Category Archives: Sewing

DIY Maxi Skirt Inspired by Vincent van Gogh

DIY maxi skirt from old curtain

I’ve been sitting on this project for a while and today, I’m finally sharing it. In July I made this fabulous maxi skirt out of a vintage curtain and I love it so so much. I’ve had the curtain in my stash (and sometimes up on my window) for years, because I wanted to make sure I wouldn’t waste it. And here it is:

DIY maxi skirt from old curtain

There’s only one seam and it’s in the back. I flipped the curtain sideways as I felt, that there is no noticeable direction on the floral banners, so I could A. have horizontal stripes and B. I could save the other curtain for another project.

DIY maxi skirt from old curtain

The waistband is the wider hem of the curtain. The belt is the narrower hem. One wasn’t enough for the belt though and I cut the narrow hem off the other curtain. The belt is attached on the back, where buttons would normally close the waistband:

DIY maxi skirt from old curtain

The belt is attached little bit off center. I tried to figure out a prettier way of doing this and this was the best my mind could come up with. The cotton in this fabric is very thick and strong, so I could get away with this ‘industrial’ look.

The pockets…I’m lazy and can’t be bothered to look up the name of the exact technique I used but if you sew, you should be able to recognize it:

DIY maxi skirt from old curtain

The visible portion of the pocket was cut from the other curtain and for the pocket facing I used grey, lattice patterned cotton. No one can see it, but I know it’s there and it’s nice to know it matches the skirt’s colours.

DIY maxi skirt from old curtain

Ta-dah! I wear the skirt with the stripy shirt and a huge sun hat. Of which I don’t have a pic (well I did take a shot but I managed to get my boob in the picture too and I don’t think you are too keen to see that). Here’s an Insta picture. It’s not a good one as I just took it to show to my friend.

DIY maxi skirt from old curtain

And here I am, wearing it in the park:

DIY maxi skirt from old curtain

Hopefully you like it as much as I do. Originally I paid under 10 euros for the curtains and I had the facing material, thread, and the zipper already in my stash. Very thrifty indeed!

-Thrifty Finn-

Inspiration: Ottobre

The other day I was asking on Reddit for links to European online fabric stores. I’m a little bit of embarrassed, that I had completely forgotten the existence of Ottobre. Not the magazine, but the fact, that they sell fabrics too.

They host their shop in Etsy. It’s selection is not huge, but there are some serious amazeballs prints available. Feast your eyes…

Victoire, printed viscose elastane jersey, Ottobre, fabrics, Etsy

Victoire, printed viscose elastane jersey

Is it a bookshelf or a paint sampler? Either way…Very beautiful.

Flaming Feathers, printed viscose elastane jersey, Ottobre, fabrics, Etsy

Flaming Feathers, printed viscose elastane jersey

Dramatic feathers. This screams maxi dress to me. Ottobre used this one for a little girl’s shirt in their pattern magazine, but personally I think this is too grown up print for kids.

Scarlett, printed viscose elastane single jersey

Scarlett, printed viscose elastane single jersey

If you follow my Instagram, you know that I looooove botanical prints. But they seem to be really hard to find :(

Girona, lightweight woven  viscose, Ottobre, fabrics, Etsy

Girona, lightweight woven viscose

I actually have some of this fabric. I found it in the bargain bin at my local fabric store. Now that I know what’s the real retail price of it, I’m going to think twice, what I’m making of it. Ottobre also has it in pink jersey.

Jujuy, viscose elastane single jersey

Jujuy, viscose elastane single jersey

Digitally printed jerseys are a HUGE thing in Finland right now. No wonder. There’s pretty much no limit of what kind of images you can turn into a print. So far I haven’t bought any though. I don’t have an overlocker and I have an issue with sewing stretchy materials on my sewing machine. Might have to bit the bullet though. I feel Iike I’m missing out on something utterly creative.

Fly Feather, cotton popline, Ottobre, fabrics, Etsy

Fly Feather, cotton popline

Another thing that’s hard to find in Finland, is cool quilting cotton. Ottobre used the bottom two to make a really cute girl’s skirt. Looked very expensive and designey. At 10 euros a meter, not too shabby. The middle fabric would make an amazing pencil skirt too.

Secret Garden, printed cotton, Ottobre, fabrics, Etsy

Secret Garden, printed cotton

Last but not least…Some more florals! I have a quilt in the design process and I’ve already started collecting fabrics for it. These would bring in the much needed sophisticated pinky-ness in it. Only 9 euros per meter. Me likes.

Just in case you didn’t know…Ottobre is a Finnish company and it’s located in Rovaniemi, Lapland! YEAH! DEM MY HOMEGIRLS!!! They have an English language blog too, and you can check it out HERE. All the images here are linked to their respective Etsy-postings and they are not affiliate-links.

-Thrifty Finn-



DIY Minty Fresh Maxiskirt

maxiskirt, diy, sewing

Oohlalaa…It took Finland of nearly two months but we finally got summer at the end of July. I was so excited about this that I actually made something for myself to wear! A maxi skirt! And it’s so pretty!

mint floral fabric, diy maxi skirt

I had 1,5mx1,4m sized piece of this floral viscose. Originally I had planned to make a couple of infinity scarves out of it, but my procrastination helped me to save the fabric for something better; a skirt. The construction for this is very simple and there is no cutting waste, which is a huge plus at this day and age.

First, I sewed the ends of the fabric together to create a french seam. Since the floral pattern over here is an all-over pattern, I didn’t have to worry about the direction. I wanted to save the selvages for the waistband and the hem, so I wouldn’t have to do unnecessary folding and pressing. I could leave them as is in there. Here’s an image of the french seam and the waist band fold:

a french seam, waistband fold, diy maxi skirt

The waistband was easy to do. I just folded the top, stitched it down leaving a few centimeter opening for the elastic insertion. I used 5 cm wide elastic to prevent ‘digging in’, which happens quite often with the narrower ones. After I had pulled the elastic through, I sewed the ends together with repeated zig zag stitch. Then I closed the opening with a straight stitch. It looks like this on the right side:

DiY maxi skirt, waistband

At this point I put the skirt on to see how much extra I had in the bottom. Since I’m 165cm tall, I had about 25 centimeters to work with. Personally I’m huge fan of wide hems. They look more expensive and in this case, as the viscose is very light weight, it added weight and pull. Again, I used the selvage, so I didn’t have to do an extra fold to hide an unsightly raw edge. I just used a quilting ruler to make sure I had an even fold all the way round, pinned it in few places, pressed it with my iron and sewed away. If you squint, you can see the stitching in the hem:

DIY maxi skirt

And here’s my finished look. I DID have a pictures of me wearing it but my friend, who is an engineer, takes so unflattering photos that I usually just scream with horror when I see them, so I decided to spare you from the trauma. But I’m pretty pleased with the look and the skirt anyway.


If you have any questions, or if you’d like to see a Burda-style flat drawing of this to help you make one for yourself, just give me a shout out in the comments. I have another maxi-skirt to show you but it’s a more complicated one and I’m posting it later this week. If I get around to it that is :D

-Thrifty Finn-

P.S. Funny story…I decided to wear this skirt the same day I made it. My friend (the engineer one) asked me to join him at a park in Helsinki for some sun and cider. I got a bike this summer, so I decided to bike to Helsinki. A breezy 10 kilometres (and further 3-4 kilometres to the park), nothing I couldn’t handle. Of course at this point I didn’t think of the possibility, that a maxi skirt is not the best choice of attire, when cycling. A not so tiny security risk of having the hem getting stuck between the gears. Lucky for me, that didn’t happen. But what DID happen…In one zebra crossing or another, I had gotten off the bike and when I’d gotten back on, I didn’t lift enough extra fabric behind me to allow my butt to move inside the skirt. There was tension. Which caused a rip. Which then showed my coral pink granny panties for god knows how many kilometers. I should have realized, when people kept passing me on their bikes and looking back at me smiling, that something might be amiss.

Why meeeeeeee???

Well, at least I made some people happy. And my friend had sewing kit, so I could mend the hole and continue our day at the park. But still. Yet another cringe-worthy moment in my life.

DIY Slipcover for a Seventies Chair

DIY, Ikea hack, slipcover

Few weeks ago a friend of mine called me enthusiastically about a chair he found at Kontti, a chain of thrift stores owned and operated by Finnish Red Cross. He went on and on about its lines and how he was planning to re-upholster it with some Ikea-fabric.

You know where this is going, right?

So, the other week I visited him and he showed me the chair and the fabric. He was right, the chair has nice lines and the fabric he had picked up was nice too. I’m especially happy by the fact, that he is FINALLY introducing patterns in his home decor. It has been an uphill battle but I got him there. Only a decade or two and we might even see patterns with multiple colours in there.

As you can see, the original material is rather “interesting”. Certainly a product of its time. But it’s actually quite nice to sit on, so creating a slipcover would be a good way to bring it up to date.


We began by laying the cover on the material. We discussed on how to go on about it and since I had to go and pick up my phone I had left elsewhere, I left my friend to his own devices. Meaning, I assumed he was going to do what I instructed him to do. Wrong. When I came back two hours later, he had decided to clean up his balcony instead and was planning to leave the “actual sewing and doing” for me.

I’d like to pretend I stood my ground with this. He was the one who sewed but it was me who did the thinking. In the end I didn’t get back home until very late that day. But I did get a good meal out of it, so it wasn’t entirely terrible experience. Plus the chair looks pretty bitchin’ too. Here’s how we (and I use the term we here very loosely) did it:

First we cut the material in half lengthwise and I had Niko finish off the short ends with a double fold, while I pondered how to put the cover together. I knew it had to be some kind of envelope pattern but as the top and bottom were to be of different widths, I had to do some figuring out to get it to look neat.

The original material is still underneath as there is no way the Ikea fabric would support the weight of a person. We (I) decided the best way to get a tight fit, was to pin the fabric directly on the chair frame. This way we could also be sure that none of the original material would be showing and that we could see/test right away, if the cover would be easy to remove and put back on.

pressing, slipcover, Ikeahack

If you take second look at the prototype, you can see the shape of the finished cover. We left very wide seam allowances and used that to create nice edges on the narrow opening. The seam allowance isn’t of even width, but pressing it forces it to stay in shape. You can see the difference in the picture above.

ikea hack, slipcover

The little cut-offs on the original material are there to help to put the cover on the frame. We had to leave a gap on the new slipcover as well and it left a little of the orange fabric visible. I solved this by hand stitching small pieces of fabric on either sides of the frame as you can see here. Here’s how it looks when the slipcover is on:

ikea hack, slipcover

See, no ugliness in sight! The next step was the seat cushion…

seat cushion, ikea hack, slipcover

The original seat cushion was double-length, but my friend only wanted a cushion for the seat part. I cut it in half and crudely rolled the opening hem closed and stitched it up by hand. We then made another envelope cover for it:

envelope cover, ikea hack, slipcover

Very simple. First, finish off the short ends with a double fold. Then fold it around the cushion to see where you want to stitch, take it off and stitch the side seams closed. Here’s the finished cushion:

cushion, ikea hack, slipcover

And here’s the finished chair:


I don’t know about you but I’m very pleased with myself. If you have any questions…Go ahead and ask!

-Thrifty Finn-

Inspiration: Finnish Fabric Design & Stores

Few months ago I wrote about Finnish sewing blogs, a sort of TOP 5 of mine. In the end I wondered if I should continue it with a post about the fabric stores and designers as some of you might want to try to make clothes in Finnish style as well.

I asked for some help at a sewing group in Facebook and I got a flurry of answers. Even I didn’t realize there are that many! Finnish print design is alive and doing well indeed. In twenty years time, these are the fabrics we will be fighting for in online auctions :)

Here’s my TOP 5. I have listed all stores that sell designer fabrics at the bottom, so you can bookmark this post for later reading and/or reference.



Majapuu is one of the biggest ones, at least when it comes to selection. They also have some crafty supplies and home decor stuff. They have tons of different kinds of prints for sale. As you can see from the images there’s modern, retro and vintage style things. My favourite is the Kiiltokuvat. It’s a digi print cotton which is also available as jersey. It’s not cheap, 22.90€ per meter, but if you make something for a kid, a meter goes for a long way. Their sale section is over HERE. The gray London-print is tempting me…


Pehemiä sells only fabrics and some notions. Mostly knits. The Kirjonta is a merino wool jacquard knit of which Pehemiä has 13 different kinds in stock right now. The Fasaani is a woven cotton fabric.

Käpynen is mainly focused on fabrics but there are sewing notions and gift items for sale too. The prints are designed in Finland and printed in Poland using “traditional printing techniques” but there are digiprints and other manufacturers available too. Majority of the fabrics are knits but there is a section for cotton prints as well.


Sashop is the brain child of designer Sari Ahokainen. She sells fabrics, ribbons, clothing and other things she designed. I love, love the Pony Bloom. The fabrics aren’t cheap (again) but there is a special deal on the ribbons. A surprise bag of 20 meters of ribbon for 20 euros.


PaaPii Design is possibly the most international of these stores. PaaPii sells fabrics, DIY-kits, toys, paper goods…there’s basically something for everyone. The Bambi- sewing kit must have been very popular as I’ve seen it in so many sewing blogs. Some day I will get one too, it’s just too cute to pass up on. Anyhoo, their fabric collection isn’t huge but the stuff is so design-y that I don’t mind.

And then just bubbling under….


Vimma is an über cool label that makes children’s wear but they do have few print fabrics available too. I had to drop it from my TOP 5 because they are mainly a fashion label but still have to mention them for their extremely well thought out concept and brand. One of their designers is Maija Louekari who has designed for Marimekko as well.



There are tons of other online fabric stores but I decided to focus on ones that have those indie-designers available. If you have any questions..please, do ask them :D

-Thrifty Finn-

P.S. This is a coincidence but the day I decided to write this post I noticed THIS. There’s going to be an Indie Fabric Market on FB and you can join it HERE. They did the post in English so I presume the sellers are more than happy to post internationally :)

indie goes viral