The challenge in the laundry conundrum!

Thanks for your responses on yesterday´s post, I´m glad to hear that I´m not the only one.

I finished laundry today (yes, it took me two days…) and the advantage of having all your clothes clean at the same time is that you can really really look at them.

I´ve decided to conduct a little experiment:

I selected the clothes that I liked best out of my entire wardrobe. This wasn´t as easy as I thought because most of my beloved clothes are either too small or not suitable for breastfeeding. Of the ones left, I selected the items on the rack in the picture.

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I´m going to try and work with these clothes only for the next two weeks. I figured that if I have two weeks worth of clothes, I have my bases for summer covered. (Belgian summer = every type of weather imaginable but mostly rain and very humid)

Does this mean I will not sew for the next two weeks (or afterwards)?

Ofcourse not BUT when I sew it should follow these rules:

  • I need that item of clothing (i.e. I do not own shorts, I should sew shorts)
  • I´ve already cut out the pieces (i.e I cut out a pair of Hudson Pants over the weekend, they can still get sewn)
  • I can refashion items that otherwise would not get worn or would be thrown away (i.e. I have some t-shirts I like but don´t wear because the neckline gapes or they are slightly too long = easy alterations)

My goal is not to have a small mix-and-match wardrobe in the end, because mix-and-match doesn´t work for me. But I want to have a smaller workable wardrobe filled with pieces that´ll actually get worn.

What do you think? Crazy or doable?

 

 

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On doing laundry

I was doing laundry just now and it got me thinking. (I hate doing laundry so when I do, it usually takes so long, that I have a lot of extra time to think)

My husband has the exact same wardrobe (give or take a few pieces which had to be replaced) as when I met him 5 years ago. I bought him some new pairs of jeans because the old ones wore out or he gained a few pounds and needed new ones. He got a few new t-shirts to replace others. I even had to force him into buying new shoes because he had been wearing the other pair since before I met him.

When I look at my wardrobe I don´t think I can name a piece of clothing that I owned for more than 5 years. Maybe one cardigan, which I love to pieces and I refuse to let go off. But all the rest of my clothes are still relatively new. I could say this is due to getting pregnant and my changed body afterwards but this would only be part of the story. The biggest part is due to the fact that I learned how to sew 4 years ago. I took up sewing because I needed a hobby and because I usually don´t fit into RTW, but it sucked me into a downward spiral of making clothes and discarding them just as fast.

I´d love to say that I make clothes so poor children shouldn´t but the thing is that all this waste of fabric can´t be environmentally healthy, something I´m usually quite aware of in other aspects of my life.

The problem is that I constantly feel like I have nothing to wear (I know, sounds like a typical woman problem) so I make new things, but it has to go so fast that I don´t have/take the time to create pieces I absolutely adore.

I wanted to make clothes so I wouldn´t have to buy them anymore and I hoped it would save me some money. We all know that this is bullshit. Once you get the habit of buying fabric, you don´t stop, because you need a stash. And now that I have a stash and I know how to sew, I don´t want to buy clothes because I feel I could do it better/cheaper myself.

But when I bought clothes, the pieces were (more or less) carefully considered and I loved them more.

So how do I fix this?

SWAP Project 4: Buffalo Check Opal Coatigan

Buffalo Check Opal Cardigan

On Tuesday I happened to stumble upon a thriftshop which sells items by weight or by length. Textiles (clothes, bedlinnen, blankets, etc) were sold by weight. I rummaged through the bins hoping to score some fabric for muslins. I found quite a few that I liked. I even like most of them well enough to keep them for clothes rather than muslins. My favourite piece was a buffalo check wool blanket. I´ve been looking for nice buffalo check fabric for a while now, hoping to find some in flannel for a winter shirt, but this was definitely the next best thing!

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The minute I unpacked it at home, I realised this was destined to become my Spring coatigan. I couldn´t imagine it being any other pattern than the Opal Cardigan by Paprika Patterns. I love that pattern and I had already seen it made up in a woven so I was fairly confident it would work here as well. Because of the loose weave the fabric does have some ´give´ (rather than stretch) which I hoped would be enough.

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I was really happy to see that I could actually fit all my pattern pieces on my fabric. I hoped the ´give´ would be enough as I didn´t have enough fabric to cut a larger size. I managed to add 2cm to the center back (4cm in total). Just to be on the safe side. I knew I wouldn´t be needing the bands as I was planning on using the selvedge as center front and some bias binding for the back neckline. The cuffs weren´t necessary either because the sleeves are long enough without them.

