Saturday, 24 November 2012

Wedding Invitations for a Vintage Inspired Wedding

I thought I'd do a little post on wedding invitations for those of you I only know from afar!

I spend quite a lot of time stressing about the cost of wedding invitations. I had it in my head that I wanted those pouch style invites for a long time but seeing that the ones were available we're so expensive (around £5 each) I started to wonder if this was really what I wanted.

However during my blog reading I came across a post by Jeni Yesterday that mentioned Bride and Groom Direct for stationery.

Upon looking at their website I saw beautiful pouch style invites that I had longed for at the very reasonable price of £2-3 which was around half the price of so many of the others!

The style I opted for (upon the approval of my, at the time, fiance - thank goodness) were a lovely blue with the pink floral design and they were just what I had been looking for. Include in the price were envelopes for the invitations, printing costs, personalised messages, RSVP cards and envelopes and ribbons for tying it all together. It really seemed like a full package. You could also easily add notecards for a bit of extra cash but I printed my own to add to the invites.

I had a lot of fun practising calligraphy to write out the invitations although it got a little bit dull towards the end. I  currently writing out thank you cards an I have to say that this task is no less dull and time consuming.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Thrifty Outfits: Bottle Green Cardigan and a Floral Skirt

It has been a bit of a rough week for me, I don't want to go into too much detail, just that I lost a close member of my family and I have been spending the last few days dealing with that.

Today I managed to put an outfit together to go with my new haircut. It is not much different to how it was before, but I wanted to take off some of the length off to help me embrace my curls a little more. This outfit is all new, a long sleeve white blouse, a bottle green cardigan, a floral black skirt and a chunky belt.

The skirt was inherited from my mother's wardrobe, I think I may have been meant to give it back at some point but I keep 'forgetting'. The blouse was second hand from next and the cardigan was one of those rare glorious finds in Primark.

It is difficult to get a sense of the colour of this cardigan from the picture, as the light in my Grandmothers hallway is not the greatest, but it is a really lovely bottle green it also has a really delicate pattern to it that makes it look a little more retro than so many of the other 'boyfriend' cardigans you see around - even better, it is also a wool blend so it is lovely and soft. I'm not usually someone that advocates Primark, I usually favour eBay or a charity shop but I simply couldn't refuse this cardigan (they also had some matching tights, but I'll post on those another time).

To this outfit I added one of my favourite hats. I've not worn this one for some time as it is quite warm and the weather hasn't been bad enough yet - but today I felt it was time.
It is a cloche style black felt hat from Accessorize. Sorry for the iffy car picture I've not had a lot of time lately, I'll promise more glamorous shots soon!

Cardigan - Primark
Skirt - Mum via Monsoon
Blouse - eBay via Next
Cloche - Accessorize

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Outfit Finds: Earmuffs and Gloves

I Love earmuffs!

As simple as that - I really like them. They keep your ears warm, they look cute and they can fit snugly around an up do. The only way they could get any better is if they had headphones in them too.

Any who, I was looking for a new pair to wear this winter and ended up in Accessorize. They have an excellent selection of colours and 'styles' (I use styles very loosely by the way, there is only so much variation you can have in a headband with ear warmers) if they are a little bit expensive at £16. But they do make a nice winter treat.

I decided on some black ones with knitted flowers on them. If I'm honest I was persuaded by the fact they looked a little like a retro game sprite, but hey, that's because I'm a nerd! I also bought some matching gloves with the same print.

Now, I don't have a good track record with accessorise gloves, they usually end up unravelling on me... But well see how I get on with these.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Casual Cosplay: Audrey from Twin Peaks

I only recently became drawn into weird world of David Lynch's Twin Peaks. Mr. Fancy subscribed to Netflix recently and he suggested that I watch it, and to be honest I was intrigued by all the fuss around it (I also tend to think young Kyle Maclachlan is a bit if a damn fine cup of coffee but that is really beside the point).

