Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Reversible Bolero Shrug

This post is somewhat picture-heavy compared to the amount of photos such a small, plain creation would usually require to be illustrated adequately. That is because this creation is REVERSIBLE!!!! Therefore, my thought process was clearly that it requires double the amount of photos to show it to you than most creations I blog about!

I've been sniffing around this pattern pictured above for a few months. It lives at work but I haven't figured out how it got there: if it was bought by my boss for herself or for TRAIDremade, or if it was donated to Traid by a member of the public. I was drawn to the shrug style (View A) but so revulsed by the other styles that it took a while for sensory adaptation to kick in and I could get over the hideousness of the rest enough for me to be able to pick the pattern up and work with it.

The pattern calls for a single layer of fabric, but my thoughts were that making it double layered would make it function far better as a cover-up. Finally finding a suitable use for some lovely greeny-turquoise synthetic double-knit stuff I've had in my stash for over a year, I was able to cut one layer's worth before running out of fabric. Although the garment is small and made from only one pattern piece, it is cut on the bias so actually uses more fabric than you'd expect.

I hunted around the studio for something that might work (hoping in vein to come across some of the crazy zebra print double-knit we were donated but evidently have used up) and found some black double-knit with a lovely silky texture that has a similar weight to the green. Considering the black double-knit didn't previously belong to me (though was part of a donation from a fabric producers, so still technically second hand) I guess it's a half-Stash Busted creation!

It was an easy garment to construct (as you'd hope from something created with only one pattern piece!) but I still managed a fluff-up when trying to work out how to attached the two layers together. See Laura? I do make mistakes! There was unpicking and everything.

The two fabrics together create a really nice weight that should provide a decent layer of clothing for the chilly studio. The only unavoidable issue is that, whatever side I wear, the other side peaks through at the edges. But if you pretend it's some sort of contrast piping-style effect (which I am choosing to), it could be viewed as a design feature!

Oh, and the tattoo-style Essex badge? I made that! Maybe I should do a separate blog post on that one day. Anyway, I have no idea why it happens, but even with some image editing, the colour of the greeny-turquoise fabric looks really wrong in these photos. It's actually way more emerald in real life.

I'm really pleased to have squeezed in the making of this garment into my present busyness, because it not only relieves the strain on my three now very ropey thrifted cardigans, but it also provides a viable solution to my continual 'knitwear problem'. My 'knitwear problem' is that I'd like to have an entirely self-made wardrobe, particularly for the Me-Made/Self-Stitched month challenges, but my inability to knit and my refusal to buy new fabric (in this case I'd buy cut-and-sew knit fabric) limit my options for creating viable layering garments that I need to keep warm enough.

The forthcoming Me-Made-May 2012 will be properly launched in a couple of weeks. During it this one, I am planning on upping the ante for my personal interpretation of the challenge and making it extra challenging for myself in a couple of ways. One of those ways is to go back to the original rules I set myself I started this whole thing in March 2010, which means ALL CLOTHING must be self-made. For a couple of the challenges since, I have allowed myself to wear thrifted knitwear throughout the month, but upped the ante in different ways, like by not repeating outfits. Well, I'm going back to my fully self-made clothing pledge, but plan to dress with more variety than the last time I didn't allow thrifted knits. The reversible genius of this bolero shrug means that hopefully you all won't get too bored of seeing it throughout May!!!

Friday, 24 February 2012

The Hem-isphere Project: Round 1 Results

Woo hoo!!!! The first round of the Hem-isphere Project is complete and Cecile and I are ready to share the results. A quick reminder of what Cecile's package to me contained: a vintage blouse pattern, length of beige lace, sequinned anchor applique and vintage belt buckle (all pictured below).

Well, having received this in early January, I've had about six weeks to whip up a garment using any of the contents, or a combination of them. Here's my finished garment:

The sewing pattern had a couple of my favourite mid-century vintage elements (kimono sleeves and a Peter Pan collar), so it was kind of a given that I would use that part. Because the pattern was designed for teenagers, it had woefully insufficient accommodation for lady-hips. Instead of spending ages trying to adapt and toile the pattern, I opted to frankenstein the top part of this pattern with the bottom part of the Sencha blouse pattern. I also widened the neck hole a bit because the original was life-threateningly small!

