New Knits, Oh the Possibilities

Check out these new thin knits I bought! They are just wonderful. The green/khaki one is the thickest and I am thinking to make a long hoodie out of it. I really like this one from Free People. It has all the chances in the world to look like a sack and to end up being used around the house, but I would actually enjoy wearing this with a pair of tall socks.

When I initially bought the purple/wine knit, I thought of making a t-shirt dress with an asymmetric hem, but then I realized the fabric might just be too transparent for it. Now I would have to rethink this for autumn…

With the blue/turquoise jersey I could make a long sleeved relaxed tee that I could later wear over a shirt. I really love this one from Hemingway and Hepburn.

What would you make out of these fabrics? What knit jersey project have inspired you lately? Share the love 🙂

Sewing and DIY Inspiration: The Honeycomb

beeswax-15257_640

A multitude of soft yellow, tidy, wax hexagons. A surface that’s soft and rough at the same time. A structure that’s both transparent and opaque; a honeycomb is a thing of beauty.

I’ve had a honey-filled honeycomb as a wallpaper on my computer for a few weeks now, and even though I picked it because it just was just nice to look at and nothing more, I am starting to become more and more interested in the beauty of the shape.

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I don’t know what attracts me most to the shape of the honeycomb, if it’s the repetitiveness of the tiny hexagons, the honey-gold colour or the overall texture: it’s fragility and functionality.

For I while now, I’ve started thinking about ways in which I could bring this shape into my work table.

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Embroidering yellow honeycombs on the collar of a shirt, smocking a yellow sundress (Dori  from Tumbling Blocks has a great honeycomb smocking tutorial)

honeycomb smocking

or stamping a honeycomb pattern on a scarf or a table-runner, all those are things I’d like to try.

This sponge-print table runner project from Celebrations looks super pretty and also easy to make. One could do the same with a rug.

sponge print diy honeycomb table runner

Or maybe a painting or a print like this one from Sharmilaw on Etsy.

oh honey art print

And if we’re still talking about wall decor, what about these beautiful glass honeycomb drops from ?

glass honeycomb drops

Last but not least, I was thinking about painting the bottom half of a honeycomb jar I’ve rescued from the kitchen, similar to this one here.

honeycomb glass jar

 

What about you? How do you feel about honeycombs?

Spring Play: Flower Inspired Outfits

woodruff flower

Spring is almost here and what better moment to shuffle, edit and update the way you dress. I didn’t do a lot of sewing this winter. Even though I live in a Mediterranean climate, winter mornings, when it’s still dark outside and you hop on your bicycle are still cold.

I can’t even think of dresses or silky shirts, just my practical everyday bike to work uniform, which is mainly constituted of pants and a jumper. Not very chic, but warm and comfy.

But spring, that’s a whole new story. Spring is wonderful here. With crazy blue skies and timid cotton-bound clouds, with soft sun-rays filtered through the palm trees, on your face.

I needed to play a bit with colour and come up with a few flower inspired outfits for spring. My winter closet is all dark blue, grey and black so I have to teach myself colour again.

1. A woodruff inspired spring outfit

woodruff flower

Woodruff Inspired Outfit

If you want to look like a woodruff you will need a lot of green and a touch of white. I chose forest-green pants, grass-green shoes and an apple-green scarf. The top: a white button-down shirt or a t-shirt.

2. Very, very blue, like a hyacinthus

blue Hyacinthus

Hyacinthus inspired outfit

 

For me the smell of spring is the smell of the super sweet, nauseating hyacinthus. There can’t be spring without it!

An outfit inspired by this flower is pretty easy: use a few blues, whiter on top, darker at the bottom and some sort of green shoes.

(In my house, next to the parsley, the sage, the rosemary, the licorice plant, I also keep a small white hyacinthus.)

herbs and a white hyacinthus.jpg

3 An outfit with spring flowers and bees

bees and white spring flowers

birds and the bees outfit

 

I was never a big fan of pink, but sometimes, especially when you play dress-up, it’s good to change things up. In this flowers inspired outfit, I’d use shades of peach and red-pink and orange yellow altogether, then I’d splash as much white as I could.

What about you, what inspired you to play dress-up lately?

 

DIY Leather Painted Bracelets

leather painted bracelets

leather painted bracelets

I had this leather leftovers in my “to use someday” stash for more than a year. I had bought them to make handles for the bags I used to sell in the Etsy shop, but then I decided to close the shop for a while and forgot about them.

leather painted bracelet with blue triangles

Many years ago I used to wear a lot of these leather painted bracelets: they remind me of spring, of music festivals, of laughter-filled sunsets and nostalgic, cold sunrises.

leather painted bracelets closeup

I don’t really wear bracelets anymore, actually I almost don’t wear any accessories except the watch I recently bought because my smartphone kept dying without notice and make me late or really early for meetings more than a couple of times.

