Most of you probably won’t know, actually, to the people that watch my weekly vlogs might know, that in the week I work up in Essex, for my Dad. My routine is normally, packing my stuff Sunday, travelling from Tunbridge Wells up to Essex Sunday night and then working for my Dad’s company Monday to Thursday. Then I travel back Thursday night. This means for 4 days I live with my Dad, my little sister Elizabeth and my Dad’s partner, Carolina.
Carolina is a whiz at sewing, a lovely, kind person too, of course, but her ability to sew is mental. Before she met my dad her career was based in the fashion industry and she certainly knows her stuff. After having my little sister Elizabeth, almost 4 years ago now, time has indeed flown. Carolina took it upon herself to learn how to sew, she took a short course up in London last year but I’d say she is mostly self-taught, which is incredible. YouTube has definitely been her friend.
I kid you not, the garments that Carolina has whipped out of that sewing machine over the past year have blown me away. From simple items to detailed, elegant pieces. It’s crazy, she produces these beautiful clothes some for herself but mainly to cater for Elizabeth. It went from Elizabeth asking for a cape to be made for a costume to then Carolina making these beautiful pieces of clothing for Elizabeth to wear on a daily basis. Each week ends up being a little fashion show of the latest piece that Carolina has been working on. This week it has been a highly requested (from Elizabeth) strawberry dress with matching hat. It was amazing (I will probably post a picture up on my Instagram, @graceoliviasusan go have a follow.)
I feel like this hobby and potential career path Carolina is on has made us bond tremendously, especially now that I’m around more often. I’ve always been fascinated with crafting and physically making something and now being around someone that is able, makes me eager to learn.
I’ve been so curious following what Carolina works on, keeping in the loop, asking questions and we bond over fashion. One, small comment about trying to find a long line bomber jacket that’ll suit me turned into something more special and I couldn’t, right now, be more grateful. Carolina suggested that after recently sewing together a regular fitted bomber jacket for herself, she reckons that she’d be able to sew together exactly what I’m after.
This is Part I.
For a while I’ve been looking for some sort of light coat, jacket, cardigan thing that was longline, casual, but was something I could wear through the summer, to cover myself up. Something light enough where I wouldn’t necessarily sweat but could still be able to cover my arse and bits I don’t like. Knowing me, I like things that are a bit more interesting and edgy yet avoiding that tacky, overdone look. I’d been leaning towards long kimonos but have been loving the bomber jacket trend. A few weeks back, I was struck by Zara’s longline bomber jacket and was in love. Although not in love with the fact it only came in the size S/M. I’m not a big lass but apparently, society says otherwise but that’s a rant that deserves its own time. I tried it on and it fit ok but only if I chose to walk everywhere like a penguin. I don’t like the idea of buying something, constantly worrying that it might tear because it doesn’t fit 100%. So, I’d rather not do it. How disappointing.
Nevertheless, it was a beautiful item and it was one that would not shift out of my brain. In conversation I mentioned it to Carolina, discussing how it was a bit tight and because of the fabric, would be likely to rip but that it was exactly what I’ve been looking for. She saved me the worry and offered to make one similar for me, one that fitted me perfect. I was speechless. How incredibly kind. I know how many hours go into making garments for Elizabeth and especially recently when she made that bomber jacket, I was taken back. Imagine how grateful yet guilty I must have felt? I’ll save you the trouble, I felt hugely guilty but really grateful and bloody excited.
That evening, after suggesting to make the jacket, Carolina and I sat down and discussed fabrics and designs. We decided we’d follow the same design as the bomber jacket she’d recently made but extend the length and the pockets. Perfect. I said I liked the idea of adding some sort of Asian twist on the arms, similar to the Zara jacket as well as following their design of having a block coloured fabric everywhere else. However, I was adamant that the block colour we’d choose would have a bit more depth than Zara’s pastel turquoise. When I tried it on in the shop, I felt that the light block colour on the Zara jacket highlighted how big I was and kind of washed me out. So, depth was key!
That’s where I was introduced to Chinese brocade. Which is pretty, fucking, cool. Although we ended up choosing one that was relatively cheap, it arrived and we were pleasantly surprised. That was when we finally had a chance to develop some sort of colour pallet. We chose a brocade that had a tinge of pink/purple tone so then our mission was to hunt for a shiny crepe fabric, in a dusky pink to compliment. When it arrived it wasn’t really a dusky pink but it was definitely in the purple/pink spectrum so we still gave it the thumbs up.
Two main fabrics sorted, now was the time to think about the other bits. Colour of the zip? What type of rib fabric will would use for the collar, cuffs and bottom of the jacket? Colour of thread? Lining? It’s actually really exciting. Although I only contributed to paying for the fabrics, making the pattern for the jacket and responding to Carolina’s advice, giving things a yes or a no, I feel like I’ve already learnt a lot.
I can’t wait to share with you the outcome and I think we should all give Carolina a hand on how incredibly kind and generous she has been committing to make my desired jacket that would fit my shape and suit my needs!
Still blown away.