We are stuck in a loop.

It is morning. You are getting ready for the day. You count your blessings before sitting up in your bed, as you have been training yourself to do. But then, when you start to open the doors and drawers from the cupboards and closets that hold your clothes, you can’t help to feel a little disappointed again. While you are trying to decide what to wear today, you ponder over what you should be having in your wardrobe. What is it that is missing from these items that would truly make you enthusiastic about your looks?

Here is the thing, though, we are so stuck in how we experience fashion that we do not see a way out. Sure, you try something every now and then. You try to buy more sustainable, or only second hand for a year. Or a stop-shop all together. But it doesn’t seem to really work well, you do not get that great feeling from your clothes that you know you deserve.

There is not one thing that you could change to make sure you love what you wear. There are many things and it is difficult. It is difficult because one thing leads to another. You feel like buying something new because your wardrobe sucks. It is not as good as it could be. Because it sucks you buy something new on a regular basis, thinking that you are on a budget. You buy something that you will stop having an interested in soon, and BOOM, you have yourself another average item that adds to the feeling of craving something new.

This is the loop that we are stuck in, and that you need to break.

If you cut the cycle with better habits you will turn it in an upward spiral. A spiral that will continue to develop and grow upward together with your personality. While it works its way upward you will start to feel better in your outfits. That will be the time when you realize that changing your habits works, that you have the right and the means to feel as great as you want to feel in your outfits and how you look.

The Rethink-program will help you to break with the habits that are keeping you down. It tackles the 4 main reasons why we keep adhering to this cycle using lessons from fashion itself.

The 4 main reasons why we keep ourselves in the same cycle are;
The high beauty standards we keep putting ourselves up against. They are all around us, but it is thanks to ourselves if we allow it to have a bad impact on our lives and how we feel.
The need for new that exists because the items that we have in our wardrobe already are horrible.
The price per wear; we are used to a certain price-range, quality and look of the items we buy. We need to change how we look at quality, price and background story if you really want a different feeling from your wardrobe.
Shopaholic; we misinterpret the vibe we get from wearing something new with feeling good about yourself. Your old outfit should be able to give you the same feeling as a brand new outfit, if it doesn’t it is not good enough for you.

The Rethink program, (you can find more information here) works to cut the cycle at those four points.

How does it do that?

You know by now that I do love fashion. I just do not love the generic sell-more boring fashion that most of us have in our wardrobes… I’ll run you down some thing that you can take from the fashion industry that you can incorporate in your daily life so you can can get to a wardrobe that is better, too!

First up, the designers approach. You have been dressing yourself your whole life. You know what you like and what you don’t. It is just not enough in the center of your attention. If you get this more to the forefront you will never by an items again that you do not like!

Go into your wardrobe, and find out. Find out what you like the most, in terms of quality, shape, colour, print etc etc. The things you do not like? They might also be able to tell you something. But focus on the positive for now, kay? We like to keep an upbeat vibe because sometimes dressing is simply hard!

Second, how to be your own muse. Designers and buying teams work with a representation of their perfect client. You should be your own muse. It might be hard to look at yourself as a source of inspiration, but there really is no other way to be happier with your wardrobe. You should not dress for anyone but yourself!

There are many ways for you to feel better. For now I will leave you with one particular one that is going to make a change for you in all parts of your life. Let the compliments sink in. We tend to step over compliments and accomplishments with ease while we linger on the things that we did wrong, or that didn’t go well. Next time somebody gives you a compliment, reply with a “Thank you very much”. Do not try and write them off to other people that may have helped you. Do not stop to think that is was a piece of cake and that anybody could have done it. Let them sink into your heart. Remember them, write them down, repeat them, anything! So you let them give you the great feeling that you deserve to have.

Another thing that we can change is our state of mind. There is a lot wrong with current fashion. We have a strained relationship with it, where it could be a benefit and a joy in our lives. We try and dress so others might accept us, for example, or we give trends power over us by thinking that what you wear should be in line with current fashion.

In the course we will learn to recognize this and what you can do about it, cause it is kind of a big subject. For now I would suggest that you stop following accounts and things that give you a limited idea of what fashion is. Stop yourself being influenced by anything its sole purpose is to sell more. No more magazines in your post, no more newsletters in your email. Do not follow brands anymore that try to sell you more of the same. Clean them up, flush them out! Exterminate them!

We will look at how the world influences you. How others look affects how we want to look. What others believe to be important affects what we feel is important. How things are designed and made has an effect on how they look and feel. So how can you be aware of this, influence it and make changing easier for yourself?

There is a lot going on in the production of fashion. I recommend you find a documentary, prep yourself up on a couch somewhere and watch it. It is not going to be nice. But the clothes you wear are directly responsible for a lot of hurt. You know this already unless you have been living under a rock. If you allow yourself to take in the details it will be easier to change.

How do you influence the world/ environment around you? The struggles you have with your wardrobe are not isolated to you alone. You know that others might struggle with the same things, we are all people living in the same communities. The moment you take the freedom to express yourself the way you want to, you might be able to help others to do the same, because they see you confidently do it.

