Monday, April 6, 2015


I've just moved flats and with the packing (and starting of the unpacking) I have realised how I have really far too much fabric in my stash. Far, far too much. I don't know where to store all this fabric - I have even been thinking of buying furniture to store it all.  I came across the Stashbusting Sewalong 2015 which is just what I need. I'm joining a little late in the year but better late than never, right?

I have a lot of pieces of fabric I love which I have been saving for the perfect idea or pattern. Some I have had for years. I want to reduce all these. I will make a hard goal.

Stashbusting Pledge
 "I, Jodi Wade, commit to making 52 items from stash fabric in 2015. I also commit to not buying any new fabric except for that which I need to complete projects or for items for others until I have made things from at least 15 pieces of fabric."  

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Bikini Weather

Summer again. I love the summer. Hot weather. Holidays. SUMMER CLOTHES.

I haven't been doing much sewing this summer though. Just working, travelling, reading, drinking.

With Ron at the Dead Sea

One of my most favourite people in the world lives in Tel Aviv. Ron used to live here in Budapest and then moved back to Israel about five years ago and had been telling me ever since to visit him. So I finally did at the end of June. And it was wonderful! Great food, the sea, sunshine, cool people, cool bars.

The trip was a great excuse to make a new bikini.

It's actually the first triangle bikini top I've made. The last few years I've just kept making bandeau variations and that was getting pretty boring. I made up the pattern myself. It could use a little work still - I would add a cm or two to the back of the bottoms so I don't have to keep pulling them up to avoid showing any crack, and I would make the elastic a little tighter around the waist.

We went for a day trip to the Dead Sea. What an amazing place! It's so beautiful and still. The water is extremely hot - hotter than I would run a bath - and so salty. Oh my god the pain when the water got in my eyes... But besides that, it was so relaxing. We even fell asleep for an hour just floating on the top of the water. You can't sink, you can't even really swim because it is near impossible to kick your legs down into the water you are so buoyant!


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Me-Made-May starts again soon!

For quite a few years now the wonderful sewing blogger Zoe has been organising “Me-Made-May”. It's a month for sewers to challenge themselves by wearing clothes they have made themselves. Everyone sets their own challenge, what is hard for them – some try to wear one garment each day, others try to wear only me-made. There is a Flickr group where people can post photos of their daily outfits. There is a huge world of sewers out there and it is so interesting to see what types of things they make and how talented they are.

This challenge is hard for me because I have very few tops or sweaters that I have made myself. Actually I have very few jumpers at all. It's a big gap in my wardrobe. I have brought one non-me-made cardigan with me which I am hoping I will not have to resort to. It's hard though, because normally I wear quite mismatched clothes (polka dots with stripes with plaid for instance) but I will go to a wedding here and I want to look somewhat elegant.

 'I, Jodi, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '14. I endeavour to wear only wear garments I have made myself (with the exception of hosiery, lingerie and footwear) each day for the duration of May 2014'

I've taken part in quite a few of the previous challenges. I wasn't sure whether to participate this year or not. I am in Istanbul for the first week of the month (actually I just got to Istanbul now, sitting at the airport, waiting for the shuttle bus to depart. I JUST missed the last one – half an hour to wait...). I have packed reasonably lightly – so I can fill my backpack up with sewing knick knacks on the way back. I was last here three years ago so I am very excited to be back! There are so many places I want to see again, markets to visit, fabric and haberdashery to buy! And the food... I can't wait to go down by the sea and have a fish sandwich and eat mussels. I had been thinking about coming back for a visit for a long time (since I was last here basically).

Ok, now it's a few hours later since I last wrote. This has been a wonderful day. I met so many different and interesting people.

I chatted with these guys for the whole long trip from the airport to the city (so much traffic!). They work in Iraq and their flights were cancelled because of the elections that will be held there in a few days. So crazy, they just shut the airports, hardly any notice. So these guys travelled hours and hours by bus to get to Istanbul to take different flights. They were still so cheerful though!

I went to one of my favourite cafes. It's so relaxed and cosy. 

There are new staff but all so lovely. One especially I talked to a lot. A new friend :) She's an artist, a painter. She has a blog with her work.

