Dressmaking, a few tips

I recently finished my first handmade clothing item, a skirt (pictured below) which I’m very proud of. However, my initial visions of being able to whip up a new item on a Sunday afternoon turned out to be somewhat unrealistic! Despite assuming a skirt would be an easy starter project and following a pattern, it was FAR from easy (but well worth it). So if you‘ve ever fancied having a go at making your own or have been inspired by the gorgeous, yet budget blowing, items from London Fashion Week, here’s a few dressmaking tips, learned from experience.

·         Find a friend, relative, local shop that will be able to offer help and advice if/when you get stuck. To a beginner (like myself) clothes patterns seem to speak a different language, so find someone who can translate.
·         If you do get stuck, read ahead and look at the pictures to give a clearer idea of what you are aiming for.
·         Try the item on as you go, so you get a perfect fit and don’t have to unpick parts later.
·         If you do have to unpick parts, it’s not the end of the world. Have a cup of tea and carry on. 
·         Try and make a season in advance. It’s not a quick process, particularly if you’re fitting it round full time work; I brought the fabric for my winter skirt in October and have only just finished it.
·         It’s not necessarily cheaper to make rather than buy. My skirt cost around £18 in total; the benefits of making your own is that you get control over fit, length, fabric colour and style. But, some fabric can be expensive, and you need to add in costs of thread, zips and a pattern.

My next project will be a summer dress, but judging by the weather today I need to get started soon. If you have any tips you'd like me to add, please comment below.



As I may have mentioned, last year I took up knitting and back in January I wrote about my new knitting bag and current project. Well here’s the finished article, knitted elbow length gloves! I love the autumnal colours, they are perfect to mix with my coats in beige, navy and khaki.

The pattern was a gift but you can buy a copy here or at most wool shops. It’s clearly explained and once you get going, really easy to do. I think a fair few friends will be getting some handknitted gloves for Christmas!
Wool is Robin Picasso Chunky, shade Lot


Accessory make-under

It seems style and accessory DIY is having a bit of a moment right now, from adding homemade collars onto cardigans to revamping old bags, and as much as I’m a fan of fashion DIY I also like my style to be simple. So I’m also a big fan of the make-under - its often quicker, cheaper and your items will be just as unique.

This morning I transformed a necklace I was given as a gift (several years ago) from something I’d never worn into something I’d wear any day of the week, in a matter of minutes.

As you can see from the first photo it’s a lovely enough as it is, but for me the diamantes on the bird and the ball are just too much, I’m really not a diamante kind of girl. I did however love the cute postcard so with a small pair of pliers I removed the other two pendants and that’s it, instantly more wearable and I’ve saved the pendants for future crafting.  

The best thing is that it cost me absolutely nothing! So before getting rid of an item it’s always worth thinking not only if there is anything you can add to it to make it more ‘you’, but also if there’s anything you can remove from it.


The Edwardian hostess

Last weekend I got the chance to explore somewhere that has been on my places to visit list for quite a while now, Polesden Lacey in Surrey. A friend from the West Country who shares my love for exploring big country houses came to stay, and despite the freezing cold weather we had a lovely day walking the grounds, eating scones (essential on any day trip) and having a tour around part of the house. The whole house opens later in the year and from what we saw it is definitely worth another trip, particularly when the rose garden is in bloom. The tour revealed just enough of the history of the house, which was owned by Mrs Greville an Edwardian hostess who became famous for her lavish parties, to leave you wanting more. Mrs Greville turned Polesden Lacey into THE weekend retreat for royalty and politicians alike; a few of the stories are scandalous with drunk butlers and Mrs Greville’s sharp one liners capable of flooring even the most distinguished guests (similar perhaps to the Dowager Countess from Downton Abbey).

As mentioned, the weather wasn’t great so photos were difficult but here are some of my favourites.

Glittering jewels in the White and Gold Room

A few of Mrs Greville's 17, yes 17, dogs!

We also had a glorious day in Brighton and this was the view from the beach... I so want to be on that boat!


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