cheap and chic

i’m a Bargain Betty. the first thing i do when i see something nice in a store is check the price tag. if it’s not cheap (considering the use of the product, how often i would use/wear it, and how long do i think it will last before it breaks apart), then i put it back on the shelf. i don’t care much for trend. it changes too quickly for me, so i prefer developing my own style. and my style is pretty much a collage of whatever’s on the sale rack. and yes, i have stuffs i bought from as long as 10 years ago, still use them and still wear them as well.

being able to sew clothes is one ability i treasure. not only am i able to create unique pieces that no one else has, but i also save a lot of money.

even when i buy fabrics, my cheap standards apply. i never spend more than 10€ for a piece of fabric, or if i do, it means i need to be able to make more than 1 piece of clothing from it. i’m THAT tight. most of the clothing patterns i have, i got for free, the rest i either got from buying sewing magazines (which means again saving money, as i would only need to spend around 9€ for dozens of patterns instead of just one pattern) or borrow from the library (totally free). there was once this question in how much do you spend on your sewing projects per year? my answer was: around 50€ or less. considering i make around 14 projects per year, that means i spend an average of 3.60€ per sewing project. i’d say it’s quite an achievement! 🙂

how do i manage to do that? i’m not sure myself. just by keeping an eye on the sale area, i suppose. i never think of what i’m going to make when i’m looking for fabrics. i do it the other way around, see the fabrics and let them talk to me. what can i make from this? can i make anything from this? can i see myself wearing it? since i usually buy from an area where fabrics are priced based on their weights (like 25€/kg, 20€/kg, etc.), they’re usually already in small enough pieces that i can no longer decide how long i want. this limits what i can make out of the fabric, sure, but that’s the challenge. another plus side, these kilo-fabrics are always different from one another, there is almost never any 2 pieces that have the exact same pattern. this means it’s guaranteed that no one will have the exact same clothing as me. 😉

i won’t lie when i say i also long for branded stuffs sometimes. but even so, i would rather buy them in a bargain. throughout my sewing “journey”, i’ve managed to find Moschino, Armani, and Hermès fabrics at bargain prices. though the brands weren’t the main reason i bought them, it felt great to have been able to purchase them with my super tight budget.

my next find was also just as rewarding.

if you were like me, spending your childhood collecting & trading stickers with your classmates, then you would probably know Lisa Frank stickers. and if you’ve been following my blog for a while, i’m sure you’ve also heard of Desigual. now if you combine these two together, you’ll get Melli Mello.

Melli Mello is a Dutch brand, though the name derived from French word “Méli mélo” which means mish mash. and that is exactly how their designs look like: a mish mash of colours, objects, and things you don’t normally imagine being together but somehow look gorgeous. and this whole mish mash clashings are just up my alley!

i’ve been eyeing the Melli Mello fabrics for about half a year, but since they normally cost about 25€/m, i’ve always had to hold myself back from getting it.

until finally last Sunday i saw a small remnant of it, sold for a bargain price. this was my chance!

without wasting any more time, i bought it, and worked on it right away. i had a vision of what i wanted to make from it, but didn’t really have too much option since it really was only around 1,2m long (which isn’t that big if you want to have room to play around with it). i don’t want to “waste” it to just being another skirt, it’s not enough to be a jacket, and making pants out of it would break the big & bold pattern of the fabric so much, i would definitely cry. so the answer is clear: i’m making it as a dress.

just a simple dress, in contrast of the complicated pattern. so i chose to do it with the same pattern i used for this dress (the second project), pattern no. 107 from Burda Style magazine, September 2012 issue. i had to make the sleeves a lot shorter and i omitted the pockets because i wanted the whole pattern of the fabric to be shown.

and so…


self-made dress, tights from Pasaraya Blok M – Jakarta, custom made shoes, vintage chain belt (worn as necklace) from UFF, & Other Stories clutch, Miffy watch.

… my dream came true. 🙂

sometimes it really is worth it to wait a while, don’t you think? (that is, waiting for something to go on sale. :D)


mellimelloclose1the fabric is 100% cotton satin, which is very easy to sew. it took me about 5-6 hours to do the whole thing from tracing the pattern to the fabric, cutting it, and sewing it down to the last stitch. that was quite quick for lill slow me! i used a zipper from my late grandmum’s old stash… i don’t even know what the type of the zipper is called, but it’s the kind where you can’t see the teeth from any of the sides (but not invisible zipper though). i had no idea how to sew it properly, but decided to make it simple and sew it like i would a metallic zipper: exposed.


mellimello3i know i promised to use my old fabrics for my sewing projects this year, but really, i couldn’t help it. seeing the result and the fact that i didn’t leave this Melli Mello fabric lying around in my closet for months or years make me feel a bit less guilty for breaking my promise. yes, Betty, this surely was a great bargain!


10 thoughts on “cheap and chic

  1. Pingback: a dress of many things | Step Into The Silver Rain

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