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. 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… 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!
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. 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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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. 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. 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.The 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!
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. 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. 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).
Have any of you guys gotten to a beach this summer, any celebrations for our year’s longest day?
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. 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! 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..)
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. 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.
Our last day in the rental house. I took an early morning wakeup as a photo-shoot opportunity. Later on we went to the beach for our annual pilgrimage of crab fishing, we don’t eat them don’t worry, when we’re finished we return them to sea by racing them down the beach! Then we watched the football finally with pancakes and pizza.
Wearing this dress. Day 10
We began our journey to Karlskrona! Along the way we stopped off at these beautiful gardens outside of Malmo. We also passed by miles of stunning countryside as well as some pretty awesome bridges. Omce in Karlskrona we relaxed in our room until temperatures somewhat cooled. By sunset hour we wandered the streets to gawk as the C18th architecture and the gorgeous seaside sunset.
Wearing my new mesh top. Day 11
Another Karlskrona day. My dad and I got up early to visit the maritime museum which was actually kind of cool. They had an old nuclear submarine and a huge array of ship busts. Later that day we went on a boat trip to a nearby military base. The scenery was beautiful but the 4 hour long descriptions, in Swedish were a little bit boring, particularly as whenever you thought a particular bit of information was over you’d then hear “och so..” (meaning “and so”). The boat ride home was nice though and that day’s sunset was particularly spectacular.
Wearing this hoodie. Day 12
My mum and I decided to actually see the town, walking around little cobble-stoned side streets and passing through little shopping centres just for the air-conditioning. Eventually (after some fabric was bought!) we found this quaint café hidden in a little shaded courtyard, serving the perfect raksmorgas (shrimp sandwhich) and thin biscuits. We may have stayed slightly longer then was necessary… Dinner featured sushi (very nice sushi too) and our last night of street rambling.
Wearing a new camisole top. Day 13
The tired expression is somewhat dignified, we had to leave karlskrona and continue on our way. Our trip featured a visit to Kalmar, a large town (or small city) near Oland. A place that matched Karlskrona’s beauty. There were even more C18th buildings and every house was at least a hundread years old. There were plenty of comfortable cafes (expresso house im looking at you!) and a ton of places to explore. My dad and I went on a photography exposition for a good two hours and found no end of things to photograph! After some more fan apprecitation we drove on to another town of Carlstad, near Skana to rest for the night.
Wearing a camisole (hidden under jumper) to be blogged soon) Day 14
Another travel day, although our trip was littered with pit-stops, photo opportunities and sandy beaches. After navigating around the walls of a castle we headed to a coastal town to find a beach by the Baltic. Always going to the west coast of Sweden, we never get the chance to swim in the Baltic, so at the spur of the moment we took a dip. Granted it meant beachy waves all day and stinging eyes I’m glad I went in. Our next stop was a medieval tower, which was, admittedly, kind of cool. With several flights of stairs, stain glass windows and some tapestries it really brought you back to the C14th. After that we went to a really really sandy beach (see photo above), with lots of sand dunes and a light house, which gave a pretty good view of the beach and the sea.
Wearing these shorts.
Last week coming soon!
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. 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. 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!) Well I have yet more pictures but I think I’ll find some non-Sweden ones for some interest. Ill be back soon.