Curious and Catcat

Monday, July 27

Handmade espadrilles with faux leather details | DIY + free pattern

Espadrilles are all the rage this summer and probably next summer, too. Better stock up on a few pairs! But did you know, that classic espadrilles are ridiculously easy to make yourself? All you need to know are basic stitches by hand and with a sewing machine. You can choose your favorite fabric and sew them in an afternoon. For the very easy classic espadrilles, visit my tutorial for the melon espadrilles from last summer. For a bit more advanced version, read on!
I designed these espadrilles myself for a espadrilles design contest by PrymFarbenmixSwafing and the Handmade Kultur magazine (read all about that here). They fit me perfectly and I am more than happy to share the pattern with you. The pattern is in size EU 39 but adjusting should be fairly easy and straight forward. If you print the pattern on A4 paper and set the printer on borderless printing, you'll get the correct size.

What you need:

1 pair of espadrilles soles
not too thin cotton fabrics (1 patterned for the front and 1 plain for the heel and the lining)
soft faux leather
bias binding
thick cotton thread
fabric glue
fabric fixation tape
sewing machine

How it works:

Step 1: First, print, cut and transfer the pieces of the pattern to fabric the following way:
2 mirrored pieces of the sole inlay and the upper from the faux leather.
2 mirrored pieces of the front in patterned fabric (add seam allowance).
2 mirrored pieces of the front in plain fabric (add seam allowance).
2 pairs of mirrored pieces of the heel (add seam allowance).
Step 2: Glue the inlays onto the soles like shown in the picture above.
Step 3: Place the fabric pieces for the front right sides together, a patterned and a plain piece each. Sew around with a sewing machine but leave a small stretch open. Notch the curves of the seam allowance and trim the corners diagonally. Turn right sides out, iron flat and sew over the opening. Add an ornamental seam at the base.

Step 4: Now glue the faux leather uppers to the front pieces with textile glue following the instructions on the glue you're using. Let dry. The back side of the straps might be visible when wearing, so you might want to glue some faux leather to the visible areas as well.

Step 5: Place each two pieces of the heel right sides together and sew the two stretches on both sides of the half circle cut-out together. Turn and iron flat. On the right side, drape bias binding around the remaining stretches and then sew it on.
Step 6: Now you pin everything in place. Don't be afraid to use aaaall the pins! It really helps to get the placement right if you place your feet onto the sole and arrange the pieces around them. Fixate with a few pins before you remove your feet again. Then add a lot more pins.
Step 7: Sew everything together. You sew the fabric to the sole with a blanket stitch. Continue the stitch over the open stretches, too, to get a nice  uniform look.
Step 8: If you like, you can add a cap like this. It's basically only blanket stitch again. Work the stitch narrower and from the sole upwards. Interlock the stitches a bit while you're working upwards.
Step 9: Now you have only the straps left to fixate. Put the espadrilles on and pull the left strap very tight, hold, remove your foot and pin the strap in place, just below the bias binding. Repeat for the right strap. Cut the straps shorter. They should overlap for just 1 or 3 cm in the back.
Repeat for the other shoe.
Step 10: First, mark the places where the straps sit and then fixate them to the fabric below using fixating tape. With a thin brown thread sew with a simple step stitch over the stretch where the straps overlap, sewing the straps together and to the heel piece in one go.
All done! Perfect summer espadrilles that don't have to hide behind the shoes you can buy in stores. And for under 100€! I love mine and they fit me perfectly. They will be worn a lot this summer.

Friday, July 17

The summer essentials

Obviously, the weather can't decide if it's really summer or more like fall this year, and changing it's mind every week. I wanted to share some of my summer favorites for a while now, but every time the weather changed to rain and boots and warm cardigan weather again and it didn't seem appropriate anymore. But I've learned my lesson and checked the forecast! Ingenious. Now I know that it's not a waste of time to get my toe nails painted, because I can wear sandals for a few days more.
 photo SUMMER ESSENTIALS_zpsrt4lke2u.jpg

I've been wearing these or similar things all summer (the good days) this year. Except that denim dress, but I might have to buy that now. I love that I managed to really simplify my closet and love every single item in it. It makes choosing outfits a lot easier if you have a smaller selection of clothes, that you really really love. Take my shoes for example: I'm wearing exactly 5 pairs this summer. three pairs of different sandals, sneakers and chelsea boots for the colder days. I would wear all of them all the time (if I had 10 feet) and picking a pair of shoes for work or for running errands or for a date is just deciding between your favorites. Does that make any sense to you?

I've also worn a lot of bright lipstick colors this summer. My wardrobe color scheme is made of a lot of neutral colors with a lot of black, white and denim in it and a bright lipstick color gives a great pop of color. A bright orangey color is one of my favorites. Bright orange sound bad, but it looks actually very cute. Even if the internet tries to tell me that blond girls with fair skin should wear lipstick with a bluish tinge. I decided to ignore the internet in this point.

All in all I would describe my summer wardrobe as very comfy, relaxed and very versatile, since you can basically pair anything with everything. What clothes are absolutely essential for you this summer? Any must-haves that I missed?

Saturday, July 11

Cluster Rings | DIY

I'm not much of a ring person. I always think that rings look weird on my fingers and stunning on everybody else's. But maybe that's just because I'm not used to wearing rings much, I don't know. But then I found these perforated ring bases a while ago, that seemed just perfect for so many different kinds of rings. Today I'm teaming up with again to show you how to make cluster rings which are easy to make and also kinda look like a faux crystal rings with the faceted glass beads that I used.

What you need:

small beads (I used faceted glass beads in purple)

ring with perforated base (can't remember where I got mine - similar)

embroidery thread or similar
Step 1: Cut a strand of embroidery thread, make a knot in one end and thread on a needle at the other end.
Step 2: Pull the thread through one of the holes that is close to the center of the base from below. Thread on three beads and pull the thread back through a hole next to it. Pull very tight. Wiggle the beads around a bit to make sure the thread is as short as it can get.
Step 3: Repeat step 2 a few times and working from the center outwards. Try to go through every hole once. After a few repeats you will notice that the beads will begin to stack up nicely and create a nice organic shape that slightly resembles a natural crystal.
Step 4: When you're happy with the size and shape of the cluster, weave the thread in on the underside of the  ring base and cut it off. All done!

You can play around with the look and shapes of these rings by threading on more or less beads every time or by working with a contrasting yarn or a thin wire (in the color of the ring base maybe). Or maybe try using beads in different colors!  The cluster rings are very quick to make so you may as well try out every option I just named in just one afternoon!

The second ring in the pictures was made with a neon orange thread which looks even brighter in reality. I also made this one by threading on only one bead at a time which makes it a bit smaller and flatter looking. Which one do you like better?

Wednesday, July 8

Life according to instagram | June 2015

Okay, this is a pretty late version of my monthly instagram review. We're already over a week into July but I feel like something would be missing if I just skip it. June has been pretty exciting for us, because the boyfriend finished his master studies, started writing applications for PhD positions and already had his first interview. Since he'd handed his master thesis in I felt like we we're ready to go, move, start new adventures. I felt that everything was going to change and I was excited and ready for it. But, as it so often turns out, things slowed down and we got stuck somewhere between anticipating the interview's result, other applications, not knowing if we'll have to quit our jobs and move in a month or not and waiting, waiting, waiting. The waiting is the worst! I thought we would be in full moving mode by now, but it seems that I will have to exercise real patience the next few weeks (months?).

We've lived in this flat for over three years now and while I like what we made of it, I'm so ready for something new. I seriously can't wait to  paint all the walls and DIY all the furniture (well, ok, maybe some shelves...) and have something more elegant than our terrible dark living room and work space thingy which looks more like a huge work space with a sofa in it.

Let's see what July brings! Exciting changes are ahead, no doubt about that! I hope you have a great and exciting month of July, too!
 photo life according to instagram june 15 2_zpseiasfnge.jpg
1. The boyfriend's aunt and uncle breed quails and gave us loads of quail eggs the other day. The perfect gift! Quail eggs are really expensive, but they're a great alternative to chicken's eggs, which I can only eat very cautiously because of my histamine intolerance. Yum!   2. I got picked to participate in the prymcontest and got a huge supply package to make my own espadrilles.    3. Very much in love with the colorful ribbons from the supply package.   4. Shortly before another repotting session. These succulents are growing fast!   5. Smoothie in the making. Strawberry and banana is my all time favorite combination.   6. Franzbrötchen on our trip to Hamburg. I didn't have one because I was still sea sick from the ferry...   7. My summer favorites this summer: denim, stripes and my copper birkenstocks.   8. Making first sketches for my espadrilles and deciding for something different entirely.
 photo life according to instagram june 15 3_zpsskgeb2wu.jpg
9. The fortune cookie told me that I could win something. The espadrilles contest?   10. Off to Mainz and Wiesbaden for the boyfriend's job interview - and to visit friends! Love that lunch box by the way. So convenient and plastic free, too.   11. Hello Mainz! We had a great time but it was brutally hot that weekend. Lot's of ice cream for us.   12. Brought this gorgeous maxi skirt back from Wiesbaden.   13. Working on a prototype for my espadrilles.   14. The copper birkenstocks are put to good use this summer!   15. Progress on the espadrilles design. It was an exciting but also very frightening process, because I'm no sewing pro and I thought that my design was pretty advanced for my skills.   16. Yummy potato soup for dinner. Looks fancy but is actually everything we had left in our kitchen thrown together. I like it when that happens.
 photo life according to instagram june 15 1_zpscd7t5vpv.jpg
17. All the traveling forced me to work on family portrait orders for until late at night for most of June.   18. Flamingo mural. I mean!   19.The boyfriend's first instagram picture. Breakfast vibes.   20. Finished the espadrilles! I love how they turned out!   21. I made cute foodie bracelets and have been wearing my current cravings on my wrist all the time since then. This was a chicken-nuggets-and-coffee day.   22. Baking a New York Cheesecake with a speculoos crust. Yum!   23. Happily wearing all the summer outfits!   24. A bunch of skin colored embroidery thread skeins in the mail. I had almost used everything up. Phew!

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