Upon watching the show I was instantly drawn to the character of Audrey. The saucy teenager, who repeatedly tempts the good hearted Agent Cooper, has impeccable style even in that nightmare period that was the early 1990s.

With her retro glamour hair and make up and her classic outfit choices she makes for a fantastic style inspiration.

All images are property of Twin Peaks 

So one cold day I decided to dress in an Audrey inspired manner.

I have finally lost enough weight that I can get into my vintage plaid (or tartan) green skirt which was exciting enough but when paired with a little boat neck sweater and a nice coat things were starting to seem quite Audrey.

I decided to emulate this look a little further by pinning my hair into a sort of bob. With varying degrees of success but I think you get the idea.

Now this was just an inspired by outfit not an outright cosplay. To change this I would have curled my hair in advance before pinning it up worn a white sweater and added some black and white brogues or bowling shoes.

But all I'm all I don't think it was a bad effort.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Vintage Outfit: Wearing White in Winter

Todays dresscapade is an outfit I wore for a date with Mr. Fancy. We wandered into Durham on a frosty day and picked up some ingredients for a delicious evening dinner.

The outfit is a little bit of rebellion to the idea that you can't wear pale colours in winter - what a sad and limiting idea! Anywho this dress is a vintage M&S, well, at least as vintage enough to have St. Michael's on the label. It has floral details and a sailor style collar and I was drawn to this dress by the gathered waist under the bodice which reminded me of the Laura Ashley dresses I have mentioned before.

As for the print, I think a floral design is always perfect to wear even if it is a bitter winter.
I added black warm tights and some heeled black brogues to keep my legs warm and my feet glamorous and a splash of colour with the raspberry cardigan I spoke about in a previous post.

For the walk into town I added a long black coat from Monsoon circa 1990 that I bought from eBay (as usual) and a scarf that was a gift from some friends in the US. It is a lovely scarf and I have worn it every winter for several years now although sadly it is starting to look a little less glorious than it once did but it is still really warm!

I added a dainty brooch from a antique fair and I was read to go for a wander. I love having a day off on the weekends!

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Cosplay Costume: A Ghastly Marie Curie Costume for Halloween

This year Halloween fell on a Wednesday and like many other people I spent the day, and the night, at work. This certainly was no bad thing, well aside from the exhaustion of working until almost 2am (!),  but other than that it was an absolute blast!

Image by Elin Roberts
Since I work in a science centre I had the option to spend the day dressed up. This was an opportunity I took to with gusto - I published earlier about some of my favourite science themed costumes and decided to go with one of these for my costume.

I chose to mix a little vintage, a little spooky and a lot of bad taste and dress as a deceased Marie Curie.  Marie Curie is one of the most well known scientists of all time, in fact, a survey by Science Grrl confirmed that 61% of people knew Curie over all other female scientists. She is most famous for her ground breaking work on radioactivity.

A lot of her work was carried out in the 1890s-1910s (she was awarded a Nobel prize in 1903 AND 1911!) and as such I spent a lot of time hunting down the perfect Victorian/Edwardian black dress with puff sleeves and a good length skirt. The dress ended up being vintage Laura Ashley and unfortunately had short sleeves, so I added a long sleeve top underneath to give it a more Edwardian feel.

My hair was done with a headpiece from that looked like a large knotted hair bun. I liked this immensely but I felt it was a shame I hadn't manage to get hold of some coloured hair spray to cover my blonde but never mind. Sometimes things end up a little rushed.
Finally my 'turn of the century' style boots completed the look.

I don't often do scary make up so this is still a grey area for me. I didn't want to be a zombie so I was stuck somewhere between ghost and ghoul (whatever the difference is there?). I used some white face paint to create a white base and some eyeshadow to create the hollow eyes and cheeks. I used the black lipstick l bought to be a flapper to complete the look. I did try to use the paint around my neck but the lanyard made it difficult to get coverage.

