Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Savage life in fashion






If you like me is a little besotted with the post war world of haute couture, such as Dior, Givenchy, Lanvin and Balmain, then I can recommend  the tv-documentary A savage life in fashion. It's a story about a young Australian called Percy Savage who arrives in Paris in 1947 and soon become immersed in the fashion world, first as a designer and later as a PR person, redefining the way clothes are marketed and being instrumental in merging celebrities with fashion brands. Later he started working in England and was part of the British fashion wave. He shares some interesting insights about how the fashion world has changed and plenty of famous designers and media people talk about his influence. I wish they had touched more on his personal story, apparently his life was a bit of a roller coaster, but an interesting watch never the less.

A 6 min clip You Tube: A savage life in fashion. I bought my DVD from Amazon UK but it also available as a download on Amazon US.


More fashion movie reviews that I've done

Monday, August 29, 2011

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sunday scones



Hope you are having a nice weekend! My favorite weekend breakfast is freshly baked scones. I used to do them almost every weekend, and then stopped for some unexplainable reason. But last week I decided to do them again, and thought I should share my best recipe with you. The basis is a traditional scone recipe that I have tweaked to make it even better. Also I always add oatmeal, which makes them richer in taste.

You'll need:
350 ml white flour (1 2/5 cup)
150 ml oatmeal (3/5 cup)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar (I like to use raw cane sugar)
50 gram butter (1 2/3 oz) (softened, on the verge of melting, I always microwave it just a tad bit)
200 ml plain yogurt (4/5 cup). You can use everything from low fat to 10% full fat Greek yogurt. Of course the latter will make them even yummier!

1. Blend the dry ingredients. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Yay or Nay-dress part 2

Remember the Yay or Nay-dress? I cut the fabric the other day to use as a mock up for a dress in another fabric that I'm making for the Floremark fall collection. The edges are raw and unfinished and I'm not sure what I will do for the collar and the sleeves. But what I want to say that I am for sure in the Yay-camp now! 

Friday, August 26, 2011

My roller derby adventure



(no, this is not a cool new hipstamtic filter, just a whole lot of blurry mobile pics)

When I was 21, I bought a pair of old rollers skates in a charity shop. I soon began skating regularly along a flat well paved sea side promenade in the city where I lived. Like I do with everything that catches my fire, I immersed myself intensely in this activity. I think partly it was a way to cope with a very troubled relationship I had at the time, plus the fact that I was living in a city that I didn't particularly like or had much friends in. After maybe six months of skating, I moved way up north, to the country side, and had to give on this sport due to lack of skating opportunities (dirt roads and roller skates doesn't blend very well). But I kept the skates and even brought them to New York in 1996 where I skated in Central Park. This was at the height of the inline/rollerblade trend mind you, but I did see one other guy skating old school style. 

Fast forward to yesterday, when me and a friend went to a roller derby try-out. I haven't been standing on skates for almost 15 years and the low-top roller derby skates doesn't have the kind of support like regular skates does, which requires even more attention to balance. The trainers ran us through a though 2 hour program, trying out various techniques. I did fall a few times and was pretty much spent during the final 30 minutes, but I enjoyed it so much! I don't have much natural inclinations when it comes to sports, but with roller skating I can feel a certain bond. My body works well with these kinds of demands. That said I still got ways to go before I can master many of the moves that we tried out yesterday. 

I am now pondering joining the team, but still need to figure out if I can:
A. Take on another commitment without feeling stressed.
B. Are sure enough of this sport to spend muchas $$$ on equipment.

But it would be fun to once again being able to immerse myself in roller skating. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Foale and Tuffin - Swinging London's golden couple






The 60's is back in fashion. At least that is what the fashion magazines are claiming this fall. I would be very thrilled if this was the case, have been feeling a tad bit underwhelmed with the mass market fashion lately.  Since there might be some 60's revival going on I want to give some attention of a rather new discovery of mine, Foale and Tuffin, who pretty much defined English youth fashion along with Biba and Mary Quant. Not that I can claim being aware of that fact until recently when I came across a new book called Foale and Tuffin. The Sixties. A decade in fashion. 

