Just Cavalli in Singapore

My current job occasionally gives me fantastic opportunities to travel, too. As you might remember, I have had a chance to visit Zurich and Istanbul before, but this time the destination was Singapore! Although I travel quite often and have been to a few places, this is the farthest I have ever been until now.

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I try to take the most of my trips and this time was no different. I used the time free from the conference I was attending, for some sight-seeing with my colleagues and fabric shopping.

According to my web-research prior to the trip, there are basically 3 main spots for fabrics in Singapore – the Arab Street, Spotlight store at Plaza Singapura and fabric market in Chinatown. I checked out the first two.

Here are some shots from the Arab Street stores:

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The Arab Street was actually a ten minute walk from our hotel, a street lined with nothing but fabric shops. The selection ranges from exotic cottons to cheap polyester prints to fine silk and beaded lace. Of course I felt pressured by the desire to buy some fancy silk, but eventually I decided that I had enough party dresses already and I´d rather get something more casual to be able to get more wear of it.

So I got two different embroidered cottons and a mixed fiber silky dress fabric:

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The embroidered cottons are similar, yet very different in my opinion. I imagine the first one as a pure white, crisp summer dress, probably fitted; the second one is off-white and more girly, with a fluffier skirt.

The silky dress fabric has border print on both sides, my first idea is to use the central monochrome piece for the bodice and the border print for the skirt piece of a dress.

The Spotlight store is a huge shop full of anything you might need for party decorations, but also stuff like bedsheets and home decor products. There is a big selection of notions and fabrics, which seemed to be of the cheaper end in the majority. I didn´t buy anything!

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There was also one strange store named Daiso, where nearly everything comes from Japan and costs 2 Singapore dollars.You can find stuff from tools to dishes and cosmetics there. They also have some sewing related things, so I got a set of cover buttons and eyelet punch tool for 4 dollars!

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I also used the opportunity to photograph one of my latest finished projects, a party dress made of the original Just Cavalli fabric I got from Helsinki two years ago. You might remember this:

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I was very eager to start working on the dress right after I had bought the fabric and used a simple pattern from Patrones, trying to create a copy of the original. But there is something really peculiar about the fabric and how it appears in the photo above – it looks like the model should be no more than 1.5 m tall, because I am 1.7 and I simply cannot use the print in the exact way as shown, the dress would be embarrassingly short. Also, the pattern I had chosen was like a loose rag on me.

After facing these issues, I dumped the dress into the bottom of a drawer and was hurt every time I was looking for something else in there and the dress reminded me of my failure.

That was until I had enough of it and decided that I´d rather give it another try and see if I can make something wearable out of it after all. This is the result:

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I really liked the bright green piping of the side seams on the original dress, but after adding this detail to my version, I couldn´t resist pushing it a bit by adding the same piping to neck and armholes as well.

I did something rather unorthodox in order to achieve a nice fit – knowing that McCall´s 6243 really fits me well (tested two times already, look here and here), but not wanting to disrupt the beautiful print, I just arranged the pattern onto the pieces of the totally dismantled first version of the dress front and back, creating a one-piece front with just two darts. I took into account the fact that the pattern has seam allowances already included and overlapped the front diagonal pieces by approximately 1.5 cm. It worked!

As you can see, I compensated the insufficient length by adding a black ponte panel to the bottom of the dress and joining the fabrics into one by continuing the piping all the way down.

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I think the result is very rewarding. It is such a pleasure to turn a failed project into a beautiful garment that hardly goes unnoticed. I should have done it a long time ago and saved myself a lot of heartache every time I opened that drawer!

Singapore itself is a highly organized and extremely clean metropolis with extravagant architectural pearls. To my surprise, eating out was rather cheap and neither did I have to pay a fortune for the fabrics or public transport. Due to the conference we spent there quite a few days, but I generally think that if the only aim is to do sightseeing, three or maximum four days would be sufficient to explore the highlights of the city.

Here are some photos:

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Fabric Shopping in Helsinki

As promised, I will give an overview of my little fabric shopping in Helsinki over the last weekend of Feburary.

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As I didn’t want to overwhelm my friend Triin, I just visited the tried and tested Eurokangas in the center of the city. It is the same shop I bought the super cool Cavalli fabric from last spring. I have actually started sewing that dress too, but made a mistake with the pattern choice and now I have to work my way around it somehow, hopefully sooner than later, because it is just too beautiful. But i digress.

So, I got really lucky this time in Helsinki too.

Altogether I got four fabrics, the first one being a pale pink poodle print silk crepe. It is very lightweight and a little transparent, but I think it will make a fun blouse. I am planning to use the same Patrones pattern as for the Chain Print Blouse , but make the necktie and cuffs in black silk, which I also already got from Helsinki.

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As the tag said “designer silk” or something like that, I tried to find more information online and to my big surprise stumbled upon a blog post featuring a vintage Escada top in the exact same print and shade, in silk satin. I wonder if there is a connection with my fabric.

Secondly, I bought a wonderful shade of lace print polyester (actually I am not 100% sure, I might make a burn test to reveal its true nature, since I suspect it being silk, too).

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I just love this shade of green, I have several matching shoes and boots and as always, I already have a certain idea how to use this print. Just back at home I realized that I need more of this fabric, since the lace print requires special pattern placement. Luckily, I will be back in Helsinki for work this week and I hope to be able to find more of that fabric, otherwise I have to rethink the project.

The best find in my opinion was this wonderful Just Cavalli polyester print:

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ImageThe print repeat for this beautiful thing is 1,55 m, and I only got one length, hoping to squeeze a blouse out of it, using the big design in front and if necessary, making the back out of a different material. This will be a challenging project and I have vowed to finish the Cavalli dress first to have a clear conscience.

There is also a fun fact about the fabric. As we visited the modern art museum Kiasma, I noticed a calendar for sale in their museum shop. What caught my attention was the wave print on the front cover (picture from calendars.com):

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And this is how I learned for the first time about Katsushika Hokusai (1760 – 1849), “one of the last great artists of the Japanese Ukiyo-e tradition of the Edo period. His world famous image of the wave and other woodblock prints influenced a whole generation of modern painters because of the uniqueness of perspective and form”.

I have to admit I didn’t know anything about this world famous artist and his prints, but I think it was a great way to find out 🙂 In the first photo of this post you can see me unrolling another beautiful Hokousai-inspired Cavalli fabric, but I am not a big fan of pale yellow, so I left this one behind.

The fourth fabric is a simple dark blue ponte that will beome a skirt to match some tops I have recently made, including the Plaid Peplum Bustier and Cross Stitch Rose Top. Unfortunately the photo doesn’t do it justice, the colour  appears much lighter:

ImageNow I am all excited to start working on the fabrics. I still haven’t touched the ones I got from Rome, either, so lots of projects in my head!

In addition to fabric shopping and modern art, we went to a classical music concert and to a tango evening with Argentinian songs, music and unbelievable tango dancers.This week’s trip will be work related, but I will have a moment to hop by the fabric shop as well.

 And I can’t wait to meet Triin again!

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