Bodiam Castle and a slightly unfortunate make :)

The past couple of weeks have been super busy and stressful at work, which is why I have disappeared, not that anyone has missed me here, haha! Having spent days going through notes for meetings with publishers, looking at the computer any longer when back home was the last thing I wanted to do, the truth is that even if I wanted my eyes simply refused to stay open. Perhaps I should have tried taping them.

sleeping-with-eyes-open

Admittedly Britain turns into a beautiful lady in spring, especially when the weather helps, as it was the case during the weekend.

Bodiam CastleBodiam Castle

Bodiam Castle Interior

Bodiam castle is a very well-preserved 14th century castle, situated in East Sussex. Although the interior is ruined, the medieval feeling is enhanced by the beautiful surroundings and the actors dressed in period clothing that walk around the castle, describing the life of the people who once inhabited it.

Bodiam Castle ViewBodiam Castle view

Bodiam Castle view

Bodiam Castle actor in period clothes

Since in the middle ages everything was handmade, I thought it appropriate to take advantage of the opportunity and take some pictures, of my not so medieval or perfect make.

Burda Style 3/2014

This blouse started as the dress based on the burda magazine pattern (issue 03/2014) Dress with Fluted Sleeves. As usual, I found it really hard tracing the patterns from the magazine, I get a headache just by looking at the various interweaving pieces of patterns on one sheet, so you can imagine how I feel, when I actually try to trace them. Argh!! In any case the problem with this one, is that I went straight to the fabric, without making a toile in advance, because you know, I’m lazy and impatient. The result was that my bum was suffocating in that dress and the invisible zipper on the side, well wasn’t invisible at all.

Burda Dress with Fluted Sleeves

Check out my polka dot shades!

Because I loved the polka dot and the sleeves, (I mean aren’t they adorable?) I couldn’t bring myself to throwing it away and was filled with a determination to turn the disaster into something wearable. Cutting the skirt of the dress, left me with a top that wasn’t exactly, in fact it looked as if I had run out of fabric, which I had, but not completely. To create the sort of peplum of the blouse, I turned to my recently favourite pattern The Bellatrix Blazer, by Papercut Patterns. Doesn’t it remind you of something? I cut the front bottom pieces of the blazer pattern and sewed them around the bottom of the blouse to give it a bit more length and I think it turned out pretty well!

Burda Fluted sleeves dress

My pattern matching is a bit off in the back and on the sleeve pleats, but that’s only a tiny problem, compared to the whole dress disaster.

Burda Style Dress with Fluted Sleeves

Except for the beautiful surroundings Bodiam Castle has also some permanent residents; beautiful ducks

Duck at Bodiam Castle

And some not so beautiful fish, this one was rather scary.

Bodiam Castle

Did you do or sew anything nice at the weekend?

Have a good week everyone!

I got bugs…

I got bugs...

I got bugs…

 

I got bugs in my room...

I got bugs in my room…

Bugs in my pockets...

Bugs in my pockets…

Bugs on my window...

Bugs on my window…

They don't go nowhere...

They don’t go nowhere…

Bugs on my ceiling...

Bugs on my ceiling…

Standing, sitting, kneeling...

Standing, sitting, kneeling…

I see they surround me...

I see they surround me…

I got bugs in my room...

I got bugs in my room…

Anne over at Mercury Handmade Fashion made not one, not two but at least three different versions of the amazing Bellatrix Blazer by Papercut patterns. I was inspired and Anne’s descriptions made it sound like an easy make! I wanted to have this jacket and so went and ordered the pattern which came (much faster than I thought) in the most beautiful package, with cool illustration and clear instructions, that one can fold into a little booklet. I know now why the sewing world is in love with indie patterns. This is the first jacket I’ve ever sewn, so it’s not as gorgeous as Anne’s but still very wearable. I cut the small size and sewed with no problems except for the sleeves, where the armhole seemed to be bigger than the actual sleeve or I did something wrong ;) Next time (because there’s going to be a next time, I want to make the Bellatrix over and over again), I think I will need to cut the smaller size for the top, as this one is a bit loose and as you can see creates a puff in the back, when it’s buttoned at the front.

