Friday, January 31, 2014

Tomorrow it all begins!!!

Last day of freedom, friends!!

Tomorrow we're off and the first star challenge is introduced - yay!!
Excited yet? I can't wait!

Sleep tight and wake up all ready to change the world tomorrow!


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Organic on the inside

This may be a tad too personal, but I'm gonna write about it anyway. Consider yourselves warned :-)

Since being pregnant and then nursing a baby for many months I haven't had my period for over 1,5 years. That was NICE! Those days are now over, however, and since I have never been a real friend of either pads (give me fungus) nor tampons (always leak for some reason) I had too look into what else is out there.

First I tried some cloth pads. They are seriously comfy and no itchy business going on. But - they don't stay in place whatsoever. Which is bad. I'll see if I can attach some non-slip something to the back to improve them, but in the mean time I've googled for the world!

...and found the menstrual cup! People (women) are raving about them!! Seriously, I have never heard/read a single bad word about them! This must be it. "Have your period, without the mess. You won't even know you have it..." is what I keep hearing. Gotta try it.

I ordered 2 "OrganiCups" and now they are prepped and ready to work their magic. I have to say I'm a little intimidated but I'll be a brave girl and give it a go! If it works out, this should be all I need for the next 10 years to tackle my period. You're welcome, environment!


Thursday, January 23, 2014

A little note on appearance

Today my baby and I took my new wool Noro hat for a walk. I pushed a pram along and one thing hit me. The second I put my hands on the pram handle i suddenly turn from potential hooligan to harmless, friendly, mother. Everyone I meet says 'hello' - EVERYONE. Compare this to when I walk without the pram (and the baby), even wearing the same outfit - NO ONE says anything.

So if you think for one second that people in general are not judging you from your appearance, well I'm not so sure...

Would you trust this person?!?! Devil or saint?
Tough call. Need to see where the hands are.

I saw another thing on our walk that made me a little sad. A small row boat stuck in the ice. Why didn't someone bother to take it out of the lake before winter? It's not like it's a trans-Atlantic ship they'd need to handle. I would love owning a little boat and this one clearly has no one that loves it. Poor little boat. Respect the boat.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Wardrobe Architect: worksheet #1 - making style more personal

I'll try to keep up with Colette's Wardrobe Architect workshop, best effort,  in how to create a personal style and wardrobe. The first task is to go through your history, philosophy, culture etc to see what has really shaped your style to begin with.

I'll start with describing my history by answering the following:

How has your personal history informed the way you dress? When did your tastes crystalize? Have they changed over the years, and why?

My younger days, up to the 20-somethings, was all about sports. I was a speed skater girl and my wardrobe outside the ice oval was all about being comfy. I really didn't care all that much. I guess strong colour has always been my thing. And wild prints.
When I started university l slowly started to feel I should probably have a style of my own. I've been off and on between individualistic bohemian clothes to smart stylish casual. I guess I still belong somewhere in the middle of those :-)

Another aspect is that I've always "suffered" from looking young. Maybe a time will come when I find this a true asset, but so far it has been a real downside. I need to look my age to feel comfortable at work (and not get patted on the head...) and in my business outfits I try to do just that - look my age. I'm getting better at it, for sure, but I would like to find a balance where I can wear the same clothes everywhere. I don't like to change clothes two times a day if I can help it. 

This dude, Thomas Gustafson, is what got me into speed skating 
by winning 2 olympic gold medals in 1988


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Sew for a change: Point Chart update!!

We're getting closer to the challenge kickoff. Only 10 days left now!!! I'm itching to get started!

We are thrilled that so many have shown interest in doing this with us, that's really awesome!
However, we have gotten LOTS of questions on the points for different things and we had to realise the chart both was lacking info in various places and wasn't balanced properly. We feel that sewing/knitting your own should save points compared to buying RTW, and the previous chart only met that demand in some places.

We have now done a massive rework and are proud to present the brand new Point Chart!

You can download it from the Sew for a change page. There you'll find all the info you need.

