Thursday, 31 January 2013

AWOL in Amsterdam

I haven't blogged for a while as I am currently in Amsterdam for work. I'll be returning on Saturday and once I have caught up on all my sleep - seriously, 6am alarm calls (Dutch time!) do not suit me at all - I will be getting back to making, mending and doing.

On my to finish list is the 60s knit dress - the cool checker board style fabric. Looking forward to finishing that although still upset at my stupid oversight on the seam finishes. Self-reminder: it's a learning curve, don't sweat the small stuff!

On my new project list: is my VERY FIRST QUILT Y'ALL! I don't know why I felt the need to end that in a Southern accent, maybe because I'm seeing Elvis in the Summer...did I not shout that out loud enough before ;) I have all the fabric, my quilting ruler has been delivered and I have a pattern. I am all set and have @sewexhausted at the touch of a Tweet to help me ;)

I also want to draft up a couple of little summer clothes for the next work trip to Malta, and my vintage Aztec (not vintage as in, something the Aztecs would have worn maybe a bit chilly and I certainly don't have the bod anymore) but a 50s/early 60s day dress using my cool vintage curtain material. This will be the dress with the dart manipulation - going to incorporate a triangular dart formation. Watch this space...

I also want to start thinking about my Graceland outfits. I need to still purchase some Flamingo fabric, and I need to find a cool lightning bolt pendant to make a necklace. Taking Care of Business!

So, that's my plans.

Amsterdam is cool - I don't get to see much of the city but maybe tomorrow/Saturday before I return to London. I've had lots of attention due to my new marital name and some people disappointed to find I am but a little British girl and not actually Hungarian. Must learn some Hungarian for next year!
My hotel room is very cool and I made an awesome new friend who's from Texas - she loves knitting and Ryan Gosling and wants to go to Graceland - Perfect. So all in all it's been good apart from the severe exhaustion which is currently washing over me. Is it lunchtime yet?


Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Pleather Peacock

I've been mentioning this faux leather yoke dress (such a mouthful, it needs a new name so going with Pleather Peacock, although you can't really say that fast either) for a while now and it's finally done, photographed and ready to be blogged.

It's also my first official garment made within The Pledge! My pledge not to buy any new clothes in 2013 only make them.

I wanted to go outside and do something a bit different for photos but 1) my husband has hurt his ankle and I felt bad for making him hobble down two flight's of stairs and 2) it's already getting dark in London (not to mention bloody freezing!) so you're stuck with boring old indoor photos I'm afraid and I had no time to do anything with my hair, moan moan moan!

Okay first up is my attempt at 'modelling' this dress.

Strike a pose. I'll stick to the day job.

So here she is. The peacock pleather! The fabric is a very light woven fabric, has a nice drape to it but frays like a gooden! It's in this lovely paisley print but reminds me of a peacock. The pleather is a lovely soft faux leather, which was surprisingly cooperative to work with!

I drafted the pattern myself. It has princess seams front and back stopping at the yoke line. It's fitted but not too much as I like my dresses to have movement and not be too clingy. It's a straight skirt finishing above the knees.

I lined this dress because I knew the type of fabric would 'stick' to my tights and cause that 'riding up the butt' look. Not good. Now with a nice acetate lining it feels slinky. I left the sleeves un-lined to reduce bulk and sweatage!

My best mannequin pose.

Back view - see my exposed zipper. Love this. 

I used an exposed zipper technique for this one as I wanted the chunky zipper look. I am in love with the zipper I found on Ebay. It has a cute little chain and silver ball on it, handy for self zipping! The zipper actually sits on the outside of the fabric with the zipper tape fully exposed. I really like this look and works well with heavier fabrics like the faux leather.

Inside look - all lined and tidy

Several sessions of hemming (main dress and lining then lining to dress)

New dress to wear - yey!

For the Pledge I am keeping a nerdy spreadsheet detailing my costs so here's a breakdown.

