Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tutorials & Things I like 4

It's almost Me-Made June and the beginning of Summer Essentials! :) In preparation, I made a pair of leggins last week and managed to finish my green wrap dress nary half an hour ago, but as it's already dark outside, photos will have to wait for tomorrow.

I wanted to do a little round-up of interesting tutorials I have seen the last couple of weeks, since I always forget where I saw them and then have to google endlessly...

Here are some good ones by Sunni aka the Cupcake Goddess, as part of the Ginger Sew-along:

Boning the Waistband - a tutorial by Gertie
Bias Sewing Tips
Adding Piping
Adding Pockets

And also some lovely tutorials by Tasia from Sewaholic, as part of her Crescent Skirt Sew-along

Topstitching, Understitching and Ditch-stitching
Hemming a Skirt with Seam Binding
Plus some genious instructions to sew your zipper to the facing before adding both to the garment...

Also: Lace-trimmed bias tape by Curves, Patterns, Pins

Cute fabric-covered button earrings by Sami Teasdale

And a pretty awesome looking free vintage dress pattern curtesey of Neu4bauer

I also made some lovely cool soup mixed from two recipes by Tartelette today: Lemon Cucumber & Pea Soup plus Asparagus & Pea Soup made for some lovely, room-temperature green summer soup. Summer is definitely on!

Have you stumbled over anything awesome among the internets lately? Do share! :)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Me-Made June & Summer Essentials Plans

Even though June is almost here, I somehow still haven't managed to sign up for the me-made month. I thought a bit about the pledge and have decided to change mine a bit from the last two. In summer, numbers of garments seem a bit silly to me because I often just throw on a dress. So:

I, Alessa of http://farben-freude.blogspot.com sign up as a participant of Me-Made June '11. I endeavor to wear at least one me-made or refashioned piece of clothing every day for the month of June, but preferably a whole outfit, including me-made jewellery and accessories.

With that out of the way, I'd like to talk about my plans for this year's Summer Essentials Sew-along. The goal is to sew five(-ish) garments by August, which does seem entirely managable, and personally, I'd like to aim at about one item a week. Looking at my entire unpredictable-ness when it comes to when and what I want to sew, though, I've decided to make a list of all the summer things I'd like to sew and then pick something, whenever the urge hits me... So, here we go:

1. The Sundress: This is the first item on my list because I love wearing dresses in summer - it's so easy to just throw them on! Ideally, I have three to four dresses I want to make, two in knits from my stash, one similar to Colette's Chantilly in an IKEA rose print and one is a leftover from last year's Summer Essentials: a flowy dress in a white embroidered cotton. Bonus items would be a blue gingham Crepe, a Strawberry Macaron and the Colette Spring Palette leftover, a blue polka dot dress with a white yoke.

2. Sweet & Sassy Skirts: With all those cute dresses, skirts are a bit lower in my priority, but I have a very cute white cotton fabric with black and transparent polka dots, that wants to be a full skirt. I'm also thinking about a quick box pleated skirt in a blue border print (tutorial, anyone?). My bonus item is a sailor skirt in a navy twill, possibly with gold buttons.

3. Tees, Tunics & Blouses: The most important items on this list are a navy&white striped tee and a couple of babydoll tops in fabrics from my stash: a red flowery cotton voile(?) and a black eyelet, and possibly the colorful brownish print from my last fabric market excursion. Bonus items include peasant and halterneck blouses in navy polka dot, black cherry print, magenta cotton and white eyelet, as seen in my sketches, and a flowy beach tunic in transparent teal rose print fabric.

4. Clamdiggers & Co: I'm not all that much of a shorts person, but once I manage finishing last year's Summer Essential navy linen trousers, which still lack a waistband, I may try my luck with another pair, in black or white.

5. Those Summer Nights: Again, this isn't a priority, since Summer In The City usually doesn't turn all that cool, even at night, but I'm thinking about a knit cardi wrap in black and/or teal, and/or possibly a shrug? Tanit-Isis just posted a cute 50s shrug pattern...

6. Poolside Pretties: Another non-priority fun item, since I already own two nice enough bikinis, but I have some cute blue and white print bathing suit lycra, which may become a bikini and coordinating beach skirt.

7. Accessorize Me!: An awesome category! I'm thinking maybe a tote bag or purse, possibly some more button jewellery, maybe a fabric necklace and/or some (crafted, not sewn) bangles...?

8. Additionals/Me-Made June items: I thought I might try my hand at some undies (yay for elastic lace!) and some summery sleepwear...

How are your plans coming along?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Summer Essentials Sew-Along 2011!

Hello everybody! Summer is just around the corner and I'm terribly excited and so looking forward to BBQs, lemonade, ice-cream, tanning lotion, swimming in the lake, popsicles - not to mention breezy summer skirts, sundresses, floaty blouses... It really is one of my favorite times of the year! :) Also, today I can unveil for you the awesome project I mentioned in my last post: the Summer Essentials Sew-along 2011, which Ali has asked me (and Sarah from Rhinestones and Telephones) to help her co-host this year!

