Hi, I’m Charlie. Welcome to This Blog Is Not For You. I share my seamstress successes, but also my fashion fails. There will be a lot of helpful tips and tricks, patterns and instructions along the way. You can check out my tutorials and make your own handmade things or track my progress in sewing my own wardrobe.
Hi everyone! I haven’t shared a proper garment post in ages. I can’t even say this is my newest make, because I sewed this little number last autumn, when it was way to cold already to actually wear it. Anyone else into off-season sewing?
The pattern is the fabulous Sew Over It Silk Cami, which I simply lengthened into an awkward not-quite-a-dress-but-too-long-for-a-top length. And I actually really like it! I looks really good paired with skinny jeans or even leggings. I’ve been wearing it to work like this a lot recently. I will definitely make it again – but lengthen it to a more appropriate hemline and maybe add some darts in the back. The Silk Cami is a fantastic little pattern to play around with. You can check out my project gallery to see some other versions that I have made.
The fabric is a lightweight polyester with a lovely peach-skin feel to it. I found it buried in my stash, so I am not entirely sure when and where I got it. I suppose it’s a survivor from one of my Goldhawk Road shopping sprees years ago! Well, I’m glad past-self bought it back then, because I really love this top/dress!
As nice as this project turned out, I wasn’t too keen on blogging it. And I thought I’d share why, because I feel that many of you might relate:
There are days when I hate myself in pictures.
I say days, because there are also days when I’m really into a blog shoot and love the pictures we took. But many times as on this particular day, we take 50-100+ photos and afterwards I find it really hard to find enough pictures for the blog post that I like. It can be really unnerving, because I do love most of my me-made garments and feel great in them and proud but it doesn’t always transport into the picture. Sometimes it even chips away at the initial joy a finished project brings.
Well, I’m a maker, not a model, but this is part of the job, when you choose to share your makes online. Some days it just takes so much more courage and self-acceptance than others.
Recently, sewing has more and more been connected to body positivity and as a mental health professional I can only applaud that. Generally, I think sewing helps a lot with body positivity. Wearing something that fits you well, suits your body shape and style and on top of that is handmade, is simply amazing. But I think we have to separate sewing from blogging-about-sewing in this case, because sharing pictures of yourself online is a whole different story. I’m not sure if it helps with body positivity or rather pushes insecurities. What do you think?
I will write a more in-depth article on sewing, blogging & body image and I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!
This time two years ago I was frantically working on my wedding dress. It was such a joyful but equally stressful process. As much as I am proud of the dress that came out of it, I’m glad I won’t have to do it again.
As spring/summer weddings are coming up and some of you lucky soon-to-be brides are making their own dresses, I thought I’d share some (hopefully) helpful advice.
As helpful as some couture sewing books might proof to be, they do not give much insight into the whole shebang of planning and scheduling and of course, the emotional stress that interferes with every single step on the way.
I had just under a year to prepare our wedding and create the dress. I spend the first half planning and organising before getting down to the nitty-gritty of actually making things. All romance aside, it’s quite a tedious, sometimes boring, sometimes frustrating process.
Here’s a quick overview of my rough “schedule” to illustrate this:
10 months left.
Deciding on making my own dress.
Getting inspired (Pinterest helps!)
Narrowing down the designs I liked.
9 months left.
Deciding on silhouette & colour.
Deciding on a pattern to base the dress on & sketching a rough draft.
8 month left.
Going fabric-shopping (probably the hardest part, constant panic).
Actually deciding on making my own dress as I had spend so much money on fabric already.
***Long panicky break of procrastinating with wedding decor projects ***
5 months left.
Drafting, draping, making a pattern. Spending a couple of weeks on making a corset I swapped for a cheap stick-on bra in the end.
4 months left.
Fitting to perfection.
3 months left.
The actual construction of a dress starts.
8 weeks left.
Adding embroidery details.
(Dress finished 3 weeks before the wedding. Phew.)
As you can see, the actual “fun” of sewing together the dress was not happening until 3 months before the big day. My nerves! Imagine not having seen yourself in a dress and it’s already 8 weeks before the wedding. I probably could’ve finished much earlier had I not procrastinated all these months, but don’t forget there’s life that gets in between.
