life before like

every once in a while, i stumble upon my past in the form of an old blog.

no, i don’t mean an old blog post, but literally old blog. before wordpress, before multiply, there was my livejournal.

just like reading an old diary, reading my old blog makes me smile, cringe, slap my head, all on repeat. but there was also something else i noticed.

i noticed how easy life was, not because i was still young & stupid (i mean, i still am these 2 things right now ðŸĪŠ), but because there was no ‘like’ button.

i was blogging just to give an update to the people i care, who lived in different parts of the world already back then. i was blogging just to express myself, let out the anger, the happiness, the frustration, and the excitement, about anything and everything, without a care in the world on whether or not anyone would read it, let alone if anyone would ‘like’ it.

it makes me wonder about us, humans, in the present time, and especially the later generation that’s never felt life before ‘like’ buttons came out. will they ever know how easy life could be? how carefree everything is when you don’t have to try to be ‘liked’ all the time? how many times have they felt like they have tried everything to get more and more likes, do crazy selfies or spend extra money on things that will surely get them more likes, only to find that there will always be someone out there with even more likes? will we ever realize how the current social medias are basically dictating how we should behave/be in our lives? to be accepted, to be liked, to be validated. sure, some old traditions in some societies have always had these ‘mindsets’ as well, but this thing about the like buttons… they’re quite global and the impacts on people’s mental health have been quite scary.

at first, i envied my old self for not having these thoughts. but then i realized, i am still me. i can still think that way if i want to. i can decide to ignore the like buttons, the heart buttons, the thumbs-up buttons, or what have you.

i live my own life, and it’s not my problem if you don’t like me because i’m not pretty/trendy enough. i’m okay with living my own life the way i want to, without hurting others, and knowing for sure that the people around me like me for who i am, not what i post in my blog or whatever social media i have.

so i wanted to write this little post just to remind my future self (who knows what kind of self-deprecating buttons there will be out there in 10-20 years’ time?) to live life like the way it used to be, before the ‘like’ button existed. every time i post here, or wherever else, let it be just for myself, and not for anyone else. maybe, in time, i’ll learn to like myself–without having to press the ‘like’ button on my own blog post! 😉

1 year late, pt. 5 (the final one!)

i honestly can’t think of a better title. may i just dump this post here? 😛

seeing that this is my own blog, the answer is yes. i may. and i will.

so we’re finally in winter 2021, and i’m finally posting my very last sewing projects of the year. i’m actually very proud of each and every one of the items i made last year, it’s just that i want to get going with this year’s projects already. 😅 now, shall we start?

self-made blouse and shorts.

if you’ve been a reader of my blog for a long while, you’d have known that i always have a soft spot for Moomin fabrics. i may not grow up with Moomin books/cartoons, but seeing the characters and their behaviours, and the fact that i used to saw a lot of their merchandise in Japanese fashion magazines made me feel just as close to them as a true Finn.

this one i had to get because it’s a scene from a story that meant a lot to my husband. the print is called Tivoli and it’s cotton jersey with a bit of elastane. i got about 80 cm of the fabric, and the width is about 150 cm.

i didn’t use any pattern for this one and did the usual square method AKA boxy shirt. just for a bit of a twist, i decided to add black lace between the body and sleeve pieces, aaaand some pompom trimming on the cuffs. because of the lace addition, i managed to get semi-long sleeves for this one, so it’s perfect for autumn/winter.

for the neckline, i used the trusted elastic edge band again (of course)! this one is not made of the same material as the previous ones i’ve used, though, and because of the tiny ribbing lines, it looks a bit more ‘sporty’. not that that’s a problem, it still makes my life a lot easier than to make a separate neckline band or use a bias tape for necklines.

the next project was supposed to be my last sewing project of 2021.

self-made dress, COS shoes.

ever since i worked with punto jersey (can’t even remember when that first time was!), i had always loved how easy it is to sew it. it’s just as easy as working with scuba jersey, but the material itself is usually much more comfortable and less ‘plastic’ky than scuba, which is nice.

