Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Handmade Kulur's Romatikerin Skirt - A Learning Experience

In our description of us, we mentioned the stitch ripper. A useful but most hated instrument. Well this is a cautionary tale in which this little instrument plays a significant role. At the beginning of last year I joined a Facebook group with the aim of reducing my stash... Stashbusting.... you've heard all about it before. Well this February, the lovely ladies organising the group set up a competition. The itention was to really get us sewing and cracking on reducing our stashes. The challenges were to sew something red, something from the fabric you disliked most, the largest or the oldest fabric in your stash. Spurred on to finish a red cord skirt I had cut out half or last year, I got down to work.

I had picked a pattern from Handmade Kultur. It is an indie German magazine that covers sewing, knitting, handicrafts as well as woodwork and such stuff. There are the obilatory tales communal gardening, recycling and the like. I really like it, but up until now I have only looked at the pictures. The Romatik Skirt.....looks pretty doesn't it.
Handmade Kultur
I started it in red elephant cord. I cut out the outer skirt pieces and managed to cut out two against the nap. Annoyed I threw it in my UFO bin and ignored it for a year. At the beginning of the month I hauled it out again and recut those pieces. I patiently overlocked them and thought I was almost there. Then I discovered I hadn't cut out all the pieces needed. Lining, facings, ruffle were still missing. So I traced the pattern and lost several pieces several times (kids ripped them, dogs ate them, I misplaced them, I am sure someone used them as firelighters....). I cut the facings, found some contrasting lining fabric in my stash and pulled out the fabric I had bought for the ruffle many moons ago and it was too short. I trawelled fabric shops and discovered it had all been snapped up.
 I went back to my stash to look for a different piece. Found one, cut it, to discover it was too short.... pieced it together in three.... accepted that my hem line was going to be shorter than planned....

So cutting down, sewing left to go. I sewed the outer layer together and then got to the facings. It took me an hour and quite a bit of internet research til I found The Daily Sew showing me on a photo how to attach the facing to the lining.
(I managed to sew one of the pleats the wrong way but decided on a global scale it is quite irrelvant. Time will tell).

The next step was sewing the loose stitches for the ruffle.... my thread broke ten times. I unpicked it three times and rethreaded my machine five times. In the end, I ripped out the thread from both the skirt and the machine and the bobbin and chucked it in the bin. I then went to my threads and chucked out all Ikea thread. I know people who love it. I hate it (this is my third bad experience) and have vowed never again.

I sewed the ruffle to the lining (which has facing attached) as the instructions in the pattern said. I then pinned the hem as I want to be able to play around with them before finally deciding. I then pinned the lining into the skirt. I picked it up, just about to be dlighted that I was going to get it finished that night and discovered to my horror that the ruffle was sewn in the wrong way aound.

I went to bed. Next morning I unpicked it. and repinned it.

Now it is waiting for me to sew it, attach the facings to the skirt, trim off the hem of the outer skirt, add the zip, hem and then wear. And of course enter into that competition. Maybe I get lucky and I win some thread ;-)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Green Bean - Stangenbohne

As Britta mentioned we're right in the middle of the fifth season here. The highlight starting on Thursday and continuing til Monday (or Tuesday if you are in some remote parts of the country. Remote takes on a different meaning at this time of year.

Wie Britta schon erwähnt hat, sind wir hier mitten in der 5. Jahreszeit. Der Höhepunkt beginnt am Altweiberdonnertstag und ist am Rosenmontag erreicht (mancherorts geht der Straßenkarneval bis Dienstag).
Entfernt bekommt zu dieser Zeit des Jahres eine andere Bedeutung.
Although we moved away from proper Karneval to the South a couple of years ago. Where we now live, we have Fastnet (in proper German you would call it Fastnacht as in the the night before abstinence). Here there are fewer mottos. My kids thankfully could choose to be whatever they wanted. Thing Two just took something out of the dressing-up box. Thing One on the other hand is a completely different candidate. He decided that as they will be celebrating in and outside, it would be good to be something that he could wear over his coat. He has a green coat. And whilst he was considering it, he was wearing green jeans too. He likes his colours (a bit like this kid). Mummy, what is green and long? I quickly decided not to answer this, not shooting myself in the foot with crazy costume ideas. Mummy, I am going to be a green bean. So a green bean. To be honest, I could have just said, we'll paint your face and you are done (he's tall and thin). But you know what, I hate those face paints and you need a costume. I started to surf the net, looked on pinterest. I found these cuties.Perfect.

