Thursday, 31 July 2014

Red velvet , Vintage inspired kimono

I do love a bit of velvet, so when my Nan gave me a load of her tops to sell on Ebay and I saw this velvet berry red top I just had to make it my own!

I could of scaled it down to fit me as a normal top but then I remembered my infatuation for 1920's vintage inspired jackets and kimono's and how pretty they look layered over lace. I'm very particular with kimonos, on the high street I find them too long for my petite height or too 'samey' and always too expensive. Now with a chance to take matters into my own hands I got to work cutting and sewing...

I started with cutting down the middle on the seam and shortening the top to waist length, then finishing off the hem and edges with a simple fold and running stitch.

 Taking some inspiration from the 20's I ruched the arms a little as well as the body of the jacket to create a curtain drape effect.

After browsing through the scrap pile of my local haberdashery I finally found a good length of black tassel fringe which I snapped up to add to my new jacket. I simply measured the amount I needed and pinned the fringe in place following the underarm seam, then sewed.

With the left over material from before I made a little rope that fastens the evening kimono together or can be tied at the back for decoration.

This took me about 4 hours to do by hand as the stretchy material was hard to work with, but we got there in the end finishing at 2.30 am last night. I am very happy with how it's turned out, I might take it in a bit more at another point as it was originally a size 18, but it's fine for now.  I will most likely wear it as an evening kimono jacket or wear it to a festival, it wont be to everyone's taste but this fits in perfectly with my own style, it's got that bohemian romantic vibe.
When it comes to up-cycling clothes I'm definitely no expert, I just use my imagination as to what will look best and how to do it. This is why I encourage it so much because it really is for everyone who wants to have a little fun with their clothes.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Jazzy trousers - Cardiff

After working all week and having just been paid, a shopping day out was needed. Fancying somewhere a little different, Alison and myself took the train to Cardiff. The city center is wonderful to shop in, Cardiff is filled with little backstreet boutiques and cafe's.

One of the places I was keen to visit was the Oxfam charity shop to see if they had any hidden treasures, last time I visited the Cardiff store I came across the All Saints and NW3 brands. When going through second hand shops it can be very hit and miss so it's best not to expect anything. I'd been through most the racks and at the point of almost giving up I found these very jazzy skinny trousers from Topshop for £6.99, bargain! 
I also put my John Lewis discount card to good use and purchased the Nars pro prime eye primer, for the past year I've been using a bunch of Urban Decay samples so thought I should really invest into something that would last me longer. The lovely lady at the counter also gave me sample pots of the much coveted Nars Sheer glow foundation, we couldn't decide the exact shade so she gave me both so I could test them out at home in natural daylight.

One of the things I like about buying second hand occasionally is that I don't feel so guilty about ruining them in the long run. I cannot tell you how many tops and dresses I have that don't get worn as much purely for the reason I'm too afraid of ruining them with spilled drinks. With these trousers I know I can roam around busy bars and house parties carelessly because if they get ruined, big deal, they were only £6.99, who cares.

The little splits at the bottom add a bit of retro 50's to them.

Thursday, 24 July 2014


An old maxi skirt can have so many uses...

With Sziget festival in Budapest less than 3 weeks away I thought i'd let you meet my loyal versatile cloth otherwise known as an Urban Outfitters maxi skirt I destroyed two Christmases ago. Since that time it's sort of been my perfect travelling/festival outfit for light packing because I can transform it into multiple dresses and skirts, it will most definitely be in my backpack for the upcoming festival.

Over the past year I've worn this tie-dye bohemian cloth of mine to the beach, dinners, clubbing and to an Italian Opera in Verona. It's a very stretchy material so it hugs the figure and can be pulled into different shapes, I simply fasten it with a knot or I use the extra material cut from the middle to make a cinching belt.

My bracelet in these pictures is actually a necklace I wrapped around my wrist for a modern twist.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Floral cropping - Re-worked dresses

It really is so simple! I found these two dresses I hardly find time to wear anymore but couldn't bring myself to part with the gorgeous floral print of them both. Do I wastefully just leave them on the rail hoping one day the perfect occasion will arise? Of course not, I cut them up and fashion them into cute separates. If you would like to know a basic way of doing this then take a look at my post from June 'Simple's: Dress becomes crop top and skirt'. There are also tons of YouTube tutorials floating about.

