Shame, sorrow and stats (The skirt diaries pt. 89?90?)

The skirt parade continues even though it is not strictly every day. The winter continues up here; a layer of snow, very icy streets and temperatures hovering around -5 degrees. And I have  already used my thicker skirts, so I have to choose wisely.

The shame in the headline refers to a few of my skirts that are a little too snug to wear at the moment. Whether I should feel shame because I have gained weight or if it is a shame I cannot use them right now is a matter of opinion. I very often get a bit curvy around my thighs in winter; I work out differently and eat more cheese. This has happened before, and it only affects a few skirts of a certain cut. So three skirts are hors jeu for now.

The sorrow comes from noticing that two of my skirts have tears. One of them is a green skirt in Indian raw silk and I hope to be able to patch it up. The other is also green, with Nefertiti’s head printed on it. The fabric came from my grandmother about ten years ago. She had bought in Egypt in the 80s and kept it folded up in a plastic bag. It is not high quality and I’m surprised it had lasted this long. the dress I made in the same fabric fell to pieces a few years ago, though admittedly I used that dress more. I am thinking about trying to salvage a bit of this and mix it up with other fabric, and make a dress, as I think the fabric is just the coolest. But basically two skirts have retired (but we are hoping for comebacks and possible reincarnation).

Add to that sevens skirts I have worn lately, of which six I managed to photograph.

  1. Mustard yellow skirt with gold embroidery. I love this skirt. After much use the last five years or so the embroidery is starting to look a bit worse for wear but it holds up well enough. It was good quality fabric that I was given (my father had been given it by a coworker from Pakistan). It is like walking around wearing sunshine.
  2. Bali dancer-print. Great skirt, bad pic. This is something that I have been given by my mother. I had to shorten it a bit to make it work, but it is a winner. At this point this skirt is older than me, and oh my has it been worn. Still in great nick though.
  3. Leopard print skirt. This one is semi-retired already. I made this out of a dress I had (the armpits were a mess after many years). The dress was vintage to begin with and then I wore it like mad for a few years. Not much wear in it any more, but I have had some great time in that skirt/dress. I will always remember it fondly.
  4. Chinese teapot print in red, on black. Another one that I got from my mum and I love this one so much. The fabric was bought in London when on a visit in the 70s and then mum made a cool skirt that I snatched out of her closet in my teens. I’ve had to repair it a few times but it is hanging in there. This belongs in my skirt hall of fame for sure.
  5. My “Northanger abbey skirt”. From my Austen&Attire project this remains one of my fave garments (but not a book I rate all that highly).
  6. African Dutch wax print. Made by me, fabric bought at a flea market. Good quality fabric and I made the effort to line it an everything. Gets used more in spring and summer. I used to have a matching top but that wore our way before the skirt did.
  7. Brown skirts with an impressionistic floral pattern. This was made by me in fabric I bought and it got a spin the other day. Which is not unusual, it is skirt that fits many moods and occasion. I completely forgot to photograph it however.

So there we have it. Three too tight to be worn, two are actually torn. Seven were wont without here being spring , what will next week bring? And I still have a lot of skirts, probably more than first count because there is that box of “summer clothes” that I haven’t looked in for a few months.



Monday&My week in skirts

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This is actually not a week, it’s more like the seven skirts I have worn in the last ten days. A blizzard blew in over Stockholm and then a skirt is not always the best clothing option. This little exercise, to use all my clothes, is altering my behavior somewhat. I do use all my clothes but in periods. I usually have, say six or seven skirts, that are my faves at any particular moment and wear those a lot. Now, in order to show them off, I’m wearing them differently. It is fun though, albeit not the best time of year for it. There are a few skirts that really aren’t made for this weather but I’ll make a note of which and do “Artfulreader skirt-sessions; the summer edition” at some point.

Have a great week everyone!


Tuesday&Trousers to skirt(again)

Let me first of all announce that there is a “skirt making/buying moratorium” in this house. I love making skirts and I love wearing skirts, but in the end there is a limit to how many I need. My usual caveats is that several of my skirts are old, and on the verge of falling apart (which is true), but maybe let a few of them get retired before I make or buy new ones? And let us not forget that becoming a skirt is usually the second coming for all of my dresses when armpits and necklines are ruined so I won’t run out of materials any time soon.

