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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Nette's giveaway

A few weeks ago, I participated in Nette's Summer Giveaway, and I won! I got this pretty package in the mail:

She made a shrug and a hand-printed tote for two lucky winners. I can't tell you how nice it is to have something made by a fellow blogger. She was one of the first people I followed, and although our styles are a bit different, I really like her craftyness and the details she puts in her garments. 

This is the little tote with hand-stamped catprint. I have it with me all the time, to use for unplanned shopping. It has a little bag on the inside so you can fold it into a tiny package. I also took it with my on a hike up in the Norwegian mountains, and even though it's not very big, it held everything I needed.

This is my third shrug! Casually styled with my 'sunday at the campsite' outfit: chill-pants, longsleeved merino shirt and Allstars :) I'm sorry, this is the best I can do at the moment. I am going to wear it tonight in a better combination, I promise! As you can see this one is bigger and better fitting than the shrugs I made. Lesson learned: use the pattern!

And a last photo of the view from my tent, overlooking the mountains and the fjord... Not bad, eh?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Favourite Shop in Sogndal

My heart skipped a beat when I walked through Sogndal, and found a yarn and fabric shop! I had not expected to find anything in this small village of roughly 7000 inhabitants. I was afraid I'd have to go to Bergen to find yarn and fabric.

A bigger button stash than the store at home!
Although the fabric is mainly quilting cotton, they have lots of yarn for reasonable prices. According to Norwegian standards, anyway. I still can't believe how expensive the food is though. And don't even think about any kind of alcohol (which we buy anyway, albeit with our eyes closed). Anyway, I bought two of each colour, at a discount for 25 NOK (€3,-) each. The first one I just had to try. I mean, ecological camel hair, how funky is that? Just 15%, but still. The blue one is the same merino wool I also used for my hat, and  the grey one is a super soft wool/soya blend. Never tried soya before, either. These are just for small projects, like scarves and legwarmers. I also got myself two pattern magazines, one from PT Design, and one from the Ecologico wool. I'd like to knit something with a hood. Those slippers look really warm and comfortable, perfect for the coming Norwegian winter!

I'd like to start a big knitting project again. It has to be an interesting pattern though, or else I'll get bored, and won't finish it until spring. I'm thinking of a combination of the striped dress and the pattern on the purple dress. Small problem though: the descriptions are in Norwegian. A pattern in French, à la, but I'd better learn some Norwegian before I start complicated undertakings like this! Have you already started knitting again now that autumn is around the corner?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Giveaway winner!

I'm sorry for the delay, I know the giveaway ended two days ago! I do have a good excuse though: I was on a glacier excursion! It was awesome and beautiful, but let's see who won first:

The winner is Crystal! Congratulations! I'm especially pleased with this, as she was one of my first followers. I'll be sending you an email very shortly!

Now, some photo's of truly astonishing nature! I'm posting these here because I wore something self made: a hat. I knitted it on wednesday evening. I did not bring a hat to Norway, and I needed one for this excursion. I had very little time, but I still did not want to spend money on something I could so easily make myself.

I had no pattern, and if I had had more time I'd have made it a bit bigger. It needed needles nr. 8, but I had only nr. 6. It worked out fine though, the tightness of the stitches makes it even warmer. I like the colours and it was nice and warm on top of that glacier! It's merino wool, and I'll tell you more about where I found it later. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Matching Shrugs

To follow my new rules - tie my wardrobe together - I made matching shrugs to go with the Summer Dress. I choose a matching green and a blue one. They are the same fabric, a medium weight knit. They are based on Ichigogirls pattern. I didn't have the pattern at the moment I made them, so I made my own using the same (very clever) construction. Now that I do have the pattern, I might alter them a bit. Next year, because I left them at home, as well as the summer dress.

When taking photo's. I have to keep going back and forth to the camera to set the timer. The dog kept wriggling herself in the photo's, wanting to see what all the fuss was about. Most photo's just show the back of her head in front of the camera, or a wagging tail. Every time I put up the camera she takes up the spot where I usually stand and sits there waiting for me :)

I don't know which one I like best, green or blue. I do like the pattern, I have four shrugs already. Three made by me, the third one made from the floral fabric of my harem pants. The fourth one is special, and will be shown here later on!

