Sunday, April 27, 2014

sail away...

Hi there! Wanna see my latest creation?
Yes! Another dip-dyed sailor sweater. 
A while ago, I pinned this hoodie from Scotch and Soda. I love their clothes, but their prices? Not so much. The sweater shown here costs a whopping 89,95 Euros! 
My inspiration: a Scotch Shrunk hoodie
I figured I could create something similar myself, for a fraction of the price! So I bought a yard of navy striped knit, and dipped it into a dye bath. It took some experimenting to get it right, but in the end, I'm satisfied with the result. 
Then it was just a matter of sewing up the sweater. I used a basic shirt pattern from Ottobre (size 122), and added an overlapping, shawl-like collar.

To create this collar, I cut the neckline about two centimeter (1 inch) wider than the pattern prescribed. The collar was a strip of approximately 70 cm (28 inch) long and 8 cm (3 inch) wide, tapering off at the ends, which I then sewed to the neckline. 

The bright orange drawstring gives a nice pop of color.
So does the topstitching on the elbow pads.
So, there it is. A real Scotch and Soda knockoff for about 10% of their price!
In total, this sweater cost me no more than € 9.00:
Navy striped fabric: €4.50 (9.00 per meter)
Blue fabric: from my stash
Dye: €2.75 (I used only half a sachet)
Orange drawstring: €1

I'm linking to:
Inspired Us Thursdays: Sew Needle Stitch Hook, a link party of fiber arts. | The Inspired Wren

Sunday, April 20, 2014


Do you follow the "Calling All Kids" series at Alida Makes? I love this series! It's about exploring kid's clothes as it relates to gender. Alida has a great lineup of guest bloggers who create amazing clothes, ranging from pink, purple and floral shirts for boys to tuxedo inspired dresses for girls. Inspired by this series, I decided to explore a bit as well, and vary from my usual color palette by incorporating pink! 
Today's creation was for my youngest, who is not yet opinionated. Even though I don't really dislike pink, my two oldest kids (a girl and a boy) do. By making this sailor shirt for my youngest I was sure that the neon pink topstitching would not be met with opposition. 
Another reason for choosing my youngest as target that I could reuse a jumpsuit (size 6 mo) that had shrunk into crazy proportions. It had become extremely wide and was roomy enough for my 12 month old. Ready to be upcycled!

I cut off the legs, and opened up the side seams. To create a dip dye effect, I painted the bottom rows of the shirt and sleeves with fabric paint, which I diluted progressively as I moved up.
I love the effect. It's as if the shirt was dipped into the sea!
The leg parts were reused for the collar. After having sewed several shirts with very small head openings, wanted to be sure that this one was wide enough. Yes, it is! Even I can put my head through it... So I put in a drawstring, which is kept in place with two leather 'stoppers'.
I loved the combination of the blue and pink, so added some more pink topstitching around the elbow pads.
 And with that, my little boy is ready to explore...

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


One of my favorite creations is the triangle sweater I created last year. My son recently outgrew this sweater, so the concurrence of Project Run and Play's theme of this week (design your own fabric) and the "Sew all 26" series at No Big Dill (which has arrived at Z) formed the perfect excuse to make a new shirt. Since summer is on its way, it became a t-shirt. 
Initially, I wanted to use a fresher colour, but at the fabric market, I simply couldn't make up my mind which colour to choose. So in the end I went with the same colours as last time. I upcycled a huge men's shirt, which, despite having a print on the front and back, still had enough blank fabric.
The pattern was made using discharge paste, a thick bleach-like paste that is perfect for freezer paper stenciling (read all about the technique here). 
I stenciled two tags with the pattern. One was used for the collar, the other one was folded, following the example on this beautiful sweater from Nellekus.

So how did I create the stencil? It looks more difficult than it actually is. Let me show you...
First, I cut a rectangle of freezer paper of about 40x25 cm (using the entire width of the paper).
Fold the paper zigzag-wise into eight parts.
Draw two triangles, like this...
Cut out small strips within the shape of one triangle, using a knife or scissors.
Looking good already...
Cut out strips from the other triangle.
Fold open and admire! 
I accidentally cut out too much here. No problem. You can add the cut-off part(s) when ironing on your stencil.

