Green Wool Skirt

E: Last week I went with my friend B. to check out the new fabric store Stoff & Stil in Munich. Its a big store with a large selection and we spend hours roaming through the aisles of fabric. I found this lovely green wool knit and made this very cozy warm winter-skirt.

D: Letzte Woche bin ich mit meiner Freundin B. zu dem neuen Stoff & Stil Laden in München gefahren. Es ist ein großer Laden mit einer großen Stoffauswahl und wird sind stundenlang duer die Gaenge voller Stoffballen gewandert. Dort fand ich unter anderem diesen kuscheligen grünen Wollstoff für einen warmen Winterrock.

E: Stoff & Stil also has a selection of ready to go patterns on site. Although this cut out patterns are very practical, they usually confuse me because my body covers three sizes from breast to hip and I never know which size to pick and where to alter best… nevertheless I picked up the skirt pattern No. 21031 and figured that this is simple enough to do some free-hand alterations. And after opening the side-seams twice, I have now a well fitting cozy skirt! However, I realized that I don’t have many items to combine it with….  This made me contemplate my sewing plans for this year.

D: Stoff & Stil hat auch eine Auswahl an fertig ausgeschnittenen Schnittmustern. Obwohl diese fertig vorbereiteten Schnittmuster sehr praktisch sind, tue ich mich damit etwas schwer, da mein Körper von der Brust bis zur Hüfte drei Größen umfasst und ich nie weiß, welche Größe ich kaufen und wo ich dann am besten Anpassungen vornehmen muss… Nichtsdestotrotz habe ich das Schnittmuster Nr. 21031 für einen Rock mitgenommen. Es schien mit simpel genug, um es sozusagen Freihand anpassen zu können. Nachdem ich die Seitennähte zwei mal aufgetrennt habe, habe ich nun einen gut passenden kuscheligen Rock! Allerdings musste ich feststellen, dass ich nicht viele Kleidungsstücke habe, die sich gut mit diesem Rock kombinieren lassen…. Das ließ mich über meine Nähpläne für dieses Jahr nachdenken.

E: I am very intrigued by the idea of a minimalistic capsular wardrobe. Honestly, I tend to wear always the same favorite items anyway and at the same time my closet is full with things I barely know… I found two helpful resources:  The Wardrobe Architect and The Curated Closet. I started to read through the first one and really like it. I will try to work through each step. The second one now exists as book as well. One step towards a better planned wardrobe is to find the right color scheme. Colors can be divided into three categories: basic colors, neutrals and accent colors. And this is what I came up with for myself: my basic color definitely is blue. And I realize that I really like green. So far I don’t own many green items and I am still not sure, if green is really a basic color for me or rather an accent color. My neutrals are gray, beige, black and jeans. As accent-colors I like petrol, dark orange and aubergine. I certainly have many blues on my sewing list (check), and some neutrals (that could be more) and some accent colors (check).

D: Ich bin sehr von der Idee einer minimalistischen Garderobe angetan. Ehrlicherweise muss ich zugeben, dass ich eigentlich immer die gleichen Lieblingsstücke trage und gleichzeitig in meinem Kleiderschrank viele (fast) unbekannte Stücke schlummern… Ich habe zwei hilfreiche Seiten gefunden:  The Wardrobe Architect und The Curated Closet. Ich habe angefangen, durch die erste zu lesen und finde sie wirklich hilfreich. die zweite ist inzwischen als Buch auch auf deutsch erschienen. Ein Schritt auf dem Weg zu einer besser organisierten Garderobe ist, die richtigen Farben zu finden. Die Farben kann man in drei Gruppen unterteilen: Grundfarben, neutrale Farben und Farben, die Akzente setzten. Mein Farbschema sieht erst mal so aus: meine Grundfarbe ist definitiv blau. Ist stelle fest, dass ich auch wirklich grün mag, bisher habe ich aber noch nicht viele grüne Kleidungsstücke und bin mir daher noch nicht so ganz im Klaren darüber, ob grün für mich tatsächlich eine Grundfarbe ist oder sich doch eher für Akzente eignet. Meine neutralen Farben sind grau, beige, schwarz und jeans-blau. Und Akzente setze ich gerne mit petrol, dunklem orange und aubergine.  Ich habe auf jeden Fall viel blaues auf meiner Näh-Liste (check), und ein paar wenige Dinge in neutralen Farben (da ist noch Luft nach oben) und Akzentfarben sind auch vertreten (check).

