How to be cool

First, let me just say how happy and proud I am that you came to me to learn about coolness. Clearly, this means that you are, unlike my daughter, convinced that I am a really cool person. I keep telling her that my lack of coolness is the new cool. Well, not everybody seems to agree on that. So I was a bit stressed out, when I made clothes for my nephew and nieces, as some of them are… lets just say…. in a critical age.

Well, I guess, my oldest nephew is actually rather easy to handle. He is fine with stripes and only stripes. Stars? No thank you? Maybe some abstract pattern? No. So, stripes then. Yehes. So since years he gets a stripy hoody but I went out of the pattern comfort zone and went for a sweat Toni by schnittreif rather than the usual jersey Leo by pattydoo.

DSC_0176pattern: Toni by Schnittreif, fabric: Lillestoff

The 6-year-old nephew who is usually only into really manly stuff, like pirates, vikings,… anything armed really, happened to visit when I was about to make something for him. I naively showed him the few fabrics that I considered to be cool. He dismissed them all and chose two fabrics out of my stash and that’s what I made out of them:

DSC_0177pattern: Leo by pattydoo, fabric: bought for myself, years ago

DSC_0178pattern: Leo by Pattydoo, fabric: Lillestoff (Glueckspaket)

I guess it was a bit silly to make the short-sleeved shirt with hood and the long version without but I had already cut out the hood when I started to look for a suitable fabric for the sleeves and I simply hadn’t had enough of the black and white for long sleeves.

The hardest coolness problem to solve was certainly my 10-year-old niece. That one really made me nervous.

DSC_0181DSC_0182pattern: Pia by Pattydoo, fabric: “Mannequin” by Lillestoff, design Susalabim

This top needed to be made out of two parts as when I had ordered this fabric, the pattern repeat had been cut wrongly with the girls on top and lots of grey at the bottom. So by making a yoke out of the fabric bottom piece, I have been able to move the girls at the bottom of the shirt.

I have also made a Pia for my daughter, out of the left over of a correctly cut repeat, so no need for a yoke:

DSC_0188 (2)

but for a different back fabric (it looks like this post actually qualifies for Scrap Sunday, doesn’t it)


Once finished with those two cool T-shirts, I started doubting again. Will a 10-year old find this cool? Especially if actually an 8-year old finds it cool? (Yes, my daughter did find it cool)

Nevertheless, I made another one. Mainly because I had already cut out the main pieces. And because I so wanted to try out a thing that seems to be called “destroyed negativ applikation”. In German though. It is cool to use English terms, you know.

DSC_0179pattern: Pia by Pattydoo, fabric: Lillestoff (Glueckspaket)


How cooooool is that?!

My daughter found it silly. I took it as a good sign.

So, when my nice came to visit, I was really nervous. Because up until now she thought I was some kind of super hero thanks to my sewing skills. And I didn’t want to lose this position.

And before the suspense is killing you, I can reveal that she found it coooool!!!!!!



Back to December

No, I haven’t forgotten the posts I had been promising you back in December (my December not everybody else’s) Remember? I owe you two posts about choosing the perfect gift. And ta da, today you’ll get the first as I finally had to edit all the pictures involved for another exciting project. (which means that this blog and its readers were apparently not important enough for me to sit down and get it done. Sorry.

Prepare for some self-praise and braging as I am really rather impressed by my own cleverness in this one.

So, the task was to find a gift, that shows on one side how grateful I am for what the team in question has done without, on the other side, ignoring the fact that I am not actually special for them, just one out of many. Whatever gift I can come up with won’t be kept, realistically. So a cheap and non bragging item that can ideally be used up or is a useful item in everydays life without taking up any space. But still having a personal touch. Obviously.

So, what could tick more boxes than an individual cotton tote bag with goodies for all sorts of situations: mandalas, sudokus and cross words (including a personal one) to kill too much waiting time, a bit of coffee and tea for keeping awake and relaxing (whatever is needed), a piece of chocolate for comfort and a silly joke for when you need a laugh. And a card with a few personal words. So, the content doesn’t cost much and will get used up. Nothing embarrasing will take away space on someones shelf. The individual cotton bag will remind people of the crazy sewing lady and her family. In Austria, cotton bags are a huge thing. You know, recycling and sustainability and all that stuff. Plus it can be used as a stylish accessory. But if people choose not to use their gift bag, then never mind, it is just a cotton bag. So, I can honestly say, I could not have come up with a better idea than that. Really. I did underestimate the workload a little bit and I do have to admit that the rather monotone work did get a bit boring at some point. But it was well worth it, that’s for sure. But enough talking, here they are:

20170813_111131 (2)

I know, that one picture is rubbish, you can’t really recognise anything.


Do you want to see another one? Yes? Ok.


Another one? Really? Okaay.


Ok, I just show you the whole lot.

“Technical” details:

I have used a mix of classic application (secure zig zag) and freestyle machine embroidery.

I have chosen the fabrics for the “2A” for particular reasons, some as a reminder of my family, some because I knew of a particular interest or hobby of the future owner, some just because I thought the person might find it pretty.

The pictures in the top left hand are symbols for the profession of the presentee.

As I said, I am for once totally happy with the outcome of the whole project. It ticked all the boxes and I think, it was also very appreciated.

For the last remaining “perfect gift” post, I can not yet give you any details, pictures have not yet been taken so it might take forever a while. It is very likely that I’ll show you other exciting projects first. For example the secret of this box:


“Cotton bag” is the new “designer hand bag” … or was it “jute bag”?

