vrijdag 20 juli 2012

Star T.

Star T. by oddwise
Star T., a photo by oddwise on Flickr.

One of the most plain T's I ever made: I used only one fabric, no appliques, no pocket or other embelishments. The fabric was strong enough, it needed no additions.

dinsdag 17 juli 2012

Jungle T-shirt

Jungle T-shirt by oddwise
Jungle T-shirt, a photo by oddwise on Flickr.

Although it hardly looks like summer over here (just like last year) I made my boy another T-shirt with short sleeves. Because it's so much fun to do and I keep hoping he can wear it, with the holidays on our footstep.
The applique is a simple image from the net, made out of taslan fabric.

summer T-shirt

summer T-shirt by oddwise
summer T-shirt, a photo by oddwise on Flickr.

T-shirt for a little boy who is lovingly adopted into a great family and was baptized last sunday.
I bought the fabric in Finland (online) and to my suprise, saw it on the front of the most recent Ottobre.

zaterdag 30 juni 2012

About the boy, the continuing story

Pretending to be a bus.

 I should have written this post much earlier. It’s the foreign language that’s holding me back, but I don’t want to postpone any more. So for those of you who know I’m running a Dutch Son-Rise program for Pelle, here’s an update. How’s our boy doing? Fantastic!
It's almost 2 years since I started playing in his sleeping room and boy, has he been blossoming ever since. We now have a team of 2 players and I hope to contract another one (a 20-years old boy) very soon. Pelle’s still in school, as the summerholidays run very late this year, but I already know he’s moving to the 4th grade, along with his classmates. (Here in the Netherlands you start with 1st grade when you are 4, and he will become 7 in July). He still has aid in school by a remedial teacher but also by a lovely little girl who sits next to him and helps him to get organized etc. He learned to read this year and to write, although his handwriting is still very wonky. But what’s more important for me is that he’s able to function in a class, with some adjustments, and hearing his teacher say she is so very proud of his achievements.
What’s also wonderful is that he is finally drawing. We set this as a goal, almost a year ago. And look what he did 2 weeks ago!

A drawing with little fish, a churchtower, a house, a mill, a car,
the sun & Pelle and 'vormen' (= shapes) in the corner.

In comparison, here's a drawing he made in Oktober. The assignment (at school) was: make a phantasy animal.

At this moment, our other goals are: learning to play together, learning role-play and learning to play alone. We now play things like memory and simple board games. And today for instance he said to me: ‘Now I’m a spitting fire like a dragon, mum” “It’s pretend” he reassured me and there he went, hissing away.

(For those of you who are more familiar with the details of Son-Rise, we also work on eye contact & non-verbal communication, verbal communication, interactive attention span and flexibility, but more implicit. I estimate him at being at stage 4 at most of the topics, with some exceptions you’ll read about below). 

The children in his class like him, as he is very sweet and cheery, but he hardly plays with other children and has no friends, yet. (He was invited for 2 birthday parties this year, though). So this month, we’ve been starting to introduce play-dates. I invite children to our home and play with both of them. After a while, I hold back and let them play together. What I see, is a boy who interacts very good when it comes to verbal communication, but who has to learn how to play. At this point, he’s simply lacking experience and skills like more advanced role play. He still has little imagination. But the children enjoy each others company and there are enough things Pelle can do like making a puzzle together or a little competition on the bike (Who will arrive first at the finish?) And as he has learned SO much these last years, I’m confident he will grow in this aspect, too. He sure likes children. He loves it when Mark and I read stories about toddlers and he likes watching programs for toddlers on TV. So mentally he’s still a bit young, for liking this when almost 7, but he laughs, while watching, and what a great marker that is for empathy.

So is he still autistic? By now, that word has lost most of its meaning to me. Sure my boy is not average, if there ever is such a child. He flaps with his hands, talks a lot, makes strange noises, talks a lot, wants to go to the church over and over again to see the doors and interior, wants to go to the mill over and over again, wants to go by the bus and the train every day if only this was possible,
talks A LOT ; - ) and wants our attention every minute of the day. (Hence our goal of playing alone, which is very hard for him but his efforts are also heartwarming). He’s unique and I love him SO MUCH. And I’m SO VERY VERY HAPPY he came into our live, I can hardly express it. So we go on, the both of us. Blossoming away.

zondag 17 juni 2012


Every year, in the late days of spring, children all over the Netherlands participate in an event called de avondvierdaagse, where they walk 5 or 10 kilometer each day (depending on their age), during 4 evenings. Last week was already the second time our boy walked, together with his class and alongside mum or dad.
A few girls from his class.

