Butterick Retro Sundress B5920

by Anna

butterick b5920 modewaerts

It has been over two years that I started making this dress! And finally this year I worked up the courage to handstitch button holes, so I could finish this pretty thing. I still have my fifty years old trusted sewing machine, that still only sews straight lines (and will never do anything else). And no back-up, no button-hole machine and a strange feeling when thinking about taking the dress to a tailor only to have button holes made… What does Anna do? Come up with a plan b.

diy dress sewing sundress butterick modewaerts

So handstitching it was. It went surprisingly well. I was quick and efficient and made no bigger booboos and was rewarded with topping up the pretty pink/white/grey dotted fabric with my vintage bubble buttons, which were saved for a special dress. As you can see the fabric does not flow easily, it doesn’t have a pretty drape. Trust me in choosing the wrong, ie too heavy fabric for about any dress.This cotton is pretty thick, it has some serious “stand”. So learn from me how not to do it and choose a fabric according to instructions! Which means “light to medium weight”!

b5920 retro butterick '51 modewaerts

As the title says this is Retro Butterick ’51. The pattern is called B5920 and it is labelled as easy, which I agree to. I chose the sleeveless version A. The trickiest part is the collar, but with a little experience and some trial and error this should work out fine for beginners as well. The bodice fits fine (I made a size 14 again as for the dress, my other Butterick creation), I would only suggest to sew the skirt on higher to the bodice. Might need to alter that as it feels strange on my waist (on the other hand the boyfriend doesn’t like the dress, so I wonder how often I will actually wear it… Have not ever worn it except during the photo shoot). I blame my heavy fabric for the stiffness in the waist area. It also causes the big butt, doesn’t it? It’s not me, cannot be.

retro 51 sleeveless sundress modewaerts

Construction was very easy from what I remember (yeah, it has been a while, I am not getting younger either…) I omitted the belt, though I would like to make one, now, looking at the pictures, and to add pockets to such a busy pattern felt awkward. So off they went. I really, really like to little modest collar and I am in love with the buttons, I mean, how can one not love little bubbles as buttons? To me this dress in that fabric is the perfect day dress around the house, running errands and working your pretty little dupa off, you 1950s housewife. That’s about how I feel in this dress. Which sounds bad – but is not. I randomly imagine myself living in the fifties of the last decade, being married to an open-minded fellow who is cool with my ideas and desire to be free (and weird) and raising four adorable children and pretty much staying home doing housework all day. It would not only be not bad, it would make me happy.



Bubble buttons.Five of them. True vintage love.

diy retro butterick b5920 modewaerts sun dress

Have a wonderful sunday! Love, Anna

en route

7 summer days in Ireland (with only a cabin bag)

by Anna

Hiya, I spent the recent hot summer week in Ireland visiting one of my best friends and her baby girl. Penny-pinching as I can be, I decided to travel only with a carry-on and today I am here to share the minimal wardrobe that I packed and wore on this trip. I would have been allowed to take a 10 kilo bag but I managed with 8 kilos instead. Wanna see what I wore?

On travel day I wore the heaviest items I wanted to bring because 1) it’s always cold on airplanes (it was actually freezing) and 2) they won’t take up space and weight in your carry-on bag. T-Shirt from J.Crew , knit sweater and burgundy pants from Promod , sneakers Converse

To travel back home I wore the same items as mentioned above and just exchanged the t-shirt. This one’s from H&M

On our beach day I wore my favorite little vintage playsuit from Episode a dark chambray shirt from Clockhouse and Converse sneakers with black tights (because the heat wave didn’t quite reach Irelands west coast…)

For a day in town I wore my striped Promod dress, the Clockhouse chambray shirt, burgundy tights, an H&M menswear belt and suede ballet flats from Görtz

On a lake day with a forest walk I wore this sweat shirt from Clockhouse, chinos from Wissmach and my Görtz flats

Always an easy outfit make the dark chambray, burgundy pants with leather belt and my oh so beloved ages old sandals from Zara – these even traveled to Turkey last yeaar with a friend to be made up… Call me crazy.

