Monthly Archives: April 2011

Hardly Dressed For a Wedding….

This was my outfit today, I felt very under-dressed with the entire world watching and talking about the Royal Wedding! I must confess the whole thing brought a tear to my eye, and the dress…..Sarah Burton, Alexander McQueen would be proud.

Shirt and Shorts: Topshop

Boots: River Island

Aside from watching the wedding, I have actually got a lot of work done today. As per usual things took longer than I expected and it took me until 7pm to finish sewing the pintucks into the bodice of the ruffle skirted dress. I was beginning to wonder why I seemed to have designed things that are so fiddly and time consuming but I’m pleased (and relieved) to say that I think it’s really going to be worth it. I also trialled using fray stop on a raw edge of the chiffon, there is a slight change in colour where you put it but I don’t think it would be noticable and it truly stops the fabric from fraying. I think I’m going to need a fair few bottles though, it’s going to be a very long job that one!! Apart from that though (which I’m going to leave till last anyway) this dress is very much on it’s way to being finished. I  need to get some coverable buttons tomorrow and then make a lining for it. This is a job in itself though, I’ve been reading up on cutting bias-patterns in my Helen Joseph-Armstrong pattern cutting book to see how best to do it. Think that’s tomorrow afternoon sorted anyway!!

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It’s Just Been One Thing After Another….

I’ve had one of those days today where everything seems to go wrong! Just a little taster of my bad luck: I got burnt on the hand by a woman walking past me waving her cigarette around, couldn’t use the print room as there was a class in there, went into Starbucks and realised I didn’t have my purse. One of my friends bought me my coffee, then once we’d gone back into uni I remembered that my petrol was on reserve. Millie came to my rescue again: we trecked back into town to a cashpoint and she lent me some cash to get me home!!

There’s more but I won’t go on, I’m writing today off as a bad day and am just going to have to be super duper productive all weekend to make up for it. I’m hoping I’ve had all my bad luck. Hoping for some success this evening though; I’m going to have a go at starting to build the website for my Start-Up Planning module.

At least I had a nice outfit on though:

Dress: Topshop

Socks: River Island

Cardigan: Topshop

Boater: New Look


I’ll Just Tell You About Today….

Oh my goodness, I’ve just sat down and I’m absolutely pooped!! The past few days I’ve been crazy busy doing uni work, going to work and all sorts of other things! I don’t really know where to start telling you about it all. Today’s been no different and I’ve spent my time doing sketchbook work and getting some paperwork in order, including these photoshoot boards:

We found a good location for the shoot today too; a place called Tyrley Locks where the canal is surrounded by high banks covered in wild flowers. There was an old aquaduct across the canal and there were dandelion seeds blowing in the wind, it felt like the perfect place for the photoshoot, I need to scout out a few places around Stafford too though, it would be easier for children’s photoshoot as that’s where the models are from and I don’t want to put people out by asking them to travel too far.

Much of my time recently has been spent sewing, although it has been pintucking and ruffle making so nothing finished to show you. It’s looking good, feel like things are progressing well and my pleated fabric should arrive by courier tomorrow which will hopefully mean I can get a couple of dresses all but finished this weekend. I need to get things like zips and buttons before I go back over to my mum’s. When she read my recent post concerning how see-through my silk chiffon was she advised that the best way to overcome this would be to cut the lining on the bias so I will need to draft bias-cut lining patterns too. There’s a lot of work to do in the next 4 and a half weeks,  I’ll get there I’ll just have to keep working my little socks off!!

It was ever so gloomy this morning that I put on black opaque tights with this outfit:

Top and Skirt: River Island

After spending the morning shut in my room (which barely seems to get any natural sunlight) I went into the kitchen to make my lunch to happily find that the sun had appeared and me and Bracken sat out in the garden to eat my salad. I did some more work and then went to pick Dave up from work before heading to Tyrley Locks. Once we got home I ended up spending a few hours in the kitchen making Dave and Iced Berry Mousse Cake and homemade meatballs for his tea. The recipe for the meatballs said to grate the onion, I swear I am never doing this again my eyes were streaming sooooo badly! I had heavy black eye make up on and couldn’t touch my face as my hands were covered in onion juice, the results were the worst panda eyes you’ve ever seen in your entire life! I love cooking, it’s like my little de-stress time. I am pretty knackered now though!!

Off to uni tomorrow to use the print room, hoping to get a trial run of my print designs done.


Pintucking Perfection……

I’ve had a very successful couple of days,  I started yesterday with a run and then did some gardening in the sunshine. I was very pleased with myself because I had some baby salad leaves from my garden for lunch!! I picked a radish too but it wasn’t much bigger than a pea. I made some good headway with my sketchbook too, it tells much more of a story of my collection now. There’s still a lot more to do but it’s just a case of doing a little bit every day to keep on top of it.

I’ve spent today at my mum’s again, I’ve sewn all the pintucks into the skirt panels. It was so much easier on an industrial machine rather than my domestic one, they look so neat and the finished panels look beautiful out of the real chiffon. I’m looking forward to getting back to it after work tomorrow.

