Sorting through clothes

I always find it hard to sort through my clothes and get rid of things. Even though I don’t wear most of the stuff I think “maybe in a few years I’ll really like it!” and I get weirdly emotionally attached to my clothes, just because they remind me of a certain time in my life or a certain event.

Well, I finally sorted through my clothes:

I’ve been a little frustrated with my wardrobe and want to build one that is relatively small but well connected (I want to have lots of outfit choices with as little as possible!), and filled with quality garments not cheap crap. Don’t get me wrong, I will most definitely be buying more cheap crap in the future, but I want those things to be fun seasonal additions to my wardrobe, not the core of it.

I sorted all of the clothes into different categories: keep (quality vintage/retro – cheap retro – dark/high fashion influenced style), give away/sell, sports stuff and pyjamas  and things that need to be altered.

I also found a way to keep things I like and value but don’t really wear: I made myself a costume box! :) that way I can use those clothes for photoshoots/special parties etc.

What I learned from sorting through my stuff and making a “to alter”-pile? I really need to get around to altering this stuff!

How perfect is this color combination? It’s like my dream color scheme has been waiting for me in a sad little pile on the floor. Seriously. Below is a moodboard I made last year for what I want my wardrobe to look like:

See the parallels? Reds, pale pinks, grey&brown tartans, animal prints, bright sweaters…

I picked out the summer clothes to make a “high-priority” pile:

My plan is to alter one of these pieces on each of my days off from work. Although I’m aware some things will take longer.

The black lace bustier in the bottom left corner has already been taken in, now I only need to change the position of the straps a little (I need wide-set straps, otherwise my shoulders look really wide). From left to right: the floral shorts need to be taken in even more, the silk shorts I got from the thrift store need to be made smaller and I want to dye them a pastel mint color, the slip I got at the H&M sale needs to be taken in, the swallow print dress (that I already altered) is really short cause I made the waist higher, so I need to make an underskirt for it (with a nice cotton lace trim!), the orange miss patina dress is a little too big for me and the last garment is a long silk skirt my boyfriends mom gave to me, it fits perfectly but I want to dye it (either pastel grey-purple, a pastel nude-rose color or pastel mint).

These is the “Low-Priority” Pile, mostly winter stuff that I don’t need right away.

This faux-fur muff has almost never been used. Why? I’m afraid the weight of my arms is too much for the flimsy little chain and the ribbon attaching it to the muff. Plus the chain is silver and I wear mostly gold accessories (it’s a detail but it kinda bothers me), so I’ve decided I’m going to buy a thicker gold chain, weave some colored ribbon through it and attach it to the muff!
I’ve also cleaned my room now (there was so much fabric lying around waiting to go to the office!) and I hung my winter clothes and things I don’t wear often in a closet I have in a seperate room. I have a lot less hanging on my clothes-rack, and alot less in my drawers, and I find it so much easier to get dressed in the morning!

What’s in your “to alter” pile? Does it have a nice little color scheme you never noticed?

Altered Dresses (May 2012)

I have finally been able to edit the fotos I took in may of the dresses I altered. I find altering can be just as hard as sewing from scratch, or even harder, as you’re not starting with a length of fabric, so you’re limited in what you have to work with.

The first dress I altered (my first time sewing again!) was simply shortening the waist on this dress:

I got it over the internet, and now that it fits me (well, it became a little short in the process, but I always wear legging-cut-off-shorts underneath) I wear it so much! it’s very comfortable. It’s amazing how much better and more “expensive” cheap clothing looks when it fits right!

above, before altering (but with a couple of pins in it), below: after


This one I got in Paris for € 45, and I did quite some altering. It seems to me that this dress was handmade by someone! A lot of the hand stitching had come undone, and some more of it had to be opened to alter the dress. I really like how it turned out! I did make the waist a little too tight for it to be as comfortable as the polka dot one above (which has elastic shirring around the waist), but it should work fine for cooler summer days at work.

after:


Ok, this one I got on ebay for $24(!!!) and it’s my favorite! Buuut, it’s also the hardest to work with fabric wise. I made the skirt waaay to tight the first time:

Couldn’t sit down! Second time around is better, but I’ve worn it once and I really have to put in a walking slit at the back, I had to take tiny steps! Plus, I was too scared to cut off the hem when I shortened it, I just folded it and it become quite thick, which explains the wonky hem. I’ll have to fix that. Quite a bit of altering had been done on this dress. It was originally made in Hong Kong, in the early 60ies probably. It reminds me of Joan from Mad Men! She had on this Asia-Inspired Floral Dress on in season 5 if I remember correctly… (oh btw, how dark was this past mad men season? I mean, no feet chopped off, no wild affairs for Don, and still, the season went very gradually from “hey, everything might actually work out this time!” to “everything’s so depressing and I can’t put my finger on how it happened exactly”. Very much like real life though. I really liked Megan, even though I didn’t think I would at first, and now that marriage is over, they made that pretty clear in the end… ok enough with the Mad Men talk!)

Working on a small collection

What I’ve been working on:

Following Gertie’s tutorial, I’ve been making these felt roses over the past couple of weeks (in between working on the project below, anytime I feel I need to create something tangible). I want to make my own fascinator, like the ones she’s selling, when I have enough.










These are just a couple pages from my sketchbook. I feel a bit weird sharing all these sketches and inspiration pages, since I haven’t actually made any clothes yet, but I need to get back into blogging, and I guess sharing progress is motivating. Helps me keep track of how much I’ve done so far.

I spent a few weeks sorting through all of my inspiration folders on my computer (so many! ugh). I have about 1’900 images (some are duplicates though, say I have an image of a girl wearing a blouse and pants, I’ll put a copy of the image in each folder “blouses” and “pants”, and if there’s a special design feature, another copy in say “knots & bows”).

