How to make a repeat pattern – Wie mache ich ein Rapportmuster

I almost sat down to write something else here a couple of days ago (to talk about a pair of espandrilles I just made) – but then decided to stick to my promise of sharing a fun and simple way to making a repeat pattern by hand.

Fast hätte ich mich vor ein paar Tagen hingesetzt, um hier über etwas anderes zu berichten (ein paar Espandrillos, die ich mir gerade gemacht hatte) – aber dann habe ich beschlossen doch meinem Versprechen treu zu bleiben und nun endlich darüber zu schreiben, wie man ganz leicht ein Rapportmuster selber zeichnen kann.

repeat1
1) Extremely exciting: a blank sheet of paper! The numbers – are they supposed to be part of the repeat pattern? No, I just thought it might be easier to follow the next steps by marking the 4 corners with numbers. I think you’ll see why in just a bit.

1) Sehr aufregend: ein leeres Blatt Papier! Die Zahlen – was, sollen die Teil des Rapportmusters sein? Nein, keine Bange, die habe ich nur hinzugefügt, um die Ecken des Blattes zu markieren, was hoffentlich die folgenden Schritte leichter verständlich macht.

repeat2
2) Start drawing. Easy, right? Well, unless you are in the middle of a creative block, but then maybe just make circles, just for the heck of it, and to figure out how to make a repeat pattern…. Patterns have directionality, and I chose to have my leaves go into all kinds of directions, so I could use the pattern upside down, or sideways, or whatever way I want. A one directional pattern would be one with lets say elephants in a row. This you can only use one way, unless you make a handstand, and then you could also use it upside down…

2) Fang zu zeichnen an. Einfach, oder? Naja, falls man nicht gerade eine kreative Blockade hat… Aber dann mach halt einfach Kreise, einfach um herauszufinden, wie man ein Rapportmuster macht. Muster haben Richtungen und ich habe ein Muster gezeichnet, das mehrdirektional ist, was man also von den unterschiedlichsten Seiten anschauen kann, und es passt immer. Ein klassisch eindirektionales Muster wäre z.B. eine Reihe Elefanten. Die kann mein sich nur auf eine Weise anstehen, außer natürlich, man stellt sich auf den Kopf, dann könnte das Bild herumgedreht auch noch richtig ausschauen…

repeat3
3) Turn the paper around, and fold the sides in, so they meet in the middle. I hope the numbers in the corners help to see what I mean. You don’t have to fold it exactly in the middle. I folded it, so I had the area with most of the blank space visible in order to fill it.

3) Dreh das Blatt herum und falte es dann von den Seiten ein, so dass sich die Ränder genau treffen. Ich hoffe die nummerierten Ecken helfen bei der Veranschaulichung. Das Papier muß nicht genau in der Mitte gefaltet werden, ich habe es so gefaltet, dass die leerste Stelle gut sichtbar ist, so dass ich dort auffüllen kann.

repeat4
4) Fill in wherever you want to fill in. I added one leaf, leaving the top part of it unfinished until I folded the paper the other way, and crossing the line where the two sides of the paper meet with one leaf.

4) Fülle die Fläche, wie es dir gefällt. Ich habe ein Blatt hinzugefügt, wovon ich das oberste Blättchen offen gelassen habe, was ich dann im nächsten Schritt zu Ende gezeichnet habe. Ein Blättchen geht über die Linie, an der die beiden entgegengesetzten Blattenden aufeinandertreffen.

repeat5
5) Now unfold the paper and refold it so that edge 1 meets edge 3 and edge 4 meets edge 2.

5) Falte das Papier auseinander und falte es dann neu, so dass Ecke 1 auf Ecke 3 trifft und Ecke 4 auf Ecke 2. 

repeat6

 

 

6) Complete whatever elements you have not yet completed, since they came close to the edge, and fill out, wherever you want to add more.

6) Vervollständige die Elemente, die noch unfertig sind, da sie direkt an den Rand des Blattes gehen und fülle noch die Flächen auf, die du füllen möchtest.

 

repeat7

 

7) Done! – Or you can go in again and do as many extra rounds as you like, till you are happy with what you made.