so when i saw this solid coloured one in green (gotta love green!), i knew i had to get it. in the beginning i was thinking of making pants, but i unsuccessfully tried a new pants pattern last summer (i mean, summer 2021) and so that plan went out the window. thankfully, that time i used another fabric, so this one was still completely unscathed.

i had about 1,5 m of this fabric, and the width was around 140 cm. i was feeling too lazy to copy new dress patterns, so in the end i decided to use the same pattern as the one for this dress.

i didn’t remember what was so hard about making this dress, especially since i could omit the zipper because i was using a stretchy fabric.

but as soon as i started sewing the v-neckline, it all came back to me. needless to say, it’s not exactly neat and crisp, but i did my best.

what i’m most proud of is, of course, the origami pleat at the front part of the waistline. it came out beautifully (for my standard), so i’m super satisfied with that. to make it look more polished, i used ochre-coloured topstitch thread for the yoke’s topstitches… and of course, a few metal studs on the yokes wouldn’t hurt.

after finishing this dress and feeling super proud of it, i couldn’t help grabbing another fabric. i mean, hey, i was feeling super lucky!

self-made fanny pack.

it was that time of the year! you know, the time when my previous self-made fanny pack broke down (the fabric just frayed too much, the zipper got stuck way too often) that i just had to make a new one!

this time, i copied a co-worker’s fanny pack which had just one wide elastic strip covering the width of the bag to put the tools in. the fabric i used is some sort of neoprene, so this time it shouldn’t fray at all, ha!

i’ve been using it since the beginning of this year, and it’s been great so far, except for the elastic band that holds the whole bag that’s been stretching and stretching non-stop because of all the weight inside the bag. 😂 i just have to keep shortening it, but whatever. at least the bag itself is still usable! it does make me wonder how much stuff i carry around at work. and i don’t even carry my mobile phone there!

but what do you know? i’ve finally caught up with myself in the year 2022, whoppee! now let’s just hope the next post will be some time this year! 😆

matcha-matcha-matcha-me

what did i do in summer 2021?

other than the obvious (going to work & hiding away at home when i wasn’t at work), as you can see from my previous blogposts, i sewed and baked and cooked. while the pandemic was going out strong and we did not have vaccines yet, one of the few ways to entertain myself and my palate was to make our own food.

and because there weren’t (still aren’t) many places that offer matcha food/beverages in Finland, of course i had to crave for matcha flavour. 😋 good thing that the trusted tea shop i always got my matcha powder from was–and is–still around!

i wasn’t too picky about what exactly i would make. the usual ‘sponge cake’ go-to recipe was enough for me, i thought while i ordered the matcha powder. and, i was thinking of making the matcha souffle for my birthday.

but then, while waiting for the powder to arrive, i remembered another thing i missed: carrot cakes!

to be honest, what i missed was not the carrot cake itself, but rather the topping, or icing as some might say. in Finland, most of the icing is made of cream cheese, which i find is the BEST icing!

so i tried to look for recipes for cream cheese icing… that can be put on top of matcha sponge cake. as luck would have it, i found the perfect one, as the icing itself also uses matcha powder!

when the matcha powder finally came, i went to work right away!

first, i made the ‘sponge cake’ into smaller cupcake sizes, and i did this the same way as i did many times before: changing the baking soda into baking powder and adjusted the other ingredients according to that change. but somehow this time the outcome made my ‘sponge cake’ a lot more dry and they cracked on the top, as you can see from the picture.

well, but who cares. i had a secret weapon now: matcha icing!!

now they were crack-ey no more! 😂

so here’s what i put into the icing: 100 gr cream cheese (non-flavoured), 50 gr butter, 300 ml icing sugar, 1 teaspoon of matcha powder. whip them all up and store it in the fridge to keep it cool & firm.

so what about the taste?

one bite, and i thought i was going to heaven.

i’m not kidding. if you’re a matcha lover like me, i warmly recommend you to try this combo!

the matcha powder was enough for me to make many more batches of these (the souffle idea went out the window), and i finally did buy baking soda + yoghurt to try the sponge cake recipe the ‘right way’. the result was much fluffier and much spongier cupcakes, and it made so many more cupcakes than when i used the baking powder, i had to only use 2/3 of the whole dough!

