Tag: Italy

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

If you enjoyed this article, then sign up for regular updates with the YoSaMi newsletter – it’s free! Go to the top of the side bar and type in your email address now.

Happy 2014 and ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Skirt’!

Happy 2014 everyone! I hope you’ve all had a ‘Guten Rutsch’ (good slide) into the New Year, as they say in these parts!

I’m posting this skirt review later than I’d planned. Holiday travel, sick children and other seasonal distractions completely derailed my blog posting schedule at the end of 2013 and thus far this year – but I’m British, so I’m keeping calm and carrying on regardless!

This is Skirt Three of my ‘Schwarzwald Autumn/Winter 2013 skirt trio collection made from BurdaStyle skirt pattern 12/2012 #105.

BurdaStyle 12/2012 skirt pattern in sequin wool fabric
BurdaStyle 12/2012 skirt pattern in sequin wool fabric

The Schwarzwald inspiration for this skirt was the beautiful and sparkly frosts we get here in the Black Forest in winter.

Frosty Black Forest in Germany
Frosty Black Forest in Germany

To combat said chilly frosts, I made this skirt out of a thick wool fabric with a sequin top layer bought from Canepa Spa Outlet – the factory shop of Canepa Spa Italian designer fabric manufacturer at Lake Como, Italy.

Wool from Canepa Spa Outlet, Lake Como, Italy
Wool from Canepa Spa Outlet, Lake Como, Italy

The wool keeps me toasty warm even on the frostiest days. However the thick sparkly fabric adds bulk where I’d rather not highlight bulkiness and so if I were to make another sparkly skirt, I would definitely choose a slinkier sparkly fabric with better drape!

bulky fabric highlights all lumps and bumps!
bulky fabric highlights all lumps and bumps!

No need to ask ‘Does my bum look big in this?’, I already have the big, shiny answer!

Anyway, moving on!

Again this skirt pattern was super simple to make even in this thick wool although the invisible zip that I put in the back centre seam has misbehaved a bit and keeps jamming in the wool. I may have to replace this at some point.

Viscose lining and ribbon waistband
Viscose lining and ribbon waistband

I lined the skirt with a viscose lining and used more of the Mokuba grosgrain ribbon that I used for the other two skirts as the waistband with an invisible zip in the back centre seam with a hook and eye closing at the top.

Frumpy length?
Frumpy length?

I hand-stitched the hem after pondering for some time about ways to finish the hem off nicely. After I’d finished the skirt, I spotted a sparkly skirt on my travels in Zadig and Voltaire in France. For their version, they left the hem raw and the poly lining of the skirt protruded down below the hem a couple of centimetres, frayed for about a centimetre at the end, which gave the bottom of the skirt a softened look and also made it edgy looking. I prefer this finish so if I make this skirt over, I’d finish the hem like Zadig and Voltaire did.

Frumpy length?
Frumpy length?

The other main difference between their skirt and mine apart from the huge price tag of the Zadig one! is the length – Zadig and Voltaire’s skirt is fashionably mini.

'Twinkle, Twinkle Little Skirt'
‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Skirt’

Despite my skirt being a frumpy length and exaggerating all my lumps and bumps, it does keep me warm and the magpie in me does like the way the fabric sparkles!

Have you made anything that may not have been the most flattering thing for you but you liked it and wore it anyway??

M.M.M.’13 Version 2.1 and Collegien Giveaway news!

My-Maxi-Miette 2013.

This pattern hack of the Miette skirt pattern by Tilly and the Buttons, was the result of an online search of Miette pattern reviews and a suggestion by the lovely Oonaballoona on her blog to make the Miette into a maxi. I thought this was a great idea and immediately stole it  was inspired to make one myself.

Maxi Miette skirt on tour in Venice, Italy
Maxi Miette skirt on tour in Venice, Italy

It’s really easy to make this pattern into a maxi. All you have to do is lengthen the bottom of the front and back pattern pieces to your desired final skirt length, being careful to follow the angle of the outer lines of the original pattern and remembering to include a hem allowance. Then construct the skirt as usual and voila, you have a maxi!

