I love wool! I get nearly as excited about wool as I do about printed cotton. For me it’s very difficult to choose which pattern to get but in the end you can’t go wrong with grey – it suits everyone!
My sister recently came back from a trip to Africa and while there got me this fantastic printed cotton. This really is the perfect fabric to make a summer dress out of so I opted for a classic 1950s shape – which is useful for two reasons. One it’s in fashion right now but probably more importantly it is a shape that flatters the small top half of my body and not so small bottom half of my body.
I have just moved stateside so I no longer have my trusty pattern blocks that I usually make my patterns out of. This has given me a chance to create some from scratch. It does take all afternoon but once done you can create patterns for anyone!
I tried out my dress in Hawaii and I think it looked pretty good on the beach at sunset!
Now that I’m married I decided that I got excited and decided I would make a new ‘wife’ outfit. I picked up this fun yellow cotton in Hong Kong. It looks Japanese to me with funny brown flowers seemingly drawn onto the fabric. I figured a new wife would want to look chic but modest so I opted for a simple shift.
Just after I had created this dress my friend invited me to afternoon tea where I wore it with a grey wool cardigan with pearl buttons. I felt very grown up!
Now that I am going back to work in an office, I thought it’s high time I get some proper clothes. Let’s be honest it’s all very well wearing pink jeans and a faux fur gillet when you’re pretending to do work in the library but those sort of clothes will not get you a promotion anytime soon. During my student days I have had plenty of opportunity to catch up on tv and am getting quite inspired by New York work wear. From the highly reliable source of TV I imagine all of NYC to be like an episode of Mad Men with women in great figure enchancing dresses. So I decided to make my version of a 1950s dress. Ok perhaps it’s not as polished as new york but I’m a West London girl who needs a bit of shabby chic in her life. The fabric is actually from Hong Kong and is 100% cotton.
With 2011′s biggest event being the royal marriage the whole world seems to have wedding fever. I have always had a love for wedding dresses, with their pretty details and acres of silk but recently I have been getting bored seeing the same old strapless gown over and over again. I decided to do a bit of research into alternative dresses. Don’t get me wrong, I still want pretty and white (nothing angers me more than a bride who doesn’t make an effort).
Although I have never actually made a wedding dress, I did come pretty close with this silk prom dress that I made for a friend’s black and white ball. The flower on the front is made from layers of silk and tulle with some pearls sewn into the middle. I think if you wanted a simple knee length dress it could be perfect.
Another knee length alternative is to go for feathers. I have rarely seen feathers used in wedding dresses, but why not? What could be more glamourous than this cute Marchesa dress.
For those that would prefer to be slightly more demure, this Ellie Saab dress covers you from the knee up with assorted circles and feathers.
Finally for those who want the long gown why not go down the sequin route…I know what you’re thinking but hear me out. Last summer I attended a number of Hindu weddings, where my dress had more in common with the napkins than the other guests who had beautifully embroidered and sequined saris. I’m not going to lie, I was outrageously jealous and it made me reconsider the use of sparkly things on my clothes. This Naeem Khan dress has exactly the right combination of simple shape but show stopping fabric. Perhaps leave out the feathered gillet (although definitely appropriate to wear on a different occasion)!
I’m in Canada, it’s winter, it’s cold, it might be blindingly bright outside but don’t let that fool you because it’s -25 degrees out there. I have to wear about 7 jumpers just to allow sufficient blood circulation. Last sunday I was sitting there with my ski socks on, browsing the the weekend online papers when I noticed the new Dolce & Gabbana collection and suddenly extreme jealousy set in. Not only are these girls bronzed goddesses while my skin is working a nice red/white mix, but they were wearing the most amazing summer dresses. That was it, I thought why not just recreate summer here, if you turn up the thermostat to maximum and open the blinds to let in the most amazing sunshine they have here it will be like summer just inside. If fate would have it these girls were wearing broderie anglais dresses, which couldn’t be more perfect for canada with a significant french population and an abundance of snowflakes shaped just like the patterns on broderie anglais fabrics.
