Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Tutorial - How to sew a lined patch pocket

Remember the Sailor Top dress I made a while back? I sewed patch pockets to the dress and I toyed with the idea of writing a tutorial for a lined patch pocket. But I forgot to take photos of the steps and yesterday I finally got down to taking pics and writing the tute. Sorry, the weather was bad when I took the pics so they were taken indoors and my camera did not like me.

Making a lined patch pocket requires just a tiny bit more effort and fabric but isn't it nice when you reach into your pocket and you don't feel any raw edges? You can use my tute to sew a lined patch pocket on a skirt, dress or even a bag. The method is the same.

Step 1: Click on this link and download the pocket template. Use Adobe Reader to print it at 100% or actual size. Cut out the template.

The finished size of this pocket is 6 inch across and 6 3/8 inch tall. Feel free to modify the size to suit your needs.

Step 2:
Iron your pocket fabric. Fold in half right sides together. Place template on fabric. Take note you need to place the top of template on the fold.
Pin template to fabric if necessary and cut exactly on outline of template. You will cut through 2 layers of fabric.

This is my cut pocket fabric when unfolded.

Optional: You can interface the fabric or not. I'm skipping the interfacing because YOLO.

Step 3:
Right sides together, pocket fabric folded in half, iron out the wrinkles.

Now you sew by following the instructions on the pic above. The 2 inches of large stitching is to create an opening for turning right side out.

Step 4:
Trim seam allowance and cut notches around the curved corners.
Iron seams open.
Unpick the 2 inches of large stitches.

Option: Instead of cutting notches around the curved corners (which I hate to do), I used a pinking scissors to cut my seam allowances.

Turn pocket right side out.
Use a knitting needle to poke at the corners.
Iron out the wrinkles. Pay attention to the 2 inch gap. The seams should be folded nicely as if there wasn't a gap.

Place pocket on the skirt/dress/bag fabric you want to sew to. Pin.


Sew pocket to skirt/dress/bag fabric by following the instructions above. Sew close to the edge of pocket.

Take a look at the pic above to see how you should position your fabric on the sewing machine when you make the first stitch.

You should get something like this or way neater! This is how I like to sew my patch pockets.

Neve has claimed the pocket!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Chewing Gum of the Orientals

One day not long ago, my daughter came back from the supermarket with a bunch of snacks. There were her usual potato chips and then I saw this.

Ken-Ken, prepared cuttlefish. I used to love this snack when I was a kid. I ate a lot of it, as much as I could afford. It has this stinky smell and taste and is extremely addictive. It's also a little spicy. When was the last time I ate it? Probably decades ago.

It's chewy and gives your jaw a really good workout. "Fortunately" each packet only has a miserly amount of cuttlefish so you won't hurt your jaws. I immediately asked my daughter to let me have it and she actually said yes. I gobbled it down and since then have gone and bought a few more packets. I even ate the one I bought for my daughter! Twice. What did I tell you? It's addictive. Maybe it's the msg?

Oh, one thing I forgot about this snack. Your mouth smells afterwards.

When I was a kid, one of my cousins told me she worked at Ken-Ken and her job was to put the cuttlefish into the packaging. Back then I thought it was such a cool job. (because I thought you could eat all the cuttlefish you wanted) I wonder what happened to that cousin?


I've never noticed this on the packaging until now. It actually says "chewing gum of the Orientals". You may or may not know this but chewing gum is banned in Singapore. The ban came into force in 1992. The reason for the ban? It was a freaking nuisance. Other than littering, gum had been used by vandals to stick on the train door sensors. I remember when the ban was introduced there was a big hooha. But honestly, I was happy. I've stepped on gum so many times I was glad to see it banned. Plus I'm not a fan of chewing gum because it always tastes sickly sweet. Currently chewing gum for therapeutic purposes can be bought in Singapore but I have no idea how it can be obtained. Do I need a prescription? 

