Book corner

Audio books

Wednesday, April 28, 2010Johanna / 7 kommentarer

Perhaps many of you guys already follow Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood's Craftsanity podcasts, but I still want to plug her excellent interview with designer Wendy Mullen, author of the Sew U books, who has just come out with a new pattern book Built By Wendy - Dresses
As I have blogged about before I am a huge fan of her first two sewing books, they have one of the best assembly instructions I have ever seen, and they have helped me a lot in developing my own sewing techniques.

Another clothes sewing podcast from Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood is the interview with Cal Patch, the author of pattern making book Design-It-Yourself Clothes Patternmaking Simplified.
Has anyone of you guys read and/or tried this book? I have not bought it, yet, but am always curious about sewing/pattern making books that are written by people who actually work in the garment biz.
Etsy Floremark Made by me

Ilo printed jersey skirt

Saturday, April 24, 2010Johanna / 10 kommentarer

I am currently drinking some red wine while listening to Madonna - it is Saturday night after all - but I hope I'll still be able do a coherent post about my new skirt!

This is a version of the original Maud skirt, and it's basically an a-line skirt with a drawstring/elastic combo that is super comfortable and very forgiving to wear. I love wearing skirts, but I can't stand when they are tight at the waist. Or they keep rising up when you wear them, so suddenly the waist is under your bust, which is another peeve of mine. Not to mention the twisting, when the back slit ends up in the front! Maybe it is just me who has this issues, but finding skirts that fits is really hard for me. That is why I am huge fan of knit skirts with an elastic waist. I can wear them low slung or high up, depending on my mood or how my body behaves that day.

When I bought the fabric I had intended to center the print, but while it looked great on the dress form, it was a bit overpowering in reality, so after a lot of draping experiments I settled on this asymmetric alignment which is really flattering.

The skirt is lined with a second layer of rayon jersey so the skirts hangs really smoothly. I named this one Ilo, which is Finnish for joy. The print makes me happy and also reminds a bit of those classic over sized Marimekko patterns so I think the name is fitting. The skirt is available in my Etsy store.

Life of Johanna

A questionnaire

Thursday, April 22, 2010Johanna / 2 kommentarer

I don't think I have done any blog quizzes before, so I nicked this one from a Swedish blog (BTW, the pic above is of me doing an interview at the Swedish book fair a few years back, as always my short stature becomes a lot more apparent when I am around other folks).

Stretch out your left arm, what do you touch?
My black work phone (yes I am currently doing this quiz at work, bad bad me). The phone is an invaluable work tool, a lot of interviews are conducted over it, actually being a reporter is pretty much a desk job. Before I became a journalist I used to have “telephone anxiety” but calling people all day has made those jitters pretty much disappear.

What was the last thing you saw on TV?
A Seinfeld rerun late last night. I seem to never tire of that show.

Apart from the computer, what do you hear right now?
Baby babble coming from the son of colleague. My work mate is currently on paternal leave but visiting his regular workplace today -  I guess he can’t keep away from us!

When was you outside and what did you do?
This morning, when I was biking to work. After not biking for several years I am currently on a roll.

What are you wearing?
The red Ecco shoes
My Burdastyle jeans
My Olga top
An old blue cardigan from Newhouse

Did you dream something last night?
A dream I remember is one where I said to a colleague that Swedish radio personality/comedian Annika Lantz and artist Marianne Lindberg De Geer are great feminist role models, because they are not afraid at questioning male hierarchies and speaking up on these issues in a really intelligent and often funny way, plus they have both became really successful in male dominated fields. But in the dream I got a kinda weird reaction from my colleague which surprised me since she is a massive fan of Annika Lantz.

When did you last laugh?
I laughed out loud several times yesterday at work, I am blessed with really funny work mates.

What are on the walls around the you?
Loads of xeroxed photos of my kids and boyfriend.

Have you seen something weird lately?
On my way to work in the mornings I often see a man in his 70’s jogging slowly. During the winters he runs in jeans and a shirt, and as soon as it gets a little warmer he runs bare chested. He looks rather eccentric, with a mop of grey hair growing in all kinds of directions, and I am curious about his life story.

What was the last movie you saw?
Avatar 3D – I thought it was pretty great.

If you became a millionaire what would you buy?
A large stately early 20th century apartment, in the central parts of my hometown.

Tell us about something people do not know about you?
I used to have a very vivid imagination well into my 20’s and I often pretended that I lived in a SciFi world. But somehow that kind of fantasies has become much less frequent, and I miss them.

Would you ever consider living abroad?
I would love to do that. My current dream is that after my boyfriend and I retires we will sublet our apartment and move to New York for six months. Preferably Brooklyn/Williamsburg, I have been to New York twice and it is my favorite place in the world. My heart starts racing just thinking about going there again.

