Sunday 12 December 2010

A hat, a dance, a fair and lots of snow

Did it again, didn't I? *sigh* Took an unplanned and unintentional blogging-vacation...
So what have I've been up to these past weeks? Honestly, not so much, hence the sparse posting. To begin with, I spent one week searching for a paper note. One week! It was a small note that had the vital information about the hat my brother had chosen and I was going to get for him for his birthday. After I got that note, I've moved and... So in the course of The Great Hunt of the Note I turned appartement, drawers, shelfs, bags and moving boxes inside-out. And no success. In pure desparation I winged it, thinking "How hard can it be?". I knew the brand, had a memory of the charachteristics of the model and guessed the size, and I was right!

Joakim, very out-of-charachter, agreed to model the hat for me and even let me post the pic here! Doesn't he look just like a 30s reporter? Keen for news, pen and paper all ready, glasses and hat in place =)

I was in Stockholm for a weekend, teaching dance at a medieval event. Lots of fun! Met some great people, learned a couple of new dances myself and had the rare oppurtunity to dance to live music in the evening. The musicians were amazing!

A snap-shot from a class.

I came home to a very cold Umeå, before it had been covered in snow, now it was almost buried. I love sitting by the table at noon, looking out at frost and snow. Even the windows becomes pretty! =)
2nd of Advent it was The Christmas fair of Gammlia, always a good fair to get in the mood of Christmas. Extra good this year, with all the snow! (We always get lots of snow, but sometimes it melts just around the beginning of December to come back later with the true cold).

The camera didn't approve of the cold, though, so only these two photos from that day. Look a bit closer at the snow on the trees, it's almost hanging beneth the branches!

All from the winter up here!
Report on the creative side of my life: the darkness and work has left me with little energy for sewing these past weeks. This quiet weekend has rekindled it, though! I've taken a break with the coat, figuring it's not going to be done for Christmas anyway and I need to sew something I can finish quicker, just to feel that I have finished something. What better than a Christmas dress in a lovely red eco double-knit? =)

I hope that you're all having a lovely 3rd of Advent! (Can you belive it's already 3rd of Advent?!)

Love, Erika

Tuesday 23 November 2010

A swingin' weekend it was

What a weekend I've had! So much great dancing during the socials, and amazing beyond words classes!
Frida Segerdahl and Skye Humphrey held classes Saturday and Sunday, with a theme we as a dance community and me personally really need to work at: the continuation of energy. To keep the energy and thus the movement flowing, to continue the movement. Sounds a bit weird and at the same time like a given, but trust me - it was neither. Very fun classes, but quite tricky. I need to keep working on this!

The social on Friday was almost a warm up for the weekend, a kick-off. The dancefloor was a bit thin, which was rather nice, no crashing into each other and space to do fun, big moves.
The big night was however on Saturday, at Sofiehems föreningshus, a wonderful danceroom. Great floor, nice atmosphere, with a big band playing on stage and a lot of dancers on the floor.

Photo: Erik Israelsson
I played it safe with my outfit for the day: the polka-dot dress and hair done with pin-curls. The curls came out rather nice, I think. Maybe because I miscalculated how long baking would take Friday afternoon, so I didn't have time to take them out before the dance and then taking them out just before class on Saturday seemed silly, so they laid for about 48 hours... =)

An unusual angle for me, Johannes got a bit creative. What do you say, does it work?

Malin and Johannes are soon moving from Umeå, so Swingum took the opportunity this night to thank them for everything they've done for the society. They'll be greatly missed, in their roles as instructors, cashier and webadministrator, but most of all as friends. They're only moving a 3 hour drive away, so we all hope they'll have lot of chances to come visit. It won't be the same, but we'll get to see them and dance with them. Don't be too long, guys!

Photo: Erik Israelsson
Karolina had made a beautiful present box for them, with Swingum-shoes. Adorable!

Photo: Erik Israelsson
One dance night each semester Swingum is in this dancehall, and we in the kitchen try to make it a special evening when it comes to the "fika" as well. (For non-swedish readers: Fika is sort of coffee/tea and cake, but it means a bit more in Swedish. One can take a coffee on the run, but never a fika on the run. It's sitting down, taking a break, usually with comapany).
Me and Rita baked the sweet bread, and Mona baked the baguettes for the cheese table.

