Tag: organic fabrics

#MeMadeMay15 Roundup: How Many Times Have You Failed Today?

My #MeMadeMay15 takeaway – I need to ‘fail’ more!

Let me explain with a story I heard recently about Spanx founder, Sara Blakely.

Linden Sweatshirt by Grainline Studios in organic cotton sweatshirt jersey and Alexandra peg trousers by Named Clothing in organic cotton denim.
Linden Sweatshirt by Grainline Studios in organic cotton sweatshirt jersey and Alexandra peg trousers by Named Clothing in organic cotton denim.

As a young girl, the father of Sara Blakely, the founder of famous shape wear brand, Spanx, would ask her, how many times she’d failed that day. He wasn’t interested in the things that’d gone well but in the things that hadn’t. It wasn’t that he wanted to dwell on negatives but rather that ‘failing’ is a sign that you tried something and if you don’t try and fail and learn from your mistakes, you can’t grow and improve at what you’re doing. Sara credits this habit of acknowledging and analysing the ‘failures’ over the ‘successes’ for what made her persist and achieve the success she has with Spanx. She pushed through many failed attempts until she had a product that worked. This concept resonates with me and my attitude towards my sewing.

My #MMM15 challenge this year was to only post garments made with organic fabrics. I can remember a time in Germany when you could only buy beige, cream or brown coloured organic fabrics and the choice was really limited. Now you can buy a vast array of colours and types of fabric, the choice is growing all the time. I was curious to see if I could make everything I wanted to make using organic fabrics.

I’m satisfied with the quality and variety of organic fabrics I’ve got and the range of garments I’ve made but I’ve played it safe with styles. I latched onto the Linden sweatshirt pattern for instance because the pattern is easy to make and conveniently fast to squeeze into my limited sewing time. But as much as I like the pattern, I ended up remaking it countless times rather than moving on and challenging myself to make something more technical – trying something different. Overall my makes from #MMM15 were ‘safe’ style-wise but I want to shake things up and make more exciting stuff.

So my take away from this year’s #MMM15 is to make and fail more. I need to give myself more space to mess up. I often worry whether styles are age appropriate for me and if they show my old gnarly knees etc, LOL but I need to get out of my head and onto my sewing machine more and experiment. As well as admit I’ve been sewing for years now and it’s time I pushed myself to use more difficult sewing techniques. I’ve got many failed garments that I haven’t shared because they disappointed me. I wanted to discard and forget about them but I need to accept them as learning experiences and learn to embrace them instead.

So my new post-#MMM15 pledge is: ‘FAIL MORE!’.

How about you? How many times have you ‘failed’ today? How are you pushing yourself out of your comfort zone? I’d love to hear in the comments below.

Happy ‘failing’,

Christine

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#MeMadeMay15 – My Organic Me-Made-May 2015 Pledge.

Me Made May 2015 kicks off today and this year I’m showcasing my everyday organic wardrobe.

me made may 1

I joined Me-Made-May last year and loved it! It’s a great way to connect with other sewists and share wardrobe creations – but it was a lot of ‘work’ to get the pics!

This year, I may not manage a pic every day but I’ll post a weekly roundup on the blog and pics on Instagram @yosamicontact.

Over the last twelve months, 98% of the fabrics I’ve bought have been organic so a fair chunk of my me-made wardrobe is organic, so to keep things interesting, I’ll only post clothes I’ve made with organic fabrics. Tala vest by Named Clothing in organic cotton fleece and sequinned wool coating.

For this rainy and chilly May 1st, I’m wearing this cosy Tala vest by Named Clothing in organic cotton fleece and sequinned wool coating and Alexandra Peg trousers by Named Patterns in organic super lightweight cotton denim. It’s a comfy outfit, with a bit of sparkle but still practical at the same time.

I’m a recent convert to Named Clothing. I’ve been trying out their patterns after picking up a few in their last sale. I’d been put off buying them before because they’re one of the pricier pattern companies. Some of their patterns are double or triple the price of Vogue patterns in a sale for example or Burdastyle magazine and I couldn’t justify splashing out on them.

I was also apprehensive about the sizing because they’re drafted for taller models than me – I’m a 162cm shorty. But now I LOVE Named Clothing and I haven’t had any problems with their pattern sizing, so expect a few more patterns from them as the month goes on!

What do you think of Named Clothing patterns? Are you in for this MeMadeMay15 challenge? Let me know in the comments below.

And if you’d like to stay updated (it’s free) with latest info and blog posts from this blog, then sign up for the YoSaMi newsletter by leaving your email in the box at the top of the sidebar.

Happy sewing,

Christine

 

What the Japanese Can Teach Us About Sun Hat Making.

