PATTERN HACK // FRINGED SUTTON PONCHO

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Hello, dear reader!

When Kelli of True Bias initially released her Sutton Blouse I hesitated buying it. But as I studied its pattern lines (squinting my eyes at the computer screen just like an artist does to reevaluate his work), a vision struck me: if I use a wool bouclé, add a generous hood and some fringed detailing, oh yes – this would make one perfect layering poncho! And so – a Sutton poncho it is!

Oh yes, visions are the most powerful force behind every creative process, aren’t they? Or actually, behind everything in life. So while sewing, I like to make use of this empowering technique, and ask myself: how do I want to feel while wearing this? Is it feminine; is it powerful; or just relaxed? And then again, I ask myself: where do I want to wear this? Is it a romantic picnic, a demanding meeting; or just uninterrupted me-time? And so, stitch-by-stich, I visualize its upcoming life. But whatever that vision is – I always remember to load it up! Oh yes, I LOAD. IT. UP. And I deeply encourage you, too: overload your handcrafts with thousands of sentiments, billions of hopes and quadruples of desires. In a time of curated capsule wardrobes (a great example of our desire to suppress ourselves), there’s this deep-seated fear of profound attachment. But never let that fear compromise your vision, ever! As someone who’s had her fair share of darkness, I believe it’s my mission to remind everyone, everyday – feel those feelings, engage with your visions!

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PATTERN: Sutton Blouse by True Bias and Undercover Hood by Papercut Patterns

SIZING: I didn’t size up, this is my usual size – and it fits perfectly (even over knits)!

FABRIC: Navy/grey wool bouclé and navy silk voile (yoke lining, hong-kong seams)

MODIFICATIONS: I finished this last summer, so I can’t recall any mods besides adding the hood, using my favorite finishing techniques (lined the yoke, hong-konged all seams etc.) and adding the (handmade) fringe embellishment.

This poncho is loosely inspired by baya pullovers (otherwise known as “drug rugs“), a unique piece of clothing I was introduced to by my older brother (of course, among countless other eye-opening things!) upon his grand trip to California back in the Nineties. I blame it on my naive nature that deciphering any social cues associated with certain garments still troubles me. For me it simply was the personification of pure comfort – easily available at a daily basis in that unruly closet of mine. And it still is! And as I live a life so far from any mind-altering substances, not even in it’s mildest forms (except for raw chocolate, does raw chocolate count?), the thought of myself in a “drug rug” will leave anyone I know chuckling to death.

And without any form of intoxication (for the sake of my argument, let’s not count raw chocolate!), I am often left to cope with the raw tsunami of reality in my own ways. Consequently, the stimulus of handcraft is indispensable to me. And I’m glad to admit that even if I manage to finish no more than a few stitches a day – they already enclose everything to me: a paradise on earth, of which I can never exhaust of.

So never stop visualizing.

Love always,

Louise

INSPIRATION // MOOD BOARD #1

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Hello, all!

Hope you’re having a great summer! Can’t wait to share a few more projects very soon!

Love, Louise

PROJECTS // LYOCELL RYAN TOP

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Hello, hello!

You can call me Ms. Uncertainty, because I do struggle immensely with decision-making. It seems as though my head is constantly spinning, thoughts repetitively change direction, and possible solutions just cultivate new questions. I’ve always envied people who are just SO sure of something, who are able to end a discussion within minutes. Don’t they feel the need to reexamine or reevaluate their opinion? Oh, that peace-of-mind, something I constantly strive for by “letting go” – but most days, it’s as busy as a beehive up there.

So, while I believe in the inherent goodness of natural fiber, an excellent exhibition about the fast fashion industry made me question my habitual selection. I somehow felt ashamed of my naivety – why, oh why did I never question the more than 20,000 liters of water needed to produce 1kg of cotton? I definitely researched about more sustainable textiles that night. And I have just recently discovered lyocell, a plant-based manufactured fiber, mostly made from processed wood pulp that is squeezed out a showerhead spinneret to be reformed as fibers. The solvents initially used to pulverize the wood pulp are recycled, thereby resulting in a lower environmental impact. Well, doesn’t that sound fascinating?

