Me-Made-May 2017

Me-Made-May 2017: The Summary

It has now become a tradition to reflect on my Me-Made-May adventures a week late, right when I have recovered from the exhaustion of choosing outfits from a relatively small selection of clothing. 😉

Last year I pledged to wear me-mades head-to-toe, and I managed to do it for 27 days out of the 31 with no repeats. This year my pledge was to wear me-mades from head-to-to every day, including bras, and to do something sewing related daily (kind of failed at this, but I did sew a lot in May).

During the first few days I was feeling a bit lost and uninspired, but as soon as I took the burden of photographing outfits daily off my shoulders (by taking all the photos over the weekends), I ended up totally loving it, just like in previous years.

This year I was sharing my outfits daily on Instagram, which made Me-Made-May so much more fun, since not only did I get a massive amount of positive feedback, I also was really inspired by all the fantastic sewists I discovered, as well as by those I have already been following.

Having lovely sewing friends/bloggers who read this blog and who always found the time to say something encouraging also helped make this month extra special for me. So I would like to say a big THANK YOU, because sewing is a lot of fun on it’s own, but being part of this community is what it makes it way more than a hobby to me.

So without further ado, here is here is a look at what I wore and how my me-made wardrobe changed in a year.

I wore 31 me-made garments during the month, and while I missed posting daily outfit photos on Instagram a few times, I did manage to keep up with the challenge every single day of May. In total I wore:

  • 8 dresses;
  • 3 skirts;
  • 4 trousers;
  • 9 tops;
  • 5 pieces of lingerie and swimwear;
  • and 2 jackets.
Dresses

In 2016: I concluded that I needed casual & comfortable dresses that I can wear in all (London) weather conditions.

Since 2016: I have made 7 new dresses and wore all of them except for the Vogue dress. I am really happy with how comfortable they are, but most of them are not exactly suitable for work due to the tiny spaghetti straps or the lack of coverage at the back. I do make them work anyway. 😉

I need: Nothing really, but a Little Black Dress is due to be made for the #makenine challenge, so if I find inspiration, then it’s going to happen. I am also turning 30 in July, so I feel like I should make something special like the Birthday Dress, to get more excited about the otherwise rather small celebration.   

Skirts

In 2016 I wrote: “I really enjoyed wearing the lime green A-line skirt this year, and I would like to make a few similar ones of lighter materials for summer.”

Since 2016: I have made two wool skirts that are perfect for work.

I need: Again, I don’t need anything else, but I would love to have a light, button-down midi skirt in a solid colour for the summer, and an A-line denim skirt, maybe with some embroidery.

Trousers

In 2016 I wrote: “ I need more trousers!!! I am taking a pattern cutting course at Morley College again, now learning about the trousers block, so hopefully I will be able to improve on this soon. ”

Since 2016: The pattern cutting class definitely made me more confident in making trousers, and so two new pairs were born. The Delpozo inspired bright blue one felt like a failure at first, as it turned out very tight and I thought it was too fancy for everyday wear. Me-Made-May however, made me see how versatile it really is, and I love that it’s impossible to feel underdressed wearing them.

The other pair I made, the navy culottes, was love at first sight. It’s practical, comfy and seems to go with absolutely everything. 😀

 I need: Finally I don’t feel desperate for new trousers. I would love to tackle sewing jeans, but I am not a huge fan anyway, so this project can wait.

Tops

In 2016: “I need more tops! I probably need to go back to the Wardrobe Architect project and finish it before I start making things that don’t work with the rest of the wardrobe. I have a few ideas already though, and after the trials and tribulations of making my second shirt, I think I enjoyed the process just as much as I enjoy wearing it, so I’m up for making more!”

Since 2016: I made two super simple tops that quickly became favourites. Since finishing the challenge, I also finished a white linen shirt, which I suspect will also be a staple.

I need: I bought some fabric with making tops in mind (meaning= I didn’t want to spend much money, so I only bought half a meter each 🙂 ), I just haven’t figured out what kinds of tops they should be…

Lingerie

For the first time this year, I was also wearing me-made bras and swimwear too. When I started making bras I didn’t think I’ll ever stop making them, but somehow I managed to end the obsession after bra number 2. Even though we made a pair of knickers during my lingerie making course at Morley, and I found it way easier than I remembered, I am still not confident enough to give that a go.

I need: To finish the toile for the self drafted bra that I’ve started a long time ago. Other than that, I think I am okay in this department.

Whew! That’s a wrap. 🙂

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Me-Made-May 2017, Ready & waiting

Me-Made-May 2017: Week one

The first week of the Me-Made-May challenge is over, so I thought I would take a long hard look at how it went.

