BECAUSE I AM A SWALLOW

Some of my favorite childhood memories are those spent on my grandparent's farm during the winter holidays. I would wake up to the chatter of birds in the majestic lemon tree next to my room and invited by the smell of coffee on the stove I would walk all the way through the house down the long corridor like a zombie with my hands forward saying "cafffffféééééé con leche, cafffféééééé con leche." I'm sure I only said coffee, but caffé con leche sounds fancier, and I prefer that the younger me rather had said that. 

In the sunroom, I would sit wrapped in a cozy blanket that smells like fabric softener and hugs. Coffee in hand l would look through the large window and watch the farm slowly waking up under a winter sky, and as the icy wind was playing in the trees, I would have precious chats with my Granny.

 My Grandma was obsessed with birds, she knew everything about every little feather wing and would tell me facts about them as they sat on window pane eating intentionally placed crumbs.  I, however, was only interested in the swallow and why it was not here in winter. It was their funny looking tails that intrigued me most. It looked like when I would part my fingers so that it creates a V. This was interesting to me because even though I wasn't the only one of my friends that could do it with my hands, I was the only one of my friends that could do it with my toes. 

I was born with really long fingers, longer than anyone else my age. Not only are my fingers long, but they are also busy rascals. I can type fast and play on a piano; these fingers train themselves. I can sew 100 crystals in less than 10 minutes and braid in record time!  They want to paint, they want to draw, they want to sew, they want to style. I call them spider fingers. Spider fingers that can mimic the swallowtail that is! 

And so all of this leads to one moment. The moment I first saw a dressmakers doll...The vision in front of me followed by a warm café con leche feeling that washed over my body. My mind was suddenly at peace. I found my purpose.  I had no idea why I felt like that or what I was going to do about the doll; it wasn't even mine. 
But when my fingers started moving, slowly at first and then faster and faster until their long busy legs were out of control, I knew that instinct had kicked in.

 And so I began my journey as the Silver Swallow,  unstoppable with my spider fingers and soaring soul.

Posted on March 25, 2017 .

Because I am a swallow

Some of my favorite childhood memories are those spent on my grandparent's farm during the winter holidays. I would wake up to the chatter of birds in the majestic lemon tree next to my room and invited by the smell of coffee on the stove I would walk all the way through the house down the long corridor like a zombie with my hands forward saying "cafffffféééééé con leche, cafffféééééé con leche." I'm sure I only said coffee, but caffé con leche sounds fancier, and I prefer that the younger me rather had said that. 

In the sunroom, I would sit wrapped in a cozy blanket that smells like fabric softener and hugs. Coffee in hand l would look through the large window and watch the farm slowly waking up under a winter sky, and as the icy wind was playing in the trees, I would have precious chats with my Granny.

 My Grandma was obsessed with birds, she knew everything about every little feather wing and would tell me facts about them as they sat on window pane eating intentionally placed crumbs.  I, however, was only interested in the swallow and why it was not here in winter. It was their funny looking tails that intrigued me most. It looked like when I would part my fingers so that it creates a V. This was interesting to me because even though I wasn't the only one of my friends that could do it with my hands, I was the only one of my friends that could do it with my toes. 

I was born with really long fingers, longer than anyone else my age. Not only are my fingers long, but they are also busy rascals. I can type fast and play on a piano; these fingers train themselves. I can sew 100 crystals in less than 10 minutes and braid in record time!  They want to paint, they want to draw, they want to sew, they want to style. I call them spider fingers. Spider fingers that can mimic the swallowtail that is! 

And so all of this leads to one moment. The moment I first saw a dressmakers doll...The vision in front of me followed by a warm café con leche feeling that washed over my body. My mind was suddenly at peace. I found my purpose.  I had no idea why I felt like that or what I was going to do about the doll; it wasn't even mine. 
But when my fingers started moving, slowly at first and then faster and faster until their long busy legs were out of control, I knew that instinct had kicked in.

 And so I began my journey as the Silver Swallow,  unstoppable with my spider fingers and soaring soul.

Posted on March 25, 2017 .

The truth about prints and I

Prints and I go way back; we met when I first opened my eyes. They were everywhere, and they were alive! At night they came to my room and danced and jumped om my bed. They scared me so much; I would close my eyes and hope they leave... But no they stayed. I started listening to them night after night, and as the years went by, I became less terrified, we were all children then, and as we grew up, they also calmed down, and later matured in a way.

We are all well acquainted now. When the day is done, and the sun is gone, they pitch up one by one, as guests to a party almost. Some are shy, peeking around the corner to see if they are first, others are comfortable and loud! They are self-invited, but they don't care! 