Photo: Erik Israelsson
By now you might be wondering, "Yes, presents and fika, but didn't they dance?". Of course we did! Here's a photo of Skye and Frida performing:

Photo: Erik Israelsson
Swingum Lindy Hoppers had a little performance (before Skye and Frida danced, wouldn't want to follow them up on a stage...). I'm adding a short video, the new camera only takes 40 seconds films. An apology beforehand: this was not my best performance. I and Robin usually don't partner up, we had only practiced once. And it was the first time I heard this arrangement of the tune.
I'm also adding a movie of Malin and Johannes social dancing inbetween sets (that's why so many are sitting. They're having a fika =) ).

Friday 19 November 2010

On Sewing in Swedish

The language of sewing is very intriguing, it can make a complicated process simple and understandable, or it can turn the easiest thing into a string of gibberish. When I started reading English sewing blogs I often despaired, but in time I learned and by now there are some sewing techniques I only can explain in English terms! Neither suits me (I strive to be a bi-lingual sewist), so this past year I've tried to locate sewing books in Swedish, to fill out both my vocabulary and hopefully give me tools to better my sewing. I've come across some great books, and figured I'd share them with you! (English speaking readers: sorry; no English books... yet. But check out Gertie's blog if you haven't already, she has lots of great book-tips).

I'll continue this in primarily Swedish, and just make a small translation to English.

Först ut: en serie böcker jag hittade på Umeå Stadsbibliotek. Det är runt 14 böcker som mycket utförligt med text och bilder går igenom allt man kan tänkas vilja veta, från enkel sömnad till skrädderi (rekommenderas varmt om man vill sy kavajer el liknande). Den visar arbetsgång, olika metoder beroende på hur krångligt man vill göra det för sig, hur man väljer material, allt. Jag önskar verkligen att jag kunde hitta hela serien att köpa, men de är ur tryck. Om nån springer på den, maila mig gärna! Eller köp den själv =)

A series of books that cover everything. It's out of print (these are on loan from the local library), and I would so love to have them!

Sy kläder av Linda Gibson är en nyare bok, bra med bilder och bra text. Den är dock mer som en referensbok över hur man gör olika detaljer, den beskriver inte arbetsgången för sömnad av tex byxor. Som referensbok över sömnadsdetaljer är den dock strålande. Även denna är lånad från biblioteket, men den finns tydligen på bokrean då och då, så jag tänker hålla ögonen öppna.

A great referencebook for details.

Har skrivit om denna förr, men den förtjänas att nämnas igen. Tycker man om att läsa sig till förklaringar, har man en figur som kräver stora mönsterändringar på färdiga mönster är denna bok en räddande ängel! Jag kommer aldrig mer köpa ett mönster, det är hundra gånger enklare att göra ett grundmönster från denna och sen ändra det till den skärning och de detaljer jag vill ha. Boken kommer med ett set grundmönster och förklaring hur du får dem att passa just dig, men det finns även en beskrivning längst bak av hur du gör mönster från dina egna mått. En liten brask-lapp: jag har senaste upplagan, är osäker om mönster från egna mått finns med i den äldre upplagan. Vill du köpa den begagnad, kolla upp det. Det är dock inte fel att inverstera i denna i nytryck.
Boken för herrkläder ska mycket snart beställas också...

A great pattern construction book, easy to use as it also comes with basic patterns. I seriously will never buy a pattern again, be it vintage or modern. It's just way so much easier to alter the basic patterns and add whatever cut or details I want.
I'm on my way to ordering the one for the gents clothings as well...

I promised a coat update, however, since ready printed patterns are a real pain to alter to fit (I really am hard to fit) I'm still working on the toile. Currently it's the armholes and the arms that are giving me trouble, but I'll see mom next week so I'm thinking she will be my saving grace and then the coat pattern will be ready. I may - as usual - be overly optimistic, but I think sewing will go a lot faster than toile-fitting, so I'm still aiming to be ready by Christmas (depending on how much I'm working). However, if I'm not, then it's not the end of the world, I do have clothes to wear! =)

Back to sewing books and language: Do you sew in one language or several? Or is written sewing descriptions gibberish no matter what language they're in? What's your method for learning new sewing techniques? And of course - any tips on sewing books? Beginners or advanced, in Swedish or English!

