Inspiration: American Idiot

I’m not sure how much this post will actually be about sewing, but I’m throwing it in anyway. If you read to the end I will tell you which of my handsewn garments that had the honour of being worn. I’m also adding a warning for spoilers of the musical American Idiot.

Can you believe my husband has never, ever seen a muscial play or any other play. Now, he is not that into show tunes so the thought of him going to a traditional musical was impossible. Then I noticed that Malmö Opera would do Green Day’s American Idiot. After that it was a done deal and I treated the husband to his first ever muscial theatre experience.

American idiot

She’s holding on my heart like a hand grenade

Now, we are both huge fans of the American Idiot album and have listened to it thousands of time, singing along aloud, but during the show we realised that either of us had fully grapsed the story and social critisism of the album; we both pointed out that we would never listen to the album in the same way again.

American Idiot, ensembleAs for costume design, they followed in the punk lead of Green Day and it’s not something I’ve ever been into, even as a teen (as I teen I was more drawn to hippie styles). Leather jackets look great though. This shot above is from the ending when the characters reconcile with living in Suburbia. It really felt like a sad ending since it was driven more an urge to settle than to think that it was what they really wanted. I live my suburban life and wish for my kids never to feel like that, I want to give them the tools they need so they never settle for anything. And I need to tell myself that I shouldn’t either.

American idiot, bandThe band was excellent, energetic and great. The vision was to play the musical with the “dirtier” sound of Dookie, which I think they succeeded with very well. The audience was loving every performance and giving standing ovations in the end. The lead character was amazing, great voice, great acting, great presence and quite nice on my eyes. As I mentioned in my West Side Story post I would show you a different side of the actor portraying Tony. Same guy. He was good in West Side Story, in American Idiot, he was excellent. Just hear him sing Boulevard of Broken Dreams.

Those eyes...

Those eyes…

I’m not thinking a studded crop top will be in my near future, nor fire red hair. I will not live up to the standards set by Whatsername. What I do take with me in inspiration is energy, refusing to settle and a will to sneak a bit more rock’n’roll into my life and wardrobe. Until then I will listen to American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown, reliving the great musical with great music.

And the handmade garment I wore? Of course my Rock Glam Skirt! Where else would I have the opportunity to wear a silver leather skirt if not to a rock opera.

All photos from Malmö Opera

I helgen var min man och jag och såg American Idiot på Malmö Opera. Den var inspirerande på många sätt, inte på det sättet att jag kommer att försöka återskapa kostymen – jag har inte direkt nytta för en nitad kort topp – men energin och känslan tar jag med mig. Jag kommer försöka smyga in lite mer rock’n’roll i mina kläder och lyssna sönder Green Days plattor – så bra är de!

Alla bilder från Malmö Opera

Inspiration: West Side Story

To be honest I thought I wrote this post 2 years ago. I thought I had written this and published it. I had another post planned in which I would reference this post so that was how I discovered that I hadn’t written this post at all. 2 years is quite a long time to live in delusion, right?

So what was it that happened two years ago that made me want to write this post? In short, I visited the opera. It was the first time in ages that I had gone to see a musical, it was my MIL who bought “her daughters” (two SILs and me) tickets for Christmas and it has been a tradition since (I missed Chess in 2013 due to flu and then saw La Cage Aux Folles last year (see, I blogged about those)). At that time I rediscovered a world of musical theatre and how fun it is to see a well-produced, engaging live performance.

WWS, Sharks and Jets

What I did want to write about West Side Story was the costume design. I really found it inspiring, perhaps not in the way that it is clothes practical for my life, but rather how they helped reflect the situation on stage. As you may know, the basic plot of West Side Story is that there are two rival gangs, the Jets (Polish) and the Sharks (Puerto Ricans). The costume designer has really made a point to make a distinction in the clothes, the Sharks are in colourful clothing and the Jets are in more neutral colours, as can be seen above, and this was true for both men and women.

The Sharks girls were also in two-pieces that dubbed as dresses, something I have experimented with twice, in my “Dress” and my Midnight Sun Outfit.

WWS, MariaMaria, as the central character and not into the gang rivalry has a wardrobe that differs from the rest. For her first night in New York, the party scene, she donned a white dress, to represent her innocence, with interesting sleeves. Sleeves that reminded me of my Flouncing Sleeves top and Envy dress, even though they are made in jersey and I suspect Maria’s dress is from a vowen. I can’t really see how her dress is cut under the bust. While I’m not comfortable in dresses cut in one piece, Maria’s dress is nice and inspiring (look closely at Tony because the actor will be featured in my next musical inspiration post, looking very, very different. Still hot, though).

WWS,sketches

Another fun thing is that the sketches from the designer was also shown. Aside from the strange body shapes of the women, I think she did a pretty good job in realising those sketches. As I am interested in sewing I thought it was fun so see a bit more of the process behind the clothes. My creativity isn’t quite there so I can make a sketch and realise it, but maybe someday I can. Until then I’ll continue to match patterns to fabrics and vice versa to build my wardrobe.

Better late than never! Two years after I saw the musical I have finally blogged about the wardrobe. And, since I saw another musical this weekend, a new post will soon be up and, as I promised, it will feature more pictures of the actor portraying Tony above. However, it inspired me in other ways than fashion.

All pictures from GöteborgsOperan.

För två år sedan besökte jag Göteborgsoperan för att se West Side Story. Det blev en öppning till att se fler musikaler. Uppsättningen var mycket bra och jag inspirerades av kostymdesignerns sätt att låta kläderna bli en del av handlingen. Sharks-tjejerna och killarna hade färgglada kläder som kontrast till Jets mer neutrala. Marias klänning från hennes första kväll i New York är också underbar, även om det är svårt att se linjerna på den. Extra kul var också att vi fick se sketcherna så att hela processen kunde följas.

Alla bilder från GöteborgsOperan.

Creation: McCall’s 5974 The Paint Splatter Dress

For weekends when we are expected to see people I have one dress that I grab. My Rule Britannia Dress. I made it a year ago and it has been on high spring/fall/winter rotation. For summer I choose my identical Aqua Painted dress instead. Sadly fall, winter and spring make up most of the year around these parts of the world so the Britain dress is seen very often. So often that I figured I’d need to make another dress so that people wouldn’t get sick of it.

Front view. There is a midriff band in there

Front view. There is a midriff band in there

Yet again I pulled out McCall’s “Perfect knit dress” (5974, OOP) and made myself a new dress. This time I made it with long sleeves, otherwise it’s pretty identical to my other dresses. What I like about this pattern is that is it a comfortable knit dress, but it still has some shaping and structure due to the pleats. I like structure in my garments. Stupidly I hadn’t marked the size on my traced pattern pieces at all so before tracing my new sleeve I had to match my old pieces to figure out which size I had. And here I thought I was always very thorough with noting my sizes and alterations.

Side view. I like the sleekness the band creates

Side view. I like the sleekness the band creates

The instructions for this pattern are very detailed. A bit too detailed. They have you sew ease stitches to set the sleeve in (it’s a knit, just stretch the shorter piece to match the longer), double-stitch every seam and add a zipper in the CB seam. I skipped those steps. They also want you to do a narrow hem for the neckline, which I did for the Rule Britannia Dress, which stretches the neckline. For this version (as well as the Aqua version) I did a neckband instead, which much better results. I also added cuffs to the sleeves to bring them in.

Added neckband for the neckline. I'm getting better and better at this technique.

Added neckband for the neckline. I’m getting better and better at this technique.

The fabric is a jersey/elestane blend from Stoff och stil. I had been eyeing it for quite a while, hoping it would go on winter sale. It didn’t, but I couldn’t resist it anyway. It’s dark grey with paint splatter on it, I really like it. I don’t know if the elestane content of this dress was higher (8%) than in my previous dresses, because when I sewed this up I ended up with a lot of excess fabric in my lower back, something I hadn’t seen earlier. The fit from the front was fine and the back was a mess (this is where I would add in progress pictures, but the batteries in the camera were dead). I took in the side seams an additional centimeter and shaped the back in the CB seam. It caused a little bulk in the seam, but the fit is way better.

Cuffs to keep the sleeves up.

Cuffs to keep the sleeves up.

So congrats family and friends! A new dress for you to see.

Do you have TNT patterns (aka clothing your family and friends see constantly)? Have you ever had a TNT pattern behave in a mysterious way?

Första kreationen för 2015 blir en favoritklänning. Två gånger tidigare har jag använt mönstret (Här och här), denna gånga gjorde jag istället med långa ärmar och mudd i ärmslut. Jag gillar kläder med struktur och även om klänningen är en jerseyklänning har den ändå struktur i och med midjebandet och vecken. Tyget kommer från Stoff och Stil och betedde sig inte riktigt som de två tidigare tygerna, men med lite ändring i sömmarna blev det en bra passform till slut.

Klänningen med brittiska flaggan är en av de klänningarna jag använder mest på fritiden under vår, vinter och höst, så de runt omkring mig blir nog glada av att få lite variation på vad de ser mig i.

Change of Pace

Remember this post from way back? It is pretty much still valid. What happened was that about this time I became pregnant with Erika. After her birth almost two years ago (!) my body has been in status quo. However, I am now sick of clothes not fitting me the way I want them to fit and not really feeling like myself when looking in the mirror. So I decided to try and loose some extra weight, which in the long run means I don’t know my future measurements and I can’t really sew fitted garments. And you know I like my garments fitted.

Gustav's birthrecord

Gustav’s birthrecord

That’s the reason why not a lot of garment sewing takes place over here at the moment. I do, however, have something else to keep my hands busy. Last year, when Erika was nursing a lot in the evenings, I made a birth record cross stitch for Gustav. For Erika I chose Happi’s Backyard motif with lots of cute animals and I’m hoping to add both her names to it. The sample says “Christopher” which comes in at 11 letters, Erika’s two names are 11 combined, although I will need a space too. I think it can works, especially since two of her letters are Is. But that’s a long way to go until I can add the name.

Erika's Birthrecord to be (source)

Erika’s Birthrecord to be (source)

I quite like cross-stitching it’s relaxing and it’s a lot of fun seeing the motif grow. I still remember how happy Gustav was when we put his birth record up over his bed and I’m hoping Erika will like hers too. It’s getting there, one stitch at the time (no picture, but so for I’ve sewn the two birds, the fence to the right of them (almost all of it) and some of the flowers).

Disclaimer: Writing about weight loss is a touchy subject, which is why I won’t go into further details to avoid fat-shaming. I think the sewing community is great for looking beyond bodies and body image and instead just talk about sewing, our shared hobby.

 

Det blir inte mycket klädsömnad nuförtiden, då jag försöker tappa några överflödiga kilon. Istället ägnar jag mig åt broderi och en korsstygnstavla till dotterns. Sonens, som syns överst, sydde jag klart för ett år sedan och dottern ska få det under motivet. Jag kämpar i TV-soffan, ett stygn i taget.

Beyond the Seams – Plaid’n’Wrap Skirt

In my Beyond the Seams series I take a look at some of the garments I have produced to answer the question “Whatever happened to..?

Today’s garment is the Plaid’n’Wrap Skirt

Made: September 2010.

Fabric: A plaid with silver lurex threads. I think polyester is a main fabric content, it could be some cotton too. The fabric was bought in an “everybody loves plaid”-frenzy, thus I had to have a plaid skirt, however as time has gone on I’ve come to realise that I am not really a plaid person. Back when I bought the fabric I didn’t pay much attention to quality, today I would never buy this fabric for a skirt (or anything else) as it feels cheap and drapes in a weird way. I must also add that I’m quite proud of my pattern matching on this skirt.

Pattern/Fit: The pattern is self-drafted with the help of my pattern book (it comes with standard blocks and descriptions on how to alter them). Since it is self-drafted the fit is pretty god, but I always add too much ease at the waistline. I wish the overlap would be a bit longer and the length is a bit off. Yes, the length would have been an easy fix, but since I don’t care about the skirt so much in the first place it has never been taken care of.

Styling: I usually styled it in a “schoolgirl” manner with a grandfather cardigan. Looking back it was a quite boring look.

 

The skirt in its usual styling

Rotation: I wore this quite a bit when I had first made it, but after a while I started feeling less comfortable in it and all issues were so apparent to me every time I wore it and most importantly, it didn’t feel like me.

Verdict: It is wrong in colours, I don’t like the fabric and the length is off. Perhaps I shall try and find another wrap skirt pattern or just leave it be. Now I now that plaid is not for me. With the review on top I think it’ll be a surprise to hear that it still hangs in my wardrobe. It is on its way out and will be slaughtered and sent for textile recycling. Or should I donate it? Perhaps it deserves a new life.

 

Denna omlottkjol i rutmönster sydde jag hösten 2010. Rutigt är alltid inne tänkte jag och jag lockades av “skolflickestuket”. Men efter ett tag insåg jag att jag inte alls gillar rutigt och att färgerna i just denna är lite för bleka och mesiga för min smak. Ut ur garderoben ska den, doneras eller återvinnas. Synd på en kjol med egenkonstruerat mönster (ur Mönster och konstruktioner för damkläder) och så snygg mönsterpassning. Men bär jag inte ett plagg får jag låta det komma till annan nytta.

Creation: Burdastyle Sewing Handbook Skirt: Rock Glam Skirt

Since a couple of years our office Christmas parties are themed. Last year’s party, which I didn’t attend, was the 80s and according to the gossip it was pretty great. Most people went all in with their outfits and a great time was had by all. This means that the anticipations of this year’s party were high with many speculations in themes and outfits.

