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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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…?)

The Perfect Blue

2014 Pentax K-5 11 Sweden Summer 3544 The return of the Kate Bush frizz! I know that my hair is a large feature of my photos but “if you’ve got flaunt it!”. This is my last set of garment photos form Sweden. 2014 Pentax K-5 11 Sweden Summer 3551 This dress was origionally made for my birthday, back in….May. Sorry about not posting sooner but when the sun is out I just want to run to the beach and eat ice cream. These photos were taken just outside our rental house, amid the trees. I quite like the light green hues of this backround, and the subtle shafts of sunlight. 2014 Pentax K-5 11 Sweden Summer 3569 The fabric is a lightweight poly knit from Paris. I wanted to make a simple jersey dress, as anything less then this casual is not worn. The fabric was also used in this top. I didn’t like the white in a dress so I dyed it. That was a fun experience… I had an indigo dye kit but Im still not great on chemical percentages and as such so I used the entire bundle, which was to dye 25 t-shirts. So I dyed this top, two meters of linen and over 1000g of yarn, except the chemicals made everything in my bucket look green.. A horrible bright green. Thankfully I just needed to take the pieces out of the dye bucket and then they turned blue again. But the scare of ruining that much fabric and yarn (it was two meters of gorgeous natural linen!)2014 Pentax K-5 11 Sweden Summer 3561 Well I have yet more pictures but I think I’ll find some non-Sweden ones for some interest. Ill be back soon.

Trying the midi

2014 Pentax K-5 11 006 I’m trying to branch out slightly from my usual over-sized top with a fitted bottom combo to a more sophisticated, over-sized garment. Namley a midi-length dress. Since about last summer the “midi” was a new classic and since then I’ve wanted to have a try at the style. A year later, I’ve come around.2014 Pentax K-5 11 045 Yet to break myself to this “radical” new length I made sure to stay within my muted colour palette and love of over-sized garments, I did not however use my well-loved dartless blocks. I actually used the same top as this white one.2014 Pentax K-5 11 017I origionally made this for a trip to Paris that I made in the spring, since then I’ve worn it… three times… I’m not sure how much I’ll wear this garment, particuarlly since seeing how it would look as a top, imagine the perfect loose woven tank… I may be grabbing some scissors soon…2014 Pentax K-5 11 034 In the mean time I’ll try make up my mind by lounging around some more as Ireland continues to display its beautiful bouts of sunshine!2014 Pentax K-5 11 020
In the meantime though I’ll be in Sweden for the next three weeks where I’ll be soaking up every second sea, salt and sunsets! Happy summer everyone!

The experimenter

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Hello again, I hope you all had an especially lovely holiday season, whether with family grappling for radiator rights, or down under, strolling around the beach. My holidays were very calm and relaxed, not too much happening but there were still events to attend. One of the most important events being Christmas diner at my nana’s house. This dress was a simple shell, a basic A-line shape with a bit of extra flare and a little bit shorter for some fun. However I had bigger plans, involving crochet hooks and way more hand sewing hours then I could have imagined!

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The design came in the middle of an art class, I was madly inking, painting and drawing away hoping IMG_0003jfor that miraculous thing one calls inspiration, my eureka moment. And it came. I was interested in playing with new textures, some knitting, dying, even macramé…, or crochet. I haven’t “hooked” anything in a few years. I had a tendency to make my pieces with really loose tension, there were a lot of holes in my supposedly warm hats, so I left the craft and picked up my more successful endeavour, knitting. Another thing I wasn’t good at with crochet was the patterns, knitting patterns have a code that reveals itself like a friend, crochet is like knitting’s more beautiful yet evil twin. So I did what any normal person would, I made up my own pattern with the help of the internet and my fingers muscle memory, soon I had a mini fleet of crochet circles waiting for their commander to give them a battle field. Now all I had to do was figure out how to attach my little army to their neutral base….

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And so, with the help of early home times during exams I started to sew on the pieces. I continued doing at least two or three hours every day, while reciting the laws of physics, the revolutionaries of the 1800’s and some French grammar. even with the exams over there was a mighty load left, so every night for the two weeks leading up to Christmas I would work on the dress, I even managed to reclaim my new Christmas dress ritual of late finishing by sewing the buttons holes on Christmas morning! But it was all worth it. I’m seriously in love with this dress! I love the colours, the irregularity of the crochet pieces and the neckline. I’ve been told it looks a little high, but I think it works with the style of the dress.

