My love of curtain fabric will never fade but the next best thing is probably tablecloth. Just like with curtains they are often of a robust fabric, many of them have lovely patterns and there is an abundance of them as they are no longer fashionable. Oh, and they tend to get stains rendering them less usable for the table but ever so good for me.
This is one of my all time fave skirts, if it had pockets it would be perfection but alas not enough fabric. I use it all year around. The colors (burgundy,beige and a bit of blue) work with a lot and somehow a bohemian skirt is never a bad idea( in fact I have several). It wasn’t exactly as big I needed so there is a bit in the back that is just black( I used something that I had laying around) but as I often wear skirts or sweaters with it nobody notices. And if anyone ever says something the phrase “I upcycled an old tablecloth myself” will be the only response. Most people just admire the fabric and people from Iran will point out that they have something just like that on the table at home, I then show them the stamp on the inside as it is in fact an Iranian tablecloth.
Having made that one, I was given this fabric, also an Iranian tablecloth, which got turned into a summer dress last year. Now that it’s warmer I’m using it again. I’ve noticed that I probably should take it in as the fabric has become looser and softer with use. Blue and white is a great combo, I often add a belt of some sort for definition and a pop of color as I like it.
This is an old skirt that I have gotten a fair bit of use out of. Its linen and judging by the colors probably from the 70’s. I made a 50’s design because when I hade taken away the damaged pieces (those stains wouldn’t budge I tell you) the design of the weave lent itself to it. I am thinking about making it into a pencil skirt right now as it’s something that I would have more use of probably, given what else is in my closet at the moment. I do however love wearing it with a white shirt and some sea green accessories or neutral shoes and a hot pink clutch which is such a nice contrast. In my world orange is a neutral.
I have a few unlikely style icons that I look to for inspiration, and a few that are the same as the rest of the world. Like Jackie O during the editor years(and a bit). So we are talking 70’s and early 80’s, an era I love in general. Bianca Jagger, Jerry Hall, a lot of what Yves Saint Laurent designed and what Loulou de la Falaise wore ( who was Saint Laurent’s muse). Pictures of Charlotte Rampling of that era are the kind of thing that gets me salivating, and I can look of pictures of Ossie Clark dresses all day if I had the time.
But back to Jackie. I did a quick search online and the web has a lot of iconic photos of her out and about. You have probably already seen them before, they are often brought up. What have I been wearing this week then?
None of these outfits are exact replicas of hers, but I feel they are very much in the spirit of her style.
The black dress is made out of an old dust ruffle I was given. Why someone would have a black dust ruffle I do not know. Summer is usually all about the white and light summer dresses, and for good reason, but a black summer dress is not a bad idea. This one has pockets in the front and has no zippers or anything. Very good at the beach(without a belt it’s like a tent so very good for using as cabin to change out of a wet bikini) but a nice belt and some bracelets and earrings and I look smart enough to go out to dinner.
I love flared jeans and striped sweaters. Very little to add to that. These are items that I have bought. The jeans are old H&M and the striped top is from Other Stories (two years ago?). And my birch bag is is use all the time now. I must learn not to stuff it full of things because then it will break. Must read small books on the commute!!
Same sandals. A skirt that I bought second hand and is a great colour and quality actually, it’s a heavy cotton. When I’ve worn out the elastic on this it will probably become another skirt. And further down the line possibly pillows. This pale green is a colour I love and the details are hot pink and orange so it really did scream my name. And then just a long sleeve black t-shirt with that. As noticed I do love a boat neckline.
Summer style aside, all of these pieces (with the exception of the sandals) are stuff I use in winter too. I pull up the skirt a bit so not to get it wet and then wear it with black boots and a cashmere sweater. Jeans and top is look that has no season but all of them. The black dress is great with a big grey cardigan and a chunky necklace for that weekend bohemian vibe. Will remember to to take pics and show you when winter comes (which is probably next Tuesday. I live too damn close to the wall).
Have a great weekend everyone!
A few of the things I’ve been wearing lately, things that started out as something else. My clothes, or indeed all sorts of fabric that comes into my realm, lives through several incarnations.
