Fabrics Floremark

Happy print

Saturday, February 27, 2010Johanna / 8 kommentarer

As promised here comes a better view of the print fabric that I bought yesterday, a fabric that will most likely end up as a skirt for my Etsy shop. If so I will line the skirt with a second layer of rayon jersey in order to give it more body and to keep it from being clingy. I'll probably make the skirt super simple - I think the print speaks for itself and needs no further fuss!
Made by me

My mum

Saturday, February 27, 2010Johanna / 6 kommentarer
As I mentioned before my mother loved the Kelly cardigan and ordered one. Yesterday she came to visit so I was finally able to hand it over to her. She is a tiny person, so I did a custom size for her, and luckily it fit her perfectly!

This is the first ever garment I have sewn for her. In the past I have made her other sewn objects, but no clothes. My mum is an all around crafty person herself and a very skilled weaver. So while she was never big on sewing, the fact that she always had some kind of project going on when I was a child, was a big influence on my own crafty pursuits. Though her craftiness has been on a long hiatus, I think she has lost her mojo somewhat, plus her small apartment doesn't have room for a big weaving loom.

Anyhow she is super skilled, and even went to a craft/domestic school, like many women of her generation did. And when I was a teenager she very generously hand sewed buttonholes for me, since her vintage Singer sewing machine had no such function. Which I am forever grateful for!

Fabric fair frenzy

Friday, February 26, 2010Johanna / 3 kommentarer

Today was my lucky day, not only was I off from work, it was also the first day of Göteborgs spring fabric fair. In the past it has been so-so, but this time it was just awesome. There were so many wonderful spring fabrics and I saw some amazing prints. One of those prints went home with me and will most likely make it into my spring collection. You can see a glimpse of it to the lower left, it is a bold pink/white "Marimekko" type of print in rayon/lycra. I plan to make a skirt out of it. Even though you mostly see me sewing blue and grey garments, I do like both bold colours and prints, it just that I am super picky and have a hard time finding what I want. But I think this one will work.

Glamorous notions.

The bra to the right is made from the same
Kwik-sew pattern as
my bra.

Pattern explosion (sorry for my crappy, blurry mobile pics)

The print that I bought deserves a better presentation than crappy cell phone photos so I will do a separate post about the fabric. But now it's time to go to bed!
Made by me outfit

Nurse Johanna

Thursday, February 25, 2010Johanna / 1 kommentarer
Dress from Mrs Stylebook (see my old pattern review)
Cardigan from Floremark (long sleeve version)

I guess you could call this blue shirtdress post another instalment of what I have made and like but seldom wear (but today I did). The dress is (rather) loosely based on a Mrs Stylebook pattern and owes more than a little nod to an old nurse uniform. I do like the dress, despite its severity, but I seldom wear it. I guess partly it's because the dress takes forever to iron and the skirt still wrinkles like crazy, despite me ambitiously underlining it with cotton batiste. So it's usually only when I have no other clean clothes that I tend reach for this dress. I have a few more garments like this and I think the common denominator is that they are all a bit too fussy/ formal/fancy for my day-to-day life. But I don't think I will ever part with this dress, despite the lack of mileage.

Spring/summer collection

Wednesday, February 24, 2010Johanna / 6 kommentarer

While I won't be opening a swanky design studio and quitting my day job anytime soon, I am very happy with the outcome of Floremark and will definitely continue with my line. So yes there will be several more styles coming for spring. In the planning stages are two tops, both made of organic cotton, and a cardigan, done in a wonderful denim blue cotton/rayon knit that feels like silk jersey. Also I want to make one or two rayon/lycra knit skirts if I can find fabrics with the perfect print.

Ideally I would like to present the collection as whole, but realistically that is not possible. Apart from my other life stuff, there are also work on orders and the bridal dress that needs be done. So finding time is a challenge. Also I have to say that running my little clothing line has been a pretty respectable learning curve - like getting a hang of everything from finding good wholesalers to understanding the ins and outs of marketing. I still have tons of stuff I would like to do with Floremark, but since this is a moonlighting gig, everything will not happen as quickly as my impatient mind wants it to.

Anyhow the first top will appear sometime in March and will probably be the striped one to the right in the photo.

Fashion fair and the faith
of young designers

Sunday, February 21, 2010Johanna / 3 kommentarer
Today I defied masses of snow and sporadic commuter traffic for a trip to the annual Fresh fish fashion fair, that showcases Swedish up-and-coming designers. It has been running for four years now and I have planned to attend every year, but this was the first time that I actually managed to.

Around 30 designers were showing samples from their autumn/winter 2010 collection. First I have to say it does feel a little mind boggling to see stuff for next winter when this winter isn't over yet, but such is the cycle of fashion. Secondly my responses towards the displayed designs ranged from wow to meh. Making desirable and visionary clothes is hard, period. Though I did see a few things that really impressed me -there were some very visionary pattern cutting displayed for instance.

