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3 things I liked about the Dior and I documentary

dior skirt volumeEven though I am interested in shape, texture, style, technique, garments, making and sewing in general, I am not particularly interested or excited by fashion. There are some (few) designers in the fashion world that have created spectacular garments and shapes that challenge what one knows about sewing, making, tailoring. Dior is one of them.

The documentary overlays a text Dior wrote about himself in his Dior by Dior autobiography with the first couple of months or Raf Simons‘ first couture show as the House’s new Creative Director (the Creative Director resigned last month from Dior).

As a sewing and making aficionado, I would have preferred to see more of the work in the Atelier, but there are three things I really liked:

1. The process of designing the new collection

I really liked how Raf Simons plans the new collection: he chooses 12 silhouettes or ideas and crates a folder of inspiration for each. He gives these folders to his team and then they produce around 100 sketches out of which he chooses the very few that will become real garments.

As a maker who doesn’t want to create unnecessary garments and is concerned with minimalism, but loves experimenting with new fabric, shape, forms and ideas, I find this idea of the folder and the research very interesting. One could create one such folder per month, or per season and develop a mini collection that is well researched and well understood – and produce fewer garments that will last for a long time.

 

2. The Atelier and the wonderful people there

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I am not sure why it was so great to see 6 people working together over a piece of mesh fabric, applying minuscule beads and an intricate embroidery that covers a full skirt. But it was. To see the people who make Dior, their smiles, their jokes, their hands, their snacks 🙂

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3. The incredible shape of garments

At one point the classical Dior white jacket is looked at closely and you can see that the hourglass silhouette is created not only through smart darts and tailoring, but with tiny over-waist pads that create and control volume.

dior-new-look-in-vogue-4-5_130143580659

Photo sources: above – Vogue, rest Life Magazine Archive: Dior at work, Dior full floral skirt. Screengrabs from the trailer below.

Have you watched it yet? What did you think of it?

 

Best of October in sewing and making

October was a good month. Not a lot of sewing unfortunately, but lots of ideas for projects and things to try.

I loved the October Slow fashion movement. I’ve written about the items I wear most and love most, the link between mindful making and slow fashion, and talked about buying pre-loved and mending things you wear. It’s also pretty cool because the end of October and beginning of November mark the eight months I didn’t buy any new garments (with the exception of socks and intimates and 1 blizzard emergency winter layer last March 🙂 I’m more and more interested in reusing materials, from tiny things like reusing paper for printing sewing patterns, to refashioning things you own and visible mending.

I have a refashion idea for a long sleeve I’ve been wearing weekly for some autumn and winters now and I’m getting inspired by the beautiful embroidery I see on Instagram.

I’ve experimented a bit more with knitting and crochet and made this tiny purse. There’s a tutorial too, but I guess I should read more patterns to be able to really write a good tutorial. Or make a video maybe?

I’m a bit impatient with patterns so I tend to just jump in and try things, but sometimes this actually takes more time in the long run because I don’t learn basic concepts everyone knows. On the other hand, it’s pretty cool to understand things like gauge and how to predict the number of stitches you’ll need to create a simple garment, so I’m enjoying that as well.

I’ve sewn some new things as well,  but more about that in a future post :>

Lemon banana muffins recipe: illustrated

Another little change you might have noticed on the blog is the new This Foodie tab, which is a link to my (very small) food blog. So if you’re into food, check it out 🙂

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How was your October?

 

Slow Fashion October: On our need for many clothes, mindful making and fast fashion

I’m excited about Karen’s invitation to talk about slow fashion and make October the month in which we look at what we own, we curate and repair our everyday and special garments.

This is my YOU post She suggested in the series.

How I came about caring about slow fashion

(This is an edited version of the post in which I first discussed minimalism and fast fashion on the blog).

Why do we buy clothes all the clothes we buy?  I know, partly because we can’t all live our lives in naked bliss. Because we’d be cold without clothes. Because clothes are an expression of the self. But why do we buy clothes, all the time? How cold are we and how much can this “self” be expressed through clothing? Or is it something else?

