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! 🙂

From scratch

This is not a quilt…yet!

This is a potholder. I know you know, I just wanted to set the record straight for those who think I’m busy making  a quilted bedcover. I have no idea where the obsession came from this time, but I am crazy about quilts right now, so I decided to make one using up my scrap fabrics. This will actually be my third time trying patchwork(ing?), but last time I used very different types of fabrics, and it was way more spontaneous. This time I gathered inspiration first…

…and tutorials for the cuttingpiecing, pressing, quilting and binding, and soon realized that it is a lot of work!!!! I did the maths for a quilt that would cover my double bed and started cutting, when I found out that I’d made a little mistake while I was trying to cut corners, and ended up with a bunch of half square triangles that were too small for the original project. And that’s how the potholder was born. I think it’s the perfect project for experienced sewists to take a break from dressmaking, as well as for beginners to make something that provides loads of opportunities:

  • for customization,
  • to practice straight stitching,
  • cutting accurately,
  • top stitching,
  • feeling what it’s like to work with relatively thin and bulky layers,
  • and to make something useful yet complicated enough to make you want to buy yourself a drink and celebrate your newly discovered talent!

TheSecretCostumier - Patchwork potholder front

TheSecretCostumier - Patchwork potholder back

TheSecretCostumier - Patchwork potholder detail

TheSecretCostumier - Patchwork potholder detail

TheSecretCostumier - Patchwork potholder detail

So go ahead guys, make a potholder today!

Image sources for the quilts: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

From scratch

The patchwork journal cover

Lately I’ve discovered a few traits and habits that I inherited from my Dad, other than the habit of not finishing things we start. Like this sewing thing. He is just as obsessed about woodworking right now, watching videos for hours of a man cutting wood with different machines, as I am about dressmaking. He has always been like that, but only now I can see this connection. And then there is the journaling. It turned out that keeping a journal runs in the family, as my late Grandfather used to have them, my Dad has precious little books for phone numbers, calculations and notes to himself, and I started keeping one 5 years ago too.TheSecretCostumier - Journals TheSecretCostumier - Journals TheSecretCostumier - JournalsI bought the first one when I moved to London for the first 7 months, and from then on, buying a fresh, new notebook was the highlight of my Decembers. Honestly, some of them are more than half empty, like the Moleskin London edition, but the rest work as the most helpful self-help books I could ever read. Whenever I feel empty, bored or tired of life in general I just open one up and read through how I saw my life at certain times. It helps putting my current struggles into a different point of view, and reminds me that if nothing else can help, time solves absolutely everything. This is why I’m so worried that I’ve neglected the writing habit this year, even though so many important things happened to me already. In a bid to inspire my journal writing (and try my hand at quilting again), I decided to make a patchwork cover for my 2013 notebook.TheSecretCostumier - Patchwork journal scrap fabrics TheSecretCostumier - Patchwork journal pattern TheSecretCostumier - Patchwork journal piecesI drafted the pattern on an A4 paper, numbered the pieces and wrote the colours on them, cut them out, added seam allowance on the fabric, and started sewing the blocks together. It has pocket on the inside and a little pen holder. It would have turned out neater if I didn’t pick the bloody green stretch velvet fabric, as even though it looks awesome (since it’s velvet!!!!:)), it pulled the other fabrics, and seriously misbehaved… Apart from that, it was done in a few hours from planning to squeezing the journal into it, and it looks like a magician’s little exercise book from Harry Potter, so I am quite pleased.TheSecretCostumier - Patchwork journal

Apart from making something absolutely useless, I’ve started sewing a dress as well. 😉 More on this tomorrow!