One more maxi skirt to add to this summer's growing collection
One more maxi skirt to add to this summer’s growing collection

I used a really lightweight and fine linen bought from Anita Pavani online shop (http://www.naturstoff.de) in the Italian designer fabrics section, to make mine. It’s really nice to wear and has washed well. I did French seams to join the main skirt pieces.

(BTW – Anita Pavani provide washing care instructions for the fabrics they sell and they recommend not spinning linen in the washing machine when you wash it, you should hang it and allow it to drip dry instead.)

Very fine and slightly transparent Italian linen
Very fine and slightly transparent Italian linen

I partially lined my maxi-skirt with more of the organic cotton batiste that I bought at http://www.lebenskleidung.com, that has served me so well as a lining for all of my summer makes this year. The batiste is really lightweight so it hardly added to the weight of the skirt at all but just gave me enough coverage and confidence to step out in bright sunlight, safe in the knowledge that my undies weren’t on show! I didn’t line the overlap piece at the back because it wasn’t necessary.

Lined partially with organic cotton batiste.
Lined partially with organic cotton batiste.

I made another Wiksten tank top in a Liberty Art Fabrics cotton print to go with this skirt, which I wore on this day-trip to Venice, Italy during our summer holiday this year. Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of it in Venice because by the time we’d reached the city from where we were staying, I’d already put my jumper on over the top of it, so here it is on my dress-form Beatrice.

Wiksten tank top and Tilly and the Buttons Miette skirt
Wiksten tank top and Tilly and the Buttons Miette skirt
Wiksten tank top in Liberty Art Fabric cotton print
Wiksten tank top in Liberty Art Fabric cotton print

BTW – If you’re planning to visit Venice, I would suggest getting to the Rialto bridge in time to catch the sun setting over the Grand Canal – the view is spectacular!

The view from the Rialto bridge over the Grand Canal, in Venice, Italy
The view from the Rialto bridge over the Grand Canal, in Venice, Italy

It gets a bit jammed with tourists though! You wouldn’t believe how many people I had to elbow in the face to get a bit of clearance for this photo!

The Rialto Bridge over the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy. Elbows come in handy here!
The Rialto Bridge over the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy. Elbows come in handy here!

Of course I’m exaggerating – it wasn’t that many!!

Anyway back to the Miette maxi skirt. It was comfortable and practical to wear for a day’s sightseeing around the quaint little streets of Venice.

Hanging with my kids in VeniceHanging with my kids in Venice

The skirt performed well under pressure, even under the harshest of test conditions, such as when I was hurling my toddler over the bridge into the canal for misbehaving! The back flap of the wrap didn’t budge all day, successfully avoiding any embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions!

No wardrobe malfunctions of the back wrapover flap.No wardrobe malfunctions of the back wrapover flap.

Again, only joking of course – MY kids don’t misbehave!!

Very posy looking - I was actually just readjusting the wrap when my husband snapped this!
Very posy looking – I was actually just readjusting the wrap when my husband snapped this!

All in all, Tilly and the Buttons has created a very versatile skirt pattern and I love it!

As I write this, Tilly’s busy finishing off her first book for sewing beginners which is due out next spring. I can only imagine how good that’ll be! I wish her lots of luck with it and I’m sure it’ll be a huge success!

More YoSaMi news – don’t forget to stay tuned for the giveaway soon, it really is worth waiting for! You could win your very own pair of these delightful Collegien slipper socks!

Collegien slipper socks - they're French!
Collegien slipper socks – they’re French!

Also, I’ve finally finished my red silk Anna dress by By Hand London after what feels like f-o-r-e-v-e-r! I’ll be posting it as soon as I’ve had a chance to photograph it!!

Have a great week,

Christine

%d bloggers like this: