Wednesday, October 27, 2010

traveling further

Hi everybody! First of all, thanks so much for your fabric shop suggestions! I went to most of them and had so much fun!

I liked D.C. a lot, I spent loads of time in the different museums and also a day in Georgetown. I met lots of really nice people at the hostel and we had some great days together!

I went to the American Gallery, and although I prefer modern and contemporary art, some of the paintings really struck me. It's the first time that I consciously looked at the way the fabric was painted... 

Look at that gorgeous blue fabric, how it shimmers and falls!

And when I looked at this painting, my first thought was: wow, cute dress! *lol*

I also went to the Natural History Museum, and guess what they had: half a dozen crocheted coral reefs! And they were huge! Some of them were made from wool and some were recycled plastic and cellophane and tapes... It must have taken ages to make!

Also, I tried to be smart in Washington and googled for "fabric shopping" and actually found a couple of shops. They were even conveniently located on the way between Georgetown and my hostel - but when I got there, I couldn't find any of them... I was a little bit disappointed but my wallet (and back) were rather happy about it... ;)

Back in New York, I was again rather happy about my aforementioned new fleece sweater, and I actually took some pictures of it, so here it is:

It's embroidered fleece, lined with a cute rose-printed jersey and I used jersey ribbing for the cuffs and hem. I traced the pattern from and existing sweater and modified it. I think I cut the arm-scythes of the lining a bit too big because the fabric drags there, but it's not too bad...

I spent two afternoons in the garment district, and was overwhelmed with all the shops. The first day, I was a little late, so apart from a couple of trimming shops (where I found some really cute buttons and elastic lace) I only had time to go into Mood. I have to say that I didn't like it all that much, it felt very cluttered and the fabrics felt cheaper than their actual price. They did have a pretty big selection, though... The next day, I went by I think it was P&S Fabrics near Chinatown, and while I didn't find any fabric, they had a huge bowl of buttons for 25c a piece. I found some cute gold ones with anchors and some other gold ones and those cute teal ones...

I also went to B&J, NY Elegant Fabrics and to Paron, but conscious that I'd have to carry the stuff or send it home, nothing awed me enough to actually buy it... except for the slightly stretchy pinstripe in dark blue you see above, from Paron's 50% section. It feels really nice and at 9 bucks a yard, I thought the money was well spent. Especially since it reminded me of this Desigual dress:

I tried it and really liked the look, but not only was it crazy expensive, it also didn't have *any* darts whatsoever - not at the bust, not at the back - so the fit was rather awful... I'm set on recreating it, though! I also saw some more cute styles, and I think I'm going to scour some fabric shops for shiny upholstering/home decor fabric to make something like this:

Oh, and I totally forgot, I also went to Purl in SoHo... such a beautiful shop!

They had so many cute fabrics!

And colorful yarns, and decorations, and, and, and...

I would have loved to buy lots of stuff there, alas, it was very expensive...

Yesterday, my friend from Kentucky picked me up in Nashville, and this morning we went shopping... Bad idea, I guess, since we went by a Walmart and they had a pretty big fabric section - between 2 and 5 $/yd!

Look, it's Elvis fabric, just like Sarah's! I think she made a circle skirt from it and I think that's a great idea! The one on the left side is destinied for a shirt dress, I think, and the third one from the left will become a little A-line skirt, like the ones Ali has made. The last one is from Hobby Lobby, and may be turned into a dress I've seen at Pin Up Girl Clothing...

Well, as soon as I get home, at least...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

greetings from a traveller

Funny, it feels like much more than two weeks have past since I last blogged. It feels like I've been travelling for much longer than 9 days, too...

I'm on my third stop now, in Washington D.C. after stops in New York and Boston now. Each stop has its own rhythm, depending on where I'm staying but I've been spending quite some time sitting around in Starbuck's Cafés, resting my feet and making use of the wifi... I managed to install Skype on my Linux netbook, so I've been phoning with my family and boyfriend quite a bit...

Apart from that I've walked lots. I like getting a feel for the places I'm staying by just walking around the streets, having a look at the people and the architecture and the little shops and cafés... I liked SoHo and Greenwich Village in New York a lot, and the part of Cambridge between Harvard and Center Station.

