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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From scratch, Ready & waiting

2016: Resolution time!

It’s that time of the year again. Some people hate them, some people love them, for me making resolutions is a bit like having a map giving me a direction for the year ahead. I know myself too well, so I try not to have too serious intentions, but looking back at what I managed to accomplish from my list is my favourite part of the end of the year.

1. Make a Little French Jacket

Do we all sewing enthusiasts have a list of things we want to sew in our life? You know, the wedding dress, something with lace, a vintage dress from a vintage pattern, the tailored coat, the Little French Jacket… Since I’m really not fussed about throwing a wedding – ever, and I’m just about to finish my tailored coat, the next long project on the list must be the Chanel style jacket that allegedly takes 80 hours to make. I have been looking at pictures of it for well over a year now, I have the pattern, I have Claire Shaffer’s book, and now I also have 20 samples from Linton tweeds’ selection. All there’s left to do is picking 1 fabric out of 20, and the 80 hours sewing can commence! 🙂

TheSecretCostumier - Linton Tweed samples

2. Try lingerie making

There is so much inspiration out there and so many fantastic finished projects, that after tackling making bags, I must give this a go too. I don’t like wearing padded or underwired bras, so hopefully I’ll be able to make something nice, simple and wearable from some of the vintage lace I scored from one of Brighton’s many second-hand shops.

3. Continue learning French

Reach level 52 on Memrise by the end of the year. 🙂

4. Watch a play once a month

It’s hard to explain exactly why, but I’ve always found the theater magical. I even considered going back to uni to do a degree in costume design a few years ago, and working in the Royal Opera House’s costume department would still be the dream job. In spite of all this, for some reason going to the theater has not become as high a priority since I moved to London as it used to be while living in Budapest, so this year I decided to make a little effort to find some good shows.

 5. Knit a jumper!

I’ve been working on the knitting below, ever since I’ve picked this hobby up – that was 2 years ago. I obviously had to choose the prettiest AND thinnest yarn out there, which is why knitting my first top has taken me so long. Now that I finished the front of it (not following the pattern, obvs.) I managed to leave the whole thing (needles, yarn, finished front and the 1/4 of the back) on the plane to New York.

To be completely honest, I can’t say I was devastated when I found out they are gone. I think it wasn’t ever gonna be finished anyway, so now I have a good excuse to restart my knitting game… with the chunkiest wool out there, of course! 🙂

2014 - Resolutions reviewed!

6. Make a quilted bedcover.

I have never thrown away any scraps from any of my projects since I started sewing. I know, it’s fairly crazy, but I cherish fabric and I don’t want to waste anything. I do think I could turn even the smallest scrap into something useful, like you know…a patchwork bed cover.

All my previous projects (the journal cover and potholder) were attempts at making one, but I got bored with all the cutting and ironing of little pieces.  I also don’t quite have enough cotton scraps to make one big and beautiful quilt, so I will look for some second hand shirts, sheets or vintage fabric, and make this the year of the Quilt!

7. Finish the UFOs.

Please, please, please: just do it! New fabric shall only enter the flat once an unfinished project has left the shelf!

8. Drink more water! 🙂

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From scratch, Wardrobe Architect

2015 – Resolution time!

It has taken me some time to finalize my resolutions for this year, but I think I’m quite comfortable with these ones.

1. Finish my Wardrobe Architect project

My sister and I finally got ourselves a ticket to our first backpacking trip ever! We’ve been around Europe on city breaks and in Africa on family visits, but this will be the first longer trip we are taking together. According to our plans, we will visit Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam in 3 weeks, with a stopover in Abudhabi, carrying only a backpack. A small backpack that is, as for the domestic flights we are only allowed to take 7 kilos if we want to avoid the hassle and costs of checking anything in.
So the plan is to use the guidelines of the Wardrobe Architect project and create myself a capsule vacation wardrobe that’s comfortable, multifunctional and suits my style for the trip.

TheSecretCostumier - Wardrobe Architect - Silhoutette 10

2. Be more mindful about my body

I’m not a beach person. I’ve never felt comfortable half-naked in public, but it’s never been a problem, as I would rather visit cities with good restaurants, museums and the likes for holiday than lie on a beach for a week with nothing else to do.

But. This. Is. Phi Phi. And Koh Lanta. And Ha Long Bay and the rest of the mind-blowingly beautiful places that I can’t possibly miss because I don’t feel comfortable in my skin. So as a new years resolution, I swear I’ll be on it. I have started a new skin care regime, I’ll try to discover some activities in addition to my daily cycling and I’ll try to eat more sensibly – no more brioche buns for a while… 😦

3. Look after my two favorite machines

I love my bike and I love my sewing machine. Therefore this year I pledge to keep them in top shape by cleaning them regularly and getting them looked at when something doesn’t feel right. I have also been thinking about updating my bike, with a few new and shiny parts and maybe even with a coat of paint…

As for the sewing machine, I NEED to make a cover for it first (I know, I’m sooo bad for not having one since I bought it 3 or 4 years ago), and I might even get the vintage one out of storage and into action.

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2015bike

4. Kick a bad habit & move forward…

These are the kind of resolutions that I’m a little half-assed about, but maybe if I put this reminder here, it will be easier to push myself and hold myself accountable for them.

