December 31, 2014

Simple Dried Orange Christmas Tree Decorations

This year I set out to make some simple organic christmas decorations. I was inspired by an instagram photo that Tilly and the Buttons had posted where she was attempting to dry some oranges for ornaments. I really dislike the consumer mentality during the christmas period and was eager to stay away from department stores. So this was the perfect solution.

1. Preheat the oven to 60 degrees Celsius. 
2. I cut the oranges about 1cm thick.
3. Place them in the oven on baking paper for about 4 hours or until they are dried out. Turn them over ever so often and regularly check them. 
4. Once cooled, poke a ribbon or thread some string through the orange. 
5. Hang them on your tree!

Alternative Option: If I was back at home in Australia I would have left these babies out in the sun for a few days, but being in Germany means that it is snowing, so little chance of the sun drying out the fruit. 

When placing the oranges on the tree, try and line some fairy lights up behind them. The oranges will glow!

I will certainly give the oranges a go next year along with some different fruit!

December 13, 2014

Berlin Voodoo Market: Christmas

Photos: Michael Dooney

I have been very quiet in the world of blogging lately as I have been working away on my sustainable sleepwear line, Fickle Sense. And they are finally finished! I unveiled them last week in the Berlin Christmas Voodoo Market. 

As usual it was great to connect with fellow makers and creators. Below are a selection of my favourites!

Luir Clothing have upcycled and vintage pieces. For the next few weeks you can purchase their treasures at the pop up store un Autre Voodoo.
Mademoiselle cloud makes beautiful handmade children's clothing. Her pieces are super cute!
Void Jeweler showcases a unique perspective in the world of jewellery. These wonderful earrings are made from concrete. I really love this concept

Oh Caroline has some lovely screen printed items. She has a range of animal designs printed on tshirts, posters and bags. 
 Gretas Schwester has a whimsical indie aesthetic. She has a lovely selection of paper items along with super unique toys.
 Monkind is a childrens wear brand which makes childrens clothing and accessories. Here are a few of their cute toys.
Happarel has been a favourite of mine for a while. I love the geometric style designs, this year I took a liking to their silk drawstring bags.

To celebrate the unveiling of my sleepwear, I will be hosting a giveaway. I will also be detailing the 'Journey of the Fickle Sense garments' So stay tuned!

November 04, 2014

Another Blog Hop

Many of you may have noticed that there seems to be a blog hop circulating around at the moment. The lovely Tea from Tea Okereke chose me to continue the 'Hop!' So here I go.
Photo: Michael Dooney Post: My Cut Out Lace Dress Challenge

Why do you write?
Writing is not exactly a strength of mine, I am generally envious of many bloggers writing styles. I think that my structured, science-y brain makes me a little dry. But there are a number of reasons for writing my blog
The main reason is to document my sewing process and hopefully encourage others to take up the hobby. I am a firm believer in sustainable fashion and believe that understanding the making of a garment (from sourcing fabrics, to constructing and finishing details) encourages us to have some insight into clothing production.
Writing the blog also pushes me to have self imposed deadlines for my sewing. I have realised that I need these deadlines, otherwise I get easily distracted! Having a blog which focuses on sewing and creativity is a wonderful thing for my overly excited brain!

What are you working on?
At the moment I am working on opening and revamping my Fickle Sense Etsy store (I have 2 shops one for fashion (Fickle Sense) and one for screen printing(FS Screen Printing))In the Fickle Sense store I am combining my loves for character design, illustration, textile design, screen printing, sewing and sustainable fashion. Having my own fashion label has been a dream of mine.... so hopefully all of my hard work pays off. I am making handmade, organic pyjamas! I have not been posting too much on the Fickle Sense blog as I have been drawing, screen printing, sewing prototypes and sewing my stock for the past few months. This image is a sneak peak into what you can expect. I will hopefully have the shop launched in about 2 weeks! The theme is English Breakfast!

How does your blog differ from others of its genre?
I don't know how much I differ from other sewing type blogs, but I can tell you how I like to work... perhaps this makes me a little different?

My husband and I have a combined love for photography so our photo taking process is very planned out. For 95% of our images we use medium format cameras (either the Yashicha or the Mamiya) and take 5 - 10 frames each shoot  Sometimes we have an idea of what we want the image to look like (e.g. For the photos in the snowy the picture above 'My Cut Out Lace Challenge' I knew that it was going to snow the next morning, so we got up early before work and went to take photos in the fresh snow, when the snow clung to the trees). Or sometimes we take a day trip somewhere so we take photos there. We get the film developed by a one man, local lab. My husband then scans the films for me. So it is quite a long process compared to digital.
I am also a lover of textile design, so I often create my own prints and textiles. I am hoping to be more experimental and artistic with my outfits in the coming months. So there are more textiles to come!
I also have a true passion for sustainable fashion. So much so, I have created a website named 'i give 2 hoots' which focuses on sustainable fashion. I am revamping the site ready for more inspiring bloggers. Find out more here.