7) Fertig! – Oder du kannst den Vorgang noch so oft wiederholen und Neues hinzufügen, bis es dir gefällt.

 

You can transfer this pattern to a lino block, or a rubber block, or scan it and work on it in illustrator or another graphic program, to then have it printed online. If you do the latter, you have all kinds of options with colors. But that I would not be able to tell you much about, since so far it is my husband doing the part on the computer🙂

Du kannst das Muster dann auf einen Linol- oder Gummiblock übertragen und dann damit drucken. Oder du scannst das Muster ein und bearbeitest es in Illustrator oder einem anderen grafischen Programm, um denn digital drucken zu lassen. Über letzteres kann ich aber leider nicht viel sagen, da diesen Teil bisher immer mein Mann übernimmt🙂

example

Here an example of my original hand drawn repeat pattern and how it looks on fabric. Hope you have fun experimenting!

Hier ein Beispiel für ein handgezeichnetes Rapportmuster und wie es dann tatsächlich auf Stoff aussieht. Ich hoffe, du hast Freude beim Experimentieren!

Back in the game! / Bin wieder da!

We made it across the Atlantic, back to Germany –  phew, what a journey! And now we live in the stunningly beautiful area just south of Munich, loving the lakes, the lush, green meadows, the mountains, the cute towns and the great city Munich. And we have already met some really wonderful people.

gruener-huegel
Small little meadow hill that made me smile / Ein kleiner Wiesenhügel, der mich lächeln ließ

Wir haben es geschafft, über den Atlantik zurück nach Deutschland – eine wirklich große Reise! Und jetzt leben wir im wunderschönen Fünfseenland südlich von München, lieben die Seen, die satt grünen Wiesen, die Berge, die süßen Örtchen und die Nähe zur Stadt München. Und auch ganz wunderbare Menschen haben wir schon kennengelernt.

Wiesenblumen
Awakening childhood memories: coming home from a walk with flowers picked along the way / Erinnerung an Kindheitserlebnisse: der am Wegesrand gepflückte Blumenstrauß

I’ll soon get to writing the promised blog entry about making a repeat pattern with just a sheet of paper and a pen – fun, and easy! For now just wanted to give note that I finally have enough time again to even think about blogging.

Ammersee
No better way to relax than watching the sun set over the Ammersee / Was gibt es entspannenderes, als den Sonnenuntergang am Ammersee zu genießen…

Bald werde ich den von mir versprochenen Blog Eintrag schreiben, wie man ein Rapport Muster mit nur einem Blatt Papier und einem Stift selber machen kann – ganz einfach und mit viel Freude! Aber erstmal wollte ich einfach eine kurze Meldung geben, dass ich endlich wieder genug Zeit und etwas Muße habe, überhaupt wieder ans bloggen zu denken.

Brotzeit
Yes, the good old German bread🙂 I missed it in the US, even though I do like baking bread myself / Ja, das gute deutsche Brot – ich habe es vermisst in den USA, auch wenn ich gerne selbst gebacken habe🙂

Thanks for having stayed tuned while I was away from blogging. Wishing you a wonderfully relaxing and creatively inspiring summer!

Danke, dass ihr während meiner Blog-Pause dran geblieben seid und einen wunderbar entspannenden und kreativ inspirierenden Sommer noch für euch!

 

Transatlantic move – taking a short break from blogging

Yes, I will take a short break from posting on my blog, but I won’t be gone forever! We are moving back to Germany, and the thought of organizing our transatlantic move with everything that is involved, wanting to see as much of our friends as possible before heading off, and writing blog posts just feels a bit too much. I’ll be back though, and have not forgotten about the tutorial on how to make a hand drawn repeat pattern. That will be my first blog entry once landed and somewhat settled.

Wishing you a wonderfully creative time in the meantime!