Here he is in action, wearing his sailor pants (last post) and the T from school.

The last night, he got 2 bunches of flowers, a medal from gran and an official one from the organization. To top it off, I bought him an ice-cream.

I’m proud of him, doing so well and enjoying it all.

donderdag 14 juni 2012

It's Pelle, the sailor man.

It's Pelle, the sailor man. by oddwise
I took this picture before he went to school, this morning. The days are finally getting a bit warmer over here.
You can see that the neck of the T is a bit wide and the pants are a bit baggy, but I like the combo and it's not like he swims in it.

Our sailor from the right. by oddwise
Trying how much noise you can make with a flute.

matrozen T-shirt. by oddwise

I love orange and stripes, so I bought this fabric online. It's very unusual, though, because it's not a regular knit but far more sturdy and not that strechy. So not quite ideal for the model, with that neckline which has to be tight. I'm still pleased with the result, though. The shape is the best I could get.
sailor T, neckline. by oddwise
sailor pants, back. by oddwise
Back of the pants.
This is the forth time I made this model. I started in 2008 , made it in 2009 2009 and 2010 This time it's in size 122. The buttons are on the back (in the pattern, they're up front) and I sewed the hem by hand, so there's no stitching line to be seen.

Detail of the fake cuff.

All in all I love the way he looks. Next step is to get him to eat spinach.

woensdag 13 juni 2012

Snake T

snake T, front. by oddwise
snake T, front., a photo by oddwise on Flickr.

Inspired by a card game my son likes to play, I made him a T with a snake, using a quilting fabric from my mom.
snake T, back. by oddwise
snake T, back., a photo by oddwise on Flickr.
close-up. by oddwise
close-up., a photo by oddwise on Flickr.

The snake close by. The tongue is from felt. I hope that won't shrink in the laundry. Eyes are from felt, too. I did not use a pattern for the snake, just draw it free-hand and used Vlies-o-fix, a stabilizer with glue on both sides.

maandag 21 mei 2012

Expressing yourself.

Pelle has grown a lot in his facial expressions, during the last two years. He loves it when we take photos of him and we use that motivation to practice. Every once and a while the players and I take pictures of his face, when it suits the flow of the play we’re in.
Yesterday I told him about an incident where he was angry because I didn’t understand him. I mimicked his face and encouraged him to do the same. I hurried down to get the camera and made this still.

 I think it looks more pleading. Maybe because he was still  joyful inside when he acted out.

"And now I'm doing happy", he announced. Oh boy. love you so much!

maandag 30 april 2012

Queens Day.

It's queensday today. We celebrate the birthday of our former queen. There will be a market, where children sell their second-hand toys but earlier on this morning the kids biked around a small pond with their special bikes. It will be sunny todya and festive.

maandag 23 april 2012

Pelle's progress.

Two weeks ago, Mark and I had a meeting with our Dutch SonRise team: Lila, Tamara and Hella (who doesn't play with Pelle but is our counselor). Pelle is doing great. He progressed on all of the 3 goals we set out for him, over half a year ago. Those goals were:
- learning to draw
- learning to play a game together
- learning to encage in pretend play.

We have seen little puppets arise, a plane, towers and numerous spirals. Pelle can play a simple board game now, and is able to take turns. He can also take on a role, pretending to be an animal or a figure from a favorite book. It’s not very elaborate, but the seeds we sowed are beginning to sprout.

And moreover, I admire him when I see the he is not only learning a lot at home but in the meantime also a lot of new skills in school. He’s starting to read rather well, I think. As for the math, I don’t exactly know it, because he doesn’t do this at home. His writing has also improved much, although it is still very large compared to his classmates. But it’s the progress he makes, that I enjoy, not the end result. And what’s also very apparent is that he’s a lot calmer. He’s able to concentrate, listen and focus far better that he ever has.

He is also moving more fluently. I saw a photo the other day where he’s painting in the garden, half a year ago. He’s holding his hands in a typical manner and I realized he’s not doing that anymore. He’s even starting to practice cartwheels everywhere he can.

