Sew For A Change – June

The food month is coming to an end. To be honest, I haven’t dedicated myself too much in the star challenge this month for a lack of time. Much to do at work, we’ve had plans every weekend (been away, had parties or both!) which we have had since Easter. Plus my husband is on parental leave and does most of the cooking, I can’t make him cook something he doesn’t want to (firm believer in meat). Excuses, excuses, excuses.

Complete the following:

 

  1. Start by doing a food inventory. Get rid of (preferably through composting) any food that is not fit for eating any longer. Now, try to plan your dinners to use the food you have, before it goes bad.
    If I may say so myself, we are pretty good at using things in our freezer. We don’t overbuy and check what we have before making our shopping list for the week. Our freezer could use some cleansing and it should be done soon in my opinion. Maybe I should do it as a vacation project. I need the kids to be occupied somehow (TV or napping is sufficient) and it should preferably be done in connection to garbage pickup day. Let’s get planning!
  2. Choose one week this month to be a completely vegetarian week. For the rest of the weeks you shall eat vego at least twice/week.
    As I wrote above my husband is a firm believer in meat (I once suggested having a vegetarian day, his response was that he could fry up some bacon on the side). Plus we’ve been so busy in June that making new dishes have not been a priority at all. But I have gathered recipes and will, in July, start with a vegetarian day a week. Baby steps.
  3. Look into what is in season and choose vegetables and fruits accordingly. First choice is organic, second choice is local produce.
    We’re not very good with vegetables (that’s been made obvious) and fruit. I’m allergic to raw stone fruits (apples, pears, peaches etc.) so I pretty much just eat banana. We try to buy locally produced if we can, they have a lot of locally produced vegetables at our store so whenever we can, we get it.
  4. When it comes to the following 5, we ask you to buy organic or not at all: coffee, potatoes, grapes, bananas and cheese.
    Coffee, grapes (including raisins and wine) and bananas are check! We haven’t found eco-potatoes and unfortunately the most organic, local-produced cannot be harvested yet. I don’t eat a lot of cheese, but I’ve eaten some and it wasn’t organic.
  5. For meat we want to limit the use of beef to once per week (except for the vego week, obviously, where it is zero).
    Again, I haven’t had the energy to work this out. It’s quite possible that I could’ve passed this because we haven’t eaten much beef, but I honestly don’t know.
  6. Eat rice max once a week, unless you live in a part of the world where it is produced.
    Same answer. I honestly don’t know.

We’re not quite there yet, but we are coming up on the halfway point and it’s usually when I lose momentum. Plus I’ve been thinking a lot about a post I read on Creating in the Gap about sewing as a hobby. It is my hobby why should I impose a bunch of rules on it? I don’t over-buy, I keep clothes for a long time, I donate what can be donated. My kids wear plenty of hand-me-downs, we fill the washer, we buy eco-friendly products, I buy clothes second-hand. Why should I have to abstain from buying a pretty fabric for a maxi Anna dress just because I needed new bras after ten months of breast-feeding? Or a winter coat? I have underwear you can practically see through since they are so worn. My winter jacket was bought in 2006, my spring jacket in 2008, my clothes are from the 1990s. I keep things and wear them. We don’t throw away food instead we make lunch boxes, we recycle. I could probably do more, but I don’t see why I should sacrifice my hobby, something that makes me feel good, in order to clear my conscience.

image

Great fabric, length and lace. The joy!

Plenty of thoughts to deal with.

This month I bought myself 4 new bras. The joys of a well-fitting bra! They were in polyamide so 3 points each and 12 in total. I also bought a skirt (in lovely fabric, see blurry cell phone pic above), a blouse and a cardigan, but they were all second-hand so free of charge!

With 12 points spent and 0 gained it leaves my total on 59 points.

Creation: Anna Dress for Wedding

Ah, Anna. She has been everywhere this past year, on every blog I read, there she was! She looked great on anyone I saw her on. But I wasn’t convinced she’d look great on me. Now I surrender.

Blue Anna (12)

Back in February we were invited to my SIL’s wedding. Of course I wanted to make my dress for the occasion. As we came from the theatre when she told us I wanted to make a dress mimicking one we’d seen. I looked through several patterns, trying to find at least a bodice I could work with. I didn’t find one that felt 100%. I could’ve still gone for one of those but with trying to get it right and then Frankenpatterning sleeves and skirt I figured it was easier if I went for a pattern which I could use in its whole and perfecting it.

Step one of perfecting it was fit. I cut a size XX. I sewed the side seams with 1 cm SA, so it would fit according to finished measurements. I made a 2 cm FBA (1 cm per side) according to the tutorial from the By Hand London’s sewalong. It worked fine for me, but I’ve read that it doesn’t really work if you need to add more than 2.5 cm (1”). I found no gaping in the neckline at all.

Blue Anna (6)

You could call this selfie a fail, but it does show the FBA dart I added.

 

 

After cutting my pieces, the first thing I did was a staystitch on the neckline. The V is pretty deep and I didn’t want it to stretch when I handled it. Other neckline finishes I added was that I interfaced the facings as well as understitching them (did wonders!).

 

Blue Anna (14)

Unfortunately I got some gaping at the top when adding the hook and eye

 

After cutting my pieces, the first thing I did was a staystitch on the neckline. The V is pretty deep and I didn’t want it to stretch when I handled it. Other neckline finishes I added was that I interfaced the facings as well as understitching them (did wonders!).

 

French seams and lace hem

French seams and lace hem

For the whole dress I did French seams, except for the bodice to skirt seam and CB due to the zipper. The sleeves and hem are finished with a hand-sewn catchstitch and on the hem I added some lace as hem tape. Just because it’s pretty. We sew to add details like that, right?

 

The fabric is an organic cotton sateen from Sonja’s Ateljé. It was very nice to work with and is soft, while still holding the shape of the pleats. The fabric recommendations is 2.5 m for the short version, I bought 2.7 to be on the safe side and account for shrinking, still I have one metre to spare (which was lucky since I accidentally cut a notch in the fold of the centre front skirt. Oops!). Very generous fabric recommendation. I hope I can use the remaining fabrics for something useful. It’s a very wide fabric, so I can probably squeeze something out of it.

 

Lace hem with catchstitch

Lace hem with catchstitch

As the dress is in one colour only I thought I needed something to go with it. Based on what I had at home (purse, bolero, hair piece and jewelry) my colours became blue, gold and white. I wanted something more to complete the look and as I was reading blogs it came to me; Tilly’s bow belt! I used her easy tutorial and then my look was completed.

 

The fabric wasn’t very cheap I paid 554 SEK for it (but can probably make a top with it as well), but after hearing what others spent on their store-bought dresses it’s not so bad. My dress is organic and custom-made. You can’t beat that! It would be nice with a few more occasions to wear it.

 

As I said, I surrender. This dress is gorgeous and flattering and I really want to make more.

This dress is also my first post on The Monthly Stitch for Indie Pattern Month. If you like it, please head over there and vote for me!

Sew For a Change – May

Another month has passed, bith in the real world and in Sew For A Change. The focus for May was laundry and I must admit that I wasn’t very committed to this challenge.

  • Estimate the amount of laundry your household produces during a normal month (and make it official), then try to reduce that amount by 20% during this month. This means, if you usually do 10 loads during the month you should try to do only 8 (or less).

Husband and I estimated that we do about 2-3 loads a week, accumulating to about 10 per month. Our loads are usually pretty full and we wear clothes several times before washing them (unless they’re smelly and/or stained). We saw no reward in trying to push this further down. We also have two kids who need their clothes was and while they have clothes to get by, they don’t have enormous amounts (trying to reduce shopping as well leads to having to wash more) and the clothes needs regular washing. We do, however try to fill the machine with what’s in the laundry pile. (Being grumpy, I’m not a big fan of relative goals. We would need to get from 10 to 8 to pass this goal, whereas someone who washes 20 loads needed to get down to 16. Their reduction is larger, but over the course of a year with our ten we’d wash 120 loads and they’d wash 192. Which saves the environment more?)

  • Only wash full loads.

As I mentioned above we try to fully load the machine every time, filling up with sheets, towels or other things in the right colour and temperature. It pained me that I needed to wash an almost empty machine towards the end of the month, but unfortunately it could not be helped. I had washed my judo gi on the weekend, filling up with other whites, but on the Tuesday class I got a lot of blood on it (not mine) and it needed to be washed immediately so the blood didn’t set. And since it was recently washed I had nothing to fill up the load with.

  • Change to a earth friendly detergent – make sure it’s free from phosphates, zeolites and EDTA.

We bought a new machine last summer and with it we got plenty of boxes with detergent, bound to last at least this year out. So we’re sticking to that for now.

  • Do not use fabric softener! If you must use something, use vinegar instead. 