So should you find yourself in a similar position, here’s some advice you might find helpful.
Advice on sewing your own wedding dress:
Give yourself enough time. Plan for unexpected breaks or getting stuck somewhere in the process or extra trips to the fabric shop, just to name a few!
Decide on a design early on and try not to change your mind (unless you have huge amounts of extra time, fabric, money and motivation). There will be times of doubt, but they go away again, too.
Really think about and be reasonable about shapes and textures. Certain silhouettes require certain types of fabrics. Find out as much as you can before you start spending money.
Stop comparing your dress to others once you start on your project. This is unhelpful, believe me.
Buy plenty of fabric and then get some extra. This not only helps if things go wrong, but keeps the suspension of cutting into the fabric low.
Muslin till you drop. Get the fit perfect before cutting into expensive fabric. This saves a lot of time and money.
Don’t ask others for their opinion (unless you are willing to change your design constantly or you’re able to live with someone saying they don’t like it even before it’s finished). This is important. Trust your style and gut-feeling. You will wear this dress, so first and foremost you are the person that needs to like it.
Take the time to practice sewing techniques. You will feel much more confident once you start constructing!
Before you start constructing the dress, make a rough step-by-step plan – especially if you’re not following a pattern with instructions. Structure prevents panic.
Sew as much by hand as possible. It just looks so much better and gives yourself more control (especially when working with difficult fabrics!)
Keep your hands and floor clean at all times. No chocolate, no coffee nor red wine anywhere near your fabrics or working surfaces. RULE.
You can skip pre-washing if you’re working with delicate fabrics you do not feel too confident about (and if you’re planning on wearing your dress only once).
Find the perfect iron setting using small fabric scraps and mark the setting with a sharpie. Don’t use water/steam when working with silk (= water stains) and make sure the iron is clean (=limestone stains etc).
Put some fabric scraps in your bag or wallet so you have them with you when shopping for matching shoes, accessories, ties, make-up etc. Take scraps of the lining, too an layer the pieces on top of each other, just as they will be when your dress is done. Adding lining and layers might change the appearance of the colour.
Do not put pressure on yourself by telling everyone that you’re making your own dress. Do not eliminate the option of buying a dress, should you start to feel uncomfortable with making one. That’s fine, too. But you have to allow yourself to keep that option in mind. Just because you like to sew, doesn’t mean you have to make your dress yourself!
I hope you find this helpful! Is there some really important advice that I missed? Let me know in the comments. Also, I’d love to hear about your process of making a wedding dress.
If you want to read more about my dress and all the work that went into our DIY wedding, check out the DIY Wedding category on the right sidebar. There you’ll find a blog series about my wedding dress process.
Ohhh, how I can’t wait for spring to come! We took these pictures just before Christmas, actually. It did look a bit like spring was coming early this year, but now we’ve had some really long weeks of heavy snow, ice and super low temperatures. Today is the first sunny day in a long time and this reminded me to finally blog this little project.
pattern: self-drafted variation of Coco/Agnes (Tilly & The Buttons) fabric:jersey with flower print by Königreich der Stoffe amount: ~ 1m cost: 10,99€ (+ zip from my stash, ~4€) duration: ~2 hr
Yep, this is yet another T&TB Coco/Agnes hack! I love to use both patterns as base for self-drafted garments. For the bodice I used mainly the Agnes pattern, adding to the waist and bust, so I can easily fit a sweatshirt underneath. I used the Coco sleeves and also added a bit of width. I didn’t have a lot of this fabric, and I wanted long sleeves, so I had to crop the bodice to fit all pattern pieces and have enough left for the cuffs and pockets. Initially, I didn’t want it to be this short, but then I found this matching light-blue metal zip in my stash which was too short for the length I had planned. So I cropped the pattern a bit more to fit the zip.
I really don’t mind the shorter length, as I wear sweatshirts underneath, anyway. Also, I now have a perfect cardigan for all my high-waisted skirts and jeans. Hurray!
All in all, this was quite a quick and successful project! Next time, I would probably change the size of the pockets, though. The opening is a bit too narrow and they’re not deep enough to fit my phone. Bummer. So basically, they’re mostly decorative! Well, we learn with every project, right?
