Monday, 29 October 2012


I have a bit of a thing - no wait - I'm a little bit crazy about sequins.  Even on sportswear.  Even on a bally grey sweater.  Blame it on an adolescence spent on the figure skating rink, I have a weakness for the stuff.
Recently I decided I had to try my hand at one of these beaded collars that are everywhere right now (actually I think the exact moment was during an episode of Strictly Come Dancing). 
Beaded Sequins Collar
 So I headed down to my local craft shop and returned armed with sequins, bargain beads, fake plastic rhinestones and a glue gun for good measure (which, if you haven't used one in a while, isn't anything like riding a bike, as I discovered)
Once I got started I couldn't put it down. Notice the transition from tea to wine. Or was it the other way around.
And what better time go all lovely black and orange and sparkly than Hallowe'en... 

There are already countless tutorials on how to make your own beaded collar and I don't think you can go wrong.  It's as simple as measuring the circumfrence of your neck (or using the front and back neckline of a pattern that you like) and drawing in a collar shape. 
 To assemble mine, I sewed on the beading and sequins, to keep it flexible, and used a little glue for those plastic orange ones I mentioned earlier. The collar is a lightweight piece of felt backed with another piece of felt, with piping sandwiched between the two to create a smooth edge. 
  Now I've earmarked the last scrap of fabric from my dolce vita dress for a sparkly grey and pink collar that fastens in the front.   For a while I thought these scraps would be destined for a very glittery length of bunting.  Now maybe I'll have lots of very sparkly collars.
What a treat :)

p.s.  Just noticed the professional photos are up for the Tessuti Awards.  Check out the amazing pictures here.

Saturday, 20 October 2012


There are no words...I just can't stop staring at the gown Stephanie de Lannoy in Luxembourg wore after her civil wedding, the on eve of the main event today.

Luxembourg wedding
One of the wedding gowns from the Luxembourg Royal Wedding

What do you think?
Happy Saturday everyone!

Friday, 12 October 2012

a little something, something

Bows = JOY
Or, not one bow-but TWO!  This autumn I fell in love with the bow tops I've been seeing in magazines and on Pinterest, and have been itching to make one for myself.  I'm also not the first blogger/seamstress to express my love of the bow -  whimsical but understated, chic but not too serious, a little bit sexy, a little bit demure.  I had to make my own.  Here it is...
I also love sewing projects where you get to make design decisions throughout the process - when you have an idea in mind, but you have to wait to manipuate the actual fabric to decide which effect works best.  Something you can't always see in a toile.  In this case, I didn't know if the bows would end up poofy or square, or layered or ribbons (one of each, please!)... in the end I decided on these narrow flat strips cut on the bias, with a short tail peeking out the back.  I also omitted a tie, so they are more like figure-eight folds.
I did toile up the basic construction, to make sure it would stay up.  Using a block, I measured the outer circumference of my back and shoulders from the front of my left arm scythe, or arm hole, to the front of the right. 
Then i cut out a strip from the centre back of the pattern, about 15cm or so in length, and inserted a piece of elastic which was slightly smaller, so that it would help hold the top up and expand with my arm movement. 
Also worth mentioning that to let the front exterior shell hang freely and maintain a clean edge, I added interfacing only to the inside of the top band (the side that's hidden).
And of course, a hidden hem band.  I LOVE this white fabric with black hearts...dress coming soon...
Just one last thing to figure out - how to get my winter coat over these arm bows...  Ah, forget practicality, I have bows!

Thursday, 11 October 2012

and now for something a little bit different...

I'm back in England and busy getting caught up on daytime telly party conferences and the state of the UK economy, before going back to work, and happened to catch two great fashionista moments:
First, a re-airing of the finale of Thelma's Gypsy Girls on Channel 4, which I missed while I was away.  If you don't know the story, Thelma runs a super successful business making fantastically elaborate wedding gowns for the traveller community (never mind glitter, we're talking LED lighting and mechanical butterflies...)  What was amazing in this series was that she took on a group of girls with zero sewing experience, let alone experience in a work environment - some of the girls had not even been taught to tell time - and trained them in dress making, pattern drafting etc.  The idea was to give them skills that they can use to support themselves rather than head straight into marriage, if they choose.  While I missed the drama in between, it was fun to watch the final creations come to life, but my heart sunk a little (a lot) for the girls who weren't chosen.  What an opportunity.
Thelma's Gypsy Girls on Channel 4
 I really admire the fact that the girls wear what they like and I myself could do with a dose of that traveller chutzpah when putting together my own wardrobe!  Go big or go home and everything... And Thelma herself ... amazing lady. Oh to spend a day in her studio covering something with rhinestones and sequins...
And just this morning on ITV's This Morning, the winner of their "Perfect Party Dress" competition was announced.  It was down to three lovely designs and the winning entry (the long red dress) will be in British Department store John Lewis for Christmas.  I love all three, particularly the one on the left.  Fabulous hemline! 
perfect party dress winner
ITV This Morning's Perfect Party Dress Competition
 And speaking of competitions, my entry in the Tessuti Awards Spots & Stripes competition is a finalist!  Thank you to everyone who voted!

   Maybe next year the theme will be sequins and rhinestones.  One can dream... :)