For walks around the neighborhood I wore the J.Crew t-shirt (because these really are the days), shorts and cardigan from H&M and Zara sandals.

All in all I took three pairs of shoes (could even have done without the sandals, but they’re so darn pretty), two t-shirts, two sweaters, two pairs of pants, one chambray shirt, one cardigan, one dress, one playsuit. Not pictured are underwear, pajamas and socks. I also took a plain grey tube skirt that would have made an excellent evening outfit with the black t-shirt and cardi, the ballet flats and a pair of tights.

All photos edited with Rookie app

Penny-pinching travel tips
Check cabin bag dimensions and weight. Don’t forget the liquids on board policy: Max 100 ml bottles in a 1 l ziplock bag.

Wear your heaviest clothes on the travel days so they won’t take up space in the bag nor make it heavier.

Bring only minimal make-up, impress with your relaxed vacation attitude. All I took with me were mascara, two colors eyeliner and concealer. And lip balm and moisturizer of course.

Bring an empty water bottle and fill after security at a water fountain or sink – if water is potable.

Bring heavy knitted socks and a pashmina – I always get cold on airplanes.

Bring your own snacks.

Read more about my capsule wardrobe here and check out the archives for handmade fashion!



Der erste selbstgestrickte Pulli – endlich!

von Anna
Erinnert ihr euch an die Three things on sunday von letztem Jahr? Ich habe eine Bluse geändert, ein Kleid in einem wunderschönen Missoniartigen Stoff genäht (und schon zweimal getragen nur noch nicht gebloggt) und einen Pullover gestrickt. Heute ist es soweit: der Pulli ist fertig! Aber in echter Anna-Manier ist dabei natürlich einiges anders gekommen als geplant…

Zur Auffrischung: Ich habe einen alten, ziemlich langen Zara-Pullover mit einem sehr weiten Halsausschnitt (ok, einem ausgewachsenen Dekolleté) aufgeribbelt um daraus diesen Pullover zu stricken. Das Muster ist ein einfaches Anfängermodell, das überhaupt keine Probleme machte. Bis zum Halsausschnitt. Der ist zu eng und ich kann den Pulli nicht anziehen, obwohl er sonst komplett passen müsste, wenn er auch eng ist. Bislang kriege ich nur meine Arme hinein…
halsausschnitt pullover
Was ist passiert? Seitdem Sam bei mir wohnt ist es etwas turbulenter geworden, statt der Krauleinlagen gibt es zusätzliche Waschmaschineneinsätze, denn der junge Herr ist weniger als Hauskatze geeignet, als das Tierheim mich glauben ließ. So hab ich dann einen Karton mit den Ärmeln des alten Zara-Pullover ausgelegt als zusätzliches Körbchen für den Kater, als ich gemerkt habe, dass ich doch neue Ärmel stricken muss. Schlechte Idee. Er hat es als Klo benutzt. Ich konnte nicht einmal mehr die Wolle nutzen. Was tun? Wollmeise Sockenwolle doppeln und für den restlichen Ärmel und den Halsauschnitt verstricken. Das klappte soweit gut bis ich zum Hals kam. Der ist jetzt zu eng.

Fazit: Strickmuster top, Durchführung spaßig, Resultat suboptimal. Bis zum nächsten Winter werde ich das mit dem Hals dann aber auch geregelt haben…

Schönen Sonntag!

closet, en route

Annas winter capsule wardrobe

by Anna

Is a simpler life anyones goal for 2015? I did not exactly put simplicity on my list but I want to build, wear and maintain a capsule wardrobe. This means 37 pieces of clothing for each season. I work with the meteorological seasons which means I wear my winter clothes from december through february. However with the unpredictable German weather I decided to have a month-long transition period aka overlay. Meaning I still keep my winter clothes handy in march. (And I won’t be stuck with springy tees and cotton cardigans when there is snow blurring around.)

I stuck with the 37 pieces rule of Un-Fancy but left warm outerwear coats out of the equation. Fyi I own and wear three of them. Shoes are included in these 37 pieces. PJs, workout wear and homewear are not included, neither are festive/formal dresses. That sounds like a lot of exclusions, no? So let me tell you what 37 pieces I solely wear.

