Thursday, 26 April 2018

Whatever happened to Minimalism and me?

Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

It's been quite a while since my last post on Minimalism. 

To say the truth - I think I've said about everything what Minimalism means to me. 

And to tell you even more truths: I am still working on it. I am still working on myself. And it is still hard at times. 

I am still trying to find the best way, the middle way. The Make and Mend Challenge really helped me (and so did having to live on a much tighter budget for a year). But I also have to say, being back in the "normal" way of life, with our "normal" budget, it is so incredibly easy to fall back into old patterns. 

But the most important thing is, that I live my life more conscious, more aware and I think a lot truer to myself than I did about 15 years ago. Or even 4 years ago. 

Whatever the stress, whatever the challenge. 


Friday, 13 April 2018

Books are for reading!

I got this from the local library recently. 

"Cosi fan tutte" Alan Bennett


Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Mia doll for the KiTa

The KiTa-time (kindergarden for younger than 3 year olds) has been wonderful. The way the staff of the Waldorf-KiTa welcomed her, made her comfortable, gave her confidence and helped her grow as a person, while respecting her very own personality is amazing and I am very grateful she found a place there. She loved going there every single day and I can see her little face light up when she talks about the staff there.

So I wanted to express my gratitude in making a doll that resembles my little Miss No 2 (at least a little bit). In March my big little girl will be continuing to the "big" Kindergarten with her sister. I am a little bit sad about it, but I think the girls will also like to be together in the Kindergarten.

I am very grateful also to the KiTa, because it encouraged me to have a look at Waldorf/Steiner related books. I started reading a bit antroposophic literature (especially concerning children). I found it very encouraging and supportive in some aspects, other aspects are and stay very foreign to me. But that's ok. I am grateful for the positive input it has provided for the family.

This is the third doll I made following the immensely wonderful patterns "baby twink" of Mariengold. ( Again, I really enjoyed making the doll, the instructions are so clear and nice. I also made clothes following her ebook "oh girl" - a little dress (made from a fabric remnant from one of Mias summer dresses), jersey trousers, a little woolly jacket (that I wished Mia had...) and a woolly hat similar to one my girls have. Also shoes, of course. And fabric nappies, which you can't see on the picture, but they are there. :)

The doll is approx. 30cms in height and is filled with organic sheep fleece. All the fabrics and dyes used on the material are also natural and organic, so it's totally safe for the children to play with the little doll.

She comes in a little grey cardboard suitcase-bed, including a small blanket and pillow.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

April 2018 Seasonal table

Goodness, April and Easter arrived so quickly this year, I didn't manage to get a light green piece of cloth (none in stash...) or anything else that looks a bit fresher and more springlike. 
I did manage to remove the reed from the table, although I really really like it, for me it is always connected to winter, cold, frozen, barren landscape. With reed swaying in the icy-cold wind. 

Finally the weather has changed though, and we've had a few warming days, the plants start growing and budding, I've found the raspberry sprouting everywhere (I LOVE raspberries!), so it is very delightfully springy - at least for the moment. Last year we've had lovely weather like this and it tricked me into buying plants and planting them - just before the next frost - 90% didn't make it (one raspberry bush among them, which filled my with deep sadness...). 

Anyhow, this year I am just enjoying the growth around me and will wait until May (after the Ice Saints) to make the plants are on the safe side. 

So this is our Easter/April table, with contribution from the kids.

Grasset Postcard, April

Monday, 2 April 2018

March tabel 2018

Opps... March passed so quickly... but just before changing, I made a picture of our March table. :)

The kids helped a lot.

Grasset Postcard March

Friday, 30 March 2018

Otari Hoodie - Scroop Patterns Test

Namaste, guys!

So, I've had the honour to be a pattern tester for Leimomi Oakes (aka "the Dreamstress" from Scroop Patterns.) I can't say how happy that made me, and I owe it all to the neighbour's cat. :)

The pattern has officially been released today, it really did take me some effort to hold back this long. :)

Leimomi designed a basic hoodie pattern, which is really really neat. Really really neat. I can't say often enough, how neat this pattern is. My gosh, it is neat. And offers so much space for choosing fabrics. From elegant to cute and romantic to wild I'd say anything goes. You can buy the pattern here: (which I really recommend to do...)

There are two pocket and two hood views in it, that can be mixed. The instructions are very very clear, with super nice finishing touches for pockets and the zip (superneat!!), so this is a piece you even love to look at from the inside. Yes. Exactly. Maybe you know what I mean. A comfortable covered neckline (looks and feels good) and an ingenious covered zip (outside and inside, but you can also make it so the zip shows outside) make this look so professional. But at the same time, it is not difficult to make, so no worries, this is perfect pattern if you've not made a hoodie before. Also nice is the fact it doesn't need excessive amounts of fabric, so this hoodie can be made rather economically.

