Tag: sewing

I love linen

I can’t say that enough. I love linen. I love linen. I love linen. It’s the fabric I’m the most drawn to  and that says a lot, because I have worked with ALOT of different fabrics over the years. But when it comes down to sewing or embroidery linen is my best friend. So it may not surprise, that when I went fabric shopping with a friend last Monday, 3 out of four pieces were linen. It’s just because the linen cupboard usually has a lot less variety than the other fabrics, that there was a printed cotton involved in my shopping cart.

I’m happy though, that the linen departement has grown a little bit in the years I did not shop in the biggest fabric shop of Berlin. The shop itself (I would compare it as the Berlin equivalent to Mood fabrics in NY, because all students of any fabric related course go there) has grown, too. It even has two cutting tables now – which is a relief, because there certainly was a larger waiting time with only two people cutting fabrics.

So this is what I got: 2 pink linens and a black and white cotton fabric. the cotton will become a skirt, the darker pink will probably just get embroidery fabric. I use the same fabric in other colors for almost all of my embroideries. The pink is slightly overwhelming so let’s see how it will work. The third fabirc is a lovely chambray half linen which has now destination yet, but I will see.

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The 4th fabric is an incredible dark blue linen fabric with off-white pin stripes. I fell in love with it immediately and knew I had to make some pants with it. That’s what I did. I found this wonderful summer pants pattern (Oceanside Pants by Blank Slate Patterns). It has a loose fit and is an easy sewing project – no zippers, easy pockets. The pattern contains a shorts version and I will definetly try these too as soon as I find the right fabric for that.

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Here is the side pocket. The pattern does call for a buttonhole, but I’m lazy and since I will never ever open the fold back up, I simply sewed the button through the two layers of the pocket. I the case of this button, maybe it would have been nicer to take the extra time though to make a buttonhole, because this kind of button stands out if sewn on. Maybe I’ll make some buttonholes or I change the buttons to flat ones.

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Finished pants and shirt (started last week). I’m not completely satisfied with the shirt. I think my old raglan pattern is just not fitting or never really did fit just right. I might buy a new standard raglan shirt sewing pattern for furture projects. Sewing is something I don’t do as regularly as knitting or embroidery, but I like how fast you get results and that it really is a practical craft. I plan to make more items for my wardrobe. I have a really minimalistic wardrobe because I hate shopping clothes. Yes you heard me right. As pretty as it may seem to have colors of the year dictated by Pantone, I just can’t stand going into stores and see the very same colors everywhere. Once you realize this, you cannot unsee it. Then there’re the sizes… I’m not very large, I would consider myself a german average size, but if you got another shape than straight down clothes simply don’t fit in certain parts of your body. I just leave out the mention of the bad quality of fabric in the normal clothes store that is outright unexaptable for a fabric lover like me and don’t get me started about the seams…. It’s the same with knit wear. I simply cannot purchase big store knitted items. It’s just so bad! As a knitter you will surely understand.

So I decided to stop shopping clothes in stores  and put my skills to use. The execption are T-Shirts, because I have not yet found a good way to do that without a serger and I hate sewing elastic fabrics. I would love to handsew jersey Alabama Chanin-style though. I have always had some clothes in my closet that I made myself, but I would love to have mainly homemade clothes. I’ll see where this journey get’s me. It’s so exciting to live in a time were we don’t have to make everything ourselves but we can. So many materials to choose from, so many tutorials to learn from, so many patterns available. Now is the best time to do such things!

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In the garden

The cranes are back and singing – for that’s the sound of spring. Everything this year is a little bit early. Unlike other parts of the worls we have a still chilly but light springtime. No snow for this early Easter!

On my windowsill are tomatoes, paprika and salad seedlings. We sowed carrots, radish and salad in the raised bed outside. I always wanted to pull a carrot out of the soil! It looks so fun in the garden films, so this year we finally made it. I’m looking forward to see them grow.

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In the workshop my cats are curious as always about things that do not use to be there normally. This freshly decluttered project box is now the favorite spot for sleeping (quite uncomfortably). My cats are my favorite coworkers but also my biggest distraction!

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During my declutterng of the cupboards I found a fabric I now have for years, but never used for something because it’s ‘too pretty to use’. So silly, why do I keep something that’s too pretty to use? So up and get your patterns and scissors! Fabric is for making not drooling. Do you have such fabrics in your stash? Maybe it’s time to use some of that pretty fabric? I think this phenomenon is widely know among crafters of all trade – one exception is the unicorn of crafters who only buys materials for a specific project – and nothing more!

With the shirt I’m making from this beautiful linen fabric spring and summer may arrive!

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Ganders and felt stars

The gander socks are making progress. I’m working at the second sock now and left the grafting of the toe for later (because I love grafting so much, that I keep it for the last moment like the cherry on a cake – NOT).

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A while back I made this felt star from a pattern by the purl bee. Now it’s waiting for the tree to arrive. We have not yet bought one, but since we have a higher ceiling now, this year’s christmas tree will be large.