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I had a slight panic attack when I realised I had failed to match one pocket and there was no fabric left. Leaving them off was not an option, since a coat without pockets would not get worn (I need room for my phone, a pacifier for each kid and preferably a packet of handkerchiefs). Luckily, there was IG to the rescue!

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I´m actually really happy with the angled pockets. They are angled towards my hand for easy access and they are just the right size! My phone fits comfortably at the bottom of each pocket so it can´t fall out 🙂

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I wanted to finish this off the way it deserved, so I made a beltloop out of the same bias tape and stitched in a label. Labels make everything so much nicer!

Buffalo Check Opal Cardigan

I opted for a double row of stitching around the pockets to secure them. I didn´t want the loose weave to unravel under the pressure of using the pockets. I topstitched my side seams, shoulder and sleeve seams for the same reason. I kept the frayed blanket hem as my coatigan hem. Initially I wanted the same thing for the sleeves as well, but it looked like I was wearing an actual blanket. Not the look I was going for! So I cut the fraying off and used bias tape for the hem. I opted for elbow patches because I love brown suede elbow patches 😀 At first I used real suede but it was too bulky, so I took them off and used them as a template to cut some out of faux suede. They´re not 100% in the right position but I´m not taking them off again, it doesn´t bother me enough.

 

Final Verdict:

I am crazy about this thing! This is definitely something I would buy if I saw it hanging somewhere. I´ve already worn it out of the house and it´s perfect to throw on over a short sleeved t-shirt now that the weather is getting nicer. It´s a lot less scratchy than I feared, so that´s a big win! The hubby doesn´t really like it, but my Mom does. She said it was really ´me´ and I think that´s a huge compliment. She even volunteered to take pictures in the forest next to her house. Which is nice because it´s a lot nicer setting than indoors and I feel more comfortable with her behind the camera than the hubby. (She sucks at getting me centered in the shot though :D)

THE BEST PART: Because everything apart from the main fabric was deep stash or a gift, the total cost of this coatigan is €1,66! (!!!!!!!!) ❤

Buffalo Check Opal Cardigan

Summary:

Fabric and notions:

  • Wool thrifted blanket (125×140 cm) = € 1,66 (!!!!!)
  • Guterman thread (stash)
  • Faux suede (very deep stash)
  • Biastape (very deep stash)
  • Sewaholic label (gift from Tasia)

Pattern, size and alterations:

  • Opal Cardigan by Paprika Patterns
  • Size B – added 2cm at the center back
  • Made up in a non-stretch woven
  • Left off cuffs and bands
  • Angled the pockets

Buffalo Check Opal Cardigan

Do you buy fabrics at thrift stores? Is it easy to find nice fabrics or is it limited to ´muslin´fabrics?

No such thing as too much glitter

I made this dress last Christmas for the Party Hardy theme on the Sew It Up blog, this year they had a ‘Less Black, More Glitter’ theme so even though it is black, it’s definitely sparkly.

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I ordered the fabric without really thinking about what I wanted to make. Like usual when I don´t have fixed plans, I had only ordered 2m .

With a bit of creative pattern tetris I managed to squeeze this dress out of the fabric with only scraps to spare. I started this dress december 23th 2014 and I finished it about an hour or two later that same night… While making the dress was fast, blogging about it sure wasn´t 😀

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It was an easy dress to make. I used two Megan Nielsen patterns and smashed them together to create a faux-wrap dress. I used the cascade wrap skirt and the Alissa maternity wrap top. I stitched the overlap down to create a faux wrap that I could wear with a belt. I was able to cut every pattern piece as is except for the back bodice, which I had to cut with a seam down the middle.

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While the fabric was scratchy on the outside, it was smooth on the inside, although slightly sheer. I was very happy when it still fit this year and I was able to wear it to my in-laws Christmas party. I wore my black Megan Nielsen slipdress underneath it.

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Final Verdict:

I was feeling like a whale at 34 weeks pregnant but wearing this dress made me feel so pretty. I was happy to realise that this dress works perfectly, pregnant or not. It still fits post-pregnancy so if I´m ever in need of a back-up fancy dress I know which one to pick!