Vor einigen Jahren sind wir vom richtigen Karneval weggezogen. Wo wir jetzt leben, gibt es "Fastnet" (auf Hochdeutsch "Fastnacht", die Zeit vor der Fastenzeit).
Manchmal gibt es Mottovorgaben.
Meine Kinder entschieden sich glücklicherweise für ein Kostüm nach ihren eigenen Wünschen.
Thing Two nahm sich etwas aus der Verkleidekiste.
Thing One ist da schon etwas anders. Er entschied, dass es ein Kostüm sein musste, dass drinnen und draussen tragbar sein musste. Und während er darüber nachdachte, trug er auch grüne Jeans.
Er mag seine Farben (ein bisschen wie dieser Junge). Mama, was ist lang und grün?
Schnell entschied ich mich, nicht zu antworten, um keine verrückten Kostümideen heraufzubeschwören. 
Mama, ich möchte mich als grüne Bohne verkleiden. So eine grüne Bohne.
Ehrlich gesagt hätte ich sagen können, wir schminken Dein Gesicht und gut (er ist lang und dünn).
Aber ich hasse diese Schminkerei und ein Kostüm musste her.
Ich startete die Internetrecherche und fand diese Süßen hier bei pinterest.

So now I had the idea I had to run with it. Somehow my projects start off like one thing in my head and then mutate all by themselves (see the Shirt Quilt pattern- coming later). I decided to make a tunic with elasticated sides to go over either a coat or a t-shirt. But then I had to buy the fabric and then decided to make a top that could be worn everyday too. I used the Toni pattern which in fleece sewed up like a dream (fleece is not my normal choice!). I lined the hood with some lovely jersey my mum gave me for the boys for Xmas. This pattern is going to become a staple in our house.

Jetzt hatte ich die Idee und musste es umsetzen. Irgendwie beginnen meine Projekte in meinem Kopf und fangen dann aber an zu mutieren (ihr werdet das beim Shirt Quilt sehen, darüber werde ich später berichten). Ich entschied mich, eine Art Tunika zu nähen, die elastisch genug ist, um sie über einen Mantel oder ein Shirt zu tragen. Dann ging es zum Stoffkauf, und ich dachte, es wäre gut, ein Top zu nähen, dass auch täglich getragen werden könnte....
Ich wählte den Toni Schnitt, der sich aus Fleece wunderbar nähen ließ (normalerweise ist Fleece bei mir nicht 1. Wahl!). Gefüttert habe ich das Ganze mit einem schönen Jersey, den ich von meiner Mutter zu Weihnachten bekommen habe, um etwas für die Jungs draus zu nähen.)
Aus diesem Schnitt werde ich noch stapelweise Pullis nähen!

I sewed the hoodie which was well recieved and then put on the beans (I think they look more like peas) afterwards. Once the day is over, I well intend to get out the stitch ripper and replace them with a big fat star!

Ich nähte den Pulli (der als gut befunden wurde) und befestigte dann die Bohnen (wobei ich glaube, sie sehen eher wie Erbsen aus).
Wenn der große Auftritt vorüber ist, werde ich mir den Auftrenner schnappen...und einen großen Stern applizieren!