For now I would suggest to train your brain to be positive about others that look different to you. Stop making jokes at the expense of somebody else that didn’t get the trends right. Or that is wearing something you think is inappropriate. You are reading my blogs, posts and email because you are struggling with how you look. How you feel or want to feel, doesn’t match with how you look form the outside. I can guaranty that there are people out there that feel a bigger mismatch between how they look and how they feel. It is harder for them, start creating the freedom of expression for other too, you might feel more freedom for yourself too!

That is it, for now! I hope these tips might help you to increase the fun you have with the outfits you create for yourself. I hope if I were to meet you in the street at some point, I would be able to see who you are and what you stand for in life. There is just more fun in it, that way!

Patched together

Voor Nederlands scroll maar naar beneden…

It is so super cool that, right now, there are more and more people reusing what they have and creating new things with it. In the creative scene I see more and more people sharing their creations. The best material, in my humble opinion, is denim. Because the fabric on old pants is alive! It is not a flat blue…

Already from the making, you can see through the top layer into the bottom layer. It means you can see the warp through the weft, it has depth. But particular for this kind of fabric is that how it is stitched together, and than washed, is unique to every pair of pants. Every leg even!
Than the wear, ohhhh, depending on what and where you tuck your phone or your keys the fabric over time will change. They are like fingerprints. Did I mention a robber was partly put in jail because they recognized his jeans? The link is here…

Using your pants as source fabric for new items mean they increase in importance. Using your friends old pants or gathered old pants through your community also has this effect.

I have been thinking about pants that I made as a young adult. It was a pair of pants made out of two old ones. I missed those pants. Sometimes I think it was almost a pity that I got enough money that I was able to buy new garments. The new clothes were not from the right stores with the right ethical values, so they were relatively cheap. But it meant, when you have plenty of garments you start throwing out. You start to choose. And my new garments always won at the expense the older ones. Even if the older ones, in hindsight, were more unique!

Anyway, I just had to do it. I went into my the pile of pants that I had, selected a few of them together and started cutting them up. If you want to do something similar, make sure you select a specific pair that has the right shape in the crotch. That part is the most difficult to make for a inexperienced seamster.

cutting up the pants but retaining the shape for the crotch…

As you go along cutting up parts I recommend to stitch them together one at a time before cutting new parts. That way it is easier to even the seams out. Small in discrepancies in the panels do not matter that way.

My cut-‘n-sew on top, an older one for the shape on the bottom.

It helps if you, like me, take a garment that has the shape that you like as a sort of pattern. Try your new project on as much as you can to make sure it is a perfect fit for you. Do not be afraid. With this kind of project you can screw up a thing or two, fix it, and it will still look like that was exactly what you had in mind when it is finished. Really!

With loops and whistles…

Here is my finished garment, with a three window view. I am very happy with the result. A few things that I was going for seemed to have really worked. Do you see how I took dark long patches for the side of the garment? It makes me look taller… And can you see that I used the 2 pairs of the same brand for the back? It makes the pockets on the back seem very intentional. And last but not least I tried to put in some detailing on the waistband and the loops, from the same pants that I used in the legs. That way the colors from the legs came back in the waistband. I also like the look of the loops from the worn pants over newly shaped loops.

Lekker stuk!

Ik zie meer en meer mensen die het leuk en betekenisvol vinden om van oude kledingstukken nieuwe projecten te maken. Daar wordt mijn hart blij van!! Behalve dat dit vaak beter is voor het milieu en leuk is om te doen zijn de uiteindelijke dingen die je er mee maakt betekenisvoller dan iets gewoon maar in de winkel kopen.

Mijn favorite items om nieuwe dingen van te maken zijn denim broeken. Ik vind het materiaal geweldig. Allereerste omdat het zelf al “diep” is. Je kunt door de schering de inslag zien. Maar zodra het eenmaal gestikt is en gewassen begint het echt te leven. Geen denim broek is hetzelfde. Wist jij dat er mede door de broek die hij droeg een overvaller is veroordeerld? De link is hier… (Het is wel in het Engels) Geen broek is hetzelfde, afhankelijk van jouw vorm, en waar je je telefoon of sleutels wegsteekt zal de broek gaan slijten en dus leven.

Vroeger heb ik een broek gemaakt van twee andere broeken. Dit was tijdens de middelbare school. Ik heb de laatste tijd veel aan die broek moeten denken. Hij is gesneuveld toen ik moest kiezen tussen mijn nieuwe aankopen en oude, bij het opruimen van mijn kast. Soms is het echt jammer om me te realiseren dat ik op een gegeven moment voldoende geld had om kleding te kopen uit winkels (geen ethisch verantwoorde winkels…) en dat mijn voorheen opgebouwde unieke stukken het daarom moesten ontgelden. Ik heb het gewoon weggegooid bij het uitzoeken van een overvolle kledingkast!

Maar op een regenachtige zaterdag heb ik vol goede moed een stapel oude denims uit de kast getrokken. De juiste kleuren wilde ik combineren, om dan met een 3 tal kapotte broeken 1 nieuwe te maken.

De broek gaat in stukken maar de vorm van het kruis wil ik behouden.

Ik heb een goede combinatie gevonden, waarna ik de schaar er in zette. Als jij zin hebt om dit te doen is het aan te raden om een broek te kiezen voor het kruis waarvan je weet dat die zeker weten goed en mooi past. Dat stuk is het moeilijkst om echt goed te maken.

