Thursday, 25 March 2010

Inspiration, again

I'm finally back after a fabulous week of skiing in the alps, in Chamonix to be more precise. I actually came back on sunday, but it's been a busy week, and it will be for the rest of the week too.

Not much sewing done lately in other words, but I did find some inspiration online! Face Hunter proved to be my cup of tea, look at this...:

That collar is fabulous! I especially like it the way it's worn on the left, looks very sophisticated.

And it shouldn't be impossible to copy, should it?

By the way, am I imagining things, or is it the same girl in both pictures?

I love the play with different structures in these two pictures. The way the material is just one colour, but still striped (I love stripes!).

Again, isn't it the same girl in both pictures? I just saved a few pictures of clothes I liked and teamed them up in photoshop... and then realised I had coupled up pictures of the same women, a sign that they have a consistent style, perhaps?

I just love these coats... both of them! They remind me of old Russia, tsars and kosacks, tea from a samovar... oh romantic thoughts!

Not very spring-post appropriate maybe (spring IS finally here! The first bulbs - snowdrops - are in blom in my courtyard), but we have something called "april-snow" here in Sweden, and it looks just like it does in the right hand picture. So quite right actually! There are always several backlashes when we get snow again in late spring to everyone's disappointment, but it's just the way it should be... (and looks pretty).

And finally a picture from the slopes of Chamonix... at Les Grands Montets to be more precise. This was my view for a fantastic lunch on a rock next to the mountain side, warmed up by the sun and not the least windy thanks to a tall mountain behind our backs. Four swedes in total admiration of the sun after a long, dark winter, life spirits back in the body!

So, I've decided to go to the Swedish mountains to ski at easter, that's next weekend. I can't wait!

I travelled with (though that's a definition of terms since I and my friends did the travelling bit on our own, courtesy of Easy Jet, I've never spent more time in queues in my life before! But they did have quite valuable sandwiches and beverages on board, a plus) the French organisation UCPA (Union Nationale des Centres Sportifs de Plein Air), and I must recommend them to anyone interested in travelling + sports + meeting new friends. That should be most, right?

If you're also interested in learning to speak better french it's a hit, but you don't have to speak french (even though it's a plus to at least understand some). There's also a swedish office, and many of the Swedes who travel through them speak no French (I had to translate when I went sailing last summer...).

They arrange very valuable sport-holidays with everything you need included. A week in the alps ALL inclusive (not alcohol, of course) was about 750 Euro (about US$1100)(I've edited the price since I posted this, it was actually cheaper than I remembered...) . I think that's about half the "normal" cost, so although the accomodation is of quite a low standard (or rather simple), it's very, very cheap. And then you get to ski with a ski instructor for a full four days, so I must say I improved (yippie!).

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Inspiration, and life moves in interesting ways

Sometimes life is funny. Or more interesting maybe...

On saturday, like I mentioned before, I was invited to a night of champagne, a chat and no dancing (that actually turned out to be "and some dancing", which was perfectly to my taste).

Here's my grandmother's fox in the company of three nice people, one of them my friend Ylva (sorry about the bad quality, once again I blame my iPhone, but then a few candle's and a computer-screen is not enough light for most cameras). You get the picture. A nice setting.

One of the other guests was an interesting person in many ways, the most interesting for me was probably that she makes her own historical costumes. She was dressed in a (I would guess) 1890's corset-top (not the correct name, but you get the idea) and skirt (that I had to stop myself from attacking and turning inside out to have a look at the construction) and I was SO inspired to have a go at making something similar for formal parties.

Then I found a fabulous 1950's Balenciaga dress through Vintage Pattern Librarian-blog (from his 1955 collection. Photo from Life Magazine, September 5, 1955 via Vintage Librarian), found out that I could become a fan of the Vintage Fashion Library at Facebook and that way get access to loads of picures of vintage fashion, so I did. A rare occasion for me to fan something on Facebook!

Which all led me to have a look the Vintage Pattern Library-patterns for sale and realised that it's probably 1880's - 1890's Victorian that I like the most of the more historical clothing. Walking dresses and such. See more here. Though I would probably remove all the decorations and work more with the drape of the fabric if I were to make one for myself, it's the shape I like, like these:

1899 Gown Trimmed with Persian Lamb, 1892 Dress with Figaro Jacket and Watteau Pleat, and 1891 Blue Gray Tailor Gown, all images borrowed from Ageless Patterns.

I like the fact that the skirts are quite narrow, I like the draped and pleated details and the corseted waists. Heck, I actually like wearing corsets, which might have to do with the fact that I spent the main part of my teens clad in plastic, in a medical corset to stop my back from becoming twisted and bent by scoliosis. I didn't enjoy it then (at ALL), but I have no problems wearing either traditional kimono-underwear (very similar to being corseted, but with tightly wrapped cloth) or victorian corsets now. All experiences have their advantages!

Anyway. Earlier on this spring I was utterly impressed and inspired by Dior's Couture autumn 2010-line. Oh, such a wonderful collection of colours in unexpected combinations, and the most wonderful draping. All with a definite flirt with historical clothes. See what I mean:

The ballgown top left is fantastic... and I just love love LOVE the unexpected clashes of bright complimentary colours. And the hair...

