DIY Reusable Cosmetic Pads, Sewing Edition

Some of you may remember the Reusable Cotton Wool Pads I crocheted back this January. I used them only for a very short time as I needed about twice the amount of lotion compared to store-bought, single-use cotton wool pads. Furthermore, the cleansing effect of the crocheted surface was pretty low on my skin.

However, I did not want to give up on the idea of finding a sustainable solution. My next approach are sewn cosmetic pads with one woven cotton and one terry side. And this is what I did:

First, I have cut a cardboard circle of 8cm in diameter.

This was my stencil to cut circles from woven cotton scraps, which then were pinned on the terry fabric (an old towel would also serve well) to cut the terry in shape.

Next, I sowed both circles together leaving a seam opening just large enough to turn them inside out.

As I was too lazy for an elegant finishing, I have sewn the last seam visibly from the top. I know this leaves room for improvement, but I first wanted to make sure the terry pads are worth the effort. Fingers crossed it will work out this time.

A DIY Tulle Circle Skirt, Maxi Length

Have you ever wondered why maxi length, DIY tulle circle skirt tutorials are really hard to find? I’m going to explain. But first, you should take a look at any DIY tulle circle skirt tutorial (just google it, there are loads of good tutorials!) to get an overall idea of what I did.

My idea was to get a ridiculously full skirt. I wanted to achieve this by layering 10 tulle donuts and add a visible, elastic waistband. The first problem was the tulle as such. For a knee-length circle skirt, standard-width fabric works fine. To achieve maxi length, you either have to sew together two half-donuts per layer (best idea with fine, soft tulle ūüėú) or find extra wide tulle fabric. As you can imagine, it took me a while to find something suitable. In the end, my aunt got me some (25 m) 2.8 m wide tulle from Paris.

I cut out quarter donuts from folded fabric, but I had to secure the folds with fabric clips to make sure the layers could not shift while cutting them. In consequence, it took me a while to cut out all ten donuts.

Next, I wanted to preassemble the donuts before sewing them together. This means, I first had to find a large enough space on the floor to lay out a circle of 2.3 m in diameter.

As the tulle layers shift easily on top of each other, I had to pin them together layer by layer, fabric clip per fabric clip. I may have taken a break after this step.

When I thought the worst part was over, I put the preassembled ten layers on the sewing machine. Sadly, even soft tulle puffs up enormously, so I could not see the foot and needle of my sewing machine anymore.

I ended up watching from the side and was sewing at an incredibly low speed to make sure I sew a straight seam catching all layers.

Adding the elastic waistband afterwards was almost a pleasure compared to any of the steps before.

However, I love this skirt and still would not change any part of it. Of course, four layers of tulle would have puffed up enough to make this an impressive skirt. You also may complain about the (intentionally!) missing layer of lining as you can still see my legs through ten layers of tulle, but I am totally fine with it. It is a bit hard to make sure the tulle does not get caught somewhere when wearing it, but it is well worth the effort. Now I am just lacking a bodice to make this my go-to evening gown. I might have something in mind already, stay tuned!

How to Sew Yourself a Bra

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I am wearing a non-standard bra size which is not available in Germany in case I insist on a modern/ lacy/ not-you-grandma style within a limited budget. I usually order my bras from the UK where sizes for full-breasted women are a lot easier to find. But when it comes to stylish soft bras, things get a lot more complicated.

As this year’s WGT is approaching and I plan to wear some tops with extra large armholes, I need something nice to wear underneath. While browsing sewing patterns, I stumbled upon Emerald Erin’s Jordy Bralette which is a pretty simple design that showcases your cloth perfectly. I turned a non-stretch, olive cotton sateen into a stunning result that sadly is unwearable.

The two cups are attached to an elastic band which is closed with hooks and eyes on the back. In my opinion, this construction makes the pattern not suitable for larger breasts as it lacks the support needed. The straps cannot compensate this. Another weakness of the pattern is that you can of course try on the cups before attaching them to the underbust elastic and straps, but you will not know if this bralette works for you until you have finished it. What a pity!

