Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Sew with 'So, Zo': November @ Super+Super HQ!

I am excited to be able to say that I now have two classes at Super+Super HQ under my belt. In October I taught a Vest Making Session and an Introduction to Commercial Sewing Patterns Class. Both went really well and I met some super-lovely ladies who thankfully gave very positive feedback on their experience of each (hurrah!). My goodness I love teaching sewing stuff! I don't think there is any kind of occupation that I could enjoy more (they still haven't made Wine-Drinker a proper job yet, have they?). 

I'd like to let you know about the next dates you could take part in these two classes. Both take place in November at the same location, Super+Super HQ in central Brighton, UK. 

Class: Introduction to Commercial Sewing Patterns

When: Sunday 18th November, 10.30am - 1.00pm

Cost: £24.50

This session will designed to demystify and explain how to use commercial sewing patterns. This is a discussion and demonstration based class, not a practical 'doing' one. Topics covered will include:
  • What to do if your measurements span two or more sizes on the pattern
  • What to do if you are taller or shorter than the pattern has been designed for
  • What the differences between vintage and modern patterns are
  • How to select appropriate fabric for your pattern
  • What all the symbols on the pattern mean and what to do about them
And lots more. The perfect class for a Sunday morning with a tea or coffee in hand. 

Will need to bring: Nothing accept a notebook and pen if you wish to make extra notes.

Recommended for: This class is perfect for someone who has already taken a beginners sewing class or generally feels ok using a sewing machine, and now wants to amp their skills to become a confident dress-maker.

More info and where to book:

Class: Vest/Camisole/Singlet Making Session

When: Wednesday 28th November, 7.00pm - 9.00pm

Cost: £26 

This session will take you through the process of making your own vest from jersey fabric or unwanted T-shirts. Using my multi-sized vest pattern, we will go slowly through the steps from pattern preparation and cutting out the pieces, to construction using a sewing machine and overlocker/serger (no previous overlocker/serger experience necessary). By the end of this class, not only will you have a wearable, useful garment of your very own, but you will also have been provided with the skills and pattern you'll need to make hundreds more vests in the future.  

Will need to bring: 1 metre of jersey and/or some large unwanted T-shirts. Everything else will be available at the class.

Recommended for: All skill levels are welcome, but must have used a sewing machine before and feel relatively confident doing so. This class is ideal for someone interested in sewing with jersey fabric but isn't sure where/how to begin.

More info and where to book:

Once again, I'm going to appeal to your good nature and ask that if you know anyone who may be interested in taking these classes, please send them the links!!! Thanks so much for the support. 

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

(Belated) Giveaway Monday: 'Sew Over It' Book


Forgive the Tuesday-ness of this instalment of 'Giveaway Monday', I've got a shitty virus and was thoroughly sofa-bound yesterday. Anyways! Thanks to everyone who entered last Monday's giveaway which came courtesy of awesome Etsy shop 'The Polished Button'. The winners were selected by random number generator and have been contacted.

Today's prize is the new book by sewing teacher and sewing cafe owner, Lisa Comfort. Named after her South London based sewing shop/cafe/school, 'Sew Over It' the book is just as pretty and well produced. Before I continue, I feel the need to disclose any potential source of bias I may have: I was invited to the launch of this book, given a glass of champagne and a free copy of this book. I think I was chosen to 'represent' for the sewing bloggers (along with Tilly) at the event because I wrote about my visit to the shop last year. However, it takes more than one glass of champagne to buy my favour (FYI: it takes a bottle to do that!) so I think I can remain balanced in my opinion!

'So, what's this book like then?', I hear you ask. Well, it's definitely aimed at beginners rather than sewers with a fair chunk of sewing experience under their belts, which is not to say this book couldn't teach anything to the later category. It's thoughtfully planned out, this book. It starts with the uber-basics (including introducing the needle and thread, basic hand-stitches and sewing on a button) and then encourages the reader to take a look at the clothes already in their wardrobes and introduces some nice ways to customise and jazz-up (did I just write 'jazz-up'? I must still be very ill) your garments.

