Fashion

Holiday Mementos


Dress - Coco Fenell, Leather Jacket - New York Flea Market, Shoes - Isabel Marant.

Dress - Coco Fenell, Leather Jacket - New York Flea Market, Shoes - Isabel Marant.

I love traveling and finding new flea markets, charity shops and any form of vintage retail therapy. I research avidly before traveling for our if town places to visit, antiques fairs and sometimes factory outlets - think Mui Mui and Prada in Florence - amazing!

I try not to come back with too much, I limit myself to a sensible level. Too many times I have had to pay extra luggage fees (think Mui Mui!). Last year I had the opportunity to travel to New York for a 3 day trip and we took hand luggage. Note to self this meant not bribing anything to big back, needless to say because I had to carry it.

Whilst there I came across a vintage pop up flea market - hello heaven! And I came across the leather jacket I’m wearing above. Super awesome and as equal in super weight!

I could not leave it. Every time I wear it I get loads of compliments and you can see why. It’s incredible and cost me 50 dollars plus I lot of strength but the strength was worth it!


How To Wear Lace During The Colder Months


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Lace is always a winner and even more so this season if you follow trends. However with the turn of chillier weather it can seem an out choice… but not if you later up with thermals and throw an arran jumper over the top.

Im obsessing over recycling lace at the moment and I’m loving being inspired by Pearl Lowe and her own love of lace and dying it black. Which is going to be my project for this week - over dying lace black 🖤.

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Chloe Inspired


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As the weekend approaches and with a realisation that the little one is away for the day at a party and the husband is away at rugby, I have the matter of a few hours to myself. There is a whole long, laborious list of chores I could do and normally thats exactly what I would do.

But not tomorrow, there are a couple of markets I would like to visit - Portabella Road for one, there is also a shop there that sells dead stock and numerous vintage and charity shops - one place with lots to do.

Plus a Happy International Womens Day - big shout out to all the wonderful women in our lives known and unknown that get us through each day ♥︎.


Brightening Up Monday


Coat - 1970s Dead stock, Jeans - last season McQueen, Shoes - Sophia Webster

Coat - 1970s Dead stock, Jeans - last season McQueen, Shoes - Sophia Webster

Blimey it’s cold. I thought for one disillusioned moment that spring weather had arrived and would stay. I was wrong storms rolled on last night and in with the cold weather. Not to be too disheartened I opted for warm clothes, back on went the coat but this time with some colour.

i picked up this coat last year from a place in Weatbourne Grove that has some amazing 70s and 80s dead stock. I mixed it with last season McQueen jeans I bought in the sale - a few sizes too big but I split them down the back and made a seam which allowed me to take them in. All in all even with the bad weather, I felt pretty good today 🌈.


Spring Skulls


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Spring is here, it’s the 1st of March and I’m two months into not buying anything new. Which means I have bought no new clothes for the past 59 days. I have bought a few items from the local charity shop which I have either used as is or upcycled - see dress above. I reused a tulle layered skirt and old t-shirt. I am feeling good. I have barely looked at the online shops and instead i have sent more time with friends. All in all I’m not missing shopping for ‘new stuff’ and I’m loving making new from old.


Fashion Magazine Inspiration


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Over the last few years there has been a change in ‘coffee table’ magazines. The likes of Vogue and Elle have survived but many have gone solely online . As much as I love online resources, I miss paper magazines. Nothing beats a good cup of tea and a browse through a magazine be it a sunny afternoon or rainy morning.

Which leads me on to a new ethos of magazine I’ve found full fills my coffee table desires.

Oh Comely - a beautiful magazine focusing on stories, culture, curiosities, makers, crafts and ideas.

And my second magazine - Frankie, focusing on design, art, photography, fashion, travel, music, craft , home and life - which pretty much nails it all. Both magazines are printed on paper worthy of keeping and the least you can do when you finished is keep on your coffee table or share with friends!


Two Denim Jackets That Give You 4 Jackets!


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I had this idea to spilt denim jackets in half and be able to reattach a different half. I have tried this numerous times with zips but I could never get the zips to sit flat - not sure if it’s my sewing skills or the fact that I use different weights of denim… dodgy excuse even to my ears - zips aren’t my greatest skill set!

Anyway, totally unexpectedly my subconscious came with the answer. Popper studs. I’d previously bought a length of popper studs to make bodysuits and by the time they arrived I’d gone off the idea (maybe nows the time to relight that idea!). So I decided to use the popper studs (which come in a length of black tape) to reattach the two pieces to make a complete jacket.

Jacket 1.

Jacket 1.

Jacket 1 & 2 combined - front.

Jacket 1 & 2 combined - front.

The other halves combined - front.

The other halves combined - front.

Jacket 2.

Jacket 2.

Jacke 1 & 2 Combined - back.

Jacke 1 & 2 Combined - back.

The other halves combined -back.

The other halves combined -back.


What Drives Us To Shop?


Homemade dress - East London Style.