Could it be we go to a shop when we’re sad or tired, because we feel the need to reward ourselves for our hard work? Could it be that we need to feel beautiful or sexy and shopping for that perfect pair of pants or that amazing dress is the promise of that?

In the last two years I’ve started paying more attention to what I bought and when. And why. I’ve started a little experiment with clothes. I stopped buying any new clothes.

october slow fashion how many jackets do we need

It started with was moving to a new flat and giving away all the clothes I knew I wasn’t going to wear anymore. I’ve promised myself I will only buy anything new only if I really loved it or really needed it. As it turned out during the first year, that didn’t really happen. Then, at the beginning of this year, as I’ve moved to a new country, and gave away all of my clothes I didn’t love or wear all the time, I’ve decided to just keep it as it was and try not buy any new clothes. I could make myself new clothes or I could buy second-hand. The exceptions was going to be a winter coat. And guess what, I really didn’t need to buy anything new.

How slow fashion affected my everyday life and my sewing habits

The experiment had a side effect: I started thinking more and more about the garments that I was sewing. Did I really need to make another skirt I’d never wear?

I’ve started to think more and more about minimalism, space, mindfulness, space to breathe and think and be. I’ve cleaned my closet and my head or any worries related to “what will I wear today/tomorrow/next week?”. I decided this wasn’t a priority.

It helped that I had only kept the garments I really liked in my closet. Turns out it’s much easier to make outfits when your closet is used to store things you love.

simple fall outfit boots jeans and long cardigan

I did simplify the way I dress. Because I ride a bike (and also when I don’t) my clothes have to be comfortable, breathable, and practical. I opted for more comfort and less frosting. This allowed me to focus more on what I feel and what I want and what I really like.

I learned more about what I really like

I looked at my own way of dressing and realised that I liked minimalism and wasn’t a big fan of accessories. I think I had always known this but I had always tried to “mix it up” and “be creative”. But why? For whom?

I realised I like dusty tones of blue, dirty grays, darker and maybe more natural greens. I could have gone out and bought new clothes in this newly discovered palette. Instead, I bought some fabric paint and died my old clothes in colours that I felt bored with or uninspired to wear. This was great to experiment with and it worked much better than I had expected. Dyeing an off-pink shirt I was never wearing blue, made all the difference. Same with a couple of older white t-shirts that weren’t so white anymore. Same with my orange pants I was shy to wear at work. The result: more clothes I really liked – and I didn’t buy anything.

This experiment has changed the way I look at clothes that look old. The way I spend money. And more. It’s the issue with fast fashion and everything behind our need to buy and wear and own so many clothes. How much do we really need? And is it making us happier?

 

September sewing and knitting

I love fall. I love the rusty colours, the rough textures, the nutty flavours. Everything almost.

I took the photo below the other day and realised it captures some of my favourite colours: lots of earthy greens, but also some tones of blue and burgundy.

ivy wall

I used the Big Huge Labs palette generator to quickly look at this colours on a palette to see how much it resembled my current fall wardrobe pallete. I am trying to plan better what I make so that I make more things that I wear a lot. What is a lot? Is it every week at least once? How do you measure this? Is it important to you that you wear a lot the things you make?

It was fun to see the names they use for these colors: lots of turtle (ha!) greens, a rustic red, dark grey and black and some almost white tones of blue.

fall palette

So there you go! I had my fall palette!

The fun thing is that even without thinking about a palette, this last month, I’ve already finished some things in these colors: a dark (turtle) green vest and a plaid flannel shirt. I still have to press some seams and add buttons, but I’ll tell you more about this later.

I’ve knitted the vest over a few nights and I made up my own pattern, but I’ll write more about that in a future post.

The plant in the pot is the ginger I planted last month. It’s grown very fast! I love fresh ginger tea when it’s raining outside and everything is looking gloomy and I can’t wait to try the fresh version.

