dress upcycled from a tablecloth
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#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

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

TheSecretCostumier - MeMadeMayDay18

Day 18

TheSecretCostumier - MeMadeMayDay19

Day 19

TheSecretCostumier - MeMadeMayDay20

Day 20

TheSecretCostumier - MeMadeMayDay21

Day 21

TheSecretCostumier - MeMadeMayDay22

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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Refash., Thrift Store Thursdays

60s dress…well, it used to be!

Happy Independence Day for those who celebrate it! For this month’s Thrift Store Thursdays I would like to show you what I’ve done to this poor dress I found in one of those fill-your-bag-for-a-pound charity shop events.

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The dress originally was a typical 60’s shift dress, which (as you can see below) does not work well for my shape, so I decided to turn it into one of those sets consisting of a crop top and a high waist skirt. Since I didn’t have a lot of material to work with (and because I find elastic bands really comfy), I decided to use that as the waistline for the new skirt. I am now thinking about changing it to a wider band, because the crop top turned out to be slightly too short and it does leave a lot of skin on show. I have simply changed how the skirt buttons up and switched the flashy gold buttons to flat black ones.

As for the top, I turned it around, put in darts (which btw look a lot more pointy on the picture below than they do IRL) and reshaped the armholes. All this happened without using a pattern, which is probably why the new neckline is kind of choking…

To be honest I haven’t worn this together as a set yet (or the top on it’s own for that matter), but the skirt works well for work, especially worn with my favorite jumper (like I did for Me-Made-May earlier this year). I really love the material – I’m not sure if you can see it, but the blue dots are not printed on the fabric, but woven into it which gives it an interesting texture. Nice touch! 🙂

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TheSecretCostumier - Homemade birthday cake
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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

 

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TheSecretCostumier- new fabric2

I impulse-bought these in the charity shop for £4 each today. I have very vague ideas of what to make of them, but the thick cotton looks like it wants to be a kimono jacket kind of thing, the bright blue jersey would make a great dress, and the bottom one might become a pencil skirt and a jacket. It might.

From scratch, Thrift Store Thursdays

New fabric in da house!

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TheSecretCostumier-Sneak Peak 2

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Sneak peak #2

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The birthday dress

    You might have guessed by now, I’m one of those crazy people who get irrationally excited about their birthday. It’s not that I like to be celebrated, and I don’t particularly like getting gifts (unless it’s for no reason), but I like to treat my birthday as my special day. The one day of the year when I notice the small things too and tend to remember most of it even years later. It’s also that one day when I get to be as overdressed as I wish without feeling bad about it. 😉 So this year the plan is to get this vintage dress out of the box, make it into a pretty little cocktail dress, go to Frank’s to watch the sun go down, and go home dancing?!

TheSecretCostumier - Birthday dress it is

     I bought this crazy 80’s grandma’s summer dress a few years ago in a charity shop in Budapest. I really loved the print and was planning on making something unexpected from it, but have always been too scared to cut into it. Practically it is still intact, but the other day in the middle of my 18 hour-long procrastination marathon, I picked the dress up and decided to just go (relatively) simple and make something out of it. Right after this, I sat down to sketch how it’s going to look, then one thing led to another and I made the below little illustration in a mere 8 hours.

     I probably could have actually finished the dress in that time, but what the hell, I’ve learned how to colour the dress bit with a pattern instead of a solid colour in Photoshop, so now I am basically unstoppable when it comes to future garment planning. I might as well just give up sewing and draw clothes on my super realistic little body from now on… Anyway, here is the master plan:

TheSecretCostumier - Birthday dress design

   I think I will use the same pattern as for the backless dress from Burdastyle, and I might take the chance to try to use boning to hold the whole thing tight on my bust. I probably have to ditch the buttons on the back altogether and use an invisible zip instead, for similar reasons. I already feel a little less excited now that there’s a plan and all, but one day I’ll surely make it!to be continued

Image of Frank’s found here.

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