Alhamdulillah, these are among the best ones

I was feeling extremely stressful last Thursday.   Why?  I realise that I might miss some deadlines that I have set earlier.  I need to reevaluate my priority and my capability.  But, thinking too much about it makes me feel suffocated and I started to have the usual physical symptom that I acquired when I did PhD.   This is not good.  

To divert myself from the things that I have in my mind, I went to IKEA to look at some left-over fabrics that might be on sales.  I also went to Kamdar and Jakel (both don’t have much choices though).   I bought a half meter fabric from IKEA which cost me RM6.45.  I decided to use it as the lining.  So, with the existing left-over fabrics from my sister’s and my baju kurung, I started to mix-and-match the fabrics.   After spending around nearly 8 hours of sewing (with intermittent break to do some gardening), I managed to finish 5 pouches.  I used all the zippers that I bought last Monday.  

After sewing few pouches through trial-and-error, these are among the best ones
After sewing few pouches through trial-and-error, these are among the best ones

My friend suggested that perhaps I should make a tag to indicate that the pouch is hand-stitched without using sewing machine.  So, I created a simple tag with UTM Care and Charity logo.

I tied a tag with brief explanation about the pouch. To give a little personal touch to it.

When I gave the pouches to the person-in-charge at UTM Care and Charity Shop, he asked me “Berapa nak letak harga ni kak?“.  I told him that I made the pouches using left-over fabrics.  It does not cost much.  It is up to him to put the price.  He scrutinized the pouches.  I told him that I made a tag just to give a personal touch.  

Making pouch is a hobby.  I like sewing.   It is also a way for me to destress with minimal cost.   I don’t know how many pouches that I can make per week.  It depends on my emotional state though (really).  In sha Allah I will keep on making it as a means to destress.  I really need to have a balance work-leisure lifestyle.  Since I am not really into sports, this is my choice to destress.  


Note: I still do not take order for this pouch.  Nope.

Latest edition

Yesterday, my sis and her husband just came back from KL and I know that they would be hungry.  Since I didn’t cook anything on last Sunday, I had no hot meal for them to eat.  So, I went to KFC on my way back.  I bought few zippers at the shop next to KFC.  I remembered that I have the last piece of fabric from my late mom’s baju kurung.  It is just less than 16inch x 8inch.  So, I bought one 7inch zipper to make the last pouch that I will make with her fabric (she had other baju kurung but I still cannot find any left over fabrics from other baju kurungs).  So, this is my latest edition.

I showed this picture to my friend.  She said that I should give it away to UTM Charity Shop.  Well, I am still practicing.  I am not satisfied with my stitching.  I am practicing back stitching.  Once I get a hang of it, I will make pouches that I will give away to UTM Charity Shop (but I think I need to ask them if they want it.  If not, it is quite pointless for me to give something that they don’t need).  On top of that, I think I will use different fabric instead with no sentimental value attached.  😀

Should I give it away?

How many pouches that I have made so far?  More than 10.  I gave away 5 pouches.  So, I have another five left and I intend to make more because I have still left-over fabrics 😀 (actually, I need an excuse to buy new fabric from IKEA to make pouches, so I need to finish whatever left).  But, I am afraid that my craft is not up the market standard.  After all, it is hand-sewn.  It has lots of imperfections.   However, UTM Charity Shop might need this kind of things though.

Making hand-sewn pouches is just a hobby

Some people can turn their hobby into earning living.  Nope.  It is not me though.  When I showed to some friends the pouch that I made, one of them ordered 3 pouches.  3?  I was shocked and amazed that someone wants my pouch.  

At first, I think that I can finish the order during this short Eid adha break.  But as I was making the third pouch, I feel that I am no longer enjoy making the pouch.  What has happened?  What is happening now?  As I look at the unfinished pouch, I ask myself.  Why am I making the pouch on a first place?  Am I trying to get extra income?  Or is it a way for me to unwind?  If I start feeling stressful while making a pouch, it means that it is no longer a means for me to unwind.  Right?

Then, I realise that I feel pressured because I have to follow certain kind of requirement.  The person requested me to make her the three pouches with specific measurement: 21cm x 15cm pouches.  A pouch with an exact measurement.  When I look at the first two pouches that I made, I realise that there is no specific measurement.  I made it using my own hunch.  I look at my Cath Kidston’s pouch, then I decide that I want to have a slightly smaller pouch, so I just make a smaller version without exact measurement using whatever available cloth/fabric.  But when I got the order with specific measurement, I find it challenging to find “left-over” fabric or cloth.  

I asked myself “What is my original intention of making the pouch?”  It is definitely not for sale.  So, I told my friend that I cannot finish her third pouch.  I had finished two of the pouches.   I told her that I am no longer enjoy the process of making the pouch because I have started to feel stressful while making it.  It is not supposed to be that way.   I apologise to her because I don’t think I can finish the third one.  Luckily, she understands it.   

So, the reason of me showing the pouches is not to attract customers.  Nope.  I don’t sell these pouches.  It is just a means for me to unwind.  Meaning, if I feel making a pouch, I will make one without thinking too much about the end product.   

[Psst… I am learning different styles of hand-sewing, so I am experimenting with that while making the pouches.  😀 ]

Third hand-sewn pouch

I showed my pouch to some of my colleagues.  They are quite amazed that I have a time to sew a pouch.  I told them that I only take few hours to complete one pouch.  Dr Narina and Dr Norah asked me if I make the pouch for sale.  Err… nope.  It is not for sale.  

