Monday, April 14, 2014

The Wandering Walden Cooper

I've made a backpack!!! I'm actually really proud of how my version of the Walden Cooper Backpack turned out! I'm quite enamoured with it actually... It's got a classic sort of feel. There's something timeless and simple about it. Ahhh... It's such a pleasure to make something so useful, and perfectly tailored for my needs. Just feels so... productive, and creative at the same time. What could be better, really?? I so enjoy those suede accents and the snappy snaps and twisting closures... Ok, done gushing... but aww... it's so pretty. I think I feel just like Andrea with her new duffel- in looove. Maybe the red insides of that duffel inspired my colour choices here... just maybe:)

Even fits a water bottle!

 I spent a lot of time browsing through the other bloggers' versions, and I really loved the concept of a back section with snaps for a laptop like this one by annadeschamps, and of course it had to have a zippered pocket in there too (other side), I added the other two pockets from the pattern under the zipper from my zipper pocket too (also handy for little random things one keeps in a backpack. I also made the front centre pocket with a zipper as well. Probably will keep my wallet or train card in there... keys? Anyway, its just super handy to have zippers. and sections. and SNAPS! The pattern was great and I followed it ALMOST exactly (except for the extra add ons I made). The only part I found tricky was the explanation for the straps. I just made up my own version of dangle-free adjustable straps cause I found the instructions to be a bit too confusing for me, somehow...


Why the Walden Cooper? Apart from it's awesomeness, I felt like I really needed a backpack. When I finally made the pride and joy that is my "Mary Poppins" Bohemian carpet bag, I wore it all over town, and took it as my carry-on; and brought my laptop to work with it... But I quickly discovered that for work, that bag is just too big; and for cycling around with my laptop, its just a little unhandy, for every day. It's a nice travel bag for bringing one place and leaving it there, but for hauling back and forth everyday, it is just a bit much. Anyway, now I have the perfect to-and-fro Walden Wanderer! YAY!

Wondering where the Walden wandered first?

Took it to IKEA!!! and sat in the little itty bitty picnic tables. OF course!!!

What's next??? Maybe I'll join in with "Moss Making Month" even though I already have two of these awesome skirts ;) Since I can't resist the IKEA textiles section... What do you think about this beauty fabric as a Moss skirt? With proper pattern placement, of course.... Hmm....

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Netjes Nette! Love the Autumn-love, in springtime too!

I'm not sure why it took me so long until I came across this amazing FREE pattern on the internet, but I'm so glad that the universe brought me and the nettevivante blog in the same spacetime for enough time for me to see, love, and want this "Autumn-love" dress very badly. I think it took me about a week before I could make time to cut this one out and sew it up, but it came together in one evening (and that's including the time it took me to rip out the seams from each of the first 3 steps since was sewing it up wrong every time - probably just clumsy from intense eagerness to have the cute dress done in one night- the pattern is really clear though, it was just me being very careless...

Its spring here now... but that's ok. Brown corduroy with flowers works any time of year, right? It'll probably be a bit warm to wear for full-on summer weather, but whatever. Its spring-fall pinny now. So yeah, I think that's pretty "netjes" (it's Dutch for "neat" or "respectable", or "tidy" or "well put together"); so THANKS NETTE:)

I put it together just like on the pattern, except I didn't put the pockets on, I think I might do it after anyway though, I do miss somewhere to put my work-pass and phone... I made it with an 1.5 extra for seam allowance, and 1 cm extra for my own width, but I ended up taking the whole thing in by 3-4 cm or so at the back when it was time to do the zipper at the back, so I'm not actually sure if I needed extra for my width... Hmmm... Also, I should probably learn to make myself muslin patterns that I can re-use for size, so I don't have to ask Joost to pin things at the back every single time. I'm pretty sure he'd really rather not do it. 

Oh, and one really REALLY annoying thing that happened, which is pretty much the worst nightmare for any sewing project- just about when I had finished it off, I was trimming my seams and the scissors slipped and cut right into the fabric of the dress I had just sewn.... Pretty bummy. Now there's a little fixerupper seam at the back to fix the hole- but at least the fabric is forgiving enough that it's not noticeable unless you know it's there... But GRRR!!! Ever do a stupid thing like that?? Moral of the story, Jenny, don't be so HASTY!

