How my hate for ironing brought on the Seamless Pledge.

I hate ironing. I hate it with a deep fiery passion. I don’t know why but I just do. And because I hate it so much I can’t think of enough excuses not to do it. This time I found enough excuses to put off ironing for 43 days. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not proud of it. I just hate ironing that much 🙂 (I don’t hate pressing, learned to love that the hard way)

The thing is, I have a huge wardrobe. I have tons of clothes and that’s why I can put it off for so long. I did do my washing but once it’s washed and dried I put it in a laundry basket until I find the courage to iron them.

This weekend I ran out of excuses so I put myself to the vast task of ironing all my (and my boyfriend’s) clothes. And when seeing the pictures I’m actually disappointed it’s not more. I thought it would reach the ceiling!

strijk

There is an upside about getting the work done. I seem to have a completely new wardrobe. But a large part of that wardrobe contains clothes I never ever wear. For several reasons. So while I was stashing away all my clean clothes, I decided to take everything I didn’t wear out of the wardrobe and figure out what to do with it.

I divided all my clothes into 5 categories:

  • Clothes which are already in heavy rotation (my favorites, the ones I do iron right after washing)
  • Clothes that are too small and I won’t ever wear again (even if they fit)
  • Clothes which have a weird cut but a lovely print or fabric so they can be used for something else.
  • Clothes which are fixable (by taking in a few seams here and there)
  • Clothes which have to go.

I hate trowing away clothes. I can’t bear it. That’s why I still have clothes from about 10 years ago. Some still fit, but my style changed, heck I changed!

The clothes that are too small will probably go to my cousin. She’s a bit skinnier than I am so they will fit her just fine. I do have a lot of lovely dresses, which I bought because I liked the print or the fabric but  I don’t actually wear because they don’t suit me. I decided to keep them so I can take them apart and use the fabric for something else. I have fixable clothes: Sweaters and skirts which are just a bit wide at the waist/hips and need to be taken in. (sometimes I over-estimate my size, especially when ordering online). And some clothes are just worn down. I still like them but I never wear them anymore because they are just unwearable.

So having done this I realised it was time for me to take the Seamless Pledge. So here goes…

screen-shot-2011-11-06-at-23-42-01

I, Stephanie Ramaekers, am taking the Seamless Pledge for the rest of 2013: from today until december 31th 2013! (I can do this!)  

In that time I won’t buy any new clothes or shoes or bags, with the exception of undergarments and socks. I will sew or buy second-hand everything else!  Why?

  • I have heaps of clothes. I went almost 7 weeks without ironing. That says it all really.
  • Stepping outside social pressures. RTW clothes are just not my thing. There is always something wrong with it. I don’t like the colours or the fashion trends RTW shops are offering.
  • Sustainability. The world does not need cheap clothing that will fall apart. There is no need to create so much waste and there is no need to buy clothes made by child labour (not judging anyone who does!) to keep it cheap.

I’m really happy I finally made the official decision. I haven’t actually bought any clothes in the last few months (except cardigans, I love cardigans!) because of the reasons mentioned above and because I truly believe I can make better clothes than the ones I can afford! (With a little practice that is!)

PS I finally gave into temptation and ordered the Tiramisu, Renfrew and Alma Blouse pattern… Can’t wait to get started!

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Just couldn’t wait for the sewalong.

On Thursday I got the Briar pattern in the mail! Yay, I was so excited! I couldn’t wait to get started.But past mistakes taught me that I had to carefully plan my garment.

I had this moss green knit for quite some time. I loved it, I bought it… Simple as that! But not as simple as finding a matching pattern. Until I saw the Briar pattern.

collageThis was my first attempt at outside pictures. It’s hard this time of year because I leave home in the dark and by the time my boyfriend gets home to take the pictures it’s dark again. When I asked him to do the pictures today he just took his mobile and wanted to take pictures with that. I nearly hit him 🙂

I haven’t got any “making of” pictures because this was made as sort of a muslin. I had enough fabric to make two and since I didn’t have another fabric in this loose knit I chose to make a muslin out of the final fabric. If it worked out, great! If it didn’t, I had enough fabric for a second try.