It's a wonderful fashion book, perhaps one of the best I have ever read, because it is so well researched and jammed with interviews and great photos. It's basically a story of two young working class girls going straight from fashion collage to starting their own line. The quickly gain some buzz, but they also struggle a lot - never really breaking it big like Mary and Biba. Under their rather short lived label they managed to create a lot of really brilliant designs in the vein that I myself prefer; which is everyday clothes, nothing fuzzy or high fashion, but with clever details that makes the everyday grind a bit more colourful and fun. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Picture wall tutorial


We take a lot of photos in this family, but most of them stay on the hard drives. So a few weeks back I got the idea to make a picture wall in the kitchen. When reading up on how-to's I quickly realised that this would be a huge challenge for someone who is horrible, and I really mean horrible, when it comes to measuring straight lines on walls (that would be me). I guess I could blame some of this on not having a spirit level (which sounds kinda funny in my ears by the way, in Swedish we call it water level) for many years. But even now, when I have access to one,  I still keep measuring things all wrong.

But then I came up with an almost fool proof plan which I think is pretty brilliant - using craft paper as a template.

You'll need:
Craft paper
Pencil
Ruler
Frames (I bought 11 Ribba frames from Ikea)
Hooks (I used brass x-hooks)

Bring out the the craft paper and draw the size of the finished picture wall on craft paper. Then place the frames within the square. Using just Ribba frames made this process rather easy since they have standard sizes.

 Next step is to calculate the spaces between the frames and then trace around. Then remove the frames.

 I added a dot for the hook on each frame. Then just punch a hole through the dot using an awl or some other sharp object.

Place the craft paper on the wall. I used the spirit level to make sure it was straight and then just taped the craft paper in place.

Then I put the pencil in each hole to mark where the hook should hang. That is all you need! Just remove the paper and hammer or drill the hooks in place and start hanging the frames. I used brass x-hooks, which I had some issues with because the hanger on the Ribba frames kinda suck to be honest, but I got them to work okay in the end.


The finished result and its surroundings. Ideally I would like the wall to be dynamic over time, changing photos as we go. Mixing different medias could be another idea. Hopefully it will keep changing over the years. But then again, in 10 years time everyone might have digital photo walls instead? We'll see.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Straight from the work room

Today I thought about how I really appriciate creative blogs that show glimpes of the work process. Then I realised that I'm quite bad at this myself. So here comes a few pictures from today.

Drafting a pattern that will hopefully become a great looking dress. But sometimes my ideas just end up being a hot mess.

 Some samples for ideas that will either end up on a garment or hit the dustbin. Only time will tell.

A snap from my extended work space, aka the living room floor. 

I tend to have many ideas going on simultaneously. So I maybe I'll draft a pattern for 30 minutes, then I get this other idea that feels more exciting so I start draping fabric on the dummy. Then I might feel a urgent need to browse some magazine in search for inspiration. On days like this I often feel that I get very little accomplished. But I also have faith in this work process because once I get in the right mood I can also finish things.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Table cloth skirt




The title of this post is a little deceptive - this is not made of a actual table cloth. But the women who sold me the fabric told me that a customer said it looked just like a cloth you put on the kitchen table. I'm not sure the customer meant it in a good way, but for me the this is the USP of the fabric (aka unique selling point, sorry for the biz lingo, have been watching a lot of The Apprentice UK lately!). The pattern is like a cross between a kitchen towel, a table cloth and vintage mattress ticking. Another great thing about this fabric is that it is a soft cotton knit. so it falls really beautifully. I drafted the pattern myself, the method is similar to how I did this skirt (but with less gathers). Promised to make a tutorial on how to make this easy skirt pattern, but I lost some of the pics, so I need to take a few new ones before I can post it. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Project Runway - a new season


With new seasons of both Project Runway US and Australia running simultaneously I think this will be a very nice fall indeed. After a few lukewarm seasons of Project Runway US I feel a certain rekindled fire right now. The challenges has been very fresh (loved the pet shop challenge!) and while the cast is somewhat lacking big and obnoxious personalities, the playing field looks fairly even so far, which will make for an exciting season. Here comes a few predictions: 


This seasons funny guy with a flair for a some drama and bitchyness: Joshua 


My two favorites for the top three, Oliver and Anya. They didn't shine during the last challenge and Anya might not be the most experienced in terms of sewing. But they both has the high fashion flair that the judges love. 