So I searched a bit more and found my perfect selection of white broderie anglais dresses:
This one by Dolce and Gabbana would be amazing for lazying around the tuscan countryside, at first glance it’s quite modest but I love how you can see peeks of skin underneath.
This next one by Alexis Mabille has such a pretty top and would be a great dress to wear running around a hot city in the summer.
I’m off to Germany next week to start an MBA, so in order to start my student life in style I thought it may be a good idea to throw a fabulous leaving party complete with a I-can-party-all-night-long-now-I-don’t-work outfit. I started off in an art-deco place but my pattern cutting quickly went in a different direction and I seemed to end up in the 50′s instead of the 20′s. As I’m not pencil thin it was probably a good thing anyway. Black and white is never a bad combination and I’m quite a fan of layering chiffon on top of a more sturdy fabric to create some interesting shades a patterns. The dress is an incredibly simple white “prom dress” with circles of chiffon sewn onto the bodice. I love that it’s too short to wear to a work party because for me there are no more work parties for a whole year!
With temperatures in London soaring and no sign of rain, I thought it would be a perfect time to research city looks that can withstand the heat but also are appropriate for work. I wanted to find outfits which would inspire me to design dresses which mix smart, sleek, causal and cool (as in temperature, although I’m not adverse to being the other “cool”). I thought a good place to start might be with Italian designers, as unlike us Britons they are annually blessed with several months of gorgeous sunshine. This white dress by Gucci would be perfect to wear right now, although the colour isn’t great for eating spaghetti with a rich tomato sauce it is great for at keeping you cool and shouldn’t we all just be eating salad in preparation for the beach anyway. The best thing about this dress for me is that it looks very smart but then it has all this great beading and detail at the top which keeps it really interesting and fun.
Inspired by the sun I also noticed this great yellow dress by DVF, as you already know I love making things out of silk but I’ve never made either a shirt dress or a wrap dress and I love how this combines the two. I don’t think you can fail to look chic in this dress no matter what the occasion.
Finally, I spotted this very pretty dress by Stella McCartney, although it has long sleeves it looks wonderfully airy with the light coloured fabric broderie anglaise decorated with mini holes.
A couple of weeks ago I opened my curtains to summer, it had finally arrived. With this abundance of sunshine and nothing better to do than sip Pimms in the garden I found myself with a distinct lack of suitable outfits. Sitting in the garden decorated with beautiful flowers I too wanted to be covered by bright pretty petals. Although one of my favourite challenges on project runway is creating a dress from plants and flowers, this did not seem like a very sustainable way to dress so instead I went about finding fabrics that gave the illusion of being flowerbeds. I quickly remembered a sari which my sister had got for me from india which was printed with yellow and green flowers and made me think of the alps during summertime. As I was in a hurry to get back to sunbathing I quickly put together a simple dress, with braided straps to give it an alpine feel. Not content with one new dress I also decided to make a simple pleated skirt from some japanese fabric I had been forced into buying by a pushy shop keeper a few months ago. It turned out to be a good buy as the skirt has been the recipient of many compliments.
With football fever gripping the country I was first inspired to research football fashion but this quickly bored me as t-shirts and shorts made out of shiny material are not what I like best, however my train of thought then moved to South Africa where the world cup is being hosted. After a bit of googling around I found out that South Africa is home to many amazing designers, which is no suprise really when you think of the fantastic traditional cottons that many Africans wear. Although many designers stick to using these classic fabrics many are using fabrics that are still dyed in classic colours but have a more contempary print. A great example is this dress I found by Chichia, which is incredibly simple in shape but a masterpiece in print – I love it!
The next beautiful dress that I spotted was the opposite of this one, simple in fabric, complex in design. The dress by Stoned Cherry has a greecian goddess feel to it, but a goddess who has moved to africa and dyed her white dress yellow to match the sun. The best part of the dress for me is the braiding, which really gives it a personal touch.
Finally I was very excited to find a highly intricate beaded dress by Spero Villoti, it should be sold with a warning to be worn only after 3 months of intensive gym going but if you can pull it off it would look amazing at a 1920′s flapper party. The dress is great, not only does it have a very cool pattern but also swinging beads at the bottom. I have been desperate to make something with osterich feathers for a long time but now I am thinking beads.