It’s time again!!
Japan and especially Tokyo has called out the state of emergency for the cold Winter months and we are all asked to stay at home as much as possible.
Why don’t you use this time and make a little journey through your wardrobe?
I’ve collected some tipps to re-think and re-organise, get new inspiration and enjoy the journey through your closet. The next Spring is coming for sure and I hope to see many people again in a safe, vibrant and genki city!!
1.)Plan your wardrobe ahead of the season!
Designers and Fashion companies around the globe do the same: they plan their collections AHEAD of the season. I’m often late myself….when the first really hot days in May come along, I’m still in my warming long sleeves, and when it get’s colder in October I still have my short trousers on…. So, to avoid that: prepare some pieces washed, hanging and ready in your closet, before the weather and temperature flip. Find matching skirts and trousers, scarves, accessories. Make a little fashion show at home! Arrange your outfits on a hanger, on the floor or bed and make a picture. No kidding: it’s really helpful and you might come up with completely new ideas! Important to start your wardrobe journey: FIRST select those garments that fit you well and those that excuse the Christmas cookies or ice creams and hide an extra pound on your hips. The most important is that you feel great in the moment when you jump into a new season.
2.) Check your wardrobe in terms of color:
Maybe you have pieces in your wardrobe that you bought for a special reason, on a special day and in a special mood, but the color is not really your thing. Therefore you haven’t worn and ignored them. If you find such a thing, TRY IT ON! Do not just dump it! Maybe you’re all over sudden surprised that you LIKE it. Taste changes, the trend changes, your mood is changing. Maybe you like to color in combination with another garment or scarf. If it fits you well and you like the style, keep it, but find a good outfit to match it in. Surf the wave! This color can be an inspiration.
Or dyeing can be an option! I have coloured lots of clothes, even wedding dresses! Clothes find a new life through a new color. You have to be brave and patient to start a dyeing process, but it’s fun and surprisingly easy. For all natural materials as cotton, wool, linen and silk use i.e. Dylon. They have a great selection of colours for machine dye. Here’s the link to their website. You find their produtcs on Amazon Japan and in fabric stores, too. www.dylon.co.uk
There’s also a dye for polyester that I found on amazon Japan
If the above isn’t an option, you don’t like the garment and don’t want to dye and experiment then think about a friend…. maybe someone else loves this color and will appreciate your gift.
3.) Check your wardrobe in terms of holes, loose or missing buttons or stains:
A) Stains are probably the most unfair disasters how you can destroy a garment… A skirt that get’s caught in a bicycle chain or a white blouse that get’s hit by a piece of peach is maybe lost. But not in any case. Whenever I have a stain I google on youtube for washing solutions and there’re a great tips out there: Lemon juice and baking powder, olive oil, vinegar and Co are helpful and environmental friendly choices to save the garments. One tip: the faster you treat the stain the better are the chances to clean it. Don’t wash your garment in the machine, FIRST try the recommended treatment asap.
B) Loose or missing buttons: This is not a problem, this is a treat! I love button stores and it’s fun to look around. Buttons can give a garment a new life and an UPDATE in trend as well!! As a recommendation for Tokyo have a look at Duck Buttons in Jiyugaoka or in the fabric stores in the city. I’m working on a little online tutorial to sew on buttons currently. Please sign up for my newsletter to get the information 🙂
C) Holes: there’s a difference between a hole, which is a rip or scratch in the fabric or a ripped seam. A ripped seam can be usually sewn together again. Either you try it by hand or with your sewing machine at home. If it’s an easy task, one of your friends might help. A hole in the fabric might be a bit trickier to solve. It sometimes need a patch. You can send me an email, too and ask me to fix it.
.4.) Check your wardrobe in terms of a good fit
This is maybe the hardest for all of us… I think it’s already hard to shop for a good fit. I stopped shopping clothes and tailor my entire wardrobe 13 years ago. Even though I worked as a designer and art director in fashion companies in Japan, I couldn’t get satisfied with what I found in stores. I started to sew and never want to stop again! 4 years ago I held a speech at FEW Japan with the title: One size doesn’t fit all. We all have different bodies, different body types and silhouettes: small shoulders, wide hips or broad shoulders and small hips…. The fashion industry is trying their best to fit all of us into XS, S, M, L and XL, but of course it’s quite a mission impossible. So: don’t feel bad when it’s hard for you to find nicely fitting clothes. I give you some tips from my side as a tailor:
A) Sleeves, trouser legs, skirt, dress, blouse or shirt hems are too long: That’s easy! Everything that is too long can be shortened 🙂 It’s sometimes amazing how much the whole silhouette improves only because the length of a T-shirt is shortened for a few centimetres or Inches. It’s also possible to create a rounded T-shirt hem with a shorter front and a longer back.
B) The hip and waist area fits well, but the shoulder bust area is too loose and looks bulky: the armhole can be adjusted and the shoulder length can be reduced a few centimetres. This shapes the upper body a lot better and looks slimming.
