More about me

Hi and thank you for stopping by! I still consider this blog new and I am still finding my own language and niche in the blogging world.
In real life, I am a singer/actress, living in Vienna and performing here and wherever else they hire me. One of my key roles is Maria in West Side Story, but I also sing Opera and Operetta. However, this blog is really about what I call "my other life".

Drawing was a hobby for as long as I can remember. So was sewing. However, fashion design was never something that was within my horizon. I thought it was superficial, for rich, arrogant people who would smirk at me in real life. I still feel that I have to defend myself for being interested in fashion in the first place, but I would really like to "bring back" fashion into home sewing... Why is it that so many home sewers are interested in vintage and why do so few sew fashion-forward pieces?

Well, I myself like to sew vintage pieces too. I do that to learn forgotten techniques, to be reminded of how many other shapes there are than simple t-shirts. So I will be posting about my vintage patterns, while NOT specifically concentrating on staying 100% vintage.

On the other hand, I try to come up with my own patterns and takes on present-day fashion.

Then lastly, I am trying to get the rust off my drawing skills and try my hand at fashion illustration. As soon as I feel up to it, you will see more and more of those endeavors, too.


Let me use this dialogue from The House of Eliott, to explain what it is that captivates me so much about clothing/fashion:

The dialogue takes place between fashion critic Victor Stride and the up-and-coming new fashion designer Evie Eliott:

Stride:  "Most people are inarticulate. They might be able to express themselves painting pictures or writing books, but they can't express themselves through the clothes they wear. And help them discover how, should be the ultimate aim of every good designer."

Evie: "I've always felt that it's not just matching the clolours of someones complexion or someones hair, but it's how to convey who they really are, or want to be."

Stride: "Yes, but there is a trap. 99% of the human race feel they should be wearing exactly what every one else is wearing. And it's your job to help them find the courage to be themselves. Which includes the courage to reject all our grand ideas. And wear any old thing they please."


12 comments:

  1. I hope I can draw that easily, too! But seriously, drawing and blogging at the same time is quite hard. Seeing that you make time for it hints that you're enjoying it. Just be happy with everything, and I hope to hear more from you soon!

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  2. I clicked on the link to this blog by accident from your posting on bodyrock.tv. You have totally inspired me to dig out my sewing machine, that is currently collecting dust. Thanks for the "push"!
    Kiki
    xo

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  3. I come from an era of where women wore hats, gloves, slips, etc..as daily routine. My 88 yr. old mother is still sewing vintage. I appreciate your vision and look forward to utilizing some of the tutorials. You have inspired me to get back to my first love of needlework. I am dabbling in water color and want to sketch more..so will be glad to follow you as you share more about fashion illustration. God bless..

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    1. Oh thank you for this lovely comment! Yes, I will get back to illustration, or I should say, I will post more about it. I felt that I had talked about it on this blog without being ready to publish much, but I have made progress.. And my next vintage project is about to be posted, from around the time your mother was born... ;-)
      Best, Katja

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  4. pmmcclane@msn.comApril 22, 2013 at 1:06 AM

    I am so anxious to connect with you but I couldn't find an e-mail address and some incompatibility prevented me from leaving a comment on your last post. The shoes you made are beautiful! I am so envious of the class you took because I have had a full blown obsession about making my own shoes for several years. Unfortunately, I don't have the resources right now to enroll in a class, so I keep reading and trying to figure it out on my own. Leather shoes are my ultimate goal, but a few weeks ago I decided that I would try making espadrilles for summer after watching several videos from the Espadrille Shop showing the traditional process of making the shoes by hand. I bought a large roll of jute twine for about $4.00 from the local hardware store. After soaking the twine in water to make it more pliable, I braided three strands. The braid was about 24 feet long because I wasn't sure how much I would need for each sole (turns out I only needed about 1/3 of that for a sole). Now that the braids are dry, I've tried forming them into a sole and then stitching through the entire sole side to side to make a very dense base. By the time I sew the strands, though, the shape is distorted, so I need to work on this some more. Just wanted to pass along what I have learned so far. Working with real jute that is tightly braided makes a more dense sole and working with the jute while it is wet makes the braid tighter with less dust and dirt. Wetting the braids also makes it easier to form the sole but then it is impossible to get a needle through. I can't wait to get to the point of actually sewing the canvas uppers to the sole which looks easy in comparison. According to the videos I watched, the uppers are simply folded under about 1/8" and then hand stitched using a blanket stitch (I think that is the right term) and the toe is reinforced with extra rows of stitches. In Spain the jute soles are now reinforced with a rubber sole that sounds like it is sort of melted onto the base, but originally there was nothing but the jute. Since I don't have a source for rubber and a way to affix it to the jute unless I glue it, mine are going to be the "old-fashioned" kind. Eventually, maybe I will figure out this last step. Would love to share more with you about the success and failure in making shoes and hear about your experience. By the way, if this works, I will probably end up buying braided jute for $1.98 per yard to save a step (http://www.mjtrim.com/trims/natural/1-4-jute-braid.html).

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    1. Hi! Sorry you couldn't leave a message at the actual post - wonder why? Thank you so much though for sharing, that sounds super interesting and you have come to just about the same information as me. I am not sure whether the pre-braided jute is thick enough for espadrilles - it looks fairly thin... I know the problem of the rubber. In a way I am interested to see how durable the soles are just like that, but another part of me will want to protect them - after putting in all the work... We shall see! Do you have a blog? What's your name?... Best, Katja

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  5. I am really enjoying your projects. Sewing is my first love-having sewn from an early age. But life has a way of getting in the way and I have not been sewing much for some time-switched to knitting. I am a Family and Consumer Science(home economics) teacher in a high school in the US. For a long time I have only been teaching Foods and Nutrition classes and have been disappointed the other teacher in my department was not teaching making clothing in the textiles classes. Well this fall I will be teaching those classes and am planning on the students refashioning old clothing. Since many of my student would not be able to afford new patterns and clothing I think refashioning will be great for them. So I have been refashioning up a storm this summer and pinning on Pintrest ideas for them and me. That's where I saw one of your sweater remakes and got to your blogsite from there. I love what you are doing and will definately have my students check out your work on your site. Thank you for the inspiration!!!

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    1. Thank you so much Donna! I just posted another re-fashion - yes, I just love making new things for zero money, too... We are such a wasteful society in general, I like to work against that... So good luck and have lots of fun with those classes!

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    2. Parabéns pelo seu blog divino adorei sou deu fã

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  6. Katja, I just chanced upon your blog when I was looking for pleats on the cap of a sleeve. I am sewing a top for my daughter size 2 and I am stuck with the sleeve. Do you have a pattern? Help!

    Rochelle

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  7. Katja, Hello I was in the Show making section and I too could not leave a reply. There isn't a reply box in there like this one. Anywho, I was looking to see how to make some shoes too. You see I have an 81 year old Mother who has some leg and feet problems and there aren't any shoes we've found to fit her. So she is housebound at this point. My Heart breaks for her and she needs to get to her appointments so I thought I would try to make some shoes for her. It is Winter here in Chicago and snow is deep which she really can't do but I need to waterproof them if at all possible. You don't know how much I thank You for all of your help!!

    Conni ConniM1@hotmail.com

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  8. Hi Katja!
    I am the editor for AllFreeSewing.com and I would love to feature summer of your patterns on our site with full credit to you. We would just post a photo and a link back to your site. It is a great way to generate traffic. If you are interested, please send me an email over at kpope@primecp.com for more info.

    I look forward to heard from you.

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