Monday, 31 December 2012

A finished project! And happy new year =)

December... Wow, it went by fast! It's one of my favorite months; the decorations, the smells of cinnemon and saffron, candles and small lamps lightning up the darkness. I had grand plans (as always. I'm sure that one day I'll learn to have reasonable plans, but now they're always grand) of making two blouses and a dress for Christmas. Naturally, it didn't happen. =) However, I'm quite proud of myself that I didn't start them when I knew I wouldn't have time to finish them. Instead of creating one more thing to stress about, I decided to just relax into the holiday-spirit and enjoy seeing family and friends.

But I have finished a project! It was a while ago, but I've been lazy in taking pics of it =)

Ta-da! The first of the two green t-shirts I cut out some months back. I did some changes compared to the last version, I gathered the top to the waistpiece under the actual bust, instead of centered in the mid-front and then spreading out. It, mostly, solved my old problem of pooling fabric between my cups!


This fabric proved to be a nightmare to sew. It's very thin and very slippery, at one point I spent 3 hours adjusting the tension, differential feed and pressure on my overlock, and the stitches still won't form without stretching the fabric if I'm sewing a single layer. To counteract the light fabric, I interfaced the bands at the neckline and the sleeves with fusible knit. It made the fabric less stretchy and causes some ripples, but it also keeps the bands from collapsing so I'm happy.

The back. Some ripples due to the angle of my arms, but look how little fabric-pooling there is at the waist! My RTW-tops are always a mess of horizontal pleats there.

Also, this is by far the best ever pictures taken of my favorite everyday skirt. It's made of surpluce military wool, meaning thick and almost never wrinkles. It might be some blend, though, as it has a nice luster that washing, steaming and pressing hasn't dimmed. This skirt was my second modern wear project ever, made the months before I started this blog. It's versitile and easy to style in different ways, which is good as I wear it at least four days a week all through the cold season... It has been very hard to photograph though, it always looks too dark, or the shape get's totally lost (as here).

The previous attempt at jersey-top, where the pooling-between-the-cups-problem is quite visible. Also, A glimt of another project I finished long ago (before Stockholm sewing expo, to be honest) but I've failed to take pictures of. It's a half-circle skirt, with a lapped side-zipper (first seen here). Quite nice, and I'm happy with it. Great to have another skirt to wear at winter besides my blue... ; ) However, I forgot to pack it after Christmas celebrations at my moms place, so now I'm not sure when I'll get it back so I can take proper pictures of it =(
Eventually, it will be done ;)

Happy new year!
Love, Erika

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Shoppinghaul from London

As promised in my last post, here's the shopping haul from London!

Let's start in Notting Hill... I spent eunough at What Katie Did to get a complementary shopping bag... So cute! But best is still the goodies inside of it =)

A Glamour corselette and chocolate fully fashioned 45 den stockings! I happen to know my boyfriend also walked away with something from WKD... Can it please be Christmas soon?!

A fast hop to Gold Hawk road, and the staggering number of cheap fabric shops, all within 5 min walk of each other. Few of them accepted cards, but that was ok, as a tourist I came with plenty of cash, and oh boy did I put them to good use! All but the last are jerseys, and I doubt there's a single natural fibre in any of them, but they're lovely to touch, have a beautiful drape and a decent recovery. They were 4-5 £/metre, a bargain in my book =)

From right to left: a green dress (for me or for Malin, if she wants it), two red tops, a brown dress for me and a t-shirt for the mr, wool-like heavier patterened blue for a dress, black jersey with black lace for a fancier but comfy dress (blues dancing, work parties etc) and last a polyester silk-like fabric for a slip (test-run before cutting into real silk, and good to have a machine washable version).

Let's hop on to MacCulloch and Wallis on the corner of Oxford street and Dering street! They have an amazing collection of haberdashy, equipment and fabrics of all sorts. The store is divided so the fabric is on the groundfloor, most of the haberdashy and equipment is on the 1st floor, while the trims and so on are on the 2nd floor. While the girls on the fabric floor was angels, the people upstairs were... not so serviceminded. Now, I'm Swedish. I'm polite, patient and don't want to make a lot of fuss. But I still find it unpleasant when a clerk rolls his eyes when I ask for a band being cut. Yes, I wanted 20 metres of it, but still - rolling his eyes? Not so nice. I was very, very happy I had spent a few hours at their website and therefore knew what to ask for, as the store was pretty hard to navigate and not so well-labeled (most things were not labeled at all, actually).
I don't recommend against the shop, not at all! But I do recommend coming with a good idea of what you're looking for and be prepared to be ignored or sighed at when you ask something (they did answer my questions, though). Most important, I found some stuff that just can't be bought anywhere I've seen in Sweden... and def not to those prices! So I'm happy =)

At the top: Gripper waistband. Below it: 20 m of piping cord. At the bottom of the picture: designer tape, wax for handsewing, basting thread, kicktape (brown + black) and two twin needles.

