The Kimono – My new wardrobe staple?

The first time I wore my vintage kimono, I immediately knew I needed more kimonos in my life. Then I figured the fastest way to get started was to copy the one I already had and then make smaller alterations. At first I wanted to make a really long one from a thick linen fabric but then one evening I got the idea to use one of my wax print fabrics. The kimono itself is not that complicated but it still took me forever to finish it, I had a lot going on in the late spring and then I was in Stockholm all summer. Now that I've made one, I have lots of ideas for different versions. I've been struggling to find cardigans in second hand shops lately so I think the kimono might become a new wardrobe staple of mine. Photos by Johanna Boyd

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The Floral Invasion

Remember that top with the wrap shoulder I made a few years ago? Or is it a blouse? Ok, I need to get my definitions in order! Anywho, I've been using it quit often but unfortunately the fabric isn't ageing that well. I got the fabric as a gift so I was never a 100% sure of the fiber content. I really like the wrap shoulder details so I made the same top from a light cotton floral fabric I bought last fall. I altered the the pattern a bit and made the sleeves a bit wider and the hem curved. I seem to have thing for curved hems lately. As you guys know, I'm a huge fan of floral patterns but I might need to pace myself. My summer wardrobe has experienced a serious floral invasion! So for my next sewing project I need to use some monochrome linen fabrics to balance things out.

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The year-round scarf

It only took me a year! Well, it's been finished for a month or so, I just hadn't gotten around to taking pictures of it. Why did it take so long? I'm in a way new to knitting so my pace is quit slow. Also, I was crocheting all kinds of projects in between so this scarf always ended up at the bottom of the priority list. The last (and first time) I knitted a scarf was in 7th grade. It was a navy blue garter stitch scarf that was very wavy because I was probably too impatient to care about knitting equally tight rows. I'm glad I took the time to knit this scarf properly. I wanted a thinner wool scarf that I could use all year round. When I took these pictures I thought I maybe won't be needing this scarf this summer but then I went to an outdoor party recently and was glad I hadn't packed it away with the rest of my winter clothes. Hopefully I won't need to use it too often this summer!

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Parrots Calling

I've now accepted the slow pace of my Project Dream Wardrobe. I might be coming along with my handicraft projects but the sewing projects just take much more time. While I'm working on my patience, here's one top I finished a while back. It's an altered version of this top, the difference being the rounded hem. This is such a versatile garment for me so I'm gonna keep making different versions. Right now I'm eager to get started on a wrap version and later I'd like to make a sleeveless option. I found the fabric last year and bought it without any specific garment in mind. There was something about the colour combination and the tropical theme that spoke to me. I usually go for the floral or abstract prints but this time the parrots were calling me! I still need to work on my "I'm so glad I finished this garment" face. I wonder where my mind wandered off to? I really love the unexpected colour combination of the fabric. Working on my creepy face. You never know when you're gonna need it! Parrots!

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Willing spring to arrive

Spring might not want to come to Helsinki just yet but I've already gotten started with spring cleaning. Last week I went through all my clothes, putting aside all the pieces that simply don't work for me anymore and man was I brutal! This wardrobe edition of the hunger games left me with little workwear which is daunting but I believe in the long run it will pay off. While going through my accessories I noticed that the scarves I've had the longest and that I use every year are the ones I've made myself. I have a couple of colourful scarves that have kept me warm in the coldest winters but they are quit thick and too warm spring and early autumn use. With my recent rediscovery of knitting, I decided to knit a thinner but textured scarf. I wear scarves pretty much all year round (except  for those few weeks in July when it gets really hot) so I need a few of those thin but warm ones in my wardrobe. I had originally planned to use the moss stitch for this scarf but I noticed it was hard to keep track of my rows while watching TV shows. So I…

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The shorts that knew too much

Ok, I couldn't help myself, I just love funny titles! The shorts in question are made from that pair of jeans I found earlier this summer. Before I made these I counted I had only 2 pairs of shorts so a third pair was needed. I had to dye the shorts 2 times before I got this colour. I did the mistake of not using enough hot water the first time and the result was not good. I was using a plastic bucket  that can't handle temperatures above 60ºC, bad idea on my part. I've now purchased a stainless steel bucket for future projects. Some time around the millennium I had a serious tie dye and print phase. I dyed and printed everything from clothes, bags and even sheets. Not knowing anything about printing techniques back then I found my own way by using book covering film. I cut each X separately in order to be able to align them better. Using book film is quit primitive way to print garments but it works quit well for big and very simple prints. Plus, book covering film is something I always have around as I insist on covering all my books. Voilà,…

