Wednesday 29 June 2016

Minimalism and Sewing - Works!

Now, if you've been following my blog, you know, I LOVE sewing. It's a great hobby. And now you will say "AH, I've caught you, do you really need to sew all these clothes? Aren't you spending a too big amount money on sewing? Couldn't you get the clothes elsewhere? And how can you say you are minimalist (which I am not, really) and make 18th century clothes?"

But sewing can be far more than a hobby where you just sew and sew and sew and sew. I admit, yes, the sewing machines and fabric are not cheap. But if you think about it properly, sewing clothes (apart from being pleasurable) offers lots of advantages.

Monday 27 June 2016

Cutting patterns or not cutting patterns!

I just wanted to share how I am keeping my patterns intact. Not cutting them has a lot of advantages:

  • if the first size you chose isn't right, you can still trace it again
  • or maybe your size changes and you need it again
  • if you want to make it for somebody else, you can use it again. 
  • you can give away or sell the pattern if you don't want it anymore
 I am using plastic foil (the one you use if you want to repaint your room, to cover floor and furniture, the strong quality) and am tracing with a black waterproof pen. make sure it doesn't come off otherwise you damage you fabric...

If you've copied your size on a plastic sheet, it has a lot of advantages, too:
  • if you've found your "perfect size" you can use that foil again and again and again.
  • changes can be made easily and permanently to the foil (e.g. shortening)
  • you can make changes to the design  by putting your "basic pattern" underneath the foil and tracing it with the desired changes. (I did that with my "1790s maja jacket" and the "American neckline disaster") 

It took me rather long to get to this stage, so I thought I'd share it. :) Also: basting and ironing is really helpful.

Wednesday 22 June 2016

8 months on 55% salary and no car.

In early 2015 we were expecting our second daughter. As I had started to work full-time rather early (6 months) after Little Miss No 1 had been born (complicated story...), we had decided that we wanted to take "a year off" with and for the children this time. Little Miss No 1. was 3 years old at the time Little Miss No 2. arrived. 

The laws in Germany being the way they are, I went into the time of "legal protection of working mothers" 1 month before the birth and for 2 months after the birth. That time is covered by the health insurance. 
After those 2 months I took 8 months "parental time". Which means I could stay at home with the children and my husband without having to worry about being laid off. The social system continued to pay 55% of my salary (you have to apply for that and organize a lot in advance, of course).

Wednesday 15 June 2016

I am not a Minimalist. - What Minimalism means to me. And what it doesn't. About "needs" and "desires".

People seem to think of minimalism as something very uncomfortabe. As if you'd have to sleep on a bed of nails. Eat cardboard. Live in a cave somewhere far away, all on your own. Of course, you could make it into an extreme way of life. Don't get me wrong, I think to work on modesty, on moral qualities, is an honorable thing. But I don't see myself living up to that high standard every day.

It's not about tormenting myself (and my family) with lots of "don't"s, "mustn't"s and "cannot"s.

Wednesday 8 June 2016

How I loved "stuff". Emotions and consumerism.

I didn't know I had been consuming excessively for many years until very recently. Even though I think some friends did hint at it in a very friendly joking way for years. But I couldn't understand them at the time. 

I used to link emotions and memories to "things".

It was a major catastrophe when a mug I had brought home from a great holiday, broke. It was as if part of that holiday had broken or vanished. Or when something that a friend had given to me, broke. That felt as if I had directly physically hurt that friend. If somebody else damaged something by accident, it felt as if that person had damaged or destroyed the memory. Every item in the house was sentimentally linked. Everything. It was a nightmare! Kitchen tools. Candle holders. Matchstick boxes. Plates. Linked to friends, family, happy moments. I hoarded things to hold on to the memories. And I did that because I wasn't happy in the moment I was living in. I wasn't happy with myself.

Saturday 4 June 2016

Mummy, I want a shirt like that, too!!!

Maybe you remember the post about the shirts I made for Little Miss No 2? Little Miss No 1 decided, she absolutely needed the same shirts like her little sister. Luckily, I still had some fabric leftover from both the seahorses  and the whale-fabric. It's a lovely knit, 95% Cotton, 5 % Elasthan, has a nice touch and is SO soft. I am nearly a bit jealous. :) I needed 0,40cm from the seahorses/whale knot for the "body", and the sleeves are from remnants I had in my stash.

So, I made 2 more shirts for Little Miss No1. I used the "Mama hoch 2" pattern for raglan shirts. ( - the sizing is very precise and the pattern is free!

The fabric is from this online shop (


Total cost:  ~5 Euros each shirt

pattern: free, from Mama Hoch 2
fabric: remnants of whale/seahorse knit, dark blue knit and yellow stars knit for sleeves, adds up to about 5 Euros each shirt. Bought here, from stash
notions: "hertzwerk" tag from Dortex, "Cottonera 15", 50 Cents per tag.

Friday 3 June 2016

The "Make And Mend" Challenge

As of this day, June 3rd 2016, I am committing myself to the "Make And Mend" Challenge. 

These are the rules:
  • I will not buy clothes* for the entire next year (=365 days).
  • If something is damaged, I will try to mend it. 
  • If I need a new clothing item, I will make it.
  • I will not buy fabric for the stash. The only fabric I am allowed to buy is fabric for specific clothing items that I need (e.g. jeans).
  • I am working on my fabric stash.
  • I will blog about items I made or drawbacks to document the challenge.
*I will also not buy additional shoes, jewellery, accessories (scarves etc), cosmetics...

Join in and share!!!

Blog about the challenge, share your thoughts, maybe changes of rules (i.e. include remaking second hand clothes) and projects and tell me about it so I can share it and we can inspire each other! Feel free to share the mendandmakechallenge.jpg above and link this page!

Follow this link to see the  Make And Mend Challenge Blogposts

There is also a group on Facebook (hosted by Jen Gale by makedoandmendlife) which you might like to join ?! 

*** My Make and Mend Challenge stopped on 3rd June 2017 ***

*** I extended a year until 3rd June 2018 ***

*** I didn't extend the Challende again, but I am keeping track of purchases***

*** It was a really good experience and truly changing me habits***

Wednesday 1 June 2016

My Mid-Year Resolution and about a journey

I have embarked on a journey. A journey to minimalism. :)

This journey has started in 2007, when I travelled for nearly three months through South-East Asia. I couldn't really put the finger on it at the time, but I wasn't happy. I knew that the general direction was right, but the way I was going felt all wrong. It felt like dancing out of rhythm. Or singing out of tune. All at the same time.

Circumstances (that I regarded as very hindering at the time) meant, that my work/studying was on hold for more than 3 months and I couldn't do anything about it, neither was I directly responsible for it. It  just happened that way. I couldn't do courses, I couldn't do tests. I felt stuck. I felt rejected by everyone and everything, even by university. I said to myself, if I am feeling miserably and university doesn't want me to continue my studying and puts me in this place, I might as well go and do something entirely different, neither work nor study related. That'll teach them. ;)

So I booked a flight, packed a backpack, and set off. Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos.