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What’s up everyone? Come March this year, things have taken quite an unexpected turn, what with the coronavirus making its debut in a host of new countries across the world, and spreading and infecting hundreds of thousands of people at a staggering pace. Of course, Malaysia hasn’t been spared either, with now over 4000 cases all across the nation, and an impending need to curb this newfound disease from getting out of control. And what better way to do that, than with a country-wide lockdown. More specifically, a total movement control order. Which is, unarguably, a good move. Just not a very well-received one – no, not by us teenagers. This is certainly going to go down as one of the strangest and most boring periods of our (not-so-long) histories, with studies put on hold, a strict ruling to not leave the house and a lot of favorite meetups and gatherings cancelled. And just when we thought we might be able to escape this disruption and disarray, my sister and I were informed that our exams too would be postponed (to when, ermm, we don’t know). Which leaves us now with three long and desolate months of holidays up to July – this isn’t unusual for us though, as after exams we do get a similar break before starting on our subsequent academic year. Things are, perhaps, just a little bizarre this time around as it’s been brought forward, and we haven’t planned yet on how to spend the time, and we can’t be forgetting about all the syllabus material just yet (mind you, I’ve already started). During last year’s (totally expected) break, we had planned to start on some new projects and finish some others that had been lying around undone for too long. One of these was replenishing our household wardrobe, which, at the time, consisted largely of well-worn skirts and tops (well, that was the case for my sister and I – we weren’t really going on the same path for my brother’s wardrobe, or maybe we just weren’t paying attention). But as planned holidays go, the days passed faster than we expected and we found ourselves starting on our first and third years at university, with no progress whatsoever on this task. We were even comprehensive enough to order a new sewing machine (the old one was just as well-worn as our wardrobe), that laid there in our storeroom for months on end, probably wondering how punctual its owners were going to be about their task at hand. So at present, we decided to kick off our holidays by embarking on our sewing project, in particular for our collection of skirts. I know this isn’t really a trend anymore, but both my sister and I prefer skirts in going about our daily lives at home, from doing the chores to finishing homework to nagging our little brother. And with having to spend more of our days fully at home, it made sense to make some apparel investments first. Luckily, we had already purchased the materials for this in February, at fabric store Kamdar (you know, when going out was still legal). We each needed four different skirts, and somehow had managed to pair up all of our selections accordingly (any variations arising from my love of pink and my sister’s love of blue). Those that were 45 inches long were bought at 1.5 meters, and those that were 60 inches long were bought at 1 meter, for a mix of mid- and below-knee and full-length pieces (again, because of my love of long sweeping skirts). Once we had roughly sketched how our skirts would be sewn, we started with dividing up the process – I was tasked to measure and cut the different materials based on the varying designs of each piece, my sister was on stitching and manhandling-the-stubborn-machine duty, and my little brother assisted in cleaning up and fetching sewing equipment from all the dark crevices of the cabinets upstairs. I have to say, all that needlework was a great way to pass the time, given we were stitching about one skirt every two days. And when we had finished, we took another day to fix in the rubber bands and adorn each piece with ribbons and laces of all sorts – oh, and fix all those horrifying bunched up stitches. And the inside out ones. And the ones that chewed up the cloth. Though we’re not too sure on how impressive our handwork really is, we can definitely say it exceeded our expectations and turned out to be quite the winning collection. So before we put them through the daily terrors of being stained with curry and being relentlessly spun and scrubbed, we thought of putting together an exhibition of each set, complete with the stories and features behind each piece, and the relevance they have to our regular household regimes. We start off with the Dew Series, the first of The Lockdown 2020 Skirts Collection. Here we have floralwhite and mist-hued midi length skirts symbolizing the ambience behind the cool and showery days of the monsoon season, designed with motifs of the blue wind poppies and auburn willow leaves that accompany it. Soft printed poplin cotton makes them a comfortable fit for going about the kitchen, in all the usual frenzy of grinding and rolling, and mixing and sautéing. We had the first piece laced with simple grey flowers to match the theme, and the second adorned by a striking red chiffon ribbon along the ends, as to contrast the color voidness of the fabric. Similarly striking red heels, moccasins and casual T-shirts complete the look, along with tight hair buns, which is something most of us resort to in the heat of everyday cooking. Next up is the Petal Series, the second of the collection, themed to all the vibrance and cheeriness of tropical summery weather. Here we have the first piece featuring resplendent hues of purple, pink and green, designed from heavy rough-textured lawn cotton fabric that weighs it down, giving off the elegant look of a tulle skirt. We’ve had this fabric for years now, and never thought it could be fashioned into something so fetching for our collection. The second piece, coloured in sunny yellows and tea-rose orange, was fabricated from light gossamer cotton to give it a charming diaphanous and bouncy look – the cloth tinted pink by the soft lining underneath. We completed the look with loose low ponytails, glossy maroon flats and moccasins, champagne glasses (without the champagne) and tops perfect for a day out in the sun (in our porch, because remember, we’re on lockdown!). Third in line is the Lush Series, which happens to be my personal favourite of this collection. A rich profusion of sweet-scented jasmine and bougainvillea flowers bedeck our garden in these springtime months – perhaps the idea behind this series’ theme. Ranging from mid-knee to tea lengths, the skirts feature soft Japanese cotton fabric and a flowery explosion of coral pink peony roses and winding green vines. We found that the pieces were well complemented with satiny white ribbons stitched near the hem, and so went for pure white T-shirts and light gold earrings in completing the look. Oh, and spice bottles and high ponytails, since springs in this part of the world can get particularly hot and dry. So hot and dry that we sometimes wonder if this really qualifies as spring. And lastly, we have the Chillout Series – here we decided to do a complete juxtaposition of our pieces, with my sister’s piece sweepingly long and tiered, and mine bell-shaped and of below-knee length. The fabric for the first one was 60 inches long, which is why we decided on the tiered design. In maximizing our usage of the fabric, we used some of the cloth from the top layer and joined it with the bottom one (in economic terms, being productively efficient). This piece was also crafted from pastel pink poplin cotton cloth, dotted with small strawberry motifs and trimmed with polka-dotted green ribbon at each layer. As for the second piece, we went for a glossier fabric, coloured in the deep red hues of autumn foliage and patterned with yellow daisies. Here we are styling them, along with sturdy boots, our favourite stuffed pets, and our even more favourite Jacob’s Crackers tin. The pets, because all this commotion on the virus has disallowed us from petting our neighbourhood rabbits and alley cats. The tin, because all this commotion on the lockdown and there being insufficient groceries has made us appreciate the value of long-lasting crackers. And because they’re yummy too. So that’s our collection for this time around. You’re probably wondering what we’re going to do about our stock of shirts. Of course, shirts being a little harder to make, we’re not going to run the risk of a terrible sewing disaster with them. Instead, we’re going to visit PDI once the lockdown is over – after all, this too shall pass!