XXth Century Social Fashion in Zaragoza

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Hello everybody!

My little angel and me went to the museum a couple of days ago, and today I’m bringing you a bit of that exhibition to wherever you are in the world. My hometown is rather small, but it’s always had bouts of modernity here and there, and for what it seems last century was a good example of that. Enough talking for now, enjoy the show!

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Gorgeous hat boxes and mannequin from La Parisien, Est. 1911

Old bills - aren't they incredible? Much better than thermal paper receipts!

Old bills – aren’t they incredible? Much better than thermal paper receipts!

This was probably my favourite bit of the show. Since fast fashion didn’t really exist until the end of the century, people got around with just a couple of outfits per season (can you even imagine?), so their ability to style them and make them look different was quite astounding. These add-on collars are an example of that. They are embroidered in the finest of fabrics and with exquisite detail. Also note the roller and stamps to the side of them, to print new patterns on an old garment.

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These shirts are miles away in quality, design and beauty, and only about 60 year away in time. You just can’t compare them, our basic white shirts are a joke next to those from the beginning of the century:

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That wrinkled collar in the background makes me cringe

And this is one of the adverts on display. It was for Reblet shirtmaker. They definitely look quite special!

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These ladies must be… Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha travelling back in time.

img_0547Attention visual merchandisers! Did you ever think about planning your window styling with paper, ink and colours? Well, that’s how it used to be done and look what beautiful examples were on show.

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Leaflet for a window display competition

And here some actually window displays:

I totally remember that window display... and now you will too!

I totally remember that window display… and now you will too!

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What a charming soap advert, and very appropriate for our very windy city

There is no fashion without accessories…

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This is the most beautifully handcrafted handbag I’ve ever seen

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Fan-tastic!

Fan-tastic!

There were also some things that should have just never happened…

Shoulder pads, why did you ever exist?

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The final room held a pretty striking display of actual garments from the different decades (spot the 80’s dresses):

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Lovely bit of early century invisible hemming

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I have nothing else to add to those bodysuits

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A potentially indecent picture of a multi-layered dress

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Sorry fashion bloggers, turn-ups are definitely not a new thing

And with the turn-ups, we are all done here! Hope you enjoyed the exhibition as much as we did! As you can see, it inspired profound thoughts on Mateo and we discussed it on the way home.

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I just want to say thank you to the organisers and hope Zaragoza sees many more shows like this one!

Bye for now!

Pilar & Mateo

The Pilar Bear Pattern Share

PHello everybody!

My birthday is coming soon and to celebrate I want to give a present to the sewing community just because you guys are truly awesome!
So… I will be posting (by snail mail!) 7 patterns from my stash  to a fellow sewer. The idea is that this person will take one pattern from the bundle and will add one pattern from her/his stash and then post it to the next person.
In my dreams, this will become a never ending chain of surprise pattern sharing across the world!
Sounds like your cup of tea?

How it works:

  1. If you want to get involved in the Pilar Bear Pattern Share, follow me @pilar_bear and leave a comment on any of the posts about the Pattern Share that I’ll be posting in the coming weeks. Then, I will pick a person from the comments and I will be posting the bundle to him/her (obviously after asking for their address). This is the start of the party!
  2. When you receive the bundle, pick the pattern you want and add another from your stash (but keep this one secret!). Please don’t add more than one, otherwise the shipping costs will go up!
  3. Let us know what pattern you got by tagging me and #pilarbearpatternshare on Instagram! I’m sure your pic will get plenty of comments, so pick another sewer and post the bundle over to them!

As you can see, it is very easy to take part on this pattern frenzy, but there are some important points that you need to know before you decide to take part.

  1. You need to be willing to pay shipping costs in order to forward the bundle to the next person.
  2. You need to be willing to share your postal address.
  3. You need to forward the bundle promptly and don’t delay the chain.
  4. Make sure the pattern you add to the bundle is uncut and has sewing instructions.

Hope all this makes sense! I do believe the sewing community is amazing, so I have great hopes that this becomes a world wide surprise pattern exchange.

From now on I will be posting one and each of the patterns I will be mailing out on October 19th. Some of them are new, some of them are vintage, but they are all uncut and contain instructions.

Hope to see you all there!

Pilar

Baby and mommy matching dresses

Custom made baby dress

Hello!

Today I bring you a very tiny project… a baby girl dress made out of some very small scraps of fabric.

