Dot dot dot

Mr Kitten and I went shopping to Kärkkäinen last weekend. What I came home with all seemed to have something in common, can you spot (pun intended) the similarities? The gift wrapping paper I plan to use for making some pretty storage boxes, I've been looking for dotted paper for ages! The blue package is our new shower curtain, in case you were wondering.

Earlier this fall I had plans for making a shirtwaist dress. Well, I made the shirt, but as this is the first shirt I've made since I was in school (aged 14) and I made up the pattern myself, it didn't come out exactly as planned. I also chose a fabric that turned out to bee pretty itchy...Oh, well. Can't win em all. But I now know what I need to do differently next time. To make myself feel better I made another circle skirt instead, this time with a hidden pocket! Turned out a lot better than the shirt...

As I mentioned in my last post, I took some old clothes to be sold off at a nearby flea-market. Of course this meant more room for new items in my closet! At said flea-market I found an item I could not walk away from, even though it had lost it's shape (bad washing?) and needs a bit of work to fit me. An embroided cardigan, 50's style, most likely vintage (it has beads as buttons!). I have been searching for something like this for a while and now I've got one! Hopefully it will come out wearable after I take it in a bit, shorten it etc.

Another lovely find was this vintage dress;

Great colour and style, matching belt (pretty much) and my size! Nothing to alter!? Definitely a style I will try and copy for other dresses. It is not as long as it looks btw, camera was a bit high...And note my matching nail polish!

Hope you are all doing well, I'm going to Vasa to get braces tomorrow...No sticky candy for me for the next few years.


Goodbye and hello

I finally got my act together and got myself a table at a flea market. Tomorrow I'm taking two large bags of clothes to be sold off. I also thought I'd try and get rid of my grandmother's old coat;

Sadly, this mint condition 60's coat is huge on me. I think it's about a european size 40 (I'm 34). It has a beautiful pattern and some very decorative seams, so I thought about keeping it in case I get bigger in the future but...It just takes up too much space, so I'm letting go. However, if any of you readers are interested in it, let me know! I'm not so sure the folks in this town would appreciate a coat like this, and I won't be surprised if nobody here wants it. It that happens, I will give it to charity.

Pretty much the same goes for the coat below too. It was brought over from America in the 40's or 50's by my mother's aunt, and it is also about a size 40. Not mint condition though, the fur is a bit torn under the arms and around the hooks in the front, but I believe this can be fixed. There's a matching hat too...

Check out the tag!

Of the very few vintage pieces of clothing (hopefully) getting sold, along with the modern stuff, is another piece from my grandmothers closet. Marked a size 42, this set is also much to big for me.

Bye, bye, clothes I don't use...and while I was sorting through the stuff I'm selling, there on the floor, between the shoes that don't fit, I found my engagement ring! The ring has been missing for a while, and after a couple of weeks of searching I gave up hope and got a new one...so now I have two! Mad. Which one do I wear? Perhaps I should keep using the new one, it seems to be half a size smaller, so maybe it'll stay on better...


Dear Santa,

Christmas is coming...But I don't want any presents. I have everything I need (and lot's and lot's of stuff I don't really need as well). So please Santa, give my presents to someone who really need them. Thanks!

I personally am going to buy my family presents that get given to people in poor countries, a couple of goats perhaps, because this is what Christmas is really about, isn't it? Giving to those who need it. There are loads of other things in different price ranges that you can buy too, blankets, id-cards, education, plants etc. Even a 5 euro school uniform can change someone's life. You can make a difference.

I will be buying the presents from lahjaksilehmä and toisenlainenlahja (Finnish sites) and I'm sure you have this kind of sites in your countries as well, in case you get inspired. My family will most likely get some small gifts too, maybe something hand made, but the majority of my Christmas money will go to the charity organizations I've linked to above. Will you do the same? Come on, let's give to those who need it!


Alive and shopping!

I haven't gotten back to sewing yet, but I'm definitely back to shopping, especially at flea-markets and charity-shops. In fact, I did some thrifting earlier today! One of the items to come home with me was this pretty negligee...I'm not exactly sure I'll wear it (it only cost 50 cents and it's kinda fragile) but I'm thinking I might have it hanging on a wall somewhere, along with the rest of my collection.

