The blog and me

Sewing, dancing and the people I love, not only only makes my world go round, but also makes the ride merry. This blog was created to help me keep focus on those aspects of life.

In some ways I suppose I'm a self-taught sewist, but of course I stand on the shoulders of giants. The solid base of my sewing comes from my mother. She conveyed a fearless attitude of "How hard can it be?" where no project or type of garment is out of one's range, combined with meticulous precision. She also taught me how to thread a machine, start and finish a seam etc, and when I left home I knew how to sew.

I love history and at the age of 20 I joined the medieval society SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) and learned to make (semi)historical garments. I learned about different fabrics, handstitching, how a basic garment is shaped to fit a body, how things like godets and grainlines are used, and during the many hours of sewing the many many metres of a basic medieval underdress with 4 godets I learned how to sew in a straight line and keep a consistant seam allowance. After 5 years in the SCA, of course I knew how to sew...

Dancing has always been another a huge interest. I'd tried all sorts of dancing, traditional partner dancing, modern partner dancing, modern jazz, medieval dancing, etc, and enjoyed them all, but had not really fallen head over heels in love with any dancestyle. In 2006 I went to my first ever swingdance-class in Lindy hop, and it was love at the first step. The music, the rythms, the movements, it went right to my heart. After a few years it dawned on me that it would be fun to apply my historical garment-sewing skills to the original lindy-era and create time-appropriate dancewear. The blog made its entrance in my life somewhere around here.

Dancewear became fancywear and I soon felt that since I’m so comfortable in these clothes, why not make it my everyday style? I save the full out vintage for dancing and special occasions, but wear vintage-inspired on an everyday basis. It took a while though, for although I knew how to make medieval clothes, for sewing vintage or vintage with a modern approach, I had to learn more. So I learned about sewing patterns, darts, sizing, zippers and was so frustrated that even though I knew how to sew I couldn't make a bodice that fit. Here's where sewing blogs kicked in, and I heard about drafting books for homesewists and fitting. Through books I learned about pattern drafting, and from books and blogs I learned about fitting until I finally had a basic bodice block pattern that fit.

From there on I've done some garments I'm pretty proud of, some I just enjoy wearing and some that turned out ok but could be made better. And some disasters. You'll find them all under "Sewing projects", minus the disasters =) Does that mean I now know how to draft, fit and sew? No. I've learned that although I can make anything I set my mind to, even tailor a winter coat, the best part about it all is that I still learn something with each make. I do not know how to sew, I'm always learning how to sew. And there's so much to learn! It's a bit overwhelming, but also a bit comforting that there will always be new skills to master and new areas to discover.

In the end I love to learn new skills, and that leads me to constantly explore new areas. Sewing-wise my focus has gone from 50s to 40s, and I'm now starting to explore the interesting world of 30s fashion. So interesting cutting lines and fascinating use of bias cut! I'm also learning about jersey sewing. Dance-wise I'm learning blues dancing, it's still a swing dance, but so very different from lindy hop. I love how the small changes really matters in blues dancing, and how much one can do with just a weightchange!

So this blog is a lot about me continuing to learn things, and to share the garments, hair-do's, dances etc that is my learning ground. Like I said in the beginning, it's also about the people I share my experiences with, and therefore there will be travelphoto's, stories and pictures of friends and family*, and pictures of a cute little dog. It's not a pure sewing blog, although there is a lot of sewing posts, but instead I try to keep it balanced between sewing, work, dancing and more personal posts. An echo of how I try to balance my life =)

April 2014 my life a rather unexpected turn when I became the owner of a wedding shop! A life-altering decision, and I'm still finding the shape of this new life. There is now a lot more sewing, as the shop includes an alteration's sewing studio, but less sewing at home and unfortunatley less dancing. So bear with me as I stumble through learing to balance personal time and work! So hard when work is personal, and also so inspiring.

So welcome to Swingin' it in vintage! Please have a look around, gladly leave a comment and if you have any questions, feel free to fire away! =)

Love, Erika

*Re. friends and families appearing in posts and photo's: of course, I respect the wishes of those around me who prefer to lay low on the internet and therefore some people are only mentioned by name, or by a pseudonym. After all, it's I who choose to blog, and I don't want to make anyone uncomfortable with my blogging. Thank you for understanding!

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