Day 1

  • Leggings: Self-drafted
  • Jumper: I knitted this mostly following this pattern

I spent the day at home, sewing for over 8 hours, so I had to make an effort to actually get out of my pyjamas and into something me-made yet very comfortable. The only item I have that fits that bill at the moment are these leggings, that I sewed up because I felt guilty for buying 3 meters of this fabric from the remnant box and not wanting to do anything with it.

As for the jumper, this is the only garment I have ever knitted, but I wasn’t very happy with the result when I (kind of) finished it (=see yarn hanging down at the hem 🙂 ), so I decided I will only wear it at home until I get around fixing the issues.

Day 2 

I really liked wearing this outfit, but cycling in these trousers is a nightmare and every time I go somewhere I return with more oil stains. 😦

Day 3

These culottes are fresh off the sewing machine. I am very happy about how they turned out, the only problem is that the zip is too short (long story…), so getting in and out of it is a challenge. 😀

Day 4

Even though it’s May, it’s fairly cold these days in London, so I went for maximum comfort. I honestly didn’t realise how frumpy I looked until I got home and took a photo. To be fair, I did fall asleep at 7 pm, right after this photo was taken, so for an exhausting day like that, this outfit was just fine.

Day 5

I have only just noticed that I wore the same colour combination on Day 3 too. One could think I have a thing for wearing navy and ochre together, but weirdly enough I have never worn this skirt and jumper together.

Day 6

I visited my best friend in Brighton wearing this, and the weather was so nice I actually had to take the tights off from under the culottes. I really love how these new trousers work with my older pieces.

Day 7

On the last day of the week I was actually wearing the previous outfit, but we did go out until early morning and I was wearing this. This is a tried and tested combination, with the option to go all sexy and backless if I feel very hot from all that dancing and wear the dress without the top. I have yet to do that, but I like having the option. 😉

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I, Etemi of The Secret Costumier, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’17. I endeavour to only wear me-made garments for the duration of May 2017 (except for knickers, knitted jumpers and shoes).

I also pledge to do something dressmaking related each day (sewing/pattern drafting/crochet/embroidery/etc.)’

So it’s May again, which means I am taking part in the Me-Made-May challenge once again. Last year I managed to wear only me-mades for the whole month with the exception of bras, knickers, knitted jumpers and shoes. This year I’ll be wearing my me-made bras and I think the biggest challenge will be to mix my recently finished garments with the old ones, and to have some fun dressing up.

I feel like these days my main goal is to not leave the house naked, which, to be fair, also means that I am comfortable enough with the options I have, so I don’t have those “I’ve got nothing to wear” moments in the morning anymore, but I could definitely move towards wearing clothes that make me feel confident, instead of those that make me feel comfortable. I will be sharing daily pictures on Instagram and weekly summaries here.

Are you taking part in Me-Made-May? Do you feel like you need to raise the bar somehow if you have taken part before/wear me-mades most days anyway?

Ready & waiting

Me-Made-May 2017

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The Secret Costumier - The Hungarian Parliament Building ©Robbie Packer

The Secret Costumier - Budapest

The Secret Costumier - Budapest

The Secret Costumier - Budapest - The Hungarian Parliament Building ©Robbie Packer

The Secret Costumier - Budapest

The Secret Costumier - Budapest - The Hungarian Parliament Building ©Robbie Packer

The Secret Costumier - Budapest

The Secret Costumier - Budapest

I’ve spent a weekend in the city where I grew up, and for the first time in my life I got to look at it as a tourist. I moved to London because I felt more at home here than I ever did in Budapest, but I guess the distance, the time spent away and the urge to show le boyfriend a good time, allowed me to see the city in a whole new light.

Budapest is full of pretty buildings, but other than the main attractions, nothing beats getting lost in the Jewish quarter and looking at all the little details on the buildings there, some of which are housing apartments, others hiding those famous “ruin bars”. When I mentioned to my friends that I am planning to take Robbie to Szimpla (the first and most famous such bar), they seemed unimpressed with my choice, because locals think it’s too touristy. It does have more tourists than locals I must admit, but for a good reason. It’s the still the quirkiest, biggest, most fun of them all, and the farmers’ market on Sunday morning with live jazz and great quality food was just unbeatable.

We also went to the biggest bath in Budapest (Széchenyi), which in spite of the freezing weather was a fabulous choice. There’s nothing quite like chilling in a pool of hot water, outdoors, after spending a day walking all around the city.

There are way more dishes to try than patience in me to mention them, but if you’re only gonna eat one meal, have a lángos. It’s a salty dough, fried in oil with different toppings, but the one I would strongly suggest you to go for is the sour cream & cheese one. It. Is. Divine.