Bellatrix Blazer Papercut Patterns

It’s the first time, I made welt pockets as well and now the mystery of their creation is solved, haha! I love them and think they’ve turned out nice! The fabric was bought some time ago at Ikea and I was drawn to it because it immediately reminded me of a Pearl Jam song, “Bugs”. Now, I’ve got bugs in my hands, craving to sew…”

Have you made something inspired by another blogger and if so what?

 

1800s Fashion: 1870s to 1890s

The final instalment of the 1800s Fashion and finally after it, one hopes I will be making some period inspired clothes. But I have to tell you, this new job of mine, is coming out of nye ears. I can’t remember when it was the last time I was so busy, but back to our subject.

English_bustles

Bustle_c._1885Fashion doesn’t change dramatically in the last 3 decades of the 19th century. Women celebrate (at least I would) the loss of the crinoline as we gradually return to a narrow silhouette where all the fulness is at the back of the skirt. Alas my friends, for it to be kept there another torturous (well not exactly) device was invented, the bustle.

Does my bum look big in this? Yes it does...

Does my bum look big in this? Yes it does…

The bustle is used well into the 1880s emphasising the back of the skirt. I have seen episodes upon episodes of Project Runway, with Michael Kors repeating over and over, ‘no woman wants to look big around her bum’, apparently during that period that’s exactly what they wanted.

S/hourglass silhouette

Luckily major changes in the fashion take place in the last decade of the century, which finally sends away the crinolines, but keeps the corset, to create every woman’s dream (?) the hour glass silhouette. Oh, how we love to suffer.

A line

The skirt is gathered around the waist and is slightly fitted on the hips but falls more naturally on the body, resembling an A line skirt.

Evening_gowns_1892-3

Charvet_adv_ht_1896

So now that women can’t have big skirts, they decide to go back to big sleeves and the hideous (and say what you like) leg o’ mutton, which remains in fashion till the beginning of 20th century. But this is the story of another era, yet to be explored. But so that I don’t feel alone in this, was there any particular feature of the 19th century fashion you absolutely hated?

Making a Hoop Crinoline - Step 10 - Natasha Morgan  Art Dolls

An art doll with a crinoline by Natasha Morgan and her extraordinary art dolls. Photography (c) Natasha Morgan

All other pics from wikipedia

Marimekko, I am leaving…

So that was it; my leaving do came with a lovely present from my colleagues, a piece of fabric from the amazing collection of Marimekko in Finland (it was accompanied with a lot of liquor on the day, but I will spare you the details). I don’t know about you, but with me any new job means I need to somehow reinvent myself, yes any excuse to make or buy something new. This time it was the simple skirt of Simplicity 2059. I’ve had this pattern for a while now and hadn’t even opened the envelope (that bad) but had arranged some green fabric from my stash to have a go at it. This Marimekko fabric though, was something I couldn’t resist and since there wasn’t enough of it to make a dress or a blouse, I took it as the perfect opportunity to make the skirt.

Simplicity 2059

Simplicity 2059 Marimekko

Simplicity 2059 Marimekko

This is outside our flat, on this sunny Sunday. The ground was so damp from all the rain of the week that I sort of sank in it, hehe. As you can see, I didn’t pay a lot of attention to matching the pattern, I tried but I don’t think it looks weird. The fabric is already quite crazy that it doesn’t matter, to me at least.

Simplicity 2059 Marimekko

The pattern doesn’t call for lining, but I somehow felt it needed some :) I put some bias tape on the waste for a better finish.

Office boots

Of course, with new clothes, one needs some new footwear. Aren’t these power boots gorgeous? Especially if they come with more than 50% discount. Bought from office for the office.

I guess this outfit qualifies me for Blue February as well, blue top, skirt and tights :) The pattern is extremely easy to make and with a lively print like this one, it makes a very special garment that I’m bound to wear often.

All I have to do now is stress out about tomorrow morning when I will be going to my new working place, especially on the what to wear part. Does anyone else stress out about what to wear at work? If so do you prepare from the previous day or do you just grab the first thing you find in your wardrobe? I’m known to do both.

1800s Fashion: 1830s -1860s

Second instalment of my fashion through time, massively falling behind, attempt.

Do you remember the expansion in the fashion universe, I mentioned in my previous post? Well, this is when it all happens.

