Thursday, 28 February 2008

Spot the theme

Time for an uber-quick show and tell. Often I try and give hand-made gifts for my friends' birthday and Christmas presents. This is partly because I am perennially skint, but mainly because it means I can give them something unique and special that has taken time to create, rather than quickly grabbed from a shop. By and large (I hope!) my friends are the type of people who value this. Whilst I am making someone a gift I usually send most of that time thinking about them, subsequently I think that the thing I have made them is often more of an expression of friendship.

This bag I created for my friend Umi's birthday no exception:

It is made from some African wax-print fabric brought back by my friend Lee and his boyfriend from their recent African expedition. I developed this bag pattern years ago and have made it countless times. I always get excited when making this bag for the first time in a new fabric.

Umi liked the bag (unless she was just being polite). Never one to avoid a theme, this is wax-print fabric oven glove I made her for Christmas:

I know she definately liked that gift as she has commissioned me to make her a matching one!

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Red ain't Dead, it's just having some time out

At the tail end of last year I created a range of skirts in an attempt to generate some income from my 'talents' to aid my escape from my 9am-5.30pm soul-sapping public transport-mired existance working in a cheap clothing company in the arse-end, sorry east-end, of London. This didn't go quite to plan, and I didn't manage to sell much in the market I chose, and a drastically low bank balance forced me into my present interim employment. I am still proud of the collection I created, and haven't given up on my aim, but need to go back to the drawing board to work on a new strategy.

In the mean time, some of my lovely friends took a shine to some of my garments, and I gave some as Christmas presents. The fabulous Silvia Sella, a girl who fully understands the need to document and present your creative output, kindly created and emailed me these images of her in one of my back-pleat pencil skirts. Maybe it's because she's Italian, but Silvia actually has style inbuilt in her DNA structure, so for her to covet my creations is a great honour, and I must say that seeing these images generated in me a renewed excitement about this collection.

This image is brilliant:

Silvia is so dedicated to the pursuit of the visually beautiful, she let her cat stay in the image because, quote, 'I didn't kick her out of the pic just because she matched with the outfit'!

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Don't try this at home...

Some people layer effortlessly. Not I. My excuse has always been that I have a fairly curvy figure, and layering looks best on thinner frames that can handle a little extra bulk. Though that is probably just an excuse and my garment layering-school report should read 'Must try harder!'.

Anyway, today I've been pottering around the flat feeling pretty cold, slowly and unconsciously adding garments to try and keep warm. Until I just noticed myself in the mirror and caught my ridculous reflection ('What the f...?!). Yes those actually are leg warmers you see on my arms! Plus I'm sporting two tones of mustard. With red! Please, for the love all things visual, DO NOT try this at home, or even worse, IN PUBLIC!

I'm putting this all down to tiredness after a marathon of work shifts. Next week I'll get back to my endeavours and pursuit of all things fabulous.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Workwear Experiment, item #1

At work I have to wear black. Fair enough, it's pretty easy. Basically I wear whatever black stuff I have floating around, and not much caring. However, I am the first to agree with the statement that what you wear changes how you feel and perceive yourself (as well as how others perceive you, but let's concentrate on personal perception for now). So maybe it's time this dicotomy of mine got a re-think.

I have an on-going internal dialogue with myself about how I would like to look (/be/be seen/act/etc.), which is miles away from how I actually dress for the majority of the time. So how about trying to change and challenge that through what I am wearing at work, seeing as I spend most of my non-tracksuit bottom or pyjama-wearing hours in my work clothes?

Seeing as I have signed up to the Wardrobe Refashion pledge (more on this in the future), I cannot buy any new clothes, so I'm going to have to make some (hopefully more appealing) items with my own hands. So I plan to make some garments that I feel are more representative of how I would like to dress. In black. To wear at work. The added plus is: I always feel pretty damn pleased when I'm wearing a garment I made myself, so this should hopefully compound any positive joojoo I hope to incure from this experiment.