I arrived here wanting to stay somewhere in Cihangir but not having any definite plans. I'm staying in a small quiet hostel off a busy, vibrant street I love. This neighbourhood, it feels so much like home. I had thought I would spend this evening out partying somewhere. Instead I ended up playing dress up with a 45 year old man! After dinner I walked into the empty hostel and the owner who I hadn't met before was wearing an Ottoman jacket and hanging dresses up on the walls so I had to ask what was up. Turns out he used to be a tailor for many years and he also made costumes for films! He will have some kind of a costume sale tomorrow. So I have been trying on all his costumes, discussing different tailoring techniques, also showing him something new (triangular bound buttonholes).  

Shiny and silver and my size!

So much work this must have been!

Then a couple of guys came back. They couldn't resist the costumes either... 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Down Under Trip

I went back to New Zealand in February for a visit. It was my first time back after living in Europe for eight years. I never thought I would be away for so long, it just kind of happened. I was quite apprehensive about going back, wondering how it would be, but it was wonderful! Well, not the actual travel getting there (30+ hours and four flights...) - that seemed never ending.  But it was so nice to hang out with my friends, to see my family and meet all the new additions - my cousins are rather prolific :) I wish I had gone for longer, the time there just flew.

Fun times with Hayley

My New Zealand passport expired a few years ago and I had no reason before to replace it. For this trip I looked into getting one but then I ran out of time so I travelled with my British one. I had to get visas to enter both New Zealand and Australia! In NZ I got a visa on arrival at the airport. I had my expired NZ passport with me but the immigration officer still said I couldn't work in NZ and would have to leave within six months!

Absolutely ridiculous! I am still a citizen, even without the passport.

My grandmother came up to the airport as a surprise! She even brought the teddy bear I knit for her years ago. Note, if you have the option to sew rather than knit - go with sewing! That bear took me FOREVER.
My dad's jungle vegetable garden. He has every kind of vegetable you could think of in there.

It was strange to see what has changed and what has not. At my dad's place time has stood still. My old bedroom is just like I left it - on my dresser I found receipts from things I bought when I was 18. My old KFC uniform (complete with cap and name badge) was still in my dresser. In the garage is my car, my love, my 1976 Honda Civic "the beast". I thought it had been sold so I really could not believe my eyes! That was a huge surprise.

The Beast
One of the best things about NZ - driving! It was SO GOOD to drive again. I went in to renew my drivers licence and the lady was like "it expired three years ago....". I haven't needed one in Europe. Really easy to get a new licence though. It was so nice to be back on the highway, the radio up loud.

The clothes I made as a teenager are still in my old wardrobe. My style was a bit more extravagant back then. I didn't mind standing out, so I had a lot of shiny, sparkly, sequinned things. I didn't get the best pics but I'll show you a few of the highlights.

Black PVC pants. I made these when I was 15. I was wearing them when I had my first kiss. And wore them until I couldn't fit them anymore (when I was around 18). I could just squeeze into them for the photo but the 15 year old fabric flaked everywhere, black pieces of plastic ended up all over the carpet for this pic. So, sadly, into the bin they went.

Most of my skirts had crazy high side splits like this. 
I made this from a vintage pattern when I was about 17.  It's a wee bit small now.
I loved bell bottoms. I found a few other pairs I made but couldn't fit into them. I used to wear these pants ALL the time. And sequin love. I even made purple sequin curtains for my bedroom at one point....

In my old bedroom I found a beautiful old Singer I bought years ago when I was a student in Dunedin. I saw this machine in a second hand shop.  Love at first sight. I just HAD to buy her. She was made in 1951. She's very heavy but I managed to carry her home on foot where I discovered the plug doesn't work and the foot pedal is missing. But she's just so gorgeous so when I road tripped up North when uni finished for the year I took  her with me. She had just been sitting at my dad's ever since so now I gave her to my mum and she was very happy. A crazy thing I discovered at my mum's place - she has an old Singer which is almost identical looking to the one I have here in Budapest - the same Tiffany decal pattern too. Her table is much more beautiful than my one though.

With my mum and nana.

Summer, sunshine, outdoorsy stuff. I climbed up the Mount for the first time ever. It's a landmark in the Bay of Plenty. Everyone has climbed up it or walked around it. Somehow I had done neither before. I won't lie. It was hard. Walking uphill is not my thing. But it was so nice to reach the top. Then later that day I went swimming with my friends at Plummer's Point which is around the bay (you can see the Mount looking tiny in the background of the video below).