Leg of mutton 1830s Fashion

The elegant romantic sleeves turn into fashion balloons, the so-called gigot sleeves or leg of mutton. None of these terms sounds very appealing to me and I certainly wouldn’t like to wear the leg of any mutton.  Very large over the arm but narrowing to a small cuff at the wrist, hence leg of mutton.

You can see the resemblance

You can see the resemblance

Technological advances in textile printing have an effect on fabrics and fashion of the time moves  from dark and heavy colours to florals and stripes printed on light fabrics. 1830s Fabric

Fabric Swatch 1830s

While the sleeves go out of proportion (well, ok with today’s standards) and the dresses become wider around the shoulder, the waist seems uncomfortably small and the enormous proportions of the upper and lower part of the dress makes it look very tiny. The skirt remains full but acquires a more conical shape and will keep expanding until the 1860s. 1830s Fashion

During this time women take up to riding and of course this immediately influences the fashionable ladies of the time and translates into a high-necked and tight around the waist jacket, matched with a skirt (of course) and a collared shirt, as the picture below.

Riding 1830's Fashion

This period of time is also responsible for the crinoline which, thank God, didn’t travel all the way to the present time.

Victorians

The crinoline (right) helped made the skirts even bigger

Artistic Dress

Rossetti Prosperine

Rossetti Lylith

During the 1860s the artistic dress movement emulates the style of the Pre-Raphaelite’s models’ garments, which were loosely fitted, plain dresses. They were apparently adopted in real life by the painters’ wives and models, as everyday dresses.

Around this time Charles Frederick Worth makes his first steps in the world of fashion by opening his shop and becoming thus, a pioneer of haute couture.

Speaking of haute couture, Christian Dior’s Spring Summer 2010 collection draws inspiration from the tight riding jackets and the top hats with veil worn by the women of our period. Enjoy until next time :)

Pics: Wikipedia

Burda 7137 Sewn in Brighton

On Monday, I will have 9 working days left in my current job, (did I hear you saying I’m counting?) before I go back to London and start my new one. And although I’m super excited, the three months’ notice period, created a lot of mixed feelings. Excitement, sadness and excitement again.

Maybe I should hold on to it a bit longer...

Maybe I should hold on to it a bit longer…

But then again, it's time to move on

But then again, it’s time to move on

Go down the stairs for one last time

Go down the stairs for one last time

Look with excitement at the new that awaits out this door

Look with excitement at the new that awaits out this door

One last look but nah..

One last look but nah..

Soon I will be going up another new sets of stairs, that looks more like that

Soon I will be going up another staircase, that looks more like this one

I made this dress as part of Making clothes from patterns class, I recently took at Sew In Brighton. It was a five weeks course and although I cheated a bit, (yes I didn’t make the whole dress only during the class), this is probably one of the best dresses I’ve made. The pattern is Burda 7137, which I chose specifically, because of the sleeves, the lining, the zipper and the darts. All the things I find very challenging whenever I make anything. I had never realised how important pattern markings are to achieving a beautiful garment. Yes, yes, I know, everyone says that, but I can’t help it, I have a sort of aversion for instructions, haha. I can tell you now though, I will never make this mistake again. Burda patterns start at a size 10, so we had to resize my pattern to a smaller size for the top, as the finished dress would have been too big.

Sew in Brighton

Sew in Brighton

Sew in BrightonThis time it was essential to follow the instructions to the letter and because my pattern was so long, I had to lay it out in the corridor during the class. That wasn’t a massive problem for me as this is where I usually do everything. (Ok, now I’m sitting on top of the sofa so that I can be close to the radiator).

Burda 7137I found the sleeves a bit challenging because of the slit, which I think needs to be in the back but it looks really good on the front too. The instructions where somewhat confusing on that part, but once deciphered the result was pretty good.

Burda 7137The lining was certainly my least favourite part, as I made a mistake the first time and I had to unpick it and sew it again. It is only a cheap polyester lining and as you can see it looks slightly tortured now, but it’s on the inside and it sits there just fine.

Burda 7137However, I was quite pleased with the zipper insertion as it turned out a million times better than any other zipper. It’s still not perfect but I’m very happy with it. The fabric is also very forgiving with tiny mistakes, as because of its texture, they’re not easily noticeable. I will certainly wear this in my new job, when some power dressing is required or not.

