furry bag1

From scratch

Sneak peak #7

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TheSecretCostumier - Homemade birthday cake
Refash.

The birthday dress – finished!

I turned 28 a few days ago. The cake is the one I made for my sister’s 28th when it was her time to celebrate, and my present to myself was to finish a project that I have started a long, long time ago…

You probably don’t remember my enthusiastic post from last year, planning to refashion a thrift store find for my 27th birthday. Now, that did not happen back then – as you might have guessed, but I finished it for this year’s shenanigans. I did not end up wearing it at the end of course, but I did get to go to Frank’s (and all around Peckham), and had an amazing time, like I planned last year.

I am hoping to wear it to someone’s wedding, which given my age, should be an everyday occasion during summer. That is if my waist does not get any larger. You see, I am an impatient sewist, and since I only had a short zip, I used that. Removing the dress therefore is a two (wo)men job, and it is so tight that I could not possibly have a 3 course meal wearing it, but I still love the fit.

Construction wise it was pretty straight forward. I disassembled the original dress and used the bodice of my favourite Burdastyle pattern for cutting out the top pieces. I then cut out the lining pieces from the original lining, and 2 extra layers from cotton, to use as interlining. I then basted the interlinings to the lining and outer fabric, and sewed the Rigilene bonings to the interlining bit. I made it sound super complicated, but trust me, it was just as easy as this Threads article suggested it would be.

As for the skirt, it was trial and error really. I matched the side seams of the skirt to the “side seams” of the bodice, only to realize that they are not exactly on the side and ended up twisting the skirt out of shape. The pockets got an interesting drape this way, but the side seams were wonky, so I decided to do the right thing, and put pleats into the front, and darts on the back to match the two waistlines.

I finished it within 2 days, which counts as a quick project in my book. It does look slightly different from the one I planned last year, but I guess that is the beauty of the process: being able to change it as we go! :)

The Secret Costumier -The birthday dress

 

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maci

From scratch, Stash diet/ Scrap revival

Sneak peak #6

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From scratch, Stash diet/ Scrap revival

Bias and lace

The top that I wore during Me-Made-May for the first time is a wearable muslin really. Since I didn’t think I could find anything in my wardrobe that would go with it, I decided to make matching French knickers from the leftover fabric, so that I end up with a fancy set of nightwear (that I can occasionally wear out too ;) ).

I got the fabric from my all time favourite source – the remnant box at the fabric shop. It was probably about a 1.5m x 1m piece and I bought it so that I can try my hand at making a bias cut camisole. It’s a polyester fabric and my sister says it looks like something bridesmaid dresses would have been made of in the 90’s, but at least it doesn’t wrinkle too easily and I wasn’t afraid to cut into it.

TheSecretCostumier - Lingerie3

I copied the camisole pattern from my sister’s RTW version and added a facing at the top. The shorts are high-waisted French knickers with a placket opening on the side. The pattern was drafted by following Vera Venus’ free pattern instructions (it’s towards the bottom of the page).

TheSecretCostumier - Lingerie4

Since I didn’t quite have enough fabric to cut the shorts on the grain – and because I had to re-cut the legs after cutting two right back leg pieces – I had to insert a patchwork panel and some lace on the front and back. I have never worked with lace before, and especially after the nightmare that sewing the main fabric was, working with lace was a pleasant surprise.

I haven’t worn these shorts yet, as I still need to hand-sew some snap fasteners on, but hopefully it will work as a piece to protect my modesty during hot summer cycles under skirts and dresses. Of course it doesn’t look like it will be that hot in London anytime soon, so the dreaded hand sewing can wait… ;)

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The Secret Costumier - The Bangkok bag
From scratch

The Bangkok Bag

Like I mentioned before, we went on our very first backpacking trip with my sister to South East Asia. It was not backpacking in it’s traditional meaning as we stayed in the nicest hotels we could afford and had our whole 3 weeks planned out, but all our luggage consisted of a smallish backpack (well, one for me and one for her of course).

Since the Berlin bag is quite heavy without any load, I had to look for another one. I looked online for a nice and practical one, but for some reason this combo is not popular in my price range: you can either get one that’s useful or one that’s pretty. I have already made a backpack earlier this year, so I didn’t see a reason why I could not give it a go again. Please welcome the Bangkok bag! :)

The Secret Costumier -The Bangkok bag

The Secret Costumier - The Bangkok bag

The Secret Costumier - The Bangkok bag

I must have spent the same amount of time researching backpacks again, now looking for some lightweight options as well as checking the details that make a bag sturdy. Since I’ve spent so much time on trying to find new solutions, while sewing bikinis and dresses for the trip, I decided to stick with the same shape that I chose for the Berlin bag.