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The next chapter of the dress was the photographing. I had to sacrifice all warmth for several minutes. Ireland in December is cold, and while the dress is mainly made of wool and has a high neckline, it also has no sleeves and is rather short. After getting the desired shots my fingers were numb and tingly for at least 20 minutes, dedication I tell you.

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I hope you all enjoy your celebrations of the new year. I also wanted to say thanks for an amazing 2013, it’s been a really unique and interesting year for me, in many ways… I’ll be back soon with some photos and resolutions!

The “I just wanna get out” Dress

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So this is a very old dress, from around a year ago, when I was starting drafting. It’s a A-line shape but with a bit of a twist. It’s made with a dart-less block so the shape is very simple, and really quick to make. But since it’s made with a velvet with a lace overlay it’s a bit more classic.

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I originally made this dress for Christmas last year, being the bold seamstress who sews up her hems on Christmas morning. But it was finished for then, so why has this only been photographed now…Well without coming up with too many excuses I’ve been lazy and busy. It’s way too cold to wear this outdoors in December and January, and it’s too warm for Summer, also there’s not so many places to wear a dress such as this. Recently I’ve been hinting at a new camera, and I’ve also fallen in love with this blog, the result is a missing tripod, and some haphazard modelling poses (my tip, listen to music as it makes your expressions more genuine). Also a lot of eyeliner has been used recently as well….. I think the result is worth it though.

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As for the “interesting” styling, I’m aiming at grunge, I don’t really do pretty little dresses so it’s only natural to include a scarf, an over-sized blouse and a heavy wool coat. I think it works, or maybe it’s just the un-brushed hair and dazed expression that pulls it together…

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But the dress, the velvet is from, as always Murphy Sheehy’s, it was hiding towards the back of the shop, whispering “buy me…buy me…” and well for €15 I couldn’t go wrong. The lace is from Paris, a little bit more exotic. It was again, hiding, but it too came home with me. I’m still utterly in love with it, the paisley, the combination of it with the velvet, the shape, how it’s slightly wider then the under layer. It’s possibly the most pretty thing I own, and the only evening dress I have. Now all I need is some long black gloves or lacy fingerless ones, maybe I should start these.. but that’s for another day!

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Dip-dyed lace

DSC_0118You know in my other post, I mentioned dying some fabric, including the linen used to make the top, well the dying bug got me! Hard! I also mentioned that I had a birthday lunch with my friends called ‘Day in a Dress’ where everyone had to wear a dress or skirt, well when one such person has hosted an event such as this, and can sew…. what better excuse to make a dress!

DSC_0117I’ve had an idea for this dress for a while now. The fabric is a broidery anglaise that I got two years ago in Australia. The only thing is that I didn’t want a super cutesy dress that would never get worn. I thought about how I could eradicate this, step one add super cool racer back style armholes with a sporty high neck, and step two add a cup of blue dye, and hey presto you have my dress! I’ve been meaning to try the ombre dying effect for a while and felt now was the right time. The dress in itself was super easy to make and draft since it was based on this dress. The main modifications were bringing in the side seams since I made the armholes much bigger.

DSC_0113Since the embroidery anglaise is so thick when two layers are put together I used plain white cotton bias binding (so it would dye with the fabric and not stand out). I then finished the inside with french seams and hand stitched down the hem and the bias binding. It was a really nice, relatively quick make. I probably won’t make another one the same as this but something similar may be looming in the distance…

DSC_0124Sorry about the photo overload but there was SUN! This dress is made for the sun, it doesn’t even have a lining so it can be doubled up a beach cover-up. I’m really happy with the finished dress, even my friends were all surprised when I said I’d made it. It even looks nice with a little denim jacket over it, which in Ireland is a virtue!

DSC_0102My “model shot” for the dress and how I will most likely be looking for the most of summer (weather prevailing!)

I have started my jacket at my course and it looks gorgeous! I’m in love with the fabric and style, it’s a little more fitted then my usual but that makes me love it more, it should be finished for the end of week! EEK the excitement of a new jacket!