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Vintage Stores & Veg Food in Brussels

posted in: Food, Secondhand, Travel | 0

Early this month my husband Ben and I took a little trip to Brussels. We didn’t have anything really planned, just wanted to wander around a new city and Ben loves beer, particularly Belgium beers, so we wanted to try some different local beers. I also read Brussels had some good vintage and secondhand stores so wanted to check some of those out. I posted on Instagram about being in Brussels and we got some great recommendations (thank you!) of secondhand stores and places to eat, these where the places we really liked:

 

Vintage & Secondhand Stores

I was generally impressed with the quality and prices of the stores in Brussels. In my experience well organized and curated stores can charge a lot more (especially in large cities) and with “cheaper” stores you run into quality issues, and have to inspect for holes, stains, etc. We looked at a lot of stores and I think only came across one flaw- a sweater with a tiny hole that could definitely be fixed.

Gabriele Vintage was my favourite and had the most beautiful collection of vintage dresses I’ve ever seen. It’s definitely a store for vintage lovers though, most garments are very formal (not capsule wardrobe items…) and although the prices are quite a bit higher than the other stores they seemed fair for the quality of the vintage pieces. They also have an amazing assortment of hats! I would highly recommend checking it out if you’re looking for a unique special occasion outfit or just love vintage clothes.

Gabriele Vintage Brussels

I had to try this dress on for fun. It’s a terrible photo, but the dress was a beautiful light blue and pink floral pattern with huge pleats of fabric in the skirt. I loved it but have no need or occasion to wear a dress like this.

vintage dress

 

Foxhole was my favorite “normal” vintage store (Gabriele is a whole different level- like the wardrobe department for a glamorous old movie). We ended up going to both of their locations and they have a great selection of staples like printed shirts, chunky sweaters, floral skirts, and big scarves but also some more unique items like a pair of holographic platforms! Although their prices were more expensive than a lot of the other stores.

 

I also liked the selection at Think Twice, it was fun to go through and they had some interesting pieces.

Think Twice Brussels

 

Ben’s favourite store was Melting Pot Kilo where you pay for the clothes by weight. I loved their selection of coats but unfortunately the ones I liked were all too big.

 

Restaurants

Finding vegetarian and vegan food was not as easy as we hoped (even the Belgium frites aren’t veg friendly- they fry them in animal fat) and eating out in Brussels was a lot more expensive than we’re used to, but we still had some great meals.

I think my favourite was Ami, they have an interesting selection of veggies burgers and we both really enjoyed ours. The burgers are small though so definitely order a side too!

La Grainerie was an adorable place for lunch, they have a bulk grocery store in front and a little cafe at the back. It look like their menu changes regularly and the dishes are small but you order 2,3 or 4 of them. Everything was great (loved the potato lentil dish!) except I didn’t enjoy the banana bread which was super dense.

img_20161105_130644

 

Moonfood is a great vegan cafe where you pay for your food by weight and they have a lot of different dishes to try which I always like.

We also had a nice lunch at Peck 47 which is right near a lot of the sights so a good place if you’re checking out the centre.

 

And because a main goal of this trip was beer tasting, my favourite beer I tried was the Bink Bloesem from Moeder Lambic.

Bink Bloesem Moeder Lambic

 

Overall it was a really nice long weekend away. We enjoyed walking around the city, checking out some stores and trying different foods and beers. :)

 

 

 

Green Fashion & Beauty Summer Favorites

We’re almost into the summer capsule wardrobe season, so I invited some green fashion and beauty bloggers to my channel to share their summer must-have item. I hope this helps inspire your mindful summer style!

 

Alden Wicker from EcoCult

Remade sheer wrap jumpsuit from Urban Outfitters’ Urban Renewal line
Earrings from Indelust
Bra and panties from Only Hearts

 

Natalie Smith from Sustainably Chic

White dot swing tee by New Normal Apparel

 

Elizabeth Stilwell from The Note Passer

Vintage embroidered caftan

 

Kendall Benton-Collins from Kindness by Design

Coral top by Veryan
Upcycled skirt by Cassandra Pons

 

Jennifer Nini from Eco Warrior Princess

Thrifted maxi dress

 

Jacqueline Parker from Beauty Reawakened

Lip balm by Malaya Organics
Facial wipes and scrub by Rooted Beauty

 

Thank you to these bloggers for participating in the video!
 
What is your favorite summer item?
 
 

Tank from a Skirt DIY

posted in: DIY Projects | 0

Today is Fashion Revolution Day! I am taking part in the HAULternative movement which instead of traditional hauls of cheap, fast-fashion clothes, people create hauls of vintage, second-hand, DIY, investment, rented, or swapped clothing. I created a video of garments I updated and customized.

