Sewing shopping in Göteborg

Saturday, April 30, 2011Johanna / 6 kommentarer

I sometimes get emails from readers who are visiting Göteborg and wants suggestions on sewing related shopping. There are not a ton of fabric and notions stores in my hometown, despite it being Sweden's second largest city. But there a few stand outs that I would like to share.

Best notion store
Kyrkgatan 34
This iconic shop is over 100 years old and has looked the same since the 40's. The button selection is amazing and they have pretty much any other notion you could possible ask for. Not the cheapest store in the world, but selection more than makes up for it. The shop is right in the city center on a narrow side street.

Best fabric store
Lagerströmsplatsen 4
A 10 minute tram ride from the city center, this little but well stocked fabric store is worth a visit. The owner and staff are very knowledgeable, friendly and customer oriented. And the selection is really diverse and well curated. They source a lot from Danish wholesalers and usually has great deals on high end fashion fabrics. Also lots of basics in many colour variations like linen, boiled wool and knits and a great eye for good prints. The tram stop is called Olskroken and there are plenty of trams and buses going in that direction.

Biggest and fanciest fabric store
Gårda textil
Kungsgatan 7
If you are after beautifully embroidered silk or high end wool suitings from Italy, this is the place. This large elegant two-story store specialize in more fancy fabrics, but there are also a big selection of everyday fabrics. Not cheap, in fact a lot of regular fabrics borders on over priced and I think the best deals are actually on their more exclusive range, which is pretty fantastic. Unfortunately the staff is not always the best, they were down right rude to the girl I made a bridal dress for last year and others have had similar experiences. But still a very special fabric store that deserves a visit.

Best sewing magazine store
Drottninggatan 58
This large magazine store has almost all European pattern magazines, notably all editions of Burda, Patrones, La Mia Boutique, Ottobre and Diana and most sewing magazines like Threads, etc. Plus a massive selection of fashion magazines from around the world. This is were I buy most of my fashion related reading.


It's all in the wrapping

Thursday, April 28, 2011Johanna / 6 kommentarer

Slowly working on updating my wrapping for Floremark. Not a natural package decorator, my sense of flair would probably rate an F, that is why I could never become a scrap booker and such. Plus I like to keep things simple. But you gotta start somewhere, and I'm doing little steps here and there.

Now I'm off to to see if the Cynthia Rowley pattern is downloadable. And thank you for your bacne treatment suggestions. It is still getting better, albeit at a very slow pace.  But I have lived with this for so long and know how much time it can take to see some substantial effects, so I feel pretty patient about the whole thing. 

Floremark homepage

Tuesday, April 26, 2011Johanna / 9 kommentarer

I've been working on a little Floremark homepage lately. It is live and while there are some things that will change I thought I should settle on good enough and show it to you guys. There are things I am quite pleased about (ie the slideshow, which was a ton of work) and some that make me cringe (the bio for instance, that one will change). Writing about yourself is hard in any language, and writing in English makes me sound rather dry and humorless, which is something I feel my blog voice suffers from too sometimes. I think I tend to sound a bit academic and serious, even though as a person I'm pretty vivid and blabberish. I guess I just wanted to tell you that, that I'm not as stiff and boring as I might seem on this blog, it's just a language thing :)

Holiday skirt

Monday, April 25, 2011Johanna / 3 kommentarer

Top: H&M Divided
Skirt: Who's that girl
Shoes: PF Flyers

I actually started this blog post in August last year. I wanted to show a skirt that I bought while holidaying in Greece. However I never got around to wear the skirt on home turf since the weather turned horribly chilly and rainy.

But these last few days has offered an incredible summer heat, and I've been wearing my summer clothes like crazy, trying to maximize the wear until the chill hits again. And today I wore my holiday skirt for the first time in Sweden. The skirt is from a Belgian brand who, apart from the pretty hopeless name: Who's that girl (try google the brand and you will mostly come up with Madonna references) are a really fun, quirky label with fantastic colours and prints. I first thought it was a Scandinavian label because of the aesthetic, but it turned out I was wrong. In fact it isn't even available here in Sweden from what I can tell from the website, which is really strange, since it looks so much like something many Scandinavians would enjoy, retro, colourful and print oriented.

