Saturday nights\Sunday mornings

IMGP5085So I’m back, in full force! From not having anything made in a long time, to getting shockingly lazy at actually photographing anything, there has been no new garment posts in over six months… I’ll try not let it slide for this long again. Now that I have regained my weekend time (thank you college) I have started a new tradition of becoming intensely inspired on Saturday night to wear/ make/ have something for my next week of classes. This leads to Sunday morning becoming a frenzy either at my sewing machine, ultra professional cutting desk (aka the kitchen table) or on my bed room floor, casually stroking my fabrics. So far the results have been good, and surprisingly wearable, considering the often “high fashion” inspirations and “speed is key” production methods. Here is one of my first offerings. A bias cut slip dress.

IMGP5018 So where did this idea come from… Well I’ve been curious about bias-cut clothing for a small time now, wondering how it might look sewn up, if it was really going to be some new sewing challenge (spoiler, it’s super easy) and would I actually wear something that has the decadent tag of “on the bias”. I do wear this, a lot, it probably needs a wash by now as I’m pretty sure some of the curry that I made last week is hidden somewhere. The real trick with bias is that it stretches, which means that it’s surprisingly comfortable to wear and the fit is flattering, flowing nicely where you want it to flow, and then fitted enough where you, uh want it to be fitted…? It’s not a long calculus question.
IMGP5111 So what pattern change did I make to accommodate my bias fling, none. I just whacked out a pattern (because lets be honest and realise that I only take time with debs dresses and coats), and stuck a 45 degree angle to the original grain line. Much in the same way that you might mark a bias binding strip, was how this dress was marked. The rest of the draft was very straight forward, making a camisole style neck-line, then taking out the bust darts by just pulling in the sides. As for waist shaping, that was another gamble that payed off in this case. I took a little out of the waist, probably less than a half centimetre, because I wasn’t in the mood for sewing up any darts. Then I made the dress a bit longer, I know you can’t really tell but when your eye-ball measuring of lengths is usually for mini-skirts your idea of ‘long’ can become a little skewed.IMGP5107 Since the piece was already on the bias, I continued the trend with a bias binding finish, making the straps link into the armhole coverage. Then folded the hemline up twice and hey presto! We have a dress. I started this Sunday morning at around nine, finished before twelve, although I work as though I’m on steroids (all my extra energy comes from running) and as though there’s no tomorrow, which considering that I wasn’t going to have my sewing machine the next day, is a viable excuse here.

And I’ve found myself wearing this dress at least four times since that fateful morning. Of course I wear layers, despite the art college tag here, I do still treasure my warmth above all else, my most often worn item is my fleece. It is fun for layering though, especially with the grey dress worn here, which has always been that bit too ‘body-con’ for comfort. I’m trying to become less “I’ll just stand here in my oversized clothing” but I do have moments where I’ll completely revert, or look in the mirror and shake my head that it’s just not me. But well, the two together… very me.IMGP5091 So final verdict on this nineties-esque piece, I’m very happy with it, I can keep my barely there ‘fashion cred’ while still staying true to my rule of warmth and comfort. Best of both worlds, now if you’ll excuse me while I knock up another dozen!
P.s. did I even mention that it’s silk!

College: Or the reason for months long absences

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So I’ve been gone a while.. And there is a reason, as much as this may sound like an excuse (it’s not) I’m now in art college! Surprise. The main cause of me neglecting this blog is time, both for creating new garments, photographing said garments and (ultimately) uploading these photos to the great and powerful internet.
I now spend a good ten hours a day in my studio (desk rather but studio sounds better) and I’m working full tilt on my project, which seems to consume my interests more and more with each day. Another important reason why time is proving to be such an issue is people, since going to college involves moving away from home and into student accommodation making friends is more of a necessity than ever and I’ve met a lot of new, crazy, passionate, creative and genuine people in the recent weeks. I’m in no ways saying that I didn’t know people such as these before but there is a difference when you are both living and working within such a close proximity. The whole atmosphere of this new place is always enticing and embracing, accepting both my rubbish dance moves and my often obsessive nature over my project. It is an entirely new lifestyle and I’m still trying to figure out where everything fits in (this blog included). While I’m still configuring all of this in my mind you can have a look at my college blog. As part of our grade we need to have an online visual notebook, in this case a tumblr account, and this is mine. Until then enjoy these late winter nights and warm cups of hot chocolate.

