Wednesday, April 1, 2015

No poo update - 2nd month of Water Only

This month has been a roller coaster. I nearly caved in and turned back to conditioner again in my first week this month. Then I read somewhere that week 5-6 are generally the hardest weeks when switching to WO and you need to work past those particular weeks before deciding if WO works for you or not. That was encouraging in the sense that I wasn't alone in this experience. Gotta hang in there a little longer!

What was particularly bad about week 5? 

My hair felt sooooo dry and brittle!! The roots did not feel oily at all and also the tips of my hair felt nice, soft and hydrated. It was the hair in between that was awful. It felt like hay! It was as if the sebum had hardened on the shafts and would no longer be brushed away with the BBB.
At this time, however, I was also sick with the flu, so I could make do with my straw hair and just keep going a couple of more days. If I had needed to go back to work I don't know if I would have stuck with it this week actually. So thanks for that, flu. ;-)

Then on day 8 something happened! My hair suddenly turned soft again! The hardened wax became more oily again and started to be absorbed by the hair!! Can you see it in these pictures?

Hardened wax on the shafts
Day 9, hair has gone soft again
And then I WO washed my hair and it looked like this:

After wash, 5 1/2 weeks of WO 

How about week 6 then?

This has really been my breakthrough week! There has not been one day that I haven't absolutely LOVED my hair! So light, fluffy, shiny and soft - every day! No heavy feeling anywhere. No waxiness. Hardly any brushing necessary. And also, my hair has become even more wavy - bonus!

Last week I was ready to divorce my hair for good. This week I am completely in love. Roller coaster, all right! My advice to anyone trying out WO out there would have to be - don't give in!! That week around week 5 when everything seems particularly bad - it will get better!!
Weeeeee, I am so excited!!! WO really WORKS! And my hair is not getting oily anymore :-)
In the first month my BBB was covered in white/gray dusty goo after every brushing session and I had to clean it every night. Now, the brush looks completely clean after usage, except for a few hairs of course. But I don't have to clean it after every use anymore, rather every 3rd usage, if that. I seem to be approaching that simple carefree life that I hoped for, yeah! (hope I'm not jinxing it...)

Week 7 and 8?

The simple life continued! I really don't need to think about my hair anymore. It just behaves :-)
No oil or waxiness. I brush with the Boar Bristle Brush 1-2 times between washes (so in reality around every 3-4 days) but not nearly as thorough as in the first month. The WO wash it quite quick too. I'd say it doesn't take any longer than a "normal" shampoo+conditioner session.

My hair has now become that trustworthy that I decided to cut my bangs again! I've been a little hesitant since nothing can spoil a good style like greasy bangs.

5 days after washing, still no BBB.


In the second month I've WO-washed my hair 3 times (roughly 9 days in between washes), used BBB  1-2 times a week.
Do I want to continue? YES!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anyone else on the WO bandwagon?

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Completed: Cordova Jacket from Sewaholic Patterns

I've had this pattern i stash for almost 2 years and never been completely sure that it was for me. So I never touched it. But it has been on my conscience since I HATE buying things and not using them -  it's simply not in line with my style of life. Now I wish I had sewed it sooner because it is AWESOME!! What a cute, light, summery yet stylish jacket this is! Work approved too!

I sewed it in a medium weight linnen (it is light red, NOT pink!!!), added a gold metal zipper and lined it with a bright, happy turquoise fabric. The only adjustments were a small FBA and that I had to reposition the sleeves somewhat. The puffed part were sort of hanging off the shoulders and needed to be moved in a bit. I also moved the sleeves slightly forward to be able to move my arms more freely.

I really recommend this pattern!


PS. The shirt underneath is another Granville shirt that I'll write about some day soon.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Completed: a home made thread rack!

Anyone else having problems with storing those spools of thread and getting jealous of the pretty ones that 'everyone else' seems to have, that would turn that mess a tidy display of beauty? And then when you decide to buy one - there aren't any to buy?!?!?! No? Well, this was it for me. And then what do you do? YOU BUILD YOUR OWN!
This is the one I made. If you want to know how, keep reading!

