Tag Archives: Sewing

creative blog hop

I have been invited by Liesl to join the the creative blog hop and talk about my creative process. I love answering questions like these, it’s always an opportunity to reflect and I usually find out something about myself that I didn’t know before I got writing and thinking!

Check out previous posts by Liesl, Inge and Melody (who invited me too a few weeks ago but whose message I read too late to participate then).

talking about creativity. little home by hand blogWhat am I working on?

I am primarily a photographer but I strive to incorporate handmade in all areas of my life – I sew, knit, garden and cook, with varying success.

Photography wise in between doing some fall portrait photoshoots I am working on putting a new travel photo series in my shop with images of a trip to Canada I took this year. It’s a long process of culling, editing, having samples printed, re-editing, stocking, writing descriptions and finally listing and promoting.

Fall is also knitting season for me – I am working on a new cardigan and there might be a shawl and a new pair of socks in sight too.

I have some sewing projects waiting to happen but since sewing takes much more of an effort to set up and requires me getting off the couch these take a backseat over knitting right now.

talking about creativity. little home by hand blogtalking about creativity. little home by hand blogHow does my work differ from others of its genre?

Does it? I see a lot of incredible artists creating wonderful things and I am not at all sure how my work differs, except that I always wish it was better! It has a certain, very colorful look for sure. I find every artist has their own style and it’s impossible to break that. Two people can photograph the exact same scene and their photos will be completely different. Nobody can see the world as you yourself see it and that’s wonderful. At the same time I see many people inspired by the same things and I am glad for kindred spirits who capture the beauty of the world in their own way.

I am not someone who gets lost in only one thing forever. Yes, photography is ‘it’ for me, but my other creative pursuits are also a big and necessary part of my life. I am interested in so many different things. Maybe that sets me apart from some other artists, who dive very deeply into one subject matter.

talking about creativity. little home by hand blogWhy do I create what I do?

I have always felt a need to create. Working with my hands and building something useful with them is as much a physical need as a mental one for me.

As a child I knew only that it made me happy. As an adult I also see another level to it – handmade has a value of its own. I want to live in a world where we still do things with our hands and value the process and materials. The animals and plants our wool and leather, fabric and color come from – they’re real, they existed, they have value. By making things by hand and using them I feel like I honor that worth.

As much as technology and media has expanded our world (and I revel in that) it sometimes feels like we are now very exposed and very anonymous at the same time – everything laid bare, interconnected and yet much more automatized and impersonal. Creating and building a life based on making things with my hands and knowing where they came from grounds and comforts me. Knitting a cardigan out of natural fibers warms the cold polyester world around me.

With my photography I try to capture feelings and emotions – the invisible connection between two people, the wonder at nature’s beauty in a world so far removed from it, the joy of shaping rough yarn into something wearable, the pride of watching a tiny seedling turn into a thriving edible plant under my hands.

talking about creativity. little home by hand blogtalking about creativity. little home by hand blogHow does my creative process work?

It’s a strange mixture of intuition and careful thought. My inspiration comes from nature, from connecting with other artists and from sites like Pinterest and Instagram. From there I try to break it down and shape the images and thoughts and feelings they conjure to my own needs. It’s a tough balance – being inspired but still doing things my own way.

With a craft project I usually need to give an idea time to grow, to take root and shape itself in my head. It’s quite unnerving, mulling something over in my head for days until the image has sharpened enough to be put into action.

With photography it’s often much more intuitive (which can be even more unnerving). I sometimes meet my portrait clients for the first time on location and I need to grasp immediately how these people tick, what makes them beautiful and tickle it out of them while also trying to use the location to its best advantage. My travel photography is much more relaxed, I simply capture moments as they happen, completely immersed in my own emotions and experience of the scenery.

 

Liesl, thanks so much for inviting me! Lindsay and Ruth, two wonderful creatives and bloggers, will be continuing the blog hop and will have their posts up within the next two weeks so hop on over to their blogs too.

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red scout tee

scout tee. little home by hand blog.
I’ve been itching to get back to my sewing machine. Sewing seems to come in phases for me, sometimes I can’t get enough and have a hundred ideas playing ping pong in my head and sometimes I’m just frustrated with whatever I come up with.
This Scout tee was actually made months ago, but with a little collar that looked very cute in my head and decidedly less cute on the actual shirt.
sewing. little home by hand blog.
scout tee. little home by hand blog.
So it sat there, unloved, unworn for a while until I finally worked up the motivation to rip the collar out and finish it with bias tape. The fabric is a red voile, soft and nearly sheer.
scout tee. little home by hand blog.
scout tee. little home by hand blog.
A simple but versatile little tee that will hopefully see lots of wear this summer.