I’ve always been a fan of matchy-matchy baby-and-mommy outfits, so when my friend mentioned that she’d love her 4 month old baby to wear a matching outfit to a wedding I quickly offered my seamstress skills for such an adorable project.

When my friend brought over the fabric that had been taken off her dress, I knew straight away it was going to be challenging, it barely was 20cm wide! But with some thought I managed to create a patter that would replicate the mum’s dress and could be actually cut out off the available fabric.

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Sara baby dress 05Sara baby dress 05

Despite it is such a tiny dress, I did not spare in details. The dress is fully lined in soft cotton, the skirt lining features French seams and the bodice is hand sewn to the skirt. The ribbon of the outside is also hand sewn. In case you haven’t realised yet, I like things done properly!

 

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Hope you like the final result!

Thanks for reading!

Pilar

My nursing Myrtle dress (aka my new wardrobe favourite)

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Hello every body!
It had been a while since I last wrote a post but you know, life gets in the way, especially with a baby at home 🙂
I am very excited about this post because this dress has been a life saver for me. First of all, a little confession: I love wearing dresses, especially in the summer. Since the very moment it starts warming up here in Spain until the first chills of autumn you’ll never see anything remotely trousery around my legs. Things change when you’ve got a baby that needs nursing and you need to be “accessible” pretty much all the time. This left me with great wardrobe gaps and with little to wear.

Luckily, a few weeks ago, I came across a Heaven-sent blog post titled 13 Non-Maternity Nursing-friendly Indie sewing patterns, by Megan Nielsen. I realised I owned a couple of those patterns, one being the Myrtle dress by Colette, so I set it as my new project. I had been wanting a red dress for a while, so I though this could be the one and I picked a drappey red rayon knit that I’ve had in my stash for a while.

Nursing-friendly patterns

I used size 4 for the top and size 6 for waist and skirt. The pattern was easy to follow and I the dress came to life with no issues that I can recall. I am super pleased with the result and it has become my new favourite dress in my wardrobe. Maybe next time I’ll try a less draped fabric to see the different effect.

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As you can see here, it couldn’t fit the bill any better 🙂

Myrtle dress pattern

For my little angel, I’m willing to sew a whole new wardrobe!

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Hope you enjoyed the post and I’d love to hear about your nursing wardrobes, do you have any pattern suggestions?

Thanks for reading!

Pilar

Minimi Dungarees Shorts


Minimi dungarees

Hello everyone!

I’m very excited about this post because it is the first re-fashion project I’ve ever done and I am super pleased with it 🙂 So, what did I do? Believe it or not, I turned a shirt into a baby dungarees!

A few months ago I came across the MINIMI Project on Instagram and I just loved their concept of giving old cloths a new purpose. It may seem like a simple idea (that is something that had definitely crossed my mind before) but I didn’t know how to do it, so their patterns were just exactly was I was looking for.

I picked the dungarees shorts pattern because they look supercute and I think they’ll be great for the summer. When I asked my husband for any shirts that he didn’t wear anymore, he produced not 1 but 3, so I think my baby boy is going to be spoiled for choice when it comes to summer clothes. Anyway, this is the first one I’ve made:

Since my shirt had short sleeves, I picked a supersoft rusty red cotton for the lining.

Dungarees shorts

 

I also like that the pattern encourages you to use the original details from the shirt. In this version I reused the buttons and the pocket:

Pocket detail

Buttonhole detail

Once the summer’s here I promise pics of Mateo modelling this little beauty, but for now it’s still a bit to chilly and a bit too big 🙂

I’ll be definitely making more of these, maybe even a winter version?

Thanks for reading!

Pilar

 

 

Self-drafted Nursing Gown #1

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Hello everyone!

I am very excited about this post because it is about the first piece of clothing that I’ve ever drafted from scratch. Ladies and gentlemen… my maternity nursing gown!

