Last year I signed up for a bra making course. I have been collecting inspiration for a few years now, and finally I got to learn the ins and outs of sewing well-fitting and good-looking lingerie. I mostly wear bralettes and non-wired bras, so I wasn’t very keen on the idea of making an underwire bra, but by the time my toile was done I was super excited.

I decided to use some vintage lace I bought in Brighton, and I underlined it with some brown mesh that matches my skin tone. The elastic is the only one they had at the fabric shop when I was gathering notions, and although had there been more options available, I would have definitely not picked this one, I think it works pretty well with this lace.

Needless to say I fell in love with the bra making process. You get to use up your prettiest fabric scraps, the seam lines are short (which makes it a relatively quick project), the possibilities are endless, and you end up with something very rare: a perfectly fitting bra for a very little amount of money. 🙂


Oh la la, I made a bra!


To fulfil one of my New Year’s resolutions for last year, I decided to make a quilt as a Christmas gift for my boyfriend. (Now if you think that’s a rubbish gift, I’ll have you know that I thought that too a few times while I was in the middle of sewing it… 🙂 ) Knowing that it would be made for a guy and stumbling upon a box of good quality merino & other wool suiting fabric off-cuts in a Goldhawk Road fabric shop solved the fabric selection problem. I took home 7 pieces of fabric for a mere £10, while saving them from ending up in the landfill.

Inspired by the lack of time and my new-found love for modern, contemporary art-like quilts, I arranged the fabric pieces randomly, adding a bit of red to make it more interesting. And by randomly, I mean I measured each piece and mapped out how they could be cut up and sewn back together in a way that allowed me to cover the desired size.

I attempted to quilt it using straight lines, following the seam lines and running parallel to them, but this quilt is massive and the straight lines turned into wonky ones, so I decided to just let it go and make it look like it was all totally intentional.

Luckily the receiver really appreciated my gift (even though I did not have time to finish the binding to this day…), and I am quite happy with how it turned out too, even if I am definitely not tempted to make another one in the near future. 😉


My first quilt

Refash., Uncategorized

The Refashioners 2016

Another year, another project done for The Refashioners challenge at Portia Lawrie’s website, the Makery. Last year I turned a shirt into a summer dress, this time around the item to be given a new life was a pair of jeans.




I got mine from my favourite virtual charity shop: eBay. It was a large men’s, non-stretch, unbranded pair of blue jeans, and I think I paid about £5 for it (including delivery). I had no idea what to turn it into, all I knew was that making trousers would have been too easy and that I didn’t need another denim jacket, since I love the one I already own. So I decided to turn it into a dress that isn’t too tacky – not too sure if I managed to achieve this… 😀

I started looking for something structured and minimalistic, so I searched for dresses made of leather, but couldn’t really find anything interesting. While I was researching ideas for the tablecloth dress, I stumbled upon a beautiful Delpozo number and I knew straight away that I found what I was after.


With my new found courage for pattern drafting, I made one for it in no time. After adding a bit of boning, I managed to resolve the issue with the gaping of the under-bust area, that must have been avoided by using pre-shaped foams in the original dress. I am pretty sure that I was supposed to add boning to the side seams, but to be super honest I was too lazy to go back and do it (again).


The bodice was relatively easy to put together after having a go at it while making up the toille, but I did not have any plans for the skirt. I just attached it with some pleats in place to match the waistline, and then worked it out from there. Unfortunately I did not have enough fabric for the style I would normally wear (A-line or a circle skirt), so I went with a pencil skirt – that not only makes cycling fairly difficult, it also makes the dress look more formal than intended.


I did not realize that I created a horrible little pouch on the front of the skirt by turning the pleats into impromptu (and way too long) darts in the last-minute, so please excuse that mess.