Homemade dress - East London Style.

Yesterday I rustled up this dress. It is made from a t-shirt and two aprons. I had bought the aprons from a local charity shop some time at the start of last year. The t-shirt was a more recent purchase from our local Traid just before Christmas. As soon as I saw the t-shirt I knew that it would work with the aprons.

I often buy things that I love from charity shops without knowing how I will use them. I trust my instinct that there will be something I do it them. I trust that the reason I am drawn to what ever the item is, is because it is beautiful.

I love this quote by Willian Morris…

Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.


My West London Happy Place


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I love this photograph! This is one of the places I feel happy, content and totally immersed in ‘stuff’ that makes me feel happy. I.e Dead stock from the 1970’s think cheese cloth, maxi dresses, hand embroidered corduroy blazers and some massively over worn & patched denim - heaven!

It is in fact a shop in West London that I stumbled upon, nothing special from the outside. It sells Portabella Road bags, t-shirts, some 80’s bits and general Westbourne Grove memorabilia but look slightly beyond this and your eyes will rest on some super cool stuff. Look even further to the back wall and you’ll see some stunning examples of Afghanistan textiles and dresses.

As I write I’m already mentally planning a trip to mooch and find inspiration, maybe tomorrow…

Dead stock definition - A term used to describe merchandise that was never sold to or used by consumers before being removed from sale, usually because it was outdated. Dead stock is often warehoused, but it can also subsequently be offered for sale and typically retains its original package and tags.


New Years Day 2019


Rixo x Laura Jackson - Dress, Mui Mui - Boots.

Rixo x Laura Jackson - Dress, Mui Mui - Boots.

New Years Eve and New Years Day (apart from my birthday) are two of the hardest days of the year for me. I simply find them over whelming at the start of the day and then only end up feeling under whelmed by the end of the day. The pressure to perform, achieve, list, analyse ourselves only serves to simply freak me out! So as I type this as the clock just approaches 5.30pm - I am glad to say that the day is nearly over and I have survived. In fact I’ve had a great day walking dogs, generally chatting about very little and baking fresh bread.

Last night was spent at the London Palladium, where I wore my last purchase of 2018 a Rixo X Laura Jackson sequin dress. It’s a great dress that is timeless and will last years, in fact I’m keen to try wearing it again and again daytime and evening in so many different ways.

It is a super simple, rather 1930s inspired shape and has set my mind thinking about what direction my first recycled / up cycled sewing project should be… as 1920s and 1930s clothing is becoming so hard to find and because its in such a delicate condition now, It has inspired me to think along these lines for the silhouette.


No 'New' Clothes Challenge 2019


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Having taken the challenge not to buy anything new for the year of 2019 (now being Thursday December 27th) it feels wrong to be shopping - even though in theory I could have a few days to pack in some serious shopping.

Instead, I am having a de-clutter. I am reorganising my wardrobe into different zones.

Everyday clothes - to keep.

Vintage clothes and collectables - to keep.

Items to be re-cycled / cut / re-sewn.

The thought behind this, is that it allows to me to work out what I actually have that I want to wear as is.

And more importantly what I have that I don’t like - i.e. clothes and fabrics that I can start to play with / re-cycle. For me this is the fun bit! I don’t have to have any guilt saying I don’t like an item of clothing, or that it doens’t fit me any more or that perhaps it isn’t in fashion.

Where as in the past I may have felt guilt for dismissing things I’ve spent money, now there is no guilt because nothing is going to wasted - Everything and anything can be re-made!

I never thought that by curtailing my love for shopping that I would feel such a refreshing sensation, perhaps I’d even go as far as to say a feeling of lightness / weight removed! 💚

My future wardrobe relies on the Eagle!

My future wardrobe relies on the Eagle!


Getting Christmas Party Ready


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As Christmas approaches so do the Christmas parties. I always look at jumpsuits I love them but they tend to drive me mad when as the night wears on - either due to a drink to many or being over tired - they are in increasingly difficult to zip up / use the zip at all - unless the are front fastening of cause!

So taking on two tends ‘Christmas sparkles’ and ‘Leopard print’ I came up with the dress above. Its a take on my t-shirt dress idea which simply involves adding a skirt to a top - See Design Projects above The Up-cycled Bodysuit Dress.


5 Undeniable Reasons to Love A Recycled T-shirt


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I love second hand t-shirts. So much so, that I prefer them to new.

  1. They have been washed to the point the fabric is a soft a baby skin.

  2. The brash level of colour has been taken out and the colour - even black - has soften to a flattering level.

  3. Pretty much there won’t be many people with the same t-shirt as you - so enjoy your unique t-shirt.

  4. Depending where you shop, second had t-shirts can be far more affordable than buying new.

  5. Like me, second hand t-shirts seem more accessible to being changed. There for snip away, change the length, cut out the sleeves or like me today as a piece of fabric and turn one into a dress.