I’ve bought the Oslo Cardigan by Seamwork sewing pattern that I’ve been thinking about since it first came out. Initially I was going to make my own pattern for a cardigan. I’ve made one before and it was quite easy, especially when you’re working on an oversized silhouette, but I loved the Adelaide dress so much that I wanted to try another Seamwork pattern.

I have an idea how I want to modify it! Let’s see how that goes.

How was your September and what are you planning for October?

 

 

 

 

 

3 new pages from my sketchbook

Do you sketch? I’ve recently started documenting some of the things I like and would try to make and I’ve noticed that sketching not only allows me to better imagine the final garment, but it also helps with the need to make a million things, because sketching somehow counts as a creative process, so I can change my mind about a garment before I sew something that will never be worn outside the house. Like these pj pants, for example : (

sketchbook two blouses, trumpet sleeves and embroidered blouse

Some of these are garment sketches start from something I found on Pinterest, but drawing them gives me the space to add my own ideas and to futher make something mine.

It also serves as a work in progress tool for garments I would love to make but I’m not quite sure how yet, like the cutout embroidery top above. My grandma used to make this with her old Singer machine, so I could try to make this with a dense zigzag. But I might also embroider this by hand.

sketchbook two more tops, pleats and embroidery

For other items, like the tiny pleats and embroidery top or the sleeveles turtleneck top above it helps me visualise the final piece and the fit. For the first one I really have to make sure I find a lightweight batiste, or something that both embroiders and pleats well. The second could turn out too boxy and unflattering for my figure if I choose a fabric that’s too stiff.

sewing sketchbook two blouses

I think with the multitude of inspiration sources we have nowadays and the many “I want!” we have to deal with, sketching pleasantly slows down the process of creating new garments, making it more rewarding and more meaningul at the same time.

So, do you sketch too? I’d love to see your notebook, or saved, preciously sketched napkins 🙂

Best of June in sewing and making

Last month I started documenting the small pleasures, little discoveries and hopefully areas of personal growth in sewing, knitting, making in general. These were my favourite things to discover or do in June:

See also: Best of July in sewing and making 

Inspired to sew (or at least consider trying) sewing a bra.

I’ve been reading and admiring bloggers who make lingerie and especially bras, but I’ve never considered it something I could try, until I read Ingrid’s post about her Watson bra. She says this:

“I think one of the reasons I love making lingerie, is that it takes no time whatsoever, and I don’t have to break my back taping/cutting patterns and fabric on the floor. It all feels very civilised, sitting at my desk cutting out tiny little pieces with my rotary cutter”

and she made this:

neon-watson3

So inspiring, like everything she makes. Don’t miss out her blog.

I’ve been loving Sarai’s posts about the Florence bra and I have her Nutmeg pattern in paper. It’s one of the very few patterns I brought with me when we moved and I’ve never used it.

I started a new sketchbook

I’ve started a small notebook for sewing ideas and projects. I know there’s Pinterest (love it, wrote about how to stay away from buying more that you need here) but it’s different when you draw something and in this case when you stick the actual fabric on the same paper. It becomes almost real. I’ve shared this image on Instagram, are you on instagram? Follow me or leave a comment below so I can find you!

handmade sketch blouse idea diy sewing

I’m experimenting with watercolours

And realising how little I actually know about painting. Actually almost nothing. I will still share this with you because it will be cool to see the progress over the months. I like doodling, drawing, painting so it’s something I want to do more of. I got a new set of travel watercolours so this alows me to quickly doodle something in my lunch break and makes cleaning up/putting everything back really quick.

crochet watercolour by sky turtle

I’ve used the tinyest needles ever to swatch this cotton yarn

These needles are so pretty and at the same so fragile (or at least they seem to be so) that they allowed me to be patient with my swatching. It’s amazing how gauge changes with the different patterns. I really like this cotton yarn, it’s actually a darker blue that my camera captured it here. It’s also really thin so I really need to find a strategy to channel my inner zen knitter.

swatching in blue cotton and really tiny needles

What about you? What did you learn or experiment with in June?