But these look fun to wear on a sunny weekend at the beach of having a beer in the sun. And they’re super easy to make!

To make these I first cut a rectangle of leather using a craft knife, then, with a pencil (so I could erase it if needed) a drew the design. I’ve experimented with simple shapes: triangles, half-circles, but it’s up to you what you what to paint.

I really like the mix of this splash of colour and the crude leather.

After the paint (I used acrylic mixed with a fabric medium to make it washable and showerable) dried completely, I hammered on the metallic snaps. Tied it with another scrap of fabric and thus a leather bracelet was made.

HOW TO MAKE A Leather Bracelet

Hope you like them and the tutorial and that it inspires you to reuse something you have around the house and make a leather bracelet or two yourself.

Eleonore Klein’s Wearability Project

pretty clothes on a line

pretty clothes on a line

There are a few reasons why I like Eléonore Klein’s Wearability Project: it’s funny, refreshingly sincere, useful and inspiring. It’s also in French, but Google Translate should help you with that unless you want to do a 2 in 1 and learn how to improve your wardrobe and French at the same time.

Eléonore, the mastermind behind Deer and Doe, and the inventor of the popular Plantain Top sewing pattern, has decided to review and edit her wardrobe, specifically the garments she sews for herself and to identify the outfits she best feels in – and basically – to sew more of those. For me this makes a lot of sense, as one of my sewing resolutions for 2014 is to sew less and better.

She documents her whole process, from dying garments she is not wearing, to identifying bad cuts and bad styles for her and also talks about accessories she loves but don’t fit with her day to day style. That is maybe what I like best about this project: how much she adapts it to her day to day use. She introduces an interesting concept in designing one’s wardrobe, and that is cost per use. What she’s saying, and I can’t agree more is that price (of fabric, accessories used, pattern, time spent making) is a relative thing: a super cheap t-shirt you made in 2 hours and never wore is more expensive than a 50 euros shirt that you wear every week.

I also like that she’s getting those garments  and even fabric that she’s not 100% happy about out of her closet: either selling them or giving away or recycling them. This is something that is also very important for me.

The other day I was having dinner with my friends and they had the idea to organise a garment reconstruction/clothes swap, which sounds like fun. Except, I almost don’t have any clothes to swap; I’ve either given them away when we moved or put into the remake pile and that’s not a very interesting pile for my friends, I am sure. They were also very surprised to hear that the only things I bought since September last year were workout clothes and a leather jacket that was actually a gift.

I’m excited though, I’ll tell you how that goes. Have a lovely Sunday!

 

I Made A Fabric Pouf!

pouf

a pouf made of logs

It’s comfy, it’s cozy, it’s a fabric pouf!

I wanted to make a pouf for some time now but I only tried it a few days ago. Now I want to make another one. And another one. How many fabric poufs can a home hold?

pouf

The pouf itself was really easy to make. I drew a circle on my fabric using a pencil, a string and a pin. I tied the string to the pencil, then pinned the other side of the string onto the centre of my to-be-drawn circle. If you have a compass that’s large enough, you could also use that, I’m just saying… you don’t need one.

pin the pouf in place

Once you’re happy of your circle measure the diameter (mine was 61 cm/24 inches). You will need two of these circles to make the pouf and a long rectangle of fabric to create a cylinder shape.

To figure out the measurements of your cylinder (or pouf base) first decide how tall you want your pouf to be. Mine was approximately 30 cm/11.8 in. Then to figure out how long your rectangle you should be multiply the diameter of your circle by π.

So, in my case, my pouf was 61 cm; I multiplied this by 3.14 and got to a 191 cm, which corresponds to my circle’s circumference.

i used lots and lots of pins

I sewed one of the circles to the rectangle first, then the second. I poured the pouf filling inside, then stitched it by hand.

It’s as easy as that!

Wanted: Fashion Design and Pattern Making Books Recommendations

apple and books

apple and books

Like many pattern-makers-to-be or pattern making newbies, if you want, I sometimes tend to feel like I maybe need to study this properly in order to make something of it. The only formal fashion design and pattern making class that I could take right now is an online class.

I am mainly a self-learner and I know I can save a lot of time learning by myself (in-class experience with fellow student and a teacher who interacts with you is still the best for me, but not always possible). A Coursera and Udacity and Codecademy aficionado, I’ve also noticed I prefer books to instructional video. I read faster than I watch videos and sometimes I can’t fully concentrate on a video. At the same time I can read perfectly comfortable in a room full of screaming babies (not something I am usually exposed to, buy just saying).