Top of the Mount!

I also stopped in Australia for a few days and met up with both of my brothers. It's so crazy to see the youngest one all grown up. He was 13 the last time I had seen him... and now he's an adult! We could legally drink together!

Oliver (25) got IDed. Morgan (21) did not :)
Talking about getting IDed. I went into the supermarket in NZ with Hayley. We are both almost 30. The drinking age is 18. She was buying a bottle of wine. I wasn't buying anything. We BOTH got asked for ID. I got so mad. Why should I have to show ID in a SUPERMARKET if I am not buying anything?? I refused to show it, the supervisor had to come over, and in the end Hayley could buy her wine. Apparently it's some stupid new "party" law where everyone in the group needs to show ID. How does this stop underage drinking at all? All it seems to do is make it more difficult for adults to buy alcohol for themselves. When we were underage we didn't go into the shop with the random person we asked to buy our alcohol....

When I travel I quite often randomly run into people I know. This time was no different. I ran into my friend Chris not once but twice even though I was only in Melbourne less than a week and more than 4 million people live there! I was at the Sydney Road Street Festival with my brothers when we saw Chris. Oliver visited me in Budapest five years ago and stayed in the hostel when Chris was working there!

Oliver's lovely girlfriend Em, my brothers Morgs and Oliver, Chris and Chris' girlfriend.
I hope that not so much time passes again before I visit again.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Spring has returned!

I haven't done any sewing in months, I haven't been doing any of my usual hobbies except reading.
I feel like I am someone who used to sew. Someone who used to go to aerial hoop and pole dance classes. Someone who used to to swim, and do weights, and love going to the gym.

But the long, dark winter is over. Spring is here in Budapest, it's time to make changes.

I have a date with my sewing machine today!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

I love getting mail

I opened my mailbox on Saturday and found a wonderful surprise. The February German edition of BurdaStyle magazine with a dress I made in it! The belt and bag are me-made too.

I made this dress four years ago. I hadn't realised it was that long ago at all. I still wear it all the time.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Loss of control...

Most of this year I have been trying to keep my fabric purchases to a minimum. I didn't even buy any fabric when I was in the fabric paradise of New York... Today though...

I went a little crazy. I came home with 22 metres of fabric... I popped into a fabric shop in Buda which I rarely visit, just to see what they had (always a bad idea...). They had this cool comic type fabric so I bought the last of it. It's cream with a green print. My camera made the colours funny.

Then on the tram home I was looking out the window and saw a fabric shop having a closing down sale (!!!) so I jumped out to have a look. Crazy low prices for really nice fabric. So I kinda went a little overboard. They had really nice plain fabric which will be perfect for dresses so I bought what was left of the black (more than 13 metres... :S will be a lot of dresses....) and two metres of a very dark blue. And then I spotted a gorgeous blue striped silk remnant which I just could not resist. I'm thinking it will become a skirt.

When I got the receipt I remembered that I had bought fabric in that shop many years ago. Such a beautiful receipt - like from another era. Actually I guess it is old. It has a place to write the fillér on it which were the smallest Hungarian coins which went out of circulation in the 90s, well before I even moved here...

Then I went into a third store, again just to see what they had... It's a chain, the same as the first one I went into today and they had the same cartoon fabric IN DIFFERENT COLOURS!!! So I had to buy it in blue too... maybe I will make pants, maybe bags. Not sure yet.

They had just one metre left of this spotted fabric. This is what happens when I don't go shopping often enough - I miss out on all the great fabric! It would make such a nice jacket but I think I only have enough for a skirt... What do you think I should use it for?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Bridesmaids dresses

A woman I have known for several years got married recently. She asked me to make five bridesmaids dresses for the little girls in her wedding. I was so excited to work on this project - little princess dresses! Shiny fabric!

She bought metres and metres of different fabrics - satin, tulle, organza in purple, pale pink, hot pink, green, grey. So many choices! I played around with a few ideas but in the end I went for simple and only used the off white satin with pale pink and off white organza.

Everyone was gathered at the venue an hour or so before the wedding. That was enough time for half of the dresses to get ripped.... Gaaaaah! Kids playing chase with their friends... there was no way the dresses could have stayed pristine...