Dress: self-made/ gloves: vintage bought at a work props sale/ suitcase: vintage, christmas present/shoes: the internet?/Photography: the boyfriend and myself

1800s Fashion: 1810-1830 or so..

I’m already falling behind with the task I set myself, and haven’t even posted a single thing about it. In a previous post I mentioned that I would like to explore the different styles in fashion over the past 200 years in order to create a digital portfolio and from there to end up sewing a piece inspired by the particular period. First on the list is the 1800s. We ought however to start our little journey slightly earlier.

It was not until after the French revolution that fashion was really born in the way that we consider it today, more as a means of individual expression rather than an indication of social status. This was represented in women’s fashion with the empire dress.

Empire Dress

The empire dress was characterised by a high waistline and a low neckline, influences by the classical Greco-Roman silhouette, with drapes and sheer fabrics. The bottom of the dress flowed for ease of movement. This style gave birth to what later was called the Regency style dress, where the waist still remained high but began to drop slightly, whereas decoration was added to the hem and the neckline. Colours other than white were also added.

Regency style

Regency style

Between 1800 and 1820, women decided that they could no longer go out in the cold practically naked, with the wind blowing their sheer dresses. It was time for them to wear coats to protect them from the cold weather. Some of them were lined with fur and they were decorated with tassels and all sorts of trimmings. These were also called coat dresses and they were suitable both for indoors and outdoors.

coat

Dress coats 1800s

dress coats As time went by in the ever-changing world of fashion, the classical influence started to wear out and gave its place to the romantic style influenced by medieval costumes and the gothic style. Sleeves became longer and they were bound by a cord to resemble that particular style. The corset makes also a comeback.

Romantic influence

Corset 1800s

All this brings us to the 1830s where fashion changes completely and everything starts to expand, a little bit like how the universe was born. Yes I know, slightly irrelevant.

The 1800s like any era of the past have inspired contemporary fashion

Empire Dress

Empire style dress

1800s

I saw it in a film: Fashion inspired by films and TV shows

A couple of days ago I discovered Maison Bentley Style and couldn’t help but loving the amazing visual content and the fashion posts. What caught my attention was this post about winter garments and how influenced they seem to be by the TV series Game of Thrones. This made me think how interwoven fashion and movies are and how these two forms of art draw inspiration from each other.

Audrey Hepburn’s little black dress in Breakfast at Tifanny’s became the epitome of elegance and style and an essential piece in every woman’s wardrobe. All time classic! Admittedly it was Coco‘s inventionAudrey Hepburn Little Black Dress

The remake of The Great Gatsby was the inspiration of Ralph Lauren’s Spring 2012 collection. Ralph Lauren apparently was responsible for designing the male costumes of the 1974 version of the film.

Great_gatsby_74

Ralph Lauren Spring 2012 Collection

Ralph Lauren Spring 2012 Collection

Ralph Lauren Spring 2012

Ralph Lauren Spring 2012

And from the blogosphere, Demi Monde wears a Great Gatsby inspired outfit, so does Tiffany Piñero and Prairie Girl 

Moulin Rouge is one of my favourite films and one of the reasons why is the costumes in it, truly amazing.

And so is the fashion:

Punk Can can

Punk Can Can

Mad men  brought the 1960s back to the 21st century and  bloggers and retailers made clothes inspired by the series.

Mad men

Banana Republic Madmen

Pauline Alice sewed her own version of Peggy Olsen’s Blue Cocktail dress and the Megan yellow dress. Julia Bobbin not only made a perfect copy of a Joan dress but she actually set up a whole mad men challenge and here you can see all the lovely ladies and their creations who took part in it.

I like films where clothes aren’t just there to dress people, but they have role in them too. I haven’t sewn any clothes, but both my It’s a show costumes where inspired by films. Of course the list of films that have inspired fashion throughout the years, but I could be here for days trying to feature all of them. :)

The Liebster Award

A couple of days ago  Kathy Clem of  W is for Wordpainting  kindly nominated me for the Liebster Award. I felt immensely excited and very honoured by her lovely gesture.

liebsterblogaward

The Liebster  is awarded to new bloggers as an encouragement to get them started in the world of blogging.

Here are the rules:

1. Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog.

