Tag Archives: tutorial

Some projects should remain unfinished…

Somehow I like sewing and working with fabric more than working with yarn, knitting or chrocheting. Funny thing is, I do crochet from time to time, always smaller projects and I do like it. I like to embroider, too. So maybe it is not because I don’t like it, but that I do it too occasionally to fall in love with.

All I can say is that passion hasn’t struck me yet, I hardly know how to knit and I don’t see me learning it properly in the near future.

In consequence this means that the majority of tutorials in my antique crafting (not sewing) magazines remain cryptic to me, as an estimated 95% are knitting tutorials.

To find a chrocheting project that is not toddler-sized or toddler-related is quite hard, if I recollect correctly I counted two or three projects in a whole stack of magazines. So my choice was quite limited.
in the end I went for the one I liked best, though I can’t say it intrigued me.

pattern consists only of double crochet and front post double crochet, so quite simple actually.

To make this cardigan you are asked to enlarge the pattern scheme on the top left to its original size and chrochet after this drawing so that it fits the pattern, decreasing and increasing as needed. Sounded as if I could handle that.
Because it was measured to fit a size 46 (way too large for me) I altered it quite heavily. And maybe I exagerated a little with the waist circumference and the waist-hip-ratio, you’ll see later.

In hindsight I should have foreseen that this project was doomed. First, the only wool I had enough of (I didn’t want to buy new wool for this test run) was a structured cotton-viscose-wool in white and bright green. This meant I had to make stripes because otherwise it wouldn’t suffice. A white and green striped jacket, I mean…seriously?

Second, the cover. Sorry, but this baby freaks me out (relieving it isn’t staring at me and points its gorgon-eyes at someone else). And this naked doll plunging upside down beside it, oh dear…evil.

Frauen-Fleiss (=women’s diligence), issue 7 (march), volume 1942/3

And the last hint, I felt it very early. May I quote myself, this is what I wrote about this project as early as ten months ago:

Mh, and there is this hilarious crocheted pullover, I am not sure I even want to complete.

Well, what should I say. I kept on working on it until a couple of months ago. Now in the new flat I stumbled over it and put it on my dress form.

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ummm…any questions left? Hilarious hits it, doesn’t it? Or would awkward be a better word for this?

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Is it only me who finds this bookshelf-backround distrackting? I should search for another photo-location…
Oh, but I have been searching for this cat-shaped timer for weeks. Hooray for distracting backgrounds!

Here you see what I meant with a too sharp waist-hip-ratio. First it looks odd with the ridges and second it seems to be too large at the hips, the hem is dropping quite poorly on the sides (not to mention that this is in no way a 40ies waistline).

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The shoulderseams are very (read too) narrow stretching the armhole into a very pointy shape on the shoulder and the sleeves aren’t even started off with.

So this is the biggest appearance this dissipation of (admittedly ugly) yarn has ever had and will ever get. Because I have come to the conclusion it would be the best to simply throw it away.

And to draw at least something positive from this project, I searched for better tutorials in this Frauen-Fleiss-issue to share with you.
First, a cute idea for children, a bowling game made from waste. The pins on the left are made from empty cleaning powder packages, today you could use the ones from Pringles eg. (at least here in Europe the vast majority of cleaning products is liquid and doesn’t come in cardboard tubes anymore). The pins on the lower left are made of empty thread spools. A shame these wooden spools aren’t that common anymore, they look great as pins.
What I find most interesting is how the balls are made. One is an old stocking filled with wadding or sawdust and completey covered with large buttonhole stitched to stabilize it. The other one is made by covering a little rock with wet and scrunched up newspapers. Smooth the surface and let it dry in the bright sunlight. Afterwards cover it with yarn as the drawing shows. This sounds as it could be a pretty heavy and painful ball, depending on the rock’s size and how hard you scrunch the paper.

click to see full size

And the second one, handbags to fit your suit or coat, made from leftover fabric. Though I always thought the handbag doesn’t have to match the coat, but the shoes 😛

click to see full size

So much for today, hope the next crocheting project will be more successful,


Frills and lace and challenge #19

Third challenge in a row, I am optimistic to really meet my goal of doing half of this year’s challenges 😀

The theme for this fortnight’s challenge was “HSF Inspiration”. So basically you could do anything, as long as it had been inspired by some project previously made for the HSF. I started from the back and began looking at the old HSF-photos of 2013, so at the projects I hadn’t seen before, because I didn’t participate last year (I am not sure if you have to be a member of the group, but here is the link to the fb-albums).

