Tag Archives: fabric

Giving it up for Lent: A Mini Stash Diet

I’m not even religious, but I’m still a big fan of Giving Something Up for Lent, much more so than the Catholics that surround me here in the south of Germany. You see, I have a scizophrenic relationship with consumerism: on the one hand I love stuff as much as the next person, I love getting new stuff, and also I have the financial means to buy stuff without having to go without food or other necesseties. On the other hand I am very conscious of the fact that consumerism and the capitalist mantra to make the world tick on by buying more, more, MORE leads to environmental and social damage that might lead to the exact opposite of the world ticking on.

Rather than having any Great Solution to these problems I’ve fallen into the habit of Giving It Up for Lent: For six weeks I try to do without some of the things that have become second nature at all other times. Alcohol, sweets, meat are the obvious candidates. To anethesize my anticapitalist tendencies I also have included what I call “gratuitous shopping” in my list. In previous years this used to mean all sorts of clothes, shoe and this and that shopping. But of course I don’t really buy a lot of RTW any more, so giving this up wouldn’t really make any difference. This for the first time EVER I’m comimitting myself to a stash diet – a minute one. I vow not to buy and fabrics from today, Ash Wednesday, to –  but not including – 18 April, when the next local fabric market will take place.

The hardened stash dieters amongst you will laugh out loud at me, I know. Especially as I’m giving myself leave to break with my diet should I chance upon interesting fabric shops in my upcoming journey to the south of Italy in late March (you see, real Catholics always have a way out, in this case by making travels a diet free zone. Neat, ey?!).  For me, it’s baby steps: two months of not buying fabrics and sewing only from my stash. Not sure I will emerge from the experience spiritually healed, but at least my fabric chest might have enough room to accommodate the fabric market haul.

How about you? Stash diet going well? Does Lent have any place in your life? Do you think my slight anxiety attacks at the thought of NO MORE FABRIC SHOPPING FOR TWO MONTHS are ridiculous? And what fabric would you buy first after those two months?



Top 5 Ideas to Get More Out of My Stash

I’ve been kinda lazy on the top 5 front this year – although I did make quite a few nice things that I have worn a lot. But somehow I felt I couldn’t decide, especially as some of my favourites are – as yet – unblogged.

But I did decide that 2015 might be the year where I take away from my stash more than I add to it. Revolutionary, at least for me, I know, but somehow it’s time. Note that this is NO committment to a stash diet – I don’t do diets 😉 .

Aaanyways, I thought I might look through my stash and find some fabrics that I like and start some plans as to what to do with them.

IMG_0585 So here’s the pile of fabrics I identified for new ideas.

Starting from the bottom, the first fabric is already spoken for:

IMG_0573 It’s a ivory colour boucle type fabric. It came from the remnants bin of my local fabric store and I always wanted to make a straightforward blazer. But now I’ve fallen for the jacket ROSA from the Burda Vintage edition. So this is towards the front of my queue.

IMG_0574This cotton crochet lace has been in my stash for far too long. I know I want to make a simple 3/4 sleeve top out of it. Burda has had a few suitable versions over the years, but I have always chickened out because I’m not really sure of how to finish this rather thick lace. It’s time for some experimental sewing!

IMG_0575This wants to be a spring coat! The solid blue is a wool fabric, relatively light for a coat, that’s why I think it might be good for spring. The flowery lining is a cotton satin – I orginally bought it for a dress, but I think it’s a bit much for that. Much better as a lining! I’m not quite sure about the pattern yet, so it might take a little while before I get round to making this.

IMG_0580 This stretch satin is going to be slimline trousers. I have a new Burda pattern in mind and if everything goes according to plan this will be on my sewing table next.

IMG_0581 Hmmm… Shirtdress? Shirt? Pajamas? I have three metres and this needs to go now as it’s looking at me with an evil eye. Ideas anyone?

IMG_0584 This I’m actually excited about. The striped fabric is a wool mixture boucle and I have enough to make a light indoor coat. The black is only a 25cm remnant of a leather effect something or other, but I think it will look good as an accent. I think I will use the same pattern as for my accidental autumn coat. Soon, I can feel it.

Well, these were even top 6 ideas (although one is hardly an idea yet, so I’m back at five.) But I wouldn’t want to leave you without a look at my last fabric purchase of 2014:

Isn’t that just the bees’ knees?


Completely mad, but quite wonderful, don’t you think? I only have one metre, but this will have to be a skirt of some sort. How I’ll  avoid Bambi-on-bottom pattern placement issues I don’t know yet, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

How about you: Stash diet, yah or nay? And what are your next sewing plans?

Look Where I’ve Been!

Foto1016I’m sure you can tell from my crappy mobile phone picture.

No, you can’t? Let me spell it out for you:


Still nothing? Come on, work with me here!


Of course! I did a spot of fabric shopping during my pre-Easter trip to London with my daughter. I left her in nearby Hammersmith for some teenage retail therapy (read Primark for that) and did my own type of retail therapy in the Goldhawk Road.

sneaky peek into my shopping bag:

Foto1019From top to bottom:

  • Liberty style paisley cotton/rayon mix
  • spotty cotton pique
  • Liberty silk
  • synchronised swimmers cotton
  • white and silver stripes something or other knit

What you can’t see is my very, very happy face (my phone is old enough never to have heard of selfies…)

I’ve only been back from London for a few days, but three of the fabrics have already been turned into garments (I’m wearing a synchronised swimmers blouse as we speak and I squeal with delight every time I clap eyes on those swimming ladies – but more on all that later!)

Goodness, I love fabric shopping! Stash busting clearly is not for me. The only way of keeping up is to sew faster than I shop 😉 .

