Monday, 22 September 2014

Hop to my blog!

The blog hopping wave came to me all the way from Italy. The lovely Silvia a.k.a. Sewing Princess, asked me to write about me and myself : ) I like reading about personal stuff on other blogs, so I hope you enjoy it.

* Why do I write?

I started writing because I wanted to keep track of my trials and errors, successes and failures in sewing. I started blogging at the same time as I began pattern-making evening courses at ESMOD Tokyo. This blog was like a thread connecting me to the “Western world” and the sewing community while I felt foreign and lonely in Japan. At the time I started the blog, I had not made many friends in Japan let alone know anybody interesting in sewing. This blog to me was like a breath of fresh air: being able to talk about my passion and meeting people with similar interests was so nice! I ended up connecting with so many amazing people around the globe! Even though I’ve never met many of you in real life, I feel like we became friends and it is such a great feeling!

I drafted and sewed this shirt during my first year at ESMOD Japan

I also write this blog to maintain my English. Although I work in a multinational company, 80% of my work colleagues are non-native English speakers. And even though we use English as our communication language, there are very few people who master English. By putting my thoughts together on the pages of this blog, I try to improve my linguistic skills and progress in writing. I really have fun telling stories about my sewing and - why not - consider blogging as a possible source of income in the future.

* What am I working on?

I have almost finished a skirt from the French sewing book Grains de couture, “Perle de Nacre”. It was the first time for me to work with a French pattern. I promise to write about my experience shortly.

Three weeks ago, I started the Bespoke Jacket making class at the Dublin Tailoring Academy. If you follow me on Instagram, you have probably seen many tricky lines coming along. At present, we are finishing drafting sleeves.

Becoming a sewing student again pushed me to revisit my pattern-drafting skills. I took out my slopers and started playing around with them. One of my autumn blog projects is to share with you how to modify a basic skirt sloper. I am thinking about 4-5 variations. Stay tuned!

Since winter is around the corner, one of my projects is to make two coats, using the Ingrid coat pattern by Style Arc and a BurdaStyle pattern.

* How does it differ from others of its genre?

I combine an interest in couture techniques and wearable every-day clothes. I have not made many fancy dresses (in fact, only one!). On the other hand, I apply couture techniques - which I learnt from Susan Khalje, online and in person - to almost every project in order to create good-looking and durable garments. It’s not always a great success but our failures keep us going!

But sometimes my sewing pays off: this year, my Louis Vuitton dress was featured in the German BurdaStyle magazine! I almost collapsed when I received the magazine ;)

* How does my writing process work?

In most cases, I write when I have a garment to show or a topic I would like to discuss with the broader community. Usually, I write posts in one go after reviewing my photos.  The photos help me put my ideas into words and also help me to come up with topics.

* Who’s next?

Next, I would like to hear more from a blogger who keeps on inspiring me for years, Marina from Frabjous Couture.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

How to make office wear look less boring

Before I begin I'd like to note that I was neither paid nor influenced to write this post. All opinions are my own!

This is me at work :) 
I've wanted to discuss this topic for a while but one thing always stopped me: none of the companies I've ever worked for have had a dress code. I consider myself lucky because during the 10+ years of my professional life I have never been confronted by anybody because of the way I dress. Depending on my mood, the weather or you name it, I wear a jeans/T-shirt combo, or a fancy dress or a quirky outfit: nobody cares how I look. The same goes for client meetings: I don't always dress smartly for those. Having said that, I do not envy people who work in an environment with a strict dress policy, such as some of my friends from the financial sector or other "serious" industries. When I lived in Japan, I was particularly shocked by the monotonous mass of people working in corporations (salaryman, as they are usually called) on public transport, dressed in super boring and similar-looking outfits, Seriously, they all looked like clones!

I decided to share my thoughts on the subject and hear what you have to say. If we are lucky, we can create our own wardrobe and add a lot of special elements which make us stand out more! In saying that, I am sure, many of you are confined by rigid company dress policies.

So if I worked for a company with a dress code I would...

Sew my office wear from more expensive fabrics. 

In Japan, my company was located in the same tower as Barclays Bank and Samsung Ericsson. Every day as I approached the elevators, I could clearly identify who works where. Although people from both companies wore suits, skirts and shirts, they quality of the fabric their clothes were made from was not the same. I am sure that investing a little bit more into a higher quality fabric would resolve two issues: a smarter garment look and its longevity.

 Add colour to the strict office look!

If I had to sew my office wear, I'd use a lot of structured fabrics, materials with contrasting threads or simply more colours in contract to a black and white office palette.

On a business trip to our office in India. I fell in love with their daily outfits!

Use modern patterns to create a classic look. 

In my personal opinions, Style Arc does it better than anybody else. I may be wrong but Chloe, the designer behind the brand, spots all the newest fashion trends and immediately translates them into dashing patterns! I also like the way she pairs her patterns, based on celebrities' styles, to create an accomplished look and to give outfit suggestions.


Bring an element of surprise!

Buttons, a little embroidery or a contrasting lining can please even the most conservative boss!

One of my favourite "surprise" garments out there is Marina's godet skirt! The little bit of colour she used for the lining puts a smile on my face. Speaking of which, last year, I also sewed a garment with burst of colour, a classic black French jacket.


Whenever I seek an idea for accessorising, I often turn my eye to Erika B., a sewing and fashion blogger from the US. While her style is not really the same as mine, this woman know how to dress up!

Now, I'd like to ask you, especially those of you who do have to follow the office rules: if you sew you office wear, do you have any tricks to share? What do you do in order to stand out and make your outfit look less office-like?