Now I'm off to a great weekend of social dancing both tonight and tomorrow (be still my heart!) AND classes Saturday and Sunday with the amazing Frida and Skye. It's going to be a great weekend! I'm back on Sunday or Monday with pics of outfits and maybe other things. In the meantime, have a great weekend!

Love, Erika

Sunday 14 November 2010

Hats! Lots and lots of hats!

A while ago me and Elin placed a bid on a lot of 26 vintage hats at Ebay (US), and we won the auction! The hats were ours for a very reasonable price, even including shipping. Yesterday we finally got to open the box, and I can tell you: it was like Christmas! =) As all Scandinavians knows, vintage hats here are usually quite boring and very expensive. So this was a real treat!

Elin, happy at the mere sight of all those hats.

Then the "trying them on"-phase beagan, with some very good laughs. This one took the price. Pretty? Yes, in it's own, very period-typichal style of the late 40s. Would I wear it on town? Good gracious, no! But for a special type of party, as a part of a more comstum-y outfit, then maybe... But still maybe. =)

OK, onto the hats we really liked and would wear to town:

This pretty pink feather cap was adorable on Elin.

I fell head over heels for this cute little summer hat. There's a small, flat bow in the back, and long ribbons that hangs loose down the back.

I usually don't go for pink, but in this hat it really worked with the blach details and the netting. I can't help it, I adore netting!
Ehh... The colour combination of the hat, the hair and the cardigan is a bit strange, but you get the idea of the cute back of the hat... Unless the colours strikes you blind first! ; )

This 40s boater was so cute! Just look at the embroided ribbon and the little fluff-ball =)

A round-up of the hats that came home with me:

The big white one will primarily be a interior decoration piece, and the red hat we have shared custody of =)
To finish this long string of hat-photo's, my favorite:

The netting lays in front and behind the hat, along with the small hearts over the ears keeping it effectivley in place. Why do I always fall for winter stuff? I've said it before, it's a good thing I live in such a cold climate! =)

I know a sewing post with a coat update and some other little things are long overdue, and this week there will be one on Wednesday or on Thursday (unless work turns crazy this week too). I've already written it in my head, now I just need some photos and text...

But right now, I just want to say "YAY for hats!" and do a little happy dance just looking at what laying on my sideboard. A little silly, but that's ok when hats are involved! Lol!

Love, Erika

Saturday 6 November 2010

Some of the many good things in life

Oups! Missed some posts there, didn't I? Well, well, that will happen now and then. As I said, I don't do too well with fixed duties, so blogging is always optional for me =)
In want of cleaver things to write about, or photos of fantastic sewing projects I've finished, here come's a little round up of some of the many very nice things that have come my way since I last wrote.

Tea and cheesecake at Nya Konditoriet, the city's oldest and prettiest coffee-house. They have amazing cheesecakes...

And don't you just love the interior decor?

I got this beautiful merry widow from What Katie Did, as an early Christmas gift from Marita. You only get a photo of it in the box, as I don't feel brave enough for a photo of me in it... =)

Tea and cake at Kattis place (the last for a while, she's gone to England for 7 weeks!). The cupcakes were as tasty as they were cute, lots of almond and lemon curd.

Malin, Johannes and 1 1/2 year old Alva came to me for an afternoon tea and scones last Sunday. Alva discovered that one can run in a circle through the rooms in my appartement. Of course, running was way more fun when someone chased her =) As you can see, she wasn't too sad about being caught either!

Alva is an adventorous little girl, and a new place holds the many wonders of discovering what lurks on, under and behind all sorts of furniture. In this picture she tested the method of getting to the other side of the coffee table by going under it =) If one doesn't try, then how to figure out what works best?

Alas, I have few pictures from the week that just passed. There's been a lot of work, and any energy left in the evenings have gone to dancing and sewing. However, Friday (yesterday) the reception I worked in that day (I move around between different receptions) closed at noon. It's always nice to close early, and look what a marvelous view we had from the windows that day!

