Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Calvin Klein coctail dress

Finally! Long awaited (it has rested in a pile on my table for weeks..), I've finished (and already worn) my Calvin Klein dress. It's a Calvin Klein Vogue American Designers 2051 to be more precise.

I'd guess it's a 1980's, or possibly 1990's pattern based on the style of the dress, the pattern envelope and the fact that it came with a lot of patterns that range from the 1960's to the 1980's. Bought on E-bay.

Oh, found it! It says 1988 in a small print on the envelope. I love to be right... (hehe).

I really like this pattern, it came with a foundation-pattern for the dress, and called for a waist stay. I've wanted to make a dress with a dress foundation and waist stay ever since I first had a look in Claire B.Schaeffer's "Coture sewing techniques" and realised it's a must for "real" dresses, but found no information on how to execute it. 10 points to Calvin! And the fit is great (though I did adjust it a bit to fit me).

These are a couple of the changes I made to the pattern. I have a very narrow back, I always have to make patterns more narrow around the above waist-underneath bust-area. I also made the skirt a bit more fitted.

I've also (finally) learned that I must, MUST cross out the old lines when I make changes to patterns. I always think I will remember things like what line to cut along, but I don't. Or maybe it's that my mind begins to wander at the second I start cutting the pattern and I always begin to follow the wrong lines. Unless they're marked with little crosses!

I've also realised just how important it is to first pin and then baste the zipper in place before sewing. And that you can actually change the position of the (sewing machine-) needle before sewing, to get it closer to the zipper! Wow, that took a few years...

I still haven't learned to be attentive enough when I sew the actual seam though, so the seams are not the same distance from the zipper on both sides... I didn't bother to rip one of the seams, fingers crossed no-one will notice... and I will pay better attention the next time. Promise!

The material is a gorgeous (I guess) polyester (and that's a major contradiction of terms to a dedicated lover of natural fibers like me) with black weft and red warp (or the other way around maybe) that makes it shimmer in a blackish red colour that's impossible to set the finger on (as shown in the pictures). I love it. It's slightly stretchy (=very kind fit-wise), has a bright and shiny red wrong side that's also very slippery (=lining of skirt unnecessary) and was generally very easy to work with. Kind fabric.

The bodice is lined with black cotton (that actually is the dress-foundation) and boned with polyester boning. By the way, I wish I could find steel boning for corsets! But the polyester boning was easy to work with (am I becoming a fan of polyester? I also LOVE my Houdini Hoodie in tam tam tam: polyester Polarfleece). And I have better (=more necessary) things to sew than corsets :-).

The boning and waist-stay makes it stay in place, and very comfortable to wear.

Had to do a glamour-pose... and bring out my grandmother's fox from the wardrobe to not freeze to death! Modelling outside in Sweden in April is cold, I swear it was no more than +2 degrees Celsius, but foxie kept me nice and warm... and I think him and the dress had to get to know each other, they will surely meet again!

Sunday, 18 April 2010

drape drape no.12, loose drape tank top

I've been busy! Loads of sewing done, and more on its way (but not quite done yet).

The first project is my first project from drape drape (Hisako Sato). No 12, loose drape tank top. Selected largely because of its simplicity (I felt like making something faaast!).

Here's the back of it, modelled on my not yet finished balcony, the rail is not in the right position, not yet attached, and we're still wrapped in a huge white tent. Fortunately for me I find the tent rather cosy!

I'm not entirely pleased with the fit of this top. I'm not comfortable with things that are too loose around my middle, they make me feel like I look pregnant.

As shown by my face and pose in this picture, hehe.Like I said, not comfortable.

But it's suuuper comfortable to wear! I've been wearing it around the house all weekend. I made it in a very light weight jersey that I bought at Stoff & Stil in Bergen.

The plan is to wear it as a cover up on and around the beach (f.ex. when I want to buy icecream and don't feel like queing half nude). Should work.

I did change the pattern a bit, it's a lot more loose, and quite a bit longer in the original version.