Easter weekend

Sunday, April 24, 2011Johanna / 2 kommentarer

It's Easter weekend, and as far as weekends are concerned this has been a really great one. Warm and sunny, bare legs, plenty of ice coffee, lots of fun, good food and yesterday we even went to see a circus. 

We don't have a ton of Easter traditions, but a few things are important to me. First I love having Easter egg hunts, although this year I made a total fool of myself since I was completely inept in finding my candy filled egg, despite being given numerous clues. So when everyone else was munching on sweets I was still running around the apartment trying to find my egg. Secondly I always use a yellow and turquoise vintage table cloth when we eat  our dinner, which is the only time we have a table cloth, except possibly for Christmas. And thirdly we usually have some traditional Easter twigs decorated with feathers. The kids always makes the best decorations, it was great when they were in kindergarten and always came home with some fun seasonal craft. Not so much anymore, but I love the little yellow faces that my daughter did for the twigs. 
Book corner

The Biba Experience

Friday, April 22, 2011Johanna / 1 kommentarer

One of my biggest retail obsession is Biba. I truly don't think there has been such a distinct lifestyle brand before or after they folded in 1975. I love how Biba merged the 70's aesthetic with retro influences from the 20's, 30's and 40's and used great photographers like Sarah Moon and David Bailey to capture the feel. But what I'm even more obsessed with is the sheer opulent madness that their last and biggest department store was. What started 10 years earlier as a modest mail order company exploded into a super lavish seven floor fantasy, inspired by art deco and vintage film sets, with a posh restaurant and a roof top garden. Add to that an insane branding, where everything from baked beans to make-up bore the iconic Biba logo. Such megalomania fairly ends up well and only after a year the Big Biba store closed. 

The book The Biba Experience captures all that and much more, which is why I keep returning to it. Plus it is almost as lavish as I imagine the store was - this is truly a coffee table tome. 

The reward dress

Wednesday, April 20, 2011Johanna / 9 kommentarer

Yes I will soon do something from a pattern envelope again. I will call this project my reward dress. I seldom do dresses with an open back since I have suffered from pretty annoying bacne since I was a teenager. I've tried many prescription and non-prescription treatments over the years with dismal results - the only thing that has been truly effective is being pregnant, but I can't do that all the time!

Anyways I was recently directed towards glycolic acids, and to my surprise they have turned out to be quite effective. No miracle cure, but I'm on my fourth week now and by the look of it my skin will be in visibly better condition sometime in May. Though some scars will remain, but I'm okay with that.

The drawback is that this treatment requries constant applying, the effect is far from permanent. And I have to be extra careful with the sun. But the good thing is that I will feel way more comfortable with the thought of wearing backless styles. So in order to keep going with the regimen I've decided to give myself a little reward to look forward to. To wear on hot summer days - with a generous dose of SPF of course!

I really like some of Simplicity's Cynthia Rowley patterns and the style I'm going for is D most likely. But the more I look at view A the more appealing it looks. I dunno, maybe I should get out of my comfort zone and try something different. 

Our summer escape

Tuesday, April 19, 2011Johanna / 6 kommentarer


Yesterday we finalised our travel plans for the summer. We are heading to Croatia, or Dubrovnik to be more specific. Looking at the photos it's almost hard to believe that the city still looks so ancient today. Travel for me means escapism from the daily grinds, I like to divulge into fantasy living when I'm abroad, and with such a dreamy setting it will surly be fantastic. I have never been to Croatia before and if any of guys has been there I would love to hear suggestions on worthwhile visits. We will be away for two weeks so there will be plenty of time for excursions.


My little helper

Monday, April 18, 2011Johanna / 5 kommentarer

Keeping some kind of order in an ever growing stash of sewing supplies is a constant challenge. And for someone like me, who is not naturally orderly, it's even more so. My impulse is always to trow everything in one big box. But that modus operandi makes for very annoying work, it's no fun spending precious sewing time rummaging through every box in search for that seam ripper/elastic/button/whatever.

The best system for me is a dedicated place for everything. And with a little help from my dear Dymo label machine and small storage units, I've managed to develop a pretty good system over time. Nowadays Dymo has very hi-tech labeling machines, but I much prefer the look of the old school model that is still sold today. It's a bit cranky and unpredictable, and you need to press with a firm hand, otherwise the letter might come out half done or even blank. But once it's done it creates a great uniform look that doesn't fade over time. 

