Sunday, 13 August 2017

Mens Shirt Refashion

DIY boho top!
Ive been really get back into thrift shopping and refashioning and have been obsessing over loads of peoples refashioning of mens shirts!

I already have a shirt where I've cut off the top and put in elastic to make a Bardot top, so i really wanted to be a bit creative and do something different this time.

Shirts are a huge trend at the minute. I was toying with the idea of doing an off the shoulder style top, or one shoulder. Butttttt, they look better when you just push a normal top off and tie it up. Not exactly much of a refashion! Or creative.

So i just started cutting and seen where it took me!





I cut off the collar and decided I would be turning it around so the buttons were at the back. Can we just take a sec to appreciate how beaut this fabric is?? 100% cotton shirt bought for £2 in helping hands πŸ‘ŒπŸ»reeeet barg!



I then cut off the hem to make it more of a boxy shape, and cut off the cuffs. I really like the cuffs cut of as it turned out to be a nice 3/4 length sleeve. I turned both these up by 0.5cm twice to finish.



Then i took the fabric i cut from the hem and decided to make it a collar. I absolutely winged this, but basically I used the hem of the top, so i didn't have to sort any raw edges, and i kind of cut it in a typical neckline shape. I made it smaller so i could gather the top into it. Also I made it like a collar at the button stand at the back.

Im so glad I did this because it pulled the top up to sit higher, giving it a really flattering neckline. However, I had to put a few stay stitches in this collar at the front so it sat right on my body. Obviously this was because i didn't take the time to figure out the pattern exactly and I just winged it at the start cutting off more than i should have...



Anyway I hope you liked this refashion. On a side note, I have been adding way to much blue to my wardrobe recently and I really need to get some other colours in there πŸ˜‚

Any feedback/ comments would be mucho appreciated!
Lots of Love! Maria.


Friday, 4 August 2017

Costume Design Degree: My Experience


I was at Benicassim festival 2017 on the day of my graduation!

Its a very difficult thing to try and recall 4 years of you life and put it into a single blog post. But il give it a go..

I graduated from the University of Huddersfield with a 2:1 in a BA Hons in Costume Design with Textiles. I graduated in July and im now moved in with my boyfriend (who i met at uni) and have a job as a garment/pattern tech. So some would say uni was worth it. Id say different.

Its a bit hard to come out of university in the UK at this time and not feel like you've been conned into a lifetime of debt for absolutely no reason. This isn't a depressing post, the last four years have been amazing and Im very happy where I am now. But i want to make it extremely clear that you do not need uni to be successful.  Many people, especially from my generation are showing that education is not just taught through school/college/uni anymore. There are a thousand ways to learn and to make a career these days. So don't just go to uni because you feel like your being forced into it! Thats what happen to me.

So heres a list of what i learnt at university!

  • Everyone studying art and design courses seem to have to eat, sleep and breath uni!
Seriously! No disrespect to other courses but, at huddersfield at least, we had dissertations alongside final major projects. Even 1st years spend 4 full days a week in uni AND have to work at home. My course leaders literally looked down on people who had to work or who chose to join clubs. It was so difficult that I spent placement year just working and saving so I didn't have to work at all in final year!

  • Design, Construction and Textiles is basically 3 degrees in one. Expect tears.

The course at Huddersfield teaches these three aspects alongside each other, combining them in second and final year to create a costume. Again, you have no time to think about anything else. Also as a side note you cannot chose for one area to weigh more in final grades, for example if you are best at design and terrible at textiles, you don't have the option for one to mean more to your grade.  They are all equally weighted.

  • University is expensive.
Sketchbooks, mount boards, markers, pencils, paints, fabrics, threads, pattern tools, final fabrics, printing costs. Again this might be specific to art and design degrees. Because my boyfriend spent very little on his course. Literally everything adds up. I worked my whole placement year and saved to afford my final year costumes. Some final years on my course have been known to spend 2 grand on one costume.

  • Be friends with the technicians 
They will teach you more than any tutor. They will also be there for you after really bad crits  or really good crits to give you advice and help to move forward. Also if your pals with them they may also share some supplies with you (ahem free fabric or interfacing ahem).

  • You learn more about yourself from 18 into your 20s than ever before in your life

Its crazy. Honestly. Throw all this self-learning into having to think about uni 24/7 and its not easy.


  • You still have a lot to learn when you get a job.
One thing I am happy for is that there was so much ground covered in my course that there is so many areas of work I could now go into. You dont leave the course wanting to be a costume designer, even if that is how you went into it.


My second year costume (not something im particularly prod of)

My final year costumes! My last two posts have been on these costumes.
So its safe to say Im super happy uni is over, but i am grateful for the last four years! Onward and upward πŸ˜ŠπŸ’•

You can check out my tumblr if you want to see some of my work throughout the years. If you have any questions il answer them in the comments too!

Tuesday, 1 August 2017




Final Female Costume

 So here is my final female costume! I feel like this costume is one of those things in life where everything really comes together at the right time and works out just right!