Oh, Aslan can’t go unmentioned, right? He did a great job modelling alongside me for this shoot, hehe. He’s grown into a massive, crazy ball of fur. I’ve made quite a few Dog Diy projects last year, I wasn’t able to blog yet. So keep your eyes peeled, if you’re interested!
Also, thanks so much for all your lovely comments and appreciation on my last post about making our hobbies way too stressful. I really appreciate the feedback and feel encouraged to write more mental-health related posts, which is amazing as this is my second biggest passion! You guys rock! x
When I’m not sitting behind the sewing machine, I work full-time as a psychologist. This is why I every once in a while share a mental health-related post on this blog.
Have you read “6 Reasons why sewing benefits your mental health”? – I think you might enjoy it!
Lately I’ve noticed the sewing blogs quieten down a little. All life seems to take place on Instagram nowadays, which also seems to apply to sewing blogs.
I admit it wholeheartedly – I love Instagram. And there’s nothing wrong about loving Instagram, spending time on Instagram and sharing posts with others.
But the new habit of swipe, swipe, double-tap for a heart and then quickly continuing to swipe really changes the way we absorb information. In just a few minutes we can look at hundreds of projects, ideas, inspiration and quickly tap to show appreciation. Sitting down with a coffee, reading a handful of detailed project posts on your favourite blogs and then taking the time to type up a comment in the end – almost sounds like an inconvenience compared to scrolling through a conveniently condensed feed of pretty photographs.
The result-oriented, ever so efficient way of the world with its clean, neatly arranged flat-lay look has reached Handmade Land.
As I said, I’m not trying to throw shade on Instagram – I love it myself. It’s just a reflection of a far greater process. But I do mourn the slow-pace of the pre-micro-blog era. Not just as a blogger myself, but also as a reader. The result-oriented, ever so efficient way of the world with its clean, neatly arranged flat-lay look has reached Handmade Land. Not a big surprise, but it seems to defeat the purpose in a way, don’t you think?
Last year I’ve written a long article about how sewing can really benefit our mental health. Because, essentially, it’s about being mindful. Being mindful is very important in today’s ever-accelerating world in order to keep your balance and peace of mind. It gives a sense of achievement and helps increase self-esteem.
But what happens when we cut out the process and only focus on the final product? When handmade things must look store-bought (because you can buy things that look handmade, vintage and shabby chic in stores)?
A lot is lost when we squeeze a major project into a micro blog.
Hobbies are super important. Hobbies are there to balance out our stressful working lives. It’s where we find peace and quiet and sense of self. When we start to set the same standards on our hobbies as we are required to do at work, it becomes work. And your work-life-balance tips towards more of a work-work-balance. Once that happens, the stability of our mental health is at risk. Exhaustion, discontent, high stress levels etc. can quickly lead to more severe problems if we do not have something to balance these out.
And not just for mental health reasons – as a psychologist I keep going on about them – but also for the love of the slow-paced manual work that gets completely lost behind a shiny picture of the finished product. A lot is lost when we squeeze a major project into a micro blog, sadly.
We do not see the work involved any more. The hours and hours spend on the smallest little project. The nerves and sweat it sometimes takes. Or even the big-time fails. I have a big heart for big-time fails. We most often do not see those on Instagram. All we get is the shiny end product. It can make us feel pressured and sometimes sets unachievable expectations on ourselves.
I sometimes get overwhelmed by all that content and then loose my sewing mojo completely for a few weeks. What helps me get it back is shutting out the outside (or rather social media) world completely. I sit down in my sewing corner and as slow as can be start sorting out my table, tidying things, looking through boxes, touching and moving about fabrics. I take my time with my projects now. If there’s a couple of weeks (and sometimes months) without a blog post, then so be it. When I feel like it, we go and shoot some pictures of finished garments. Only then it’s fun and I enjoy looking at the images when I edit them for the post.
Do you sometimes get the feeling you “have to sew because you haven’t in such a long time”? You have a sense of fear of loosing your productivity or even getting increasingly estranged from your hobby? I get that all the time and then feel really pressured. It’s quite silly, I know, but it happens often.