Since I couldn't use anything radioactive in my costume, thank goodness, I mimicked the glowing radiation effect using glow sticks. I felt that during the evening these could have been better placed, but never mind, I then added a beauty queen sash displaying the radioactivity hazmat symbol just to secure the joke although I'm not sure this was in the best taste... but I'll leave that up to you.

Madame Curie in the lab, of course...
Finally I added some ghostly cobwebs.

All photos are taken at least 6 hours after applying the make up so I have to say I think it lasted pretty well. Luckily I did have time to give it a top up on the night for the Late Event.

View from the Foley Studio - Image by Elin Roberts
During the late event I was manning the Foley Studio where guests were able to record their own soundtrack to clips from classic hammer horror flicks. It was really great fun but it meant I didn't get to see a lot of the other events - luckily for me Life's head of public engagement, and regular event photographer, Elin Roberts was on hand to capture the spooky science (you can see more photos here)!

Costumes, Cocktails and Glowing Brains - Image by Elin Roberts
Zombies! Image by Elin Roberts
Skull Carnival Games - Image by Elin Roberts
So Many Costumes! - Image by Elin Roberts
Next door to the Foley Studio was the Peppers Ghost photo booth. This was based on a classic theatre illusion that makes it appear as if a ghost is in the room with you. Luckily for me - I got to try this out before any of the guests arrived!

Me as a human and Emma as a ghost - Images from Science at Life Flickr

Now I'm the ghost and Emma is the person - Images from Science at Life Flickr

All in all I had a really fun night and laughed my way through the Foley studio but after nearly 14 hours on my feet I virtually needed to crawl home!

How was your Halloween? Did anyone do anything fun?

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Altering Vintage: A Pretty Red Vintage Laura Ashley Dress

I am quite a fan of the brand Laura Ashley. I suspect that it has something to do with the fact that my Mum used to wear these dresses when I was a little girl and to me they have always seemed warm and feminine. I adore their large skirts, floral prints, poofy sleeves but I sometimes wonder if they can look a little frumpy when compared to todays fashion?

Their dresses are iconic and the modern styles are not quite the same as those designed in the 1980s so some of the vintage dresses are quite sought after in second hand retailers.

I got this beautiful red dress from eBay for a pittance price of £7.50. It has a gorgeous red and green ditsy print and I love the sleeves however it was just a bit too long when it arrived.

This seemed ironic given that I usually winge about skirts being too short!

I decided to take it up by a few inches using my sewing machine (a lovely easy task thank goodness!) and I think it looks much better now. Sorry for the rare glimpse of me sans make up!

Let me know what you think.

Any who, what do you think of vintage Laura Ashley? Pretty and feminine or overrated?

Thursday, 1 November 2012

The Fancy Dressers Best Friend - The Sewing Machine

When I was working on my ms marvel costume it became quickly apparent that I needed a sewing machine. A friend of mine recommended lidl machines as they are quite cheap (~£60) but work well and are easy to use.

Luckily for me my lovely husband (henceforth to be known as Mr Fancy) bought me my machine just after we were married as a sort of 'Yey Marriage!' type of gift. The only trouble was that it had been about 12 years since I last touched a sewing machine!

I bought some vintage patterns online so that I could start getting back into things. They were mostly cheap between 2 and 5 pounds and from varying eras one is quite 40s, another is 50s and the last is 70s which is not my usual era but I just can't resist a sailor collar!

I even got a little bit excitable and began designing cosplay costumes to wear at events next year - can you guess who it is yet?

However I needed some serious practice and since nice fabric is so expensive I decided to use a cheap white sheet and have a go at making a dress.

The style I picked was a 50s style dress with a small collar and a pleated skirt and I had hoped that one day it would make a nice nurses dress. I am still working on the design as it proved a little more complicated than its brand name of 'simplicity' but oh well, a few it of the other patterns I have look easier.

During its construction I've made a few mistakes and some unpicking and unravelling mean that it is on its way, if I am only making very slow progress. However it is something I am proud of. After all it's always nice to learn a new skill!

If you have any vintage patterns or designs you'd recommend to a novice then I'd love to hear about them!

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