Saturday, December 27, 2014

Sew for a Change - wrapping up the year!

One year has past and what a year it's been!! Mindful shopping, a lot of sewing, and many new learnings on how to lead a greener life and I am so glad I did it! Some things have been very challenging and others came easier, but I think a lot of the things I've tried will stick with me for good.

Should I start by sharing my final score? You know we started out with 75 points for the year and then there were more points to earn if a challenge was completed successfully. I didn't pass them all, but I gave all of them a go. After a splurge (synthetic pantyhose are a killer!) at the end of the year I ended up on 13 points - woohoooo, I made it!

The best part of this whole experience was that I have challenged myself to sewing a lot more, and more advance things (such as jackets, coats and bras). Another cool thing has been the impact on the whole family, who I found to be equally into it all as I have been. I have also re-discovered many second hand/vintage clothing stores where I've scored very nice things. I will definitely continue to search for things in the second hand market more often than I did before. I have also learned that I don't need a lot of things at all (I kind of already knew, but it has been nice to be able to test myself on that), and may I just say that this has been a year when I have

  1. dropped several dress sizes since being pregnant
  2. started a new job with a fancy dress code
- and STILL I have managed just fine!! Actually kind of proud that I have dared to wear my home sewn things to work and also that I dared to remake/resize a lot of clothing by myself.

In 2015 I will not be tracking any points, but I'll continue to make conscious decisions for sure. My guess is that I would consume about the same amount of points for the next year too. I can live with that.

I have really enjoyed all the inspiring comments and sharing of experiences, both on the blog and in the Facebook group. I'll treasure this experience for a long time. I wish all of you a wonderful new year and thank you so much for hanging out here with me!


Monday, December 1, 2014

Completed: another batch of lingerie!

Since my first, rather successful, bra sewing adventure I have now altered the "pin-up girls classic bra" pattern to add more room in the cups. We'll, I did get help with the alterations from the sweet woman running the webshop

This one is wearable, although still a tad tight.

After that I thought I'd try the popular indie pattern Marlborough Bra, from Orange Lingerie. Malin told me her first one ran small so I went for my normal bra  size 34DD (75E) instead of going for the measures recommendation (which was 34 D). It turned out to be pretty much perfect! Just look at this!

High from this success I thought I'd treat myself to a matching set (first one in absolute ages) and went for the free pattern Rose Hip knickers that were getting great reviews. And hold your horses - they turned out great TOO!!!

I am a wee bit sad that I couldn't find the exalt colour green of the lace trims to match the bra, but I still think it works.

So, from not having sewn any lingerie in my life (except the odd pair of knickers from left over kids print jersey) I have this month sewn no less than 3!!! bras and one panty. I think I have indeed learned a new skill!! 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Completed: the first piece of men's wear!

I have FINALLY sewn something for my loving husband! It's a Xmas gift, so he doesn't know yet. Posting it online before Xmas? Ruining the surprise? Hardly. This is totally safe. Unless I start writing about the stock market or about electronic gadgets, he will not be a frequent visitor, trust me.

This is what I made: a t-shirt with a contrasting pocket in a lovely, thin, wool knit jersey. Pattern: Julian Tee from Jenny Hellstrom Ruas

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Completed: Various bits and bobs

Hey, I've been sewing, friends! Far more than I've been sharing lately.

I thought I'd put up a post with some of the things that I've completed that I am very pleased with, for you to enjoy and hopefully get inspired by.

Here we go! The photo quality is impeccable (not), but I am no photographer, ha.

First one out is a 3/4-length, boat neck, basic, striped top. This is my all-time favourite type of top and I never get sick of stripes. I made this one by copying a top I had in my closet, only changing the neckline. I actually made two, one with blue stripes and one with black stripes. You can hardly tell them apart, therefore only pics of one.

In the below picture I am wearing a royal blue "Wardrobe Basic" jacket. The picture is not great, but the jacket actually is. You have to take my word for it ;-P Pattern from Ottobre.

The third item is the first LBD that I have owned in a decade!! I have had it in the plan to sew one for over a year, but for some reason I just cannot make myself make things in black - because black fabric is BOOOOORING. I do love this dress though, now that it's made, so I am pleased I fought my black fabric resistance this time. Pattern from Stoff & Stil.