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PATTERN: Ryan Top by Whitney Deal

SIZING: The sizing is absolutely perfect! It is a little tighter around the chest than most woven tops I own, but that only meant that no SBA was needed (otherwise a standard modification).

FABRIC: Liberty “Archive” print lyocell

MODIFICATIONS: I fixed the gaping neck of the muslin (like this!), shortened it by 7cm, added seam allowances for French seams, and finished the neckline with bias binding instead of facings.

THOUGHTS: With its flowing kimono-sleeves the Ryan Top is an excellent candidate for summer! And it’s a relatively quick and beginner-friendly sew, almost meditative, as handwork keeps my mind stable! And so far, the lyocell is interesting; it breathes similar to cotton, drapes similar to silk.

I’ve always been fascinated with water in all forms – oceans, rivers, or rain. And we’re all connected by it, as it makes up 75% of our bodies! So without water, we perish. I believe that as the climate continues to drastically change, it is important to do everything in our power to protect our water. If anything is sacred, water is sacred! The truth is, we can always plant more trees, but we can never plant more water.

So, in my humble opinion, yes – lyocell is an excellent alternative to silk! Or are you familiar with anything better? Although ordering lyocell fabric all the way from Japan is a paradox itself. Oh well, there goes my mind, again.

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In deep thought, as always,

Louise

INSPIRATION // RUFFLE-TRIM COLLAR

 

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Well hello, again!

Speaking of Archer hacks, I wanted to share another quick idea with you. The moment I discovered Marie Marot’s line of impeccable shirting a few months ago I was attracted to those petite ruffle-trim collars. Wouldn’t they add just the right amount of femininity to an Archer? The french model Marie Marot most certainly perfected the quintessentially Parisian style we all dream of – a timeless style that is based solely on knowing your true self, inside out, with confidence. Apparently she doesn’t even own a single pair of heels, just brogues and boots! But no, we’re probably not talking about those worn-out clog boots you’ll find in my closet.

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Oh well, as Elizabeth Gilbert says, ideas are driven by a single impulse – to made manifest. So I do hope to find the time for this one, especially as I already own the perfect sky-blue poplin. Or is there anyone else out there willing to commit to this one?

Hope you’re having a magical week,

Louise

PATTERN HACK // ARCHER OVERSHIRT

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Hello, dear reader!

Are you still out there? If you find yourself reading this, know that I’m eternally grateful for your time. I believe I’m not ready to ramble about my long absence yet (oh my, three years!), as I still haven’t made full sense of it myself. I trust that, in a few years, looking back in retrospect, it will all make perfect sense. And although I’ve thought about coming back to this little journal ever so often, it just hasn’t felt right – until now.

You see, I’m a self-proclaimed tomboy by nature, so the utilitarian feel of work wear truly excites me. From a rugged field jacket to a steel-toed work boot, I take any chance to dress like a mechanic, carpenter, fisherman, explorer! I believe the genius of workwear lies in its simplicity – made with extremely durable fabrics these garments will remain in your wardrobe for many seasons to come. And what they lack in frills they definitely compensate in functionality. So, using my trusty Archer pattern, I made myself a new layering piece inspired by the staple of the workwear world: the overshirt or shacket (shirt/jacket). It’s a very classic silhouette – an ideal choice for those cooler, transitional dog walks mid-spring. Yes, it’s perfect for explorations of all kind – dog walking being optional, but very much recommended.

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INSPIRATION: I noticed quite a few brands added overshirts to their collections this spring, common ground was to be found in construction and detailing (see modifications).

