Friday, 31 August 2012

Pin Pin Pin that Thing!

Taking a little detour from the world of crochet. Hello pinning things to the manequin!
It's about time I tried out some of the new techniques I learnt at the V& A pattern cutting course. I am lazy. But for some reason, when I do finally get myself going, I get a little over excited and over ambitious. This is one of those examples.
I cobbled together the halter neck top from a vintage pattern I had and adjusted it to my size. That turned out nice and simple. Did I stay with nice and simple? Obviously not. With my new found confidence in making up patterns, I thought I could manage this:
I just picked up a scrap of fabric I had been using to make the fluted skirt (disaster) and started pinning that thing onto the manequin. And got a bit OCD about it. But the question is, am I ever going to be able to translate this into a pattern and actually make it properly? That is going to take some serious motivation and patience. Anyone want to volunteer??

I wanted to get a bit of a 'ray of sunshine' effect on the back with all the darts, and was going to do a mirror image on the other side, and then realised that where the darts ended, it just so happened to 'puff up' a bit and look like a cap I had to re adjust all the darts at the front to match:

After which this happened. I really really really like it, and think this would look so cute as a little capelet to wear with the top next summer (or that indian summer I keep praying we might get). I am rather determined to make this a complete outfit, and might have to do something similar with the skirt 2.0 as the last one didn't turn out well AT ALL.

Once I'd taken the pictures I took all the pins back out. Thank goodness the pins just so happened to leave ruddy great big black marks where I had placed them because idiotic me forgot the most important part of pattern cutting....actually drawing the lines onto the fabric of where the darts had to go. Very big d'oh indeed.

I'm going to put this project on the back burner for the moment. I think this is going to have to wait until some time off work and house sitting duties so that I can get some time to work this one out properly.

However, should anyone fancy doing that task for me......haha...if only! Tips however would be very much appreciated!

Much love from Brighton,


Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Vintage Pattern Cutting at the V&A

Back in February, Mum and I attended a pattern cutting course up at the V&A. 3 days packed full of vintage fashion heaven! We got to take a tour around the exhibitons they were holding at the time to seek some inspiration, including the Queen's Coronation Dress. Amazing. Highly recommend it, even if it is a bit pricey. They run regular pattern cutting classes so go check out their website to see when the next one is being held. (Plus if you book it quite close to the date, like we did, you may be able to wangle a rather nice discount if they haven't filled the class yet....shhhhh!)
As I've been exceedingly lazy and gammy handed, I haven't posted up about it yet, and it's taken me 6 months to get around to it. Bad me indeed. But I shall make amends now by showing you some of the test pieces I worked on. Just a quick round up:
Here's number one. I cut the top on a fold over the bust, and was playing around with opening up darts in different places and making the bust fuller to gather it into the lower part. The V shape doesn't go all the way to the side, so that the top's front can be made out of just one piece. Might try and do a mirror version sans gathers for the back and see if I can work it so it's made from just the one piece of fabric. Loved having 3 days of just experimenting and playing around with fabric :)

The sleeve should have been cut on the bias but I forgot. Kind of like how it went a bit more rigid in the end and had more structure in it than the cowl effect I'd intended. 

For the back I decided to give the cowl another attempt. This time cut on the bias, but I think I was using the wrong material. Did make a second one of jersey-like fabric and it looked so much better. It's a learning process after all.

I'd never attempted to make up my own patterns properly by working everything out and using blocks. It was absolutely fascinating and has opened up a world of possibilities. I am so itching to put these to the test with crochet. Technically, if I work out the shape of the garment I want to make, I just have to make pieces into the same shape as the pattern pieces! That's what I'm hoping anyway ;)
Much Love from Brighton,
and don't forget to take part in my current Give-Away competition!

Sunday, 26 August 2012

The Sunday Best Campaign & Give-Away!

Due to the lovely comments I've been receiving on digging out my Sunday Best, the thought came to me, why don't we try to start our own little campaign to spread the love of Stylish Sundays?

I recently wrote about one of the problems I have with my wardrobe. I keep finding beautiful dresses in flea markets and boot sales, but cannot find an occasion to wear them. Too nice to wear for an everyday normal day, but not quite evening wear. So they started gathering dust at the back of my wardrobe, looking at me longingly, saying 'wear me! wear me!' but I can always think of a reason why they just wouldn't suit. Enough of the excuses I say, they deserve to be worn and seen, and why do I have to have a reason anyway? We all used to get dressed up in our Best for Sundays, every Sunday.

I know I'm not the only one out there. I've had this conversation with the girls many times. These beautiful dresses shouldn't be hidden away any longer. Lets go back to those days gone by when everyone would dust off their best and bust it out for all to see on Sundays.

