Author: LianZi

How to Make a Chinese Frog Button (Video!)

Guess what?! I just made my very first video tutorial!  It was strange talking to the camera by myself, but I got over it, and i think it turned out pretty well. ^_^ I hope you like this Chinese Frog Closure Tutorial.  Subscribe to me on YouTube, and I’ll have more videos to come! Please like & share:

How To Knock Off a Garment Using Painter’s Tape

I am back from vacation and back on track.  The hot weather had me thinking that I could use a couple more pairs of shorts, so I decided to knock off my favorite pair.  It’s no secret that garment knock off is a common practice in the fashion industry.  Usually, garments from higher price points are copied by more affordable brands for it’s design and silhouette.  I’ve done so many while working full time as a patternmaker; I can practically do them with my eyes closed. 😀 This quick method I am sharing with you today is something I learned back in school for Intermediate Construction class.  It’s so fast and easy, that I can’t believe I didn’t remember to use it at my last job.  Here is what you’ll need: – One roll of ~ 1” wide blue painter’s tape – One roll of ~2” wide blue painter’s tape – Measuring tape – Scissors – Clear ruler (for patternmaking) – Pencil – Marker paper (or any other paper you feel comfortable using for patterns) …

Summer Jumper and How To Draft It

Jumpers are great to have in your closet for the days that you just don’t know what to wear, or doesn’t have time (or too lazy) to pick out a top AND a bottom.  Slip it on and voila, instant outfit! This jumper was inspired by a pair of pants that I bought in France a few years ago.  French women are not afraid to rock a pair of dropped-crotch harem pants, and you shouldn’t be either.  The general rule to styling these type of pants is that if you’re going to go for loose on the bottom, then go fitted on top.  There are exceptions, of course, but it’s a good place to start.  I styled my jumper with a fitted black cropped jacket that happens to hit right at my natural waist.  Paired with a belt and some heels, this outfit creates a very flattering proportion on me. This garment is so easy to make.  I have drawn up diagrams for a quick and dirty way to draft the pattern.  No need for …

Nopales (Cactus) Tacos

Nopales, also known as prickly pears, have a tart flavor and are similar in texture to green beans. Some think nopales are an acquired taste because they are gooey inside like okras.  For this recipe, I stir-fried them Asian-style and assembled them into delicious vegetarian tacos. The pricklies on the cactus need to be removed before cooking, although every time I have bought them, they were already cleaned and prepped.  You can buy nopales at your local Mexican grocery store.  While you are there, don’t forget to pick up a bag of whole cumin seeds.  Fresh Shiitake mushrooms are easy to find these days.  back in the day, they were only available in Asian grocery stores, but recently, both Trader Joe’s and Safeway started carrying them.  Ground white pepper is widely available in any spice aisle.  White peppercorns actually come from the same plant as black peppercorns, but are processed differently.  I find them to be more flavorful than black peppercorn when used in Chinese cooking. Nopales (Cactus) Tacos Stir-Fry: – 4 nopales, medium size …

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Bunka Style Sloper Review and Pattern Magic Fun

Throughout my schooling and career, the patternmaking bible has always been Helen Joseph Armstrong’s Patternmaking for Fashion Design*.  This is the book that we followed in classes, and this is the book that I regularly flip through for references.  In patternmaking, the sloper is a basic bodice from which one can develop different designs.  In Armstrong’s book, the sloper is drafted from approximately twenty different measurements, so imagine my curiosity when the magical internet tells me that there’s a way to draft a bodice sloper with only three measurements! The patternmaker in me decides that this must be explored. As it turns out, the answer was in my storage, and I didn’t even know it.  More than six years ago, I came across a book in San Francisco’s Japan town that captured my interest.  The book, Pattern Magic by Tomoko Nakamichi* was written entirely in Japanese, and even though I couldn’t read a word of it, I still bought it without hesitation.  I was attracted to the photos and ideas in the book, and kept …