2. You must answer the 10 questions given to you by the nominee before you.  (That list is below the nominations.)
3. You must nominate 10 of your favorite blogs with fewer than 200 followers and notify them of their nomination.
4. You must come up with 10 questions for your nominees to answer.

I’m also adding the two steps Kathy added on her blog, as they are very helpful. 

5. You must post the Liebster Award rules in your blog and have the people you nominated link to your blog by letting you know on your page that they have completed all the steps, this generates a pingback.

6. You must post the Liebster Award badge in your website (you can do this by using the image widget)

And here are my answers to Kathy’s questions:

1. When did you start your blog?

I’m ashamed to say that it’s been over a year ago but it was only recently that I started posting more regularly

2. What made you do the Zero to Hero challenge?

The word challenge

3. Do you have any pets?

No, unfortunately I’m so distracted that I would probably forget about them

4. What is your favorite hobby?

Travelling and making things?

5. What do you do most of the day?

Laugh, I guess, while working in an office

6. Do you believe in magic?

Absolutely

7. If you could have another life, what would you be?

A philosopher in ancient Greece, haha

8. Why?

They seemed to come up with the best ideas while roaming around Athens with no real purpose

9. How big is your immediate  family?

All family in Greece is immediate and mine is quite big

10. What do you like about writing?

The story making and the dreaming

So my 10 lucky nominees are:

http://bobbinsandwhimsy.wordpress.com/

http://bellemegan.wordpress.com/

http://mrshbookworm.wordpress.com/

http://superdanni.wordpress.com/

http://maisonhandh.com/

http://owladay.wordpress.com/

http://zosews.com/

http://beautyforyoursoul.wordpress.com/

http://ginghamgirl.com/

http://sewmuchchoice.wordpress.com/

These are some bloggers I’ve been following for a bit and some new ones that I came across via Zero to Hero Challenge.

And now to the tricky part (not really), my questions:

1. What do you enjoy the most about blogging?

2. If you lived in a comic book, would you be a super hero or a super villain?

3. Which one?

4. If you were a garment, what would you be?

5. What do you want to be when you grow up? (I’m assuming that none of us is an adult yet,hehe)

6. Close your eyes; what’s the first thing you see?

7. You are going to a remote island and you are allowed to take only three things with you, what would you take?

8. If you could meet a famous personality of the past, who is no longer alive, who would it be?

9. Name a cherished childhood memory

10. Imagine you had a tardis, where would you go?

Enjoy!!

Where do I start?

Some years ago, when I used to live in London, I took a fashion design short course at Morley College. The objective of that course was to learn how to create a portfolio based on an idea which was the core of our inspiration for creating a mini collection. I can’t tell you enough how much I loved this course, so much I did it twice. I’ve caught myself from time to time going over these two portfolios and although they look very amateur, I still find them amazing. The part that I enjoyed the most was the research and trying to represent my findings in a visual way. The amount of nights I slept at 4am trying to finish the pages or come up with a design and having to go to work the next morning… ah those were the days. Well not necessarily but bear with me. These are the two portfolios I created during the course, the first one inspired by the French Revolution and the second one by the Amazons of ancient Greece.

Reading Rosin’s latest great post, I started wondering what exactly was my hobby, to sew, to make things, clothes? And I realised that what I like the most is making stories, being a bit of a detective, researcher, imagining myself as someone sat in a dark room with piles of books trying to solve the mystery. I like sewing clothes and other things, no doubt about that, despite my shortcomings, but mostly I like the whole creative process from concept to end product. I guess this is why Project Runway is one of my favourite tv shows ever, it’s not the sewing, it’s the whole idea of creation and what lies behind it or in front of the judges, hehe.

I’m sure you have already started wondering (if you are still reading of course) what’s the point of all my blathering. Well, the fact that those days can come back. My aim for this year is to use the last 200 years of fashion (oh yes that Fashion Museum in Bath is to blame here) as an inspiration for creating, digitally this time, portfolios with my inspiration and designs and in the end I will try and sew at least one of the designed garments. Posts will include, general info on the period I will be exploring, a visual journal of research, a moodboard, design process, final designs and of course a sewn garment, out of a pattern mash up. I can already imagine how much fun this last part will be, if I manage to sew at least one garment then we should all celebrate. First stop will be the 1800s. Are you ready for the ride?