG-alice-in-wonderland-33922018-444-800The straps simply get wider as they get closer to the shoulder. And even though it’s a cartoon, and I know things translate differently in real life, I just love the simplicity of the Disney version of Alice’s dress. So… I had to draft my own pattern. Luckily, the birthday girl is the same size as my Penny, so I grabbed one of my daughter’s dresses and made a quick pattern for a dress.

I didn’t have too much time to work on the dress, so I really tried to keep it as simple as possible. One of the ways I toned down the complexity was to not add a waistband or shaping to the dress. It was going to be tied off at the waist anyway with the apron, so I didn’t need to create a bodice or any shaping around the midsection. For the sleeves, I hemmed the fabric while leaving enough room in the folded over fabric for 1/4 inch elastic. I made a simple Peter Pan collar for the dress, and rather than fiddling with a zipper or buttons, I just put an eye and hook closure at the back of the neckline.

IMG_8621Once the dress was finished, it was very simple to draft a pattern for the apron, especially since I could use my daughter to get the correct measurements. I simply drew the shape on a piece of paper, cut the fabric and got sewing! I searched for images of the back of Alice’s apron, but I couldn’t find anything from the back, the top of the apron is hidden by Alice’s hair. I just extended the straps and sewed the two pieces together at the back.

IMG_8622Here’s a photo of my reluctant daughter modeling the dress. She’s definitely got my-mom-sews-and-makes-me-try-on-everything-syndrome, and she hates trying stuff on for me. It usually involves tears and quite a bit of bribery. >_<

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Finally, to fill the bottom portion of the dress, I made a simple tulle skirt to be worn under the dress.

And here’s the beautiful birthday girl in all her Alice glory!

SONY DSCVisit delightful. to see more about the Alice in Wonderland party!

 

 

Shopping for Craft Supplies at Dongdaemun Fabric Market

Living in Seoul, I miss the convenience of jumping in the car and driving to my local Michael’s, AC Moore or Joann’s. And I definitely miss having access to 40% off coupons! Shopping for crafting supplies in Korea is much more of an adventure than a convenience, but once you get the hang of it, Seoul offers a veritable treasure trove of supplies for craft-lovers.

Dongdaemun Fabric Market is a 5-level (6 including the basement level), 4 building maze of everything a knitter/crocheter/sewer/crafter could possibly need. And if you’ve never been before, prepare to be amazed and overwhelmed. The easiest way to get there is by subway–come out Exit 9 at the Dongdaemun subway station (NOT Dongdaemun Stadium!). As you come up the stairs, this is what you’ll see:

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Walk straight to find the doors that lead into this building. And this is where the chaos begins! Generally speaking, the floors are laid out like this:

B1: sewing notions (zippers, velcro, needles, etc.), thread (for hand sewing, machine sewing as well as sergers), yarn, knitting needles, crochet hooks, embroidery, bedding, home decor fabric

1: lace, ribbon, home decor fabric, decorative patches, buttons

2: fabric, curtains, silk goods, hanbok fabric

3: fabric (B-dong is specifically known for cotton fabric, both woven and knit)

4: fabric

5: accessories, sewing notions, quilting fabric, quilting notions, ribbon, jewelry supplies, felt (sold as sheets as well as on rolls by the yard)

6: cafeteria and offices

7: offices

Shopping for Yarn

968815_552870511431649_777101494_nThe basement level of Dongdaemun Fabric Market is a mash-up of quilting and home decor fabric, sewing notions, knit/crochet notions and yarn. Lots and lots of yarn. Shopping for yarn in Korea can be both exhilarating as well as frustrating. At times, you’ll marvel at just how much variety is available, but sometimes, you’ll wonder how anyone can afford to knit anything!

The prices at Dongdaemun are hit or miss. Generally speaking, I’ve found that notions such as knitting needles and crochet hooks are on par with prices at Michael’s and AC Moore, but there is significantly more selection, and there are definitely brands you’ve probably never heard off. If you’re like me and like what you like–bamboo needles and Clover brand crochet hooks–then you’re probably better off ordering online from American retailers, but if you’re just getting started or don’t mind trying out new things, then you’ll find lots of great deals on things like knitting needles. Despite my reluctance to stray from my Clover Soft-Touch crochet hooks, I’ve found a great brand of crochet hooks called Tulip that make a size 6.5mm/O (not easy to find in non-plastic needles). Same goes for yarn winders and swifts. The pricing at Dongdaemun is very similar to what you’ll find in the U.S.

As for yarn, it all depends on what you like to work with. If you typically purchase yarn from places like AC Moore and Michael’s, and you especially love when certain brands are on sale, then the pricing at Dongdaemun may be more than what you’re used to. I love to work with Vanna’s Choice yarn. It’s soft, comes in a variety of bright, beautiful colors, and it’s machine-washable. All great for making kids’ hats. When it comes to acrylic yarn, I’ve found that the brands that are sold at Dongdaemun are not as soft as Vanna’s Choice or Knit Picks Brava yarn, so I tend to stock up on these when there are sales online. However, if I have to have a very specific color and can’t rely on sample colors on the computer (such as when I worked on my son’s crazy Optimus Prime hat!), I go to Dongdaemun so I can see the colors firsthand. Also, at Dongdaemun, it’s difficult to tell the yarn’s weight and yardage since these things are not clearly labeled.