baby gift – star pillow tutorial

It seems at a certain age all your girlfriends start getting pregnant. Which in turn gives me an opportunity to think up handmade gifts for them and their babies! Cue this little star pillow I made for a friend’s baby boy:
star pillow tutorial. little home by hand blog.
Inspired by star pillows on Etsy I decided to make my own. It’s a nice little evening project.
star pillow tutorial. little home by hand blog.
Draw a star form on paper in the size you want your pillow to be, add seam allowances and cut your template. Cut two pieces from contrasting fabric. I chose some green fabric I had in my stash which also makes it gender neutral.
star pillow tutorial. little home by hand blog.
I also added a stitched face to make it look friendlier. The lines are drawn on with a pencil and then stitched with embroidery floss.
star pillow tutorial. little home by hand blog.
Sew with right sides together, leaving an opening in one of the star legs. Ahem, yes my stars were cut pretty roughly and don’t fit together perfectly. Just cut away any excess fabric once you’re done sewing. I chose to handsew because a. I love me a little handsewing on the couch and b. I couldn’t be bothered to get the sewing machine up for just a few seams.
Clip the corners and curves and turn the pillow inside out. Stuff with polyfill and handsew the opening shut. Et voilà! A sweet, handmade baby gift made in one evening.
star pillow tutorial. little home by hand blog.

exhaling

I was so determined not to get caught up in the holiday rush this year, to bake cookies every sunday, to visit christmas markets and enjoy advent.
Yeah, that didn’t happen. It was a stressful time at work and the days just rushed by in a whirlwind, leaving me feeling completely tuckered out.
Yesterday was the last day at work and I am slowly starting to exhale and relax. I’m looking forward to the next few days, spending time with friends and family, going to the cinema, taking it slow and resting.
baking christmas cookies. tidytipsy
We did manage to bake one batch of cookies during the month and since I’m restricting myself to one item of sweets or chocolate a day (more on that soon), they’ve lasted us quite a while!
baking christmas cookies. tidytipsy
I got some orders in my Etsy shop and managed to send christmas cards to my portrait customers this year, so early mornings were spent packaging and shipping.
etsy orders. fotografiekoehler
christmas cards. fotografiekoehler
We had a christmas party at work, which was great fun.
party. fotografiekoehler
party. fotografiekoehler
The theme was “The night before Christmas – Pajama party” and the costumes were such fun! I serged together a blue jersey dress really quickly (as in, I didn’t even finish the hems) using the Grainline Scout pattern and went as starry sky.
december. tidytipsy
I also started knitting my first ever cardigan! Well, I took about a month to decide on the yarn and then 2 weeks to knit a test swatch (got it right the first time, thank goodness) and finally cast on yesterday.
You’ll have seen these photos on Instagram if you follow me there. Looking forward to digging out my “real” camera again in the quieter days to come.
Have a wonderful, relaxing weekend!

half circle skirt for fall

Skirts are such a wonderful wardrobe addition, they immediately dress up an outfit. I’d been thinking about adding a half circle skirt to my fall wardrobe for a while and when I found this navy blue fabric I knew it would work great. Everyone knows full circle skirts but for a similar look with less fullness, half and quarter circle skirts are just as easy to make and more suited for everday wear (in my opinion at least).
half circle skirt. tidytipsy
I hadn’t sewn without a pattern for a while and shied away from the required maths, but after searching for tutorials online I settled on these instructions (One | Two ) and in the end it was way easier than it seemed at first.
The fabric is a lovely cotton that is at the same time heavy weight (drapes beautifully) and almost see-through light. Odd, but perfect for this skirt.
half circle skirt. tidytipsy
The zipper at the back is handpicked and the waistband closes with snaps. The waistband itself is blindstitched to the inside by hand.
half circle skirt. tidytipsy
I had originally planned to finish the hem with hem tape, which I didn’t have so I tried bias tape. Bad idea. Had to rip all that out again and settled for a very simple double folded hem in the end which works much better.
half circle skirt. tidytipsy
All in all a quick project for a versatile wardrobe item that can be dressed up or down easily. It actually came out fuller than I had imagined so next time I’ll try a quarter circle skirt!

a tova for fall

Back at the sewing machine after a too long break. I made a skirt during my days off which I’ve yet to blog but I couldn’t resist sharing this Wiksten Tova blouse first. I won’t go into how much I love these patterns (again)…
tova blouse. tidytipsy
I am consciously trying to slow down, in keeping with the season but also with what I know is good for me. Due to an annoying old horseriding injury I move slower as well and I try to enjoy being in the moment more.
What’s this got to do with sewing? I hadn’t stopped to actually enjoy sewing, the motions of making something wearable out of a piece of cloth, for a while and I did that with this blouse.
tova blouse. tidytipsy
the love of sewing. tidytipsy
I took my time, savouring each step of the process. The fabric is a lovely, buttery cotton batiste which was a joy to handle.
the love of sewing. tidytipsy
the love of sewing. tidytipsy
the love of sewing. tidytipsy
I even handbasted the seams that the pattern called for and yes, it does save time in the end and makes the seam finishes so much prettier.
As always there was a bit of a hiccup with the front inset corners but apart from that, sewing up this pattern was smooth sailing and pure joy.
tova blouse. tidytipsy
tova blouse. tidytipsy
I think it shows in the result too. It’s well made and I even like my topstitching. There are imperfections and parts I’d like to redo (as always) but on the whole I’m really happy with it.
tova blouse. tidytipsy
tova blouse. tidytipsy

