Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Maxi Skirt #1: Polka Purp

Im starting to hand-sew a series of maxi skirts to add to my daily staples, which are real great for work and play. Whilst I had also sewn a few short skirt up in my stash ready to be worn, somehow I have pick up maxi skirts as my iconic style.

The fabric is Japanese cotton bought at a price of S$8/metre, and I used 2 metres for this skirt. I had a paper-bag design around the waist cinch area, so that even when I wore this skirt with my shirts tuck-in it gave a really "tight-waist" look.

It took me a slight 10 days of casual man-hours to finish this skirt entirely by hand. The hem is finished using blind-stitch and the seams are protected from frays using flat felled method. I had a elastic strung around too. I will try to blog with more pictures on my hand-stitches next time.

The wonders of maxi skirt, it doesnt give you a too-casual look, protect your legs from the coldness, too lazy to shave, (>.<) visually-lengthen your height, and can pass off as a dress anytime by wearing it up to your chest.

Note that I titled this skirt as Maxi Skirt #1, yes, I will be blogging up #2, #3 and so on! So in love with maxis!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A New Direction

Hi to those who are reading my lil blog, its a long long long time!

I always told myself to blog on my new sewn items, but I couldn't find the motivation to take pictures and write down the description. Summing it up, IM BEING VERY LAZY! :D

But well, few things happened for past few weeks, and I was online for very little time, be it facebook-ing or blog-hopping.

A very good friend of Mom's and mine past away recently, and we held a ceremonial prayer session for her. And this whole event really got me into thinking about my future. Right now setting up CottonBears into a full-fledged couture boutique is being thrown over my mind. Life's short. And some people chose to end it earlier, be it their own reasons, own disabilities. I want to do what I really wanted and be satisfied and contented with it, and making big and loads of money is never a factor in my life that I wanted.

I want to do work that can enable me to be self-sustainable, pay for the mortgage of my flat, and prolly raise a kid or two. At the same time, this work can enable me to learn skills that are disappearing fast in a society of high technology and disclosed communication, as well as the satisfaction to help misfortunate people.

Therefore i decided, CottonBears will become my hobby+side income sewing blog cum lil online shop. Im going out to work in a local social enterprise that aims to help local women to equip skills to earn their own income. I signed up for a intern position (hopefully and presumably to request for full time position upon internship ends) with Alteration Initiative, a social enterprise that hires low-income women, single-mothers or women with disabilities, and teaching them sewing skills. As the teachings goes, a skill in hand, you will never suffer hunger.

I will continue to blog here, even though I might not be updating my Etsy shop with new stuffs unless Im free and motivated to make extras. I will still be focusing on hand-sewing my stuffs, therefore please do continue to support my works by visiting!

A million thanks to my avid and future readers :)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Chambray Waistband Skirt

This will be my last made-to-order series for chambray material. Seen alot of blue for few weeks, I shall start on engaging new colors and fabric tomorrow!

The Chambray Elastic-Waistband Skirt.

Unfortunately it will only be listed in the shops probably tomorrow. There's currently some internet errors.

Instead of 100% hand-stitching it this time, I actually machine-sewn the majority of the whole piece. Except the hemming and the waistband area...

Look at my hand-stitching, I hoped I mastered it near-perfection.
For the hem it's blind stitched thus its the same as the Chambray Cropped Top.

It will be retailing at USD30.
Economic downturn, lowered prices to push some sales.

Some new plans for my shop, I will be adding in a new series for eco-friendly fashion. Eco-friendly to me does not necessarily means the usage of biodegradable materials like bamboo fibre or organic cotton. In my case my approach is more direct. I will be scouring for good quality and good condition second hand clothes or hand-me-downs or even leftover fabrics from my made-to-order series. To be honest I haven't been buying a single piece of clothing for almost 3 years, well I didnt include lingeries and bath towels. I have seen much potential in refashioning an outdated or out-sized piece of garment and I will be experimenting them over the next few months. Once I finished and have it ready for sale, it will be a OOAK item.

Having both eco-fashion and made-to-order in my shop, trying to do my part to be responsible consumer and supporting/sustaining small businesses over the globe.

Again, I think my photos skills really seems un-apprealing.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Some thoughts

Just, some thoughts here.

I am happily sewing the sleeveless version of the Chambray cropped top over the weekends, hoping to list it up onto the shops by Tuesday or Wednesday. And whilst sewing, you got that loads of time to think about lots of things that are happening in your life currently. Don't worry, I'm still concentrating on my sewn piece while thinking stuffs.

It was the business statistics that got me into thinking. Currently there wasn't any sale yet, my shop is only officially launched for less than a week till today, so I'm in no panic state. The thoughts I have include:
1. Pricing strategy of my shop, are they priced too high?
2. Amount of time I spent on a piece completed
3. Cost of materials is it too high?
4. Photography-beauty

Firstly, for the pieces that I have listed so far, the prototype/first piece is always hand-sewn 100% by me. They are not for sale. And they took days to complete. Thus this is why I decided to do away hand-sewn 100%. In addition I have asked around on forums and replies that I've got are, handmade (sewn by machine by yourself) is very well appreciated enough.
Plus I have make it a point not to incorporate any form of serging in my pieces. My reasons are serging is a waste of threads and there are always ways to obtain clean finishes. French seams and blind stitching are good examples.

