Sunday, November 3, 2013

Little Bitters Collection

Guest post by Peter

Recently, I started assembling bitters, inspired by the book by Brad Thomas Parsons. It really speaks to the chemist and cook in me.
Up to now, I have tried three recipes, a pear bitters, a bitter orange version and, most recently, a prune bitters. Today was the day I finally bottled them into drip and storage bottles. Now they are sitting on our bar table, waiting to be mixed into cocktails...

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Black Half Circle Skirt

When I was much younger, I was very much into full circle skirts. Floor long ones. They would eat up about 4m of fabric - not ideal on a teenager budget :-) Since then, I moved to rather simple and clean knee long A-line skirts. However, with riding the bike to work, I am looking into alternatives and wider skirts are much more comfortable on a bike (and less revealing). I therefore thought that a half circle skirt would be a quick project that fit the bill. And it does: this skirt was really quickly made: I drafted a pattern on an old newspaper (there are tons of tutorials out there, I don´t remember which one I used) and used a cotton ribbon for the waist band. I let the skirt hang for about one week, adjusted the hem (i.e. Peter did) and left the hem unfinished. Even though it felt a bit strange to have so much fabric flowing around when I fist wore it, it really grows on me and I wore it all the time last weekend in Warsaw. I´m not sure if I will make another half circle skirt again but I will for sure make another wide skirt with pleats.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Hygge (Refashioned Sweater)

This sweater has been sitting in my mending/ refashioning box forever! Peter bought it during his term abroad in Stockholm (winter 1998/99) and as you can see on the "before" picture, it was huge by current fashion standards. I removed the sleeves because I originally planned to take the body in and then add set-in sleeves. However, when Peter tried on the pinned body we thought that since there´s a distinct yolk part, the sweater would also look cool with dropped shoulders. This decision made my life a lot easier because the original sleeve would have been too short for set-in sleeves anyway and I would have needed to come up with a creative solution for this. So I sewed the sleeves back on and stitched the underarm and side seams with a short stitch length (using a small zig zag stitch to allow stretching). I serged the edges leaving approximately 1cm of seam allowance. Hopefully this will be enough to prevent unraveling. Since the body was too long, I harvested the lower band and sewed it back on at the end, again using a short and small zig zag stitch. Unfortunately, even though I had added 1.5cm seam allowance, I could not serge the bands without stretching and unraveling them (the intarsia pattern made the edges more fragile than expected). Therefore, I handstitched the seam allowance on the body and band, respectively. This has the advantage that the seam is very flat now and it´s barely visible that the band is sewed on and not knit on.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Bicycle Rain Cape

I bike to work every day and with fall approaching I need some decent rainwear. Sure, I could use my rain pants and jacket but don´t you think that this cape is much fancier??
The fabric is waterproof and breathable, reflective piping is enclosed in the front and back sleeve seams, the seams are sealed with seamtape and the coat is fully lined with mesh fabric. The pattern is self drafted. I used my rain jacket as reference for the upper part and took some inspiration from Helene Clément. The lower back piece is longer to ensure protection when I´m sitting on the bicycle. It´s pretty wide in order to leave enough room for movement. No extra seams or darts, the side seams and the elastic band in the back provide all the shaping. I didn´t add a hood since I have a waterproof rain cover for my helmet. My shoes will be covered by these fancy gaiters:-) The sleeves are very long and have openings for the thumbs:
The back view:
The collar seam is covered by the small band for waterproofness (the small band is only sewed to the outer layer of the collar and this seam is sealed on the inside of the collar):
 The interior: mesh lining