I've been wearing it a lot already and it's so comfy. As you can see, I've really tried with the pattern matching, but something happened at the center front. Whatever it was, it didn't have anything to to with the pattern.

I chose to make the pointy hood (as you probably noticed in the first picture..) and the bound pockets. The sizing is really precise and it has a nice close but not too tight fit. Just perfect. Apart from grading between the sizes, I didn't need to make any adjustments.

covered zip (inside and out) and bound neckline. Pockets bound. Neat. Superneat. 

I really enjoyed making this pattern. I was given it for free as a pattern tester (so obviously I had the test version) but I didn't receive anything else and all of these opinions are entirely my own.

Audrey Hepburn - Gorgeous eye Make-up!

Found on, this wonderful picture of Audrey Hepburn
Completely unrelated to anything, I came across this photograph showing Audrey Hepburn. It is probably a film still, because she is wearing the exact same eye make up in the film "how to steal a million" from 1966. So beautiful.

There are actually a few tutorials on youtube about this make up, but none of them do the beauty of this justice, so I am not including them.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Sewing plans for 2018

Photo by Fleur Treurniet on Unsplash

You wouldn't believe it, but I have plans for 2018. A lot of plans and also sewing plans. Here they are.

- A Dirndl (Bavarian style) for Little Miss No 1 for her first day to school (September). I have the pattern already and a book on Austrian Dirndl making, so I am trying to make it in a more traditional style, sort of a mix between Austrian and Bavarian (sorry), with cartridge pleats and apron and maybe even smocking. I have chosen a fabric already and I hope it won't be sold out by the time i get around to buying the supplies (probably July). It will be rose, with tiny white and blue flowers and a dark blue apron and a white blouse. :)

- A Dirndl for myself, using the same traditional techniques. First I thought I'd go for rose, too, but I am torn between happy black (with tiny pink and green flowers), and this aubergine coloured fabric with white and mauve coloured double-dots. With green apron. And white blouse, obviously. Again, cartridge pleats on the dress planned and maybe a smocking technique on the apron.

- It also seems my jeans are giving up - which means I will have to face the challenge to make trousers for myself - jeans or normal, I don't know yet... self drafted? Maybe?

- also I would like to make a shirt with a massive cowl collar (check out's super cowl shirt; I ALSO really like their "love me 2 times sari simplicity" thingy ... would be nice to make that and dye it with natural dyes... some day...)

- and my biggest plan Using up fabric from the stash. I also have this lovely black satin jersey in the stash, which I might make into a pencil skirt, or into a backless shirt. Or a backless dress, if I have enough fabric. But again, I have to draft the pattern first, then make a muslin and then see... :) - which means I have to go through it thoroughly and think about what I really need.

- make a pillow cover from an old (favourite) t-shirt (that shrunk...)

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

In search of the perfect T-Shirt - Pattern drafting and an approximation (and lots of sheep)

Self drafted T Shirt! Nobody should look this stern with a self drafted shirt full of sheep. I don't know how I managed!

(If you just want the instructions for drafting a t-shirt and not so much talking: Here it is  How to draft Jersey shirt pdf)

And here is the talking:

Because my body is unique, I usually have problems with store-bought clothing:

1. the waist line is too low on me (sort of "on the hip", looks silly), because I am smaller than what standard clothes are made for. (if you want to know more about standard sizes in clothing

2. I have a comparably small waist  and bust in relation to my hip measurement (compared to standard sizing).

3. My hip point is lower than average.

4.  My shoulder width is rather small.

5. I have a sway back nobody seems to want to have anything to do with

Vogue Patterns calls this gallantly "triangle shape", I think it used to be called pear shape? :)

So, all in all with off-the-rack clothes, they are too long, the waist is in the wrong place and the hip width is too small, so if I wear e.g. a T-Shirt, that fits my upper body, the waistline is just a tad too low and the hips small (even with stretchy fabric) so everything is travelling upwards to the waistline with movement and I end up pulling shirts down all of the time, even if they seem to fit ok at first glance.

To cut a long story short, I decided to draft my own t-shirt pattern.
It is really easy, if you just follow instructions!

There are a lot of  tutorials on youtube, I used this one (in German)

The thing you have to know about pattern drafting is this: It will give you a close approximation (probably closer to your body than any of the off the rack clothing is though...) and you have to make the fine tuning with a muslin on your body. Then you transfer the changes to your pattern. If you've made a lot of alterations or big alterations, I recommend making another muslin. Is is a lot of work and a lot of fabric potentially going to waste, but in the end you will have the perfect jersey shirt pattern. Which you will be able to use for all sorts of Jersey shirt variations.

