Refash., Thrift Store Thursdays

60s dress…well, it used to be!

Happy Independence Day for those who celebrate it! For this month’s Thrift Store Thursdays I would like to show you what I’ve done to this poor dress I found in one of those fill-your-bag-for-a-pound charity shop events.


The dress originally was a typical 60’s shift dress, which (as you can see below) does not work well for my shape, so I decided to turn it into one of those sets consisting of a crop top and a high waist skirt. Since I didn’t have a lot of material to work with (and because I find elastic bands really comfy), I decided to use that as the waistline for the new skirt. I am now thinking about changing it to a wider band, because the crop top turned out to be slightly too short and it does leave a lot of skin on show. I have simply changed how the skirt buttons up and switched the flashy gold buttons to flat black ones.

As for the top, I turned it around, put in darts (which btw look a lot more pointy on the picture below than they do IRL) and reshaped the armholes. All this happened without using a pattern, which is probably why the new neckline is kind of choking…

To be honest I haven’t worn this together as a set yet (or the top on it’s own for that matter), but the skirt works well for work, especially worn with my favorite jumper (like I did for Me-Made-May earlier this year). I really love the material – I’m not sure if you can see it, but the blue dots are not printed on the fabric, but woven into it which gives it an interesting texture. Nice touch! :)




So I’ve found this blanket in a charity shop while looking for one to make a coat out of (more on this later). After a very brief research, I found out that the brand new version sells for a whopping £359!!! Now, what do I do? Should I try selling it and buy the fabric of my own choice (possibly for this coat AND for a little French jacket too), or should I keep it to make the coat that more special? Also, have you used a blanket for dressmaking before? Do you think this fabric (pretty lightweight) would be suitable for tailoring? I would love to hear some advice! :)

From scratch, Refash.

Decisisons, decisions…

Ready & waiting

My problems with RTW…

The red dress  the blond girl is wearing (on the left, below)  is one of the first things I’ve ever pinned on Pinterest a few years ago. At the beginning of summer I decided to have a peek at the sales with my sister, and ended up buying the dress on the right. It looks pretty similar to the one that was supposed to serve as inspiration to make something alike. It was one of the 4 garments I bought this year for myself.

One of my problems with buying Ready-To-Wear is the fit. Or the lack of it. 3 of the 4 garments had to be altered, as they were just unwearable in their original state. My sister always tells me not to buy anything that still needs to be altered, and I haven’t done it so far (except for charity shop refashions), but I really liked these clothes and the changes needed were minor:

  • Problem: The red dress looked fine, but I couldn’t do a proper before picture as I’m pretty sure WordPress wouldn’t appreciate showing nudity without warning – after taking a few steps, the dress slid all the way down under my bosoms.
  • Solution: I have now shortened the straps to avoid this!
  • Problem: These trousers did fit me on my bum and legs, but the waist was too big.
  • Solution: I shortened the waistband and took the trousers in at the center back and center front.
  • Problem: This jumpsuit was waaaay too long.
  • Solution: I cut it off and hemmed it…Then got bike oil on the legs on the way to a festival.  :(

The fit, however is not the only issue I have with buying new clothes. Walking around the shops I felt a little confused at first for several reasons. First of all, sewing is not just a hobby for me, it’s pretty much my only passion. When people say that you could just save yourself the hassle and buy clothes off the rack, it just makes no sense to me. I am actually super happy to spend time on making things for myself, however long it takes. Which is one of the reasons why buying clothes in fast fashion serving stores is not really an option for me.

Secondly, most clothes that I can afford are made by underpaid workers, in conditions that would be unacceptable in countries where the finished garments are sold in. To be honest though, I don’t think the fabric that most of us buy off the roll is made in any better circumstances. So as much as I would like to think that I am not contributing too much to the exploitation of these people by limiting my purchases to shoes and sometimes clothes I could not reproduce, sadly I don’t quite believe that is the case.

The third issue that came up while trying clothes on was my body image. It’s been quite a while since I actually bought any RTW clothes, so I had no idea how different I look in the fitting room compared to how I look at home in the mirror, or even on holiday photos. I blame the different lighting ;) , but I couldn’t help but wonder if I should strive to look good naked even if I am happy in my body when wearing the right clothes…and by strive I obviously mean dieting.

