Sunday, 30 March 2014

Outfit of the day: A camel coat and a collectif dress

As winter draws to a final close I am desperately trying to cram a few extra days of wear into the camel coat I bought at the end of February. It is a warm coat, but its not too much at the moment as long as I don't wear a cardigan too.

On a particularly sunny day my husband and I went for a walk through the park next to where we live and snapped a couple of pictures of my coat. I had previously had my hair in plaits (my latest favourite thing) and it was a terrible mess so I used the occasion to wear a lovely hat I got from Laura Ashley in October last year and haven't really got around to writing about yet.

I think the black/camel/teal combo is quite striking, but I feel that it is a combination that works really really well.

I got the teal dress on a recent trip to Brighton in the Collectif sale (which is great by the way, if you get a change to pop into the Brighton or London stores I believe it is still going on and there are super bargains to be had).

This dress is the Wilhemina dress which has a lovely 40s sort of shape with really pretty pleats and shoulders.

Here is a closer picture of the Laura Ashley hat. It isn't that old, but its style is very similar to some of the hats seen in episodes of Downton Abbey. It has a distinct early 20th century style.

Oh and last but not least, since I was in a park, I had to do at least one picture posing with a tree. Naturally.

Dress: Collectif
Coat: Thrifted
Shoes: Clarks
Hat: Laura Ashley (thrifted)
Scarf: Thrifted

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Cosplay Costume: Dorothy Gale from the Wizard of Oz

Once upon a time it was world book day and my work decided to do a fancy dress day. FANCY DRESS DAY! YES! The catch was that the theme was heroes and villains and comic books weren't allowed. Hum, what to pick...

I decided to go with the Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. I loved the books when I was a kid and I felt like the iconic blue gingham from the movie was something I could quite easily make, handily I also have the right colour hair so I could avoid wearing a wig all day. It also meant I could keep my 'olden times' look (students words not mine!) and didn't have to confuse anyone with an abrupt change of style.

Just in case you weren't sure about Dorothy's look in the film, here is dorothy cut out that I largely used for referencing:

I already had a white blouse that would work quite well in this costume, but the blue dress, I had to make that from scratch. I got some poly cotton blue gingham from World of Sewing for £3.50/m which was the apparent standard price of gingham everywhere!

I used the same 1960s dress pattern that I edited for my Princess Daisy outfit, only I used a shortened version of the skirt and I shortened the bodice and added straps as braces. I fixed the straps in place as I have stupidly small shoulders and I didn't want to deal with them falling down.

I apologise for the floor covered in thread in this shot ^^


For the shoes I had a pair of 80s red pumps that I got for 99p a while ago. The leather is flaking a bit so I didn't mind covering them in glitter. I used a large flake glitter and PVA glue to paint and stick the glitter to the shoes. 

The result was actually way better than I expected, but it did make a horrible mess of my floor, and my Dominoes/Pizza Hut menu.

Of course once I put the out fit on I had so do some cheesy 'over the rainbow' black and white shots ;) 

Were not in kansas any more:

And the shoes:
And this final shot was me trying to click my heels together... I don't really think it worked out that well but oh well.

Best part of the day however was when I won the staff prize for best costume! Happy days indeed.

Did you do anything for world book day?


Sunday, 23 March 2014

Outfit of the day: Pink in Brighton

The other week I had a flying visit to Brighton and decided to do a quick outfit post. I totally overshot the number of layers I was wearing as it ended up being no where near as cold as I had expected so I had to carry my beautiful vintage coat for a large portion of the day.

Anywho, as I was in Brighton, I decided to experiment with a colour I rarely ever wear. Pink.

I've had this skirt a little while, it came form Monsoon during the sale around 4 years ago when that folk look was all-the-rage-but-never-actually-the-rage.

I paired the skirt with a very pink jumper. Now this jumper wound up in my possession by mistake as it was listed on eBay as crimson, and my understanding of crimson was something a much deeper and darker colour than this. But unfortunately that is the colour it said on the label so I was stuck with it, so why not try it out right?

If I'm completely honest I'm still not sure about it...

I do adore my 80s across body bag, it is just the right size and so sturdy and well made! Its my go-to bag when I don't have much to carry.

I also had an amazing eBay find where I got 16 enamel bangles for 99p! In loads of different colours. They may not be bakelite, but they're good enough for me!

Here is my black vintage coat that I had to very swiftly remove once the sun came out...