Chinese inspirations


China through the looking-glass, or fashion’s beady and greedy eyed glare at Chinese inspirations. I have a limited experience with exhibitions inspired by clothing, my strongest memories are of old V&A exhibits of the Supremes glittery gowns and later, of the japanese imperial family’s most treasured kimono, and more recently retrospectives on John Galliano and Dries Van Noten (in the Parisian Des Beaux-Arts and it was amazing) but this was something else. For starters, the sheer scale of the exhibit, three floors, each corresponding to a different element  of either chinese history or a type of garment, the entire thing was larger than Ireland’s national gallery! Then there is the range and beauty of what was on display.


Leaving aside the obvious contributions from fashion houses such as Galliano, Alexander McQueen, Dries Van Noten, Hermes, Chanel, Valentino and many more, there was also an extensive array of artefacts. Scattered throughout were pieces of pottery, the famous indigo blue scenes of the countryside, that, no doubt, are in most grandmother’s homes. There were also intricate metal and wooden objects, laying beside garments, indicating the various designers inspirations. Later on there were walls covered in ancient calligraphy, delicate 1920’s perfume bottles and posters of the early communist China. My favourite addition was on the lowest floor, housing garments inspired by an imperial China, filled with traditional chinese dress and large screens showing films that were also inspired by this era.


 There was even a section dedicated to chinese film, detailing what was worn, and displaying those same outfits nearby. Overall the exhibit was a masterpiece, and held just as much worth for myself (fashion obsessed) as for my mum (along for the fun of it all). If you are in New York before September 8th (exhibition closes on the seventh) I really recommend that you see it. The rest of the museum is just as amazing: sketches by Degas, paintings by Van Gough, and the most comprehensive collection of works by 20th Century artists.


New York Syndrome

Where the buildings seem impossibly tall and the crowds impossibly big. Coming somewhere as small as Dublin, or even most european cities, this place is so different, that continental jump is really felt. If you are in search of somewhere truly different then, well anywhere else (as far as I’m concerned), come here, the city that never sleeps? I think of it more as the city that never rests, night or day. Every corner you turn you see people working, talking and running, yes running for the subway. Back home where the trains come every twenty minutes, it is fair to run, but there all of our subways were every ten minutes.

Now that I’m back, I won’t lie, I have ran for my trains, attempted to look busy, and tried to walk with the self-importance/ confidence that every New Yorker seems to have mastered. For now I’m trying to readjust to Dublin life, but expect a follow-up soon, complete with pictures, tips and possibly some musings on the grand city.

I’m still alive!

What looms ahead

I am still here… just about. The last few months have been rather crazy, between handing off portfolios, attending interviews and suitability tests and having state exams at the beginning of next month there has been no time! Until now, in reality I should be studying but I can only learn off Bismarckian foreign policy so many times!
I feel like I’ve changed so much since I’ve last been here, I’m becoming obsessed with dancing, not in any professional sense, more of a seventies-ish strut through school corridors. Hopefully this is reflected in my newer creations, which are more attentive to this new side of my personality. And yes I have still been sewing, much more slowly and much less precisely than before. I have rediscovered my love of t-shirts (I have a feeling this will always happen to study-weary students) and I have a new, rather unhealthy, obsession with the seventies. Don’t worry I won’t be wearing flares, at least I hope not, although I have become allergic to my skinny jeans. I have a pair of Levis 501s and they are amazing, plus they make me wear fitted tops which I have far too much of an issue with doing.

In other news I’ve graduated, I’m no longer one of those annoying school kids with back-packs that are far too big (and too heavy, I swear I’m going to break my back before the year is out!) and school skirts that practically trail the floor. I’m now in this weird limbo where I still go to school but I’m an adult… I’ve been treated fairly equally all through the year but now it’s far more obvious. Another final, random note, do you know how weird it is to not wear uniform in school for the first time ever. For a child who has made her way through the fifteen year long education system in Ireland, it is immensely gratifying to never have to wear a uniform ever again! The only problem is what to wear in the mornings… and how to have anything that’s clean…I guess I’ll just have to make a new wardrobe this summer!

My top Three picks from Berlin


Berlin is such a dynamic and unique city that it’s hard to narrow it down to any one type of place. The buildings are loaded with history and the people have a quick wit and a sharp humour. Here are my top three tips from my three day trip to Berlin.