P.S. Don't forget to enter the mustard fabric giveaway!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

P.S. Giveaway!

I know I should stop blogging and start packing, but I wanted to announce the Giveaway first! I managed to lay my hands on the materials I was looking for this morning, so here we go!

The winner of this giveaway will recieve:

One meter of striped mustard jersey!

I got so much reactions to my mustard mini, I thought I'd give you the opportunity to make your own version. It's 1.4 meter wide, which is more than enough for the mini skirt. I will try to work on the tutorial, but I'm not sure when it will be ready (related to the challenge of sewing while camping). I hope you can wait 'till then, otherwise I'd be curious to see what you make with it!

Here's the rules:

1. To enter, you must be a follower. Either by RSS, email subscription, google follower. Doesn't really matter which way.
2. Leave a comment saying what way you follow me, and what way to contact you.
3. I'll send it anywhere in the world. Anyone can participate!
4. You'll have until next wednesday (16th of august), 00:00 CET. I'll let the random generator choose a winner.

That's it! I hope you like it!

P.S. Next Giveaway will be something handmade by me, so non-sewists can participate too! 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The End - No Way Back

Technically, my challenge is over. I went shopping today, but all I came home with was a simple top. I look at the clothes, and think: I could have easily made this myself. Or, this is a nice fabric, but I would have made something else with it. Weird, isn't it? I had been looking forward to it, but it was very different from what I expected. I felt nothing of the joy I used to feel. The boost it used to give me is completely gone! I think I'd really have to force myself into buying something. But I see no point in doing so! Sewing has become such an integrated part of my life, I think I'd get serious withdrawal symptoms. So here's what I'll do:

1.  Keep sewing
Obviously! I want to get better, learn more techniques, try more complicated garments such as jeans, a winter coat and a jacket. What I also need to do is tie my wardrobe together. I've chosen the colours in these garments to work with:

Which would be, roughly stated: dark brown, blue (varying from teal to cobalt), mustard (surprise), grey and pink. Notice how the two out-of-my-comfort-zone garments will form the base of my wardrobe? I used to think in primary colours, whereas now its the softer colours that attract me.

2. Buy the basics
I will allow myself to buy the occasional basic garment, such as singlets. They're just not much fun to sew, and I'd rather spend my time on more creative designs. Especially now that I'll be a full time student the next couple of months.

3. Refashion thrift store finds
One thing I love is to take something ugly and turn it into something wearable. The only stores I will be buying clothes will therefore be thrift stores! I have been eyeing the clothes rack full of 'pretty fabric/ugly design' at the local thrift store for months, haha. I'm just hoping they'll have a thrift store where I'm going...

Final words
I think I have said enough about inspiration, life changes and stuff like that, so all I'd like to do is say thanks to some wonderful ladies: Wendy for lighting the spark that started all this. I have never met a woman so persistent and brave despite all that happens to her. Her daughter Heather for being my first hero although I've never met her. And thanks to Rensz, my first sewing related inspirator.

And ofcourse you, readers! I'm very happy with every life sign I get from you, whether it be a comment or just your trace in the statistics. I hope I'll be able to keep you interested. Is there anything you'd like to see? What do you like and what is missing? I always love to hear what you think!

For now, I'm off to Norway for 4,5 months! My plane leaves on thursday. I'll be taking my sewing machine with me ofcourse! I'll be camping the first three weeks though, so I don't know whether I'll be able to make something. I know I promised a giveaway, but unfortunately I haven't been able to find the right materials. I promise you a rain check on that one! To keep you entertained the coming weeks, I have some posts scheduled with items you haven't seen yet.

Adjø og snakkes senere!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The End - UFO's and Misfits

That's UnFinished Objects, not flying saucers, for all of you non-sewists. As you saw yesterday, making your own clothes doesn't neccesarily mean that you wear everything you make. There can be several reasons for this:

1. Ugly sewing

Every garment I sew takes me a step up on the sewing-skill ladder, and the first things I sewed just don't live up to my current standards. Unfortunately, this goes for my Imagine-This shirt. I was really content with it at the time, but all I see now are the wonky seams and the sleeves that have a weird fit at the armhole. Plus the fabric is too thin for this design. I should have at least interfaced the collar. But, as I said, I like the design and might make a second one.  