C) A garment is too tight at a certain point: there are some tricks to enlarge a garment. Either there’s extra fabric in the seams on the inside that can be taken out or other pieces of fabric can be inserted. One customer brought me a long skirt that was too tight at the waist and hip and I just took off the top, lifted the skirt up and adjusted the wider bottom to her waist and hips. It worked perfectly fine. See the blog post here TOP LESS.
D) The waist of a pair of trousers is too loose and the bottom looks bulky: Jeans are a bit tricky, but for skirts and fabric trousers it’s usually no problem to tighten the waist and bottom area. I’ve done it often with very good results. In the last year I had a customer, who lost quite a bit of weight. I re-tailored his suit jackets and trousers. He saved hundreds of dollars, because his suits were saved and he didn’t have to invest in new ones!
Of course, if you hire tailors to change your clothes they charge a certain price for it. Personally I don’t think that I am expensive at all for what I do. But sure, when you buy a blouse for 20 Dollars that doesn’t fit, you have the choice to dump it or pay 30 dollars for a tailor. You might find it a waist to pay the tailor, I find it a waist to dump the blouse (loose the 20 dollars) and buy a new one for 20 dollars that doesn’t fit neither…. Once a garment is professionally fitted and altered you might want to wear it for years and the investment was the best choice.
I have some customers, who already calculate with my alteration when they buy a new garment 🙂 It’s all about breaking out of the doom loop to not waist resources, become more environment friendly and be more conscious. As I said at the beginning of this post: The most environment friendly clothes are the ones that are already in your wardrobe!
Enjoy your little journey through your wardrobe and feel welcomed to CONTACT me in case you have questions.
Nice wishes *m
All the best for the new year, many creative ideas, many fun (social distance) sewing classes and I hope that all brides-to-be can have their wedding parties!!
I’m printing A0 patterns !
Many of you are ordering their sewing patterns online as PDF patterns, right? You receive the PDF, print out A4 papers and spend quite an annoying time to stick your pattern together, right? Don’t waist your time any longer 🙂
You are welcome to send me your PDF and I will print your pattern on the large format of A0 size.
I charge ¥1000 per A0 page (+tax) plus an extra fee for shipping and handling for each package.
Please use the CONTACT FORM and get in touch for detailed information
Nice wishes and a Merry Christmas time, everybody!!
10 years ago in December 2010 I started to teach my first sewing classes, tailored the first made-to measure garments and wedding dresses. Over the decade I enlarged the service to professional CAD pattern-making for fashion brands and individuals.
10 years of awesome customers from 60 nations (!), thousands of lessons and creative ideas, millions of stitches.
Thanks to all of you!
This is a collection that I did for Alex Morrow from Turquoise Port.
Alex ordered some trousers, dresses and skirt from me and we enjoyed the process of developing exquisite garments that fit her style.
As many of you know, the 753 festival has much importance in Japan.
Girls have their celebration with 3 and 7 and boys have their celebration with 5.
This November it was time for my son to dress up in his kimono and we all joined in, with the amazing help of my mum in law, who organised the kimonos, zori and obis from her family and her girlfriends 🙂 She is such a star! For weeks she discussed with her sister and her girlfriends which kimonos, obis and zori are best for us. I’m sure there were several ladies over 70 involved in the preparations for these pictures !!!
As many of you know: I keep a list of all the nations of my customers. Just for fun and to understand, how many people from all over the world come to my atelier to work with me.
Until today, all sewing students & customers, who I’ve been working with came from 59 countries. It was the state since March 2020 an amazing number for me, but today happened the long-awaited: a young woman from Pakistan came to have some trousers re-made. She’s the very first Pakistani customer and therefore my 60th nation that I work with 🙂 I feel flourished today. I love my atelier. I love my job and I’m so amazingly happy that all of you -my sewing students & customers- came and come and show me so much trust to work on your pieces and participate in my classes!! THANKS to ALL of YOU!!
A few weeks ago I found this little bag in a second hand store that I really like and get lost in. The name tag made me buy it and it’s worth to tell the story about the man, who designed it:
The ones of you who travelled to Thailand, Bangkok: do you know the legend of Jim Thompson? He was an American Architect, Designer and Businessman, who helped revitalise the Silk Industry in Thailand. After years in the army he went to Thailand in late 1946 to join a group of investors to buy the Oriental Hotel in Bangkok. During this time he found a deep interest in silk.
Thai Silk that was until then mostly produced in family businesses, for private use and in a small scale. Thompson helped to build up a manufacture, the Thai Silk Company Limited and made Thai Silk world famous and precious.
Then suddenly he got missing in Malaysia’s Cameron Highlands in 1967. His body was never found and nobody had an idea why and how he disappeared. The mystery about his disappearance is unclear until today and there are many legends around it. Maybe he got eaten by a tiger, he got lost in the highlands, was murdered or he disappeared into another life and identity.
Most likely we will never know, but if you are in Bangkok, visit his Silk Museum and the Thompson House.
More to read on Wikipedia life of Jim Thompson