mackerel tartine

5-Min Snack: Mackerel Tartine

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the taste and quality of the different types of canned and smoked fish at Trader Joe’s.  Here’s how to make a super quick tartine* with their Boneless Skinless Mackerel in Sunflower oil.  Put it together as a snack, or serve it with a side of salad or soup for a fast lunch!  All ingredients can be found at Trader Joe’s**. *Tartine is a fancy French word for an open-faced sandwich. **This is not a Trader Joe’s sponsored post (I wish!).   Mackerel Tartine   – 1 piece whole wheat tandoori naan – 2 oz boneless skinless mackerel, drained – 2 tbsp plain goat cheese – 1 ½ tbsp fresh chives, chopped – freshly ground black or rainbow pepper Toast the naan in a toaster oven or toaster.  Spread goat cheese on warm bread.  Top with mackerel, chives, and black or rainbow pepper.  Enjoy! Please like & share:

spring dress

Spring Dress with Sewing Tips and Tricks

Is it still Spring?  The weather has been gloomy in the Bay Area for the past two weeks, and it hardly feels like June is coming.  No matter, I found this electrifying scuba knit fabric at Britex in San Francisco, and the colors alone make me feel like the flowers are blooming.  We attended a wedding reception over the labor day weekend, and I used that as a deadline to make myself a fun party dress.  If you sew, keep scrolling for some tips and tricks on cutting and sewing. I can’t take credit for the intricate design of the style lines.  It is a modified Vogue pattern (this one).  I’ve only used commercial patterns twice before (one of which was a bag), because I didn’t sew prior to going to school for Fashion Design, and it’s was a big no-no (or maybe it was just frowned upon) to use them in college.  This pattern was on sale so I thought I’d give it a try, since the dress is for me to wear, and …

Project Update: Muslin Gown

I have been working on this design recently, and wanted to post an update on it.  I’ve had the idea to do an asymmetrical paneled skirt for a long time, but have been putting it off because I knew it would be a lot of work.  This muslin was sewn up to test the fit and structure.  I have not decide on what fabric to use for the final gown yet.  I would love to hear your suggestions in the comment section. 🙂 I wanted to make a visually interesting bodice to go with the big skirt, so I started to play with my bias tape on the dress form.  The resulting pieces fit together quite nicely, and I’m happy with the result. The skirt is made up of 16 gores, 16 panels, and will potentially have 16 ruffles, or maybe 32 to give it more body.  I experimented with sewing up half the panels without interfacing, but they were floppy and didn’t hold up very well, so I added interfacing to the other half …

How To Prevent Your Bra Straps From Showing

One of the most irritating things is constantly having to fidget with your top in order to prevent your bra strap from showing.  Some tops just need extra help to make sure it isn’t slipping off your shoulder. A trick I learned when I was working for designer Lily Samii is to sew bra strap guards inside the shoulders of tops and blouses, so that bra straps can be buckled in and secured when worn. In high end designer tops and dresses, bra strap guards are made up of ¼” bias tubes that match the lining of the garment.  They are hand sewn in, and snapped in place with small snap buttons.  I found this to be a lot of work if I needed a quick fix for a store bought top, so I devised my own version of a quick sew-in strap guard. Materials needed: – 1/8” wide elastic braids (about 5 inches total) – 3/8” size flat buttons (one for each side, do not use shank buttons) – Thread – Needle – Scissors …

Applesauce Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are surprisingly addicting for a pure experiment.  All three ingredients are leftover from working on the Lavender Chocolate Squares.  I combined them together in a pure moment of “wonder what would happen”, and the results are unexpectedly yummy. They are more firm and chewy than traditional chocolate chip cookies, and the applesauce adds a nice layer of flavor.  I recommend eating them while they are still warm.  Otherwise, store in an airtight container. I was able to find pre-packaged graham cracker crumbs at one Safeway, but not another.  If you can’t find it, feel free to crumble whole graham crackers by hand or blender.  I used the milling blade on my Nutribullet. Applesauce Chocolate Chip Cookies servings: 12, calories per serving: 97 – 2 cup graham cracker crumbs – 4 oz applesauce (no sugar added) – 3 oz bittersweet (or milk) chocolate chip Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Mix graham cracker crumbs and applesauce together until dough forms.  Add chocolate chips. Cover cookie sheet with aluminum foil.  Shape into twelve 2” cookies. …