But, how did I get to drafting my own nursing gown? Well, if you’ve been pregnant, you’ll know that the range of maternity clothes out there is quite limited and far from nice unless it comes with a hefty price tag, but nursing items (including gowns) are even rarer and uglier. When I was looking for a decently designed and priced gown to take with me to hospital when the D-day arrived, I was unable to find one whose design, fabric, colour or dimensions did not make me cringe. I’m unsure why brands assume that nursing gowns are only for the hospital when the name is quite specific, “nursing” gowns, so you’ll probably wear them for quite a while whilst you are nursing your baby. So, why make them so ugly? Some of the faults I found in the ones I came across were:

  • Ugly colours (at least for the purpose of the garment): dark brown, dark blue, dark pretty much every colour. Why do they make them so dark? Someone may say “so they don’t show the dirt”. Well, I don’t remember getting any dirt whilst in hospital or back home, at least no more than usual (I do have a tendency to spill my morning coffee every now and again and this has not improved with motherhood, actually quite the opposite)
  • Poor quality fabrics: what happened to the soft-touch lounge and sleep wear? Apparently pregnant women don’t like it because I could not find anything that wasn’t polyester (and not of the nicer kind).
  • Lace everywhere: I’m not a fan of lace. I’m even less fan of polyester lace. I had no intention on buying anything with lace on.
  • Ill-fitting: ok, nursing gowns have to fit a 9 month pregnant belly, which is pretty big, but they shouldn’t be massive all around. I didn’t find any gown that was slightly flattering around the shoulders and neckline. They were all just big and didn’t fit me at all, they would actually slid off my shoulders, which is not very comfortable.
  • Useless for the purpose: Most of the nursing gowns I tried on, their buttons wouldn’t undo as low as needed to nurse… that was the moment when I decided to sew my own gowns.

During my search for the perfect gown, shop assistants didn’t seem to understand why I was being so fussy about them, at the end of the day, they were just a gown for a few days. I guess that was true to some extend. But there was something else there, something in between the lines, something that I didn’t realise I was trying to attain and that I only came to understand with time and a baby in my arms. After the D-Day I realised what motivated that thorough search: I was just trying to help myself through a tough but extremely special time. A time when your old self seems gone forever, a time when your pre-baby clothes are a ghost from the past, a time when there is no time for you or for anything else but your new born baby. I was trying to grasp and capture a bit of my old self into a garment that was going to be my best friend for weeks to come, I wanted to feel ok in myself, I just wanted to see that the old Pilar was still there, somewhere, and that she would come back at some point. All of these feelings went into the draft of this nursing gown, that I sewed in cotton seersucker, lined with cotton gauze, fitted to my shoulders and chest, knotted at the shoulders, and roomy for my decreasing belly. As all first drafts, this pattern was not perfect, but it made me happy because I could take care of my baby and still feel a bit like myself.

It may seem like a bit too much thought for a nursing gown, but I loved wearing it and was great for nursing my baby. I stopped wearing it when the winter came, but I’ll be definitely be making a non-pregnancy version for next summer. As far as I’m concern, best gown ever!

These are some more detailed pics:

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Pink nighty

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I’d love to hear about your maternity gowns, what did you wear? Did you sew your own gowns?

Hope you enjoyed the post and thanks for reading!

Pilar

Why I breastfeed and other advantages of breastfeeding

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Hello everyone!

Today’s post is very special to me because breastfeeding has been my life since baby Mateo arrived to this world 6 months ago. So as I way of celebration I want to explain why I chose to breastfeed and how my experience has been so far.

There is one thing I never expected when I had my baby 6 months ago: somehow, my breasts became kind of a public affair on which everyone seemed to have an opinion. If I had got a pound for each person that asked me something related to my breasts we would be covered for nappies for life. Questions such as: why do you breastfeed? How long are you going to breastfeed for? Does he have enough with your milk? Does he put on enough weight by just breasfeeding? Why don’t you give him formula? When are you going to stop breastfeeding? Why don’t you give him “normal” milk? (meaning formula) Do you express your milk? Why don’t you express your milk? Don’t you get tired of breastfeeding?… I could go on but I’m sure you get the picture, right?

I don’t really mind these kind of questions, but I never go into the real reasons of my choice to breastfeed my baby and I usually just give a short pleasing answer because at the end of the day that’s all people are after. But to celebrate 6 months of exclusively breastfeeding Mateo, I want explain why I really do it.

I breastfeed because…

… I feel that not only I nourish you with my milk but I also nourish you with my love.

… I love the complicity I feel between us when you are in my arms eating from my breast.

… your food is always ready, at the perfect temperature and it never runs out.

… I can sooth you instantly.

… I love how you look at me with your beautiful eyes and make me feel like I’m the most important person in the world.

… I’ve got one free hand to caress your soft skin and hair (or to tickle you on your chubby legs!)