De cut-‘n-sew boven, de vorm van de broek die ik wilde ligt er onder.

Daarnaast is het makkelijk om een voorbeeld te nemen van een broek die je graag draagt en waar je de vorm dus mooi van vindt zitten. Weet met alles wat je maakt dat kleiner maken makkelijker is dan groter maken! Daar kun je dus ook rekening mee houden wanneer je je stukken knipt en aan elkaar stikt. Stik een voor een stukken er aan. Wanneer je wat er af is van de broek tussentijds doorpast kun je het makkelijk precies aanpassen aan jou lijf. Daarna kun je veel verder gaan en de volgende stukken er weer aan maken.

Ik laat het materiaal steeds weer terugkomen op andere plekken.

Hieronder zie je mijn uiteindelijke broek. Ik ben er erg blij mee. Hij mag eigenlijk nog wel strakker zitten. Ik hoop dat ik daar nog tijd voor ga kunnen maken in de toekomst. Voor nu draag ik een riem er in. Dat zou natuurlijk eigenlijk niet nodig moeten zijn met een broek die exact op je eigen maten is gemaakt!

Ik vind de binnenbeen het mooiste gelukt qua compositie van de materialen. Maar mijn poging om, met het lange donkere stuk aan de buitenkant van de broek, me wat langer te laten lijken en niet te veel doorsnijdingen te hebben is wel degelijk gelukt! Verder wilde ik ook per se de oude lussen waar de riem door moet gebruiken, omdat die de broek het meeste een “af” effect gaan geven. Bovendien komt zo de kleur van stukken van de benen goed terug in het heupdeel van de broek.

Just because denim always works in pictures…

Wil je nu ook zoiets gaan doen maar durf je niet zo goed, weet dan dat een project als dit bijna niet te verknallen is. Wanneer je een keertje verkeerd knipt dan zet je er gewoon een stukje extra aan. Doe dat aan allebei de pijpen hetzelfde (of misschien express niet?) en dan zal dat eruit zien alsof je het eigenlijk precies zo bedoelde!

Making a Moodchanger as scarf.

Mijn favorite zwangerschapskleding weer actief!

Pregnancy was not fantastic for me. But it still is a most interesting time. Worth remembering. Even if it wasn’t the best time of your life, it is still worth to remind yourself how your body was fantastic coping with the strain, how it bounced back. The clothing you wore during your pregnancy is an important, albeit dusty, reminder.

Nu ik van mijn leven niet meer zwanger ga worden, (schijnt in dit zinnetje een beetje door hoeveel lol ik er in had?) heb ik een paar tops die ik erg graag heb gedragen nog liggen. Ze liggen wel in de kast te verstoffen… Dat wil ik niet, ik wil er iets van maken waardoor ik eraan herinnert wordt dat ik die zwangerschappen gehaald heb! Bovendien zijn die tops gewoon mooi. Niet voor een ander, daarvoor zijn ze te vaak gedragen, maar de kleuren passen nogsteeds goed bij mij. Het was moeilijk genoeg leuke zwangerschaps-kleding te vinden. Laat ik de topstukken dan eren en er wat goeds mee doen!

Hoop-je ongeregeld!

Ill briefly tell you about these articles. (see next picture) First up, two articles that I wore for at leased three pregnancies. Trying to reduce my impact by trying to own not too much I wore them a thousand times!! Mixed with a legging from my baby girl, (ahhh, really was she that small once?) and a body that they all wore in there first year. It is combined with a scrap part from something I made and dead-stock from a project that I used to do. I am sure this combination will give me a happy feeling every time I see it!

De materialen die ik gebruik voor deze sjaal zijn twee tops die ik ontzettend vaak aan heb gehad. Dan een rompie dat al mijn kids in hun eerste jaar gedragen hebben. Een legging van mijn meisie in haar eerste jaar. Dan nog een stukje stof wat over was van een ander project. Die print heb ik nog zelf laten drukken!

the most important ingredients of my Moodchanger!

Just to make things easier for me I took a scarf that me and my partner wear from time to time. I will keep to the sizes of this one just to make it easier for me. I will start cutting the most important garments, because I want to give them to biggest audience in the brand-new-Moodchanger.

Aan de hand van een sjaal die ik al lang heb ben ik in de belangrijkste tops gaan knippen. Vooral van de print op het witte tshirt wilde ik veel terug laten komen. Ik probeer tijdens het knippen zo veel mogelijk van de stoffen te gebruiken. Waste is a waste!

After cutting the most important garments.
Adding the body and the legging.

As you can see I have sometimes turned the fabric 90 degrees for the smaller parts, you shouldn’t always do this but I think it will be fine since I am making a flat panel . Just to make sure I can mix and match properly but also to make sure I just get as much as I can out of these garments.

De eerste geknipte stukken bepalen meteen de breedte van de banen van de sjaal. Die puzzel ik vervolgens aan elkaar. Ik zorg dat de verschillende kleurvlakken zich zo goed mogelijk verspreiden over de Moodchanger.

After cutting as much parts as I can whilst comparing size with the previous cut pieces I can start connecting them. It turned out to be a bit of a puzzle keeping the different colors balanced thinking about the big picture.

