simple fall outfit boots jeans and long cardigan

Slow Fashion October: Small and Loved

Small

Karen’s invitation for the second week of Slow Fashion October was to talk about handmade, living with less, choosing quality over quantity, capsule wardrobes and indie fashion and sustainability.

First of all, I’m realising that for a couple of years now, every month has been slow fashion month for me. The goal every season was to reduce my wardrobe as much as possible and to only bring in garments that I really loved and used all the time.

I haven’t bought any new garments for the better part of this year and when I did was to buy winter garments that I needed as I changed countries. I’ve focused on making fewer things and taking more time in planing and making them. When I’ve made something I knew I wasn’t going to wear a lot, I’ve donated it. Like this mint knitted t-shirt. In the next week I want to donate or repurpose some of my fall-winter sweaters and give away a few pairs of pants.

I’ve started knitting, which is so much slower than sewing. It’s something I used to dislike, but I’ve found it to be very rewarding, especially when paired with audiobooks.

I find having less stuff eliberating. Keeping only clothes I really like and wear is very practical. As is keeping only the amount of clothes that fit comfortably in my closet.

Loved

During the summer, one of my produest acomplisments was sewing the Adelaide dress. I used a fabric I had bought on holiday, two years ago and it was great to use it for something I know I will wear a lot. It will have to wait until spring for now, but it was great to make and great to wear.

Two other items that I wear all the time are my two leather jackets. I bought my black leather jacket maybe 5 years ago and I’ve worn it a trillion of times. Same with my brown leather one. They were not cheap, but they were a bargain if we’d look at cost per use.

One of my most frequently worn items last winter was an old, grey wool cardigan that is starting to show it’s age. I would love to be able to make one just like it, maybe from the wool of another sweater I don’t wear that much anymore.

grey cardigan

One thing that I’ve sewn recently and love is a house robe made with the softest micro-fleece ever. I’ve used the Oslo by Seamwork coat pattern alteration and made a big fluffy, 3/4 sleeved robe that’s super warm and wonderful and makes me feel proud when I wear it. I would have never been able to buy this: this fabric, in this colour, in this exact size and this exact pattern.

oslo cardigan house robe

 

october slow fashion

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?

 

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How to knit a boho mini cross body purse (free pattern)

Recently I’ve started to experiment more and more with knitting and I made this purse. It’s not perfect and I am sure there are better ways to knit this, but this is just how I did it.

This free knitting pattern is beginner friendly, you need to be able to knit and purl and decrease (which is easy).
It also includes a knittied cord (with a link to the video I used to learn how to do it) and a bit of crochet (you can skip the crochet if want).

The purse is basically a seed stitch rectangle with a decreased seed stitch flap.

To knit the rectangle(the body of the purse):

Cast on 20 stitches (if you don’t know how to cast on, there’a video at the end of this post!)

Row 1: knit

Row 2: Knit 1, purl 1 … until the end of the row

Row 3: Purl 1, knit 1 … until the end of the row.

Repeat until you have a rectangle that’s twice long as the palm of your hand (or as deep as you want your purse to be).

Cast off (video at the end of the post).

 

For the purse flap

Pick up the stitches (see video below) from on of the short edges or your rectangle and knit the first two rows.

Row 3: Decrease 1 at the beginning of the row, purl 1, knit 1 until you get to the end of the row, then decrease 1.

Row 4: repeat, making sure you’re doing a purl when you see a knit stitch and viceversa

When you have 8 stitches left on you needle, cast off.

 

How to distinguish a purl stitch from a knit stitch

For me, the purl stitch looks kind of like a bump and the knit stitch kind of like a V. For the seed stitch, you need to alternate between purl and knit on your row and also between rows.

So if I were to start the new row from the photo below, I would knit 1 (because the first stitch on the needle is a purl), then purl 1 (because the next stitch is a knit) and so on.

 

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Knit the cord

It was the first time I knitted a cord. Once you learn to do this you’ll only want to knit cord, so beware 🙂

I learned using the video at the end of the post

 

small cross body knitted boho purse free knitting pattern

Join your pieces 

Once you have your flap and main rectangle and cord, sew them toghether.

I used a crochet to pick up stitches, but you can use a needle and just sew your pieces toghether. There’s a how to video below if this is the first time you’re trying something like this.

 

free knitting pattern small knitted cross body boho ethnic purse

I embroidered my flap with the same wool I used for the cord, but if you know how to do intarsia or fair isle, you could use that to decorate your purse flap.

I didn’t add a button, because I want to sew a zippered lining to my purse and leave the flap as it is, but you could add one to your creation.

