Brooch Display DIY

We had some lazy days during the holidays, but I managed to do something I had in mind for a very long time. I love brooches, even though I seldom wear them in winter to avoid poking holes on the wind and water proof fabric of my winter coat. But now that the weather is finally improving them, I am wearing my brooches more and more. I used to keep them in a handmade jewelery box with necklaces and earrings, but now that I have more than a few, they are all cramped together and I never know which one to wear. So last weekend I worked on my brooch display.

I took a cheap Ikea frame and removed the glass. In its place I put a rectangle of fabric the same size as the frame. I used a piece of black cotton sateen left from my black circle skirt, but any other plain fabric would have worked.

I then assembled the frame back with the fabric instead of the glass. As the rectangle of fabric is larger than the glass, there will be some pieces poking out on the edges. You can tidy up and glue this, but I left it as it is and I pull these pieces from time to time to keep the fabric taut.

Just excuse the bad quality of the pictures. I made this in the evening and my phone camera doesn’t behave well in low light conditions. I didn’t get a better picture during the day because I hanged the frame between the two windows we have in our bedroom. I just hope you get the idea 😉

We didn’t do a lot more useful last weekend, but I managed to start my project for Spring for Cotton.

These three pictures are taken from my Instagram. Let’s be friends!

One skein

This is what Annalisa and Borboleta got me for my birthday.

It’s funny to think about the fact that they went to one of the oldest craft shops in Madrid. This shop celebrated their 100 anniversary this year so I’m not lying when I say that it’s old. The site pictures were clearly made with the shop closed because on a normal day you can’t even walk in there. It’s like a village market but with buttons and ribbons and wool and anything you can imagine. But it’s normally so crowded that I only go there when I need something that I can’t find anywhere else, because my friends, they have EVERYTHING.

So they went to this crazy shop, struggled with all the queues and unfriendly employees, and bought me this without having any idea at all about wool or knitting. I’m having fun just at imagining them there 🙂

I loved the present, they way they thought what I would like. But what they don’t know is that I always have problems to find projects when I just have one skein of non-sock yarn. Luckily we have Ravelry for this kind of problems. Searching in groups I found the following that could help us here:

We also have to option of advanced search.

Ravelry_search_1Apart from the usual filters we normally use to just look for a kind of garment, we can also introduce parameters like yardage or meterage.Ravelry_search_2Ravelry_search_5 Ravelry_search_3And we can also introduce a weight or needle size.Ravelry_search_4 Ravelry_search_6Et voilà! You have a much shorter list to browse.

Ravelry_search_7

You can also apply more filters. If you don’t want to spend your money on a pattern you can go for free ones. I use the Purchase Online or Ravelry Downloads since I don’t normally have printed patterns.

Ravelry_search_8What about you? Which filters do you normally use?

Missing Views: How to create an Archive page in WordPress.com

I learned Drupal in a previous life and I even built a website with it. I loved its versatility but also hated the fact that sometimes you were walking blindly, testing things and many times failing to make them work. One of the things that didn’t convince me was the comment system. It could have improved nowadays (honestly I don’t know), but I used to get a lot of spam.

Anyway, one of the things I loved from Drupal was the Views module. You assigned categories to your pages (or posts) and then you could create a dynamic page where you could display all the entries of a determined category in a list, a table or any format you liked and with an introductory text.

Having a blog in a dedicated platform, like WordPress.com or Blogger, has its advantage; you don’t have to worry about the basic stuff that makes a blog work withing normal parameters, but if you want to personalize it a bit you need to find some workaraound.

I wanted to create a page with my knitted projects and another with my sewn projects, and I didn’t have anything like Views available inside WordPress.com. I don’t mean just clicking on one of your categories and displaying your posts inside that one category, I mean having a button in your menu linking to a page where you could display the list in the way you want and with an introductory text if you like. Miss Portia wrote about how to do this in Blogger. The logic is the same in WordPress.com: You need to create it yourself. You cannot create here a dynamic page, so it needs to be static. I’ll explain later on how to do it but first make sure you have a template that allows this (this is the main difference between Blogger and WordPress.com). Here you can find more information and templates that allow this, and here you have a list of all the themes which you can use to customize menus. Here you can read about custom menus.

Then you need to display your content. I’ve done it in a very simple way, just a list of the projects with a picture of each one linking to a determined post and a title below. For the picture you can make something more elaborated like Portia, I just linked to one of the pictures in each post. This is enough for me (for now).