De afwerking komt aan de binnenkant niet zo nauw; aangezien ik dit soort sjaals vaak dubbel-vouw voordat ik ze om m’n nek draai ga ik deze mooi dichtstikken. Dan valt er niets te zien aan de buitenkant!

Trying to keep the balance of the colors while sewing them together

Sewing the lanes, and after that, the lanes together can be done with a normal sewing machine and zig-zag stitching. As you can imagine the multitude of panes makes for a multitude of seams on the back. I decided to stitch the scarf as a double layer so that is no problem.

Nu is het alleen nog maar zoeken naar een mooie accent-kleur voor de franjes. Wanneer ik deze sjaal 10 jaar geleden had gemaakt was ik waarschijnlijk voor een tonale variant gegaan. Maar nu wilde ik liever een accent kleur die voor een beetje spanning gaat zorgen. Het is prettig voor jezelf om dit soort mechanismes in de mode in de gaten te houden wanneer je oude dingen in iets nieuws verandert. Dat zorgt er voor dat je het gevoel hebt weer helemaal up-to-date te zijn met je “nieuwe” Moodchanger.

same size but totally different outfit-choice to wear them with…

Now the scarf is finished I want to find a nice accent color for the fringes. A few years ago I would have probably gone with tonal, but now I recognize I am influenced by contemporary trends. I am determined however to take something from my pile of fabrics, not buy something new. The combination of the two will determine if this Moodchanger is going to fit in with the times or not.

Ik heb mijn favo kleur gevonden in een rib stof, wat me wel erg goed uit komt omdat ik de franjes dan wat beter recht kan knippen, ik kan immers gewoon de rib volgen met mijn schaar. Daarnaast een speels stukje leer dat over is van iemand, dat ik niet in een vorm knip maar in de vorm laat die het had toen ik het kreeg.

Fringes from rib fabric

The fringes will be cut from a rib fabric which is going to help me cutting them properly. Apart from the fringes I have added a leather part from somebody that I keep in the shape in which it got to me. It is more playful and natural that way.

Het mooie van de franjes is dat ik ze precies zo lang en dik kan maken als ik zelf wil. Op sommige stukken stik ik een dubbele lap in de naad, (dus dubbele franjes) zodat ze goed opvallen wanneer ik de sjaal aan heb.

Helemaal in “mijn” kleuren!

I have doubled up the fringe (two layer rib) for the most part. The rib fabric worked as well as I was hoping. It really helped me cutting the fringes straight and at the same size. Note, do not start cutting, first sew in the fabric and after finishing the seam start cutting the fringes.

Ik ben echt heel blij met het definitieve resultaat. De kleuren zijn helemaal leuk gewonden en de franjes zijn mooi overtuigend geworden. Ik ben er van overtuigd dat ik hier erg lang plezier van ga hebben. Ik betwijfel zelfs of hij ooit weg gaat, een sjaal gaat mij namelijk altijd blijven passen. De kleuren horen bij mij en deze sjaal zou qua materiaal niet belangrijker kunnen zijn voor me!

Definitely a moodchanger! Even if it just changes my chilly to comfortable mood!

This moodchanger is certainly doing its work for me. I love it! And if you don’t? That is fine, moodchangers are super personal. It has a few upsides apart from just being beautifull, I will never outgrow it. The fabric makes the scarf pretty important too.

For a moodchanging-workshop – just contact me!

One more, just because I like it so so much!

Wil je zelf moodchangers; ga dan gewoon aan de slag, oefening baart kunst! Wil je hulp van mij zoek dan contact met me op!

A bit more than just an old coat.

Een zware oude jas…

This coat is pretty old. With broken zippers, and sun bleached patches. It is very clear it has been worn a lot outdoor. It is just horrible. But it is not. My husband (AKA Ben) has very fond memories going for this coat. I hate it, but whatever, life would be boring if we liked all the same things. We kept it in a closet for a long time, and than Marie Kondo* came and we moved it to a place where he could see it. But it was just not right for me. It was still gathering dust but in a place where we could see it, rather than someplace hidden.

In deze jas heeft mijn man Ben jaren teams gecoached. Dat kun je ook wel zien. Ik vind het ding niet om aan te zien. Maar nadat we netjes alle afleveringen van Mari Kondo* hebben gezien, is het item in kwestie verhuisd van de kast naar een haak op de muur. Zo wordt Ben wat vaker aan die mooie tijd herinnerd. En ik aan een stoffige orange jas. Ik had dus al snel besloten dat ik er wat aan moest gaan doen….

So I send him a shocking picture! I was going to turn it into a bag, as he keeps his sportswear in bags. Wanting to preserve as much as I could from the original jacket, I kept the pockets, and the bottom had a elastic band that I could use for the top of the bag.

Ik wilde zo veel mogelijk het gevoel van een jas blijven houden. Dus de ritsen en de zakken moesten blijven zitten. Er zat een elastiek in de onderkant, die wilde ik houden en aan de bovenkant zetten als afwerking. Ik moest eerst even nog het elastiek er opnieuw doorheen halen en afknopen, het functioneerde eigenlijk niet meer. Maar wanneer de tas af zou zijn weer wel!

The most fiddly thing was trying to get the sleeves to go flat without completely destroying the seams. I pinned them flat and later sewed from underneath. The sort of the same thing had to be done with the inside, but that could be done a little less pretty.