A couple of weeks ago I also found this retro plant holder, a perfect match to my flower pot table!

I don't know if it's because it's winter now, and x-mas coming soon, but I'm having a thing for red, black and white at the moment. I wouldn't mind our whole apartment decorated in those colours, checkered floors, black sofa with red cushions, kitchen cupboards in shiny red and so on. Maybe this will be the case someday, in a couple of rooms at least. I'm gonna start with making a cute cushion out of this retro fabric, and maybe hanging something nice on the retro hanger...

Last but not least, I have adopted yet another pair of shoes. Who knew you could "need" so many?

Done any thrifting lately?


Back on track?

The past few weeks have been pretty stressful at work, leaving me with very little energy to be creative or go shopping or blog. But things are looking up, and I'm starting to feel more like myself again. On Saturday we had our work x-mas party, but as I had less than 2 hours to get ready when I got home from work, I didn't exactly have the time to take any outfit pictures...But this is the dress and shoes I wore;

I combined them with some black patterned stockings and this purse;

All vintage! I also tried my hand at making a Joan from mad men-inspired hairdo (following one of the many tutorials on youtube). It turned out pretty well, but as mentioned, no pictures to prove it...

Now that my energy and inspiration levels are more or less back to normal, I'm at a loss for what to do on my day off, (today) or rather, what to do first. Should I sew? Go to a flea-market? Just do housework? Try to do it all at the same time? Well, sitting here certainly won't get anything done, I'm off, have a nice day!



After a week of trying to adjust to it getting dark around 5 and not 6, Mr Kitten and I are going dancing to try and cheer ourselves up. The picture below has nothing to do with dancing, I just wanted to show off my new hat.

Hope you're all having a fantastic weekend!


Lady in Gray

Sometimes when I go thrifting I get lucky (or stick to tight rules perhaps?) and I end up bringing home a bunch of clothes that all seem to magically match...

Jumper+skirt, looks good with red accessories (bought or thrifted earlier).

Same gray skirt matches black shirt with white stripes, black shoes and red hat+jumper.

And would you believe it, the old ladies at the charity shop gave the dress above (again matching gray) to me for free, after I discovered a small hole at the side. However, this dress is quite big on me (and a bit itchy) so I thought I'd ask if anybody else is interested in it, they were going to throw it away! Waist measures 43 when lying flat, bust 52, hip 55 at widest part. The collar also looks big on me, so this might not look good on other petite ladies either...But if anybody is interested I'd be quite happy to for example trade it for something else, make me an offer!

Pair 60-something of shoes (closest to camera) cost 2 euros and came home with me from a thrift shop last Saturday. They are lined and warm, great for winter and the sort of temperatures we are having at the moment (there's even some snow!) On Saturday we also began the winter bathing season, but before we went my hair looked like this;

This is day five of the same set of pincurls, no need to wash often when you don't use shampoo anymore! But after this picture was taken my hair had to handle hydro-cortison-creme to fight my scalp rash, getting sweaty in the sauna and getting dipped into sea water when winter bathing...

And for some strange reason I decided to use considerably less baking soda than normal when I got home and finally washed it. Needless to say, my hair didn't feel quite as clean as I would have liked it afterwards...But now, after I've washed it again with more baking soda, rubbing it into all of my hair and not just the roots, and rinsing with the apple cider vinegar-mix, it feels as if I'd washed it with shampoo. I've also gone and gotten myself a different medicine for my atopic scalp rash, which hopefully won't interfere with my hair experiments.

My conclusion is that baking soda is indeed very likely to wash away all sorts of products from your hair, if you use enough of it (!) and spread it out from root to tip. However, I will be trying this again with hairspray or something to make sure, and report back...


Playing pinup and going no-poo

What do you think readers? Should I quit my job at the supermarket and start modeling?

Erh, maybe not, I can remember the photographer being amazed at how bad I was at keeping my eyes open for my graduation pics...I guess I'm just really flash sensitive.

Anyway, last week after complaining I wasn't having any luck at the flea-markets, I went to a couple I haven't been to for a while and came home with a bag full of stuff! Among other, this cute bathing/gymnastics suit. The rest will be in the next post...