This rack has the finished size of W50 cm H130 cm (19,5" x 51") and it accommodates 90 spools and 18 cones.

I had now drawing so I had to go with an idea that I had in my head. I went to a hardware store and bought some material. One tip before you go shopping is that you put a couple of different spools in your pocket so that you can try out what dimensions you need. You want the sticks to be as sturdy as possible, but they also need to fit the hole.

I bought 2 different thicknesses of round sticks (is that the proper term?) and two different dimensions of untreated moulding for the frame and "peg holders".
Other things you need are wood glue, drills with the same dimensions as the round sticks, self drilling screws (for moulding so that they don't split too easily), a saw, and sand paper.

I bought the following dimensions:
Roundstick 6mm
Roundstick 8mm
Moulding for the holders: 3,4 x 1,5 cm
Moulding for the sides: 4,2 x 2,0 cm

Now let's start the construction work! This part I made up as I went along. First you need to decide where on a wall you want to put it so that you know if you have any boundaries width- or length wise.  One thing to think about is to avoid a wall in direct sunlight if you can, to give your thread a long and happy life.

Then, when having decided the measures you want for the frame you can cut the peg holding mouldings to pieces of that same width. You don't have to calculate exactly how many you need just yet, if you don't want to. I only had mouldings enough to make 10, so that is what I made.

Next step was to decide how many spools of various dimensions you would like to accommodate. Do an inventory and see what you have more of. I basically have 3 dimensions of regular spools and then I also have large cones for the overlocker and cover machines. The smallest spools are the Gutermann  thread spools. These pegs can be places rather closely on the peg holder. When you have decided how many you want of each kind you can measure what peg length you want for each kind and then you need to saw all the round sticks into pegs. And when done with that you also need to sand one end of the pegs so that you don't have any sharp edges. This is important but boring. Don't skip this step though.

When this is done it is time to take the peg holders and mark how closely you want the pegs. Make sure you double check with actual spools so that you don't put them on too tight. Also make sure they are evenly spread across the length so that it looks neat. Drill a hole for each peg. Not all the way through, halfway is enough.

Now, put a dollop of glue in each hole, don't do too many at at time. Put a peg in, tap it down with a hammer, and wipe excess glue away. Try to get them nice and straight.

Leave them to dry. Before the glue is dry, do any final adjustments so that the pegs are straight in every direction.

The next step is to decide on what distance you want the peg holders from each other. This is easily done by putting them "on top of each other" on the floor. They will be angled later, so this is not too close. Mark this distance on the side pieces. Then screw into place. Note! The best way to do it, in my opinion, is to set only one screw on each side to begin with. Then you can tilt the holders and try out different angles (try with the spools!!!!) before deciding how you want it. Then put the second screw to have it secured properly.

As you can see at the top of my rack I added two ribbon holders, simply because I had leftover round sticks. It wasn't a part of the original plan, but that is the beauty of constructing as you go along :)

Now, put your rack on the wall and you are DONE!

Completed: a doll for my 2y old

In my parenting philosophy I feel strongly that I don't want to limit my children by forcing them into a shape decided by society, but I want them to be who they really are and pursue interests of their own choices. To do that, I want to offer them everything, not "dolls for girls and cars for boys".

I also try to be a little more protective with the kids in terms of chemicals and substances that may interfere with their hormones, which has lead us to remove a lot of suspicious materials from our house, such as most plastics. This makes the toy department quite limited. Have you been into a regular toy store lately? Try to find 5 things not made from plastic. Oh, and good luck with that by the way...

Anyway. We have managed to sniff out toys made of wood and metal for most things, but we hadn't "solved" the doll thing. And then it hit me, why not SEW a doll!!! I men, duh?!?!? I can't believe it took me so long to crack that one! Said and done. I spent an hour on Pinterest and pinned all the waldorf doll sewing tutorials i could find and off I went!