That said, there are a few kind of skirts that I do long for; I only have one pleated skirt at the moment (my kilt)(which is not an actual kilt but you know what I mean) but it is the kind of thing I love and wear until it fall a part. A basic black skirt would also be an asset in my closet, and what I made this weekend is close enough even though its future is unclear.

Let me provide some background here: I have had the sewing machine out on the table all last week so I do a little every day and that adds up. This is also the kind of project that lends itself to be made in installments. The fabric is one pair of worn out black jeans and a pair of black trousers in some kind of synthetic that I bought in a panic last spring. In just a few weeks later they started to fall to pieces. The zipper broke and I accidentally caused more damage when I tried to open the zipper and get out of the trousers (it was a mess). Neither of those items could be much use on its own. The idea came from my denim skirt in blue made according to this simple patchwork principle, one that I use often. I love patchwork, I just do.

IMG_7581I did not apply myself 100% (the lines do not all align), but the sewing was to some degree hard and fast as I am worried that the fabric won’t hold up all that well. This still feels like a better idea as not much else can be done with it; I’m trying to prolong “the wearage”. From experience I know that using old fabrics or materials that are not the best quality for my clothes can make me feel like an idiot, if I spend hours and hours sewing according to protocol and then have it fall to pieces. That’s the thing with poor quality, it is unpredictable. With good cotton/wool/silk you can have an idea how it will behave. Synthetics or cheap blends? Not so much.

So this is what we have ended up with; a simple straight skirt in two shades of black, no fuss. Worn here with a white shirt and the tights from the ERDEMxHM collab. I used a pair of booties during the day, these heels are just for show (it is 2 inches of snow outside).




So to recap; ages ago I bought a dress at Zara during the summer sales. I felt fine in the dressing room, I made a snap decision and when I wore it out and about it felt uncomfortably short due to the design f the dress and my habit of taking long and brisk steps. I thus cut off the lowest part of it and replaced it with some fake leather I had at home and all was well; I had a useable dress, one that I really liked as the top part of it is wonderful, and it was both warm and comfortable. And then the fake leather started to crumble, and there was no stopping it.

Fake leather isn’t the best material to begin with and it wasn’t the highest quality either. So I rummaged around in my bag of materials and what did I find?

IMG_7499Some pretty colorful wool-cotton blend fabric with an ethnic touch. I have a skirt in this fabric that I have used loads so it’s a no brainer. I love this blue (also: is that brught blue haing a moment?). Yes; this ended up being fairly short but, it’s a straight down design so when I stride down the street I won’t be inadvertently showing everyone my underwear. (I will however keep showing everyone my resting bitchface until I learn how to take reasonable selfies or get an assistent).

Worn here with a pair of tights from Swedish Stockings and my fave platform shoes. I would really like to be able to give Swedish Stockings my whole-hearted approval as I think they are trying to do a good thing. However, I’ve bought five pairs of tights from them at this point and two of those (well, three actually) have not lasted long. I know how to wear and take care of tights, I’ve had Wolfords that I’ve used for so long that they are almost members of the family at this point. We’ll see how I solve this dilemma; I need tights to be able to fully use all my skirts and dresses.


Friday & Four Frocks

The weather has been nothing but rain and wind, the temperature dangerously close to zero and the skies a permanent grey. So obviously I’ve been wearing dresses all week.

Mind you,  I haven’t worn only that. I’ve been wearing tights and scarfs and cardigans and coats. In fact, due to a very stiff neck I am currently wearing my pink cashmere scarf all the time.

Seriously though, I have a few dresses that are made with this weather in mind, or rather; in materials that are unbearable in any other conditions.

On Monday night I went to the event where the August-prize nominees were announced, clad in a shimmery and very acrylic number. The fabric has a psychedelic pattern and when I got it I decided to make a simple design, also the fact that its rather thick made more advanced pleats unpractical. I do love it though, wore it with grey tights and my black double monk straps, and a little pin that is a wolf howling at the moon.

Tuesday I was dressed in a fave that I have tried to photograph many times, and it is a series of failures. Black dresses huh? The point is that this number, which is a modified Zara dress, was bought in hurry on sale and trying to wear it in real life i.e. not just trying it in a dressing room on an empty stomach with no time to spare, I realized that it was just to short  (for me anyways). As I liked the upper half of it, the solution was to cut off a bit of the lower end to create a line and add something else, which was some fake leather I had at home. It is now a comfortable length and it has a clean silhouette and reasonable proportions.