What finally caught me was a little hairbow Natalie had made for the Accessorize-Challenge. I remembered that there was a whole page of victorian hairbow tutorials in one of my Bazar-issues. I had discovered them when working on my box for sewing machine supplies back in January.

After having checked what I had in stock concerning lace and ribbons I decided to try this design:


I was able to use a leftover from a long forgotton project, a wide, mat bias binding in a pale lavender. I paired this with a matching rose satin ribbon and black bobbin lace. The tutorial had asked for black lace and velvet ribbon and green grosgrain ribbon, but neither did I have these colours nor did I want it to be that dark.


Because my satin ribbon was so narrow I doubled it, a third bow would have crossed the line to a gift-wrapping-effect 🙂


I roughly followed the instructions of the tutorial, but my main focus was the picture: The whole thing is based on a circle (the tutorial says half circle, I completely overlooked this), the original of buckram, mine is grey felt. A part of the rim gets covered with pleated ribbon (I cut the bias binding in half) and a layer of lace on top. Now the long piece of lace is attached, as you see it is doubled and sewn together at the straight edges. I had to iron and wrinkle the lace to make it lie flat at the end, I am sure with a tulle lace as shown in the original drawing this was much less bulky. To completely cover the felt I added a rest of the lace to the whole thing. On top of it all I placed the bow I had formed out of the two different ribbons. The lace and the ribbon might be a tiny bit shorter as the tutorial asks for, but first this is all I had left of the bias binding and second I didn’t want to make it too extravagant, so I can maybe wear it without full 1870ies attire.


If you would like to make your own, I tried to translate the istructions for you:

To make this bow arrange a 76cm length of 6,5cm wide green grosgrain ribbon on one end into narrow box pleats of 1cm width each until you end up with 11cm of pleated ribbon. Sew this folded part of the ribbon onto a half circle cut out of buckram (3,5cm diametre), 1cm away from the outer rim.This is covered as the image shows with 5cm of pleated black lace. Now add a length of two laces that you connected at the straight edges, ruffles the last part of it so it forms a half circle. The final length of the lace should be 20cm. Additionally ad a 40cm piece of the green grosgrain ribbon, a 10 and 6cm loop of the same ribbon as well as a small loop and a folded knot of black velvet ribbon. The latter covers all ends and seams of the other loops.


The rest of the satin ribbon I used as a loop on the bottom side to attach it to the head with bobby pins.

The Challenge: #19 HSF Inspiration

Fabric: a small circle of grey polyester felt

Pattern: tutorial without a pattern found in “Der Bazar. Illustrirte Damen=Zeitung, Nr. 21, June 3rd 1872

Year: 1872

Notions: black and lavender thread, rose satin ribbon, lavender bias binding (both synthetic fibres), black bobbin lace (maybe cotton or linen).

How historically accurate is it?  Not too much. I roughly followed the instructions, I made everything by hand and the result looks remotely like the image in the tutorial. But I used modern, artificial fibres instead of silk ribbons.

Hours to complete:  1-1,5

First worn: not worn yet.

Total cost:  Felt and bias binding were leftovers from other projects, the ribbon had been in my stock for years, I assume it cost around 0.50-0.80 €/m. The lace was bought either at a flea market or a charity shop, can’t remember when or how I bought it, I assume I found it in a sewing basket or bag of laces I bought. All in total not more than 1-2€.

Hope you like it, love



What I wore…on Halloween or: How to fold a nurse’s cap

Normally official holidays aren’t something you are really aware of. When living in my hometown there were always those holidays who were only marked in the calender and the federal ones who meant a day off school. In this part of Germany, the 1st of November is a federal holiday, so of course Halloween was celebrated every single year since the 5th grade.

Meanwhile I have moved to another country and to a protestant part of it. That means the 1st of november is a working day as every other day (except for the fact that all the people from catholic regions of Switzerland go shopping in Berne, so it is very crowded).
For that reason a dear friend of mine had to plan her Halloween Party on Saturday, so please forgive that slightly belated costume post.

As you can imagine, the last weeks weren’t the perfect time to prepare a perfect costume out of nothing, so I went for something already proved and tested.

My grandmother, born in 1933, became a nurse after she had finished school. I don’t know exactly when she started her apprenticeship, but it must have been somewhen around 1950. What I can say fore sure is that she quit her job in 1965 when my father was born and she has been a stay-at-home-mum ever since, being at the age of 80 today.
This is my grandma in 1953:

A few years ago she told me, that she still had her nurse’s uniforms in the basement. I was very exited and asked her to show it to me. In an old wardrobe she kept multiple of her dresses, aprons and other stuff. I was so very happy (also because my family isn’t very rich or aware of tradition and has only very few family heirlooms and souvenirs) and she asked if I wanted to have one of them. She gave me a dress, an apron, a cap, a surgical gown and even a matching brooch (well yes, the enamel is broken, I think she kept the intact one).