My husband is a softener addict, I don’t use it. Except for my judo gi (that thing is a laundry environmental hazard in itself) because it is so heavy and stiff that it actually hurts to train in it un-softened.

  • Avoid dry cleaning.

I can’t recall using a dry cleaner. Ever.

  • Check the water hardness and make sure you don’t overdose the detergent.

I’m bad at this, I just wing it. We do have pretty hard water where I live and I haven’t been bothered to check it. We have our own well, so I don’t really know how I’d go about testing it. I do think it’s pretty hard (my FIL has said that he need to rinse his shampoo a lot longer at our place than at his home)

  • Avoid using the dryer and instead air dry the laundry inside or outside. Get set up with line and pegs!

The dryer that came with the house broke a few years ago and we haven’t even bothered replacing it, there was no need for us.

Some good things, some bad. We could change to a more environmental friendly detergent, but it would be after using up what we already have. As for dosing we could probably do better but I do think we have quite hard water so I don’t think it would differ much.

Now, let’s get to those numbers:

Ingoing points: 75.125p

Blue fabric:      -4,05 p    (2.7 m of 1.6m wide organic cotton)

Star challenge: 0p

Outgoing: 71.125p

This month it’s focus on food, I probably won’t get the 10 extra points, but I will work on the challenge bits anyway.

Me-Made-May Week 5

The end of the line… Me-Made-May 14 is over and I have already posted two lessons on declutter and body image, I have a few more lessons to write about.

Me-Made-May day 26

Me-Made-May day 26

Assymetrical Top, Lessons Learnt Skirt

A top thathas been completely overlooked in May, good thing I had time to pull it out in the last week. Good thing I did! The fit is a bit off, but if I pull it up a bit it will drape in both the front and back,making the bad neckline fit almost look intentional. A great comfortable top with some interest in the neckline, even if my pose does nothing to show it.

Me-Made-May day 27

Me-Made-May day 27Blueberry Sorbetto, Three year pants.

In theory I like these garments. In reality the fit is a bit off on both of them. I love the blue colour of the blouse, but the bust darts sit too high on me and it’s bugging me. Likewise the pants have a bit of excess fabric in the front. Neither garment is so bad that it will get the axe right away, but I will look to replace them in the future. I did, unexpectedly, liked the look of o tucked in bloues in high-waisted pants. A surprise!

Me-Made-May day 28

Me-Made-MAy day 28Indian Shirt, Namesake Skirt

I like both of these pieces even though the skirt waistband is beginning to lose its shape. However the shirt doesn’t go very well with the high waist of the shirt so while both garments are keepers, they should just not be paired. BTW, my hair is a total mess. Haircut definitely needed and now we are close enough to the wedding we’re attending in late June that I can actaully get it done.

Me-Made-May day 29

Me-Made-May day 29The Turnaround Dress

I still haven’t blogged this dress and it deserves a post of its own because let me tell you: I love this dress! I wore it to a family day at the race tracks (carousels, horse riding, horse races, lunch – fun for the whole family!) and I loved that I my look was so completely different from everyone else’s. I felt like I stood out in a good way, I liked that feeling. Yup, I was completely full of myself as well.

For days 30 and 31 we just stayed at home so no me-mades for those days (note to self, make a few more casual me-mades to wear around the house).

I completed yet another month of me-mades! However, since I’ve come to the realisation that I’m not very fond of my wardrobe I have no idea what I’ll wear in June. But that’s an issue for another day!

Me-Made-May Week 4

Me-Made-May day 19

Me-Made-May day 19

Starry Organic Alma, Exposed Zipper Skirt, RTW cardigan (Camaïeu)

Love the blouse! There’s not much more to say. I like the skirt, it’s a basic shape with a fun pop of colour. However the sewing is pretty bad and all I can think of when wearing the skirt is if anyone else notices them. Probably not right, I mean it’s practically only sewists who care about stripe matching right? The verdict for this skirt is that it will be kept in my wardrobe, until I can replace it. Seeing how the skirt is totally wearable, it’s not unflattering or too worn, I have other things to prioritise before replacing this skirt. So a keeper it is! I have two of this cardigan (one grey, one navy) and I love wearing them. Cardigans like these should definitely be on my “to buy”-list even if I do want to sew toppers as well.

Me-Made-May day 20

Me-Made-May day 20

Lessons Learnt Skirt, Green Floral Blouse

Skirt – no comments needed. The blouse is awkward, it’s the blouse from the Burdastyle Sewing Handbook. In theory I like it and I could like it on me as well, just not this version. What is awkward? Let me count the ways. The sleeves hit at a bad place, especially since they have cuffs. The cuffs hit me right where I want to bend my arm, pushing the cuffs up, or restraining me at first. The blouse is made before 2014, aka. the year of the Full Bust Adjustment, meaning I never did an FBA and my ample bosom makes the elastic go up, hitting me above my natural waist – not pretty. Plus the colour is a bit too pale on me, a brighter green would have been better. I could see myself making another version of this blouse, granted I fix the errors above, but I can’t really place it at the top of my sewing list.

 

Me-Made-May day 21

Me-Made-May day 21

Midnight Sun Shirt, Midnight Sun Skirt, RTW cardigan (Target)

Symbolic dressing today. I’ll explain in day 22’s description. I haven’t worn this combo before, the shirt and the skirt as a dress. I struggled with an FBA in the making of the shirt and the fit is not spot on, however it looks much better when belted. I like the slight A-line shape of the skirt, it has six gores to shape it. These will stay!

Me-Made-May day 22

Me-Made-May day 22

Striped Organic Alma, Thrifted skirt (Sunshine 365)

Premiere wearing of my Striped Organic Alma, with matching belt. The symbolism continues. You see, last night I took my green belt in judo. Before that it was orange, but since I don’t have an orange belt the yellow belt yesterday stood in. Today I wear my green belt. With pride. Both in my judo accomplishment and due to the fact I really like this blouse, such a cool fabric and great fit! The skirt is thrifted but I love it, the shape is great and I love how it swooshes as I walk. I keep wishing for the Hollyburn skirt in various giveaways, maybe I should just relent and buy it already.

Me-Made-May day 23

Me-Made-May day 23

Pretty in Pink dress

I really like the shape and the square neckline of this dress. However, it’s not that the fit is too bad, it just sits badly. The edge of my bra is on display, the sleeves feel a bit dated and I’m not 100% sure about the colour. It was a tough call, but as I kept tugging on the dress all day to try and at least not show my bra I think it’s time to let go. The negatives, sadly, outweighs the positive. The same goes for its sister blouses.

Me-Made-May day 24

I wore a thrifted dress as I didn’t meet anyone today. Very comfortable dress, I need more casual dresses in my wardrobe.

Me-Made-May day 25

Picture is old, but I looked like this. With different hair. And a hat. The shoes were the same, but are unseen.

Lime Truffle Dress.

Busy day today. Out running before eight, brunch at my sister’s, last gymnastics class for kiddo and voting for European parliament. When I first made the Lime Truffle Dress, it was my first Colette Pattern. I thought this dress fit well, since Colette drafts for a C cup, whereas most others draft for a B cup it fit me better than anything else I’d made. But since discovering the FBA (why, oh why did it take me so long!?) I realised that this dress doesn’t fit that well. I kept pulling it all day. It won’t go right away because the fabric makes me happy and if this dress is to be replaced I need to find a fabric that makes me equally happy. Also I wore a hat. Hats are great for blocking the sun without hiding your face behind sunglasses. More hats for the people!

 

 

Creation: Organic Striped Alma

Following the success of my first Alma, I did yet another one in organic cotton, the Organic Striped Alma.

As I covered all of my alterations in the post about the Starry Alma, I will just focus on what makes this one special.

Striped Alma

Just as with my last one the fabric is a cotton sateen from Stoff och Stil. Yes, the stripes go diagonally and no, I have not cut it off-grain. I tried to line up the stripes along the side seams, but the bust dart as well as the vertical darts left the stripes distorted. I really don’t mind because I think the fabric makes an awesome blouse.

Striped Alma (2)

The starry fabric was light weight and drapey, this is more sturdy and heavy. It’s one of those fabric that is so easy to work with as it doesn’t crease or slip and it is an absolute dream to press. However, I’m not so sure it goes very well with the cap sleeves, making them stick out. I’m thinking of adding an elastic to the cap sleeve hem to bring them in and down. Do you think that could work?

Striped Alma (3)

If you look closely (and are very familiar with the Alma) yopu would notice the the front left vertical dart is a bit lower than it should be and a bit more centered. It’s not a fitting alteration in any way, rather a sloppy mistake. After I had sewn the darts I was to clip the thread. I accidentally got a bit too close and snipped the fabric as well. Oops! So I had to unpick the dart and move it about 1 cm to cover the hole. Luckily it didn’t alter the fit and the holes left by the needles in the first dart steamed out easily and left no marks.

