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:
Cast on your stitches for you swatch.
Knit the first row until the end
Knit two toghether (k2tog), then slip off 1 stitch
Purl two toghether (p2tog), then slip off 1 stitch
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 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:
It’s a bit cranky and a bit heavier, but I love her just the way she is 🙂
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
(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.
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.
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?
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.
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
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.
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.
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 🙂
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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!
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.
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.
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 😀
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!
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.
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.
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!
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? 🙂
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?
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!