Hot! “The Rainbow Fish” Outfit | Adey Lim


The Facts


Fabric:  Colorful Chiffon fabric 2 metres from Spotlight $15, chiffon pieces for braided belt and lining $5,  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. 

P4294123I 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!

P4294136 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!

P5044155To 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.

P5034142 P5034145  

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.

IMG_0429 IMG_0425
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! 


Adey Sew Convert

A former kids' television channel manager turned stay home mum from Singapore, I hated sewing since I attended my first home economic class at the age of 14. In 2007, something miraculous happened when God blessed me with a second pregnancy. I discovered that I was expecting a baby girl. That changed everything. First I went crazy shopping for handmade clothes for her on etsy. Then I decided I needed to make something for her on my own. I was a month from my due date when I took an intensive 8-hour sewing class. In Dec 2008, I made a dress for my princess before she was born and have not stopped sewing since.


Comments are closed.

  1. I really love the blouse- and the sequin idea is very clever! You did a nice job on the jeans too!
    My kids loved the Rainbow fish when they were younger too :D

  2. How pretty – and versatile. Definitely a dress up or down blouse. And WOW on the jeans. I’ve yet to truly tackle a pair of jeans. (the front zips get easier the more you do).

  3. The blouse is so beautiful. I love the fabric, the print and colors, the ruffle neck and the belt which is a perfect match. The jeans are so cute. You did a great job as always.
    When I have trouble with zippers, which is all the time, or when I have trouble with anything that has to do with sewing I go to and look at the guide lines. It is a very helpful place to look for tips and instructions. If you have not been there you might like to try it out as well.

  4. Wow Adey! This is a stunning creation! I absolutely love the extra details on the blouse and it makes it truly amazing. The chiffon fabric is beautiful and I can’t wait to hear more about your experience sewing chiffon (I have yet to do that). And the jeans are AMAZING! I totally thought they were RTW when I first saw the photo…You always do such amazing outfits and this is one of my favourites!!

  5. margueritedesigns

    I was admiring the top and then saw you made the jeans as well – I couldn’t get over that! Very pretty and love the belt – must have a go at that myself!

  6. GREAT OUTFIT! There’s a lot of goodness here and your time with the zipper, the handstitching and the extra care all round has paid off!
    I’ve never made jeans (at least, I can’t recall?) but I have tried a couple of ‘fly zippers’ and they’re always a brain freeze for me! Give me a back zipper trouser anyday!

  7. judy roberson

    Great job..Love the blouse.. and the sequins was such a clever idea.. Love the outfit.

  8. The outfit is so classy and nice looking on you. You could probably wear anything! Your talent is always inspiring.

  9. wow, that is such a beautiful blouse. I am in awe.

  10. love the blouse! and the sequins! perfect! I can’t believe you made jeans. Well done. Fly facings used to be one of my fave things in college. I used to make them so schmick! pity I could never get the pants to fit right though! You’ve made me want to dig out my ‘how to’s’ from college. I’ve got folders filled with my stitched samples of all the little details. Flys, welts pockets, welt buttonholes.. you name it.. it’s there.. somewhere. Your whole outfit looks great, I’d wear it in a hearbeat!

  11. Wow…WOW! Adey this is an amazing outfit! I too thought (before I read) that your jeans were RTW…I mean, you made that beautiful chiffon blouse with sequins, it’s lovely and must have taken time and good planning how did you find the time to make your jeans too (please don’t tell you only need 2 hours of sleep…do you?).
    I love that you used the salvage trim for the edge of your pockets, and polka dot remenats to line the pockets, yummy details. I have fly zipper fear too…in time!
    Your little boys are so sweet with their cut out hair. Love The Rainbow Fish!
    As always you are so impressive and innovative with your sewing!

  12. ” The story of a beautiful fish (with rainbow colored scales and some shiny scales) who finds friendship and happiness when he learns to share. ”
    ah-HAH! so this means you must share this outfit, yes? i would like to be put on the loan list.

  13. The Rainbow Fish is such a great book! I love the illustrations. Your outfit captures them perfectly! The chiffon is so pretty and the sequins add such a nice touch. The jeans are fabulous!!!

  14. WOW! The top is gorgeous and I love the contrast belt – what a clever idea to pull in the other colors from the fish! And the jeans – I DIE! They look like designer jeans – way to go Adey!

  15. Awesome job on the whole outfit. I love that top.

  16. That is one stunning blouse!

  17. Thank you so much Amy! Am thrilled that you like it. 

  18. Thank you so much robinsnc, can't wait to see your finished spring top too!

  19. Aw! Thanks so much Sarah, you're so sweet to say that!

  20. Thanks so much Sarah! I'm so glad you know the book and think so!

  21. LOL! Oh Oona…somehow I knew that was coming!

  22. Thank you Cathe! I usually sew when the kids are at school and I'm not running errands. I don't get to sew after 4pm, on weekends, holidays or when hubby is on leave.  Last week was one of those good sewing week I guess (too few of those!)…I'm glad I finally took that plunge for the fly zipper, hope you will too:) Can't wait to try that again! I love to add those little details to make the garments more me kekeke.

  23. Oh wow!  You must share all those precious tips! You have such a great sewing foundation and I would really love to have you guest post these tutorials on my blog if I get the chance and learn the right way of doing things!
    I know exactly what you mean with the pant's fit….I didn't know if the jeans was gonna fit at all until the waistband is finished and that was quite scary!
    I'm so thrilled you like the outfit!

  24. Thank you Farah! And your Eloise-inspired outfit is too adorable! You must make one for yourself too!

  25. Thank you Jessie for your sweet and encouraging words! Have a blessed mothers' day!

  26. So glad you like the outfit Judy, thank you for the encouragement!

  27. Thanks Veronica, can't agree with you more, love the back and side zippers a whole lot more now!

  28. Thanks Margueritadesigns and I do hope you try the belt too! 

  29. Thanks Debi, so thrilled that you like the outfit! The chiffon was not as difficult to sew and cut as silk so I'm sure you'll be able to handle it easily. 

  30. Thanks so much Sue and really appreciate the link, I've bookmarked that for reference!

  31. Thank you Jen and I hope to tackle more of those front zippers so I'm comfortable with them! Maybe sewing some boy's pants will help.

  32. Thank you so much Rachel, I'm so thrilled you like the outfit especially when you are familiar with the story!

  33. your blouse is so pretty but, WOW you made jeans!! This is on my to do list when I’m good enough!!

  34. Thank you so much for your sweet comment Charlotte!

  35. Thanks Charlotte for your sweet comment!