Today was just as great as yesterday. Slept in late, had toast and tea for breakfast while reading a feel-good book. Sunshine through the windows all morning, jazz floating through the rooms. An excellent sewing day!

What are you doing this weekend?

Love, Erika

Tuesday 26 October 2010

A skirt, and thoughts on the creative process

It's closing in on winter, the snow remains on the ground off the pathways even though it's a few degrees plus, and there's that chill in the air. So yesterday I gave in, and put on a winterskirt =) A bit silly to wait so long, when I just love my skirts in warm wool! This one I used for the first time ever yesterday, but it's a skirt with many memories. My father gave it to my mother somewhere in the mid 80s, after one of his buisnesstrpis, and it was her favorite for many years. In most of my early childhood memeories she's wearing this skirt! It doesn't fit her nowadays, and so she passed it on to me. It may be 80s, but doesn't it have a strong late 40s feel to it?

On another note: skirtlengths! I realised while trying on my winterskirts that they're all about 5 cm / 2" longer than the summerskirts! Makes sense, for warmth and so on, but I also believe it has something to do with the material, wool drapes so differently from cotton. Does the skirts and dresses in your closet tell the same tale?

Last week I was pretty out of it (darn wisdom tooth!), so I'm afraid I missed my T hursday creative post... Yesterday I was at a fabricstore. Just to buy some sewing notion. Not fabric, I have too much fabric, too many projects just waiting to be realised. So I was not. going. to. even. look. at fabric. Who was I trying to fool? Seriously? =) I walked in, and there was the perfect coatfabric for my sister. Perfect! It was as if someone had made a fabric to match her soul and her very essence of being. And she's been wanting a spring jacket... She doesn't feel up to sewing one herself, but I could make it for her!

There my brain finally cought up with itself, and I remembered all my projects, all the things I want to make. I started thinking about how my brain works around sewing, and here's where I landed: I can never have just one project in my mind. I'm constantly constructing garments, from patternchanges to hemming and everything in between, in my mind. While working on one project, my mind can one afternoon totally skip to another.

This insight is far from new to me and before I've always seen this as a lack of charachter. What struck me yesterday is that maybe it's not. Maybe it's how I keep myself motivated. Just thinking of one project would bore me, and in the long run make me put down the project at hand to never finish it. But now, I take a vacation now and then to a future project, and so keeps the interest for the creative process itself alive. I never start drafting patterns or cutting out a new pattern before the on-going one is finished (the coat being the exeption to the rule), so this divided attention doesn't disturb the order in which the projects get done, altough it might prolong the process. Maybe that's why it takes me so much longer to finish projects than other sewists I know? Because I am slow, I know that. But things do get done, eventually.

So maybe it's time to go a bit easier on myself? What I've seen as a charachter flaw might instead be viewed as a creative strength, something that keeps the creative process going. Most importantly, it keeps the sewing fun, and that is after all the whole point! Another benefit is that all my projects are very well planned. I've turned the pattern and the pieces around and around in my head so many times that when I actually get to sewing, I've already worked out many of the problems that would otherwise have presented themselves as I went along.

So what conclusions to make from all this? It's ok to plan as long as one doesn't cut the fabric? Or just that I sometimes needs to go a bit easier on myself? One thing is for sure, though: I am not allowed to buy fabrics for more projects! (For myself, at least. Kajsa's spring jacket is still an idea) Why? Because I almost can't close the fabric cabinet as it is! =)

Now I'm off to cut out the second toille for the coat, a toille that might be upgraded to a summercoat if it behaves properly. =) Hope you're all having a great creative week!

Love, Erika

Monday 18 October 2010

First try at fake bob

This is what I wore to the dance at Saturday this weekend, the blouse doesn't photograph very well, but it's a favorite... The skirt is my beloved circleskirt (made by mom 30 years ago), the stockings are from What Katie Did and the shoes are a pair of Aris Allen 30s reproducion.

Inspired by browsing the new Vintage Hairstyling book last weekend, I made an attempt at a fake bob. It needs a bit of work, but I'm happy to report that the hair kept in place while I danced, so there will be more times with this hairdo.