Soon to be on the chopping block: Julie. Despite an air of a certain coolness, she just seems to never get it quite right. While I'm sure she's got some tricks up her sleeve, and might even snag a top position in one challenge, she keeps delivering less than promised. Which usually means bye bye.

Who are your favorites this season?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Reclaiming the jumpsuit





Two weeks ago a friend challenged me to wear a jumpsuit. She already owned one but couldn't muster the confidence to wear it out in public. As for me I have never worn a jumpsuit in my entire life, and since being on the short side too, didn't really think it was something for me. But since we both were in dire need of some fun and disco dancing I decided to take her up on the challenge. At first I had a hard time finding a jumpsuit at all - it does look like the fashion train for jumpsuits has left the station this time around. I also toyed with the idea of sewing one, so I could be sure of the fit. The McCall 6083 has some rave reviews over at Pattern Review but I had to scrap the idea due to time restraints.

So I had a bit of a jumpsuit crisis until I finally managed to locate a scrunched up polyester jumpsuit on a H&M rack. There were loose threads hanging everywhere, some wonky seams and the legs were like a mile too long. But after some quick work on the sewing machine - I became very pleased with the result. We styled our jumpsuits like crazy and I even wore heels. And I know everyone will not agree with me on this - but I think we managed to rock the jumpsuits! Plus it really added to the experience when we were out nightclubbing, I felt like we could almost have been strutting our stuff at Studio 54. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Secretary blouse






I started this one before the holiday but never got around to finish it up and blog about it. It's looking a bit 60's doesn't it? You can almost imagine a secretary in some swinging 60's British comedy wearing it. The fabric is a reissue retro print, I wouldn't be surprised if it was used for curtains back when, but it does look a bit 30's too with the petite flowers. Anyhow, bottom line, is that I love it! Finding proper vintage fabrics that are cotton and not some synthetic mix is tricky these days, so this is a great substitute. The blouse might even make it to Floremark fall collection that I will start working on next week. We'll see. 

I guess we could also call it my birthday blouse - I'm turning 39 today. Feels a bit weird typing that out, time does seem to go faster as you age and seeing it in black and white makes me aware that I soon can call myself middle aged.
Had a lovely birthday dinner and got some great pressies, including Portal2 which is just about the only computer game that I really enjoy (the other being Red Alert). So now I got even more to interfere with my sewing time!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Postcards from Dubrovnik


Hi there. I'm back from Croatia, still feeling a little bit lost as I always do when I return home from a trip. I love to travel and don't think I have ever felt homesick. In fact I am more likely to get sick when I get back to my normal day to day reality! Anyways we had a wonderful vacation. We lived around 5 km outside of the Dubrovnik center, on a peninsula with the, in Swedish, rather racy sounding name Babin Kuk. The old city of Dubrovnik was just as spectacular as one could have expected and share quite a few similarities with Venice, including being a massive tourist magnet. At first I was overwhelmed by all the touristy things, but after a while I grew more and more appreciative of this amazingly beautiful town. We also spent quite a lot of time visiting neighboring areas- some located in the archipelago that was perhaps one of the most stunning part of the visit. I also trekked down to Montenegro for a day, which was almost as breathtaking in terms of landscape.

Eating lunch in a Dubrovnik alley.

 
 A plaza in Dubrovnik, complete with hoards of tourists. 

 A more quite alley.

 The old town Kotor in Montenegro.

Inside the old town of Kotor. 


 My daughters sampling some local Croatian soft drinks. 

An abandoned villa on one of the islands outside Dubrovnik.

 Leaving the Dubrovnik harbor. 

 Taking the cable car to view the city from above.

Me walking the Dubrovnik city walls. Something I would highly recommend. 

The views from the wall were truly spectacular.  


The walls are reminiscent of a medieval fort. But many things in Dubrovnik were reconstructed after an earth quake in the 17th century. Also another restoration happened after the war in 1991