With the countdown to Africa Fashion Week London 2019 well underway, I thought this would be a good opportunity to invite you to visit my Pinterest board – Africa Fashion Week London 2019.
This collection of 100s of photographs has been especially collated for this year’s show, with more added each day. With a wealth of ideas, influences and imagery, it will surely get you in the mood to strut your stuff, ready for this Summer’s event.
So why not visit the AFWL board and maybe share some of your own fashion images too.
If you’re a fashionista, a perfume enthusiast or just love anything to do with Chanel, by now you would have heard about Espace Gabrielle Chanel on Old Bond Street, in London’s rather smart Mayfair.
If you’re studying Marketing, Business, Branding, Photography, Design, Styling, Fashion or any realted fields, you should make the time and effort to attend before it closes on 24th of September. I will publish all the tips I’ve learnt in a separate post later this week.
Espace Gabrielle Chanel, is a remarkable feat of marketing, and you are sure to pick up tips, not just olfactory tips – and yes I admit I had to google that word! – how a brand works. I have been fortunate enough to attend the space a few times, and eery time I’ve attended, I have learnt something new. Read my review of my first trip to the Espace here.
I have been able to practice my limited light photography, improved my video skills, learnt about the basics of olfactory and even about Gabrielle Chanel herself. While the jury is still out about the new perfume, the marketing has been nothing short of spectacular and if you’re wise, and happen to be in London, you should check out the Old Bond Street venue and enjoy a couple of hours of free education and entertainment. Oh, by the way, did I mention that it’s all free? Opportunities like these, the chance to learn some of the tricks of the trade from a high end, global luxury brand only comes around a very few times, and rarely ever free – so make the most of it while you can.
Try to book a place on the Sensorial Discovery experience, (again it’s free) here, to learn more about the craft of perfume making and the background of the founder of the house of Chanel.
But in case you can’t make it, here’s a couple of video montages I made to give you an idea of the experience.
I have like most fashionistas been stalking the online sales and discovered a couple of cool, straw hats from a famous, high end, high street fashion store. (I have chosen not to name and shame this store … for now.) I purchased 1 immediately, and waited until funds were available to purchase the other.
Sadly by the time I saved up, the 2nd hat was sold out.
Then a couple of weeks later, to my joy, the particular hat came back in stock. I wasted little time in ordering that baby.
A couple of days later, my second hat arrived. I opened it the box and low and behold, the hat was not new. How did I know? Because there was a very long blonde hair in lodged inside hat.
I am not blonde. Well not today anyway.
I was straight on the phone to the shop customer care line, to explain my disappointment and disgust. I was asked to send photographic proof, which I did. I was given the usual corporate talk and was assured that this sort of thing doesn’t happen and that I would be offered a discount off the hat.
2 days later, after I emailed the photo, and after I made a 2nd phone call to customer services, I was offered the cost of postage refund – and that was it.
I decided that I couldn’t wear a hat that was a) sold as new when it clearly wasn’t and b) worn by some unknown person. I returned the hat, and received a full refund including postage costs.
The hat is back on the website, for sale as new! Some poor unsuspecting customer will purchase that hat unaware that it has been sent to at least 2 other people and worn by at least 1 other person.
Needless to say I will never purchase anything from that store again, but I’m pretty horrified that this item is being sold as new, when it obviously isn’t. Unlike clothes, you can’t put a straw hat in the washing machine, or easily clean it without considerable further expense.
Do you think this situation is ok, or should stores inform their customers that some items have been sold and returned, and cost the item accordingly? Do you think stores should be allowed to sell these items as new or should such items be sold as seconds?
The dress that has featured on many a fashion blog is soon to be homaged. Using no less than 2 By Hand London patterns, I attempted to create a dress inspired by the D&G lemon print dress, at a fraction of the cost.
The aim of this project is to prove that it’s possible to make a couture style wardrobe, without needing a millionaire’s budget. Check out the previous posts here, Post 1 and Post 2.
Fabric selection and notions
The choice was simple – the 100% cotton lemon print, on a black background, has been selling in several haberdasheries for months I purchased mine from Pigeon Wishes’ etsy shop at £7 a meter. I purchased 4 metres, but used less than 3.
I also used a high cotton content mix lining from my stash, which was purchased at approximately £2.50 a meter, of which I used approx 2.5 metres. It is light weight with a lovely, soft feel.
Notions used from my stash included a 40cm long invisible zip and 1 reel of black machine sewing thread.
Cutting the main fabric was, thankfully, an uneventful process. Having previously made the Charlie dress bodice and drafted my own pencil skirt, cutting the pattern didn’t pose any issues. Unusually, I didn’t bother much about pattern matching, just ensured that the print didn’t cover or highlight things it shouldn’t!
Like the Charlie dress, I lengthened the bodice by 5 cm. I excluded the decorative collar, to leave a plain neckline.
I changed the skirt back zip opening to a left side opening, to match the bodice and for ease of wear. I cut the back skirt pattern on the fold, instead of cutting 2 separate pieces. It also resolved any need for pattern matching.
The skirt was shortened by about 15 cm, to rest above the knee. This was for ease of walking and so I could attach the flounce. As the flounce is made from light weight cotton, it should have a nice movement as I walk. This is the only selection of the dress which will be unlined.
Note to self, don’t sew when you’re tired. At one point the lining of the front bodice was attached to the back skirt lining. I like to add my own spin to my clothes, but even that for me would have been a little avant garde! Still, my unpicking skills are improving, and it now only takes me 2 minutes to rip out a seam. In effect the black lining became a silver one (worse pun ever).
I changed my mind in regards to the elongated straps, opting for plain shoulder straps. I felt that the elongated bow straps added too much detail to an already busy piece. It would be also difficult to wear with a cardigan or other cover up in cooler temperatures.
The Charlotte Skirt required a little more thought, as I changed the back zip to a side zip, and needed to ensure the waists of both the bodice and the skirt matched. I eliminated the skirt waistband, which meant the skirt waist was a few mm longer than the bodice waist. However, this extra fabric was easily absorbed into the seam allowance.
One thing I did not anticipate when adding the side zip opening, due to the shape of the skirt, I can’t pull the dress over my head. Instead I have to step through the side opening in order to put the dress on. It’s no big deal, but it does take a little getting used to.
Adding the lining was simply a case of duplicating the patterns in lining fabric, then attaching to the main fabric from the neckline.
I completed the dress by hand stitching the hem.
The construction process has ended and it’s time for the reveal. How did the dress turn out? Why not subscribe so you’re notified as soon as my next post is published. Thanks for reading,
Yesterday, I started a new series called Refashioning Couture, where I document my journey towards making a couture inspired wardrobe. For my first project, I’m making a dress based on the popular lemon print design by Dolce and Gabbana.
Recently, I started a sewing sketch book, where I draw out my ideas and include fabric swatches. It has proved to be a very useful tool and a fun way to keep track of my sewing projects. Below is my sketch for the Lemon Grove dress.
The main fabric will be the lovely cotton print which I purchased from Pigeon Wishes over on Etsy. The print is a near perfect replica of the original, and the fabric itself is a lovely soft cotton.
After some thought, I decided to also fully line the bodice and half line the skirt with some black light weight cotton. This, I hope will help give the dress structure and longevity. I’m only half lining the skirt as it’s a Summer dress and I don’t want it to be too heavy or uncomfortable to wear in the heat.
I think the way to go about this design is to pattern hack not 1 but 2 patterns from the By Hand London collection. Having successfully made the Charlie Dress, I think taking the bodice from that design and adding it to the Charlotte skirt, I can hack together a dress similar to the original D&G design.
Adjustments and Alterations
This time around, for the bodice straps I will make long ties, which will be tied into bows at the top of the shoulders. I like this feature from the original, and I think it can work on my dress.
I am not going to add a collar to the bodice, as for this project, I would prefer a clean neckline. Every thing else will remain the same.
I will shorten the hem, and add a longer flounce, as the current length while flattering, may would be too restrictive for walking. I like fashion, but I have no intention to suffer for it!!!
I’m eliminating the waist band, so I need to double check that the hem of the bodice matches the waist line of the skirt.
Cutting out time! I will not make a muslin because I live on the edge (actually I’m too excited to make a muslin – this could be dangerous!). I will also start the basic construction, reporting on any issues I may come across as I sew.
To find out what happens next on the Lemon Grove dress project, please subscribe to ensure you don’t miss out.
Today, I’m starting a new series featuring sewing pattern hacks to create couture inspired clothing. Over the next few weeks, I plan to develop my hand made wardrobe, featuring pieces which I have either designed from scratch, or have adapted using independent sewing patterns as a base.
First up is a lemon print dress, inspired by the 2016 Dolce and Gabbana Spring Summer collection.
Background and Inspiration
I’m trying out something a little different with my new sewing project. As a fan of the recent Dolce and Gabbana couture collections, I have been inspired by their bold use of prints and colours. However the price margins are a little steep, and when I was able to buy a pair of trousers from the Harrods sale eons ago, sadly I found the quality wanting.
Some of you may recall my attempt to make a version of the daisy dress below. I still have not been able to source suitable daisy appliqués to start the project.
While searching in vain for the appliqués, I came across the lemon dresses from the same design house.
Oh my, how I adore these summery dresses.
So how do I go about making an D&G inspired dress without forking out a fortune? The answer unexpectedly came via By Hand London (BHL).
Whilst studying the other BHL patterns, I came across the Charlotte Skirt, a simple pencil skirt which can be modified with a peplum or ruffle hem. Now I’m not a frilly girl by nature, but that ruffle hem caught my eye.
Then I had an idea …
Why not create a D&G dress, by combining the bodice of the Charlie dress with the Charlotte skirt?
