“The Rainbow Fish” Outfit | Adey Lim
Fabric: Colorful Chiffon fabric 2 metres from Spotlight $15, chiffon pieces for braided belt and lining $5 fabric.com, denim fabric 1.5 metres from Chinatown $10
Patterns: Vogue 2850 Anna Sui Wrap Blouse, Kwik Sew 406
Year: c. 2010, c. 1970s
Notions: Sequins, zipper, snap buttons $1
Time to complete: 10 hours for blouse and 7 hours for jeans
First worn: May 2011
Wear again? Yes. Together or separate
Total Cost: ~$31
Me first! Me first!
That's how excited my kids get during storytelling time every evening and they never agree to end it willingly with their "one more book please!" pester campaign.
First, there are the fun books like "What's wrong with my hair" by Satoshi Kitamura (picture below) where they get to try out the different hairstyles the barber has recommended for Lionel the Lion.
There are also the rhyming creatures books by Julia Donaldson which we love. "The Gruffalo", "Gruffalo's child", "The Snail and the Whale", "Monkey Puzzle" and "What the ladybird heard" are on the top 10 book request list in our household.
Lastly but also more importantly, books that teaches good morals such as "The Rainbow Fish" by Marcus Pfister. The story of a beautiful fish (with rainbow colored scales and some shiny scales) who finds friendship and happiness when he learns to share. This much loved character is also the inspiration for my outfit this week.
I chose this splatter chiffon fabric which has been in my stash for quite sometime as the print reminded me of colorful fishes swimming in shimmering waters and used it to create a ruffle cape blouse as I imagined that the movement the of the blouse would mimic the movement of a graceful fish. The funny thing is the picture which came to my head was Dory from "Finding Nemo" during her memory lapse! I must have overdosed on kids books, tv and films.
To lend 'shiny scales' to the blouse, I hand-stitched groups of translucent sequins randomly on the cape section. Afterall, that's one of the unique characteristics of the fish called rainbow. Before I knew it, the hand-stitching took up the entire afternoon but I love the result and how my movements create subtle blinks on the blouse!
Using the rainbow fish scale colors of blue, purple and pink and a thin yellow pipe, I braided the waist band using 3 different chiffon fabrics. I adore how it adds contrast and texture to the blouse at the same time! The blouse is a pretty easy pattern to follow but I made some modifications such as lining the cape with the same chiffon fabric so it has the same vibrancy on both sides and the sequin back stitching would not show. The band and belt hole positions were also lowered to the waist area instead of having them just below the bust and the peplum lengthened.
This turned out to be my most time consuming blouse ever with the additions of sequins and braided band. While it wasn't easy cutting and sewing the chiffon fabric, the feel and drape of it is seriously hard to rival! I am totally in love with chiffon!
To complement the colorful blouse, I made a pair of deep blue flare legged jeans using a 70s Kwik Sew pattern. This is my second made-me jeans after the bella jeans and for practical reasons, I wanted it to be a really simple looking pair of jeans that can go with anything.
I didn't want the pockets to be bulky so the jeans pockets are lined with cotton remnants from my Giddy with Polka Dots dress. The top of the back pockets are cut on the selvage as I love the simple contrast it provides.
I have always felt intimidated by the front zipper so much so that all the shorts and pants patterns I've used either came with buttons or a side zipper. Indeed, as I have feared, I got lost at the zipper instructions. I unpicked the zipper, looked for answers on the web, read the useful instructions on The Last stitch and that helped a great deal in deciphering the instructions.
Talk about fish out of the water! I think I did a borderline passable job with the zipper section but thank God it's in wearable condition. Looks like I need more practice! Still, I am pretty proud of my new pair of jeans and am gonna be wearing it out!
More of my thought processes, photos and documentation of how I sewed the braided band on this week's Behind the Seams. Have a great and colorful weekend!