Next, Lisa encourages the reader to push their developing skills towards more substantial clothing alterations with more sewing-machine action than the customisation section required. She walks you through some clever tactics for making old and tired or second-hand/vintage clothing more wearable and updated. They following step is some basic projects starting from scratch with shop-bought fabric. These tend to be pretty accessories projects, including a 50's style head band that I might have a go at myself. The final section, entitled 'Challenging Yourself', encourages the reader to have a bash at some pattern-free garment and bag making. You are taken through three types of skirt and a reversible bag project by the end of which you may find yourself ready and chomping at the bit to get into more involved dress-making. At that point I'd recommend you attend the 'Introduction to Commercial Sewing Patterns' class I teach at Super+Super HQ in Brighton! (Hahaha! Do you see what I did there?! I sneaked in some subtle self-promotion!)

But back to the book, it really is a beaut, with a very feminine, retro-y aesthetic. If that aesthetic doesn't float your boat, perhaps another beginners sewing book would be more inspirational for you. However, if you are interesting in starting to sew, or know someone else who is, and want a pretty, positive resource to help you on your way, this is a good volume to get hold of. And I have one copy to give away to a blog reader.

To enter, just leave a comment in the comments section of this post telling me why you fancy getting hold of a copy of 'Sew Over It' (no reason, I'm just nosey). If I can't access your email address within two clicks, please include it in your entry comment. Email addresses will not be used for anything other than to contact you if you are the lucky winner of this giveaway. This giveaway is open internationally and winner will receive the book completely free of charge. The giveaway entries will close at midnight GMT Sunday 4th November and the winner will be chosen by random number generator and contacted Monday 5th November October. Good luck, my book-loving friends!

Friday, 26 October 2012

Refashion Friday: It's Curtains for You

Source: via Zoe on Pinterest

In the vein of reusing existing things for sewing projects rather than purchasing everything new, I want to chat today about an often over-looked resource: second hand curtains. I'm currently working on a dress made from a pair of curtains that I cannot wait to share with you, plus I have a Spring/Summer coat project lined up for the other side of the Winter that uses some amazing vintage curtains that I can't wait to get my teeth (scissors) into. So what's so good about using second hand curtains to sew with?:

They are cheap! 

Obviously this is subject to the prices in your local charity/thrift/op shop, but generally you can pick up second hand curtains for far less than you'd pay for the equivalent meterage/yardage of fabric. For example, I bought a pair of curtains made from navy spotty cotton sateen for £6. I was able to make a Ceylon dress and TWO cute Simplicity 2451 skirts for my friends (see above) from them. £6 for three garments-worth of fabric? Yes to that!

They can be big!

Unless you're dealing with a tiny kitchen curtain or something, most of the time we are talking about  a decent amount of fabric when you are buying curtains. More often than not you can get multiple skirts, bags or a dress out of curtains with plenty of room to mess up! Plus fabric designed to be curtaining is usually pretty wide which is all the better for squeezing in those pattern pieces.

Source: via Zoe on Pinterest

They can be fun!

Obviously you have to let the curtain fabric dictate your project, rather than going second hand curtain-shopping with a specific sewing pattern/project in mind. But the discovery of something unexpected and using your nous to figure out a cool and creative use for it is a whole super-fun challenge in itself.

Whilst I was working for TRAIDremade we were lucky enough to receive a lot of donated second hand curtains to make into clothing. One particular style we developed to sew from curtaining was this 'paper bag' skirt (see the two images above). Even though the sewing pattern was the same, making the skirts from different curtain patterns lent each garment a unique feel and it was exciting to see the outcome from each curtain.

Playing with the scale of designs can also be a source of fun. For example, I really enjoyed making the skirt pictured below (another Simplicity 2451, incidentally) to see what effect you could get by making a mini skirt from such a large print design. Another great example of this is the wonderful dress pictured at the top of this post. It's a really interesting and clever use of curtaining to form the bodice that has then been combined with a solid coloured fabric skirt, almost giving the impression of two separate garments.

Words of warning:

You can be super lucky and find curtains that have never been used, but if they have been, have a look for any fading or stains. If you find some, don't panic, it may well be that the you can cut around the stains or faded areas and still utilise the cool fabric for a project. Fading in particular will usually only be around the edges of the curtain where day light has hit them, it may well be that the centre of the fabric is still great.