IMG_4613s

I hoped you enjoyed the tutorial and please leave a comment if you have a suggestion of how we can improve it. I am a beginner knitter myself 🙂

How to videos:

How to long tail cast on:

How to cast off your knitting

How to knit cord

How to join (sew) your knitted pieces

sewing green printing sewing patterns on magazine paper

Sewing green: How to repurpose paper for your sewing patterns

Do you often think about reducing waste, repurposing materials and using only as much as you need when you sew?

I wanted to share a quick tip on how I reuse paper for printing my sewing patters: I use old magazines, brochures or snail mail. Most of them come in A4 paper, so I take out the staples and cut them into single A4 sheets. Or most likely rip them apart in single A4 sheets 🙂

I make sure they’re not bent or soiled in any way, then put them through my printer, like I would with normal fax/print paper. I know many of you will say that the images on the magazines are distracting, but if you really like to double the life of a few sheets of paper, you’ll see it’s really not that difficult to see the lines and cut your pattern.

printing sewing patterns on magazine paper

For my future Mesa dress from Seamwork I used the brochure from out trip to Niagara falls this summer 🙂

There’s a version of this brochure online, if we ever need it again and in the meantime, there’s a large percentage of the paper from this brochure that’s being reused instead of being binned.

Do you have any green sewing tips yourself?

september best of sewing and making by sky turtle

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?

 

 

 

 

 

adelaide vest world map

Adelaide world map vest top

Hello readers,

Are you out there? It’s been two crazy busy, but good – wonderful busy- months so the blog was a bit neglected. I did get to do a bit of sewing and knitting and I’ll share with you more soon.

Today I wanted to show you how I modified the Adelaide dress pattern by Seamwork to make a vest.

How to choose fabric

I chose a stiff, tapestry fabric. This world map fabric is made in Spain and I bought it from Barcelona when I was still living there. I’ve used it to make a million things. I made bags, made pouches and clutches and pillow-cases and even thought about making a pair of jeans, but never got the courage to try that… anyway, I still had a piece of this lovely fabric that I brought with me in Canada and wanted to use it for something special.

For this to look like a vest and not just a tank top (hmm… tank top!) you should use a fabric with a bit of body. If you’re going to layer this over blouses (like I plan to) you can try the tapestry section for some amazing fabrics that have always wanted a chance to become clothes.

After I made the Adelaide dress I posted about here, I was so excited about the fit of the pattern that I wanted to make more. I still want to make more – maybe a fall version? In wool? Crazy?

How to modify the pattern to make this vest

So I decided to sew a vest. I love vests! Strangely I didn’t own any. That had to be fixed.

 

The first thing I did was to decide where the vest top was going to hit and I chose my natural waistline. I knew this was going to be boxy, so with my frame (even though I love them) a long boxy vest wouldn’t look proportional. After I stitched together the shoulder straps and sewn the sides of the vest I folded it in half and created a shorter in the back – longer in the front, slightly V-shape but just cutting in an angle from the centre back to the centre front.

Hm… I’ll make a quick sketch, wait!

Does this make sense?

I was going to leave it like this, but my very wise partner suggested front darts to make the vest more fitted. So, wearing my vest on the wrong side, I pinned in place the darts, then stitched them.

adelaide world map vest top

I then finished the neck and armhole and bottom hem with self-made bias binding (that was actually a fabric remnant from my painted fabric napkins project!).

When I took this photos, I hadn’t decided if I wanted to leave it like this or attach snaps but went with snaps in the end. I love snaps, I could use them for everything!

 

 

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August in sewing and making

August was a little quiet here on the blog, which means it was a bit crazy outside this blog.

There was some travel and there were a few days of reading on the beach, swimming and eating fresh fish.

beach scene

There were some weddings (3) and lots of beautiful people to meet and see again. I wore my Adelaide dress and other summery garments I had made the years before, which made me feel secretly proud I can sew for myself.
There was a lot of running around and too much work for an August, but I’m greatful everything turned out ok.

sky scrapers
In sewing and making I didn’t advance too much. I crocheted a toy bunny (that I forgot to take a photo of before he found his new home!) and I started a new knitting project (again working without a pattern and trying to make it as I go).

What about you? How was your August? Are you going back to school this September? I am (yikes) after many years 😀

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Best of July in sewing and making

Summer’s almost over, just a month left. How did this happen?

I know I should complain about the heat and humidity and the bugs and everything that’s not completely cool about summer. But I enjoy those too. Time seemed to fly so that’s why I started documenting my crafty/creative/fun time here. Even if I don’t post a full blog post about each of those cool moments, I get to capture them and maybe feel happy about them in the future. Ideally also see progress in learning new things!

