From scratch

The crochet bikini top

I tried my hands at making swimwear last year (see the most successful outcome, the bikini brief below), and I have to say it was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever sewn. That was one of the reasons for not attempting to make more before our recent holiday. The other one was the difficulty of finding proper swimsuit fabric in London, so I decided to try a different approach this time.

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I was never a big fan of crochet bikinis, but I really liked the fact that it can be easily replicated at home. That’s if you know how to crochet, of course. I didn’t. But what is a 6 hour flight good for, if not for learning a new craft, am I right? 🙂

I did learn how to do the first chain super quickly, but doing the second row just made no sense at all. If you do something for a while there might just be a point when it all clicks, and luckily it did. Once I finished one of the cups (by following this video) and could see that it didn’t quite look the way it was supposed to, I was confident enough to go back and start again.

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By starting again, I mean pulling out the whole thing and redoing it, this time a lot neater. I managed to finish it on our way to the hotel, but unfortunately I could not actually test it in action, as it simply didn’t do the job. The problem is that the cups are really gaping, unless I pull the neck straps tight. If I do that, however, then the strap that goes around my back won’t stay in place, and I still get exposed, just in a different way.

All is not lost though, I think if I undo the straps where the cups meet, make the cups a little longer, turn them under to form a case for the straps like in normal bikinis, then I’ll be able to feed a strap through the case and move the cups where they fit best. Now I just need some inspiration on where to wear it next, and the work can commence… 😉

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Tanzania is probably the closest it gets to paradise on Earth. The safari, especially in the Ngorongoro Crater is breathtaking, and Zanzibar has the most beautiful beaches you can imagine. Stone Town is a very lively city with amazing architecture, and you can definitely find peace and quiet in the fishing villages on the East side of the island.

Trying out surfing and snorkeling for the first time by the Mnemba Island made me instantly fall in love with the sports, in spite of being so scared of the fish beforehand that I was considering staying in the boat. 🙂 We had the most amazing time, mostly because we were lucky enough to find the nicest people whenever we needed help.

I somehow feel the need to mention that there is another side of Tanzania too. I have been to many developing countries before where I felt bad about being on holiday, enjoying the beautiful surroundings while the locals are struggling to make ends meet, but this time for some reason I felt very strongly about actually making a change in the way these things work. It may not come to anything, but maybe one day I can share my grand plans here… 😉

 

Travels

Zanzibar

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The Secret Costumier - The Little White Dress
From scratch, Thrift Store Thursdays

The Little White Dress

I and 2/3 of my family went on holiday to Tanzania recently. It was undoubtedly one of the (if not THE) best holidays of our life. We signed up for a safari and booked a hotel on Zanzibar, so I had to plan clothes that will work for covering up and on the beach too.

I already wanted to make a khaki shirt, and I realized that I have enough clothes for summer that I really like, so I did not plan on making a lot of stuff ahead of the holiday. Then Pinterest happened. The beautiful pictures of the beaches of Zanzibar inspired me to make just a few more things…

The Secret Costumier - The Little White Dress

I’ve always wanted to have a white summer dress with loads of embroidery, but I did not intend to do the embroidering, so I started looking at all things already embroidered on eBay. I searched through over 100 pages of listings of curtains, tablecloths and napkins until I found this beautiful vintage tablecloth that was about 2m x 3m, and it went for only £11.

When my mum saw it, she was trying to convince me that I should let it be the beautiful thing it was, but I cut into it before we got too attached…

The Secret Costumier - The Little White Dress

The Secret Costumier - The Little White Dress

Since I had only a couple of days before the holiday, without having an actual pattern, I just started cutting the fabric up, trying to make the most of the embroidered parts.

The skirt is made out of 2 rectangles sewn together and gathered, while the bodice is made of the 2 corners of the tablecloth. I inserted some darts there, handsewn some “lining” to the back of the cups and made spaghetti straps from the leftover fabric… and forgot to get rid of some significant amount of thread as you can see below. 😀

The Secret Costumier - The Little White Dress

The Secret Costumier - The Little White Dress

The Secret Costumier - The Little White Dress

While I quite like the look of the dress, I am not extremely comfortable wearing something with that much cleavage on show outside of beach settings. Shortening the straps might improve the situation, but now that I have tested  the dress, I think I may take it apart and make something a little bit different with it…

The Secret Costumier - The Little White Dress

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