1950’s toy horse

I can finally share this now, because this gift was delivered to its one-day-old recipient yesterday!
***
My best friend is very pregnant with her first baby right now had her first baby early this week and I wanted to sew her a gift for her baby girl. Since we met at our local horseriding stable and still go riding there every week (well, she’s been on foot for the last few months obviously) what better gift than a toy horse!
vintage plush horse pattern. tidytipsy
Since seeing Casey’s adorable vintage plush elephant I’ve been scouring Etsy for similar patterns and came across this little horse. I love the fabric choice on the cover so even though I had lots of different fabrics to choose from I went with something almost identical in the end!
vintage plush horse pattern. tidytipsy
I’ve never made something quite this tiny before but it came together surprisingly easily. The construction is very well thought out and I loved all the little handstitching and finishing details.
vintage plush horse pattern. tidytipsy
vintage plush horse pattern. tidytipsy
vintage plush horse pattern. tidytipsy
The little guy is seriously the cutest thing I’ve ever made.
vintage plush horse pattern. tidytipsy
vintage plush horse pattern. tidytipsy

the drop-drapey dress

Interrupting the Norway series for a big announcement: I sewed a dress. No, really. Sat down, got out my pattern box and paper, drafted, cut and sewed all in one weekend. This hasn’t happened for about…6 months? Way too long a time to be away from the sewing machine!
drop waist drape dress. tidytipsy
(Here’s a tip:don’t bend one knee while being photographed straight on. It’ll make it look as if you had two different length legs…)
I’m still hopelessly into 1920’s drop-waist fashion. The Great Gatsby hasn’t helped in getting me out of it. Also I’ve been admiring the lovely shift dresses from Ruche but then the real inspiration for this dress came from Zara’s red drape dress. So beautiful (if only it weren’t in polyester!).
Then Lauren posted a series of gorgeous Scout Tee’s and that got me going. I pulled out the Scout pattern and got to work making it into a dress and adding some drape detail.
drop waist drape dress. tidytipsy
My cat helped with the cutting (not). Um, yes, I use CD’s as pattern weights. Beatles and Gianna Nannini rock.
drop waist drape dress. tidytipsy
The fabric is a lovely flowy rayon. I had two rayons in my stash and I love how fluid and silky they are. And such a pleasure to sew. While my last sewing attempts in winter had me frustrated, this little dress came together so effortlessly and easily.
drop waist drape dress. tidytipsy
I’ll be the first to admit it doesn’t look like much on a hanger. You can’t really see the shape and the drape detail.
drop waist drape dress. tidytipsy
I love how it looks worn though! It’s just what I envisioned, though the drapey part is a lot less pronounced than in the original.
drop waist drape dress. tidytipsy
I have very few florals but this versatile little dress will be a great addition to my wardrobe. It will be perfect both for cooler summer days as well as spring and fall with tights and a cardi.

sewing basket

When I was visiting my grandmother recently she asked did I want to have her sewing basket? Since I already have her sewing machine (my lovely, lovely treadle) she didn’t need it anymore and of course I said yes!
sewing basket. tidytipsy
Isn’t it beautiful? It’s old of course and the wood looks a little tired and the veneer is chipped in places but I think it’s so pretty!
Inside, it was a real mess, obviously this is the collection from decades of sewing:
sewing basket. tidytipsy
So I went to work and a full 1.5 hours later everything was sorted and my own sewing stuff was mixed in with my grandmother’s treasures. Among her things were vintage belt buckles, tags monogrammed with my late grandfather’s initials, old wooden spools of thread and hundreds of colorful buttons.
sewing basket. tidytipsy
sewing basket. tidytipsy
The case has two drawers of which one is broken. I’m hoping the boyfriend will be able to fix it. I’m also planning on giving the whole thing a wood treatment (this has worked wonders on two thrift store chairs I have). Maybe I’ll also spruce it up a little (I’m considering a blatant copy of this stunning make-over).
sewing basket. tidytipsy
What do you think?

loving

this spring and sunshine. So, so much!
spring. tidytipsy
spring. tidytipsy
spring. tidytipsy
Maybe it was the long winter and cold this year, but I’m still soaking up every ray of sunshine I can get and watching my balcony and the world around me come to life feels invigorating.
spring. tidytipsy
Hello, italian mint!
spring. tidytipsy
The ponies are happy too, finally it’s time for freedom and green grass again after spending winter in their stalls.
spring. tidytipsy
Love these little flowers! My mom gave me a few from her garden last year but they never bloomed. I kept them all the same and this year they’re blooming in lovely colours from pale rosey to bright orange to lush dark red!
dress to copy. tidytipsy
And finally, I’m feeling creative again after a late winter lurch and look forward to getting back to my sewing machine soon. The dress above is from Zara, it was so gorgeous I had to have it even though it’s polyester. Oh, all the Downton Abbey inspired prettiness of Zara’s spring collection! I love how TV inspires fashion. I spent all weekend trying to wrap my head around how it is made so I can make my own copy in a cotton silk or even (imagine!) some luxurious washed silk.