Saturday, December 28, 2013

One bat wing blouse for mama and some pants for kiddo

A couple of days ago I whipped up a blouse from a BurdaStyle Pattern, #128 12/2013. A basic pattern with batwing cut. I made it from rayon chiffong, so it feels a little fancy despite the simple design. This is my husbands favourite of all the tops I've made - ironic since it took me a fraction of the time I've put down on others. It is incredibly comfortable to wear and I will definitely use this pattern again!
This blouse will have to replace one of the other blouses from the winter SWAP.

Tomorrow we're off for a family skiing holiday in the Swedish mountains and today is all about packing! Then I discovered that the baby has grown out of her pants again - so I quickly had to make a couple of new ones! The green pair is an Ottobre pattern "summer sea" but I didn't like it very much, so for the next pair I freestyled my own pattern. Both made from organic jersey. Cute prints but I can't help but think that small patterned pants look an awful lot like PJ's, but hey.

Happy new year to all of you!!!


Friday, December 27, 2013

Some fluff for a newborn baby

One of my dearest friends just had a baby - an extremely cute one - and they have planned to cloth diaper the kid, yay!!. What better gift than some fluff for that tiny tush?

Our favourite cloth diaper for the first 2,5 months were made from the Baa Baa Baby newborn pattern. They have a lovely snug fit and never leaked one single time. I thought I'd make a couple for the baby and fingers crossed, they'll fit their child just as well as they did our's.

This is what I made with a great deal of love.... hope they'll like it!

Two "fitteds" with snap closure 

outside: stretch terry
lining: bamboo hemp fleece
snap-in soaker: top layer of stay-dry micro fleece and core out of thick terry cloth.

These will, based on my own experience, have just the right absorbency for a newborn.

Inside of fitted diaper with snap-in soaker.

One "pocket" with snap closure (the one with elephants)

outside: waterproof, breathable PUL
lining: stay-dry micro fleece
insert: 2 layers of bamboo hemp fleece and one layer of thick bamboo terry sandwiched between them.

Pocket opening with hourglass shaped insert.

I also decided to make 6 baby wipes, made from organic jersey in 2 layers. We love our cloth wipes and hopefully these ones will come to good use too.

Note to my friend: E, if you read this, sorry for outing the present :-D
Hope the baby bubble keeps you so busy there is no time for reading blogs. Love you and see you soon!


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Homemade iPhone case

My plastic iphone case was now a thousand years old and cracked in every corner. I actually asked santa for a new case LAST xmas, but he did't hear me. This year I won't take any chances - I am making a new one myself!

I started by studying my husbands case that I like. A flap style cover that doesn't get in your way when using the phone. From there I just freestyled my way through. Used some fantastic vintage Tampella fabric (Finnish design) and made it sturdy and padded with pieces of plastic board and some fluff I had sitting around the house.

Merry Christmas to me!

All folded and snapped together

And the other side

Side view - phone all wrapped up in gorgeousness!

All opened. Of course you can fold back the flap to
the backside of the phone when talking it you like.

Securely in place!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Hazel Dress in all her glory on the darkest day of the year!

So she's done, my darling Hazel Dress from Victory Patterns.
This was an easy pattern to make except that I chose to make it in a very heavy, yet drapey (and slinky!!) rayon/viscose. It is very comfortable to wear so worth the slinkiness.

The only things I changed is that I made an FBA, as usual, and also took off 1cm each side of the shoulder width. Even on the pattern model you can tell that the sleeves start too far off the shoulders, and to be fair I think I could have taken an extra 2cm since my fabric stretches. I don't think the FBA was completely necessary this time, but if you're a picky person like moi...

Anyway... Today is the darkest day of the year in Sweden. The sun barely comes up at all and taking pictures is a struggle. Especially if it is also poring down with rain. Well, these photos are as good as we could get them today. This dress is my third garment of the winter SWAP by the way. Enjoy!


Friday, December 20, 2013

Hazel dress on the way

I am almost done with Hazel Dress from Victory Patterns. It's about 20 minutes of work left on it and it's looking good so far. Very good! Hope to show it to you in the weekend along with a pattern review. Here's a teaser for ya:

Nothing beats some good ol' hand stitching... 