2. Ugly design
Some things just turn out wrong. I made a skirt I've never shown you. I had an idea and it just did not turn out the way I thought it would. I did try to convince myself it looked allright by wearing it for Christmas. Oh my, have I come a looong way... Before I made the skirt, this fabric had been a dress, also not really wearable. I think this fabric might be cursed. Although I did manage to make a bag and a tab sleeve with it. But what to do with the 1 meter leftover?
3. Wrong style

This seems illogical: why would you make something that is not your style? Funnily, it does happen all the time, also with other sewists. I think has to do with imagination, combined with a lack of personal style. If you see a fabric or a pattern, your imagination sometimes goes it's own way. 'Well this fabric would be really perfect for a nice sundress', you think. The key is this question, which you should always ask yourself: Would I wear this style? Does this colour suit me? The fact that that fabric is perfect for a sundress, doesn't mean it's perfect for you. It seems obvious, but your imagination can get carried away like that. This goes for my jacket. It's a UFO, and I am hereby admitting I will never finish it. Beside the fact that I used a fabric that is not suitable, I already know I won't wear it when finished. I could see other people wearing it, but not me. I had a short 'twee period', but that's over now. And that pastel yellow? Seriously, not my colour. What was I thinking?

4. Nothing to combine it with

If you just sew up every fabric that catches your eye, you could get in trouble. Especially if you don't have a very coherent sense of style and matching colours, like me. Oona gets away with it, but that talent is not for all of us. I find the Summer Green skirt and the Pink Balloon skirt hard to combine with other garments.That's where basics come in handy, but who wants to sew something in dull black when surrounded by pretty patterned fabrics?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The End - Handmade Wardrobe

Allright, virtual parties or not, there's some more to review about the past year. My goal was to create a wardrobe, of which at least 75% would be handmade. Let's take a look at what I made, with this (quite crucial) question in mind: do I wear it?

Purple shrug
XL to S
Imagine This
Dyed Shirts
  • The Purple Shrug: Well knitted, but I almost never wear it. Certainly not recently. Purple just isn't really my colour. Plus it's a bit twee.
  • The XL to S shirt: Well you know what happened to it. Only wore it a few times before it's second makeover.
  • The Imagine This shirt: I got quite some wear out of that one, even wore it to job interviews. It made me feel confident, out of the ordinary but professional. Sadly I've outgrown it through my improving sewing skills. It no longer meets my standards. I chose the wrong fabric for one thing. I do still like the design though, maybe I'll make another, better one.
  • The dyed shirts: Yeah. Should not have dyed them, really. Never wore them.
Hmm, below average scores. I guess my makes of the first half year were not very succesfull. I have to keep in mind that my fashion sense was also non-existent at the time, and my sewing skills were minimal. Next round please!

Knitted Shrug
Yellow Hoodie
Basic Floral Top
Polka Dot Top
  • Knitted Shrug: Nope, don't wear it. The design is just not right.
  • Yellow hoodie: Ofcourse I wear it, it's awesome ;) The first big succes, in the sense that I wear it a lot and I got a lot of response to it. About 20 people requested the measurements! This was also the start of my mustard addiction.
  • Basic Floral Shirt: I did get a lot of wear out of it, but I've noticed I favour other shirts over this one lately. I had a temporary floral phase, and it seems to be over now. 
  • The Polka Dot Top: Don't wear it a lot, but the weather hasn't been great. I wear it on nights out, and I do still like it.
Well, that's better! Can you see the learning curve? Better designs, better sewing. At this time I also started to draft my own patterns. And I joined, a great place to learn from other sewists. 