The cap was a bit of a challenge, because she didn’t remember how it had to be folded. Looking at some photos at the internet and with a lot of trial-and-error experience I figured out something that could be at least a possibility of how it was worn, though I am still not sure if this is the right way.

So, if you ever come across something that looks like a gigantic single layer slip, it is a nurse’s cap. It is starched very heavily, I didn’t dare to wash it until today because I am sure I will never be able to starch it as the hospital’s laundry did.

The first thing you’ll need is something called nurse’s pins. I didn’t even know that they existed (having had always assumed that those caps had been pinned with standard pins) until a client of the haberdashery shop I used to work in asked for them (of course, we didn’t have them). But when I found a little box of white-headed pins in a sewing basket I bought on a flea market, I knew immediately what I had found. They are a little longer and stronger as standard pins and, as already meantioned, come only in white.

First thing to do is fold the double-layered part of the cap back.

Pin the ends together to form a circle.

Pin the flap over the ends as shown. You can change the size by reducing or enlarging the overlap of the two ends and of the flap.

And voilà, your cap!

And here is the complete costume:

Somebody at the party asked me if it was on purpose that I wore my apron inside out. But I didn’t. It has one pocket for the right hand on each side, so if it get’s dirty you can turn it around. For someone standing left from me it looks as if my pocket was on the wrong side of the apron.

Me trying to make an ugly halloween-y face. And on the inside you can see a 50 year old (blood?) stain the laundry didn’t manage to eliminate.

I was accompanied by my boyfriend, wearing some giant plastic screws on his head as a costume (he hates costumes, that was all I managed to convince him of) and lots of homemade cookies (these are only the few we kept for ourselves):

I hope you had a nice weekend and a happy Halloween,

see you soon, love,


No Sans-Culotte anymore

It must have been three years ago, my father and I went to an Antique shop in the neighbouring village.

While my father digged his way through old electric stuff and ended up finding a sowjet metal construction kit, I asked the owner if he had anything related to handcrafting. He showed me some Chinese cross-stitch-booklets from the early 20th century and three brown book-like things.

I remember that two of them contained fashion and sewing stuff, the third one predominantly recipes. I wasn’t really convinced about them, but loved the Chinese-Embroidery-booklets. It was all in a whole stack of paper, magazines and stuff the owner had purchased only some days ago. Now, my father found some other things, I did as well and in the end my father asked the owner to offer us a good price for all of it, even though I had no idea what “all” really meant. The owner did, my father accepted and he gave me the complete batch of things to carry, Chinese Patterns, weird brown books, lots of water colour paper and some 1960ies issues of different magazines. Well, he wanted to get rid of them, I thought I can still throw it away later so I took it with me. At home I took a closer look at the brown books, the two with fashion and sewing instructions I stored with my patterns, the one with the recipes went onto my cook book shelf.
I can remember that I wasn’t really impressed by the patterns I had seen, back then I was wearing lots of modern clothing and was only interested in the 1950ies, my Rockabilly- phase. The brown recipe-Book was in fact a collection of magazine-clippings from the 60ies and 70ies with a knitting pattern or fashion drawings every now and then (but only because it was on the back of a recipe). I love to flip through the pages and surprise myself and my boyfriend with some weird 70ies dinner every few months (as I did after making these photos, Vol-au-Vents with mushroom filling and poached eggs, and no, I didn’t manage to make proper poached eggs 🙂 ).

Funny side fact: I found four languages in this collection: German, French, English and one recipe is in Italian.

I always imagined the other two brown books must contain the same sort of things, only with a stress on fashion, so I paid hardly any interest on them.

Only a few months ago I remembered them on a quiet and rainy evening and went through them again. Struth had I been wrong! Those were complete volumes of crafting magazines from 1942 and 1944. I was stunned, shocked by how much my taste and judgement had changed in that short time, I mean, I was close to leave them in that shop, unbelieveable.

The majority of the patterns are instructions for knitting and crocheting. There are many pictures of sewn dresses, but the patterns had to be ordered and didn’t come with the issues. But nontheless, they are so beautiful and such a great source of inspiration.

But! They do contain a small number of sewing projects. Most of them are things like bags, toys or simple children’s patterns, but some very few ‘real’ patterns are in them, too.