I used the black cotton drill for the main body that was meant to be used for the Berlin bag; the gold fabric on top and the lining are leftovers from the military jacket’s lining, and the tie-dye fabric is an African waxprint cotton that my Dad brought from Nigeria years ago. I bought some D-rings and reused some from an old bag, so I managed to only spend about £3 on this bag in total.

The Secret Costumier - The Bangkok bag

The Secret Costumier - The Bangkok bag

The only new function on the backpack is the outside pocket on the back panel. Unfortunately the zip broke, but it would have been a great solution for keeping money safe during those hours spent on airports, trying to catch some sleep between the flights.

I made a silly mistake and sewed the closing strap to the bag the wrong way around, but I will have to remove that black webbing that goes across it anyway, as it is not long enough to go from edge to edge. By the way, this is why the stitching came loose on one of the straps on day 4. Not cool. Even though the bag only weighed about 9 kilos by the end of the trip, I had to be very careful with putting it on and taking it off to avoid having to carry my stuff around in a plastic bag. :)

The Secret Costumier - The Bangkok bag

The Secret Costumier - The Bangkok bag

I also made a cover for my first DSLR from the same material. I could not fit a full camera bag into the backpack, so I decided to copy this brilliant idea I’ve found on Pinterest. It was a last minute make, so it’s a bit wonky, but it does the job!

The Secret Costumier - The Bangkok bag

The Secret Costumier - The Bangkok bag

The Secret Costumier - The Bangkok bag

The Secret Costumier - The Bangkok bag

I think my favourite thing about sewing must be knowing that I can fix most things. Knowing how the pieces go together and become something functional, and if something needs to be changed not being afraid to take it apart and put it back together – better.

After carrying the bag around Asia for 3 weeks I now know that I can make something pretty (if I say so) and useful. I also know that it has some flaws, but (luckily) I also know how to fix them.

The Secret Costumier - The Bangkok bag

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TheSecretCostumier - Work In Progress

Refash., Thrift Store Thursdays

Sneak peak #5

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Me-Made-May 2015, Ready & waiting

Me-Made-May 2015: The summary

I will keep this short and sweet as there are way too many warm weather clothes in this post, which might be an unwelcome reminder to those enjoying the beautiful weather we have. :)

I wore 17 me-made garments during the 24 days I managed to keep up with the challenge: 5 dresses, 5 skirts, 3 trousers, 3 tops  and a bag. I decided to take a look at what I enjoyed wearing as well as to look at the resolutions I’ve made after last year’s Me-Made-May. (Quoting myself looks and feels really stupid, but without the quotation marks last years findings don’t make much sense. To me at least. :) )

Dresses

In 2014 I needed: “At least one more backless dress, simple dresses in solid colours. Wrap dresses, and dresses made of knit fabrics. I don’t own any jumpsuits yet, but they should be a great alternative to dresses for summer, so I am planning to give them a try.” – Since 2014: I made a backless dress in a solid colour, and another wrap dress made of a knit fabric. No jumpsuits yet…

Now I need: I think I have enough dresses at the moment, although I tend to wear them a lot, so I will allow myself to make more if I feel like it. I might also give that jumpsuit idea a go this year.

Skirts

In 2014 I needed: “More simple skirts in solid colours, from interesting fabrics.” – Since 2014: I made another velvet skirt and altered a thrift store dress into a skirt. I got the dress because I thought the fabric was really interesting, and you really can’t beat velvet in this category, so I think I’ve done well.

Now I need: I think I wouldn’t mind having a few pencil skirts that allow me to cycle in them, but to be honest I am not in urgent need of any new skirts.

Trousers

In 2014 I need: “Well fitting comfortable trousers that work for summer. Try a palazzo style and a slim fitting one.” – Since 2014: I did make a pair of trousers that are comfortable and they fit well too (kind of), but unfortunately I got oil on them and I’m not sure if I can do anything to make them wearable again. No slim fitting trousers though.

Now I need: More of the comfy summery kind. It’s a shame that I am so scared of making trousers, as they are the best option for summer cycling and not that hard to make at all.

Tops

I need: “More tops, obviously. Sleeveless ones for summer, a few more crop tops, another shirt, the perfect white T, and maybe some woven basic tops.” – Since 2014: I made a crop top out of a thrift store dress, but it does not fit very well and it’s a little short. Apart from that, I made another attempt to modify a blouse, but I got stuck and I don’t think I like it enough to spend time on figuring out how to finish it.

Now I need: I still need more tops. Simple and wearable ones!

It’s a bit of a shame that I couldn’t/didn’t engage too much with others this year around and I think that was the bit I missed the most, but hopefully next year I’ll be able to be more active in this area as well as wear handmade stuff from head to toe!

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