I finished this yesterday and I wasn’t really happy with the result. My shoulders looked quite bulky (because of the seam allowance of the leather shoulder patches) and my one great asset (my waist) was nowhere to be found. So this morning I cut out the seam allowance of the leather patches and that made it a lot less bulky. And although I still think the cropped cut is not for me, the Banksia shirt underneath makes it better (I love how those two seem made for each other) . All in all, it looks a lot better than it did last night.

What I don’t like about this top:

  • The knit is too loose for this pattern.
  • It’s quite transparent and not warm (might be better for a Spring outfit).
  • My thread didn’t match the fabric exactly but fortunately it’s not noticeable in daylight.
  • I should have used a twin-needle for the neckline band.
  • I don’t like how the cropped version looks on me.
  • I had no matching serger thread so it’s white on the inside.
  • I think the leather shoulder patches make my shoulders look a lot broader than they are (and I already have quite broad shoulders)

What I do like this top:

  • I LOVE LOVE LOVE THE COLOUR.
  • I love love love how easy this pattern was to make.
  • I used the selvage side of my fabric as a band for the hemming. I had never tried it before but it worked really well.
  • I love how it has an army feel to it.

What I changed:

  • Instead of using Megan’s advice to use the patch pockets as guide for the shoulder patches, I used a suede knee-patch I still had lying around from another project. I cut it in two and sewed it on.
  • I added the band around the sleeves, at the bottom and around the neckline.

Overall assessment:

I love the pattern and I will make more Briar tops, I still have to experiment a little bit. But I will wait for the Briar sewalong to make the next one!

actie

 

 

My sewing week hasn’t started all that well.

Sunday

  • I decided to make a skirt I had made twice before ( I wasn’t going to do it anymore but I needed something fast and easy)
  • I had the perfect jersey and when laying out my pattern pieces I noticed that there was enough fabric left over to make a matching top. I decided to go for a Banksia (since I did that three times before)

stof jersey

  1. Somehow the Banksia refused to be sewn together. I tried saving it by adding a collar (cut from a top I messed up before) but it didn’t work so I’ll recycle both in a later project.
  2. I tried every possible stitch on the hem of my skirt but the twin-needle wasn’t co-operating. I finally decided on a simple straight stitch. I wore it today, the hem ripped.
  3. I forgot to measure how wide my waistband had to be (and how long) so I just followed the instructions on the pattern: The waistband is far to wide and it’s not high enough.

Monday

  • My mother-in-law gave me an old skirt. I had successfully taken it apart and wanted to use the piece to make a simple skirt. Looked fairly easy, I was just going to attach a jersey waistband and use biastape for the hem.

Rok

  1. It looked like the old side seams would be my size. When trying it on, it turned out I had 5cm left over on each side.
  2. I took it in using my serger.
  3. It doesn’t fit me anymore and any excess fabric was cut off by the serger.
  4. Hence: Measure twice, cut once… I just guessed the size based on my reflection… WORST IDEA EVER.

 

Tuesday

  • I needed something very very foolproof and easy and fast and it didn’t have to be clothes, as long as it was sewing related.
  • I came across a tutorial by Sweet Verbena to make a pencil pouch. It was a very clear tutorial and I followed it meticulously!
  • Aaaaaaaaand it worked!
  • I love my pouch!! And it only took 20 minutes to complete and some scraps of fabric.

pennenzak

I suspect my biggest problem (and the reason I mess up such easy projects) is the fact that I have so much stuff planned and I keep getting new ideas that I don’t know where to start. And then I just want something fast and easy and I just do it too fast… Hence the messing up!

This hasn’t been such a good week…

1. I had a bad case of the stomach flu. I’m never sick, but when I am, it just knocks me right off my feet.

2. I ordered a blind zipper foot for my sewing machine. It’s not the correct one. It’s useless… Stupid old sewing machine and stupid wrong info on the internet. Hate wasting money like this.

3. My boyfriend and brother-in-law pointed me at the fact that I look a lot ‘fatter’ on my blog pictures than I really am! Stupid camera really does not like me!