I will show my design sketch of the dress I hope to make and my fabric choices, as I embark on one of my most adventurous sewing projects yet.
Please subscribe to ensure you don’t miss out. Thanks for reading and see you soon 🙂
It’s the first time I have sewn a By Hand London pattern, and the Charlie Dress was a great introduction. Surprisingly quick to make, it took me about 4.5 hours from start to finish over a couple of days. I used a cotton fabric from my stash – Riley Blake’s ‘Desert Bloom’ poppy print in red. I sourced it from the internet and was inspired after seeing the fabric showcased on Kittenish Behaviour.
It is a medium weight cotton, so I didn’t feel the need to line it, making the dress even quicker to make. Also as the dress is intended to be worn during the Summer, I thought lining it would make it unnecessarily heavy.
The PDF pattern cost £9, which I thought was a very good bargain as the dress comes in 2 versions, and both dresses can be easily adapted. For example, I hope to make the bodice as a stand-a-lone top, and I now have a 3/4 circle skirt without having to do the maths!
The instructions provided are well written and easy to follow, but I wish they included how to lengthen or shorten the bodice and skirt. As I have prior knowledge, I was able to adjust the pattern to my own measurements, but would have appreciated the guidance.
I had intended to make version 2 of the dress, with the 3/4 circle skirt. Sadly, the material I had wasn’t wide enough, this turned out to be a blessing in disguise, The 2 panel skirt is a different style for me, I tend to sew only straight, A-line or circle skirts, so it was great to try something different.
I was concerned about the gathered waist, as I prefer smooth lines on my waistline, but again, the result was pleasing, and hopefully doesn’t draw attention to my tummy.
I added 5 cm to lengthen the bodice
The turn over collar was made with a cotton, solid white fabric I had in my stash
I decided against adding pockets, but with future Charlie dresses, I’m considering adding large patch pockets
I added 2 cm to the length of the first skirt tier, and 3 cm to the length of the bottom tier, to create a knee length dress
I made extra long straps, and made a bow feature at the top of the shoulder – see picture below
I’m considering adding some sort embellishment to the bow, like a button or mini fabric flower – not sure yet, so if you have any ideas please let me know.
Overall, I really like this pattern, it’s quick to make and I reckon my next one can be made in around 2 hours. The sew-a-long on the By Hand London website is also a useful tool, providing clarity to the written instructions and enhanced with more, clear photographs.
I really like the ‘hackability’ of this pattern, and have already thought of several ideas to adapt this pattern to create a wardrobe of garments. Stay tuned for more on this.
For my first By Hand London pattern, I find it pretty hard to fault, and I look forward to trying more patterns from this company.
Last Saturday I hosted my very first Instagram Destash. Today, I’m pleased to announce that I’m hosting another Destash, this time on the Champagne Twist blog.
Head over to the Destash page, to seek out craft related bargains, including cards, fabrics, haberdashery, books and so much more. The Destash page is permanent, and updated every Friday, so subscribe and check out the bargains before you miss out.
Terms and Conditions:
I can only accept Paypal payments, as I think this is the easiest, quickest and safest way to do this.
Postage is not included in the price and will be added on to your invoice.
All measurements stated are approximate.
Any defects, marks or imperfections will be highlighted as clearly as possible.
To purchase an item, just fill in the form with your purchase requests. First come, first served.
I will then send you an invoice, payable immediately. Please note, dispatch can only occur after I have successfully received correct payment.
All sales once confirmed are final.
Packaging is free of charge – as I believe in recycling as much as possible, please be aware that the packaging will not be brand new – EXCEPT FOR BABY CLOTHING and BUTTON PURCHASES, where the inside packaging will be new. Any recycled packaging will be of good quality and more than adequate to ensure the safe arrival of your purchases. Postage will be charged at the lowest possible rate.
I will obtain a proof of postage certificate for each parcel sent. Please allow up to 5 working days for domestic delivery after confirmed despatch and 15 working days for overseas delivery after confirmed dispatch.
If you would like to send me pictures of what you have done with the items, that would be great. No obligation, I’m just nosy and would love to see how the items will be used. 🙂
Thanks for reading, any questions, please either comment below or send me a message.
Today, I was lucky enough to attend the Culture Cloud, Benefit Cosmetics brow make up demo, hosted by Lulu Guinness at their Covent Garden in central London. It was fun and informative session, where the audience learned how to properly apply brow makeup, and were introduced to the Benefits make-up range.
We are also given the opportunity to browse the new Lulu Guinness Spring/Summer Collection, here’s a highlight video –
For the event I wore my “Round Things” skirt, together with a striped top and a “Marcie” bag from Lulu Guinness. Unfortunately, the predicted 20 degree weather turned out to be a mini monsoon in reality. So as I write this, I’m loading up with hot cups of tea and any fruit which contains high levels of vitamin C. To think it’s June in a couple of weeks!