Poppy

 

My favorite books on herbs and skin care

I definitely love using the internet as a source for information and inspiration, but at some point I just get hungry for books: the fact that they have all the information in one place, and that I can make notes and highlight while reading is precious to me. I also started to write down the recipes I made onto index cards, noting where I got the recipe from, which amount I made, how it came out, if I would change anything next time etc. Like this I have them handy whenever I want to do something, plus it will be my very own personal collection.

herbal-books

My absolute favorite book is Medicinal Herbs – A Beginners Guide by Rosemary Gladstar. It is a great introduction to the healing qualities of herbs, often things you might already have in your own kitchen like ginger, garlic, cinnamon, basil etc. The practical section teaches how to make herbal tea infusions, decoctions, syrups and tinctures. She also gives instructions on how to make infused oils and salves, which is wonderful not only for strictly healing benefits, but also for creams and lotions which get this special and very unique touch by using oils you have infused with just the herbs you want.
This book also contains the recipe for her famous face cream. I have not tried it yet, but it sounds great. I also found this video instruction of hers on how to make it. There is only one thing she has changed in her process of making it: in the video she has the water part in the blender, adding the oil parts to it. But she has now changed over to having the oil in the blender, adding the water, which helps in making the water and oil blend better to get a smooth and lasting emulsion.
I have read this book twice, and loved being able to highlight and scribble notes onto the pages – something the internet just does not give. This is a wonderful book to also think about making your own herbal remedies and just knowing so much more about herbs. This book inspired me to get some more dried herbs to have them at hand for when I need them, and I have since made many wonderful herbal teas. One of my favorite being a super simple one with tulsi and dried rose leaves. I cannot wait to plant calendula, chamomile, lemon balm and so much more this year to then harvest some of the herbs/flowers myself.

 

herb-drawers
Yep, not long after having read Gladstar’s book, two of my kitchen drawers sort of suddenly were filled with jars of herbs…

I also got Gladstar’s book Herbal Recipes for vibrant Healthwhich has many recipes for teas, tonics, oils salves, tinctures and a chapter about skin care with some wonderful skin tonics and ideas for facial steams and cleanser. This is a a wonderfully extensive book, having different sections about general remedies, remedies specifically for women, men, children and elders and as mentioned above also about skin and hair care. I like having this at hand, being able to look up different ailments and suggestions on what to do. The appendix contains a herbal apothecary, a glossary to look up different plants/herbs, their benefits, uses, cautions. I totally love this book, but since I already wrote so much about Medicinal Herbs by her, I sort of ran out of words…..

self-made-teas
After having started with some teas following Gladstar’s recipes, I started getting creative myself, coming up with my own mixes. A wonderful present for friends!

To further support my craving to learn more about herbs I also got Herbal Medicine -Trends and Tradition from Charles W. Kane. For each herb you’ll find a description, the chemical components of the herb, its medical uses, the best way to prepare the herb – as tonic, salve, powder, etc. – suggestions for dosage and cautions on what to watch out for with the specific herb. This book also has a section about how to prepare tinctures, infused oils, ointments etc., similar to Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs book. In learning about herbs I think it is important to get information from several sources, just to get different perspectives and a more whole picture.
I use this book mainly to look up a specific herb I want to use, or to go to the really extensive index to look up which herbs work best for certain symptoms. But it is also fun to just pick it up, randomly open a page and learn about whatever herb is described on that page.
I also very much like the glossary to look up some of the words describing properties and qualities of herbs. “Demulcent” for example I kept reading about certain herbs, like licorice root. Well –  I knew it meant something, but what?  Looking it up in Kane’s glossary I learned that it means the specific herb has soothing properties, helping to calm irritations. The herb world has a bit of a language of its own, and this glossary definitely helps me find my way around in this new territory…

herbs-in-mortar
Mortar filled with dried herbs, flowers and oats for a moisturizing and relaxing bath, inspired by Stephanie Tourles’ book

Organic Body Care Recipes by Stephanie Tourles is a great book to get started with homemade skincare and learn about the structure and purpose of our skin, hair and nails, and the different skin types. Tourles also has a glossary section briefly describing the characteristics and benefits of the ingredients used for skin care. A wonderful trait is that each recipe has a brief note as to which skin types to best use it for. So far I have made a very nice face mask with bentonite clay and heavy whipping cream and a tiny bit of vanilla essence (the recipe actually says vanilla essential oil, but since I did not have that at hand I went into my baking supplies). This book is also a great inspiration for making presents: like wonderful little bath bags with moisturizing and healing ingredients, or a soothing facial tonic.