5. Go out & do something at least once a week

Don’t let laziness get in the way of doing new things! I aim to be more active, to see and do more, be it just a new film, eating out with friends, or making the most of this wonderful city and actually go to new exhibitions, plays, to the roller-disco, or to just discover new bits of London.  On le bike of course!

2015a

6. Empty out my closet

I have soooo many clothes that I don’t use, I just need to go through them and decide what goes to charity, what can be sold and what would be great for upcycling before I make/buy even more stuff. By the end of 2015 I would only like to own garments that I love and use.

This is pretty much it for this year, well for the next 11 months really… No more resolutions about blogging or sewing consistently, as I realized that I blog because I sew and not the other way around, which pretty much ended my 2 year long agony over this matter.

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From scratch

Au revoir 2014!

After going about 3 months without sewing, I finally found my sewjo again. I already have some plans that I sometimes find terrifying after abandoning the craft for so long, but if I think about how I spent my last week (in bed, playing Farm Heroes) and how I’ve spent these past two days (sewing like crazy!), then I’m quite optimistic about those plans. So instead of reviewing my makes from 2014, I decided to take a look at my resolutions from 12 months ago, to find out how well I’ve done this year, before I set new goals for myself for 2015!

Tick1. Start a Fashion Design course

I signed up for this course as I wanted to find a way to put all the inspiration into action. I haven’t done any new projects since the one we had to work on for 3 months, which is a bit of a shame. At least if I had the right idea, now I know I could start developing designs using the techniques we were taught.

My collection was based on the Tarahumara tribe living in Mexico. I’m planning on writing a bit more on this, but here are a few photos of it for now:

Tick2. Start learning French.

Je ne parle pas français. Still. I did try it for 3 months, but I only realized that learning a new language as an adult, in a group, is too frustrating and somehow slow at the same time. For me, at least. I haven’t given up on the idea totally, but this is not a priority right now.

ex3. Start playing cello from September.

Did not start playing cello. Will not start playing cello in 2015. Will keep on listening to this one though. (No need to look at the video. Really.)

ex4. Make a wedding dress for a friend.

This is a fail, but I did not chicken out! My friend got married sooner than we both expected, so instead of making a wedding dress, I ended up making a baby sleeping bag-turned-blanket for her. It will hopefully come in handy to take the little one home from the hospital. I’ll show you pictures of the finished blanket with the baby inside, until then, here is what it’s made of:

fashion design pic 11

ex/Tick5. Finish my UFOs & use up my stash.

I did not manage to touch my “core stash” (that box below) unfortunately. However, I managed to use up quite a few larger scraps I have been hoarding for a while.  I made 4(!!!) garments this way, one of which is probably my all time favourite piece of clothing (not pictured).

I also made a habit of posting sneak peaks of projects I was very excited about at the time, just to give up on completing them right before the finish (adding buttons, hemming, etc.), but going through the posts I realized that I have finished just about as many as I left unfinished this year. Here are a few of these:

All in all, there is definitely room for improvement on this one, so I’ll be trying hard to come up with a good solution for this year and get rid of the contents of this box…

stash diet1

Tick6. Make a dressform.

Done! 🙂

ex7. Try fabric dyeing.

Not done.

ex8. Make/wear handmade jewellery.

Nope. I did buy/wear some awesome (mass-produced) jewellery though…

Tick9. Dress more adventurously.

I think the evidence of improvement in this area is my newfound addiction to vintage Japanese kimonos. I bought these 3 beauties in the past 3 months and the 4th is on its way… Now all I need is warm weather!

ex/Tick10. Be more consistent with blogging/ stress less about failing to do so.

Me Made May was an amazing challenge that helped me get used to posting more frequently than ever before. Then came the summer. Then 6 weeks of 7 day work weeks. Then the Christmas holiday…

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I was – at some point during this year – more consistent with posting. BUT. I did spend the second half of the year rather guilt-ridden for not making blogging (or sewing, for that matter) a priority. Sooo…apparently I still don’t have a clue how to get this right.

Tick11. Join a sewing group, preferably create find a local one.

Success! Kind of. Ladies and Gentlemen, I co-created a knitting club in 2014. Yup, it runs every Thursday at the local pub, we have dinner, gossip chat and knit for a few hours after work. The members are actually my colleagues, including my boss (she is the pro!). I have just learned how to knit properly (my mum had previous attempts to teach me, without much success), and I managed to pick the hardest first project ever. Obviously I have already ditched the pattern and started freestyling, so if it all goes well, I should have a top by May. 🙂 Oh, and out of pure jealousy of other club members (who are on their 3rd scarves already), I’ve also started making the simplest snood ever. See?

fashion design pic 10

fashion design pic 9

ex12. Sell something I’ve made.

When I started sewing about 3 or 4 years ago I had this eureka moment. I still remember making my first dress, without knowing anything about dressmaking at all, listening to jazz in the background and having this unexplainable smile on my face. I just knew this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. So 3 (or 4) years on, even though I quite like what I do for a living, I would still love to do something in the future that involves sewing. As for now, after spending this past year with half-heartedly coming up with business ideas, I decided to give myself a break and keep sewing for what it used to be: FUN.

Tick+1: Fall in love.

Well, this was a really exciting and fun year in this department, but I did not actually fall in love…just yet! (I will still give myself a point for trying!) 😉

And that makes it even! I have succeeded to do just as many things as I have failed to do. Do you guys have any recycled or new resolutions for 2015? Any tried and trusted methods for making yourself finish what you have started?

Btw, happy New Year!

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