Made by me

New skirt!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010Johanna / 4 kommentarer
Just a quick post before I get on with all the rest that calls my name. I finally finished the happy print skirt that I talked about ages ago and I love it! I will post more pictures later, so that you can actually see how the skirt looks like :)

Tea dying lace

Tuesday, April 13, 2010Johanna / 2 kommentarer
I have been doing some experiments with tea dying again. The colour that earl grey tea creates is so wonderful, a cream hue with a subtle pink touch that looks very natural and harmonious. The cotton lace was white when I started and I think it looks much more interesting now. The lace will end up on a grey top in organic cotton.
Magazine madness Patterns

Gothic lolita sewing

Sunday, April 11, 2010Johanna / 7 kommentarer
While I am not planning to go gothic lolita, I find this Japanese sewing and styling magazine very intriguing. From Ebay seller pomadour24. 
If I ever go to Japan I want to fill a whole suitcase with their fantastic pattern magazines and books! In the meantime I am really tempted to buy one of these GL issues, just out of curiosity.
Etsy Floremark Made by me

Elsa retro print knit top

Saturday, April 10, 2010Johanna / 5 kommentarer
Well I have done a new design for my Etsy store. Yup you heard me right, I am churning out new things again! And I even did my hair, using the classic pin curl method. Though the curls started to disappear as soon as I left the bathroom - my hair looked much cooler the first five minutes!

So this is Elsa, done in a retro looking flower print rayon/lycra fabric that was a total score. While I love big bold prints, dots and stripes I also have a very sentimental leaning towards small scale flower prints. I think it harks back to my younger days when I spent a lot of time hunting down vintage finds. So this is a tribute to that side of my taste, a rather 40's silhouette for summer with accentuated shoulders and a peplum style bodice. This top is beyond comfortable with generous gathers, just as it should be. Also I did some subtle pearl embroideries details along the neckline.

Time saving devices?

Thursday, April 08, 2010Johanna / 8 kommentarer

I have decided to buy myself some more time - by investing in some new hemming tools for my serger/coversticher. I have a 5-thread Pfaff Coverstyle 4850, a combo machine that is now discontinued. The reason why I bought a combo was both due to $$ and space issues, and while it has taken me years to master, I think it does a decent job. I guess stand alone machines has less issues and probably do a better job, but the Coverstyle works for my purposes. Anyways I was browsing thru the manual the other day and saw that you could buy an attachment for automatically turning the fabric while coverstitching. No pressing required. I hope that is true - it sounds like a wonderful dream!
The other attachment that I bought is a blind stitch presser feet. Blindhemming on a serger would be much quicker, so again I am cautiously optimistic about my purchase.

Has any of you tried these kind of attachments?  I am a little vary of one-trick gadgets. I once bought an invisible zipper feet for my old Husqvarna that was just really hard to use, in fact my regular zipper feet did a better job than the special feet! But maybe these will be better?
Fashion Made by me

A reverse experience

Monday, April 05, 2010Johanna / 2 kommentarer
The Burda/Johanna version from 2007
My review is here.

The Greta jacket from Swedish label Elvine
I suspect that most of us hobby seamsters has occasionally tried to replicate ready made garments - it's a fun learning experience and allows us both to afford high end garments and tweak things so that they fit our requirements, like fit, fabric choice or other things.

But yesterday I had a new kind of experience when I nearly bought a jacket for $130 that looked eerily similar to one that I sewed three years ago. The whole thing felt kinda weird, especially since I was wearing my own (an adaptation of an old Burda magazine pattern) when I went to the store. And even though the new jacket looked great (just my taste, lol!) I couldn't really make peace with the idea of buying something that was so similar to something I have made myself, even though I soon need to replace the jacket since the fabric is getting really worn down. The whole idea somehow didn't feel right at all. It wasn't just "oh I could make that myself" it was more "OMG, I have already made this!" Plus I felt like I was shoplifting when I put on my old jacket afterwards! So no I am not buying this jacket, even tough it looks great and has a wonderful print mesh lining as an added bonus. I'll probably buy this one instead.
Life of Johanna

A chaotic mind and other things

Saturday, April 03, 2010Johanna / 12 kommentarer

Today Kathie commented "I really enjoy visiting your blog. I am always impressed with how much you squeeze into a day. Do you ever sleep?

First of all thank you Kathie for the compliment about my blog! And secondly I felt I really wanted to answer your question, since I often find myself curious on how others do it and I wish it was something more people would talk about.

The thing is that I am neither a workaholic nor do I excel in efficiency - and I do need a lot of sleep. I am not the sort of person that would say "my life is soo hectic and I love it!!"  And while I probably appear fairly composed most of the time, I can be pretty frazzled on the inside. I think I have a tendency to make things look easier than they actually are for me. So I don't have any great time managing tips to spread around! Though I am very fond of list making and taking big tasks and turning them into several mini tasks in order to not be overwhelmed.  Also I got a few things going for me, personality wise. For instance I am very project driven and disciplined - I am pretty good at buckling up and getting on with it because I know it will pay off in the end, even though the road there will be less than fun. Also I am a rather optimistic person in general, and that helps too.

But this morning for instance, I had something of a breakdown and was pretty close to calling it quits and even cried a bit. Everything I did went horribly wrong and it didn't help that I felt pressed for time since this is the long Easter holiday and the kids are with their dad so I wanted to squeeze in as much sewing as possible today so that the rest of the weekend could be work free. I feel a little better now, but am still on the fence if I should keep up with this workload or not.

So that is my story! :)

Oh and Kathie also wanted to know more about the red sneakers, they are called Mobile and are also available in a fantastic apple green colour and classic white/black.