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