However, if you love luxury yarns and typically shop at your LYS, then you’ll find an amazing selection of fabulous fibers at great prices. I’ve purchased some wonderful wool blends that are amazingly soft and are wonderful to work with. Alpaca and alpaca blends are also quite popular at Dongdaemun and pricing is much better than what I used to pay at my LYS.

Keep in mind that for all yarns, you will pay significantly less if you purchase in bulk–an entire package of yarn (sometimes, 4, 6, or 10 skeins at a time). Single skeins of yarn are available at most vendors, but you’ll pay around 25-30% more per skein.

Also, if you have a yarn winder and swift at home, consider purchasing hanks of yarn. They are far more economical! The hanks are GIGANTIC, and when I wind them, I usually have to split the hank into 4-5 skeins.

Shopping for Fabric

944370_552870311431669_873485537_nFabric shopping at Dongdaemun is an absolutely amazing experience. The prices are–hands down–much better than what you’d get at places like Joann’s (even with a 40% off coupon!) or even fabric.com. You’ll find every kind of fabric imaginable at Dongdaemun, and they’ll even carry American name-brand/designer fabrics for a fraction of what it costs State-side.

Fabric is sold by the yard (or ma, although if you say yards, everyone will know what you mean), and most vendors are very liberal with their cuts. There have been times when I’ve purchased 3 yards, come home and found that they’d actually given me close to 4 yards of fabric (win!). With so much competition (literally hundreds of fabric vendors under one roof), prices are set and you will not be able to haggle for better pricing. But really, at these prices, you don’t need to!

For me, when I go fabric shopping, I’ve found that it’s best to go with a list of things I need. With so much selection, it’s overwhelming to go without a plan of attack. You’ll either end up leaving with nothing or come home with a bunch of fabric that you had no idea you wanted. Either way, you end up feeling like Dongdaemun got the best of you!

Also, many vendors will have a stack of pre-cut fabric stacked in a box at the front of their stall. Often, these fabrics are available for VERY CHEAP. I’ve purchased wool suit fabric for 1,000KRW/yard and great stretch knit fabric (perfect for kids leggings) for 2,000KRW/yard.

There are a handful of vendors who do not want to sell small quantities of fabric. If you ever encounter this, simply move on. There are many, many others who will be happy to sell the same stuff to you.

Shopping for Crafting Supplies (ribbon, accessories, jewelry-making supplies)

5th floor. That is all.

Just kidding. But seriously, the 5th floor has seemingly endless rows of stalls for everything you could possibly need for making hair bows, headbands, jewelry, purses, embroidery, cell phone charms, dolls, and more.

Most of the vendors also make and sell their own products, so even if you’re not the crafty type, go to the 5th floor to shop for accessories. From super cute stuff for babies to elegant necklaces for mom, you’ll end up wanting to buy ALL. THE. THINGS.

Click here for a list of Dongdaemun vendors/stall numbers and what they sell

Sneak Peeks!

I’m been super busy lately working on planning my twin boys’ 5th birthday party, and with my husband out of town for work this past week, I’ve gone completely insane. He’s not here to reign me in, so I’ve officially become mom-zilla about this party. I’m working on a detailed post about the party and all my various DIY projects, but here’s a sneak peak of some of the items I’ve been working on:

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Additionally, I have a new pattern in the works, and it’s entering into the final phases of pattern testing, so it should be live soon! Here’s a peek at the seemingly-difficult-but-super-easy-to-make-once-you-get-the-hang-of-it stitch!

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Craft it Forward 2014

I’ve always wanted to participate in a Craft it Forward, but for the past few years, kids have made my life pretty overwhelming. Now that my babies are a little older, I have more time for crafting… So I posted this on my Facebook page this morning. Somehow, I managed to commit to crafting it forward to 7 people rather than 5… But who can really put a limit on spreading handmade love???

Gah! So busy!

It’s been quite some time since I last posted, but I do have a crafty excuse for not having time to blog! I have been absolutely overwhelmed with custom orders lately, and I’m continuously working on projects for my shop. This is, of course, wonderful, and I’m so grateful for all the love that people have had for my designs!

Here’s a glimpse at some of the things I’ve been working on.

I was also recently a vendor at my very first event, so when I wasn’t working on custom orders, I was busy making things for the sale. I will have 2 more coming up in November, so I am certainly feeling blessed these days.

I am also in the process of transitioning back to a patterns only Etsy shop. With so much work locally here in Korea and via Facebook, it’s a bit much to also maintain stock for my Etsy shop. On the bright side, I am working on several more patterns, including a FREE PATTERN for the Iron Man faceplate that I promised nearly two months ago. I apologize for the delay! It’s all typed up, but I need to turn my chicken-scratch notes into something slightly more professional (haha!) and I hope to have it up by the end of the week.

