Best of October in sewing and making

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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 ūüôā 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 ūüôā

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How was your October?

 

9 embroidery pieces that will make you want to grab a needle and thread

tiny polar bear embroidery beautiful

I’ve been thinking about embroidery lately because I wanted to refresh a thin sweater I wear all the¬†time (including when I’m cooking without an apron). The stain is barely visible, but it’s still there. I am in between doing something big and bold (like big Frida Khalo style florals) or something really tiny and barely visible, almost like a polo logo.

Here are some of the embroidery pieces on Instagram that inspire me most:

  1. This cute otter patch

The advantage of trying this is that I could embroider the tiny otteron another piece of fabric and then decide if it works on the sweater. It looks so delicate and cute!

A photo posted by ipnot (@ipnot) on

2.This fragile and beautiful embroidered boquet I don’t think I would embroider this bouquet on a sweater but I really like how pretty the flowers look. Almost real. ¬†

3. This retro feeling super fun cactus embroidery

I love this embroidery in so many ways! First, the oval embroidery hoop, then the cacti and the 90s vibe. Are you also singing that MC Hammer song in your head right now?

4. This cross stitch on velvet I love how unexpected this traditional cross-stitch motif is on this shiny velvet top. Genius!

A photo posted by @lulubcartersville on

5. This fluffly polar bear

Because it’s impossibly cute. What about sewing this guy on the hem of a pair of pajama pants?

A photo posted by „ĀŅ„Āč (@gankihappy) on

6. This must make shy glasses mini hoop Because it’s a mini hoop with an I’d-Love-To-Meet-You-For-A-Coffee kind of personality.¬†

7. Another polar bear embroidery. Love the texture

I love the use of negative space in this little embroidery. You have a lot of texture for mama bear and the vulnerable, brand new baby bear sitting in the negative space beside her.

A photo posted by orot2 (@orot2euiseon) on

8. This cubist bear Maybe it’s a sign that this is my third bookmarked bear embroidery but I love the modern and old mix in this piece. I’m also a big fan of embroidery on dark canvas. It pops!

9. This beautiful embroidery thread box

If none of the above will make you want to pick up a needle and thread, like the title promises, let’s try a bit of craft supplies magic.

What is it about supplies that makes one want to drop everything and start making?

A photo posted by True Fort (@truefortthreads) on

Have you bookmarked any embroidery recently? I’d love to see it!

How to knit an easier herringbone stitch

THE HERRINGBONE STITCH from Oversize Me on Vimeo.

I love the video tutorial above by user Oversize Me on Vimeo. I wish they made more videos about knitting because this one is so inspiring. The light is beautiful and the wool looks so fluffly. It just makes you want to knit night and day.

In case you don’t read French, here is the technique as shown above.

This is how to knit the herringbone stitch:

  1. Cast on your stitches for you swatch.
  2. Knit the first row until the end
  3. Knit two toghether (k2tog), then slip off 1 stitch
  4. Purl two toghether (p2tog), then slip off 1 stitch
  5. Repeat

I find this version of the herringbone stitch easier than other versions I’ve seen, but this technique does make a rather stiff, close toghether knit fabric, so if you’re a tight knitter you might want to go down a needle size or two.

I feel it looks beautiful on bulky wool!

Slow Fashion October: Worn

japanese boro

I love things that are worn and loved. I love how things age.

Not all garments and objects age the same, but have you noticed how we tend to go back again and again to that one t-shirt we had since high-school, or that perfect sweater with that tiny stain, or that garment/object/thing that your close friends always tell you to get rid of?

On buying second hand

I know that not everyone likes the idea of shopping pre-owned, but I find it really fun and it makes me proud that I could reuse and even love something that someone else didn’t need anymore. There’s a feeling of rescuing a really pretty/fun/perfect garment from oblivion (=the trash). I like it that I can donate the things I don’t really use for someone else to play the same game.

We bought our bikes from a local charity that accepts bike donations, then rescues, repairs and creates new bicycles. The guys there are great. When we’ll move from here, we’ll donate the bikes back to where they were built. My bicycle is not being made anymore. This is how the gears look like:

Ride into the sunset, bike #nofilter #newplaces # cycling

A photo posted by Sky Turtle (@skyturtle) on

It’s a bit cranky and a bit heavier, but I love her just the way she is ūüôā

On mending

We don’t mend anymore. We use and throw away. That’s why I am so inspired by the extreme (and beautiful) mending in¬†Japanse boro, where patches are sewn over patches again and again to create garments that travel and are used every day by generations.

japanese boro

Above, an example of Japanse boro technique from the Amuse Musem in Asakusa, Tokio.

I’ve mended and remade things for myself for a long time, but the most satisfying times I’ve mended something was when I did this for someone else, like¬†when I changed the frayed cuffs of my partner’s favourite jacket – he was amazed that the jacket looked like new. A few months later he was repairing the inner pocket of his coat!

Reusing, refashioning, transforming

Another of my favourite things. There’s a full list, from turning a tank top into a dress, a man’s shirt into a blouse or a shirt to a dress. This week, I’ve done something new, I’ve recycled the wool out of a sweater that had a stubborn stain. It was so rewarding to unravel, make into skeins, wash and dry this wool and I can’t wait to¬†make¬†something new out of it.

recycled yarn

This post is part of Kate’s (Fringe Association) challenge to make October a Slow fashion month. In the past few weeks I’ve also written about the items I love and wear most¬†and about being mindful when we shop for clothes.

 

 

Slow Fashion October: Small and Loved

simple fall outfit boots jeans and long cardigan

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

 

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

october slow 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?

 

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

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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 ūüôā

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.

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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 ūüôā

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: How to repurpose paper for your sewing patterns

sewing green printing sewing patterns on magazine paper

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 ūüôā

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 ūüôā

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 sewing and knitting

september best of sewing and making by sky turtle

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 world map vest top

adelaide vest world map

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!