I’ve been trying to figure out what I want the theme of this small collection to be. Sorting through inspiration images is definitely good though, I feel like it’s a slightly frustrating (I feel like I’m not actually doing anything) but important step, and I don’t want to rush. I think the central, inspiring themes for this collection are: 1950s fashion/silhouette, insects/insect anatomy and art deco. I know at first they may seem relatively unconnected, but that’s what I’m working on figuring out :)

I got and altered some vintage dresses in may, but I don’t have photoshop to edit .RAW files at the moment, so it might be a while before I can share those unfortunately… but I made something else earlier this month (not a garment though) that I want to share later this week!

Donna Karan Dress

Woah, long time no post! I have to admit I haven’t been sewing a lot since before thanksgiving, but I did draft the collar for the Houndstooth Sheath Dress.

There are still 2 dresses (and a collar :)) on my “to sew” list, but of course I’m already going through my endless list of “dresses to sew”. This dress has been on my mind since I saw it in a magazine on the flight over to New York in August:

Donna Karan, RTW Fall 2011

There are a few reasons why I really like this design: it’s elegant, but the fabric makes it casual. It looks comfortable without looking boring. The folds around the bust are interesting, but not overpowering. I feel like the focus would be on the woman wearing the dress, not just on the dress itself (I say “would” because, obviously, this picture was taken during a fashion show, where the dress must be the center of attention, not the model).

I bought some thick knit fabric, black on one side, grey on the reverse, and I plan to recreate this! It’ll be a while before I have time for this, but it’s definitely on the list. It’ll be the project to practice draping… challenge! (maybe I should start practicing those folds with my towel when I get out of the shower?)

Blue Sheath Dress

Pattern: Butterick 2952
Year: early 60s
Fabric: ca. 1.6m blue cotton broadcloth
Notions: zipper, petersham ribbon and hook and bar for waist-stay
Time: ca 4-5h
New Techniques: Lapped zipper
Cost: about 15$




I know I know.. NOT AGAINN! But this was a quick dress I made in mid-october.

I made it sleeveless like the red one, but with a scoop neck like the pink one. There’s not much to say about this one. It’s the first time I tried a lapped zipper (so it wouldn’t break like the one on the pink sheath), and it was easy to do with this fabric. The only problem is that the tap stands up at the top. I would attach a hook and eye, but the whole point in lowering the back was that I could zip it up on my own, and hook and eyes are kinda hard to close on yourself (or well maybe that’s just me :)).

Also, the skirts angle at the hem isn’t quite right, it stands out too straight. And I’m not so sure about the color, it’s a lighter shade of blue than I expected. I guess it’s just a very “cool” blue, and I think warm blues are better for my skincolor :) (plus I don’t like the red-blue combo too much in this outfit, I just couldn’t find other accessories that would work.. which isn’t a good sign haha)

I’m happy with it, but I don’t think it’s going to be my favorite or get that much wear. Then again, it’s winter, and this is more of a spring/summer dress.

The Lucille Bluth Dress – Finished!

Pattern: Butterick 2907
Year: early 60s
Fabric: ca. 1.5 – 2 m purple double wool crepe
Notions: zipper
Time: pre-treating: 3-4 hours, sewing: 4-5 hours
New Techniques: working with wool crepe, raglan sleeves, bias strip making (for the tie-belt)
Cost: about 35$ (the wool crepe was expensive but so worth it!)





(I realized looking at these pictures, I really need a haircut!)

Finally took pictures! They almost show the color accurately, it’s still a bit more purple in real life.

I love this dress so much more than I thought I would. It’s veery comfortable, it has a nice color, it’s not too fancy for everyday wear but still elegant somehow (at least I think! It has that “Old Lady” vibe, and I mean that in the best way possible!). A “comfort dress” that doesn’t involve sweatshirt materials! I really like the raglan sleeves, and the crepe moves so nicely! And it’s was easy to sew. the only hiccup I had was putting in the zipper. I tried making a lapped zipper using Gerties tutorial from her online course and it didn’t work very well, just cause the crepe got a little warped (I find that wool, after it’s been pre-treated, has a tiny bit of “stretch” to it, I noticed this with the Houndstooth Sheath Dress too!). I then followed the Butterick instructions (where you baste the zipper opening first) and it worked really well! It gives you a smaller overlap than Gerties version, which might make it a little more obvious (especially with this fabric, you can see the zipper very well), but I don’t mind with this dress.

One thing I was a little confused about was the collar. I used to think, looking at the pattern envelope illustration, that it’s supposed to be a sort of turtleneck/cowlneck thing, but it’s really just a collar that lies flat. But I guess if you wanted it to stand up more, you could attach two hooks and eyes to the collar at the center back.

The only drawback I guess is that the fabric IS expensive, and I can’t really just sit down anywhere with this on (I know I know, sitting on the floor isn’t ladylike and all, but as GOB would say: COME ON!! It’s definitely a plus when a dress is easy to wash :))

The Houndstooth Poodle Sheath

Pattern: Butterick 2952
Year: early 60s
Fabric: about 1.5 yards houndstooth wool
Notions: zipper
Time: ca. 11 hours
Cost: about $20





(the shoes and tights arrived in the mail today! I got them from topshop.com and I’m in love with them :) the belt I made from some petersham ribbon and a “hook”-buckle I found at the thrift store)

Done! The zipper went in ok, at the bottom there’s a tiny weird fold, but I’ve decided I don’t mind :) I feel like I’ve already written so much about this dress, there’s nothing left to say! Except that I think it’s a great wardrobe builder, it’s simple with an interesting texture and can be styled in many different ways (with different colours and accessories!).

And with this dress, I’ve already crossed off two dresses from my list in October!