Both my kids have tried gum before but they don't care for it. Yes, you can live without gum. Anyway, we'll always have chewing gum of the Orientals.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Syonan Outrage


via NLB
On February 15, Syonan Gallery: War and Its Legacies, a revamped permanent exhibition of World War II memories was opened on the exact same date the Japanese surrendered its occupation of Singapore. What pissed some people off was the new name chosen for the exhibition: Syonan.

The World War II exhibition is not new. Originally it was called "Memories at Old Ford Factory" which held an archive of memories about Singapore's wartime occupation by the Japanese. After a year long revamp, it reopened with I guess a more "exciting" experience of artefacts and memories of that dark period in Singapore history. The location of the exhibition is rather significant. It was the same Old Ford Motor Factory where the Japanese signed the surrender documents.

Anyway, the grief over the new name Syonan was because during the Japanese occupation, Singapore was renamed Syonan-to. During the 2 1/2 years, many people were massacred. The National Library Board (NLB) which picked the name said that it "decided that no other name captured the time and all that it stood for" despite being aware it "could evoke strong emotions". They were right!

Addressing the outrage over the chosen name, the prime minister said that "We cannot erase our history or bury the past. The exhibition is a reminder of a traumatic period in our history and the suffering our pioneers experienced when Singapore lost its freedom and even its name."

Speaking to reporters later, Dr Yaacob noted that this was not the first time the name “Syonan” had been used in an exhibition. “In 1992, on the 50th anniversary of the Fall of Singapore, we held an exhibition at the National Museum titled When Singapore was Syonan-to,” he said.

You know "when Singapore was Syonan-to" and "Syonan Gallery" are really not the same, Dr Yaacob!


On Friday, in a change of heart or perhaps they were sick of the complaints, it was announced that the exhibition has been renamed Surviving the Japanese Occupation: War and its Legacies out of respect for the people who suffered under the Japanese Occupation.

Thank goodness common sense prevailed! Sayonara Syonan. Isn't it nice when the government admits its mistake and rectifies it immediately?

For me, my outrage had more to do with my lack of education in Singapore history. I'm almost embarrassed to admit this but up until the Syonan gallery name public outcry, I've never even heard of the name Syonan. I'm not kidding.

I studied Singapore history in primary school. A very romanticized version of how Singapore was founded by Sang Nila Utama. Back then we were called Temasek. Sang Nila Utama from Palembang landed on our island and saw a lion and he named our island Singapura which means Lion City. We also studied about Singapore under colonial rule and also a romanticized version of how Sir Stamford Raffles founded modern Singapore. I think we covered the Japanese occupation when I was 11 and 12 years old. However, some fools at MOE (Ministry of Education) decided it would be a great idea to teach history and geography of Singapore in the mother tongue. In my case, it was Chinese and I probably slept through the once a week lesson. Honestly I doubt my Chinese language teacher covered anything on the Japanese occupation. She was pro Communism and often spent her time telling us how great Communism was. I know it sounds strange to say the word "communist" and "communism" but back then in the old days (yes, I'm very old) such things existed in Singapore. My teacher also warned us not to tell anyone she talked to us about communism because she said she could get arrested. I wonder what happened to Mrs Lim?

Where was I? Yes, I was trying to explain my ignorance.

My mother was a teenager during the Japanese Occupation of Singapore(1942 - 1945). Yes World War 2 people. She used to tell me stories about that period. And by the way, she never once uttered the word Syonan. To hide from the Japanese soldiers, she and her siblings would run to the hills to hide among the forestry. She also said that she had no rice to eat and had to eat a lot of tapioca. As a result, her legs swelled up. My mother told me a lot of half-truths and alternative facts during my childhood. But for some reason, I believed that eating a lot of tapioca would give me swollen legs. As such, I avoided tapioca as much as possible. My mother said that she had to get married during that period as being married offered her so called protection. Anyhoos, she was match made with my father and ended up having 9 children (I'm number 8). So the Japanese Occupation was in a way responsible for me being in existent. Irony.
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