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?
- Brown fake suede elbow patches. So that I could patch up my cashmere sweater, again. I liked the clash of colour.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
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!
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.
My love of patchwork is eternal but sometimes it does tip over into more of an obsession. Mind you; I mean patchwork, not quilting. I have every respect for it just not the patience. I cut squares of left-over fabric and ruined clothes, zigzag the edges and sew them together. Very simple procedure and quick results, results that have a lot going for them.
During the last few months I’ve made one patchwork coat and one patchwork kimono jacket. And a few odd bits and bobs. The coat(here) was a riot of colour whereas the kimono jacket was done in denim and blue, so rather more pared down. That’s what so brilliant about patchwork; you can be minimalist; if all you have are left-overs in black and white it it can be minimalist chic, and when using fabric of all colours it still turns out alright . As someone who has worked with statistics a lot let me assure you that there is indeed order in chaos and patchwork is a testament to that.
Lately I made a blanket for a friend who is having baby: all those well used scraps of fabric are well washed and super soft so worked well for it, will keep the baby nice and warm.
I also made little “dust bags” as they are called. Most my bags are second-hand,vintage and homemade i.e. they don’t come with bags to keep them in. And the whole “keep a bag in a bag” that Marie Kondo preaches don’t work because most my evening bags are the same size. I’ve made several of these over the years; some obviously in just one kind of fabric because I’ve had pieces big enough. In this case I had squares left over from making the coat so decided to use them first. I’m also a lazy sod in that I couldn’t be bothered to make them into drawstring bags or attach a button or so. I just tie them up with nice ribbon saved from fancy packaging; preferably grosgrain.
On my patchwork resume I also have a rather big patchwork blanket(lined with an actual blanket), several pillowcases, big bags(almost like sacks) to store winter duvets and such and a table runner. Opening the overhead linnen closet is like looking in to a bowl of sweets which I find rather uplifting. And in regards to the table runner; when setting the table with it the rest looks best if it’s pared down but that’s for you to decide. Oh and there is the Christmas patchwork tablecloth. The list goes on and on, and the way my clothes keep falling apart I’m ensured of materials for future projects.
after 10 years the armpits of this was in tatters and not even a cardigan could cover it
A loved skirt the day the zipper broke
The last few years I’ve spent New Years day clearing and organizing my closet. This has been done in collaboration with a friend, who does the same thing on her end, and then January is spent trying to figure out “what do I need to buy?” “Why don’t I wear this more?” “Does this need to be taken in?”. There has been an awful lot of pictures sent between us looking for advice and encouragement. But I won’t do it this year.
Partly there is no need; after a few goings through I’m pretty much in order and know what I have. I’ve bought less, and better, as a result of the routinely purges and ,oh, there is that fact that my closet spontaneously combusted during the last half of 2016. Not counting socks,tights and underwear I “lost” something like 20 pieces of clothing. All loved and well worn should be mentioned. Some of them were in their third incarnation; a dress that had become a skirt that then,after a rupture, became an even shorter skirt. And that dress was was second hand to begin with. I have mostly lived like this because I love clothes and fall madly in love with certain prints and colors; I never want to loose them. But I do. And without wanting to get preachy;more people need to actually live with their clothes for longer. I read this article about the impact of fast fashion on the environment and it is depressing to say the least. The average lifespan of a garment is now 2 years(before it ends up in the thrash most often ) and it needs to have a lifecycle of about 10 years to lower the stress on the climate.
So what can be done? This are few pieces of advice that I’ve gotten, nothing you haven’t heard before, but the first step is to actually think about it.
- Take care of the clothes you have. Everything doesn’t have to be washed after you’ve used it. Connoisseurs of denim do in fact advocate washing them as rarely as possible. Sweaters maybe just need to be aired. Don’t use the same shoes and clothes two days in a row if you can, let the fibers rest and resettle if you can and it will last longer. I’m forever making this mistake; I usually only buy one pair of winter shoes and use them every day. At the end of the season they are rubbish.
- Buy fewer things, and better quality. Short term cost but long term gain. I will say from experience that good quality clothing ages better and is worth repairing. If you get tired of it then you can sell it,swap it or give it to charity.
- When buying clothes consider shopping in second hand stores, charity shops or consignments stores. Also look into the eco conscious collections that some high street chains have or search for labels that are sustainable.
- When things fall apart; don’t throw them in the trash. Can it be remade into something else? Maybe someone else can?(This is how I end up with a lot of my materials). At least in Sweden a lot of companies accept bags of used textiles, no matter what label or condition. If you want to know what happens with it you can read that here. They give you a voucher that entitles you to a discount, and when using it, try buy “green”. Other stories are in on this and they sell Swedish Stockings. H&M accept used textiles and have an eco-conscious collection that isn’t bad at all.
If we are talking about gifts in terms of clothes we are in tricky territory, but a few suggestions.
- Slow fashion by Jennie Johansson and Johanna Nilsson or any other book of that nature; about how clothes impact the environment and how to care for clothes is a good gift; not because I think that sending someone on a guilt trip is advisable but as a key to betterment. Or as I said before; nice books on the topic of fashion,the coffee table kind.
- Actual hangers. This is what I’ve asked for. When I moved away from home I started buying the one kind of wooden hanger from IKEA so that they all match(I’m OCD like that) but I’ve asked for the sturdy plastic kind clad in black velvet; they take up less space.
- A little sewing kit or a shoe polish kit. Again; very useful and they come in some very nice sets actually if you look around.
- A cashmere sweater; everyone loves a cashmere sweater. I’ve had great experiences with the ones from ZARA but if you can afford some Brora ,go for it.
- A matching scarf and beanie; they kind of thing that is always needed and having matching stuff does elevate an outfit.