Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Little helpers - Sharp scissors

This week I moved the posting date a little to make room for the Professor's homework assignment. But today I'll talk a bit about the most important tool a seamstress should have: A good pair of scissors!

What is it good for?
Well for cutting of course! Not only do sharp scissors help you cut also the finest of fabrics, they help to reduce pressure during cutting on your wrist. Depending on the amount of sewing you do, the unusual moves during cutting can hurt your wrist and in the long run might even damage the wrist so much that you need medical attendance! Also, good sharp scissors will help you through the d*mned cutting process before finally being allowed to sew! You will need scissors with a length of 8-10 inches (20-25cm) for cutting fabric and smaller ones to cut threads or notches...

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How much does it cost?
That highly depends. I guess you get what you pay for, so good scissors are not exactly cheap. I estimate that you should invest 25-30 Euros at least. Or you could buy old scissors on a flea market and get them sharpened again - You should keep an eye open for brands like Solinger Steel in Germany or Fiskars and Gingher in the US. If you can recommend other brands, please do so in the comments!

Who needs this?
As I said, if you seriously want to get into sewing, you should invest here. If you can't afford them, the make an awesome present for Christmas and Birthdays!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Monthly homework assignment - Nature

It is time for yet another episode of:

Dear readers, it's that wonderful time of the month again! It's Homework Assignment time and this month I have a rather easy assignment for you. The theme of the month is NATURE. Yup, that's it. I originally wanted to do something along the lines of spring, but I didn't want to exclude my Southern Hemisphere friends who are experiencing fall at the moment. So, NATURE is general enough to inspire some awesome posts. Remember, you don't have to be so literal with these theme posts. Be creative: come up with a cool outfit inspired by some element in NATURE, or show us your photos from your latest hike in the woods. Perhaps you have some awesome accessories made from natural elements like bones? Or maybe you paint landscapes or botanicals? Think outside the box, be creative and have fun!

Since spring is blooming and blossoming all over Germany now, I thought I might show you some pretty flowers! I was visiting my dad over the Easter weekend and he invited us to a local flower garden. I was kind of surprised how many lovely plant reproductive organs were already out there flounting their goods!

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Although I prefer living in the city, I have some smaller forrests right around the corner. It is not that I don't like nature and greens in general, but I need human entertainment around me. I find walks in the woods to be tremendously relaxing, so I might do one this week...

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Thanks, Professor Z for always coming up with nice topics for discussion! I love to read other's opinions and thoughts about the homework you give us!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sunday sweet - Apple roses

This week I made some pretty roses which also tasted pretty good!

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In case you are wondering how to make them, here is a tutorial... Go ahead, it was really easy and they look gorgeous!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Week in Review 17/2015

What did I see?
This week I was surprised how a seemingly boring white room turns into space when black light is turned on! But the other rooms with daylinght visible colour painted by  Bogi Fabian from Vienna Austria are absolutely beautiful as well...

What did I listen to?
Audiobooks of the "Three investigators". But just for sleeping, nothing exciting...

What did I ask myself?
How long can 3 months be?

What did I read?
Ich finished Department 19 - The Battle by Will Hill and while the story was good, I was a bit disappointed when the trilogy turned out to be 5 books total. I hate "filler novels" which don't progress the story very much but rather elongate it. I also started reading all Grimm's fairy tales. Love them and remember many of them from my childhood!

What did I work on?
A skirt, but it takes much more thought and work than planned!

I was happy about...
Meeting my friends on the weekend!

I was annoyed about...
I made a stupid mistake some months back and now try to rescue what is possible. Which seems to be not much!

I bought...
Sports pants

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Illamasqua Bat lashes

When I bought these lashes a while back, I promised to give a little review on them once I wore them the firt time. Although my make up pictures are nowhere near professional, I think they might give you an idea how large those beasts are!

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Please don't mind the pictures, they were taken after the party under the bright living room light. 

They wear pretty well, butwe had some initial problems. The band is realy thin which is good because it hides easily. But the lashes twisted a lot during application which took a little work until they got stuck in the right place. After that, they returned to their old form and looked amazing! I didn't use the glue in the package, my Duo lash glue works perfectly, so why use another one?

