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Why I Sew // KCW

why i sew: saskia

Hi all, it’s Saskia from Vera Luna again, with my final guest post. This week, each of the contributors will write about why they sew, and today it’s my turn. Over the past few days, I’ve been pondering about this question, and I realized that there are several answers.

pink collage

M sweater, Luuk hat

First, I sew and knit because it allows me to express my (and my kids’) style. When shopping we rarely find clothes that we like, especially for my daughter. It’s just too ruffly, pink and sweet. Boy clothes are a little bit better, but too often they involve stupid texts, cars, trucks or monsters. And cool unisex clothing is difficult to find and expensive! Lately, my two older kids (6 and 4) have become more opinionated about their clothes, and their opinions really defy the gender stereotypes. My daughter’s favorite color is blue and she will refuse to wear anything but jeans and sweaters, while my son recently expressed his love for pink and purple and asked me to sew him a pink skirt. I love the fact that I can create clothes that they love to wear and that reflect their own personalities.
blue collage

Whale patch, zigzag shirt, Frozen hat, snowy trees sweater

Second, I sew because it is such a down-to-earth, practical thing to do. Just like many other people, I spend a lot of (too much?) time online, browsing the virtual world. Sewing puts me back in the real world, it allows me to work with my hands and it stimulates my senses. Each Saturday morning, there’s an outdoor fabric market in my town, less than one kilometer from our house (yes, I’m lucky!!!). I love to spend my Saturday mornings by strolling to the market, followed by a cup of coffee in town. Often, I don’t even buy anything, but just browsing the stands, seeing and touching all the different fabrics leaves me satisfied and inspired.

summer collage

Ole guacamole, Puffin shorts, Pineapple tee, Space race tee

My final reason to sew is because I love to create. There is something magical about bringing ideas to life. And the best thing about clothes is that they really come to life when being worn. As soon as they are taken from the coat hanger and put onto a body, they literally become three dimensional. It’s so much better than a painting that hangs statically on the wall.  I mean, look at a spinning skirt on a little twirling girl. Could anything be more alive than that?

Meg, thanks again for inviting me over here. I really enjoyed writing these posts and hope you enjoyed reading them too.


kcw: mistakes

mistakes: saskia from vera luna

Hi there! It’s Saskia from Vera Luna again. How did Kids Clothes Week go for you? Did everything  go as planned? Did it involve smooth sewing or a lot of swearing and seam ripping? Are you satisfied with the results?

We decided that this week would be devoted to mistakes. Of course it is tempting to  only blog about our highlights and ignore our failures, but the truth is, we learn most from our mistakes (at least, if you’re not me…ahem. More on that later)

So without much further ado, here -in reverse order-  is my Top 4 of Mistakes:

Coming in fourth are serger mishaps. Fortunately, these don’t happen very often anymore (hence fourth place), but they were quite common when I started using my serger. Especially when serging sleeves, fabric would fold up at the underside of the garment, and be caught in the stitches or even cut off. Having learned my lesson the hard way, nowadays I always take great care in making sure that all fabric is nice and flat when feeding it through the serger. Still, sewing an item only with the serger -apparently the way to whip out clothes in no time – is lost on me. Too scary!

At third place, you’ll find necklines.  I sew mostly with knits, and the main hurdle of each tee or sweater is to create a neat, non-wavy neckline. I think I might finally have mastered them: during this KCW I actually made two reasonable necklines in a row…. The trick: measure the circumference of the neckline and cut your ribbing at 3/4ths of this length. That is enough, really! Another strategy is to avoid necklines altogether, by adding a hood, cowl or envelope neck.

The second place is firmly taken by sizing errors. I never really measure my kids’ sizes, and usually just eyeball it. I take a garment that fits them quite well and estimate the measurements based on that. Whereas this strategy usually works out quite well, I often end up with clothes with weird proportions.

ahoy5I wanted to be sure that this sweater would go over the baby’s head. It did… It even fit over my head…. O, and did you notice the weird placement of the elbow patch? That’s what I mean… (not to mention the mismatched stripes on the sleeve)

Here’s a random list of some of my measuring mistakes:

  • A sweater for my baby with a neckline that was so wide that it fit around my own head,
  • Veery skinny jeans,
  • Sweaters with sleeves that were too long (not a big problem, just extra work to hem them again),
  • Sweaters with sleeves that are a tad short (a bit more of an issue),
  • Highwater pants,
  • Elbow patches placed too high and knee pads well below the knee…. (oops),

However, my most epic sizing failure must have been when I started off making a tee for my one-year old, and ended up with one fitting my tall four-year old… Can you believe that?

