Me Made May 2018

May is already over! And it was such a beautiful month, full of early summer energy, so many new projects in planning, trips to the beach, meeting old and new friends… Today is the last day of Me Made May, and this marks the first year where I participated more actively, and it has been a great experience in general! I took more photos of my handmade outfits than probably in the rest of the year combined, I wore some handmade things that I usually never wear and I identified some big gaps in my wardrobe. So here is a little overview and my conclusion from this month!

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Zero Waste Sewing

It’s Fashion Revolution Week!

There are many things happening around reducing waste, recycling, reusing, repairing… and a lot of it in the crafting world. I thought about how to reduce my own „waste production“ while crafting and put together some people and projects that inspire me. There are so many ideas out there! From actual Zero-Waste sewing patterns, to a million ways to use your scraps and tiny leftover fabric pieces.

So before I will talk about my own practice, here are some ideas I like:

For my own practice, I implemented a little recycling system, and I hope it will help me to actually stop creating any waste:

For the tiniest scraps, like cut thread, serger waste, etc. I set aside a paper bag to eventually use them as stuffing for a pillow, or if I will ever get to it, handmade toys.

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A tote bag holds all my small fabric scraps. They are too small to use for clothing, but could still become quilts, patches for holes in other clothes, or letters on a handmade banner.

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A small box holds the scraps that are big enough to be used for clothes, pouches, etc. This is actually my favorite treasure box! It holds cut off sleeves from gorgeous 80s silk shirts, pieces of great fabric that I used for other projects… And it is an immense source of inspiration for me! I go to it from time to time and make a patchwork top from silks, or leftover jersey. Making patchwork tops or pillowcases allows me to let my creativity go free, to play with colors and textures. The other day when I bought some beautiful new fabrics, one of my first thoughts was „I will have great scraps again!“.

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Sorting the scraps by size helps me to access the ones I am looking for faster. It would probably make sense to sort them by material as well, but I don’t have enough shelf space for that.

How do you reduce waste while creating? Do you have some great ideas on how to use those small scraps?

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Handmade banner for the pride this year, made of recycled fabric and scraps!

Summer of Basics – The Plan

I am starting the Summer of Basics make-along late, but I am ready and challenging myself to make an outfit entirely out of materials that I already own. Not buying new fabrics is hard, especially with the new Atelier Brunette collection around, but I have so much fabric stashed that needs to be used. I will also finally do things that sit in my making queue for too long, so I hope this will be a success all over! Creating an entire outfit is quite the challenge for me, as I usually just make single garments without really planning a wardrobe or matching items together. I always figure, if I like it, it will fit my style… However, this time it will be different!

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My plan is to make:

  • Summer pants with deep pockets from an 80s Burda magazine from a beautiful blue cotton fabric
  • A black silk shirt, for which I will recycle an old skirt from my mother with beautiful pearl buttons
  • A summer scarf from rust colored cotton yarn in a cross stich pattern

I already started the scarf and the pants, so I am quite confident I will finish my Summer of Basics-Outfit in time!

Nude Knitting

Currently I am supposed to be busy busy busy writing my master thesis, but even that can’t keep me from researching knitting patterns and looking at what all the knitters out there are creating! Here are two examples that I found especially funny lately:

The „Sexy Socks“ by fiber artist Ýr Jóhannsdóttir from Iceland

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I love how these socks are mocking beauty norms. The description how to make them can be found on Ravelry.

The „Nudekinis“ from dutch knitting artist duo Club Geluk

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Club Geluk is knitting everything from ham to horse sweaters and offer workshops, books and knitting patterns.

With these knits you can be dressed and still look naked, protest freedom for nipples even when it’s still cold. The possibilities are endless!

A New Thing: Kantan Embroidery

I recently rediscovered embroidery after having forgotten about it for some time. A few years ago, when I first discovered Jenny Hart’s work at Sublime Stitching, I experimented a bit with embroidery, but I never really knew what to make out of it. The random embroidered fabric pieces went in a box and got forgotten over time.

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In the last weeks I started noticing embroidery again, thanks to embroidery artists Tessa Perlow  and Sofia Salazar, whose modern and artistic designs tempted me so much, that I bought my own Kantan embroidery needle to try out a new (and faster) embroidery method. I like the chain stitch it produces, but I still have to figure out how to best use the needle. A embroidery hoop that can be fixed to a table might be helpful, as you actually need both hands to work.