I now have a rule: hobbies are fun and you only do it when you enjoy doing it. If you don’t feel like it and don’t enjoy it, stop! It’s not work and this is why you are in control and allowed to do whatever pleases you. Don’t worry about loosing your sewing mojo permanently. You just need a break, so take it and enjoy it doing other things you love.
A few years ago, sewing and knitting was more or less reserved for the elderly and it seemed an extraordinary thing when someone walked around in their own handmade clothes. With technology taking up more and more of your lives, there’s been a trend of finding a way back to our roots. Of filling the gap of manual skills and manual labour technology left us with. It only seems natural that we found our way back to sewing and knitting and making things, creating things with our own bare hands. We just need to learn to block out all the other things technology left us, too, from time to time. We need to ignore social media looking over our shoulders while we sew or blog or do whatever we love. Sewing is such a big resource of calm, quietness, sense of self and mindfulness. It’s a great way of connecting with others in a meaningful way. It’s our happy place. Let’s not get something in the way of that.
So for the love of blogs (and sewing), take some time to slow down again every once in a while. Don’t let yourself get rushed, pressured to keep up or overwhelmed by content.
What do you think? I would love to know your thoughts and views on the matter! Please share them and leave a comment below.
Now grab a coffee and enjoy your very own Handmade Land.
Oh, I love this sweater! It’s one of my favourite makes this winter and – hooray – it’s actually mine to wear and not a gift I made for someone else. I got to keep this baby!
pattern: self-drafted variation of Coco (Tilly & The Buttons) fabric: fleece-backed sweatshirt by Königreich der Stoffe amount: ~ 1m cost: 14,99€ duration: ~1 hr
Tilly and the Buttons Coco and Agnes patterns turned out to be my pattern base for all sorts of self-drafted sweaters, shirts and sweater dresses. They really come in handy this way. I used the Coco as a base to draft this little sweater. I wanted a very minimalist sweater silhouette to showcase this really cute glitter fabric.
So I made the bodice quite boxy and widened the sleeves a bit more. Apparently, I didn’t account for the fleece-backed sweatshirt fabric having basically zero stretch, so they ended up a bit too tight nonetheless. The knit-look of the fabric tricked me. I really should’ve noticed the missing stretch before cutting, though. But hey – these things still happen even after over 7 years of sewing…
The fabric is brilliant, right? It’s from Königreich der Stoffe, a German online shop (shipping international) I gushed over before. It was quite expensive, but I had a massive gift card to burn that I got for my birthday last year.
The sweater’s been in the wash a couple of times and so far the gold glitter doesn’t come off. It’s super warm and cosy and the fabric breathes well, as it’s a 80% cotton/ 20% poly mix.
I got some really lovely comments whenever I wore it and most people didn’t even notice the panda bears!
Really loving this project! I will wear it as often as I can before it gets too warm.
Do you have any pattern recommendation for our current sweater weather?
Oh, dear! I completely forgot to post these cute makes for my nieces from Christmas 2016 (!!!). I just found them while editing photos of my most recent makes for them. Better late than never!
This little jumper deserves its own post. It turned out really cute and my niece loved it.
It’s a La Maison Victor pattern. I used some scrap sweatshirt fabric for the bodice and cuffs. The shoulder insets are a faux suede jersey in blush pink. The little felt poufs are from a craft store. I pre-washed them to make sure they wouldn’t bleed and stain the fabric in the wash. So this whole project didn’t cost much at all.
Although I took care measuring and cutting the pattern and fabric, I had a feeling the neckline wouldn’t be wide enough to fit comfortably. I couldn’t be bothered to take the neck binding out again, as I had already overlocked the edges, so I had to come up with an alternative solution. This is how this quirky little keyhole opening came about. I found some matching pompom trim and button in my stash. It’s not very well done and a bit wonky, but it did the job! (My nieces aren’t very harsh judges anyway.)
I had such fun making this little quirky sweater. Unfortunately, they grow so fast at that age. It’s sometimes hard to consider whether it’s actually worth putting so much effort into a tiny little toddler sweater that won’t be worn more than just a couple of times. Well, luckily a nephew has been born just before Christmas – so I will make gender neutral clothes now that can be handed down the line.