Now my hair is a touch dishevelled in this pic but those curls lasted all day and I was really pleased with the shape of the set. I suppose you get the idea. This set was done with 25 flat pin curls, which seems a little excessive, but I really love the shape it gives and I really do think it gives the curl more longevity.

Skirt: Monsoon
Blouse: Monsoon
Jumper: M&S
Scarf: Thrifted
Coat: Vintage thrifted
Bangles: eBay
Boots: Clarks

What do you think then?

Pink jumper, yey or ney?

Thursday, 20 March 2014

A trip to Betty's and a 50s dress

While I had a little bit of time off work I took a trip back home to the north east. It was also my Mum's birthday so it was a good excuse to take a trip out to somewhere special.

That special place ended up being Betty's tea rooms at Northallerton. Betty's have a few tea rooms, in York, Northallerton and Harrogate and I have been to them all. They are all bloomin' wonderful. In fact so wonderful that I insisted that the Betty's bakery make the cutting cake for me wedding.

This time we went for lunch and tea. I love the early 20th century decor of all of Betty's tea rooms, but I love their tea even more! They serve proper tea, you can have it blended with milk, or pure source tea with lemon, milk or on its own and they have around 20 varieties. Even more than the choice, I love the fact that you are served your tea loose leaf in a teapot with a strainer and a pot of water as standard.

All tea should be served with a pot of hot water in my book. Here is me with an array of teapots:

(I was so pleased to get that cartoon swirl in may hair where the bleached portion hasn't quite grown out yet1)
Food wise I had a steak and ale pie with seasonal veg and for dessert I had a chocolate cherry layered cake. It was all divine!

For this day out I decided to wear a gorgeous vintage dress that I found in Age UK in Sunderland (BEST CHARITY SHOP EVER!) and it looks like it dates from the 50s based on the print and fabric. It is however home made so it is hard to give an exact age. It was an utter steal at £8 though.

The cardigan was from Salvation Army and the hat came from an ex-theatre sale on eBay.

While in Northallerton I did have a rummage through some of the charity shops. I have been desperate for a camel coat ever since a friend mentioned one to me back in January and I felt that surely at least one of the charity shops would have one.

Well I was right, the last shop right next to the car park - good ol' Sue Ryder had an amazing wool cashmere blend coat in long camel colour in my size! AND it was discounted from £12 to £6!!!

I almost screamed in the shop when I found it. It reminded me a lot of David Tennant's Doctor Who coat too with its long swishyness - I had to get it!

I really have a problem with coats. I love, Love, LOVE a good coat. In fact I've had to ban myself from buying them now because I simply have too many. I am now only allowed to get one if I give another one away :(

Do you have any types of clothing items that you keep buying in all shapes and colours?

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Judy's Vintage Digest

Back in January I was contacted by the team behind Judy's Vintage Digest asking me if I would like to be featured on their blogger map. You'll see me on page 33 as their representative for Durham, probably because even though I moved to the deep dark south, I do still make it back home whenever I can ;)

Their first issue was already out and I saw that it had a lot of really useful and well informed content about lots of different aspects of vintage so I was really pleased to have been asked to be involved :D

The digest itself is definately worth a look as there are lots of good little articles in there. I absolutely want to make one of those DIY storage boxes! Oh and even better it's free! Just click the link below.


Saturday, 15 March 2014

Casual Cosplay: Frozen, the cold never bothered me anyway...

And now its time for the second instalment of my frozen double bill.

After that amazing effort by Liz to make a costume for her daughter (see more on that here), I was inspired to have a go at a frozen inspired look. I didn't go into full cosplay mode, but rather picked outfit parts that I felt were part inspired by the films signature style. I call it Casual Cosplay.

Of course let me start off by saying I am far more of an Anna than an Elsa and as such I tried to dress accordingly.

I actually started with the hair. I felt like after spending the pervious day with a double Dorothy plait (more on that later) I thought I'd have a go at Anna's up do from the coronation party act.

I'd like to add first that it was way more difficult than is realised and my hair would not play ball. I think I've gotten used to styling a certain way and now anything else seems impossible. The biggest issue was that it was simply too short for the back section to work properly, but oh well, I made do. Let's just say my husband was hysterical at the faces I pulled while trying to do this particular hair style - here are some of them:

I separated it into sections making sure to leave enough for the plait. I then plaited the top bit and pinned it under a high pony that I made into a bun using a hair doughnut. Anna's hair is more complicated than that at the back but mine was way to short to cope with anything more than a bun.

In terms of rating I'd say it was satisfactory, but requires improvement.

