Me-Made-May 2016

Me-Made-May 2016: Week 3

Week 3 has been and gone. It was one busy week! On Monday (Day 16) I went to work straight from the train station, so I was wearing pretty much what I wore to Paris. By this time I obviously couldn’t wait to get the stuff off me, otherwise those pants are made for long days! Unlike Saturday’s (Day 21) black, experimental silky pair…I am so getting rid of those. For getting snacks from the shop next door it’s just alright, but I am in constant fear of ripping them, they pull at places  and there is that weird flap on the front. It’s everything I don’t want my clothes to be.

Wearing the kimono dress with the military jacket on a great day out on Brick Lane yesterday, was one of those things that remind me why I’m sewing in the first place. 🙂

TheSecretCostumier - MeMadeMayDay16

Day 16

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Day 17

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Day 18

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Day 19

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Day 20

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Day 21

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Day 22

  • Dress: The kimono dress (self drafted)
  • Coat: The military jacket (refashioned)

As I am getting closer to finish Me-Made-May I started wondering what I should do with the clothes I did not pick up  to wear, or those that don’t fit me quite right.

Do you give up your unworn me-mades for charity, sell them or  recycle them?

Stash diet/ Scrap revival

The quick godet skirt

TheSecretCostumier -The quick godet skirt

This skirt was done in a few hours–not that it does not look like it was done in a few hours–, but I am mentioning it, because that’s pretty much the only thing I really like about it…

It was made from some fabric remnants that I picked up recently, exactly with some kind of a frilly skirt in mind. Originally I wanted to make a tiered skirt, but that’s really not my style, and I remembered this pattern from Burdastyle that had the best styling in the issue at the time. When I found out that it required over 4 meters of fabric, while I only had three 1 m x 75 cm pieces, I knew I had to do some modifications.

TheSecretCostumier -The quick godet skirt

TheSecretCostumier -The quick godet skirt

The easiest thing to do was to insert less godets into the main pieces, and make them half the required size. You might have already figured out where this story goes, but let me bore everyone else with it anyway: when I decided to make the godets half the size by cutting them at a 45° angle (instead of a 90° angle), I ended up with one side of the godet cut on the straight grain and the other one on bias.

While (without considering the grain) on pattern paper this was supposed to work, in real fabric life one side was a lot longer than the other, so I had to adjust them while sewing, cutting the excess off at the bottom, round section. Which of course made the hem totally uneven, and I found it too long as well, so it got shortened as compared to the first version (above).

TheSecretCostumier -The quick godet skirt

I also tried to omit the dreaded zip insertion by sewing on a wide elastic waistband, but after a 30 minute wrestle, and finding out that it’s impossible to attach almost 2 meters of fabric (no matter how gathered it is) to a 70 cm long elastic band, I ended up putting on a normal waistband with a placket closure with a button. This is not very cool when the difference between your empty and full stomach measurement is huge. 🙂

TheSecretCostumier -The quick godet skirt

TheSecretCostumier -The quick godet skirt

I have worn it once so far (not with sandals, this is England, after all 😉 ), it’s great for twirling (important, right?) and it goes well with my colourful jumpers, but I am just not that excited about it really. Having said that, the feeling of making your stash mountain a little smaller, by turning a piece of fabric that was declared wastage into something wearable (even if you end up with a garment that will not be in too much rotation), is just priceless.

TheSecretCostumier -The quick godet skirt

From scratch

The Minnie Mouse dress

It would be a slight exaggeration to say that I love Halloween, but I do enjoy dressing up in fancy dress when there’s a chance. This year that chance came along while I was on a long weekend in Barcelona. It was really surprising to see how seriously the whole city seemed to have taken the dressing up and decorating.

The Secret Costumier - DIY Minnie Mouse Halloween Costume

I decided to go to the party I was invited to as Minnie Mouse, since I have already made a toille for the dress last year. I did not finish it back then, because I got too frustrated by all the fitting issues, but they were easily resolved now that I have started a pattern making course and I’m less afraid of all the slashing and spreading.

Since I had a tight deadline again (a plane to catch and all…), I didn’t pay attention and cut the pattern pieces before I could have shortened the length of the bodice at the side, but it does not actually fall off my shoulders as I expected. I also cut the skirt pieces in half by accident, hence the length I wouldn’t normally choose. I did try to match the dots, but it gets very tricky with the princess seams. I finished the waistline with some leftover bias binding.

The Secret Costumier - DIY Minnie Mouse Halloween Costume

I actually came up with this costume idea, because I really wanted to give this Burdastyle pattern a go, and this seemed like a great way to test the pattern out. I think now that I got the fit down I might make it again, although I’m not sure I could fit the style into my everyday wardrobe…Or could I?

TheSecretCostumier - Homemade birthday cake

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


From scratch

The over-oversized shirt

    About 2 years ago I bought a piece of a lovely reddish pink fabric. It was right when I started sewing and I was trying to be pedant, so I shoved it in the washing machine to pre-wash it. The fabric felt a little vinyl like before, and I guess I wanted to get rid of that sticky feeling, but instead I got rid of the dye all together. A light pink, rather transparent, linen like fabric emerged from the machine. After I got over the astonishment, I decided to make an oversized shirt from the March 2012 issue of Burdastyle. I had hardly any experience in sewing at that point, but I was attending a course at the time, so I decided I knew it all and took the collar from one pattern and added to another.


I got to the above stage rather quickly, then gave up on it as I ignored the ‘oversized’ warning and cut the largest size available…Yeah, I know! The armholes ended up being way too big, hanging off my shoulder, and it was really long.