On a different note, today it has been 2 months since I last used shampoo. Yes, I've been bitten by the no-poo bug. For the first four weeks or so my hair was pretty gross, but then it changed, and lately I've only washed it once or twice a week. Hold on, wash-but not with shampoo? Nope. At first I tried the conditioner only (CO) method, but I'm not sure if it worked or not, as my hair wasn't used to no shampoo and was still over producing oils. Plus I really didn't like the to me, strong smell of the conditioner (I used erittäin hieno suomalainen hiushoito).

So I switched to using baking soda and rinsing with a vinegar and water mix. Sometimes I mix in a bit of honey with the baking soda as well. My goal is to eventually wash with water only (WO) as my parents and at least one of my brothers have been doing for the last year, and their hair looks great! But they all have short hair...

To be honest, my hair doesn't feel or look that different, but then I've always had pretty good hair as I use so little product (and very seldom) and usually let it air dry anyway. The best thing about my new method though, is that I don't have to wash it every two days anymore. This is the first time I've done pin-curls since I stopped with the shampoo, and I'm very interested in seeing how long they will last. I will be pinning them up again over night to hopefully make them last longer.

Sound interesting? Google "no-poo" and you'll find loads of links...

And to finish, here's a list of reason to why I wanted to try this;

-I'm lazy. I cannot be bothered to re-set my hair every two days, so why not try a method that would allow me to keep it set for longer? Don't know if it will work yet though, testing in progress!
-My parents and brother are doing it, and they only use water and it still looks great. I should have the same genes, right?
-I have atopic skin, which means I have dry skin and have to keep using creme to keep my rash at bay. My scalp was getting really dry and itchy, and shampoo apparently dries out both skin and hair. My scalp feels better now.
-I got tired of buying and trying new brands of shampoo all the time, as nothing seemed to be quite right for me, my hair and my scalp. And because of my dry scalp, I though I might have dandruff, so I used dandruff shampoo (very bad for nature). No dandruff now...
-The environment is probably happier with less shampoo in it, and fewer plastic shampoo bottles.
-I'm not very big on consuming. Especially when it comes to products/chemicals we don't necessarily need. What we do need, I try to get the eco-friendly version of. Baking soda in a paper carton with a small plastic lid means less waste than a bunch of plastic bottles right?




I don't know what to say. Blogging is hard when there's nothing to blog about. I haven't found anything worth mentioning at the flea-markets lately, and I haven't really had much inspiration for sewing either. Maybe because I find it hard to get started when Mr Kitten is at home? I kinda need to be alone when I'm sewing, otherwise I can't concentrate enough...or something. Anybody else get that?

Anyway, I'm trying to get my groove back now that our shifts are different again (next 2-3 weeks one of us has evening shifts when the other has mornings, after which we'll have 3 weeks of same shifts, again). More me-time. This is my inspiration;

Picture from vintagefashionlibrary.com

Picture from Vivien of Holloway.

I haven't done a shirt or anything with a collar since the one I made in school at 14. So it's a bit of a challenge. And as usual I have no real pattern, just combining a collar + long sleeve from a shirt pattern from 1998 (pretty much the last time I drafted any patterns from Burda) with my trusted self made universal top pattern, the rest I'm making up as I go along. But I keep getting distracted. Coming up is 8 days of work in a row, including weekend, so we'll see how much energy is left for sewing...Wish me luck!


How to make a dress from an oversize shirt

I got a request to make a tutorial on how I made this dress;

First of all, you will need to know some basic sewing to do this, because I won't go into details on how to add a zipper and such, as it would simply make this post waaay too long. Secondly, finding a suitable shirt to re-vamp might not be that easy, as getting enough fabric for both top and bottom even for little old me was tricky. But still possible! I'd look for something with wide and long sleeves...Also, you could just make the skirt-part if there isn't enough fabric.

As I didn't plan to make a tutorial when I made the dress, I took no pictures of the process itself. So I'll just have to try and explain what I did...Hopefully I'll get you inspired to re-use something old and make something new, and save the environment etc. So here goes. I first thrifted a very large sized shirt with all in one sleeves, made from a thick and suitably stiff material;

I decided on my desired skirt length and marked it, plus a 1 cm seam allowance, measuring from the hem up. Then I cut my skirt part out, zig-zagged the raw edges and sewed close the left side all the way up. I also carefully removed the pockets and sewed them back on higher up.