Pattern: Toni from Schnittreif + homegrown beans
Fabric: green and black fleece, green felt and green starry jersey

Schnitt: Toni von Schnittreif + selbstgezogene Bohnen
Stoff: grüner und schwarzer Fleece, grüner Filz und grüner Sternenjersey

Sunday, February 8, 2015


Hier im Rheinland gibt es ja bekanntlich eine 5. Jahreszeit und auch unser Kindergarten feiert natürlich kräftig mit! "Brauchtumspflege" nennt man das ;)

Here in the Rheinland (along the River Rhine for all those outside Germany) we have a fifth season. Karneval! And of course our pre-school celebrates as much as everyone else. We call it keeping up the traditions ;)

Wer wie wir in einer der Karnevalshochburgen lebt, kommt aus der Nummer auch nur schwer raus.
Für Nichtrheinländer oder Zugezogene (wie eine Freundin, die vor 3 Jahren aus den USA hierher kam) ist das bunte Treiben vielleicht auch zugegebenermassen etwas befremdlich.
Egal ob Jeck oder nicht - Kostüme für die Kinder müssen her! Unser Kindergarten gibt jedes Jahr ein Motto vor, an dem man sich  dann orientieren kann. Dieses Jahr heisst es "Manege frei für den Karneval der Tiere!"

If you live in traditional Karneval areas, there is no way you can get out of it. For people from other places (like a friend who moved here from the US three years ago) it is often incomprehensible. It doesn't matter if you are into it as a grown-up, kids have to have costumes. Our pre-school celebrates every year under a different motto. This year it is "Carneval of Animals"!

Tief in mir drin hoffte ich ja, dass die Kinder sich aus ihrer eigenen Verkleideecke ein Kostüm wählen würden. (Die werde ich bei Gelegenheit mal vorstellen!). Leider nein...

Deep down I hoped that the kids would take a costume from their dressing-up box (I will let you peep in there one day). Sadly not.

Der Große entschied sich vor 2 Wochen dann mal, dass er sich als eine Fledermaus verkleiden möchte. In den Kaufhäusern bin ich leider nicht nicht fündig geworden. Nur Batmankostüme...
Das wäre zwar auch auch nach seinem Geschmack, zieht er sein Spiderman Kostüm vom Klamottenschweden momentan nur zum Schlafen aus, aber ist ja mal voll am Thema vorbei.

The big kid decided two weeks ago he was going to be a bat. I admit to looking in the local shops. They only had Batman costumes. That would have been right up his street as he only takes his Spiderman costume off to sleep at the moment. But that would not have been in keeping with the theme.

Da ich momentan nicht soooo wahnsinnig viel freie Nähzeit habe, musste also eine einigermassen schnelle Lösung her. Ich entschied mich daher für einen gepimpten Kapuzenpulli. Um das Ganze fledermausiger zu gestalten, habe ich die Kapuze einfach pi mal Daumen vorne geteilt und aus Jersey Ohren eingenäht. Damit diese etwas mehr Stand bekommen, habe ich von innen eine Lage Volumenvlies aufgebügelt. In einer alten Ottobre fand ich dann per Zufall eine Sweatshirtjacke mit Fledermausdetails. Sie diente als Inspiration für die Stickerei auf dem Rückenteil des Pullis.
Zuerst wollte ich in die Seiten- und Ärmelnaht noch Flügel einnähen. Die habe ich dann aber doch wieder rausgetrennt, weil es einfach nach "zuviel" aussah.

As I don't have very much free sewing time right now, I had to come up with a fast solution. I decided to pimp a hoodie. To add a little more "bat" to the whole thing, I  split the hood at the front and added ears. To make them more stabile, I added volume fleece: In an old Ottobre I found a sweatshirt with bat details. It inspired me to add the embrodiery on the back. To start with I sewed in wings between the arms and the sides, but took them out again. It was just too much

Damit das Kostüm noch etwas cooler für mein angehendes Schulkind aussieht, habe ich das Freebook "helden.KAPUZE" von Yvonne alias leni pepunkt eingebaut. Ihr findet das es auf ihrer homepage (das gab es in ihrem Adventskalender).

To make the whole thing a little cooler for my almost school child, I used the Hero Hood from Yvonne alias leni pepunkt. You can find it on her website (and it was in her advent calendar). 

Hier das fertige Kostüm am Kind:

So here it is:

So. Das große Kind ist glücklich.
So. The big kid is happy

Das kleine überlegt noch. (Bis Donnerstag hab ich ja noch ein bisschen Zeit.).
The little one is still considering (still got some time til Thursday)

Schnitt: leni pepunkt
Stoff: Baumwolljersey in schwarz und grau
Model: selbstgemacht

Pattern: leni pepunkt
Fabric: Jersery in black and grey
Model: homemade

Euch allen einen schönen Tag!
Have a great day!