I think I shortened it about 15cm's, and I must have made it 10 cm's more narrow, removed in the middle of the pattern, ie underneath the arm-opening. I've put the removed slice on top of the new pattern in the picture to give an idea of how much I removed. I think I should have made the slice I removed more narrow at the top, to not remove the drape in the side of the top.

The material is very soft, drapes well and is striped in two shades of white. I like it, it's a shame there is no Stoff & Stil in Stockholm, so I can't get more of it (but I do have some left).

On friday I went to the suburbs to look at an exhibition with work, and did some shopping from a vegetable stall, and aaaaah I should do it more often! It's even on my subwayline...

Happiness! The smell of strawberries and coriander made me all dizzy when I arranged them to be photographed, it smelled that beautiful, and I've had the nicest salads all weekend... now it's hard to get vegetables of that quality in the city, and impossible at that price. Such a treasure...

Credits: the photo "filter" used in the first two pictures is a free download from Dubtastic. I'm addicted to using them! Instant nostalgia...

Friday, 16 April 2010

Forces of nature

Living in the north of Europe, we have our share of cold weather but are usually totally spared natural disasters. Until now (though, fortunately so far it's just a majour disturbance, no lives lost as far as I know).

A volcano in Iceland has erupted, as you all probably know, and the smoke makes it too dangerous to fly, so since yesterday ALL flights in about half of Europe are cancelled. And no-one can tell for how long.

It's actually kind of exciting, and I might be imagining things, but it somehow feels a bit more quiet, silent here. Although I'm in the middle of a big city.

Photo knicked from DN, photographed by Ingolfur Juliusson / Reuters.

This is the smoke that has put us all on hold. I'm glad I wasn't travelling anywhere this weekend!

Unfortunately for me, it seems like the parcel for my nieces didn't get to Norway in time, fingers crossed communications are back to normal soon!

I've actually made something for me now! A tank-top from Drape-Drape, no 12.

 I shall photograph and post it tomorrow. It's rather revealing to say the least, I made it in a thin, white jersey. I think it might be the perfect beach-cover up (though not for the shy) but nothing for work...!

Edit: I forgot to include this video that Sew I Thought tipped me off about, it's wonderful, uplifting, pretty...!

Have a nice weekend all!

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

New banner

Not that I find it necessary to mention my new banner, really, BUT I knicked the spring-green picture (spring is finally here, I'm so happy!) from, where you can download free wallpaper-images.

Credit should be given when credit is due.

I did edit it into a banner myself, but still. It's a nice picture and I got it for free :-).

Talking about spring, this morning I had a walk around our courtyard garden with our gardener and I had an insight. I've long since wanted, longed for, dreamed about a garden, but since I live in a flat it's only a dream.

But really, I have a garden. A garden with professional gardeners at my service mind you. Not that I can pick the flowers I've planted in it (if people see me they might think I'm stealing them, since it's not commonly known to the other residents that I've planted all the tulips and daffodils...) but still. I'm the designer, I have pretty much free hands (within a strict budget), and I can walk around it every day if I like.

Here's my garden last year in may, when the Magnolia stellata was in bloom. It's not as pretty this year, since there is a load of work going on with us renovating the facades, and the plantings next to the house in front (that's the door to my house) are temporarily removed (and deposited as big piles of soil).

The spring bulbs are finally beginning to peep out of the soil now (that I bought for almost nothing last fall, and planted in the dusk in december), loads of tulips on their way, and the magnolia buds are begining to wake up. It's heart warming.

Speaking of which, I mailed the clothes I made to Julia and Ella today, I do hope they like them (nervous)!

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Clothes for Julia and Ella

Finally I've finished something! In fact a few things, I've made no less than two dresses for Julia, a pair of pants for Julia and a pair of pants for Ella.

Why so much for Julia? Well, she's still more aware than Ella, she's actually waiting for me to make her something, she chose the materials and it was her 4th birthday last monday.