Fabric: Free! From my mother-in-law, thanks Can Mom!
Faux leather: Only 9.99/metre and I hardly used anything so let's say a pound.
Zipper: 1.65
Lining: 3.50

So roughly this dress cost me 6.15 pounds (sorry my mac is American and doesn't have pound symbols!) which is pretty good for a custom fitted lined dress if I do say so myself.

Hope you likey!

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Perfect is banned!

Do you all strive too much for perfection in your sewing?

I know I do and I think I need to ban the word perfect. I have almost finished my faux leather yoke dress and it fits and I 'think' I like it, but it's not....perfect.

It's stupid (the thought, not the dress!) as according to my amazing husband it looks fantastic, but I think husbands are programmed to say that. But, I always do this to myself. I spend hours meticulously making something and then at the end I pan it, and see only the crap bits. Yet, if I am kind to myself I will see that I a) drafted the whole pattern myself b) worked with difficult fabric c) made a brand new, cool dress to wear to my work conference next week and d) executed some really good skilled work such as exposed zipper, princess seams/yoke design etc.

So, on the basis of this, 2013 has another thing added to its to-do list.

So far I have:

1) The Pledge: Not buying clothes only making them
2) Make my first quilt
3) Better my knitting
4) Ban the word perfect and love the things I make
5) which means love myself more and be kinder to myself AND be proud of myself. I made my wedding dress for pete's sake yet I still doubt myself
6) See each garment as a stepping stone to the master seamstress I want to be - my hero being Susan Khalje

To achieve all this I am going to think of Cupcake. No, not gorge myself into a food coma and deny I need to do anything, but the awesome Cupcake Brown. If anyone needs a great book to read you MUST check out:

A teenager, forced into a world of abuse, rape and neglect, Cupcake Brown grew up to become a full time crack addict and alcoholic, with her life literally at rock bottom and close to death. Yet incredibly, she now works at one of the top law firms in the US. Her story is just mind-blowing. I haven't stopped thinking about this book and how nothing is impossible. She came from nothing, had nothing, yet a little hard work each day has put her through education and law school. It's inspirational, she is inspirational. I heartily recommend this memoir. I have printed her picture and stuck it on my fridge as an incentive to really push for what I want - and to remember you can't just be what you want overnight, it takes hard work and dedication and MISTAKES. So I am going to embrace the mistakes (not just sewing, but in my life as well be it bad reactions, negative thoughts, frustrations, work etc etc) and see them as these wonderful, insightful, helpful things that will build up a big beautiful 'patchwork' of experience to draw upon.

If you're wondering what I'm on, I just had a big yummy vegetable balti and a little slurp of Cobra beer. Curry in my belly always makes me feel good :)

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Cheer up Charlie

Feeling a bit crappy today so maybe writing a new blog post might help a little. A sneaky biscuit and the first of episode of the new Girls series helped somewhat, but I'm still thinking about just calling it a day and getting into bed. *hand on head a la Greta Garbo.

I just wanted to share a couple more bits of fabric. It's curtain fabric and from the vintage stash from my husband's Grandmother. She was a funky lady! It's so kitsch. I am saving it for when I finally have a home of my own and it will be the curtains to my sewing room. In there I want it to be this sugary, flamingo'd, Elvis shrine that I escape to, one that is pretty and just the way I want it. With a reading chair when sewing gets too much (and it always does), candles, a record player...will I ever emerge into daylight again?

There's also this - also curtains, but I am going to remove the lining and create a day dress out of it - definitely in time for my holiday to Egypt as I think this looks a pretty perfect print.

I want to make a dress similar to what Joan Blackman wore in Blue Hawaii. I love her in that film. So beautiful. Ahhh maybe I need Elvis.

I have some updates on The Pledge that I am doing (no buying clothes in 2013, only sewing!) but I will save that for another post. I am working on having 2 dresses finished by the end of this month...she says!

Thursday, 10 January 2013

My vintage treasure chest my cool friend Claire says, fabric porn! :)

Last summer, I was very lucky. I went to Canada to visit my husband's family and my mother-in-law told me that she was storing all her mother's fabric in her shop warehouse, and that I had to take a look. She told me there was a lot but I was not prepared for how much. We went to the warehouse and the boxes filled a good sized room. It was heaven! We spent the whole afternoon going through yards and yards of beautiful fabrics, of all different blends, colours and lengths that Baba (my husband's Grandmother) had carefully stored over the years. She's in her late 80s now so I am guessing her fabric ranges from as early as the 40s through to recent years!

She was a brilliant dressmaker and lucky for me the same size as me, so I have some awesome vintage handmade clothes as well!

Unfortunately, I couldn't take it all. That would have been one expensive shipping bill. I returned to the UK a week earlier than my husband and I wasn't sure what I was more excited about seeing, him or the fabric ;) On his return,  he was a hero and brought back a massive holdall of some of my favourite pieces. I have stored it under the bed and from time to time I sit and go through all the lovely pieces.

Now that I am doing The Pledge it's time I started thinking seriously about what I am going to make. Today I laundered a few pieces to freshen them up and I can't wait to get started.

So I thought I would show you all some of my treasure. This might be part 1, as there's a lot more to show!

I love this. The photos are taken on my iPhone so don't do it justice. It's a thick wool blend with bright pink squares. I want to use one of the vintage patterns I have, perhaps a little 60s dress. I think this would look great against black tights, and maybe sleevless so I could put a cute 60s blouse underneath.

I love this fabric. Again the photo is a bit rubbish. It's a gorgeous burnt orange with a sheen on a rich black background. I am thinking it would make cool cigarette pants! Bit crazy but why not?

I have so much of this fabric! It's a very light, chiffon style fabric. So pretty. I would love to make a day dress out of this for late spring/summer. There's so much of it I could probably make some type of blouse too. Or I've always wanted one of those sheer robes that you wear over your swimsuit as you walk around thinking you're Elizabeth Taylor :)

Now this is cool. I have four pieces like this as they were curtains that Baba once had, maybe 50s/60s? They are in perfect pieces and I am thinking I may combine them to make a full skirt. I love the leaves on this and the colours. I might even be able to make a little strapless bodice to go with a more fitted skirt - or even a playsuit?

I love this crazy pattern. Again I have alot of this one too. I would love to make some trousers with this too, but it might make a nice holiday maxi dress. There's so much of it, I could do a couple of things. I see a collection coming ;)

This is one of my favs - and sorry,  I should have photographed it earlier today in daylight. It's a beautiful delicate pink with this pattern. I love the bird on this (again, should have put the photo the right way round!). I am wondering whether to make cushions out of this for our forever house or maybe incorporate it into the quilt I would like to start making? There's about  metre and a half I think.

This is really pretty - I think it would make a really nice little rockabilly top for the summer. Again bad lighting but it's a pretty pink with some bright red and yellow flowers.

 This is a bit bling but I love it! Gorgeous olive green with a sparkle but not over-the-top. It's a type of jersey, so I am debating even turning it into a t-shirt because I think that would look quite cool popping out under some outerwear. We'll see.

There's so much more and lots of different types and colours! Do you have any other ideas for my stash? And what's your best vintage find and what did you do with it?

Friday, 4 January 2013

Monochrome maybe

I am in love with this outfit from the Whistles SS13 collection.

Looks they are going to be incorporating monochrome prints and I have no complaints. Such a fun, eye-catching print, and I love how the top is outlined by that thick dark trim. I'm still itching to make some kind of playsuit or summer jumpsuit - so I might bear this in mind, but I love the trousers in this picture.

I am definitely going to keep my eyes peeled for some cool monochrome fabric - better if I can find some vintage yards needing to be turned into something wonderful! Oh and if I make something, I promise to have my photo taken staring at a piece of painted black MDF ;)

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Faux leather yoke dress with vintage print

I have inherited lots and lots of wonderful fabric from my husband's Mom and Grandmother and now that the wedding dress is out of the way, I can have a good sort through and see what I can do with it all.