For the four youngest girls (aged 4-8) I used a basic bodice pattern and added a gathered skirt with an organza overlay. I am so in love with my overlocker - it was so easy to do beautiful rolled hems on the organza. What I did not know though is that if the hem is stood on it can rip off... and if kids are running around on slopes and climbing in long dresses... well then hems will definitely get stood on.

The dresses buttoned up the back with fabric covered buttons. The oldest girl is a bit of a tomboy and did not even want to wear a dress. Hers was a very simple shift dress with a shiny satin yoke and the matt side of the satin on the outside for the main part of the dress. She is the one in the red.

Friday, June 28, 2013

New York, New Yoooooork!

I got back last week from New York. I spent a wonderful two weeks there. I saw some very interesting shows, caught up with old friends, met lots of great new people, went to lots of pole dancing classes (at the studio I went to in Brooklyn it was very different to what I am used to, more sexy dancing, less acrobatics - more like what I guess most people think of when they think of pole dancing, but it was fun and challenging).

There was an art festival on Governor's Island my first weekend there. There was a great dance group who use bikes to dance with! So talented. And strong! I was trying to get some nice pics and one guy was right in my way.  And then after the show was over I realised it was Iris, someone I had actually met a few days earlier and had a great chat with! And he made the awesome bike contraption you can see in the second video!! And I even got Iris in the second vid without knowing it was him.

I couldn't go to New York without checking out the garment district. The fabric stores are so big there! I ran into Nettie in Mood!!

I spent a lot of time browsing at Spandex House. I think they should rename it Spandex Paradise. I don't think I have ever seen so much stretchy fabric all in one place in my life.

This was only half of one aisle in a shop with two levels. Overwhelming amount of fabric.

A good few hours were wiled away going through many shops that only sold spandex but I resisted temptation and didn't buy anything (my fabric stash at home is too big as it is...). At the airport later I was very glad for this.

I saw an amazing performance of Peter Pan at the House of Yes. A lot of the performers were also aerialists, so they were flying through the air wearing wonderful costumes. After the show I got a photo with the sexy Captain Hook.

The House of Yes is such a cool, magical place. As well as performances they also have aerial arts classes. AND a bar! I went to an aerial silk class with the lovely Kae. She had some good tips. One was to keep pointing my toes even when they cramp. Not so easy to do but I am working on it!

I finally got to meet Kameko's gorgeous two year old! Isn't she just so adorable!

We had a lot of fun spinning around until Kameko was like.... ummmm, you might pull her arms out of their sockets. I did not know you are not meant to do that with kids under four :S

Kameko is upstate in the Hudson Valley so I went for a visit. While there I challenged a random guy at the bar to a cartwheel competition with Kameko. I blame all the margaritas and interesting beers...

Jake was actually pretty good at cartwheeling!

The next afternoon he picked me up on his motorbike and we spent a few hours going all around. It was wonderful and exhilarating! The beautiful nature, cute little towns. The sun was shining, the wind on my skin. Stopped for the most delicious chicken salad sandwich. Then we got caught in the pouring rain. An unforgettable day.

The next day, back in New York, I got a call from a friend who I hadn't seen in about 4 or 5 years. She saw some pics I posted on facebook and she knows Jake, the cart wheeling biker!!! Crazy small world!

On my last day I was at the airport three hours before my flight because my friend Sterling was flying  in from Paris. (We coincidentally both booked transatlantic flights for the exact same dates flying in AND out!! He was lovely and let me stay at his place in Brooklyn for the entire time). We were just relaxing, catching up. No stress.

We flew with the same airline so assumed it was the same terminal and when we went up earlier to the departures part a staff member told us that all check ins are right there. But that was not true. Realised that 90 min before my flight was due to leave.

Rushed to the correct terminal (they are not exactly close), waited in the slowest moving line ever. Finally got to the front and the checkin man was like "it is too late, you have to take the flight tomorrow". WAAAAH! Minor freakout. I told him I needed to get on that flight and then after a little pleading they said if I took my big backpack as hand luggage I could fly!! They even let me take scissors and "dangerous" liquids on the plane! I was SO glad that I usually pack reasonably light and could do this.

I want to go back to New York!!