...und zum 1.Mal ab damit zu made4boys....
....and now I can post on made4boys for the first time


Wednesday, February 4, 2015


Meine Ausmisterei im Kleiderschrank der Kinder zeigte ganz klar: Neue Shirts müssen her!
Für die Tochter reicht vermutlich Brudershirts in Mädchenshirts zaubern, aber für den Großen mussten neue Teile her!

Having cleared out the kids' cupboards, I really had to conjure up some new shirts. For my daughter I shall be transforming boys's shirts into girlie ones, but for my son, I had to get my trusty machine out.

Also nix wie ran an die Maschine!
Ich finde, wenn man ein Shirt zuschneidet, kann man auch direkt weitermachen!
Genäht hab ich die mittlerweile recht fix...

 I thought that if I have to cut out one, I could cut out a few more at the same time. I can sew them up quite quickly by now. So far so good:
Hier der Zwischenstand:

Schnitt: aus einem Ottobre Heft. Pattern: Ottobre

Material: Öko Ringeljersey. Material: Organic striped jersey

Bei dem letzten Shirt hier gefällt mir die Halsausschnittvariante am Besten! Allerdings klappt das nur, wenn ein Schuß Elasthan im Jersey ist!  ;)

I just love the collar of the last t-shirt! It only works if there is elasthan in the jersey though.

Euch eine schöne Zeit,


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

cambie.... the weekly soap

Last year I finally bought Cambie. She (a dress pattern has to be female!) is a pattern that I have been pussyfooting about for ages. She is going to help me sew three wonderful dresses (or at least that is the plan!). Two for work, one for the winter in a dark brown wool and one for the summer in a lightweight grey and black patterned cotton-mix. And the third one in a traditional German woven blue and white check with red/orange details.  The third one is a special dress. I shall tell you more about that one when I get to it though. Just let me tell you it has to be a wow to live up to the occasion I am intending to wear it to.

 The fabric for this dress trio was all preloved fabric that people didn't sew up. The dark brown wool came from a charity shop fairly nearby that always has a tempting stock of yardage (or should that be meterage). I bought it thinking boy's trousers but the rate they get through trousers at the moment, the only thing I would be prepared to sew is leather with steel kneecaps! So after I got over the boys's trouser idea, it went into the stash for a while. The great thing is, now I can count it as stashbusting.
The grey and black cotton came from my "Nähtreff". More about the actual sewing evening itself another time. In November last year a local theatre put on a production of "The Fiddler on the Roof". There was a call out in the local paper for fabric and notions to make costumes with. The response was amazing. People brought in truckloads of wonderful fabric and notions. The lace.... people gave their buttons collections... well all that was left after sewing the costumes went into the Nähtreff stash! This lovely cotton was left over and asked if it wasn't used, if it could be earmarked for me. Lucky me... it wasn't needed. So it will become a lovely little Cambie for me. Lucky me. Despite picking it up this year, I reckon as I asked for it last year, that it does not count as a new addition this year. 

As I am making three dresses and using lovely fabric, I decided to make a muslin. That allows me to play with the bodice length too. Madame long body here. I even chose a muslin fabric with a stripe so I could see what went on with the stripes for the third dress.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Stash Building I

In one Facebook group I am in (of the two!) we stashbust. I have pledged not to buy any more fabric this year or last year. Well like nearly all of the others in the group, last year I failed. This year is fairly new, so I am doing alright so far! Having said that I did not buy very much last year. The reason why I have made this pledge is because I have a ridicious stash. It's size came about because of two separate "incidents". 

The first one was an award winning Ebay score. A woman who had inherited her mother's and aunt's house was selling off it's contents. Both of them were textiles teachers and they obviously both had a bit of a fabric problem going on. I think I was one of her first customers and got a Volvo estate boot (trunk for you, Americans) full of fabric for 2€. 