I then omitted the neck facings and overlocked the collar pieces on and then stitched the small neck seam-allowance down. This is a bit of a nuaghty treat, but time is somewhat of the essence at the moment! The fit needed a little adjusting and I took it all in along the side seams through to the end of the sleeves, but the ease of that is one of the many joys of mid-century kimono sleeves!

I was originally planning on making this top from a thrifted dress which would have worked really well with the beige lace which I hoped to incorporate. But the old dress, although pretty large, wasn't big enough fabric to fit the pattern pieces on so I opted for this fine blue cotton that I scored from the lovely Julia at the recent De-Stash Meet-Up.

The blue fabric lent itself naturally (to my mind) towards a nautical theme, which meant the anchor applique deployment was an obvious step. As everyone knows, a nautical theme cannot work properly without some red thrown in there! So I decided to make the collar stand out a bit from the blouse bodice by using ric-rac as piping around the collar edges. I've never tried this before but have always loved it when I've seen ric-rac used in that way. I already had the ric-rac in my stash and it was pleasingly easy to apply in this fashion. The result was better than I had expected and I'll definately use this techinique again in future makes. I could have applied the anchor in a more traditional placement on the bodice, but I had concerns about the fineness of the fabric being weighed down. Plus the fabric creases easily so an appliqued detail might prevent effective ironning after washing. I opted to put the anchor on the collar instead, which actually seems to me the kind of placement a 1950s lady might have gone for herself!

So there you have it! My first completed garment for the Hem-isphere project. I'm really loving this project so far. Normally I think a project through from beginning to end before physically touching anything. So it was exciting to have the initial elements chosen for me, and I was forced to be more relaxed about this creation than my usual approach. The result is very wearable, and I can't wait for it to get warm enough to wear this out (and not covered up under ten cardigans!).

So, what did Cecile make from the package I sent her?!:

A wonderful loose blouse. I love how the check of the fabric changes to diagonals where she has cut the collar piece on the bias. We'll all have to head over to her blog to read more about this lovely creation.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Me-Made Challenges: 2012!!!

A couple of recent emails have lead me to the conclusion that I should reiterate my plans for the Me-Made/Self-Stitched challenges for this year. I announced at the end of Self-Stitched-September 2011 that I planned to only organise one of the challanges during 2012, and that is still firmly my intention. In short: there is no Me-Made-March 2012 this year, stand down troops!!!

The next Me-Made challenge that I will be organising will be Me-Made-May 2012. This is for several reasons. On a personal level, unlike the previous two years, I feel I have too much on my plate this year to commit myself fully to organising more than one. If you're going to do something, you may as well do it properly and a challenge organised by a harried, sleepless seamstress may not be the fully positive experience it is meant to be.

More broadly, I also feel that having just one month-long Me-Made/Self-Stitched challenge in a year will be to the benefit of the challenge itself. It will be more special and I think it will therefore be more fun to be part of. Lots of people in the past have left comments and emails to the effect of 'I'll take part next time', or 'I'll see how much I have to wear for the next one'. That makes it sound a little like a regular bus service that you might get round to using someday! Lots of regular MM/SS challenges could become blog-land background noise, if they haven't already. Not that that really matters. But I think it'll be more exciting for those of us who are interested in taking part if it is more of an event, plus less annoying for those who take no interest in the challenges (whoever the hell they are!!) if they only have to screen their blogroll for one month only!

So, early to mid April, expect me to be whipping up another global challenge, complete with pledge, logo, blog-widget/button, flickr group and whatever else gets dreamt up to celebrate 2012's crop of awesome, intrepid challenge participants pushing the boundaries of handmade wardrobes with a sense of daring rarely witnessed outside of the Antartic.

But if you were looking forward to a March of challenge-y goodness, fear not. Tilly (pictured above in her stunning new skirt) has conjured up a wonderful new group challenge, the One week, One pattern project. Full details are pending, but the thread (pun intended) of the idea is that sewers with a serious pattern crush can celebrate it by wearing the fruits of that pattern each day for a single week. Unless I have mis-interpreted it, this project sounds as much of a styling challenge as a sewing one, which is totally brilliant because I think normal, busy women would often like a reason to figure out some new, more interesting clothing combinations than the tried-and-tested ones we all tend to reach for each morning. Dates and details are to be set, but March has been the month floated for this exciting project.