It’s been like summer here in southern Germany this last week. We were collecting Easter eggs in freezing conditions with a few flakes of snow a couple of weeks ago and yesterday we were basking in 28 degrees sunshine. Spring’s often like that here. Suddenly you’re packing away your woolies and trying to remember where you left your sunglasses months ago and rushing to buy sun cream.

Yoda all wet and muddy after jumping in the stream, trying to cool off in the heat!
Yoda all wet and muddy after jumping in the stream, trying to cool off in the heat!

The Japanese take sun protection very seriously. At least they did when I lived there. My husband’s Japanese and whenever we see his family I’m reminded about sun care. Products designed to block sun exposure are everywhere in Japan, from UV cutting face creams and cosmetics to umbrellas and hats. And this care and attention to maintaining pale skin seems to pay off. Many elderly women in Japan have the most beautiful wrinkle-free and flawless complexions. It’s inspiring.

When I first went there in my early twenties, I was admired for my pale skin. I felt colour-less and washed-out looking but for the Japanese it was the goal. You only have to look at the traditional make-up of the Geisha to understand the white-skinned beauty ideal of the Japanese. Now in my mid-forties, every time I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and shudder, I wish I’d adopted more of the Japanese sun-protecting ways over the years LOL.

I did learn the necessity of finding a good sun-hat though. Many people don’t wear sun hats here in summer and there aren’t a wide selection available to buy, so on my last visit to Japan I picked up this Japanese hat-making book so I could make my own.

‘Adult’s and Children’s  Hats’ ISBN978-4-529-04977-1.

Japanese hat making book
‘Hats for Adults and Hats for Children’

It’s helpful for novice hat-makers like me because it offers patterns that gradually build in difficulty from basic level to advanced allowing you to progress as you gain skills and confidence, to making more complex styles.

From basic beginner styles to advanced hat making skills.
From basic beginner styles to advanced hat making skills.

It also has patterns for children and adults in a range of sizes so I’ve been able to make hats for myself and both of my daughters from when they were toddlers till school age for the last couple of summers.

I first made this simple make for my older daughter. It’s one of the entry-level patterns and comes together really easily.

sun hat 10

It’s been well-worn and has now been passed on to the younger daughter.

sun hat 8
Hat made from organic cotton twill for the outer shell, and an organic cotton batiste for the lining and Japanese cotton for the brim.

Last summer I let my daughters choose the pattern they’d like because I wanted them to like and wear their hats. They both went for this style below with a small brim all the way around – not the most sun-protecting model in the book but I decided that if my daughters were happy to wear them, then they’d be better than no hats.

sun hat 2

This design is a level two hat and slightly more complex to make than the first because of the split brim and multi-pieced segmented crown. It’s still do-able, just with more pattern pieces.

sun hat 3
Linen/cotton outer shell and Liberty Art Fabrics cotton tana lawn for the back turn up brim and organic cotton batiste for the inner hat lining and grosgrain ribbon for the band.

I used Liberty tana lawn cotton on the back underside of the brim to give the hats a fun contrast when the brims are flipped up. I got the Liberty fabric from Shaukat’s online shop in their crafter’s section. I bought a pack of smaller fabric pieces in a variety of prints and they’re perfect for using on smaller projects such as these hats.

sun hat 4
Teddy bear motif from lace manufacturers in Switzerland – I’ll reveal where I got this in the next YoSaMi newsletter – leave your email in the box at the top of the sidebar to sign up – it’s FREE.

I made one of the book’s second level intermediate sun-hats for myself.

sun hat 1

I used linen for the outer layer and an organic cotton batiste for the lining and a hat band I bought in Japan. The hat band makes all the difference in keeping the hat’s shape but the grosgrain ribbon I used for the children’s hats also works well.

sun hat 5

It was still relatively easy to do but the side pleat added an extra challenge.

sun hat 6

I thoroughly recommend hat making. It’s satisfying because it’s relatively quick to do and sun hats are everyday items that get lots of wear in the summer – at least they do in our family.

Some people are put off by hats but I believe there’s a hat shape for everyone and this book covers many different styles to suit different face shapes and activities.

Hat Making: What You’ll Need

You don’t need special tools or materials to make these hats but you’ll need a lightweight woven lining fabric such as cotton batiste and either a grosgrain ribbon or ideally a hat band for the inside. I’d recommend using sturdy light to medium weight woven fabrics for the outer hat layer such as lightweight denims or linen. You’ll also need lightweight interfacing for the brims.

What’s your favourite summer accessory to make? Let me know in the comments below.

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Happy sewing as always,

Christine

 

 

 

 

 

 

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