Natuurlijk moesten de mouwen plat. Dat was het grootste puzzelwerk maar is uiteindelijk prima gelukt door het gewoon meerdere keren op andere manieren te spelden en het vervolgens dicht te naaien.

The is the result on the inside. There is even the spare button! The zippers, apart from the broken front zipper, are all functioning. It really is still a coat!

Hier de binnenkant, de elastiek van de onderkant zit nog niet aan de bovenkant maar verder is het zoals ik het hoopte.

Here I put together the sleeve to create the bottom, unfortunately the parts of the sleeve that will not be the bottom have to be discarded. But that is all of the parts that will be gone, while using no new materials, so my planet-loving heart is happy.

De twee losgeknipte mouwen zijn zeker groot genoeg om de bodem van de tas te worden. De bodem is gewoon een ronde vorm. Ik heb een emmer als mal gebruikt om het mooi rond te krijgen.

The loop to hang the coat-bag (or maybe Bagoat?) is from the part of the sleeves used to close up the sleeves even further in a case of bad weather. I just stitched them together, in between two layers finishing up the zipper. The zipper was raw so it needed an extra layer.

Deze elementen, die de jas hanger vormen, komen van de mouwen. Je kon ermee de mouwen wat verder dicht trekken. Ik heb ze gewoon op elkaar gestikt. Weer een stukje van het originele materiaal kunnen gebruiken!

So this is the end result! The hood positioned like this means it still really looks like a jacket when hanging. I am happy it worked so well like this because this idea only formed when I was already cutting the coat up.

De jas-tas hangt nu op een mooi plekkie in onze slaapkamer. Zodat Ben er regelmatig aan herinnerd wordt. En ik heb er ook meer vrede mee, al is het wel een lelijke oranje vlek. Het is in ieder geval een functionele oranje vlek.

This was all that was leftover from the coat. Not too much, right? All I used for new materials was the stitching I used in my machine.

Dit zijn alle materialen die over zijn, ik ben erg tevreden dat ik geen nieuwe materialen heb gebruikt naast het stikgaren voor in de machine. De kleur had ik nog van een ander project.

(*) Marie Kondo, wij zijn hier thuis wel even in de ban geweest van haar methode. En als je, zoals zoveel, moeite hebt met de hoeveelheid spullen die je opgebouwd hebt dat is ze zeker de moeite van de aandacht even waard. Opruimen is atuurlijk mooi, maar ik vind dat we met zijn allen beter stil moeten staan bij de dingen die we kopen. We zouden ons moeten afvragen bij de dingen die we kopen of ze voor ons op de lange termijn ook nog een “spark of joy” brengen….

(*) Marie Kondo, a new living legend, I guess. But she likes tossing things away and I think we should be more caring about our products in the first place. Make sure you only get things you really want, so you will be able to store or display them in you house visibly. That way you can use what you own.

Not out with the old!

Okay, so my sweaters are old. But I still like them, especially the color. (Did you know that most things are bought because of their color rather than anything else!?) And my kids-pants-knees keep breaking so I have a solution for both! (see my blog from May 2017)

I have turned 2 sweaters into 3 pants with different success-rates. This mainly because I didn’t make a pattern. I decided just to cut and see where I would end up. I like this kind of working because it is quick and might lead to understanding pattern making better.

Out with the old?

First the cutting of the panels. There are currently many pants that have not that many seams and as it is easy to cut and quick to sew I thought to try something like that. I can simply put that pant on the fabric and cut next to the seam.

For the first pants, this is the easiest and I think super funny cause of the use of the sleeves for legs. Note that this cannot be done with all sweaters, but it works with this one because of the lack of shoulder seams in this particular style.

The original pants of which I got the shape are really flat. It has the elastic inside the waistband in one piece. It is approximately size 98. It is very slim-fit, just how it should be for my kid…

My sleeve turning into pants…

The final result was what I was hoping for, although the white part might look too much like a funny nappy or something when he wears it…

Cut and sew!

I was able to cut another pants from this sweater. Smaller. I needed to cut a waistband with it, because the fabric was not long enough to cut out another with a similar flat shape, like the last pants. I also wanted to add a small panel inside the crotch because some of the typical flat shaped pants created a hole after a while wearing at that spot between the legs.

With the example-pants.

I thought I had done everything right, but eventually I found out that the legs were pretty small and the cuffs I had cut were even smaller. I couldn’t have cut them bigger, beause I didn’t have more fabric but I decided to skip the cuffs altogether.

Shape with waistband.

Next up is the sweater with the words. With this sweater I wanted to use as much of the wording as possible. In order to do that I had to also use a bit of cut and sew.

Cutting words up!

I think it worked, decided to go with contrast cuff for a bit of fun in the garment. (This grey rib-fabric was originally not in the sweater, so I cut out two pieces of new fabric for this effect.)

Front view only

I am super happy not having to throw these sweaters out completely!  The weather is starting to be warmer, where we live. So they can be worn very soon.

New bums!

Baby-doll carrier.

My girl has her b-day. She is fond of dolls and fond of backpacks. So, I am making her a baby-doll carrier. She has got to like that!

Friends in a bag…

One of my friends’ kids has one, and it is handmade. First time I saw it I thought it was from a store, that’s how great it looked. I like to learn from the best and I got a head-start because I got her pattern and some advice on how to go about it.