In other news, It was so lovely last weekend that we managed to get out on the race bikes!! We cycled to an awesome outdoor shop in Woerden, and stopped at the cheese farm on the way where we get some "Meikaas" or May Cheese; which we use to make poutine (yes it tastes a lot better than it looks!) . Yes we can MAKE poutine outside Canada!!! It's really cool that this one little farm is the only place you can get the May cheese in the Netherlands and it's biking distance away, and somehow Joost figured out that this cheese was the one we need to get the SQEEKY feel of cheesecurds! And strangely enough, to get that squeeky awesomeness, it needs to be boiled! (Don't try with just any other cheeses though... we did and you just get a melty goey boiled mess)

Anyway, we cycled saturday to the cheese farm and to Woerden, and then came home to have the first bbq of the year!! It was the best:) 

The next day we cycled again, all the way to Joost parents'; about a 40km journey again, but that evening, we took the train home rather than do another 40 in the dark...

Pretty bike eh? ;)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Made a dress out of the curtains. A Sprintime Belladone!!!

ITS SPRING! And- I made a dress. YAY!

 Its made of Ikea curtains.
 From the Belladone Deer & Doe pattern

 Only I had some trouble fitting the back. So it looks a little funny.
 See the extra folds/darts? Thats cause the it probably the I cut the wrong size... or something. I'm not sure what actually. I used a 38 top and 40 bottom, but the bottom ended up also too big so I took all the parts in at the back middle seam... But it was pretty frustrating having to ask Joost to pin the fabric to lay flat at the back... Clearly I need to get a dressform... All in all, not very easy. But I've experienced these things to go better the second time round....

All in all, I'm still pretty pleased. First time with real non-stretchy fabric, and also tried out the french seams (so the inside looks pretty tidy!) and blind seams on the bottom. Yay! New techniques.

Also, I had Joost take the outside pics with his fancy-cam, and when I was transferring them- I found some really gorgeous oldies from a couple years back - in Canada- Sigh... memories...

Golden, BC

 Me and my Stad, in Golden, BC

 Same place. Gorgeous.
 Yeah that's me, and that river is real.

 Perfect chair-tree.
 And that's the badlands.
  And I think this must be Peyto lake or Lake Louise... somewhere near there;)
Anyway. Love looking back to those... 
Good times.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Feels like Spring! Hurrah, short trips and sewing!

Feels like spring already in the Utrecht, and also in Berlin, where we were lucky enough to find ourselves last weekend. Just been feeling really grateful lately. I've been on some great short trips lately, to Southampton, Brussels and Berlin, and the weather has been amazing. Not to mention I'm sewing a lot and enjoying the fruits of my addiction... And to top it all off, just walking outside the front door has put a smile on my face on several times this week already.

Just a couple shots from our street to prove a point....

Foggy morning was really pretty, with the colourful flowers dotting the canal banks...

Going to work was a bit gloomier though...

 Even the trip to Brussels for a project meeting had moments of sun peeking through the clouds...

 But even in the clouds, Brussels was charming. and the Mussels in Brussels... MMm mMm .... You gotta try them with the cream garlic sauce, and then dip the bread into the mussel garlicky juice....

 Of course we didn't leave without the token trip to the Market square... Pretty gorgeous. Lots of fun having some overpriced beers in that square, just for the view.

And I've been trying out some new patterns;) Can't forget about the sewing addiction... 
Here's my two iterations of the Moss Skirt (pattern by Grainline Studio)

Moss skirt, in Blue, with my version of CationDesigns Dolman sleeve top
I'm super pleased with my handmade outfit.

Here's my second Moss skirt, in reddish orange. My most challenging bit was the fly, but I thing the second time it worked out way better, and took 1/3 of the time- Made the second Moss in one evening!
I used a size 6 from the Moss pattern, and it's pretty snug. I followed the steps for version A exactly, except that I used a different fabric for all the unseen parts (insides of pockets and inside the waistband); the Dolman top was also surprisingly easy and fast! I followed the patter exactly as well, size S, though I think I might go one bigger next time, just to make it a bit more comfy.