Before I could work myself up into frustration, I decided to try out Madalynne’s Barrett Bralette pattern. Before starting, I had done a little research if it was suitable for larger breasts and had found some projects that looked quite good. First, I cut and sewed the cups only from leftover scuba cloth. The largest size had a good fit, but the scuba did not give enough support for a 34F bra size. Next, I sewed the cups in a glittery, black cotton sateen containing 5% spandex. This cloth is totally not intended for lingerie, but was the perfect solution to my problem. As the barrett pattern is designed as a pull-on bra without back closure, I had to improvise a back closure due to an intended lack of elasticity. This meant finding the right back band length for my hook and eye closure (the 3XL back band was way too long!) and reshaping the back band to fit the side cup seams on the one side and my closure on the other. In fact, I just drew a line and cut away a triangle for a fast and easy solution. And here it is, my custom-sized, dark disco bralette.

I know that there are a lot of visible mistakes. I also could have added a lining as the pattern suggests, but this version will do for the moment. There still is room for improvement, but I have enough fabric left to sew myself another one. This, by the way, leads to my conclusion on how to sew a bra: just start and iterate the fit until you like it. And please, start with leftover fabric as the first try might not necessarily lead to a wearable result. ūüôā

My Purrfect Project Bag

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When I started knitting, my go-to project bags were plastic shopping bags. But as the needles in them often destroyed them completely before the project was finished, I needed something else. My knitting buddies introduced me to some fancy project bag makers, but the ones I liked were way above my budget. So I decided to sew one myself.

During my research on suitable patterns, I found this tutorial, which makes a zipper bag (yay, less lost items!) large enough for a large shawl project. In my opinion, its size fits most portable projects, be it to knit night or your next travel. The last and biggest problem was finding some nice fabric. It obviously needed to be black and preferably related to cats. To my surprise, I found exactly what I was looking for at my local fabric store. Both prints are 100% cotton, originally intended for patchworking, reinforced with Vlieseline H640 fusible fleece. I couldn’t be happier with the result!

2018 Recap and a First Glimpse at 2019

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What a year. There were so many ideas but way too little time to follow all of them. Nonetheless, I have learned from any project I carried out this year.

The first project I want to mention here is the bullet journal I started in February. I have tried to involve monthly and weekly calendars, but changed to monthly and weekly to do’s as I tend to feel stressed by rigid deadlines. I also included mood and habit trackers which I gradually adapted to my needs. In late summer, I quit the concept of an analogue bullet journal and changed to an android app for mood and habit tracking as well as online notes I can share with others for my to do lists. This was the best decision as I did not like to always carry an A5 notebook with me and do not like to illustrate the pages, either. However, the notebook as such now serves as my DIY knitting planner and poetry notebook perfectly.

In March, I joined a WIP bingo which I followed loosely over the year. My lesson learned is, that any pressure does not help me to finish anything. When I am in a bad mood I will rather cry over the project I am forcing myself to finish than actually finish it. Nonetheless, I have finished 7/9 projects, another one requires only finishing and the last one is currently in progress. Not too bad, in my opinion.

I have participated in Fibreshare twice among other, smaller swaps. I was not aware I liked the idea that much, but it makes me happy to surprise other people. I will probably stick with this new approach.

The Inside Schoeller event was an overall highlight. I totally enjoyed the deep insight into the Schoeller company as well as the opportunity to test some of their yarns. I also was completely stunned, when Novita sent me a pattern booklet and some yarn samples for free after I had asked how to get a specific pattern. I meanwhile have ordered and stashed the rest of the yarns needed for the pattern. I actually wanted to knit the sweater as a KAL together with my friend Alice aka Brezelbutter, but this did not happen for several reasons. I hope we will start again in January.

Another development I am totally happy about is that I finally have freed myself from knitting patterns. Of course, I will always buy and knit patterns I like, but with projects like my¬†Black Metal Hoodie¬†and the¬†cropped linen sweater¬†which I have both designed myself, I see myself able to follow more my own ideas of fashion now. Maybe, I finally will publish some of the patterns. Be scared. ūüėČ

Designing my own knits goes hand in hand with sewing my own garments. I have sewn myself an all black Linden Sweatshirt which I will show you in January as well as some party garments and have prepared some pure Merino cloth I am going to turn into a pair of pants, soon. I am dreaming of a 100% handmade wardrobe, but I am not sure how long this will take.

