Thursday, 30 June 2011

Blog Awards!

My day was made recently by the lovely Elise of Foof and Faff who gave me not one, not two, but three lovely blog awards - my first blog awards ever, so thank you Elise!

Aren't they pretty? They do make me happy :) Upon receiving these awards apparently I have to tell you 5 facts about myself so here goes:

These reason I started this blog (in case you don't already know) was to see if I could go a whole year without buying new clothes. I have made, revamped or bought second hand every item of clothing I have needed this year and I honestly can't see this ever changing now! I've loved the experience so far :)

My Sweetheart and I had only set eyes on each other once before the day we became a couple, and we've been together ever since. It was quite literally love at first sight. Sickening but true!

I live a double life: I work in musical theatre but in between jobs you'll find me at Hope and Greenwood sweet shop. So far I feel it's been a good combination :)

I have never had a dog but have always dreamt of owning a dachshund of my own. Hopefully one day soon my dream will come true!

    My favourite food in all the world is pie. Sweet, savoury, you name it I'll eat it! Perhaps that's why I liked Pushing Daisies so much...

    I also get the honour of passing these awards on to 5 bloggers. Here they are in all their fabulousness, I admire each and every one of them!

    I like getting to spread the joy :) Thank you again Elise and I hope that all of you are having a very happy Thursday!

    Wednesday, 29 June 2011

    Wednesday Wonderfuls #24

    Hello there and a very happy Wednesday to you all!

    Firstly I want to say a huge thank you for all your lovely comments on my completed Shirt to Skirt Challenge, it's always lovely when something you've taken a lot of time and care over gets such a positive response, so thank you! You all made my day! :)

    Another thing that has been making me very happy recently is something I've neglected for a while now: reading! Now I read a lot, I couldn't get by without reading, but recently my reading seems to have been restricted to blogs and magazines and that just wasn't enough for me, so I decided to invest in some good old fashioned reading material: yummy books! 

    Check out my spoils:

    Two novels and two biographies

    Gorgeous fashion books

    EVERYONE should read this book

    I would like to draw particularly attention to "To Die For" by Lucy Siegle. I had spotted this book a couple of times in the fashion section of several book shops, but it was this review from Penny Dreadful Vintage that convinced me to buy it, and boy am I glad that I did! I really think that it's important that the fashion conscious woman should read this book, it will change the way you buy clothes forever. I can't put it down, so I'm sure I'll be writing a whole post dedicated to it as soon as I've finished it. For now I can only say read it and you'll see what I mean!

    Anyways, there have been lots of great things to read on the blogosphere this week, so without further ado here are my personal favourites, enjoy!

    • Once again we have a fabulous tutorial from Gertie, this time about how to make a shirred back dress, its brilliant! Check out Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 here.
    • Did you know it was national pink day this week? Crafty Minx has put together a great collection of pictures in it's honour, amazing if you like all things girlie :)
    • I just had to share with you this post by Boo Boo Kitty Couture about one of her favourite vintage shops The Girl Can't Help It. It is situated in Alfie's Antiques market and looks well worth a look or twelve!
    • I love ginger beer (I have recently started a love affair with Crabbies alcoholic ginger beer, it's heaven in a glass!) so if, like me, you've every thought about making your own you'll get excited about this recipe from Joy the Baker. ginger beer for all, hurrah!
    • This post from Tuppence Ha'penny Vintage about the changing shape of decolletage in fashion is a very interesting read. I'm always fascinated at how the desirable body shape has changed so much over the decades. Plus this post gets points for using the word decolletage which really should be used more in day to day speech.
    • Tasia at Sewaholic has released her newest pattern: the Lonsdale Dress. I think this dress would be perfect for summer, and like all Tasia's patterns the details are lovely - I think the bow on the back of this pattern is too cute!
    • And finally we have a tutorial from the lovely Casey about making shaped pockets. You just have to see how beautifully she has made these pockets on her own skirt to be chomping at the bit to try this technique yourself!

    That's it from the wonderfuls and me today. I hope you're all having a great week filled with wonderfuls of your own and some great books to read. Are you reading something un-put-downable at the moment? I'd love to hear about it!

    Bye for now :)

    Tuesday, 28 June 2011

    My knitting may take over the world...

    Seriously. It's getting ridiculous.

    Possibly the biggest knitting EVER. Or at least it is in my book...

