DIY 50s Floral Vintage Dress

25 February 2013

This is a quick and easy way to transform a long vintage dress into a shorter 50s inspired piece. This is a great way to inject new life into old clothes and to add to your wardrobe, not to mention it's eco-friendly and helps promote recycling.

I understand that not everyone has readily available DIY materials, so household alternatives will be offered to ensure easily replication at home. The materials you will need are: vintage dress, thread, needle, seam ripper (or small scissors), sequin trim (stretch or standard) longer than hem length, head pins and fabric scissors (or normal scissors).

Step 1: Choose another dress from your wardrobe that is of the same length you want this dress to be, place the shorter dress on top of the longer dress, lining up the shoulders and mark where the hemline is on the longer dress. This is a lot more accurate than wearing the dress and marking the length because often when you bend down to mark the length, you will unknowingly mark a point a lot higher than you want.

Step 2: Either hang the dress up evenly and cut the hem by hand or if there are level seams already, measure several points using a set length from the seam, mark with a pencil, join up the dots and cut along the line. If you're using normal scissors, please cut by markings and be patient as these scissors are more blunt than fabric scissors.

Step 3: Using head pins (don't use needles as they wont stay and may risk injury if lost), pin the trim into place. If you're shortening a fitted dress (e.g. stretch bodycon), be sure to use elastic sequins to allow for stretch and movement. Elastic sequins may also be used to create a more ruffled skirt by sewing the trim in its stretched state (the more stretch the tighter the ruffles).

Step 4: Cut a long length of thread (not too long or it'll tangle), thread it through the needle, double the thread onto itself and knot 3 times at the end. Sew the trim onto the hem from underneath to hide the knot. You don't necessarily need to do this very neatly as the sequins will mask any uneven sewing. Use the seam ripper to correct any mistakes.

Step 5: Knot the thread 3 times a couple inches before the end, you do this purely for ease as it tends to be a lot more difficult to knot with only a couple centimetres of thread left. Repeat the process until trim has been sewn on and you're done! Make sure to clean up any flyaway pieces of thread by trimming them down.

I am currently toying with the idea of selling this in the shop (link in sidebar) but have grown increasingly attached to it. I think it's important to raise awareness of recycling in the community in order to reduce carbon footprint, decrease waste and promote self-sufficiency. It's all well and true to go to your local dry cleaners to get adjustments made to your clothes but they are often pricey and are sometimes of poor quality. Altering clothing at home is a money-saving technique that has a multitude of benefits including the development of new skills and the ownership of one-of-a-kind clothing. Promoting upcycling (the recycling of old clothes into new clothes) gives the community a chance to explore charity shops and be philanthropic, not to mention it's great for finding designer bargains if you look in the right place! I hope you enjoyed this simple vintage DIY, if you have any DIYs of your own - please link them below. 

Mary Katrantzou for London Fashion Week 2013

19 February 2013

Last week, I was lucky enough to attend the Mary Katrantzou showcase for London Fashion Week and I bagged myself a gorgeous Mulberry tote bag too. The tote was thick with a glossy web design and metallic gold lettering. Inside came dry shampoo by Label M and a limited edition Nails Inc nail polish in Vodafone Red. Although nothing uniquely amazing, I think they did well to choose staple products to gift in their totes.

As for the show itself, I brought the lovely Clare from Pink Little Bean to the show with me as I knew she loved fashion and I knew it would be great for her blog. The event was a showcase of Mary's two most popular collections which happened to be very contrasting, with the first being mainly prints and patterns and the second being more textures and trims, something I am a huge sucker for. Mary has a talent for incorporating everyday items into her pieces like pencils to create lattice skirts and typewriter typebars to create almost Victorian-like collars, it's remarkable. I think it's important to embrace the arts in order to appreciate the true beauty of life and to see things from a different perspective. It opens up the mind and inspires people to think outside the box, very much like the beauty of an obsolete mechanism such as the typewriter, being replicated and transformed into a more usable form such as clothing. 