Fabric: Thick wool knit (80% wool 20% polyester) from Stoff & Stil in Munich

Pattern: Pattern No. 21031 by Stoff & Stil, altered in waist and length.

Will I do it again? Yes, a bought some other knit which I also want to turn into a skirt.

This is my contribution to RUMS.

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Waterfall Shirt

(before dyeing)

So far my sewing efforts mainly concentrated on skirts because I felt that well fitting tops are so difficult to achieve. Therefore I took on the challenge to find (at least) three well fitting patterns for tops. Actually, this was part of my pledge for this year’s Me Made May Challenge (slowly but surely…)!

Top-challenge no. 1 is the waterfall shirt “Scarlett” from Patty-Doo. It took me three iterations until I felt comfortable. First, I selected the wrong size (I always tend to make things too big), and then I had to make the neckline higher (the water was falling a bit too low). But now I am really happy with it!

(after dyeing black/gray)

For practice I used a fabric I bought online, which I obviously couldn’t really touch nor properly see before it arrived at my doorstep. The fabric I finally received was something quite different from what I had expected (way too bright – see the first picture above, and heavy falling viscose instead of a light cotton jersey). I had bought 3m (well, yes) and felt that for practice this (and some other leftover fabric) was definitely good enough. So I put the tops together (four altogether) and then dyed them over with black (above, rather grayish) and blue (below).

(after dyeing blue)

One can still see the original pattern, but the colors are not as bold, and I think the flowers are even more recognizable as such. I am actually rather pleased how the tops came out in the end and really like to wear them!

Pattern: Patty-Doo Waterfall Shirt “Scarlett” (thanks for the fantastic video tutorial!). Alterations: I shortened the neckline as described in the pattern instructions.

Fabric: The fabric was marked as a cotton jersey, but I am pretty sure it is (or contains) viscose.  The rather bold pattern I dyed over using black and blue dye. The pattern is still visible but not as bright.

Will I do it again? Yes!!

This is my contribution to RUMS.

Dieser Blogpost ist auf Englisch. Ich lese und beantworte Kommentare aber gerne auch auf Deutsch.

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Foliage wrap-around skirt

Fall is here. The trees are changing into vibrant shades of yellow, orange and red. So wonderful colors and light!

(Okoř, close to Praha)

During the last month I had a major clean-out of my closet and sewing corner. I keep a stack of old clothes which I don’t wear anymore, but the material is too good to be toss out and instead can be used in some sewing project. Several years ago I received an orange corduroy skirt from a family member for exactly that purpose.

During the clean-out this wrap-around skirt resurfaced. Being infected by those wonderful autumn colors around me I wanted to wear a skirt like this!

The original skirt was too long and too tight. So I generously cut off the hem and opened the side seams. From the cut off hem I salvaged rectangular pieces which I inserted into the side seams.

The direction of the corduroy of the skirt is (as usual) vertical, but of the inserted side panels it is horizontal. This I think adds an interesting feature to the skirt! Finally I repositioned the buttons and have now a lovely new old skirt!

Pattern: Refashioning an old skirt. No pattern used.

Fabric: A used corduroy skirt

Will I do it again? Refashioning old clothes? Always!

This is my contribution to RUMS.

Dieser Blogpost ist auf Englisch. Ich lese und beantworte Kommentare aber gerne auch auf Deutsch.

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For my youngest I made Frida by Milchmonster. I actually made this already more than two years ago but never got around posting it and, unfortunately, the little one outgrew those nice pants in the meantime. But I had them lying around recently to show to a friend and the little one (he is now three) found them and put them on! They (almost) fit again without diapers! They are just a bit tight and a bit short…..

I made them according to the pattern in size 80 using a pair of old jeans from my husband. The only alteration I made was to use the largest size for the knee patches.

The back pieces I had to patch together because the original jeans had holes. I patched the back pieces and not the front pieces because I felt that might be more comfortable and I patched both sides (although it would not have been necessary) because of symmetry.

The little one was wearing those pants a lot and I am sad that they are now too small. In some blog posts I read that some are putting a rubber-band into the waistband. I didn’t do that. I felt that the pants are cut relatively snug around the hips which keeps them from falling off. But If you want to make them more roomy, a rubber band might be a good idea.

