The One Where I Went to Amsterdam

I went to Amsterdam for three days on a school trip. Because it was a school trip I didn’t have a lot of time to shop. But when pupils get time off to go shopping so do the teachers and those of you who follow me on Twitter (@StephanieKCR) have seen a few of my finds over the last few days.

Since I’m so happy with all of them, I want to share everything with you!

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The pocket watches: On the first day I came across these pocket watches at a small market on ‘het Waterlooplein’. A pocket watch in the shape of an antique sewing machine… There are not enough words to describe how happy this made me and how utterly impossible it was to resist. The second one is a pocket watch which opens up to reveal the clock and is shaped as an owl. I love owls.

The sewing machine pocket watch sits on top of the shelf next to my own sewing machine now. I didn’t have  clock there so it’s perfect.

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The scarf: I came across the scarf on the second day and because I loved the blue and loved the birds I couldn’t let it go. It’s a very drapey soft cotton and because it’s so large I could even use it to make a top if I wanted.

The book: I bought the book the same day, it has a lot of lovely pictures of how to draw clothing. I didn’t buy it to be able to draw the clothes better but because it has a ton of different tops, skirts, pants,… I thought it would be great to inspire me to draw my own patterns. If you’re interested, you can find it here.

The shoes: When I took my seamless pledge I pledged to not buy anymore shoes or bags unless in a thrift shop. So you can imagine my happiness when I came across these gorgeous vintage boots in a thrift shop. Better yet, they were my size and all they need is new heels. Funny story actually: Because we had been walking non-stop for 3 days my feet were killing me. These shoes were actually more comfortable than my own so I asked the shop lady if I could keep them on. That was no problem, but she asked me to show the price at the bottom. A while later I sat down on a bench and one of my pupils noticed I still had a price tag underneath my shoe so when I tried to peel it off I noticed there was another price tag on the other shoe. The two price tags had a different price and without even knowing I had shown the lowest one to the shop lady. So that really made my day.

The bag: I never thought I would buy a purse in a museum shop, but this one was perfect. It’s the perfect buttercup yellow and it’s big enough so I can take me teaching books and it has a sunflower embossed in the front. It’s based on the sunflower painting by Vincent Van Gogh and it summer represented in a bag. This one is totally new so I kind of violated my seamless pledge, but secretly I don’t care 🙂

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The buttons: Before I left my Robson Coat pattern arrived, so I decided to take my swatch cards with me and look for matching buttons. The last day we finally came across a fabric shop and they had thousands of buttons. It took me half an hour and taking out a few dozen buttons but I finally managed to find the perfect ones to fit the green fabric. I bought larger ones for the buttons on the front and smaller ones for the back and shoulders. I even got a few spare ones because going back to Amsterdam just to get buttons is not a good idea. I love how they’re all different. The shop lady took them all out of the box and let me pick the ones I loved most because some where darker or lighter or had stains. For those interested, this is the shop.

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The nail polish: Sometimes being pampered is fun, so with half an hour to spare until our next render-vous time I decided to get my nails done. I had them done at the Koh stand at De Bijenkorf. I chose an olive green colour with a light shimmer and the lady who did them was super nice. Because the nail polish wasn’t exactly cheap I wanted to test durability before I bought it. She did my nails and told me that they sold that brand in Belgium as well so I could get it here if I wanted. But as I find it hard to get a colour nail polish I really like I went back yesterday right before we left to go and get the polish. I decided on another colour as well and it ended me up with a free lipstick 🙂 I like the lipstick as well but I feel a bit self-conscious when i wear it, even seeing a picture of it.

The two colors but with a light shimmer.

Seeing I like fancy thing but I don’t like paying fancy money for them it was nice that they took the nail polish out of the small cardboard packaging it came in and replace it with a beautiful pouch for each bottle.

So that’s how Amsterdam was for me and I hope you can see why I loved it so much 🙂

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The One with The Dolman Sleeve Top

It didn’t take long so here it is 🙂

dolman

 

Pattern:

Free Dolman Sleeve Top pattern by Cation Design

It’s a PDF pattern with only 8 pages as the front and back sit on top of each other. I printed out the pattern twice, cut all 8 pages twice and taped them together twice… Just so I didn’t have to trace the damn thing 🙂 I guess it’s fairly obvious by now I hate tracing patterns.

Fabric:

A blue sweater knit that arrived two days ago. I wanted to use this fabric for the top after I saw Sally’s version of it. I loved the little holes in the fabric which made it a bit transparent.

The good thing is that by cutting my back into two pieces I managed to cut the entire top out of only 84cm of fabric! Yay for that, as I have enough leftover now to make something else out of the fabric.

One thing about this fabric though is that if frays like crazy. And when I say crazy I mean blue fluff sticking to every surface in my living room now. Literally everywhere! Same reason why I opted to not make the bow in the end.

Size and alterations:

I just cut a medium size which seems to be the perfect fit. I didn’t alter anything on the pattern.