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Closed / A.P.C. / MHL / Filippa K

PATTERN: Archer button-up shirt by Grainline Studio

SIZING: I sized up three sizes (for an oversized look)

FABRIC: Soft khaki-hued cotton twill, bought at Stoffe Mahler and Liberty “Widdas Waltz” print Tana Lawn as collar/cuff/pocket accent

MODIFICATIONS: Sized up (three sizes are a little too much though), added patch pockets, used bigger buttons, added tower plackets (Archer Popover Variation Pack), flat-felled all seams, added a small brooch (Macon & Lesquoy radish bought at Papier Tigre) – optional, but very much recommended! Some more ideas: straighten bottom hem, add side entry pockets, add shoulder epaulettes, redesign cuff closure, add hidden button closure.

THOUGHTS: I believe overshirts aren’t sold to their full potential! Why, oh why are they hidden in the deepest corners of mountaineering shops? You need one – trust me! Even my boyfriend wants to steal mine – isn’t that the most thrilling compliment ever? The cotton twill is a little rigid, but it should start to soften up nicely. Some other fabric options I considered include: linen (so classy!), suede (so luxurious!), wool (so snug!), quilted (so toasty!), or nylon (so explorer!).

Yes, that’s it. I’d love to update this journal, but I’m not entirely sure if I’m back for good. I gravitate to the outdoors by nature, that – or I’m hiding in this little sewing nook of mine. So the administrative bits of keeping a blog tend to fog my mind in a very unpleasant matter.

Anyway, are you ready to board the #overshirtbandwagon this season? Remember: we are all explorers! Our mission is to observe the world around us as if we’ve never seen it before. Take note of all those little everyday wonders! Step away from the computer today! Explore, collect, document, copy, trace, repeat! Or make yourself a workwear inspired overshirt.

Or, breathe – my dear friends. Just Breathe.

That’s enough too.

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Love, always.

Louise

 

 

 

PROJECTS // QUILTED COCO JACKET

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Every spring, just as the first flowers begin to grow and unfold in our beautiful neighborhood, something strongly lures me to botanical prints. So I took a closer look at Liberty of London’s latest “Flower Show” collection, and of course I fell so very deeply in love with this breathtaking print by British artist Mary Fedden…. because just wearing it immediately transports me to a world of bright and joyful days!

And although the pattern I used clearly is an ode to the fabulous Coco Chanel (oh, how I adore her for the iconic boy-meets-chic style that she initially achieved by altering men’s clothes for herself – so very rebellious!), my version is more or less inspired by another Parisian designer, the wonderful Alix Thomsen. To say that her padded jackets have always been a great inspiration of mine is putting it pretty mildly. I actually find myself dreaming of a spontaneous trip to Paris every now and then, just to peruse through all of her beautiful pieces in person. Oh, wouldn’t that be fabulous?

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PATTERN: Coco by Schnittchen (a German independent pattern company)

FABRICS: Liberty “Abbey Pool” print tana lawn for the shell, black silk charmeuse for the lining, and Freudenberg #248 batting

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MODIFICATIONS: There actually will be another short blog post coming up in a few days, in which I plan to describe all the necessary steps for altering the original pattern to a quilted jacket (including pictures of the inside and translations of the pattern).

THOUGHTS: There are so many little things I love about this jacket; it’s hard to decide where to start. First of all, the jacket is neatly fitted for a very feminine silhouette. And the quilting adds an incomparably soft texture, too. The three-quarter length sleeves cleverly consist of two pattern pieces. All in all, it’s a beautifully drafted pattern! And even though I would prefer to see some diagrams in the (German) instructions, I would most definitely recommend this versatile pattern to anyone in need of a timeless cardigan jacket! Especially if you’re planning on making a quilted version, as there is no need for the instructions anyway.

Oh yes, I firmly believe that a casual jacket is an everyday must-have – not only does it help to get the cold out, but it also helps to add structure to any outfit! And I just can’t wait for it to get softer and softer with every wear…

Happy spring, everyone… it’s a promising time of year!

Love,

Louise

PROJECTS // SILK BACK BRIAR SWEATER

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Hello, dear reader!