This is the very first sew-along I'm (co-)hosting, and it feels all the more special to me because last year's Summer Essentials was the first sew-along I'd ever participated in, and also the first time I actually got serious about sewing! Looking back, I think the communality of the SESA2010 and Self-Stitched September are a large part of the reason why I kept sewing as an active hobby rather than an occasional one (which is what usually happens with my hobbies after a while... ;) So, thanks Ali, for letting me join in!

Now, with no further ado, I'll let the lady herself explain about her fabulous idea for the sew-along:

"In an effort to be as laid back as summer heat inspires, the Summer Essentials Sew-Along asks participants to sew five(-ish) warm-weather friendly pieces by August(-ish), ‘cause wouldn’t you rather spend August looking fabulous in your homemade threads? The goal: Stock your closet with quality summer basics. The benefit: A group of sewers who will encourage and inspire you, not to mention talk you off the ledge when you need it (this may be me, ladies, when I attempt the swimsuit)!

To me, there are six categories of summer wear. Feel free to add to this, but this is just to start us thinking of what you need/want.

Poolside Pretties: Anything that cools or dries you off when there’s lots of sun and water around. One and two-piece swimsuits, swimsuit cover-ups, surf shorts, sun hats, oh my! One versatile swimsuit cover-up I find lovely is a terry cloth dress. Double-duty, that’s what I’m talking about.

Clam Diggers & Co.: Bifurcated bottoms of every style and length, from flowing linen pants to short-shorts and all the inbetweens—clam diggers, pedal pushers, Bermuda shorts, etc.

Sweet & Sassy Skirts: Prints and solids, short and long, low-slung and high-waisted. But most of all: Airy, flirty, flattering.

The Sundress: Need I say more? To me, the perfect sun dress strikes that cord between casual and elegant—arms and collarbones, looking good barefoot or high-heeled. It’s something you can wear to both a barbecue and a summer wedding. A summer staple I’ve never owned until now.

Tees, Tunics & Blouses: Yes, please! I’m finally understanding the worth of blouses as they also strike that balance between casual/formal, totally versatile. I’m also thinking mini-dresses that do triple duty as tunics, dresses and cover-ups.

Those Summer Nights: Pullovers, cardis and hoodies may be the last thing you’re thinking of with the mercury rising, but there’s those cool summer nights, not to mention every last establishment with the air con blasting. Or: for those of you where thunderstorms are a daily summer experience, a lightweight trench?"

Thanks to Stephanie, we also have a new category this year: Accessorize Me! Big floppy hats, beach totes, embellished flip flops, handmade jewellery, or other pretty things that snazzy up your accessories are a great fit.

This fits exceptionally well with my own tentative sewing plans for summer and Me-Made June. Of course, I'm pants at making plans and actually sticking to them (an example: things planned for the Colette Spring Palette Challenge, 3; things actually finished, 1; though the other 2 are in progress, I swear!) but I've planned on making at least one of each category, possibly more. More detailed plans forthcoming!

What are your sewing plans for summer? Anything similar to this? Anything radically different? I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what Ali, Sarah and everyone else come up with!

If you want to sew with us, all you need to do is join the flickr group and post your name and/or blog in the member list. Starting date is the 1st of June!

Also, here are some very awesome badges (including the code to put them in your blog!) that Sarah put together!

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Happy Thursday, everyone! After a rather cool-ish week, summer is showing its pretty face around Berlin again (does this introduction seem familiar to you? It seems I've been rather preoccupied with the weather, these last couple of weeks...) and today I have time! No uni!

So what has been going on around here? 1. My boyfriend has splurged on a new coffee machine after our old one (a hand-me-down from my parents) died and now we're the proud owner of a Cappucchino-and-Latte-Macchiato-producing Nespresso machine! Needless to say, my usually almost none-existant coffee consumption has gone through the roof... :)

2. I've been meaning to show you the fabrics I bought at the fabric market a couple of weeks ago. Here they are:

I've already cut into the lovely green jersey with the aim of making a wrap dress. It's almost finished (apart from the sleeves, ties and hem) and although I'm not quite in love with the fit (serves me right for copying it off a wrap top with a much thinner, drapey-er jersey), I think it might be pretty awesome when it's finished...

3. I hosted a garment swap event with my friends last weekend and even though lots of people had to cancel last minute, I got rid of a few garments and scored a few cute tops and an awesome black jersey shrug I've already been wearing tons of times! I think I'm going to schedule another one for next month, so the peope who couldn't come get another chance at swapping.

4. I had the loveliest day yesterday, with two coffee dates with good friends and a nice afternoon babysitting the world's cutest one-year-old (she's really due for a cute summer dress, curtsey of me and my sewing machine... soon.) and went by a thrift store on a whim. Look what I bought:

Huge plaid men's shirt, to be refashioned into a sundress along the lines of Suzannah's (who, by the way, has tons of cool refashion and tutorials). That one has been on my "stuff I'd really like to try"-list for ages and I'm glad I finally found a none-too-expensive shirt I liked to work with.

Very aweful, frilly, musty-smelling, navy polka-dot dress. It really does look aweful, but the fabric is so pretty! I think it does have the potential to become a very cute summer dress...

Last but not least, two very soft cotton half slips with eyelet hems. I probably won't wear them as they are, but I have a couple of summer dresses on my to-sew list that will definitely need a skirt lining, and those will easily do the trick.

I might take off the eyelet and hem the fashion fabric with it, though... :)

Ok, anything else I've forgotten...? Oh, just that I've been asked by Ali to join her and Sarah in a yet-to-be-announced super cool project! :D So looking forward to that, details forthcoming...

Have a lovely almost-weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Hello, Summer! & Things I like 3

So, after a few rather cold days at the beginning of May, which made wearing skirts and dresses a bit more difficult (mostly because I didn't want to wear tights after going bare-legged for the last half of April) summer has made an appearance in Berlin! We had around 28°C today and even now, at almost midnight, it's still 20°C. I love summer...

(Also: look at my new hat!) My No Jeans challenge is going pretty well, apart from about 4h this weekend, when I totally forgot about it and went to a party wearing jeans... Only dresses and skirts for the rest of the time, though, and I think I really need a couple more jersey dresses. So comfy! I found a lovely light green jersey at the fabric market last weekend (along with a white polka dot cotton and some semi-sheer fabric, photos coming soon!) that might make a cute wrap dress...

I had a lovely weekend, too. My stepdad and I visited the Baltic Sea and I had time for a walk along the beach.

Then we met for a lovely breakfast on Sunday and spent most of the day in the park. Afterwards I had choir practice then went to the fair with some of my friends. I had a candy apple and went on one of the wheeeeee-rides! You know, the ones that spin and go very high and put you upside down? I hadn't been on one for ages and it was hilarious! :)

So, not a lot of sewing going on, but I stumbled over some really nice tutorials:

Casey made a lovely tutorial for a very retro looking scalloped collar! Here are part 1 and part 2:

And another scallop tutorial! (Yes I think they are awesome...) Button up scallop skirt pattern&tutorial by nette:

And: an eye opening slash pocket tutorial by Tasia, as part of the Crescen Skirt Sewalong. I never thought about making the whole pocket from one piece of fabric! (Obviously, I also next to never sew with patterns...)

And here is a tutorial via Oh! The Cuteness, who posts links to pretty awesome tutorials every Tuesday. My favorite this week: lovely hand-made notebooks by Sasha!

So, I have another pretty busy day tomorrow, telling kindergarten kids about healthy eating as part of our teddydoc clinic, then classes, then a project meeting for the healthy eating thing and afterwards I'm going to the theater with my boyfriend! But I've planned some sewing for the end of the week...

Have a lovely week everyone!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

May No Jeans and Me Made June

So, the busy parts of life have taken hold of me again. There probably won't be a lot of sewing going on this week, because my days are a bit full with uni, and my stepdad is coming to Berlin tomorrow. He has a business appointment at the Baltic sea on Saturday and offered to take me with him, and I haven't been there for... over 10 years, I think, even though it's just a 3hr train ride from Berlin. So, I hope the weather is going to be nice, and I can have a walk along the beach and such. :)

I've also set a little challenge for myself for the month of May, since the me-made month this time around has been set for June. The occasion is me noticing that, even though the weather has been beautiful for a couple of weeks, and temperatures have definitely been skirt and dress worthy (at least up until the end of last week), 99% of the people I saw while biking and walking trough Berlin are wearing jeans. Ok, possibly 98% of women, another percent is wearing dress pants or leggins. Maybe one or two in about a hundred people I see wears skirts, and even less wear dresses - even though it's May already! Kinda depressing, isn't it?

That observation is certainly biased, since I don't regularly pass through all parts of Berlin, so I see mostly fellow students, tourists and the crowd that walks by my bike routes. Still, it has made me want to start a challenge for myself, and maybe some of you will want to join in. So, I've decided to not wear jeans for the entire month of May and wear lots of skirts and dresses instead!

Maybe it's silly to start this right in the month before Me-Made June. Maybe it's a silly challenge, because I have worn jeans on maybe four occasions in the last month (three of which were in chilly Hamburg), and one of my main reasons for sewing is producing cute, fun skirts and dresses to wear for myself - so it's not much of a challenge. I don't care. I might ask my non-sewing friends to join me in wearing more skirts and dresses, too. And maybe you'll want to join and make the month of May a little more colorful. :)

Also, there's Me-Made June. I'm a bit in two minds. After the end of MMMar, I had all those thoughts about the silliness and wastefulness of giving up on my existing, loved, RTW clothing. That still is what I think. On the other hand, for the first time since I've started sewing, I have the feeling that I could actually accomplish wearing only handmade outfits for an entire month. So. Still thinking about that, so I'll hold back my pledge for the time being. I'm definitely looking forward to participating... just thinking about how much. :)