May I introduce..... - The first homemade doll of my life!!!!

She is made from organic cotton jersey, stuffed with wool. The hair is croched from mohair yarn, and then dyed with tea to make it more off white (than white). Ain't she cute?

A little belly button and cute little toes!

A little bottom to sit on ;-)
I then made some clothes from vintage fabric scraps I had around the house:

And then I sewed a matching tunic for my daughter...

Now, let's hope she likes it!!! We'll see this weekend.


Thursday, March 5, 2015

No poo update - Switching from CO to WO!

About a year ago, i wrote a post on soon being ready to switch from Conditioner Only method to Water Only. Well, it took me another year to take that step for some weird reason. I guess it came down to that i was starting a new job, hence being weary of coming across too much of a hippie (I'm a management consultant). But NOW I've done it! Yay!

Why am I doing it? I want my life to be easy and uncomplicated. I don't like the idea of relying on "products" and I in general like to strive to achieve some balance in what is natural to my body. The ideal outcome of this would be that I can do WO a couple of times a month, have beautiful, healthy, fresh and manageable hair with minimum effort. Plus, what can be more organic than this? So let's see now if this can be achieved or if I'm back to CO in a little while, shall we?

I though I might do a monthly update if anyone is curious about how I'm getting along.
Here we go!

 My hair routine goes like this:

On wash day: 
Massage my scalp thoroughly for a couple of minutes. Brush entire hair with a BBB (Boar Bristle Brush) for about 15 minutes to try to move as much sebum as possible down to the ends. Then jump in the shower. Massage entire scalp in the shower in hot water (helps removing excess oil) for about 5 minutes and rinse thoroughly for another couple of minutes. I try to pay extra attention to my areas that tend to get oily more quickly: the fringe and the back of my head (opposite point to the chin).
When I'm done I wrap the hair in an old t-shirt for like 20 minutes and then comb through with a wooden comb. Air dry.

Between washes - in the evening:
Many people suggest you should "scritch and preen" which means you should massage your scalp with your finger nails to loosen up the sebum and then pull the sebum down your hair with your fingers. I have tried this, but haven't got the hang of it. It rather feels like I'm tugging on my hair and causing it stress. Also I don't think any oils are really moved. Maybe I'm doing it wrong, but I have now ditched that method.

Instead I gently massage my scalp for a couple of minutes every night and then I use my BBB on SMALL sections of hair until I have brushed all of it. It may take me 15-20 minutes, so I do it in front of the TV before I go to bed. When this process is done, the hair often looks kind of gross, because now you can see the sebum on your lengths! When I wake up in the morning it looks great though - all the sebum is absorbed and now naturally protects my hair.

The last thing I do EVERY DAY is to clean my BBB. I use this method and it works great! This process is easily done while I brush my teeth and such. I don't think it is a hassle at all, actually.

I also braid my hair before going to bed to avoid bed head. Just for precaution, it has never really been a problem for me.

Between washes - in the morning:
I quickly brush my hair with a wooden brush (not the BBB). That will detangle and smooth the hair and I am ready for the day.


How many washes:
I have during my first month (February 2015) washed my hair with water only 4 times, i.e. once a week.

General review:
I am very impressed that this actually works! My hair gets very shiny and has much more body than before. My transition period seems to be kind to me. Maybe due to the gentle CO washing I was used to? My hair feels much less greasy around day 5 (when it is at its worst) than with CO or shampoo. I've also noticed that around day 6 it sort of swings around and becomes less oily again. I think I could go longer than a week between washes quite easily, but for now I think I'll stick to it.
I have asked my husband to really smell my hair at various stages to see if it in any way would seem gross and he thinks it smells clean. I think that too - relief! It both looks and smells clean - yay!
I have also noticed that my hair tends to get slightly wavy, whereas I've always had very straight hair before. I wonder what will happen with that going forward.