So, as I decide whether I want to pay the online course or read the good books, in my time on my rules, I day-dream about my sewing, pattern-making and fashion design library.

My go-to book for pattern-making is Patternmaking for Fashion Design by Helen Joseph-Armstrong. This book is one of the most valuable book buys I made in the last three years. I actually stopped buying pattern magazines when I realised how easy it was to adapt and modify existing patterns.

Other two books I like but don’t actually use are Coletterie and the first Burdastyle book. They are both great for inspiration, but I did’t make anything out of them. (I almost finished a chocolate truffle, but made a major mistake when fitting the back and the dress ended in the “to fix” basket).

What other books are the stars of your collection? Which books would you like to read? What are the “stay away from” pieces?

 

 

 

Great Things in Sewing This Week

free tshirt sewing pattern deer and doe

Something to sew

Don’t you love a free sewing pattern, especially when the pattern maker is modelling an awesome garment made with it?

I was already impressed by Deer and Doe and their sewing patterns for women and not men men, but this new free t-shirt sewing pattern is really cool. You’d have to sign in to download it, but the pattern looks like it’s worth it.

free tshirt sewing pattern deer and doe

I’ve bought a thick raspberry-pink jersey in my last holiday and this looks like a good project for it.

Something to think about

I really like Laurwyn’s post about body image. I think many of us don’t know how good looking they really are. We are taught and used to thinking females are only beautiful if they look like whatever the era’s models look like. Curvy, slim or supper skinny, tall, but not too tall, shorter than most males, but not too short etc. Instead of looking at ourselves, we look at what’s missing.

It’s refreshing to change the tune for once.

Something to do

wardrobe architect

I like Sarai’s new project, Wardrobe Architect and the exercises she suggests.

Week two’s assignment is creating a collection of images that describe your core style. Sarai takes you on a self-discovery journey of personal style and then helps you pick 5 words that best describe your style. Mine are tomboy, natural, comfortable, feminine, bicycle. Bicycle?? Why is that there? Well, I was struggling to find a fifth word to describe how I dress and since I use my bike everyday, that affects how I dress.

I won’t wear anything polyester for example because I need fabrics that breathe on their own. I won’t wear short skirts or too short shorts because that won’t be comfortable. I won’t wear a jacket that’s too fitted, because it would bother me on the bike. And I don’t like to be bothered 🙂

That’s all from me, for now. How about you? What did you sew? What did you think about? What did you do this week?

Ode to Vintage Sewing: Inspiration

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Follow sky turtle’s board vintage sewing on Pinterest.

I’m not even sure what makes it so special. Why vintage sewing is so magical and breath-taking.

Maybe it’s the black and white pictures, the perfect hour-glass silhouettes, the feminine lines, or maybe it’s how nicely they fit the women in vintage fashion photography.

Clothes are so affordable now and we’ve become such automated shopping machines, that buying a garment that fits, that’s both durable and well-made is not important anymore.

In September last year I started a clothes shopping fast and five months later I’ve bought: a pair of pants to replace the pair that my mother accidentally burned and fitness gear (a pair of shorts and a t-shirt).

I’ll share more about this soon, but one of the things I’ve realised is how few clothes we really need. I’ve travelled for 3 weeks in December and January, in different climates and I’ve managed with around 12 pieces. I washed t-shirts overnight when I needed to, I mixed and matched and in general I was free to enjoy my holidays and not worry about what I’ll wear (my secret was to take everything I really loved with me:).

One of my resolutions this year is to sew less. To spend more time drawing clothes, thinking about garments I would like to sew and less time sewing. I want to create garments I will love. And wear and wear and wear.

Vintage fashion is one of my new sources of inspiration. Hope you like the Board 🙂

 

 

Couture Sewing Techniques: How to Sew a Banded V-Neck

couture sewing tips

couture sewing tips

So you want to make your handmade clothes flawless. You buy the good fabric, the best thread, you invest time and hope to make clothes that will fit and last forever.

If making clothes that look as good on the wrong side as they do on the good side is your things, then you’ll find this small couture sewing guide really useful.

Want to know the secret of a perfectly sewn banded v-neck on a knit fabric?

  1. Interface and staystich your neckline
  2. To cut your neckband, measure the garment’s neckline, then ad 10 cm (4 in)
  3. Fold and press the neckband, overlock for a tidy finish.
  4. Stitch the band in place, stop a few cm before the end of the V neck, then overlap the ends.
  5. Trim the neckband and topstitch the neckline
  6. And Voila! a beautiful, couture banded v-neck.

Look at the step by step instructions below: