wiksten-harem-pants-pocket

kitten pants and whale dress

the birthday making is over and it’s an uncanny thing but i had thoughts about christmas presents already. i can’t help it. there’s something immensly satisfying in making things for others. although i should be honest and admit, it’s not making things for somebody else that is satisfying but it’s making things for my daughter. is it because i get to see them whenever she wears them, because it certainly feels good (especially true for occasions where she wants to wear something i made).

also, is that true for making for my man (actually, husband, but that is uncanny written out. so of course, not so uncanny written out in parentheses…HA. sorry love. we got married this summer and now, nothing has changed and also a lot)?ok, so is making for him equally satisfiying? i’m not sure. at the moment i’m not committed to make a pair of pants or a similarily involved project although he could use it and would happily wear it, i think. and there’s also me, i want to get a piece of the cake, too!

today i just wanted to share what i made for n.’s birthday a week ago. i think she wore everything already and the pants, as well as the skirt are currently waiting for a spin in the washing machine.

wiksten-harem-pants-front

let me introduce the kitten pocket pants first. they’re the wiksten harem pants by jenny gordy from wiksten. they are underlined in a thin (see-trough!) white cotton voile. that see-throughness is also the reason why i decided to underline vs. to line. you would have been able to see the seam allowances and i’m sure it’s neater this way. i might line a next pair though, the idea to use flannel is great, as jenny gordy did here for her daughter. the pocket is something i made up, not included in the pattern. it’s a quilting cotton with a cat print designed by lotta jansdotter.

wiksten-harem-pants-inside

the outer fabric was a remnant (ca. 65x135cm) of a linen/viscose mix – don’t remember the percentage of each but it was tagged with specifications which i think is nice (bought at hüco grosshandel berlin, not only for retailers though). sometimes i go to there and find nothing and at that time i was lucky to find beautiful fabrics. i also but a tag (sort of!) in the pants altough front and back pattern piece are the same. which is great for 2 year olds that try to put on their clothes. definitely gives them a sense of achievement if they don’t have to try again to put them on “the right way”.

anyways, i did not french seam as for the first pair i’ve made (see here). coincidently, they were also made from a linen/viscose-mix, but unlined, intended for summer. now, it’s definitely too chilly outside to wear those on their own, but they totally transition into autumn with tights. the kitten pair is still warm enough to wear withouht them, though, thanks to the underlining. in general, the harem pants are great to wear for play.. they’re basically perfect for the whole day. i feel they could be a tad longer (i made the size 2 yo). they are intended to be cuffed so they withstand the growth of the child and the test of time, respectively. however, she just turned two and is of average height, about 87cm tall, and they are a bit short when cuffed twice.

here’s what they look like cuffed once (top) and cuffed twice (bottom).

wiksten-harem-pants-cuff-folded-once wiksten-harem-pants-cuff-folded-twice

 

onto the whale dress, which is popular with n. one, for the whales but also for the fact it’s a dress. not sure where the preference comes from (you’re not getting me convinced by saying ‘hey, it’s a little girl. girls like dresses/pink/horses..ok.) anyways, i don’t see a bad thing in dressing in fun clothes. it’s a great thing being a kid, as the thought of something being childish is an absolutely foreign thing to think/feel. that’s about the most uncomforting time of life..when you start thinking about what others might think about you (or judge you).. classmates, colleagues, strangers. shudder. but back to the dress, which is in a way out-of-this-world, but not literally so, really. (…) after all, an easy to wear dress!

i used a brindille & twig pattern, a basic raglan tee – and modified the side seams to be a-line. i used a dress she already has to determine the width and length of the skirt. really easy. i could have attached a gathered skirt at the waist of the raglan but i did not want to break up the print. it’s already seen multiple washes and the fabric and print hold up well (a cotton jersey with some lycra, bought at stoff & stil like, 2 years ago?).

whale-a-line-dress

let me close with a question concerning the ongoing theme here: kitten pants and whale dress. what is it that kids like animals, or; animal prints so much? certainly our culture has a focus on animal imagery from very early on. i’m thinking of, for example, first picture books for babies and toddlers. it makes me wonder. and yes, we do live in a big city where you see dogs, sometimes a cat but that’s it.

hmm, i definitly prefer animal prints to, say, disney or commerzial imagery that changes it’s face every now and then to set a new ‘trend’. animals  have been here all along and still rule, right!

Merken

Merken

Merken

birthday-outfit

so faded candy sweater and burda pinafore skirt

hi everyone!

i took photos of things i’ve finished after getting up in the morning, feeling a cold creeping up in me. hi headaches! other than that i’m feeling pretty fly because i finished all the birthday gifts for n. – her birthday is on the weekend. i dont have to tell you that the last year went quick! whereas the first year did seem endless. but that is another story!

it is a privilege that i had the time to make her stuff for her birthday: the first two weeks of october are the time of holidays for me because deadlines for papers are usually 30th of september and there is this lovely gap until the new semester starts next monday. i did not buy many things as gifts, some wooden stuff like a tea-pot, cups and yeah, this and that for her kitchen. that’s where she loves to play (pretend). but i sewed quite a bit. from my stash, i should add, because my bank account [.] and because really, i had everything i needed on hand for the skirt. wait, i bought overlock thread at 1000stoff last week for the other projects though. can’t sew without thread, can you.

birthday-outfit

today i’m sharing the most intricate (i.e. time-consuming) stuff i made for her.. it was actually smooth sailing and there where no hurdles. there are always mental hurdles, like buttonholes, but they turned out fine. my 2nd hand bernina actually does a fine job with it’s six step buttonholes. that is, once i realized the machine does not adjust the needle position for the righthand row of the buttonhole by itself! it seems to be an error and means that something is actually broken. however, i can adjust it manually and i took a note which i’m always refering to whenever i lost memory about this quirk. i have a pretty good relationship to my machine, i got to know her well in the past and love her dearly (bernina 1020). so i don’t mind quirks when i know how to deal with them. i digress. for the buttonholes i used fray check and it has made a big difference – especially for the corduroy. the buttons where actually really cheap and i bought them at a discounter, probably over 4 years ago.

button-detail-pinafore-skirt

the sweater is the already mentioned so faded pint sized by andrea mowry of @dreareneeknits.* i named it ‘candy’ because the main yarn color (popoki, madelinetosh fingering weight) reminded me of candy, obviously. such a pleasure to knit with. the second color is called vintage sari, also mad tosh. i used the recommended 3,25 and 3,75 needles. i used addi lace needles and they are great. the basic addi needles have a very round tip and are fine, but these are a bit more precise. i blocked the sweater yesterday and it is already dry. it’s quite lightweight but i think it’ll keep warm without heating her up.

the pattern of the skirt is burda #129 10/2017 and is from the current issue. which is crazy for me. but i guess with kids’ clothes you cannot let time pass like that. they grow out of stuff so fast. however, this skirt is a size 92, and my daughter being about 86cm tall this will hopefully last for some time. at some point, i could remove the pinafore detail (straps and the yoke in the back, see below) so it can last much longer than a size 92. in fact, the pattern piece for the skirt is already quite big (it’s just gathered because of elastic in the waistband). lots of slow fashion potential here! admittedly, i was waiting for that age. i barely sewed any clothes for her before,  just started this summer, really. i made a sun hat last year that still fit this spring/summer but that’s about it. the rest of her clothes is from second hand sales at daycares in the neighbourhood. we’ll see how it goes now that she’s really picking out what she wants to wear. skirts or dresses are favourites.

pinafore-skirt-back

so chances are good that she will like it. i mean, isn’t it adorable. and it has pockets!

pinafore-skirt-front

the insides are pretty pretty, too. take my word for it. we had enough photos for today.

on a (not so) different note: as you migh know it’s slowfashionoctober this time of the year (how great this has become an annual thing) and i haven’t had the mind to post ‘just’ about that. i’m heavily inspired by it, and an advocate of it and everything and more – but right now is not the time for me to write a post on my journey or thoughts. if i’m feeling like it, i will let it flow. i simply haven’t been feeling it, yet. last week i followed a discussion about thrifting clothes and if it’s morally ok to keep thrifting if you would have the means to pay for other kinds of ethically and environmentally fair clothes (local, small women-owned businesses and similar) – i really liked the different perspectives. i agree that this question is  an example of overthinking things a bit but has obviously been productive! i haven’t read all the comments yet but will do my homework ;) do you prefer thrifting/buying second hand for you or your kids like i do? are there exceptions to the rule? like, i buy new shoes for her because every day shoes are worth that for me. not every pair, but the most-used ones. same is true for me.

___

*There’s a recent article with andrea mowry of what i think is my favorite blog series over on fringe association: our tools, ourselves. i’m very much fascinated by the material culture of craft, i.e. the tools of the trade.

so-faded-neckband

a reflection on knitting and sewing

it’s slow fashion october and this post has not explicit connection to that but it seems ‘slotober’ is the month that gets me blogging. hope it stays a bit longer this time around! just babbling away today…

knitting is fun at the moment. i have a little sweater for my daughter that is about to be finished, it’s the so faded pint sized by andrea mowry of dreareneeknits. you can find my project here ony ravelry. it’s been a really lovely knit so far, after some months of a knitting break i enjoy being able to just do plain rows of stockinette and this pattern is mostly stockinette in the round. it’s top down and has you pick up stitches for the collar. on my first ever sweater (also mini size) i did a collar from the top down and it won’t lay nicely, i’m never going back to that way of doing it. but i guess i was a bit intimidated by picking up stitches when i first set out to make a little sweater (it was the free flax pattern by tin can knits). this time i actually did a folded neck band ’cause i’ve seen it and liked it on other sweaters, for example here on karen’s fishermen sweater. it’s a better quality finish and you dont have that cast-off edge showing so close to the face.

with knitting i like to learn small things like that on the way, but mostly i do it for pleasure and enjoyment and i’m not overly ambitious with it. i’m not rushing to learn how to do cables or such things, you know. i’m not ‘ripping for joy‘ (yet). i do it only when technically necessary, rather not for aesthetics. but there might be change creeping up in me with time, not gonna rule out the possibility. however, the point i wanted to make is, i’m a lot more patient and content with knitting, whereas with sewing it really bugs me if i can’t do something or if i think i can’t and it keeps me from doing it. because somehow with sewing, i want it to be close to perfect and i dont want to mess it up. i don’t care so much about bubbly stitches in a knit, but wrong tension or weird folds in a garment: that’s a nightmare. and it remains one, mostly, because it never actually happens when it’s avoided! i actually don’t feel bad avoiding stuff with knitting, which is kind of freedom in my book. just do what i feel like. sewing is different.

i know i can do it all (slight hybris here for the sake of illustration)  if i either 1) take time and go slow 2) study and practice or 3) just do it, maybe fail, but then also, succeed the next time. that is how i learnt in the first place, trial and error.

we all could do it all if we were crazy patient and had no other thing to do in life. which is, both sadly and luckily, not the case. do you agree? what are your ambitions about, do they stress you out or keep you interested? it’s a fine line, isn’t it. ok, really, i’m done with my daily (not) reflection on knitting and sewing practice. but i do think a lot about stuff like that, call me crazy.

my daughters 2nd birthday is in about 10 days and i have some clothes i want to finish for her, except for the sweater mentioned above the most involved project is a corduroy pinafore skirt. it needs buttonholes and buttons sewn on so it’s the standard “i’m waiting for the right (or last!) moment to tackle it” situation. the pattern #129 10/2017 is from the latest burda issue, which is crazy thinking i made something so close to it being published. that’s never happened! i’m in love with the girls’ patterns in this issue, there’s a coat and a blouse which are adorable, but i probably won’t make them, my daugther already needs the biggest size drafted for (size 92). she is developing an interest now in what she wants to wear (skirts!), and has an opinion now about what she doesn’t want to wear. i mean, she has already had an opinion a year ago when i knit her a vest from alpaca wool. it was soft to me, but must have been somewhat scratchy for her, she always started pulling on it once it was on and subsequently only wore it two or three times over turtlenecks or other layers so it wouldn’t touch her skin. after that happened – and i was mourning a bit – i decided that if i want her to wear what i knit i should take no risks and go with superwash merino. and the next sweater, a lila sweater (bottom up, pattern by carrie bostick hoge ) was worn without hesitation. so my theory was validated and i can happily knit superwash merino for my daughter without being in fear that my knit will be rejected.  i always would prefer a non-treated wool, but those i can still knit for myself. anyways, about her style – it’s not solely about comfort anymore but about what she thinks looks nice. and black corduroy pants are not among her favorites right now! it’s flowers and bold patterns, strawberrys and dots. stripes are fine, too – phew.

other things i have lined up as presents are a pair of leggings and raglan tee (already done) in a thin red/white stripe jersey – intended for but not limited to sleep wear. i also made two little dishtowels for her kitchen. and if i have the time there will be another pair of harem pants (pattern by jenny gordy from wiksten patterns). over the summer i made a lot of iterations of the wiksten bloomers in short and long length, for friends’ kids and newborn babies alike. i guess there will be more of the harem pants, too. but for winter they need to be lined and that takes a bit more fabric to work with… and i really try to avoid buying more fabric because i’ve got no dinero for that at the moment. i’ll do fine using what i already have. and it makes for some creative solutions.todays the first day after a very long weekend (read: no day care) so i’ll be sewing for sanity now…

thanks so much for staying with me!

