Hot! The ‘Socialite’ Dress

Name & Location & the Blog: Hello! My name is Sertyan and I come from tropical Malaysia! I blog over at Sertyan’s Sewing Corner.

How long have you been sewing: I have been sewing since I was in elementary school, I used to dabble with my grandmama’s heirloon manual black Singer sewing machine which was part of her wedding dowry; I made some clothes for my Barbie doll and some hair scrunchies then (Grandma was really afraid that my finger will be stuck in the needle and I had to be sent to the hospital to get the needle out as I was only 8 when I used her machine).  Surprisingly, I wasn’t too interested in the Home Ed sewing projects in high school.  But I was very into sewing for my Japanese collector dolls during my uni days and then I stopped sewing after I got pregnant with my first child (it’s a taboo to sew during pregnancy in my culture and my family tradition).  When my daughter (I call her ‘Little Terror’) was just over 6 months (she’s 2 years 4 months now), I decided to start sewing little clothes for her 1.5 years ago after reading so many amazing sewing blogs out there and you can say I was hooked after I made the first piece!  Half a year ago in July 2011, I started sewing for myself.

Why did you want to commit to The Sew Weekly Challenge/ What do you want to accomplish this year with regard to the challenge:

I would love to join as many Sew Weekly Challenges as long as my full time working hours and my limited free time (i.e. after Little Terror has gone to sleep at 10pm) permits me.  I wish I can sew more garments this year with the weekly challenges as it will motivate me to keep sewing (hopefully the themes are not so tough and I have patterns in my stash that can accomodate!). With my limited time for sewing, I usually cut out the pattern and fabric on weekends and sew little by little on weeknights; the idea is to not complain of limited time one has but JUST DO IT (well, just start sewing and stop staring/envying other seamstresses’ blogs!) haha. But it is truly a bad idea to sew when one is tired, mistakes will increase and it’s better to call it a night rather than having the seam ripper as your best friend.

What do you love most about sewing garments: I love to sew my daughter’s and my own garments because it’s always a challenge when I see something really pretty in the stores and I will wonder if I can recreate it.  I am also really into making lined dresses now so I always inspect the lining in the store dresses and see if I can learn a technique or two.   It’s not really about saving money but it’s a desire to create.  I am really delighted when I can knock-off something I see in stores and it would be a bonus if I can make it for a fraction for the retail store price!

What do you hate most about sewing garments: Having to use the seam ripper and undo my mistakes??? haha!  At first I really hate cutting/tracing/fabric cutting/altering a pattern but now I realize that this is the most crucial part in ensuring a dress fits one properly. I know all of us sewists out there would love to dive right into the sewing (I know I do) but I have learned that the pattern/fabric cutting/altering part has to be really executed well too, or else it doesn’t pay to use your limited time to sew a garment.  I find that if I do not do the first part right I will be kicking myself later when the darts do not match/notches are not there (forgot to trace from pattern).  It actually wastes more time!  Actually I have no complaint about the US commercial patterns (hopefully Malaysian retailers will bring in some patterns for sale and with good prices too, so far there are none!) , they provide good instructions and I learn a lot from them as I am self taught on sewing. I hate making muslins with the limited time I have so a very good sewing friend recommended me to make ‘wearable muslins’, I have been doing that and it’s a really brilliant idea.

Your biggest non-sewing goal of 2012: My non-sewing goal for year 2012 is to organize and declutter everything around me (not just my sewing room! which is in dire need of cleaning up!).  I like to execute but I hate cleaning! hehe!

What are your favorite sewing/fashion blogs: My favourite fashion blogs are, in no particular order: Eugenia’s World of FashionErica.B’s – D.I.Y. StyleThe Sew ConvertAmarryllislog – Create Something

My 2011 Favourite Dress:

Apart from the 11 little dresses I made for Little Terror in 2011, I started sewing for myself in July 2011 and made 9 Made-For-Me garments during the year (I had 2 weeks of blissful sewcation in December, mandatory consecutive leave from work). You can see a snapshot of my 2011 projects here.  This is my favourite Made-For-Me dress, completed in December 2011. I call it, ‘The Socialite Dress‘.

I really adore the rippling and lettuce-y effect of the peplum! I feel so fairy-like in this dress.

The Facts

Fabric: 1 yard of 60 inch wide cotton blend fabric at RM16 / USD5.30 per yard and invisible zipper from local fabric store Starlight Textile. It looks like wool, doesn’t it? It’s not.  I think it has some synthetic to it as it stretches a bit and does not wrinkle easily (yay!).

PatternSimplicity 2282 inspired by Project Runway.  Besides the flowy peplum which is the main highlight of the pattern, the sleeve pattern is quite special too, on the top it is made of 2 darts forming a box effect, and then another tuck in the middle to create a gathered full effect, very retro! Actually I noticed this pattern when I fell in love with Adey’s version of Stables Charm Peplum dress!  I love the peplum feature on dresses, I believe now it’s all the rage, have you read Burdastyle’s Trend on Trend: Peplums?

Initially I had cut a size 12 for this pattern but after the first fit for the skirt area, I think I needed a size 10 instead so I sewed the entire garment based on size 10 seams.  Other than that I made no alterations to the pattern, I think the whole fit is quite spot on for me, lucky!  There are only a few pattern pieces, the instructions are clear but read them carefully on the way the darts should face on the skirt (I didn’t, it gave me some grief!).  Making sure the pivoting point between the peplum and princess seams lie flat was quite a challenge.

Year: 2010
Notions: Basic zipper and interfacing

Time to complete: 4.5 hours
First worn: Dec 2011 to work!
Wear again: Yes

Total Cost: RM18.30/ USD6.10

Happy Sewing everyone! Here’s to more sewing/creating bliss and accomplishments this new year!



Sertyan is a full time working mother from Malaysia with a 2.5 year old daughter (fondly nicknamed 'Little Terror'). She started sewing for Little Terror 1.5 years ago and she was hooked on making clothes ever since. All she thinks about constantly is sewing! She has started to sew for herself in the last 6 months. Before making human clothes, she used to sew for her Japanese dolls. You can see all her sewing creations at


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  1. Your dress is beautiful. The color is great:)

  2. Seam ripping is the worst. LOVE the dress!

  3. I adore the dress… and you’re daughter’s name on your blog! Out of curiosity, would you be willing to share why sewing while pregnant is taboo in your culture?

    • Hi Tina!
      Good question!
      Actually I think the taboo is a Chinese tradition but it’s not practised by all Chinese, but I was told by my mum not to do any sewing whilst I was pregnant as sewing involves pins and scissors which are sharp things and may be seen to ‘harm’ the foetus. It’s more of a belief in some parts of the Chinese culture.

  4. I die a little any time I need to seam rip something. Love your dress!

  5. Sertyan I love this dress, it is so beautiful!

  6. This is a very pretty dress. I had never noticed this Simplicity pattern until now. I will need to buy that pattern now. ;)

  7. Oh, and I call my son “the little terrorist” all the time. ;)

  8. Hm – strange. I had posted a comment on this before I mentioned my little terrorist…it must have got lost. I had wanted to say that your dress is very pretty. I have always loved peplums but strangely, I hadn’t noticed this Simplicity pattern yet. (It’s not that obvious on the pattern envelope.) I will have to buy this pattern now.