See also: Best of June in sewing and making 

I made a crochet top

I explored more crochet work this month and used a new scallop stitch I learned from this blog post from The Inspired Wren to make a new top. I’ll post a photo of the finished photo, but it’s basically a crop top I self-drafted incorrectly and saved through a crochet bottom half of the top.

crochet scallop point

I took 10 minutes to photograph lemons in my water jar

But I did more than that, I took the time to enjoy the colours and the taste of the lemon water.

lime water

I dyed some fabric with blueberries

This was super fun! I tried a sort of chaotic shibori tie dye technique and submerged the fabric into a soup of hot blueberries. It turned out really great and even though there is a bit of discoloration, the fabric napkins I made like this are still pretty after their third wash! I didn’t use any fancy chemicals, just a bit of vinegar to set the colour. I’ll do a separate post on this as well!

shibori napkins

I found this pretty fabric

You know when you buy a fabric so pretty you have a million ideas of what you could do with it and can’t decide? I’m procrastinating until this fabric starts feeling a bit less exciting – I’m almost down to two ideas.  Did you ever experience this fabric… what to call it… anxious excitiment? 🙂

pretty alladin fabric

Played a bit more with watercolours

Not too much, maybe less than last month, but I still managed to paint some new things. I also have a new column for the blog I’ll introduce soon. Hint: it mixes watercoulurs and pattern making. Can you guess what it is?

knitted basket illustration watercolor

The mixed media basket above is an idea I saw on Pinterest. Someone took a basic basket and knitted the top part to use as a yarn holder. It looks beautiful and I love the idea of using mixed materials. I’d like to do this, but I haven’t found the perfect one yet.

And that’s about it. I did post about my Adelaide dress here so I won’t mention that again now. What was new or fun for you in July? If you’ve written about this, please leave the link below!

adelaide front

My light chambray Adelaide dress

There are several reasons why I loved sewing the Adelaide dress from Seamwork. First, because the magazine really inspires me, from the patterns created to the thoughtfulness of the articles. And it’s that thoughtfulness that is contagious.

This dress is supposed to take three hours to sew, but I made it across several weekends, cutting it slowly, then sewing it slowly and finishing it, you’ve guessed it, equally slowly. Which is something I’m trying to learn how to do.

I really like the pattern and how it’s cut. It’s like Sarai knows women have curves and where those curves are located 🙂

I didn’t make any adjustments to the pattern, except raising the waistline and shortening the bottom hem. I’ve initially made the bottom a size larger and graded it, because I’ve seen other versions of the Adelaide where the bottom part was wrinkling at the hips and I wanted to avoid it, but that wasn’t necessary so in the end I had to remove that extra fabric.

I like how the neckline is shaped as well. One little trouble I have is a gap between the first and second snaps. Do you have any suggestions for that? What did I do wrong?

Otherwise, I think it looks quite nice from the back and I can see myself layering this with tights and a shirt. I most definitely want to make another one. Maybe one with sleeves? 🙂

I’d like making this in a light denim and try my hand at buttons and buttonholes. I enjoyed Seamwork’s challenge to use snaps. I really like snaps, just don’t like when they snap out of your fabric!

harem style pants diy

Harem style house pants

I’ve actually made these pants two summers ago and forgot to post them. I wanted to link to them the other day in the How to shop your closet with Pinterest post and realised they were nowhere to be found.

floral harem style pants

These pants were fun to make and fun to wear: a light batiste with pink roses (a type of fabric that I love looking at but never end wearing) and a little bit of elastic thread and they were ready in a couple of hours. I used another pair of pants I had as a pattern and got too lazy to make pockets, which is a pity because I love pockets in everything.

floral harem style pants with an elastic (shirred) waist

I had initially intended to make these to wear outside, but they looked too loungey for me. (As a note, I keep referring to them in the past, as they’ve been donated and hopefully found a new home.)

floral harem style pants back detail

I liked how the waistband turned out, even if I made the waist too high. As they reminded me a bit of yoga pants I folded the waistband down and I thought that looked even better than my original plan.

Mistakes I’ve made with these pants:

  • They would have been better lounge pants if the fabric I chose was a bit elastic
  • The crotch was too low, even for lounge pants
  • I should have elasticized a larger area of the waistband (or maybe the sides? Hmm…) –> like these they were just 2% too tight when pulling them up

Good things I’ve made with these pants:

  • They are unintentional cool pajamas
  • I’ve serged everything first, them sewn very neatly
  • I tried to face my fear of wearing tiny floral prints (and failed!)

That’s about it with the easy to sew harem style pants, I just wanted to document and share 🙂

What about you? Do you wear tiny floral prints outside the house? Around the house?