Since I just started delving into this domain of herbs and DIY skin care, I am sure there will be more books to come, but for now those four are the ones I have. Do you have a book or books about herbs and skin care you especially like? Please let me know.

 

Exciting: pillow covers made from our own fabric

Receiving fabrics printed with designs my husband and I made simply keeps being exciting! I love being able to choose exactly the colors I like and use them for the patterns we made, send it off to Spoonflower to then receive a package with the fabrics ready to be sewn into beautiful things!

gray-and-mustard-pillows

I keep being astounded how starting out with some sharpie or ink drawings leads to a repeat pattern printed on fabric and ready to sew with! Well, no, this does not magically happen, and for now I rely heavily on my husband to doing that “magic” part of converting a drawing into a repeat pattern. I have started to learn, but somehow got sidetracked by other wonderful things, like diy skincare and learning more about herbs, as obvious from my last couple of posts. And maybe, maybe the urgency to learn is not quite as high having someone in the house who does it so naturally and easily… ahem.

gray-and-mustard-fabric2

For these fabrics we started out with hand drawings with either ink or sharpie. The stripes and grid my husband drew are not yet repeat patterns in the hand drawings, but rather one “tile” of the pattern without all the junctions of the later repeat being all the way accurate. With admirable diligence and maybe yet a little magic, my husband then turned them into a repeat at the computer. Stripes and a grid: looks easy to turn into a repeat, but with the natural inaccuracies of hand drawn lines it did end up being quite a job, especially when new to this field.

original-and-fabric-stipes

The “stars” or “flowers” – sort of hard to say what they actually are – I made to be a repeat pattern from the get go with a folding technique I will show you how to do in one of my next post. I first have to follow up on my promise to write about my favorite herb and diy body care books. For now here are two links to great tutorials using the a cutting method: design sponge and gorgeous shiny things. Made me smile to see that Danika of gorgeous shiny things actually got the instructions from a book I have named in a previous post of mine about our first patterns:  A Field Guide to Fabric Design by Kimberly Kight. I still think it is an absolutely great book if you are interested in starting with repeat patterns or even to just learn about them.

original-and-fabric-grid

It is really interesting that even though the hand drawn pattern works as a repeat per se on the original piece of paper, but once you scan it in and fill a bigger area with the pattern you start seeing where things don’t end up being a harmonious pattern because certain parts stand out too much, or gaps end up being too big. So that is where it comes in handy again to use illustrator to fill those holes or rearrange some things to make the pattern look good overall.

original-and-fabric-stars

To then sew the pillow cases I inserted invisible zippers, something I highly recommend, be that for pillows as here or for sewing garments. Those invisible zippers just look so elegant and they can be sewn in even without a special invisible zipper foot, simply by using the regular zipper foot. Here are two tutorials I really like: one by Colette using the special foot, and the other by sew ‘n’ sushi with the regular zipper foot. The latter is in German, but it has many pictures, so maybe worth while to look into it even if German is not necessarily your language…

Thanks for looking in on my blog: I really enjoy sharing my excitement about beautiful things, things so make and create, be that with fabrics, foods or skin care. And with each one of you visiting I get to experience a moment of that joy of sharing.

 

 

Green tea velvety eye salve recipe

Velvety soft, light, smooth…. simply wonderful this eye salve! I don’t think it will magically erase the fine wrinkles around my eyes  – I guess those are just part of life experience and laughter – but for sure the thin and tender skin around my eyes feels more nourished, and less dry, thus automatically seeming less wrinkly. What I do know for sure is that lightly tapping this salve on around my eyes is in itself a rewarding experience. And sometimes I also love using it for my entire face. Your skin will look a bit oily right when you apply the cream, but it quickly absorbs. And should you worry about oiliness, you can always use this cream solely in the evening.

eye-salve2

The recipe I used is from Pins and Procrascination. There are other recipes using coffee for example, so in case that speaks to you more than green tea, you’ll find a collection of other eye creme recipes on this pin board of mine.

