Posted on March 06 2021
Nurul Fitri with some of her masterpieces (we love her take on the Contemporary Cheongsam)!
There are no boundaries when it comes to sewing clothes - Fitri took on the Contemporary Cheongsam and it looks astounding! We invited Fitri over for a short interview on what drives her to make a Cheongsam and craft her own clothes. (Thanks Fitri!)
My name is Fitri and I studied engineering. I like making crafts and playing games.
How did you get started on sewing?
I guess I’m picky when it comes to looking for clothes! [Laughs] The material, fitting, length and pattern of the clothes matter. There was a period of time when I found it hard to meet all the criteria when I was looking for clothes. I got frustrated and thought, “Why not make the clothes myself?”
I talked to my cousins about it and the three of us went for the Starter Classes at Fashion Makerspace together!
Fitri and her cousins in our Starter Class!
What sewing classes have you taken before?
From left to right, top to bottom: Drop Shoulder Shirtdresses, Basic Sewing and Patternmaking Top and Skirt, Contemporary Cheongsam, Abaya.
It seems like there’s a variation to your choices! How do you decide on what to sew next?
As I started my sewing journey with my cousins, I wanted to continue sewing clothes with them. So I picked sewing classes with them in mind (other than the Cheongsam). In addition, I picked classes where I could learn how to sew a new feature - such as sewing pockets, buttons and [various] collars.
You made a Cheongsam! Share with us your inspirations and sewing experience (and how did your family react)?
Fitri in her self-made Contemporary Cheongsam - with long sleeves and in full length.
Every year, my boyfriend’s family would invite me over for Chinese New Year. Coincidentally, I started sewing a few months before the celebrations, so the first thing I learnt how to sew was the Cheongsam! It’s not like I wanted to impress my future parents-in-law or anything! [Laughs]
Fitri and her boyfriend during Chinese New Year!
There were numerous pieces to cut and it was a little overwhelming at first. One of the trainers, Sarah, guided me through the sewing process and helped me to visualise the pieces. Sewing the zipper and collar was a challenge, but I really enjoyed myself as I sewed all the pieces together! When I finished the Cheongsam, I felt accomplished and was really proud of myself for sewing my first ever piece of clothing.
When I told my aunt I was sewing a Cheongsam, she warned me about the difficulties of sewing collars. My mum was impressed with the finished product!
Lovely fabric choices Fitri! Who knew Cheongsams looked so good with long sleeves!
Are your expectations for sewing now similar to before you started sewing?
I thought sewing was just about stitching multiple pieces together, and the pieces were just standard shapes. I learnt about various techniques for sewing clothes. For example, I learnt about sewing darts that gives clothes the curvature to fit a person’s body. Also, I didn’t expect cutting patterns to be that tiring!
List 3 of your favourite aspects of sewing!
I like how therapeutic sewing can be. I feel very relaxed and free from all my worries as sewing takes most of my focus - so I don’t have the luxury to think about anything else.
I love choosing fabrics! It’s fun to imagine how different materials and patterns of fabrics can turn into a dress, shirt, bag and more. I once spent almost a whole hour choosing a fabric meant for a dress, but got distracted thinking of how I can make other kinds of clothing with all the fabric.
I like how I’m able to make clothes that are exactly my style. The choice of fabric and design of the clothes are all determined by me.
Sifting through the huge amount of fabric designs and wondering which ones to choose!
What’s a key takeaway for you when it comes to learning how to sew?
There may come a point when mistakes are inevitable and things will get messy, but be patient and trust the process. The sense of satisfaction when you complete a project is something to look forward to.
Fitri and her partner in life! Lovely to see you two.
Family are truly our muse - it's always so heartwarming to see individuals from different walks of life stepping through our doors, ready to learn something new, be it for themselves or for others. If you would like to start on your own sewing journey, put your best foot forward! Links are below.
For those just starting out:
Pick from our huge collection of designs and have the patterns drafted for you to cut and sew:
Create your clothes right from scratch! From taking measurements and creating patterns and drafts to sewing:
Until then, see you in the next feature! Fashion Makers signing out.