Thursday, 30 July 2015


If you expect to find anything about sewing in this post, you can stop reading here. I am not going to say the  S word from here on in, because two weeks ago I went to Iceland, and the only thing you can think about while you are there is the K word: knitting.  But more about that later. First, I’d like to tell you about the trip.

After my Japanese wanderings, it feels so good to be back in Dublin, because, being a European hub, you can easily travel anywhere in EU and the US. You can find cheap flights to go almost anywhere. So we are kind of spoilt here.
I became even happier when an Icelandic low-cost air company opened a new route to Reykjavik! Compared to most European low-cost airlines, I found WOW Air to be classy and on time! And it’s so close to Ireland: in a little  more than two hours we had reached our destination.

My travel buddy and I decided to stay in Reykjavik for the entire week, but we booked four tours  with this company, in order to explore different parts of the island. Although we arrived in the midst of the high season, there were not so many tourists. Compared with other “hot” destinations, Rejkyavik looked almost empty. We constantly made jokes about it, but to be honest, too few tourists is better than too many! It did not feel overcrowded, so we could plainly enjoy each excursion. For example, on our glacier tour, there were only three of us! Who can complain?

Iceland is really expensive compared with the rest of Europe, maybe with the exception of Norway and Switzerland, but, unless you eat out in restaurants every day, it’s possible to get food for less. Most days, we bought lunches and snacks in supermarkets or convenience stores. Two tours included dinners too, so it did not feel like we spent too much in the course of the week and we treated ourselves with a couple of nice dinners.

Craft wise, yarn, not fabric, was the main point of interest, and the place to go was A4, a chain selling school and craft supplies. So a skein of yarn (100 metres) costs less than 279 ISK (less than 2 EUR), in other shops, especially in the centre of Reykjavik, they sell the same yarn for 350 ISK or even 450 ISK, which was a complete rip off! So you can quickly calculate the total cost of a hand-made sweater. Not bad at all, given that hand-made sweaters in the shops started from 21,000 ISK (140 EUR). The closest A4 shop to the centre of Reykjavik is located in Kriglan shopping centre, which also worth a look. They also make amazing burritos on the top floor ;)

To sum the trip up, it was cold (on average +10C), mysterious (because of the polar day and crazy landscapes) and adventurous. Instead of talking too much about my holiday, I’d rather show you some pics. You can also read about Iceland and yarn shopping on Tasia's blog, who very recently also went to Iceland, Sonja’s and Carolyn's. I immediately fell in love with Sonja’s horse sweater! Lastly, you can read a lot of interesting information about Iceland from a local here.

Tell me about your holiday plans!

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Xerea dress ft. Moomin

Have you noticed how much the quality of the photos on my blog has improved recently? This is the result of an encounter with two talented co-workers, one of whom happens to be an amazing photographer and the other, a make-up artist. Even though  all three of us work in tech, we each aspire to more creative expression of our inner selves. We have decided to meet together from time to time and work on different photo projects, thus helping each other to improve and evolve artistically. I don’t know how long we’ll carry on working together, but so far it has been a very inspiring union.

For this project, I was determined to sew the Xerea dress, because just a few weeks before Pauline, from Pauline Alice patterns, gave me  me both of her latest patterns as a present: Xerea dress and Sorell trousers. The style of the Xerea dress reminded me of my, literally worn to pieces, Louis Vuitton dress: the 60’s silhouette, comfort and playfulness.

I got in touch with my ‘creative team’, showed them my dress and they came up with many great ideas for a shooting session ‘60’s reinvented’. And here it is!

Now, a little bit more about the dress. When I just saw the preview of the Xerea dress, I immediately thought about using my Moomin fabric, which has been waiting for a perfect dress pattern for the last two years. I bought it at Cocca, a concept shop in Tokyo, selling fabric, clothes, haberdashery, umbrellas and small house decor objects. It turned out, they also produce textile, including some Moomin fabric collection! Since I purchased only 1.3metres of the fabric, I went for the sleeveless view A.

Prior to cutting the precious fabric, I made a muslin, because I remember from my previous experience with the Ninot jacket, that Pauline’s patterns incorporate seam allowances. Personally, I prefer when patterns I work with do not include seam allowances, because I find it easier to focus on stitching lines, and  0.5cm seam allowances give me enough room to sew. Since the Xerea dress includes 1.5 cm seam allowances, I removed 0.5cm from the size 38.

So, first, I sewed the muslin together, then I applied a couple of modifications and, lastly, I removed 0.5 cm from the altered toile’s seam allowances. My first modification was to raised the bust darts by 2cm up. Second, I took off some fabric from the under shoulder blade area, creating a dead dart along the seam attaching the yoke to the back.

The entire process from sewing the dress to coming up with a theme for the photos to the actual shooting was hard work, but also lots of fun. It is not the same when a photographer tells you what to do, how to turn, how to look versus you taking your own picture. This is by far the toughest part of working with professionals. In the future, you may expect a few more ‘serious’ photo sessions and few frocks. Meanwhile, I am off to Iceland. And you? Any holiday plans?