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?

 

Knit Pencil Skirt Inspiration

I am not a big fan of skirts during summer because they tend to be a bit high maintenance. They fly with the lightest breeze, they run up your back while you hurry to get into work, they rebel against you when you bike. Basically, you have to remember you’re wearing a skirt and be a lady.

But in winter, they’re actually great. Worn with tights and leggings, they can be a non-skirt-lover’s best friend. They’re comfortable, easy to make and they bring an easy pop of colour to winter wear.

I’ve been thinking about making a knit pencil skirt and see how much wear it would get. I really like Eleonore Klein’s Brume skirt and I love her Wearability Project. I am so happy she’s back!

dark grey brume skirt

Here is some inspiration for my new skirt! I know I don’t want it to be too tight, but I want it to have a slight pencil shape. I really like this bright version below from Harper’s Bazaar (especially with that t-shirt hemline), but I think I might wear more a black skirt.

bright orange knit skirt

This silhouette: crop top with high waisted skirt worn by Moona and captured by Hel looks is very cool as well. I’m pretty sure I would want my hemline to fall above the knees though.

grey knit hight waisted pencil skirt

This Burda pattern is not designed for a knit, but I saw this print in a thick knit at the fabric store, so I’ll just imagine it is 🙂 This version is shorter, but because it’s not too tight it works.

plaid mini skirt

Jasmin, also captured by Hel Looks is wearing a knit dress here, but you could imagine a knit skirt with a dramatic asymetrical hemline. It looks great!

dramatic asymetrical knit skirt

Last but not least, this Asos knit skirt is more fitted, but it looks like the model can still move, bend, eat a box full of cookies. I like the matching top as well!

printed knit pencil skirt

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?

 

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

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 みか (@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

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 🙂

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

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

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)

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.

 

IMG_4630m

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: 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?