When I discovered repurposing queen Chonie of Proyek Akhir Minggu I was immediately taken in by her amazing projects…as I read through her blog I realized that she not only refashions & upcycles for enjoyment but also out of necessity.
…and all of her projects were handsewn until last year, when she learned the art of machine sewing from her mother-in-law on that gorgeous antique sewing machine.
My admiration for this talented DIY diva knows no bounds & I am incredibly proud to introduce you to Chonie Prysilia:
Back when I was a teenager I tailored my school uniform to fit better by handsewing it and also refashioned my mother’s 1990’s top to wear to my senior year farewell party. A few years later when I had moved to the big city of Jakarta, rented a tiny room in a boarding house and worked office hours, I often spent my valuable weekends in that little room handstitching a dress or sticking up recycled wrapping paper for my wallpaper.
Over time I discovered massive consuming habits growing rapidly throughout the big cities in my country: people working hard to buy European and American branded items that, to be honest, we simply can’t afford (did you know that $1 USD converts to approximately 12,000 in our Rupiah?). Only the very rich can purchase designer or even fast fashion chain store labels. Others choose to buy fakes (we have a huge market of them, in varying levels of quality). I can’t afford to be part of the first group and I avoid group number two. It concerns me that people are spending less & less time making their own fashions & accessories because society pushes them to keep buying.
A few years ago I moved to a smaller town, Yogyakarta, and became a freelancer which provided me with more time to focus on blogging and crafting. Creating a blog is very interesting & my first step was to choose what theme I wanted to write about. I did some research online and found so many people sharing their great DIY ideas and thought: “Hey, I’ve been doing things like this for a long time! I can combine both blogging and crafting.” This is a great way to continue my hobby and at the same time provide my readers with alternative styling ideas & tutorials to create their own unique items. Once I had my basic idea in place I named it Proyek Akhir Minggu. This means “Weekend Projects” and is in memory of my valuable weekends spent DIY-ing in that tiny boarding house room in Jakarta – before Pinterest, Youtube Gurus, even long before I knew how to use a sewing machine and had only one new outfit to wear to work.
Many creative bloggers are from North American and Europe and unfortunately there are not so many people DIY blogging in Indonesia. Our thrifting methods differ a bit as the types of shops & materials produced & distributed here are not the same nor as easily found as those in more developed countries. It is my hope that Proyek Akhir Minggu will help to lessen those differences by providing more thrifty DIY ideas to my Indonesian and Asian friends while at the same time spreading a wider horizon for all of the creative makers around the world. I am so happy to see the increasing variety of flags that appear in the Proyek Akhir Minggu statistics everyday!
Chonie’s top 5 thrifting & refashioning tips
1. Nothing is “Out of Style” when it comes to what I wear. Each individual has the power to decide for themselves what is “cool” or not. So raid your storage room, your mom’s or grandmother’s closets or your local flea markets. Even the fashion industry looks back to the past for inspiration. Sometimes all it takes is a small change to update a forgotten, cast off garment.
2. Avoid focusing on just one function. Everything has (at least) two functions. When you’re hunting for second hand items always look for the potential of what it could be not just what it is. A little imagination goes a very long way in refashioning & upcycling.
3. Local Wisdom. I believe that there is much to be learned through discovering handmade treasures from the past. I enjoy wandering through my local traditional markets instead of a fancy shopping center. These markets always have unexpected, affordable and quality products made by hand. The little “extra” creativity that you add to those flea market finds not only will create something uniquely yours but will also contribute to handmade culture & awareness.
4. Basic Shape. When it comes to thrifting an outfit or home decor I always look for the general shape & pattern first. You can always improve a “basic” style with the details that you want. Why pay for an embellished top from the mall if you can DIY it yourself?
5. Colour Palette. I’ve always used colours as a base for my outfits & DIYs. If I can’t identify the final shape I simply pull the most interesting colour from a bunch of clothes or my crafting stash & surprisingly it all works out in the end! I’ve never regretted buying items in fun colours & patterns. I can always change the style & functions with a DIY, refashioning or repurposing. Give it a try!
Terima kasih Chonie! Your story is truly inspirational!
Head on over to Proyek Akhir Minguu and get your upcycle on!
*Chonie’s blog is written in a mixture of English & Indonesian, however her tutorial photos & videos are easy to follow & Google translate is always available!