I made my first trial piece in one sitting, without noticing how the time went past, totally captured by the work. It’s definitely better suited for continuous lines than single letters.

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That’s a wordplay on the french word for lesbian – gouine!

My next plan is to create a shirt inspired by this t-shirt:

Hand-Chain-stitch-Swirl-Rainbow tee #grooveisintheheart

A post shared by ⚡️Tessa⚡️ (@tessa_perlow) on

I am using vintage embroidery thread that I had in my stash and some simple unbleached cotton.

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Patchwork Weekend

This weekend I got into a serious patchwork frenzy. I recently organized my fabric stash and leftovers, and this made me want to play with all these tiny pieces that are useless on their own, but that I couldn’t bare to throw away. I started out with some little patchwork pieces that later became little drawstring bags, and then went on to make a bigger piece for a pillow case. I made use of even the tiniest piece of fabric! I also used up some leftover sleeves from vintage shirts, and it is incredible how much fabric comes out of a shirt sleeve when you cut it open! Cutting and arranging the pieces, sewing everything together was a lot of fun and actually felt more like a creative practice than anything else I have made in the last months. Maybe that’s why I can’t stop!

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small patchwork bags that just need strings now…
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Patchwork pillow in good company

While doing that I binge-listened to all the Have Company Podcasts, instead of watching/listening to random TV-shows as I usually do. In the podcast episodes Marlee of Have Company interviews resident artists and friends about their art, practices, how it is to be a small business owner and other things. It’s great! At the end she always asks people what they are excited about and I just wanted to write what I am excited about at the moment: A few days ago I received a little package from Little Red Tarot, including the Herbal Homestead Journal, a queer Tarot book called She Is Sitting in the Night and the beautiful Moon Angel Cards by Rebekah Erev. I am so excited about all these little things! The Herbal Homestead Journal includes simple and accessible ways of working with plants for every month and I am already looking forward of going back to this book over the course of this year.

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The first card that I drew from the Moon Angel Cards is Nr. 5 Go!

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I am also excited about this Coldcream from Weleda that I bought because I have these red dry spots in my face from the cold and it smells so good (and helps)!

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Beach tee made from leftover cotton and linen

I also made two patchwork t-shirts in my Patchwork Weekend, and reused some shirt sleeves, random leftovers from other projects and small pieces of fabric from my collection. I was inspired by this woven Geodesic Top and these Wabi Sabi tees, and again, just piecing the squares together was so satisfying. I cut 30×30 cm squares from the fabric, pieced it together and then cut out the neckline, easy! I will probably make more for summer (that will come at some point… we just have to stay optimistic).

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Patchwork tee made from all recycled silk

A Weekend in Paris

Last weekend I was so lucky as to spend a few days in Paris with my girlfriend and besides enjoying the time together and stuffing us with viennois chocolat and brioche I got the chance to dive in the magical world of Paris fabric shops and find some new treasures and supplies.

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The first stop was La Bien Aimée, a tiny wool shop that sells hand-dyed yarn and an exquisite choice of magazines. I couldn’t resist buying the Stitching Up Paris guidebook of sewing and knitting stores in Paris, it’s a really great and updated overview and very tempting.

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The area around the Marché St. Pierre is definitely my favorite! It is situated on the quiet side of the Sacre Coeur and there is a beautiful café in the old market hall.

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I got a flashy blue Field Bag at La Bien Aimée! I currently hosts my almost finished No Frills Sweater. I found some beautiful leather pieces at Sacrés Coupons, some lingerie elastic at Tissus Reine and fabric at Dreyfuss. I can’t wait to sew some mini pouches and finally make a Watson Bra. The shops are all in Montmartre, it’s really nice! You can’t miss anything…

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Beautiful vintage buttons from La Bien Aimée.

And last but not least… The feminist bookshop! I went to the queer feminist bookshop ChickLit in Vienna and since then I am constantly on the hunt for more of these amazing places. Berlin doesn’t have a feminist or queer bookshop (shocking! I know! I should open one…), so every time I am in another city I try to find one. Violette and Co is a great little shop with an exhaustive french-international selection of books (no English books sadly…) on all things feminism. I got a great book on lesbian separatist communes in the US (so hard to find books on that in Germany!), two issues of revue WellWellWell, an excellent and entirely volunteer-run lesbian magazine and two issues of the Barbi(e)turix fanzine. On Saturday evening we went to the Wet For Me (organized by the Barbi(e)turix team), and that was hands-down the best lesbian party I have ever been to. What a successful weekend!

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