Summary:

Fabric and notions:

  • Black glitter jersey (bought here)
  • Black thread

Pattern, sizing and alterations:

SWAP Project 3: Linnen Washi Hack

I made the necessary adjustments to my bodice and decided to use it for a dress. After a lot of thought, I kept coming back to the Washi dress by Made by Rae (I´ve made it a few times and I like it a lot)

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I deciced to swap the front and back bodice by the Lekala bodice and just add the Washi skirt pieces. I added 3cm to the centre front of the bodice to get the bodice the same length as the Washi bodice and then I lengthened the entire bodice by 2,5 cm so it wouldn´t look like maternity wear.

I did not muslin this, I cut straight into a gorgeous linnen I had been hoarding for 3 years. I fell in love with this fabric the minute I saw it. It´s dyed to look like denim and has a really nice drape. It was pricey but now that I´ve used it, I realise it was worth it. These past years I never found a project suitable or special enough to cut into the fabric and I was tired of it. I wanted to wear this!

I took my time with this dress. I interfaced the button placket, I used matching bias tape for the elastic casing and to bind the neckline. I serged all my seams in hot pink. I finally used the same bias tape to bind the sleeve and hem edges. I understitched them all and finished the dress by hand stitching the facing, sleeves and hem. I´m really happy with the finish and all my ´design´ choices.

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Final verdict:

Is it perfect? No. But I love love love this dress! It´s perfect to wear around the house casually with a cardigan or dressed up with a hot pink blazer. This is important because I decided that a mix and match wardrobe is not my thing, instead I´m trying to make/create outfits, so every piece I make gets worn. I tried both outfits with my boots, my pumps amd my sandals and they all looked great.

I´ve worn this dress to 2 birthday parties this weekend and I felt AMAZING both times. I love the fact that linnen is allowed to wrinkle. It´s such a soft weave and so breathable. This dress makes me feel pretty, pulled together and is easy to nurse in (big winner)!

What I would change next time? Add another inch to the centre front of the bodice, so it sits at my natural waist, instead of above it. (it´s not visible on this version though)

Summary:

Fabric and notions:

Pattern, size and adjustments:

  • Washi dress – Made by Rae
  • Size XL
    • Switched out washi bodice by Lekala bodice
    • Elastic casing instead of shirring
    • Neckline binding instead of facing
    • Button placket
    • Lengthened bodice 2,5 cm
    • Used bias binding to keep the hem as long as possible

 

Any suggestions for tunics? What are your favourite patterns?

 

Note: My camera and my remote aren´t communicating like they should. Every picture taken with my remote comes out blurry, whatever I do. Luckily for me, the husband was willing to take pictures this time and after telling him to shoot in continuous mode I felt less self-contious and I actually ended up with a few decent shots! Yay for him!

 

 

 

Looking back

When I was writing my blog post yesterday, I got annoying with all the random categories and tags so this morning I sat down, deleted all my categories and tags, made new ones and assigned them to all of my old blog posts.

Here´s some stuff I discovered about myself:

  • I have a lot of posts in the ´Random Ramblings´ category… Apparently I like to ramble, especially in 2013.
  • I wrote more blogposts in 2013 than in 2014, 2015 and 2016 combined.
  • I had A LOT of free time pre-baby!
  • I described my house as ¨requires minimum amounts of work¨ ROFL ! 3 years later, ending nowhere in sight!
  • Back in 2013, everything sewing related fit into a 6×4 foot space. That´s less space than my notions take up now.
  • I was going to sew from stash in 2013, 2014, 2015, … still not doing it.
  • I was going to stop buying patterns in 2013, 2014, 2015,… still not doing it
  • In 2014 I wrote that animal print is ´not my thing´… Who was this crazy lady! Bring on the leopard!
  • 30 lbs ago I wanted to loose 20 lbs… How on earth was I going to do that!
  • I´ve made A LOT of stuff I didn´t blog about…
  • I´ve made A LOT of stuff I don´t even own anymore.

But it´s reassuring to see that the basics haven´t changed!

  • Still zero patience when it comes to sewing for myself
  • Still addicted to buying fabric
  • Still addicted to buying patterns
  • Still loathe ironing and tracing
  • Still love making a mess, hate working in a mess, run away from mess

And this is for the entire sewing community and my readers (Apparently, I still have some despite the ramblings!)

THANK YOU for all the love and support!

(Special thank you to Gillian, without whom this blog had never started in the first place!)