I did however notice when trying to sew the neckband on that the fabric frayed just too much to sew such a narrow band to finish the neckline. Instead of cutting a wider one I decided to cheat. A while ago I came across some stretch bias tape and I bought white, black and beige (skin coloured). Not the most special colours but they were good enough to practice if I needed them. I decided to go for the skin coloured one because I hoped it would be invisible through the holes. Or at least blend with my skin colour 🙂 I topstitched it down by using a twin needle.

Level and special skills:

This is my favorite kind of pattern. No zippers, no buttons, no pleats, no darts, not even hemming! Like the Renfrew top it has a waistband and a sleeve band which makes it a lot easier to finish.

So this doesn’t really need special skills except maybe some experience in sewing with knits.

Time to complete:

I don’t know exactly but I guess about 3 hours and I didn’t rush. It would have gone a lot faster if the fabric didn’t fray so much!

Will I make it again:

I’m not sure as I’m not quite sure how I feel about the top yet.

Overall conclusion:

Lovely pattern, easy as hell! I love the fact that it feels like ages since I made anything wearable. I like how it looks when I look in the mirror or see it in the picture, but it looks kind of weird on me when I look down at my neckline. I’m just used to more cleavage.

The trick with the stretch biastape worked as a charm.. Invisible plus it keeps the neckline from gaping.

The big BUT in this story is that I think it will look better on me once I loose some weight. Somehow I have the feeling it makes me look heavier on top than I really am and that was the part of my body I liked 😉

 

PS I’m really sorry for my ghostly paleness but it’s still snowing here. That’s right, Spring started today, it decided to start off with snow. I’m in serious need of some sunshine. Oh and if you’re wondering what the sticker is: We had a run against cancer today at school so I wanted a sticker. And you know the nice part (this is going to start so vain) is that the blue on the sticker is the exact same blue as my top. It makes me so happy I want to keep it 🙂

The One with The Fabric that FINALLY arrived.

I’m not known for my patience. I might even be the most impatienced person I know 🙂

So when I ordered fabric over three weeks ago I couldn’t wait for it to arrive. Normally, fabric arrives the same week, even when I order from one of the neighbouring countries. So when I ordered this in a (huge) shop about 50 miles or so away, I didn’t expect it to take that long.

I was about to call them and complain but luckily it arrived today. And it came with a handwritten ‘thank you’-card so I kind of forgave them instantly 🙂

The fabric I ordered where these lovely sweater knits perfect for Spring. And the moment I discovered them was the last day of a special ‘Order 1m get 1m for free’ promotion. So double yay!

New fabrics

I ordered these before I decided to coordinate my fabric from now on but I think they’re not so bad. I added a colour swatch since the colours on the photograph are way off. So the green one is perfect, matches my colours perfectly. And even if the blue isn’t included, I’m not too sad about it as I have a lot of sleeveless blue tops in my wardrobe that would look great underneath it.

Now what am I going to do with it?

I was planning on making it into a Dolman Sleeve Top, the free pattern drafted by Cation Designs. I fell in love with it after I saw Sally’s version of it.

I’m planning on copying it, bow and all! The good thing is that I’m guessing I only need a metre of fabric or so but I’ve got 2 metres of both, so I still have leftover fabric to make something else. Yay again!

With all that talk about changing my colours I started thinking about myself for a change. I was trying to sew some pants because I really need some and although I did everything right, they ended up too small. I changed all seam allowances to 0,5m instead of 1,5 cm and I managed to get them on and even close them, but they still looked too small.

I don’t really mind that the pants failed (it was only a muslin) but I did mind what I had been fearing for a long time. I had to face reality and admit I had gained more than just a few pounds.

While most of the time I feel alright about myself, I never feel good. Even when I make my own clothes that fit properly, I never feel truly good in them. And it’s got everything to do with the fact that I don’t feel good about myself anymore. The thing with gaining weight is that it kind of sneaks up on you. In my head I still was the thin girl I was 5 years ago, but I finally have to admit that that is not me anymore.

Although I don’t want to go back to being super skinny, I want to be able to look at myself in the mirror in my undergarments and say: ‘Stephanie, you’re looking good today!’

So starting tomorrow I’m going on a diet, I’ve got the support of my friends and (most importantly) my boyfriend and the goal is to fit back into the clothes I wore 5 years ago by the end of summer.

You’re all wondering what this has to do with sewing. Well, not much, but sometimes you just want to tell someone and telling ‘the internet’ is less confrontational than telling people you meet everyday. Plus, the sewing community is much more supportive and understanding.

So starting tomorrow I’m working on a new me, as well as new colours.

Love you all!

 

(PS I’m not judging anyone on their weight, I think that everyone should decide for themselves whether they feel good about it or not. People much ’rounder’ than I feel perfectly fine. But I don’t, that’s why I’m doing something about it instead of being unhappy.)