This is a head-start!

So, as I set out to make this I wanted to make it from materials that I already owned. If you look closely to the original, this is the purple with yellow one, you will see that this fabric is more heavy/sturdy. It looks more like the grown-up baby-carriers. I want to work with my scraps but if you have more thick material go for the thicker version.

For the closures and straps, I found out I had a few from a suitcase that I had to throw away a while ago. I do not have enough for the entire length but with the pattern of the fabric that I have chosen I think it works well enough.

selected scraps and recycled closures.

With this carrier the difficult part is just to establish the order in which to sew everything. You could do the following. Start by making the straps. After the straps you should make the fabric parts, first the shoulder part than the back part and lower back part.

Close-up of the original

Try to make the straps in such a way that both close in the same way. Pull the straps through the closures and fix them as much as possible, which makes it easier to attach later.

straps in the making

After that you can start with the shoulder parts. It looks great if you line them with something that is a bit thicker. No need to have stuffing or anything like that. I used some sweat, you could probably also use some towelling. After you made these parts pin them on one part of the back panel, so you can sew them directly into the fabric when you are ready to start making that part.

At this time I forgot to pin the straps that come from the side of the back panel. It was no big problem to attach them later, but off course it is easier if you do it the right way.

Hmm, better luck next time!

At the moment you still have a top and a bottom part of the baby-doll-carrier, you should consider to do some topstitching. This will make the backpack look nicely finished. Just a few millimetres from the edge. If your machine can handle it, try thicker tread!

Now, please note a difference between the two backpacks. Where the original has two darts in the “bum-area” to give the sack a bit of shape, I created 2 holes. The reason is a tip given by the original maker. Real babies will be put in the backpack with their legs wide. But many dolls have rigid legs. They can’t rotate freely from the hip or bend at the knee.

Meet (the backs of) teddy and doll!

My friend has made a bit of fun attaching a plastic ring to the back of the doll-carrier. I had a bit of reflective tape that I attached in the final seam. Sorry kiddo, safety first!

Picture before fastening the last seam.

Hope you liked what I had to share, but it actually doesn’t matter because Jenna sure loved it!

Redress to spend less

This year I decided not to buy my girl any new dresses. I might not have made a full buying stop, like Vivian Westwood keeps saying, but I can at least attempt not to buy any dresses, as there is nobody to pass them on to within the family. It so happened that my husband wore a few tees out, so I wanted to see if I could make dresses from those. I’ll share you my attempts, I made 3 different ones.

First up is a T-shirt that I only have vague memories buying. But it is a nice shirt, there is only a small hole near the pocket.

This Tshirt had only minor damage after years of wearing.

With the help of a dress that fits her neatly now I just went and cut. I wanted to conserve the hemline as it has a nice pressed seam, and a label. The width of the T-shirt is only just enough so I made sure not to cut anything off the hemline. You can do this by stiching the new sideseam over the sideseam and than off the fabric all together about 2 cm or so before the end of the fabric/hemline.

Cut out of a basic dress-shape.

After stitching the side seams, front fabrics together, only 1 stitch was needed to insert elastic into.

Some elastic in the waistline, to create a bit of shape.

I added an extra part of the purple fabric to the, lets say ribbons, at the shoulders. When she decides to wear it I can cut them off at exactly the right length.

The final result!


Now the second is actually a shirt. We bought it at a store (Zara…) and after one wear it shrunk. I wont say what store it was from (Zara) but it was a bit of a disappointment. Anyhow, all the more reason to upcycle it into a nice dress!

This picture is photoshopped! I didnt have a decent picture…

When I cut it in pieces it became clear the whole shirt was a-symmetric. I decided to use it and again use the hem of the garment as the hem-line of the dress. Make sure you stitch close the closure in the front of the garment. It might otherwise be a bit too sexy!

The hem will be a hem still.

I covered elastic in the fabric for the neckline. Make sure there is enough length in the elastic so it will go over your kids head easily. (Kids heads are in comparison to adults very big!) Please also make sure the elastic is not too narrow as it might than turn into a choking hazard. Ad a tunnel at the top of the dress, where it can go trough. Fasten it at least on one side so that is will not rotate whilst wearing or washing.

Elastic band/neckline.

I stole the idea for the shape from many dresses and tops now in store. This is a refreshing neckline for a dress as well as easy to do yourself.

She still hasnt worn this one…

Last but not least, two T-shirts that I changed into two tops, or two dresses, or a top and a dress. However you like it.

These T-shirts were special to us, one was bought on a trip to Australia a long time ago. The other one was my design, at the very least a few 100 pieces sold back in the days. Unfortunately after many years the elastic in the neckline gave in, and did not look good anymore. The print still does, and because these two prints matched, not in subject but in technique, I decided to combine them.

The girl looking at you comes from Australia!

Now the idea for this dress comes from a top that I originally bought for my son, in a size suitable for 4-5 year old. But I than dressed my daughter in it, who was at the time nearly 2 and wore the same top as a dress. I think it might be funny to dress both of them up in the same garment, only styled slightly different.

Bought as a top, worn as a dress now converted into a pattern.

Because it was difficult fitting these patterns together on the panels of the tees I had to make 2 patterns of that original top. This was also needed because I wanted to do a cut and sew. A diagonal line trough the pattern. I dislike seeing a garment in store where the front has all the goodies and the back is 1 layer of single coloured fabric, so I decided to make the back interesting too.

This is what I posted in order to get feetback about what to use for finish.

A short survey amongst friends on Facebook and Instagram helped me deciding on the binding…

Front and back of the two one of a kind, tops!

I hope you liked these ideas, there is a lot more you can do with old clothing than just trow them out! Have fun with it!

The final pieces together… Which do you like the best?

Patching it up.

Only one of my kids is almost completely responsible for wrecking all the pants we have. He can do it so quickly the rest of the pants looks almost unworn. And no matter how much I like shopping, I do not like to throw things away. So, knee-repairing it is!

These pants were all bruised by the same knees.

I will first show you the quickest way to fix a hole, by just using a ready made patch from the store. Than more tedious ones, by cutting them yourself. Than I will show you how I put a piece of cloth behind the opening, so you can show the unfinished broken parts of the fabric. Seems to be a trend nowadays.  Last of all I have opened up an entire pants front panel, and added a few new (very thick) parts of fabric. This will certainly cost you more time but you will see this pants got a completely new look.

With the first pants it is very much possible the pads look familiar to you? These kind of knee-pads you can still find anywhere. These particular ones have been used over and over again. After the pants disintegrated they were reused on a different pair. I liked the old fashioned cord combinded with the old and original version of these knee-pads.

Golden oldies…

With the next blue sweat pants I have selected pads very close to the original colour. These can be found anywhere, and are the easiest to use. They can just be ironed on! I wanted to add stitching for a bit more of a playfull feel, but for the fastening it is not necessary. I matched this stitching thread with the numbers to have a new look for the pants. These knee-pads have readymade hole so the stiching was easily done by hand and quick to boot.

Ready made iron-on knee pads

If you like a bit more novelty than oval shaped knee-pads, try cutting a nice fabric in the shape of, for example, triangles. If you like you could always add two sided fusing between the two layers of fabric, they might hold better but I have not seen any proof that mine let go too quickly. Anyway, get creative! I have made sure that the finish of this pad is, well, unfinished. I took a thick tread and went round the shape. The first washing left its lovely mark.

Even easier to cut than oval ones…

Truly upcycled are these crosses. They come from a different garment I took apart after it got damaged. It is even safer for the kids during nightfall!

These crosses mean, these pants are tired of damage!

These pants are the repair work of a friend. It works so well because the knees of this pants have many different layers. You could always add a layer of fabric on the back of a pair of pants and start stitching.

Just keep stitching, just keep stitching!

The next few knees have been repaired by adding a layer on the back. The smaller the size of the pants the more difficult this is as you cannot run down the inside of the pants with your machine easily. You could play with this, and add a knee-pad with a different colour or even a pattern. If you fastened the pads only on the top and the side you leave a bit of room that will make sure when the kids sits or runs the hole will change and the position of the leg will show more or less of the layer of fabric on the inside of the pants. Make sure you make this layer long enough inside the pants!

The inside has a layer, fastend only above and the sides of the hole, so it will widen when walking.

Now, the last leg. It took some time to open up the entire front panel of this garment as it was stiched trought with a thick yarn multiple times. I cut the front panel off and replaced the part that was broken with a new thick layer of fabric. You can really get creative with this one.

He called this his work-pants!


I am sure you can also see there is much much more that can be done to make pants look like new. Or atleast have them wear broken pants a bit longer, untill they grow out of them. Or what about fixing pants in such a way it turns into girly pants where it were boys pants? Just dont toss them away right away. This way you can make sure your kids are wearing unique items!

Half a year later, I have a few more knees that broke. I will just keep adding pictures here, for inspiration-sake…

The next pants has fake leather knees taken from an old legging somebody thoughtful gave me. I have added red hand sewn tags throughout the garment. Just because I liked giving it a little bit of an update!

Red tags!


Not en-tire-ly new

In this blog I will let you in on how I changed a painting we barely looked at into one we do not want to miss. By means of magnets I will be able to keep changing the pictures, echoing either the scenery of the room, or adding the new pictures we keep taking over time. I might actually be able to include some small elements on the inside of the canvas! This will become clear in a bit…

New life to an old canvas.
New life to an old canvas.

The painting that we barely looked at was the result of an amazing view on a trip that I was unable to capture nicely. Already right after having it printed we concluded that this wasnt the best picture for this frame. After some time and moving house a few times the canvas was damaged. This damage I would ideally like to keep for some character in the canvas.

Damaged canvas, cerveral moves and replacements.
Damaged canvas, ceveral moves and replacements.

Because the pictures that I chose this time were chosen because of the colour-scheme they had rather than being chosen for what is depicted. Black or dark grey would be preferred over any other colour as that would never suit all the pictures in this particular frame. You might ask yourself: “Why not white?”; it is because it meant changing the frame around the canvas back to white. I would rather have a new black frame if I would have done white. Besides, there are many people in the arts that prefer a black background behind a painting rather than white because black absorbs all the colours of the spectrum.

Colour sceme was the important factor, but not as if the subjects of these pictures aren’t worthy!