You can vary the angles, which results in different patterns. As you can see, I used three different patterns for the front, back and sleeves...
In case you wonder, this is my (tomboyish) daughter. Her brother was ill today, but she volunteered to model, in exchange for some M&M's of course...
Linking up to Project Run and PlayKids Clothes Week and No Big Dill's "Sew all 26" series.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Birch shirt

It's Project Run and Play week 3, and I managed to sew along this week as well. The theme for this week is 'design your own fabric'. I love designing my own fabric, and have tried out different techniques (more about that in a later post). I had lots of ideas, but started with a simple project; another color-blocked pocket tee (see my previous -very different- versions here and here). Obviously, I'm not yet bored of those shirts.

For this shirt, I designed the fabric of a small, but significant part; the pocket.
I was inspired by the birch forest surrounding my office. Two shades of grey, a graphic pocket and some bright green details, to give it a fresh, spring-y look. Again, a very simple upcycle, using an store bought heather grey shirt for the top part.
The pocket was freezer paper stenciled in two steps. First, I simply painted stripes (about 1/2 inch wide) in different shades of light grey. 
When paint was dry, I ironed on the freezer paper stencils. These were just long strips with some notches cut out here and there. I painted over the stencils with dark grey.
And here is the result... Looks like birch trees, right?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

preparing for PR&P week 3

Freezer paper stenciled birch fabric
In preparation for next week's theme of Project Run and Play (design your own fabric), I created a small piece of fabric with a birch print.
Can you guess what I will use it for? Given my two previous items, it shouldn't be too hard to guess...

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Secret Squirrel: Stop 9 - Näh-connection to Vera Luna

The Secret Squirrel series is a year-long sewing journey created by
An from Straight-grain ( and
Suz from sewpony(
Read all about it here (
Secret Squirrel contacted me via Annika from Näh-connection and gave me these five acorns of inspiration....
Neuschwanstein Castle, Elephants, Spring, Jersey, Astrid Lindgren
Secret squirrel made a small journey this time. He simply crossed the border from Germany to the Netherlands. Annika sent him on his way with five fun acorns. I must admit that I did lose some sleep, pondering how to incorporate all of them in one outfit, but in the end, they came together wonderfully.
Let’s start with the last acorn, because that one formed the main source of inspiration of this outfit. Swedish children's book author Astrid Lindgren is one of my favorite authors. I devoured her books when I was a child, and I’m looking forward to the time that my kids are old enough to read the books together. My all-time favorite was The Brothers Lionheart, about the adventures of two brothers; Karl and Jonatan.

I remember reading it when I was about nine, and thinking, “If I ever have a son, I’ll name him Jonatan”. The name stuck, and 25 years later I still loved it. I even managed to convince my husband, so in April 2013, our Jonatan Nils was born.
So that was obvious: the outfit had to be for Jonatan, inspired by this book. And once I had decided that, I realized that three of the four remaining acorns could be added seamlessly! The book is staged in Nangijala, an ancient land of the “days of campfires and storytelling”. And castles, of course. Check acorn number 2: Neuschwanstein castle! The two brothers live in a little farmhouse in the “Cherry Blossom Valley”, and the book is filled with beautiful blossom drawings by. Check acorn number 3: spring! And since knit fabric is my go-to fabric, acorn number 4 was also easily incorporated: jersey!
Based on these four acorns, I made a little medieval-looking tunic in blue jersey.

It was inspired by the colors of the book, and lined with this fun castle fabric (Lizzy House Peeps series) that happened to be in my stash.
 For the spring acorn, I originally wanted to use some blossom fabric, but couldn’t find what I was looking for. So spring was reflected in this wooden button that vaguely looks like a blossom.


However, then I discovered sun printing, and managed to create a piece of fabric that really matched the cover of the book. So obviously, it had to be used as well. But how? My outfit was already completed, and I couldn’t make up my mind what to do with it.
Sticking with the theme, it became a shield, eh bib, eh, shield-shaped bib! To protect Jonatan from fire-spitting dragons, swords and arrows, and above all, flying food! He needs it!
That left only one acorn remaining. Those poor elephants really didn’t fit in the medieval theme. So they got their own piece: grey sweatpants with two protective elephants on the knees.

A little blue side tag (not shown) links it to the rest of the costume colorwise. And hey, there are even elephants on the inside!

So that’s it! Five acorns incorporated into this outfit for my little Jonatan.
I loved hosting the secret squirrel. Who’s next?

I’m sending the secret squirrel off with the following five acorns:
Pineapple, Alhambra, Denim, Ombre, Upcycling
If you would like and join Secret Squirrel on his journey, leave a comment on this post and check your inbox in a week’s time… you may be the chosen one to pass on the baton of creativity that is SECRET SQUIRREL!!! If you don't receive a message from Secret squirrel, you can still sew along There are some amazing prizes to be won.