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.

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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!

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Me-made Fashion Week

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

Sugar and spice and all thing nice?

2014 Pentax K-5 11 072 I am not a big fan of sparkles or glitter, I had my “doll” phase, same as most little girls, but from the age of eight, anything “girly” has been a bit of a no-no for me. I was the kid who had their homework in first, who read books through the night and played with “boys” lego. I think those who love girly things, work it, but it’s just not my thing… until I saw this fabric.2014 Pentax K-5 11 053 Think back to about a year ago, my first time in Stockholm with fabric on my mind. I walk into this amazing shop (seriously this place is gold!) with a new interest in knits. It was perfect! There was also lots of amazing Scandinavian chic inspiring me at the time, so why not go a little riske and buy the sparkly knit… It’ll become something….someday…2014 Pentax K-5 11 097 Well today it has! I’ve always had an idea to make this attention seeking fabric into something, well, not so attention seeking. And so an unassuming long-sleeved top it became. But of course it couldn’t remain too simple, so I scooped the back, but not too low so that it is still suitable for everyday. The final result, I kind of love it! I didn’t expect the sparkle to grow on me so much, but since making it last Saturday morning, I’ve worn it about five times… true love in the making! I have about enough left to make a vest so a summer version shall be in the making!

Winter is coming

2014 Pentax K-5 11 094 Prepare yourselves! Winter is coming! And I have made myself a coat, and I’ve taken a million pictures of it… Well it is the coat of my dreams. Loose and swingy and of so structured! I’m particularly pleased with the collar, say hello to my first drafted collar. 2014 Pentax K-5 11 036 This is my favourite coat so far, I’ve always wanted a very oversized yet structured coat, I have already made a grandad coat, which I also love to pieces but I needed something new and a little bit more refined. This coat fulfills that purpose.

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 The pattern is new for me as it’s been drawn up with new tailoring blocks, because my old ones were getting weird with the darts. I also made my first drafted collar, so it’s as smart as a suit! The general shape of the coat wasn’t dufficult but having my bust dart hidden under the collar and getting the front to sit flat were little problems to deal with.

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The fabric was last years Christmas gift, from Murphy sheehy’s, of course. My love for them continues each day! It’s a felted wool with a slight tartan pattern, there is a base of charcoal grey with the plaid being in a deep navy. I was already in love with the mix of grey and navy, but throw in my new-found love of all things tartan and I was sold!

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The coat was a good sew. The wool took the ease in the collar and sleeves like a dream, it sits ‘just so’ and I’m a bit obsessed with the hang of it. Another feature that I love is the button holes and the welt pockets. Both made in leather, it was possibly a bit ambitious for my first giete button hole and welt pocket, but the detail really does add to the coat though.

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Overall I’m thrilled with this coat, so thrilled that I wore it during the end of summer, despite my ridiculous combinations with shorts and Birkenstocks… This combined with Coddington styled hair (out to my shoulders!) I always got looks walking around town!

Off the Cuff

2014 Pentax K-5 11 048 As I delve further into new sewing techniques and working with new fabrics I find myself stumbling upon so many new perspectives. The more I think “what if I made the sleeve this way instead of that…” That exact predicament led to this top. Simple and basic projects are great but it’s also fun to give yourself a challenge, coming in the form of suede raglan sleeves! I’ve been craving some fifties style darts since I saw the jaw-droppingly beautiful outfits of Monica Z, a Swedish film about a sixties jazz singer. Imagine end of fifties chic with early sixties kookiness, the prints, the lengths, the fit… I’ve never seen such an enviable movie wardrobe, so I felt the want for my own fifties inspired top. One of the major style lines seen in the film were these deep darts that came from low in the side seam up towards the bust. I figured it would be a new style for me and in such an unstructured garment it adds some extra visual interest.2014 Pentax K-5 11 054 Another love of this top is the fabric. I’d seen Carolyn’s Scandinavian guide before I left for Sweden and so made a mental note of the leathers shop in Copenhagen. When I’d learnt that we would be visiting Copenhagen I got a bit excited, then on the second day, after some aimless rambling (that was majorly affected by the availability of air conditioning) I caught a glimpse of the sign. Inside I gravitated towards a large pile of suedes. I had only intended to look at them (in a stroke longingly kind of way) and then noticed the price, roughly €7.50 per skin… I couldn’t pounce fast enough! I gleefully swung the bag around my wrist for the rest of the day, only pausing for the occasional picture of the sunset.2014 Pentax K-5 11 052 The drafting of the top was unfortunately not as easy as finding inspiration or fabric, I re-drafted the sleeves three times… The basic bodice shape was really nice but the sleeves seemed too prim, I wanted fifties inspired not fifties housewife (a nice look just not for me) then I attempted some weird creation where the top of the sleeve was barely covered, this was until a raglan sleeve was suggested, the off the shoulder look allowing no seam in the sleeve (a big no-no for the suede) and i’m quite pleased with the results.2014 Pentax K-5 11 041The binding was more of an after-thought but the vaguely sporty vibes it gives makes me smile and makes the top that bit more interesting. The photos were taken the day after the Dublin fashion festival (which was fricken awesome!) when instead of a lie-in I ventured to the sunny morning light which was too good to miss. I’m not used to see such strong shadows on my face and the gold eye shadow (because why not?) make these photos seem a little more out-there then my usual. Here’s to more evening attire, more off the shoulder looks and more gold eye shadow!