Striped Alma (1)

Also I think I haven’t done the notch properly, it’s not quite as deep as the other versions I’ve seen. But I like the one I got. Besides no one in real life knows how it’s supposed to look. Before starting this project I spent an evening with scraps and my overlocker, trying to master it. I still have plenty to learn, but I did learn enough to finish my Alma seams on it so it looks very pretty on the inside (I forgot to take a picture so you will have to take my word for it).

The Alma will rest for a bit now, but I am planning to do a long-sleeved version, complete with the cuffs, for fall. I love this blouse! I wore it today, it was very warm out, but with the cap sleeves it was not hard to wear, very breezy and I still looked professional.

Do you ever worry that others will notice you are wearing multiple versions of one pattern? Do you use a pattern multiple time or do you want to get to the next one as soon as possible?

 

 

Me-Made Lessons: Photos vs. Mirrors and Body Image

Participating in Me-Made-May has made me realise this: I could never do an outfit blog. Having to take your photo each day, edit and write something witty each day, nah not for me. However, there are benefits in taking your photo each day.

In our bathroom we have a full length mirror. So, whenever I shower I see myself naked in front of the mirror. It’s inevitable. So in my mind I have an image of how I look. This also applies to every time I look myself in the mirror after getting dressed in the morning. The mirror shows me my view of myself. For my me-made pictures I use the self-timer or remote control to let the camera show me its view. An outside’s perspective, even if I’m the one doing the actual photography.

Me-Made-May day 15

As I see myself in the mirror

Seeing myself in my clothes, dressed for work, gatherings, parties I realise that well-fitting clothes makes me look good. My clothes are not trendy but the suit me, fit-wise and personality-wise. My clothes displays who I am. The bad things I see (my eyes only?) when I look in the mirror are not so obvious when I’m dressed in clothes I like and that fit me. Seeing many photos of yourself kind of breaks down the barrier. For the first ones you focus on the bad, but after 20 days (and counting) of looking at your own picture you start seeing what you didn’t see at first, what looks good instead of just going for the bad. You get used to seeing the outside perspective of yourself and I’ve realised that the outside perspective is not so bad. I need to look at myself with the same eyes as I look on everyone else.

Midnight Sun Shirt (14)

As the camera sees me

Generally I must say that the body image in the online sewing community is great. Mainly because I don’t see much body issues. Women of all sizes display what they’ve made and all are encouraged. We work with fit to flatter our bodies, we work with styles we feel comfortable in, we choose fabric and prints to match our complexion and we are all very encouraging towards each other. There’s a place for everyone and we are empowering each other.

It’s great fun to see everyone’s outfits, it’s inspiring. It is also empowering and liberating. So many women, so many body shapes, so much beauty and encouragement.

Do you ever photograph yourself, or have someone photograph you regularly? Do you find yourself looking different in the mirror and photos? If you sew, have sewing change your view on body image and how?

 

Me-Made-May Week 3

Me-Made-May day 12Me-Made-May day 12

Lessons Learnt skirt, Metal Cardigan, RTW t-shirt (Vero Moda) and belt (Target)

This is the first time I’ve worn this cardigan since I made it (BTW, check out that belly in the creation-post. Yikes!) When I made the garment I was hesitant about the fact that it has no closure and I thought about adding a hook and eye. Unfortunately that wouldn’t work as well without that big belly so it has just been left in my wardrobe for the past year. Now during Me-Made-May, when I really want to put my wardrobe to the test I figured it was about time I actually wore it. I figured I’d do a wrap under a wide belt as styling.

The verdict? I’m unsure. I love the fact that the words spell out excellent music (Hard, Rock and Metal), but the fit is weird. I think the magazine used a heavier knit. The sleeves are a bit too big and feel a bit pyjama and the ruffles (which BTW are uneven) hit me in a very bad spot. Plus I noticed today that the print varies in colour, going from green on my left to teal on my right. As fun as the fabric is I think this cardigan is not for me. Hopefully I can make this fabric up for something else, but it’s hard since it’s cut in panels. Maybe something for the kids? I’m not quite ready to let it go, but maybe it’ll be for the best. I don’t feel completely confident in this outfit.

I don’t intend to assess my RTW as much as me-mades this month, but two comments regarding today’s RTW: The belt is tight and I had to take it off in the afternoon (making the cardigan look even sloppier). I do like the lace detail around the t-shirt’s neckline, those I the kind of details I want to be working on in my clothing.

Me-Made-May day 13

Me-Made-May day 13

The Turnaround Dress (unblogged), RTW cardigan (H&M), belt (thrifted)

This dress is my turning point. It is not modern or trendy but it is fun and unusual. Belting over a cardigan is not something I’ve done before, but in this outfit it works. A keeper! Inspired by all other lovely Me-Made-Mayers I ventured out and bought some reddish lip gloss. I think I might like som elip colour!

Me-Made-May day 14

Me-Made-May day 14

Moo Moo Tunic (unblogged), 3-Year Pants (unblogged)

This outfits makes me torn. On one hand I’m not so sure that the tunic is a flattering shape on me, on the other hand I really like the colour and I felt good in it. The pants are a bit ill-fitting, but that is hidden due to the fact that the fabric has a bit of stretch in it. However, I rarely wear them outside of the Me-Made months. I think these are keepers – for now. If I don’t wear them more, off they go.

Me-Made-May day 15

Me-Made-May day 15

Rule Britannia dress. RTW cardigan (Camaïeu)

We had a crisis drill at work, with planned work hours from 7 to 18. I decided to go for comfort. I know I have worn the dress before this month, but in a different outfit (different cardigan, a loophole which I accept). However, after working up a steam initially, the cardigan went off. Love this dress! Comfortable, fun, colourful, structured and feminine, all of my core words in one dress. Plus the right colours as well!

Me-Made-May day 16

Me-Made-May day 16

Lessons Learnt Skirt, RTW top (thrifted) and cardigan (Camaïeu)

This skirt is a real staple piece, even though it’s a bit too bog in the waist. Love the pockets, the shape and the colour is perfect for matching. I have a denim version of this skirt planned for fall, inspired by Zooey Deschanel (I know that the skirt in the link is a dead ringer for Colette’s Ginger skirt, but I’m using what I have). The top is thrifted and even though I’d like it just a few cm longer I still like it. Great colours, easy to wear and just enough prints, I like them regular and small.

Me-Made-May day 17 and 18

Me-Made-May day 17

Painted Aqua dress

This dress is super comfortable and so easy to wear. It was perfect for the day planned taking care of children (my MIL and I took care of my children as well as their two cousins). You gotta love a well-fitting jersey dress.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Me-Made Lessons: Declutter

Between Me-Made-May and Sew for a Change, I have totally changed my approach to my wardrobe and clothes. I’m learning so much by wearing my me-mades as well as being on a fabric budget that one post won’t do for a round-up. Therefore I have decided to break down my lessons learnt from Me-Made-May into a series of posts in which I can go more deep into each subject.

Fact: I have a lot of clothes. A lot. Really, I could count at least 140 garments in my wardrobe and that’s not including basic t-shirts and tank or underwear, socks and stockings. But I don’t wear them. There are a few clothes that are on rotation, but there are plenty I am just bored with. I did start with “One in, one out” and during Me-Made-May I’m ruthless. If I don’t like something on me, out it goes. I want to feel happy and inspired looking at my clothes, not pulling out the least bad thing to wear. Or, as I usually think, “I wish I could wear that piece every day”.

wpid-img_20140319_174133.jpg

A mess. Simple as that.

 

I want my wardrobe to be filled with pieces I want to wear every day. Pieces that coordinate, can be worn with each other in different outfits. I have never focused on building a wardrobe I have just added pieces I liked separately without thinking of how it works with the rest.

The thing is, when I outlined all clothes in my wardrobe I divided them into three categories; keep, maybe and toss. I had no problem doing so – in theory. But when I stood in front of my clothes, having to choose a blouse to take out (for “One in, one out”) it was extremely hard. Really, I should let go of my clothes if I don’t wear them or really don’t like them. So right now my issue is; should I continue with “one in, one out” or should I just get rid of everything I don’t wear at once? Get rid of all things I don’t like or wear and build a wardrobe from there. Why is it so hard to get rid of clothes?

I know something needs to be done about the state of my wardrobe. It’s a mess! Both literally and figuratively. The realistic part of me says that I should just get rid of everything I don’t wear or like and start from there. But the other side of me fears walking into a closet with gaping holes, even if it already has holes, but hidden behind the clothes. I need a push!

Would you dare to get rid of plenty of clothes at once or would you do it one piece at the time? How do you keep from filling, and keeping, your wardrobe with things you don’t like?

Me-Made-May week 2

Me-Made-May day 5

Me-Made-May day 5Namesake Skirt, top H&M, jacket (Apple Bottom viaMarshall’s)

Back to work for the first time in May. This day added the challenge that I would take the kids to the playground immediately after work, meaning my outfit had to cater both to the office and to the playground.