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Leather Jacket

I wanted to sew a leather jacket since I discovered Rick Owen´s jackets around 2006 or so. I started looking for leather coats in thrift stores since I didn´t want to buy new leather for several reasons: I was after a used look, it´s more sustainable to reuse leather instead of buying new and I wanted the constraint of limited "fabric" influencing the design. It wasn´t that easy but finally, in April 2010, I found a simple men´s leather coat in a really nice quality at Goodwill in SF for just USD 31.99 (I still have the price tag - it says "vintage/better"). The coat was quite huge and most importantly, it didn´t have a lot of seams, so after deconstruction, I had rather big pieces to cut my jacket from. I decided to use the original pockets of the coat for the jacket and design it from there. I used a tried and trusted pattern (the same that I used here and in one other jacket that I didn´t blog about) and shifted the seams to make it work with the pieces I had on hand. I shortened the back for about 5 cm so the jacket would be slightly shorter in the back than in the front and I changed the front and collar quite a bit. I made a quick muslin to check if all the adjustments worked. Sewing the leather jacket was pretty straight forward. My machine handled the leather very well (I didn´t even buy a Teflon foot that is often recommended for sewing leather; however, I used leather needles).´ Only two accidents happened: the front darts are not at the same angle since I didn´t pay enough attention to the clipped marks that I had made, but at least they point to the same height. And in the back, I topstitched both seams to the same side instead of opposite sides. I guess it´s not very obvious but I was a bit shocked that after all these years of sewing, mistakes like this happened to me, especially with a material that allows no seam ripping. After these incidents, I took it much slower and over the course of four weekends, the jacket was finished. The lining is a cotton print that I bought in Portland, OR, for the sleeves, I used some poly lining remnants.
I am totally in love with the finished jacket! In the end, it´s not really a Rick Owens knock-off but it´s certainly inspired by his designs. Of course, it features an exposed riri-zip as many of my designs do and also has some biker jacket elements like the crossed front, the sleeve zips and the snaps. It´s a perfect addition to my wardrobe and will be a very welcome alternative to my biker babe jacket that still gets a lot of wear.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Heavenly Incense Chocolate Truffles

I made these truffles following this recipe (found via Elana´s blog). Instead of the mandarin flavoring, I added about 15 drops of incense essential oil to the filling. I melted all ingredients in a small pan at very low heat and then filled the mixture into silicon moulds. After refrigerating for 2 hours, I covered each piece with dark (85%) chocolate. They were insanely delicious and didn´t last for long :-)

Sunday, June 23, 2013


We harvested 8.5kg organic strawberries at a local farm on Friday and I made strawberry-chia-jam today. The cool thing about this jam is that it´s sweetened with honey and thickened with chia seeds. It tastes great and the chia seeds are doing their job very well:-) The biscuits are made after a recipe from Elana´s pantry (I substitued almond meal with freshly ground almonds and flax seeds).

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Umbrella Turns Zipper Pouch

I recently made this zippered pouch bag using the fabric of a broken umbrella. I followed this tutorial and just before closing the lining (also made from the umbrella fabric) I decided to stitch down and cut off the edges at the bottom so the pouch would stand up on its own (you´ll find plenty of tutorials for flat-bottomed pouches online). I used some jeans fabric remnants to interline the bag for stability and topstitched with thick red thread. The jeans fabric makes it a bit heavy so if I made another one I would probably use fleece or stabilizing interfacing.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Maija Isola Dress

I am totally in love with this dress! The fabric is just awesome and I am pretty pleased with how the dress turned out. It´s a very simple (self drafted) pattern. I didn´t want to "destroy" the print with unnecessary seams and darts and I tried to do the vintage fabric justice (it´s a Marimekko print from 1962) with a 60ies A-line style. The dress only has darts in the back and dropped shoulders. In the back, I sewed in a semi exposed metallic riri zipper from my stash that is perfectly matching the turquoise main color. The dark stripe in the third picture repeats every yard or so and probably is a result from a not so perfect print - in reality, it is not that dominant.

I also put a lot of care into the inside of the dress: I lined it with cotton batiste and used red bias tape to finish the facings and the hems. At the back seam, I left the selvedge exposed because I like that the name of the fabric and the designer is indicated. It seems a bit off-center  because I had to match the print on the outside.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Breton Shirt (kind of)

I finally got a serger:-) And this is the fist t-shirt I made with it. Plain and simple, almost like a classic Breton Shirt, with some handstitching details.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Entrelac Blanket

Huge entralac and garter stitch blanked in 100% wool. I´m waiting for some slightly warmer and sunny days when I can sit wraped in it on the balcony :-)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Smartphone Cozy

I finally bought a smartphone last week and made a cozy for it today: a small remnant of boiled wool and some elastic band to hold everything together.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Red Ped Socks

I made these little ped socks to be worn in my boots. I will never have cold feet again:-)