Pattern: Frida by Milchmonster, size 80. Alteration: I used the knee patches for the largest size.

Fabric: old jeans, leftover pieces of thick fabric for the knee patches, elastic jersey for the cuffs and waist-band from local fabric store.

Will I do it again? I have no plans now. But I start thinking that my oldest might like a pair!

This is my contribution to Made4Boys.

Dieser Blogpost ist auf Englisch. Ich lese und beantworte Kommentare aber gerne auch auf Deutsch.

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My oldest son’s passion are marionettes. His stories typically revolve around princesses, kings, a fakir and his snake, and their fight against evil. For the costumes and stage decorations he uses all scraps of fabric I can (and sometimes rather not) spare. Recently, I took him along to a local thrift store so he could look around for things to use in his play. We went home with a bag full of treasures – not only for him. I found a beautiful round blueprint tablecloth.


I immediately remembered the full circle skirts Frau Kirsche made from round tablecloths (unfortunately, she closed down her blog, but she published a tutorial here)!


Following her instructions, this is how I made my skirt:

  1. I measured my waist, and cut a hole with the same circumference in the middle, with seam allowance added. I stitched a supporting seam around the hole. Note to self: instead of cutting a perfect circle, I should have followed the pattern – now the waistline doesn’t look very even.
  2. I divided the the cut-out circle into stripes and made from it the outside of the waistband. For the inside I used a piece of blue cotton fabric from my stash.
  3. The tablecloth did have a seam across, which means it was made from two half circles. I opened the seam a bit on one side of the cut-out hole to insert an invisible zip.
  4. Despite careful measurements and calculations, the skirt turned out to be a bit too wide. So I inserted additionally an elastic band into the waistband, so that the skirt doesn’t fall off my hips.

And thats my long full circle summer skirt – right on time for the beginning of summer – and finished thanks to the Sommer-Rock Sew-Along of Meike and Lucy on the MeMadeMittwoch blog! It is nice and airy and a perfect hiding place for small (and not so small) children.


Pattern: no pattern but I followed Frau Kirsche’s Tutorial.

Fabric: second-hand round tablecloth

Will I do it again? Yes, if the right table cloth comes along.

This is my first time participating at MeMadeMittwoch, this long admired parade of women wearing self-made clothes! 

Dieser Blogpost ist in Englisch. Ich lese und beantworte Kommentare aber gerne auch auf Deutsch.

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Synaptic Boogie


What is a Synaptic Boogie you may ask, and what or who is dancing it? Well, let me tell you, those are neurons on the t-shirt dancing this boogie. Eh? I guess this is what happens when a bunch of neuroscientists sit together for several weeks – their mind just goes all boogie…..


Anyhow, this is t-shirt no. 2 from my husband’s beloved t-shirt collection. Since t-shirt no. 1 was refashioned for our little one, t-shirt no. 2 was destined to be transformed for my older boy. I cut for him a t-shirt and to make it a bit more interesting, I used contrasting colored thread and blue cuff fabric for neckline and sleeves. This was only the second pieces I made following a design by Ottobre and I was utterly confused about where to add seam allowance and where not. As a a result I did not add seam allowance to the neckline and now it is a bit too wide. I should have at least added a wider cuff…. But my boy loves to be able to wear papa’s t-shirt, although it is still a bit too wide. I hope this thing will last long enough for my boy to properly grow into it. And he wears his t-shirt with short I showed here!

Pattern: Ottobre 3/2013 No. 11 “Birthday Fish” t-shirt, without applications.

Fabric: old t-shirt, cuff fabric from local fabric store.

Will I sew it again? Yes, I like the pattern. And hopefully next time I will be better about the neckline….

This blogpost  is my contribution to Made4BOYS! and my kid wears!

Zero Waste Home


It bothers me how much waste we produce, mostly as a result of our convenience and the amount of consumption. All the things we throw away end up in landfills or are burned, either way destroying our Lebensraum (living space). What really upsets me is the amount of trash that does not even find its way into the trashcan but is just dropped somewhere. In particular, it seems socially acceptable to throw cigarette butts just about anywhere.