What do you think about the lashes? Do you have any recommendations what other make ups I could try with the lashes?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Little helpers - Eyelet inserter

Today's tool is not for everyone, but if you sew corsets you will be happy to own it: Pliers to insert eyelets!

What is it good for?
It punches little holes into the fabric and helps to insert eyelets without hammering them in. Which is both good in case you like to keep a calm neighborhood and to make the eyelets prettier. I know what I'm talking about, because I cheaped out for the first 5 years (or so) of corset production and boy, is this thing helpful! No more damaged wood from hammering, inserting eyelets during the night (no judging, late night sewing right before an event is totally a thing!) and my hands hurt less - win-win-win situation!

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How much does it cost?
It is not that cheap - at least when you get the expensive one from Prym for 15 Euro. But hear me out - the cheap ones really don't work so well! I tried and spent 5 Euros for the cheap one and then bought the expensive model, so safe yourself my mistake and some money! I also buy the expensive eyelets because they just work so much better, but I buy 500 of them (for 40 Euros) instead of the small packages (10 eyelets for 3 Euros). If you know a better deal - or cheap eyelets that work well - go ahead and write a comment!

Who needs it?
People who use eyelets or no-sew snap buttons or generally like to punch little holes into fabric. As I said, you absolutely NEED this for corsets, otherwise it is just nice to have. I consider buying a second because changing the fiddly bits for punching holes and inserting eyelets annoy me. You probably don't need two, though! ;)

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sunday sweet - Atomic cheesecake muffins

This week I made cheesecake muffins with lemon peel and lemon juice. I used my standard muffin recipe, but somehow these exploded out of their forms and look more like atomic bomb mushrooms than like tasty muffins:

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While they look horrible, the tastewas pretty good. I think the recipe needs some tweeking, though!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Week in Review 16/2015

What did I see?
Besides the seond season of "Defiance", this week I saw some spooky pictures taken by elenahelfrecht who named this series "Rituals". Naked bodies spread over eery forrests? Great idea!

What did I listen to?
My boss nagging... -.-

What did I ask myself?
Why am I so easily confused and stressed right now?

What did I read?
Oh, read I did! I finished "The Circle" by Dave Eggers. The story idea is good, about a women who starts at a global computer company which is focussing more and more on surveilance of every individual. But the main character is stupid and borderline annoying, many of the plot twists are highly predictable and the end left me feeling blergh. I can't recommend it, really...
And I'm halfway through "Department 19 - Battle Field" by Will Hill. I like the story about a secret department in England which hunts Vampires (and other Night creatures) and Dracula's return!

What did I work on?
Not much, just planning stuff...

I was happy about...
My colleagues and my friends. Plus, my gerbil seems to be better!

I was annoyed about...
Guess what..!

I bought...
Shoes and socks in the American Duchess sale!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

WGT inspiration - Mina Harker's Red Dress

As soon as I decided to go to WGT, I had to make up my mind what I should wear. I know that WGT is not all about dressing to the nines. I'm looking forward to meeting friends and seeing concerts. But I also want to use the opportunity to dress up! As my decision was pretty late, I will only make one new dress. My inspiration was this beautiful lady:

I already got the fabric and one of the patterns necessary to make the outfit:

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Wish me luck!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Little helpers - Rotary cutter (an self-healing mat)

After pausing for Easter Monday, the little helpers are back with a vengeance! Today I'd like to introduce you to my best friend when it comes to cutting long ruffles or strips of fabric for decoration: The rotary cutter!

What is it good for?
It cuts without lifting the fabric up, so if you like to sew slinky jerseys or fabrics like silk georgette (unlike me ^^), the rotary cutter helps to eliminate pulled fabrics and distorted patterns. I mainly use it to cut what feels like miles and miles of fabric strips to decorate historic dresses...