We really hope it feels more complete this time! Now, there will always be certain items that will make you wonder, but use your better judgement. For example; where would you place a bikini? I would say that is equal to a bra + knickers in category C (synthetics) = 6 p. What about a new aerobics outfit? That would be the same as a short sleeved top + tights in category C = 13p. You get the idea.

How are you preparing for the challenge? Going nuts shopping to have a huge stash before the end of the month? No, you wouldn't! (?)
I myself have printed the point chart and the scorecard and taped it to the inside of my closet door to easily keep track of things. And, no I haven't shopped anything I wouldn't have bought anyway. Good girl (patting myself on the back).


Sunday, January 19, 2014

A japanese love affair

A good friend came and stayed this weekend and introduced me to the most amazing yarn! Really, there is nothing like it! The quality, the colors, the feeling! Ahhhh....

My friend has made a bunch of amazing scarves, shawls and ponchos from this yarn and I fell in love instantly. I had to try it for myself and have now made a pretty woollen crochet hat. I will also make matching wrist warmers and as soon as they're done I'll show it to you! In the meantime I give you a snapshot of the yarn if you want to drool with me:

This particular Noro yarn; Kirara, is a wool, cotton, silk and angora blend. Noro is made in Japan with great love and care for our environment (read more about Noro here). Have you tried it?

I am so happy I can handle wool these days!!! Not long ago I was so sensitive to wool I couldn't wear a garment with 5% wool for 2 minutes without freaking out. Since I stopped using products containing SLS (Sodium Laureth Sulfate and the likes) problem is gone! Me a happy billy goat!


Friday, January 17, 2014

Completed: The Wardrobe Basic. Including tutorial for FBA on shoulder dart

The first garment of my spring SWAP is done; the "Wardrobe Basic" from Ottobre. Can I just say, what a quick, cute and usable pattern!! Or actually, not quick at all if you count more than 1,5 h of hand sewing to get invisible hems and facings. If you like topstitching it will indeed be very quick, but I love neat finishings and pretty insides of garments.

I think the pattern of the fabric turned out fun!

Inside trimmings. The bias tape has GOLD stripes!!!

Matching pattern on the sleeve too.

And the back. Nice fit, don't you think?

I LOVE pretty insides!

I love how it turned out. I did make some alterations, without making any muslin, but I just had a feeling it was going to turn out the way I wanted anyway. Luckily it did - phew! I am pretty certain I'm gonna use this pattern again. Imagine this as a summer jacket made from dark denim!! Want!

The fabric was a vintage scrap designed by Maud Fredin Fredholm. The pattern was quite intricate so it took me a while to decide how to put the pattern pieces so it wouldn't turn out too crazy. The leftovers will be enough for a couple beanies, an infinity scarf or some other accessory.

Sorry for not showing any live pictures, but I have a pajama-day with sick kids at home. Didn't feel like posing...

So, what alterations did I make?

#1 - FBA (Full bust adjustment)

I ALWAYS do an FBA these days. There is really no reason not to since it makes a world of difference to the fit. Don't be a lazy fart when it comes to FBA - it is always worth the effort, trust me!

This pattern already has a dart in the shoulder on the front, and I believe alterations like FBA should not have to change the design of the pattern. So, therefore, after having done the FBA you move the dart into the dart you already have on the shoulder. I thought I'd show you how it's done, but since I forgot to take pictures during the process and I don't have time to redo it, I'll give you a quick and dirty drawing tutorial instead :-)

Mark the regular FBA lines (blue) and slash the pattern. For more details on the basics go here. Spread the pattern your desired amount. Then it will look like this:

Tape in paper everywhere except in the new bust dart, which remains open. That is, within the blue dotted area:

Now, we don't want a bust dart because that alters the design of the garment, remember, so we need to move it! To do this we slash from the shoulder dart down to the point of the bust dart - but not all the way through! See red line:

Then we close the bust dart by pivoting the paper like shown by the arrow. Tape the dart closed and notice the shoulder dart wide opened. Continue drawing the shoulder dart legs until they meet (and make sure they are equal length) and there you have your new dart.

