Monday, 12 April 2010

Introducing: Farapinalia

Hi, my name is Orla, from Farapinalia, and I live in Limerick in a house from the 1940s that seemed too large for myself and my long-suffering husband when we moved in 3 years ago. Now, however, it is about to explode due to the amount of fabric, wool, beads and trimmings that I am constantly cramming into it! I work from home. Oh dear!
I originally moved to Limerick for University where I studied Law, History and German. Quite early in the proceedings and much to the dismay of my parents and sensible acquaintances it became apparent that the reality of a law practice would not really suit me for some strange reason! For far more years than I care to remember I have been a Tour-Guide, travelling Ireland on mainly historical tours with coach-loads of German tourists! Well “two out of three aint bad”- and yes, I am old enough to remember the song.Around three years ago a friend and former colleague, Ruth from Nice Day Designs, began selling her fab customised clothes in a Sunday Market in the centre of Limerick . That got me thinking. Since I very rarely work on tours for 4-5 months every winter and spend much of that time baking and sewing, why not try doing it for a living? Actually make money from what has been my enduring passion since childhood- making pretty things for people and feeding them!! I figured that, since I was already making and customising wedding dresses for friends it wouldn’t be too hard! Famous last words! Still, with much encouragement I stuck with it and although it was slow to get going, it has been a challenge and a blast so far! When I am at home I go to markets in the area with my clothes and accessories and my Gluten and Wheat-free goodies. When I am touring I bring wool and crochet hooks with me! I even brought my sewing machine and fabric for a memorable month last year! My suitcase died! I now have a portable machine, perfect for holidays in Barcelona ! I did say long-suffering husband at the beginning!
I make clothes, bags and accessories from any material that I fall in love with at the time and I’m afraid that I must be a very fickle girl! At the moment I am making mainly crocheted hats, silk and chiffon skirts and dresses and brocade, velvet and p.v.c. coats! I love experimenting with different shapes and styles for my hats, trying different yarns and wools to get unusual effects and adding flowers, buttons and beads. I also adore embroidered and embellished silk for the luxurious feel and drape of it I have a terrible tendency to be unable to resist buying any that I really love when it is on sale and taking a year to work my way through all of it! Hence the house bursting at the seams! I started making rain macs from p.v.c. and vinyl 3 years ago and am constantly looking for funkier patterns and better-wearing material.

I also make fun and pretty costume jewellery from beads and findings, mostly sourced in Barcelona where we keep returning every year-my home away from home! Maybe when I am rich and famous! Ha ha!
Of late I have been custom designing and making bags, phone cases, briefcases and wallets which has been an enjoyable new challenge. I went on line in February after much nagging- sorry encouragement! Despite not knowing how to turn on a computer a year ago I love it and am really enjoying doing custom work for new people as far away as Australia ! I will be back doing coach tours again very shortly and have already got a new (sturdy) bag for my faithful sewing-machine companion!


  1. Fun stuff and I love the fact that you are as fickle a crafter as I am. Best of luck Orla. Carol :)

  2. Just love your poppy rain mac, if that doesn't cheer up a rainy day I don't know what would.

  3. Those macs are wonderful! Just what the Irish Summer needs!!

  4. Just had a mooch around your shop - really vibrant!

  5. Yey Orla, I'm so glad you persisted, you are one of the highlights of the Sunday market, and it looks like you are now gaining a fan club online is a little weird to say I'm really proud of you?!!?
    -love Ruth

  6. Thanks Mom!!
    Thanks a million guys for the lovely comments! Considering that I do believe that the Irish summer last year was on a Tuesday, hopefully I will get some business! I will be putting up more clothes on the site over the next couple of weeks so please drop in again!

  7. Those macs are brilliant! Definitely made for the Irish summer. Mind you, today I got sunburnt in Belfast...
    Love your clothes! So vibrant and colourful!

  8. if I owned that poppy raincoat i'd want it to rain everyday!!!! welcome to the team Orla! :)