I regret not stuffing this a little bit. It get’s kind of wonky and is not easily put in place again. If you want to make this felt star, too, I recommend a little bit of stuffing for the largest size. The smaller sizes are probably doing ok without.

UPDATE: I did stuff it now and it looks a lot better. Click here for pictures and how I have done it.)

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Advent preparations

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My kids and I made an advent calendar last year out of self-made small paperbags. This year I wanted to do something more durable so we we didn’t have to make new bags every year – and save some waste, too. So some month ago I began cutting up rectangles out of leftover fabric from an old linen curtain. Then it layed until last Saturday to be sewn up.

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On Saturday I sewed the bags up in one go and let the kids scribe the numbers on their own bags with a glittery-green iron-on fabric pen.

Then they filled most of the bags themseves and I tied them up with ribbon. Instead of hanging the bags on a line like last year, we put them into flat baskets this time. Some bags are filled by me and keep secret gift my kids don’t know yet, but most are filled with small amounts of sweets.

I really wanted to try to insert clever and usefull items in the bags last year, but finding 48 items without getting poor or work for it a lot is not easy. So the calendar is partly useful gifts and mostly sweet tooth stuff. The kids enjoyed making their own calendars a lot and all that matters for me is that they appreciate making and enjoy the result.

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After opening the bags they put the ribbon into the bag and lay it into another basket so everything stays tidy. After the 24th I simply sort out the bags, bind them together and put them into the christmas box for next year.

Fringed napkins

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As a kid I loved fringes. My grandmother had a tubular pillow on her sofa with 2 large tassels at each end. I spend hours braiding and combing these tassels. During TV, tea time, whenever we sat on that couch, I had my hands on that thing. So if you need something to occupy your little grandchildren or children – buy something with long fringes or tassels!

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When I stumbled over this instructions to fringed chambray napkins at the Purl Bee, I knew I had to make some. Chambray is a special fabric with the thread used for the weft is different than the warp so you get a fabric with mixed colors so to say. I’m always impressed how strong the original colors of the threads look and how they blend so differently when woven together. Chambray has a very special look which I like a lot.

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The pattern is very simple and adaptable to any size. You sew a square shape along the edges and pull the threads one by one until you reach the sewing line. That’s it!

After making the first napkin I changed some things.

  • sew the lines with a tiny stitch length to make the seam more durable and less easy to pulling. I used 2.5mm first and changed to 1mm
  • before sewing pull the threads on each side until you can pull one until the end. Then mark your sewing line. This way your seam is more paralell and you don’t have so much cutting to do afterwards.

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Alabama Chanin corset

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When I watched a video 2 or 3 years ago where Natalie Chanin made a presentation about the development of her company Alabama Chanin and her way to approach things, I was highly inspired. I have never heard of her before that and had to take a closer look at what clothes she was making.

As a passionate embroiderer the idea to sew clothes completely by hand doesn’t sound crazy at all. When staying in Japan I had no sewing machine most of the time and made everything by hand. Natalie adds her unique style of applique and beading to everything she makes. The textures that come out of her workshop are beyond gorgeous and I HAD to make something like that.

So I tried some embellishing, but the jersey-less person that I am (I seldomly buy new fabrics anymore, I have had a gianormous fabric stash at that time and did not want to feed the stashmonster any further) it wasn’t easy to make jersey appliques without that. So I made some applications on corduroy skirts with a cut up pyjama but that was it.

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Lately I have stumbled over gorgeous handsewn pieces made with Alabama Chanin patterns and got infected again. I got the first book (Alabama Stitch book) and began the corset.

The fabric is elastic cotton velvet in burgundy, which was lingering in my stash since 2004 or so. This left over piece was just enough to make the corset. Then I found another burgundy left over velvet from the many pants I made for my daugther and used it for the binding.

There are some changes: Since velvet is the impersonated fluff, I choose not to leave the edges open. I left out the embellishments, because I want to see if this pattern is working for me at all.

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Approximate time spend on this:

cutting the pattern and fabric: 1h

basting the pieces: 1h

sewing the pieces: 1,5h

binding the edges: 1,5h

embroidering the seams: I’m on it.

 

If you are interested in the video – I can’t seem to find it, but here is the article by Natalie with some of the content she covers.

Embroidery hoop bag

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Don’t you know where to put your stacks of embroidery hoops without them looking messy? I have a lot of different shapes and colors and used to simply hang them on a nail in the wall tangled together with a lanyard. With every new addition to the hoop family I hoped it will hold the weight and not fall down.

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It was when I tried to put my hoop collection in place when I thought, there are knitter’s bags, why not make one for embroidery hoops? So the first shape coming to my mind was obviously a circle. I mean when do you possibly have the chance to make a round bag for a practical purpose, right? A circle is also very easy to sew and there is nothing more to it than 3 strips, 2 circles and a zipper. I will make an embroidery project bag, too, featuring an inside pocket for needles, floss and scissors. It’s lined with felt so even if the bag falls down, it should save my hoops from damage.

A sewing tutorial will follow after the weekend!

 

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See right in the middle on the wall. That’s when I had only 5 hoops (there are only 3 hanging on the wall), now there are 15 :). How do you store your embroidery hoops?