I also want to show you something else. I needed mittens desperately since Sweden is now a very cold place and my old ones have died. I didn't have any pattern to make them myself so I decided I should buy some from someone who did. On facebook I found a girl making mittens out of upcycled vintage fabrics and tacky old cross stitch pictures. This is really cool, in a (very) kitsch sort of way - and I liiiiike it!  Just imagine all the time that someone put into making that ship picture and then it's thrown on the scrap heap. So sad. But not this ship picture. Happy picture! I love upcycled stuff.

Other than sewing I had a minute over to make some bodybutter today. Doesn't it look yummy? It's so quick and easy to make that it would take you longer to buy it in a store than making it yourself. Plus I love knowing what's in it.

Fluffy fluff for my dry winter skin.

Have  a buttered up weekend! (cheesy? me?)

Friday, December 13, 2013

Bath capes for three sisters

A very quick and brilliant sewing project, if you have kids, is to make bath capes!! You know the ones you pull over your head and you're all wrapped up in coziness :-)

My kids love swimming and one thing they have gone on and on and on about, is how they loved the weekend we spent at The Reef in Denmark two years ago - and how much they want us to go there again. It really is a fantastic place, we loved it too, so what better idea than giving the family a new Reef weekend for xmas?

But just putting a note in an envelope is kind of dull, so I came up with the awesome idea (I am very modest) to make them bath capes and shove the note in a package with them. That will make a fun, themed gift I think.

So, how to make these capes? Basically I just took two towels (per cape), one small and one big. Cut a hole in the big one where the head goes, and sewed one side of the small one to make a hood. Of course finishing raw edges and stuff. Then I attached the hood around the hole of the large towel with KAM-snaps and, tadaa, bath cape done! Seriously - a 10 minute job!!

Funny though. I made one of the capes from towels sitting around the house, but then I didn't have any more fun ones to spare so I went to IKEA to get towels - and what did I find??????? A bath cape EXACTLY like the one I made! And funny thing #2: it was cheaper than buying two towels and making it myself :-/  so I bought one. In the picture below, the one on the right with the orange trims is the IKEA one and the other ones are home made.

And this is how you wear it.
Like the moustache application? Hehe, hope my oldest daughter does....

Happy Santa Lucia!


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

2nd pair of Thurlows finished

It took a while but finally I'm done.

I really wanted this pattern to be my perfect pair of pants, but sadly I don't like them all that much. Not even after this 2:nd pair that I actually don't have much to complain about. I can't put my finger on what it is... I guess I just don't feel fashionable. They are a little dated in some way, even if they are meant to flirt with the old school, retro pant kind of thing.

Judge for yourselves (and as always AWESOME photography by me... haha).

I do like the single welt pockets though (as opposed to the double welts the pattern suggests). I'm happy with the belt loop X too - I think it adds some casual flare to them.

On a positive note,  one thing I learned is that the BBA (Big Butt Adjustment) was a great way to add booty room for extra junk in da trunk. I blogged about that here.

What's next now? I am actually working on some xmas gifts and since some people MAY be lurking the blog I better not tell just yet. But in regards of the SWAP I have just finished the 2nd garment of my winter plan and hope to finish Hazel Dress shortly. Looking forward to it!


Friday, December 6, 2013

No poo hair report and Thurlow sewing status

Last night I got to sew on my Thurlows for an hour - yay!!!! I have now attached the waistband. Left to do is hemming (boooooooring), attaching belt loops and sewing buttons and button holes. I doubt I get any more sewing time until maybe Sunday, but soon there will be pictures - promise!

In the meantime I want to share some pics of my hair! I went "no 'poo" (stopped using shampoo) in August and I do get questions about how I'm getting on. I have to say I am very pleased with the results so far. I don't get oily hair nearly as fast as before and my hair has a whole new body to it. I lived under the impression that I had very thin, flat and lifeless hair naturally. Boy, was I wrong! I actually have quite full hair with plenty of volume and it looks so healthy now!

I haven't cut my hair since before I had my baby, some 9 months ago, due to lack of time. Please ignore non existent hairstyle... and while you're at it, any suggestions on hairstyles?

Dried naturally, no brushing.

After brushing


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Natural beauty, a DIY session in the kitchen

The sewing is slow these days. It is just too much to do with everything else. So, just to make sure I REALLY have enough to do, I decided to add yet another thing to the list: making my own beauty creams!!

Of course it must be 'no poo' style and I started out by reading a billion blogs and recipes and then ordering a bunch of oils and stuff online. Today I did it!