But the one thing that I kept thinking about was where will all these young designers (and their fabulous hairdos, I saw a lot of great hair today) be in 10 years? Will they have their own successful line, will they be working for H&M or perhaps given up and left the fashion field entirely?

Making it in the fashion world seems so heart achingly difficult that I am often amazed that folks are brave enough to give it a go. We just have to look at the faith of some of the Project Runway winners - sometimes talent, exposure and funding are not enough to make it. I guess the biggest hurdle is the fact that most designers want to do high end fashion - an area which has the smallest buyer pool. On the other hand there are stories of people coming from nowhere and making it. Like the young Swedish brand Minimarket, where three sisters in their early 20's with, I believe, little or no formal fashion training, has become a big success in just a few years. So it can certainly happen, but cracking that code seems very elusive. So we'll see if one of young folks I saw today will be the next big thing in 5 years. I sure hope so!

New blouse project

Friday, February 19, 2010Johanna / 5 kommentarer

You didn't think that I would give away the February issue of La Mia Boutique without securing my own copy first? Well, I didn't think so!
What I like most about this issue are the shirt blouse patterns that are made in various plaid fabrics. They all got very interesting cuts and neat details, which is just the sort of thing I am always looking for in patterns. Of course they would be perfect in plaid, but in the interest of stash reduction I will instead use a striped shirting that I picked up in London last year. I have also just bought David Coffin's book about shirt making and plan to try some of his techniques out so that I can review the book afterwards.  We'll see how it goes!

And the winner this time is....

Wednesday, February 17, 2010Johanna / 1 kommentarer


Congratulations! I will email you tomorrow so that I can get your postal address. 
And a big thank you to everyone who participated in this giveaway marathon - it was a lot of fun! I realize I am very fortunate to have easy access to so many pattern magazines so it was great to be able to spread that fortune around :)

Lea magazine giveway

Tuesday, February 16, 2010Johanna / 35 kommentarer
New day new giveaway. If you missed out on La Mia and are a size European 42 (approximately a US 12, Aussie 16 and UK 14 according to this conversion table) and up to size 60 here is your chance to get your hands on the decidedly rare German pattern magazine Lea.
Below are some of my favorite styles:

The skinny on Lea

40 styles - from casual and sporty to evening.
Sizes goes from German/European 42-60. (same sizing system as Burda)
The instructions are in German and I would assume that you have to add seam allowances, since that is pretty much standard in all pattern magazines.

The rules: If you want Lea just write "I'm in" in the comment section - and I will draw a name on Wednesday at 8.00 PM Swedish time (+1 GMT). I will then contact the winner for a postal address and send out the magazine.

And the winner is...

Monday, February 15, 2010Johanna / 6 kommentarer

I will email you tomorrow to get a postal address (and if you see this tonight already please feel free to e-mail me your address, you will find my e-mail address under my blog profile to the right).


Phew that was a lot of names in a bowl - what a massive response I got from you guys! Looks like we are quite a few pattern geeks out there in the world :D

Tomorrow Lea will be up for grabs, so stay tuned for the details.

La Mia Boutique giveaway

Sunday, February 14, 2010Johanna / 60 kommentarer

Since today is Valentine's day I feel it would be the perfect day to give a gift to my readers. I am very honored that you read my blog and I am constantly amazed by all the wonderful comments, advice and generosity from you guys. Also in a dream world I would love to reply to everyone all the time, but, well, life does get in the way sometimes.

But I want to show my gratitude in some way and I know that many of you don't have access to pattern magazines. So this Friday I picked up two that I hope you will enjoy - the fabulous February issue of La Mia Boutique and a great edition of the German magazine Lea with medium to plus sizes (Euro sizes 42-60). I picked these two because they both got some amazing designs in them and both can be hard to find in many countries. I know some of you crave Patrones too, but the current issue only has patterns for children so I skipped that one. But maybe in the future! First out is La Mia Boutique and on Tuesday I will arrange the giveaway for Lea.

The rules: It is very simple, if you want La Mia Boutique just write "I'm in" in the comment section - and I will draw a name on Monday at 9.00 PM Swedish time (+1 GMT). I will then contact the winner for a postal address and send out the magazine.

The skinny on La Mia Boutique
41 styles - from über trendy to chic and grown up. And a few children's patterns too.
A wide variety of sizes, both plus and regular.
The instructions are in Italian and you have to add seam allowances.
There are also several recipes in the magazine and even a horoscope for February!

And last but not least some sneak peaks from Lea - that will be up for grabs on Tuesday.