First to arrive is Stripe, always early but he remembered the wine. You can hear Leopard and hibiscus around the corner; they make big noise where ever they go! Floral ever so high-spirited is dancing through the doorway. The music is not even playing yet, but the swoosh-whoosh sounds that come from her smooth turns create a beat, and the happy laughter of the other prints are infectious. Before we know it, we all join in. Abstract-shapes brought Deezer, and Agness Obel is turned loud! This results in weird dance moves I cannot even describe, all I can say is that it's wonderful, and it's messy, but it's stylish. Leopard is twirling floral, and floral grabs stripe for a two-step.  Polka dot only nods her spots bashful to the music, but soon they are bouncing everywhere like the reflections of a disco ball. Every print on the planet showed up. Some are chatting; Paisley is telling Grey something deep. Tartan is chilling with Ombre, and you just know somethings up, are they together?!  Leopard is so full of himself because he is going to Mauritius with Tropical-print next week... The night is in full swing; it's a party! 

I don't know what time it ended; I went to bed. I could later hear some prints drape themselves over the rail, some slept in a cupboard, and others stayed right there on the dance floor.

In the morning I have my first appointment. The lady asks in amazement, how on earth did you think to put floral with these crazy stripes? It's magnificent! I smile and say, "it's just a trick," and wink and the prints, remembering last nights two-step :)

Posted on March 4, 2017 .

A Real Artist Salutes Another!

When I feel like a fun morning, I go to Stanley 44. Here I have lunch and browse through the fascinating little shops, I love to visit Black Coffee and Lunar, and I will buy beautiful designer items here because their authenticity inspires me and I wear it proud. I don't feel the urge to copy their work, I draw energy from it, and it makes me intensely happy. I and feel lucky that I can just walk in here anytime and always be welcome. A real artist salutes another! 

 The dark side of fashion or even being a creative for that matter is that we give birth to an idea. Water it. We love and nurture. We take it out for walks and make sure it is well socialized. We have faith that one day it will move mountains. We will sing lullaby's until it's all grown up and we are proud, we have invested so much!

 And there it is! The parasites attach, they come out of nowhere, jumps on the train and start copying; Something that took the all that time to grow are now hostage, enslaved, and force to work for them without rest. Seeing this is like cancer eating your heart. You can't cure it, change or get rid of it. The best you can do is to cut it out and let the life sucking scrounger suck it dry until they've destroyed something beautiful. I don't know what is worse, the fact that these opportunists believe they can pass it as their own or the fact that they are putting it into the world for everyone to see, almost as if they want recognition for being deceiving, misleading and disrespectful. If you want a pat on the back, you're not getting it from me. 

I can accept it and move on, happily knowing my head is full of ideas and like a trailing plant, it will move forward, extending vines and branches that keeps blooming...

Posted on February 20, 2017 .

The question about pricing

I get questions like "Why does it cost more to have a dress made than to buy it off the rail? " And "What is your minimum cost for labor, so that I know what to expect and if I can afford you." also  "Can you break it down for me? I will buy the fabric if that helps?" or Client: "I want to have this dress made but in white for a function"  Me: "Is it a wedding dress? " Client: "Yes, are you going to charge me more now? 

The reason you are paying more to have a dress made is that you are getting a unique and custom design. This design may come from an image on Pinterest or just something that you dreamed up over the years or perhaps you wanted me to get creative because you know and trust my work. But to make a dress even from a picture is the same as to design something from scratch. Once we've established the shape, style, and silhouette of the dress, a process I call pattern development needs to happen. This process takes more time than all the consultations, buying fabric, answering your emails, cutting, and sewing the dress. 

This is not easy for anyone to do! A lot of technicalities goes into this process, and without this process, you cannot make the dress. Pattern development is where style lines and measurements come into play,  creating something from nothing. This is the most important part of the design; this is the design! Everything you want and all your dreams for this dress relies on how good this pattern is and it takes time, a lot of it. 

Calculations, knowledge and years of experience are all mixed.  What will be created is a very specific kind of recipe to an acquired taste. Thinking hard about what it should taste like, the formula is created. I add the ingredients and make sure the heat is just right. First, some steam appears, and with confidence, and perseverance I am now cooking up a storm. By stirring often, I create a balanced consistency that finally comes to a boil. My trained hand takes it off the warm plate just in time and put aside to cool down. All my hard work paid off, and I am left with a concentrated mix of genius ready for sampling. 

How long does it take to cook you might ask. Well, it depends on what your cooking!

The sample is not yet perfect, so the pattern needs to change here, and something else needs to fall away there. Let's make the changes and then cut a new sample but...  oh no now that the new sample is done it's still not perfect, so I repeat the process, patience being your best friend and worst enemy.

 Finally, I have something that I am proud of,  it's been refined, and I am happy to take it can to the fitting. At the fitting the waist needs to move up, the shoulder must be thinner and the neckline lower. Ok so repeat the process one more time :)

Every material has a different recipe; therefore it is very important to know what kind of fabric you want. Good quality fabrics make the design process much more fun and give me the margin to be more creative and produce a high quality work. ( good and bad quality, by the way, takes the same time to produce) So yes, trying to save by bringing your own fabric will cost you more in the end.