Earlier this spring I was (as you all probably know, and as many of you probably were too) shocked and sad to hear the news that Alexander McQueen had died, and I have been waiting to see his last (not latest, last for real, sad...) collectionm, I finally did yesterday and it's the most brilliant take on historical fashion fused with his "normal" futuristic style. I loved it too. And I think maybe I am meant to make a historical but modern dress for myself, it seems like all things lead up to it, don't you think?

One of my favourite facts of life: all things are connected and everything can turn out useful in the future, you just never know how.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010


I forgot to say, at the awsome happening-treat-for-free Marina and the Diamonds-concert I was lucky enough to find out about and attend on friday, she was wearing a very cool dress that I just have to share with you, fellow craft-godesses. It's kind of like a fusion of a godess- and a warrior-dress, which come to think of it is very suitable since she's part greek part welsh.

I also wanted to add her as an awsome role-model for young girls and women (after all it is the international female day today, or what exactily is it called in English?); single minded, talented, beautiful and with a fantastic figure that is not a copy of all other beautiful famous women who sometimes seem to all come from the very same mould (or at least family).Actually, I'm not that young anymore but she inspires me too.

So to all young (and old) women who are sad not to look like a supemodel (or a porn-star, that seems to be the other big look of today): take a look at Marina!

And the dress. I love the big leathery scales on the shoulders. And the fact that the body seems to be a very simple tube of jersey (copy-cat-potential).

Sorry about the crappy pictures, I forgot to bring my camera and used my Iphone instead...

Inspiration for similar clothes are often found at my favourite refashion-source, Outsapop (not that I ever make any, but I am inspired!).

Tonight I'm not listening to Marina though, today is Mogwai-evening. This is a good one: Mogwai – I’m Jim Morrison, I’m Dead  (and as usual you must have Spotify to be able to listen through the link, but they can also be listened to here).

Friday, 5 March 2010

Calvin Klein and I

I had this intention of making a new dress for saturday, when I shall visit a gent's dinner (after dinner) to sip champagne in style.

The men (or should I say gents?) are to wear tuxedo's (as opposed to their "normal" attire, smokings), but I have decided to ignore the normal female tuxedo dress-code, long dress, and wear something less formal, but still very dressy. Partly because of a lack of suitable clothes (I do have a gorgeous, white silk ballgown from the 1940's that my grandmother gave to me, but I think it's way too formal).

I have once again been proved that I'm a hopeless time-optimist though, instead of a dress I've made the base for a dress-foundation.

Oh well. I'll have to wear something else tomorrow and wear the dress some other time, you can never have to many just-in-case-party-dresses in your closet, can you?

At first I intended to drape myself a dress, I found this wonderful polyester (? I never thought I would call a polyester wonderful..!) satin (?) for almost nothing at Olssons Tyger & Stuvar (where you can buy remnants by weight, with a red warp and a black weft (or the other way around maybe...), but that project had to be abandoned since 1. my dressform is very slippery (no cover yet) and 2. the material is heavy, stretchy and very drapey =it slips right off the dress-form. Oh well again.

I might have hated it if I didn't like the way it looks so much... it's mysteriously black-reddish on the right side, and a rich, shiny red on the wrong (I don't want to line the skirt, it will be too pretty on the inside!).

Here's what it looked like when I wrapped myself in it. Would have loved to make something like that (maybe next time)! Oh, and I have to admit I am wearing a corset in the picture (I can actually make my waist almost as thin as famous Dita in it, but I had pulled it as little as I could in the picture. Still, it makes a difference! Not that you could tell I'm wearing it in the picture, I just look slim.... hehehe).

To move around the draping-problem and make something easier I dug out a "vintage" Calvin Klein pattern (1980's or 1990's?) that I got at E-bay, Vogue American Designer no 2050, from my sewing stash and was happy to discover that it comes with a dress foundation and inside belt, just what I want to learn how to use!

Searcing for the pattern online I stumbled upon this picture of an actress called  RoseByrne (never heard of her but she's really pretty in a really pretty dress) wearing a more recent Calvin Klein dress, and it does have a resemblance to "my dress"! Fun.

Although it's not a pricess-seam-dress like mine, there is something about the neckline....

Yesterday I got into it, made a usable toile for the foundation to test the fit, made corrections to it and transfered them to the pattern.

But, of course, if you're used to sewing with your own patterns, without seam allowances included, you mess it up if you forget that commercial patterns come with seam allowances inluded. I simply removed them from all pieces I made adjustments to, dope!

On my second day of sewing I'm about to make the back piece for the foundation. I'm lucky it's a pretty basic shift-dress!

And today, just to make it totally impossible to finish the dress in time, I went to a concert with a rather new artist that I've  liked a lot for a long time, Marina and The Diamonds. She just released her first album on february the 22nd, but she released a few songs that I all love about a year ago, so it was a very happy surprise to hear the first interesting ad ever at Spotify yesterdy, that she was playing in Stockholm tonight.
And for free!

So here's one happy girl who just saw one of her favourites live (though only four songs...). Listen at Myspace here, or Spotify here (you need an account for that one and it's not available worldwide... yet). If they had sold Cd's I would have bought one, but for some reason they didn't....

Oh, and I shot a video with my favourite baby-toy-Iphone. The sound isn't the best and I clumpsily missed the beginning and held the phone the wrong way (easier but still wrong), but here it is:

Funny thing, at the end she says "I'm going to eat some semla", that's the bun with cream and marsipan that I posted about before, I guess even if you like someone's music you don't necessarily share the same taste in food ;-)
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