travel wardrobe

Me Made Netherlands

A couple weekends ago, John and I took a road trip through the Netherlands. We only had a few days, but had a few destinations we were really committed to seeing; the Tongeren flea market (actually in Belgium but so close to the border we veered off track for this!), the windmills in Kinderdijk (a UNESCO world heritage site), and, of course, Amsterdam.

Day 1 | Maastricth

We stopped here on our way to Tongeren to just poke around the old town as we’ve been told it’s very beautiful, but we hadn’t actually done any research on where the old town was, and it was raining quite hard for most of our pitstop. We stayed long enough to stumble upon a market called Euro Fest which featured mainly Asian food and entertainment, shoveled some street food into our mouths, took this picture of me in my outfit, and drove off to Tongeren. Sorry, Maastricht. Someday you might just get a real visit.

I wore my well-loved Toaster Sweater with a vintage Ralph Lauren pleated wool skirt. My Toaster Sweater is now so worn that it’s covered in pills and probably on that fine line of not possible to wear publicly anymore. Unfortunately, it seems this was a fabric-choice issue and could have been mitigated from the beginning by choosing a higher quality fabric. I’m happy to delegate this sweater to lounge- and creative-wear, but I’d prefer my clothes to last longer than a year. I’m considering over-dyeing it in an Indigo vat with the hopes that that pills will be less noticeable if it’s darker. How would/do you folks deal with clothing that seems to wear out before it’s time?

Day 2 | Kinderdijk

Throngs of tourists and ice cream vendors aside, Kinderdijk is such an idyllic and beautiful place that it’s hard to imagine that it wasn’t actually peaceful to live there. We were able to tour the inside of an active mill; being inside felt like being inside an old wooden boat, the whole structure creaking and swaying with the movement of the mills. John, an engineer, was amazed by how fast the blades actually spin, easily 100mph, as we watched the active blades whooshing by the window. Real humans used to live in these structures, amongst giant wooden gears and shafts, in order to monitor the water levels and maintain the mills. We read about a family of 14 that squeezed themselves into these tight living quarters and slept in cupboards to keep warm. The mother of this family died tragically in an effort to save one of her 12 children from the force of the spinning blades. It was heartbreaking to read and made me cringe every time I felt the blade fly by. The path of these blades were safely fenced off to keep any distracted tourists from injuring themselves, but it’s easy to see how life in a mill could be extremely hard and dangerous, especially as the blades gained so much speed you could literally hear them traveling through the air.

This is the stop I was most excited for, since this is where we were shooting pics of my new Vanessa Pouzet Wanted shirt. The Me-Made top is worn with a pair of ebay-sourced, second-hand 7 For All Mankind Gwenevere skinnies, c. 2010. The top was surprisingly warm, as the thicker knit seemed to block a lot of the wind from passing through the shirt. This top def gets a 10/10. I’ve already worn it a couple more times since having finished it just a few weeks ago!

Day 3 | Amsterdam

We spent the day walking through town and the canals, indulging in tourist activities like boat tours and day-drinking. John is a great sport, and while I definitely try not to over-run our vacations with fabric store hunting, he always humors me while I pop into a shop or two. This time, I asked the internet for fabric store suggestions, and the internet provided! Thanks to Shauni for her post on Amsterdam fabric stores and Sonia from Sewing A la Carte for suggestions too. I was able to make it to the weekly Monday fabric market, located along the whole stretch of Westerstraat, where I picked up a couple cotton chambrays that turn into an almost-rayon-like drape upon washing and many vintage snap buttons and hook-and-eyes. Unfortunately, this weekly market isn’t all that impressive; there were many stalls, yes, but the majority of them were draped in cheap looking synthetics and child-like knits. I also popped in to A. Boeken, a fabulous fabric store with quite a selection of beautiful fabric, but unfortunately nothing caught my eye enough for the price points. Again, I’m so spoiled by selection and affordability in Portland that it’s hard to justify certain purchases.

I wore my Butterick 5450 apron dress over a Uniqlo 100% merino wool turtleneck. I adored (and wore) this dress so much over the summer, but I was a little afraid that it’d be a one-season wonder. I’m happy to report that this dress has officially worked as a transitional garment between seasons! It’s just as easy to throw over a fitted turtleneck or blouse to adjust for colder fall or spring weather. And here, it’s worn with a criss-cross back, which is now my preferred way to wear it, adding to that charming apron-feel.

Day 4 | Amsterdam

This was our last day on our Netherlands road trip, and we stayed just long enough to put dim-sum in our tummies before our long drive back to Germany. The Sea Palace restaurant is just extraordinary; it’s a 3-story floating pagoda that seats over 650 people, and the decor is totally kitsch and over-the-top, yet the dim-sum is some of the best I’ve had outside of Asia. I definitely recommend it if you’re in the area!

Here I wore a self-drafted pleated maxi-skirt, unblogged and made as part of my 28th birthday outfit, paired with a faded, second-hand Madewell chambray button-up. The skirt is made of a rayon sourced from Joann’s, which features a burnt-orange stitched plaid pattern, but unfortunately the stitched thread is prone to catching and pilling. While I still feel like a princess when I wear it, this garment is no longer the beauty it once was; again, it’s that initial fabric choice that could have prevented the visible wear and tear. Fortunately, it also means that I can feel comfortable eating dim-sum in it and, of course, gracefully dropping soy-sauce covered dumplings in my lap.

Thanks for reading through my Me-Made Travels. These posts help me reflect on the clothing I’ve made, how I wear them, and how they wear and grow over time. I hope everyone has a fantastic week ahead!

xxoo, saki

8 Comment

  1. Saki, I am in love with the apron dress. I will have to put that on my list of things to make. Thanks for sharing your me-made travels.

    1. Rikki— I am too! Hah. I definitely recommend the pattern; I think it can be pretty versatile beyond summer, especially in something like a lightweight denim or heavier linen. I hope to see your version soon!

  2. Thank you for sharing these beautiful pics, Saki! I’ve never been to Netherlands, but I worked Dutch company:) I love all of your garments- especially maxi skirt is so lovely.

  3. Love a me made travel wardrobe! Fabric longevity really is so hard to gauge isn’t it? I try to avoid anything with too much poly as that really ups the pilling factor. Once things get too tired for public life they become house/garden/renovation clothes….

    1. I am so with you. I avoid synthetics completely with all of my wovens, but it seems a lot harder/more expensive to do with knits. Do you have a good source for natural fiber knits?

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