Sarah, my beautiful performer, is a professional dancer and I met her because she's a family friend to Kurts family. She is SO FLIPPING TALENETED. The photoshoot was done in 10 minute slots per student, which is crazy fast to try and get a good shot. But both my performers managed it. You can check out Sarah killing it making up some Irish dance moves on the spot here, also on that tumblr you can see a bit more about my degree journey throughout the last year and my final major project.



Obviously this is not a typical Irish dance dress but it is heavily inspired by one. I had to heavily research Irish dance dresses and their journey to how they look today, to write about in my dissertation and to justify my design choices... Dear lord are those dresses awful! But I'm also kinda obsessed because the craftsmanship and ideas behind them are INCREDIBLE.  

This dress kind of mixes early 19th century fashion with a silhouette of a typical modern day Irish dance dress. The skirt is made in a heavy linen and interfaced so much it feels like cardboard. It was fully lined because jumping about obviously shows the inside... often, lol.  The skirt was also so short that Sarah's booty was literally out the whole day of the show, but she's a professional and was totally making that seem casual backstageπŸ˜‚ The front embroidery on the skirt is one of the pieces i am most proud of, it was amaya and hand stitching worked together to create a celtic pattern that spelled out the journey of the swans from human to swan.

The top half of the dress is made in three layers with a printed french crepe, chiffon and cotton underlay. I designed the printed fabric on photoshop and sent it off to contrado (a long fabric printing company), it literally arrived the next day, amazing service AND great student offers so if you need anything like that check it out. The fabric also made the frills on the hem of the sleeves and skirt.



To finish off the look the costume had wings to give the swan vibe and a fairytale crown. I DIE at these adorable photos of my beautiful swan babies together πŸ’›πŸ’šπŸ’ž






 If you enjoyed seeing a bit of an insight to this final costume, you might want to check out my last post where I talked about the male costume! Im so glad its all over and I am planning a post all about uni and a bit more information on my degree in costume design with textiles!


Friday, 28 July 2017

Final Male Costume
 University is finally over! I am free. Im going to write a post all about the degree i studied in costume and what i learnt/ if i think you need uni etc etc! So stay around for that, Im sure its something I should have read before going to uni πŸ™ˆ

But this post is all about showing off my costume for the final male character.So lets get on with that, eh!

If you need to catch up a little bit on the journey, i posted small snippets throughout the year on my costume tumblr here. I just don't see the point in reposting all that kind of info onto this blog. Also, the story i done was 'The Fate of the Children of Lir', an Irish myth that you can google and read all in about five minutes!




This is Laura, my beautiful performer who stepped up to act as a 12 year old boy for me when the male performer I was going to use unfortunately became unavailable.
So after months of making a toile costume to fit a 6ft male dancer, I had to scrap everything and recreate the toile to fit a 5ft girl (non dancer). But in the end Laura was a dream performer, she actually is a huge anime enthusiast and loves going to multiple comic cons! So she was all up for the challenge to act as an irish dancing swan πŸ˜‚



These photos are from the final fitting before all the final touches were finished. This top was probably my favourite thing i ever made. It was a raglan sleeve top with bell sleeves, super easy make up. However, i pulled the top layer in a typical drawn thread work style and underneath this was a patchwork fabric i made from about 20 different fabrics and quilted together. It was to mirror one of my primary pictures of Ireland, that were the main inspo for the whole final major project! 





The trousers were high waisted breeches. Quite a late century style i believe. They ended just below the knee with a fake button closure hiding a hook and eye and popper closure. The split fall was an absolute nightmare in this fabric and I should have used a MUCH heavier interfacing. But i did what i did and it is what it is lol.




The cloak was another one of my faves! It had a double layer front, the under layer was an arrangement of feather type embroidery to symbolise the swan taking over the human body. Only visible when Irish dancing. Deep, i know. But thats the costume world lol. The front shape was inspired by step patterns and the vine is a typical Celtic shape! I then made a fogging closure, which i LOVED.

If you wondering about the crown i may make another and blog it cause its soooooo easy! so do stick around plz n thku

Next post is all about the female costume!





Sunday, 30 April 2017


University Work


So I have been majorly absent from my newly started blog and terrible at keeping to my making resolution because UNI HAS TAKEN OVER MY LIFE.

Seriously, Im sure everyone knows someone who acts like they have no free time because of uni. And Im sure you find it really annoying. But seriously final year of an art degree is hard work.

Since my degree is costume making though I thought why not share the progress here. Above is a picture taken from my hand in in December. This was the toiles for toile hand in. I absolutley love how the toiles have turned out and this picture makes me so proud.

This is my favourite part of costume making- when you make up a toile from all the bespoke patterns and they look perfect. Since it is two weeks to hand in the actual costumes are now nearly finished. But i thought showing where they started was important.

I was keeping up with another blog (mostly images) detailing the design journey so if you want to see that please do check it out.

My next post I will be showing the male costume and talking about the design and making of it in a bit more detail!

Lots of love! Maria.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Don't Rush into Cutting

Stripe Bell Sleeve Blouse
Make Number 3

This is just one of those things you don't want to blog about or share. Im really not the most pleased with this shirt for many reasons. 

  1. Its probably the worst thing I have made in many years
  2. It could have been so great because the design is there
  3. I rushed into cutting and thats the one thing I have learned in all my experience NOT TO DO 
Starting out with this journey to a self made, slow fashion wardrobe I wanted to start by focusing on easy makes. By that I mean simple pattern cutting- just cutting shapes and stitching. Thats why I started this in a new year because its much easier to make summer clothes like this. 

With this top tho I got a bit ambitious, Ive been making for over five years now and I do a degree in costume, so I would say that I am quite an advanced seamstress and in no ways am I new to sewing. Thats why I dived into this. I blame it being terrible on a number of factors- 
  1. Dont do sleeves without a pattern - just dont its a terrible idea
  2. I didnt work on the fit
  3. I got bored with it and just stitched it up with no finished edges- why WHY would anyone ever do that
So yea I have wore this quite a lot because it really is a cute top for everyday spring wear. But it is never going to last and the fit is just not that great. Anyway heres some more pics- and please do not judge me forever on this terrible top!






Monday, 27 February 2017

Linen Wrap Skirt

Make Number 2
This week I wanted to sew a wrap skirt. It was the first thing I thought about sewing this year so I definitely wanted to get it made asap! The final result is not something I will be getting to wear anytime soon as it just wont stop raining here in hudds πŸ˜ͺ

The fabric I used is this beautiful linen I found in the off cut bit in Abakhans in Manchester. I love that section because you can get fabric at such a decent price.

Pattern Inspiration



Definitely have to shout out this wrap skirt by Julia at Contour Affair for the inspo. Basically the reason I wanted to make this is cause she made it so easy! If you want to make it check out her blog I just cut what she did but in a size appropriate to me!

I changed how I sewed up at the panels though!  Inspired by the reformation dress above, I wanted to leave the sides open, just looks a bit younger and more girly i think! I also made my ties more like that.


Making




 I really regret putting the darts in the back because they just don't sit nice over my bum at all, completely stick out. I didn't take them out though because by the time I tried it on I had already hemmed the top (by turning over twice, shown below). I didn't bother unpicking because I figured it might get hidden under the ties and it definitely does! Yay for covering things up πŸ˜‚




I left the two front panels unstitched to the back so there was an opening at the sides like the reformation dress. I hemmed these like the top, turning over twice. I finished off all raw edges like that.




The ties are two bagged out shapes, long enough to go around the waist and then be tied. Now normally you make the one that goes around the waist longer BUT I made mine both the same length because I wanted to have the option to tie them both around. I like this cause then I can wear it two ways. To make it wrap you have to leave an opening in the seam of the opposite side side to the tie to pull it through and around the back.

Anyway, Im so happy with how this turned out. It is the easiest thing ever to make! Beginners should definitely give it a go, such a good example of how sewing is literally just cuttting shapes and sewing it to fit your body.

Just need it to warm up now plzzzz, spring/summer where r u attttt πŸ™πŸŒž



Monday, 20 February 2017

DIY Cold Shoulder Ruffle Top


Make Number 1

This weekend I am going to an engagement and wanted to make a nice outfit to wear. What better way to start my new years res of making two things a month than to make something for a huge event πŸ˜‚

At least it gives me a deadline and forces me to actually finish making a garment!

My aim was to make something really simple but still 'on trend'. But something I can still keep forever as this is the aim of my sewing projectsπŸ‘

My Pattern Inspiration

In this screen grab of my pintrest board (which you can browse here) you can see the overall look i was going for. My friend actually has the ASOS top from the third pin in and it looks amazing on her, plus I knew it would be suppppper easy to make considering it is literally to rectangles sewn together! So thats just what Ive went for!




Making





 I used some fabric I had bought a while ago. Its an off cut and Im not even sure where I got it! But Im pretty certain its a poly satin, very light! Anyway it drapes perfectly for the look i want.




I don't have an overlocker so I zig-zaged the edges and then hemed them all by turning them in once. (PS: I had the charts on I swear I didn't have that Katy Perry song on for longπŸ˜‚)






 To create the arm holes I sewed a horizontal line 12cm in length to connect the two rectangles at each end. I pinned it on my stand to figure out where to stitch the rectangles together vertically. I just ended up doing 12cm again. This connects the two pieces of fabric to form the top and creates the armhole you can see above.


 Next you just got to add some straps. I measured mine on the stand and they ended up being a lil to big! Annoying cause I hand stitched them on while I was chilling in front of the TV on saturday night and ended up having to unpick the back two and make them shorter! Lesson learned- try it on before 😩  Anyway I machine stitched the back two straps in place because Im lazy and impatient... 





On to the gathers! I was originally planning on placing the  gathers along the top, but I don't think it would be the most flattering on me. So i moved it to under the arm. I also really wanted the top edge of my frill to be on show because It just looks so nice and Boho but in this fabric its looked pretty crappy so I hid the seam, stitching the gather to the front rectangle with a normal seam.



This is it pretty much done now, yay! Im just going to put a horizontal strap along the back to make it sit in place nicer. I will be posting better photos of it this week when I can get Kurt to take some lol.

Just need to decide what skirt to put with it now!