As you can see from the photos, Clare and I decided to go out afterwards - although it does look a little like the tote bag itself decided to start a boozy night with a round of cocktails but I assure you, our totes are not of legal age and will not be bought or served alcohol. We met up with recently engaged Katrina of Carousel Diary (woo, you go girl), then Clare and I decided to go to a club. We had a fun and eventful night, then had lunch and a stroll in Camden Lock the day after. This was definitely the best Valentine's I've had by far and Clare was even sweet enough to come bearing gifts for choosing her to come.

Included with the adorable Thank You card (which is sitting pretty on my window ledge) was a cream rose necklace from Scarlett Hearts which I was delighted to receive as I just bought a ring like this not too long ago and now I can wear them together, and a fantastic Meadham Kirchhoff set of Nail Rock wraps. You may notice that the nail wraps fit in with the London Fashion Week theme as Meadham Kirchhoff is actually one of the catwalk designers presenting and just completed their walk today. I'm a huge fan of Meadham Kirchhoff typically, as I also love JCDC and Jeremy Scott. I also love the stark contrast between Meadham Kirchhoff's season collections.

On the subject of Valentine's, I just thought I'd quickly share with you this year's Valentine's treat, a Moschino Olive Oyl umbrella I snapped up for £25 in TK Maxx. 

Thank you London Fashion Week for such a lovely show and Clare for such a fun-filled night. I'd never been out in London before so it was a first for me. Go follow her over on her blog and tell her that Antonio says hi and that he likes Sheffield.

Current Favourite Blogs

18 February 2013

Top Picks

Glorious Treats is a bakery blog full of delicious recipes and tutorials. The fresh layout and high quality images make for the easy replication of recipes. Treats like these are always good for the heart and soul, especially in the world of food as we can all fall into a boring rut of dieting far too easily and often forget that we deserve to enjoy our food too.

WTF1 is an alternative Formula 1 blog that boasts a humorous and easy-to-read commentary of Formula 1 seasons. When the calendar has ended, WTF1 entertains us with posts such as motorsport Harlem Shake, overly attached Schumacher and photoshopped Webber, and a good laugh is always good to boost your mood.

Lux Life lives the life I only dream to have. She writes about beauty, events, food and much more. Her blog is easy to follow and is packed full of wonderful photos. Having lived in Australia as well as the UK, reading her blog gives me an incentive to move to a bigger city and explore the world.

Eat Drink Chic is the blog I turn to for free printables and inspiration. I'm a huge lover of stationary and clean lines. The blog screams Pinterest which is why it always excites me to see a new post by her. Sometimes it's the little things that make us feel all the more humble, and by appreciating the little things - we learn to appreciate the bigger things in life too.

A Matter of Style is one of the many fashion DIY blogs I enjoy following. A Matter of Style covers high fashion DIYs as well as high street fashion DIYs. Being a fond fashion DIYer, I understand that with some elbow grease and materials - fabulous fashion replicas can be made at a fraction of the retail price. It's a great way to perfect useful skills as well as being pocket-friendly.

Another blog is a pair & a spare who is now the proud owner of her own book. Geneva has featured in numerous publications, only spotting her just the other week in a magazine I purchased in Australia. Geneva is very much influenced by high fashion, she creates easy to follow DIY tutorials, some I plan on replicating in the near future.

Trash To Couture is a DIY godess with looks to boot. She focuses on thift and vintage DIYs giving a new lease of life to old clothes. She has transformed numerous dull pieces of attire into beautiful new party dresses, she is simply a genius. Recycling is a fantastic way to minimise waste and reduce carbon footprint, and upcycling (the DIYing of used clothing) is a great way to recycle and save money.

While you may need to venture out to buy materials for the DIY projects posted on the previous DIY blogs, Carbon Couture allows for DIY to be easily done using bits and bobs found around the home. Using yellow dishcloths to make Eugena Kim style Tromp L'Oeil headbands, jump cords to make Marc Jacobs style cornelli accessories and replacement sequins and beads that come with new clothes to make Miu Miu style embellished hoisery, there is sure to be a project for you. This is a fantastic and creative way to de-clutter your home.

Dina's Thoughts always inspires me to go to more car boots and save more money (which I already love doing!) Her clean-looking blog is full of useful information but not packed too much with text. She has her own vintage stall and the fluffiest Pom I've ever seen! Recently married, Dina is a delightful blogger and her blog is always a pleasure to read.