hope to be back soon

xx

slow fashion reading

#slowfashionoctober 2016: or why not to put stones in the washing machine.

this post has been a draft since october last year. if this isn’t slow, i don’t know :)

GOING SLOW FASHION OCTOBER

it is the second year of slow fashion october, a month of raising awareness about the clothes in our closets. or the clothes that are not in our closet. and why. if you want to know more about the hashtag and project go check out karens blog. she is the initiator of the hashtag  #slowfashionoctober and paved the way for a discussion with great wingspan! and i finally muster up my thoughts to contribute. feel free to chime in in the comments, i’d love to hear what you think.

every week has been assigned a theme to guide through the month, albeit loosely. which is great, to me, open questions are better for thinking! i already introduced myself here on instagram for week 1.  since we are now approaching the end of october, last weeks themes were ‘long worn’ and ‘handmade’, and this week is all about the origins of the materials we wear; yarn, fabric, thread… smallish independent labels (that are more likely to produce under fair conditions).

KNOWN ORIGINS: WOMEN

Disclaimer: I regard it as a privilege to discuss slow fashion. It is neither possible for everyone to sew for themselves nor is it what everyone should aim for.  It is both therapeutical and political for me. You can save money but this is not the sole purpose of a handmade wardrobe. For me is about the gut feeling, mental health (craft as creative outlet) and being able to decide what I want to wear instead of buying into an image. It is about feminism and empowerment.

So lets dive into it. I will scratch on the surface, digress and ramble!

to my mind, known origins is also A LOT about the people involved. it is a lot about environment and the usage of chemicals/wasting of resources in production (did you know stonewash jeans are the epitome of evil?)* – which, in turn affect the living beings (people!). in brief, it is a circle.

most of the people working in the garment trade, and by those i mean workers that actually touch the garments, are women. there are men, of course, but (stereo-)typically they are owners of factories or stores. in fact, only a small percentage earns money with sewing.

garment trade does not exclusively entail sewing, it is also weaving, knitting, dying, embroidery, design, patternmaking, cutting, retail, marketing, models. a lot of tasks need to be performed until a garment is ready-to-wear (from now on rtw). most of these tasks are performed by women.  in the majority of countries, even here in germany, women still earn a lower wage than men (the gender pay gap). thus making women ‘better workforce’ if costs must be held low. and with pressure from big companys like inditex, which owns brands like zara, factories cannot afford to pay their workers better. or take measures for safety in factories.  i think we all know about this problem since april 2013. from there, the fashionrevolution movement is has grown, questions like #whomademyclothes are asked more frequently.

GENDERED GARMENT TRADE IN FRONT OF US

problems are not all relegated to the women in the global south, however. models, commercials and sexism, anyone? another example. i inititally came across in the book Threadbare, but which is also the topic of clothing poverty: second hand clothing. non profit second hand stores are rare. most of them benefit from fast fashion: they make profit with selling used clothes (a cheap resource!) and they often have female volunteers that will keep the racks in check. this is worker exploitation, too. we need be honest with ourselves, who needs/wants our old clothes, no one really! it doesn’t sound comforting, but we should really just BUY LESS. the problem of having nothing to wear is often a reaction to too many (poor quality) choices. this is common sense already. thus the hype of marie kondo-ism, basically it is applied minimalism: cleaning out what doesn’t make you happy (a bestseller, haven’t read it though) i am wondering, is it all about making room for new stuff, consuming again, with a little bit more mindfulness.* sorry if this sounds cynic. i am just trying to think some steps ahead, including my own ‘shopping experience’ (fabric stash i’m looking at you!).

DELIBERATE CHOICES

what can be done. deliberate choices. i used to think about series like ‘wardrobe architect’ on the colette blog – nice, but isn’t it somewhat superficial (i.e. narcisstic) to spend so much time thinking about personal style? now it does make so much sense to me from another angle – sewing something i do not wear is clearly a waste of time and resources. it is a bad ecological footprint, in environmental terms. it is not superficial this way, it may be a bit narcisstic at first glance. it really is an exercise in self-care and mindfulness. i’ve never been one to follow fashion like crazy, i was the one cursing in the store that i cannot find a decent black longsleeve. while i do not have much time to sew – have been on maternal leave the last year – i have time to think about what i want to sew. and with sparse time on hand, i want to use that time effectivley. don’t get me wrong here, sewing doesn’t only fulfil a need for a garment that my wardrobe lacks asap, it does also fulfil a need to slow down mentally. that means, i don’t want to rush. i want to enjoy making something for myself. it is an activity i cherish. nobody forced me into it, not even a bad conscience (which you can get when you think about the consequences of the fashion industry nowadays). i’m trying to make more informed choices as of late, the origins of most of the fabric in my stash are unknown to me, for instance.

SEWING IS SEWING IS SEWING. NOT.

what i really wanted to add to the discussion is the role of women. maybe we forget that this is a gendered issue. interestingly, being a tailor is valued differently throughout different spheres. i’m not saying you have to be a man (tailor) to be valued in your work rather than a women (seamstress). rather i find it a curious thing why sewing (for a living) as a women means you cannot pay your bills. it is the same task, there are only so many ways a seam is constructed. a shirt made in bangladesh requires the same set of skills like a designer shirt. the difference is in the price tag and, sadly, in the appreciation of the consumer. today you often pay for labels, not for quality. often they come from the same factory.

the difference: if a shirt costs 10 dollar, you are able to buy more. i believe no one actually saves money with cheap clothing, people will always just buy more – at least the majority. if you have more shirts, every single one is worth and worn less. this is what i think. if we, ourselves, are breaking in the jeans we made, even if it takes a year to achieve that fashionable used look – we will be more likely to mend them if they tear. they live a longer life. instead of ruining the health of people breathing toxic gases, or breaking tumble dryers with stones, i rather actually wear my jeans until they bleed out. this way they feel more organic to me, they become a second skin (that is why this blog is called cutikula*, btw!).

isn’t it absurd what the fast fashion industry does to compete with long worn/loved garments – like aging them artificially by stone washing?  are there any other ways fast fahion mocks slow fashion? i’m curious!

thanks for reading! it does makes me happy to read/reply to your comments. i’m off to read your contributions on the interwebs now…

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footnotes:

*there’s a lot to hate: acid dye or rotating drums with stones are used to acieve the ‘used-look’ – which is not only a look –  those jeans will rip sooner, or are already torn in places. jeans are long wearing items, due to the rigidity of denim. it takes time for them to break in, time that can be undone with the stone washing method. #fastfashion acid dye is toxic (workers touch it/breath it in), and would you put stones in your tumble dryer/washing machine? right.

*this does apply to fabric shopping as well, the ‘future garment imagined’ is bought, never sewn. fabric is sold (de-stashing) and new fabric can be bought with a better conscience. no offense!

*a biological term i adopted from the latin word ‘cuticula’ which is, simplified, a second skin layered on top of a plant’s epidermis. humans do not have a cuticula, but we have garments to layer on top of our skin, so basically clothes are our version of cuticula ;)

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sources:

anne elizabeth moore: threadbare. clothes, sex, trafficking (genre: academic comic strips)

anne theresia wanders: slow fashion.

andrew brooks: clothing poverty: the hidden world of fast fashion and second-hand clothes. (a dissertation)

marie kondo: the life changing magic of cleaning up.

(other sources are linked in the text)

cecilia-from-a-tree

cecilia in red: yoga bag from lotta everyday style

this is the second thing i’ve made from LOTTA EVERYDAY STYLE (book by lotta jansdotter).* and the third is already cut out (her name’s wilma). the simplicity is lovely and smart at the same time.

CECILIA is made from only two pattern pieces, and roughly a meter of canvas. my choice of red canvas is not very original (the sample in the book is red, too) but, well, red is just a nice color i guess! i bound the edges on the inside in baby blue instead of zigzagging them, but that’s the only thing i’ve changed construction-wise. i like the things to be made to last and if i’ve got the time i enjoy finishing them properly.

closeup_cecilia

ahh and topstitching is such a pleasure (nice long straps!).

cecilia_inaction

very basic, very bright and very useful. now i just have to ease back into practising yoga (hey, baby).

let me add that i am of average height, not tall but fairly average. this bag is big, ok!

DETAILS:

pattern: CECILIA YOGA BAG from LOTTA EVERYDAY STYLE

fabric: about 1m of red cotton canvas

* the first thing i made was the patchwork scarf. i made it for jana (instagram @janavalach) , my secret valentine this year. i mostly used leftovers from shirtmaking, so here’s a bonus picture! i made the tag based on the hashtag #2016sve.

lottas-patchwork-scarf

thank you for stopping by!