… I love hearing your impatient laugh when you are about to eat.

… I know I’m giving you the best I can.

… I don’t want to be away from you, I want to be there for when you need me.

… I feel more in tune with my own nature, knowing that women thousands of years ago did the same, and that women from every race do the same, no matter where they’re from.

… I don’t count lines on a bottle, I trust you and I know you’ll eat what you need.

… it just feels right.

These reasons are enough for me to carrying breastfeeding as long as he and me want, but there are plenty of more proven scientific reasons that show further benefits of breastfeeding. These are just some:

… because breastfed babies have less risk of suffering digestive and breathing illnesses in the long term apart from being less likely to catch flus and other viruses.

… because it reduces the risk of developing breast and/or uterus cancer as well as diminishes the effects of osteoporosis.

… because it helps you regain your pre-pregnancy figure.

… because it’s better for the environment because formula is made of de-fattened cow’s milk.

… because it is free and better quality than any other milk. The average expenditure on formula per year is about €2,500.

… because it’s empowering for the new mum, preventing post-natal depression.

… because the milk nutrients change depending on your baby’s needs, one milk definitely does not fit all.

… because breast milk is “vaccinating” your baby from everyday viruses and therefore he’ll be ill less often.

… because it helps you to know your baby better.

… because it helps to develop a stronger sense of confidence in your baby as well as a better development of their brain.

There are plenty more reasons that could go on this list but I think these are enough for now.

I could say that breastfeeding has given me a new vision of my self and has made me discovered love at another level. Having said that, the start was not easy and I’m just glad I had the courage and the patience to stick to it and overcome whatever difficulties I found. I am just so happy I didn’t give up because now it’s my favourite time of the day (it’s just lucky that happens so often!).

As I said above, this is MY experience and MY reasons, and I do acknowledge that every mummy and baby tandem is different and different choices may work for them. At the end of the day, happy mummy equals happy baby, and that’s what really matters. I’d just thought I owed it to me and my baby to be finally answer all those questions honestly. I don’t expect my breasts to stop being a public affair any time soon, but maybe next time I will go into more detail and hopefully I’ll be able to help other mums to enjoy their breastfeeding time.

Hope you enjoyed the post and I’d love to hear about your reasons for breastfeeding (or not!).

Happy Tuesday!

Pilar & Mateo

 

 

Vintage linen napkins

Blue napkins

Hello everybody!

Today I bring you another stash busting project with vintage linens, in this case, a blue and white table cloth that I picked form a charity shop a few years back. Yes, that’s right… it’s been sitting on my stash for years!!

I wouldn’t normally pick linens from a charity shop because usually they tend to be quite worn out and have a funny smell, but this old tablecloth was tip-top and it seemed like it had been used sparingly.

This project is as simple as it gets and you can even do it without a sewing machine, so it is going to be like the shortest tutorial ever.

You will need:

Vintage (or not) tablecloth

Needle

Thread

Sewing machine (optional)

How to make the napkins:

  1. Decide what size you want your napkin to be. In this case, since the tablecloth has a check pattern, I’ve cut my napkins following the grid on the fabric. As a guidance, meal napkins then to be about 22″ square and dessert napkins about 12″ square but my suggestion is to be creative and make them the size that works better for you, we all know about extra messy children!
  2. Now you just need to hem the edges and you are done!

I love this napkins because they are extra strong and they wash great. They also have a great rustic/country-kitchen feel to them and since you are making them from a tablecloth, odds are that you’ve got plenty more fabric to make many more. I think they make a lovely pressie!

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Napkins ready to gift 🙂

Here you can appreciate the pattern of the cloth

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That’s all for today folks! Hope you enjoyed my stash busting project #4. I have to say I am still not noticing a major decrease of my fabric stash but hopefully by May-June time I will be able to see the bottom of my drawers!

Have a lovely everyone and thanks for reading!

Pilar

Reusable fold-away bags

You can never have too many :)

You can never have too many 🙂

Hi there!

Welcome to project #3 of my Stash Busting challenge 2016: the super useful, super hardy and super cute reusable fold-away bags.

When I moved back to Spain about a year and a half a go I was quite surprised at how very few places gave you a bag with your purchases so I was always caught off guard and I always had to end up buying a bag. I know it’s only a few cents, but when you see the volume of plastics bags accumulated in your kitchen after a weeks worth of shopping, then you realise that it is about time to start taking your own bags with you and do your bit for the planet.