So here is what I wear
Pants: burgundy, black, highwaist, carrot, overalls, +new green
Skirts: tulle, wool
Dresses: woolwhite, waterfall, stripes
Cardigans: cabel, fleamarket, norwegian, grandpa, ikat
Sweaters: black/white, orange, waves, grey, black, olive, woolwhite, hoodie
T-Shirts/turtlenecks: flowers, snowflakes, ornaments, black, black turtleneck, waterfall purple, blue, pale pink, stripes
Shoes: brown lace-ups, white booties, pink suede, ballet flats, snow boots

Also I divided my clothing rack with a scarf. On one side are the garments I have already worn, on the other side those I have yet to wear. If at the end of the capsule wardrobe I find that something was not at all worn, I will have to leave. With three items left on the unworn side I rather doubt that though.

How is this going? This is my second capsule. I did one for fall and told noone about it. That was my test run because I wanted to know if people noticed if I wore the same pieces over and over. Like my mum asking me if I had a new favorite cardigan. But although I wore the same cardi for almost five days straight on christmas break, nobody said a thing. Which is good.

I am doing this capsule thing to simplify dressing in the morning and to find out what I truly love to wear i.e. to learn of my very own style. I already ditched some winter pieces while putting together this capsule and what I find impractical and unconfortable of the items in my current capsule will leave at the end of march. The thing is that I mainly shopped my own closet. That is because I want to minimize.

My goal is to find pieces that I love and wear and not to swap stuff (that does not get worn) for more stuff (that does not get worn). So I start out with a wardrobe from pieces that I already have. During the transition period I take notes of what I still need and then look and shop for the right item to fill the gap. These pieces must be what I want in color, match many of the other garments, be comfortable and of good quality to last not only through this capsule but best through many more capsules as well.

For this winter I needed another pair of pants. I wanted comfy and colorful (in my capsule not necessarily everthing matches everything) and bought these mint&berry jeans in teal. They are a great fit and I love them a whole bunnch already. I brought them in for the grandpa vest that was not warm enough for winter. Also I am still looking for a replacement for my striped longsleeve tee because I is just too worn and baggy. I had hope that this striped turtleneck would work but it turned out the neckhole was very tight and felt like a grip around my throat.

My capsule wardsobe get worn at work and at home. And it gets dirty a lot, little hands smear banana or snot on me, I drip on myself when feeding one of the kids or and outside I get muddy feet on my stuff when picking a little one up.

For winter I included shoes but excluded coats. Even though I have pretty much worn every garment in my capsule already I think I could even downsize some more. On the other hand I did include coats as well as shoes in my fall capsule, so that’s what will happen in spring, too. From there on I will see if I want to narrow down some more. Think 30 pieces?!? Exclude skirts completely? (I tend to wear dresses when I want to be fancy…) Limit shoes even more?

Bottom line: I love it! I am not sure yet wether it is limiting my selection or the open racks that make me see everything in one place. But the items I chose get worn. Obviously I still have clothes that I tend to reach for more often. This also is what makes me thing I could limit myself even further. Like come to the point where I love all the items in my closet equally… Ok, this my be utopia.

What I know for sure is that I know what is in my closet or more acurately on my rack. Since putting together this caspule there have not been any surprises as in “oh, I still have that”. I am more aware of what I own. And that’s a great way of decluttering…

Would you be interested in a recap at the end of winter?