My Hostel in D.C. is just about 10 walking minutes from the Mall, so I've been there visiting museums, today. I've been in quite a few cute little thrift shops, although most have been ridiculously overpriced... Just because they say it's vintage, it's not supposed to cost 70$, I say. Ah well, it's not like I have all that much room in my backpack anyway...

As I read what you lot have been up to, sewing wise, I miss my machine a little. I'm even thinking of taking up knitting for my travels. Not sure if I want to lug around balls of yarn, though... At least I have been managing to wear my self-stitched things almost every day.

The strawberry skirt has seen some use in NYC and in Boston I wore my so-new-I-haven't-even-taken-a-proper-picture fleece jacket! It's very warm and cozy and I love the color! I managed to almost finish it before I left and just now hand-stitched the lining to the zipper in the bus to Boston. :)

So, does anyone have any tips for fabric-browsing in DC, NYC, Nashville/TN or LA? Or after that, Auckland? Or any nice thrift shops?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

the ruffle blouse again

I feel like I've gotten next to no sleep in the past week, with 3 going-away parties (including mine), a birthday and almost half a dozen let's-have-a-coffee-before-you're-away-for-4-months-dates, not to mention all the stuff that needed doing before I start my travels and a visiting friend. Nonetheless, the weather was so nice on Friday, I just had to take the time and take my ruffle top and camera to Tiergarten, to go for a walk and take a few pics. As you can see, it wasn't very warm, but beautiful.

Luckily, it was warm enough that I didn't mind taking off my top two layers of clothing for a couple of photographs.

I love that my camera has enough of a wide angle to take halfway decent self-portraits without a tripod... Afterwards, I wandered over to the Holocaust Memorial to take some more pictures.

I'm a little sad that I had nobody else with me, because it's a pretty cool place for portraits...

It seems that I won't be able to finish the projects I wanted to get in before going traveling (meaning, the linen trousers and a black pair of trousers and a blue pencil skirt), as I'm leaving for my parents' the day after tomorrow. I'm taking my half-finished fleece cardi with me to finish at home, though, because I'm pretty sure that I'll need to use it a lot...

At least that way I know what I'll sew first when I get back... ;) I'm so going to need trousers for Me-Made March!

I'll leave you with a picture of my self-stitched/refashioned going-away-science-fiction-costume-party-costume. Not a full body shot, and I started making it 3 years ago for another costume party. The top is hand-stitched (I didn't have a sewing machine back then) and I had the glorious idea to stitch a cotton woven fabric onto a knit t-shirt and skirt to get the Star Trek skant uniform look... But I love the look of this kind of uniform, so I'm definitely going to make a new and improved version (from knits *or* wovens only, this time!) for carnival next year!

And look, I have spots! I'm a Trill...! (Ok, over with the sci-fi nerdy talk already...)

Have a good week everybody!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Self-Stitched September conclusion and Blogger Award!

Look at that: September is over... It's been a lot of fun, wearing self-stitched things every day for the whole month! I've learned a lot of things during the time: how to sew knits without an overlocker (although I'd really like to have one! I love knits!), which kind of garments my self-stitched wardrobe still needs if I ever want to contemplate doing a full-fledged month of wearing handmades (like, trousers/jeans, a denim skirt, underwear, lounge and sleepwear, more tops...), that it's kind of strenuous to take pictures of myself every day...

It seems like such a long month to me, when usually time flies for me. Maybe because of the weather - I started the month with a summer skirt and tank-top and have been wearing wooly tights for the last couple of days. Also, I think maybe the process of documenting has made me more aware of each day.


I like that SSS made me sew more than I usually do. Three tops and three skirts plus the cardi refashion/embellishment, a half-finished pair of trousers and a cut-out, ready to sew fleece cardi - not bad for a month. :) Although I have to say, all of these (except for the unfinished things) were pretty quick projects, with next to no planning involved. I love my knit tops and cute little skirts, and they made me realize that sewing really isn't complicated, that if it's an easy project, I can go with my gut feeling. Still, in the future I'd like to focus on getting better at the planning stage. As Zoe and Ali and probably countless others have already written, quick&easy is nice, but what we really want in our wardrobes are well-constructed, beautiful garments that fit us and that we like to wear for a long time. I know I have skimped a little on the well-constructed in favor for the quick&easy, and I hope I haven't acquired any bad habits yet...

