TheSecret Costumier - Bodysuit made of scraps & 2-in-1 trousers
From scratch, Stash diet/ Scrap revival

No patterns required

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    I have nothing against patterns, I swear. It’s just that I’m extremely lazy and I forget easily that it’s more hassle than fun to experiment and hope for the best when it comes to dressmaking. Yet it has become a habit I am not likely to break in the future.

   I can assure you that sewing without patterns will make the fitting process longer, the sewing part more difficult and it will be frustrating. But it’s gonna worth it. If you are ready to challenge yourself, I suggest you grab and roughly copy your favourite RTW garment, cut out and change a pattern randomly (and drastically) or just play around with some fabric.

TheSecret Costumier - Bodysuit made of scraps & 2-in-1 trousers

   That’s pretty much what I did with these two pieces. The trousers started out as some palazzo-leg/ paperbag-top pants with pleating on the top. I know it sounds unnecessarily complicated, but it was supposed to be the most comfortable, most flattering pair I could ever imagine. I altered a plain, straight leg trousers pattern from Burdastyle and added a few centimeters on top. I cut and slashed the pattern to make pleats and it kind of worked with the toille, which was made of some pretty stiff cotton. Then I found this black silky fabric in the remnants box at the shop, and that’s obviously where things started to go all wrong… This was my first time cutting “silk” and I cut one leg way smaller, as I lifted the fabric off the table while cutting. Lesson no.1 learned. Even though I adjusted the other leg too, it turned out to be very tight, so it all ended up in the scrap bag (and what remained became the asymmetric dress).

   Then I lost a little weight, summer was approaching, I needed new trousers, so I gave it another go. I decided to ditch the pleats and inserted an elastic band to the waistband at the back. Now I just needed to find find out what to do with the excess fabric in the front. I figured if I pull it to one side, then I’ll have more room at the crotch and it looked pretty modern too, so I was happy with the outcome. Then I made the legs tapered and turned the hems up to make it look more casual, so that I can wear them with le trainers.

TheSecret Costumier - Bodysuit made of scraps & 2-in-1 trousers

TheSecret Costumier - Bodysuit made of scraps & 2-in-1 trousers

   Hemming was a nightmare, and I ended up handsewing an elastic band into the turned up hem. This did not turn out to be a permanent solution, but hey, I did it the first time, and I can do it again. And again.

  So the pair of trousers was ready, Me-Made-May rolled in, and I was up for wearing the hell out of it. The only time this happened though, was when I popped down to the shop to test run it… just to realize it was way too tight to do anything else but stand prettily in it. The solution was easy, all I needed was to make it sit on my hip instead of my waist by sewing a second buttonhole on it. This makes it 2-in-1, as I can cycle in it when it sits lower and could just pull it higher up for going out, as it looks more flattering that way. In reality I mostly go with option 1, of course…;)

   The bodysuit was inspired by the plethora of Netties out there, plus I realized I wear bodysuits quite often already. I had some leftover fabric from the piece I used to cover my DIY dressform. You probably know by now that I love wearing anything backless, so when I realized that I don’t have enough fabric, I just lowered the back on the pattern that I roughly copied from a bodysuit that I own. Since the scraps were not big enough, I had to cut up the pattern. I used the largest piece for the front, so that I have no seams there, and  I played around with the scraps at the back. Since this was intended to be a quick scrap-busting project I used some yellow thread that was available instead of a matching one. It’s contrasting, but the difference is not quite visible, so It looks more like a design detail than a distraction (to me).

TheSecret Costumier - Bodysuit made of scraps & 2-in-1 trousers

TheSecret Costumier - Bodysuit made of scraps & 2-in-1 trousers

TheSecret Costumier - Bodysuit made of scraps & 2-in-1 trousers

TheSecret Costumier - Bodysuit made of scraps & 2-in-1 trousers

TheSecret Costumier - Bodysuit made of scraps & 2-in-1 trousers

   Since I used a stretch fabric that’s most likely a ponte knit, it was almost like sewing with a woven. The regular straight seams just didn’t look flexible and strong enough, so I decided to sew it with the smallest zig-zag stitch on my machine, which worked really well, but it was a pain to unpick while eliminating fitting issues. And there were a few. The armholes still don’t feel tight enough, and it took a while to get everything flat and snug with the back panels. I could go on about how ugly the homemade snap fastener bit looks, but it does the job very well, this is one of my most comfortable makes and it makes me feel pretty good about myself! I mean dreaming up and making something super flattering for yourself is one little victory. But coming up with resolutions to problems you never knew existed all by yourself, is what will put that smile on your face every time you wear it.