Of course there aren’t printed in their original size, but need to be enlarged. Already shortly after I re-discovered the magazines I copied the pattern for this pair of culottes (Frau und Mode. Beilage zum “Blatt für Alle”, 14. Februar 1942). I am not a big fan of working with paper in general (so I am always glad when the work with the actual pattern is done and I can start with the fabric), but I prefer drawing patterns much more to tracing them.

As a fabric I chose this rather coarse linen I bought at Ikea (I bought it already some years ago when it was still available in this light green I used and a light shade of pink). The pattern seems to be made for an autumn outfit and suggests a waterproof cloth lined with a woolen plaid for the cape and one of the fabrics for the culottes. That’s why I didn’t want to use a thin fabric and I am quite happy with the linen. And additionally it is so neutral, you might call it a cake-project, at least I would. In my opinion it doesn’t look that “vintage-y” at first glance, my boyfriend said he wouldn’t call it vintage or 40ies, but old-fashioned and square. Thank you, darling 😉

The pattern is quite spartan, as I assume most patterns of this type are. There is no piece for the belt given, I simply measured the waist size I ended up with after sewing everything together and made my own, as told in the instructions. It’s a little weird: This pattern is intended for 100cm hip size and I had to cut away approximately 4cm off each seam to fit it to my hips (that is 16cm less circumference!), but the waist  size was nearly perfect, I only reduced it by 2cm, so 0,5cm off each seam. Strange proportions.

(feel free to use it, the measurements are given in Centimetres)

Edit: Because I was told the pattern can’t be copied because of some missing measurements on the left side, here are all the measurements that I was able to read. Not readable is the final length of the back piece, I used the length from the front piece and it worked. The length of the inner leg seam can be fitted to the one you end up with after copying the front piece or can be more or less calculated (69,5 (length of the front piece) – 31 (I’m sorry, it is not clear in the drawing, but compared to the measurements of the front pieces, the 10cm have to be part of the 31cm, so it should read 21 + 10 in the drawing) –  ~2 (I can’t read it, but it is visible, that there is a slight curve upwards, like there is on the front piece, I didn’t manage to draw it) = 36,5cm).
Neither visible is, if the edge of the inner leg runs down vertically or in a slight angle like the front seam does. I think I made it vertically and it worked.

I love the style of the pockets, that seam going from the belt to the hem. When sewing the two cut pieces together, they overlap approximately 7cm (you can see the dashed line in the pattern). I am not quite sure if that was the intended size of the pockets, that would mean it would have been scarcely enough to store a handkerchief in them. I added pocket pouches, using an old fabric I had once used to line a waistcoat with it. I am not quite sure what material it is.

Because I was a little frightened the pockets would be the weak spot and at risk of ripping someday at the belt, I decided to add belt loops with a pointed end and placed them directly above the pocket opening. The idea came to my mind because Tasha made similar belt hoops on a skirt in April. In the back I placed them above the darts (you can’t really tell from the photos, I’m sorry)

The pleats are sewn close up to a certain point, I think it is visible in the photos. It is quite weird, because they form kind of a triangle with the crotch seam. Below the seam they are only ironed, maybe I will try to secure them with an additional seam, but I ran out of thread while hemming the legs, so this would mean I would have to buy new thread, I don’t know if it is worth it.

It is closed with a zipper in the side seam, the belt closes with a hook and a crocheted loop.

As always I had to shorten the legs. And for the first time in my life I used a skirt marker for it.  A few weeks ago I found a skirt marker to attach to a doorframe on a fleamarket, it works pretty well.

I have been wanting to photograph it for weeks, but somehow never managed. So I finally did it today, after having been on the move the whole day in a boiling city (after some beautiful rain on Monday the heat is back!). So my styling is improvised and I am looking really tired on some of the photos. Because my boyfriend hates this and thinks it is old-fashioned, I decided to wear the full package, with cravat and laced shoes. I was kind of shocked, because, somehow, it doesn’t look as bad as I imagined it to be, does it?

(blouse: Tommy Hilfiger, cravat and belt: family heirloom, from my grandaunt, shoes: Dosenbach/Deichmann)

I already wore it on our tour to Kandersteg a few weeks ago, styled very simple with a T-Shirt and canvas shoes.

crumpled after a long day of walking.

(shirt: I am by Manor, belt: family heirloom, from my grandaunt, socks: Six, shoes: Pointer)

Yes, I am very pleased with the result. It is not something to wear every day, but it is practical. Made from a more elegant fabric I can really imagine it to wear as a skirt substitute in every day life.  I hope you like it as well.

See you soon, love