<div style=”text-align: left;” align=”center”>Introductory text.</div>
<div style=”text-align: center;” align=”center”>

<a href=”link-to-your-post/”><img alt=”Title” src=”link-to-the-image.jpg” width=”193″ height=”288″ /></a>Title…

<a href=”link-to-your-post/”><img alt=”Title” src=”link-to-the-image.jpg” width=”193″ height=”288″ /></a>Title</div>

I hope this helps people with the same needs. if you have any questions, issues or suggestions, please let me know (it sounds like I’m talking to one of my customers, ha).

Tutorial: how to fix jeans pockets

You know how men stuff their jeans pockets. I guess it’s the collateral effect of not carrying a purse like we do, where you never know what you can find at the bottom. In their case what you can normally find at the bottom of their pockets are their keys. Koen carries around a gianourmous amount of keys: from our place, from his office, his lab, and I’m sure also old keys he doesn’t even remember. The result of carrying this around is a hole in one of his pockets.

I first thought I could darn it, but I then checked the other side.

And I realized this was beyond mending. The cleanest solution would be unmounting the whole pocket and replace it with a new one, but for that you need to reap part of the lateral pants seam and then sew it again, and I was not sure I was able to do that. Denim is quite hard and I don’t know how my machine would manage several layers of it. It could have worked out but I was so afraid of ruining a perfectly wearable pair of pants that I decided to take the middle way: I was going to reconstruct the pocket. I confess that I delayed this for a while, because I was not sure how it could result and whether I would be able to finish it in a satisfactory way.

I bought a very similar fabric to the one used in jeans pockets and I decided to cut the bottom part of the pocket, being careful to keep at least a an inch an a half of  the bottom from the side seam (don’t cut it too close to the side seam).

I used here an air erasable pen. I doesn’t really matter what you use here, since nobody will see it. Then you breath deeply  a couple of times and then you cut it following the line you previously marked. Yes, you cut it. Don’t be afraid.

Once you have cut the  bottom part of the pocket, just place it on a sheet of paper and trace the shape of the pocket.

Add then two inches of seam allowance at the top (where you cut) and a quarter of an inch at the bottom (where the seam is). In my example I made a mistake and added half an inch here, but I fixed afterwards.

You see that the upper line is not straight anymore. It doesn’t really matter. What happened here is that, as this line is on the bias, it stretched out a bit, but it will make almost no difference at the end.

Note that this goes on the fold. Once you have it, you just have to cut it out and place it on you folded fabric making sure the fold is parallel to the grainline (have you prewashed this cotton fabric, right?).

The bottom seam of a jeans pocket is very similar to a French seam. It’s overlocked with the right sides together and then sewn a quarter of an inch from this seam with the wrong sides together. I don’t have a serger so I just did a normal French seam, but you can experiment and see if you get better results with other technique. You pin the pocket and prepare it to sew.

Sew it then a quarter of an inch from the edge using a straight stitch of less than 2 cm. Think that we want tight and durable stitches here so use a small stitch length. Check the thread color used for the original pocket. In my case it was a bluish faded white, so I decided to use white thread. It’s Sunday, I have white thread and anyway nobody is going to see the outer side of your pocket.

Turn the pocket inside out, press it and stitch it again a quarter of an inch from the edge. Don’t forget to backstitch.

See how beautiful that French seam looks!

Leave one inch not sewn or you can just reap an inch at the end (the left end on the above picture). Only the second seam, leave the first intact.

Then turn this inside out and place it inside what is left from the original pocket. Pin it in place.

Stitch this with one inch seam allowance and pull this new part so that you have your pocket as it should be when you’re wearing your jeans. Re-stitch that last inch of the French seam going also over the original part of the pocket and finally apply a zig-zag stitch to both edges together. Here you can do the same as with the bottom edge and do a French seam instead or just a double seam. Remember that it needs to carry some weight and possible sharp objects.

Pull from the other side and admire your new pocket.

The color is not exactly the same but with some washes the difference will fade out. And again, who’s going to see the inside of your pockets?Well, only if you want to make clear that you ran out of money.

But you know, when you stuff your hands inside, they feel exactly the same!

Go out then and enjoy your new pockets, stuff things inside and you’ll wear a permanent smile because no one’ll notice it!