unfortunately i did not take any pictures of the fluffier version, but let me assure you that no matter what version you decide to make, these matcha cupcakes are sure to satisfy your matcha cravings!

simple things for simple mind (1 year late, pt. 4)

we’re at the end of summer 2021, nearing autumn. (ha, finally, some progress with this catching up thing!)

after traveling around the world inside my head with the clothes i sewed, it’s time now to keep things simple.

i picked up a lovely cashmere knit fabric the previous winter (about 1,2 m long and 1,4 m wide), thinking i’d make a simple butterfly shirt to make the birds on the print shine. it should have been a super simple sewing project.

self-made shirt and culottes.

when i was cutting the fabric, i didn’t get a single clue what i was in for. it was all nice and flowery (or birdy, in this case) until the first time i put the fabric underneath my sewing machine’s presser foot. then, the nightmare began.

i mean… guys: stay. away. from. cashmere. knit.

it’s the most horrible fabric i’ve ever handled!!!!! it stretches and stretches and stretches and never seemed to get sewn the way i wanted it to, like, ever!! ugh.

what i thought was going to be an easy breezy project of 30 minutes tops turned to be a 3 hour gig.

i think you can see how i’m still holding a grudge toward this blouse by the fact that i only took these pictures. don’t get me wrong, i love wearing it. i love the feel of that smooth and comfy cashmere knit, and when people saw me wearing it, they said they could tell it’s a high quality fabric.

this picture is here to remind myself of what was the hardest part to sew in this project. it’s the darn neckline.

emphasis on the word ‘fabric’ though. i’m sure they can also all tell it’s got crappy craftmanship. 😝

oh well! at least it’s done now and i’ve been wearing it on repeat last autumn/winter.

another simple project i did before the cool air started to blow last autumn was this shirt.

self-made shirt, Mango jeans.

i got this French terry fabric years ago, and because of the bold print, i’d been thinking long and hard on how to best show it on a clothing item. the print reminds me so much of a Marimekko print, even though it’s not.

in the end, i chose to do the same type of shirt as this Frenchie and pancake ones.

for the bottom frills, i used the last scrap of dotted tulle fabric i had to make 2 layers of frills, and of course it wasn’t wide enough to create the kind of frill i wanted. i was also kind of sorry that i only got 1 print repeat of this fabric… if i got 2 repeats, it would’ve been enough to make a dress. this one was only about 80 cm long, hence the limited style of clothing.

just like the birdy cashmere shirt, people around me would say that this shirt’s fabric is so nice. but yeah, i know that the sewing is just so-so.

so basically this is kind of a sorry post. 😅 but the good news is, i still wear these shirts a lot, even if the craftmanship isn’t anything special. they both–as with all of my other self-made clothes–are ‘feel-good’ clothes because i made them myself and that’s what’s most important, right?

and as long as i am still able to sew, this is enough to keep me and my simple mind going. 😊

1 pattern, 3 dresses, and 3 worlds (1 year late, pt. 3)

we’re in summer 2021 (play along with me, people, i told you i’m a year late!). ’tis the time when the weather gets really hot and all i want to do is stay home… and sew!

now that i got my sewing mojo back after sewing the Kaksoset shirt, it was time to sew some new fabrics… as well as an old one.

a co-worker of mine brought into my attention this super easy summer dress style that everyone–and i mean everyone–can sew without any pattern. so i suppose i lied on the title of this post, because: there is no pattern needed!

self-made dress.

the idea of this dress is just the same as a million other easy sewing projects i had had before: box shape. this is how i made mine:

the first version i made was the Donald Duck dress. the fabric is viscose, and i think i got a bit more than 150 cm, probably 170 cm, so i got both sleeves and pocket pieces from the length of the fabric. the top part, as usual, is just made of box shape parts. the bottom AKA skirt parts are rectangular, and i gathered the top edge of those pieces.

this was the very first time i made this kind of pocket, where–instead of 2 inner pieces–it uses only 1 inner pocket piece. you sew that piece to the inner side of the skirt’s front piece, and then sew both layers and back piece together on the side seam. since this was my first time, you could see all the mistakes there as i made the pocket hole way too big and had to sew parts of it close after i tried on the finished garment!