I am pretty happy with the fit on the back though. The pockets have been slightly moved, darts hidden behind them, and an invisible zipper inserted. I was going to use a golden exposed zip all the way down the back, but I had to admit to myself that the invisible zipper looked a tad bit more classy than the shiny one. In order to try out the two different looks, I inserted both zips twice, then when I decided to stay with the invisible one, it broke while trying it on. Realizing that I can’t fix it, and therefore I will have to buy and insert a new one was one of the less relaxing moments of sewing, to put it mildly… 🙂


Do you know that feeling when you are cooking a very fancy, very complicated dinner, and when you sit down to eat after hours of sweating over it, you just don’t feel hungry anymore. No? Well, that’s how I feel about this dress anyway. 🙂

While I am quite happy about how that sad pair of jeans got transformed, and about the relative success of my pattern cutting, I doubt that I will wear this dress a lot next summer. I will either change the skirt totally, turn it into something else, or give it away…

Do check out the other entries too, they are pretty mind-blowing! And again, thanks for the photos Robbie!




Kimono dress it is!

My name is Etemi, and I am addicted to buying fabric remnants. I guess the first step on the road to healing is admitting that you have a problem, right? :) So there is this shop where I buy fabric most of the time, called Rolls and Rems, and they have this box right in front of the door. It’s an evil trap, and works brilliantly, as for the second time this Saturday, I went in to buy something specific, couldn’t find it, but came home with two pieces of remnants. A few weeks ago I spent my last couple of pounds on the silky fabric from the previous post and about 2 metres of white crepe. I’m not sure what works on me, not having to make the big decision of getting some fabric cut, or that it’s an exclusive offer as it is cheaper than normally or that it’s the last chance to buy it, but it sure does, every single time. So here is the progress on the printed silk from the previous post that I scored for about £5.

First I wanted to make a maxi dress out of it, but I wear maxi dresses for comfort, which could hardly be achieved with this material and print. So I looked further and found this Issa dress.TheSecretCostumier - Issa KimonoIn order to make something similar, I started looking for tutorials on how to make a proper kimono, and found this image below. It’s a photo from Vogue, July 1970 of Candice Bergen in a  cut panne velvet kimono dress designed by Bill Blass.“A dress for utterly luxurious evenings at home, wrapped with a high obi sash, long sleeves slipping, dipping from the arm like folding wings,” was Vogue’s description. TheSecretCostumier - Bill Blass KimonoI like the Issa dress, but this is just stunning. I found the Kimono drafting instructions I needed -and would highly recommend. on Taeliac’s site, and off I went to cut the fabric. So  the top is going to look like a kimono, with the sleeves and standing collar, and it will end in a knee length skirt with a non-removable belt just under the bust.

I am not sure if it is real silk, since I did not buy it off the roll, but the fabric is a nightmare to cut and pin and sew. Since it slides easily, I pinned every 2 centimetres at first, but if a pin is not sharp enough, it tends to pull the thread from it, you see. I’ve only realized that I could have matched the pattern while cutting it out, after I’ve sewn it together. I’ve attempted to match it afterwards, but next time the back pieces will be cut from one piece for sure.TheSecretCostumier - Kimono in progress sewing TheSecretCostumier - Kimono in progressAfter wrestling with the dress for about 4 hours, and unpicking two 40 cm long seams 7(!!!) times, I can’t even be bothered any more, when I see a loose thread from the fabric. Since I don’t have a pattern for the bottom half of the skirt I am pretty much improvising on the go, and luckily it’s been working (slowly) so far. I’m doing French seams wherever I can, and hand-stitched the collar, which was actually a lot more fun than I thought it would be. I’m just about to attach the back panel of the skirt, then I need to finish up the sleeves, insert the invisible zip, sew the side seams and hem the fabulously-looking-but-where-will-it-be-worn dress. It really is almost finished. ;)


The secrets of teleporting

I woke up this morning suspecting a new kind of illness attacking my body. My whole face seemed different. My eyes were puffy and I looked like a well fed 12 year old. Then it just hit me. I’m in Lund, a tiny university town in South West Sweden, and I’ve slept more than I’ve slept all through this year. So this is not me being sick, it’s just my relaxed face apparently, the one I probably haven’t seen since I was 12. This is how you travel through space AND time I guess.

I have 3 more days to take a peek into Lund, Malmö and Copenhagen. Everything I thought I knew about Sweden has already been somehow proven wrong and right at the same time, so I’m definitely not done forming an opinion about it. One thing I sort of can confirm, it’s not that as expensive as the legend has it. At least compared to London, of course…