I had no intention of abandoning this journal for more than two months (oh tell me, is it mid-March already?), but somehow my mind has been too restless after our very sudden decision to change our not-necessary-unhealthy-but-yet-improvable diet back in January. And as we eagerly tried (oh, and still try!) to navigate towards healthier eating habits – including extended food hunts and exciting kitchen adventures – there was little but no energy left for quiet sewing sessions. But today, I’m finally back to share my latest make with you.

I have a thing for contrasts in textures, even more so in monochromatic color schemes. That said, it was only a matter of time before this obsession would find its way into my handmade wardrobe. I decided to contrast a soft cotton-wool-cashmere knit with a fluid habotai silk, using Megan Nielsen’s admirable Briar sweater pattern. And, oh my… they pair so beautifully indeed! The drape of this little sweater is so luxurious. Lately, I can’t stop wearing navy blue, or even thinking about navy blue. I actually want to dress in navy blue, tone-on-tone, all day… everyday.

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PATTERN: Briar Sweater by Megan Nielsen

FABRICS: Fine navy cotton-wool-cashmere knit and sheer navy habotai silk

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MODIFICATIONS: I added a hidden button fastening to the silk back panel (a bit unnecessary after all), reduced the width of the neckline binding and made a few small changes to the pocket piece (because it’s woven).

THOUGHTS: It amazes me how the loveliness of Megan Nielsen’s patterns simply quadruples with every new launch (so true for all independent pattern designers lately, I simply cannot keep up!). And what I love most about the Briar pattern is that I can simply shrug this one on over denim and I don’t even have to think about it again. While sewing, I decided to treat the back and front panel as separate garments, so all raw edges were hemmed and finished separately. The shoulders might be a tiny little bit to wide, but I’ll just keep that in mind for next time.

I have to admit that I still have that lovely stack of fall fabrics sitting right next to my sewing machine. Yes, I should really get back to sewing very soon… but first I need to recover from a short trip we took to the snowy mountains of Austria, catching up with your beautiful creations!

Hope your week is turning out to be a good one!

Love,

Louise

PROJECTS // FOLK ZIP BACK TOP

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Hello, dear reader!

I feel like I need to begin by telling you that the pattern I used for my latest project appeared in a monthly German DIY magazine and therefore might not be available in your part of the world. I believe the magazine usually offers three patterns, one of which is created in collaboration with a small, independent company. And while flipping through the January issue of 2013, I happily discovered that they featured the British label Folk. My boyfriend immediately recalled a few of their shirts he discovered at Liberty on a short trip to London. But what tempted me was the corresponding interview… in a short statement the creators of Folk proclaim that they aspire to create comfortable and effortless clothing that enhance a strong sense of self-confidence without having to be sexy and evocative. Oh yes, defnitely my kind of people! Anyway, while the slightly boyish cut of the top might not be something for everyone, it surely made my  heart skip a little faster…

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PATTERN: Zip Back Top by Folk in Cut Magazine 01/13

FABRICS: Liberty “Ornithology” print tana lawn

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MODIFICATIONS: I lengthened the top by 5cm (but I will shorten it as soon as possible… I actually do prefer the shorter look)

THOUGHTS: This little top is so exceptionally well designed! I’m in love with the side panel detailing, the tiny breast darts, the short saddle shoulders, the contrasting back zip – all those hidden little details that are hardly noticeable at first (especially in a busy print like mine), but they do make the overall design! And then there is the very clean finish on the inside. It did take a longer to sew (oh my, flat felled seams on shoulders!), but I very much enjoyed the whole process!

Well, to be honest … there is only one step in sewing that I find a bit frustrating, and that is gathering all the needed materials. I just can’t ever find what I’m looking for! So I’m always forced to compromise (but never without a little disappointment!). And this project is no exception: I just couldn’t find a metal zipper in the right length or color. And I was hoping to find a good minimal print for this pattern, but I do love the Liberty print I eventually chose (picked up on sale!). Of course it is well known for it’s lovely interpretation by Nadinoo – and while I could never make anything to rival her deliciousness, I’m definitely happy to keep trying.