My attitude to going on diets and eating well would make for a very long story, and I think the fact that I was still not really shaken by realizing that my dress size was different to what it was the last time, shows that I can usually convince myself that what size my body is shouldn’t be something I’m concerned about as long as I am healthy and enjoy myself in it. Most of the time…

I would really love to hear how those who sew their own clothes, my lovely sewing-blogging “neighbours”, feel about these things! 

How do you feel about buying ready to wear clothes?

Do you get more tempted to buy any during sales?

Do you feel like sewing has changed your attitude towards your own body?


sixties dress

Refash., Thrift Store Thursdays

Sneak peak #8

From scratch, Stash diet/ Scrap revival

DIY fur bag

ThteSecretCostumier - Fur bag1

ThteSecretCostumier - Fur bag2

For a person who gets by with a single bag for everyday occasions, I have been extremely busy sewing all kinds of bags lately (the ones for Berlin & Bangkok). And it’s not over yet, but not to worry, there are only two more left to show you…

So, what we have here is my party bag. If you know me in person you are now thinking: what party do you go to exactly? Well, I guess I would call a wild Saturday night a success, if I managed to stay up until 3AM  in the morning and finished something I have started sewing at the time. But jokes aside (I’m not even kidding, though :) ), I may not go out all dressed up that much, but this furry little thing works well when I intend to dress something up too.

ThteSecretCostumier - Fur bag

ThteSecretCostumier - Fur bag3

You may recognize the faux fur from my military jacket, as it is made from the leftover fabric that I used for the collar. One day when I accidentally purchased some more fabric that I already did not need (obvs.), I decided to make space for them by doing some scrap busting.

I took the chain from an old bag, and used the remaining fabric from my birthday dress as a lining. The bag is really tiny, but it can hold my “party essentials”, so I am really quite happy for it’s existence! ;)








We have recently sold the house in Budapest in which I grew up in. Since we did not want anything that could still be useful to someone to end up in the bin, we decided to try to sell them at the flea market. Being a “business owner” (with mum) for the day was equally stressful and fun, but the biggest surprise was how helpful the lady at the table next to us was (in the red jacket). She was absolutely amazing, and if she ever finds this blog by accident, then here is a massive thank you for her!

Ready & waiting

Flea market

Refash., Thrift Store Thursdays

Shirt refash!

Have you heard of the Refashioners? I’ve stumbled upon Portia Laurie’s blog about a year ago, while checking out a pin about a stunning upcycling project. She invites bloggers every year to – you’ve guessed it – refashion old pieces of clothing. This year round there’s even a competition with an absolutely amazing amount of sewing related prizes, and what’s best, everyone is welcome to join in.

So for this month’s Thrift Store Thursday, I decided to show you what I’m entering the competition with… and you know, if there’s going to be a vote, feel free to choose my dress if you like it! ;) )

TheSecretCostumier - £1 shirt turned into summer dress for #therefashioners community challenge

TheSecretCostumier - £1 shirt turned into summer dress for #therefashioners community challenge

I got this plain, blue Marks & Spencer shirt in one of Brighton’s many vintage shops for £1. I had no idea what to do with it, and I was just gonna use it to make a toilet for the final version, but I thought I was running out of time, so I just I went with this.

I wanted to make a folksy/boho summer dress with loads of details. I was looking for embellishments on Pinterest that could be recreated quickly. Originally I was going to get guipure lace and appliqué it on the dress, but I couldn’t find red in the shop, and after eliminating black and white, that was the colour I was going with.

I knew already what shape I wanted the dress to be like, but after assembling the top bit (quilting it, attaching the piping, attaching the ribbon, then the lining), I realized that the front and back piece alone wouldn’t be enough for a gathered A-line skirt. I played with all the remaining pieces (the cuffs, the collar, etc) until I could work out how to make a bigger piece of fabric. I wanted to have pockets and I actually had to have pockets, as there was a slit on one of the side panels – where the placket was inserted into the sleeve originally.

TheSecretCostumier - £1 shirt turned into summer dress for #therefashioners community challenge

TheSecretCostumier - £1 shirt turned into summer dress for #therefashioners community challenge

TheSecretCostumier - £1 shirt turned into summer dress for #therefashioners community challenge

The fit is not exactly perfect as the skirt dives down at the back, but it doesn’t bother me too much. I am quite happy with how it turned out as it’s super comfortable and I really love how the red pops on the blue.