4. My mother gave me a project based sewing book for my birthday. It’s called ‘Rokjes‘ and it’s entirely about skirts. I normally don’t like project based books but I absolutely loved this one. Different patterns with suggested alterations/variations. It even has a chapter about drafting your own skirt pattern. So far that sounded promising. I’ve wanted to make a skirt out of this book on several occasions. Only problem is that the pictures of the skirts are absolutely hideous. It’s like the models were blindfolded and had to put on whichever skirt they found first. They’re just not flattering to any of them. So how do they expect me to feel comfortable making a skirt that doesn’t even look good on the model. But I’ll have to get over it in the end and do something.rokjes

But on the plus side:

1. My lovely mother is taking me shopping tomorrow. Not clothes shopping, as that would be ridiculous. But she’s taking me shopping for fabric, sewing stuff, patterns, the whole enchilada 🙂

2. Because I was just lying there on the sofa I started taking apart an old skirt my mother-in-law gave me (it was intended to be taken apart and re-used) and there was something very therapeutic about ripping apart RTW garments! And it went incredibly fast as well. The only thing left to do is figuring out what I’m going to do with it 🙂

3. Taking apart that skirt showed me that I might actually be able to do something with all the dresses in my wardrobe. I have a lot of them but I either hate the cut or they don’t fit me anymore. But on all of them, I like the fabric and I like the print and the colors. Taking them apart and re-using them for tops and blouses might actually be very rewarding. Can’t wait to show you all!

Rok

Banksia Pajamas: What to sew when you have the flu!

I had been coming down with something for a few days but on Monday morning it hit me full on! Went to the doctor’s and he told me I had to stay in bed for three days.

Well, I’m not good at staying in bed… There’s only so much TV I can watch. I felt a bit better yesterday, as long as I was sitting down and not thinking to hard 🙂

Catherine

I had some fabric left over from the pajama pants I made my cousins for Christmas. (To be fair, I had bought way too much fabric) The idea was to make pajama pants from that same pattern and make a pajama top using the Banksia pattern. I had visions of flannel plaid with lace hems. I drew what I wanted it to look like. In all honesty, I can’t draw so I just copied the girl on the Banksia pattern, bit worried it’s copyright infringement or something.

schets

As I love lounging around in my pajamas on a Sunday, but most of the bought pajamas look too much like pajamas. I wanted something that wouldn’t make me rush to the mailbox in fear of being seen in my pajamas but made me strut proudly down the driveway!

So the first idea was to use the same pattern for my pants as the one I used for my cousins. But because they are very very slim and the legs weren’t tapered, I was afraid my pants would just end up being way to wide at the bottom. I didn’t like the fit around the back either. So after some debating (with my inner self) I decided to draft the pants myself.

I did cheat a little bit, took a pair I bought once and really liked and measured those up. I even wrote it down in my notebook 🙂 It’s the first time I actually took the time to sit down and think everything over and plan in advance rather than figuring it out along the way. Looking back, it made it a lot easier for me because I knew in advance that I had everything I needed so I could just get on with things.

I drafted the pattern, traced it on regular pattern paper and cut it out. Did I make a muslin? Ofcourse not, why would I make an easy to sew model before bothering with matching up all the plaids. (That’s sarcastic me talking)

Luckily my cat (Noodles) was there to supervise the project until I had all my pieces cut up and put on a neat little pile. (For the record: I hate matching plaids)

Deel 1

I was thinking about doing a small tutorial on how I did it, but then I struck me, everyone reading this knows how to do pajama pants and I’m not that good yet. So i just took pictures of (almost) every step so you can see what I did.

Deel 2

 

The banksia top part was fairly easy, as I did it 3 times before 🙂 The only hiccups in the process was the bias tape I used to face the sleeves. I had to do both sides twice because the thread kept bulging. In the end I’m very happy with how the top turned out, the only thing I can’t seem to fix is the fit of the collar. On each one the collar isn’t matching up in the centre and I don’t know how that happens. I’ll have to look into it next time.

Deel 3

 

deel 4

The pants were fairly standard and I made sure I pressed every seam meticulously. I also topstitched over every seam and it looks great! The hard part really was getting the elastic in. The waistband was maybe a bit too well measured but in the end I pulled it off.

