Exercise Life of Johanna

Skating to work

Wednesday, November 23, 2011Johanna / 5 kommentarer

This morning I was finally able to do something I have pondered about for a long time, namely skating to work. You need diffrent wheels for outdoor skating since the road is rocky and the wheels has to be soft  in order to handle all the impact. So I bought a pair for cheap ones off Ebay, and yesterday they arrived. Skating outside is a bit tricky because of all the obstacles, especially slopes are hard to deal with since there is no real effective way to stop downhill quickly when you use classic four wheel skates. On the other hand it was way more fun, and less strenuous, than biking and walking, which is usually how I get to work. I did fall once, a pure panic reaction when faced with an unexpected slope which had a 90 degree turn at the end. But apart from that it was a fairly smooth ride. Though I might not do this often, it is a bit of a hassle with the equipment and having to carry extra clothes with me. I have 7km to work and the whole thing took about 45 minutes, which was a bit slower than I had expected.

So did I get many weird looks? I can't really tell actually. Partly because I had to keep my focus on the road ahead to avoid potential hazards. And partly because I've been gifted with the ability to be very oblivious to  the reactions of people that I don't know. 

Anyways it was a fun adventure and it reminded me how much I love road skating.

Fashionable movies

Ultrasuede - In search of Halston

Monday, November 14, 2011Johanna / 2 kommentarer

Last week, finally, the dvd of the documentary Ultrasuede - In search of Halston arrived in my mailbox. This one has gotten almost as much buzz as the Bill Cunningham movie I reviewed last month. So I was pretty excited to say the least.

Halston was the original superstar fashion designer, clubbing at Studio 54, hanging out with celebrities and launching himself as a mega brand, with everything from perfumes to carpets. Though unlike some of his contempories, like Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein, Halston never became a global or financial success. Mostly due to bad business decisions and I guess it didn't help that he was also deeply into cocaine and other destructive behaviors.

The director getting the hand of dismissal by André Leon Talley.

This documentary is made by and revolves around a socialite/hipster guy called Whitney Sudler-Smith who decides to dig deeper into the story of Halston. Using family contacts he starts to interview many of the famous faces that surrounded Halston, such as Liza Minnelli, André Leon Talley and model Pat Cleveland. Despite his swanky outfits Whitney Sudler-Smith seems very oblivious of fashion, which makes him a rather goofy interviewer. And if looks could kill, Whitney Sudler-Smith would be a dead man after admitting to André Leon Talley that he has no clue on who Diana Vreeland is.

That said the movie stills manages to tell a convincing story that Halston was a very important fashion force and I was especially impressed with the segments that talked about his work process and pattern making skills. I just wish it was more of it. But of course there are so many other stories to tell about Halston so a lot of the movie focus on the hedonistic lifestyle that seems to have been de rigour in New York in the 70's, pre AIDS. There were plenty of sex and drugs going on and I found myself being quite impressed that Halston still managed to show up for work. Then again substance abuse is not uncommon in the fashion business, more recent cases like John Galliano and Marc Jacobs comes to mind. And I think Calvin Klein has battled with various substances and so did Alexander McQueen and Yves Saint Laurent. I guess the high work pressure and glamorous party lifestyle makes a good stepping stone for this kind of trappings.

So is this worth watching? I would say definitely and it is totally gossipy of course. In fact it reminds me a lot of the book The Beautiful Fall: Lagerfeld, Saint Laurent, and Glorious Excess in 1970s Paris by Alicia Drake.

Also as I side note: During the first half of the movie I kept thinking Halston reminds me of someone famous, but I couldn't crack it. Then it dawned on me, the actor Richard E Grant is a dead ringer for Halston. He would be the perfect choice for a biopic about Halston, don't you think?

Halston and Richard E Grant, twins separated at birth.

Thank you!

Sunday, November 13, 2011Johanna / 3 kommentarer
Thank you so much for all the congratulations and well wishes! I can't say married life is that much different since we have been a couple for almost six years already, but I feel it adds another depth to our relationship, which has been absolutely incredible, and for me being married celebrates and solidifies that.

A blurry outfit pic.

Also, Kyle asked if I made the shirt for my husband. Nope, he bought it himself, the brand is called Riley, which I think is a in house brand at the Swedish retail chain Brothers. And his pants was from the Spanish company Desigual and the shoes Dr Martens. My vintage faux pearl necklace was from a second hand shop and  I wore Ecco shoes actually, which makes you think of grandma's walking shoes (a style I love by the way) but these were more fancy ones with heel and patent leather. 

