Tuesday & Tablecloths

My love of curtain fabric will never fade but the next best thing is probably tablecloth. Just like with curtains they are often of a robust fabric, many of them have lovely patterns and there is an abundance of them as they are no longer fashionable. Oh, and they tend to get stains rendering them less usable for the table but ever so good for me.

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This is one of my all time fave skirts, if it had pockets it would be perfection but alas not enough fabric.  I use it all year around. The colors (burgundy,beige and a bit of blue) work with a lot and somehow a bohemian skirt is never a bad idea( in fact I have several). It wasn’t exactly as big I needed so there is a bit in the back that is just black( I used something that I had laying around) but as I often wear skirts or sweaters with it nobody notices. And if anyone ever says something the phrase “I upcycled an old tablecloth myself” will be the only response. Most people just admire the fabric and people from Iran will point out that they have something just like that on the table at home, I then show them the stamp on the inside as it is in fact an Iranian tablecloth.

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Having made that one, I was given this fabric, also an Iranian tablecloth, which got turned into a summer dress last year. Now that it’s warmer I’m using it again. I’ve noticed that I probably should take it in as the fabric has become looser and softer with use. Blue and white is a great combo, I often add a belt of some sort for definition and a pop of color as I like it.

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This is an old skirt that I have gotten a fair bit of use out of. Its linen and judging by the colors probably from the 70’s. I made a 50’s design because when I hade taken away the damaged pieces (those stains wouldn’t budge I tell you) the design of the weave lent itself to it. I am thinking about making it into a pencil skirt right now as it’s something that I would have more use of probably, given what else is in my closet at the moment. I do however love wearing it with a white shirt and some sea green accessories or neutral shoes and a hot pink clutch which is such a nice contrast. In my world orange is a neutral.

-Suss

7 things to print on a t-shirt(or other)

So witty text printed or embroidered on something is a trend that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. T-shirts,pouches or pillows, the sky is the limit. And that pleases me to no end as I’m a huge fan. I even make my own even though Lingua Franca and Lisa Macario are the the coolest chicks doing it. The latter has one that says “lipstick literature liberalism”. I made one that says “Books Negronis Lipstick”. One of the few times I didn’t go all in with alliteration (as I’m otherwise wont to do).

So what’s next? I’ve been thinking about what to make as a statement on a shirt for fall. It is possible that some of these have already been made by someone else (and please let me know if that is the case). I haven’t decided if I am gonna print or embroider. I do really well with a needle and thread and have made modern proverbs on fabric for friends in the past.

1.Mrs. President. I saw a woman with the words “Mr President” on a sweater the other day. It may have been from one of previously mentioned ladies. But as many seem to have a hard time getting their head around the idea of a female president why not have it on a t-shirt? If people see it enough times they will (hopefully) get used to the idea. (delusional thinking on my part, and mostly to do with wanting to fly my feminist colours high and wide).

2. Whatever Trump tweets next. I’ve seen so many “covfefe” memes that have been spot on that I’m just waiting for a brainfart from that man and I’m joining in. Which might be counterproductive.

3. Oh, I call everyone darling. It’s a truth universally acknowledged that I’m shit with names so just walking around with a disclaimer seems like a good idea. I do however remember peoples allergies and cocktail preferences. My brain famoulsy only memorizes the important things.

4. Really?. I say this a lot, and sarcastically so. It would save having to say anything, I could just point at the word and question mark on my chest. Might not be a great friend maker though.

5. Byron is bae. Or possibly Byron is the new black. He is everywhere and he brings drama. I should create an excel-file for all the Byron mentions in books and bring you the stats at the end of the year, and stats there will be, trust me. That would also be the nail in the coffin for the expression “bae”.

6. Chewbacca has hairy legs too you know. I do often shave my legs but really every woman should chose for herself if and why. Why the sight of hairy legs is the worst thing to some men but Chewbacca is the BFF they all want makes little sense. (Of course it makes sense in accordance to a patriarchal logic, rationality is context dependent and you can convince yourself of anything as long as you ignore facts or actually think something though. I know that, previous statement was an attempt, however feeble, to be funny).

7. Cocktail witchery. After all it’s one of my favorite things.

-Suss

7 ways to customize a sweater(or any other fabric)

So let’s say, hypothetically, that you have a grey sweater in jersey. That very comfy, excellent fit kind that you really love. And that suddenly there is a stain, like a blueberry stain that’s impossible to get out. What to do? You don’t need to throw away the sweater, you can use it as a canvas for your creativity. All of these ideas can used on other items of clothing (I have) or fabric used in the home (I’ve done that too). It doesn’t matter if you are so called “up cycling” or trying to create something original from the start, these are applicable.

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1. Go all Jackson Pollock on it. Paint spatter has a long history, spatterware is actually a thing. You have to have a little bit of space to because you are flinging fabric paint on fabric (in this case) but the results can be very cool. It’s not more difficult than that.