A project I have been working on for years now is my ever-growing stash. I currently hoard about 34 kg of yarn. About 7 kg of it are yarns I have acquired only last year and not used up. At least, I have knit almost 2.4 kg of yarn equivalenting 7670 m. That makes my average yarn weight in 2018 a sport weight. I hope to reduce my yarn stash in 2019, but we will see.

In contrast to my yarn hoarding problem, you will definitely see me at several meet-ups this year, which does not mean I might not show up at others:

29.-31.03.19 H+H Cologne

13./14.04.19 Leipziger Wollefest und Stoffmesse

17./18.08.19 Wollfestival D√ľsseldorf

September 2019 Berlin Knits

19./20.10.19 German Raveler Meeting Leipzig

02./03.11.19 Yarncamp Frankfurt

Enough for now as the first fireworks start to illuminate Leipzig’s evening sky. Have a fantastic New Year’s Eve and an even better start in 2019! Thank you for following me!

A Linden Sweater

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The idea for this sweater dates back to last year, when I found some black on black printed leo jersey fabric in my favourite Aachen fabric store. I initially wanted it to become a sweater for a dear friend of mine, so I also bought some pink jersey for the cuffs. Then I waited for the perfect sewing pattern to cross my way. It did not for quite a while.

Now, that I recently tried to organise my fabric stash and stumbled upon the jersey again, I just wanted to sew it right away. My pattern of choice was the Linden Sweater by Grainline Studio as I particularly like the unusual neckline for an otherwise classic sweater. Although I only had my friend’s bra size to calculate her measurements, the sweater fits perfectly. Apart from that, I love the detailed sewing instructions. Well done, Grainline Studio! I am pretty sure there will be more sweaters based on this sewing pattern, the next one probably for me.

Sewing for WGT 2018

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This was my first Wave-Gotik-Treffen since I have moved to Leipzig and I have to admit, it also was the first one I survived without a vast lack of sleep. I even did not need to sew the last bits of my outfits during Wednesday night!

As my style is more or less futuristic/ minimal, I can always mix and match store-bought fashion items, sports wear and handmade garments. With the cropped linen sweater still in mind, I improvised a rectangular top from some black viscose jersey. It needs the viscose for drape and the jersey structure for weight. I copied the neckline from one of my favourite store-bought t-shirts. I wore it with a pair of sports leggings with mesh inserts.

My favourite garment this year was definitely the plastic half-skirt. I made it from a seat belt, a heavy buckle, eyelets, snap hooks and an ugly, cheap plastic tablecloth cut in stripes. It is super heavy, but nonetheless I styled it with my YRU Qozmo Hi 2 platform boots to make walking even more a workout. ūüėČ As the half-skirt is more an accessory than an actual garment, I wore black sports leggings underneath and a black laser cut sports body on top.

I try to see a lot of concerts during WGT, so I do not socialise too much over day which is why pictures of me taken by someone else are pretty rare. However, I have enjoyed the majority of concerts I saw. My top 3 concerts were Beinhaus, whose show is definitely a must-see with lots of scrap metal on stage, three people drumming on it and one of them screaming German lyrics over it, Jo Quail, an electric cellist and composer who plays intricate soundscapes that make my mind dive into it, and the solo concert of Einar Selvik from Wardruna where he also explained a lot about his approach to ancient Norse music and the historical instruments he uses.

Other remarkable concerts in my opinion were Boy Harsher, Mr. Kitty, Wardruna and Teho Teardo & Blixa Bargeld. As always, there was not enough time to see everything I would have liked to. At least, I am happy with my selection. And now it is time to think about the 2019 outfits.

A Pencil Pouch / WIP Bingo

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So I have sewn myself a pencil pouch. It is just a zippered, lined, boxy pouch, but I urgently needed something to put my Tombow Dual Pens in. I used some leftover cotton fabric, white polka dots on grey and purple, reinforced with Vlieseline H250. You can find a lot of good tutorials for this type of bag on YouTube, so it was quite easy to sew.

I recently realised, I actually never posted a status from my WIP bingo. This is a pity as I truly like the concept. I currently have finished four items. The first one was a pair of scrappy ankle socks:

Next was the Black Metal Hoodie:

Last week I finished a linen sweater I had no time to photograph yet, and now the pencil pouch. The body of the batwing pullover is waiting for added sleeves and the lyrics for my next album only lack the last details. Maybe I will stick to this concept of a visualised to-do list, it seems to keep me a bit more focused.