Why am I having this new hobby?  I need to use my fingers to enhance (or at least maintain) my fine motor skills.  I know that I am not getting any younger.  I find myself having muscle strain on my hand/fingers whenever I use my laptop/mouse or handphone longer than I should with no intermittent break.  This is not good.  So, I need to strengthen my fine motor skills.  I don’t want to do some exercise per se without seeing any tangible product/result.  What is the best way to unwind and at the same time, I can get tangible result? Other than gardening, it is sewing.  Back to basic.  

As I am already in my “4 series” age, to put a thread in a needle is challenging but I try my best to keep myself occupied with non-academic work-related stuff.  I know that some might perceive this as counter-productive, but what a heck.  I need to keep my life in balance.  I need to relax and unwind, doing something “productive”.  😀 

So, now I have two polka dot pouches.  Identical.  One is slightly bigger size.  For the small pouch, I use 8inch zipper and for the bigger pouch I use 10inch zipper.  It does make a bit difference.  I don’t know what I will put inside the bigger pouch.  Perhaps I will use it to put my mouse and laptop charger.  

[Psstt… this is hand-sewn so to make it A4 size might take longer than few hours]

Second hand-sewn pouch

I was fasting today.  Alhamdulillah.  I edited a paper to be submitted in a journal.  But after a while, I started to feel dizzy.  This happened around noon (11ish am).  My blood pressure is low.  So, I find myself having dizzy spell once a while especially if I am fasting and don’t take proper sahur.  I had a glass of water and a piece of biscuit only this morning.  That was my sahur.   So, that explained my I had the dizzy spell today.

I had a quick nap after zuhur because the headache was getting worst.   I thought I would only sleep for a while but little that I knew, I slept for nearly an hour.  After Asar’ prayer, I felt a bit refresh.  I was thinking what should I do while waiting for maghrib.  I looked at some left-over cloth from my late mom’s baju kurung.  I cut it into 4 pieces.   This time around, I tried different method of attaching the two pieces of cloth together with the zipper.  The finishing is better than the first version, my first attempt.

These are some of my on-a-go stationery that I need.  A pencil, pens (black and red), marker pens (black and blue), personal stamps (I have one official stamp, one is for marking assignment, one is with my name and a stamp pad).  There.  9 items.  I can put all of these items in this small pouch using Marie Kondo’s style.  

Chocolate chips cookies

I got the recipe from HERE.


  •  1/2 cup (113gram) unsalted butter, melted
  •  1/3 cup (66 gram) granulated sugar
  •  1/2 cup (104gram) light brown sugar, packed
  •  1 large egg (grade A size)
  •  1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract
  •  1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  •  1/2 teaspoon salt
  •  1 1/2 cups (186gram) all-purpose flour
  •  1 1/2 cups (255gram) chocolate chips (semi-sweet or milk)


  1. Note: This dough requires chilling.
  2. Place melted butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a large bowl if using a hand mixer). Add granulated and brown sugars and mix on low speed until the mixture is smooth. Mix in egg and vanilla extract and mix on medium speed until combined.
  3. Mix in baking soda and salt, then slowly mix in flour and mix just until the batter is smooth and comes together. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl during mixing. Slowly mix in chocolate chips.
  4. Line a cookie sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Scoop 2 tablespoon balls of dough onto the cookie sheet. Spacing doesn’t matter because you will be chilling the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a second cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  6. Remove the chilled cookie dough balls from the refrigerator and space them 2-inches apart on the cookie sheets. Bake (2 tablespoon sized cookies) for 11-15 minutes, or until the edges are a light golden and the tops are no longer glossy. Let cool on the cookie sheets at least 10 minutes before removing.

Upcycle an old PJ into a cushion cover

This was my old PJ.  The one that I had when I was in Durham.  But it has worn out.  When my late mom’s wheel chair needs a cushion cover, I searched for “suitable” cloth to make the cushion.  I could not find any cloth.   Then I remember that I have old PJs made from cotton.  So, I chosed this blue PJ and turned it into cushion cover.

I did not have to do extensive make-over for this one.  I just cut the arm parts and sewed the rest.   Since my sister did not allow me to use her sewing machine, I had hand-sewn this.

As you can see, there bottom part has buttons and a small pocket, the pre-existing features from my old PJ which I retained.

Hand-sewn small pouch

When I feel stressful, sometimes I like to sew beads on my baju kurung.  But I am too lazy to restock the beads so, whatever left is not enough to embellish my baju kurung.  I am trying to spring clean my room (a wish that I have since January) but like always, I find some of the things that I have stashed away (on my last spring clean).  I found a left-over fabric from my late mom’s baju kurung and a polka dot black-and-white fabric that I bought last year (for my other project that has never been materialised).

I watched Youtube on how to make lunch bag, pouch and and such.  I came across a video showing how to make a hand-sewn small pouch.  So, I gathered all the materials that I needed after maghrib yesterday and I started to sew around 8 pm until 10 pm and I continued to finish sewing this morning.


a) All you need are a piece of fabric (the sizes depend on your preference) – 4 pieces and a zipper.  The tools that you need are a needle, thread and scissor (for cutting)


Align the different pieces of fabric together with the zipper and sew it together.


Flip the stitched fabric and make sure the same fabric are stitched together.  Make sure you keep the zipper open.  When you sew the edges of the same fabric together, leave a small space (not sew together) as an opening so that you can flip the pouch like picture D below through the opening.


After you flip the pouch inside out, sew the opening.


The end product.  I put my stationery, official stamp and such inside.  I always want to have a small pouch like this.  The one that I can buy have different sizes and materials that I don’t prefer.  So, creating my own pouch ticks every single requirement that I want to have on a small pouch.  Satisfaction guaranteed.