Book corner

Fashion Inside Out
by Daniel Vosovic

Saturday, February 13, 2010Johanna / 0 kommentarer

Remember Daniel Vosovic? The young, soft spoken, drama free finalist in Project Runway season 2. He lost out to the more experienced Chloe Dao, but still made a lasting impression on many of us. After PR he has been working mostly behind the scenes, but I also think that he has released at least one collection under his own name. And in 2008 he also published the book Fashion Inside Out where he takes the readers on a tour through the many facets of the fashion world.

The basis of the book is his very enlightening interviews with fashion folks - ranging from designers and pattern makers to model bookers and fashion bloggers. Throughout the book Daniel Vosovic also shares his personal reflections and experiences on all things fashion. As a writer I have to take my hat off to Daniels efforts, he has a great, personable, writing style and does a good job with the interviews as well.  Plus the book is super lush to look at and even the cover is something of a treat to the senses - it feels like it's made of velvet. 

There are also some how-tos in the book, like how you quickly make patterns from finished garments and the basics of draping. He also shares some interesting sewing and pressing tips from a pattern maker, such as setting seams with a mixture of water and vinegar and using wool bias strips to ease in sleeves when you sew.

I strongly recommend this book if you are curious about what goes on behind the scenes in the fashion world. I have read a few books like this before, and I think Daniel's book is the best read by far. Fashion Inside Out is packed with great info, and still a very pleasant easy read. 

P.S. Don't miss out this great Craftsanity interview with Daniel, where he talks about this book and life after Project Runway. 

P.S. 2. Tomorrow I will host the first installment of a Valentine's day give away, so I can give back a little something to my wonderful readers. Up for grabs are two great issues of hard to find pattern magazines. So stay tuned for that. 

Made by me

Burdastyle yoga pants

Thursday, February 11, 2010Johanna / 5 kommentarer
nananstetjofftjoff: Ind. wobbly tree pose with a camera remote in hand.

I don't actually plan to use this pants for yoga (which you might have already guessed from my less than stellar attempt above). But the gym has been so cold lately, so I needed a pair of long pants to keep me warm. The pattern was an impulse buy though, I was actually looking for blouse patterns on Burdastyle when I found this pattern called Corinne. I didn't even really look at the specifics - I just clicked on buy and downloaded the pattern. Then I sewed the pattern together in less than an hour. I was however a little surprised to see how tight and boot cut the pants are, especially since I had something looser fitting in mind. But this misinterpretation was entirely due to my own obliviousness - both the line drawing and the photo are actually clear on this matter. 

The original pattern instructions for the waist calls for a complicated process that involves several pattern pieces, interfacing, buttonholes and a drawstring. Instead I took the easy route and used the simple fold waist from Burda magazine no 11-2007. I have no regrets about that. Pants like this should be fuss free, both to make and to wear.
Book corner Life of Johanna

Reading and resting

Monday, February 08, 2010Johanna / 2 kommentarer

I got tons of stuff on my to-do-list, including several blog topics. But I am all too tired to do any of those things tonight. Luckily my first batch of sewing and fashion books from Amazon arrived today, and the one I am most drooling over is former Project Runway contestant Daniel Vosovic's book about the fashion world. I will most definitely review this one, so stay tuned.

Walking foot update

Saturday, February 06, 2010Johanna / 6 kommentarer
Five minutes ago I placed my order for an original Bernina walking foot from a German Ebay seller. Yes, I followed the advice from the majority of you and went for the real deal. Thank you so much for all your input! Cheaper generic presser foots seemed like a hit or miss, some of you had great experiences and others not so great at all, and judging by my own success rate when it comes to scrimping I better stick with the real deal this time. I used to be that kind of person who always went for the cheap option, and 9/10 it turned out to be crap. Not that I haven't bought expensive crap too, mind you, but since several  vouched for the original Bernina walking foot, I decided it would be the right choice.

I got it for 84€ incl shipping, which amounts to around $115. It is a lot of money, but it was still way cheaper than the price that Swedish retailers charges. I just hope that my non existent German language skills was enough to communicate the fact that I want the walking foot for older Berninas and not the newer ones (they have both, but only have the newer one listed). I had to let Google translate do the work for me!

Walking foot advice

Wednesday, February 03, 2010Johanna / 14 kommentarer
I am in dire need of a walking foot to my Bernina 1230. But the original ones are super expensive here in Sweden, and buying from, say US or another non EU-countries, is not possible due to all the custom fees. So I have been checking out other options on Ebay and would love to get some feedback on these alternatives:

A. Buying a no-name copy for less than half the price.
B. Buying a generic walking foot and a shank adapter so that it fits the Bernina (the cheapest option).

Has anyone tried those cheaper options? And if so are they good enough, or just a waste of money?