I have super sensitive and dry skin and I wanted to custom make a very rich and nourishing, water free cream to use on cold days and as night cream. I also wanted a cream that would work all over my body and would be suitable for the rest of the family too.

This is what I made!

Night cream

Luxurious all-purpose cream

Mmmm, whipped heaven in a jar!
Recipe (my own):

2 tablespoons shea butter 
2 tablespoons cocoa butter
2 tablespoons jojoba oil
2 tablespoons rapeseed oil
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon argan oil
1 tablespoon beeswax 
5 drops of essential geranium oil

All ingredients are cold pressed/raw organic.

Melted together all the oils above, except the essential oil, and let cool to room temperature. Poured 30ml (2oz) into the brown jar, added 1 drop of geranium oil when cooled down and voila - the perfect night cream!

From the rest of the oil mixture I made the other cream. Boiled fresh water and let cool to room temperature. Blended (with a stick mixer )by slowly drizzling the water into the oil, about 1dl of water, whilst whisking like crazy. When the creamy fluff developed I added 4 drops of geranium oil and stirred a little. Done. 

This jar contains quite a lot though and you don't need much to cover large areas of skin. Since I have water in it and no preservatives I will keep it in the fridge. I plan to fill up a small 30ml jar with cream to keep in the bathroom and then refill from fridge when empty. The night cream will last a long time because it is water free.

Creams from heaven!! 
May I just say how wonderful they are?? Your skin gets all soft and velvety like and it is not sticky on the skin either!!! Love!


Saturday, November 30, 2013

Bringing light(s) in the dark

The dark season is definitely here in Sweden. I love and hate it. The darkness makes me very tired and sometimes I go into a funk that lasts for weeks. It is also very annoying driving a car during the dark season. The sun (when it is up) is so low that however you try to avoid it, you get blinded. Is there really anything to like about the dark? Well. I do like snow for the most part, but where I live I should be lucky to get some. A more certain thing to get excited about is all the candles and tea lights!!! To be fair, they require darkness to maximize the coziness :-)

SO... What candles and tea lights do I burn? Previous years I would just have bought the cheapest ones I could get my hands on. These days, however, being all fussed about the environment and health and all - I really want to avoid anything related to paraffin (which most cheapish candles and tea lights are made of). I don't want the fumes in my house either.

The easiest way to avoid paraffin is to buy candles made of stearine, but that means they are derived from animal fat or from palm oil, both of which I don't like the idea of. Neither do I like the idea of candles made from soy, since it is usually pretty bad farming in a global sense. And when it comes to tea lights I don't like all the aluminium used for the tiny holders. Yes they can be recycled but it takes a lot of energy to produce it and it just seems unnecessary.

"You are such a PARTY POOPER", you think! Well, guess what - I have found a solution!!! For the tea lights there is a fabulous option around! Just look at this:

Light rock, powered by rapeseed oil.

This "light rock" is essentially just a lump of clay with a hole in it and then you pull a wick through, pour some oil (anything in your kitchen such as rapeseed, olive, corn etc) and light it!! I got them here. The glass tea light holder I got at IKEA. These can be used for ever!! I love them. They are cute and quirky and they light up the room far better than a regular tea light. Just look at this photo:

They are light! This photo is taken in daylight, mind you!
I am in a good mood, I mean who wouldn't be? So here are a few more cozy pics from me to you. 

Happy 1st advent, ya'll.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Big butt adjustment (BBA) - another round of Thurlow pants! (kind of a tutorial I guess)

I made a pair of Thurlow pants a little while ago somewhat successfully. I blogged about them here. They are not bad. Since that blog post I have added one more belt loop at the back and added buttons to the welt pockets. That made the fit a lot better.

Pocket button.

I have since then used them a lot. Almost every day, actually. But I am only 95 % satisfied. The rest of the 5 % is gnawing away at my brains. Oh, the pain of gnawing at brains!! ;-D
I'll show you:

Issues to be resolved.

I still need some more booty room and the angle where the legs hit the butt is not quite right. The new belt loop and the buttons solved parts of the fabric droop, but still left things to be desired. This gal ain't happy until she's happy if ya know whatta mean!!

Time for round 2!

Since I had modified the pattern quite a bit before sewing last time I decided to compare my pattern with the original pattern sheet. And I was really surprised that I actually made pants SMALLER THAN SIZE 0!!!!!!! - except for the butt. I have never worn a size 0 in my life. That sizing chart is bent if you ask me.