Getting married

Saturday, November 12, 2011Johanna / 43 kommentarer

Last year I did a wedding dress for someone else, and this year it was for myself! I was a bit mum about the purpose of this dress, because some people in my extended personal circle reads (or at least looks at) this blog occasionally. And I was not sure how I felt about blaring this stuff here and there, since we had only told the closest friends and family beforehand. If it was just all you regular sewing readers I wouldn't have minded at all, but sometimes I have to look at the bigger picture. Though I unintentionally put a clue out over a year ago, when I rambled about what kind of dress I would make for my own wedding. Such is the world of blogging, it has a life of its own.

We had a mellow civil ceremony and it was just lovely and beautiful in every way. It was at at local 1800-mansion - normally civil weddings in Sweden is a very toned down and bureaucratic affair, but since it was 11-11-11 they put on the full monty. We even had our little musical ensemble, from which we could pick a number of songs like In the ghetto by Elvis, which we thought was a novel choice for a wedding. We ended up choosing With or without you by U2, a song that I have strong personal connection too, it was even the last vinyl single that I bought. Then afterwards we had dinner at a nice restaurant with our friends/"best mens" and now I'm a married woman :)

In the nick of time

Friday, November 11, 2011Johanna / 5 kommentarer

Just one mere hour before we left for the event I finished the final seam on my dress. Remind me to never use this modus operandi again! I felt like a Project runway contestant in the end, frantically hand sewing the zipper in hoping it would not break when I put the dress on. I am usually stickler for high end finishing but I will admit I did some compromises at the end this time. That said it looked exactly the way I wanted it would. I'll share more details later!
Life of Johanna

Hot rollers baby!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011Johanna / 2 kommentarer

I made a silly little impulse buy from Ebay the other week - a hot roller set from Babyliss. To add to the silliness I also made a short video for my first hot roller attempt. The rollers only take about five minutes to heat up, even less to put in the hair and then about ten more minutes for them to set. I used big rollers and low heat to save my hair. First impression: I think I'm a convert! It created a near natural bounce, and I'm sure that if I had used higher heat, smaller (and more) rollers and waited longer it would have looked pretty curly. I know Dita von Teese uses these so clearly they must work for vintage hair styles too.

Dress progress report

Sunday, November 06, 2011Johanna / 7 kommentarer

It's one of those days where I should be sitting in the sofa hand sewing at the moment, but instead there are some serious procrastination going on. At least blogging about sewing feels a little more proactive than some of the other stuff I've been doing this evening.

So all pieces are now cut and I've hemmed the neckline using french bias binding that is attached with hand stitches on the reverse side. As I mentioned before, machine stitching really needs to be kept to a minimum when hemming this sort of lightweight chiffon. Just two rows of stitches and suddenly it feels like there is a metal wire running through the fabric. Also I skipped the idea to make a rolled hem with the serger since it makes the sleeves too wavy. So now everything will be hemmed with bias strips. The sofa and the needle is calling...
Floremark Made by me

Clothilde wool sweater

Thursday, November 03, 2011Johanna / 4 kommentarer

I knew I wanted to use more angular shapes for my some of the garments for Floremark's fall. The idea for this top came from an image of a large turtle neck collar that I saw as a line drawing in an old sewing book. It has been in the back of my head for a long long time and now it has sort of transpired into this sweater. Though the original collar doesn't really look like this at all. Stuff happens on the way and I ended going for a more softer version, that feels almost draped. I don't really know what you call this collar in English, perhaps a folded (or opened) funnel neck?

I managed to get my hands on some more of the magical wool rib that I used for Celia and Kelly. Though the shade is a little lighter then the original fabric. Medium dark blue perhaps? Clothilde is now in the shop.

Hemming chiffon - trial and errors

Wednesday, November 02, 2011Johanna / 0 kommentarer

Thank you so much for all the helpful links on how to hem sheer fabrics. I will compile a list later on as I'm sure it can be beneficial for others.
I'm just experimenting right now, I have yet to finish any seams. But these are my conclusions so far:

  • Machine stitches makes the chiffon very stiff, so the fabric doesn't drape very well. 
  • Hand rolling a hem is a very beautiful method, but it is way too hard to do in a good looking manner on chiffon when you've never done it before. Therefore I'm giving up on this method.
  • French bias binding could be the way to go. I've done it on the neckline (see the last photo) and if I can attach the band by hand I think this will give a very nice looking finish. Regular machine top stitching makes it way too stiff unfortunately. 
I'm getting a tad bit obsessed by this hemming business. In fact all I want to do is more hemming. Even though I got two (now that's a record) social gatherings tonight. Maybe I could sacrifice some sleep? But then again, sewing and being tired doesn't mix well for me.