I like the skirt and I want to make another version for fall using a corduroy and doing the front button closure. I also like the denim and that the colour is so bright blue. Unfortunately (there often is an “unfortunately”, isn’t there?) back when I made the skirt I thought interfacing was for stabilizing in thickness only, not thinking about stretch on the bias. Seeing how I thought the denim was sturdy enough on its own, since I wasn’t too familiar in the world of bias stretch, the waistband is not interfaced. And it’s beginning to show. It’s losing its shape and have stretch out a bit. I’m taking that a lesson learnt. The skirt will be kept though, right now I feel that there are other skirt ahead in line for tossing out

Me-Made-May day 7

Me-Made-May day 7Lesson Learnt Skirt, Midnight Sun Shirt and cardigan (Camaïeu)

Yep, you guessed it, a regular day at work. The me-mades are my Midnight Sun Shirt and Lessons Learnt Skirt. I tried to do an FBA on the shirt, it’s not completely perfect. However, the shirt does not gape and it somewhat follows my curves. It works better on its own and with a belt to tie it in at the waist.

Me-Made May day 6

Me-Made-May day 6Denim Pencil Skirt, Blueberry Sorbetto (unblogged) and cardigna (Camaïeu)

Just another work day. I wore my Denim Pencil skirt and Blueberry Sorbetto. The cardigan is RTW. While I like the Sorbetto, it works tucked in for me, not untucked, there are a few minor mistakes. The darts fall a bit too high on me and I couldn’t quite figure out how to sew the bias neckline so it’s a bit wonky. I love the colour and print and this blouse makes me want to wear blue more often, as does the skirt. These are keepers!

Me-Made-May day 8

Me-Made-May day 8Starry Organic Alma, skirt (365 Sunshine, via flea market), cardigan (Camaïeu).

You see why I can’t have a diary blog? My life’s not that interesting. Another day at work was spent in my new Starry Organic Alma. The cardigan (how I wish I can ditch those soon) is RTW and the skirt is second hand. Love the Alma! Love, love, love! The FBA is totally successful and I noticed that having a well-fitting blouse improved my posture and confidence. I stood proud and tall, secretly hoping that someone would ask about my blouse. No one did.

M-eMade-May day 9

Me-made-may day 9Chocolate Pants, wrap cardigan (H&M), jacket (Lindex)

It was cold, raining and I was tired when I got up. One of those days when comfort is key. I put on my Chocolate pants and RTW tank and cardigan. On my way out of the door I remembered that it’s Friday and we can choose to join the Friday theme over in the Flickr group. I didn’t bother going back to change clothes, so I missed the Blue photo challenge. Ah, well. The pants fit fairly well, but are sewn one baby ago. However, as I pointed on in the Flickr group, these pants may not fit perfectly, but they are still fitting better than any RTW pants I own.

Me-Made-May day day 10 and 11

Me-Made-May day 10 (2)Megan skirt, top (Vero Moda via thrift store)

I’ll admit it straight up. I’m cheating. I said in my pledge that I would do no repeat outfits, yet I wore the same thing Saturday and Sunday. But I don’t care. I don’t think it would have made much of a difference to swap the t-shirt. I’m in my Megan skirt and RTW t-shirt (Vero Moda via thrift store). I originally made the Megan skirt as a maternity skirt and I wore it for most part of the pregnancy, it was a bit too tight in the end. Now, with its wide elastic waistband, it’s a super comfortable skirt for wearing around the house “doing nothing”. I like that it’s as comfortable as sweat pants (my vice, which I want to shed) but I still looked dressed. Stuff like this is needed in order to have a complete me-made wardrobe.

Handmade or Homemade?

One of the things I’ve come to think about during Me-Made-May is how to make my clothes look less homemade. For me there are plenty of things that go into a garment looking too homemade, or Becky home-ecy as Michael Kors would say during a Project Runway judging. Fit, fabric, style and finishing are just a few. As I this year have begun working more with fit, I also need to work on the other aspects to bring my whole look together and make a wardrobe that works, without looking too homemade.

Reading other posts and tips in the subject it was stated that there’s also a difference in looking homemade and handmade. I don’t mind my clothes looking handmade, but if I’m asked the question “Did you make that?” it should be because it looks superior to RTW, not inferior.

For Me-Made-May I make myself look objectively at my garments, anything I don’t find up to par will go. Must go. I should show no mercy just because I made it. Some examples from my very own wardrobe on looking homemade vs. handmade.

Polka Dot Skirt

Burdastyle Vanessa, sewn 2008
Handmade or homemade:
Homemade
Reason: Bad fabric and pattern combination. Fabric is too lightweight and doesn’t hold the pleats well. The pleats aren’t properly sewn down neither is the belt. Pleats in back look sloppy and definitely not something you’d find in RTW.
Midnight Sun Skirt and Top

Self-drafted skirt. Sömnadsmagasin XX for top
Handmade or homemade:
Handmade
Reason: Quality fabric, suitable for the garments (poplin). Well-fitting garments. Don’t look RTW as they aren’t looks you’d find in retail, but don’t look homemade as the fabric works and looks finished.

I have learnt plenty during my 8 years as a hobby sewist, plus my standards have increased. What I was proud of six years ago I wouldn’t be proud of today. We all grow and I intend to learn from everything I make, including the mistakes. I’m still proud of most of my makes, even though some so not represent my skills or taste today. Had I made the Polka Dot Skirt above today it would have awful, but when I made it I made it with my best abilities and knowledge. This was before I started finding the online sewing community and really before it boomed and I didn’t have thousands of resources to research fabrics or techniques.

Today I wish for my clothes to look handmade and well-made. Personal and unique. Something you would want to buy in a store (but probably couldn’t afford due to the fact that it is custom-made) in regards of fabric choice, style and finishing. I don’t want to copy RTW and trends, I want to make clothes for me, stuff that fits me and my style, but pay extra attention to fabric and pattern matching, finishing, style of fabric. My clothes should be better than RTW.

Further reading (don’t forget to read the comments, lots of tips there):
Sewaholic: How Do You Make Your Sewing Projects Look Less Home-Made?
Megan Nielsen: How To Aviod Your Creations Looking Handmade

Is there a difference in looking homemade or handmade? What do you think characterize a wellmade garment?

Me-Made-May 14: Week One

For Me-Made-May, I’ve decided to do my summary posts on Mondays. Just cause. For day to day shots, I’m uploading to my Flickr stream, so go there if you can’t wait. I will assess my clothes according to my style chart and I will also incorporate some of the comments my pictures have gotten on Flickr.

Thursday May 1

On May first Sweden celebrate the International Workers’ Day, meaning we get the day off work to go and demonstrate against social injustice. My days of demonstrations are left in the past so now it’s just a day off. We had friends over for hanging out, taking a walk, letting the kids play, you know, just chilling.

Me-Made-May day 1

I wore my Rule Britannia dress. I love this dress, it’s no coincidence that all of its colours appears on the style chart. This dress is also a revelations in fitting for me as I did my first ever FBA on it, and now I will never do without one. As you can see I hold this dress fondly and it will hang around my wardrobe until it falls in pieces. That will be a very sad day. The Flickr comments focused on the fit, but also on how comfortable it looks. A winner in my book!

Friday May 2

Since May 1, a public holiday, fell on a Thursday the Friday is what we in Sweden call a “squeeze day”. By taking the squeeze day off you’d get a four day weekend, which is obviously very popular to do. I also fell into this line and had the day off. As rumour had it, no one would be at the office. I did some baking, some sewing (well, tracing patterns and cutting fabric) and we hung out with the kiddo’s best friend and her parents.

Me-made may day 2 (2)

I decided on yet another knit dress (combined with bad photography and a belt with a life of its own). This has been named the Envy dress just because it’s green. The fact that it has never been blogged even though it’s been around for 5 years says a lot about how I really feel about it. It’s an unflattering shape for me, the sewing’s bad (it was one of my first knit projects) and the colour is a little to dusty for me, I need my colours bright! I won’t hang onto anything I really don’t like, it shouldn’t matter that I made it myself. Also I don’t like the fabric enough to refashion it, truth be told, this dress only ever gets worn during the Me-Made months. With some encouraging comments from Flickr, it is now time to say goodbye.

Saturday May 3

We were staying in all day, plus the kiddo and I were painting his playhouse. As per my pledge I don’t need to wear me-mades if I don’t meet anyone, plus I don’t want to subject my me-mades to paint, so I wore painting suitable attire all day. Moving on…

Sunday May 4

My dad had been on vacation for two weeks, so he wanted to come visit to see the kids and have some rhubarb pie. Meeting people meant dressing in me-mades. I needed to dress for baking (yes, again, I baked three times over the course of four days), playing with kids and accompanying the kiddo to gymnastics class.

