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!

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.

New York Syndrome

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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.

My top Three picks from Berlin

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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.

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Kaiser-Wilhelm Memorial Church

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A section of the wall in Potsdamerplatz

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Berlin’s flee market


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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!


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The exterior of the Reichstag

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The inner spiralling walkway of the Reichstag’s dome


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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.


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Nikolaikirche

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Cafe Konditorei


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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.


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The modern Potsdamerplatz station

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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.

Ich liebe Berlin

The Green Man

The iconic street lights that I got a little obsessed with, taking a picture every time we crossed the street.

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The Reichstag at sunset.

Despite appearances I am still here! I’m sorry for not being here in so long but January was the month of deadlines for me…. My technical project, which is 40% of my final mark, was in for the second week of the month, my portfolio to get me into college on the third week (my college application was also due that week) and my mock exams (I’m in my exam year) started on the 3rd of February! Not a fun time for me, I couldn’t even get near my sewing machine I had so much work to do. Thankfully most of the stress has passed now, I can finally join the online world once more and leave the other place of books and studies behind me; which is why I’m typing today! I recently went on a trip to Berlin. It was a very last-minute affair as a treat for having survived my mocks (one day was six hours and twenty minutes of exams!) and it was the best reward that I could have asked for.
The city is big in a way that I’m not used to. You can walk everywhere and there isn’t too much need for the U-Bahn unless you want to travel far, but the streets, roads and squares are all just giant expanses of space. In Dublin, even Grafton Street (the main shopping street) could only fit about ten people walking side by side, most streets barely fit two: Berlin’s main boulevards could easily fit thirty, maybe even forty people, the sheer scale of the city was slightly daunting. Then there are the buildings which are plentiful and either loaded with history (pick-pocketed by bullet holes) or are modern marvels of architecture, at least half of my photos from the trip are of buildings. And finally we have the food, pretzels and curry wurst (of which I cannot recommend enough) which saved an otherwise lost lunch several times. All in all this is a truly diverse city, between its melded cuisines, juxtaposition of architectural styles and its people. A very memorable trip indeed.

The most famous Trabi in the world?

The most flamboyant Trabi that I saw during the trip #noirberlin #trabinoir

By Poseidon's Ladies

Is it bad that I’m jealous of her plaits?

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!

week two in Sweden

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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.2014 Pentax K-5 11 Sweden Summer 142 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.2014 Pentax K-5 11 Sweden Summer 650 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.2014 Pentax K-5 11 Sweden Summer 901 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.2014 Pentax K-5 11 Sweden Summer 1359 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)2014 Pentax K-5 11 Sweden Summer 1762 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!