    I've been working on the rowan dressing gown for several weeks now and I just wasn't fully prepared for how big it actually was. Plus is growing so fast, it has suddenly become this giant wooly creature that takes over any room that it's in! It's almost starting to scare me a little bit. I'm quite sure it could get up and walk if it wanted to. World domination is surely only a matter of time for such a large knitted item. Or perhaps I'm just going crazy after knitting in the sudden sweltering heat that has hit the UK...

    In other news this is my 100th post! Woo hoo! Thanks for reading, I love having you here :)

    Monday, 27 June 2011

    Vintage Revamp #5 - Shirt to Skirt Challenge, Completed!

    Hello there everyone and welcome to the grand unveiling of my completed Shirt to Skirt Challenge! If you cast your minds back you will remember that this is what I started this challenge with:

    Original plaid shirt

    Well, things couldn't be more different now! Take a look at what that old plaid shirt has been transformed into:

    Plaid jumper - Front

    Plaid jumper - Back

    So what do you think? Just a little bit different huh? :) I am unbelievably happy with how this skirt has turned out, I don't think you would ever know that it had once been a shirt! I'm very happy with the fit and the fabric is so lovely and soft because of the age of the original shirt. I think it looks really cute and is fun to wear, it makes me smile even if to others I may look a little like a leprechaun. Surely that's what life's about anyway... :)

    Check out my matching bow!

    I did get a little bit overexcited and decide that this skirt just wouldn't work without a matching bow for my hair (a bit of a change from the cream rose that I seem to wear every single day, I need to make more hair accessories...!) which you can see in the picture above. It took me about an hour to make, really simple and I think it works really well. Here's an extreme close up, for anyone who's interested:

    Extreme Close Up of matching bow!

    I'm also really happy with the amount of detail I managed to include on this project, I love taking my time to make things special! Some of these details include reversible straps:

    See, they can be plaid too!

    Lots of buttons and button holes, plus rick-rack details near the skirt hem:

    Buttons, buttons everywhere! Plus pretty rick-rack too :)

    The pocket from the original shirt revamped with rick-rack and some personal embroidery (remember the extra detail I mentioned at the end of this post? Well here it is!) using my initials:

    Pocket Love xxx

    I also love how the straps cross at the back. It just makes me happy :) :

    Criss-crossing straps, happy days!

    I have loved this Shirt to Skirt Challenge, particularly because I've pretty much been winging the whole thing! To create something entirely on my own without patterns or tutorials to show me what to do or the right/wrong way to do things has been a huge step forward for me. I've found this whole process incredibly liberating as it's shown me that I shouldn't underestimate my common sense and my basic sewing ability. I achieved much more that I thought I'd be able to with this project and that's just left me throughly excited for my next one!

    Let me leave you with this ridiculous picture of me hanging out with some garden shrubbery. I seem to lose all sense of reason when taking pictures for this blog!

    To see the whole process of my Shirt to Skirt Challenge check out these posts:

    Sunday, 26 June 2011

    "Make-Not-Buy" Challenge - SKIRTS

    Hello there, fancy seeing you here :) I hope you're having a great weekend, I've been having fun planning the next step in my "Make-Not-Buy" Challenge: skirts.

    I have quite a few skirts in my wardrobe already, so I've decided to keep this section fairly simple and only plan two projects, both of which I'm very excited about!

    First up is a circular skirt, I've been dying to have one of these for ages! I'm going to be using this tutorial from Casey's Elegant Musings, it's from an original 1950s instruction pamphlet so I'm sure it'll be great. Plus Casey's version is beautiful, so it fills me with hopes for my own creation :)

    Make your own circle skirt!

    And I already have the fabric for this project, all ready to go! It's the white rabbit print that I've mentioned previously. Isn't it adorable?

    White Rabbit Print fabric

    Close up of White Rabbit Print fabric

    The second project for this section of the challenge is a half circle skirt. This half circle skirt, which also includes some gorgeous scallop detail, swoon! This is one of the amazing free tutorials from Grosgrain Fabulous' free pattern month, what a great month that was :)

    Beautiful scallop edge skirt

    Like the circular skirt I also have my fabric for the half circle skirt all ready to roll. This time it's some lovely pink poly-cotton from Walthamstow Market - £1 a metre, oh yeah! The picture below doesn't do this fabric justice, it's a really lovely shade of pink, not as washed out as it looks in this picture...

    Yummy and pink (and even yummier in real life!)

    I also have some secret plans for this skirt, involving some exciting detailing that I cannot wait to start! But more on that at another time, I wonder if you can guess what it will be... :)

    So there you have it, two skirts not only planned, fabric is bought and I'm ready to go! You should see these projects coming into fruition very soon, and I couldn't be happier or more excited. For now have a wonderful weekend and expect some updates very soon!  

