Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Shopping to sew

It's been all finished garments and personal stuff here for a while. But now as the light is returning and with it my energy, it's about time to geek out on sewing! See, I've been on a bit of a shopping spree for sewing related goods...

For the sewing room I got two new cutting mats! My old one was small and started to get seriously worn out. I bought it cheap, just to test if this was a method of cutting out that would appeal to me. And for cutting out jersey and fine fabrics, I totally adore it! So now it was time to upgrade =)

 They're identical, with one light grey side and one black, both with cm gridnet.

The mats are 60x90 cm (A1 size), so when I lay them next to each other I can cut out a blouse or a top without having to move the fabric or the cutting mat. Hurray!

Next item is sort of also for the sewing room; a new bolt of toile fabric.

The bolt I got two years ago is almost used up, and as we were anyway driving by Ikea... Now - hopefully - I'm good for another two years.

Toile fabric is handy, but this is Fun:

Organic Bamboo jersey for two tops. This fabric is soooo soft, I can't wait to wear these tops!

For grand finale; interlocked wool. What, it doesn't look like much? =) Nope, but it's wonderful to touch, it drapes beautifully and I've been thinking about this fabric for TWO YEARS. It's the most I've ever paid per meter, so although I knew straight away that I wanted the fabric, I really wanted to be totally sure of what I'd make and how much I'd need.

Here you can see the structure of the fabric, but the colour in the previous picture os more true to reality.

Luck favored me, and it was obviously about time I got around to buying it, as I managed to get the last 2,5 meters. Perfect!

Ok, I'm off to the sewing table. I've got new toys to play with =)
Love, Erika

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Titanic, the artifact exhibition

While in Tallinn over New Year's eve, I and the mr took the oppurtunity to visit the Seaplane Harbour and its guesting Titanic exhibition. It was really cool, to begin with our entrance tickets looked like passenger tickets:

Then there was the built up rooms:

The hallway

The grand staircase

A first class cabin

A third class cabin

Also, of course, a huge amount of artifacts, rescued from the bottom of the ocean.

These plates lay in crates that dissolved over time, so they were found laying in perfect rows on the bottom of the sea.

Loved these clothes!!! So interesting to see the details...

The exhibition is also very sad, as it brings to life the full extent of this tragedy, and also gives us some insight into some of the lives which ended on Titanic's last night.

If you're into history and have a chance of seeing this exhibition as it tours the world, I'd recommend giving it a couple of hours of your day. Or maybe you've already seen it? If so, what did you think?

The Seaplane harbour also sported a ton of other interesting things; for instance we climbed onboard an old U-boat! I've never been inside one of these, so it was quite an experience.

The dining area was quite neat...

...but the walkways not always adopted for skirts and a heavy cloak =)

This was the last of the holiday-posts, I promise =) In fact, I almost didn't post this, as it was so delayed, but felt that these photos were just too yummy to keep to myself. Next post will be about sewing! Or at least sewing related...

Love, Erika

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Long overdue

As stated previous years (it's an old song by now) at this time of the year I have very little energy and tries my hardest to avoid falling into "winter depression" due to the lack of sunlight. This year I'm doing a fairly good job, I've managed to both exercise and sew and do at least one other thing each week - but the blog has paid the price... So here's a much belated post from a trip me and the mr took to Tallinn for a few days around New Years Eve!

Having grown up just across the baltic sea from this cute old town, I'm a bit ashamed to admit this was my first visit there. Old Tallinn is lovely with a beautiful medieval city wall and lot's of old buildings. And churches! Everywhere!

Lunch at a great coffeshop by the main square. (They had real tea and a barrista machine for coffee. Way above the norm in Tallinn!)

A courtyard with many craft shops connected to it.

The main square by night. I was pleasantly surprised the annual Christmas market was still there, as we arrived just a few days before New Years Eve.

One of the many gorgeous churches we saw had an exhibition of art. Magnificent medieval altar pieces, like this one:

It can be displayed in three different ways, as it has two pairs of doors. It was huge, and done with such amazing details! 

This I just loved. It's a 14th century painting of the dance macabre. This is just the small fragment that's left of this painting, originally they believe it had over 40 figures. Ordered just after the Black plague had swept through Europe, it's a reminder of how we are all equal before death.

The first figure is the Preacher, then Death, who leads the dance. Everyone then follows by place in society (the pope, the emperor, the empress, etc) and the dance ended with a beggar, a fool or a child. (Click on it for clearer details)

The history nerd in me loved how the artist used the painting to discuss mortality, rather than just send a message. Every other figure is Death, and what's really going on is a discussion, a conversation, between Death and the mortals.

Hmm, this just got lively and fun, right? ; )
Let's add some more pictures of the lovely city of Tallinn!