The only alteration in the recipe I made is using apricot kernel instead of almond oil. Here it is:

  • 2 Tbsp almond oil (I used apricot kernel oil instead)
  • 1Tbsp shea butter
  • ¾ tsp beeswax
  • 1 bag green tea (I used about 1 ½ tsp organic loose green tea)
  • 1-2 drops vitamin e oil
  • 5 drops peppermint (I used 2)

How to: Before starting, make sure that all the tools, pots and jars you use are sterilized, I put them in boiling water for 10 minutes, and in the meantime make sure the countertop is also super clean.
Melt apricot kernel oil, shea butter and beeswax. In order to preserve the oils qualities it is important to never let oils get too hot. The best way is to use a double boiler, but you can also put the oils in a heat proof glass jar or measuring cup and put in a pot or pan filled with water reaching to about half the hight of the jar, having the stove on low. Once everything is melted, add the green tea and let simmer on low for 20 minutes. Then drain with cheese cloth, mix in peppermint oil and pour into a 2oz container. Let it cool for several hours and then enjoy!

Gently apply under and around your eyes with your ring finger just lightly tapping. The ring finger is our weakest finger, helping to be gentle on the delicate skin around your eyes. Also don’t apply all the way up to the rim of your eye and the eye lashes, it might clog pores and then cause puffy eyes – not good! But don’t worry, all of the skin around your eyes will get some of the wonderful salve, since it will simply soak it up from where you applied it.

In terms of shelf life I personally feel good to use this salve for 6 month to up to a year, especially since I sterilized the tools and containers and because the salve contains no water. Of course if the salve starts to smell weird or in any way changes consistency I would always discard it immediately.
Shelf life is a tricky subject, and probably everyone is different about it and I only speak for myself here, based on what I have read so far, and what my own sense about it is. There are quite divergent opinions about this topic, as with so many things… Also a big thing to consider is the climate you live in: the hotter and more humid the shorter the shelf life, and the more important to keep it in the fridge. In general dark cool places are the best.

tea-and-beeswax

About the ingredients:
Apricot kernel oil:
I chose this oil for its fine texture and because it easily absorbs into the skin. This oil is especially recommended for softening the tender skin around your eyes. I also read that it is wonderful and in some ways most effective if used just as a pure oil.
Shea butter: This butter just wonderfully softens skin, and leaves it radiant and nourished, just like in my all time favorite body butter. I use organic, unrefined butter, which has a nutty scent, combining quite nicely with the grassy-earthy scent of the green tea.
Green tea: is said to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that might help slowing down the process of wrinkle-production. If you want to read more, I found this short article about what green tea can and cannot do, which seems quite well researched to me.
Beeswax: helps to thicken the salve and also adds a protective layer to keep out environmental influences as well has retaining the moisture of the skin. If you want to read more, here is a really interesting article.
Peppermint essential oil: the menthol contained in peppermint has a refreshing effect. The original recipe for this eye cream says to add 5 drops. I used 2 because i did not want to risk having too much of a peppermint scent or have it sting my eyes. But with 2 drops it is hardly noticeable so next time I will use 5 drops. Peppermint essential oil is also said to balance oily skin and nourish dull skin. You’ll find more information here.

I hope you’ll fare well and enjoy your own creativity till next time! I’m planning to write about my favorite books on herbs and skin care.

 

 

 

Silky soft grapefruit body butter recipe

Somehow winter time for me brings some turning inward, cuddling up, taking care of myself, and with it I discovered diy skin and body care this winter. There is something so precious and caringly luxurious to making your own skin care products. There are wonderful recipes and tutorials out there, of which I have collected quite a few on different pinterest pin boards. I keep adding on to my collection of recipes and general information since I quite badly caught the virus of diy skin care. Actually the virus did not even stop there, but went on to spreading to household cleaning supplies, toothpaste and deodorant So be aware: looking into one body butter recipe migh possibly lead to way, way more…. But should I contribute to this virus spreading, I’d be super happy.

body-butter4

I used to never regularly put on lotion, because somehow the lotions I had did not seem to really nourish my skin. But now my skin gets treated every day, and it is such a joy to me, has become my little morning ritual, loving the scent of fresh grapefruit and the slightly earthy touch of francinsence mixed with a nutty touch from the shea butter. And the best part is, my skin loves it and looks radiant and nourished! Cannot wait for summer to show it off.