London Grumblr is always great to read. It documents everyday London life in animated gif format. It's fun to read regardless of where you reside so long as you have been to London or know what London is like. The preview above really doesn't do the blog any justice as its humour is based on the gif aspect alone so head on over and have a hearty chuckle.

Last but not least, How Does It Feel To... I love this blog as it's the type of blog I aim to achieve with my own. Much like other blogs, it covers a range of topics from beauty to food but with a profound twist. This is precisely how I want my blog to turn out, as although materials play a significant part of every day life, sometimes we need to be reminded of the true meaning of life and what is really important to us.

Notable Mentions

Australian Valentine's Swap

17 February 2013

This month, I was lucky enough to participate in a Valentine's Swap hosted by the lovely Jasmine of Sweetaholic Beauty. I was paired with Kristen of Canvasbag Kris who is an Australian blogger from Melbourne. Coincidentally, I was booked on a holiday to Melbourne at the time so I posted her gift in the most adorable packaging bought from Typo when I was on holiday. I received my swap from Kristen when I arrived home and was beyond pleased with what I had received as I hadn't successfully found any Australian-only products while away. What I loved about the swap with Kristen is that all my products came in a box, so it felt almost like a subscription box, but better as it had a lot more products.

Skincare first, we have a revitalising facial scrub by Sukin which is an Australian natural skincare brand. What's interesting about this scrub is that it has ground walnut in which acts as the exfoliant. I have a sample of Aveeno lotion which will be great for travelling, I love collecting samples for when I travel so this is a great addition. Next up are three mud face masks by Formula 10.0.6. I love face masks as I use them for Facial Fridays (don't laugh). I received an oil-absorbing sea kelp and calendula mask called No Time To Shine, an ultra-cleansing orange and bergamot mask called Deep Down Detox and a skin-cleansing strawberry and yarrow mask called Pores Be Pure. Lastly, a much desired Maybelline Baby Lips. I have this tint already as I went crazy in Target while I was in Melbourne and bought several, but I will definitely have use for this extra one I received as I love these lip balms and although less innovative, they have proven to be a lot better than the EOS lip balms I've tried and are much less bulky.

I received some amazing cosmetics from Kristen that include a blush from the Australian brand, Australis in the colour Glamour which is a peach with gold shimmer (which I hear is what NARS Orgasm is) and a massage therapy lip gloss in Torquay and a lip definer in Tender Berry, both by Face of Australia. I'm not a big lip gloss person but I love that it's a mineral lip gloss geared towards massaging and nourishing the lips, plus it smells divine. I'm glad I received the lip liner in the colour I was sent as I'd been looking for a darker red liner to help stop my darker lipsticks bleeding and to help outline the lips more accurately than my nude liner. The last beauty product I received was a set of nail strips by Chi Chi which is another Australian brand. I've never tried nail stickers before and have been dying to try them. Before my holiday, I had bought some from Primark but after doing some research, it turned out that they only lasted a day so I returned them. I love that Kristen sent me these in the Australian flag print and I'm thinking of saving these for Australia Day or if I ever return to Australia for a holiday or for permanent residency (been considering this for a while now!) 

Lastly, I received some lovely extras. I received a set of two metallic purple make-up bags from Modella which has a lovely textured flocked zebra pattern. I also received some small silver bow earrings by Diva which you may recognise as the jewellery brand used by Miss Selfridge here in the UK and a nail file by Manicare which I have been desperately needing as I ruined my previous nail file with nail polish which is impossible to remove due to the texture of the nail file.

All in all, I am beyond pleased with my swap with the lovely Kristen and would urge you all to read her blog and follow her on Twitter. I hope to do more swaps with international bloggers in the future as I really enjoy discovering non-UK products. I feel that by trying out international products, I get to explore the world without having to leave my home. I am able to discover what products work for people all around the world and why, like whitening products in Asia and skincare in Australia and it helps me understand different cultures a lot more, which I find truly fascinating. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Kristen for sending such an amazing box of goodies to me, so thank you!
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