 

SWAP Project 2: The ´7 muslins´cover-up

My quest continues. I´m still looking for the perfect tunic pattern to wear over all my black leggings.

I thought my search had ended when I saw Lekala 5772

I bought the pattern, taped it together and made a muslin. I initially wanted to swap the front ties for a front button placket so I could wear the entire thing closed over a pair of leggings. In the end it took 7 muslins to get to a point where I liked the thing on me and apart from the arm scye, there is really nothing left of the original pattern.

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In short:

  • Didn´t like the gathered neckline so I folded them up into a pleat
  • Didn´t like the pleat, turned it into a dart
  • Weird place for a dart, rotated the dart to the waist. Split it into 3 darts.
  • Didn´t like the 3 darts, swapped it for one pleat.
  • Decided the pleat looked off so swapped it out for a dart again, but making the dart wider, shorter and curvier. Added a button placket,
  • Didn´t like the round neckline with the button placket so changed it into a curvy V-shape.
  • Added an all in one cut on button band/facing, lowered the V and lengthened the centre front.

After that I was finally happy and decided to make a last ´wearable´ muslin in a stiffer cotton to see if everything added up and which way I wanted to finish everything.

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I took the time to drape and pin this bodice on me until I was happy with the fit, each time transfering changes to my pattern pieces, I had never done this before and it made me feel so peaceful to just be able to use my body and adapt whatever I was making without worrying about the sizing. I´m my own fit model and I let go of trying to fit into industry standards. Very freeing!

 

I used a light blue cotton shirting from my stash with a white floral print. The fabric was quite crisp so I decided not to interface the facing/placket. I finished the sleeves, bottom hem and back neckline with store bought bias tape in a slightly darker blue. And I added a pearl snap to keep it closed.

The stiffer fabric showed me that the angle on my button placket wasn´t right yet and that my facing was too wide and got caught up in the sleeves.

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Initially I had wanted to turn this into a tunic or a dress but I wasn´t sure about it yet, so decided to keep it as a top and thought it would make a lovely cover-up for something sleeveless.

It turns out to be a perfect cover-up for my favourite night gown. My night gown is a navy blue silk jersey with navy blue lace on top. It has narrow straps and a low neckline. I bought it right before I gave birth and I feel lovely wearing it. The straps pull down easily to nurse and it´s really comfortable. It is however, not modest at all and while I don´t mind my husband seeing the goods, sometimes it gets a bit cold running around half naked and my in-laws tend to show up for unannounced visits in the evenings.

(If you are wondering why I often take pictures at night, this is what happens when my toddler is up 🙂 Sunday mornings are the best, obviously!)

I used to just cover up in a sweater but now I can wear this blue top and feel great. It´s not too warm, covers just enough and unbuttons easily for nursing. It´ll be perfect for Spring and Summer!

Mission accomplished!

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My little princess!

 

 

SWAP Project 1: Darcy Boxer Shorts

Yesterday I finally decided to stop planning and start sewing. Clothes don´t sew themselves or I could just as well go back to buying them. I started with a very ´selfish´ project. Nobody apart from my husband (and daughters) is ever going to see me in these pyjamas and he prefers me not wearing any at all 😉 But still, I want to feel pretty when I crawl in bed next to him.

I thought some ´silk´ boxers would be a good starting point so I set out to make 2 pairs of Darcy Boxers shorts. It´s a free pattern by Measure Twice Cut Once and I had only read good things about them.

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I decided to do everything right and follow the instructions to a T. I have to admit that for a free pattern these instructions are wonderful. They are extensive and helpful. They weren´t as quick as I had guessed (hoped) but it was a day well spend.

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I opted for snaps because I was too lazy to sew buttonholes and they weren´t going to be functional anyway. This way I got to ´practice´ setting in pearl snaps. I have to say, I want to put pearl snaps on everything now and I´m really tempted to order some other colours as well.