Reflections for improvements:
My hair gets VERY clean from the washes. I actually think I should wash less thorough, because it almost feels too clean after the wash. Weird. I need to play with different temperatures during the next month I think.
Another reflection. I expected my hair to become suuuuper soft (I've read that is to be expected in WO) but that is not really my experience. Maybe for the first 2 weeks, but now after a months I don't think it is super soft at all. It is not super stiff either, but it has more hmm structure? than before. I also start to notice that my ends are becoming more dry (you can almost see that in the pics below. So maybe I need to experiment with adding some hair oil or aloe vera or something to the ends.

Results of the first month:

One week WO - BEFORE wash.

One week WO - AFTER wash

Two weeks WO - BEFORE wash

Two weeks WO - AFTER wash

Three weeks WO -AFTER wash

Three weeks WO -AFTER wash

Four weeks WO - before wash (and before BBB)
4 weeks WO - AFTER wash
(before wooden brush, only air dried at this stage)

4 weeks WO - AFTER wash (and brush)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Completed: Plantain T-shirt from Deer and Doe

So, I've been sewing again :-)

As a part of my spring SWAP I wanted to sew a color blocked top to go into the work closet. I have read a lot of great reviews of the free pattern from Deer and Doe: Plantain Tee. I have to say I was a little suspicious of the A-line shape, because it is REALLY a-line. I have a fairly narrow waist and sometimes a-line tops look a little too shapeless on me. (I LOVE a-line dresses though).

I did my usual FBA, of course, and then I gathered scraps of fabric I had laying around and started constructing the tee. I did plan to add those elbow patches, because I love elbow patches, but with the color blocking I thought the top became busy enough without them, so they were left out in the end.

This is the finished top. If I would sew it again I would for sure make it less flared, but I still really like the result. In particular the color combo!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Completed: Sewaholic Granville Shirt, + Pattern Review

I was thrilled when Sewaholic released the new shirt pattern, with all the neat details you'd find in RTW. I have wanted to sew myself a perfect shirt for a while but didn't want to invent my own pattern. The shirt was quickly out on all sewing blogs too with nothing but amazing reviews.

The only alteration I made on forehand to the pattern was my usual FBA. Other than that I cut a straight 8. Other alterations that I did during the process in the pattern review below.

Finished shirt!!

and back!

And here is my pattern review: 

I'll start with the things I liked: All in all a very well drafted pattern with a lot of attention to details. I love the clever collar stand construction and the beautiful sleeve plackets. I also love the back princess seems and the self lined yoke - it all made for a very professional finish. Another good thing (personal preference) were the slim fit sleeves, which makes the shirt look very tailored in my opinion.

Just look at those collar points!!!! SHARP.

I added a placket button to keep the fabric in place, since I had to overlap quite a bit.

There were, however, things I didn't like as much with the pattern too. The suuuuuper long sleeves, for example. Many blogs mention it, but they are seriously long. Chimp long. I need to shorten them at least one inch next time, maybe more.

Also the cuffs where enormous. The sleeves are not eased or tucked into the cuff, but the cuff matches the circumference of the sleeve exactly. This means the cuffs fall over my hands completely if I don't overlap A LOT. Next time: make the cuffs at least 1,5 inch narrower and ease/tuck in the sleeves instead.

The pattern, like all Sewaholic patterns, are made for pear shaped bodies. I do have a narrow waist and big hips, but apparently I wear my extra load somewhere else than at the sides because the original shaping gave me wings! It actually looked kind of ridiculous so I had to unpick the flat felled seams and reshape it. I graded from size 8 down to a size 0 at the hemline and it still has plenty of shape and room. Well, I guess we are all different ;-)

Showing the long sleeves and the side wings :)

After grading to size 0 at the hemline.
By the way - look at that smooth hemming job! I am seriously proud!