Tape in paper to fill the gap - voila! The green shape is the new pattern.

#2 - Reshaping the front panel

Since I knew I don't want to wear this cardigan closed I prefer the shape at the front to be more rounded. I simply shaved off a slice from the front pattern and did the same to the facing.

Hope this was helpful!


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Personal thoughts on Sew for a change

It's now 2 weeks left until our Sew for a change challenge kickoff! My head is spinning already (from excitement), what about you?

Our challenge seem to have put most people in two corners. From one corner I hear "This will be too easy! I never shop anything anyway (... I think)" and from the other corner the complete opposite "This is nuts and completely NOT feasible. Besides, I don't see the point, but go ahead and torture yourselves".  But where in this do I place myself today? Definitely leaning more towards the first corner, but realistically probably somewhere in the middle.

My problem is that when I get hooked on something, it tends to take over for a while. Like when I got obsessed about finding the perfect makeup a couple of years ago, or when I got into shoes (oh, the joy of pretty shoes!), or vintage porcelain, or my most recent hook - cloth diapers/real nappies for my baby!

Some of my past obsessions....

I still need to say I am more balanced these days and rarely shop unless I actually need something. But I will now try to guess where the challenge may get tougher on me:

  1. Clothes for work. I will start working in March after about a year of maternity leave. Depending on what project I'll get (I'm a project manager), the dress code may be more formal than my wardrobe currently supports. This is a great incitement to loose that baby weight - to fit into the clothes I already have. Gotta get on with that running...
  2. Underwear. Since nursing a baby called for special bras, both in terms of function and size, I now have a huge need for new bras. I may need to learn how to make them myself to save points. Also, since I hope to loose the baby weight, the need for new knickers will probably come and bite me too.
  3. Stockings/nylons. I don't know if it's me or if quality of such items is just plain bad these days, but it's not unusual that I only get to wear them one single time before they rip. I will make this my special mission - to find some really good quality ones that will last a long time (greatful for any tips).

Now, how about I get this for a tattoo? ;-)


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

'Sewing With a Plan' - winter completed, spring starting

In my slow fashion section I post the summary on my SWAP efforts over the year.

The winter period is now up (or actually it was up already before xmas). I had a very ambitious plan for winter - 7 garments of which I had tried non of the patterns before. No real quick projects either. And there was THE PANTS that I feared so much (and still do, to some extent).

The winter plan contained 2 dresses, 2 pants, 2 blouses and 1 jacket. I managed to finish both pants, one dress and exchanged one blouse for another:

The Thurlow #1 was blogged about here, Thurlow #2 here, and here. The bat wing blouse was blogged about here,  and Hazel dress here.


Now, let's move on to the new plan - the SWAP of spring 2014!

Learning from my overly ambitions planning last time - and realising I'll have even less sewing time at hand during this next period I decided to aim for less. The SWAP states you should do 6 garments every season, so I feel totally rebellious showing a plan of only 4! Ha, ha.

I'll be going back to work soon, after almost a year on maternity leave, so I need to add some smartish outfits my wardrobe. The item I'm most excited about is the Anise jacket from Colette Patterns. I have never sewn a jacket before and I aim to make this one perfect! Gotta put the bar up high, right?

As any observant reader may notice, the fabric chosen for Anise is quite far from the samples I showed the other day (here). The reason is that I finally got around to check how much fabric I needed, which turned out to be a lot! Nearly 3y! So with the Harris Tweed costing a small fortune I chickened out and got some no name wool tweed from Sweden instead. It'll do just fine and has a spring feeling about it, I think. Besides, it is my first jacket and who nows how it'll turn out!


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Introducing: Sew for a change - the 2014 challenge!

  This challenge is run by myself and my partner in crime, Malin. 
If you prefer to follow this challenge in Swedish, 
please turn to Malin's blog Oh, my green darling! 

To be kind to nature (environmentally and ethically) should not give you a headache. In fact, it should be easier than not to. To be more environmentally friendly is not only about shopping more organic or fair-trade, but also to actually shop a whole lot less - and make sure you make good use of what you already have. 