We decided to introduce a new goal, learning to play alone (without a computer or electronic device). That means he has to postpone his need for attention from me or someone else. And what we see so far, by introducing 10 minutes of silent play while the other person is present but reading a book or doing something different, it is working out very fine. I think this is a goal we will achieve very soon. We go on with drawing, painting, introducing him to different materials and celebrating the love of being busy with it, not focusing on the fact that is has to resemble anything (as we suspect his inability to do so is holding him back). We go on with games and pretend play.

And with a bit of luck, we will be able to contract another player (our third!) as we probably will be getting a bit more money from youth aid to take care of him. Fingers crossed.

zaterdag 14 april 2012

Denim pants.

I sewed Pelle some pants, lately. This one is the latest. I used an Ottobre pattern for skinnier boys and cut the legs into triangles. I worked out very well. The fabric is a blue/purple not so thick strech denim. I used pockets from another Ottobre model.

Denim pants, front. by oddwise
I think it's ideal for the upcoming spring.
I made a semi-fake fly (no zipper, buttoned waistband) using the instructions from a Make-it-Perfect Big High Flyers pattern, which I'm going to use more often, because it's a great construction.

Denim pants, semi fake fly. by oddwise
Denim pants, pocket detail by oddwise

Detail of the pocket.

donderdag 12 april 2012

Playing outside.

I am reading an inspiring book about the upbringing of children, called If the Buddha had kids by Charlotte Kasl. I can’t begin to sum up everything she says, about being respectful, encountering your child as it is (also the core of the SonRise program), not wanting to change your child into somebody he is not, how to treat your child’s behavior and approach his emotions, and so much more. She also emphasizes the importance of playing outside and connecting with nature.
I so agree with her. As a kid, I roamed the fields around our house, played in the grounds of my parents business, in the grass in our garden and that of my grandparents. I still love to be in the
woods and find comfort there.
My boy loves to be outside, too. Oh boy, we walk in the forests a lot. Nowadays he’s more into playing in the schoolyards with our team members from the Dutch SonRise, climbing, lending
skateboards and skelters, running.
Above are picture of him near our lake, this Easter. The municipality put up al kinds of new climbing constructions and it was so much fun to see him enjoying himself.

vrijdag 6 april 2012

Getting ready for Eastern.

This week, we decorated the house for the upcoming feast.
Today Pelle and I dyed some eggs and put them in the basket with the grass I sowed almost two weeks ago (an idea from the net). The little hares are made by my mother, when I was a child.
Pelle made the hare at school. The felt chicken was a gift.

I told Pelle why we celebrate Eastern and what it means to us. I find it important for him to learn about religion and spirituality. To let him know that we all live in one world and that love for one another is the key to an abundant life. And that there is so much wisdom speaking from the teachings of Jesus, Buddha, and so many, many others. That true value surpasses the material world. I trie to live it to him and hope it will resonate in his life.

woensdag 4 april 2012

An Apple A Day...

Two weeks ago, I picked up a checkered
shirt in the thrift shop. An adult size (42, I think), in good condition, for 2
euro. I changed it into a shirt for the boy, size 122.

The original shirt.

with a size 116 shirt I made earlier.

Since I saw so many gorgeous Apple shirts (from
the summer 2010 issue of Ottobre) passing by on the internet, I wanted to try the
pattern myself. I made an alteration to the collar, following her instructions.

Re-using the buttonlists.

I had to add a piece of red cotton, to make things fit.

As the red cotton was heavier than the checkered, I decided to make the back yoke out of single fabric and add a neck binding in stead. For the collar, I followed instructions from a booklet.

Playing around with the fabric.

As I was not content with the length and the drape of the sleeves, I sewed a blind hem into them, as done in the screwdriver shirt from the 3/2011 magazine.

I am very pleased with the result. The finish is great, and the red gives the shirt a nice sturdiness. In an ideal world, I would changes the buttons for colored ones, but then the sport of the shirt being cheap is gone, so I leave it as it is.

I bought a second-hand bright green T for 1,50 euro which matches it just fine. And so I concur the crises :-)

donderdag 29 maart 2012

The magic of books.