I'm a little sad that I can't keep rolling, with my 4-month world trip just around the corner, but once I'm back it's already time to start sewing for Me-Made March, so I guess I'll just do a lot of planning until then! ;) Also, I'm definitely packing some of my me-mades, so I can show them off in front of the Statue of Liberty and the Sydney Opera House, on the beaches and mountains of New Zealand and in the Streets of Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo... :)

This month definitely made me think of my self-stitched garments as an integral part of my wardrobe, and I like how it now feels natural to reach for something handmade in the morning. It did make me think more about what to wear, though, because I didn't just want to document endless repeats. Usually, I wear the same (or nearly the same) out fit for several days, but just the thought of taking pictures every day made me want to pick out something new each morning.

I also liked that SSS gave me something to blog about - even though I'm in two minds about outfit posts. I think it's nice for something like SSS and I love to see the kind of garments all of you have in their handmade wardrobe, but apart from that they seem a little insubstantial. Once I'm back, I'd like to document my construction and sewing process a little better, as some of you do, and post about that. For the next 4 months, though, this will be more of a travel blog than a sewing blog, although I plan to visit lots of fabric stores everywhere I go, take pictures of cool clothing I stumble across, share some of my inspirations... I hope you'll bear with me. :)

Now, before I end, the wonderful Ali of Wardrobe Re-imagined was nice enough to nominate me for a Beautiful Blogger Award! (Thanks, Ali! :) The rules are to share 10 things about myself and nominate five bloggers for the award.

#1 - I'm short-sighted, but I only wear my glasses at Uni and for driving. They look nice but I guess I'm just too vain...

#2 - My little sister (she's 2 years younger than me) wanted to be a fashion designer when she was a kid. She found out she doesn't like sewing, though, and now she requests that I sew clothes for her...

#3 - I played the flute until I finished school. I haven't played in 5 years though, and now I'd love to learn playing the piano or the saxophone...

#4 - Regarding sports (and most hobbies, really), I have the attention span of a gnat. The sports classes I have been taking at Uni in the past 4 years have included rollerskating, fencing, meridian yoga, pilates, ballroom dancing and salsa dancing, but nothing for more than 2 semesters.

#5 - I love costume parties and I try to find at least 4 excuses for having one every year. Thankfully, most of my friends humor me even though they don't like dressing up all that much. ;)

#6 - I spend an unmentionable time each day reading fan-fiction (I know, but I read at moderated archives, so no bad grammar or punctuation and the stories are really interesting). If I didn't, I'd probably be top of my class, have a wardrobe full of handmades and know lots more about literature than I do now.

#7 - My BF and I have been together for over 8 years now. Yes, we were high-school sweethearts. *heart* No, we won't marry anytime soon... ;)

#8 - I live in Berlin and I love it here, but originally I come from a little town all the way in the South of Germany, where most people speak in a way that has to be subtitled for the rest of Germany, if they are interviewed for TV.

#9 - I guess I'm a pretty nerdy girl. I run the Linux-system Kubuntu on my computer, I love Star Trek and lots of other science fiction and fantasy, I occasionally like to wear Vulcan/Fairy ears, I play RPGs in my free time, I've always liked the sciences and if I hadn't studied Medicine, it would have been a tie between Physics and Graphic Design/Photography...

#10 I've inherited my Mom's cookbook-collecting gene. I can hardly walk by a display of cookbooks without looking at them and taking the one with the most beautiful photography home with me...

Now for five beautiful bloggers... I'm tagging:

Jen from Pretty Little Pictures, who has just moved to Sydney and has an amazingly cute wardrobe!

Astrid from Sew Sixties, who has only been sewing for a few months, but has whipped up quite a few amazingly cute dresses.

The Sewing Princess, who has some really nice tutorials and makes very cute rings from her fabric scraps.

Non-sewing blogs:

Tartelette, who blogs delicious recipes and has some seriously beautiful food photography.

Avialle, who is going to be a surgeon and writes my favorite German medstudent blog. :)