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!)

Ah University…

I can’t believe it’s been over a month of not blogging about sewing. I’ve been busy (performing in a musical version of “the importance of being earnest” as Gwendolin & starting university in Zürich and living between Zürich and Lucerne) and unfortunately, the closest I can get to sewing lately is reading sewing blogs and books and instructions.

I did get around to sewing one dress! Nothing “exciting” though, as it’s just another version of the Butterick 2952 sheath dress, this time a mix between the red and the pink: sleeveless like the red, with a scoop-neckline like the pink, made from blue broadcloth. This was a “I really want something new to wear so I don’t just wear the same things all the time but I don’t have time or money to spend”-project, and since it was the third time making butterick 2952, it didn’t take very long.

One “interesting” thing I did do on this is a lapped zipper. I like that it’s faster than the hand-picked one, and after the hand-picked zipper on my pink sheath came undone when I first wore it (that’ll teach me to not put off sewing the waist-stay in!), I wanted someting with a little more “security”, so the machine sewn lapped zipper was perfect! I do like how it turned out, even though I could have done a better job ironing, and the overlap kind of sticks up a little which I don’t like.

Another thing I changed is the back neckline, since the zippers that go all the way up to the base of the neck are hard to zip up on your own (especially in tight sheath dresses with waist stays that don’t allow you to move your arms up over your head haha!). So I made a V-neckline in the back, and now I can get dressed on my own :)

I haven’t gotten around to taking pictures of the dress, but until then, here’s an instagram photo (because posts without pictures are less fun, I know :))

the instagram filter makes the blue look greyish, it’s brighter in real life! Better pictures soon :)

I really like having a pattern like this. I’ve adjusted the fit to be perfect, it’s simple and making it is so fast now! I just “know” this pattern very well by now, it’s great for when I want to sew but don’t have too much time.

Pink Sheath Dress

Pattern: Butterick 2952 (same as for the red sheath dress)
Year: early 60s
Fabric: about 1.5 yards pink cotton broadcloth
Notions: zipper
Time: ca. 12 hours
Cost: about $11

Compared to the last Butterick 2952 I made, I…

  • lowered the waist a little again in the front, I made it a little too high for the red dress
  • cut the skirt short enough from the beginning, to save fabric (I knew I wanted the same length as last time)
  • took about a 2cm off each side, also around the armholes this time (that was something I didn’t do with the red one since I had already attached the facings when I noticed everything was a little too wide)
  • made the sleeves smaller to fit the altered armholes (since those got smaller with the side seam adjustment :))




I think I’ll wear this for my first day of university on monday. Of course without the heels and fancy accessories :)

I really like this pattern! It’s quick, basic and flattering, can be dressed up or worn by itself. And it doesn’t use an insane amount of fabric! I have plans to make another one in blue, and then a houndstooth one (with an added waistband).

Make-Up Pouches

Wow, I haven’t blogged about sewing for almost two weeks!

I thought I’d be fine not sewing anything for three weeks, but I got a little antsy. I’ve been at my host-family’s house for the past few days (I spent a year in the states from 2008-2009, and this is my first visit after leaving!), and my first sewing machine (the cheapest brother model I got from amazon) is still here, unused since I left!

On Saturday we went to JoAnn’s Fabrics, and I got some cheap serger thread and a polka dot fabric. I decided to make a few pouches to organize my make-up, because I recently got a nice vanity-case-type “purse” from asos.com, and I went shopping at sephora (yet another store we don’t have in Switzerland :)). Since the make-up I got there is so nice, I want to store it in a way that will keep it nice and clean (I hate when stuff crumbles and smears on to everything else!), and I’m so happy with the results!

f.l.t.r.: roll-and-tie pouch for hair pins and rubber bands, make-up brushes etc. and pouch for jewelry

I’m not used to sewing stuff that’s so little. And I didn’t have an iron (so irritating! don’t know how I ever sewed without an iron!). But it’s so much fun to sew something practical! It made me feel productive and happy. I’ve been shopping a lot since I got to the states and it makes me feel guilty (even thought the dollar is so low right now). Sewing makes me feel better about that.

I’ll start updating my blog more when I get home (where I have an actual camera, not just an iPhone and instagram :)).

I got a serger!

I ended up ordering the Brother 1034D from amazon, and shipped it to Switzerland (the $ is so cheap right now and it was still cheaper than getting a cheap one here..), and now I have a serger! Lucky for me I can start serging right away, we had the right transformer in the garage :) ALthough I still need to get thread…

Haha, at first I was so scared to press the pedal all the way down, because the light started to ficker when I applied just a bit of pressure. So I called my dad (scared the machine would break if I pressed the pedal down further), and after he got tired of me putting my foot on the pedal and then stopping and saying “no, I can’t do it!” he just pressed it down. And everything is fine. haha…

I have to admit, I don’t know what those cone-y things are (next to the machine in the picture), there are four of them so I suppose it has something to do with the spools? This is exciting! I have a machine I need to learn how to work!

I finally made the pattern for the skirt for the mint dress, and marked the pieces on the fabric. It was hard figuring out how to fit all of the pieces (with the annoying shape of the back pieces, the hem facing, and me wanting to sew the bodice pieces doubled up because of the sheerness):


(played around with the contrast so you can see the pieces marked, that’s not really what the color looks like!)

I’m off to cut!

Mint Dress – Inspiration

I’m ready to jump into the next project! I think this will be the last one before I leave for the states in August.

Last year I bought three meters of a pastel-mint colored cotton for 5 € (in the same shop I went to this year), and used some of it for my Maturaarbeit (I kind of messed up the dress and didn’t like it because it’s design and colors didn’t fit the concept anymore):




Well, I still have a lot left, and I want to make another summer dress, one with a little less going on (fabric wise) than the floral “betty draper” dress, and instead concentrate on the design and adding little details. I know I want a circle skirt with a scalloped edge, the rest I’m not sure about yet, still collecting inspiration! I’ve started using Pinterest again for this, and have a pinboard for every project I have planned (I also linked these in the sidebar ->), here is the one for the mint dress.

This is the fabric and the buttons/beads I’m considering for embellishing:

I’m still figuring out the design, more on that tomorrow.