Happy New Year, everyone! Hope you all had a great start into the new year. In Germany we say ‘Have a great Rutsch‘, whishing you a lovely skid into the new year… I’m starting 2018 by sharing my Christmas and NYE outfit. I sincerely hope you guys are not too tired of hearing about holiday outfits by now!
Isn’t this a beautiful combination of patterns? Before I get into too much self-praise, let me tell you how this outfit came together.
Last December I was approached by the lovely folks over at Stoffe.de (also known as myfabrics.co.uk) offering to sponsor my holiday outfit. Yup, December and I didn’t already have one. I’m a classic last-minute sewer, so I had neither an outfit nor plans for one (yet).
I wanted to create a festive look that would work both for Christmas and New Years Eve. But how to do formal and casual in one?
I went for quite festive fabrics, combined with a more minimalist and casual cut. Well, you know I love my pencil skirts for every occasion. They can be worn two ways – top tucked in or left out. It creates two very different looks.
I paired it with a jumper pattern – mostly for comfort (and to have enough room for all the holiday meals). I’ve followed the newly arisen velvet craze and wasn’t too big a fan at first. Velvet can look outdated very, very quickly. But I thought I’d challenge myself a little and use fabrics I hadn’t used before: animal print plus velvet. If this isn’t stepping out of your comfort zone, then I don’t know what is.
A Pattern Dream Team
Let’s get into all the details, right? Pattern-wise I combined an old love with a new one! My beloved, fitted-to-death Ultimate Pencil Skirt pattern by SEW OVER IT, which I loooove to pieces. I stopped keeping track of how many I made so far. Roughly ten, I guess. I suppose I could sew it in my sleep now. I won’t go into too much detail, as I’ve been gushing over this skirt for years now. Well, it’s a classic and therefore qualifies as perfect base for any two-piece outfit.
Since moving back to Germany, I slowly make my way around German sewing blogs and indie pattern companies. There are so many amazingly talented people out there, it’s unbelievable. I wish I had the time to follow more and try more patterns.
For this project, I tried the wonderful LaLinna jumper pattern by SCHNITTGEFLÜSTER (‘pattern whisperings’), who’s made it her goal to create super minimalist, basic patterns for all sizes. Their patterns range normal to plus size and are available as PDF-Download. They’re also very affordable and easy makes for beginners. As an advanced sewer, I had a lot of fun to use this cut as a foundation to add some fun details. Man, they have just SO many gorgeous patterns to gush over, I bet from now on you’ll never hear the end of it. I see a whole Schnittgeflüster year coming. Brace yourselves, I warned you.
LaLinna is perfect tucked in or casually worn over the skirt. The batwing-sleeves are very comfy, add to a beautiful drape and look quite elegant with narrow cuffs. I changed the neckline to a boat neckline and lengthened the cuffs to make them appear even narrower. The hemline drops down at the back, adding even more volume and creating a gorgeous silhouette. The jumper looks great worn over skinny jeans, too. I wouldn’t mix it with really wide-fitting trousers or A-line skirts, though.
Who Said Animal Print and Velvet Isn’t Cool?
Let’s talk about these fabrics now, shall we? I really went for something I haven’t tried before and picked a crushed stretch velvet in antique silver (HERE‘s the link for you German folks) and a leopard print stretch jacquard in black (which appears to be out of stock, unfortunately!). Both fabrics are courtesy of Stoffe.de (also known to UK folks as myfabrics.co.uk).
Despite having heard many horror stories about sewing with velvet, this wasn’t one of them. The velvet sewed like a breeze and wasn’t sliding around at all. It’s got a very lovely soft texture with an elegant shine.
The leopard jacquard is perfect for sewing close-fitting skirts (or trousers) as it has a nice amount of stretch. I used a stretch lining fabric (link for Stoffe.de) to go with it. The jacquard has a nice sheen and matches the velvet perfectly.
So far so good, I’m VERY happy with this combo. I’ve worn the LaLinna jumper loads since the holidays, mostly with skinny jeans to work and can’t wait to rock that skirt again some time soon.
Did you make something for the holidays? Also, if you have some great pattern recommendations for me to try in 2018, please share!
