Saturday, 30 May 2015

Pinup Shots from Dumbletons - cheesy but fab!

So a couple of weeks ago I went for my pinup photoshoot at Dumbletons in Cambridge. It was a Groupon jobby. Cost £15 for the makeover and shoot and 2 identical prints.

I've had two of these before. Dion Gallichan (also Groupon) and the Voodoo Vixen shoot.

I'd say Peter the photographer is very similar to Dion. Fun to work with and eager to get the best shots from his clients. The VV shoot was different as it was to model the clothes rather than focussing so much on the models themselves.

The makeover experience was different for all three. My first experience was pretty dire. I wasn't impressed in the slightest. When Jane Crowhurst did my makeup for the VV shoot, I was like 'Oh, that's what its supposed to be like' I was so happy with what she did. 

This time I had Izzy Wild who is based locally, and she was also fab. I felt like she knew exactly what she was doing and went with my suggestions and did everything professionally and confidently. She didn't mind me using my own accessories.

These are the four shots I picked (yes I bought some extra - sucker!!)

They are super cheesy but thats ok - its what we were going for. There were a few 'sultry' ones but I'm not comfortable with me looking like that, so I've gone for 'grinny' instead!

I picked the ones I thought were most apt - I'm always taking photos (bad ones!). I eat lots of cake, and I sew all the time :)

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Bagmaking: - my machine has come home - let the sewing commence!

On the last day of April, my machine went off to the sewing doctor, Bayden after the clunk of death.
He's a bit of an oddball but he knows his stuff. So whilst he is incredibly busy, he eventually fixed Queen Liz and shes back with me. 23 days later! It only cost me a tenner. He tried not to charge me at all, but that's just ridiculous. I therefore offered him £30 and what followed was the strangest argument I've had for a while with someone who isn't a relative or friend. In the end I said 'oh just take a tenner and drop it in a charity box or something# LOL.

Here she is then, back home. I have a BIG list of things to get through.

First off was this little bag for the daughter of a friend of mine, who will be 8 on Friday.
I loved this fabric (Michael Miller - Wee Wander summer ride) so there was the smallest amount of fussy cutting to get the ponies placed correctly (there's only one of them on the back) whilst not wasting fabric. I hate wasting expensive fabric!

I used the Swoon Ramona pattern for this, which is FREE! I needed it to be a really quick sew. 
The original design has stripes on the front, but I omitted these and added piping to give it a bit of contrast. The zip is recessed, and I used this Makower Just for Fun Balloons fabric as the lining.

Hoping the birthday girl likes it!

Friday, 22 May 2015

Accessories: Pretties from Erstwilder and PunkyPins (modified!)

I just wanted to show you a couple of super-cute items I bought recently (on offer - always on offer - I never buy stuff full price!)

First off, the Erstwilder earrings. I have admired Erstwilder jewellery for some time now, and when I saw that Audrey Stars Boutique had a discount code, I just went for it.

I chose these Betty & Bo Swallow Earrings. 

They come in a beautiful box. Packaging sl*t that I am this filled me with glee!

What astonished me though was the quality. They are tough, glossy, and 3D. Awesomeness.

My next bargain was this Punky Pins charm bracelet. I'm not a bracelet person, but I am a dangly earrings person, so I bought this (I think they must have been doing a free delivery offer or something. I forget!) with the express intention of changing it up. They do sell earrings btw, but none that I really wanted.

These charms are wooden and very, very light which makes them ideal to be worn in the ears.

For a tenner, I'd get four pairs of mix and match earrings out of this. Bargain as far as I'm concerned. I didn't need to buy any earwires as I already have this stuff in my jewellery craft box. 

This is the result of about 15 minutes plier-work. Well worth it. I'm wearing some today!

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Plus Size Fashion: Collectif Atomic Flamingo Dolores Doll

I knew that I had to have this dress the minute I saw it. Unfortuantely I didn't have the spare cash the minute I saw it, and it had sold out on the Collectif website by the time I had.  Doh!