As it happens, I had a look for a fold-away bag that I could carry always with me but, surprise surprise… I didn’t like any of the ones that were available in shops so I decided to make my own. At this point I decided to take my project a step further and make them from recycled vintage linens, just so they were fully “green” bags.

To make the bags, you will need:

1/2 metre of fabric of your choice (ideally washable and resistant)

Button

15cm cotton tape

Needle, thread and sewing machine

How to make it:

(all measurements include 1cm seam allowance)

  1. Cut two pieces of fabric measuring 42 by 45cm each (bag body)
  2. Cut two stripes of fabric measuring 8cm by 47 cm (bag straps)
  3. With right sides together, sew both long sides and one of the shorter sides of your bag body. At this point you can serge or zigzag stitch the raw edges to avoid fraying when washed.
  4. Still with right sides together, fold out 1cm all around the open top of your bag. Press. Then fold 3cm around the top of the bag and press.
  5. To make the straps, fold the strap fabric in half  lengthwise and press. Then fold in 1cm from each side and topstitch all along the edge of the strap.
  6. Place the straps on the bag before you topstitch it. Leave 10cm at both ends of the bag and place the straps. You should have a gap of about 16cm between both ends of the strap.
  7. Now place the cotton tape right in the middle of the bag, catching it under the top seam that we are going to stitch now.
  8. Topstitch all around the bottom edge of the bag’s top seam top of the bag, catching both straps and the cotton tape.  Now topstitch around the top edge of the bag, catching both straps and leaving the cotton tape free.
  9. If you wish, you can square the bottom stitch across the bottom corners. I’ve boxed mine by 11cm.
  10. Sew the button in the middle of the bag… and you are done!

I’ve haven’t had the time to sketched a diagram explaining how best to fold the bag, but I’ll upload it in the next few days so please bear with me!

This bag is super handy and since it folds so small, it is great to carry in your bag all the time. As you can see in the picture, I’ve made quite a few and so many never seem to be too many. The make wonderful gifts too because they are pretty and useful (and you can make them last minute!). The only risk is that if you lend them to someone you’ll probably never see them back…

Here there are some more pics of foldaway gorgeousness:

 

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Untitled designHope you enjoyed project #3 of my stash busting project! I’d love to hear about your makes, I’m always looking for inspiration for future projects!

Have a lovely day!

Pilar

Erin Maternity Skirt #2

Erin skirt nail varnish

Good morning everyone!

About 6 months late, but I am finally writing about my second Erin Maternity Skirt. It is quite unfair that it’s taken me so long to write about this skirt because it has been the best maternity outfit I’ve had, one of those rare (at least in my case) when pattern, fabric and function just come together like a dream.

There are several reasons why this skirt was my staple garment during my pregnancy. Since I don’t want to forget about any of its wonders, I am going to make a list:

  1. It is a super quick, super easy make. Thank you Megan Nielsen for such great pattern.
  2. I used silky jersey, which has an amazing stretch and recovery, adapting to my growing figure to the very end and keeping its shape at the same time.
  3. This jersey sews, washes and dries like a dream, qualities that are great when you don’t have many outfits.
  4. This material is super breathable, so not heat rushes apart from the 40 degrees outside..
  5. Cool, funky pattern. I just don’t do florals and takes me ages to find fabrics with other prints. It is actually kind of mad… it’s got nail varnish pots dripping!

    Fabric detail

    Maddest pattern I’ve ever worn!

  6. It is perfect for windy weather, it doesn’t fly away and stays where it should. This may seem like a weird reason, but where I live it’s very windy so it is definitely a plus for me.
  7. It made me feel like a cool, young mum. One of my maternity fears was to look like I didn’t take care of myself, wearing an outfit “just because I can still fit in this”. This skirt definitely made me feel great in it every single day I wore it, and therefore made me happy 🙂

I definitely recommend this skirt to anyone that is pregnant or that has a friend that is (what a wonderful present this makes!) and I will be making more should I be pregnant again. In fact, I’d like to make a non-maternity version of it for next summer.

Anyway, until here my Erin skirt love. I never thought I would say this but, I miss my maternity wardrobe!

Erin skirt front

The crazy print really slims the figure (just to the eye, I was mahoosive!)

Have a lovely day everybody!

Pilar