So, to work! Together with my daughter I painted the frame black. She was unable to handle the pencil properly, which resulted in even more characteristic damaged parts. Lovely as I was unable to keep all the parts that were damaged unpainted.

Painting just like mum!
Painting just like mum!

Now, in the past I have done something similar. For our wedding I painted the oceans in multiple hues of blue leaving out the white of the canvas for our guest to sign. After that day I used small cube-shaped magnets, 3mm, to fasten the pictures.

The magnets make a playfull arrangement of the photos possible.
The magnets create the possibility  of a playfull arrangement of the photos.

I tried to use different shape magnets this time, cylinders. Magnets come in many shapes and sizes, so you can personalize away. These cylinders did not work as well as the cubes because they seemed to be not as strong. The magnets I bought are called Neodymium. I got them from the website magnet-shop.com. They ship just about everywhere, so it seems. Their shop is in 4 different languages.

Two shapes of magnets on black painted recycled canvas.

Now, to complete this panel I tried for an old (racing bike) inner tire to be the way of fastening. It worked! I just pulled the tire around the canvas, no need for attaching it to the canvas because of the stretchiness of the tire. The screw I used in the wall is a particular big one, as you can see. This so it holds the rubber properly. This way of hanging it to the wall means you can turn the canvas around and decorate it differently.

Backwards display.
The tire is about 20 cm smaller than the canvas edge, it will stretch bigger due to the weight.

But right now it is in our bedroom, with all the pictures together. I do not need to warn you about the small parts in this project. Currently it is not safe to have this painting in any other room in the house. It is not a problem for us, as we are the ones in this house that appreciate it the most!

Seems to have worked well!
Time for bed!

Crocodile wear ‘n tear

This week I turned old green towels into a crocodile. I’d say it worked well, because this croc is scaring my 2 year old when it is in the hands of my 4 year old. So if you, like me, have things in the house that go into the category of “might come in handy sometime” keep on reading for some inspiration of what that handy might be.

Finished crocodile cq washing mitten

So, meet the model! This is the alligator we brought from our holiday in Florida. For you animal lovers out there, I know this is an alligator, but changing it into a washing mitten makes these features unrecognisable, so I will use crocodile and alligator as I please.

Croc matching towel colours.

My starting point was looking through my stuff, and see which colours I had. I found a lovely match with the dark green one, combined with the light green one. I could have gone for a snake, but since I know crocodiles are a hit in this house, I decided to go with that. If you are lucky to find an old yellow one you might go with a giraffe? This would work really well if you make the mitten extra long, like the neck of this particular animal! Or a lion?

When you go though your old towels, keep in mind this is only for the big surfaces,. For the smaller add-ons (like teeth) you will have to go for a single layer fabric that can be cut without fraying, like fleece for example. Towelling is quite thick, you need them to dry as fast as possible.

Croc tongue and one layer fleece tongue.

Before starting, try and get a clear image in your head of the shape of the animal. The model I had worked really well, so make sure you have a model or even pictures from the web might work. Than draw the features of the animal, what you would think works. Just on a piece of paper, very simple shapes.

Apart form the general shape, think about the following; what kind of animal do you want it to be? A funny one, with extra large ears or eyes? Making eyes bigger has the effect of making an animal look cute, or baby like, which is what I went for. Making it realistic is also an option, but a very difficult one as you are working with said thick fabrics. Much detail will be lost.

Espresso cup assisted round shaped baby eyes.

Just after that you will need to draw again, on pattern paper this time. I will try and explain more detailed how I did the mouth, because that is what is setting this beast apart from other animal type of washing-mitten!

I started by using a mitten I already had. One side will be the top of the head, the other side the mouth & bottom. You need to draw the bottom with a seam, horizontally, a little below the centre which will be the mouth. Than make a shape in 2 layers that will be the bottom jaw. This might be easier to understand through the pictures.

Bottom jaw and mouth stitched together. It helps to stich the crocs cutlery unto the surface before you add the final layer.

Now, as you are cutting and redrawing the flat patterns anyway, you might want to add a few more features of the animal. For example adding a bit of room where the shape of an animals head is thicker or higher. I added a little room where the eyes of the animal are. At the same time trying to shape the side of the crocs head. The nose is a lose part, but I needed this seam to attach it. The nose is a round shape with a flat bottom. After I folded it double I stitched it half a centimetre from the centre until a little over half. That makes it standing up after I sew the seams of the head together. How I did the nose might also be a good way to do an ear on your animal?

Alligator top head, along this seam will be the eyes and the nostrill.

Take care in what order you close all the pieces, as you need to make sure your thumb can get into the bottom of the mouth. The eyes I attached manually, whilst shaping the black of the pupil. Depending on your animal, you can go crazy on the eyes, think of a cat eye for example. Or the teeth for example, maybe you should make one gold!

The tongue was supposed to be the funniest part of this particular alligator. But the teeth turned out to be much more ridiculous than I expected as you can see on the pictures.

Anybody looking for a croc with baby eyes and ridiculus teeth? Also, find the orange-blue fabric at my spoonflower store: http://www.spoonflower.com/fabric/1052779-submission-urban-sightings-by-lijlijlijntje

It was much fun doing this, please let me know if you are going to give it a try. I would love to think with you on what to make and how to give it the best shape!

Soap-water crocodile alert!