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2. Do the dab. Whether you are using just a paint brush or one of those little round fabric sponges you can create a patter of sorts by a series of gentle applications. If you make dots with a fabric sponge you are basically creating a Damian Hirst painting. He doesn’t do the dots himself you know. If you use the brush and make marks in black paint on white fabric it will look like you have dressed yourself in a dalmatian. Cruella de Ville wasn’t wrong in wanting to do that, it’s how she went about it that was always the problem in my view. Fake dalmatian, fake snake and fake leopard is so much better then the real thing.

3. Stamp it. Fabric stamps are good stuff. You can get a ready made one or one of those “carve it yourself kits” but then you have every possibility of doing a very exact and nice print. Maybe one heart in red on one sweater, a multitude in blue on an old dress and why not make a couple of pillowcases while you are at it. My experience in this tells me that once you start, it’s difficult to stop.

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4. Iron on some letters. Here I’ve just used some left over Q’s from when I’ve been making shirts with witty captions but just randomly ironing on letters all over the from of a sweater is gonna be hella awesome. I’m sure that if I search my memory I have seen it done somewhere, or maybe I have just been thinking about doing it loads. I do have a lot of rarely used letter laying around. I got these from the craft store. You could obviously cover up a stain by just adding a cool phrase using these kinds of letters.

5. Applique s’il vous plaît. If you go to a good haberdashers you will find a range of applications that are ready made and only need to be either stitches on or ironed on. Getting a set of them, adding several over the front at regular intervals is all you need to do. Small embroidered flowers can look tragic using just one or two but a dozen of them? There is style in numbers I always say, meaning that there is safety in numbers. It looks like a thought. There are tiny patches with sequins that I’ve seen and that sort of thing would also look good on most clothing items. This technique is also very good for covering small holes and tears in items.

6. Batik is chic. Tie-dye has a bad reputation but I do love it. What you need to do to avoid that hippie vibe lays mostly in the styling. And having a cool tie-dyed sweater with just a pair of leather trousers and some heels, or just a skirt with a white crisp shirt works just fine. My bleached jeans were more ska-skin then hippie and I loved those. Either have one tie-dyed item in amongst some very classic pieces or go all in by clashing a batik shirt with some batik trousers. Indigo(or other colours) can be bought at the crafts store and then follow the instructions on the packaging.

7. The last draw. My final solution would be to get fabric pens and draw free hand. The great thing about these is that they don’t need to be fixated with an iron, not stitched on, no nothing. They just need time to dry properly. Drawing freehand can feel intimidating but obviously you can use a template.

-Suss

Tuesday & Transformations

A few of the things I’ve been wearing lately, things that started out as something else. My clothes, or indeed all sorts of fabric that comes into my realm, lives through several incarnations.

Mandarin coat used as a dressing gown, turned into a top:

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The coat or shirt was bought second hand but was a lovely big Chinese style thing in black silk with embroideries, big sleeves and a mandarin collar that I used (mostly) as a dressing gown. It wasn’t in great knick when I bought it and I wore it a lot. When seems and fabric started to give up I used the good bits to make this top that, true story, ripped in the back later in the day of this photo. Good bye and thanks for all the good times. I used the top a fair bit so no hard feelings. Will probably cut out the good bits of this and try to use those again. I do love the embroidery on this.

Halterneck dress turned into a skirt:

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Not the best photo but this skirt started out as a halterneck dress bought on sale from H&M and I have lived in it for a few summers, with the result that the ties gave up. The easiest remedy, and a chance to have this lovely print still in my life, was to cut it along the waist seam and turn it into a skirt. Took all of 15 minutes with the little sewing(zigzagging the edges) that was needed. Very happy with the results. I’ve used this trick several times, if a dress has a defined waist that is an excellent place to cut it when making it into a skirt, and I often do. Sleeves and armpits are the first thing to go on most dresses in terms of regular wear and tear.

Chair cover turned into a dress:

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This IKEA fabric was purchased to make a cover for a reading chair that I used to have that was beautiful but also on the point of disintegrating. It lasted for a while longer but when the chair gave up the fabric was still good, and so this dress happened. I use this all year round, it’s such a brilliant floral print but with dramatic colours. If the photo looks familiar it’s because it’s from my feed on IG, and old one but more fun than the one’s I had taken recently.

-Suss

Fashion victims

I will not get on my soapbox again in the matter of unethical behavior in the supply lines that underpin parts of the fashion industry, or start rambling about how people throw away clothes to easily. I will however inform you that I have read two books on the subject, both in Swedish.

