Posts Tagged ‘handmade’

05
Oct

What Does Slow Fashion October Mean to You?

Written by Sarah. Posted in design, knits, long reads

Slow fashion has been on my mind a lot recently and I’m very glad that Karen Templer is at the helm with Slow Fashion October. If you know me, you’re probably aware of the fact that this concept is really important to my wardrobe. I’ve been dedicating my knitting and sewing to making pieces that are really functional and will last me a very long time and I’m really trying to kick that into overdrive.

Knitting time. #knittersofinstagram #brooklyntweed #hawser #26andcrafting

A photo posted by Sarah Hurwitz (@knityorkcity) on

For me, slow fashion is all about rejecting the fast fashion industry that exists today. I am not a very good sewist but I feel a strong connection with the women (and it is over 80% female) who make clothing every day for meager wages in unsafe living conditions. For me, it is a privilege to make clothing. For some, it is their only option. When I made my Alder dress, I ripped out so many seams and the collar is just a mess. After the sweat and back bending that went into that piece, I have never had more respect for the women that make t-shirts that are sold for $5.

Slow fashion is a reminder to me that EVERY piece of clothing from the couture runway to the wonky homemade to the Walmart bargain bin is handmade.

I want to use this month to plan the pieces that I really need, to dedicate myself to learning the skills that I’ll use to make them, and for gathering tips from other makers. Creating a handmade wardrobe is hard work. I feel very limited in terms of my time and a bit in materials and skill level (certainly when it comes to sewing) but seeing how others do it and which garments they choose to make is a huge inspiration to me. I’m also so interested in seeing what Slow Fashion means to others. It’s clearly political for me but for others it’s about living with intention or making clothing for body types that the industry ignores or it’s purely the challenge of creating everything.

Are you participating in Slow Fashion October? What are your biggest tips for growing a handmade wardrobe?

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23
May

Further Reading 5/23/14

Written by Sarah. Posted in further reading

Starting off with something fun, there’s the teaser for Shaun the Sheep, the next film from the creators of Wallace and Gromit. Shaun was the star of my favorite Wallace and Gromit film, A Close Shave, so I’m very excited to see what he’s up to in this movie. Guess I’ll have to wait until next year! Some extra links for your holiday weekend are coming up!

>> In case you were hoping to buy me a gift but were short on ideas, this handmade hamburger bow would be awesome. I mean, just throwing that out there. (Thanks, Dana!)

>> Two big brands have recently announced projects for handmade/fair trade products. West Elm has committed to giving $35 million to 20 artisan groups that make goods by hand. You can shop for anything from couches to gorgeous drawer pulls that are all handcrafted here. Similarly, Kate Spade, Jack Spade, and Saturday have started a project called On Purpose. They are teaching women in Rwanda to make accessories for their brands in order to help them earn a living wage. While there are similar programs out there (I’m thinking about Ricefield Collective), I think it’s really important to give companies like these a hand for taking on these ventures. Sure, there’s more work to be done, but we should encourage these bigger brands to keep adding fair trade and handmade items to their inventory.

>> I’m really dying to make some of these little fabric bracelets. They look super simple and very cute. I like to make and wear friendship bracelets as soon as the weather turns but I always want to mix it up. Looks like I’m going to the craft store this weekend.

>> Have you ordered your digital edition of Knitscene Accessories? (No pressure.) Here’s a sneak peek behind the scenes at the photo shoot for the issue. I’m always in awe of their hair stylists! And, gosh, do they have fun on these shoots or what?

>> I saw this recipe for tahini cookies in Martha Stewart Living and I immediately started to drool. I love the idea of using sesame paste instead of peanut butter in a cookie. Why didn’t I think of that? Maybe I need to make a batch of these this weekend, too. (Am I being over-ambitious?)

>> Knitty shared this amazing story earlier this week of knitter Eileen Scrivani. She loves to knit beautiful cable work and doesn’t let the fact that she’s visually impaired get in the way. What an amazing woman! Eileen is a New Yorker I’d definitely love to meet!

>> I am freaking obsessed with this handmade Clara Oswald dress! While Amy Pond is my favorite companion (ginger, duh), I’ve always coveted Clara’s style. This dress was absolutely my favorite thing she wore so it was very exciting to see that another fan had made her own.

Will that hold us over until next week? I’m hoping to spend the long weekend working on some upcoming posts. And knitting, of course. I’m still having some pretty bad startitis and general crankiness with everything I’m working on. There’s been a lot of bouncing from my sewing machine to knitting needles to cross stitch. I just don’t know what I want to do and I feel it kind of spilling over into the rest of life, like I don’t know what kind of music I want to hear on the train, or what I want to write about, etc. Am I in a creative funk? Or am I just overwhelmed by how much of everything I want to accomplish simultaneously?

Are you making time during the long weekend for crafts?

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16
May

Me Made Mavens

Written by Sarah. Posted in DIY, holiday, Me Made May

It’s Me Made May which means everybody is busting out their handmade outfits. I’ve always wanted to participate in MMM but I don’t feel like I have enough to wear. I know, right? I can’t believe it either. It’s tough to wear hand knits when the weather is turning warm and I’m dying to bust out my summer wardrobe.