 So without further ado, for all you lovelies out there who expressed a want to do this yourself, why not spread the love. To mark this grand occasion, I have put together a little campaign poster for you to take away and stick up on your own blog, facebook or whatever tickles your fancy, and see how far we can take this! Let me know if you post up pictures of any of your Sunday Best ventures, as I will be having a monthly round up of anyone who decides to participate.

To get you started, and to also celebrate a personal milestone of 90+ followers, I'm combining the launch with a home-made Give-Away prize!

For your consideration we have 2 prizes up for grabs. I have put together some fascinators which are looking for a new home. Home-crafted and featuring feathers, crochet edging, pom-pom's and flowers, I think these would make the perfect topping to any Sunday Best outfit!

One in Pink:

And one in Green:

And here's me pulling silly faces while showing one off in the patio:

On to the rules of the game. I shall try to keep it quite simple, not done this before! The condition of giving away two are: 0-10 entries = 1, which the winner may choose or 10+ = both, so 2 winners.


1. Comment below that you want to take part, and please mention which one you'd prefer!
2. Join me on Facebook HERE

and an optional:

3. If you do join the campaign for Stylish Sundays, please do put the poster up on you blog, and if you do, let me know and you get a 2nd entry to up your chances :)
So join me fellow bloggers! Whatever motivates you, lets bring back the wearing of our Sunday Best, and let's see how far we can spread this!

Much Love from Brighton,


Friday, 24 August 2012

Can one have too many sequins?

The Mister was away being all musical on the weekend, and I had some errands to run in town, and obviously had to take the scenic route back home...aka via the Saturday morning market on Upper Gardner Street...of course!
I should not be let loose on a sunny Saturday morning with money in my wallet and time to kill with no Mister to stop me buying things that I really do not need. Good thing the he wasn't there on Saturday then, because he would have had to drag me away kicking and screaming!
So what did I find? Vintage Showgirl Costumes from the West End no less! And oh my many sequins?! I came across three, but could only afford 2....well 2 out of 3 wasn't bad ey?
Having recently become rather good chums with the lovely Jenny of Frantic About Frances underwear fame and had many merry chats about crazy showgirl ideas, I knew exactly who to run to when I found 4 of these beauties. So after uhming and ahing for about 20 mins, I popped into her work to steal her away for a quick break to help me decided if I should or shouldn't indulge. And what happened? We ended up buying matching outfits! The guy who was selling these just so happened to have 4, yes 4 of each! If only we could have thought of a good enough excuse to buy all 4, get together a group of the girls, and make up some silly routine just for the sake of it, haha.
As soon as I got home, I had to try them on. So excuse the crazy messy Saturday morning hair, but I just had to share the glitzy sequined OTT glory of these with you :)
The first is a gold sparkly 3 piece. Bra, skirt and headband. Needs a bit of TLC and some beads sewn back on, but I'll have it back to it's former glory in no time!
(excuse the mass of washing accumulating in the background, we've been away!)

Now any suggestions hairstyle wise I could do with this badboy headband? I'm thinking perhaps 30's waves?

And now we move on to numero 2. Black beauty. So when I picked it up, I thought it was a bog standard leotard. Putting it on though...hello thighs and hips! Jesus, that thing just kept going higher and higher, I have never in my life put something on so incredibly high cut. But oddly, it's actually quite flattering for hippy me. Struggling to think of an occasion to wear this out to though, and I think tights will be called for. However, with the entire bodice covered in sequins, and strings and strings of beads across the bust and front, I think I may have to think up a routine especially ;)


And a derriere shot to finish it all off;

So, can one have to many sequins? At the bargainous price of £10 a pop, I think not!
Jenny and I are currently in talks to do a little shoot in our matching costumes very soon, more news on that as and when!
Much love from Brighton,

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

August so far...

Firstly, I want to say a big thank you and welcome to my lovely new followers! Now that I have reached the rather exciting number of 90+, I'm currently busy crocheting away at a home-crafted Give-Away prize, so keep your eyes peeled for that, together with the launch of the Sunday Best Campaign in response to recent comments on here. Let's see how many fellow bloggers we can get involved in this and spread the fun of stylish Sundays!