Mandarin coat used as a dressing gown, turned into a top:
The coat or shirt was bought second hand but was a lovely big Chinese style thing in black silk with embroideries, big sleeves and a mandarin collar that I used (mostly) as a dressing gown. It wasn’t in great knick when I bought it and I wore it a lot. When seems and fabric started to give up I used the good bits to make this top that, true story, ripped in the back later in the day of this photo. Good bye and thanks for all the good times. I used the top a fair bit so no hard feelings. Will probably cut out the good bits of this and try to use those again. I do love the embroidery on this.
Halterneck dress turned into a skirt:
Not the best photo but this skirt started out as a halterneck dress bought on sale from H&M and I have lived in it for a few summers, with the result that the ties gave up. The easiest remedy, and a chance to have this lovely print still in my life, was to cut it along the waist seam and turn it into a skirt. Took all of 15 minutes with the little sewing(zigzagging the edges) that was needed. Very happy with the results. I’ve used this trick several times, if a dress has a defined waist that is an excellent place to cut it when making it into a skirt, and I often do. Sleeves and armpits are the first thing to go on most dresses in terms of regular wear and tear.
Chair cover turned into a dress:
This IKEA fabric was purchased to make a cover for a reading chair that I used to have that was beautiful but also on the point of disintegrating. It lasted for a while longer but when the chair gave up the fabric was still good, and so this dress happened. I use this all year round, it’s such a brilliant floral print but with dramatic colours. If the photo looks familiar it’s because it’s from my feed on IG, and old one but more fun than the one’s I had taken recently.
As we have had a bit of sun, but more importantly a lack of rain, in these parts I’ve had the chance to wear a few of my dresses. This is a few of them(i.e. the ones I’ve remembered to take mirror selfies when wearing).
1.Long sleeved dress made of an old curtain. I bought this fabric intending to make a blanket and some cushions. In fact I did, but didn’t use them so it got turned into a dress. It was from a second hand shop and there was only one length, somewhat damaged. Enough to make this however. I use it more in winter because of the sleeves and the colours (which are amazing I think). Probably from the 60’s?
2. Silk dress with feather print. This is a bit too fancy for daytime according to some. I ignore those people. One of my pet peeves is when buying a nice silk dress from a store they are lined with synthetic fabric. What’s the point rather? This fabric, a nice light silk, was a gift and I had enough of it to line it with silk also, which makes it ideal to wear in summer as it keeps nice and cool. I do love the print but it is one where I feel my glasses don’t match.
3. Remade dutch wax print. This started as a tunic and trousers that my parents got as a gift from a friend. It was folded away in a drawer somewhere until I got my mittens on it. I saved the detail with the collar and buttons, but fashioned a dress from the rest. Again; lovely colours, it’s got pockets and it’s a nice cotton. And yes; I wear everything with a black cardigan.
4. Long dress made of my mum’s old jacket and skirt. This used to be two pieces that my mum wore in the 90’s. It’s a thin viscose and a some wear and tear(but also the fact that she is several sizes bigger) left enough fabric for a long sleeveless dress. As I’m sensitive to the sun it’s good to have a few longer pieces for summer least I forget to reapply sunscreen. I have worn this a lot and as it was old fabric it’s on it’s last legs sadly. I love the print on this and have a similar print on a woolly winter dress.
At this point it is a well known fact that I love a kimonojacket. I’m partial to jackets(and coats) in general which is because they are easy to use and easy to make. When I advocate that people have a kimono-wardrobe I’m only half joking. They make a lot of sense and since a dramatic sleeve is supposedly very trendy now I find myself being a)on point fashion wise and b)in a position to advocate that a kimono sleeve is the kind of dramatic sleeve to consider. They will not go out of style anytime soon.
- The actual kimono. I have a vintage one bought in Paris. I’ve used it many times as a dressing gown but also as outerwear. However no pics that I can take of myself will better illustrate the usefulness and beauty of a kimono than these of Life in a Cold climate.
- The instead of a blazer one. I have made, out of an old linnen tablecloth that I dyed blue, a jacket and a pair of trousers in a sort of matador style. This is the closest thing I have to a suit. I probably should get a suit to look professional and further my career or whatever, but this works really well and I get a lot of compliments. It is more likely that I at some point make another set like this in pinstripe. Very useful as separates and packs a punch when worn together. Shown here in a more relaxed way with a t-shirt.