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In florals we trust

Ever since I bought THAT red coat last year, I've been re-examining which coat shapes work for me and dared to try on silhouettes that I before might have considered to be too oversized for my body shape. When I was in Vaasa over midsummer I was doing  my usual second hand round when I stumbled on this floral print. I loved the print straight away and wanted to buy the garment  but I couldn't figure out if it was a coat or a dress so I ended up deciding that it was probably some grandmother's pyjamas from perhaps the 70's. I hesitated for a moment  to try it on since it was size XL which meant there was a lot of fabric and the scale of the print magnified that. But you know me, I'm a sucker for prints (especially florals) so I had to buy it. I figured I'd change and decrease the amount of buttons, add a belt and wear this floral tent as a coat. I can honestly say that this is one of the best purchases this year! Though it's oversize it's well proportioned and the big pockets (that you can barely see because of the…

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A blouse called Blanche

Ok, I just called it Blanche 'cause it almost rhymes with blouse.  Maybe Claire or Mary would be better names? Anywho, these days it seems the only way I can finish a sewing project is if I isolate myself for an entire weekend.  Gone are the days when I could work on several projects at the same time. Since I moved a year ago, I don't have as much space for spreading out fabrics and making patterns. But enough complaining! Last Saturday I confined myself to my room (the weather was crappy anyway) and made a blouse. It's a basic t-shirt model that I made in a flowy rayon fabric. I've previously made another version with a wrapped shoulder. This one is a little wider than usual and has longer sleeves. I also made it with curved  hems . I'm definitely going to make more versions of this blouse. It's great for work since it's chic and casual but not too informal as a regular t-shirt. I've recently noticed that my work wardrobe is not as professional as I'd like it to be. So that's one more thing to add to my Project Dream Wardrobe. I'm one of those people…

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Apple greens and basket weaves

Remember a while back when I crocheted all those swatches and vowed to get started on a scarf? Well, I finally got started but I didn't use any of the crochet stitches I had sampled. What happened was I went to the yarn store and bought a few skeins of yarn in this lovely apple green colour, but when I got home I realised that the yarn was too thick for what I had in mind. So after hours of googling, youtubing and testing crochet stitches I decided to go with a basket weave stitch. I really like the thickness and the texture of it but it consumes a lot of yarn so I might have to pay that yarn store another visit.I find crochet to be very meditative so I'm glad I have this project to keep me occupied through the dark winter months.

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The lazy crochetter makes a comeback

Remember that bracelet I crocheted a while back? I decided to make a white one as well. I never wear white but lately I've been coveting white accessories and jewellery. I used a much finer cotton yarn than last time and used triple treble stitches for the grid. I also learned that there is a difference in interpretation of stitch names between the UK and US, very confusing! I have to learn more about that. Now I need to find more crochet patterns and maybe make a necklace. All tips are welcome!

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I love polka dots!

Last winter a friend of mine hosted a clothing swap event, what a brilliant idea! I came home with a few garments, among which; a pair of jeans I planned to wear this summer as shorts. So I cut off the legs but then put the project on hold since I couldn't decide which colour to dye them. Then last week (a very hot week) I realised that I only own 2 pairs of shorts and they were both in the laundry basket. So to save time and quickly make these shorts wearable, I decided to print rather than dye them. I had an idea of tuxedo like stripes on the sides but ended up doing polka dots instead. I think It was because of all the lovely polka dot fabrics I saw at the local fabric store (need to buy some and sew a full A -line skirt). Back to the shorts, I wanted big and more irregular polka dots so I opted for self made stencils and a brush. I'm sure there's an easier and more accurate way to do it but the improvised stencils worked for me. Now I just need to find another pair of jeans…

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Creating that dream wardrobe

My style has gone through various changes over the years but one thing that remains constant is my love for colour and print. The good  thing with getting older is that you get a better at knowing what works for you. So for the last year or so I've been editing my wardrobe, only leaving items that I love and actually use. I've become very picky about the materials and origins of the clothes. I've also learned that I don't need an enormous amount of clothes, just versatile items that work for most of the year. While editing down my wardrobe I haven't really been buying any new clothes, which has left me short of some essential items. The problem? I can't really afford the designer clothes that fit my criteria and I struggle to find time to for sewing. The solution? To take the time and make one piece at a time, properly. So that's what I've now started, Project Dream Wardrobe. For a while I've wanted to make a woven t-shirt that is loose but not oversize. So I made a pattern that I can easily customise. First up from that pattern is this t-shirt with a wrap…

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Dr. Red Riding Hood

I love going to second hand and vintage stores but once there I rarely buy clothing. I usually come home with glass objects, old zippers or bags. During the Easter holidays I visited one of my favourite stores in Vaasa in search of glass plates but I ended up trying on a bunch of spring coats instead. The minute I saw this red hooded one I had to try it on at once! It was such an odd garment with the hood and big pockets, making it look like a cross between a lab coat and Little Red Riding Hood's cape. Also, the coat only had 2 buttons, was quit worn and had a few stains. Despite all this I immediately decided to buy it. This is strange since it's not something I'd typically wear and I've previously found it difficult to combine this shade of red with anything in my wardrobe. But I have to admit that the "made in Finland" label appealed to me as well, it's quit rare with clothes made in Finland these days. But this is maybe an indication that I want to experiment more with my style. In the end the only consistent element…

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