Oh, I now we get to the REALLY lousy picture!! It is almost impossible to see what it actually looks like, but it's all right. Pattern from Burda Style.

The last one out is a gem! The coolest and comfiest skirt on the planet is here! Self drafted pattern (or it's so simple I don't even wanna call it a pattern actually). It is made in the loveliest merino wool knit. I want to live the rest of my life in this skirt. Just because of this big love, I'll give you no less than THREE pictures of this little darling.

See you soon!


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Completed: My very first home sewn bra!

This month I am taking on learning something new and it was not hard to pick what I wanted to do - learn (and dare) to sew bras!

I started with the pattern "Pin-up Girls Classic bra" and a fabric kit and then just followed instructions.

It turned out beautiful (ie the actual sewing turned out well). The size was a tad too small, unfortunately, and the style...Well, it's classic allright, granny style!! However it does offer great support compared to many on the market. 

Here are some pictures!


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A couple of sweaters for little people

I have actually been sewing a fair bit lately, even though I haven't posted much about it. It's the trade off between actually spending time sewing Vs. spending time blogging about it :D

Anyhoo... Here is a quick post about 3 sweaters I've made lately for my toddler and her friend. I refuse sewing all the cutsie, girlish, pink frill stuff for as long as it is avoidable. I thing these ones worked out all right.

This one was the first one I made in order to practice all the settings on my Janome CoverPro:

The next one is a gift for my toddlers friend, and my god son. I made a built in tie out of vintage terry I had around. It is AWESOME if you ask me. I would totally wear it myself if I could:

The third one was also made out of vintage scraps that I had left over from my first Wardrobe Basic. I love how it turned out, in particular the back of it (lower picture):

See, it IS possible to get creative with kids clothes too.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Star Challenge #10 - The DIY month!!

Welcome to the very last star challenge of the Sew for a Change year!! We hope this last one will be a real fun challenge that will inspire many of you to develop your crafty side and be earth friendly in one go. How good does that sound?

This month's challenge is to increase our awareness about the things we buy, and how much the effort is really worth when someone else has made something for us. We will learn to show craftsmanship the love and respect it truly deserves. 
This month we will be Doing It Ourselves!!

Complete the following:

1. Avoid buying as much as possible that you can make yourself. Dare to challenge yourself!

2. Learn a new skill, or at least give some unexplored crafty domain a proper go!

3. If you are into christmas gifts in your household, then make sure at least one of your gifts is homemade (such as sewn or knitted). Extra round of applauses if it is also made from upcycled material. 

For those of you who hang out in our Facebook group, please share your DIY ideas!

If you manage this, you'll receive a star and 10 points.
Good luck!

Sew for a change - October Results

All right, I failed. That sucks, since I really didn't see it coming. I thought I had this one safe since I already manage everything on the list.

What pushed me over was toothpaste. I use a good one normally, buy a little while ago I was going away on a sort of sewing camp/LAN for a long weekend (and that was awesome by the way!!!) and realised half way there that I forgot to pack both toothbrush and toothpaste! And that the only store between myself and the destination was a petrol station - oh, the horror. I had to buy a terrible super rough plastic beast (yes they only had one) and some equally awful paste to go with it.

The better side of the month was that I have only purchased second hand fabric and therefore spent zero points. Amen.

New challenge will be presented shortly - sorry about the delay!


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Completed: Burda Style shirt

A while ago I completed a shirt project in this lovely sheer green fabric that I bought on a trip to Berlin earlier this summer. Since the fabric is very see through I had to finish it with french seams. French seams look awesome, but are very time consuming since every seam takes 4 times longer than just running over it with a serger. I think it was worth it though.

It was almost a month ago that I finished this shirt and it is already by far my favourite garment in my entire closet, partially due to the AWESOME color, but also because the fit turned out exactly the way I wanted it. A bonus was that I, for once, managed to make something that was also somewhat trendy. Many of my colleagues wear very similar shirts (although not home made, obviously). If I could, I would wear this shirt every day.

Here is the picture parade! It turned out to be hard to capture right. It looks a lot shinier in the pictures than it really is, but anyways...

French seams even on the set in sleeves!