The One with All the Colours – Part 2

I got such wonderful reactions on my choice of colours.

I worked on them a little more and thought about how my outfits would match better. Ideally I want to be able to pick any cardigan (I love cardigans), any top and any skirt/pants and they would match!

So these are my official colours. Luckily, some of my stash matches these 🙂

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I made my Mom promise she would hit me if I tried to change them again. ( I changed them about 10 times this week)

Talking about my Mom. After I mentioned she is a (licensed) style and colour consultant some of you asked me if my mother wouldn’t want to share any tips and tricks about what type you are and which colours you should wear.

She was as enthusiastic as I was so we decided to do a little series on it.

It will be a 4-parter!

  1. How to figure out which season-type you are?
  2. I’m a Spring/Summer/Autumn/Winter type: Which colours should I choose?
  3. How to update your wardrobe according to your season-type?
  4. Your questions for my mom! And she answers them!

Now, I need your input on this one.

  • I would like you to tell me which topics you want us to talk about (for instance: How to figure my type out on my own.)
  • I would like you to send me any questions you have for my Mom. You can start doing this now and you can keep doing this until the last post is up (I can keep editing it so don’t worry)

PS: I found a Spoonflower alternative in Europe and I want to order everything on their site. But I’m keeping to my colours 😉 They’re not cheap but neither is Spoonflower and this way I can avoid extra import taxes.

The One with All the Colours

When I took my Seamless Pledge I wrote that my wardrobe was boring. I had gotten rid of everything I didn’t wear (or shouldn’t be wearing) and all I had left were plain boring basics.

After organising my fabric stash I was left feeling a bit weird about my fabric. Part of the reason I went into sewing was the fact that I would be able to coordinate my wardrobe better. But organising my stash made it very clear that I love buying pretty fabrics but didn’t stand still to think about whether they would match the rest of my wardrobe.

Result: Still no matching items and I keep returning to ‘boring’ cake when picking outfits.

A few days ago, a blog post by the incredibly creative and wonderfully dressed Gillian showed me the solution. She started by choosing her colours and then sticking to those colours when picking out fabric. She made her own colourchart and even showed her already matching fabrics.

The idea in itself was so simple and amazing I just had to steal it (Sorry, Gillian!) She chose colours for her spring palatte but I wanted to pick colours for my entire wardrobe (that’s why there are so many colours), because I like switching between seasons and I love wearing bright colours when it won’t stop being this cold and snowy.

A few years ago I was ‘diagnosed’ as an Autumn-type. So this is what I came up with. I have to admit I had a little help from my lovely mother. I picked my colours and she ‘checked’ them. (She’s a colour and style consultant)

kleurenkaart definitief

Now that the colour picking is done, all that’s left is sorting out my wardrobe (again), sorting out my fabric stash and go out looking for new fabrics to make a fabulous new wardrobe!

Sounds easy peasy, doesn’t it 🙂

The One with the Stash Organiser

Like a lot of people into sewing, I have quite a stash build up. Because I wanted to start using my stash, instead of forgetting what I have and buying new fabric, I needed a way to get organised.

I had been thinking about this for a while, but I never found the ideal way for me to organise my stash.

It might be good to tell you that I believe all people have this tiny autistic person living inside them and sometimes it needs to get out. Mine comes out when there’s two colours of blue pen used on the some sheet of paper. Or when I have to make cards to organise my stash.

I knew immediately that organising my stash in a folder wouldn’t be for me, too large and I like going through it more quickly. Small cards weren’t my thing either because I couldn’t put them in a binder of some sorts and I didn’t just want to write the info on a card because I don’t like my own handwriting. Suddenly it struck me. I wanted a Rolodex. It still had the small cards but the cards were stored in a box and attached so they couldn’t get lost. I finally found a secondhand Rolodex (with new cards) for only 1 euro. ($1.5) All I needed now was a design for the cards.

I decided to design my own cards. This is what I came up with (after a lot of trials and errors)

stempelI wanted it to look nice and have enough information: date, price, yardage, shop, fabric type, maintenance and pre-washed.

My initial idea was to carve a stamp using this template but because I needed to fit on a businesscard I decided it wasn’t do-able.

I finally  printed them on regular paper, cut along the line and glued them onto the Rolodex cards. There was a lot of cutting and hand-cramping involved.

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After my cards were done, I divided my fabric into piles according to type (woven, knit, specials and scraps)

I cut a small piece out of each fabric, glued it on the card and filled in the info. There are a lot cards which miss date or price just because it’s been a while and I don’t remember.

projectIt’s a lot of work and I’ve only managed to do all the ‘wovens’ because I ran out of finished cards and I wasn’t looking forward to cutting another bunch. But I do love the system. It’s easy to flip through to see if I have the fabric I need. The only adjustment I’m going to make is that I’m going to look for sticker paper so I don’t have to glue it onto the cards.

Hope you like it!