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As you can see, my cutter has different blades that can be exchanged. Currently the zigzag blade is inserted, but it also has a straight blade - which could be used to cut bias strips or pattern pieces- and a wavy blade which I have never used. Bummer! I heard that most of the seamstresses who use the rotary cutter for patterns prefer a smaller diameter of the blade as it is more on point. I might get another one in future, but for the purpose of cutting obscenely long strips, this is the best!

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Feet for scale - yes it is huuuuuuuge!

Another thing that you need if you use a rotary cutter is a (self-healing) mat for cutting. I prefer self-healing because it still looks good after years of use and abuse! Please use a mat instead of cardboard or hard mats because otherwise you blunt your rotary cutter and those blades unfortunately don't come for free. You don't have to get such an huge monster of a mat, for cutting fabric strips a small one is sufficient. You can just put down the rotary cutter with the fabric on the mat and slowly pull the fabric underneath the cutter. For this, 5cm x 5cm would be sufficient!

How much does it cost?
The rotary cutter I use was one of the most expensive ones on the market. I got it as a Birthday present from my co workers! I think it was 20 Euros. My humongous mat was even more expensive, I think I paid 35 Euros plus shipping.

Who needs it?
While I have not yet tried cutting nothing besides straight lines, I love love love my cutter! But I sew historical stuff and cut many straight lines. If you do this as well, or you quilt or sew large rectangles together (for clothes or decoration, no judging!), the cutter cuts down your time  a lot (pun intended!). I'm not sure whether I'd use it for cutting jerseys and slinky fabrics, but I might try soon and give feedback here.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Week in Review 15/2015

What did I see?
This week I saw some amazing mermaids painted by Renee Nault. I love how her mermaids are POC or overweight or rebellious and not always sweet and sexy!

What did I listen to?
A lot of VNV Nation, for example Perpetual

What did I ask myself?
Why is this happening?

What did I read?
Some pages in a book I dont remember. And I'm too lazy to go to my nightstand and check. Go me!

What did I work on?
I cut some patterns, that's it.

I was happy about...
Doing experiments again and correcting past mistakes! Uh, and deciding to go to WGT...

I was annoyed about...
More sad: One of our gerbils is sick and it does not seem to get better...

I bought...
Fabric and patterns

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Eva Dress by YourStyleRocks

After Frau Vau mentioned on her blog that the Eva dress by YourStyleRocks is on her to sew list, I got a little sewing envy and wanted to make that dress as well. The model looks really laid back but has some sweet little details like a waterfall collar and folds that hide a tummy. This time the print was considerable more pages that 16 (the short shrug) and that is why it took longer to make the dress. the patterns were printed on the same day... *oops*

Another problem which only appeared after completing and cutting the pattern was that I DID NOT HAVE ENOUGH MATCHING BLACK JERSEY! The screaming was necessary to remind everyone that I NEED to buy more fabric which is absolutely not my fault. Ahem. I solved this problem by using a black polka dot jersey which I recently got at the fabric market. The dress was sewn when I visited Paisleystern but has not yet been worn outside the house. Lousy weather we currently have...

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While I am really happy about trying this pattern and love the fit, my use of two different fabrics now bites me in the backside... The front and back look good, but the mismatched fabrics at the sides bug me. Like a lot. Which is why I consider to buy more jersey and sew another dress...

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Pattern Review
Again, I never cared for the instructions, but the pattern pieces are pretty much self-explainatory after 3-4 sewn dresses. This one has no sleeves - which makes things even easier- and is made from stretchy fabrics - which pretty much eliminates fitting issues once you know the correct size. The pattern pieces matched together beautifully and the final result looks like the model - not accounting my "brilliant idea" of using two different fabrics. Heartily recommended!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Liebster Award

Janina Zebraspider and Kakuidori both nominated me for the Liebster Award. I think I already got one some time ago, but I'd still love to answer their questions! Thanks for thinking of me, girls! The award requires some things:
  1. Thank the person that nominated you - I think I did!
  2. Answer the questions from the person that nominated you
  3. Make up 11 questions
  4. Nominate 10 people - I will not do this, but fell free to answer the questions I will post below!
Janina's questions first:

1. Was war dein erster Blogpost und warum? (What was your first post and why did you post it?)
 My first post was in June 2009, which was pretty long ago. It was about money saving and the food I ate. I think I was inspired by the many blogs I read and wanted some publicity for public pressure to stick to my goals. Didn't work, though... I quickly moved from those topics to fashion and sewing!

2. Was gefällt dir am Bloggen, was nicht so? (What do you like about blogging and what don't you like?)
I love the diversity of blogs I read so I just wanted to add to this. I often thought that I wasn't really productive and my blog really shows me that I do produce things and that the stuff I make is often really pretty. I don't like writing at all. But I'm proud that I keep up a more or less regular posts!

3. Was nervt dich an anderen Blogs? (What annoys you in other blogs?)
Suddenly dying blogs. When I discover a blog I read it from start to fnish. And if the blogger stops posting I feel deprived...

4. Hattest du schon mal einen DIY-Flop? (Did you ever produce a DIY flop?)
More than enough... Some are posted on this blog!

5. Wie viele UFOs hast du momentan? (How many UFOs do you have at the moment?)
 About 5, actually. One of them is my next DIY flop and will be thrown away soon. Maybe after finishing this post! 

6. Was ist dein Lieblingsbuch? Hast du vielleicht eine Empfehlung für ein Kreativbuch? (What is your favourite book? Do you have DIY book recommendation?)
 My favourite book of all time is "Spares" by Michael Marshal Smith. I posted about this before... The only DIY books I read are about historical sewing techniques and patterns.
7. Was war auf dem Foto, das du zuletzt gemacht hast?  (What was on the last picture you took?)
 Crunchy frogs!

8. Welches Kleidungsstück ist typisch für dich? (What garment is typical for you?)
I'm not sure, I wear a variety of styles. Maybe cardigans?

9. Bist du tätowiert? Wenn ja, wo und was? (Do you have a tattoo?)
Yes, I'm! I have a DNA plasmid on my back, right between my shoulder blades!

10. Was möchtest du im Leben unbedingt erlebt haben? (What do you want to do with your life?)
 Travel the world! And really the whole world, including north pole and Antarctica!

11. Was ist dein Lieblingskuchen? :) 
 Cheesecake! That was an easy one...

And now on to kakuidori's questions:
– Do you believe in spirit animals or a connection to animals in any way?
I do believe that animals have their own personalities and that you can form friendships with them. But a spiritual connection is hard to believe in as an atheist!

– What was your favourite city you’ve been travelling to so far?
I loved most of the cities I've been to. My recent favourite is Capetown, I'd move there in an instant!

– If you could live as any creature in any time and any place you’d like, what would it look like?
I think after careful consideration, I'd end up in my own life again. I'd love to time travel and see how the people lived in the past, but I prefer my modern comfortable life. And I love the consciousness I have as a human!

– Why did you start blogging and are you still blogging about the same subject/s?
As I said above, I started for money saving and food control, but I think my range now is much wider and I consider this blog my sewing dairy open to the world!

– How did you come up with your blogs name?
Well, what more than mindless occupation is blogging? And how can somebody more selfindulgent that by writing exclusively about oneself?

– Favorite Season?
Winter! I love snow and cold and ice!

– Who is your favourite Villain?
I think King Jeoffrey from Game of Thrones. He is just a natural beast and as misantropic as one can get!

– What are you afraid of – any phobia?
I'm afraid of heights. But otherwise, I don't fear any specific animals or things...

– Vampires, Werewolves, Zombies?
I don't believe in them and I would not want to be one of them. But I'm well prepared for the "Zombie apocalypse" in case there is one - which might be not caused by zombies but a disease or war!

– What would be your top wardrobe staple?
I think cardigans. Or maybe fabric, so I can sew new stuff!

– Would you prefer a night at the club / a bar or on the couch or in nature?
I like all of them. Depending on my mood, I can dance the night away or spend the night watching movies with friends. I also love spending time in nature or drinking at the bar!