Kaiser-Wilhelm Memorial Church


A section of the wall in Potsdamerplatz


Berlin’s flee market


One of the most enjoyable times during the trip was our visit to Berlin’s flee markets. For a city that is so rich in history, it has a treasure trove of antiques; from old currency, to silver spoons to racks upon racks of buttons and pins. There was a really nice atmosphere around the markets as well, people are there to make deals, they work with a purpose and a list, as opposed my listless ramblings. I had a great time picking through boxes of trinkets and shuffling through tables of buttons (one stall stuffed to the gills with buttons). I also got to try currywurst at this market, a Berlin delight of sausage with paprika spices generously drizzled over the top. Very delicious.

As a lover of markets I got my fill as we also visited the Turkish markets near the U-Bahn stop Kottbusser Tor. Don’t be fooled by the fruit stalls lining the beginning of the market and scattered throughout, although the pastries and breads are rather nice, there are true treasures to be found here! Just walk in a little farther and you will find stall after stall after stall of fabrics at €3 a meter and €5 a meter, cottons, synthetics and prints. Admittedly this is not the place for the highest quality but there are soft jerseys to be found and gorgeous prints to be unveiled. Don’t just walk towards this market, run towards it!



The exterior of the Reichstag


The inner spiralling walkway of the Reichstag’s dome


The Reichstag was another impressive site. One of the top sites of the city and I can see why. Getting there is a little bit of a struggle as you have to wait in line just to get a ticket but the groups are evenly spaced and once you’re in the dome you don’t feel crowded, plus its free. The view from the top of the Reichstag is also impressive, you can see Potsdamer Platz, the Brandenburg gate and all the way to the Zoo. The Dome itself is an architectural beauty, light curves of glass and steel: the glass titled at such as angle as to catch the light like a mirror. Inside there are sloping walkways which spiral towards the centre, providing 360 views of the city at the top. We visited the dome around sunset, catching the slight haze over the city, giving everything an ephemeral quality. Despite the strong, icy wind it was still well worth visiting as it was one of the most memorable moments of the trip.




Cafe Konditorei


Another highlight from the trip was Nikolaiviertel, the old district of Berlin, a little medieval haven in the centre of the city, a few minutes from Alexanderplatz and the TV tower. The cobble stone streets curved around the Nikolakirche, with the rest of the area littered withcafes, shops and teddy bears. This is the perfect place to relax and to relish in Berlin’s medieval architecture. I would also recommend a visit to Cafe Konditorei, their teas are something else (the jasmine is delicious!) and their selection of cakes, biscuits and pastries was one of the best that we saw during the trip. If nothing else will sway you their seats are deep, the type of place that you want to rest your weary feet to read a few chapters of your book (can you tell how I spent my time in this cafe?!) . You should also be sure to watch the array of christmas decorations hanging from the ceiling.



The modern Potsdamerplatz station


The traditional S-Bahn stop for Potsdamerplatz

In all this was an extremely enjoyable trip. The city carries this huge sense of gravity about it. There is a different kind of atmosphere here that is hard to find. You can feel how decisions made here have a weight within Europe and the world. You can feel the history of the place, as is evident in the remaining buildings before the war and the memorials and museums scattered around the city. This is a town which inspires you, which takes you in slowly until it has your heart, which makes you want to return again and again for that unique sense of being at the centre of everything. I can be sure that this will not be the last time that I will visit Berlin.

Me-made Fashion Week


Relaxing in our hotel room

So I thought that I would share my handmade outfits from the week, since my trip overlapped with New York fashion week. Not quite in the same league I know, and my papparazi was a one man team (thanks mum!) but it was bit of fun. The first day was mainly spent in airports so I chose to go with warm layers, a new jumper and skirt, from my “new wardrobe frenzy” in the week leading up to the trip. The skirt was made a week in advance, the jumper finished the night before!


A long day of walking later

For the next day I had a little bit more choice but it was very cold, 3 to 4 degrees centigrade with wind chill factor, so I wore another new dress, made from wool jersey, and this leather top which is surprisingly warm!


Outside the Bauhaus archives

For day three I wore my new skirt again, it has a slight stretch so it’s super comfortable. I also wore my coat, this miracle scarf and my super cosy mittens. I wore these everyday as it was so chilly.


Our last day in the city’s old district

For the last day I went with jeans, my tights collection had depleted, my last pair from the day before being barely better than bare legs. I combined this with my crazily warm jumper (whoever knew acrylic could be this toasty!) and a long sleeved top, the little sparkles brightening up the day.