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

The red dress

On Monday I decided to check out the Notting Hill Carnival for the third time since I’ve been a Londoner. For the first time I actually had some fun. 🙂 I wore a dress that I made at the very beginning of summer, but have had no chance to wear it until now.

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It’s pretty much a replica of a dress by Reformation that I spotted a few months ago. I didn’t have a pattern, so I just had to work it out while sewing it, but I think it does the job.

Image source: Reformation Carson dress

There is only one seam at the back, the top bit is lined with the same fabric, and the edges are bound with a bias binding, also made of the red knit. Luckily you can’t really see that the lining is slightly smaller, so the fabric is kind of gathering around the armholes. It was supposed to be a very simple sew, but binding knits is not my specialty, to put it mildly…

The Secret Costumier - The red dress1

The dress turned out to be a really comfortable wear, even cycling was fine in it. The only reason why it won’t be my go to summer dress is the combination of being skin-tight AND backless, but if you’ve seen photos of the Carnival, you can imagine that it was just the right choice for the occasion. 😉

The Secret Costumier - The red dress2

 

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dress upcycled from a tablecloth
Refash.

#usedtobeatablecloth: The reveal!

“Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing” (Camille Pissarro)

And it’s over. The summer and the #usedtobeatablecloth challenge too. Hopefully some of you have found inspiration here in the past few weeks, and there are tablecloths out there turned into something wearable and cherished.

Two sewing friends definitely did, and turned their charity shop finds into some beautiful pieces of clothing.

Marijana, from Sew2Pro, found a very similar tablecloth to what I made my Little White Dress from. She decided to dye it to indigo and made a spaghetti strap summer dress. I really love the placement of the lace details and the interesting neckline, and as far as I know there is some leftover fabric, so watch that space!

Kaci, from Textile and Stitch, bought this crochet tablecloth for a mere $1 and turned it into something Anthropologie would sell for about 200 times more. 🙂 I think it’s super difficult to find anything crocheted that doesn’t look too cute or granny like, but with the simple design and it being monochrome, she managed to pick something that goes very well with a contemporary outfit. It might just be my laziness, but I always love a nice use of the border for the hems, and the ones on this jacket look absolutely perfect.

And I’m done with my dress too, finally…

TheSecretCostumier - #usedtobeatablecloth - The dress

TheSecretCostumier - #usedtobeatablecloth - The dress

We went to my favourite park to have a picnic and take some photos (thank you Robbie!), and I think I got a bit more comfortable than I was supposed to in this kind of dress, so I had to pull the dress up a few times… I am now thinking of inserting boning into the sides and maybe even into the front seam lines, but it’s not high on my list of priorities at the moment.

TheSecretCostumier - #usedtobeatablecloth - The dress

TheSecretCostumier - #usedtobeatablecloth - The dress

I already went into detail about how this dress came together, so I will not bore you with that anymore. 🙂 While I was making it, I felt that excitement that I haven’t felt in a long time during sewing.

You know, that feeling when you can see something you are working on taking shape, and you haven’t eaten for 5 hours, because you just don’t want to waste time on that instead of getting to the point where you can try it on for the first time. And you try it on. And you realise that even though you will probably only wear it a handful of times, whenever you look at it you will still be happy that you have created something you find beautiful.

TheSecretCostumier - #usedtobeatablecloth - The dress

TheSecretCostumier - #usedtobeatablecloth - The dress

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Me-Made-May 2016, Ready & waiting

Me-Made-May 2016: The summary

The first week of June is already gone. I also can’t wait to show you all the new me-mades, but I kind of want to do this right, and figure out what I take away from a month of only wearing clothes made by my own two hands…

I wore 19 me-made garments during the 27 days I managed to keep up with the challenge:

  • 7 dresses;
  • 3 skirts;
  • 3 trousers;
  • 6 tops;
  • and 3 bags (1, 2, 3).

I decided to take a look at what I enjoyed wearing, as well as to look at the thoughts I had after last year’s Me-Made-May.

Dresses

In 2015 I wrote: “I think I have enough dresses at the moment, although I tend to wear them a lot, so I will allow myself to make more if I feel like it. I might also give that jumpsuit idea a go this year.”

Since 2015: I have made a total of 5 new dresses since this time last year, no jumpsuits still. Unfortunately none of those 5 dresses are really suitable for everyday wear, which is why they haven’t really made an appearance during MMMay.

Now I need: Everyday, comfortable dresses that I can wear in all (London) weather conditions.

Skirts

In 2015 I wrote: “I think I wouldn’t mind having a few pencil skirts that allow me to cycle in them, but to be honest I am not in urgent need of any new skirts.”