    Friday, 24 June 2011

    Shirt to Skirt, a Revamp Adventure! Part 3: Fiddly Bits and Pieces

    Well, my lovely readers, I would like to announce that my Shirt to Skirt project is now completed! I put the finishing touches to the skirt today and I'm really happy with how it's looking, another big happy success on the vintage revamp front :)

    However, let's not get ahead of ourselves, before you see the finished article I'd like to share with you the final part of it's creation: Part 3: Fiddly Bits and Pieces.

    By this part of the process I had completed the main construction of the skirt, but the things I had left seemed to be the most time consuming, all the little fiddly bits basically! Firstly I made the straps from the jumper, using the fabric from the sleeves of the original shirt, sewn together in strips and once again matched perfectly (if I do say so myself! I'm very proud of my newly acquired plaid matching skills!). I backed the straps in the green fabric I used to lengthen the hem, so that they can be reversed to add variety to the outfit.

    Strap, plaid side

    Strap, green side

    I also used the green fabric for the waistband, I just love how the green looks don't you? I've also reinforced the waistband with some horsehair canvas sandwiched between two layers of interfacing - that waistband is not going to be all naughty and fold over the second I bend!

    View of the waistband and skirt facing

    The picture above shows the inside of the skirt, showing the waistband and also some of the skirt facing which I added to both sides of the opening, again in the green cotton (are you seeing a pattern in my work?!). I'm actually very proud of the innards of this skirt, just as much as the outside. I'm trying hard to achieve a high standard in the finishing of my sewing and I'm loving the turned and stitched seam look, it's so easy and looks so smart and professional!

    Yummy seam finishes :) 

    You may remember from the fitting stage of this project that the skirt was looking rather long after I added extra fabric to the hem, so I ended up chopping off about 3 inches of this added length to get the look I wanted. I hemmed the skirt by hand - a favourite technique of mine :) - and I also added some white rick-rack to the join between the plaid and the green, just because. I think it looks purdy :)

    Hand stitched hem

    Rick-Rack, you're cute :)
    The thing that probably took the most time at this part of the process was the buttons and buttonholes. I had to work 15 buttonholes and then sew on their respective buttons, that's a fair bit of work! I was originally considering sewing bound buttonholes on the skirt, but I chickened out and used my sewing machine instead. Sometimes there are details that even I think may be too time consuming! 



    Button and buttonhole on a strap - see the reversible strap?? :) 

    I also decided to retain the pocket from the original shirt and add it to the skirt after tarting it up a bit (i.e. adding some more rick-rack. Rick-rack is fun)

    Pocket, post tarting :)

    Now you're not going to see me modeling this project until Part 4 - the bog reveal needs a post all it's own! - but here are some more shots to keep you going until then. I really hope you like what you see so far!

    That's it from me for today, but join me again soon when I'll be taking this project out on the town (as long as it stops raining long enough for me to get some good pictures...). I must admit I'm excited, this is definitely the most challenging project I've undertaken to date, so I can't wait to show off the finished outfit!

    I hope you've all had a fabulous Friday, bye for now!

    P.S. I may have started adding a little bit extra to the skirt at the last minute, I just couldn't resist! Here's a taster...


    Wednesday, 22 June 2011

    Wednesday Wonderfuls #23

    Hello there lovely readers, soggy greetings from rain drenched England. Don't try and tell me that we've had the first day of Summer, because I just won't believe you! It has literally been raining cats and dogs (well okay, not literally, otherwise this post would be about all my newly adopted furry friends...) over the last few days, and unluckily for me I don't have the ability to make the "in-the-rain-look" look glamourous, unlike these pictures of perfection...

    You're going to catch your death!!

    Matching gloves and shoes! Swoon

    Plastic rain outfit anyone?

    Traveling in the rain can still be fabulous

    Oh, how I love Gil Elvgren's Pin Ups!

