Candy + Bagel

Responsibly Handmade Fashion by Jean Chung

What's in my {ballet} bag..

HandmadeFashionJean ChungComment

My Ballet Bag --

My dance bagxtokidoki

This is my ballet bag! It's actually a DIAPER BAG by Ju Ju Be, and this print was their collaboration with Tokidoki, one of my favorite brands in the world. When I got this bag, I knew that someday it will become my ballet bag. It has lots of pockets, insulated bottle holders, and a roomy main compartment. And it's a backpack style! My little one stopped wearing diapers and doesn't need me to carry around change of clothes anymore that much so now this is mine.

Candy & Bagel Bag

Inside the bag, I keep a spare leotard (my handmade), skirt (my handmade, in Tokidoki print), warmups (handmade of course), ballet flats, pointe shoes, fake lashes, sewing kit, lambswool, Theraband, and a lavender sachet. 

 Pointe Shoes: Russian Pointe | Ballet flats: Grishko | Tin can: Trader Joe's | Eyelashes: Japanese grocery market | "Theraband" from Bunheads

Pointe Shoes: Russian Pointe | Ballet flats: Grishko | Tin can: Trader Joe's | Eyelashes: Japanese grocery market | "Theraband" from Bunheads

{the Close Up}

I am still trying out different pointe shoes, and don't feel like I have found THE ONE yet. I keep my Russian Pointe Sapfir and Entrada Pro in my bag, and alternate. I just got a new pair of Bloch Heritage as well, so I threw in yet another shoes in the mix. 

For ballet flats, I bought these Grishko canvas flats in 2014 and that's it, never had to replace them or never made me look elsewhere for new flats. I wash them only 2~3 times a year and I love how clean they look and they look great on my feet. 

And of course, my pointe shoe sewing kit. It's actually a tin can that used to hold Trader Joe's Peppermint Bark (mmmmmm). I keep my needles, pointe shoe accessories (ribbons, elastics, toe spacers, pads...) and a small thing of baby powder. 

I use Theraband a lot to stretch and do toe exercises. 

 Lavender leotard, ballet skirts, legwarmers, warm-up shorts, handdyed lambswool: Candy & Bagel 

Lavender leotard, ballet skirts, legwarmers, warm-up shorts, handdyed lambswool: Candy & Bagel 

Over the years, I made a couple of leotards, few legwarmers, warmers, and of course, many many ballet skirts. I also have a lot of 100% wool from spinning. 

I absolutely love watching other ballet dancers sharing what's in their dance bags on YouTube and Instagram! I think we pretty much have similar items for essentials but I love seeing other people's neatly folded leotards, unique skirts, and little things they carry around to help them feel better after class. :D


I'm on The Sweet Georgia Show!

AnnouncementJean ChungComment

Last month, I received a very exciting email from the Sweet Georgia Show, inviting me on to the show for an episode. Felicia of the Sweet Georgia Yarns supported yarns for several of my designs in the past, and we've briefly met in person at TNNA before but never really had a chance to sit down and get to know each other.

Listen to the interview and read about the giveaway here



The giveaway ends on November 14, so be sure to submit your information for a chance to win a free pattern and a free ballet skirt!

We talked a lot about my day job, my passion for creating, and balancing and juggling everything. I am one of those people, "multipotentialite" (See TedTalk by Elimie Wapnick), and I have so many interests. Even before becoming a mom, I always pursued several interests at the same time, totally devoting myself to those passions. In high school, it was writing, journalism, and dancing; in college, it was dancing, political science, and Korean traditional drums. Finally, in law school, I was pursuing knitting, law, and yoga. 

So the idea of juggling many different passions is not new to me, although now that I'm older and not a student anymore, the expectations have grown. But this pressure is what keeps me sane and interested in life. When I tried to cut one aspect of my life, in hopes of simplifying my life a bit, it became boring and uninspiring. I was in a creative rut for several months!

Understanding how I work, and knowing when to let go were really important part of the lesson. I embraced my need to fill my life up with multiple passions, and when I reach certain point in the pursuit of that passion, I know that I need to take a break, and explore other options too. 

That's where I am at with Candy & Bagel as a brand. For many years, Candy & Bagel was the place where I did my knitting and designing. Now I have a need to pursue something beyond knitting and designing. More importantly, I have a need to grow Candy & Bagel into something that help me and people like me. 

Don't let your history or investment limit your growth. Sometimes, you need to analyze whether to let go and pursue something else, and let yourself have a little break. It's not the end, it's just part of your growth and expansion into the world. 


Thoughts on fast fashion.

Jean ChungComment

I have to be honest, I've shopped at those places before.

Where pretty floral blouses are just $15 a piece and a pair of shoes costs $35.

Where if you hesitate and don't buy something, and you go back the following week, you're greeted with all new arrivals. 

Where the company is expected to deliver a new collection weekly, 52x a year.

They're sure enticing, because most of us are attracted to new things. 

It doesn't stop at physical stores in the malls. Browsing through Amazon, it's not hard to find a pair of pants for $25 and a work-appropriate top for $10~20. 

So, where does Candy & Bagel stand? How can handmade fashion survive? How will small label designers survive? 

I think there is a place. There is a reason for this boom and growth of handmade businesses. The more advanced we become technologically, the more people crave the human connection. That's why this quote really resonated with me. Everything I make, I think about the fabric, the yarn, the environment, the source, how it feels between my fingers, and how it moves through my needles and sewing machines. I think about the person who will be wearing them, I think about the weather, the style, the body type, and everything. I create, not just beautiful things, but to make PEOPLE feel beautiful and cared for, when they wear my creations.

That's the ammo I have against those big chain stores that can manufacture sweaters at $17.50 a piece. They might make people look pretty in pictures, but will they make you feel loved and cared for? We wear clothes everyday; shouldn't they make us feel good?