the sleeves were always a joy for me to make, as i got to decide what kind of gathering or pleats i wanted to make. this time, i decided to fold it so that the inner side also have the right side, and just pleated away as symmetrically as i could.

with this dress, since we were all still very much locked down, i imagined that i visited Hawaii (remember Donald Duck in Hawaii, together with Mickey Mouse and Goofy? yeah, that’s the one i meant!).

self-made dress.

the next dress made me dream of going to Bali. not because this batik a Balinese batik (it’s not), but because i bought this fabric in Bali in 2015. Indonesian batik like these are usually sold per piece with borders on both edges, and the size is usually about 110-120 cm wide & 200 cm long. this one in particular is stamp printed onto a cotton fabric, and was just enough for me to make into a boxy summer dress…

… with the same kind of pockets as the previous one!

i even managed to use the border in all the right places too! one for the center back and then on both pockets’ mouths.

immediately after i finished sewing this one, i was sooooo sorry that i didn’t get more of these batik fabrics while i was in Indonesia that time. sigh. it’s such a beautiful fabric and super easy to sew.

in order to ease the pain of not being able to travel, also because i turned 40 last year, i got myself a present.

it turned out to be just perfect for the next dress. 😊

self-made dress, Marimekko purse.

this was the third and last summer dress i made in 2021, and it has since become my most fave summer dress of all time!

for this last model, i broke the skirt part into 2 tiers instead, and the first tier was made of 2 pieces of 100 wide rectangles, while the bottom tier was made of 2 pieces of 150 wide rectangles. i have also managed to finally perfect the pockets (well, knowing me, nothing is ever THAT perfect though), and look at the hand-pleated sleeves!!! âĪ i’m so proud of myself.

this lovely fabric is from Nerida Hansen, part of a collection made by Holli Zollinger called ‘Bazaar’. this specific print is called Gator Cosmic. as always, please Google it up to see the full print and fall in love with it!

one of the biggest reasons why i fell so hard for this fabric, other than the fact that pink alligators are just so cool, is because last year i came across this lovely book called Cayman Island, written by Jennifer Brasington-Crowley. i love everything about the book, the characters, and most of all, the book cover, which the author drew herself!

so when i saw this fabric, i knew it was meant to be mine! i call this dress my Cayman Island dress. ðŸĨ°

with this last dress, my mind of course went straight to Australia (where the fabric brand comes from) and my heart went all the way to Cayman Island, the book.

and that, people, was how i got to 3 worlds with 3 dresses and 1 non-pattern pattern.

well, what do you know? we’ve gotten to the first half of 2021 already! there’s not much sewing projects left in 2021, hopefully i’d be able to post something more up-to-date after that. thank you for bearing with me! 😋

1 year late, pt. 2

still doing last year’s late posts, this here was my next sewing project.

self-made blouse, Mango jeans, Marimekko bag.

everything in the previous post was done in January 2021, and the next time i picked up my sewing machine again wasn’t until… July 2021. 😛 many things happened in between, including that mental health problem i mentioned here.

seeing this fabric was the first time–after a long while–i actually smiled and could picture myself wearing it again. (even though the base colour is beige. again. albeit a bit greenish this time. i guess i’m starting to like beige!!)

the fabric is from Marimekko, and the print name is Kaksoset (which means ‘twins’ in Finnish, designed by Maija Isola. to see the full print, please search in Google or go to Marimekko website. it’s so cute, i promise you won’t regret it! ðŸ˜ŧ

as soon as i saw the fabric and did a calculation in my head of how much fabric i’d need, i immediately knew that instead of breaking up the leopards, i wanted both leopards to be on the front piece part… which also means i’d rather not have any seams on the sides of the garment.

well, i managed to do just that, mwahahaha!

but before i go there, let’s rewind a bit to the beginning. because the print is so big, and it depends on where it was previously cut (the fabric’s not sold per print repeat, so you may get the beginning of the fabric at the middle part of the print), i counted that 80 cm of the fabric (around 147 cm wide) should be enough for a boxy shirt.