It is wonderful using existing recipes and having the possibility to alter them according to what feels best for your skin. Everyone really is quite unique and it is so rewarding to make something that really matches you and what your skin needs. I am only at the beginning of learning about essential oils, carrier oils and butters, but it definitely is exciting to learn about all the different benefits. I am not yet at a place to have gathered enough knowledge to offer it in my own words here, but if you are curious to learn more, I have started to collect some educational material on this topic here.

body-butter2

I based my body butter recipe on Mama Dweebs site, and made some alterations. I also liked the instructions on Hens and Honey and A Cultivated Nest. The great thing about this body butter recipe is also that you can actually get all the ingredients in your local health food store.

Body Butter recipe – for a 4oz container (and a little extra)

  • 2 Tbsp shea butter (raw, unrefined)
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil (raw, unrefined)
  • 1/2 Tbsp calendula oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp almond oil
  • 2 drops non GMO vitamin e oil
  • 15 drops grapefruit essential oil (wonderfully refreshing scent)
  • 4 drops francincense essential oil (great for skin repair and rejuvenation)
    (instead of these essential oils you could also use: 7 drops lemongrass, 2 drops ylang ylang and 3 drops lavender)

Instruction:
Before starting sterilize all the utensils and the container you will use for 10 minutes in boiling water or run through sterilizing program in your dishwasher.
Melt the butters in a double boiler or pyrex glass jar in water bath; once melted add the liquid oils and stir.
There are different methods for how to proceed from here, for me the following worked best so far: put in freezer for 15-20 minutes till it starts getting milky and a little firmer, but is still liquid (but check in between to make sure it does not harden too much).Then whip it with hand mixer on medium speed till it gets white and a little foamy. Put it back in the freezer for about 5 minutes in order for it to set more, then whip on slow for 5-10 minutes till it is like thick pudding, but still has a consistency that you can pour into the container.

Just watch not to over whip the body butter, then it can get a bit too hard. It will be still good to use, but I like it better, when somewhat softer. I did not look extensively, but on the blogs I read no one wrote about getting the butter too “hard”, so maybe it is just me – but in case it happens to you, at least you know there is one more person out there to whom it happened too…

You won’t need much of this body butter, in fact, when you start using it, maybe begin with what might look too little. You might be surprised how far a little of this goes.

Now as for shelf life of this butter: according to what I have read so far the fact that this body butter only contains butters and oils and no water, the chances for growing bacteria is not so high. But by dipping into the jar with our fingers, we do introduce bacteria each time, so if you want to be on the safer side, probably storing it in the fridge or using a clean spatula or spoon to take the body butter out of the jar will help.
The good thing about having made a small batch and using it frequently is that the chances for it lasting long enough to grow bacteria actually are not high at all. I myself would be comfortable using it for 3-4 months or even a bit longer, especially in the winter, but this is just my sense of things. The information I have found so far diverges between people saying to use it up fairly quickly to being ok with using it for up to a year.

Hope you got inspired – enjoy!

 

 

DIY wing chair slip cover with sweet potato print

When looking around in blogosphere land, the pre-holiday-busyness-syndrome definitely did not seem to have kept everyone from blogging, but it did me… so far. Today I want to share about finally making a slip cover for a dearly beloved and tremendously cozy wing chair. It won’t be a full blown tutorial, since there are already so many great tutorials out there. But I will share which tutorials I used and also add some tweaks I made and preferences for techniques.

chair

I have had this chair for about 20 years now – yes, time does pass! Back then my mother had gotten it from my grandparents and had it newly upholstered for me. I had asked her then to just have it done with a simple white muslin, because I wanted to sew my own slip cover! You might be wondering: did I make a slip cover back then and just felt like making a new one now? Nope, no slip cover in the last 20 years…. but since I also liked it in white I did not feel too bad all those years to never having gotten to sewing one.

Collage

But finally, just before the year 2015 switches over to 2016, I started talking about making a slip cover again. I guess it helped that with time the white muslin started to show some not so attractive aging signs, like a slightly yellowish hue mainly on the armrests. Maybe I had needed just that to finally actually make the slip cover.
Since both my husband and I love creating patterns, we decided to make the fabric together and chose to go for a sweet potato print, inspired by Christine Schmidt’s book Print Workshop – Hand-Printing Techniques + Truly Original Projects. 