I didn't finish in time for her birthday, so instead of the clothes I sent her a head-band in the same material as one of the dresses (the pink dress with hearts) and two hair-clips (one pink and one purple -"eg liker rosa og lila" "I like purple and pink" as she has informed me many times), all put in a cute box from Japan accompanied with a cute card from France (I often buy cards when I travel, and it's always sooo hard to part with them, but at least a little less so when I sent it to her).

It's fun to have nieces!

The blue dress is made with a combination of two patterns (Dress with quilted bodice & Dress with ruffle trim) in the book Carefree Clothes for Girls. The patterns are both avaliable for free online here.

I made a prototype that I brought with me to Bergen when I visited my brother with family in februari and Julia chose the buttons and flower herself at Stoff & Stil (she had wished for something with an embroidered flower on it since I explained how you use embroidery-yarn at christmas... that you for example can make a flower on a shirt with it... and she said "ooooh"and later "I would like a little flower, here" to a perplexed grandmother...). The lace is a vintage lace that I bought at Old Touch in Stockholm, a treasuregrove for all those who like old things. It's like a time-machine, in two ways, both in that everything is old there and that every time I walk in there I loose an hour or two, but it's worth it.

The buttons are pink and heart shaped. I chose green thread to sew them on, to match the flower in front (and because I didn't have any pink button-thread).

The lace is hand sewn, I did it during our 11 hour drive to Kittelfjäll in Lapland at easter. I would never have finished it without that long car-drive...

 The pants are both made in pink/red striped velour jersey. It's super soft and nice to touch, I do hope they fit them both. I made the patterns by copying their pants, but I think they've probably both grown a bit since then, I do hope I added enough to the pattern..!

The dress is actually kind of a comission. Julia spotted the material from across the store, and asked for a dress in it. I had brough a few naniIRO clothing-patterns with me and she chose one of them. I've changed it a bit, I didn't make a pocket (well, I did, but it didn't look nice since I'm not skilled enough at sewing tiny little things so I removed it) and I added elasitc around the waist to give it some shape, since it turned out to be very wide, too wide I think.

I can't find the exact pattern online now, but there are loooads of cute patterns for childrenswear for free at the naniIRO-website right here. There are many of them sorted under each year (2003-2010) and although they are in Japanese they are so graphic (thank you all old manga and wood-print-artists!) and simple that you don't need to be able to read a word to use them. I recommend them! There are also a few nice ones at Polkadots (click on the squares at the bottom of the page and you're redirected to the patterns).

Yesterday - shiawase - (and that means happy heart in Japanese, I LOVE that expression) I went to my favourite perfume-company's shop and got samples of two perfumes. Gypsie Water and Pulp. The first one is my very favourite and hadn't I spent a fortune on new alpine skis (I LOVE them too) I would have bought it by now, especially since I've felt a bit tired of my old favourite (Viktor&Rolf Flowerbomb) lately. But I don't deserve a new perfume on top of the skis, so I'll have to wait a little.

See how pretty packaged they are... a friend of mine was involved in the graphic design (actually, he is one of the friends who runs the club I made leopard-dresses for), not sure how much but it was one of his first appointments.

Whenever I need artificial happiness I put some on, it works.

Being a scentaholic the best kick is a nice smell, come to think of which: soon the balsamic poplars will wake up from their winter rest and spread their loveliness along my way to work...

Sorry about the long absence, like I mentioned I went to the Swedish mountains for easter. Kittelfjäll to be precise, far far north of where I live.

It was lovely. Cloudy the first two days, but then we got bright blue skies and some great skiing. My new skis (Dynstar Legend Sultan 80) are fantastic and I've already made plans for one more ski-trip this year (seriously, I'm addicted!). Only a couple of days, but still, wonderful. And I will be able to combine it with spending time with my parents, they live only an hour away from Åre, the biggest ski-resort in Sweden, so my brother and I've decided to spend the last weekend of april there, be social and ski (he bought new skis too).

Ah, there are too many nice things to do in life and too little time, isn't it!
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