In the meantime, however, I thought I would update any of you who may have wondered where I disappeared off to (just indulge me!)
August has been a super busy, and rather exciting month so far! Big changes are afoot... I went for an interview with somewhere I have always dreamed of beign a part of, and actually got it!!! You cannot imagine just how excited I am to be working for.....the Brighton Dome!! As of September, I'll finally be based in Brighton again, and starting on a whole new career. Bit daunting after spending 5 years working for a bank, to switching to something completely different, but at the same time I cannot wait. I've been studying Occupational Psychology on the side, and now I get to put all that into practice and start a career in HR, woop woop!! I've been waiting for this for quite a while :)
I've also been shimmy-ing my thing at home, practicing and putting together a new routine, and creating a whole new costume to match. Busy times, but oh so much fun! Cannot wait to show and tell!
The crochet side of things has also been seen to. I finally completed the granny square blanket, yet another cardi, experimented some more with Hair-pin Lace Crochet, and starting to put together a 'to-make' list for Christmas presents. Yes, I know it's only August, but this is going to be my very first home made Christmas, and I am determined to make everyones presents, so I'm starting early to make sure I actually get them done. That list is getting rather long......
Both of my parents also recently turned 50. I don't know about you, but presents for parents are starting to get rather tricky. There's nothing they want that they haven't already got and I'm running out ideas, so I've had to be rather creative this year to mark this special occassion. So...I thought I'd share with you the presents I put together for their 50th Birthdays:

My dad has always been a bit of a space and all-things-techie lover. I have many childhood memories of Sciene Museums and Space exhibitions, and yes, we did spend many a family evening at home, glued to the box engrossed in the latest episode of Star Trek :) So earlier in the year, when I stumbled across an early 1970's cigarette card and booklet collection entitled 'The Race into Space', I knew exactly what to do with it, and who would appreciate it the most; my Dad.
Here they are all framed up and mounted. I'm so pleased with how this turned out. And Dad loved it. Actually turns out he collected this exact series when he was a kid, and probably still had it in a box in the attic...unless it got lost in the move from Germany along with his Thunderbirds comic collection.....don't worry dad, I'm sure I will find a new set for you one day!

The rest of the cards I put in an envelope and attached to the back of the frame, should he want to swap any out in the future!
Now onto Mum. Mum is a very hard person to buy for. And my Mum's opinion in all things crafty really mean a lot to me. She herself has always been an avid crafter, having created her own line of kids clothes and having a shop when we lived in Germany. Still sewing away today, attending pattern cutting classes and learning new techniques, she has also been learning how to crochet, and coming along to the hair-pin lace lessons too. Not only that, but she can paint and draw, although she would never ever admit it and is her own worst no pressure there then, hah!
For Mum and Dad's 40th Birthdays I painted them a picture of our childhood dog Heinz (RIP) and our cat Febe (still very much with us). Since Heinz passed away, we had a new addition to the family early last year, and what better way to combine this and welcome Maisy to the family but to add her to the family gallery:
Personally, not my favourite, and I think I may have to do one again...but it shall suffice for now :)
Now on to get that Give-Away prize finished!!
Much Love from Brighton,

Monday, 6 August 2012

Experiments in Vintage Crochet - Part 4

I have just discovered the heaven that is

Finally, vintage patterns, at no cost!!! They have hundreds to choose from, collars, trims, homeware, and full outfits for the whole family! I have my eye on several of the patterrns for future patterns, including a few christmas present ideas!!

Project number 1 from this lovely site was meant to look something like this:

If you want to have a go for yourself, you can find the FREE pattern right here!

My version? Well I went a little freestyle...I just kept going and going until I realized it was longer than the picture above, and decided to turn it into...yes....another cardi! hehe I see a bit of a pattern coming on here!

This was another super duper easy pattern to follow. I have to admit, I don't really understand why I avoided crochet for so many years, in particular following patterns. I guess the last project I did before many years away from crochet was so complicated for a 14 yr old that it just totally put me off patterns. But I'm very glad to have found this site on a bored night searching through google.

It's another very repetitve pattern, which makes it perfect for doing in front of the box, because once you've got started, you don't really have to keep refering back to the pattern. You start with the collar first, then once you've finished that part you continue on to make the 'mesh' part. This simply involves making chain's of increasing length over and over again, joining them with a single crochet through the loop of the previous row, and working from side to side until you reach the desired length! I stopped increasing after I got to chains of 12 stitches long, so the gaps wouldn't be so big I could fit my hand through them.

Super easy and very beginner friendly!

And here is the result:

I used left over yarn from a different project which never got finished to make this up; the cheapy cream wool you find in most charity shops, and some more luxury left over alpaka yarn in dark turquoise. I used this to make a baby blanket for a friend, now I have a cardi to match! Took so little time and such little wool, I know what to do with my leftover's in future, next time, not as long.