Since 2015: I made one new skirt that I don’t particularly like, but I’m cool with that since I didn’t think I needed any more anyway…

Now I need: I really enjoyed wearing the lime green A-line skirt this year, and I would like to make a few similar ones of lighter materials for summer.

Trousers

In 2015 I needed: “More of the comfy summery kind. It’s a shame that I am so scared of making trousers, as they are the best option for summer cycling and not that hard to make at all.”

Since 2015: I have not made any new trousers. I have also decided to get rid of the ill-fitting black one that I made using an experimental, self-drafted pattern.

Now I need: More trousers!!! I am taking a pattern cutting course at Morley College again, now learning about the trousers block, so hopefully I will be able to improve on this soon.

Tops

In 2015 I needed: “More tops, obviously. Sleeveless ones for summer, a few more crop tops, another shirt, the perfect white T, and maybe some woven basic tops. I just need more tops. Simple and wearable ones!”

Since 2015: I have made two camisoles that I quite like in theory, but they aren’t the obvious choice to wear in most occasions. I have also just finished a shirt which I am very pleased with.

Now I need: More tops! I probably need to go back to the Wardrobe Architect project and finish it, before I start making things that don’t work with the rest of the wardrobe. I have a few ideas already though, and after the trials and tribulations of making my second shirt, I think I enjoyed the process just as much as I enjoy wearing it, so I’m up for making more!


Last year the aim was to not only wear one me-made item/day, but to wear them head-to-toe, and I am pretty happy about managing to do it. The plan now, is to do a deep clean in my wardrobe, ideally by the end of summer, and get rid of all the clothes that I don’t look forward to wearing for some reason.

If I manage to do that and streamline my collection of clothes so that I only have comfortable, good looking and versatile garments that I enjoy wearing, then I will definitely wear only me-mades in May next year again… 😉

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Me-Made-May 2016, Ready & waiting

Me-Made-May 2016: Week 4

This is going to be a super quick post, because airport WiFi is not my friend… Me-Made-May is over for me. I’m on holiday, and planning outfits that will work for a number of activities AND will fit into one backpack for 10 days does not have to be made any harder. 🙂

However, I have made an unusually high number of me-mades for this trip (one is in the making as I type this 😉 ), so I feel no guilt about cutting the challenge short. It was interesting, I think it has helped me set new goals about my sewing and wardrobe plans, but I’m going to give myself some time to come up with some conclusion. In the meantime, here is what I wore for my last 5 days:

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Day 23

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Day  24

TheSecretCostumier - MeMadeMayDay25 Day 25

  • Skirt: Self-drafted leather skirt made out of 2 leather coats
  • Top: Modified RTW top

TheSecretCostumier - MeMadeMayDay26 Day 26

TheSecretCostumier - MeMadeMayDay27 Day 27 Dress: The old faithful wrap dress no 2. It’s a slightly improved Burdastyle pattern.

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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

TheSecretCostumier - MeMadeMayDay17

Day 17

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Day 18

TheSecretCostumier - MeMadeMayDay19

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?

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Bags. Handmade!

New tech – old fabric

I love travelling. I love preparing for trips. I probably spend more time researching compression socks for long flights, hammams for a stopover in Istanbul or cameras that are not only affordable, but will work for taking photos on holiday as well as in the flat, for shooting the latest piece of fabric I’ve just snapped up, than actually on said holidays.

After an epic 4 month research, review reading, Youtube watching, saving, and a fair amount of dreaming, I finally updated my 7 years old laptop. In laptop years that is exactly a hundred, but the veteran still stays in the family. The new kid is currently being tested, I love new technology, but I’m also quite suspicious, so the box it came in will be part of the furniture for another 12 days…

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In the meantime, I decided to make a little case for it, so that I can take it outside and see exactly how mobile the two of us are.

You must be tired of this fabric by now, this is the same I used for the Bangkok bag and the camera case too. It is a waxed cotton from Nigeria: easy to sew, easy to iron and pretty durable. I have 6 meters of it, so once I run out of gadgets to cover, I might even make a dress for myself. 🙂

I have used up pretty much all the remnants of the military jacket’s lining to line the case, with some batting sandwiched between the layers for extra padding. The edges are bias bound, and some elastic is sewn at the back to hold some magazines, or paper…although given the fact that there is a pen that works wonderfully with the laptop/tablet (no notepad necessary), and having Pinterest and the whole of the internet with all the information and photos available I could possibly need, I don’t see why I would be carrying a 200 page magazine with 150 pages of adverts with me. Oh the design-fails we make… 🙂

TheSecretCostumier - Laptop case4

TheSecretCostumier - Laptop case5

TheSecretCostumier - Laptop case1

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