Cotton bags have definitely become a fashionable accessory and I am a proud owner of a zillion of them. From the Austrian country side butcher to the Notting Hill book shop – I have them all…. coming to think of it, the Austrian ones are all pretty old vintage whereas the fashion capital London does not hand them out since such a long time. Have we been trend setter, for once?

I do love cotton bags, they are great to keep my knitting or children’s change cloths clean yet breathable, you can put smaller things into your suit case without taking extra space, you can wash and reuse them, etc. etc. and of course they make you look trendy (for that purpose I would suggest the Notting Hill book shop one rather than the Austrian country side butcher)

I have already been sewing quite a few ones as my children’s nursery also seem to think that they are great to keep children’s change cloths in them.

Recently, I have made two for my children to keep their ballet equipment together and clean and since they have been a big hit I made another one for a little girl’s  5th birthday. They are really easy to make, and as an encouragement for those who would like to make things for their children but are a bit scared of their sewing machine, I put together a few pictures for a little tutorial:

Stofftasche 22

Before we get started:

I really like using contrasting colours or one patterned and one plain side which makes it also a great project to use up left overs. The remaining question would then be the thread colour. A contrasting colour is good if you believe in your sewing skills. Little imperfections are more visible then if you are using matching threads. I like to find one colour that links all the colours of my project. In this case, I went for white. It is a contrast to everything but as it is a neutral colour, it does not add to my overflowing colour pot. If you do not want to have very obvious seams, you’ll have to use matching colours, which will lead to a lot of thread changing. Your choice.

You’ll need:

  • fabric: 0.5m of cotton
  • sewing thread, scissors, pins and the usual stuff
  • iron
  • optional appliqué:
    • paper template (I printed out a letter font size 400ish)
    • fabric (I like using the same fabric as for the second bag side)
    • interface (I used a simple iron on one, there would be a more fancy fusible web with two sticky sides  to make positioning later a bit easier)
    • kitchen towel

 1. Cut out two pieces of fabric for your bag and two for the handles.Stofftasche 01

Dimensions: I have made my bag a bit shorter than most standard cotton bags as it was made for a child (which tend to be a bit shorter 🙂

This is how you calculate it, followed by my own example.


  • desired width + 2x seam allowance: 32 + 2x 1.5 = 35
  • desired length + 1x seam allowance + 2.5cm for folded top line = 34 + 1.5 + 2.5 = 38cm


  • 2x desired width + 1.5cm = 2×2 + 1.5 = 5.5cm
  • desired length + 8cm = 35cm

2. If you want to add an appliqué you will also need a paper template, a bit of contrasting fabric, some interfacing (or fusible web) and a kitchen towel (or a tear away backing).

If not, you can jump to Step 8 straight away. Stofftasche 02

3. Iron the interfacing to the wrong side of your fabric (sticky side of interface on the fabric!). If you are using a fusible web, the paper side is up.Stofftasche 03

4. Pin your desired shape the right way onto the fabric side or the wrong way onto the paper of the fusible web and cut it out.Stofftasche 04

5. Position the appliqué on the bag fabric and pin it in place. I chose the center but the corner looks good, too. If you are using paper backed fusible web, pull the paper off and stick the appliqué onto the fabric.

6. Put a kitchen towel (or fancy tear away backing) under the fabric – this will result in a neater stitch as it holds everything together – and sew the appliqué on using a wide zigzag stitch. Stofftasche 07

The zig goes through appliqué and fabric, the zag goes through the fabric only, just next to the appliqué. I usually use a rather small stitch length (almost as if I was sewing a button hole as I want to use it as a contrasting feature and to make it more secure (things for children get washed very often – at least in this house)Stofftasche 25

7. Carefully pull away the kitchen towel. The little bit stuck between the seem will come off in the first wash.

8. Pin the two sides of the cotton bag with the right sides together and sew along the two sides and the bottom. Shorten the two edges at the bottom of the bag and zig zag all around to secure the seams. (Usually you are supposed to cut off the edges after zigzagging but I am slightly security obsessed).Stofftasche 10Stofftasche 11

9. Now it is time to prepare the handles.

Put the fabric wrong side up onto the ironing board and fold both long sides 0.7mm and iron those edges.Stofftasche 12

10. Fold the fabric lengthwise in half and iron again.Stofftasche 13

11. Since you are already using the iron, take your bag(right side inside) and fold the open top twice. First 0,5mm, iron, fold 2cm and iron again. Stofftasche 15

12. Back to the handles. Close them by top stitching close to the folded edges.Stofftasche 14

13. Place the open ends of the first handle into the opening of your folded top line, right up to the top. Make sure you are positioning it centrally.Stofftasche 16

14. Now fold it up carefully and pin in place.Stofftasche 17Repeat this with the second handle.

15. Top stitch around the whole opening, close to the folded edge and over all your handle ends.Stofftasche 18

Stofftasche 19

16. Now you need to secure those handles for added bag strength. I do this with a little x in a square on top of each of the 4 handle ends. It looks much neater if you do that on the right side of your bag, even though you can not see the exact position of the handle.Stofftasche 20

Since I am not only an amazing photographer but also an incredibly skilled graphic designer, I have made a little sketch, how I normally do it. Starting point is the top left corner, the end would be top right. Secure start and finish with a few reverse stitches.X Diagramm

Finished. Stofftasche 21

And just to show off the two initial ballet bags – they could do with a bit of ironing but come on, I have just spent ages putting together this post 🙂