    If, like me, you're thoroughly fed up with the changeable weather and are looking for a little pick me up, then allow me to give you a couple of wonderfuls to brighten up your day. A little ray of sunshine breaking the midweek clouds :)

    • If you've ever had questions about shoe styles look no further than Vintage Chic's  guide to shoe styles, a really good read. Although it has got me dreaming about buying shoes to fill in the gaps in my footwear wardrobe! Oh dear...
    • If, like me, you love a picnic, you're bound to love this post on Country picnic style by Heart Handmade UK. The red caravan is just adorable!
    • Portia, seamstress extraordinaire, shows us how to make tailor's knots, great for hiding away those straggly ends of thread that come from dart making.
    • I had to share with you Gertie's photoshoot in a gorgeous blue romper that of course she made herself. She looks absolutely beautiful, a perfect pin up worthy of Gil Elvgren himself :)
    • Penny Dreadful Vintage has done a wonderful series of posts on the recent Hollywood Costumes Auction. These iconic outfits have sold for small fortunes, if only I had that kind of money! (Read Parts 1 and 2 here)
    • And finally, if you're craving a real taste of the summer then I'm pretty sure you can't go wrong with this peach and raspberry crumble from Joy the Baker. I think I may have to make this for my Sweetheart as it uses his very favourite fruits, I'll see how generous I'm feeling :)

    I do hope the weather picks up soon, and that wherever you are you're enjoying your weekly adventures, whatever they may be!

    Bye for now!

    Tuesday, 21 June 2011

    Three Happy Things...

    ... that brightened up my day today.

    1. Fabric Love 

    I visited Walthamstow Market (with my ever patient Sweetheart in tow) and stocked up on some fabric naughtiness. I could hardly believe how little this stash set me back, it was like a fabric miracle :) I will definitely be heading back there again!

    Yummy x4 :)

    2. Magazine Love

    I nabbed a copy of Mollie Makes for myself on my way home from Walthamstow, it's been getting so much coverage on the old blogosphere that I just couldn't resist. I must admit that after a brief perusal on the tube it has impressed me, I can't wait to give it a proper read. I'll be sure to give you my thoughts on it soon!
    Yummy looking magazine filled with yummies!

    3. Embroidery Love

    I think this may be the happiest thing to happen to me today. My order from Sublime Stitching arrived! I actually cannot wait to get started on these little babies, I have big plans for them, but more on that at a later date... :)

    Embroidery is... yummy!

    On the making front my knitting is starting to look like it could take over the world and my Shirt to Skirt project is coming on very nicely (expect Part 3 very soon!). 

    I hope your day has been filled with yummy makes and happy things :)

    Saturday, 18 June 2011

    Shirt to Skirt, a Revamp Adventure! Part 2: Fitting

    Hello there readers and a very happy Weekend to you all!

    Today I'm going to share with you the next steps of my Shirt to Skirt revamp adventure, with Part 2: Fitting.

    First of all (because of my pre-mentioned obsession with perfectly matched plaid) I pinned up both the waist and the hem of the skirt along a line if the plaid so that I would have a lovely line of perfect pattern along these edges. After this I began fitting the skirt to my shape. From my first post you may remember that I sewed each of my pieces of raw shirt material into a single piece for convenience. I actually found it best to create a tube of fabric wide enough to fit over my hips and I then started to fit this tube to my waist. It was fairly simple, I added a pair of darts in the back over the hollows in my back and a matching pair in the front over my hips. You can see the back darts in the picture below, I think they look quite yummy :)

    Waist pinned along pattern line, two darts in the back 

    Once I had fitted the fabric tube to my waist I cut down the centre front to create the opening for the skirt. Once again I cut down a line on the plaid to make sure that everything would remain matched and pretty.

    Skirt cut down the centre front

    I will add facing to these edges later so they will no longer be raw. After the cutting I tried the skirt on again to make sure it fits just right, which it does, hurrah! However, the length had started to creep up when perfected the line of the plaid pattern, so I decided to add a contrasting cotton to the hem for decency. Plus I'm really liking the green next to the plaid, what do you think?

    Showing the new opening down the centre and the extra length in green cotton

    Here's the view from the back so you can see how awesomely the skirt fits there too. How nice to have something that fits one's behind for a change :)

    It fits my bum, hurrah! 

    I'm also very happy with the seam finishing I have been using on this project. I've been trying out turned and stitched seams, a method that I learnt from Gertie's blog, and I have to say I'm loving this finish. It looks very neat and feels as though it will be hard wearing which is always a plus.

    Fancy seam finishing, oooooo!

    The main fitting of the skirt has now been done, next up I will need to add the waistband, add facings to the front edges of the skirt, hem it, and add the buttons and buttonholes before finally adding the straps and any other little details I might think of. This feels like it may take a little time, but I'm loving how everything is looking so far! Not bad for someone who's just winging it :)

    By the way, I'm thinking of green for the waistband to match the hem, what do you think? I think it looks cute, like a little leprechaun...

    I'm thinking green for the waistband, what do you think?

    Join me again soon for the next update on this project, Part 3: Fiddly Bits and Pieces.

    Happy Weekend everyone!
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