Thursday, February 23, 2017

Twig & Tale Upcycle Tour

As you may know, I love a good upcycle challenge. It's so rewarding to give old, worn-out clothes a new life, especially when you have worn these clothes with love. I bought these red corduroy pants when I was a student and used to wear them a lot, but some years ago I decided that it was time to move them to my stash pile.
They have been there for quite a while, waiting for the right moment to make their reappearance. And that moment finally came when I was asked to participate in the upcycle blog tour of Twig and Tale.
Twig and Tale is the New Zealand based pattern company of Lisa Spearman, who designs whimsical, nature-inspired, easy-to-sew children's clothes. In her pattern instructions she pays special attention to which materials are suitable to upcycle for the different parts of the garment.  
Since I was short on time for this tour, I chose a quick project: the Wild Things Hooded Scarf. This is a hat and scarf combined in one, with ears! The pattern comes with a whole menagerie of animals to choose from; zebra, fox, bear, lion, cat, bunny, yes even a giraffe! I wanted to have a fur-lined hood, so I chose the lion.
I happened to have some colourful plaid cotton in my stash that matched nicely with the red corduroy, and therefore could be used as lining fabric. I didn't have any fur though, so I went to the fabric market where I found a whole bin of fur remnants in all colours. This orange-blue fur matched perfectly with the lining fabric.
Next up, cutting the pattern pieces. When upcycling old garments, this is always a puzzle. In this case, the front legs were pretty worn out, so I cut the long scarf pattern parts from the back legs. There was still enough usable fabric on the front legs to cut the hood parts.
The hood originally consists of three parts but since my fur was very thick, I split the front band into two narrower bands (with added seam allowance), the back part in the main/lining fabric, and the front part in fur.

Then it was just a matter of following the pattern instructions, which were clear and straightforward.

My son is almost 4, so I made him a size 3-5 yr. It's a bit big on him, and the long fur gets into his eyes and mouth. But when he's wearing it on top of his wool hat, the fur doesn't bother him. I might be biased but think he looks so cute in it. A mix between a lion and an inuit boy.

Be sure to visit the other participants on the blog tour, there is more eye candy waiting for you!

Go here for the blog tour overview page.

Rafflecopter: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Line up:

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Winterland revisited

Four years ago I made one of my all-time favorites, inspired by a sweater that my mom knitted thirty-something years ago. The original had shrunk into weird proportions, but I loved the colors and the shawl collar, so I decided to copy it.
Of course, he quickly grew out of his sweater (as babies do). Each following winter I planned to sew another version of it, but I didn't manage until this winter.
The pattern is the ADV tee by Sofilantjes, adjusted to be slightly wider and with a shawl collar instead of a v-neck. 
In order to make the shawl collar, I drew a 5 cm horizontal line, centered at the bottom of the original V. Then I connected the ends of the line with the tops of the V. Next, I cut a 14 cm wide strip of ribbing, folded it in half and attached it to the neckline, stretching the ribbing as I went.
All fabrics came from my stash. It turned out I had too little brown ribbing for the bottom band and both cuffs, but fortunately I had some rust red ribbing that perfectly matched the colour of one of the sleeves. Happy accident!
On a not-too-cold afternoon, we went to the local park for a photoshoot during golden hour. He perfectly blended in among the brown tones of the plants. 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

A colorful omni tempore

My son's wardrobe was getting a bit monotonous, and since he will usually wear anything I make him (unlike his big sister), I decided it was time to do some bold color-combining.
So I took a dive into my fabric stash and reappeared with a blue, yellow and pink knit, some teal and orange ribcord. Finally I found the patterned fabric that was used for his Stylo outfit, and that combines all the other colors.
I chose the Omni Tempore sweater, by Sofilantjes, a Dutch pattern designer with a line of fun (unisex) patterns. A nice pattern with a hood and cowl option. 
I had sewn the hooded version before, and wanted to try out the cowl version this time. 
I sewed a size 9 for my tall 6-year old. It's quite roomy (it fits perfectly on my 8-year old daughter), but thanks to the sleeve cuffs and bottom band, it doesn't look too oversized. 
The photos were taken near some characteristic buildings and in a churchyard. Unfortunately, my son was not his usual cheerful self, hence all the cropped photos ;-) 
It's a beautiful location, that I also used for the Stylo photoshoot. So fun to see how much he has grown in the meantime.
The new sweater is a hit. my son has worn it for days in a row now. He loves it and so do I. 

Sunday, November 6, 2016


Last month, I finally sewed something for myself; a Bethioua shirt. As I was sewing that shirt, I already got an idea for a second one, inspired by these pins.
My daughter and I went to the fabric market to find a red plaid fabric; "mooie rooie zachte ruitjesstof" (beautiful, red, soft plaid fabric) according to my daughter. I was looking for something similar to the fabric in the left photo, but couldn't find anything like it, so I settled with a traditional tartan fabric: a wool-viscose blend. It's soft and supple, but without any stretch. However, as the Bethioua runs quite wide, I figured that would be no problem. For the front and sleeves I used some burgundy knit.
This was my 10th(!) Bethioua, thus sewing the shirt was a breeze.
Happy with my new shirt!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Twig +Tale blog tour

A while ago, I was asked to participate in the blog tour of Twig + Tale; which is the new name of Big Little patterns. I didn't need to think long before answering with a clear Yes! I mean, patterns that are drafted in a treehouse studio hidden within the New Zealand forest, those must be good, right? 
This is how Lisa, Twig + Tale's founder, describes her company: 
"Twig & Tale is [...] a celebration of the innocence of childhood and the wonder of nature. It's about comfy clothes and warm things like hugs and capes and coats. It's about handmade, love, and imaginary play—featuring classic, simple patterns that inspire us all to tell a story."