Someday, I’d love to make another one…. someday.

Love,

Louise

PERSONAL // WARDROBE PLANNING NOTES

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Hello, dear reader!

I hope you all had a wonderful month of December with your loved ones – filled with rest, peace, and joy! Oh my, it has proven to be quite a hectic month for us. Bits of much needed redecorating have happened here and there, keeping the festive spirit a little lower than usual. But in the end, it all got done just in time for Christmas Eve! And we had several days of much needed rest ever since. Well, although I may have swapped fabrics for paint – I’ve surely been dreaming about my upcoming sewing projects! So I just wanted to share some of my first planning notes with you, although I’m a little scared to put them “out there” (especially as an illustration novice).

Anyway, here they are:

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1. JACKET: relaxed fit, lightly quilted, slightly cropped length
(pattern idea: Coco / Schnittchen)

2. BLAZER: straight fit, shawl lapel, fully lined
(pattern idea: Blazer / Cut Magazine)

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3. TOP: side panel detailing, saddle shoulders, exposed back zip
(pattern idea: Folk Top / Cut Magazine)

4. SKIRT: semi-fitted, a-line silhouette, above knee length
(pattern idea: Moss Mini/ Grainline)

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5. SHIRT 1: loose fit, collar with front button bands, patch pockets at breast
(pattern idea: Rachel Comey V1323/ Vogue Patterns)

6. SHIRT 2: semi-fitted, pointed collar, low curved back hem
(pattern idea: Pussy Bow Blouse / Pattern Runway)

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7. T-SHIRT: boxy fit, hip length, two-tone denim star appliqués
(pattern idea: Scout Tee/ Grainline)

8. SWEATER: relaxed fit, low curved back hem, long sleeves
(pattern idea: Briar / Megan Nielsen)

I know that eight projects might be a little too much… and they surely look very basic. We’ll see how many of my ideas will eventually make their way into my closet. But I’ve been working so hard over the last few months at reassessing my wardrobe – figuring what fits my lifestyle/body perfectly. And I think they all do!

Oh, and just last week, the lovely Shivani surprised me with a little blog award! And I just wanted to take it as an opportunity to thank you all from the very bottom of my heart! Thank you so, so much for visiting my little space – I am ever so grateful for each and every one of you! The kindness and encouragement you all have sent through comments is unbelievable (I’m still trying to catch up getting back to you after the long unexpected break – I’m so sorry!). One of my main blog-related goals for the next year is to overcome my shyness a little more – just so I can tell you how much you all inspire me. I’m definitely looking forward to more conversation.

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Wishing you all a peaceful New Year!

Love,

Louise

PROJECTS // COMPTOIR DES COTONNIERS INSPIRED SCOUT TEE

Hello, dear reader!

I have a weakness for earthy autumnal tones, especially the color palette of leaves – ranging from yellow to brown, passing through red and plum.  It’s probably the reason why I’m so deeply in love with the Liberty print I used for my latest project! Yes, another Scout Tee… but they’re just so unbelievably comfortable! I mostly buy my sewing notions in a department store – that means I always have to pass through the women’s fashion department (among which is the French Comptoir des Cotonniers) first. I’m usually in deep thought, daydreaming about upcoming sewing projects, as I walk through uncountable racks of clothes. A few weeks ago, I spotted this lovely silk blouse with triangle cut-outs on the neckline… of course it immediately inspired me to try something very similar!

PATTERN: Scout Woven Tee by Grainline

FABRICS: Liberty “A Stitch in Time” print tana lawn

MODIFICATIONS: I lengthened the shirt and sleeves and added triangle cut-outs to the neckline and sleeves

THOUGHTS: Personally, I just love the loose and modern fit of the Scout Tee! It pairs so well with the cottony drape and unique softness of Liberty tana lawn. And I’m actually pleased with the look of the triangle cut-outs! They certainly add some visual interest to my otherwise rather monotonous fall outfits. I just need to choose carefully what I wear underneath.

Have a calm weekend!

Love,

Louise