Wednesday was a dress made for cold days, it is lined with cotton so it is double layers. Warm and soft, perfect for this season. It was a weird shade of yellow at one point but is nowadays a greenish grey, luckily the gold embroidery stayed gold in the dye process. The fabric came from Pakistan, a gift to my father from one of his colleagues I think.

Last but not least, I walked around yesterday in a dress that looks like my auntie’s curtains from the 90s. Because that’s what it is; my aunt had a clear out, and I nabbed well, a bunch of stuff including this. Nobody is gonna buy it a the charity shop, trust me. They are drowning in old IKEA curtain that nobody wants any more. This might not be IKEA fabric but it’s got that vibe. Anyways, I’ve made it into a dress now (and I have more of this to work with so might make a skirt too) and it’s wearable with a black cardigan and some black boots. I should wear it with my big Kalevala necklace , I think that would great actually. With the colors and the print it has a lot going on but it’s lot less offensive to sensitive people in this form than as curtains.


Hump-day & Haberdasher


The other day I went to the haberdasher. No really, I go to the old-fashioned kind of place when it comes to buying buttons, zippers and what not. I cherish their interiors, their service and most of all their superior selection. The agony of choice that is the result of being able to choose between five different kinds of beaded trimming is a delicious one. So what did I end up buying?

  1. Brown fake suede elbow patches. So that I could patch up my cashmere sweater, again. I liked the clash of colour.
  2. Same sort of patches, but grey. To try to save another cashmere sweater. I prefer fake suede/fabric patches because they are more supple. On a jacket I might put fake leather but on a cardigan I want it to be soft.
  3. Buttons. I needed new ones to change on a jacket I have (one of the current ones broke so I have to replace all of them). It’s also a very easy way to upgrade the look of an outer garment.  Old buttons from beloved coats that have been worn to shreds have been turned into pins, I like wearing them together on my lapel.
  4. A big safety-pin. You know the kind to use on kilts? I also use one on my “blanket kimono jacket”. I had one before and it went back and forth between the two items and that was a recipe for disaster really. But having such a pin is a good thing in general, it’s a very nice way to quickly transform look of say a chunky knitted cardigan, to close it with a pin and make it a lot tighter, instead of using a belt or the buttons.
  5. A big sequined tiger patch. This will be used to cover up the stains on a nice sweater and I guess it will be just off trend enough (I’m talking about the Gucci-look of the last few seasons, for me to be able to wear that someone said is on the way out) for me to be able to wear it. This is an old trick of mine; was I love both light tops and Spaghetti Bolognese but refuse to wear a bib then I will forever be plagued but tomato sauce stains. My solution is this sort of cool patch that can easily be sewn on to a garment and thus prolong it’s life, and when the item does have to be retired then the patch can move on to another garment. Can obviously be used for an upgrade of an item that has no stains but just feels a bit worn and tired. I’m a big fan of floral or bird patches and try to buy them when I can. This is trendy right now as I saw Other Stories are seeking a set of small iron on patches.
  6. Silk thread. This is for a particular project and the thread as such is no different from the silk thread from the “big sewing shop” but it comes on an old-fashioned wooden roll and it’s just so nice.
  7. Some nice grosgrain ribbon. Some of it is for a secret project but mostly I find that the sort of 3 centimeter wide grosgrain ribbon in a crazy colour, put together with a pin of the sparkly kind, as a kind of belt, is a great way to put a bit of “pop” to an outfit, generally a dress. And when I tire of lime green (which is never gonna happen) I can use it for wrapping presents or tying all my dust bags. Also potential cat toy.

All of my clothes are falling apart, as I keep complaining, but this was probably the last round of trying to patch some of these items up. With the cashmere there is also other parts that are worn thin and not as easy to repair. It’s like when jeans rip at the on the inside of the thighs, there is no getting around that repairing them will make them uncomfortable but you cannot wear them otherwise. My two pair that I had to retire latest have been cut up actually and I’m planning on using parts of them for a jacket, we’ll see how it goes. But I also feel that from now on it is time to let go of things as they fall apart (HA! not gonna happen. Sentimental fool this one).


Tuesday & Tablecloths

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.