How to shop – and get inspired by – your own closet with Pinterest

Do you guys remember life before Pinterest or Bloglovin? Pinterest is great: there’s no need to limit yourself to just 20 (200?) photos because they won’t fit on your corkboard, you can share and discover new things and create secret boards if you want to “marinate” a project or an idea. But I’m preaching to the converted I believe 🙂

The downside of Pinterest is that it – in all it’s wonderfulness – contributes to analysis paralysis. Soo many choices, everything is beautiful, I need them all.

And this is important when you are a maker who loves to explore new techniques and new ideas but also wants to stay minimalistic and not contribute to the quicksands of the fast fashion industry.

A way to fall (back) in love with the things you already own and get a new perspective on your closet is to look for your favourite garments on Pinterest and see how other people wear them.

Do this quick exercise: pick 5 items you love most from your closet (if that’s difficult, just pick the first 5 that come to mind. Try not to make them pairs of socks!), then pick 1 item you really like but never wear.

Then search away on Pinterest, and if you have the time, even create boards for those items of clothing, so you never find yourself uninspired again.

Here’s what I would choose:

  • my ripped pair of jeans that started as a bootcut and turned into a skinny denim pant
  • a little black jersey dress I have since for ever and love
  • a plaid sleeveless top I made
  • a pair of black pants with an elastic waist and generous front pleats
  • a white, short-sleeved blouse
  • the joker: a blue classic button-down shirt with a white-collar and cuffs

If you have a white blouse around

And here are some ideas for wearing more of your white blouses (and not buying a new one):

  • wear it with with a bow, a bow-tie or a scarf; it’s the perfect canvas
  • wear it with sweatpants! perfect if you’re working from home
  • wear it with a knitted top in a bold colour and cat eye makeup
  • wear it with jeans and a straw hat
  • wear it with a heavy drape, paperbag waist maxi skirt like this one from Carolina Herrera

Follow sky’s board the white blouse on Pinterest.

The case of ripped jeans

Or for the ripped denim jeans:

  • wear them cuffed twice with white canvas shoes and a tucked in shirt
  • wear them with a loose fitting tank to, slip-on sneakers and a high bun
  • wear them with a cropped black top, boots and a large bag
  • wear them with a busy print button-down shirt and a funky bag or backpackripped denim jeans: wear them cuffed, with a cropped knitted halter neck top
  • wear them with heels, a perfectly pressed, half-tucked in shirt and a printed or embroidered clutch

Follow sky’s board ripped denim jeans on Pinterest.

In closing, pin as much as you want, buy as little as possible!

 

 

My top five moments for the month of May

It seems that just a few weeks ago it was snowing outside and everything was sugar-glazed and yet my burned nose still remebers the knitting session by the lake a few weeks ago. I love how seasons change but I am mesmerized of how fast time flies. And it seems to just go faster as I grow older wiser.

In an attempt of recording some of the little day to day, seasonal pleasures that make life so beautiful I’ll introduce a best of post at the end of every month. It would be so cool if you would joing me in doing the same.

5. This scribbled poem on a library desk

I was working at the library the other day and I saw this poem scribbled on my old, wooden desk:

“Why ain’t it always summer?

Why must it end?

Who wants to put their shoes on?

NOT ME, MY FRIEND”

summer poem scribbled into old wooden desk

Hah 🙂 And what better time to see this than Spring, so you can really appreciate the coming of summer?

4. Not rushing through my knitting

When i work on a project I get this strong feeling of having to FINISH IT as soon as possible. Which makes treat things I like to do like a chore sometimes. So this time I’ve only picked up this project when i wanted to and only did a few rows if that is all I felt like it. A great inspiration for knitting is Jen, who I think might be responsible for my new found love of knitting.

work in progress hand knitting mint cotton yarn on wooden floor

3. Getting new, wooden needles

Since my new addiction passion for knitting, I’ve realised how important it is to have the ride size needles when working on an imagined project and how wonderful it feels to work with wooden needles. I love the texture and their soft toc-toc.