A couple weeks in review!

It’s been nearly a month since my last post–I have absolutely no idea how the time flew by so quickly! We’ve had a lot going on here at the jkwdesigns household. A leak in my daughter’s room that I reported to the landlord over a month ago turned into a massive mold infestation that I didn’t even know was there because apparently, silk wallpaper holds it all in. The wallpaper just looked like it had water damage, but when the contractor finally came over to deal with it, he ripped down the wallpaper and there was SO MUCH MOLD. I almost started crying, knowing that my baby girl had been sleeping in that room all this time. I took her to the pediatrician, and luckily, because we have no history of mold allergies in our family, the doctor said she was fine. However, with all this mold nonsense, we’ve temporarily had to move Princess Penelope’s crib to my sewing room–something neither of us have been happy about! 😉 She doesn’t want to sleep there, and I don’t want her to sleep there! Haha… I’ve had to put my sewing machine in the guest bedroom, and at times, I’ve had to sneak into the sewing room for all the random things I need while working on a project. With Miss Penny Penny’s super-sensitive bat-hearing, it’s better to just not work on anything!

However, not working on stuff has not really been an option lately. I’ve had quite a few custom orders come my way the past few weeks, which is awesome. Here’s a look at what I’ve been up to…
I’ve worked on a few sets of the bow tie onesies–seems the ladies like bow ties on their little guys!
A baby shower gift set for a little Atlanta Falcon’s fan – blanket, bow tie onesie and bibs.
A crochet Captain America hat for a teeny tiny Avenger!
And every itty bitty Captain America needs a Big Brother Ironman!
I’m considering writing the pattern for the Ironman mask portion on the front (there are enough free hat patterns floating around the internet) if there’s enough interest. Leave a comment and let me know if you’d like me to post a free pattern!

And a little something for Mama!

I FINALLY got around to sewing something for myself, and I LOVE IT. 🙂 For those of you who know me in “Real Life,” you know that I love skirts. I think that a good 80% of my closet is skirts and dresses. I think that at one point in my pre-baby life, I owned 19 black skirts. I remember joking with my husband that I needed one more to make it an even 20. He didn’t seem to understand that I was serious. Anyway, here’s a new addition to my wardrobe. It’s so stretchy and comfy. I’ll definitely be cranking out some more of these to wear throughout the summer. And the best part–it took ONE YARD of fabric (because I’m short. Really. Really. Short.) so this skirt cost about $5 to make. Woohoo!

I followed a tutorial that can be found at Cotton+Curls. A lovely blog with lots of DIY tutorials. Check it out!

A week in review

It’s been a busy week or so, which is amazing considering that I’ve been half-zombified by a stomach virus that thankfully has only affected me and not the children. I finally paid the doctor a visit today, and as with most things, saw the doctor and immediately felt better even before taking any of the meds he prescribed. Should have gone last week. :-/

Anyway, here’s a rundown of my recently completed projects!

I mailed off the onesies selected by the winner of my most recent giveaway. Congrats again to JediMeg! Hope you share photos of your dapper little man in his skinny tie onesie and untied bow tie onesie. 🙂

I sent off a custom order of a toddler-sized aviator sunglass shirt.

I completed a dress for the shop. I made a similar dress for Miss Penny Penny a while back. The dress is made entirely of upcycled fabric and is a breeze to put on and take off since there are no buttons or snaps. Just slip it on and tie the ties in a bow or a double knot. It can be worn with the tie in front or in the back. Penny looks adorable in her version, and I would keep this for her if she didn’t already have a billion dresses to wear. 😉

I worked on another dress that’s also available in the shop. This one is a prototype and I’m still working on some design elements. It’s made from upcycled t-shirts, so it’s a stretch cotton jersey. The dress is red and the collar’s black. It has some messy stitching on the inside of the dress, but it’s not noticeable from the front. Regardless, I’m selling this dress at half price since it’s not as “finished” as the other items in my shop.

I was able to score some 4T and 5T sized shirts for my line of super cool little boy shirts. Email me if you’re interested in purchasing. This one is in the shop. It’s a 4T size.

I made Penny a bubble dress a few months ago, and I absolutely adore it, so I had to make one for the shop. I’ll definitely be cranking out a few more of these. I improved the design so now it’s reversible! This one’s red on one side, gray on the other so it’s like having two dresses in one! Made of 100% upcycled fabric.

I had some rare one-on-one time with Mr. Charlie. We built a Lego Optimus Prime together.

Lincoln had his annual cardiology check-up and the official diagnosis from the cardiologist? His heart is awesome. 🙂

More work on the living room… DIY photo canvases of the kids (they’re 16×20, which I thought was pretty big…but they seem so small on that massive wall).

Looking back at a week’s work, I’m feeling a bit better about the fact that I spent many hours in bed with an upset stomach and napping with my little Penelope asleep on my chest. 🙂 Spoiled little princess…