In Germany, general waste is expensive and limited to a special sized bin. However, instead of pushing for waste reduction, the problem is rather moved to a very popular recycling system. But, in my opinion, this just moves the problem instead of solving it, because those mountains of plastic have to be dealt with somewhat other than just shipping it to China or elsewhere, or worse just getting “lost” on the way (e.g. Great Pacific Garbage Patch)….

Everything we throw away is produced at some point. The production uses resources and often generates (harmful) byproducts. Therefore, reducing our waste means on one hand to reduce our consumption, and on the other hand to consume more consciously, always keeping in mind how things are produced and how they will eventually be disposed of.

I am not a saint myself. I have a baby and am not using exclusively cloth diapers, and I put out a trash bin every other week. But I am trying to improve. A big inspiration is Bea Johnson of Zero Waste Home. She has an almost waste fee home, following the simple rule of “Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (strictly in this order)”. She keeps a small home, only buys her food items on farmer’s markets and in bulk, bringing her own containers. Everything else she tries to buy second hand. Her website has a wealth of information and tips how to reduce waste in all areas of living.

IMG_9497a(This is our bakery bag. I think my cousine made it for us when we were both still children.)

There are many easy steps to reduce waste (see Bea’s site or her book for many useful tips!) which can make already a big impact. Bringing our own bags to the store, and avoiding packaged and/or processed foods as much as possible are the most obvious steps. Buying less in general and trying to reuse what we already own are others. A good idea is also to just look into our waste bin and recycling container and maybe there are items which could be easily eliminated. A good check for me is always to think about how an item is produced and how it eventually will be disposed before I consider purchasing it.

However, our society is so much based on and geared towards consumption, that avoiding waste can be quite tricky.  One thing that I find really difficult here in Germany is to avoid packaging. I cannot buy rice, grains, pasta, spices, cleaning supplies etc. in bulk but need to buy it packaged. Meat and cheese I buy at the counter, but I cannot bring my own containers because of hygienic regulations. Bea has now released an App to collect information about bulk stores. I hope it will at some point include (and inspire!) Germany as well.

Veggie Day: vegetable curry


Oh – give me a break. It is snowing again. Everything is white and it is cold. I am so done with this. I so badly needed a bit of color and the freshness of better days, so I made one of my favorite dishes today. Yes, the ingredients are not quite seasonal yet, but I hope you forgive me for giving in to my yearning for summer. When I was a student I would eat this dish several times a week (whenever I had time to cook instead of being stuck in the lab for most of the night…). I love this dish because it is very versatile, you get a big portion of mixed vegetables, you can vary the spices to your taste, which keeps the flavor interesting, and it is relatively quick (a small portion can be put together in about 30 minutes). This dish is great on its own, or you can add cashew nuts or shrimps. The vegetables listed here are my favorite combination, but you can add/substitute any vegetables you want.

One word about the curry: you can use any curry powder of your choice. I personally like to use a mild Thai curry paste and/or I mix turmeric, ground ginger, ground coriander, paprika with my standard curry powder, which allows me to vary the flavor a bit depending on my mood (and the kids’ liking). Just don’t overdo it with the spices, you still want to taste the vegetables.


You’ll need:

  • olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • curry (*see comment above)
  • 3 carrots
  • 1-2 red and/or yellow bell peppers
  • 2 zucchini
  • 1 can coconut milk (or heavy cream)
  • small pack of frozen peas
  • if desired: cashew nuts / shrimp (for a non-vegetarian version) /feta / some freshly ground ginger root
  • fresh parsley or cilantro
  • salt to taste
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large deep pan over medium heat and very gently brown the garlic together with salt and curry – don’t let it burn!
  2. While the garlic and curry brown, cut the carrots in fine slices and add to the pan. Cover the pan and let all simmer on medium heat.
  3. Meanwhile cut bell pepper into small cubes and add into pan.
  4. Cut zucchini once length wise then cut small slices (you’ll get half circles) and add to the mix.
  5. Add coconut milk. Bring to boil and let simmer on medium heat.
  6. When the zucchini start to get soft, add the peas (and shrimps or nuts). Increase the heat until the mixture boils again, then continue over medium heat.
  7. Let simmer until vegetables are soft (or shrimps are cooked through), but not overcooked. I personally like my vegetables al dente, therefore I add peas etc. relatively early. After you turned off the heat you can also add some freshly ground ginger root, this adds some light freshness to this dish. I didn’t do it today, because I forgot to buy ginger.
  8. Serve on rice and sprinkle with finely chopped parsley or cilantro. I like to add some crumbled feta to the non-shrimp version.