A close up, where you can see that it's still up after all that dancing, although it is hanging a bit lower. During the evening I got the tip to use a very thin hairnet over the whole bob. I'll try that next time!

I've already mentioned that my string-shelves are finally up on the wall, but I wanted to give you a pre-view, now that it has some books in it! A strange thing, books. As soon as I have all my books up, a place starts feeling like home. I know there are people who don't own books, but for me they're absolute essentials of life. Anyway, at the picture you can see part of the middle section and part of the right section.

It's a rather short post today, I'm afraid. I was at the dentist earlier today, it's really hurting, so now I'm going to crawl back to my sofa and watch either Dead like me or Criminal minds (has borrowed some boxes from friends). Hopefully I make up my mind before I reach the living room =)

Love, Erika

Friday 15 October 2010

Kitchen shelf, how did I manage without you?

The new appartement-setting up is on the home-stretch, soon I'll feel ready to give you a tour =) Mainly thanks to my wonderful friends who helped me mount the string-shelfs on the wall, and to secure my dvd-cabinet so it doesn't topple. Thank you, thank you, thank you Kalle and Elin!
This kitchen shelf was a walk in the park by comparising, but the important part is that I did it myself =)

This sort of shelf was very common here in Sweden for the first part of the 20th c, "paradhylla" (direct translation "parade shelf"). For my international readers: have you ever seen one of these, or perhaps even know what they're called in English?
Whatever it's called, it's really practical! Small and slim, but creates a place both for my kitchen towels, my most used apron and my favorite teas.

One can of course have the shelf as it is, but I prefer it with this curtain-like thing so aptly named "parade towel" =) This is where the sewing came in (if drilling doesn't count as crafty...), I made a small canal at the back. Not much, but I did use a sewing machine, so it counts as crafty! ;)

The story behind the shelf and its towel is rather cute. I had talked about getting one for a few months, then this summer me and my grandmother were at separate vacations, both of us of course visiting local fleamarkets. By pure chance we went to Stockholm on the same train, and she pulls up a fabric from her suitcase and says
"Look what I found at a fleamarket! A parade towel for you!".
At first I was so surprised I just stared at her.
"Guess what I found at a fleamarket in Skåne?" I finally managed.
"A parade towel?" she asked a bit nervous.
"Nope, a parade shelf!"
Perfect combination =) Thank you, nanna!

Close up on the embroidery:

Leaving the world of wonderful kitchen shelfs, have you read Tilly's excellent posts on the problems with being a concious consumer of fabrics? I have for quite a while despaired at the seemingly impossibility to find organic and fairtrade fabric. Such clothes exists, such yarn exists, but fabric seems to be hard to find. I know I'm not perfect in always buying organic and fairtrade, but I do try whenever there's an option, and I would love to find that option for fabrics. Check this out for thoughts on ethical fabric, this for a Brittish on-line store that carries organic fairtrade cottons and this for the generous giveaway Tilly's hosting. (There's no "mention this in your blog, and get more chances", I just genuinly think this is an important topic).

Have a great weekend!
Love, Erika

P.S. And yes, that is snow on the ground you can spot in the second photo. It's very thin, it doesn't cover all ground, but it is there. Winter is at least three weeks ahed of scheduale, in my own humble opinion... It's fortunate that I love winter clothes! =)

Monday 11 October 2010

Saturday night out

Saturday I did something for me very unusual - I went out! Since I most often go out dancing lindy (like I did Friday...), I'm usually too tired for any regular going out as in drinking other things than water and tea =) But this weekend Kattis threw a small party, so how could I resist?

What I wore:

The polka dot-dress thrifted at Myrorna here in Umeå. It has turned out to be my answer whenever I'm wondering what on earth to wear =)

Why, amongst other things, a party at Kattis is a must: things on the table included muffins, chocolate on a pretty cake-plate, gorgeous glasses, the new Vintage Hairstyling-book (oh how I want it! I have the other version, but there's new hairstyles in this one...), this seasons catalogue from What Katie Did and other miraculus and wonderful things.