Me-Made-May day 4

I wore my Nap-Time t-shirt with some thrifted jeans. The t-shirt was my first, and so far only, project on the Overlocker and it shows. But it works for around the house and it’s nowhere near the head of line of things getting tossed out. The mustard yellow isn’t in my colour chart and I’m not sure it would work on its own, but with the teal, which is in my colour chart, it works. So this one’s a keeper for those lazy days!

 

Yay, Me-Made-May is up and running! I will be ruthless regarding my me-mades, if I don’t like them they will go. My closet will be filled with things I love.

Sew Sessment

Karen of Did You Make That? asked us why we sew and where we see our strengths and weaknesses. Since I am part of the group mentality that is sewcialists, I want to answer too! Here are my answers:

Top Three Items That I Wear For Home:
Skirts, t-shirts, jeans

Top Three Items That I Wear For Work:

Skirts, dresses, blouses

Top Three Sewing Talents (go on, show off!):

Invisible zippers, true to self, doesn’t jump on every project

Top Three Sewing Weak Spots (ouch!):

Fitting, cohesion, finishing

Top Three Sewing Goals:

Learn to be patient, personal details, build a wardrobe

Top Three People Who Enable Me:

Sewcialists, Husband, Sewing Nuts

Top Three People I Enable:

Sewcialists, New sewists, Anyone who wants to sew!

Top Three Reasons I Can’t Sew:

Kids, house, lack of energy

Top Three Reasons I Can Sew:

I make time, steady income, creative outlet

NUMBER ONE CHALLENGE I SET MYSELF!

Master my overlocker

Seeing my answers I know I want to change what I wear at home. As I put it I mostly wear jeans, but I don’t like wearing jeans, I need to find an alternative.

I am quite proud of the fact that I stay true to myself, which includes that I don’t jump on every new pattern and sewalong I see, just the ones I really want to do and that fall into my own style. For example I thought the Sew Dolly Clackett contest was brilliant, but as my sewing time is limited I don’t want to spend time on something that isn’t really me. In the same way I like to wait until a few (or rather a lot) of people have made a pattern so I can truly see its potential.

Since going back to work after my maternity leave I have had to make time to sew and it’s working quite well. Sewing is important to me and I’ll gladly sacrifice watching TV in order to sew. I wouldn’t be me without my sewing.

What I need to focus on is finishing and detailing, making my clothes personal without making them look too homemade. Regarding finishings, I also need to master my overlocker as it would make just finishings more effective, but I am still a bit scared of it and I don’t want to waste any precious fabrics on it, too bad I’m on a consumption diet. However, my kids are not included in the diet so maybe I should sew for them on my overlocker.

I think I’m beginning to find my path in sewing and style and my Sew Sessment has helped me realise that. It’s always good to stop and think about what you’re doing once in a while.

Do you ever stop and think or is it always full speed ahead? Do you have a clear path or is your way spontanious?

Me-Made-May 14!

I, Helena of By Eitchy, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May 14. I pledge to wear one handmade garment each day of May when I meet other people*. I won’t repeat outfits and each garment I wear will be evaluated according to my style chart and discarded if I’m not pleased with it.

*Meaning if I stay in, doing yard work or just hanging around the house with the family I don’t need to wear me-mades. However, those days look few for May.

I want to be in! I’ve been pondering my pledge for so long and it finally came to me when I read Becky’s pledge, so I incorporated her idea on working on style. It’s what I need. I’m moving back in how much I will wear, but I have discarded a few me-mades, plus I have some that don’t fit properly so my variety is smaller than wished.

And, what is “my style chart” as I referenced above? Don’t worry, you haven’t missed anything, unless you stop reading now. As part of the Wardrobe Architect series I’ve come up with my core words as well as colours that I like. However, I felt my colour palette was a bit lackluster so I updated it. I looked at the garments I own, which colours I like and used that as my base for my new and improved colour palette. Then I just threw in my core words to complete the thing. Also I added a reminder to myself to “Have Fun!” because in the end, it’s only fashion, it should be fun. I should have fun!

Style chart

Even though shapes, silhouettes and prints aren’t incorporated into my new style chart I will also evaluate that. Garments that do not work for me must go, me-made or not. So now I’m looking forward to a challenging, rewarding and inspiring May!

Are you entering Me-Made-May this year? What are your focus areas?

Sew For a Change – April

Another month in the Sew for a Change challenge is completed. This month the star challenge focused on paper. Here are the tasks and what I’ve done:

  •  If you have to print something, print on both sides and/or print several pages/slides per paper page.

I usually print on both pages, but this month I’ve made an effort to reduce how and what I print. I don’t print “good to know”-information at work anymore and I think twice before I print anything. I print a few reports at work (4 reports/year) on one side since it’s impossible to compare them otherwise, but I don’t print all of the report (it’s about 30 pages and I print the 10 I need). Also, if I print .pdf-patterns I obviously print on one side only.

  •  Look into the possibility of changing your kitchen paper towels to cloth and see if it would work for your family.

I have two small children so we go through a lot of paper towels. Plus I’ve had a cold and it’s allergy season. It hasn’t been a good month. But I have tried to be more cautious about using paper and using them as much as possible. With the way my nose has been running this month, I’m not sure how many cloth handkerchiefs I’d actually need and how big my laundry had been. We do have a bunch of small IKEA towels, that may in the future be used as a substitute for paper towels, but right now baby E is using them as blankets (instead of pacifiers) so that’s not an option right now. I’ll continue to use paper towels, but will be more aware of how I use them.

  •  Cancel all catalogues (such as mail order catalogues), paper bills etc, where possible, and turn to the digital versions.

I have cancelled the Ellos catalogue, I don’t know which else I have. During the year to come I will see what I get as catalogues and paper bills and cancel as they come. Already I’ve cancelled my payslip and notices from the Swedish Insurance Fund (Försäkringskassan who manages parental leave), so I only get them in digital form. I have also cancelled my “authority mail”, meaning I will get mail from a few authorities digitally rather than by snail mail.

  •  Don’t accept any ads in your mailbox – put up a sign!

We have had a “no advertisement”-sign on our mailbox for ages. Unfortunately we still get a few magazines that are considered mail, plus the church newsletter which they give to everyone, we are not even members!

  •  Give away magazines you won’t read again to someone who will.

I don’t buy many magazines maybe 4 a year. I tend to cut out the interesting interviews and articles, plus anything cute I might think of making. I also stash a few pattern magazines, in case I wish to make any of the patterns. Maybe I should look through them to see if I really will make any patterns or let the magazines go, however we are talking about 7 magazines in total ranging from 2008-2012.

  •  If you have a paper/magazine subscription, check what your online options are instead

We haven’t had a paper subscription since 2011, with children in the house and the mailbox 400 metres away, there just isn’t time to go get it and then sit down and read it. We read the news online instead.

I couldn’t judge myself, so I turned to the Facebook group. The verdict was that I have passed and thus earned myself another 10 points. However, some purchases have been made.

Ingoing points: 75

Star fabric:       -2 p                     (2m organic cotton, 115 cm width)

Stripe fabric:   -2 p                     (2m organic cotton, 115 cm width)

Star jersey:      -2.25 p               (1.5 m organic cotton, 140 cm width)

Cotton:              -0.625 p             (0.25 m cotton, 140 cm width)

Shoes:               -3 p                     (Ecological shoes)

Total:                  -9,875

 

Star challenge: +10p

 

Outgoing: 75.125p

 

Next month’s challenge is laundry. It can be a challenge in deed. Also I need to buy the fabric for the dress I’ll be wearing to my SIL’s wedding. Good thing I still have fabric stashed, otherwise I don’t know what I’d be working with. Maybe it’s time to check out ebay and the likes?

A Case of a Stolen Picture

This will sound very serious and I can’t judge how serious it is, since I’m not the person affected by it and I can’t imagine it. But it is sad.

There are so many wonderful sewing blogs out there, written by wonderful people, real people, who share their ups and downs, review patterns, show techniques and make up a delightful online sewing community. It’s amazing how much support and shared knowledge there is in this world.

Imagine my surprise when I found a blogger’s picture on a commercial pattern site, as an example on how you could adapt the pattern. It kept on nagging me, so I decided to e-mail the blogger and tell her that her photo was on the site, maybe she had given them permission? She e-mailed me back and thanked me for notifying her and said that she would get in contact with the store and that they either remove the picture or give her credit. I later saw that they chose to remove the picture.

For people who are blogging, or at least most of us, it is so obvious that we link to each other with that great tip we read or that beautiful creation that deserves to be recognised. Maybe it is not so obvious for people who are not really in the online community. I don’t know how involved the store owner is in the blogging world, but it’s interesting that she has failed one of the major netiquette rules.