Modified size 6 = smaller than size 0!

Anyhow.  I have now decided to start from scratch, from a size 0, and then do what I will call a Big Butt Adjustment (BBA). I know some call it Full Butt Adjustment (FBA). But I think it sounds kinda gross (constipated much, anyone?) plus it can be confused with Full Bust Adjustment (FBA).

I will do it pretty much like shown by Coletterie here.

Note! The BBA is done only on the back pattern piece!!

#1 - Tracing a size 0. 

Marking the seam lines to make the changes within the "finished garment" and not in the seam allowance area. In this pattern 1,5 cm seam allowance is included.

Dotted lines mark seams.

 #2 - Marking the cutting lines. 

This isn't an exact science. The green pivot circle should be places a good inch below the dart point though (roughly where you think your butt cheek apex is) and the vertical green line right through the dart. All other pivot points (circles) are placed on the seam lines. I'd suggest the angle of the turquoise line should be determined by how far down on your thighs you feel the need for extra fabric. The read line is for adding length to the crotch line.

The great thing about adding butt room this way is that you don't change your side seams at all. That means that all the pattern pieces will still go together like a dream. Cheers to that!

Marking all the cutting lines and pivot points.

 #3 - Slash 'n' spread! 

Cut along all the lines STOPPING at the pivot circles!

Now, to get the right amount of spreading I compared my old pattern piece with the original patterns and found that my butt requires roughly a size 6. The difference in width between 0 and 6 is about 2 cm (less than 1 inch) so that is the amount I am spreading.

If you don't have an old pattern piece like me, you can try to measure the pattern across where your butt is at its biggest, double the measurement (minus seam allowances). Let's say that adds up to 40 cm on the pattern in the size you've chosen. If you now measure your ass in the same place with a tape measure, you may get, say, 46 cm. That is 6 cm more than the size of the pattern. Which means you need to add about 3 cm in the BBA (since we're doing half a butt on the pattern).

Comparing with the old pattern piece.

#4 - Tape in paper and redraw lines
When you're happy with the alignment above, tape in paper and redraw lines.

Before I cut the paper, I measured the pocket marking to 13 cm. I make sure now when I redraw the pocket marking that it is still 13cm. If you look closely below, you can see the old pocket line penciled in. The dart is redrawn by just following the old dart legs until they meet again (blue lines, not the green). They should now meet the pocket line, just like they did before.

New dart and pocket line in blue.

#5 - Verify the crotch curve.

When I compare my old pattern (which I had altered a bunch of times) I see that I need to deepen the crotch curve a good deal, thus making it more L shaped. I am marking this on my new pattern and then cut. 

Old pattern, on top, has a deeper curve than the new pattern.

BUT. I wasn't entirely happy with how my butt pushed the fabric down, remember! I suspect I have a low hanging butt (nice, eh). To find out how my crotch curve REALLY looks I got a tip from a friend to roll up some tin foil and then form it against your body (along the crotch line). 

Placing my pattern pieces together (overlapping the seam allowance and then adding my foil roll shows the truth: Yes, I have indeed a low hanging butt. And this is even after I did the above adjustment... 
The pattern pieces shouldn't follow the foil roll exactly, but the shape should be the same. See the difference in the angle (black lines) and the size of the yellow arrows?

I draw a new line that better reflects my body. Purple curved line below:

Finished pattern piece!!!

The daddy.

Just for fun I will now compare the finished pattern with the old one:
In this pattern we see the biggest difference is actually the crotch line and the size of the dart. Everything else is kind of the same around the butt. Remember I said I thought they were just too tight? I figure since I now started on a size 0, and the old front pattern pieces were actually a good deal smaller than 0, i will gain the extra room around the body by not altering the front pieces. This should make the side seams better positioned than last time too.

The real difference is when I compare the whole pattern piece!! Look at the angle of the legs!!! You know when you pin out fabric here and there, weird things can happen. Hopefully this will now take care of some of the drooping fabric behind the legs too.

Anyway, it just goes to show that it is easier to take a smaller size that fits most parts of you okay, and then add extra room where you need it, than going for a larger size and then pin out all the excess. THAT should be famous words, my friends. Just compare FBA. Same thing there. Am I right?

Now I "just" need to sew them up, and that will take me a couple of days. I'll let you know how it went. I will also go against my better judgement and skip doing a muslin. I need pants NOW and whatever saves me time... (famous last words).

So long!