Kattis in pretty black lace and a stocking combination of gray stockings over pink. And it worked! Oh, and matched the fascinator =) Anela was so cute in her new polkadot-dress!

Therese, always gorgeous, with a fairytale glass. Does it remind you of princesses or circus clowns?

Johan, only guy and such a gem not to be the least bit akward in the flowing discussions about suspender belts and hair-do's! =)

The end of the evening was a bit strange. We went to a pub that was supposed to play rockabilly, but then there was some problems and I ended up fleeing the live hardrock-music to a fun party at the home of Sarah, a vintage hairdresser with a wonderful 50's decorated and furnished appartement. A bit unexpected, but those parties are usually the best, right?

Home at last after a nice evening, I took some outfits photos. I had tried a new version for curling my hair. I started with it dry, mixed some setting lotion and water, and sprayed it lightly on the hair as I set it in hot rolls (only enough to get it a bit damp, not wet). I let the rolls rest for about an hour, that was enough for them to cool and the hair to dry. This might not work on hair that's slow to dry, though... For me it was a very practical and lasting way to set my hair, I'll definitley do it again!

Love, Erika

Thursday 7 October 2010

A New Beginning

October? How did that happen?! Somewhere between moving to a new appartement, travelling, dance classes starting, social dance nights starting (with all the meetings coming with the dance-stuff...), being ill, work etc, the blog fell away. Two weeks without a post, that's bad. One month, I figure we're talking revival, right?

So this is a New Beginning of Swingin' it in vintage! Since blogging a bit here and there doesn't seem to work very well for me, I'm going to aspire to a post-scheduale. I feel I have a tendency to get stuck in one thing all the time, so I thought I'd do two posts a week, with different themes. One post around Sunday, showing outfits, vintage finds, fun stuff I've done etc, and one post around Thursday, about creativity (like sewing projects, all sorts of craft, but baking also would fall under this category). What do you guy's think? Does it sound like a plan? Please note the aspire and around, I don't do too well with things I must do, so I'm keeping it more like a plan of intentions than a fixed duty =)

I figured I'd start right here and now! It's Thursday, so it's all about creativity and creations today! A year ago I got the idea that I would sew a coat. A really warm, vintage-inspired wool coat, to be warm but pretty in. I thought about modern patterns, as the style I wanted seemed to be hard to find as a vintage pattern, but then this Vogue pattern from 1952 came up for auction at Tradera:

It was perfect! The princess-seams, the lovely collar, even the size (with a FBA, of course).
The coat in my dreams was green, and I knew just the place to get the fabric: Handelsgillet. Did you know wool in ordinary fabric stores can have as much as 10 % other material, and still be called 100% wool? Horrifying! *shudders* However, people who sew historical clothing sometimes are very picky with the authenticity of their fabrics, so some companies (like Handelsgillet) have specialized in making sure their fabrics keeps to the standards demanded by for example medieval re-enactors.

My fabrics! From the left: 1) The wool. Warm, breathes, relativley thin, heavy. Perfect! =) From Handelsgillet. 2) Interfacing, a woven but fusible interfacing. 3) Interlining, 100% wool, so soft and light I keep picking it up to see that I've not imagined it =) 4) Lining, in a strange colour that shifts between brown, purple and sometimes gray. All the last three fabrics are from Sidenateljén, a local seamstress that sells beautiful fabrics by the meter.

A coat demands way more tailoring skills than I master, so I signed up for an evening sewing class. It's great to have someone show me the trickier parts and hold my hand through the project!

Longtime projects are fun, but sometimes the sewing bug demands instant gratifications. For this skirt, I had the outer skirt already cut out, bought some lining, made some pattern changes and put the whole thing together since Tuesday.

New things for me with this mini-project: lapped zipper, lining, this version of waistband and the back-split. (Above: lapped zipper and covered button, and a so-and-so waistband).

Front view (sould have pressed it better...). I inverted the pleats from how I did them the last time I used this pattern.

I had plans to just machine stitch the lining, but then the machine kept pulling it, so I ended up doing an invisible seam. Quite fun to hand stitch, and I love how it looks! =)

All for today, I'm off to sewing class to figure out toille-changes for the coat. Wish me luck! ; )
Love, Erika