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These two books are basically identical except they look at different regions. Overdressed-the shockingly high price of cheap fashion by Elisabeth Cline is still the one I recommend to most as it is in english, and it was one of the first. I have never been one of the biggest consumers of “fast fashion”, having been dressed weirdly since forever and on and off made my own clothes etc. but I am concerned about what it’s doing to our planet and it’s people. However it is not for me to judge (but maybe I do, a little, in secret if I’m honest). I  try to be creative, and encourage others to be so as well. Sewing isn’t that hard but you need a sewing machine obviously which makes it difficult for some. I have one, and it is a joy. My mum recently gave me an old silk floral print blouse that was worn out. As she is bigger than me I managed to make a top of it; the simplest of designs really, as a print this busy doesn’t need much.

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Worn here with a floral patterned skirt. Florals look good with florals oddly enough. The skirt is also of my own make, with fabric that was gift from someone that had visited China. As I have made you look at it you are victims to my fashion. Now I just need a part to go to so this ensemble gets some circulation.

*Cue Miranda Priestly voice* “Florals for spring? Groundbreaking”

-Suss

Accessorizing outside the box

I’m not gonna get too specific with this or make a tutorial; I just want to plant a seed and hopefully make you look at things around you a bit differently.

Jewelry is one thing; know what you are doing when working with expensive materials or leave it to professionals. Accessories though? Go for it.

With a few simple tools( a pair of small pliers, sandpaper possibly), super glue and supplies from the craft shop fun thing can be made.

When it comes to the super glue use the “gel” kind if you can find it, it usually comes in a little tube. Works better then the more liquid kind with these sort of thing. And don’t trust that “dries in 10 seconds” thing. Add light pressure for half a minute and leave to dry over night before using.

There are “ready” rings to buy;you just have to glue something on it. In this case a teacup that is a knickknack from my childhood and a button from an old(and loved) coat.

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Buttons also make excellent pins; I’ve found different kinds and sizes of “bases” so the sky is the limit. Here three old coats (I really love my coats) will be remembered through pins. They do look very good together on the lapel of a fourth coat oddly enough.

An old broken watch from a flea market in Paris became a necklace, as did some buttons from a table organ. The last to have the word “vox humana” and “voix celestial” printed on them. Again; those two are best worn together.

And then there is a necklace with little souvenir pendants, solitaire earrings and a little marble heart in the middle. I would like to wear a charm bracelet but turns out I’m to active and the thing snags in everything. And I loose two many earrings in wintertime. My body language and the consequences of long scarfs ended up being ingredients for a “charm necklace”.

I’d say start with rings and pins as they are easiest but none of this is really hard. Time-consuming only if you decide to make shards of a broken plate into a necklace or earrings because then you have to sand down the edges with sandpaper and it can take some time( and do it outside; it gets very dusty).

These are not expensive things, although for me they all have affectionate value, but they are fun. And we all need a bit more of fun.

-Suss

 

The whole is greater then the sum of the parts

img_0219My love of patchwork is eternal but sometimes it does tip over into more of an obsession. Mind you; I mean patchwork, not quilting. I have every respect for it just not the patience. I cut squares of left-over fabric and ruined clothes, zigzag the edges and sew them together. Very simple procedure and quick results, results that have a lot going for them.

During the last few months I’ve made one patchwork coat and one patchwork kimono jacket. And a few odd bits and bobs. The coat(here) was a riot of colour whereas the kimono jacket was done in denim and blue, so rather more pared down. That’s what so brilliant about patchwork; you can be minimalist; if all you have are left-overs in black and white it it can be minimalist chic, and when using fabric of all colours it still turns out alright . As someone who has worked with statistics a lot let me assure you that there is indeed order in chaos and patchwork is a testament to that.

Lately I made a blanket for a friend who is having baby: all those well used scraps of fabric are well washed and super soft so worked well for it, will keep the baby nice and warm.

I also made little “dust bags” as they are called. Most my bags are second-hand,vintage and homemade i.e. they don’t come with bags to keep them in. And the whole “keep a bag in a bag” that Marie Kondo preaches don’t work because most my evening bags are the same size. I’ve made several of these over the years; some obviously in just one kind of fabric because I’ve had pieces big enough. In this case I had squares left over from making the coat so decided to use them first. I’m also a lazy sod in that I couldn’t be bothered to make them into drawstring bags or attach a button or so. I just tie them up with nice ribbon saved from fancy packaging; preferably grosgrain.

On my patchwork resume I also have a rather big patchwork blanket(lined with an actual blanket), several pillowcases, big bags(almost like sacks) to store winter duvets and such and a table runner. Opening the overhead linnen closet is like looking in to a bowl of sweets which I find rather uplifting. And in regards to the table runner; when setting the table with it the rest looks best if it’s pared down but that’s for you to decide. Oh and there is the Christmas patchwork tablecloth. The list goes on and on, and the way my clothes keep falling apart I’m ensured of materials for future projects.

-Suss