These words speak right to my heart. In my sewing I draw a lot of inspiration from nature; it's expressed in my colour combinations and in my fabric choices. So I was more than happy to join this blog tour and try out one of the Twig + Tale patterns.
I decided to sew something for the 2-year old daughter of friends. a little curly-haired pixie who loves to be outdoors. So what better than to sew a Pixie Pea Coat for her, in which she can roam the autumn forest in style? 
The blog tour was sponsored by Art Gallery, who generously provided the fabric. I spent hours browsing their website, drooling over so many beautiful and colourful designs, but in the end I chose this grey owl fabric (Owly Boo knit from the Wonderland collection) for the lining. It's simple but cute, and I figured it would contrast nicely with the warm autumn tones that I planned to use for the outside.   
I would have loved to use wool as the main fabric, but couldn't find any suitable fabric at my local fabric market. So I chose some baby rib instead. To add some visual interest I colourblocked the bodice and sleeves. This required some extra effort, but I'm very pleased with the result.
An other adaptation I made was to add a strip of rib fabric to the outer rim of the hood lining, as well as to the bottom hem. Since I was using knit fabric for the lining, I was afraid that there would be some puckering when attaching the main fabric to the lining. It gives the coat a nice finished look, and I like the additional pop of colour on the inside.
The coat is described as suitable for 'adventurous beginners' and I fully agree. The sewing is uncomplicated and the instructions are clear and straightforward. Without my alterations, I could have finished the coat in one evening. I sewed the size 3, and it's a bit roomy for her now (it fit my 3-year old perfectly). With a bit of luck she can still wear it next autumn...
Well, that wraps it up. I truly enjoyed participating in this blog tour, and I envision some more Pixie Pea Coats in the near future. Now go check out what all the other participants have made. I promise you some serious eye candy.

And last but not least, what would a Blog Tour be without a giveaway!
Art Gallery Fabrics is kindly sponsoring 2 yards of Art Gallery fabric of your choice. To make the prize extra sweet, we are also adding a collection of 5 Twig + Tale patterns of your choice.
International entries are very welcome. Our bloggers come from every corner of the world to celebrate the global nature of Twig +Tale too.
Enter using the rafflecopter below.
(The winning entry will be checked to ensure all criteria are met).

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Näh Connection shop blog tour - and my debut

Hi all, today I'm part of the Näh Connection shop blog tour. My friend Annika is building intercontinental bridges by translating patterns from English to German, and as of now, from German to English. To celebrate that the first set of patterns is now available in her shop, she is hosting a blog tour, with people all over the world (the Näh Connection Ambassadors) introducing fun German patterns. 
 For me, this was the trigger to finally do something that I never dared to do before: sewing for myself....
One of the patterns in Annika's shop is the Bethioua shirt. I've already made several versions of this shirt over the summer (including this raccoon shirt, this tiger shirt, this striped version and this one with penguins), and , and really love the pattern. So I decided that this would be my debut shirt. 
On the fabric market I spotted this fun blue sweat fabric with golden stars. I planned to get only enough for a shirt for me, but got the last 3 meters of the bolt with a nice discount.
With that much fabric on my hands and patterns in two kid sizes already available, what else to do than to sew the Bethioua pattern three times for some serious twinning (or should this be called tripling?)
My middle son explicitly mentioned that he didn't want a matchy shirt, but he did want to be our photographer...
Which resulted in some interesting, but fun crops...
I must say I was feeling pretty self-conscious in front of the camera instead of behind it, but we were having a lot of fun together and my son managed to get some great shots...
Since the pattern is quite wide, and I prefer a more fitted shirt, I cut out one size smaller than instructed based on my measurements (38 instead of 40), I took in another cm at the sides, and now it's just right. I tried hemming the shirt, but wasn't satisfied with the result, so added a band instead. Much better...
My daughter's got a copy of my shirt, with stars all over. 
For my son, I decided to spice it up a bit. I added yellow cuffs and used some solid blue fabric for the back, to emphasize the back yoke.
Since my kids are tall and slender, I used the free Bethioua mini pattern for my son, but lengthened it significantly (about 10 cm). Fits nicely with some room to grow.
Now, I hope to have convinced you to take a look at Annika's shop to see which other patterns she has in stock. Be quick, because right now you get a nice discount if you buy more than one pattern:

Buy 1, save 10 % with code “buy1save10naehconnection”
Buy 2, save 20% with code “buy2save20naehconnection”
Buy 3 or more, save 30% with code “buy3ormoresave30naehconnection“

 or buy all and save 50% (separate product for the pattern bundle)