I also visited the Seaplane harbour and "Titanic, the artifact exhibition".
But that's a post of it's own =)

Love, Erika

Sunday, 29 December 2013

The Christmas dress


I hope you're all having a happy holiday! I've been staying at my mother's in Stockholm, celebrating Christmas the swedish way (traditional swedish food and hanging out with the family on Christmas eve). Also, there's been the usual running around Stockholm to meet up with everyone... =)

Last year I bought 2 metres of jersey and 2 metres of lace and figured I'd make it into a Christmas dress for this year. I came close to stumbling on the finish line here... I started drafting the jersey on Friday evening the 20th, sewed the jersey on Saturday morning, drafted and toiled the lace on the afternoon/evening. Sunday I packed for Christmas and sewed the lace-dress.

The bottom layer is a plain jersey dress, without sleeves. The top layer is more interesting - it's lace cut on bias. The lace has no stretch on it's own, but it's a loose weave lace, so it has some natural stretch due to that. But as I didn't want to join the two layers, I also didn't want the opening a waistseam would require. This was my solution:

A bias cut diamond shape in the side. I first got this idea from one of the dresses in the Hollywood exhibition at Albert & Victoria museum in London last year. I'm not sure how period accurate it is, but they did use paneling during the early 30s.

The front was also a new to me: I made a high cowl neck, with the bodice pleated to a midriff piece.

The skirt is my by now trusty bias A-line pattern. The back is also cut on the bias.
One of the trickiest part was figuring out the pattern layout, so that the weave strength on both sides of all seams matched each other.

This was a really fun project, and I'm thrilled I managed to get it done in such a short time!

Happy holidays!
Love, Erika

Monday, 9 December 2013

A dress for blues dancing

A dance night that comes only once every 6th month is a special event, right? And it’s made to feel even more special with something new, special to wear! =)

As per usual my carefully laid sewing plans this fall went straight to… *erhm* They didn’t work out as I had planned. Or at all. That meant my grand vision that included a gorgeous rayon, matching chiffon with embroidery and sequins, and of course a smashing 30s silhouette, that vision had to be put on hold for a later date if I wanted a finished dress to wear to the dance instead of just an idea. So what to do instead?

I wavered between the three drawings to the left above, but even though I decided for the one to the farthest left, it was never a “Yay! I’m going to love this dress!”. At first I tried to ignore it and stick to my chosen path, but as I picked out the jersey I bought in London last year (intended for a bluesdress) and the pattern pieces, a new dress just seemed to grow out of what was in front of me. The result was the dress on the right, minus the split (when test-dancing the dress, I realised I didn't need the split).

Ever had that happen; that a project seems to change itself, and take an ok idea to something totally different? The end result was a lot more suited to the occasion, to the fabric and to what I really really deep deep down wanted. It’s strange what can come out of being true to one’s gut feeling and just follow the intuition. I’m not sure I can say I drafted this dress, it more or less drafted itself.

The entire front bodice got an overlay of lace, pleated to the neckline. The skirt was cut (on-grain) from my bias 30s skirt pattern, so made long + slim. Sleeves also got a cover of lace.

The best is the back! Covered with lace, the jersey beneth dives into a deep V. This is a style I’ve dreamed of wearing, forever! But with my bust, skipping the bra just isn’t an option. However, when I realized the Glamour Corselette I also got in London would be ideal under the thin jersey skirt, my mind raced to the conclusion “Holy Moses, I can make a deep back!”. As a deep back isn’t ideal when dancing - the lead’s hand goes right over there, and as I’ve discovered myself when leading followers wearing tank tops with spaggetti-straps, it really is a much more pleasant experience to have some fabric between hand and back – I kept the full lace back, and just cut out the jersey.

Due to the cut out back, my slips wouldn't work, so I made a lining from knit stretch lining.

Dress inside-out with the back lining visible...

...and the front.

Did I lose something with this change of plans? Yes and no. The original jersey dress would have been an allround Little Back Dress, usuable for many occasions, from dancing to dinner parties. The dress that I ended up making is a pure Blues Dance Dress (ok, I may wear it for New Years Eve as well ; ) ). However, a multi-purpose allround LBD wasn't really what I desired deep down. I wanted a dress that walked the narrow line between classy, but not "funeral". Elegant and simple, but interesting. Sensual, but not sexy nor slutty. A bit like blues dancing =)
Also, from a more practical point of view, this jersey isn't of a very high quality and I fear it wouldn't make it long as a much-in-use allround LBD...

 And I did my first attempt on fingerwaves!!! The rest of the hair is brushed through and pinned up in a faux bob.

The dress was fantastic to dance in, and we had a wonderful Blues Dance Night! Above is me and my sister Kajsa during clean-up after the dance. We didn't coordinate or anything, but I love how our outfits matched with black jerseys, textured bodices, matt skirts and long-ish sleeves =)

All for now!
Love, Erika