Could use some pressing, but faux leather can't be pressed

Could use some pressing, but faux leather can’t be pressed

After a long wait, and rumors starting to spread, the invite came with the theme and confirmed the rumors; this year’s theme was Glitz and Glam. We were all left feeling quite uninspired, as the theme didn’t invite to playing dress-up, rather to “just” dress up. I am not a glitz and glam girl in any sense of the word. On Twitter I was suggested with Mad Men-glam or The Great Gatsby-glam. While I must admit that the Great Gatsby-look is great, I’m not sure I would like to spend time and money on something I wouldn’t get any use out of more than once. This was also the reason as to why I didn’t want to make a sequined garment, I would have no use for it and the sequined fabric looks cheap. I did find a more luxurious sequined fabric but that was WAY too expensive. Not gonna happen. (I was inspired by Lauren’s great dress, which ultimately would have been too fancy, though)

Side view. I think the length is perfect

Side view. I think the length is perfect

My sister gifted me a sequined look she had made for a Glitz and Glam party of her own, but again, sequins did not allure me. It would be my plan B, but I knew I wanted something different. In the end I settled for a silver faux leather fabric in order to make a skirt. I had sewn once in leather (faux as well) before, but that project wasn’t anything special. For a skirt I didn’t want to risk anything, ending up with holes because of ripped seams. Unnaturally of me, I was also precautious and realised that darts wouldn’t work well with this fabric, so I decided to make the Skirt from The Burdastyle Sewing Handbook. I still amaze myself with the insight of the darts.

Back view. The zipper is a little wonky, but I doubt anyone will mention (or they'll admit to staring at my ass)

Back view. The zipper is a little wonky, but I doubt anyone will mention (or they’ll admit to staring at my ass)

The skirt, in theory, is quite simple to sew. In practice it was a lot harder. The skirt is made up of 7 panels, four in the back and three in the front, which shape the skirt, thus the “no darts” thing. However, let me tell you that all those panels have minimal differences and are bound to getting mixed up. I think in the end I cut three extra panels just because I couldn’t keep them straight (if I could have pinned the fabric I would’ve pinned a note on each piece). And then I sewed the waistband in upside down, pinning it as a facing. Looked horrible. I substituted the faux leather for black denim in the waistband.

Panelled skirt and denim waistband

Panelled skirt and denim waistband

In the end I had a great night in my new skirt, drinking plenty of wine, dancing the night away (which resulted in a blister on my foot, which stayed there for a month). In short: it was fun!

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Innan jul sydde jag en kjol till årets julfest med tema “Glitter och Glamour”. Då jag varken är en glitter- eller glamourtjej valde jag att sy en kjol i silvrigt fuskläder i stället. Mönstret var kjolen ur Burdastyles Sewing Handbook, det var lite klurigt att hålla reda på alla paneler och jag sydde dessutom i linningen upp och ner. I slutänden blev det en läderkjol med denimlinning som jag dansade hela natten i.

 

 

Beyond The Seams

This is how my process goes: I sew something, I write about it, I pose in various selfies, I blog about my creation. After that I may or may not wear it. It could be that I realised that the colour is wrong, a bad fabric to pattern match or a bad pattern. Sometimes I have failed to see these things while I was working on the project, due to excitement, but is it fair that the creations are always presented with a smile on my face.

Colour coordinated blouses and shirts

Which blouses and shirts get worn?

My series Beyond the Seams will have me evaluate my creation after the initial excitement has set. Have they been worn or are they forever doomed to a closeted life, perhaps with an occasional outing during Me-Made-May? What worked and what didn’t? What would I have done differently now? What fate have they succumbed to?

In doing this I hope to learn, both about myself and my style, as well as about patterns and fabrics. What can be attributed to rookie mistakes and where should I have known better?

Wardrobe upper half

What clothes just take up space?

I admit that I’m inspired by Ms. Cleaver and it seemed like such a good idea I’m stealing it. I want to learn about myself and my wardrobe too!

Do your handmade garments still hang in the closet despite never being worn? Do you have a soft spot for self-made garments even though they aren’t your style or colours anymore?

Ofta är jag väldigt glad över mina nya kläder när de just har lämnat symaskinen. Men sen bär jag dem och inser att den där färgen var nog inte helt rätt på mig, passformen var lite fel eller tyget var inte bekvämt. I en ny serie, Bortom sömmarna, kommer jag att granska mina tidigare plagg. Hur ofta bär jag dem och varför, passar de, är tyget skönt och framför allt har de en framtid i min garderob?