A googling session later though, and I'd found a small business (Lady Retro) that did have one left in my size. Bingo!

After a small amount of stress later (Royal Mail thought they'd give my parcel a detour and sent it to the Cath Kidston factory instead) I recieved my dress in an amusingly addressed parcel :)

How gorgeous is this print! Its like, the PERFECT SUMMER RETRO PRINT!

Flamingos, fruit, tiki - its like a tropical festival going on!

I have found Collectif dresses to be a good fit on me in the past, and this is no exception. Its just a lovely shape.

The sleeves though. Noooooo.

Can you see what I mean? I am a size 18. I have fat old arms. The elastic was waaaaay too tight. It was actually painful to wear.

However, there was NO WAY ON EARTH this dress was going back. So I did a simple snip and add job. Anyone else with this issue - you're looking at half an hour tops. Just snip away at the sleeve hem - I did it just next to the seam below the arm (where your armpit is) towards the back of the dress. You only need to expose an inch or two. 

Pull out the elastic (which is loose - its not sewn to the sleeves) And place two pins either side of where you're going to cut (so you don't lose the elastic in the sleeve after you've cut it) Now just get another bit of elastic of preferably equal width (mine was a bit thinner) and cut to size. I used a two inch piece. Snip your sleeve elastic and sew the cut piece to each side of it. 
I overlapped by about 1/4" which meant I was adding about 1 1/2" in total to each sleeve.

Close up the sleeve hem - I just backstiched this by hand. Then do a bit of pulling to get the elastic distributed a bit more evenly.

Ta da!!!

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Simplicity Star Sewist Blogger Challenge Dress #1 Curvy Sewing.

So this year I have entered the Simplicity Star Sewist Blogger Challenge. There was a choice of patterns, and I have chosen to enter best dressmaking project
The pattern in question for this category is the NewLook shift dress 6145. I have called this Dress #1 with the anticipation of getting another one done by the end of the month. Will that happen? who knows :)
Honestly I don't think this dress will win any prizes, but I think its quite cute. The fabric I used was the stuff i was given by the Voodoo Vixen team at London Edge (ok, I scrounged it - I'd been after it a long time and when I saw they'd used it as a tablecloth for their makeshift bar - well I had to ask!)

Its quite a stretchy fabric, and I was initially going to make this into a pencil skirt or dress. However I honestly don't think I would wear it like that. I didn't want to go 'sexy' I wanted to go 'cute' so I thought I'd use it for the blogger challenge.
I don't normally wear shift dresses. I have a LOT of dresses, but those I wear (and make) tend to be 50s style with a fitted bodice and flared skirt. I have a big old backside and I prefer it not to be so exposed.
However I thought the shift dress style might not feel too revealing. Whilst its shaped, its not 'fitted' i.e. tight to my body. Because the fabric is stretchy, it doesn't feel restrictive.
Going by the packet, the pattern isn't in my size for dressmaking as it only goes to an 18 (in clothes shops I'm an 18 generally, but for patterns I'm a 22) however there is so much ease in this pattern that I felt I only needed to add an inch on each side in the waist/hip area. I used the size 18 for the bodice area and did not modify it.
I like the wide boat neck style, but I thought I would add some sleeves. Cutaways seems to be the thing this season as well as boho gypsy tops, so I slotted these in. I basically made two rectangles, seamed, added some elastic to the top edge to gather it, and just inserted into existing armscye. Its not that obvious on the photos. Bah!

I also added a patch pocket for no other reason than a) I like somewhere to put my phone and b) I had some pu leather scraps to play with.

The concealed zip surprisingly went in ok. You can't see it anyway :)
I love a bit of piping. I decided that the neckline should have red piping to really make it pop and added the piping to the top of the pocket.. I also couldn't resist some mini bobble trim on the sleeves.
I didn't interfere with the hem. Bobble trim - tempted, but there is such a  think as overkill and its already teetering on the edge of 'my eyes, my eyes'!!
I would wear this with flats/sandals/fitflops/pumps. Its a summer dress and meant to be light and cutesey. Overall I'm happy with it. What do you think?!