Top, Day Birger et Mikkelsen

This was a Motel dress bought from the store in Bristol that has sadly closed down I think (it's just always closed whenever I'm on Park street). A few years ago this Motel print was very popular I believe they made 3 different versions of the dress in the same print. The top bodice was just a plain black bandeau, so I much prefer it as a skirt that I can mix and match with different tops. 

 I think everyone loves clothes that are a bit different and the best thing about up-cycling you're own old clothes is that you don't have to go sifting through charity shops or expensive boutiques to find something unique all the time. It's also very depressing to think about how much you spend on clothes and how much wear you get out of them, so think of it as getting your moneys worth.

Skirt from All Saints

This crop top used to be a Topshop dress, I could of used the excess material to make a skirt but I think i'll use it to update one of my clutches.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Go-go buy me these?

I would like the jacket too

 For Autumn/ Winter- 14/15, it was Saint Laurent’s glitzy Go-go boots that did it for me. Not only are the boots something a bit more than extraordinary, Saint Laurent has styled the entire look in such a modern way taking the ‘Austin Powers’ factor completely out of the equation. The softer the look the better. 

 Now I love glitter almost as much as Kesha but I do know the boundaries. If I were a super-rich Russian princess I would be living and sleeping in the diamond covered boots as I hopped from one glamorous city to another. Unfortunately I am not; therefore, the more understated studded boots would be more appropriate for street wear.

It will be interesting to see how the high street will interpret these designs come Autumn.
With bold statement pieces I sometimes feel there is a fine line between what looks ‘modern’ and what looks tacky, and more often than not it relies on the materials and quality of skills used in the process. I can already see premium shoe brands and Topshop conjuring up brilliant adaptations of these boots and I imagine although lacking in quality, Zara will knock out a good copy too. 
Either way if Saint Laurent's catwalk edit on the Vogue website is anything to go by, next season could not come soon enough.

Photo's from Vogue website

Thursday, 3 July 2014

'Ladies of Leisure' in Cirencester - Part one

Nearly two years ago just after I finished 6th form, my Mum and Step Dad made the decision to leave the greatest city in England (in my opinion) and our home, Bristol, to move to the Cotswold's. For that first year I clung to my Bristol roots, any spare time I had I went back to visit friends and family, I couldn't wait to go travelling and start University.
 In the past I had dismissed Cirencester as nothing but a sea of Barber jackets, but now I'm back for my second summer here and the weather has been be-a-utiful! Emily has come to visit me in what will be a two part Cirencester exploration, to show why I've now fallen in love with this place. 

Emily, playing the Lady of leisure.

Lick the Spoon is perhaps my favourite place at the moment, they do the most amazing gluten free brownies with a choice of ice cream drizzled in chocolate sauce. I usually find gluten free desserts a tad dry but here they are so moist and I couldn't taste any difference whatsoever, the lovely man who runs this shop told me that gluten free brownies should only be dry if it's left out too long. 

Since 2006 when the company was first launched Lick the Spoon have won many awards for their outstanding chocolate and has been recognized by Nigella Lawson, one chef on a judging panel described their chocolates "Equal to the finest in the world". For more information visit their website at www. . 

When we first moved to the Cotswold's, I really didn't appreciate what treasures Cirencester had to offer. The whole town center is a maze of cute backstreets with hidden cafe's and quirky boutiques.

One of the boutiques 'Encore', only stocks second hand designer clothes, Emily picked up this 'oh so chic' vintage Ralph Lauren shirt for £25.  At the same store I picked up this cute Clu jumper worth over £100 for just £24, the sheer frill at the bottom is just divine, I feel so french. I can also grunge it up quite easily with leggings and combat boots when it's not so hot.

To be continued in a few weeks...

Emily's "I dream of Genie" Turban

About a month ago myself and Emily, one of my closest friends went to Parklife festival with Uni friends to kick start the summer. I think the majority will agree feather headdresses and flower crowns, although pretty, have become a bit of a cliche for festival goers along with those Hunter wellie boots, however, festivals are a place for free expression and if that means a few cliche's here and there sprinkled in masses of glitter as sported by myself then what is the problem in that. Let it be.
If you on the other hand are looking for a more inspiring take on the uniform 'head piece' then read on...

Emily's new fashion fixation is on vintage scarves styled into trendy turbans, a look which is also perfect for festivals with it's Bohemian-Genie vibe. Below is a step by step how to fashion you're own Festi-Turban courtesy of Emily.

Take any silk scarf, Emily prefers vintage ones bought from charity shops. Position it around the back of your head.

Cross it over.

Then twist in the opposite direction.

Fasten in place by tying it into a bow or knot at the back.