Long story short, I think what I am trying to say is that I had an amazing time, especially because I was able to totally be in holiday mode without all the struggle of making decisions about where to go and what to eat. So if any of you Ladies and Gents are planning a trip there, I’m more than happy to shower you with recommendations. 😉

Travels

Budapest

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Ready & waiting

2017 – Resolution time!

Here comes the ever so late new year’s resolution post for 2017! By a twist of fate, this post was published automatically while it was still a draft, so now I feel like it would be flat-out cowardice to delete my very first, most intimidating resolution, so here it comes:

1. Start my own business.

I think whoever learns how to create (anything at all) and really enjoys doing it, gets to a point where the idea of turning the hobby into a dream job pops up. Ever since I have discovered the joys of sewing, I hoped that one day making clothes, and listening to music while doing that, would be how I spend all day, everyday.

I don’t want to give away too much just yet, as I’ve had an eureka moment recently, and realized that I need to sit down and talk the idea through with somebody with actual experience, but I promise you’ll be the first to know if I ever manage to turn this into reality.

2. Learn a new skill: Embroidery.

More specifically, learn the beautiful technique that is on the verge of being forgotten and what technically is appliqué, not embroidery. It’s coming from the small village where my mum grew up, called Buzsak, and where my grandmother was often commissioned to make table clothes and pillows for special occasions.

I love this resolution, as it hopefully will give me a chance to learn from my mum, who might end up enjoying it so much that she takes it up again herself.

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image source: kezdi.info

3. Learn to play 3 songs on the guitar.

The guitar case is great, but I guess the reason I got the guitar in the first place was not so that I can sew a case for it. Or was it?!

4. Finish the Wardrobe Architect project.

Now, more than ever, I feel like I need a total wardrobe rehab. Not because I am bored with my clothes, but because after doing 3 Me-Made-Mays I have a very clear idea of what clothes I am actually wearing, and I can’t stand looking at those I don’t wear. So the first step forward will be to get rid of the unused clothes (aka donate to charity shops), and to get rid of all the fabric I’ve had in my stash for years without having a clue about what to do with them.

Question 1: Should I donate my me-made clothes as well (I am worried that they won’t fit anyone else and will be discarded), or should I try to reuse the fabric (we all know what this means though: more stash!)

Question 2: What’s the best place to sell/give away pre-cut fabric pieces, especially when one is unsure about the fabric content?

5. Travel to one of the top places on my bucket list.

I am dying to go to a lot of places, but Bali, a cycling holiday in Puglia (Italy), and a road trip to LA-The Yosemite National Park-Vegas-San Francisco-The Big Sur have all been on top of my list for years now. I decided not to go a couple of times because I didn’t want to travel on my own, or because I can’t drive, or because of some other excuse, but really I just didn’t want to leave my comfort zone. This year should be different! 😉

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Image sources: Bali, Puglia, San Francisco

6. Reach level 52 on Memrise.

Just get there already. 🙂

7. Post on Instagram once a week.

I have been a very passive Instagram user for years now. I found it a bit overwhelming to look at it daily (in addition to my Pinterest addiction) and didn’t feel inspired enough to contribute much either.

Then came the #sewphotohop organized by Rachel from House of Pinheiro. It was really inspiring to think about ways to answer the prompts with a picture every single day, but what really made a difference was discovering the massive sewing community on Instagram. I am now following so many people with very different styles and skills, that slowly but surely checking what everyone is making has become another addiction. According to my 2016 #bestnine, my most popular posts were the pictures taken for MeMadeMay2016 and posted during the #sewphotohop… 🙂

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8. Get a tattoo for your 30th!

Oh yes. I am turning 30 this year and I am planning to mark the occasion with an actual mark. Whenever I imagined getting a tattoo, I was looking for some wise words, but never managed to find anything with a timeless meaning… And then I stumbled on a very minimalistic tattoo, which may not be the most original, but it’s fun, interesting and symbolizes the one activity I can’t imagine my life without: sewing.

9.#2017makenine

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I decided to join all the crafters who will #makenine projects this year, and come up with a list of 9 things I will focus on. Half of these are already planned out/toilled and they should also fit in with my wardrobe plans. Here is a little breakdown of what is on my sewing/knitting list in 2017:

For the image sources click on the links below.