 We also went to Berlin last weekend! 
Here's some of the hand made cases and things I brought with me. There's a trend... It's that I'm clearly addicted to Japanese fabrics. All of these are Japanese, and linen/cotton blends; ok, I'm getting into nerdy sewing speak now, but it really makes a difference in the look and feel!!! 

On the left is the tablet case, with Kokka's Stamped Ginko Leaves; my little Josy Clutch in the middle, and then Buck Black on the right- both with fabric from Echino, My favourite quintessentially hipster fabric, not only with pictured bucks, but also that some of them are wearing hipster glasses.Oh yeah. Made that one at the last minute for protecting the Macbook (the old case was very loose, and definitely just did not have enough Echino)

I even finally finished my Datura Blouse by Deer and Doe!
And of course it had to have some of that japanese linen cotton;) and Insects. of course. (Just goes so well with the hipster buck case)
Since the Plaintain shirts came together so well in a size 38; I went with that for the Datura as well... But ended up having to take it in a lot on the sides. Somehow it looked a lot better with slightly fitted sides. Not sure if I should do the same next time or try a 36, but anyway there will be a next time. It's a cute top and wasn't too hard- except for all the buttons at the back (will show a pic next time, haven't taken one yet)

Right, so, Berlin:
So we had two excuses, though none are needed to see Berlin- it's just a awesome place with loads to see and lots to do. Always something for everyone. First- we had tickets to the Parov Stelar Band. Second, we went to visit our friend, and take him to see Parov Stelar too... And the show was magnificent (just love that word!). I've been going through a major electro-swing phase lately, and these guys did not disappoint. The show was in an old hangar- which was a huge, and totally full venue. It was awesomely lit up and decked out. But the highlight was the main act, as expected. The singer was marvelous, and a total diva- totally getting the whole place dancing and grooving to the music. There was so much energy and the music was brilliantly made. I danced the whole night and my shins and muscles were sore the next day. Totally worth it.

The next day we sat in the park for hours, and then visited the DDR museum (worth it for sure). My shoes enjoyed the view in the park and I napped and worked on my laptop on the picnic blanket/sleeping bag.

It was an awesome trip to enjoy the first real sunny weekend of the year.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Making Mary Poppins Proud

Just thought I'd post some more of my latest things I've made! Now that I'm out, the blog is metamorphosing into more of a projects kinda place. I guess if you'll just have to put up with travel and sewing stories. Two of my favourite things! Right Julie Andrews? I mean Mary Poppins...

I went out of my sewing comfort zone with the latest two projects. First, I sewed the "Bohemian Carpet Bag" by SewLiberated, which I lovingly call my "Mary Poppins Bag"; which was my first non-PDF bag pattern I ever bought, and first one which uses a bag-frame (SO AWESOME!). The pattern was a little trickier than some others I've used, but I managed to get through it and I am very pleased with my new bag!!! It is a great one for weekends, has a zippered pocket big enough for papers or a laptop, a pouch in there for a tablet and two extras for wallets and things, as well as a key fob thinggy. The straps are super sturdy, and it even has little bag feet!!! So great. I love that the bottom stays square with a fabric-covered foam board insert. It took almost two days though, but maybe only cause it was my first time.


Bit of Nostalgia... and the bag! 

Oh! And I also made a dress! It's a modified version of the Deer and Doe Plantain shirt, for which I submitted a contest entry recently... I drafted the skirt part from my measurements myself- also first time. It's a super comfy casual dress and I'm really happy wearing it! Yay for positive sewing experiences!
Whats next for travel stories? Shall I tell about the upcoming weekend trip to Southampton? That one definitely calls for the Mary Poppins bag!! or maybe Greece;)? Maybe you'll have to put up with a few more sewing posts before... we'll see.

And hurrah for the Droste Effect! Too bad the bad resolution only allows for 3 recursions...