Whilst I was doing all my stuff yesterday, Dave cleared out the garage and came across a box of clothes I never unpacked from when we move. I was so very pleased, I’d only been thinking about this little red jacket a couple of weeks ago but thought I must have given it to charity:

Cropped Jacket: Topshop

Liberty Print Shorts: Topshop

Sandals: New Look

This is not the best picture of me I know, but we left it rather late to take it and didn’t realise it was so bad until I uploaded it. Love showing my tattoo off though. Now I’m in my jimjams so can’t take another. Dave’s coming over tomorrow so normal service will resume on the photo-taking front.


Life is Sweet….

Great day today, got everything I intended to do done today and also got to sit outside in the beautiful sunshine to eat my lunch. My mum said this dress reminded her of something my nan wore in the 70s. My nan was a rather glamorous lady back then so I didn’t mind the comparison:

Dress: Sparkle and Fade from Urban Outfitters

Sandals: New Look

Sunglasses: Got these last year, wish I could remember where from because I love them!

A crisis was narrowly averted though: my sister was using both of the mannequins at my mums and didn’t want to take her stuff off them. I was tempted to go ahead and just cut everything out in the real fabrics but decided not to risk it. Boy was I glad as I realised that the front waistband section of  the final dress was not right at all, I had gathered the bodice into it but not really thought much of it. After trying it on the mannequin, I measured the waistband against the pattern pieces. They matched perfectly so I knew my sewing wasn’t at fault. So I measured it against the original skirt block, I don’t know what on earth I had done but the waistband was 5cm short (on the half)!! I corrected the pattern and then also corrected the skirt panels; now that the waistband had increased I needed to divide that additional 10cm between the 10 skirt panels. I think it is going to look amazing though, ignore the colours it’s just the toile. What do you think?

And this is the finished toile of the second dress:

Once I had corrected my patterns I cut everything that I could out and overlocked all the edges. The only thing I’m not sure about is what to line both dresses with, I had intended to self line them with the same silk chiffon. But it’s so fine that even with a double layer it may still be see through.

Planning a day on the sketchbook, out in the garden tomorrow and a massive run tomorrow. Then back to my mum’s for four days on Friday morning via the haberdashery to get as much sewing done as possible 🙂


Making Good Progress……

I had a brilliant day yesterday, Dave and his mum had gone to watch Stoke play at Wembley. Whilst I obviously missed him, it was a great opportunity to turn the dining room into a sewing room and I was so pleased with everything I got done. I’ve completely finished toiling the last ladies dress and also completed the toile of the second ladies dress (the one with the ruffled skirt). I’m so so happy with how they both look, I think they’re going to be breath taking when made in the real fabrics. I’m going over to my mum’s tomorrow after work so will be able to photograph them both on the stand and assess the fit of them properly. I’ve tried them both on and although they are obviously far too big, there doesn’t seem to be anything majorly wrong.  I do need to extend the back bodice on dress 2 by 6cm and the whole bodice on dress 3; I used my bodice block rather than my dress block and didn’t check the length.

I have packed my fabric and sent it to be pleated today too, it’s really exciting and also a relief to feel like I’m actually making some progress with things now. My plan for Tuesday and Wednesday is to get as much cut out and overlocked at my mum’s as I can and  then I can always continue sewing at home if I’ve got all the edges overlocked.  I also want to get my sketchbook as near to being finished as I can, there’s lots of drawings I’ve done and haven’t stuck in and a lot of annotation to do. At the moment I don’t feel that it clearly tells the story of my collection and I think that’s really important. My research has been one of my weaker areas before and so I don’t want this to bring my marks down.

I haven’t really got any uni work done today as I was modelling for a photoshoot in an upcoming magazine Prototype, the magazine is being launched by my friend Laura. Today’s outfit post is a sneak peak from the shoot, photography by the very talented Dave:

Dress: Topshop

Boots: ASOS

Tights: Topshop

Necklace: Accessorize

Denim Jacket: H&M


Making a Start on the Real Deal……

Oh my goodness I’ve been a busy little worker today!! I’ve made a start on the real thing of the ruffled dress, it was a bit scary to cut it out in the silk but it was much easier to do it on my Mum’s full size cutting table instead of at home on the dining room floor! It was much easier and neater to cut it using a cutting wheel rather than scissors too, although I did slice into my finger and it’s rather sore! I’ve sewn all the big tucks into place but I haven’t slashed them open yet as I did on the toile. The raw edges of the silk fray so quickly and although this is the effect that I want on the ruffles I’m worried that if I did it now, then by the time it gets to the catwalk show in June there will be nothing left. I’ve heard of this stuff called “Fray Stop” that you can put on raw edges, I’m going to get some and do a little trial piece; I don’t want the edges to look like they’ve got something painted on them though.

I’ve put the toile I was working on to one side for the day as I can carry on with it at home on Sunday, I wanted to make the most of having access to industrial machines whilst I’ve been at my Mum’s. Unfortunately I’m working all day tomorrow so won’t get any uni work done.

When I went to London on Monday, we popped into Primark on Oxford Street. I’d never been before and it was not a particularly enjoyable experience, I felt so sorry for all the people working in there; a never ending task of picking up and folding and rehanging. I did manage to find this beautiful skirt though, I couldn’t believe my luck:

Skirt: Primark

Vest: Topshop

Denim Jacket: H&M

Socks: River Island

Hair Bow: Piece of lace from haberdashery