Friday, 23 September 2011

Books, shoes and tights

Today is national shopping day, also known as payday =) I of course felt I had to do my part (it's all about keeping the economy rolling, you see...) and here's what's new in the house:

Sewing books! These were mailorder, of course, but I timed it so I'd get them and the invoice this week =) The Fabric sewing guide is one of the best sewing books I've read. I originally checked it out at the local library, but soon realised this was a keeper. And now I have my very own! It's a great reference book, although I'm not sure I'd recommend it for beginners. It might be good if this is not the first sewing book you see the inside of. However, if you're an intermediate sewist looking for books to take you to next level, any of Claire Shaeffers books are worth looking into.

The Trouser sewing book is perfect! It shows all the tricky techniques, provides pictures of sample trouser's (loooved the vintage custom ones from 1932), and it even comes with a dvd where the author demonstrates the techniques. I will definatley buy the shirtmaking book by the same author.

I haven't had the need to consult the serger guide yet, but from browsing through it I'd say it looks promising. We'll see how it holds up when trouble arises with my overlock =)

Shoes! And no, they're not pretty. They are not supposed to be pretty, it's not their mission in life. They are however supposed to protect my feet from water and the pavement, and with gore-tex and super-cushioning they're just the right pair for getting the job done. No more sore feet! No more wet socks! You see, my old walking shoes were working on overtime... =) From Gå och löp-kliniken.

Just stacking up on knitted goods for fall/winter. A new cardigan is always nice, and I loved this colour. Then I went a bit crazy on the thights (didn't even know one could do that)... There was an offer, "3 for 2", which I took as a sign that it really was time to throw away the old tights that has to be worn with ancle socks to cover the holes in the heels (my old winter boots ate heels).
I cleaned out the underwear drawer not so long ago, thinking I'd sew new. That hasn't happened, so I've been washing a lot lately =) 3 pairs of knickers for 100 SEK (approx 11 euro), made of organic cotton, seemed like a great solution. If they fit, maybe I'll get a couple more boxes...
All this was from Lindex.

The weekend is about to start, and I'm off to a medieval dance event. I'll be teaching some, I'm hoping to learn a new dance as well, and I'm giving a lecture on SCA and how to behave during court and banquet. Oh dear, maybe I should actually prepare that lecture? Promise to take lots of pictures! If any of them are good, I'll post them next week ; )

Have a great weekend!
Love, Erika

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Playtime for the kids

Last weekend I went to Luleå to visit Malin, Johannes, their daughter Alva and baby son Milo. They moved to Luleå in January, and I miss them so very, very much. At a dance-night recently I missed them like crazy and I decided I had to see them. Now! =)
It's a 4,5 hour train-ride so I sewed together the trouser-toile I'd failed to sew the evening prior used the time to hand baste the new toile for Johannes trousers. I love travelling by train!

One of the delightful things about spending time with kids is that in the pretense of playing with them, one can forget about acting one's age and enjoy good ol' fashioned playtime. Like swinging. In a swing, not on a dancefloor. Can't remember the last time I did that!

I love the look of Malin in this picture - like a shepherd guiding the lamb =)

Johannes found a contraption one could swing back and forth, using the whole body. After the photo was taken we all climbed up and got the pole moving =) 

A tradional slide-ride is a must, and it was apparently much better with daddy making a tunnel at the end. Alva deemed me and Malin too short to make good tunnels...

The hat also wanted to take a slide ride. We know this to be true since Alva said so =)

And adorable little Milo slept through the entire thing.

The rest of the weekend I played with Alva, cuddled Milo, drank tea, ate food and just sat around talking. A wonderfully relaxed and relaxing time! Now that I've discovered it's fairly easy to quick-visit them, I plan to go to Luleå a bit more often.

Thanks for a great weekend, Malin and Johannes!

Love, Erika

Friday, 2 September 2011

Challenges and projects

In June I participated in MeMadeJune, an internet challenge run by Zoe, where I pledged to wear one me-made item every day. I actually finished it, but I didn't have time to document, so I'm afraid you're just going to have to take my word for it =) Now another challenge is running: Self Stitched September began yesterday. I very much wanted to participate this time around as well, but I feel that I haven't filled up the gaps in my homesewn wardrobe I discovered in June, and I will instead focus on sewing.

So what did I learn from MMJ? First, that taking daily pictures are time-consuming and a big challenge in itself. If I didn't want my living room as a backdrop for every single outfit I had to find photo spots outdoors. Not a huge problem, but a time-thief... It was fun, though! I discovered lots of nice little photo-places in my near surroundings, places otherwise never would have occured to me.

Second, that I have some huge gaps:
-Tops and blouses, and not just of the homemade version. I just simply have too little variation in that departement.
- Comfy clothes to wear around the house
-Work-out wear

It also wouldn't hurt to have a few more dresses, both for winter and for summer. My plan is to sew soft jersey dresses to slouch around at home in during winter, and be comfy in all summer.

But is there a plan to rectify these gaps, you might wonder? Indeed there is! But then I always have plans... I sometimes fear that I actually prefer dreaming of sewing while fabric-hoarding to real sewing =) One reason why I'm so slow in finishing projects is that sewing is just one of my favorite hobbies, and dancing takes a lot of time and energy. Not to mention the full time job and the 3 times a week gym-work out ordered by the doctor (Literally. Or at least ordered by the physical therapist the doctor sent me to.).
My current projects, and why they are not finished, sort of sums up the other reasons so few things are proclaimed ready. A small list:

My late, paternal grandmother's dressing robe. The only visible flaw that needed fixing up was the lining. I could have just patched it, and it would have been done. But anything worth doing is worth doing well... So I'm inserting a new lining and finishing all the robe's selvedges.

Time consuming, but the robe is 65 years old, and with a little love I will be able to wear it for many more years.

A holk-sleeve blouse with a fit I'm far from happy with. Just look at those awful strainlines from the shoulder!

Also the blouse is a bit snug around the hips. I'm tricky to fit, and anything meant for my upperbody takes more than one toile. I need to make a new toile for this pattern before I cut into this beautiful pure silk:

I love, love, love this fabric, and I'm comfortable cutting into it since I know where to get more (a much more important factor for me than the price, which was quite dear). But I still want a pattern I belive in before I start cutting.

Johanne's pants (no pictures yet). Men's wear + pants, need I say more? I'm tossing the old pattern out and am making a new pattern and toile. When attempting garments that are outside my skill-zone I learn things, but it does not make for fast sewing. Fun, though =)

Then there are of course the eternal projects, but these are the one's I'm actively working on right now. What about you, do you whip out a new garment in an evening? Do you frequently think "Who's going to know? Let's sew!"? Or do you lose yourself in the quest for perfection until nothing is ever proclaimed ready, and none of your creations has your full approval? Or do you manage to balance the fine line inbetween?

Have a great weekend!
Love, Erika