Every red line on the pajama matches! I’m so proud of myself! Even the lines of the pockets match up so they seem ‘invisible’ when you look at them.

deel 5The fit of the top is great, no changes there. I should however alter the fit of the pants a bit. Lower the waistline in the front and make it a bit higher in the back. But apart from that nothing that i could have done better.

Deel 6I especially love the white waistband that matches the collar on the top. I wanted to put a drawstring in but in the end decided against it as it was merely decorative. I also left off the lace because 1. It’s busy enough as it is 2. There’s 15 cm of snow outside and the temperature is -14. I wasn’t going to get in my car just to get some lace.

It’s save to say that I love the way this turned out, I made it sleeveless because I can’t stand sleeves when I sleep, I need my arms to be cold. During the daytime I just put a cardigan on top and I’m good to go. It has the boyfriend stamp of approval although he thinks it’s too classy for pajamas. I don’t care, nothing wrong with classy self made pajamas!

I want to wear this to work btw!

 

 

Time for the Banksia and Kelly show-and-tell!

I mentioned my love for Megan Nielsen’s patterns a few times but I haven’t actually shown you what I made with those patterns.

I made three Banksia tops:

Banksia Collage

Left: Floral cotton – Basic Pattern
Middle: Black and dotted jersey – Pattern altered for stretch
Right: Light blue cotton/linen blend – Basic pattern hemmed with lace

Detail of the lace hem. I used a bias tape as facing. Same method as the collar finish.Detail of the lace hem. I used a bias tape as facing. Same method as the collar finish.

I made two Kelly skirts:

Left: Green gabardine - Basic PatternRight: Brown Corduroy - Changed the pockets

Left: Green gabardine – Basic Pattern
Right: Brown Corduroy – Changed the pockets

Changed the pocket style on my second Kelly. Turned out really well I think.

Detail of the pocket: Changed the pocket style on my second Kelly. Turned out really well I think.

I have to admit that both patterns were incredibly easy to make. It took me about 5 hours to put my first Banksia together and it took another 3 hours to sew a Kelly. That was pattern tracing and cutting included.

If you want to make one yourself you can order the Banksia and the Kelly here. And if you already have a Kelly wear it on friday for #kellyskirtfriday! The lovely Sarah over at Notches and Notions started this great idea and our little #kellyskirtfriday club is pretty international! Megan Nielsen picked up on the hashtag and she’s asked to tweet all your pictures related to #kellyskirtfriday!

I honestly had no idea what was happening when the lovely Catja over at gjeometry.com nominated me for not one but 3 awards! Also, it was the middle of the night when I read this (I read blogs in between sleep cycles) so I didn’t know how to respond.

But after a good night’s rest and a fine day filled with sewing I gave it some thought and here’s the result:

For the Very Inspiring Blogger award and One Lovely Blog award, the official rules are:  1) Thank and link back to the awesome person who nominated you.  2) Share seven things about yourself.  3) Nominate ten other bloggers and comment on their blogs to let them know.  The Premio award recognizes people who comment on other blogs.  You nominate the nine bloggers who last commented on yours.

The Very Inspiring Blogger award and One Lovely Blog Award:

1. Done – see first line of this post 🙂

2. Seven things about myself:

  • I followed the love of my life to the other side of the country (But Belgium is tiny, so it’s not that impressive).
  • I’m a collector – eg. I can’t just buy one book in a series, I have to buy the complete series (whether or not I know if they’re any good)
  • I have one cat and she’s terribly spoiled by both me and my BF. She’s our substitute baby for the time being.
  • I’m not just a teacher but also an interior designer. That’s where I got my creative side. I studied it but I’m not actually doing anything with it, apart from some small projects for friends.
  • I’m a bit of a technology geek 🙂 I always want the latest and most spectacular gadgets (especially everything Apple related)
  • I love SCI-FI.

3. And the 10 nominees are (in random order):

The Premio Award:

Since I don’t even have 9 people who commented on my blog, I can’t nomintate nine. I’ll just nominate all the other ones 🙂

So that’s it for the awards!