Thursday, 2 October 2014

A handmade holiday- packing a handmade wardrobe for travelling

Happy summer holidays! I write this on an aeroplane returning from my 4 day excursion to Helsinki with my lovely mum.
It surprised me how much was going on in Helsinki this summer, although I suppose when summers and warmth are in short supply, one would hope they would make the most of it.
Among my favourite things I saw were the amazing community art projects and of course the incredible Scandinavian fabrics of Marimokko and Eurokangas. 

This is an amazing community art project you can read about here. Together people built three huge controversial buildings using just cardboard boxes and parcel tape. They were enormous! At the end of the day they were pulled down, dramatically! And the public were invited to jump around on the remains of the boxes, fun!



This is just a pretty community art piece we saw coming together outside the Music Centre.


But when one is a dressmaker, and ones wardrobe is overflowing with an array of multicoloured and patterned dresses, how do you begin to pack for a holiday? I struggled, to be perfectly frank, but I think I got there in the end. 
To start with, Finland is probably even colder than I was expecting given that is is infact August. I love the cold and this was not at all an issue, and I got to wear my lovely new winter coat long before I was expecting-win win!
Bored yet? Let's move on!


My original intention when packing was to take a selection of long sleeved skater dresses I had been working on for AW14/15, using beautiful John Lewis Westminster Fibres fabrics bought with my end of year vouchers. However, this plan soon changed as it emerged that intending to wear every colour under the sun did not really make taking coordinating accessories, bags, knitwear, coats etc very easy. Infact, it made it impossible, so I decided to wear a pack a selection of skirts and pinafores with simple long or short sleeved tops to wear beneath according to the weather. Turns out, the only clean clothes I am taking home are short sleeved tees. I was bloody cold!

Me made clothes I packed:
Stripe long sleeve tee
The fave just-a-peek skirt
The other fave taupe circle skirt
*New* Brown pleated pinafore
Black and white leaves dress
Denim pinafore
Green snoodle
Navy and green check pinafore

Wow what exciting colours! Ahem... But in all seriousness, I really would rather take plainer clothes for layering when travelling as I HATE being too hot or too cold, and it also makes mixing and matching all the more simple if you stick to a rather more limited pallet. I packed black, white, green, red, navy and taupe, predominantly. 

In addition the bought clothes I packed to supplement my handmade pieces were:
Short sleeved stripe tee
Denim shirt
Black long sleeve blouse with red trim and embroidery.
Sheer sleeve check shirt
*New* camel coat
Patterned boxy jacket
Red hat
Tartan scarf

While in Helsinki I also bought a cosy brown jumper, as it was so cold I couldn't bear to be without! And, as it's August, I failed to pack one...



So, for future reference, should you ever be visiting Helsinki yourself, here are some of my favourite places to consider visiting:
For starters, the sea! So beautiful, wherever you are in the world, and there are some very impressive ships in Finland I must say!
For fabrics and inspirational interiors, Marimokko is unmissable
For more affordable fabrics and an incredible range of insulated fabric options, try Eurokangas
The Atheneum art gallery, especially if you like Moomins!
Fazer for chocolates and indulgent breakfasts! (People in Finland take breakfast very seriously!)
The Contemporary Art Museum, if only for the amazing outside space and cute skaters
The Finnish Natural History Museum for awesome dinosaurs and a beautifully put together exhibition space, and the best staircase I have ever seen!
The Russain Church- just awesome
Helsinki Cathedral in Senate Square, for a postcard moment
Hakaniemen indoor market and nearby very unusual ___Kallio?____church- so interesting I have never seen anything quite like it!
The Kauppatori market by the river for souvenirs for family and friends 
Temppeliaukio church with a copper ceiling- absolutely incredible but crawling with tourists 
The National Museum of Finland for some local history from the prehistoric era to the 1970s- some incredible folk art in here and the skeleton of an extinct seal which died 4000 years ago!
The Academic Bookshop- just an incredible range of Finnish and English books- and a lovely place to have tea!
Always look up what pop up or community art projects are ongoing when you are there, these were some of my favourite experiences of the holiday.

The best meal we had was at a lovely restraunt called Killa- lol, but awesome noodles and salmon.

My souvenirs to myself included a jumper (as it was freezing!) a bow to put in my hair, some cheap wooden beads off the market (everywhere in Helsinki seems to sell lovely beads), a Japanese pattern book from the Academic bookshop and some incredible fabric from Marimotto. My mum bought me two pieces of amazing fabric as well, and I bought her some gloves :). 

I always find holidays, however long, incredibly inspiring and I love returning home with a mind buzzing with ideas of things to write, sew, knit and create! Thanks for reading, happy sewing and happy holidays! X o x o