Fading, however, can indicate a further problem, particularly if the curtains are vintage and old. Like all vintage fabric and garments, old curtain fabric can be 'rotten', meaning that it can rip very easily. That is what eventually happened to floral skirt pictured above. Still, I had a good 9 months of use from it before I discovered the hard way that the vintage curtain fabric was no longer up to the task of being worn and moved around in!

(image source)

So next time you fancy a sewing project that won't break the bank, why not head to the charity shop/thrift store/op shop and scour the curtains section? Happy hunting!

What about you? Have you had any successes (or failures even) of sewing with second hand curtains? If you have a link, please leave it in the comments section, I'd love to check it out!

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Bridesmaid Dress!

Time for another instalment of wedding related business. As well as organising my fabulous hen do (which I know was a lot like herding cats), spending the entire first half of my wedding day repeating the mantra 'everything is ok, everything is fine' to me AND being generally incredibly supportive and amazing from the minute I told her I'd got engaged, she also performed the task of looking incredible as my wing-woman/bridesmaid.

Vic didn't even bat an eyelid when I flipped out and abandoned the initial plan I had for her bridesmaid dress about four weeks before the actual event. Instead she calmed me down and encouraged me to do some research and then talk through with her possible alternatives. When I'd come up with the  new plan and the sewing pattern I wanted to go for, she even bought it for me and got it sent to my flat so I could crack on. There is literally no one on earth who is capable of calming me down like Vic is. Whenever I have a super-busy day ahead or I'm going on a trip and she's around, she is amazing at helping me plan things out and making me feel I haven't forgotten anything. She's basically my unpaid, part-time PA!

I won't bore you with what might have been, instead I'll explain that I finally opted to use a vintage repro pattern, Simplicity 3673 (pictured below), as the basis for her bridesmaid dress. Bless Vic for believing me when I told her this pattern could yield suitably glamorous results. The basic elements were there: the flattering gentle scoop of a bateau neckline (a feature Vic loves), the bust gathers into an empire line waist, a potentially sleek silhouette and general overall mid-century vibe to reflect the feel of my own dress. I knew I wanted to make Vic something that should could wear again and I really wanted her to feel comfortable all day and night, so I chose this sateen-like black fabric from Borovicks fabric's, the same place I bought my wedding dress fabric. It is quite weighty with a nice body to it to create a sleek silhouette yet it has a decent elastane/lycra content to it so dancing, sitting and eating were also firmly on the cards for her!

I wasn't a massive fan of the lower section of this dress pattern, so I frankensteined the top detail with the pattern I used to make my coral dress and leopard Rockabilly dress, which I know fits Vic well. The tricky part lay in the fact that Vic and I live in different places so meeting up for fittings was a bit tricky. We were able to have a brief fitting on the weekend of my hen do which highlighted a couple of fit issues (too wide in the bodice under the arms and an excess of fabric at the CB at the upper back). I made those changes and crossed my fingers. Vic came down to Brighton a couple of weeks before the wedding for a second and final fitting and, thank goodness, it fit like a glove!

I left her to find a diamante brooch for the centre bow detail of her dress. I think she found this beauty on Etsy and it really couldn't have been more perfect. She chose these fabulous red shoes to reflect the roses in our bouquets. She did her own makeup and hair which looked absolutely stunning. Unfortunately you can't see it in these pictures, but the back of her hair was in a glamorous 1960's-esque bun using one of those hair donuts. Her makeup also reflected the early 1960's feel with black liquid eye liner flicks, fantastic false eyelashes and pale pink, almost nude lipstick.

I really can't thank Vic enough for her help as I made this weird change from being someone's girlfriend to someone's wife. She really has been the most awesome best-mate to me for the last 20-ish years, and this whole wedding-thing was all the more special because she was such a significant part of it. 

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

The Sewing Machine of the Future?


 Normally, anything that could be termed as 'an innovation' will remain unknown to me until it has blown up big enough for it to be visible from space. However, today is different. Today a friend of mine who has a digit firmly pressed on 'the pulse' sent me a link to this new product. Check this video for an explanation, and be prepared to feel 'want-y' my friends....


British designer Sarah Dickins created this product in response to the problems she witnessed beginners have using sewing machines. By simplifying the threading process, eliminating the need for a foot pedal, creating more space to the right of the needle for the garment being sewn and generally sexing up the whole look considerably, I'm sure this would improve the sewing experience for those of us who have been 'at it' for a while too. With its leather finish and super sleek silhouette, I can imagine far fewer arguments about 'does that thing have to be on the dining table all the time?'!

The cleverest bit has to be the touch sensitive mechanism that allows you to start and stop sewing as well as adjust the speed with your hands as you guide the fabric through. The lack of foot pedal would have certainly helped me out all those times in student housing I tried to use my sewing machine on a coffee table or even on the floor!

With the marketing predictably being based on the rise in media interest of the make-do-and-mend 'trend', Dickins and her design are currently in the running for the James Dyson award. Prototype tests have apparently proved very positive so we'll have to see if this particular design gets put into production. Either way, I think it has given us a peak through the window into our sewing future! Let's face it, ours is a world that doesn't feel the breeze of innovation flow through it continuously.

What do you think? Could you be persuaded to swap your sewing machine for the Alto?

Monday, 22 October 2012

Giveaway Monday: Your Choice of Vintage Buttons from The Polished Button!


What a treat I have for you, my dears! This post marks the start of a whole month of sewing-related giveaways for the lovely readers of my blog.

Today's prizes are provided by an awesome online business called 'The Polished Button' who stock a huge range of vintage and handmade buttons, craft and haberdashery for all your creative projects. They also sell unique handmade accessories for the stylish button lover!

Their phenomenal and regularly updated range of vintage buttons dating from 1900's to 1980's can be found on their Etsy page, along with vintage and vintage-inspired ribbons, trimmings and haberdashery. It would be foolish not to also mention their Folksy page, which stocks handmade buttons made from vintage fabrics and carefully curated vintage button cards, as well as jewellery and accessories made from hand made with vintage fabric covered buttons. All orders come stylishly packaged with speedy worldwide delivery. You can join The Polished Button facebook fan page for special offers and buttony chit chat, and follow them on twitter, @polishedbutton.

The Polished Button are offering three readers a set of buttons of their choice. To enter, visit their Etsy shop, take a look through their range and pick your favourite set. Then include the link to your chosen favourite set in the comments section of this post, and include a way to get in touch with you. If I can't access your email address within two clicks, please include it in your entry comment. Email addresses will not be used for anything other than to contact you if you are one of the three lucky winners of this giveaway.

This giveaway is open internationally and winners will receive their choice of buttons completely free of charge. The giveaway entries will close at midnight GMT Sunday 28th October (my birthday, incidentally) and three winners will be chosen by random number generator and contacted Monday 29th October. Good luck, my button-loving friends!

Friday, 19 October 2012

Refashion Friday Inspiration: Leather Moustache Applique Jumper

Ok, try to look beyond the fact that moustache themed things are getting a bit dated now. Instead, focus on the ideas and techniques behind these refashions/remakes for some inspiration on how to transform some tired old knitwear into something cute and wearable. 

Decent examples of good quality secondhand mens wool knitwear are getting harder to find, but if you can get hold of some unwanted knitwear that isn't too moth eaten or misshapen, you've got an exciting potential-remake on your hands. These jumpers weren't in too bad a state when I got my mitts on them. The pink one required a few stitches to camouflage the scenes of a moth's mealtime, and the green one had paper-thin elbows that required cutting around.  

Because the original garments were too long for my intended outcome, I removed the ribbed hem as well as the sleeves before recutting the body into a more flattering width and shape. In incorporated the existing necklines so I didn't have to bother finishing the neck holes. Using the original cuffs and sleeves, I created shorter puff sleeves. I reapplied the ribbing to finish the hem of the body during reconstruction. 

The moustache shapes are cut from the leather of an old leather coat. I pritt-sticked them in place (in the absence of any fabric glue, copydex or spray mount) and allowed them to dry for a short while before appliquéing them down onto the jumpers by carefully stitching close to the edges. 

Thursday, 18 October 2012

The Greatest Shawl on Earth: The Knitting and Stitching Show

Spending a whole weekend eye-ball deep in every kind of craft imaginable: heaven or hell?! I found it to be a bit of both. The Knitting and Stitching Show, held at Alexandra Palace in London, is enormous, hot and rammed with zombie-women with no sense of spacial awareness. On the other hand, it is filled with wonderful treasures for whatever crafty activity you wish to indulge in as well as lots of practical classes and workshops to learn new skills. 

I'm not a native to these sort of events, I went to something similar years ago at Olympia (or maybe it was Earls Court) in London with my old sewing group, but the whole thing was pretty off-putting in it's focus on cross-stitch and embroidery with a very traditional approach to it all. So what they hell was I doing at this Knitting and Stitching show? Well, in short, I was paid to be there!

I was freelancing for my former employers, TRAID, helping out with their 'Upcycling Academy' which aimed to spread the word about refashioning and reworking unwanted garments. The education branch of TRAID, which are responsible for going round schools and colleges and talking about the life cycle of clothing, realities of the textile industry and encouraging garment re-use, were running the space along with Fabrications (a crafty shop/workshop space in East London) and the charity War on Want who were promoting their 'Love Fashion, Hate Sweatshops' campaign

There were two large banks of donated clothing that the public could plunder for a small donation, and take their T-shirt or other garment over to the sewing area to customise and upcycle to their hearts' content. My role was to assist the budding upcyclers (all teenagers and children) by providing them with ideas on what they could do to the garments and helping them with techniques, the sewing machines and other equipment. At my busiest point, I was simultaneously trying to inspire and help ten reluctant fifteen and sixteen year old textiles students to rework their T-shirts (see some of them above). It was an exhausting two days, and pretty much all my time was spent here: 

When I did manage to escape for a break and wander about, there were indeed some great sewing related things to experience. My favourite part was bumping into some familiar faces. There was the ever-awesome Karen (proof below) who I bumped into at the Ray-Stitch stand moments before we saw the very lovely Joanne from Stitch and Witter. Seeing them was such a joy, and I was really sad we couldn't all just go for a coffee and chat for an hour or two!

The third friendly face I came across at the show belonged to Sussex-based seller Maggie (pictured below) who was manning her stall and selling her wares. Maggie runs a phenomenal buttons and notions business called Textile Garden, which has such an eye-watering array of products that I could only get to see her at the very beginning and end of the day, she was barricaded in by swarms of button-high shoppers the rest of the time. 

She really does have awesome stock, and every time I see her stall (she sometimes sells at the craft market I organise, Brighton Craftaganza) there are always some new fantastic items that I've never seen for sale elsewhere. I promise you I'm not biased, but in the interest of full disclosure, whenever I see her, Maggie always give me some free buttons and then I buy some more. She's like a pusher: the first hit's for free then you come running back for more!

From a sewing perspective (is there any other?!), what other treats were there to behold? Fabric-wise, aside from Ray-Stitch there were three or four other great stalls. One of the best was The Village Haberdashery (some stock pictured below and the patchwork packs pictured at the top of the post) whose selection of quality fabric was second to none AND displayed in a very appealing colour-story kind of way.

The village haberdashery was also the only stand selling independent sewing pattern company products. The selection included Sewaholic, Colette Patterns, Jamie Christina, Megan Nielsen and more for adults, and some amazing ranges for childrens wear including some companies I'd never seen before. 

I'm pretty out of touch with prices of fabric these days, so I have no idea if all the fabric stalls present were offering value as well as selection, but if I was a sewer who bought new fabric, my goodness I would have bought a whole lot of it. Aside from Textile Garden, there were other button stands worth a rummage and I spied some very cool trims and braids here and there.   

Magazines and books were also in ready supply, many offering discounts on the cover prices or subscriptions. 

If knitting or crochet are your bag, there seemed a lot on offer too including some really specialised yarns you probably wouldn't find down your local wool shop or market stall, although once again I can't judge if things were reasonably priced. I feel pretty hard for this cardigan pictured below. I'd prefer it in black, imagine how those sequinned cherries would pop out!