The stupid thing is, I know that this is my personal pitfall, but I don’t seem to learn from it. A lot of these errors could have been prevented if I had taken the time to measure my kids and adjust the patterns accordingly. But I always want to get to the fun part as quickly as possible, and skip this important step.

space raceThis started out as a tee for my one-year old. It ended up large enough for my four-year old. See the lightblue patch on the waistband? Yeah, also a measurement error…

My  number one mistake -beyond doubt-  is the yarn-dyeing experiment that resulted in exploding wool. Last autumn I tried my hand at yarn dyeing with food coloring, vinegar and a microwave. I had read some tutorials on the Internet, but they all prescribed slightly different amounts of  ingredients  and cooking times. So I decided to wing it and follow the instructions loosely (recognize a theme here?). I put the yarn in a bowl with water, food coloring and a few spoons of vinegar, put the stuff in the microwave, and let it simmer for a few minutes. As you can imagine, it looked and smelled as if I was brewing some toxic concoction. At some point, I left the kitchen to fetch something upstairs, leaving the microwave simmering on. Suddenly I heard a loud bang, followed by an outrageous shout from my husband. I came back to find the inside of the microwave completely covered in blue spatters. My husband was furious, and wasn’t calmed by my remark that it was just food coloring and  perfectly safe… I had to promise him never to do it again.
However, I might secretly repeat it, because the end result was great!

yarn dyeingMicrowave yarn dyeing – very cool, but explosive!

So, those were my mistakes! I’m not sure if you learned a lot from it, but I do hope you had fun reading about my stupidities…

upcycle after: sweaters & shirts

upcycle after: sweaters and shirts

Hi all, it’s Saskia again from Vera Luna. One of the challenges of upcycling is to use what you have. You might be lucky and reuse clothes with a nice print or pattern, but most likely your base material will be plain (solid or striped) knits. Of course, you could create great basics out of such material, but you might want to add some more color and fun! If your kids are like mine, they will certainly appreciate it… Their motto seems to be “the bolder the better!”
As Meg mentioned in her introduction, I love to customize my creations by using paint, dye, freezer paper stencils, appliques, patches and bleach. So today I’d like to dive into this topic and showcase some great examples of  shirts and sweaters that are embellished in various ways.

Add animals
Which little kid doesn not love animals? Every kid has their own favorite animal that they would love to see on their clothes. Here are some fun examples of animals added to shirts and sweaters. Sew on a bunch of butterflies from scrap material, paint a panda face, add an animal with flock foil, or use a sharpie or transfer paper for a more detailed print.
animals51. Butterflies, Boden USA; 2.4. Bat tee, Max California; 3. Panda raglan, You and Mie; 4. Appliqued lion, Miekatoentje;  5. Lion with bow tie, Ada Spragg


Add words

words and letters1. E shirt, Ukkonooa; 2. HongKong tee, Shaffer Sisters; 3. Happy camper, He and I; 4. Hola, See Kate Sew; 5. Stuntman, A Lemon Squeezy Home

I’m not a big fan of silly texts on kids’ shirts, but somehow kids just become so cool when wearing a shirt or sweater with the right words. Don’t you agree?
I collected many great examples on my new Pinterest board, and had a hard time selecting photos for these collages. You can add texts by using a freezer paper stencil and fabric paint, but you can also applique or reverse applique them. Also check out this great series that ran last year at Boy oh Boy oh Boy.  Called The Fashionable Type, this series was all about typography in kids’ wear.

green letters1. Hohoho, Craftstorming; 2. Be cool, Shwin & Shwin; 3. Guacamole, Vera Luna; 4. Liberty Love, A Jennuine Life

Striped adult-sized shirts or sweaters are great source material to upcycle. If you have too little fabric to create a full striped shirt, or if you want to make something bolder and outspoken, think about playing with the direction of the stripes, or combine striped fabric with other fabrics.

stripes-collage1. Bimaa Hoodie, Oliver’s Fancy; 2. Stripes and plaid, Petit a petit and family; 3. Boys can wear chevron too, Feather’s Flights; 4. Sloppop Yeah sweater

Finally, you can use different techniques to completely (re)design your upcycled fabric. Remove color from the fabric by using bleach or a fabulous  concoction called discharge paste. Or add color by stamping or using a sharpie… Again, the possibilities are endless.

pattern1.Bleach boy, Groovybaby and Mama; 2. Chevron, Feather’s Flights; 3. Stamping fabric, Vitasumarte; 4. Zigzag, Vera Luna

Well, that’s it for today! I hope to have inspired you again. Looking forward to seeing how you will customize your creations during KCW. Only 11 more days to go!