Beach bum

2014 Pentax K-5 11 076 For me summer-time is beach time, well weather permitting. I love being able to heading down to the beach with a few friends to soak in the sun, sand and surf (this is Ireland) and this summer, with the added heat, I’ve been able to get in many more beach days, I’ve even swam in the Irish sea! All of these beach days has led me to come up with a routine, since I live a train stop outside of the nearest beach I can’t exactly run to beach in just my swim gear so I’ve been sorting through “beach-appropriate” garments, namely denim shorts and loose jersey tops.2014 Pentax K-5 11 048 To keep my look a little more fashion forward I’m keeping to my favourite neutral palette. In remembrance of this top, which gets more wear then is healthy I decided to squeeze and new top out of it. Yet the three-quarter length sleeves, cropped length and facing on the neckline make it look that little bit more… polished? I still wore it to the beach though, summer solstice celebrations, same night that these pictures were taken as well.2014 Pentax K-5 11 071 This slightly classier style works for me though as it means that I now don’t look like a complete beach bum! (my shorts are very old!) This top has already taken over from my old one which is now reserved for over-classy bottoms and studying (such is my life).

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Have any of you guys gotten to a beach this summer, any celebrations for our year’s longest day?

week three in Sweden

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Our first day in Copenhagen. We spent our time between rambling the main streets and going on photographic excursions towards the outer layers of the city (meaning all around the city!). By evening time we even made our way to the famed Tivoli gardens for dinner, a spectacular lights show and some seriously cool night-time shots.

Wearing this dress.2014 Pentax K-5 11 Sweden Summer 569 Day 16

Another day of explorations lay in wait. We visited the national art gallery which held a rather large collection of miniature Degas statues. Then we tested out the very efficient underground system (think ultra modern Scandinavian design at it’s best) to an even older part of the city for one of the of the most delicious salads I’ve eaten. Afterwards we headed into the city’s tallest tower for the best skyline views, warning this is not for the faint-hearted, the stairs up are fine, but the final ascent is on the outside of the tower,( as seen in the image above ), however the heights are worth it as you are rewarded with a stunning view. We wound up our final night in Copenhagen with some oh-so-touritsty burgers and then took a change of pace to a bookshop-come café for dessert, for our family’s book addictions being able to sit among shelves of books put everyone at ease.

Wearing this top to survive the heat!2014 Pentax K-5 11 Sweden Summer 1122 Day 17

On the road again! (as my dad would say), it was time to return to Sweden, by ferry that is, but trouble was that our ferry was departing from the other side of the country, so we began our drive through Denmark. On the way we saw not one but two very long bridges (I’m officially saying Scandinavia has the coolest bridges), of course we stopped numerous times for pictures, anything else would be unnatural for us! Finally after six hours of driving (a lot of road works at the second bridge) we arrived at Fredrickshavn, our final stop before Sweden. Only once we boarded the ship did my dad tell me the ferry’s more infamous truths. For this I think I need to explain that each Scandinavian country (Norway, Sweden and Denmark) each have their own currency, so prices in certain things will differ from item to item, one such item being alcohol, so the Norwegians head to Sweden, the Swedes head to Denmark, the Danes to Germany and the German’s to Poland, the reason I’m telling you this is that we were on one of the “Swede to Denmark” boats, on a Saturday night, there were plenty of kids and families on board so it was fine but the occasional song and dance on deck to 80’s Swedish pop was rather entertaining, as was their staggering up and down steps as we disembarked. For the majority of the ferry ride I was outside though, catching one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen. I think I took well over 300 pictures… But I couldn’t stop, it was a classic “sun over sea” horizon shot. By the time we were driving home the colourful lights of the city kept my camera on and led to some pretty “artsy” shots (i.e. blurry and vaguely interesting..)

Wearing this skirt and this hoodie to survive the Swedish dusk.

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Back home, we relished our lie-in and the simple joys of life. In the morning I made Swedish pastries for the first time, under the expert guidance of my granddad, they turned out to be quite delicious as well. After eating a few too many pastries we went on a little excursion to the picturesque housing areas (think colourfully painted wooden-clad homes with lots of flowers outside and around the area), saw a crab and I got the closest to a seagull that I’ve ever been. At home we watched a movie and enjoyed yet more pastries.

Wearing these shorts.IMGP9036 Day 18

Last day… We decided to spend our last day in spectacular fashion, visiting one local town for a last-stop wool shop, it’s for my yearly fix! Then onto one of my favourite towns in Sweden, Udevalla, the old centre is perfect for taking photos so I walked around with my granddad catching various shots here and there. For lunch we went to very quiet yet very comfortable café that served a ton of loose-leaf tea and my last shrimp sandwich… After some reading we drove on to an amazing restaurant, delicious fish, scrumptious desserts and to-die-for views, can I mention it has a swing, and that I love swings! Since we had a fairly early dinner my dad and I drove about finding a setting for our final sunset. Our night was finished with a movie and some of our favourite Swedish treats.

Wearing these shorts (cause I can) and this hoodie (cause repetition is good right…?)