How does your writing process work?
I  have tried to set dedicated times to blog. I was inspired to try this out as many artists such as Nick Cave block out times for writing. This was not so successful for me. I found that I like to jump between projects (e.g. Knitting, crocheting, writing, sewing, drawing, printing) depending on my mood. I generally need to be on a 'writing roll' and I will then write a heap of posts at one time. 

Thanks to Tea for mentioning me in her Hop. Tea really creates some lovely, colourful garments and I enjoy the stories that go along side her garments on Tea Okereke. I particularly liked this neon pink number below. I was first drawn to it because of the parrot print (I am a bird lover), but then reading deeper into her story, it turned out to be a useful outfit for an archeologist :) You can read her reasoning here.
Image Tea Okereke
Now the next two Hops are going to ..... Meg from Made By Meg and Heather Lou from The Closet Case Files.
Made by Meg, must be the most hard working sewer out there. There are always newly sewn garments featured on her blog with reviews. Certainly one to follow. I also like that she sews for her man. I am a fan of menswear tailoring (I would love to do a tailoring course) and sewing for my husband, so I love seeing others sewing for the special man in their lives. My favourite outfit of hers is the summer bustier

Image from Meg by Made

Heather Lou is also an inspiring blogger. My favourite post of hers was a rather personal one, Taking a Leap. This post discusses her new career change where she now makes her own indie patterns for sewers to create; Bombshell Swimsuit, Nettie Dress and Body Suit, Ginger Skinny Jeans. What a brave soul. I also love that she is a true sewing community member where she often writes about others projects. This image below is my favourite outfit of hers: Sallie Silk in Shigawake

Image from Closet Case Files
Blog on!

October 23, 2014

Party Dress TIme! How to Make A Bustier Party Dress

Making a bustier has been on my to-do list for a while, so when I had a wedding coming up I pounced on the opportunity.

Photos: Michael Dooney

Here is a summary of how I made the dress

1. First step is to find an old bra and pull out the cups.

2. I used the pattern from Burdastyle NR. 144-122008-DL. And made a muslin version. 

3. I chose to use a taffeta for the main fabric

4. Once I had the individual cups, I placed them in the muslin cup and checked for the fit. I marked the alternations and transferred it to the pattern pieces.

5. I then re cut the muslin with the altered pattern pieces to check the fit. Once I was satisfied I cut the lining (the apricot satin) pieces and sewed it all together.

6. Now that I had the lining completed and the fit perfect, I started cutting out the dress fabric. 

7. The next step was to sew all of the cup fabric together and cover the cups, then sew the bodice sections together.

8. I then inserted the cups into the bust and sewed. This bit can be a little fiddly and tricky.

9. I was contemplating whether or not to add the under wire. I thought I would give it a go to see whether it was worth while. Of course it was! If you look at the second image below you can see the difference between the left cup and the right cup. The left has the under wire inserted and the second lies flat without it. Plus it offers extra support. I sewed a channel under the bra cup for the wire to be inserted, then pushed the wire through.
Visit the clothhabit for more detailed instructions on how to insert the bra cups.

10.I then gathered the skirt piece and attached it to the bodice.

11. At the moment I am rather anal with regards to finishing of garments. I used to be kind of lazy with linings and finishings, but now I love to make quality garments from the inside out. The garments last for longer, they feel nicer to wear and it looks a lot more professional. 

Photos: Michael Dooney

Yay! For a fun party dress!

October 20, 2014

Where are the fabric stores in Berlin? Here are my recommendations!

It can be difficult finding fabric/craft supplies in Berlin....BUT! there are quite a few shops spotted all over the city. So I have compiled a list of stores. I have really only included shops in the Mitte, Friedrichshain, Wedding, Kreuzberg, Neukoelln areas as I do not really gravitate to the other side of town (e.g. western suburbs).

Photo: Michael Dooney

Welt der stoffe
This is my favourite fabric store in Berlin with the best selection. They have also started to incorporate notions in the store.
Generally the ladies cut the fabric, give you a receipt. You then pay at the cashier.  


Gebrueder Berger Stoff 
This is a great fabric store with a large selection. There are no prices on the fabrics so you need to ask the ladies for prices.The staff here are generally helpful and polite. There is only fabric here, no notions. You have the fabric cut by the 'cutting ladies' then pay at the cashier.