They chose the easy way out, I think. They know that the picture was used without permission and would have kept it on their site unless having been caught. So of course it’s easy to apologise, take it down and move on with a “We’re sorry” (at least I hope they apologised to the blogger). However, seeing how the blogger praised the pattern and how she made it work for her, her blog post could be great promotion for the pattern. As with many blog posts. Indie designers regularly feature bloggers who have used their pattern, or at least host Flickr or Twitter groups so we all can see creations made up from patterns. They send out patterns for testing and, I guess, expect blog posts in return. Sewing bloggers are being used as a commercial and it’s up to every individual blogger to choose how they wish to do regarding that issue. But, we should not be used without permission. Somewhere in the back of my mind I can’t help but feel that us Swedes are bad at marketing. Linking back to that blog post would have shown excellent use for the pattern and helped sales.

The picture disappeared and the blogger was pleased that I notified her. Of course, we can never be sure that our pictures aren’t used anywhere. If I see someone I recognize, I will let them know. It could be that permission has been given, but it’s better with one more question than to let it pass. If anyone wants to use my pictures they may – if the ask me permission and link back to me, and if I like who links back (we all remember those weirdos stalking the MMMay Flickr groups right?)

I want to share the love, I want to be better at linking. Maybe the first step should be putting up a blogroll?

Fashion Revolution Day

You should know that I don’t like wearing my political views on my sleeve. But fashion manufacturing, ethical production and consumption has really become issues that I care deeply about. I don’t want to just keep on buying new things, things that are so cheap since the fabric is bad and the workers risked their lives putting the garment together.

Let’s do a flashback. Yesterday a year ago, April 23 2013, the Rana Plaza building in Savar, greater Dhaka area in Bangladesh was inspected. It was found that the building contained several cracks and it was unsafe. The next day, April 24, 3122 people came to work unknowing. Came to work to sew cheap clothes for us. 1129 of those people never came home. All those people died because of greed. Our greed for cheap clothing. Almost half a year earlier another 120 people were killed in a factory fire in Dhaka. A factory which produced clothes.

2014-04-23, Fashion Revolution day (1)

Bad lighting, but proud to say that I made my clothes

 

April 24, 2014 is now Fashion Revolution Day. The day when we take the opportunity to show the world we care about who made our clothes. The objective is to wear something inside to really show the answer to the question “who made your clothes?” The brave ones wear the entire outfit inside out, me I settled for wearing my Indian Shirt inside out. Paired with my Chocolate Pants and, I must admit, RTW vest and cardigan. Maybe next year I’ll be braver in wearing more clothes inside out.

I know that nobody was hurt in the making of my shirt and pants. I know that nobody risked their life, their health, their education. I know that because it was I who made it. I made it during conditions I set myself. Ethical and slow fashion has become key issues for me. I dislike the consumption society we live in, I dislike trends, I dislike exploiting our planet and fellow people. That is why I today wore my clothes inside out.

 Who made your clothes?

Playing With Pie Charts – Patterns and Garment Types

My current project is yet another dress, a blouse dress with a Peter Pan collar. But when I failed to find any useable buttons in my stash plus the fact the only fabric I had for the collar wasn’t really perfect, the project came to a screeching halt. I don’t like having multiple projects going on, plus with my “one in, one out” policy I need to make sure that what I make will be better than whatever I take out, therefore my sewing mojo is dwindling at the moment. It happens and it always comes back.

Instead of sewing I ended up playing with pie charts. I don’t feel very nerdy as I know stats and charts amuse many sewists around the blogosphere. As I was already making a list of my clothes, to keep track, freak myself out with numbers (I own way too much stuff, need full season variety, though) and to prepare myself for the “one out” I also started playing with pie charts. I wanted to break down what I had made and how I had made it.

As for what types of garments I’ve made

Kläder jag sytt
I find it no surprise that dresses and skirts come out on top. Skirts are so easy and quick to make and fit, dresses are fun! If I am to make something for a special occasion, it’s a dress. However, I was surprised to see so many tops as I don’t feel I’m very good at making tops. But one should keep in mind that this chart is made up with all things I’ve sewn, including those that are now deceased and it is mostly tops and toppers that have gone down that route, the conclusion being that I was right, I’m not very good at them. So, this tells me what I already know; I need to work on tops and toppers. I am hoping that Sewaholic’s Alma, Jenny Hellström’s Sy! and Cake’s Carmine and Cocoa might help me. But toppers will have to wait until fall.

My pattern chart is even less surprising, and very un-inspiring:Mönster jag använt

Burda, Burda and some more Burda. And then a little more Burda. Over 60% of my me-mades are Burda (old Burdastyle.com, magazines and book included). I think that is bound to change as I move more into indie pattern designers including Jenny Hellström, whom I suspect will take more ground. When I took up sewing the old Burdastyle site was launched. Remember that lovely place? You recognised the users, you got free patterns, the weekly creations were fun and inspiring. Now I hardly ever visit that site. Sigh. But I digress. Anyway, starting to sew and having that pool of resources, of course I ended up using a lot of Burda patterns. Plus Burda magazines were easy to come by in Sweden. Haberdasheries here don’t stock patterns, you must order them and it was too much of a hassle for me.

Then I moved more and more into the sewing blogosphere and discovered many more pattern companies. These days I hardly sew Burda, save for my old favourites or if there’s a pattern I love in the magazine, so the Burda quotient will sink but it has a major head start on the other companies. Since I treated myself to the Sy! books earlier this year I have plenty of patterns to choose from, plus I’m accumulating a small stash. Very small. It would be swallowed whole by other sewists’ stashes. Also, I’ve now found Swedish pattern stores online, making it easier to shop for patterns. However, envelope patterns are expensive (even the big 4) and I’m a bit wary about buying them, I want to make sure it’ll be something I can use more than once; either with different variations in the pattern or making them different with fabric choices.

This is my current status. Of course I’m already planning to include pie charts when I conclude a year, starting with 2013.

Do you have a brand or garment type you sewn the most of? Are you good at filling gaps? And, most importantly, do you like pie charts?

Sew For a Change – March

Another month of my consumption challenge has passed. The challenge this month was energy. Even as the challenge was introduced I knew I was going to fail it, but let me break it down.

64510-bild2

Contact your energy supplier and check what sources YOUR energy comes from. Also investigate what green/renewable options you have.
Check! Our supplier only delivers electricity from renewable sources – hydro, wind and biofuel. However, in a life cycle perspective wind power has pretty high CO2-emissions per produced energy, so for me that is not the best option.

Vacuum behind your fridge and freezer (and on their backs) and then defrost them – it will increase their efficiency and save energy.
Fail! Our fridge is fairly new, so it could be done, but I admit to laziness. Our freezer is old and is a freezer box, it could use defrosting, but it was just too warm, we have plenty of food in it. Yes, I’m lazy.

Check that your fridge and freezer temperature is not colder that what is really needed: +5C and -18C respectively (41F / 0F)
Check and dunno! Our fridge is at +6C. Our freezer I have no idea. I think it’s so old that there is no actual setting just on and off.

Leave nothing on standby overnight this month.

Fail! I could easily just switch off everything but it’s usually husband who goes to bed last. He doesn’t think it’s necessary and to be honest it doesn’t make that much of a difference. I know excuses… One positive thing we did last winter was to change windows in our bedroom, it was freezing before and now we don’t need to heat is as much. We usually charge our phones and the tablet overnight, but will pull the plugs when not charging.

No washing dishes under running water.
Fail! We try to stuff the machine as much as we can, so we only have a few items to hand wash every night. We don’t pile them up, so each night it’s a few things under running water. (In my defense my shower time usually averages about 5-7 minutes).

I have not bought anything this month. However, I don’t see it as a self-fulfilling goal to save all your points and have the most by the end of the year. I’m thinking that this is pretty much a challenge that can go on and on forever and then you need to buy things. For example, right now I need new Spring shoes. I will buy them, reduce my points and hopefully they’ll last me a few seasons. Next year I might need a winter jacket and no spring shoes. I’m not saying I need to stick to exactly these points, but be aware of my consumption for the years to come and spread it out. No point in having all my points by the end of the year and shop everything in January. My conclusion: I shouldn’t be afraid to spend points on things I need. Period.

With nothing bought and a failed challenge I’m still on 75 points. In April shopping will begin and I think I can do a pretty good job in the April challenge regarding paper as well.

Creation: Aqua Painted Dress

I am back to work since a couple of weeks following my parental leave. Now, don’t you worry about baby E (who, by the way is outgrowing her baby status soon) she’s at home being taken excellent care of by hubby. There’s a reason I write parental leave and not maternity leave. Besides working I am also trying to find time for my hobbies; sewing and judo (how stupid of me to have two hobbies that require to study and learn and remember more and more techniques). Tuesdays and Thursdays are judo nights. Seeing how Fridays and Saturdays are family nights that leaves three sewing nights; Monday, Wednesday and Sunday. I’ve have found that with limited time I am more efficient and can now present my next make.