Have you done any interesting sewing related shopping recently?

London Fabric Shopping: Useful Advice?

Life is treating my kindly these days – I will have a chance to travel to London very shortly and while the main purpose of the trip is to show my daughter the delights of London together with a visit to the O2 to see the inimitable Miranda, rest assured that some fabric shopping will be done.
So this is where I would like to ask your advice: Where should I go?

So far I know of

Do you think there are any other/better places to go and visit?

There are a few restrictions:

  • I’m flying Ryan Air, so I can’t buy huge amounts
  • I don’t really need anything, strictly speaking, so I might want to “concentrate” on summer dress type fabrics
  • no long travelling as daughter will have to tag along – and you all know how strict she is with me. So were are looking at Central London shops I guess.
  • If I only have time for either the Goldhawk Road or Walthamstow Market, which one should I pick?

So if you know of any super special London fabric shops I would love to know!


Chris x

Burdastyle 2/2014 # 109: Strawberry Skirts Forever

Miss Bossy over at The Monthly Stitch told me to make this skirt in March – but she also added  that after I had finished my homework I might use my favourite fabric of the moment to make another skirt. And so I did!


Yes, it has strawberries all over! It might not be wise, but I love it.


I had originally thought to make a pencil skirt, but over since Burda came out with this denim style skirt I knew this was the one for the strawberries.

There is not much to say about the pattern, Burdastyle 2/2014 # 109:

It’s a straight forward jeans style skirt, Burdastyle has several length and I used the longest length, just above the knee (I achieved this by lengthening the standard pattern by 5cm, my usual “alteration”). I cut a size 40 and graded out to a size 42 over the hip and upper thigh area. It came together without any incidence and after all my good jeans sewing practice of the last few months I did not even have to look at the instructions. I made the waistband using pre-cut interfacing, do you know the stuff that has the seam allowance and centre seam already perforated? I have to say I was not thrilled with this. The interfacing would have resulted in a 5 cm high waistband that is very stiff and inflexible and I found this uncomfortable and just a bit out of proportion. So I just reduced the height to about 3cm and I am much happier with this. I still think I will cut my own interfacing in future, even for a straight waistband as I don’t like the stiffness of the pre-perforated stuff so much.

The sewing of this skirt turned out to be very timely as we have had an unusally early and warm beginning to spring and I was able to wear the skirt twice already!

Here is me looking into the middle distance, as suggested by my teenage daughter:

IMG_7479Well, what would she say about this picture? Something like “Stop trying mum”, I think. How about you? Are you a natural when it comes to having your pictures taken? Or is it only second to going to the dentist like it is for me?

US Fabric and Pattern Online Shopping: Any Tips?

Unfortunately it’s not me who’s going to travel to the States soon, it’s my husband, and he’ll only go for work. However, that gives me the chance to do a spot of online shopping in the US.
Normally the cost of shipping and customs is so high that US shopping makes no sense for me, but now that I have a chance to have stuff shipped to my husband’s hotel in Vegas and have him bring it over, it seems a much more attractive idea.
Which brings me to my questions:

  • Do you have any tips for me as to good quality/value online shops? I’m looking for good quality natural fibre fabric, but because I will have to make a choice only based on a web picture I will probably go for classics rather than anything “out there”.
  • Where would I go to buy patterns?
  • Any good sales etc that I should know of (hubby will fly out end of Feb)?
  • Any brilliant places to go for quilting fabrics?
  • How do I make my husband to save all his luggage space for my shopping?

As ever: Thanks so much for you advice! I really appreciate it!

Burdastyle 9/2013 # 103: Early Indications Show This Could be a Winner


Like some sewists out there I hear voices. Not all the time, but I do hear them when out fabric shopping. “Look at me, look at me”, I hear fabrics calling. “Don’t buy her, buy me – who knows what wonderful things you could make me into”, fabrics call out enticingly, waving their fold at me shamelessly.

So far, so normal, at least for me. But the other day, something unusual happened: A fabric bewitched me by not only telling me to buy it, but also by demanding which pattern to use! Yep, I walked past a bolt of powder pink wool coating with not a thought in the world, because actually I was checking out a new delivery of linen silk blends, and it stopped me in my tracks telling me: “You will buy me and make me into a little spring jacket, you know the one you saw in a Burda magazine recently. Resistance is futile”.

So I took this as fate, went home, found the jacket the fabric wanted in last year’s September issue, checked for fabric requirements, went back to the shop the next day and now I am making a powder pink little spring jacket…
And while there was no powder pink little spring jacket anywhere even in the most tentative corners of my sewing plans, I love what is turning out!
The pattern the fabric chose this #103, a cropped jacket with a Peter Pan style collar:


In true Burda style you can’t see any of the design lines on the modelled version, but it’s actually very clever. The jacket has raglan sleeves, but they continue to the front and back forming a yoke.


I really have to praise Burda for this pattern: everything came together beautifully, all seems matched, the amount of easing between front and side pieces is perfect and although there was no hand holding with the instructions and I could not really visualize what they wanted me to do a few times I just did as they told me and it made sense in the end.

Here is the sleeve/yoke detail:



I have even remembered to cut the undercollar a little bit smaller so that the seam is not visible on the side:


Now I need to ponder which buttons to choose – unfortunately none of the buttons in my stash have spoken to me yet. Maybe I will have to take the coat to the shop and wait which buttons volunteer? Or should the ask the coat? It is the brains in this enterprise anyway.

Am I alone in this? Am I the only one who has her sewing choices dictated by fabric? Or do you have similar tales to tell?