  1. Embroidered summer dress/top – with the above mentioned Buzsaki appliqué.
  2. Bra – I am already working on a muslin for this.
  3. Little French jacket
  4. Little black dress – I actually have 4 little black dresses, but none of them are comfortable, elegant, and a wee bit sultry all at the same time.
  5. Slip dress – I have been slightly obsessed with making camisoles cut on the bias lately, now I want to go a little further…
  6. Knitted turban – I love turbans and this should be a quick knit. Win-win!
  7. Culottes – My favourite kind of trousers, I definitely could do with another pair.
  8. Military jacket – I’m planning on making a short version of my beloved military jacket, with this lace up detail.
  9. Napkins – They are pretty and simple and make dinners feel extra special. 😉

10. Stop being late. Aim to be late as rarely and as little as possible. 🙂

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Ready & waiting

So long 2016…

Since the first week of 2017 is coming to an end, I thought it was high time I took a look at how I did resolution-wise last year.  I decided to cut myself some slack and instead of ticking things off the list, or not, I gave myself a score judging how far I’ve gotten on the path of completion. 😉

1. Make a Little French Jacket – 10%

In 2015 I managed to get to the stage where I ordered my first 20 samples from Linton Tweed. In 2016 I got another 40 of them, got super confused and decided to just chill out and make a guitar case (pictured unfinished below) from all those samples.

The Secret Costumier - Handmade guitar case

I have spent a considerable amount of time trying to figure out whether I should go with a goes-with-everything-little-black-jacket or something fun and colorful. I then ended up buying 3 meters of some really interesting looking, white-blue fabric from Linton for less than half the original price.

Now, of course, I can’t see the logic behind this move and I’m thinking that on the long run it would be worth buying the black fabric that I really want, if I’m gonna spend 80 hours making it. I have already spent about 4 hours on the toile alone and I haven’t even started the fitting, so that number does seem to be realistic!

2. Try lingerie making – 100%

I really wanted to try making my own lingerie for a while, but I didn’t think I needed to take classes to learn how to. However, when I found out that the pattern cutting class at Morley that I was about to sign up for wasn’t going to go ahead, I sort of panicked and enrolled for a bra making class instead.

Best. Decision. Ever. Carol, our teacher, used to work for brands like Coco de Mer and Agent Provocateur, so I knew I was going to learn from someone with a similar taste, but I had no idea how fun she was! And so were my class mates.

The Secret Costumier - Handmade bra

Long story short, I have almost finished a wearable muslin and I finished a bra made of some vintage lace. I think it turned out great (I’ll show you soon), it’s my best fitting bra ever, and I’m already working on the next one! 🙂

3. Continue learning French – 61%

Resolution: Reach level 52 on Memrise by the end of the year.

Result: Reached level 32. Way to go, but the real achievement here is not giving up on it! 😉

4. Watch a play once a month – 100%

This brought me so much joy last year! I bought a “passport” to one of my favourite Off West End theatres, so I watched half of the plays there on my own, and caught the rest in theatres all around London, sometimes with friends joining me.

The best show was definitely Yerma at the Young Vic (probably one of the best plays I have ever seen tbh), and apart from 2, I have enjoyed all of them. 8 out of the 12 plays had the same theme, which says a lot about the whole year I think: terrorism and the refugee crisis. (You can read a brief description of the plays by clicking on the images below if you’re interested.)

Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

 5. Knit a jumper! – 100%

The Secret Costumier - Knitting

I’ve done it!!! 3 years after learning how to knit I have finally finished something I could actually wear! I will take some photos of it soon, but in the meantime I might try to improve it a little (boring neckline + bulky arms).

6. Make a quilt. – 99%

The Secret Costumier - Quilting prep

Done. 99% means that some threads need to be tied and the binding needs to be finished by hand on 2 sides. It was a Christmas gift to the wonderful guy who makes me not want to spend all my waking hours sewing, because he really needed one.

7. Finish the UFOs. 0%

Did not even touch them, just created more…

8. Drink more water! 50%?

Since I did not come up with a tracking system I have no clue, but to be super honest I don’t think I did very well.


I have now compiled a list of resolutions for 2017 too, as I really like having a plan for the year ahead, but there are a number of factors that could change how my year pans out, so I’ll hang onto them for a little while…

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Tanzania is probably the closest it gets to paradise on Earth. The safari, especially in the Ngorongoro Crater is breathtaking, and Zanzibar has the most beautiful beaches you can imagine. Stone Town is a very lively city with amazing architecture, and you can definitely find peace and quiet in the fishing villages on the East side of the island.

Trying out surfing and snorkeling for the first time by the Mnemba Island made me instantly fall in love with the sports, in spite of being so scared of the fish beforehand that I was considering staying in the boat. 🙂 We had the most amazing time, mostly because we were lucky enough to find the nicest people whenever we needed help.

I somehow feel the need to mention that there is another side of Tanzania too. I have been to many developing countries before where I felt bad about being on holiday, enjoying the beautiful surroundings while the locals are struggling to make ends meet, but this time for some reason I felt very strongly about actually making a change in the way these things work. It may not come to anything, but maybe one day I can share my grand plans here… 😉

 

Travels

Zanzibar

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