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!

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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!

A textile lovers paradise

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It’s that time of year again. Arriving upon the gate of the RDS, the direction was soon clear by the bus fulls of ladys, all towards the same direction. The “click-clack” of knitting needles enticing me forward, to enter a new world of bliss, filled with luscious silks, warm wools and crazy soft cahmeres and angoras. Not only were the wools jumping from every direction claiming “buy me! buy me!” but there was also plenty to intrigue all crafters. It was a textiles extravaganza, with fabrics, threads, dyes, books and notions, leaving out of course the amazing displays by both craft experts and up and coming designers. The above photo is from the Patchwork Societies exhibition. There were many amazing quilts but the blues in this one really struck me.

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Many of the fashion colleges from around the country had exhibitions within the show. Colleges such as NCAD and LIT. I’ve heard of these colleges before but not the Belfast school of art. I really loved what they had on show. It was all so interesting, the photography, the projects, they even had concept books beside, which I near squealed at!2013 Pentax K-5 11 047

These gorgeous pieces are by Oliver Docherty. I’ve been lucky enough to not live with horrible macramé  hangings, I’ve seen them in some holiday homes, so I do know their hideousness. These dresses however, are stunning. The above dress is worked with what I think is some type of leather cord, and the one below is made of straw. I love how unusual the material and tecknique is, it’s almost made me interested in testing out the skill the myself…. For now though I think I’ll leave it to the experts!

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Onto the yarn, you didn’t I could just look, could you?, my willpower to buying beautiful textiles is 0! The first picture is of some testing I’m doing. It’s a mixture of some aran weight charcoal tweed, with some green rowan mohair-ish wool in a cabled concoction. I’m thinking a polo neck jumper for some time in the future, but who knows if that will happen!

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The next piece of wool needed an extra special photo for an extra special brand. Coolree are an irish yarn brand. All of their wools are hand dyed in Ireland. I’ve seen their wools several times before but I never seemed to pick up a hank. I couldn’t let the opportunity of a whole stall of these colourful wisps to go by, this peach piece came how and I’m still trying to figure out what pattern will do it any justice. Any suggestions?

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And last but not least and ball of the tweed. I originally got it to create something colour blocked with the grey but changed my mind after my experiment. Now it will probably become a Christmas gift…

p.s. I wore my wrap skirt to the show, because I have a weird tradition of creating a new garment to wear specifically to these shows.

That’s a wrap

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The “perfect” wrap. At the moment I’m creating a mini collection for myself, most of the pieces are finished, in the process of being photographed. I’m also creating a little booklet to go along with. I’m always stressed with school work, that having a little project like this makes things more fun, a little light at the end of the tunnel.

But this skirt is another story! It’s a self-made pattern, as in I lazily traced off my skirt block, added a little flare, a slight asymmetrical front flap piece and hacked off a ton of length. I then without testing, cut into this gorgeous wool and cashmere fabric from murphy Sheehy’s, praying the pattern was close enough to my blocks that it would work. And it did!

I made up the skirt on a new toy (sewing machine) testing out all the special stitches, including an over lock stitch and even automatic button holes! My life has been revolutionised! The skirt was made up in a day, cut out in the morning and sewing the hem by the evening. The joys of holidays it would seem.

These photos are my next adventure into self-portraits/ fashion photography. I’m quite happy with the photos, the first one is a close contender for the cover of my booklet… I’m testing out new manual settings on my camera as well.

Have I mentioned comfortable this skirt is, I could swish around in it for days….

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And here’s a little preview of the rest of the collection.

All Zipped Up

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Don’t cha wish your jacket was cool like mine! Only kidding! I’m sure you all have very stylish and beautiful jackets of your own, before this make however I did not. In Ireland we have two types of seasons, rain in the dark and wind with sun. Occasionally it can be just sun, but not often. To accommodate for this most people have a few different types of coats or jackets. Last year I made a coat for the prior season, however it is wool and once the sun starts to come, it’s far too warm. So then I move out the beautiful grandfather coat, to be replaced with my hideous anorak. It’s good for the rain as I rarely have an umbrella with me, but it just doesn’t have any other good features. It makes me dread summer cold and I hate carrying it around, as I glare at those who have those beautiful, stylish jackets that work with everything… So this was born!