Hello sewcialists! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas! Having some time between the holidays I could finally get around to take pictures of quite a few of my recent projects.
This cosy jumper is one of them. I made it as a Christmas gift for my best friend who designed it and picked the fabric herself this year.
The fabric (‘Anemone’ by Albstoffe) is from a German fabric online shop Königreich der Stoffe (Kingdom of Fabrics). I only recently discovered this shop and really love it. They have the most amazing prints and a gorgeous selection of knit fabrics. They ship internationally, so do check them out on you’re next shopping spree!
The fabric was quite expensive (26€/m), an amount I rarely spend on fabrics, but ohhhh, it’s so soft and cosy! It’s worth every penny. Unfortunately, this beauty traded hands just after Christmas Day!
The pattern for this sweater is based on Tilly & The Buttons “Coco” and a sleeve hack from their “Agnes” pattern which I also used for my Star Wars sweater last year. I added cuffs and made it a bit wider at the waist and sleeves. Here I’m wearing it with my Mia Jeans and handmade beanie hat.
I have more and more completely handmade outfits and I’m planning to make more matching separates next year. My To Sew List is full of sweaters, jeans and blouses. If I’m lucky, I get half of that list done!
My Christmas & New Year’s Eve outfits are 100% handmade this year! I look forward to sharing them with you soon. What are your sewing plans for 2018?
Today I have another one from the DOG DIY category for you! I really enjoy these doggo DIY projects, but there are only so many things you can make for your pup that you actually need. For us this is mostly leashes, collars and toys. We don’t dress our dog up (if a multitude of different style collars and leashes don’t count…) so I always look for other fun sewing projects that are useful.
We had someone make a costum-made dog collar for Aslan that was super cute. It was quite costly and only took the lady 10 minutes to make on her industrial machine. Unfortunately the collar ended up being a tad too tight after only a few days (!) and I had all these cute ribbons and I’m addicted to sewing… so what can I tell you? Off course I had to copy that thing as best I can and add a few tweaks and end up making four dog collars in a matter of only a few hours. Matching leashes will follow.
Here are a couple of close-ups:
(Did I mention matching dog tags?)
I made this cute leather address tag in a very short time. I followed a tutorial in Burdastyle Magazine, the process is fairly simple. I lined the leather with some flower-print cotton I fused onto it before cutting out.
But back to the dog collars! The unicorn one is my favourite by far!
As you can see in the picture below, these collars are made to slip over your dog’s head and they tighten once you pull the leash. These are no-choke collars, which means even when pulling, the collar has about one inch wearing ease. This is small enough for your dog not to break free when pulling backwards but not too tight to choke him. To not accidentally choke your dog it’s actually better to make a bespoke slip collar yourself than buying one that might be too small (so-called half-choke collars).
For safety these are extra wide (approx. 3.5-4 cm). A dog collar should be wide enough to cover at least the width of two neck vertebrae, which roughly is 3-4 cm for larger dogs.
As some of you requested on Instagram, there will be a tutorial for making these (plus matching fleece-lined leashes) on the blog soon!
So keep your eyes peeled if you have a doggo yourself or want to make pupper Christmas gifts this year!
Hello everyone! We had a super warm and sunny weekend here in southern Germany – I suspect it’s gonna be bye bye summer clothes from tomorrow on for good. Before I get into the mood to get out all the knits and wools I want to share this cute little top I made this summer.
I made this top with less than 1 metre of cotton fabric and it only took me around 30 minutes to make! I followed Elisalex’s tutorial for drafting a very quick little pattern.
Instead of making the full-length dress I decided to go for a little top. I made quite a few dresses last summer, but found that I actually prefer wearing separates at work and at home. This is why I made a bunch of tops and jeans this year.
Making this top requires only a minimum amount of fabric. I used less than 1 metre plus some trim and elastic. This top has very few seams and doesn’t necessarily require hemming if you hide the overlocked raw edges under a cute trim. No darts, no fitting! This is the perfect Sunday morning project.
I love how this top works both off and on the shoulder. The fabric I picked is fairly stiff, even after a few washes. I’m definitely going to make this top again, but probably a drapier fabric next time.
I really love the lace trim at the bottom! It makes this top so much prettier.
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