TheSecret Costumier - Bodysuit made of scraps & 2-in-1 trousers

TheSecret Costumier - Bodysuit made of scraps & 2-in-1 trousers

TheSecret Costumier - Bodysuit made of scraps & 2-in-1 trousers

TheSecret Costumier - Bodysuit made of scraps & 2-in-1 trousers

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From scratch, Stash diet/ Scrap revival

Experiments in draping #1: The asymetric dress

    So I’m on a stash diet. You know, that’s what you do when you have more fabric than space to hold it. The plan is to use up what I already have first, before I buy any new fabric, as I promised myself in January.

    I had this fabric lying around, left over from a self drafted disaster pair of trousers, and I just felt too lazy to find a pattern, copy the pattern, cut the fabric out neatly, then sew it all together (you know the drill)… So I decided to just copy the neckline and armholes of one of my favorite low-back (knit) tops, and use that as a guide to draft a pattern. It was supposed to be the base of a subtraction cut top (will blog about this later), but I decided to make a draped dress instead. I used the wrong (matte) side of the fabric for the top, and the right (shiny) side of it for the skirt bit. I normally don’t wear dresses without a cinched in waist, so when I was experimenting with the draping, I tried to give some definition to my waist while keeping it minimal/modern at the same time.

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The pocket (“hidden” in the seams on the waist) was something I wanted to try for a long time, and I quite like how it turned out! I’m pretty sure the draping is not done as it’s supposed to be done, as it is pulling that side quite a bit, but it works anyway!

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The good

The fabric was very slippery, but pressing it was a joy! I’m pretty happy with how the tiny hem and my first ever facing turned out.

The bad

There are slits on the sides of the dress to allow more movement, but it’s still absolutely useless when it comes to cycling. I ended up having to pull the whole skirt bit up to my waist (yes, basically riding in my tights), covering myself with my cardigan. This is obviously not a solution, so I will add godets and insert invisible zippers to hide them for non-riding times, essentially turning a pencil dress into an A-line one. Or make it into a t-shirt. 🙂

Lessons learned
  • The tissue paper cutting technique really works like magic with silk-like fabrics,
  • Pressing with a wet cloth/steam makes for perfect seam, but once they are set, they are there forever…
  • This tiny hem sewing technique.
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TheSecretCostumier - Kimono dress
From scratch

The kimono dress, finally

Do you remember the silk(y) fabric that I got for about £5 a few weeks ago? The one that I planned to turn into a kimono dress, inspired by a dress from the 70s? Long story short, I finished it, without a proper pattern but with hours spent just ripping seams. It was the most complicated piece to put together that I have ever made, and the one I will probably wear the least. It is beautiful to look at on the hanger though…TheSecretCostumier-Kimonodressd1 TheSecretCostumier-Kimonodress2Oh, and let me show you the first ever gif that I made to demonstrate the kimono sleeves in full swing. (You can find a great tutorial about making gifs in Photoshop in about 2 minutes here.) Sorry about the mess around me, this was supposed to be the test shoot before we go out, but I got annoyed with the Sunday audience on the street, and forgot to take the proper photos. Check out how stationary my hair is. NASA should examine it, ha! 🙂

gifkimono4After finishing yet another dress that has improved my sewing skills and would be perfect for a special occasion, I decided to focus on making everyday clothes for myself and not to buy anything new from now on. I am still working on laying down the rules and setting exceptions, but I am pretty determined to do this for at least a year, so watch this space!

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Ready & waiting

1920’s perfection

A-m-a-z-i-n-g dress. Beautiful details. I haven’t seen anything this perfectly put together in a long time and at first I thought it was recent design it looks so timeless. Oh, enough already, right?! 🙂

1920s Blue Silk Devore Beaded Flapper.

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