Free books

Updated post!! (originally posted in May 2011)

I have recently discovered Kindle. I installed the app on my mobile, my home pc and I am using it as a regular reading device. Kindle is such a great idea! I am so impressed that I want to share it with you.
I have found loads of free books, but some which I think you may find interesting, as they have creativity on the set, are these:


Encyclopedia of Needlework (free)

CreativiTee: the ultimate guide to cut and revamp your old T-shirts (free)


 "21 Projects Guaranteed to Keep Your Kids Occupied This Weekend" (free)

 "Chocolate and Cocoa Recipes and Home Made Candy Recipes"

These are just some, but have a look at it for yourself.

I have discovered that each week they make available, for free different books, which gives you the chance to read books that you might have not chosen and then continue investigating topics if you are interested... I absolutely love this Kindle business....

Carefree cloths for girls

This is a wonderful book I recently purchased in one of my favourite websites:

I had see it around for a while but was not sure whether or not to purchase it as my library is rather full. Eventually, and as a second hand bargain, I made my mind up. I cannot wait to use it... but here is the best thing I have found... the reason for me to be here writing this post to all of you out there....

The patterns are available for free here! (click and scroll a bit on the publishers website)

Such a lovely surprise... there are also other patterns which you may also be interested in from the book Handmade home

Mom IS the world

As I previously posted, I am in the process of making children clothing and, not being a mother myself (more like a child who has nieces to play with :-) I am always trying to learn more and more about the little people´s requirements, shapes, sizes... etc...

One of the things i am interested in, is developing a style that fulfils both, the needs of the baby and my own creativity...

Magazine subscriptions advice

I am not a mind reader, but thanks to the magic of Google (whose global domination does have its uses) I am aware that someone out there, in Australia, was wondering whether they do send subscriptions to Oz from the Patrones magazine.

Ok, so I am not fully up to speed but I sometimes buy it in Spain, and having checked the back of the magazine (they are more obscure than the Burda mag when it comes to explaining how to subscribe) there is a telephone number (0034) 902392391 and an email address as well as a name Carmen Alvaro. So you might want to give it a try.

I have prepared an email for you to assist.

"Estimada Srta. Alvaro
Me dirijo a usted para preguntarle si su revista patrones, podria serme enviada a XXXX (Australia) donde resido.
Me interesaria suscribirme durante X año/años y quisiera que me informase del coste y modo de pago.
Me han hecho esta traduccion para ayudarme pero no hablo castellano, por lo que le agradeceria una respuesta en Ingles si no le fuese molestia.
Muy agradecida/ agradecido, 
(use agradecida if you are female and agradecido if male)


"Dear Ms. Alvaro
I am writing to you to enquire whether it would be possible for you to mail your magazine "Patrones" to XXXX (Australia) where I currently live.
I would be interested in subscribing for X year/years and would be grateful if you could advice on the cost and preferred payment method.
This translation has been prepared for me to facilitate our communication, however, I do not speak Spanish and would be grateful if you could respond me in English if this was not too much trouble.
Thanking you in advance,
XXXXXX (Name)"
Now, for the Burda magazine is much easier as they do offer shipping to Europe and beyond. From Spain:

Costs are:
35.10 euros within Spain
71.10 euros Europe
107.10 euros to the rest of the world

You can send your bank details to tel. (0034) 932541258

As I have not used either of these, if it was I, I would first send an email to confirm rather than emailing your bank details happily to anyone, but that is me.

They ask for:

Nombre y apellidos / name and surname
direccion / address
poblacion / town
cp (codigo postal) / post code
telefono / telephone

And then either credit card (tarjeta de credito) or direct debit (domicializacion bancaria). Again, up to you but I personally don´t like setting up direct debits as they seem to me less controllable than the credit card but it is so personal and dependent on the kind of insurance that the card has....

I hope that this helps to those asking themselves where to contact...

A dress from a skirt

A few months ago I decided to sell quite a few of my clothes through Ebay. Many found new owners but some stayed behind. Amongst those, it was this lovely Oasis skirt. I loved it and as it was made out of lovely light soft cotton, I decided to transform it into a dress for my lovely niece.

Internet is full of ideas and I found various on how to transform an adult skirt into a dress. Amongst those ideas I liked one which suggested using a t-shirt for the top part of the dress and the adult skirt as the bottom... Looking at my skirt in particular, I also liked the idea of using the belt as a bow.

Firstly removed the belt and I unpicked the top of the skirt (opening it up). Then I removed the zip and sewed the sides fully ,creating a "tube". I bought a t-shirt in a colour which would go with the tones of the fabric.

I then folded the top of the skirt (around 1.5cm) and loosely basted it. I pinned the sides on to the sides of the t- shirt making sure that they were at the same height.

I pulled and adjusted the the thread slowly, to make sure that the width of the skirt was becoming the same as the width of the t-shirt.

I pinned the skirt into position and passed it through the sewing machine. It was not important if it was not perfect. It was more important that it looked evenly spread.

Finally covered the joining of both materials with the belt which I sewed top and bottom by hand.

The result has a vintage look and my skirt will continue to live many more years ahead.

Translation / Traduccion

Solo una nota para recordar a todos quienes quieran traducir el blog desde mozzila, safari u otros search engines que si vais a hay una sección que se llama "traductor" . Se accede desde el menú llamado "mas" en la parte superior de la pagina. Este el el link para el blog traducido al castellano

For those accessing the blog from mozzila, safari and other search engines which do not run the automatic translation from google,  just to let you know that you can go to, select "more" on the top of the page. This will display a drop down menu which will include "translate". Once you click on it all you would need to do is write the blog's address in the box on the left and select the language you want to translate to.