The other pictures above are the three skirts I have made myself from one of my major pattern-crushes, Simplicity 2451 (pictured above). This is currently my strongest contender when I take part in the One week, One pattern challenge. What pattern do you think you would/will choose?

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Sew Good: Sewing Workshops

On the last day of 2011, I laid down some creative intentions I had for 2012. One of those was:

'Teach a sewing class/workshop. The plans I had for this have had to be aborted, but hopefully an opportunity will present itself by the end of the year that will make it possible'

I feel strongly that sewing is an important life skill, and that pretty much everyone should have, at the very least, a vague knowledge of how to do basic sewing repairs and alterations. It's very sad that sewing, or at least genuinely useful sewing, isn't being taught in every school today. It is also really sad that the prevalence of dirt-cheap 'disposible' clothing make many people think that the necessity for clothing maintenance is now obsolete.

I think it would be optimistic to say that the general mentality of the UK population is shifting towards a more sustainble mindset, but it is clear that a certain sea-change is taking place and many 'early adopters' or more naturally sustainably-minded individuals are seeking out places to pick up sewing and dress-making skills. The fresh crop of sewing lounges offering access to machinery and/or sewing classes and is a well documented and heartening phenomenon and lays testiment to this trend.

I've always really enjoyed helping out whenever a friend or aquaintance has asked me a sewing quuestion or wanted to learn a sewing or pattern cutting skill, so I've been thinking for a while now that I'd love to share my knowledge in a more structured format. Whether my assistance resulted in someone discovering a new life-long passion for sewing, or simply making one pair of jeans last longer by helping their owner to re-hem them, I think it'd be a worthwhile endeavour.

Towards the tail-end of last year, I had high hopes and fairly developed plans about creating a drop-in 'sewing surgery' in the basement room of the Handmade Co-op shop here in Brighton. But unforeseen circumstances, plus the recent transformation of the basement from useful space to store room for junk, has scuppered those plans. And it was at that point that I laid down those creative aims for 2012.

Well, I very pleased to say that only two months into the new year, I have already had the opportunity to begin making good on that original endeavour. And I didn't need to look as far afield for that opportunity as I thought I would, either. As you may know about my job, I make clothing from donated clothing and textiles that sells under the name TRAIDremade. But the charity Traid's activities are myriad and far reaching. There is a small but fantastic Education team who organise lots of talk, seminars and workshops in schools, colleges, universities, companies, social spaces etc. This department is lead by a dynamic and interesting lady called Lyla (pictured above on the left) who, incidentally, features a fair bit in John-Paul Flintoff's 'Sew Your Own'. When I saw in Traid's newsletter that the 2012 dates were confirmed for the 'Sew Good' workshops Lyla and her team run in the Traid shops in London, I got in contact to see if I could come along and help out.

Which is what I did one (snowy) night last week. The workshop was held at the Camden shop after normal trading (pun intended) hours. Accommodating up to five members of the public, it was free as long as they confirmed they were going to attend, and could bring any garment/s or aspect of sewing/mending/alteration they wanted. They could have one-on-one assistance from one of the 'experts' or simply have access to the sewing machines and equipment.

From my perspective, it was an interesting evening seeing how Lyla and her ladies run these events. For a while I gave some help and advice to a girl wishing to make a polo shirt style T-shirt from a couple of patterns she was trying to frankenstein together. But the fact she had only brought one of those patterns with her kind of limited the amount of progress she could make in that session. I then went on to help another woman who was actually a journalist for the Metro who was there to write a piece for the free newspaper about the workshop and making an on-trend rip-off (see Karl Lagerfeld sweatshirt pictured below). Despite my dislike for the advert-peddaling free papers like the Metro that have been littering London and other parts of the UK for the past six year or so, AND my hatred for (what I view to be) the self-esteem damaging glossy 'Grazia' that she also writes for, the journalist was lovely and really good company. Anyways...

The fashion editor or someone had contacted Lyla in advance asking if PVC and sequins could be provided because, due to deadline pressures I'd imagine, the journalist had effectively already written the article, and was merely there so she could add the final 'annecdotal' flourishes and create the actual garment to be photographed for the piece. That was a bit frustrating for Lyla and myself because it would have been preferable for the journalist to attend the workshop, having brought any materials with her, and experienced what she could achieve in the workshop in a less contrived set-up. But I know that I'm being naïve about how journalism really works, and we are grateful for any exposure Traid can obtain.