This morning I whipped up (I really must make a note to have more pride in using a phrase like that, not everyone can do that, even successful-career people) this uber-quick and simple top from my Built by Wendy pattern (Simplicity 3835). This is the fourth garment I have created based on this pattern (and have a further two variations planned), all slightly different and slightly adapted from the actual pattern. For this one, I made view C, but made the sleeves ever-so-slightly fuller.

Now I must dash and get ready for the aforementioned work, let's see how I feel after a shift in my latest creation. Apologies for the amateur bathroom mirror photography, I thought about asking the bloke who collected our broken oven today to help, but he seemed a bit busy!

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Dans Le Chat Noir....

Last night I went to The Black Cat for the ongoing celebrations of my friend Jack's birthday. A bit of a busman's holiday really as I work there, but several Thames Riviera Spritzers later, I'm not sure I could tell you where I was with complete certainty! Anyway, I decided I wanted a new outfit to wear so spent a couple of evenings cracking on with a project I'd been planning for some time...
Me and the (belated) birthday boy:

The science part:

The pattern was the 'Danielle' dress downloaded from the Burdastyle website. I wasn't very inspired by the pattern initially (probably because it was hard to see beyond the fact that they'd made it in crushed-bloody-velvet!) but having seen some of the other contributors' versions I thought I'd give it a whirl. Because everything I've made from the Burdastyle webite has come out too big, I deliberately made this a size too small. Mistake. I was hoping it could be a day or evening dress, but I think it's too corset-y to be worn without a drink in hand.

Generally I find it impossible to leave a pettern alone and not alter it somehow. This is no exception as I had to re-draft the bodice to add the CF and CB black panels, as the bodice fabric (vintage tea towels!) I used weren't quite wide enough. I also had to fully line the bodice as the fabric was too unstable to just make neckline facings. Otherwise, I would have preferred the skirt to be a basic A-line, rather than the front pleated and less-full skirt that the pattern has, but time constraints made me use it as is. It's probably good to have some variation in my wardrobe as I am at risk of letting things get a bit A-line heavy. I have to say the sleeve style wouldn't have been my first choice either but I think they look cute, though they were a total cow to put in in a rush.



The maths part:

Black fabric (probably a blend, it's a bit synthetic but has hangs nicely) bought from a member of my sewing group = £3

Two 1970's vintage tea towels bought from a charity shop (maybe not the best fabric choice as they faded a lot after only one wash, hoping it will add to the vintage feel, must remember not to spill too many drinks on it to avoid unnecessary washing of garment)= 25p each
Pattern download = free

Smugness of wearing something unique = priceless
Many thanks to my drinking companions, Jack and Simon.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008


I was just thinking: If that 'Dave' channel didn't show so many Top Gear repeats, maybe I'd have alot more beautiful clothes by now....... Which reminds me, it's nearly 5 o'clock!


I have a blog! Who'd have thought it! I've been planning on starting one for a while now, and have finally done it with the help and expertise of the lovely and talented Silvia Sella. As most people who know me have come to learn, when I was born, the technology part of my brain was missing. I blame forcepts delivery!

The aim of this blog is not (despite some peoples' perceptions of blogs (Simon)) to catalogue every dull detail of my life, but to use it as a platform to discuss and explore various issues and subjects that are important to me. Hopefully this process will allow me greater understanding about (my) creativity, sources of inspiration, and personal and cultural style and tastes. Naturally, particulars of my life will crop up in context, but I promise not to post about what I have made for dinner, for example. (Though I would if I were a good enough cook that I thought I could contribute to the creative cooking community!)

This blog will also serve as an arena to document my creations. My aim is to post at least once a week, and as from next post (cop out alert!), to always include (hopefully) relevant images, as I never read blog posts without images. I guess I'm a visual-slut like that!

I'm not the best ot funniest writer, and my spelling and grammer suck arse, but here goes..... Also PLEASE feel welcome to comment. Creating and adding to the discussion on these topics is my ultimate aim.
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