Then added some cute little pink bow buttons I picked up from a little old lady at the Ardingly Classic Car Show last month. Stash busting indeed. Love these. Wish I had more!

My judgement? Pretty but not practical. Doesn't keep warm at all, as you may have guessed, heh. But it's great as a little accesory or for an evening dress. I've worn this with a strapless 50's summer dress and the colours go together perfectly, I'll have to get the Mister to take some snaps next time!
Much Love from Brighton,

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Sunday Best at Newhaven Fort

Firstly, thank you for all your lovely comments on my Special Occasion outfit! It's so lovely to receive a nice comment, and I'm making sure I'm being more proactive about giving them out in public when I see someone looking lovely. However, as many of you have mentioned in some of your posts, it's sometimes hard to know how to react, and often try and make some sort of excuse up for it. Let's demonstrate:

L.J. walks into the office
colleague: 'What a lovely dress today, and your hair looks brilliant!'
L.J.: 'umm thanks! It was 4quid from the boot sales yesterday, and it took me 5 mins with my hair....there's a sponge in there! It's cheating!'
colleague looks perplexed and walks off...

Perhaps if we all give out compliments more often, it wont be such an odd thing when we receive them. I'm learning to accept them more 'normally' now after having been on the receiving end of the weird compliment rejector too, heh.

So as suggested, I have now adopted the 'Sunday Best' principle. Every Sunday, I shall dress up in my Sunday Best. Or at least as many Sunday's as I possibly can.

We both got dressed up, and off we drove in Tilly Triumph to Newhaven Fort, just a short drive along the coast from Brighton.

For a moderate entrance fee, you gain access to the little museum's in the buildings above ground, seeing what it was like to live there, short films, artifacts that had been found there, and personal items donated by the soldier's families. A very very interesting place indeed!

After finishing with the museum part's, we sat down for a spot of cream tea. Yum Yum! What a treat! haven't had one of these for a long time!

Naughty Naughty!

After filling up we decided to go and explore the tunnels below. How exciting! We had to walk down what felt like at least 100+ steps to get to the bottom, but once there, discovered a load of tiny passage ways, one of which led to this rather creepy looking room....who painted this?! It was in bright neon yellow to boot!

One of those tiny passageways I mentioned. Spooooky!

When we got to the next part, the tunnels right into the heart of the cliff the fort stands on, we found a lovely little note, informing us that these parts were thought to be haunted, with many people hearing very strange noises, and feeling like the were either being pushed back out the tunnel while walking through, or being rushed back out on your return. Apart from the Mister running off and then jumping out at me, I experienced no such feelings....shame!

Back out on the surface, we climbed up to the guns. What amazing views!! We were so distracted by them we both forgot to take any pictures!

So here I am in my Sunday Best. 1950's Suit picked up from Vintage Nation at Brighton racecourse. It needs a tiny bit of adjustment to the jacket's waist, but that can be done some other time! The fabric is just amazing. It's a silk with a Chinese dragon print. I fell in love with the Chinese collar and the cut of the pockets on the front, and when i saw that the label read 'Emmer clothing' it had to be!

More tunnel action:

And a close up of the fabric. Love it!

And a view back across the fort:

Great day out had by the both of us, and the lady at the entrance even told us about a 1940's Swing Dance they are going to have soon! Will need to double check the details, but if anyone is about, I think it would be the perfect setting for an evening of dressing up and dancing the night away (apart from those spooky tunnels)!

Much Love from Newhaven Fort,


Friday, 3 August 2012

Experiments in Vintage Crochet - Part 3

After the first attempt to produce this 1940's Crochet Bolero came out a little larger than expected, here is attempt number 2!

This time I decided to use a much chunkier wool, in bright purple, and a lot less stitches than advised in the instructions! The last one came out far bigger than I thought it would, so having learnt my lesson, I nearly halved the stitches (bigger wool also equals bigger stitches!) and pretty much just made it roughly the width of my shoulders plus an inch or two either side.

This was a super fast project, taking only 2 evenings watching the box to complete. Instead of using the double crochet like in the last one, I used triple crochet, with a chain between each stitch, making it even faster, and in my opinion easier, to complete. Very much recommend this for anyone taking up a crochet project for the first time. Results in next to no time!

Again, too lazy to make up the pom pom's as I liked it as was, but perhaps attempt 3 with a nicer yarn will involve copius amounts of pom pom action ;)

And here are the results:

I especially like the over-turned collar that stands up much better with the chunkier wool than in the last one. Might start making more things chunky!

So has anyone else been crocheting away or otherwise crafty things? Link back some projects :) I've had internet issues of late, so no chance to catch up on some blog reading!

Much love from Brighton,