African prints

Sunday, April 17, 2011Johanna / 1 kommentarer

From the LAMB S/S 2011 collection

African wax prints from Ebay seller Tropical fabrics

Sometimes trends are awesome, because I'm reminded of great things that I've forgotten about. Like African prints, that I wore sometimes back in the late 80's but sort of phased out during the minmalistic 90's. Now they seem to be making a comeback and I caved in the other day and bought two yards of wax print for a dress I plan to make.

Hope the fabric will be suitible for the pattern I have in mind - these kind of bold prints doesn't work for everything. But if worse come to worse I'll make some cushions instead, which will most likely drive my boyfriend and children nuts as I keep adding new cushions until there is hardly any seating space left in our sofa and armchairs!
Food and drink

Greek ice coffee - frappé

Saturday, April 16, 2011Johanna / 2 kommentarer

I love ice coffee even more than regular coffee. perhaps because I associate it with summer and travels to warmer countries. My favorite is Vietnamese ice coffee, but a close runner up is the Greek version, frappé. It can be served either black or with milk and both are super yummy. I became infatuated with frappé when I traveled to Crete 11 years ago, and subsequently asked a bartender to show me how it is done. In Greece it is wise to order "medium sugar", since they can turn out sickly sweet otherwise. My version is a little less sweet than a medium frappé, but you can always add more sugar if you prefer.

You'll need:
3/5 cups cold water (1,5 dl)
1/2 tablespoon instant coffee
1/2-1 tablespoon sugar
Plenty of ice
2/5 cups milk (1 dl) (you can use less milk if you prefer)
A shaker or anything that you can close tightly - like a glass jar with a lid.

Pour the water in the shaker.

Add coffee...

...and sugar.

Add a generous serving of ice

Close the lid and shake vigorously in order to get the plenty of froth. In Greece nowadays they usually use the steamer on the espresso machine to create the froth and you can also use a blender. But regular shaking works great. 

Lots of lovely froth. You'll get more froth without the milk, that is why I'll add milk after the shaking.

Pour the coffee in a glass and add the milk. Enjoy!

Dream job e-course - a review

Friday, April 15, 2011Johanna / 1 kommentarer

I normally only review fashion related books, movies, and magazines on this blog. But two days ago I ordered an e-course by the founders of Red Velvet called Dream job, that I really want to recommend. I know that some of my readers run indie craft business or dream of one day doing so. There are several books on the subject, like Craft Inc and such, but I gotta say that Elsie's and her sister Emma's on-line guide is the most comprehensive and honest take on running a small biz that I have ever come across. During the last decade Elsie has made and sold craft goods, owned two stores, been a wedding photographer, developed a dress line and been a product developer for a scrap booking company, among other things. And she is like 27 :).

Anyways, the course covers everything from branding, regrouping after failures, product development, marketing, finances and much much more. What I love the most is the initiated writing and concrete examples, this is clearly written by people who have lived through it all. And don't let the "Dream job" title fool you, this is not a fluffy romantic take on following your dreams - the sisters makes no bones about how much hard work they have put into the Red Velvet brand.

The course is basically in a blog format with around 20 topics. Plus several bonus tips and gorgeous photos on top of that. So if you want an honest and inspiring guide to the realities of running a small biz I can definitely recommended this course. Of course not every single aspect is covered, and the angle is definitely focused on their own experiences and product types, but most stuff can be applied pretty universally. So definitely worth checking out if you want to expand your knowledge.


The ex-mother in law dress

Thursday, April 14, 2011Johanna / 7 kommentarer

My marriage didn't last but I'm still wearing the dress that my former mother in law gifted me a decade ago. It's a 60's dress, home sewn with a lot attention to details and with the one of the best prints I've ever come across. Yes the print is super busy, layers and layers of multi coloured scribbles, but somehow it all works very well together. The designer behind this print clearly had an eye for textures and colour combinations. I would love to find something similar, but have not been successful in my hunt.

My former mother in law saves everthing, so when our children were small they were dressed almost entirely in vintage -they sure looked very stylish in knitted rompers and wrap-around tops with tiny lace collars!