Refash., Thrift Store Thursdays

From coat to skirt

Going to a vintage pound sale weekend once or twice a year has become a tradition for me and a good friend of mine. It’s usually in a warehouse somewhere in East London, we usually plan to get there first thing in the morning on the Saturday, and usually end up arriving hours after the opening on the Sunday.

We usually still have to queue up, which is a great opportunity to catch up, and we usually end up being a bit disappointed with the offer, but still manage to walk away with some goodies. Usually. Around this time last year, those goodies were these two leather coats for £1 each.

I must have spent over an hour searching for them, as most of the jackets on sale were mouldy, cracked  or had been made up of small pattern pieces. These two have seen better days too, but after dismantling them, I had enough material to make something wearable out of it.

I already have a leather-like skirt, which I don’t really wear because I don’t like the shiny material, so I knew there was a gap in my wardrobe that I now had the fabric to fill.

thesecretcostumier-recycled-leather-skirt2

The pattern is a self-drafted one, based on the also self-drafted basic skirt block I made using Winifred Aldrich’s book (I bought the old version for a couple of pounds, but psst: it’s also available for free in PDF somewhere online…). 😉 It was supposed to be a simple A-line skirt, but I had to make modifications according to the size and shape of the pieces I had from the disassembled coats.

thesecretcostumier-recycled-leather-skirt1

It has an exposed zip on the side, a simple waistband and no lining… which decision I may have to reconsider. I have worn this skirt a lot, especially during Me-Made-May last year, but somehow I keep forgetting that it sticks to my tights while walking and how annoying that is. So next time I feel bored, I may add a lining and see if that resolves the issue…

 

Standard
The Secret Costumier - The Little White Dress
From scratch, Thrift Store Thursdays

The Little White Dress

I and 2/3 of my family went on holiday to Tanzania recently. It was undoubtedly one of the (if not THE) best holidays of our life. We signed up for a safari and booked a hotel on Zanzibar, so I had to plan clothes that will work for covering up and on the beach too.

I already wanted to make a khaki shirt, and I realized that I have enough clothes for summer that I really like, so I did not plan on making a lot of stuff ahead of the holiday. Then Pinterest happened. The beautiful pictures of the beaches of Zanzibar inspired me to make just a few more things…

The Secret Costumier - The Little White Dress

I’ve always wanted to have a white summer dress with loads of embroidery, but I did not intend to do the embroidering, so I started looking at all things already embroidered on eBay. I searched through over 100 pages of listings of curtains, tablecloths and napkins until I found this beautiful vintage tablecloth that was about 2m x 3m, and it went for only £11.

When my mum saw it, she was trying to convince me that I should let it be the beautiful thing it was, but I cut into it before we got too attached…

The Secret Costumier - The Little White Dress

The Secret Costumier - The Little White Dress

Since I had only a couple of days before the holiday, without having an actual pattern, I just started cutting the fabric up, trying to make the most of the embroidered parts.

The skirt is made out of 2 rectangles sewn together and gathered, while the bodice is made of the 2 corners of the tablecloth. I inserted some darts there, handsewn some “lining” to the back of the cups and made spaghetti straps from the leftover fabric… and forgot to get rid of some significant amount of thread as you can see below. 😀

The Secret Costumier - The Little White Dress

The Secret Costumier - The Little White Dress

The Secret Costumier - The Little White Dress

While I quite like the look of the dress, I am not extremely comfortable wearing something with that much cleavage on show outside of beach settings. Shortening the straps might improve the situation, but now that I have tested  the dress, I think I may take it apart and make something a little bit different with it…

The Secret Costumier - The Little White Dress

Standard
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.

2

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! 🙂

5

Standard

sixties dress

Refash., Thrift Store Thursdays

Sneak peak #8

Image
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.

Standard

TheSecretCostumier - Work In Progress

Refash., Thrift Store Thursdays

Sneak peak #5

Image

TheSecretCostumier- new fabric2

I impulse-bought these in the charity shop for £4 each today. I have very vague ideas of what to make of them, but the thick cotton looks like it wants to be a kimono jacket kind of thing, the bright blue jersey would make a great dress, and the bottom one might become a pencil skirt and a jacket. It might.

From scratch, Thrift Store Thursdays

New fabric in da house!

Image