I love to read to Pelle. Until a few weeks ago, we often read simple stories about toddlers, who go into town, or to the barber, or to the supermarket. But recently, we’re moving on to more complex stories about children who are a little older. Jip and Janneke is currently his favorite and although the tales are more than 50 years old, they still appeal to me and Pelle. Jip and Janneke are neighbors and play together all the time. The splash into puddles, pretend to be fireman, tear all the pages from the calendar, hide beads all over the house and do lots of other funny things. The pictures make it even more attractive. So we very often cuddle up on the coach and delve into the books.
And when Pelle goes to bed, Mark takes over. He’s reading another book from the same author which he like very much when he was Pelle’s age, about a gnome called Wiplala. Our worlds expands as we join the characters and live their adventures.

dinsdag 27 maart 2012

I just can't get enough.

I just can't stop sewing T-shirts for Pelle. Here's another one. Thanks to Bo Bendixen (link below)it turned out fab.

T-shirt,front by oddwise
T-shirt,front, a photo by oddwise on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
I made my boy a T-shirt, using new fabric (blue stripes) and old T-shirts. The fish is from an old Bo Bendixen T from myself, bought in Denmark many years ago. The bindings are from thrifted shirts.

T-shirt, back by oddwise
T-shirt, back, a photo by oddwise on Flickr.

Little fish. by oddwise
Little fish., a photo by oddwise on Flickr.

I made a small aplique on the back, using quilt cotton from my mother (the pink and green), felt for the eyes and a fabric marker.

woensdag 21 maart 2012

How I sewed a hood to a woven shirt.

Dear people,

I sewed a shirt with a hood and I thought it would be nice to explain how I did this.
So here I go. And please correct my English if I'm not mentioning the right terms.

Here's a close-up of the inside of the neck. As you can see, there are three fabrics: the woven shirt (frogs), the hood (brown knit) and the neck binding (brown piece of woven cotton), covering the seam.

I bought the frog fabric 3 years ago and then I was so surprised to see it in the Ottobre mag in the summer of 2009. Since it is really spring here I wanted to make Pelle the short sleeved shirt from the picture. The pattern is # 31, Little Fella Shirt. It's a pattern with a buttonlist and facing included in the front and a neckbinding to cover the neckseam. I decided to go for size 116 and to add a hood, because I had only 50 centimeters of fabric and it was a good excuse to avoid sewing a collar. There’s a pattern of a shirt with a hood in one of the other issues (summer 3/ 2011) but not in size 116. So I had to improvise.

What did I do?
I drafted a hood in size 116 from the Hilda dress pattern (Ottobre 06/07, # 27), but you can use any other pattern as well.
I then had to adjust the size of the hood to the neckline of the shirt.

Measuring of the pattern piece of the hood. As I took the photo with one hand, I could not get the measure tape quite right, but I followed the curve precisely.

Here you can the measuring from a different angle.

I then laid out the pattern piece of the back and front of the shirt together and measured again. (nothing wrong with my hand, just bended that finger).

I shortened the hood and deepened the neckline by 0,5 cm to make things fit. I guess you can also make a pleat in the hood. (Might even be better, in hindsight).

Because I deepened the neckline, I made the neck binding a little longer.

I cut out the hood, sewed it (right sides together), finished the seams with a fancy stitch from my Phaff and did not take photos of that process. But I hope you can imagine how it worked out.
After finishing the hood, the next step began: sewing it to the shirt.

I closed the shoulders of the shirt, placed the sleeves and than closed the sideseams and armseams. (no pictures).
Then it was time to sew on the hood.

Here’s a pic of the button facing, folded back. The white stuff is the stabilizer. You can also see the seam allowance. I basted it, but you can also pin it or just leave it as it is. Anyhow, you should leave opening space at the neck.

I then pinned the hood to the neck. Right sides together.

Now here's a crucial part. I sandwiched the fabric of the hood between the button facing.

I basted the fabric of the hood and went onto the next step.

I pinned the neck binding onto the fabric of the hood. The right side of the neck binding goes unto the inside of the hood.

I placed the neck binding unto the button facing, ending in the middle of the facing.

I pinned and sewed the neck binding and the hood in one go unto the neck of the shirt. (and removed the thread of the basting, afterwards).

Cut of the excess of the neck seam...

... and make small cuts, where the seam curves.

Than folded the unfinished part of the neck binding under the seam, pinned and sewed. I tried to stitch into the ditch.

Now you can flip the buttonfacing to the right side. Before I did that, I cut of the excess fabric in the corner.

I folded the button facing back and there you have it: a neat finish.

I then pinned and secured the button list to the front.

And then, finished of the shirt.

Afterwards, I posted this instructions on the net. It took me more time than sewing the whole shirt.