August in sewing and making

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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 😀

Best of July in sewing and making

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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!

My light chambray Adelaide dress

adelaide front

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 house pants

harem style pants diy

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?

 

3 new pages from my sketchbook

sketchbook ideas by sky turtle

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

best of june in sewing and making sky turtle

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

ripped denim jeans how to style

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!

 

 

Hand knitted pillow cases [wip]

knitting pillow cases out of super chunky yarn

 

These past few weeks I can’t stop thinking about big, super chunky knits! I know it’s summer and I should be thinking about breezy dresses, but that’s just how things are, I guess. I’ve been looking for the right chunky knit for making pillow cases, so nothing too scratchy, nothing too fine. Something that feels good if you put your face on it, but is still a bit stiff, like a proper sofa cushion.

multi yarn chunky mint and aquamarine

I imagined a grey chunky, soft fibre to do all of the above and that apparently doesn’t exist. At least not this time of year.

I had this mercerized cotton I used for my mint top and I had a lot of it! I wanted to make a dress initially, but I wasn’t sure I would ever finish it so I ended up with a t-shirt and a lot of left over mint cotton. I also had two skeins in a lighter avocado green so I mixed them all up and created this beautiful yarn! Very good upper body exercise, putting 6 skeins into one ball!

I really like how the avocado green peeks from time to time, barely there. It was quite sunny when I took the photos and there’s a light burn, but in real life you can see the green yarn a bit more.

knitting pillow cases out of super chunky yarn

It knits very beautifully and quite quickly, as I imagined and I love the tension I got in the final knit. I think it’s my best ever. I should only knit in super chunky, it’s too easy.

I don’t imagine this into a garment because the resulting knit is actually quite heavy. I think it’s perfect for my new pillow-cases but not great as a sweater or cardigan, especially if you’re also using a coat.

work in progress knitted pillowcases in chunky yarn

I am also super happy to use this because I was a bit bored of it after making the mint t-shirt.  Do you also prefer to change yarn often or just love to use the same ones over and over again?

 

Mint knitted t-shirt

mint knit t-shirt

knitted t-shirt

I’ve recently finished this knitted t-shirt inspired by the lovely Juliet Tee by We are Knitters and the many versions I’ve seen around. It’s a bit different because the yarn is thinner than the original yarn from WAK; it’s a mercerized cotton with a bit of a shine to it and it’s also knitted more loosely than the original top.

What I like about it:

First of all, I am happy I made up the pattern myself. I wanted to simplify as much as possible, so I made this a longer rectangle, with a slit in it for the neckline. I then made a very basic crochet trim to give the neckline and armhole a bit of structure.

handmade knitted top sky turtle

It was also cool to learn the eyelet stitch, which the same WAK people were so kind to make a video tutorial of (below)!

I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to wear it in summer. I was a bit skeptical about summer knits. For me summer is either: inside = freezing your arms off under the AC or: outside = everything sticks to your skin like you’ve been vacuumed inside your own bubble, so I wanted this to be layerable, in case it failed as a warm weather garment.

I was afraid it would look too boxy, but with the loose knit it drapes a little bit, so I am happy about that.

What I would have done differently/for next time:

I would have made this smaller! Like this it will look good over another sweater or a shirt, but I feel it’s a tad too big like this. Next time I’ll try something more close-fitting, now that I am confident I can finish a garment.

I was also thinking about knitting a sash/belt for this. Maybe cord?

 

A case for textile napkins + a tutorial

To My Friend

When we moved the new house, one of the things I wanted to do was to replace the paper napkins we were using everyday with nice, hand-painted, mitered corners ones. I like the idea of just washing these and so reusing an item for a longer period of time. We still use paper napkins at home, but try to do it as little as possible.

There’s something quite elegant about using nicely pressed fabric napkins, and they look so good on the table. The problem is, if you’re going to make white ones like I did, you are going to have to commit to putting them in soapy water after each use or else you’d get unsightly stains on them and that elegant feeling will turn into an “ew, is this clean?”.

In retrospect, next time I make fabric napkins (and I will make more) I will make them in a darker fabric. If you don’t mind the texture, you could make them in a cotton and polyester mix. I found one that looks just like linen, it doesn’t stain and you don’t need to press it. But it doesn’t feel like cotton or linen, or any other natural fibre either.

hand painted avocado cotton napkins

colour pallette for painting avocado

I painted these with tiny avocados and I used acrylic fabric with a fabric medium. At first I though these were going to wash away quickly, but I even boiled them (in an effort to make them pristine white again – it works, don’t judge!) and the paint didn’t run or wash off. So I pretty happy about that part. I just used half fabric medium and half acrylic paints.

how to paint your own textile napkins part 1

To make sure the avocados were even I made a little stencil, reusing an “offers” magazine. I first painted the green, creamy, flesh of the avocados, then the brown pit and finally I traced the outer shell with a darker green.

how to paint your own textile napkins part 2

For the mitered corners I used this beautiful tutorial from Coletterie. I wasn’t sure about them first, but they look so much more elegant than my usual folded corners.

What about you? Do you use fabric napkins in your house? Did you mother use to? How do you feel about them on a scale from “eew” to “never paper napkins”?

Here’s a little pin bookmark, if you want to keep this for later!

how to make painted textile napkins