Hey, you, knitters out there, do you do anything to keep you wooden needles happy? Like oil or wax? Is it crazy to ask?

set of wooden knitting needles with multicoloured cords

2. Spring!

We moved to Canada a few months ago and it was strange to leave Barcelona in almost spring and then wait for it for so long. In one week everything exploded into green leaves and posh flowers.

blooming pink spring tree under a blue sky

1. Knitting in public

The best moment this month was knitting in public for the first time. I love it when Heidi talks about kitting and sewing in public transport, but it was never something I did. It was beautiful to feel the lake breeze (get a sunburn) and knit at the same time.

knitting by the lake a new summer tshirt

What about you? What was our favourite thing about this month?

Why knitting could be the secret ingredient to a better life

I really liked Christina Baker Kline’s piece in the New York Times about why she didn’t use to knit, or garden, or do anything that would keep her from her focus of writing and being a writer. There’s a touching paragraph about her beloved mother, who “moved from one passion to the next like a tornado moving across a flat landscape, sweeping up everything in its path and flinging it aside — astrology, feminist activism, organic gardening.”

“Knitting was no different. For a few years, skeins of yarn piled up in baskets around the house. There weren’t enough humans in my mother’s orbit to wear all the scarves and sweaters and hats she knitted. And then, as suddenly as she started, she lost interest, leaving needles still entwined in half-finished fragments.” writes Christina Baker Kline.

She then goes on to explain the strategy she created for herself to keep her focused on her work: basically writing everyday and not getting involved in activities that would create additional distractions and potentially keep her from her writing.

“When I start a new novel and find myself diverted by domestic activities, many of which I genuinely enjoy, I panic that I will never write another word. So, consciously and unconsciously, I have laid down certain rules for myself. I will not serve lunch to anyone in the middle of a workday. I rarely rearrange my furniture or cabinets; once I find a drawer for something, it stays there. I don’t garden. And I don’t knit.”

Christina then goes on and tells the story of how she did choose to pick up those needles and knit something new, but I can’t help but wonder: am I also procrastinating and not working on my true goals when I sew, knit, crochet or make?

A little. But that’s also a pleasant way to relax and unwind. There’s nothing more relaxing and more peaceful than counting stitches in your head or imagining the construction of a new pattern. It’s not quite meditating, but it’s the closest I got.

What about you? Is your making (be it sewing, knitting, crochet etc.) calming you down or giving you more energy? And why do you make?

5 Inspiring knits to transition to spring

Hello readers! It’s been quite a while, I know. Many things have happened since, moved to a new country, moving to a new house and a serious case of wardrobe edit. Which felt fantastic.

One of the things I’ve taken up in the last couple of months is knitting. I can’t believe I stayed away from it for so many years. I’ve just finished my first sweater (I’ll tell you more about it in a future post) and I’ve made quite a few cowl neck scarves and even a (horrible and too big!) beanie for my boyfriend.

So, there’s still snow on the ground where I live now and I’m still layering 2-3 sweaters and pretty much wearing my winter coat and boots, but warmer temperatures are just a few weeks away, so it’s a good time to start thinking about new things to knit for spring 🙂

In the slideshow:

Cocoon Sweater by Wool and the gang

I don’t think I would make this pink, but I like the chunky texture and it looks like soemthing that could be knitted out of fabric strips; too tacky?

Ella Viscardi’s knitted top and backpack featured in Teenvogue

I love these two knits here. I especially like the backpack, and if you’d line it in fabric, it could even be practical. That sheer tank top is pretty as well, maybe to wear as a vest over a white blouse?

Kstylick’s open knit cardigan

I really like this chunky cardigan and I also like the bold red. It looks like soemthing you can knit in a weekend or two and it could replace a spring coat. Hmm…

Ravelry pattern by Veera Välimäki

I like this super light knit, I don’t know if I’d knit it as it is, but it’s a great inspiration for making a spring cotton blouse.

Hedvig Opshaug in a Stella McCartney dress featured in Harper’s Bazaar

I’m also thinkign about knitting a dress for spring in cotton and while I won’t try anything as complicated as this dress, I really like the fit (not too cloe to the body) and the dress lenght.