en route, Kitchen, Studio

Stock taking II

by Anna

sewing a jersey beanie
mending my sore throat
ripping apart what I wanted to be a balloon paperbag skirt
knitting uh, right, the yarn store is moving: SALE!
drafting a simple skirt from that missoni style fabric

crafting little red dwarf hats
gathering ideas for lanterns
preparing for fall
painting with sharpies on jam jars
loving the crisp morning air

cooking zucchini-spring-onion-polenta with halloumi cheese
baking savory still a dream, but what do you think about a quiche involving pink pepper?
baking sweet crumble: redcurrant, plum, …
mixing apple juice and water
eating not as healthy as I would like
drinking apple-vanilla-rooibos-tea

writing papers for work
reading “La vie en mieux” by Anna Gavalda in French (only the second time I read for fun in French, let me tell you: it’s hard even though it’s my favourite author)
listening to my favorite childhood tunes by Rolf und seine Freunde
planning to soon find a new space (cross your fingers for me, PLEASE!)
going to Zucker für die Seele Designmarkt on September, 7

closet, Studio

Turnbeutel crazy

by Anna
turnbeutel selbstmachen
A couple of weeks ago, two friends and I went to the Netherlands to visit friends of us. While I did not take a single picture (my phone battery died and I could not be bothered to take the big camera), some pretty interesting things happened. First, we welcomed a hitchhiker on board: Roar, Danish, like the Katy Perry Song. Then we did what I absolutely did not want to do, we spent Saturday at the designer’s outlet. No need to say it was super crowded. Sunday was wonderfully relaxed. And I finally noticed my friend Hülyas turnbeutel. So fun, so easy to wear and so simple to make!
turnbeutel drawstring bag
I think, she preferred to call hers a sportbeutel, but this kind of drawstring bag just makes me think of elementary school physical education class. When it always was a turnbeutel for me. Anyhow, this one’s too cute for smelly shoes, so today I am carrying my purse, sunglasses and tissues in my new bag.
drawstring bag diy
There are lots of tutorials on the internet for this kind of backpack, but alas I decided to go my own way. I will be sharing what I learned when I started just making it without a big plan. There are some minor changes I would make for the next one, yet I am happy I took the most important step: The first step. Sometimes starting is the hardest, no?

How would you call a bag like this? Happy weekend! ~Anna~

Living room, Studio

You’ve got a thing on your head

by Anna
diy fascinator

This is a post about happy and incredibly sad.

I took these photos the night before my grandma passed away. Somehow I knew it would happen the next day and still I wanted to take these pictures. I am dedicating this post to Oma “Hilde, die Wilde”, who would have never been seen in public with her hair not properly groomed. Oma, who was quiet around other people but loved to discuss (and argue about) politics in the family. Oma who always told me “Alt und grau kannst du werden, aber nicht frech!” (“You are allowed to grow old and grey, but don’t get naugty!”)

You will always be my rolemodel when it comes to cooking and baking, Oma loved to care for her family and spoiled us rotten with her Plinsen, Spinach-Pea-Casserole and veggie-millet-dish, her beloved mocha-cream-gateau and the orange-cream-gateau. You will remain in my heart forever, Oma, and you’ll always be at my side in the kitchen.
paper fascinator
During the winter I made a vintage pattern dress (not yet posted here) that practially screamed to be worn at a wedding. I asked a couple of friends if they did not want to get married in order for me to wear the dress. Surprisingly – not really – nobody wanted to get married just so I could wear the dress.

Now I have a similar case: I made this fascinator, loosely altered from this tutorial, and now I need a nice British wedding – or any other nationality where guests are asked to wear hats to nuptials. If I did go to a German wedding wearing something on my head I would steal the brides show – unless I somehow got into aristocratic circles.

In any case I would never want to steal the bride her limelight. I remember how awkward I felt when I was advised/allowed to wear my prom dress to my uncles wedding and it was equally as eye-catching than my new aunts wedding dress. I tried to stay put in my seat all evening so nobody would notice me. That was the moment when I stopped taking advice in dressing. Oh well.
handmade headpiece fascinator diy
You wil find instructions for this headpiece over here on Polka Dot Chair

I changed the supplies some, here is what I used: a hairband, 4 sheets of tissue paper, a piece of thin satin ribbon, a meter of green lace ribbon

Here on Nesting in the Bluegrass is the tutorial to make the paper flower – sooo easy! Then I basically folded my lace ribbon to the size I liked and and tied everything together. That means I tied the ribbon around the middle part of the flower, tucket the folded lace ribbon underneath and tied it all to the headband. No glue needed.

Now, can somebody please get married so I can wear both the dress and this headpiece? Thanks!