A few weeks ago I decided to just finish it off to make some space for some new UFOs fabric. I cut about 10 cms off of the hem, and left the armholes as they were. Instead of the two pockets, I only put one on, but it feels a bit small. I opened the buttonhole bit up and inserted a piece of organza as an interfacing, because I failed terribly at my first attempt of buttonhole making without it. I decided to jazz it up with different buttons, and that’s the bit I actually like the most on it.

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The good

I realized that I actually quite like to wear shirts and because of the lightweight fabric it was easy to sew. The topstitching provides a good chance to show off your skills (or the lack of thereof when it goes all wonky…).

The bad

The collar has a huge gap at the front which looks a bit weird. The cuffs are NOT FINISHED, as I’m planning on wearing them rolled up all the time. And you know, I’m lazy like that. And for some strange reason I don’t even feel bad about it!

The verdict

The pattern is simple and pretty straight forward, and since it is an oversized shirt you don’t have to worry about fitting that much (if you cut your correct size, that is). I’ve worn it twice during Me-Made-May, but to be honest it’s rather unlikely to be a staple in my wardrobe as it’s a bit too masculine for my taste. Even if it’s baby pink…

TheSecretCostumier - Pink Shirt left1TheSecretCostumier - Pink Shirtleft1

Just a quick question for anyone who read this far: do you guys wear anything that’s not quite done? 🙂

Me-Made-May 2014, Ready & waiting

Me-Made-May 2014: Week 5

    This is it. The last week of my first ever Me-Made-May. In many ways this was the hardest, yet most exciting week of all, and I managed to wear 7 outfits including a Me-Made item during the week (one of which is not photographed). The big discovery this week was the fact that I can take pictures by using a voice command on my phone. Oh my God guys! I’ve spent the most hilarious 30 minutes playing dressing up, as I had to repeatedly shout “cheese” or “shoot”. Obviously it does not work all the time, so I had to concentrate on pronouncing it right, trying to make my mouth look as if it was shut, sucking the belly in, keeping my back straight, trying not to cross my legs ALL THE TIME…oh, and smile! I failed miserably 99 times out of 100, often running for shelter when a neighbour walked by our window, but I only needed one photo of each outfit anyway… 🙂

    I’m not sure if my subconscious was influenced by seeing all the lovely Netties appearing everywhere, but I brought my RTW versions out of the wardrobe a few times too, as you can see I’m a lover of the bodysuit (wearing one on Day 26, Day 29, Day 31).

    My favourite attire this week was probably the one I was wearing on Day 27. I love wearing monochrome outfits, although it looked more cool and less lazy in my head. 🙂

    My least favourite was the one with the self drafted disaster that resembles a pair of silk jogging trousers. It’s everything I wanted: high-waisted, kind of snug around my bum and loose on my calves, with rolled up hems and all, but it started off as something totally different and ended up being too tight to be the comfy pants you can just throw on and still look kind of chic. I’ll take some better photos of it one day, as I have not declared it unwearable as of yet, since you know… I’ve worked my ass off making them, plus I kind of invented a way to wear the same trousers with high and low waist. Yeey!

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Me-Mades this week:

In a few days time I’m planning on wrapping this little baby called Me-Made-May up, drawing conclusions, identifying gaps, connecting ideas to the Wardrobe Architect project, you know, just the things one does after a month like this…


Me-Made-May 2014, Ready & waiting

Me-Made-May: Week 4

    I kind of hope that some of you missed my Me Made post from the beginning of the week. I have never gotten this close to being consistent with blogging, and I blame the weather for this minor delay. Sunday was way too sunny to stay indoors and photograph the 7!!! outfits for last week (I wore two different ones on Thursday), so I put it off until I felt so bad about not doing it, that I did what I had to…took photos of myself. Sorry about the lifeless expressions, but I am practically in pain during these sessions, as:

  • I don’t have a tripod, but use some pillows and books to put the phone to the right height,
  • I don’t have a remote control, so I run back and forth between two shots,
  • and I don’t particularly enjoy the neighbourly stares either.

But. I do love this blog, I love seeing other people’s creations and I honestly love the whole Me-Made-May project, so it is still worth it!

    Last week I wore Me Mades 6 days of the week, but I’ve only included 5 outfits here, as I could not possibly take photos of the remaining 2 (see agony above), and I also decided to wear them again this week. While I’m more than happy to repeat outfits, it’s just boring to show them more than once, isn’t it?

    My favourite ensemble this week was what I wore on Day 22, as I felt really confident and modern in the trousers (borrowed from the Sis’), short-sleeved blazer, trainers combo. Day 23’s attire is a very close second though, as I felt clever for using the backless dress as a top and underskirt. Not so much when I was riding and it was impossible to tie the bulky skirts up to avoid getting it between the wheels while cycling…

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    What I really enjoyed this week was the way I reused garments. For example wearing the draped dress or the backless dress as a top, reminded me of the Uniform Project, and how you realise that clothes can do double duty, once you are forced to step out of your comfort zone and make the most of what you have. I must admit I kind of feel like a child wrapped in a blanket, playing dress up, but I guess that’s how I discovered sewing in the first place…

Me-Mades this week:

PS: If someone from a trainers company happens to read this blog, and you are desperately looking for a volunteer to test drive some shoes, similar to the ones pictured above, then don’t be shy, send them over to me. As you can see I’d be doing a pretty good job promoting them. 😉