Guess what! Tomorrow we will have lived in Madrid for six months! It’s hard to believe. I feel like we’re still getting settled here, but it also feels like a really long time since we left New York.
I’ve been reflecting on this milestone all week, thinking about what’s changed and what hasn’t changed in our lives. We’re all still working on learning Spanish and none of us is completely fluent yet, but S and I are now able to communicated the essentials and understand much of what people say to us, so we’re definitely making progress. S has passed her last two Spanish exams (this is her language classes for native speakers, not a Spanish class for English speakers), so she’s really making good progress. We’ve also made quite a few good friends and have decided that really love it here. Of course there are plenty of things we miss about New York (our friends! the fabric stores, the food, all our favorite museums and restaurants, the way New Yorkers share the sidewalk, and the New York City Ballet) but there are also things we love about Madrid (our new friends! our lovely spacious apartment, the pace of a smaller city, the ability to travel around Europe so easily, and lots of new experiences). We’ve now decided to stay for at least two years instead of returning home after one year, and I think we’re all quite relieved that we will have more time here. It would have been sad to leave after just one year.
After six months I don’t think my eye has changed much in terms of design or taste. I may be more sensitive to various European aesthetics and tastes, but I think I was well-traveled enough before we arrived that I haven’t really been surprised or strongly affected by my environment. When I worked as an apparel designer in the industry, every job change also meant a change of wardrobe because a designer needs to express their environment and customer. It’s very easy to be influenced by what people around you are wearing, but I’m finding that I really do have a personal uniform and very strong wardrobe preferences. But also, I think I have a stronger sense of what I want my own designs to be. And in taking the time to write my upcoming book, I’ve had a chance to refresh and rejuvenate a bit so I have a lot of new ideas about new designs and ideas to share with you. Now I just need time to do it all!
One thing that’s certain is that so far our time abroad has been a very positive experience for all of us. We’re all growing and learning lots of new things, and it will be fun to see what the next 18 months have in store for us. But for now, let’s think about the weekend!
Isn’t this a pretty Fairy Tale Dress? I love the flowers and piping on the collar. Just a perfect finish for this print.
And here are the perfect spring shoes you’ve been searching for.
This week I introduced you to our two newest Lisette for Butterick patterns. I’m rather intrigued with the idea of sewing the cropped trench coat (B6331) with sheer sleeves like this. It gives the jacket a layered, slightly dressed-up feeling.
Also, this image from Madewell’s spring collection reminded me that I’ve been meaning to color-block the pocketed version of the Liesl + Co Bento Tee.
This is a really cute wallpaper mural, and it got me thinking that it might be really fun to create your own clothes line using your favorite fabrics. You could fuse interfacing to the back of a piece of fabric, cut out the clothing shape, and adhere it to a wall with a real clothes line or a painted clothesline. It would be a fun way to show off some of your favorite fabric prints!
Weekend Reading (and Watching)
- The Museum at FIT has a new exhibit, Fairy Tale Fashion, that looks really interesting. You can see a bit of the show on the website if you’re interested and can’t get to New York to see it in person.
- Fascinating to watch and learn: have you heard of the sea butterfly?
- I’m slightly obsessed with these tulle cowboy/ballerina skirts from the Mary Kantrantzou show, and here’s a slide show to to show how they were made. Forty-four panels? That’s a lot of godets.
- Have you heard of “Design Thinking?” This is such a simple, somewhat obvious concept, and it makes perfect sense for changing our habits as well.
- I’m not a coffee drinker (I refer to myself as “naturally caffeinated,” since any additional caffeine just makes me hyper and really hungry), but I admire the ritual of brewing and drinking coffee and often wish I could make it part of my morning. This recommended three-step process of grinding, weighing, and brewing sounds like fun to me.
OK, I’m out of here until next week! Tomorrow we’re taking Todd’s parents to El Escorial, and on Tuesday I’m turning over all my book materials (manuscript, photos, illustrations, oh my!) to our book designer. It’s going to be a busy weekend! I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Any sewing plans?