And now on to my own questions...
  1. Do you have someone you admire? For what?
  2. Why do you blog?
  3. Do you have any pets?
  4. What fear have you overcome?
  5. What part of a garment is your favourite part of sewing?
  6. Do you cook? 
  7. What is your favourite meals?
  8. Do you have a favourite aesthetic? Which one?
  9. What is your favourite band?
  10. Do you have a green thumb?
  11. What is your least favourite colour? Why?
As I said, I don't nominate anyone, but feel free to answer my questions and pass on the award!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Sunday Sweet - Crunchy frogs

It all started years ago when I stumbled upon the website Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories. I was intrigued, they did exciting experiments on stuff you have at home. Who would not want to make fractal cookies? Am I the only one excited about interactive LED panels?

When I found the post "But if we took the bones out..." I instantly knew I needed to do this. I needed to make Haribo frogs covered in chocolate containing pop rocks. It took me a long preparation time, but after some practice I can finally say: Eurica!

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And they might look horrible, but the taste is surprisingly great! Next stop, fractal cookies... ;)

Happy Easter!

Merry Easter to everyone! Eat some eggs for me, and don't mind the bunnies hopping along... ;)

Friday, April 3, 2015

Poncho shirt

I made yet another shirt, but used a new pattern. I think I might be on a top pattern sewing streak! Might be because I bought bunches of jerseys lately and those turn into tops most of the time in my household...
Anyway, the pattern is Simplicity 1757 and it makes a half circle shirt. I used jersey becasue i falsely remebered that the pattern called for it, which is not true. I will soon make another  longer version from non-stretchy fabric for a dress. On the second picture below you can see the extend of the "sleeves" or "wings". There is a seam to define the body a bit, but otherwise a bunch of fabric just floats around you while wearing it!

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This shirt was also sewn withthe twin needle and the petrol thread. If you think this is because I was too lazy to switch threads that is entirely possible. You could also call in decorative accent stitching though! ^^

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Pattern Review
The shirt was really easy to cut and sew, all in all it took maybe 50 minutes. I've not worn it much yet as the "wings" are in the way under cardigans and pullovers and it is still too cold to go without. So there is no long term experience if it is comfortable. But it is quick and easy to make, doesn't take up that much fabric and you can play Batman with it - if this does not convince you the pattern is good, I don't know what will!

Week in Review 14/2015

What did I see?
As this week is the week before Easter, I'd like to show you some inflatable bunnies I found really cute! They were installed by artist Amanda Perer in Sydney 2014, but they match the season so well I could not resist... ;)

What did I listen to?
As I was at the E-Tropolis festival last Saturday, I listened to electronic music a lot. I saw Solitairy Experiments, Frozen Plasma (sound much better not life), Solar Fake (was funny but not my kind of music) and VNV nation (worst concert I have attended so far. I just know they are better...). I spent the rest of the week listening to VNV Nation and trying to revoke better concerts!

What did I ask myself?
WGT? Or not WGT? That is the question...

What did I read?
The final 20 pages of Jules Verne's "A Journey to the Center of the Earth". Was good, as expected!

What did I work on?
Frogs and a dress

I was happy about...
Having such great friends who are there for me and party hard!

I was annoyed about...
Not being able to give back as much as I wish I could!

I bought...

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Yet another waterfall shirt

I'm producing waterfall shirts like there is no tomorrow! But in my defense: I bought a lot of jersey on the fabric market and it was destined to become shirts. So I made yet another Simplicity 1716 shirt:

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All my shirts are usually finished with the twin needle, our little helper of the week. The seams stay elastic and look very professional - at least from the top. A true coverlock stitch might look better, but I won't buy yet another machine if the twin needle does a good job for me! This time I matched the thread for my stitching to the flowers and made it teal:

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What more can I say? I like the pattern, it suits me well and it does not take up too much fabric. And by tthe way, this shirt is a gift for my mum. She really liked the older shirts on me and asked me for the pattern. Instead of giving it to her and see her procrastinating before sewing it (How is your coat coming along, mommy? ;D), I just made one for her!