Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Great British Sewing Bee!

I watched it! Thanks to Karen for letting me know it was on YouTube. I had just assumed it would be blocked because every other video I've tried to watch here has been unavailable in Germany.

(possible spoilers ahead!)

I must say, who won was completely not a surprise to me. Ann had the most experience and was very good at picking projects that were within her capabilities given the time she had.

I was astonished over and over at the difficulty of the patterns Lauren picked, and then even more astonished when she finished them! I only wish I were that good. Or half that good.

I also felt bad for Stuart. He has amazing design ideas, but doesn't yet have the skills to turn them into perfect reality. I hope he comes back in a year or two. I think he could win.

And lastly, I want to be on that show! Maybe I will move to Britain. Just kidding. Sort of.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Random musings from the haze of antibiotics

Having acquired a bad case of tonsillitis, I find myself unable to do much of anything productive. Most of my spare time has been spent sleeping, whining, or watching TV. With that said, here are my random musings.

The sewing blogosphere seems to be quite the fan of The Great British Sewing Bee. I would love to find a way to watch it in Germany, but I am rather wary of trying anything less than strictly legal. All moral issues aside, the German government has been know to track down and then fine or arrest people who download illegal things, and I don't really feel like risking that.

It suddenly occurred to me that I can buy a Burda magazine from the kiosk here! I'm rather tempted to buy one just so I will have bought one. Without fabric or a sewing machine, of course I can't sew very much.

However, it's apparently possible to borrow a sewing machine from somebody who lives in my student village, which is something I might have to check out. Maybe I could buy a Burda, find something easy, buy fabric, and go on a sewing sprint. Once I'm better.

And last but not least, I wish I could participate in Me-Made-May, but given that my capsule wardrobe includes two hand-made things, that seems rather silly. Next year!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Capsule Wardrobe, part two

Here is part one.

I put this wardrobe together with the help of my mother. We aimed for compact and flexible. A lot of the pieces can be dressed up or dressed down depending on what I wear them with, for example. Almost everything matches with everything else, and I tried to keep within the same color palette mostly. I picked a pink-purple-blue color palette because that's what I already own most of. For neutrals, I went with gray and black, because I had black ballet flats. Really the only exception to this color palette is my running sweatshirt, and OH WELL if my running clothes don't match!

Overall, this wardrobe has worked really well. I rarely run out of clothes (and when I do, it's my own fault for not having done laundry). One of the things I love about having a wardrobe this small is that when I have nothing to wear, I can tell. At home I would regularly pull open a drawer half full of clothes only to discover nothing that was clean matched with anything else. Here, chances are very high that if I have two pieces of clothing in my closet, they will match each other.

Another thing I love is that I am not struggling to make myself wear things that don't fit or don't look good. Not everything I have here fits perfectly, but I did try hard to bring only things I knew I would wear.

This brings up the age-old question: quantity vs. quality. I have to admit, I don't really have either here! I certainly don't have quantity, but honestly, my clothes are not very high quality either. Almost everything is either from a store like Ross or TJMaxx, or years old, or from Kohl's on sale. I didn't want to buy an entire new wardrobe, but I can really see why someone would go for quality over quantity. In fact, I decided even before planning this capsule wardrobe to be much more discerning in my clothing purchases. I would rather have one dress that fits well and is good quality than three dresses which fit badly and which I won't want to wear.

I don't have the money to go run out and buy a bunch of $100+ dresses, but I do think that as the clothes I have now wear out, I will try to replace them with higher-quality things, if only in the hopes they will fit better. Alternatively, one of these days once I get back from Germany I *will* learn to fit things properly!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

My capsule wardrobe

I forgot to update you and tell you the results of my capsule wardrobe for Germany! I guess this way worked out better, though, because now I can update on how it has been working as well as what I decided. I was reminded of my capsule wardrobe my two posts, Peter's post on quantity vs. quality and Ashe's post at Already Pretty on developing a color palette for your closet. In an effort to prevent a giant post from taking over your computer, I'm going to introduce my capsule wardrobe in this post, and then talk about why I picked it and how I like it so far in the next post.

Here are two shots of my closet:

Moving from left to right, this is what you see:

Three scarves: Red pashmina, yellow decorative scarf, and purple wrap.

Two dresses: Gray and black, and black and blue.

Seven shirts: Black turtleneck, blue T-shirt, pink blouse, black T-shirt, purple half-sleeve shirt, navy blue blouse, striped tank top, and add one purple T-shirt, which I was wearing.

Three sweaters/sweatshirts: Black sweater, purple sweatshirt, and burgundy sweatshirt.

One pair of black chinos

Three skirts: One blue and green ankle-length one, one gray knee-length one, and my VHC skirt.

One slip

One running sweatshirt
One running skirt
Two pairs of running pants (one not pictured)
One pair of pajama pants, which I was wearing

That's 25 items. Not pictured (or counted) are socks, underwear, and tights. Also not pictured are things that I consider outerwear. So, for example, I have a few hats, a coat, gloves, and so on. I also have three pairs of shoes: my ballet flats, a pair of boots, and a pair of running shoes. What's pictured here is basically the things I consider it important to match.

Before I get into the big-picture opinion in the next post, here are a few thoughts:

*A lot of these things double as other things. Running pants, for example, can be pajama pants, and my purple and blue T-shirts triple as regular wear, sleepwear, and running wear.

*Almost everything here was something I already owned. I bought the black chinos and the purple sweatshirt for this trip, as well as buying a new coat.

*Some of these are pieces of clothing I have owned for years which are still holding up. I bought that pink blouse in 7th grade, for example.

Next up: The reasons behind this wardrobe, and how I think it's been working!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


So, without a sewing machine, my sewing has been very limited. However, I have discovered that a large number of people in our study abroad program knit. (For example, there are eight of us in my neighborhood. Seven of the eight can knit.)

So, I wanted a project that would take a while, but not be too expensive. Enter a pair of socks! Now I don't really like wearing handknitted socks, because I prefer my socks to be stretchier. So I made them for K, who is not as picky about socks as I am.

I used a random pattern off the internet, which I have now lost. It was a super simple toe-up pattern where the toe was just increases and the heel was done with wrapped stitches. I have to admit I wasn't a big fan. I prefer the slightly more complicated but nicer looking heel I have done on other sock patterns. The main issue I had was that the socks, when not being worn, look so incredibly strange. They look fine worn, though. It's odd. Anyway, without further ado, here are the pictures!

The last two pictures are much more accurate color-wise. It was a lovely variegated yarn that I found at a local yarn store, which I thought was a little local place, but I have since found another branch of it, so I think it's a chain. Sigh.

I have another pair of baby socks almost completed, which I made with the leftover yarn.