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Of course I knew from the ‘get-go’ I wanted something quite simple, lightly tailored (semi-fitted) and something using this gorgeous wool I got in Paris. I even put together a little bit of inspiration. In the end however I saw some biker style jackets, and decided I wanted a zip. And so I finalised a design! Making that design was another story. I spent three days making the pattern fit perfectly, but I’m glad I spent the extra time.

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The jacket now, quite literally, fits me like a glove, with just enough extra room to sneak a jumper underneath! I already mentioned how I had bought the brown wool in Paris, the black wool was purchase from my ever faithful Murphey Sheehy’s! It was another one of my lots from my work experience there. A good thing about working there is that you get to discover the little treasures hidden in the shop. The week I was there was just after their Christmas rush so I got to help roll and organise the fabrics, so I got to see most of the fabric in stock, I saw this and had to buy it. The lining is also a cute liberty print from Murphey Sheehy’s as well, and the sleeves are lined from the leftover lining of my coat. The trickiest thing to source in this jacket however was the zips. The zip selection was ok, and since I live on an island shipping can get very pricey very fast. My first stop was Cloth Shop, or rather my only stop! I got the pocket zips there and an open-ended black one that turned out to be too long. I was distraught, the whole look of the jacket depended on the front zip, It simply couldn’t be too long or too short. I looked in a ‘sewing’ homewares shop to find they only had horrible plastic ones. I was heading to my nana’s so there was no time left for zip hunting.

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My nana, being sewing savvy understood my dilemma. She miraculously took me up to the attic, where we proceeded to hunt for a bag of zips. Once found, I looked inside. I felt like crying because there was the perfect zip, in colour, length and style, not only that but there were many of there, spares as I liked to call them! Other fun attic finds included my mum’s graphic design portfolio and my aunties fashion portfolio and college work! I also got a cute liberty remnant and some stunning cotton lace, and you know my obsession with lace! A fun day!

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The pockets are one of the more interesting features of the jacket. How did I insert them with no seams, with careful sewing, cutting and guidance from my teacher. The rest was plain sailing. Overall I’m super happy with my new jacket, a bit of French chic with some Scandinavian minimalism! Or at least that’s how I think of it!

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Well now I’m off to stroll in my new jacket!

Denim?

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I have a new dress! It’s weird but it feels like an age since I’ve made a dress, summer, last one on the blog was this one. Most sewing bloggers seem to be in constant supply but I simply don’t wear dresses very often. For this however, I’ve made the exception. The fabric is actually a wool but it looks like a denim. It’s not the softest to wear but I’m glad of the wools warmth. At the moment Ireland’s weather is colder in spring than in winter (usually this is the one time of the year we get heat)

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The fabric is another piece from my beloved murphy sheehy’s! The piece is particularly meaningful. I was doing work experience there back in December, I was there for a week of fabric fondling. Since it was a relatively quiet week we were tidying the shop and found this piece of fabric. It was then rolled and brought to the front of the shop. I stalked watched that roll for the week, praying no one would buy it. Then, come Friday, I finally gave in and was about to buy it when I was given a thankyou for my week. Inside was €50 gift voucher for the shop! I was overjoyed, I immediately grabbed the roll and got two meters to make a dress, they even gave a discount for the amount as well! I love that place.The arm patch pieces are also from murphey sheehy’s. They were a little remnant of suede that I found in the shop and was allowed to bring home.

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You may also be thinking, “That’s also a nice laurel“, well unfortunately I can’t enter their competition because it’s not a laurel. This is actually my own pattern. Another difference is, sans darts, this dress is made from a dartless block. I think it’s also a looser style, but I haven’t seen any other versions of the dress apart from the collet teams one.

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If you want to do some super contrast, or not, elbow patches on your own garments you can check out Megan’s version. I did it a different way but hers is probably more professional, I also used zig-zag stitch instead of straight stitch.

That’s it for the moment but I’ll be back soon!