Posted on February 13, 2017 and filed under Silver Swallow.

The dress that became famous on the internet

I will never forget the day! I was doing some random fabric shopping, browsing to see what's new. Buying little bits and pieces of fabrics that caught my eye. Just materials I hoped could become something. So many times I go fabric wandering as I call it,  usually needing nothing, I just have the urge for material. Like a craving for chocolate. 

The times I do find that very rare gem, are far and few between, I can only recall two times that it happened this year, once beeing in the smallest little material shop in Budapest opposite my hotel, had it not been there, I would never have found it. But this is a story for another time.

 As I entered an old favorite shop of mine, one of those jaw dropping moments, no word, my heart made a summersault, and my stomach felt unsettled as saw it there... I was scared someone was going to run past me and grab it away! It was hanging right there in broad daylight, in the market for anyone to buy it and walk out! And why haven't they?  Was I the first one to come across it? Was it my luckiest day? If I hadn't been there at that very moment would it be as if it were never there? It could've gone anywhere! It could've fallen into the hands of someone who just buys fabric when they get the urge to go and buy material they don't need to make something nice but perhaps never does, or ended up being fabric scraps that fill the bin as result of a bad sewing day! 
NOOOOOOOOO Jana what are you waiting for grab it now!

And so it was mine! I kept feeling little nausea even after it was safe with me. The pressure is on. It was expensive and what do I make with this now? I had buyers remorse and that after everywhere my mind had just gone. Will anyone even like it, should I make some tops? I hope they sell...

Secret_Garden134.jpg
floral dress 0
floral beach session
floral portrait
floral engagement
floral
floral maternity
floral delight

 

 

                                                                   Thank goodness I didn't!

Posted on November 29, 2016 .

The human behind the brand

 

Hello, my name is Jana, and I love fabric, in fact, I am obsessed with it! The best feeling in the world is finding an exquisite piece of lace or brand new roll of printed chiffon at one of my favorite stores. The moment I see it, a song starts playing, or maybe it's just me singing. I don't know, but I buy all of it because now I will be the only one to own this magnificent piece.

When I get to my studio, I roll it out, smell it and then start draping on my mannequin, trying out different things. At some point, I realize how hungry I am.  My adventure was just too exciting, and I forgot to have lunch! I quickly pack away the material and forget about it, because all is well and this treasure is in safe hands now!  Four years down the line, many adventures later,  I am talking to a client, and all of a sudden this fabric jumps to my mind. A song starts playing, or maybe it's just me singing.... I found the perfect match!

Silver swallow Design , Jana
Posted on October 27, 2016 .

When having a dress made by Silver Swallow Design

Having a dress made can be very daunting, but by following a proper system, everything becomes much less overwhelming. 

I break the process up into a few steps to make sure that we are always on the same page as we move along.

Step one is to send me an email telling me more about the type of dress that you would like me to make. If it's a wedding dress, also remember to give the date, venue, photographer, and I don't mind if you tell me a little about yourself. I want to know where you from and perhaps a hobby you enjoy. These details might not seem relevant but making a dress for someone is a very personal service in the sense that I am doing something that should hilite your personality and be an extension of who you are and I would like to capture that in the most authentic way.

I need at least three months to complete a wedding dress, but ultimately the timeline will depend on the type of dress, design, and detailing. However, don't wait up until three months before setting up an appointment. People book well in advance to ensure their dress is in capable hands and I can only take in a limited amount of work. The choice is yours whether we start right away or wait until a time closer to the event, but I can advise on this. 


Usually, a 50% deposit will book my time that I need to complete your dress;  I work together with a very experienced dressmaker trained by myself. The deposit will also enable me to buy the perfect material the moment I find it. As soon as I have the fabric, we can look at it together, and I will also take full measurements at this meeting. 

What follows will be the first fitting; so exciting! But this is a mock or "pretend" dress. I want to see if my pattern fits well and what I can change to make it even better. Now is also where you can tell me when your not in love with a style line or neckline so that we can change it before we cut into the real fabric. Sometimes this step is not necessary in which case I will jump ahead to the next step.

The next step is where I start by building the dress up from the inside out.  In other words, your first or next fitting will be the lining of the dress, when this fits well we can move on to the outer layers. 

Detail comes last and because this is the most exciting and transforming step everything else should be perfect. I love doing this together with my client so that they have a very clear visual of what to expect and voice their opinion before it's forever.

My recipe for success, keeping my client in the loop as we move through all the steps.  Knowing that we are both on the same page before we move on. Your dress will be one to love forever. A Handmade ( Couture) one of a kind dress with endless hours dedicated to perfection.

 

 



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