I decided to use McCall’s 5974, “the perfect knit dress” and the pattern behind my Rule Britannia dress, yet again. Why ditch a winning concept? And it’s been my plan ever since January when I picked up the two pieces of fabric from the scrap bin.Aqua Painted Dress (3)

As I had already made this pattern once this dress went together rather quickly and only at the cost of one twin needle (although that was my own fault and I can’t put the blame on either the needle, the machine or the fabric). I made the FBA a bit smaller, for the Rule Britannia Dress it was 2”, for this one I narrowed it down to 1.5”. Instead of a narrow hem at the neckline, it bubbles a bit on the other dress, I sewed a banded neckline with a piece of fabric 2 cm wide and 80% of the neckline width. I liked that finish so much better. I also sewed the side and back seams with a 1.5 cm seam allowance as opposed to the suggested 1 cm. And yes, I’m uncontrollably mixing imperial and SI units. It’s how I roll.

Aqua Painted Dress (6)

The biggest challenge for this dress was stripe matching. I had 2 m of fabric, more than enough, so I knew  could do it. I cut the back first, on the fold, this was the easiest piece to match. The front has three pieces; bodice, midriff and skirt so I had to work with getting the lines as correctly as I could. You see, the lines are supposed to look tie-dyed, so they are not regular, the distance between them varies. With this in mind, I think I did a pretty damn good job.

 

Aqua Painted Dress (4)

Look at that stripe matching

 

The fabric is a printed cotton jersey, a printed tie-dye as opposed to, you know, a real one. I like the summery feel of the fabric, yet I think it works in the office (at least my office). It’s fun, comfortable, it fits and it’s flattering. I have nothing else to ask for. Although having made two jersey dresses in a rapid fashion I’m now in the mood for some woven fabrics, I have som eprojects lined up.

Do you use the same pattern more than once? Do you make version different from each other or are you fine with “having one in every colour”? How do you find time for all your hobbies?

A First For Me! Alma Toile

I am on the lookout for an everyday blouse that can work for the office as well as being casual. The thing is I want a feminine silhouette. I don’t want a female version of a male silhouette, ie. a button-down shirt. After re-discovering Alma I thought “hmm, maybe that’s the blouse I’ve been looking for!” I turned to my sewing nut group on Facebook and the opinions were divided, either you loved it or hated it. One member showed me her three versions, including a dress variation, and one member offered me to buy her unused copy, which she had purchased when everyone was singing Alma praise only to realise it really wasn’t her style. I decided to give it a go. (and I feel really bad for buying an indie pattern second hand, I should support the indie designers myself, but my conscience is somewhat rested in the fact that my seller said she should have never bought the pattern in the first place).

Before Christmas I visited IKEA with the family for some needed shopping, I don’t remember what though. As we passed by textiles I grabbed a bolt of fabric and bought 8 metres of the Ditte fabric. Husband asked if I planned to make red dresses aplenty, but I had another plan. Cheap fabric for muslins! With cheap fabric and some 20 people pulling in different directions regarding the Alma, I made my first real muslin.

I started with my measurements. Of course. I took my high bust, full bust, waist and hip measurement and corresponded those with sizes

HB: 35”
FB: 36.5”
W: 30 “
H: 39.5”

Full bust and waist were a 10,high bust an 8 and hip a 6. I also looked at finished measurements which were, for the 8

FB: 38,5”
W: 34.5”
H: 40.5”

I decided to start out by cutting an 8 and adjust that in what could be needed, I suspected an FBA.

 

First attempt - front

First attempt – front

For my first attempt using a straight size 8. I sewed a 1 cm seam allowance as opposed to the 1.5 cm included. I stitched on side and basted the other, to see if I could get the blouse on without a zipper. I could. It took a bit of wiggling and I’m not sure how it will work with sleeves, but once I’ll get there I’ll test. Anything to avoid putting in an unnecessary zipper, right? I was quite happy with the fit in the front, the darts ended up in the right place and were the right width.

 

First attempt - side

First attempt – side

From the back and side you can see that there is a bit of fabric bunching up on my lower back (which I have no idea what it’s called in English, but I take it as a sway back adjustment. Correct?). I tried widening the dart, 0.6 mm (as that was easy to sew) on each side of the dart, making it 2.4 cm in total

First attempt - back

First attempt – back

Onto version number 2, same pieces, just a widened dart. Now, I should know that widening a dart by stitching over an already sewn dart is not a good idea, but I did it anyway. It helped pull some width in, but I’m not too pleased with the results.

Second attempt - side

Second attempt – side

It’s still a bit wonky and I think I would fare better grading the pattern to a six size at the hip and keeping the darts as are. I’ve always thought my bottom had a pear shape, but I guess not as my hip measurement falls into a smaller size than bust and waist. Granted, baby E has left some additional waist width, which I’m trying to reduce, so maybe I can get my waist down a little.

Second attempt - back

Second attempt – back

 

I think I’ll make one more muslin. For that I will make it a bit longer, one inch I think. And grade it down to a 6 waist down on the back bodice. The front bodice fitted nicely. With my being on a consumption budget, I need to plan my makes and make them fit.

This look can also work tucked in, I think. However, after eating a yummy dinner of bacon-wrapped chicken stuffed with cream cheese and sundried tomatoes, it wasn’t the most flattering look on me so I won’t share any pictures. I didn’t even take any.

I was prepared to do an FBA (I even found a Swedish tutorial covering FBA on the Alma, what are the chances?), but the consensus in the Facebook discussion was that if your whole frame matched up ie. large bust and broad shoulders OR small bust and narrow shoulders this blouse will look good on you. If you don’t (small bust/broad shoulders or large bust/narrow shoulders) it won’t. I can’t wait to get my hands on some fabrics and make the real deal!

Do you regularly make toiles or are they saved for “special garments”? Have I missed something crucial in toile making, if so, what?

One Out, One In and Being Stupidly Cheap

In Sweden there is a word called “Dumsnål” , the literal translation would be Stupidly cheap. And I am one of those stupidly cheap persons. 

Let me explain. When you are stupidly cheap you hang on to every penny, not spending anything even though you know you have it. I felt this way when I bought my overlocker. Even though I had received money for my birthday to buy myself something special it felt wrong to spend that much money on myself. I dates back to my childhood, even though we didn’t have a lack of money at all. My dad is still the same, so maybe it comes from his childhood, which I have understood wasn’t the most affluent. 

So, how does being “stupidly cheap” relate to my Sew For a Change challenge? In three ways, actually. Let me count the ways.

 One major issue is that I don’t spend my points. I currently have 75 points and I don’t dare to spend them, because what if I’ll need them? What is necessary and what isn’t? Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t see myself having 75 points on Dec 31 and then spending the equivalent of it on Jan 1, 2 and 3, but it can keep me from buying something I actually need just for the sake of saving points. I talked to hubby about this and he agrees that I am “stupidly cheap” and that I in fact need to learn to spend money (or points) on things I need. I am also hoping that this will help me focus and think once and twice about what I buy, it needs to go together with what I have or plan to make/buy so hopefully learning to focus on my purchases can help me bring my wardrobe together.

 Secondly when I do buy something I want to get it cheap. Which is why my closet is stocked full with cheap stuff from the likes of H&M and C&A. I have bought bad quality (ie. polyester) fabrics just because they were cheap and I didn’t want to spend more money on a better fabric. A few years ago I came to the realisation that polyester isn’t comfortable and I’ve been avoiding it ever since. I still love making a great find in the scrap bin, but (and this is an important but) I no longer buy things I kinda like just because they are cheap. I have to like them. In the same manner I’ve also stopped entering every single giveaway I come across. If the prize is something I want and can see myself use I’ll enter, otherwise I’ll leave it to someone who will use it. There is no point in stocking up things just because I can get them for free.

Thirdly is that I hang on to everything. That’s why February’s challenge of de-cluttering wasn’t an issue for me. I could easily get rid of 25 pieces of clothing without a hitch. And I can still get rid of more. However, there comes a point when I can’t throw more out of my closet without replacing it, can’t walk around naked. But there’s plenty in my wardrobe that I never wear and that should be replaced with things I do wear. Although, sometimes these saving tendencies (I refuse to call it hoarding) come in handy, as I took up judo earlier this year I didn’t have to spend any money on a new judo gi, I just pulled out the one I’ve been holding on to, for no apparent reason, for 17 years.

 image

This leads up to a new challenge I’m giving myself. One in, one out. For every new item that makes its way into my closet I will take one out. I can refashion it, donate it, sell it or harvest it and throw it out. It doesn’t matter just as long as it doesn’t take up closet space in an unused form. Preferably I am to take out the same type of garments, in goes a dress, out goes a dress, or skirt or shirt… you get the idea. It wouldn’t be too bright to start with de-cluttering skirts, ending up with no shirts at all while I have restocked on skirts.

 I’m doing this to keep my wardrobe under control, not just adding more and more, but also to fill it with stuff I like and wear (I think I have at least 120 garments, not including undies, bras, stockings, camis and basic t-shirts. 120. At least. ). Being on a budget, albeit a point budget, makes me think more about what I want to add to my wardrobe, it should be things I use, things that go together. I don’t know how long I can keep this up and it will vary for different garments. Someday I will come to the point where I don’t want to take something out, when that point comes I guess I’ll have a perfect wardrobe in that category. I think I must start making a list over all my garment…

 Challenges like these surprise me. Here I thought I was doing a challenge on consumption and environmental issues and it turns out to help me with money management as well as wardrobe planning and de-cluttering.

 Have you ever learnt something that wasn’t the point of a challenge? How do you work on your weaknesses regarding your hobbies? Why do we end up with a wardrobe full of clothes and still nothing to wear?

Wardrobe Architect: Hair and Beauty

image

For this week’s exercis of Colette’s Wardrobe Architect it’s all about hair and beauty. To build a complete style and look I believe hair and beauty is key. We were to answer a few questions about ourselves and our routines, so there’s no need to drag on:

  1. What hair style has been most flattering and comfortable for you? How did it make you feel about yourself? Did it invoke any of the words you came up with in our core style exercise?
    After cutting my hair fairly short earlier this year I came to the conclusion that I have a 2.5 year cycle of my hair length. I cut I short, play with it in various lengths and then decide to grow it long. After I’ve grown it long I question myself as to why I decided to grow it long (usually since I don’t have to go to the salon so often) and cut it off again.

The thing is, I do prefer shorter hair. It’s easier to style for me, as I always end up slinging my hair back in a ponytail when it’s long enough. You see, I have plenty of hair. It’s full and I also have a lot of hair. When it is long it doesn’t really lay down and I need products to keep it down, even though it’s perfectly straight. Plus I like the edge short hair gives me.

Confession: I have never, ever dyed my hair. It has gone lighter over the year, as a teenager my hair was very dark brown, to the point of being black without actually being black. Now it’s more of a dark brown. I have also lucked out and haven’t gotten any grey hair (yet?) so I don’t have the need to cover anything. For now I’m sticking with my real colour and play with lengths instead.

My core words were put together, colourful, feminine, structure and comfortable. (I’m thinking of adding “fun” to the mix, just to remember to not take it too seriously and just have fun with style). I think my short hair falls into those categories.

  1. How much makeup are you comfortable with? It could be no makeup, or a full face with contouring (and all that jazz I could never figure out). Or it could vary day to day..

I feel comfortable in no to a little makeup. I have no problem leaving the house without anything on, but for work I usually put on eyeliner, mascara and eye shadow. For my lips I go with a coloured chap stick for most parts, but I could go for a little gloss if I want to branch out. However, I think makeup is fun and I would like to take a lesson in it, learning what colours I should use and what products to make it a bit better.

  1. How does your makeup and hair reflect your personal style? What do you feel they say about you and your aesthetics?
    Keeping with the fun I think my hair can be played with. Or styled more business if I need to. I like to play with spikes and shapes but also hair accessories.
  2. How much product do you want to own? Do you like collecting products, or would you rather just have a few essentials? How much bathroom clutter are you ok with?
    I want to own a few products, the essentials. I have no need or desire to stock my shelves with things.
  3. What requirements do you have for the products you buy? Do you stick with all natural products? Are there ingredients you avoid?
    Too little at the moment, but then again I’m committing the horrible crime of keeping products until they are gone or too messed up to use them. I definitely want to get more high quality products that haven’t been animal tested and are natural. I don’t want parabens in lotions, otherwise I must confess that my knowledge is poor. Some research before I buy more is in order.
  4. What colors feel best near your face? How do they relate to the color palette you created?
    I usually go for earth tones; warm brown, purple and pink depending on the occasion and what I wear. Which is odd since I don’t go for earth tones on my clothing, I like my clothes more bright. But the colours, or nuances of them ,are in my palette and match my skin tone and eyes (or so I think, see above about a lesson in makeup).
  5. What colors never look right near your face? What colors have you tried and given up on before?
    I don’t want too bright colours on my face, for every day I don’t want makeup to be a focal point. For special occasions I don’t want to look like I’ve been trying too hard.
  6. How much time do you realistically want to spend getting ready in the morning?
    I don’t spend a lot of time getting ready and it wouldn’t bother me if I had to do a bit more. I find it more annoying having to wash my makeup off at night or before workouts. That’s what I love about short hair, I just comb it down and I have a style, which I can amp up if I’m in the mood.
  7. What types of scents do you gravitate towards? Do you wear perfume? Other scented products? What do you feel the scents you like communicate about your personality?
    I don’t think I even own a perfume. I wear a scented deodorant (and I feel that the one I currently have is too strong in smell). That’s it. I’m not much for scenting myself and I don’t care for it too much in others either. A natural, neutral smell is the best.

The picture is me on my wedding day. In a hairstyle I like and with great makeup, my sister did it. Plus happiness as an accessory.

Wardrobe Architect: Prints or Solids?

I’ve fallen behind on the Wardrobe architect project, so good thing there haven’t been any new tasks recently. I’m still on prints…

Now, seeing how I am lazy I won’t do the tasks as Colette instructs us, but I still want to think about what prints I do and don’t like, I’ll follow the post from Colette:

Prints vs. solids: I think solids are easier to match so my basics are pretty much all solids. I need my solids. However it is fun to mix it up with some prints, but I am not a person of print matching. I just don’t do it or like it on me.

Scale: Thinking about what I wear and what I feel comfortable in I have made the conclusion that I am a small, but not tiny, print person and my prints need to be regular. However, if the print is too small it can be overwhelming for say a long sleeve button down shirt. Scale and garment must work together.

Contrast: If I’m going to work a print, I want it to be seen that it is a print!

Naturalism: I tend to like softer prints, not a big fan of geometric prints that I find too sharp for clothing. Although I just made a geometric dress, so one should probably never say never.

In my early days of sewing I liked prints that were simple and literal (examples: Another Belle Skirt, …) but now I gravitate more towards interesting lines and classics (examples: The Leaf Skirt and Leaf Dress, Blueberry Sorbetto). Like I mentioned above I want to keep my prints regular, after all “structure” was one of my style keywords. Paisley gets a big thumbs down from me, it has nothing that appeals to me, they tend to be very light in colour too and I prefer my colours bright! Stripes I like and I thought I liked plaid, but after wearing my Plaid’n’Wrap skirt the other day I didn’t feel totally comfortable in it. Maybe it is just that plaid, but I just threw out another plaid skirt that I didn’t like. Is it bad plaid or is it that I just don’t like plaid?

I tend to think novelty prints look fun, but I don’t see myself wearing those; I’d probably feel that I was playing dress-up. Kudos to those who can pull it off (Dolly Clackett comes to mind) but I will settle for admiring her pieces and sticking with my own safer choices. Also, animal prints: not my cup of tea.

Currently I feel that I have moved past the “oh, look at that lovely quilting cotton print” that is totally impractical and into more thinking of what will work and how the print will be displayed for the garment I’m planning. The smaller the garment, the more daring print I go for. I want to work more on bringing in prints I feel comfortable in, prints have the tendency to make clothes more fun because clothing should be fun and not taken too seriously. With that in mind, I’m thinking of adding fun to my keywords, just to remember what it’s really all about.

Are you a print or solids person? Do you like your prints to be stripes, plaids, novelty or something completely different?

Sew For A Change – February

The first month of Sew For a Change is completed. I have not spent any points this month and it hasn’t been hard. The reason is that I’ve been on maternity leave and haven’t needed any new clothes when you lounging around the house, having lunch meet-ups and hanging on playgrounds. But I got a Save the Date for SIL’s wedding so at some point I will buy new fabric for a dress.

Plus I have added 10 new points to my stash by clearing out at least 28 items. I donated 25 garments to second hand (5 dresses, 9 tops, 3 pants, 3 lounge wear, 4 skirts and 1 sweater). I also donated 14 books. In addition I also re-fashioned one dress to a shirt. I think I can award myself those 10 points.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to sell the items I wanted, a baby car seat, a baby chair and a nursing dress. Granted I wasn’t very active in trying, but hopefully they’ll get sold eventually. I also gave away one piece of fabric, which will go in the mail tomorrow, I hope, or by latest on Monday.

Summary:

Ingoing points:
65 p
Purchases:
Pants and belt, both second hand, no points

Created:
Rule Britannia Dress
Midnight Sun Shirt

Outgoing points: 75p

I found this monthly challenge quite easy, perhaps I made it too easy on myself, but I will continue to get rid of things if I find we don’t use them. Baby E is just barely one, but in a while we will be able to get rid of a bunch of baby toys, but that’ll be next year I think.