Sew for a change is a consumerism challenge with focus on clothes and textiles. How many clothes do you really need in a year, and how many can you do just as well without? With inspiration from the awesome british challenge Wartime Wardrobe Challenge, that finished 2013, we now launch our own version. The Wartime Wardrobe rationing challenged you to not consume more clothes during one year than the real wartime rationing (starting 1941) of 66 coupons. The wartime wardrobe challenge was run by Nik and Meg, be sure to check out their awesome blogs here and here!! They have done an astonishing amount of great research we all can use!

Their challenge must have been an extremely tough one for most people and, despite very eye-opening, likely not easily maintained for any subsequent years. We want this challenge to change our ways permanently and find a level of consumerism that would be doable for the long run. Whilst using a value chart for coupons (or in our case 'points'), that Nik kindly let us recycle, we give you 75 points instead of 66 - and with a chance to earn more if you change other parts of your life too.


Between February 1 and December 31, 2014, you are given 75 points to use on clothes, fabric and yarn. The cost of points is stated in the Point chart. For crafty people you'll be pleased to know that sewing or knitting your own wardrobe will cost less than buying ready to wear (hence, "sew for a change"). 

All the Sew for a change information and material will be stored for your convenience under the Sew for a change page, found at the top of the blog. There you can download the different documents in various formats.

The star challenges

During Feb-Nov you are also given a monthly "star challenge" that can earn you 10 more points each month.  The star challenge is launched on the 1st of every month along with tips and tricks that will help you through it. The star challenges are by no means mandatory but hopefully you'll be encoureged or intrigued enough to give it a go.

The challenges will have different themes - not all sewing/clothes related. The point is to get us to try changing our ways during a short period of time. Hopefully some of it will work well and become something we'll take with us in our daily lives even after the month is up.


At the end of each month we will report our current point status. There is a scorecard available to help tracking all the points. Find it here.

It would be super fun to have a lot of you joining in and doing this together with us! If you do, it would also be very cool if you let us know! And if you're a blogger, there is a badge for you to put on your page. Find it here.

We are so excited and can't wait to get started!!!! Let's stop shopping - yay! :-)

/Alexandra and Malin 

Friday, January 10, 2014

No grease ball!

So, for my fellow "no poo":ers and all the sceptics out there, I will now show you what my hair looks like after more than a week of washing with nothing but water. It's been 9 days, in fact. Still no haircut though (gosh, it's been a year now!) or hairstyle... or makeup... just pure me, ha!

This is working so well with my hair that I think I might be ready to drop hair washing altogether soon. Usually I'm a 'conditioner only' kind of gal, but it needs to be said: water rules!


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Anise Jacket - MadMen Style

During the December sales I bought the Anise Jacket pattern from Colette. I like it because it is both stylish and classic but at the same time modern with the short sleeves and cropped design.

My true inspiration to how I want my Anise to look is a child's wardrobe (yes, it's true!) namely the one of the MadMen character Sally Draper. I know she's like 10y old, but I can't help but love her style...

This is roughly what I am envisioning, although shorter:

Sally Draper, MadMen season 5/episode 12

I like the teddy/faux fur collar, particularly since I am sensitive to itchy wool - and wool tweed is itchy like hell. No way I can have that towards my neck without wearing a scarf.

Anyway... I have now ordered samples of wool tweed fabric from Harris Tweed UK. And now I don't have a clue which one I like more!!! Blue may be more sober and easier to combine, but I am a sucker for bright red too. Help!

Tweed samples.


Taking on something BIG!

In the recent year I have thought a lot about how I live my life and how what I do affect the world around me. This has lead to changing a lot of things, which I am happy about. But the more you learn, the more you realize there is more to do...

Malin and I have a similar outlook on these things, as well as a joint passion for sewing, which has now lead us to cook up a brilliant challenge for 2014. It will not be easy, but hopefully a lot of fun!

The challenge will be presented in full at the end of January and the official kickoff is February 1. This is all I'm going to say about this now - stay tuned for more info.  Hopefully you will take on the challenge too!!! I promise you won't be sorry!