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A bit wrinkled since I slept in them 🙂

Final verdict:

There is absolutely nothing wrong with this pattern. It´s absolutely lovely and a breeze to sew. Great for scraps. But instead of feeling all elegant in my ´silky´ new pyjama bottoms, I feel like I´m wearing Hugh Hefners´ underpants. They remain boxer shorts in the end and their cut is very masculine, combine that with the silky fabrics and I´ve got instant Playboy vibes 😀

Doesn´t mean they won´t get worn though, they are the only warm weather appropriate pyjama bottoms I have so until I find another pattern, these will be in heave rotation 😉

I´m even willing to give the pattern another try, but this time use the ´feminine´ instructions and use a different fabric 🙂

Summary:

Size:

  • Cut a size XXL

Alterations:

  • Took in both sides by 1 cm (so 4cm in total)
  • Used snaps instead of buttons
  • Used 4cm elastic instead of 2,5 cm because it was all I had on hand

Fabric & Notions:

  • Red print poly, remnant from stash (no longer available online)
  • Watercolour silk cotton (gift from Hanne)
  • Pearl snaps – bought here
  • Interfacing – stash

 

SWAP Spring – Summer 2016

I´ve thought long and hard about what I wanted to sew for this Spring or Summer. I have loads of clothes, part of which don´t fit me, part of which do fit me but make me feel very ´momish´. I like being comfortable but I know myself well enough to realise that I need to feel pretty as well, if I want to keep my sanity up 😀

So I sat down with all my pattern magazines and my stack of paper and PDF patterns to look for inspiration about what I want to make. The following lists feel incomplete and overcrowded at the same time. Making all of these garments is crazy ambitious so I´m not even going to attempt it but it does give me a fair idea of what I would love to sew.

Fashionable foundations

 

I have to admit that the top row kind of scares me. I was never afraid to sew pants until the entire sewing community called sewing pants ´scary´ and ´hard´. I need to get over this ridiculous feeling and just sew them already, I´ve done it before with great outcome. The top row is less scary to sew , it´s just too bad that I can´t pull off any gathered or pleated skirts. I love the look of them but they make me feel like a fat toddler 😀

Chic Chemises

 

Making outfits out of separates is kind of hard for me. I have lots of separates but nothing really matches, making my outfits okay but not quite good enough. My main problem are shirts. I don´t like wearing regular t-shirts so most of the time I´m stuck. I´m hoping that these few will make me feel comfortable and get a spontaneous compliment  out of the husband 😉

Fabulous Frocks

 

I absolutely love wearing dresses. Throw on a dress, grab a cardigan and you are good to go. I really want to start wearing dresses again but they need to be nursing friendly or adaptable to be nursing friendly without looking like it (since I want to continue wearing them afterwards)

Cool Summer Nights

 

It´s time to say goodbye to my ratty old pyjamas. I´m probably not the only one who keeps old t-shirts just to sleep in and has a heap of mis-matched tops and bottoms. I say ´no more´, I want to feel good crawling into bed with my husband 😉

My goal is to get a more cohesive wardrobe, a smaller wardrobe (for separates) and one that I absolutely love and feel good in, I´m trying to do this from stash wherever possible 🙂 Apart from the Jalie Jeans, the Southport dress and the Bootstrap patterns, I own all of these. I´m waiting to order the bootstrap patterns until the moment I actually want to make them as they are based on your own measurements, just like Lekala patterns.

More later!

 

It´s all a matter of perception.

I was scrolling through some unblogged pictures and came across these two. Both pictures were taken in the summer of 2014, when I was about the same size as I am now (only difference is that I had already stopped breastfeeding, so my cup size was a lot smaller)

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The dress on the left (StyleArc Mia) was made for a wedding at the beginning of July, the dress on the right (Colette Truffle) was made for a family gathering at the end of June.

How I felt in both dresses is totally clear from the expression on my face.

  • I liked the dress on the right, but after a family member asked my mother if I was pregnant again (apparently, I looked really pregnant in that dress) it was banished to the closet and only came out again for these pictures.
  • I felt like a million dollars wearing the dress on the left. I had made a muslin, I loved the silk cotton I found and I spend hours finishing it to perfection. I was devastated that it was way too big after I lost weight, but I gave it to a dear friend who loved it as much as I did.

So if I had to chose one, I definitely felt better in the Mia BUT looking at the pictures now, I feel like the Truffle is more flattering to my figure and that I look a lot slimmer in it. I feel like the kimono sleeves on the left add a lot of bulk to my upper body even in a very fluid fabric, the hemline isn´t right for me either, it makes my knees look weird. I didn´t feel good in my body back then (still carrying quite a few pregnancy pounds) but looking at the Colette dress I now think I look quite alright. The fit wasn´t perfect yet and it might be the last woven dress I´ve sewn since, but I think it might be what I´m after right now…

What do you think? Am I correct assuming that the right one is more flattering (objectively speaking)?