Conclusions? Well, it was a very interesting experience, but I'm not sure how much of my sewing/pattern making ability I was really able to share at that event. Plus it was a long way to go (two hours travelling to London each way after having already worked a full day at the studio in Brighton) for no extra pay. Maybe it was that my presence was a bit superfluous and that with fewer 'experts' (there was four in total for five attendees) there would be more to do and you'd feel you had helped more by the end of the session.

I'm very interested in helping out Traid's Education team again, probably in different and perhaps more structured scenerios that they are currently working on (fingers crossed that some of those come to fruition because they sound exciting). I am also still very interested in my drop-in sewing surgery plan, or perhaps extending that to more structured workshops/classes, in Brighton. Those ideas are napping but haven't been put to bed.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Wedding Inspiration: René Gruau

This is a picture-heavy post with not much text because I've recently fallen in love with the work of an illustrator which I'd like to share with you, and it is more than capable of speaking for itself. When I recently announced that I had got engaged and requested help from the lovely vistors to my blog with sourcing inspiration for my wedding dress and bridesmaid's dress, Cecile left the link to a google search for the illustrator René Gruau and it immediately blew my mind.

A quick bit of research later and I found out a bit more. Gruau was born in Rimini, Italy, in 1909. His French mother separated from his father when he was two or three years old. She often moved and traveled, and her son accompanied her. In the late 1920s, they moved to Paris, France, where he later started his career as an illustrator of fashion. In France, he was one of the best known illustrators of haute couture in the 1940s and 1950s, working for major design houses like Dior, Balmain and Givenchy, as well as many high-end magazines. He moved to the US in 1948 where he worked for Vogue and Harper's Bazaar, as well as on many advertising campaigns for gloves, perfume, cosmetics, lingerie, fabrics and so on.

Handily, he frequently worked in my chosen wedding colour palette (red, black and white), and I love how his restricted choice of colour brings focus to his subjects. Gruau's work also really reflects the sense of mid-century glamour I'd like to inject into this wedding, particularly through the dresses. I'm not sure I'm capable of quite the level of poise and elegance his muses project, but by attempting to add one part 'Gruau' to one part my normal level of kitschy-retro, and I'm hoping the outcome will be a look that hits a spot that is both timeless enough for the photos not to be embarrassing in a decade's time, but also authentically 'us'. Cecile is a very perceptive lady!

Looking again at the dresses I found most inspirational from all the suggestions I was given, I can feel some real similarities between them and Gruau's illustrations. Plus, I love the way his subjects are often exposing quite a bit of flesh, but steer completely clear from being 'trampy'. Lots of exposed shoulders, collar bones and backs, curvy calves and slender ankles: the female form is shown at its most delicious.

And while I know the my pretty-average height and weight to be quite that sleek and lithe, plus my tattoos and general cheekiness will prevent me from ever obtaining quite the level of class expressed by his muses, I'm pretty excited about what adding a touch of Gruau into the mixing pot will help produce!

So, what are your thoughts? What do you feel are the most exciting elements of his work? What do you think I could take from it when planning looks for myself and my bridesmaid? Thanks in advance for your opinions and assitance!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Brighton De-Stash Meet-Up De-Brief!

A couple of months ago I announced the Brighton De-Stash Meet-up that I was co-organising with Claire. Well, the event took place last Saturday, so in case you were wondering, I thought I'd let you know how it went.

Thanks to Claire for taking this picture above, and you can see the lovely swap-ettes, from left to right: Kathryn, Stevie, Laura, Shivani, Julia, Ally, Rehanon, me, Alana, Santie, Leah, Camilla and Laura (and of course Claire who is taking the photo!). These are some seriously lovely ladies that I'd be very happy to spend most Saturdays with!

Anyways, there was no messing about. Straight to the bar for drinks and swapping stash. Above are the little pressie bags of sewing goodies Claire and I put together for the laydeez. I took a photo of them all together because the fabrics (all scraps from work, don't worry, no pieces of fabric were harmed in their creation) looked pretty cute altogether.

Saturday's was the third sewing-based swap I've been part of, and it was equally as much fun as the previous ones. The ladies were so lovely and brought some seriously good selections of unwanted stash. We started out by briefly show-and-telling everyone what each swap-ette had brought along to swap and then piled it all up in front of them.