As for the rest of the costumes, I loved the folky themes of the heavy skirts with stripe and print details and I adore the light blue/green/pink/black colour palate. Here are a few examples:

Signature costumes:
Image from KidzWorld

Coronation costumes:
Image from Disney Wikia

The outfit I went with was very blue overall. I have a folk style vintage skirt in blue and black with a lovely embroidered stripe that really fits in with the Scandinavian and Nordic feel of the films.  In fact, had it been green, I think it would have been quite like Anna's skirt.

Of course I needed a cape too! And my vintage cape in blue was a perfect choice as the colour matched so well.

I think the overall look was okay-ish, although perhaps not the combination I would usually put together all at once...

Skirt: Vintage shop in York
Cape: Sue Ryder York
Boots: Clarks
Blouse: Monsoon (thrifted)
Pearls: Thrifted
Suede gloves: Accessorize (thrifted)

What do you think of my frozen style look?

Have you tried to dress a bit like Elsa or Anna?


Thursday, 13 March 2014

Guest post: Making a child's Elsa from Frozen costume

Hello readers! Today I have the first part of a Frozen double bill.

Costuming is a hobby of all ages, but it is something that is more associated with younger children than adults. Since I don't have and little 'uns this is not something I've ever been able to cover on my blog which is a real shame as it is such a big part of costuming. 

However, when Liz, a friend of mine, decided to make a costume for her daughter based on Disney Princess Elsa, I simply had to ask her to write a quick post for me!

Here we go:


My daughter Izzy is obsessed with Elsa, but i refused to pay £40 for a costume, especially after I read the terrible reviews about how it fell apart when people got it home.  So I told her to save up, started giving her pocket money to help her understand how much things cost and started secretly making it. 

I haven't made anything like this before - I made a corset for GCSE art. Well I say I made it, my nan took over (I don't think she thought I was doing it properly, in my head I was making art from textiles, in her head it had to be wearable including a lining etc...). I also made my daughter a bridesmaid dress for my wedding with the help of my mother in law. We used a pattern for that. So that is basically my knowledge of making clothes, I don't really like patterns or drawing things before i do them (hey never end up the way I draw them and I find it hard to draw accurately what is in my head). 

I have made other items though, one year I think all my friends got scrunchies for Christmas because I'd learnt how to make them and was on a roll! When I was younger I made lots of cross stitch cards (i did a larger picture but on and off it took about 10 years) and quilting and patchwork cushions. Recently my Daughter has had me making barbie clothes which I found quite fiddly. 

I mostly hand sew as I don't own a sewing machine and lack of experience with them means I'm not sure what I'm doing.

Obviously making a fancy dress outfit is a bit different to anything I have previously done - someone else has designed it for a start. I started out by looking at images of what i wanted to make and then making a basic dress shape by tracing around one of Izzy's tops on a large piece of paper. I went to a local fabric shop and found materials I thought might do the job. I cut around my pattern and pinned it to the fabric, when I was happy I drew the pattern on the dress (washable pen!) then cut out the bits of material leaving extra fabric for the seams. Then it was a case of sewing the bits together which took a while - would have been much quicker with a machine. I have never done sleeves before in my life so was pretty impressed with how they turned out. 

Elsa pattern cutting
After I had the basic dress put together i washed it to get rid of the pen. Then added a layer of sequinned material over the body and some strips of sequins down the front to keep the sequinned material in place. I used velcro to fasten it at the back and added layers of sparkly fine organza behind and a few beads to the front. The sparkly bit in the middle at the front is actually from one of my dolls outfits from when i was little. The neckline was made to look a bit neater by folding ribbon over it and sewing it down.Lastly i added some silver ribbon to the top as it was looking a little low cut and the edge of the other fabric looked a bit of a mess. When she tried it on it kept falling off her shoulders so I added the bit of blue and silver ribbon at the back. 

I know Elsa doesn't wear a cape but unlike her my daughter does feel the cold and as she tends to want to wear them out and about i made her a little cape to go with it. I think it looks quite wintery anyway and she rather likes it.

Unknown  to me my mother had bought her a tiara so she added that to the look too ( I know Elsa discards hers but as Izzy is 5 I'll let her get away with it).


I hope you'll agree that Liz did and excellent job and you would never guess its he first full thing she's made by herself. Also, hand sewn. I am not really sure how she had the patients for that.

Anywho, it looks perfect to me!

I hope that's inspired a few of you that are debating making costumes for little ones. It may not be as hard as you think!

I'll be back with a Frozen inspired post of my own in a few days.

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