boxy shirt means exactly that: i didn’t use any pattern, just made 2 rectangles (because i didn’t want the sides to have seams, remember?) and joined them at the back. then i cut the arm holes by copying one of my t-shirts. for the collar, as usual, i used Burda pattern 7936–only the collar stand this time instead of the whole collar, and added about 2-3 cm of the height to make it look more ‘oriental’. i had wanted to do sleeves in the beginning, using different fabric, but in the end i figured this model is much better.

i also imagined that i might want to use it as a vest sometimes with the buttons unbuttoned, so i made sure the inside looks neat too. i added polka dot bias tape to the inner side of the button list, also because i wanted to keep the leopards’ faces & bodies intact and not fold too much to the inner side. for the arm holes, i used off-white bias tape.

and the buttons? they were from Marimekko Outlet, so i imagined it’s like a small reunion between them and the fabric! 😁 i still love the idea of using different coloured thread to sew buttons in place, but since i didn’t have orange/brown thread, i used red instead. it seems to be working just fine.

so this is the ‘new format’ of pics i was talking about. these pics were at least much easier to take (and edit) and a lot more fun too! from now on (until who knows when) i’m gonna stick to this format.

how’s everyone’s 2022 been going so far? better than the previous year, hopefully!

1 year late

hoooo boy, where should i start? (should i even start?)

well, the story goes like this. i sewed a few things last year. took some pictures, too. and then… it’s suddenly 2022 and i never got around to post them! actually, some of the items i didn’t even get the chance to take pictures of until after the year changed, so… 😅 whoops.

but i’m here now, and–probably for the whole 2022–i’m gonna reminisce what the year 2021 was like for me, in sewing. mwahahaha. yep, this is just part one of the ‘1 year late’ posts that will come after this. much, much later after this.

i’ll try to make things quick and short so that maybe, some time this year, i can catch up with myself and actually LIVE in 2022. 😂 we’ll see.

self-made blouse, Muji pants.

i like blouses and button-up shirts with a bit of a twist. so when i found this Saraste blouse pattern from Breaking the Pattern book by Named Clothing, i knew i just had to make it!

the fabric i used this time is a lightweight cotton denim with airplane print. ✈âĪ i used the wrong side for a few details, as you can see from the pics.

i actually had a blast sewing this (no sarcasm)! maybe after sewing jerseys and viscose over & over again, it was just such a relief for me to sew good ol’ cotton. the only annoying thing is that of course i had to finish all the edges with overlocker, but it was still relatively easy.

i played around again with the buttons, using different ones for the center front and the cuffs. life is serious enough as it is, so why be serious in sewing, right?

i like the blouse pattern so much, i already have another fabric that i’m gonna make into this same blouse (cotton again, of course). hoping to be able to sew it this year! (yes, by this year, i mean the actual year of 2022.)

self-made t-shirt, New Yorker skirt.

next project was a super simple boxy t-shirt. the fabric is from Verson Puoti (Finnish design brand!), and i got it a few years ago at the Ommel festival. it was expensive (for me) so i only got a small piece of 80 cm (around 140 cm wide). i just fell in love with the print, and the colour is also perfect for my taste!

ever since i learned how to use the elastic edge band, i had wanted to sew it EVERYWHERE. thank goodness i didn’t. because, well, how would my clothes look if they’re everywhere?? instead, i used it for this project’s neckline. the tulle fabric i used for the back side is the same one i used for the leopard t-shirt i made the year before.

in fact, the whole model is exactly the same as that leopard t-shirt, except that this fabric is cotton jersey. so… the sleeves didn’t come out as frilly as i wanted them to be!

but since when has that bothered me? right–never. so i still proudly use this shirt wherever i go. the sleeves are asymmetrical? well, they’re meant to look that way, ha!

all right, that’s all for now! on my next sewing-related blogpost, i’m trying out a new format for the pictures. because, frankly, i can’t be bothered to take pictures these days, or make any extra effort to look nice in front of the camera–you know, when all i want to do is just sleep, eat, and sew somewhere in between.

hope it’ll still come out okay, and fear not: i have not forgotten this blog!

happy new year, everyone!