We then nominated someone to start who picked an item from someone's pile that had caught their eye. That person, who was now 'in deficit' was one item down, so it was their turn to pick something from someone else's pile. And so on... Because some of us (ahem) brought so much stuff to give away, it became some people's turn to pick quite often, but many times those turns were given to some of the other attendees who hadn't brought so much, so everyone got a pretty equal opportunity to choose something they liked to take home. I think the booty was spread out quite evenly, accept for those who deliberately wanted to go home lighter than they arrived. (Picture below: a swap in progress!)

After the heady excitement of the swap, it was time to get eating, drinking and chatting. Oh, and there was free wine. Free. Wine.

The day continued with a visit to Ditto Fabrics, argueably Brighton's best fabric shop. But it was interesting to see how few purchases were made AFTER the swap, compared to last time when shopping happened BEFORE the swap!!!! Having already scored bag fulls of new-to-us swag, the wind was taken out of the ladies' shopping-sails! Some of the ladies chipped off at that point, but the rest of us went for drinks and vegan cake so Santie could get her fix. Patty (Mr So Zo) joined us and was apparantly able to hold his own in a conversation about yokes and such; I guess he's learnt by osmosis.

So what did I come home with after the swap? Well pictured above are most of the notions I scored. Some cool white bobbley trim, the kind of which I've had my eye on in shops in the past. Some pretty jewel buttons, and some incredible navy and white buttons. Claire also gave me a fabulous red anchor applique but I forgot to include it in this photo.

Fabric-wise, I am relieved to have given away more than I gained! My new bounty is a thing of beauty! I'm really vibed about using all these pieces and I'm determined to have used most of it all before I attend another swap. That'll prove that the swapping endeavour really does work: that you end up with stuff that you are excited to use that had previously be laying dormant in someone's stash. Anyways, from left to right there are: blue and grey striped wool, fine blue cotton or cotton-blend, T-shirt weight red stripey jersey, T-shirt weight bright teal jersey and incredible African wax fabric (a personal weakness). I also got a duvet cover which I also forgot to photograph!

And finally, I also scored a vintage crochet magazine (which now lives in Patty's crochet stash box, I feel that deserves its own blog post one of these days), some 1940's sewing patterns (a couple of which are heading to the lovely Jane who couldn't attend but sent some by post treasures to give away during the swap), a couple of copies of Burda magazines (often become useful ages after you initially acquire them, I find) and a couple of copies of Sew Hip magazine (never seen this before).

So there you have it. It really was a great day and all the ladies were wonderful company. Claire is already in the process of organising another which I hope to attend, so if you couldn't make last Saturday's (and live in the South of England) hopefully see you at the next one!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Wedding Dress Inspiration Collation!

Wowzers!!!! I'm entirely overwhelmed by the response to my last blog post in which I announced my recent engagement. At time of writing it received 99 comments and several emails!!! Y'all are some wonderfully sweet and supportive people, I'm soooooo thankful for all your congratulations, kind words and best wishes. Also, for those who asked, my ring was made by a very talented Brighton-based designer (who can be found at Brighton Craftaganza, BTW) called Rock Cakes, here's her Etsy store.

Aside from being so sweet, you are also highly talented dress designers!!!! My request for any images/links/ideas that may assist me in developing designs for my wedding and bridesmaid's dresses was not ignored!!!! I'm incredibly grateful to everyone for their ideas and links and I can honestly say they have been sooooooo useful. I've been sent so many ideas, images and links to wonderful things that, off the back of them, I could design 300 amazing dresses each of which would be amazing for my 'big day'. But of course, there can only be one wedding dress and one bridesmaid's dress (one hopes!). And similarly, as helpful as the dresses that I was drawn to are, equally useful were all the dresses that, although undeniably beautiful, I was able to identify as 'not me'. It's really helped me to narrow down my options from the infinite possibilities that making something from scratch rather buying it in a shop leaves you open to.