Summer Green
Pink Balloon Skirt
Boyfriend T-shirt
Kimono Sweater
  • Summer Green: I like the fabric, but I don't wear it for three reasons: don't like the length, don't like the pleats and I have nothing to wear it with. The first two reasons were dealt with recently, I'll tell you more about it later. 
  • Pink Balloon Skirt: The fabric is lovely, and I have started to wear it more often. It's just that the lace makes it hard to combine for some reason. I'm thinking of re-doing the whole skirt, the seams are starting to fall apart because it's quite heavy. 
  • Boyfriend T-shirt: I wear this quite often. It's casual and it pairs well with the Dance Pants.
  • Kimono Sweater: Have worn it, but it's a bit too warm right now. Am still happy with it. 
With these makes, I tried lots of new techniques. Drafting a waistband, installing invisible zippers, making a balloon skirt, gathering, using bias tape. The overall quality of sewing is higher and better thought through.  

Remake with Bow
Striped Basic 
Dance Pants
S to Awesome
  • Men's Shirt Remake: One of my favourite work shirts. I wear it a lot, wíth bow! 
  • Striped Basic: Also wear this often. It goes well with the Dance Pants. The fabric is not the best quality though, and it shows. 
  • Dance Pants: I wear them when the weather permits it. These are one of my favourite makes, because they pair well with other handmade garments.
  • S to Awesome: Another favourite work shirt, for warmer day's. 
Two remakes in this row, I love to do those! And they turned out te be my favourite shirts. I have some tweaking to do on the dancepants, I'm thinking of adjusting the waistband and the pipe hems. I sewed them a bit hasty, never a good thing. On to the last row!

Mustard Mini
Summer Dress
Flower Harem Pants
Party Frock

  • Mustard Mini: Unbelievable how much response I got on this. Almost just as much as my Yellow Hoodie! It is one of my favourites, too. I wear it quit often. Am working on the tutorial, too!
  • Summer Dress: Happy with this one. I concentrated on neat finishing which payed off.
  • Flower Harem Pants: AKA Awesome Pants :) Lovely and comfortable.
  • Party Frock: Well just made this yesterday, but I'm wearing it again today! 

All four of these are favourites, but I only just made them. It might be that they fall out of grace a few makes down the line, when the bar is placed yet higher. But I don't really think that will happen, these really display my personal style.

When overlooking all these makes, you see the coherence? Me neither. That's the main problem of my handmade wardrobe at the moment: it consists of separate garments that cannot be easily combined with eachother. I have set no perimeters for colours or style. To really create a coherent wardrobe, I'll have to choose some colour groups and stick to that. I already have some ideas, and I'll share them with you next week.

About that 75% rule: 20 new garments + 4 I haven't shown you yet + 1 I made before I started this blog, means 7 RTW garments... Hm I'm afraid that won't be possible, seeing that I already don't wear 5 of the makes above. When I add all the other things I made, the plaid, bags, sleeves and wallet, it comes to a total of 35, which makes for 11 RTW garments. That should be doable! I'll get back to you about that later.

Tomorrow I'll tell you about the UFO's and misfits I haven't shown you!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Intermezzo - Party Time!

Allright this should be about last years makes and blabla, but first I need a proper celebration. Tonight I'm attending Oona's virtual birthday party, and since I have made only one dress, I had to make another one. Well, create another one I have to say. I had no time to make a complete dress from scratch, so I went through my RTW closet and found this grey dress. I bought it in Paris, about three years ago, and I haven't worn it since. Not once! I like the neckline and the lacey sleeves, but the shape is just outright strange. It has pleats at the neckline, which is nice, but combined with this linen blend it makes me look pregnant. And I don't like the length, it's above the knee or mini for me, everything in between just isn't my thing. Time to do something about it!

Another piece I had lying around was this blouse. The fabric is pretty, but again I only wore it twice. The first time was at Christmas four or five years ago, the last time was at a funeral. Pretty versatile piece I'd say, but it really isn't my style. I thought I'd take this blouse to add some length to the dress.

I wanted to save the hem because it has pretty lace embroidery, so I made a waistband. I unpicked three out of five pleats and made a new seam down the middle to get rid of the weird frontal bulge. The blouse had a blind zipper which was just what I needed, so I transferred it to the side of the dress. And that's how you make something wearable out of two unwearables!

Wearable, but Party Frock? Hm, it definitely needs some styling. Let's take out those fabulous mustard tights! And who says you can't wear a belt for a necklace?

I'm not sure Oona will let me in wearing only solid colours, but I'll just have to make up for it with some vino. Time to go! See you again tomorrow for the serious business.