The next step was to cut the collar out, leaving a bit of fabric at the front to work with. At the back of the collar I undid the seam and removed the collar from the back of the shirt. Here I noticed that I would not be able to fit my head through the collar if sewed shut (where there used to be buttons to undo), so I left it open at the back instead. I then turned the undone neck parts back in towards each other and sewed shut, leaving the back with two straps, too short to tie, but long enough close with a button and buttonhole or my version; hook and loop tape for more adjustability.

Here's a little explanation on how I cut the shirt up;

(Click for larger image)

But before I did any cutting I had to measure the sleeves across to see whether or not they were wide enough to make into a top for the dress. They were, just...So I cut the pieces out, comparing the width to my best fitting top pattern. I made some adjustments, added darts at the bust, and made sure the back (and front!) was high enough to cover a bra. All edges got zig-zagged and the darts sewed. I then sewed the left side shut.

The next step was to fit the collar in. I fitted the collar as if the top was a vest or pullover and the collar was peeking out, and sewed the pieces together, really close to the collar. The zig-zagged egdes were turned in, of course.

Now, the sides/arm holes were still open. I cut the extra fabric from the collar (sticking out from underneath the top) to match the sides, turned them in towards each other and sewed shut. I then turned the rest of the sides/arm holes over, as well the back, and stitched shut. Now, it was time to add the top to the bottom!

I matched the left side seams to each other, and then the right sides, still open. Next, the center of the top to the center of the bottom, and then on and on, center of top gaps to center of bottom gaps until I ran out of pins...All this to get the wrinkles to spread out nicely and evenly.

Finally, I added a zipper in the gap at the right side, starting in the skirt-part going all the way up to the arm-hole. Done!

Phew! I hope I didn't miss anything, and that you get the idea despite the lack of proper sewing terminology etc. I am, after all, a swedish speaking self-taught seamstress...But if something was really unclear you can always ask about it. And if you do go ahead and make something inspired by this post (or any other posts of mine for that matter) do let me know, I would love to see the results. Good luck and happy sewing!


Secret project revealed

I cannot tell you how pleased I am with myself right now. The reason is that I have managed to turn this mega-sized fake leather bag;

Into a corset;

This was probably the most challenging project I done in years...I did the pattern myself, made a test version from a piece of old bed sheet and then ordered the boning and planchet from Belle Modeste, where I also got a few tips on how to make the corset by looking at the pretty corsets they have made.

The whole thing has taken me a few weeks to complete, and it is not perfect, but I'm ok with that, considering it's the first thing like it I've ever tried my hands on. The biggest challenge turned out to be the fact that I had chosen such a bad material, hah. The fake leather bag that I paid 3 euros for seemed to get stretchier the more I worked with it, plus it was kinda sticky, so I had to sew through paper(!) to get it to go through the machine without sticking. Plus every needle mark is still visible, the thread tension never really worked with the material no matter how I changed it etc. Also, the eyelets at the back were a bit tricky...Really, I'm just glad to have it over with!

If anybody else wants to try this, my best advice is to chose a good sturdy material that doesn't stretch in any way, other then that, it wasn't as difficult as I had imagined...


The last of the summer dresses

It seems me being practical and thinking about what I actually will/can wear on a day to day basis has paid off, I've worn the sailor inspired trousers several times already.

The past few years I have made quite a few items that have been worn once and then stayed in the closet since, or worse yet, never even gotten out of there in the first place! So I have decided to take a brake from making summer dresses and such, as I didn't even manage to wear half of the summer clothes I own in the summer that passed. Instead I'm gonna try and continue on the practical route...We'll see how that goes!

Before the blog starts filling up with warm and practical winter clothes, here's the last of the summer projects, a thrifted over-sized shirt;

Which I turned into a summer dress;

Goodbye summer...


My vintage Nokias

Did you know that before Nokia made mobile phones, they made rubber? Nokia is still one of the most well known rubber boot brands in Finland. Apparently they made other types of shoes as well, such as these;

My dad found them when they were cleaning out an old shed where my great grandfathers house once stood. They have been in my possession for a few years, but I haven't used them as I had no appropriate not too bright white laces. Until I took a trip to a local flea-market last Sunday.

