Seattle Frocktails 2018 – My Tale Of Sewing Three Dresses In A Week

In my first-world-problem feeling of having nothing nice to wear to Seattle Frocktails (Oct 20th 2018), I decided to punish myself with the challenge of sewing an outfit for the Saturday’s event. One week is plenty of time, I thought. Perfect opportunity to dig into my stash of pretty Japanese fabrics from past travels. This sewing misadventure did end up like the Goldilocks tale of ‘Too big! Too small!’ and then ‘This is just nice.’ Maybe.

This first dress ensued from two intense days of careful stitching. Having not learnt my lesson from past experience with this dress pattern, it turned out too big on me (at the armscye and back) .

Sewing Pattern
Butterick 5490
IMG_7202 Butterick 5490

But there were winning milestones with this dress: my first properly-installed invisible zipper (albeit after a few attempts) and getting the seams matched up as tidily as possible.

It’s the little things; faced my fear of the invisible zipper today AND matching up the seams! #novicesewer #invisiblezipper Butterick 5490

So I dropped this Too Big dress on the floor to let Mia roll on it. At least one of us will enjoy it.

It was midweek. Do I deconstruct this dress because I so love the fabric and resize the dress pattern, or make a whole new one by revisiting cut patterns of dresses I once enjoyed constructing? The a-ha moment came when my inner voice reminded me of this particular pattern –that I first dipped my toes into bodice dress with– and the handful of versions I made: first (2011), second (2012), third (2012), fourth (2012), and fifth (2014)!

Sewing Pattern
Burda Magazine Spring/Summer 2009, E988 dress 5A
IMG_7201 Burda Magazine Spring/Summer 2009, E988 dress 5A
I was bold enough to widen the bodice waist to accommodate my larger girth since my spring chicken days are long gone. No fitting issues this time! But alas, the contrasting fabric choices with this second dress might have been made it ‘Meh’ and ‘Yeah nah’…
Deciding that Thursday evening was no better time to start on ANOTHER dress, plus I really loved the pleated effect, I hunkered down to resize the armscye and back of Butterick 5490. And as a bonus treat, I added inseam pockets! Third time’s the charm, right?
IMG_7226 Butterick 5490. Mia says Yeah!

The bodice waist might have been zealously wide, but we can remedy that with a belt?

Seattle Frocktails 2018 Butterick 5490

I am happy to report that I survived the Seattle Frocktails evening, assisted by a couple of glasses of rosé. And met a few friendly faces.

Whatever happened to the first green dress? I made it my mission to rescue it.

Tackling this dress we all love with the seam ripper. It always feels easier to construct (than to deconstruct). Butterick 5490

After this dress was resized to my satisfaction, I never once saw the seam ripper again. Until the next dressmaking adventure beckons!


Mixed Media Postcards Mailed Out

All 10 of my handmade postcards are ready to go! My first #DIYpostcardswap organised by @ihannas . . . #diypostcardswap2018 #juanitatortilla #upcycled #analogcollage #mixedmediapostcard

Documenting the 10 DIY postcards heading out to the assigned recipients in the #DIYPostcardSwap; I dropped these cards at a post office in downtown Seattle yesterday, 19.Nov.2018.

I have 9 US domestic addresses and 1 International! They are:

  1. Annelie of Umea, Sweden;
  2. Ellen of Cedar Rapids, IA;
  3. Merry of Phoenix, AZ;
  4. Nancy of Jacksonville, FL;
  5. Priya of Halethorpe, MD;
  6. Charlotte of Fort Wayne, IN;
  7. Sandra of Herndon, VA;
  8. Debbie of Dimondale, MI;
  9. Nancy of San Jose, CA; and
  10. Jill of Kerrville, TX.

Looking forward to you saying ‘hi’!


DIY Postcard Swap 2018

Riding the current paper collage enthusiasm and trawling the relevant hashtags on Instagram, I landed myself on a postcard swap, (tagging and nudging fellow postcard-making enthusiasts, haha). We each deserve a prize for guessing when the last time was that I took part in a blog-initiated swap, but here I am, late in 2018, signing up for a postcard swap.

Could be fun! Any excuse to craft! Happy mail! All win-win-win.




Collage and painting is a progressive process–I spent a few days working, upcycling material into these quirky ONE OF A KIND mixed media postcards. Safe to say, Fall and Halloween being around the corner might have influenced the choice of colours and overall theme of these 12 cards.

One of these cards could have your name on it!
Untitled (video)

Paper Collage – A New Craft Addiction, Est. 2017

Paper and glue always felt like a messy idea to me; I preferred collaging textiles. When I saw the first Collage Garden‘s open call in Oct 2017 on Instagram, I could not help but give it a go. In the then magazine-less household, I used supermarket brochures and tourism reading material to come up with these three teeny tiny dogs. They evidently did not show any flex in my creativity. Off they went to The Netherlands!
Collage PaperDogs

Since then, my eyes saw reading material differently and I’d keep an eye out on garden-themed images and general pretty things.

Feeling bold the second time round in the next Collage Garden’s open call for New York City in March 2018, I scaled up!
Shame about having to keep clipping her wings down to size. For the next @the_collage_garden in New York!

HydrangeaRose LavenderLace

PoinsettiaSparkle BerryBlue

And then we packed our belongings and moved out of Australia.

In the 10 weeks of twiddling my thumbs –hashtag ‘makers gotta make’– in Seattle, I decided that junk mail was as good a material to work with as pretty magazine photography. Yes, junk mail glued on to junk mail. All I needed was paper glue and a pair of scissors. So simple and satisfying.
Fresh Need More

Paper collage is fun! This beetroot-themed is my latest humble submission to The Collage Garden’s Nepal edition in KATHMANDU, 23 NOVEMBER – 7 DECEMBER 2018.
Beetroot thecollagegardenOct2018

This new crafty endeavour has undoubtedly made me view paper as an enjoyable and creative medium, but oh boy, this means I am starting to hoard magazines!

Maximalist – 14 Long Boho Necklaces

JuanitaTortilla Maximalist Necklaces (1)

These are just a bunch of beads, but to me, this is an armful of memories. Each little bead comes with its own unique memory from all over the world.

I started playing with beads in 2004, collecting and hand-picking beads from my travels to India, Malaysia, and Nepal. Friends trickled into my life and contributed to this bead stash. There are beads in here that remind me of Michela, Sandra, Janet, Ann, Jess, Allison and Rachel, in chronological order, spanning the globe from Europe, the US and Australia. Thank you for your friendship and our shared memories.

It’s amazing how the brain tissue allows us to attach a sentiment or a small fleeting moment in life to an inanimate object as tiny as a bead.

On a lighter note, these beads have also been through cycles of beady projects, because I tend to get restless and love to repurpose. My entire bead stash is represented here on these 14 necklaces; no bead left behind!

#maximalist #maximalistnecklace #JuanitaTortilla