Another thing that threw me off was that I had to cut back the collar 3cm (more than 1 inch) to get it to fit! Which means that I must have fucked up somewhere (or else it should have been mentioned in all those blog posts, right?!?). I double, and triple, checked everything but could not find where it had gone wrong... Thankfully the shorter collar would still fit around my neck (better actually!) and no weird wrinkles appeared either. I am still puzzled.

All in all, this is a lovely pattern. With my new learnings, this will be great next time. I know this pattern will become a staple and I already want to make my next Granville! Thank you Sewaholic  the best pattern yet!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Completed: Glam top + tutorial on pretty details on the inside

So my first top from my spring plan is completed. I actually had already started it before the plan was fully set, but hey. I wanted it to stick out a little in terms of details in comparison to other tees I just knock out in an hour or so. This baby is really worked on, and it think it was worth it.

First I will take you through the tutorial for pretty insides. You know when you buy a top you never see any raw/serged edges when it's on the hanger - ever. Not even for cheapo brands. So why should we settle for anything less when making clothes ourselves?

This is what I did:

1. Cut a piece of contrasting (if you want) fabric with similar amount of stretch as the main fabric, Let the top follow the shape of the neckline on the back piece and the lower part should be a nice rounded shape, slightly below the front piece neckline. If you have trouble shaping the lower part, then trace off a plate or similar. It is important that the shape is even since it will be a sewing guide later on.

2. Serge the lower edge of the contrasting fabric. If you have a name tag, then sew it to the piece as well, about 1'' (2,5cm) below the edge, centre front (only through the inner piece). Pin it to the inside of the back piece, wrong sides together. Sew along the served edge with a long straight stitch. Note - here you must be careful since this line will be seen from the outside. If you are not happy - unpick it and resew it, trust me, it will drive you crazy if this seam is wonky! Join the shoulder seams.

3. Time for the neck line and all the schnazzy trims! Cut a strip, around 4cm wide, and hold it against the shape of the neckline. Stretch A LOT as you go around, to get the right size and to avoid having a neckline that doesn't stay flat later on. When you are all the way around, cut the strip off and join the short edges (right sides together). Fold in half, press and pin.
Pin it to the neckline, stretch more at the front than at the back of the top. NO SEWING YET!

4. Cut another trim, about 1'' wide, choose a fun print if you want - it will not be seen on the outside. Pin it to the back of the neckline so that you sandwich the folded trim in between the new strip and the back piece. Stretch slightly. To clarify: the new strip shall be placed face down on top of the folded trim on the inside of the back piece. Leave about 1cm past the shoulder seams and cut of the rest.

5. Now serge all the way around through all the layers! When you are done it should look like this:
From the inside of the top
From the outside (right side) of the top. The back side that is.
6. Now comes the real fiddely part! The strip shall be folded under the served edge on the inside to encase it completely. This is done in two steps.
First, understitch the trim to the seam allowance only, close to the edge, with a straight stitch.

Then fold under the raw edge and pin. Topstitch the other end of the trim to encase the serged edge. This is where things can go pear shaped! This second line is seen from the outside and it is important that it is on an even distance from the first line or it will look shitty!! I had to redo this step 3 times before I was happy.

Done!!! Ain't that pretty???

7. The last step is to topstitch the seam allowance on the front side. Only go between the shoulder seems. Do this with an elastic straight stitch or with a cover locker. After this you can proceed as normal with setting the sleeves and sewing sides and hems.

Apart from this I actually made some other fun things too. I decided to up cycle some "gold" sparkles from a hideous second hand blouse I had in a bag. I sewed this at the center back, actually before step 3 above.

I also wanted rolled up sleeves. I cut the sleeves extra long, rolled them up and then hand stitched all around from the inside through all the layers except the top one, to keep the rolls securely in place with no visible stitches.

Final product (sorry for poor picture quality - It is difficult to take pictures without help, especially for black items):

Well, again, I won't be receiving prices for best photography anytime soon, but trust me that this garment looks WAY better IRL than shown here :)