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The One Great Thing To Know About Recycling


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The simple rule that I find about ‘recycling’ is that any goes. Recycling and up-cycling are easy if you don’t start off with rules.

With this denim jacket I simply knew that I wanted to see what would happen, if I combined a denim jacket and an old military band jacket. The band jacket was passed its best but I loved the details. The denim jacket was in great condition and as denim is pretty much indestructible I wanted to use it as a base and add details from the band jacket.

The left overs form the band jacket have not been waisted or thrown away. Instead I bag up everything that is left over - fabric, buttons etc so that I can use them on another project.


Ann Arundell Animal Antics


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I have a new found love for these mohair Ann Arundell jumpers.

I have found some on eBay and I have also bought some directly from the etsy website. They are ‘keepers’, they aren’t ‘in’ fashion and they certainly aren’t ‘out’ of fashion - they are a slightly quirky classic.

I not only loe the design but I’m also loving mohair, it is so warm. I used to find tricky and scratchy and slightly uncomfortable - i’n not sure what changed me obviously!

Mohair is usually a yarn made from the hair of the Angora goat. It is durable and resilient, mohair is notable for its high luster and sheen which has helped gain it the nickname the "Diamond Fiber", and is often used in fiber blends to add these qualities to a textile.

Mohair can by dyed exceptionally well. Mohair is warm in winter as it has excellent insulating properties, while remaining cool in summer due to its moisture wicking properties. It is durable, naturally elastic, flame resistant and crease resistant. It is considered to be a luxury fiber, like cashmere, angora and silk. It is usually more expensive than most wool that is produced by sheep - which is possibly why the ‘vintage’ Ann Arundell that I have found on eBay are in impeccable condition!


How To Create The 'Preen' Hemline


Preen - Fluted hem.

Preen - Fluted hem.

Preen - Hancki-chief hem.

Preen - Hancki-chief hem.

Preen - Asymmetrical hem.

Preen - Asymmetrical hem.

Skirt hems are changing, they no longer need to be one length or symmetrical. See above for Preen’s fantastic skirt lengths and designs. They use a traditional ‘hankie chief hem’, a 'slightly ‘fluted’ hem and then they cut an ‘asymmetrical’ hem.

These are great inspiration for updating a dress or skirt with very little skill needed or much sewing. I decided to try changing a hem on a maxi dress.

I cut a moon shape out of the front the hem deliberately off centre - i.e I didnt measure, I just cut and what was, will be. Simply with this style of hem - nothing can go wrong. I then simply double turn the hem of the fabric and sewed into place. I cant wait to wear this dress with thick socks and boots 👢.

Dress with uncut hem.

Dress with uncut hem.

Hem cut out on the right side of the dress.

Hem cut out on the right side of the dress.

Hem detail.

Hem detail.


Here's Why Denim Is So Awesome To Recycle


Jeans - East London Style (Home made), Trainers - Fila Disruptor II

Jeans - East London Style (Home made), Trainers - Fila Disruptor II

I love working and recycling with denim. The main reason is that pretty much denim is indestructible. You can sew and re-sew and un-do and re-sew again pretty much on the same spot and the fabric will not give way and rip.

When and if you do get rips, patch it! Or leave it as a rip and incorporate this into what you are doing.

Recycling jeans is great, there are so many ways that I can’t wait to show you on this blog.

You can bleach, dye, over dye after bleaching, cutting, sewing, making into - dresses, skirts, shorts, new jeans, bags, pretty much anything and the great thing - yep - it’s pretty much indestructible.

With the jeans in these photographs, I have incorporated a pair of cargo pants (another very tough fabric that is great to work with), I have also added ribbons and tape.

And just for fun I didn’t bother having a plan or making them symmetrical in design - sewing is so enjoyable! and there are no rules as to what you can and can’t do.

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A Vintage Dress Success Story You'll Never Believe


Dress - Paper Dress Vintage, Trainers - Fila Disruptor 2

Dress - Paper Dress Vintage, Trainers - Fila Disruptor 2

I knew that on Saturday our local vintage clothing store ‘Paper Dress Vintage’ was holding a sale. I’ve been before and these sales are great, cheap clothing but unlike an enormous ‘kilo sale’ this sale is well curated and manageable (on a hangover…). However I’m not in need of any more clothing, vintage or otherwise. In fact I’m clearing out, I’m putting everything into piles - keep, store, recycle and OUT.

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I thought it rude not to go, they had kindly sent me an invite, at least go and have a look…

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AND - yes I came home with a bag full, in fact 6 dresses and 1 skirt better off. Nows here’s the thing, I genuinely thought at this price that I would be looking at pieces that I could and perhaps would have to recycle but oh no. Each piece is fantastic in its own right. I may still recycle a couple of the dresses, the skirt will be made into a t-shirt dress for definite. So all in all an absolute success and the next sale… I’ll be there at the opening time of 10am on the nose!

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N.B - I kept the tags and did a quick tally up when I got home. The full price total of my bag would have been £236 😊.