And you will know a lot about you body and clothes fitting.

When you have a pattern finally, bear in mind, that changes to the neckline might need more changes in the upper bodice than just cutting the neckline. Jersey fabric is rather forgiving, but still, everything you change in the fabric might have consequences in fit overall (Dorothy Moore is dedicating a whole chapter on neckline changes... but I will write about that another time)

Also the amount of stretch of the fabric influences the fit (and also the recovery...)!

My first muslin was made from a piece of cotton jersey without much stretch. So I accepted it would be a little tight. There was pulling above the chest towards the armpit. That's the fabric asking for a dart. Hm. And the basic pattern has a very high neckline.

First I cut out the neckline the way I like T-Shirts, which changed the whole appearance of those wrinkles. But they were still there.

I also found the shoulder width was a bit wide, so I reduced it by 1 cm on each side. And changed the paper pattern accordingly.

I also have lots of wrinkling in the lower back, because I have a sway back.

There are several options how to deal with a sway back in knit shirts.
1. Ignore it.
2. Make sure it's not a too small hip width which makes the shirt travel up.
3. Introduce a seamline in the center back. Or two. Or just two darts. Those can take up the excess fabric.
4. You can try to remove about 2-3cms (1inch) just above the waistline on the back pattern and when you assemble the shirt you stretch the side seamline about 10 cm (5inch) around that area. It works sometimes.

Oh, and those wrinkles in the front could  be removed if you introduce a side dart, either to the side seam or to the armhole.

Has anyone else got good ideas to seal with wrinkling and sway back on knit fabric?

I chose to go with option No 1 this time. After transferring all the other changes to the pattern, I made another muslin. This time I used a mad fabric which I bought years ago because I wanted to make shirts for the children from it. It's nice quality stretch jersey (i guess 95% cotton and 5% elasthane) and has a nice weight to it, which I bought in a sale because most people probably found the pattern a bit too busy. I even made a shirt for the children for it, but even on them it is a bit busy. So I had enough left to make this shirt.

I like the fit despite the wrinkling in the back and that little bit of pulling in the front. And there are a lot of sheep on this. A lohohot. I might use it for pyjamas, which makes just the right amount of sheep. I might need pyjama bottoms with dogs now, i suppose.

Sorry for not taking any pictures during the process of making it. I just assembled it.
1. Match shoulder seams. Sew.
2. Insert sleeves, Make sure front part of the sleeve is in the right place.
3. Close sleeve seam and side seam.
4. Insert neckline binding.
5. Hem sleeves and bottom.
6. Iron carefully.

  Here's the resulting pattern and shirt though.

Actually I think the shirt fits better in real life than on this picture.
Less wrinkles around the chest.

see the wrinkles in the back -> not adapted for sway back. I can feel another muslin coming...
(And also quoting The Fast Show: "Does my bum look big in this?")

Below you will also find the description and drawing for drafting this shirt. Don't be put of by the instructions, you'll end up with you own personal shirt pattern.

Enjoy! Bah! Bah! Baaaah!

How to draft your own jersey shirt pdf

If you have questions, leave a comment!

On fitting t-shirts for FBA (I don't really need FBA, but it is interesting anyway and maybe you want to try this out!)

Friday, 23 February 2018

Martha Mania (Milchmonster)

A Martha Mania Collage

I've made these Marthas aaaaages ago. Years.  I've been wearing them a lot, i really love them. The pattern is great and it is perfect for busy patterns (I think...).

There are several option to the Marthas, small and big hood, shawl collar, pockets or not, sleeve options, several different top versions. I even think the Marthas are so great, they can distract from the stupid door backround. :)

Here ist the  Link to Milchmonster's Martha

The size is quite accurate, I just find the shoulders are a bit narrow, I added about 1cm at each size of the shoulder seam (towards the arm, both on back and front piece). I shortened the upper length about 1 cm.  Obviously these are individual measurement that depend on everybody's body, so it's not the patterns fault. Overall the sizing is very accurate.

The instructions are really good, I've got them in German, I don't really know whether she offers other languages, BUT I think it's easy enough to make it even if you don't understand the language, if you've made a shirt before.

Here is the Martha Parade:

Lillestoff jersey

It reminds me of Disco somehow...
the knit fabric is from - brilliant shop. 

also knit from Michas Stoffecke

Lillestoff - Monster Drops

I did the picture editing with, which is (at least for the moment), free and easy to use. They have some fun stuff there.