As I mentioned, there were also a wide range of classes, workshops and taster sessions on all sorts of topics you could book yourself onto either before the event on on the day to attend. Some of the major players in London crafting and sewing were there teaching classes, like Lisa Comfort from Sew Over It. But aside from the classes, one of the most fun non-buying parts of the show was the Unfinishable Tent. 

Part of a wider art project (oh you can google it yourself!), the outside of this tent and the curtains are formed of creative projects people have started (often decades ago) and for various reasons abandoned. It was so fascinating to see these altogether in this context. The inside of the tent contained transcriptions of interviews of the creators of these pieces, where they shared the back story about why they begun the projects and how they came to leave them unfinished. It made for fascinating and often very touching reading. Many of these projects were started to while away some hours during lengthy hospital stays, and despite vowing to complete them after they returned home, the crafters never could bring themselves to pick up the projects again. Other projects were started for an expectant infant, often remaining unfinished after that infant had grown up and had had infants of their own! 

So, the verdict?: I would definitely go again, but only if I was paid to be there or were given a free ticket. The crowds, difficult and lengthly journeys to and from, the heat and stuffiness of the venue; all would be difficult to overlook if you are someone like me who has vowed not to buy new stuff (aside from a few buttons here and there) but you had paid to be there. But it is nice to take a peek into the passions and interests of others and I was grateful to be given the opportunity to do so.

Monday, 15 October 2012

My Wedding Dress!

Ok peops, here it is! The most important, most photographed and most stressful garment I'll ever make: my wedding dress! Thank you to everyone who expressed a desire to see the pictures, here you are.


Those of you who have read my previous posts on the planning of my dress will know that I was always going for a mid-century retro look. By the time I'd narrowed down my research, I was definitely erring towards a wiggle silhouette made from a separate skirt and bodice and lots of shoulder/decolletage on show. Above all else, this dress had to make me feel special, so it didn't seem like a time to hold back on the sexiness or glamour! Pat's Best Man told me on the night 'a bride's job is to make other men feel sad you're no longer on the market'! Apparently.


I chose the Burdastyle bustier/bombshell dress pattern (pictured below) as my basis because it had the general wiggle silhouette, waist seam and tight fitting bodice I knew I wanted. I ignored the cups sections and proceeded with toiling the bodice (with frequent fitting help from the ever-amazing Rehanon) again and again until we achieved a really good fit. Instead of the faceted bust of the original pattern, I wanted to recreate a draped, gathered bust effect something like the white Modcloth dress pictured below (underneath the next paragraph).

For that I knew I'd have to attempt some draping using my own body as the mannequin. With lots of encouragement and pin-passing from Rehanon, I finally got a good shape for the bust panels. It was very scary deconstructing my draped bodice toile to make a the bust piece pattern, I can tell you!

As for the skirt, I was initially going for a draped effect like Gertie's bombshell version of this pattern, but it kind of, umm, evolved in a different direction. What I mean to say is that the gathered skirt toile to look very good and I felt unsure how to approach getting a nicer effect. Time for completing this dress was getting tight, especially with all the other elements planning a DIY wedding entailed, so I decided to go for a straight wiggle skirt. As soon as I took that headache away, I breathed a sigh of relief and knew I'd done the right thing. I love the sleek, straight skirt in these pictures, and I think it allows the gathered bust design to really stand out.

Fabric and colour:

My mum and I planned to buy the fabric for my dress and my best mate's bridesmaid dress in one of the fancy-fabric purveyors on Berwick Street in London, knowing that if we drew a blank, we still had all of Goldhawk Road to plunder. For my dress I went with an open mind, but knew it needed to have some structure, be a bit special (AKA, shiny or something) and red. I also had one eye out for a nice brocade. In one of the silk shops I was drawn to some fantastic red silk that had a vintage-y embroidered flower motif but it was very narrow and a squillion pounds per metre. The search continued...