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Plus Size Fashion - M&Co and Tesco

I bought two items I really like this week. 

The first was this sweet dress from M & Co. I rarely buy from them because their market is probably aimed for the older generation ie. 40-70. Whilst I do come into that bracket, I don't often see anything I'd actually wear.

I actually went in to look for some joggers for my eldest, but I never made it to the kids section, because I saw this frock on the sale rail. Just the one. Happened to be an 18. Oh, ok then I'd better try that on as it was clearly put there just for me...

I love the cute summery pattern and the shape. Its simple but its perfect. Admittedly this is slightly too big on the chest, but I plan to just take in each side by about an inch. It has pockets - bonus!

 Its very light and feels super comfy. I'd wear this to work and I'd wear it to go to the shops. In fact I'd wear it anyway. (I have got my jeans on under there which isn't a great look but I didn't see the point of taking those off just to try the dress on)
Dear readers, I bought it.

It was £26 in the sale by the way. They have them online.

The second buy was actually my first buy. This culotte jumpsuit is for sale at Tesco for £22. I picked it up immediately, in spite of the fact that a) I'd never normally consider a jumpsuit b) I'd never normally wear pastel tones

Its just so pretty though. The fabric they've used is quite rayony/crepey so its soft and drapey. The style and fabric is quite retro. It fits quite nicely. 

(theres no camel toe issues)

It has pockets.

The only issue I have really is that I'm not keen on the length, which for me is just weird. I know its meant to be culotte length, but it just looks to me like its something that should be full length. I feel dumpier because it stops above my ankles.
 Also I'm not convinced I'd be brave enough to wear this locally. And I'm only going abroad for 9 days this year. 
Sadly, I'm returning this one. But I do think its lovely.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Plus Size Fashion: - Lindy Bop

I'm not sure why I'm even bothering with this post. I have a love hate relationship with Lindy Bop. As in I love their designs, but not a single one of their dresses that I've tried on ever fits me properly. 

Take the Audrey for instance (the photo below is old - it was taken beginning of 2014)

This is a size 18. It looks okay in the pics, but its actually squashing my boobs to high heaven. Also, the armscyes are really too small. They start to dig in under the arms after no time at all and its really uncomfortable. 

I also tried this Polly a while back. I love this style bodice. I own a Lindy Bop dress with an identical bodice, but which has a flared skirt. That one is a 16 and the bodice is almost perfect but the waist is too small. 

So I ordered the 20 as suggested by the website sizing chart, but also because of my issues with the bodice of the Audrey being too tight.

Didn't fit. Bodice too large and flappy on the bust. Shoulders too far apart. Waist ok. Damn me and my belly!

Last week I thought I'd try this dress as it was on offer and its more 40's which is what I was after. I bought the 18 this time. Its called the Zarah.

First point is that this is really well made for a cheap dress. The fabric is thick and stretch and its lined. Unfortunately its just too thick and heavy. I'd be sweating like a pig in this. They also accidently sent me the wrong belt, which I'm wearing here, but it hurts. (They did replace it for one that matches the dress size, but I am returning the dress)

The bodice is just wierd. I can see what they were trying to do, but it just doesnt work. It sits badly and the brown bits flap about.

I tried pinning down the brown bits, which does cover the 'bow' detail, but which I think looks better.  I also took off the belt before it pinged from overstretch.
However its still not floating my boat. And whilst the armscyes are cut lower, the bodice in general is too big (although it fits my waist)

Its really hot. Did I say that? Its wooly. I can't wear it. I couldn't wear it in winter either. I don't like hot dresses.
Such a shame as it fits slightly better than any other Lindy Bop I've tried. I have come to the conclusion that its time to stop bothering.