While I’m here making excuses and dreaming of sewing some lovely summer tops, there are plenty of other makers offering daily doses of their handmade outfits on Instagram. Here are just a few!

memademayGinger Makes
Untangling Knots
Craft Sanctuary
Oona Balloona

Mainly, Me Made May makes me want to get on my sewing machine. I am in awe of all of these talented ladies! And there are so many more of them. All of the #mmmay14 outfits are inspiring me. Aren’t they great?

Who’s Me Made May outfits are you coveting? Are you participating? Post a link in the comments! I’d love to see your outfits!

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21
Feb

FO: New Year’s Scout Tee

Written by Sarah. Posted in sewing, shirt

At the end of 2013 I was setting up my goals for this year and they were a little overwhelming. While much of my plan for 2014 seemed unobtainable, the idea of sewing more seemed pretty simple and tangible. So while I was resting my achey hands, I decided there was no better time to start with that resolution than the present. On New Year’s Eve, I started putting together the Scout Tee and when it was time for champagne toasts, I had most of a garment.

I’ve talked about sewing here before. It’s not something I really excel at. I just hate ironing and I still don’t have a proper space to lay out fabric. But I’ve basically stopped buying clothes (aside from pieces from my favorite reputable source, Everlane, and a bridesmaid dress) since I wrote this post  so I think it’s time I get my shit together and make a few pieces for myself. (Side note, I’m really proud that I’ve cut back on shopping here. I thought it would be a really difficult challenge for me but I really feel good about it!) Besides all of this, I’ve met some really amazing ladies that I know I can turn to when I hit a dead end. Seriously, I’ve had so many offers for lessons, I know some really lovely sewists!

But I am a bad student. I want to teach myself everything. I’m learning quickly that I need some advice.

So here is my finished tee! I used a fabric that I picked up at Purl Soho (that I can’t find information for anymore). Seems like I’m on kind of an orange kick. Something must be going on in my second chakra. I can’t wear dresses to work so my summer uniform is jeans with a cute top. Scout is the shape for something casual and simple without looking sloppy. I’ll definitely be making another!

scout tee grainline

It’s not perfect. I feel like I ought to strive a little harder for perfection at the very least so my garments will hold up well but for now I think I just need to get things made so I’m not so discouraged.

When I see a simple garment like this one, it seems like instant gratification. The problem is, even though it’s not too difficult, there are a lot of steps (read: IRONING!) to make each piece look finished. I mean, of course there is the hem and the seams but then there are things like binding around the neckline. Those little steps that I forget about when I dive into a project. I’m obviously still a novice when it comes to planning.

scout tee sleeve

Setting in the sleeve was quite a challenge. Way harder than setting in a knit sleeve. But I decided to stick with how it came out on my first go-round. There’s definitely some gathering since I didn’t quite know what I was doing. I could probably use a better tutorial. That being said, it’s not terrible all things considered and everything fits where it ought to. Good job, me!

scout tee

This top was the perfect beginner piece for me. It had just the right amount of difficulty, nothing too complicated but enough that I felt myself learning. And, of course, in the end, I’m left with a beautiful garment that fits and that I’m definitely going to wear the crap out of!

I’m already working on my next sewing project while I wait for yarn to arrive in the mail. What should I make next? Have you sewn a Scout tee?

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22
Jan

Knit Earrings

Written by Sarah. Posted in design, gift, knits, want

So, first off, Vogue Knitting Live was a success! I had a great time catching up with a bunch of people and learning a ton and, oh, right, shopping. I haven’t had the energy to put together all of my thoughts and photos yet but I promise it’ll come soon! Wonderful seeing all of you there and to those I missed, I hope you had a fab time, too!

I guess 2014 is going to be a big year because I’ve seemed to start off with an adventurous spirit. A couple weeks ago I was hanging out around the neighborhood with Ashley and Kelly after a movie date and some beer. And they just kind of convinced me to spontaneously get my ears pierced. I’ve been talking about it for years now but I’m a scaredy cat. (I had them pierced once before and it was terrible and painful.) So I just went ahead and did it.

Now that that’s happened, I’ve been shopping for every earring under the sun because I can! So I put together a few that caught my eye that you might like, too. I do it all for you, not for selfish reasons at all!

earrings

1. Knitted earrings from SayBonjour
2. Ugly Sweater earrings from SaboDesign
3. Christmas Sweater Studs by MistyAurora
4. Faux Knitted Earrings from TheCraftBeeOnline

I’ll be buying all of these now, thank you. Is it redundant to wear sweater earrings with your sweaters? (Yo, dawg, I heard you liked sweaters so we put sweaters on your sweaters!) I THINK NOT.

Can you tell I’m still loopy from a weekend of excitement at VKL? What’s your favorite knitted jewelry?

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24
Sep

FO: Hamsa Embroidery

Written by Sarah. Posted in apartment, art, DIY, embroidery, gift, life, photos

I promised last week that I’d share more of that sneak peek I posted. I hope you enjoyed the WIP photos! Suspense is over!