In Borovick Fabrics, I found the most perfect red acetate duchess satin stuff (its official name escapes me) at about £30 a metre. Hurrah! I thought. I glanced at the other colours it came in and was instantly drawn to an incredible peacock colour that really shone out. The sales guy was really helpful and pulled   a long length of each colour of the rolls and held it up to me so I could see in the mirror which worked best with my colouring. He even dimmed to lights to create for me a night time effect, bless him! Both looked great, so he cut a swatch of each and we went off to have some lunch and a margarita to deliberate. Rather wonderfully, whilst my mum and I were staring at menus in the windows of potential lunch venues, I spotted Kat, the editor of the only wedding website I allowed myself to read: Rock n Roll Bride!

We thought and ate, chatted and drank, and although Mum was on 'Team Red' at the beginning of the meal, she'd switched over to 'Team Peacock' by the end. Uncharacteristically, I felt pretty relaxed about having to choose between them. I think it was because I thought both were so lovely, I knew whichever I picked would have looked fantastic. The peacock won because it was just so vibrant and special.


My goodness this dress took some work. For example, the bodice is underlined in calico to give extra support and structure, and there was so much hand-stitching, including a belt section that I eventually removed. Following Gertie's Bombshell Dress class, I added boning to the lining, effectively making an inbuilt corset.

I made the whole thing in secret away from Pat because I didn't want to see it before our wedding day. I didn't even want him to know that I'd gone for a different coloured fabric than the red he (and almost everyone else) was expecting. I had planned to make this dress at work, but when the TRAIDremade studio closed down, I had to make it in our bedroom on my own with the door closed! I wish I had a pound for every time I said to Pat, 'Don't go in there'! I repeatedly vacuum the carpets and went around picking up tiny threads because the raw edges fray constantly.

Accessories and extras:

Early on in our engagement, I went to a posh vintage dress shop to try on some of their stock (even though I had absolutely no intention of buying anything) to get some idea. I saw an amazing head piece thing that was apparently called a 'bubble veil' which was basically some netting which covered most of the face only attached to a small fascinator/hat base. Then after attending a vintage-themed wedding fair in Hove back in the Spring with my friend Kirstin where we saw another, she declared she would make me one! She ordered heaps of supplied from Etsy and started playing about figuring out how to get the right look.

When I bought the peacock fabric instead of red, it was back to the drawing board a bit, because Kirstin had initially bought red netting because we thought it would show up well against my dark hair. She got some black netting and requested some of the fabric to cover the base, and she made me the most awesome veil that clipped onto my hair with a big hair clip.

I decided very early in in the wedding planning that I would do my own hair and makeup. Getting someone else to do those things seemed like an unnecessary expense when we were trying to keep to a small budget, plus I just didn't trust anyone else to get the kind of look I've spent years practising and feel most 'myself' with.

For my hair, I had to consider the placement of the hat/veil above anything else. I even got my fringe cut twice to get it to look correct with the veil. On one side at the top I made a victory roll, and on the other side I pinned the side of my hair up and towards the back so my veil had something to be clipped on to. The length of my hair was left to hang loose having mastered heated rollers to get relaxed, vintage-y curls.

My makeup was a variation of my usual 'going out' look, but with recently acquired additions of mac highlighter for the inside corners of my eyes and on the brow bone, greyish-brown shadow on my eye lids and a light tinted moisturiser/foundation to give a more even skin tone.

For jewellery, I'd wanted some vintage costume diamante pieces but my Etsy and Ebay hunts just weren't unearthing the right things. I thought a swallow brooch would be nice, but all the ones I found online were either too new and trashy looking, or old and beyond wearable. It was incredibly serendipitous that I found the perfect 1950's diamante swallow brooch at a local street fair in August!

I knew I wanted some dangly diamante earrings, but all the ones I'd found online had screw or clip-on backs. I wanted some for pierced ears but that didn't seem to be an option with the vintage earrings. New diamante earrings seemed to look quite tacky or were really expensive, so I was delighted when my friend Sarah leant me the perfect pair of dangly earrings for pierced ears. Hurrah!!!

I wore a pair of black heels that I love, are vaguely comfortable, and suited the style of dress really well. I wore them with some Pamela Mann love-seamed tights:

So there you go my friends! That's the low-down on my wedding outfit. Please keep your eyes peeled over the next few weeks for more wedding-related posts, there are lots of other handmade elements that made my wedding wonderful that I'd like to share with you all.
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