Local fabric stores in Singapore have good quality fabrics, even though the prints are quite limited, basics are wide varieties for you to choose. And with quality comes the hefty price tags. I could say that every price tag on my pieces, material cost is almost 20 to 25% of them. Sadly I could not purchase in bulk to lower the material cost as I am not making ready-to-wear pieces and the storage in my current working area is only a 1-metre length table.

A big fat confession. The pictures taken foe my pieces is using Iphone 3. Yes, its not even Iphone 4. One reason is Im am waiting patiently for Iphone 5, another reason is that I am not a camera-kind of person. I have never had a camera in my life, and its always the other friends that took pictures of me. I have no idea how to make my items look deliciously-appealing, but I guess have to learn some photo-editing skills sooner or later. Space-constraints again, I cant beautify the background of my pictures either. Oh well.. More to work on the photography part.

Lastly, pricing. As much as the shops being my hobby, my dream and my future career, profits are very important. And I finally decided to further reduce my price tag. I will not compromise the quality of the fabrics to reduce the costs, I will have to earn lesser. Or I will have to sew more and more to improve my sewing turtle-speed.

Just, some thoughts again.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

New item updated - Chambray Cropped Top

New updates for the shop.
I am trying my best to make at least 1 new style every week for the shop, since the shop has just started to launch and alot of listings is somewhat important.
This week Im using Chambray for the cropped top pattern.

The top wasn't derived from any companies' pattern. I drafted it out on a piece of drafting paper in accordance with my measurements.
The collar and the sleeve cap was sewn with back-stitches, attached with interfacing (im using cotton interfacing) to strengthen the whole structure and maintain the shape.

 The interesting part is the hem, I hemmed them using blind stitches. And it is very very durable amazingly. The technique requires you to catch little threads of the fabric itself only and yet when I tried to pull it to test the strength, it is holding the hem very strongly! And Im using white thread for the hems, as chambray is a woven material with blue and white dyes, the white thread is very invisible on the top.

Do note that for production, I will be using machine-stitching for the side seams of the top, whereas the collar, sleeve and hem will be hand-stitched.

The top is allowed for minor alteration on the sleeve length, it is recommended that you request for shorter length if your universal size is M and below. I will then alter the length of the top foe you in variant of the sleeve length.

The sleeveless version of the top will be coming soon!

Besides Etsy, you can now also visit my new selling venue at CraftCafe:

Retailing at USD39.00

Please support handmade!

Monday, June 25, 2012

First item in the shop!

With this first item to be listed on my Etsy shop, CottonBears is hereby launched its first collec----- item!
(I longed for a collection, maybe more time to brew it up)

Red and white vertical striped Mini.
I made this item to be a made-to-order, meaning that I have no in-stocks. All items are only made when you ordered it from me, and yes there is a turnaround time of about 3 to 7 days.
You can customised the length of the waistband and the length of the skirt, but being described as a Mini, I would not make it below the knee.
The fabric is woven and the material is fine-quality cotton, according to the fabric supplier it was imported from Japan. Each stripe is about 1cm in width.
The waistband length in the picture is about 30inches, which is my size (probably a L to Xl size). The waistband is elastic, you can stretched it easily, therefore I would recommend that orders for the waistband comes in (your original waistline minus 1 to 2 cm off).
Noticed that there are gathered pleats above and below the waistband.

Description of the skirt, erm... well I guess you can wear it by pairing a simple top or T-shirt, and strut on the streets in the hot weather!

The skirt is 50% machine-stitched 50% hand-stitched. All seams are machine-stitched except the hem (pick-stitched) and the above waist band area (pick-stitched).
Reasons for that... I would like all my items to be pick-stitched by hand, especially the hems and some specific areas. Oh yeah, I do not like serged raw edges, it gives off the china-factory feel, wouldn't it?

Anyways, my Etsy shop link:

Do support :))

Friday, June 15, 2012

Salmon Pink for the Summer

Its summer time and I am thinking about lightweight pieces for the season. Sleeveless, cotton material and see-through fabrics.
Nevertheless, salmon pink topped with cream.

Sleeveless bodice of salmon pink with darts from the bust area to the side seams. Peter-pan collar of cream colour attached and sewn with french seaming around the neckline. Materials used are cotton which is light and breatheable. Side seams and center seams are french seamed, hemmings are pick-stitched.

I am seriously thinking about upgrading my photographing, be it the background or the use of reflective light to enhance the brightness of the clothing. I guessed that nobody likes gloomy pictures anyway, and more than often it will lower a hue of the true colour.

I made a blunder and sadly this colour mixture will not be on sale any sooner. I have sourced all the fabric shops in my country and there are no similar salmon pink found! Well there's a particular cotton material but it is very very thin. If I were to release that to the shop, either I have to make sure to use 2 layers of the material, or have a inner lining. Both ways increase my workload and production time.

Alas, summer time is for skirts, shorts, carousel pants and sleeveless dresses. I will be having more of these up and hopefully to be listed in the shop very soon.
Do support handmade and hand-stitched!