So where am I at right now? Well, currently I'm still not set on the final designs, but I can feel that now I am much closer and have almost definately ruled out some design elements in favour of others. But I've been really sweetly surprised by the number of commenters that said they were interested in following the development of my designing and making these dresses. Maybe because I've never really given too much thought to weddings and their aesthetics (which I why I turned to the lovely readers of my blog for assistance), but it astonished me how many people might genuinely want to see more than the final garment. So to honour that, I'm going to share selection of all the images, links and designs that you all have shared with me, before I get too far along with the design process. The wedding day itself will draw alarmingly close if I blog every single inspiration point you've sent me, so this is just an edited selection of images that resonated with me the most (in absolutely no particular order):

Now, although I stated in my last post that I wanted to be wearing a normal bra for the event, I could be enticed into M&S to research alternative under-garments to accommodate a neckline like this one, as suggested by Roisin. Showing some sexy shoulder, but without needing to continuously yank up an entirely strapless bodice, this type of thing could be just the ticket. I like the cheeky peek of black showing at the hem too.

Mommy En France directed my attentions to the retro Butterick B5032. Now I've seen this dress on Sew Retro and other sites, and thought it was nice, but I'm not sure I've seen a version made up with the back bustle addition. Actually, it's probably just a sash that ties round the waist and falls long at the back, but it's putting me in mind of bustles and back-business, which is no bad thing!

This Vivien of Holloway dress, which was also brought to my attention by Roisin (a keen eye for an awesome dress, that one). I really like the pleated/gathered section of the bodice as it goes into the midriff band. Oh, and those grown-on sleeves always catch my eye. BTW, as much as I love them, I have to remember that midriff bands look terrible on my frame as I have a super-high natural waistline which leaves very little space between my bustline and the smallest part of my waist.

Kate suggested making the most of 'the girls' with some kind of shelf bust detail. I like the idea of adding quite a raunchy element to the dress whilst maintaining decorum with a sleak, modest pencil skirt like the one on the left of this pattern Love those little delicate pleats instead of darts on the pencil skirt option too.

Lots of people sent me links to garments with lovely bateau and almost-bateau necklines, like this one pictured above from Madelaine. I think just a hint of collar bone at the front and plunging away to a scoop or deep V at the back is such a subtley sexy option.

Bella found this picture above in a blog post full of lots of beautiful vintage dresses. I really like the simple line of the top of the solid black under layer. My personal jury is still out on lace, I've never really worn it or worked with it, but do admit that it can look stunning. But then, Vicki Kate made the suggestion of black lace appliques on red, which could have an equally wonderful impact without getting too 'lacy'.

Damn!!! Now THAT'S an hourglass silhouette! No denying it. Colleen shared this dress with me, I also love the crazy-scaled bow detail. If you can't rock an enormous bow detail on your wedding day, when can you?! Also, I feel that skirt length is absolutely perfect on her.

This dress also shared by Colleen and sourced here, is truly wonderful. I'm particularly loving the wonderful scooped neckline and small grown-on sleeves. Also, I hadn't previously considered using a combination of different fabrics but in the same tone. That's really got me thinking...

Mrs C, who very got hella creative and whipped up this design page for me, has offered a response to a question that has been troubling me: how to make the bride's and bridesmaid's dresses similar but not too similar. My boss, who used to run an ethical bridal company, also gave me some top advice about this matter. I'm sure it's a topic I'll be coming back to again soon in the designing process. Also above, loving the emphasis on the smallest part of the figure.

Hanna shared this awesome image, which really hammered home to me just how much I want to get married in red. The sexy silhouette with cute-but-not-too-kitschy bow shoulder detail is a really clever combination in my mind, and has really got me thinking....

Lots of people, including Christina, lladybird and my home-girl Rehanon, have suggested touches of very-Zoe elements, like leopard print and tattoo imagery, specifially swallows and anchors. Whilst I'm heading for something more classic and less kitschy than my usual fare, I am not ruling out adding some such cheeky fun into the mix!

As I say, this is just a selection of the many wonderful suggestions passed on to me. And every single link and image (not just the ones pictured above) has been indispensible in leading me towards what I want to make, so again a huge thanks to everyone who commented and emailed.

Finally, very good luck and all the best to Margaret and Suzy who are also in the process of designing/making their own wedding dresses. Let's do this, chicas!!!!

I'll probably share one more selection if inspiration before I make my final choice after I've trawled through all the vintage pattern sites that some of you suggested, plus Etsy and so forth. But I promise this blog won't become a wedding-only affair until after the big day. See you soon xxx
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