How I cook my rice: In a small pot heat some olive oil over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon cumin seed, three cloves and three cardamon pods. Add the washed basmati rice and let everything fry a little, but don’t let it get brown, just dry and crispy. Then add twice the amount of water, steer the rice once so that none sticks to the pot. Bring to boil, then turn down heat to small, cover it and let it simmer until all liquid is gone. I usually switch the heat off when the rice is almost done and let it just sit until done.


This is my contribution to Veggie-Thursday, following siebenhundertsachen‘s example.


Und nun noch auf deutsch:

  • Olivenoel
  • 2 Zehen Knoblauch
  • Curry (Paste oder Pulver)
  • 3 Karotten
  • 1-2 rote und/oder gelbe Paprika
  • 2 Zucchini
  • 1 Dose  Kokusnussmilch (oder Sahne)
  • Schachtel gefrorene Erbsen
  • je nach Laune: Cashew Kerne / Feta / frischen Ingver
  • Frische Petersilie oder Korreander
  • Salz
  1. Brate Knoblauch mit Salz und Curry bei milder Hitze in Olivenoel an.
  2. Fuege die in feine Sscheiben geschnittenen Karotten hinzu und lass alles bei milder Hitze zugedeckt duensten.
  3. Fuege die gewuerfelten Paprika hinzu.
  4. Fuege die in Scheiben geschnittenen Zucchini hinzu.
  5. Fuege Kokusnussmilch hinzu, lass alles kurz aufkochen und lass es dann bei milder Hitze koecheln bis die Zucchini anfangen weich zu werden.
  6. Fuege nun die Erbsen hinzu. Lass alles nochmal kurz aufkochen und lass es dann bei milder Hitze weiterkoecheln bis alles gar ist.Ich mag mein Gemuese al dente und nehme die Pfanne vom Feuer, wenn die Zucchini noch Biss haben.
  7. Serviere ueber Reis, streue fein gehackte Petersilie oder Korreander drueber und wenn Du magst noch ein bisschen zerbroeselten Feta.

Guten Appetit!

Veggie day: chard quiche


Did you hear about Donnerstag-Veggietag (similar to Meatless-Monday)? In short, we eat to much meat. This is bad for the animals, bad for the environment and bad for us. To bring more awareness to our meat consumption and especially to tasty alternatives, the movement Donnerstag-Veggietag suggests to eat no meat for one day every week. Many public places like cafeterias in universities or companies have already adopted the  Donnerstag-Veggietag. But here is the problem: I feel that Germany is a desert when it comes to vegetarian dishes! A common vegetarian dish in cafeterias is Apfelstrudel with vanilla sauce, or Kaesspaetzle (our Schwabian version of Mac&Cheese). Are you kidding me? This are not proper meals! And to just put in soy pretending to be meat is no solution either. I am not even starting on restaurants!

So, what we need is not just the awareness of the fact that we eat too much meat, but we need good and tasty vegetarian options! I want to do my contribution and post here tasty meatless dishes once in a while, following the example of  siebenhundertsachen.


Chard Quiche

Shortcrust: To make the shortcrust, I use a simple 3-2-1 recepie. Combine 300g flour, 200g butter, 1 large egg and a pinsh of salt and a pinsh of sugar, and mix it (not too much) into a smooth dough. Roll out a thin layer and line a cake form. This is plenty for a cake form of 25cm diameter.

Filling: Saute one leek and ca 500-600g chard, both cut into small pieces, in some olive oil until tender. Put aside and let cool down. Combine 3 eggs, ca. 150g sour cream, and 150-200g grated cheese. You can use any left over cheese you have. Last time I used feta made of sheep’s milk, which was quite tasty. Depending on the type of cheese you use, you can add some freshly grounded pepper, sweet paprika powder and/or nutmeg. The cheese usually adds enough salt.  Whisk everything together, combine with sauteed leek/chard and fill into crust. Sprinkle ca. 100g graded cheese on top and bake at 180 degrees in the middle of the oven until golden brown and properly cooked through.

Serve it with a mixed salad. Guten Appetit!