I used to have another blog... and here is what I wrote back then in 2010: 

When I went to collect it
 .......Wasting time looking at material on Ebay wasn't quite so wasted. Look at the loot in this boot. 2€! I challenge you to get a better deal! There are some wild, some pretty and some pretty grim (70's nylon) pieces in there. And there are some that are already calling out to be turned into clothes. Clothes for me, clothes for the Things, clothes for Karneval, clothes for little girls (don't have any of those at home)..... I shall have lots of fun! I do have one question though, what do you do with three meters of purple (or red or yellow or brown) nylon? Any takers?

After I had got it home......
I told you about my award winning ebay steal. Now I am washing and airing it. Good that the weather is so hot (and now windy too). I now have a nice pile of material, such a nice pile that I have no idea where I am going to store it. Yesterday I ironed a lot and whilst doing that I thought about the women who's stash this had been. Did she have things in mind when she bought each piece or did she just buy them? Some have obviously been reduced or pieces with faults. What were they like as a people? Did they sew for themselves, for her family, for friends?
There are two ways of looking at this collection of material (I don't know if there was more): it is what is left over after a lifetime of crafting, all the really nice pieces have been sewn, or there are plans and dreams in still in there. I think the truth, as ever, is somewhere in between. Some of the pieces literally shout out about what they want to become. A pretty pink summer skirt, a child's winter fleece, a Barbie dress (?? that must be the material talking as I haven't come up with such things before!!), a pair of grey autumn trousers.  I am sure you will end up seeing some of these things here. 

Some of the pieces pay hommage to a certain period of time. There are pieces of spun nylon in purple, red, bright yellow and bright blue. There are some horrible beige nylon with light blue flowers raised on the surface. A bit like flocked wallpaper. In this heat it doesn't just look horrible, it makes my skin crawl. What would you do with them? The only idea I had was to ring a clothing museum and ask if they could use them.

From this haul, I have made a mathematics dress (see top photo, blue and black material on the left hand side),  the tent part of a play tent for Thing Two and  a Christmas tree skirt from some of the lime green on the left. All the nylon and fabric that made my skin crawl as well as a good lot of patterns that I felt I would never even like, nevermind love, I gave away. Proud of myself on that one!

As to the second "incident", I'll tell you about that another time.... 


Monday, January 19, 2015

Baby Blankets

2014 saw a old trend being revived by my friends. All of a sudden another round of babies were born. Numbers two and three were born all over the place. A completely natural thing you are probably thinking. Well , yes, only it was quiet on that scene for a while.
Being such a lazy friend, instead of sewing up complicated Welcome Baby parcels, I just sewed up some cosy blankets. I reckoned that by the time you get to Number Two ot Three you are probably swimming in stuff anyway! And I know that when I had Thing Two I was actually very happy to be able to reused some of the clothes/blankets/toys that I loved but had been put to one side. But you know, I am married to a man who is a Number Three. A favourite of the family stories is one where he was so chuffed to get something new and something that noone else had before. Having said that I am a Number One (and Only...) and I got plenty of pre-loved clothes! Anyway seconds and thirds should have at least one new thing. 

And so the blanket workshop opened:

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Aus blau mach pink!

Wie bringe ich meine Kleine dazu, die Sachen von ihrem Bruder anzuziehen?" Das Dilemma: Richtige Größe, falsche Farbe.... Mir fiel eine Haarspangenvorlage ein, die ich mal auf einem meiner Lieblingsblogs entdeckt habe. Ideal für die Schuhe!

How can I get my little girl to wear her brother's things? The problem... the right size, the oh-so-wrong colour... And then I remembered a pattern I have for hair clips, that I discovered on one of my favourite blogs. Ideal for these slippers!

Hier das Ergebnis:
Here is the result:

upcycled  Hausschuhe, Kleidung Jungs zu Mädchen
...und weil die Schuhe so gut ankamen, gab es direkt noch ein paar Haarklammern dazu!
...and because the slippers were recieved so thankfully, I made a few hair clips to go with them!

Schmetterling Haarspange

Euch allen ein gutes neues Jahr!
A wee bit late, but happy New Year!