- The up-cycled one. There is this tradition of mending jackets using Japanese embroidery which was part of what inspired me to make my patchwork jacket that I’ve shown before. I’ve also made a dressing gown from an old worn out Missoni sheet. Due to a combination of cat and my own clumsiness whatever I wear to loaf around the house needs to be washable in 60 degrees. This one is and very soft too. It is more in the ethos of the Japanese tradition then an exact replication of it. As kimono jackets are easy to make they lend themselves to all matter of recycling of materials. I also have one made out of an old tartan blanket from IKEA. Oh and the one I made out of my parents 70’s curtains is well-used.
- The leopard print one. I do not have one of these, not yet. It is something I dream of, one of those mad ideas that I get, and the lack of a good leopard print is what’s stopping me. It needs to be just the right size print for it to look good, leopard print is tricky like that. One day it will happen, and it will be glorious.
- The Halston rip-off. Halston, that 70’s designer genius, made a kimonojacket in suede. Oh, to have been alive then to see it. ACNE made a similar thing a few years ago, being very open about where the inspiration came from. At some point I will make one in fake-suede. It will look very sexy in say a mint green or a teal with some jeans and a red lip( ha! I wear red lips with everything because RED LIPS!). I’m sure it’s a manrepeller but I do not care, that jacket will happen.
- The knitted one. As previously mentioned, they are easy to make. I am no knitter but I do know how to “knit one,pearl one” and that’s all you need. Then I made the different panels(back,two fronts, and the sleeves) in a rather coarse yarn that was only part wool and stitched it all together. It didn’t take that long as I used size 8 knitting pins(that is huge btw). I have a velvet ribbon in the same colour as a belt. Very good as outerwear, mine is in a deep plum so I use it mostly during autumn.
- The high-street one. They are often in fashion and buying a nice one with a floral print to use as a cover up during summer is a great idea.
I do not have a crew or even a measly assistant to snap pictures of me wearing my clothes, or someone else I can dress in them so that I can take the photos myself. And I forget to ask friends as I want to talk to them about things that actually matter(books, bacon and what my cat has been up to. Oh and their lives, because they actually have them).
It’s just me,myself and my iPhone, and at this point, a good knowledge of where big mirrors can be found throughout my day. This is some of the things that I have worn lately as I try to use all the clothes that I have, and that is furthermore of my own make.
Patchwork denim skirt; I went through a big patchwork phase this winter and and at the same time my favorite jeans, a pair of bleached ACNE jeans in the model Hex, fell apart. They got a second life mixed up with other scraps of denim from here and there. I’ve been using it now either with black sandals and a simple kashmir sweater or on the weekends with my beloved Stan Smith sneakers and a white t-shirt.
Patchwork kimonojacket; Ignore the smudge on the mirror, and possible forget my skeptical face. I made this around the same time as the skirt. This jacket however has proven to be a surprisingly good summer cover up. It looks very good like this with denim but also with a simple dress underneath for an easy evening out or with trousers and a silky top. It has reminded me that I really really need a simple navy blue evening bag.
Tablecloth to clothes-skirt; This fabric was woven by my mother actually. She made two different settings on the loom, alternating the colours and was intending it as tablecloth. However she never used it and so I snatched it up and used it to make a skirt. It’s linen so very comfortable to wear on warm summer days. Great with this denim blouse or as with everything else I wear;a white blouse and a black cardigan. I wore this a lot last summer with gold sandals and a white silk blouse.
Wearing blue/navy during summer is about as groundbreaking as florals for spring but whatevs. It should also be noted that I do smile, just not in photos.
I got a comment on a previous post, in regards to my bookish fashion, and I get the odd comment about it on IG as well, so let me adress the issue.
Making clothes inspired by book covers is great fun, the thing is it requires inspiration, materials and space. I’m not as inspired by the covers of what I’m reading now, I have a fair amount of material but nothing that matches any books and my closet is filled to the brim with clothes despite a bit of a spontaneous combustion in the end of 2016. In short; I’m making a few things but mostly I’m using the stuff I have. Although every now and again I end up in bookish attire.
These red and white striped trousers are made by fabric I was given by a friend. I’m enjoying them very much, and as I saw my own reflection in the mirror(having used a public mirror to reapply my lipstick) I noticed a similarity with a much loved literary character; The Moomin mum.
In regards to all the other clothes I’ve made(now and before) that is not necessarily bookish; Is there an interest to see those? Should I try to take pictures of myself in mirrors when I can?