Image from West End Girl

Seiben Blau
Prenzlauer Berg

A great fabric store specialising in organic and ethical fabrics. They stock jerseys, cottons and more. 
This is your one stop local for sustainable sewing 

Image from Tip Berlin

Frau Tulpe  
Prenzlauer Berg 
 Frau Tulpe has a wonderful selection of cotton print fabrics. I would describe it as a funky quilting fabric store with an emphasis on Japanese fabrics. 


 Maybacher Ufer markets
Kreuzberg - Tues and Friday
This is where the poor sewer needs to head. Nothing in Berlin beats these cheap fabrics. During the winter months they have wool like fabrics and for summer more polyesters and jerseys. Sometimes you can find them at Mauermarkt too. 
Maybacher Ufer - Saturday fabric market


You can get your notions at this store. They have a limited amount of fabric, but for a pretty penny you can get some fabrics.... though they are a little too pricey for my taste



This is a good place for notions. They also stock dress and quilting fabric, but it can be fairly pricey. 


Image from Vom- taubertel

Stoffmarkt Holland 
This is an interesting market to visit. But I wouldn't be waiting around for it to reach your town. I went out to the Potsdam market a few years ago, but was not wowed. It is a little expensive and not too much of a variety.

Image from Naehkontor
Prenzlauer Berg
This is a sweet corner store fabric store. I sometimes find unique remnants here for a good  price. They have a nice selection of unique quilting fabrics. You can also pick up CUT mag here!

Image from 360 Berlin

Frieda Hain
These guys have a nice selection of cute fabrics. Particularly good for sewing for kids.


Image from das macht ich nachts


Stoff Meyer
Stoff Meyer is the premium, designer fabric store in Berlin. If I had money I would visit this shop a whole lot more!
It is worth checking out.

Modulor is a great one stop shop. I get my tracing paper for tracing patterns. They also have some good priced elastic here with a selection of fabrics and notions. They used to have a sewing shop (Naehinsitut) attached to it, but unfortunately they recently relocated.

Image from Paul Knofe
Paul Knopfe 

This is a shop dedicated to buttons. There are a heap of new and vintage buttons. Don't touch anything! You need to ask to retrieve boxes of buttons from the shelves.

 Ostbahnof antique markets
 There is a lady that sells antique buttons from Ostbahnof for a good price, I aptly call her the button lady!

Department stores stock some fabrics, some notions and yarn. Here are some links
Galeria Kauf haus, 
Craft store - idee

There are numerous places where you can find places to sew your own projects.

sewing classes/ sewing work space

Prenzlauer Berg - naehraum
Kreuzberg - modulor, 1000stoff, manyfold

Neulkoelln - Nadelwald 

Image from Nadelwald Neukoelln

If you want to find other fabric stores (perhaps in the western suburbs) then I suggest that you visit Stoff in Berlin 

Happy Fabric Shopping

October 14, 2014

Sewing for my Mental Well-being

I went home to Australia for a short visit and noticed that the television network ABC (the Australian BBC) was really promoting Mental Health week. This made me super excited! Mental Health has unfortunately taken the back seat when it has come to Health, so to see it in the lime light was marvelous. I have worked in the area of mental health for many years now and I work in a holistic sense.... so what has this all got to do with sewing? Read on!

'Why is sewing good for my mental health?'

1. Beat Depression and Burn out. 
In this fast paced world, where many people live and breathe their 9-5 job, it is easy to get burnt out and experience depression. Having something else to come home to can provide some relief. I find that when I am having a difficult period at work, I know that I can shift my focus to my creative projects at home

2. Supportive Sewing Community

You are apart of a fantastic supportive community who are truly passionate about creating! They can brighten your day!

2. Develop patience, resilience and  persistence
Patience - Sewing can force you to slow down and take your time, so in a sense it can help to calm you. 
Resilience - We all have those projects which seem to go all wrong, so you need to be resilient to get through it. Bounce Back and persist!

3. Learn new skills and create new neural pathways!
Learning new skills is good for healthy brain development. Create those new pathways!

4. Experience Flow
I experience moments of flow when exercising and when I sew (or design or print). Flow is when someone experiences total immersion in an activity. For me it is intrinsically rewarding and I experience a feeling of serenity. Here is a good article on flow

5. Pride and satisfaction 
There is always an element of pride and satisfaction when you complete and wear a garment. My proudest sewing moment was on my wedding day when I designed and sewed many outfits for the occasion:)

6. Unleashing creativity.
Unleashing your creativity can be a great outlet for your emotions and it can make you happy!

Martin Seligman specilises in positive psychology and discusses creativity and mental health. So check out some of his work for more info!

Have you noticed the link between positive mental health and sewing?