H+H Cologne 2017, part 2

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As announced before, here is the second and last part of my H+H Cologne 2017 report.

I stumbled upon a Canadian hand dyer, Zen Yarn Garden, who stood out by offering yarn shades in colour families. This means there are different colours intended to be combined, e.g. a speckled and a semisolid shade. How cool is that, please? Furthermore, the colours are rich and vibrant, all dyed on luxurious yarn bases. I really should try them out.

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BC Garn, a Danish yarn manufacturer, well know for its natural, high-quality and often organic yarns has presented a remarkable addition to its GOTS certified palette: Bio Shetland, a light fingering weight pure shetland yarn which comes in a wide range of colours. I truly appreciate their policy of providing luxurious yet natural yarns. I salute BC Garn for this consistency and hope Bio Shetland will be available in my LYS soon! Until then, I already have a project in mind for their beautiful Lino.

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Another Nordic yarn manufacturer I was happy to see was Novita, a Finnish yarn company, namely the largest hand-knitting yarn spinner in the Nordic region. They also collaborate with WYS, who I had presented in H+H Cologne 2017, part 1. The great news is, Novita yarns will be available in Germany, soon! This means a new supplier of durable Nordic wool for me! They offer a lot of natural yarns, sometimes blended with a little Nylon for even more increased durability, in a wide range of colours. So, welcome to Germany, Novita, I am looking forward to your arrival!

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I accidentally found Merchant and Mills, a British sewing supplier with a very unique style. Their booth was pure eye candy yet! They offer working style patterns to sew a capsule wardrobe, high-quality cloths, trims, sewing kits (I LOVE the oilskin bag kit!), tools, books, stationery. But have a look at the pictures. They deserve a full blog post, soon.

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I am so glad to have met the wonderful Madame Tricot in person! This year, she brought an assortment of knit cheeses, presented adequately. As I admire her work a lot, I have set her exhibition as featured image of this blog post. Please support her art by buying her book, it is stunning.

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I will not write too much about about the large yarn manufacturers, there are other bloggers who have more insight and will write detailed posts about theses companies. Nonetheless, some of their new products have caught my eye.

Lana Grossa, e.g., has shown their large new collection for A/W 2017/18. My favourites are Silkhair 2.0, a Kid Mohair and silk blend with a slightly darker core, and Fluffy Tweed, a soft tweed yarn with a beautiful halo, from their Lala Berlin collection.

My favourite latest addition to the Rowan collection is called Sultano, a luxurious ribbon yarn made of 38% silk, 38% mohair und 24% cashmere. Definetely worth a try!

Some Madelinetosh eye candy (new colours!):

A beautiful way to show off the different qualities of Blue Sky Fibers:

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Knitted art at Kartopu

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…and¬†Katia:

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Now to something completely different. Have you heard of Earebel yet? I had, but as an audiophile, I did not expect too much from their product. They offer bluetooth headphones to be knit into hats or headbands. They are available as kits or individually for your own ideas. I have to admit, they are pretty good with respect to their low price. The high frequencies are a bit flat, but the lows are pretty okay. In sum, they are a cool novelty item.

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I have spent two fantastic days at H+H Cologne 2017 and hope you have enjoyed my report about it. I have met wonderful people, had great conversations and have learned a lot. Thanks to everyone I have met!

 

 

Sort of dressed

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I urgently needed a new party top. This reminded me of the cheap lace I had bought last year. This is my first sewing project with lace fabric and to make it even more interesting, the fabric is elastic in every direction. Of course, I have also tried a free longsleeve t-shirt pattern. So all in all, everything concerning this project was new to me.

And what shall I conclude? This is my best sewing project for clothes so far! It turned out just perfect! I used a wonderful pattern from Nap Time Creations and did not need to correct anything! Size S just fits perfectly, even on my trained shoulders and arms. As intended, I am only sort of dressed wearing it. But, to be honest, as a party top, being naked decorated with a lace pattern is just fine. You may imagine me wearing it or meet me at a goth party. There is a good chance to see it live.

The only sad thing about it is, I should have invested more in the fabric. It does not seem to be very durable.