I wore them out yesterday, with my matching (now with waistband!) sailor style trousers, when I found these sunglasses;

They are slightly too big for my little head, and not as cat-eye as I would want, but for the price of 1 euro...Close enough.


Saturday in Vaasa

Last Saturday was spent in Vaasa, I had arranged to meet a fellow blogger and seamstress, TuunausTiina, to go thrifting with her. This is what I wore, note the hat!

(Sorry for the cameraphone-picture quality)

I rather enjoyed thrifting with someone who knows what vintage is about and who knows sewing and can see potential in items other see as trash. Sadly, we didn't find anything vintage to fit our tastes and budgets apart from this one hat which I bought;

But none of us went home empty handed either. Lucky for me these granny style winter boots were too small for Tiina;

Tiina found at least one skirt and a dress and we both found some fabric (mine just a plain dark blue, nothing exiting). I also found a couple of cute tops;

The last of the tops I bought ended up matching my newly finished sailor inspired trousers perfectly;

However I'm still considering adding a waistband to the trousers, to get a bit more...waist. Tomorrow I'm back at work again, so it's back to sewing only when I have energy left after work. Being on holiday was fun while it lasted.


More sewing and some treasures

The sewing continues, I have now made a pair of high-waisted trousers, a strapless top and a bolero, all from the same fabric. The bolero and the top are made using the silver scissor patterns, the top is actually the top part of a strapless dress, which with my long torso turned out way to short, even though I made it longer? Maybe it was the lack of the scaling tool that made it turn out like this...The bolero looks just like the pattern picture (apart from the sleeves) but it also feels like a short model on me. Wonder if any of the tops will ever make it out of the closet again...

Yesterday was quite a fun day, I went to see my grandma, and me and my mum helped her clean out her attic...And we got to keep pretty much anything we found that we liked! I came home with two suitcases full of clothes photos and stuff, plus a fur coat from the 40's (made in Washington!) with matching hat, another 60's coat, a 60's suit and grandma's old uniforms from when she was head of the village's mail office (ca. 1950's-70's). Unfortunately pretty much all the clothes are too big for me (sizes 40-44) and most of them are from the 60's and 70's. Anybody interested? I'd happily trade them for something in my size and a couple of decades older. Or sell.

For me, the biggest treasure here is mum's aunt Gerda's old suitcase, and all the photos it contained. Gerda was the aunt who lived in the United States for a few years, there was a scrapbook full of clippings concerning WWII and also some newer magazines. The fur coat mentioned earlier was also hers.

There was also an album with my great grandfathers name in it, with lot's and lot's of pictures of relatives from the 1900's-1960's. I also found my grandparent's wedding photo, and a picture of grandma taken around the same time. I think they got married in 1949...If anybody is interested in seeing old photos let me know and I'll try and scan some of the more interesting ones.

The second suitcase was grandma's own, the one she used to take with her on all the holidays she and granddad used to go on. She had tied a piece of blue string (still there!) around the handle to recognize it faster at the airports...I like things with a history, like the suitcases, especially as it is now me who travels the most. My grandparents also had a caravan (a bit like this one) btw, too bad it's now rotting away in the woods.


It's just soo lovely to have the time to do the things you want...

After my last post I walked into the kitchen and realized that I had forgotten to take a picture of another find at the juthbacka market...I have quite a few plants in the flat so this charming little table felt like something useful to have. And no, it does not bother me in any way that it is also very cute and retro.

As I've been on holiday this week, I've tried to get some projects done, such as revamping a pair of shoes which I haven't worn for a few years. Before;

And after;

From useless shoes to glamorous slippers to wear around the house, makes me feel a bit more luxurious than wearing woolly socks with my dressing gowns...

A little something else I made this week was this matching set of skirt and hat;

Also note my new handbag with the cute shoe-shaped clasp. From a shoe/bag shop here in town.

Finally, here's another outfit I wore to town a few days ago, sorry about the sunglasses inside but hey, that is what I looked like...

Another fun thing we did this week was taking a dance class, basics in Finnish tango. It was fun, but sadly, both Mr. Kitten and I feel like we've already forgotten most of it...