I hope this helps everyone as several of you have asked me in the past....

Love fashion?

I do. But more and more I am not interested in buying and wearing. I always feel the need to chop and change or make it by myself.

So, my target this week will be to pick up some of the tendencies for the new season and find patterns to make them.

Let´s start: There is the key piece to this season´s wardrobe, the wide leg pants and a nice blazer in linen.

Maybe a large hat to cover you from the sun....a special jersey T and a more informal pair of pantsu... both patterns free.

Or maybe you fancy a nautical design in your trousers 

Biker jackets and punk style are also in trend.

Asymmetrical/ tailed skirts and sharp shirts

"subtraction cutting" concept by Julian Roberts

At the end of January, I was lucky enough to attend "Flatness and Form" a series of lectures and a Master class at the Barbican linked to the then current exhibition "Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion".

Not having had any formal training on sewing or pattern cutting, I was drawn in through the similarity that the "alternative pattern cutting" offered when compared to model making as I know it. It sounded like a fantastic opportunity to learn how those who did things differently chose too approach pattern cutting.

The first lecture was by Matohu´s designers Hiroyuki Horihata and Makiko Sekiguchi. Their story focuses on a long term project rather than a ever changing search for tendencies. I liked that they decided to find a concept and create a body of work to develop during a period of time of 5 years. The starting point was the Keicho Period, which run between 1596 and 1615 in Japan.

The reason behind this very specific choice is that this was a time when historic Japan shared most similarities with the more current Japan. It was a time when the traditional methods were used whilst all kind of influences from outside Japan were reflected in the every day life elements.
The second lecture was more of a conversation between Shelley Fox and the fashion historian Alistair O’Neill. I loved Shelley´s work, but even more her honesty and resourcefulness. It was so interesting to understand where she had developed her interest from, how she had developed her ideas and overcome specific difficulties... So inspiring to hear how mistakes can be turned into opportunities!

She is currently developing a "MFA Fashion Design and Society" at the New School, which I guess could have been the reason why a large emphasis was put on the social aspects of fashion and its evolution. It was sad but comforting to realize that the issues that both architecture and music are going through, are so  interlinked to those which the fashion industry is going through . I guess that an increase of the world population together with the fragile nature of human affects all of the arts.

Finally, I also attended a Cutting Masterclass, by Julian Roberts. "subtraction cutting", It was so very inspiring. He is the quirky British eccentric by definition. His mind in like his website...Full of surprises.

I would like to tell you all about it, but there is no way I could explain the massive window that his masterclass opened in front of me! Help yourselves to the website, the videos and the Wednesday website which only opens on Wednesdays!
(Ps. if you modify your calendar ... *any day* could be Wednesday)

Yohji Yamamoto

Is it me or time does not simply pass, but runs past so fast that one does not have a clue when the New Year  begun or what happened between the Barbican exhibition titled "30 years of Japanese Fashion" which I attended in January and this retrospective one on Yohji Yamamoto at the V&A.

I still remember planning my visit and it already arrived. I have even visited it once already! It was wonderful. I wanted to touch everything but felt it to be inappropriate... even rude... those fabrics were so meaningful, so carefully and purposefully selected... And everyone knows that the slight sweat in human hands leaves an accumulative patina on the fabric that you cannot get rid off.

Yet people touched! They touched everything, and who can blame them! It was all so intriguing, so mysteriously crafted. Every layer added a level of complexity to a form whose authorship you could recognise without the shadow of a doubt.

These images are linked to the exhibition website which I recommend you having a look, there are videos, interviews, images and more but if you can visit the V&A, please do. It is well worth your time.

Ps1. Notice that there are Yamamoto´s works in more than one places of the museum, so don´t miss anything!

Ps2. If like me you like Wim Wenders.... have a look at this fantastic DVD

Ps3. The Wapping project at Bankside has a photographic exhibition called "Yojhi´s women"

Shopping bags

Now a days, one rarely seems to go shopping without a canvas bag inside their pocket. The bad publicity that plastic bags have received and the quite recently introduced charge that only some supermarkets apply, seem  to have made us more German in this sense.
I remember that I was first introduced to the idea of your own bags almost twenty years ago during a visit to a German supermarket. Then, in London , a German friend explained that this was common practice "back home". People had got used to manage their shopping habits, and it was not hassle any more. She never once told me any of the arguments that have been used to discourage people from using plastic bags these days. She simply said that given that people recycled, there was no much room to extend the life of the small size plastic bags. It made sense. How many times you have gone shopping and ended up with a collection of useless little plastic bags that once you are at home cannot have any other logical use.
This entry aims at giving all of you ideas to make your own canvas bags....Starting from one of mine.

Earthy girl, has a free pattern to make these.

Bijou lovely has a wonderful tutorial full of images to guide you through the process required to make this one.

Queen of diy posted this fantastic tutorial

And for tips on how to achieve that amazing finish, I have found this fantastic site...

Free patterns at Otsukayan

Japanese fabric shops are brilliant sources of ideas. They always seem to be happy to provide free patterns ideas that should inspire you to make something.
Unless you speak Japanese, I would recommend that you either use Microsoft explorer with the Google bar installed , or that you use Google chrome instead. The second option is , lets face it, the quickest of both.
Then you can think about what is it that you fancy sewing....
A Bolero?

A linen dress?

Maybe a Jimbei (a child "kimono")?