Now, the fabric departement and the lovely ladies who worked there... Totally different experience! No fabric is left laying around in the store, instead huge sample pieces hang on clothing racks. Easy to browse through, cut a piece, feel the drape etc. I had of course a million and one questions about the different interfacings, the lady answered them all, came with suggestions, and ran off to the basement for my fabrics.
In the last minute - like 5 min before they were closing - I asked for a shirting with some specific qualities. She showed me the row of shirtings and I felt a a moment of pure panic. Five minutes and all of those to browse?!!! Then she took one out and said "This one is the one I think best fit's the description you gave...", and it was perfect. Relief! I didn't even glance at the other fabrics =)

Not much to look at like this, but am I weird to find this the most exciting photo of them all? Perhaps =) To the left, interfacings of different sorts (sew-in, fusible, horse hair, hair canvas, chest canvas etc). To the right, pocketing and the aforementioned shirting (a lovely cotton mix with beautiful fall and body. There's a small weave stripe, maybe 2 mm apart).

Leaving the world of sewing and lingerie, I found some books that just had to come home with me =) I had planned to not buy any books, the suitcase get's so heavy but... The gorgeous coffetable book about the Hollywood costume exhibition in Victoria and Albert museum I just had to have. I loved "How to be a woman" by Caitlin Moran, so I of course had to buy her new book. While searching for it at Waterstones, I stumbled over the little "How to be a welldressed wife" by Anne Fogarty and then... =)

This and that. The scarf and the coaster I picked up as we walked along Portobello road towards WKD. I loved the deep chocolate colour on the scarf, and I have a similar coaster that it'll be easier to use when I can also provide a retro-humour coaster for my guest =)

The tie is... a bit hard to see, but I didn't want to remove the protective plastic. It's dark brown with a diagonal weave, and it matches two of the three shirts the mr bought. It's going to look stunning!

That was the week's haul! Or rather, the haul from monday to wednesday, as we just danced during the weekend =) Hope you enjoyed the peek!

Love, Erika

Sunday, 2 December 2012

In London, on vacation!

I and the mr spent a week on vacation in London! It's been years since I've been abroad, so an out-of-the-country vacation is a huge deal for me. The whole idea really came from "Look, there a blues dance camp in London! Wanna go? Hey, let's take some extra days off work and make a vacation out of it!". Said and done, we left for Blues baby blues on Friday 16th, not really sure what to expect from Britain in mid-November. And yes, there was some rain (thankfully we missed the storms with a hairs width, I hope all my Brittish readers are well!), but there was also fun dancing, good food, impressive buildings, intense shopping and a sometimes gloyriously sunny late fall. Here's some pictures from it all, enjoy! =)

Dinner the first day, tired after getting up at 4.50 to catch the first morning flight from Umeå. See that slight curl at the end of my hair? I set the hair in pincurls the day prior, it was a pudel-80s-mess when I took it out at noon Friday, after lot's of brushing it looked pretty darn nice and I thought to myself "Yay! Now it will be all curly and cute until Sunday!". This did not take the humid London air into consideration... I swear, during 4 hours my hair drooped 10 cm!

The weekend is was all dancing, and we saved both shopping and touristy stuff until later. We did go through Hyde Park on the way to the dance classes, and I couldn't resist some photo's of the park in all it's sunny glory... Please excuse the weird coat+baggy jeans combo! Those jeans are the best for dance practice, but not quite in style with the rest of me here =)

Dinner at the hotel Sunday evening, giving you an idea of the quite nice little hotel restaurant where we had breakfast (included with the room, not a given thing in London, apparently).

Strolling down Portobello road in Notting Hill, on our way to What Katie Did, one of my longed for shopping destinations. I'll get back to my shopping in a later post, let's just say it included 1-2 hours at WKD, and a number of shops on Gold Hawk Road... =)

Lot's of cute stuff along this rather tourist heavy part of town. Loved these suitcases!

Interesting wall. See what all those items along the wall and the dividing shelfs are? That's right!

Vintage sewing machines!

I love walking around new cities at night, all the historical buildings are lit up so beautifully, making their modern surroundings fade away. Here's Big Ben and the House of Parliament.

The Tower Bridge

I also saw the Hollywood costume exhibition in V&A museum, it was amazing to see all those gorgeous and sometimes iconic costumes up close! No cameras was allowed inside, so no pictures I'm afraid =( I did buy the official "exhibition book" though (might be the point for the museum with the no pictures-policy... Ah, well, the book was pretty and I wanted it =) ). The whole museum was amazing, I could have spent days there! Strongly recommend a visit there for anyone going to London and being interested in art/craft of all sorts!

That was the tourist (and blues dance) part of the vacation! Early next week there will be a post on the shopping haul =) Stay tuned!

Love, Erika