When I was dreaming up something special to make for Jon’s brother and soon-to-be sister-in-law in honor of their upcoming nuptials, I had lots of Judaical themes in mind. I really loved making a piece of art for my friend’s wedding last summer and I wanted to do something like it again. (What can I say, I want to make things for every occasion!) While I originally wanted to do some sort of phrase in Hebrew, I thought that a hamsa would make a really beautiful wall hanging and a perfect gift to give at their Moroccan-style henna bridal shower.

hamsa embroidery

 

The hamsa is a hand symbol that is meant to protect against the evil eye. It’s popular in Middle Eastern cultures and I love that, since it’s so old, it spans across different religions. Jon’s family is from Israel so the hamsas can be found in just about every room of his parent’s house and now my own apartment. I really liked the idea of giving a gift that was kind of a good luck charm, a symbol to help protect their new life together. Traditionally, hamsas appear with an eye in the palm but I also added the heart. I’m not a superstitious person but I’m pretty sure that love is the key to keeping away any bad energy!

hamsa embroidery 2

I sketched out a few different hamsa designs before deciding on this one. I wanted something a little modern and simple yet true to the roots of Jewish art. The woven gold parts remind me of the artwork at the temple that my family’s been members of for fifty years. (It’s kind of an earthy, 70s folk arty looking place.) I picked up a fat quarter of some pink fabric from Purl Soho. It was a nice change working on something that isn’t white or beige!

I was also really inspired by this Nepali embroidery tutorial. I was dying to incorporate painting with the embroidery. Adding fabric paint really accentuates the three dimensionality of the stitches and adds even more layers there. It was a fun experiment that I definitely want to try again!

hamsa embroidery 3

Of course, I also included a lot of chain stitching. Really, it’s my favorite embroidery stitch. It’s just so perfect! I also found that using chain stitch to outline the satin stitching worked best. I’d read that using split stitch would do it but it really wasn’t as big and defined as chain stitch. See, chain stitch is the best.

Since I leave everything until the last minute, I didn’t have a frame when it came time to photograph the piece. You’ll have to forgive any wrinkles, etc.  I can assure you, though, it looks really stunning on the wall!

What’s your favorite embroidery stitch? Have you incorporated paint into your embroideries? Do you have any hamsas hanging on your walls?

ps. Have you entered The Crash giveaway yet?

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03
Sep

Needle Felting!

Written by Sarah. Posted in art, design, DIY, gift, needle felting

The summer is winding down. It’s gone by so quickly! The past few months have been all about craft experimentation for me. It’s been really exciting getting outside of my comfort zone and buying lots of new craft supplies. (Let’s be honest, buying craft supplies is the best part of learning a new craft!) I’ve done some embroidering, a little cross stitch, stuck my toes deeper into the water of design, and even played around with my neglected sewing machine. I just added another craft to my repertoire and I can’t stop thinking about it.

Aunt Sherry made me this adorable little needle felted lamb for my birthday. (Remember the alpaca she made?) Isn’t he sweet?

needle felt sheep

And as part of my birthday present, she taught me how to needle felt! I wasn’t sure I’d be into it but I can totally see why she’s taken it up as her newest hobby. Needle felting is right up my alley. You basically stab at pieces of wool and then they get turned magically into little animals! (There’s a little more to it than that but that’s the gist.) My first needle felted project is this little cow guy from Purple Moose Felting.

needle felt

I have a lot of work to do on my technique but I’ve been thinking about lots of other needle felted projects ever since. Best of all, I had a really lovely day hanging out with Aunt Sherry and my mom learning something new (and eating barbecue. We at barbecue)! It reminded me of when I was a kid and she’d teach me how to make origami Christmas ornaments even though I was super impatient. Although I’ve probably gotten less patient with age.

What are your favorite needle felt projects? Any tips for novices?

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13
Sep

ANIMAL NEEDLE FELTING

Written by Sarah. Posted in art, DIY, gift, life, photos

I’m all about giving hand made gifts. I like seeing genuine excitement instead of looking for a gift receipt. That feeling of pride as they unwrap it makes it just as much a present for me as it is for them. I like that my friends know that I really took the time to think about them and put lots of love into what I’ve made for them. And when they like something that is so full of love, it makes my heart swell.

That being said, I don’t often receive hand made gifts.

It’s a strange phenomenon, right? I’ve got a passion for things that are made from scratch. I know how to appreciate a good handmade gift! Well, my wonderful and talented Aunt Sherry made me an awesome handmade present for my birthday!

Isn’t he adorable!? She made this little guy after taking a class at an AENJ conference. (She’s always got the coolest crafts! And I’m still fascinated by the swag she brings me!) He’s made of alpaca from Back to Back Alpaca where you can also find a kit! I just want to cuddle him! It’s so exciting to get something so fun and so full of love from someone so close to me. (Love you, know you’re always reading!)

I was so excited to give him a spot on the shelf above my sewing machine. He looks very proud! Link is keeping him company.

I really don’t know anything about needle felting but it’s a craft so I’m obviously curious to learn more! (This book looks adorable!) Maybe my next present can be a lesson from my Auntie?

Do you know how to needle felt? What’s the skinny? Do you receive any handmade gifts?

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