Loooove the french seams - so neat!

Star Challeng #9 - The HYGIENE month!

Isn't it funny how we try to eat organic food, lower our carbon footprint in all kinds of ways and be good people in general - but we don't hesitate for a second to smear poisonous goo all over our bodies many times a day, and then at the end of the day, shower it all (well, what is not absorbed by our bodies) right out in the ocean. Not so clever, is it?!

This month may scare you, because there is a long list of things to deal with. Do your best, anything is better than nothing!

This month's challenge is to make hygiene a friendlier task to both nature and ourselves.

Complete the following:

1. Toothpaste: Select one that do not contain triclosan or parabenes. Also, if you need to replace toothbrushes, choose wooden ones if you can.

2. Schampoo and Conditioner: select brands that does not contain parabenes, silicones or PEGs. Or if you dare - go 'no poo'!! (That's what I do!!)

3. Skin care: select products free from mineral oils and PEGs. For many people a regular vegetable oil is doing the job beautifully.

4. Anti Lice: Fall often means lice if you are a family with kids in the primary school age. Drench the hair in olive oil and put on a shower cap for a few hours and they will choke to death.

5. Make-up: Try to limit your use of make-up and only buy replacements when you run out (don't buy new products). Select organic where you can. Use vegetable oil on a cotton pad for make-up removal.

6. Soap: Choose hard soap instead of liquid soap. Aleppo or African Black Soap are both fantastic, non-drying soaps that can be used for the entire body including hair and face. They can also be used for shaving (for men also).

7. Try to avoid nail varnish completely this month.

8. Try to avoid perfume completely, this month (perfume very often equals ftalates).

9. Kids: Try to avoid using "products" on kids altogether. They are more sensitive to chemicals than we are.

10. Deodorant: choose versions without Aluminum and Alcohol.

11. Feminine products: choose reusable cloth pads instead of disposables or choose a menstrual cup instead of tampons, if you can.

If you manage this, you'll receive a star and 10 points.

Good luck!

Note! If you are a newcomer who wishes to jump on board the Sew for a change challenge, then you'll start with 33 points instead of 75. Check out all the rules here. Welcome!!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Sew for a Change - September Results

This month's challenge was to raise awareness to what we surround ourselves with in our homes and try to change as much as possible for the better.

In this area it was tricky since we had already come a very long way here. There is virtually no bad stuff left (patting myself on the back) but I still went for a big detective hunt and the only thing I needed to change was the cling film department. I recently blogged about making my own Bee's Wraps and now, a couple of days later, I am even more in love with them. They ROCK!! I think I have earned the 10 points despite not having changed a lot. Why should I be punished for already being good, right?

The spending was not too bad either. I love striped simple tops and the ones I have are pretty much worn out so I decided to treat myself to 2 yards of striped fabric for new tops. The only bad thing was that I didn't find anything organic. But still, this was the first month in a long time where I actually come out on the plus - yay!!!

Now - only 2 more star challenges left of this whole year!! Hang in there, people, we are almost there!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The coolest thing EVER - Bee's Wraps!!!

As this month's challenge is about detoxing my home, and I have done almost all I can think of before - I have been searching long and hard to improve the situation even further. One thing I couldn't get my head around was how to get rid of cling film. Although I try to use glass containers for most things, sometimes the convenience of that plastic is just too great.

But, stubborn to find a solution for this, I have indeed been googling my behind off and I came across the absolutely GENIUS Bee's Wraps!! They are simply cotton sheets covered with bee's wax and jojoba oil and the heat from your hands will allow them to form around any item you wish to wrap. And present a perfect food preserving environment! And are reusable again and again and again!

The not so genius thing was the price. Dead expensive if you ask me. There must be a way of making them myself! Again, google was my friend and I found other people that had already come to the same conclusion and found away of making their own!

So, to the works!!!

1) I cut some leftover cotton sheets that had been washed many times. I did a range of sizes since I want to have options :)

2) I put organic bee's wax granulate (that I happened to have around from making facial creams) on top of it and then shoved it in the oven on low temperature until it melted and the cotton had soaked up all the wax.

Out and let dry - it literally takes less than a minute - and they are ready to use. And they cost me close to nothing. THAT, I say, is genius!!!