One of the items was a skirt which I turned into a tank top.Skirt to tank DIY

I found this skirt at a thrift store and really liked the fabric, so I made it into a flowy, adjustable-strap tank. Here’s how I did it:

1 – You need a few measurements to make the pattern:

  1. Your bust + 3-6 cm ease – I used 4 cm (you have to be able to pull it on over your head)
  2. The length you want it along the side (armhole to hem)
  3. How high you want the neck (from the bottom of the armhole)
  4. The distance between the straps (it’s good to measure a tank that you already own that’s not very stretchy)

2 – Lay your skirt out flat and folded in half and the hems even. Using fabric chalk or markers (make sure they erase) measure up from the hem the length you want your tank to be (measurement #2) and go around the hem.

SkirtTank1

3 – Divide measurement #1 (bust+ease) in half and measure and mark that distance along the line you just drew. From that point draw and angled line to the hem (the more angled the more volume it will have).

Skirt to Tank DIY

4 – Take measurement #3 (neckline height from bottom armhole) and do the same as step 2 measuring from the dotted line you drew.

Skirt to Tank DIY

5 – Divide measurement #4 (distance between straps) in half and measure and mark that along the new line.

Skirt to tank DIY

5 – Then you can create the neck line and armhole shapes. Draw a gentle curve along the top line, going above slightly where the strap mark is (you can play a bit with the neckline shape), draw straight the width of your strap and then make a sharper curve down to the second line for the armhole (use a tank you already have for reference on the shape of the curve.

SKirtTank5

6 – Then add a seam allowance (whatever you prefer using, I like 1 cm) all along the edge you drew. You can then cut it out and this is what mine looked like at this point.

Skirt to Tank DIY

7 – It’s also good to cut out a smaller facing for a clean finish at the top of the tank so I just traced off the shape again but with half the length.

 

So that is the basic tank pattern and here’s how to sew it:

You will need your tank and facing as well as 2 long strips of fabric or ribbon for straps and 2 smaller strips or ribbon pieces for the loops in the front.

1 – Sew the back seam together on the tank and facing. measure how far apart you want your straps and the back and make a mark on both sides, equal distance from the back seam.

2 – Sew together the facing and tank (right sides together) leaving a gap for the front and back straps.

3 – Create 2 little loops out of fabric or ribbon and sew those into the 2 holes for the front straps.

4 – Measure out 2 long lengths of fabric or ribbon (should be able to go from your back to the front and behind your neck with plenty of extra to tie into a bow.

5 – Sew the long straps into the 2 holes that you left open for the back straps.

6 – It’s a good idea to understitch along the top edge of the facing to prevent it from rolling outward or showing.

You are done! Take the long straps from the back, run them over your shoulders, through the loops and tie behind your neck at the height you want.

 

Please let me know if you have any questions or if you try this yourself!

 

WCFW Outfit

During my stay in Edmonton I decided last minute to make an outfit for the WCFW winter city competition.

I used commercial waste fabric from Vancouver designers (leftover fabric from their production) as well as some scrap fabric I had from another project. The hat was knit from local alpaca wool.

I had this jacket in mind for a while to make from that pink fabric and decided to go with a retro/Parisian feel adding a long sleeve silk and jersey blend dress (realizing quickly that sewing a knit and slippery woven together was not a good idea for a last minute project ha), and a knit hat.

My beautiful friend Kassia modeled for me, with makeup done by her talented sister Savana, and the photos were taken by my brother Jerreck – so thankful for wonderful friends and family!

 

How To Dye Silk with Roses and Irises

posted in: DIY Projects, Dyeing | 0

This is my first tutorial video; it covers a basic approach to naturally dyeing using an easy eco-printing technique.

If you are new to natural dyeing, using flowers and leaves from your garden is a great way to start. Just know that nothing will turn out how you expect (usually it turns out better) and it is a very experimental and often serendipitous process.

For this project you will need:

  • a piece of silk (or wool) clothing or fabric
  • flowers such as roses and irises (if you use other flowers, do some research to make sure they dye well and are non-toxic)
  • elastics
  • a thick stick or dowel -optional
  • a stainless steel pot (with a steamer -optional)
  • water

Often with natural dyeing a mordant is used which helps the fabric take more dye and makes the colour last longer. For this project I wanted to keep it very simple and easy so I did not use a mordant and the colour will almost certainly fade over time- something I don’t actually mind because I will continue to over-dye and add to it. However you are welcome to use a mordant like alum on your silk if you are familiar with the process and you will get brighter, longer lasting results.

In the video I show submerging the bundle in hot water, from my experience this tends to create softer prints while steaming creates clearer shapes, I recommend experimenting with both!