First I cut the fabric into rectangular pieces, roughly fitting the main areas of my wing chair. Then I pinned them to the chair and drew a more exact outline, to then cut the different pattern pieces with quite an abundant seam allowance. The next step was to print the pattern pieces.  I collected some of the tutorials on how to do this on one of my pinterest boards, and I especially liked this one.

Printing: Using a linol cutter set and sharp kitchen knife, we cut the sweet potatoes and one regular potato (for the yellow leaf), carving the feather or leaf-like shapes. For the actual printing we mixed our own fabric color by adding fabric medium to acrylic paint we already had at home. You’ll find a few pins  about making your own fabric color on my pinterest board, and a more detailed tutorial here.
I personally like it best to put the color onto the potatoes with a foam stencil brush, because in my experience it is the best way to apply the color evenly. It is always good to use a scrap of the fabric you will end up using to make some test prints to get a feel for how much color exactly to put on and also how hard to press to get the result you want.

Sewing: Once we had all the pattern pieces printed it was time to finally sew the chair cover together. This did challenge my patience, but the end result was definitely worth some of the swearing along the way.
I pinned the printed pattern pieces on the chair and then basted them together as close to the chair as possible, then marked the exact sewing line along the original seam lines of the chair and trimmed off some of the excess fabric.
Many posts say to pin the pattern pieces, but to me it was easier and also better to take it off the chair for sewing with having it basted. After that it just took some diligent sewing, and testing the fit on the chair in between, until finally the slip cover I wanted to make for 20 years was done! Overall I would say: just start doing it, read a few tutorials, but then also feel free to follow your own common sense in how exactly to sew it together and in which order.

chair-with-pillow

Since it is quite a busy pattern, I wanted a pillow to add a calm element, using a solid gray fabric onto which I sewed just one of the potato print elements to connect it to the chair. Voila, done! And I really enjoy taking my cup of coffee in it in the morning, looking out into the morning sky.

Coziest Autumn Jacket ever – City Cardi from Ottobre

This jacket is so cozy and comfortable, I almost don’t want to turn on the heat inside in order to  just keep wearing it all the time – almost….  I used the City Cardi pattern from the Autumn/Winter 5/2012 Ottobre Magazine, and a wonderful thick wool knit that actually looks like hand knit on the outside and is backed with a smooth jersey on the inside. I got it online at mood fabrics, and just wish I would have gotten more when they still had it in stock. Would have made for a lovely blanket, couch cushion, or vest for my husband, etc., etc….. Did I already say that I love this fabric?

City-Cardy-side-leaves

Some tips for working with Ottobre patterns: you will have to copy your pattern from a sheet with multiple patterns, so it really helps to have a good lighting situation. To my taste the Ottobre pattern sheets could be a little less crammed, but then again I appreciate getting many patterns for just the price of one magazine – thus worth it, especially when relieved with a little swearing now and then.

Fabric choice: even though the fabric description of mine said that it basically had no stretch, I actually found it to have just the right give for this jacket. Especially with the raglan sleeves I think it is important to have some stretch in order for the shoulder part to really lie flat. A boiled wool knit could also work really well for this jacket.

 

Sizing: having studied several pattern reviews of this jacket, I found that some experienced the sleeves being a bit tight. Since I made the Minoru jacket with raglan sleeves where I  also found this type of sleeves a little tight, I decided to actually go for making a muslin! Luckily this jacket does not have many pattern pieces, and I reduced the number even further by leaving out the collar completely, so I had the muslin ready in no time. Am I glad I made one – it helped me find out exactly how much wider I would want the sleeves and where to add the width. Overall I went for a size 36 (my measurement of 86cm bust is right between size 36 and 38 with Ottobre), but adjusted the upper part of the sleeves up to 42, and the sleeve in general to 38, especially since the fabric I used is rather thick. Sounds like tons, but the differences between the sizes are not that much, and I really played with all those sizes here, adding most under the arms and half way up the shoulder seams and then not so much near the neck area to avoid an overly wide neckline.