I just love when things are both clever AND pretty. That brings me sick amount of satisfaction.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Star challenge #8 - The HOME DETOX month!

This month we will focus our energy towards the environment of our homes and making it a less toxic one in which to sew ;) More and more research prove chemical substances to be the most likely armageddon of mankind. And this worries me. The human species has already severe problems in the reproduction department and to be honest, we can be as much eco friendly as we like, but if we aren't able to reproduce in a couple of generations it is game over anyway. We need to protect or children in particular! They are exposed to multiple times more chemical substances every day than we were, growing up in the 70s (smoking mothers during pregnancy included). Of all the challenges so far, this is my personal favourite.

This month's challenge is to raise awareness to what we surround ourselves with in our homes and try to change as much as possible for the better.

Your 3 improvement areas of the month:

Plastic is not fantastic 
Learn what the different plastic numbers 1-7 mean and go through your home and find+replace the worst ones. Eg plastic shower curtains, food containers, kids toys (throw away all plastic toys made before 2007 and all plastic toys made outside EU), vinyl prints on clothes etc.  

Avoid poisoning your food 
Make a kitchen inventory and replace teflon/non-stick coated pots, pans and trays. Replace cooking utensils out of plastic with wood or metal. Especially if they are made of black plastic or melamine. The old ones can be used for something else than cooking. Plant flowers in them, dig in the garden or whatever - but avoid mixing plastic+heat+food. Try to avoid using plastic bags for food storage; cotton bags, glas jars or bread bins go a long way. Avoid buying food in metal tins (they have a plastic coating with BPA on the inside). Maybe even try to avoid getting your fruit and vege in plastic bags? Buy reusable fabric "produce bags" or sew your own.

Sit nicely 
If you are buying new furniture, be a difficult customer and demand information regarding flame retardants (shall be avoided at any cost!). They are impossible to break down and they are everywhere in the environment now, in the fish in the deep sea and in newborn babies to name a few. Be suspicious of most soft furniture, even mattresses. This is actually an area where buying second hand/vintage is not always best. Many of the really scary flame retardants from back in the day are now banned. 

If you manage this, you'll receive a star and 10 points.

Good luck!

Note! If you are a newcomer who wishes to jump on board the Sew for a change challenge, then you'll start with 40 points instead of 75. Check out all the rules here. Welcome!!!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sew for a change - August results

This month's challenge was to make 3 improvements to the way you handle recycling!

The three things I decided to do:

1. Talking with the kids about recycling and up-cycling and helping them make stuff out of worn out clothes:

My ten year old needed shorts - a pair of unfitting jeans were cropped to make these:

Then my 7 year old wanted to make a pencil case of the left overs from the jeans and a recycled zipper.

My ten year old were then feeling creative and made this tunic by combining things from a worn out bra, a worn out top and a scarf with holes in it, this is all her own design and doing!!!

She also made a stuffed animal (a dog) out of a worn out hoodie that she really loved and wouldn't give up for recycling.

2. Making it easier to recycle in other rooms; in particular the sewing room. Before the challenge all kinds of bits and pieces went in the same bin, making recycling hard work (nearly impossible at the end of the day. Now I have 2 bins - one for pure textile bits (to be handed in for recycling) and another one with the stuff that needs to go in the trash (such as broken needles, tape, vlieseline etc).

Ok, this pic is a bit messy but the pile of white stuff on the right side of the plastic bag is what would have kept all of the fabric scraps in the bag from being recycled. Oh my, what a waste! Really glad to have made this improvement.

3. Handing in textile for recycling: Larger pieces - given to my youngest kid's daycare to be creative with. Smaller/tiny pieces - given to Hemtex and H&M.

My original plan was to start a new compost. Our current food scraps are being picked up and turned into heat, but since we have a garden it makes more sense to keep it ourselves. We have now started such a compost at our summer house, but one at home is on the todo list.

I think I deserve 10 points.

Now to the spending side.... *cough*

1 pair of cotton trousers (6p)
1 pair of viscose trousers (6p)
1 organic cotton top (3,5p)
1 swimsuit (6p)
3 wool socks (3p)

= 24,5p spent, yikes! (which is now more than I have left....)