Month: September 2014

Holidaying in Europe.

As I mentioned in my last post, we’ve just returned from a family trip to Italy.

Next week my older daughter starts school and we were happily spending her final weeks of freedom doing summery things in Germany, when the weather took a turn for the worse. We couldn’t accept such an abrupt end to our carefree sunny days so we decided to head south in search of summer.

The view of the mountains from the olive farm we stayed at.
The view of the mountains from the olive farm we stayed at.

When we travel to Italy, we like to stay in agriturismo – Italian farm stays. We’ve had many positive experiences with these over the years and they usually offer warm hospitality and accommodation that’s good value for money. Plus great food and scenery, not to mention, interesting encounters with other farm guests!

Positive encounters for all the kid (even the furry ones!) on the farm.

The only draw back for last-minuters like us, is that for the most part, you need to enquire about availability via email or phone to the farm directly, you can’t just book your accommodation online and go.

cinque terre 2

The farm owners are generally quick to respond, but it’s a time consuming process. Most of the places we contacted were already fully booked because ‘duhh’ it was August and nearly all Italians were holidaying and everywhere where the was sun was shining, especially on the coast, had no room left at the inn!

portovere

We spent a few nail-biting days wondering whether we could go or not.

italian coast

Finally we got a ‘yes’, and were off.

italian beach 2

After so much anticipation and expectation, not to mention, – let’s call it, a ‘character-building’ drive down in the car with the kids and dog for several hours that I don’t want to repeat again anytime soon –

moneglia 2

– we did finally find summer again!

beach

Was it all worth it, you’re wondering?

Sestri Levante

Most definitely, yes!

me on beach

But in very different ways than on our pre-children trips.

cinque terre 4

These days, with kids and a pet, I find we have to grab our moments of joy and happiness where we can!

starfish

Although I can now give you a very detailed report on the location and quality of all of the public conveniences within a ten metre radius of every bus and train stop and car park that we passed through, including every cafe and restaurant.

toilets

Plus a taste comparison of most of the take-away pizza and gelato establishments.

gelato

And most importantly, where you have to stuff your small dog into your day bag to smuggle her onto beaches that she isn’t officially allowed onto.

Italian beach

The Italian northern coast though is beautiful! Full of life and a riot of colour in summer.

cinque

Our trip was hot, exhausting, exhilarating but most of all, a lot of fun!

paradise gulf

I’m glad we made the effort to go, even if it does take me the rest of the year to recover from it!

restaurant

Now it’s back to reality, sewing, blogposts and school days.

I’ll be back soon with some more holiday outfit reviews and a report from Munich Fabric Start.

Wishing you sunny days,

Christine

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Revealed: The Shocking Truth About the Ralph Pink Coverup.

I’m talking about the Ralph Pink RP088 beach coverup and the shocking truth is, I love this sewing pattern!!

Ralph Pink Beach Coverup in cotton/silk.
Ralph Pink Beach Coverup in cotton/silk.

It’s tempting to rave about every shiny new thing you make, but the ultimate test of a good sewing pattern is whether the finished garment suits you, how often you wear it, and how long it stays in your wardrobe.

ralph pink coverup 7

This is where this pattern excels.

Back view
Back view

Beach coverups are classic, timeless and suit most body shapes. This Ralph Pink one is well designed with a faux pocket on the front, a fringed hem, a belt for shaping and seams which work well with this border print fabric.

Design details - faux welt pocket on front yoke seam.
Design details – faux welt pocket on front yoke seam.

But beach coverups aren’t just decorative, they’re also really useful.

ralph pink coverup 9

I’ve just got back from a family trip to the Italian Riviera and my beach wrap was invaluable. It boosted my confidence to have something to throw on that made me feel chic, instead of self conscious about my body, when I was in my swimmers.

It was also a relief to be able to wander into town or a restaurant directly from the beach without breaking dress codes or raising too many eyebrows!

Swingy viscose fringe trim.
Swingy viscose fringe trim.
Ralph Pink RP088 Beach Coverup Pattern.
Ralph Pink RP088 Beach Coverup Pattern.

If you’re looking for a chic and easy beach wrap pattern, then Ralph Pink’s got you covered!

Pattern Description: Ralph Pink RP088 Beach Coverup PDF digital download pattern available from Ralph Pink Patterns.

Fabric Used: I used about 3 metres of cotton/silk batiste from my stash and 3 metres of 20cm long viscose fringe trim from B.L.Trimmings in London online store.

Pattern Sizing: I cut the smallest size XS and didn’t change anything.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope? Yes.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes they were easy and clear.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the fringe trim but it was awkward to sew on with my sewing machine and the sewing steps which come after you’ve sewn this on were also tricky because of the added weight of the trim pulling on the fabric as you sew. I’d advise hand sewing the fringing.

Ralph describes this as a beginner level sewing pattern which I’d agree with but I’d advise caution when you’re sewing on the fringe trim.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I did 2 bound buttonholes using the patch method on either side of the front of the wrap for the belt holes. Instructions for how to do these weren’t included in the pattern instructions. To make belt holes with a finished length of 4.5cm for my 4cm wide belt, I cut a patch of my fabric 5cm wide and 7cm long (2.5cm longer than the buttonhole).

I also did French seams which weren’t included in the pattern instructions but I thought were more suitable for this silky fabric.

Would you sew it again? Yes, I’d like to make a cotton batiste one.

Would you recommend it to others? YES.

ralph pink coverup 12

Happy sewing,

Christine

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