Sewing: Sewing this jacket together is super easy, even more so since I did not make any hems, trying to avoid the extra bulk created by thick wool fabric, but also wanting a bit of a “rougher” look by just serging the edges with a contrasting color. I topstitched all the seams to create flat seams. For the sleeves I stitched the seam allowance down by hand, since I have not found a good way yet to do topstitching in sleeves with the machine. If anyone knows, please let me know!

 

Details: I chose to not use a zipper and instead added sew on snap buttons which I covered with bits of the cosmos fabric my husband and I had designed in the summer. It was the perfect color match for the coat. I secured the pockets with small Xs in a very narrow zig zag stitch to have another color highlight with the benefit of securing the pocket.

Since I already claimed this to be the coziest autumn jacket ever, you probably won’t be surprised that I am quite sure to use this pattern again, maybe in a bolder color  of boiled wool knit or with a french terry cotton, possibly lining it in order to make it into a reversible jacket… who knows!
In case you read this because you are planning to make this jacket for yourself: enjoy!

 

Shoe Matt for Muddy Weather – Tutorial

A characteristic of quite a few American houses  I have come across is that the main entrance door and the living room area are in very close proximity to each other, in our case one literally almost falls right onto the couch when opening the main entrance door. And even though there is something that can be said about the sense of hospitality suggested by that proximity, especially in autumn and winter it does make the challenge of entering with muddy winter boots somewhat more acute… But then again maybe this is just me, or my upbringing in Europe where there is a more distinct boundary between entrance area and living room, providing the muddy boots some privacy from the onlooker’s eye on the couch.

sorell-on-matt
My admittedly not yet muddied shoes on the new mud shoe matt…..

Back to my challenge of trying to avoid muddying up our entrance/living room floor. Last year I put a rather not so attractive piece of cardboard on the floor right next to the door, but this year I came up with a more fun and somewhat more appealing version: a mud shoe matt made from oilcloth. Just in case I should ever forget what exactly the matt next to the door is for, I decided to add silhouettes traced from our shoes…. (One never knows quite when and where forgetfulness hits you, right?)readyWhat you need:
Waxed fabric, laminated cloth or oil cloth in two different colors or patterns
Rotary cutter
piece of cardboard the size of the mattcutting-out
Sewing machine

How to make it:
1) Cut 2 rectangles of your desired size from the main oilcloth and one from the underlying oilcloth, mine were 34.5 cm x 54 cm (including a 0.5 cm seam allowance)
2) Cut thick cardboard (i used an old mailing box) a little smaller than the final size of the matt, mine was 33 x 52.5 cm
3) Trace shoes on paper, then use the paper pattern to cut out the silhouette from one of the rectangles cut from the main oilcloth. I used washers from the hardware store as pattern weights, then cut the shape with my rotary cutter.Shoe-Scraps
4) Place the cloth with the cut out shoe silhouettes on top of the rectangle cut from the contrasting cloth, and connect both layers by sewing closely along the edge of each shoe. I like the somewhat rugged and imperfect look of the free hand stitch, and went around each silhouette three times. You can also use a zig zag stitch if you like that better though. If you want to go more colorful, you could place a differently colored oilcloth behind each pair of shoes….
5) Then place bottom part cut from main fabric with right sides together on the top part with the silhouettes. You will leave one of the narrow sides open to insert the cardboard later on. In order skizzeto have clean corners on the open side when turning the matt around, fold each layer on the open side over by about 0.5 cm or whatever seam allowance you choose.
6) Sew the layers together, preferably using a small seam allowance in order to avoid bulk that might later be in the way of the cardboard.
7) Turn the matt inside out, insert the cardboard and then if the cardboard has some wiggle room, sew  a narrow seam all around the matt using the zipper foot in order not to bump up against the cardboard. If you calculated your measurements in a way that the cardboard fits in very tightly, only close the open side with a narrow seam. In case there should not be enough room to make a seam, either take out the cardboard an shorten a bit, or close the seam by hand.
8) Done! Ready for those muddy boots…

boden-on-matt
Not that these shoes are necessarily adequate mud and winter shoes, but I just could not resist the look of them on the new matt and had to take a picture…