 

The top I used in the video is a 100% silk blouse by Amour Vert.

Please ask if you have any questions, and I would love to hear about your flower dyeing projects!

Also I just started making videos on my YouTube channel, I hope to make more and continue to learn and improve the quality.

 

Makeup Collection Makeover

posted in: Natural Beauty | 0

My makeup detox is pretty much finished. Using almost all natural beauty products for the last month or so I have already noticed improvements in my skin and I feel so much better using only cruelty-free products.

Simplifying felt great, going through by makeup I realized there were so many products I hardly ever used. I found it easiest to start my replacing the products I use everyday (mascara, concealer, brown powder/pencil, blush, and a face powder) and then build from there. Here is my old and new makeup collection:

My switch to natural makeup

 (there is arrowroot powder in the yellow tin)

My makeup bag is much smaller which I love and it means I now actually use all the products I own! So far every new product I’ve tried has been comparable, most even better than, what I had before. I’ve found the hardest thing has been having to order makeup online and not being able to get a very good sense on what the colour is actually like.

I am continuing to try new brands to find the products that I really love and will be making videos for my YouTube channel about different natural beauty products. I also always appreciate any recommendations!

How To Turn A Dress Into A Skirt

posted in: DIY Projects | 0

If you have a dress that you’re a little tired of, turning it into a skirt is a perfect way to give it new life. Depending on your dress you can even make matching separates (I like my results so much I even included them in my summer capsule wardrobe)!

This is a tutorial designed for a fitted dress with a waist seam* and a zipper. It is a project that requires some basic sewing skills, a sewing machine, pins, thread, a pair of scissors, and an iron is also helpful. You might also want a hook and eye and depending on your skirt, some elastic, grosgrain ribbon, or bias tape – see step 7.

Dress to Skirt sewing tutorial

 

*If your dress doesn’t have a waist seam, you can still turn it into a skirt but you will have to draw a line at the waist and cut above that, you might also need to add elastic or a band to ensure that it fits your waist.

 

Here’s how you do it:

Separate1. Zip the zipper to the very bottom (it’s important that the zip stays at the bottom, because you will be cutting the zipper and need to make sure it doesn’t come off).

2. Unpick the area at and above the waist seam, unpick through all stitching in this area (roughly 1-2 in.) so the zipper is unattached.

3. Cut above the waist seam all around the fabric (I cut about a 1/2 in. above the waist because I still want to make a cropped top with the top part, if you don’t want to use the top part, I would recommend cutting about 1 in. above the waist seam).

4. Cut the zipper (between the teeth if metal) about another 1/4 in. above where you cut the waist.

5. Press down the cut edge along the original waist seam. If your dress has a lining or waistband (like mine) ie. you had to cut through multiple layers, press the cut edges towards each other creating a clean finish.

Press

 

6. Take the zipper ends and bend behind the waist seam, pinning and hand-tacking in place.

pin zipper
inside zipper view

– Either fold the cut end over the zipper or sandwich between outside and inside layers. This is a great trick for shortening any zippers at the top. If you want, for extra security you can also hand sew a thread stop at the top by wrapping thread between the teeth at the end.

Pin Zipper
outside zipper view

 

7. Stitch along top edge, stitching down the cut edge and trapping the zipper (be careful stitching around zipper teeth! It’s a good idea to just use the handwheel in that area so you don’t wreck your needles on the zipper).

– Depending how you want your waistband to look and feel there are a few different optional ways of finishing the waist:

  • you can add a grosgrain ribbon on the inside for stability and a clean finish
  • you can stitch on an elastic if it needs to more fitted
  • you can add bias tape to the inside edge for a clean finish
  • you can also top-stitch across at multiple allowances for stability and a top-stitch look

Finished zipper

* Your waist will have stitching along the top. My waist band had a flap over it, so I decided to stitch under the flap.

8. After everything is finished on the waist, you can also add a hook and eye at the top of the zipper. This will relieve pressure on the zipper (so it won’t unzip while you’re wearing it!) and will hold the waist seam.

 

I hope these instruction are clear, if you have any questions please ask! Also if you’ve tried this project I would love to see your new skirt!

 

 

DIY Scrap Material Bunny

posted in: DIY Projects | 0

Have small pieces of fabric? Why not make this little bunny.

DIY little bunny - free sewing pattern

 

It was designed to use up scrap fabric from some of the clothing projects I’ve recently made. You can click on the picture or this link to be taken to the Fallow Slow Goods blog where you can view and save the pdf pattern which can be printed on a regular sheet of paper.

This little bunny looks great made out of all kinds of material – especially printed pieces! The finished project is about 5in tall, but you can also scale up or down the pattern on your computer if you want to make it in different sizes.

Happy sewing!

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