Instantly, I loved this funky print. It reminds me of a crazy paisley print in peacock colours.

I knew I wanted to make a dress out of it to make the most of the print. I was inspired by a dress from Whistles which incorporated a really cool leather yoke. As a vegetarian I don't buy or wear leather, so I had a hunt around and found a really good soft faux leather at Dalston Mill Fabrics. It was 9.99 pounds per metre - and I only needed a short amount. I can use any leftovers for maybe making some cool detachable collars or cuffs in the future.

The dress had princess seams running up to the start of the yoke. I drafted the pattern and then made it in some cheap cotton I had left over from making my wedding dress toile. I was happy with the fit, which surprised me as sometimes princess seams can be my achilles heel. I think at some point I do want to reassess my pattern blocks as I am thinking my bust shape has changed somehow (possibly smaller...great, need all the bust I can get!) as I think the dart needs to be pinched in a bit more as I finding a little bit of gaping. Nothing drastic but I would like to refine this when I get time - I just didn't feel like messing around with the princess seam dart - not after the wedding dress. I still have emotional scars from that :)

So far I have cut my fabric and sewn together all the dress pieces. I then cut the faux leather and assembled that. This caused some difficulty - sewing machine setting, tension etc, which I messed around with for a while. The stitching was skipping leaving some, about 1/8 inch, length stitches. I tried everything then googled that it was worth trying the blue tip stretch needle. Hey presto! Worked like a dream - so that is something useful to remember in future.

My new machine that my husband bought me for my birthday is really wonderful though. I have the Janome 5124 and it's handled some really great projects - including my wedding dress with all those layers and lace! What machines do you all have?

Here is most of the dress put together.

It's been folded up over Christmas so excuse the ugly creases - I haven't done a recent pressing - oops!

I drafted and cut the sleeves last night (in the print) so I need to sew and serge those and then attach to the sleeve. I am not looking forward to easing the sleeve on to the faux leather armhole but maybe it won't be so bad. It's just the pinning which is difficult.

Then I'll need to insert the zip - am using a brass trouser zip which I want to leave exposed at the back. I am toying with whether I am going to line this or not...I am thinking I should as I know this type of fabric catches on tights - you know when the dress sort of rides up and sits crappily on your butt? I think some lining would no doubt prevent this and also would make life easier finishing the neck line.

Darn it - now that I have decided on lining, I could have bought some at lunch when I was in a fabric store :) Who always lines? Who doesn't?

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Decorating a vintage wedding

In keeping with the wedding theme, I thought I would blog about my wedding decorations, mainly because the majority of them were all handmade and vintage.

To keep with the 1930s vision that I had in mind, I really wanted the feeling of a good old English tea party. I wanted something very simple and elegant and decorations that would bring the outdoors, indoors.

Tea for one? Our table arrangements.

I loved the idea of flowers in teapots and luckily for me, my Mum used to be a florist so she's a dab hand at flower arranging! I thought this would make a really good centre piece for all the tables. We decided on a natural look for the flowers, so that they had that 'just picked' look. I didn't want anything too arranged, I just wanted it to look like they were fresh from the field or meadow.

I spent weeks sourcing vintage teapots and teacups and again I was very lucky to have the help of my Mum and Sister. Together we found all the teapots and a beautiful set of teacups, which I used to fill with a selection of champagne truffles for the guests. I sourced a string of pearl-like beads and decorated each saucer, then scattered dried rose buds around the arrangement. I placed all of this on a crocheted doily I found on eBay.

I decided against wedding favours. I couldn't find anything suitable and also I was astonished at the cost of these things, which may not even get taken home at the end of a drunken night :) So, we decided to donate money to a charity. In December 2011, we went to South Africa to volunteer at a game reserve. During our stay we took a day trip to a local orphanage, where we fell in love with the kids who were so amazing and happy to see us. Most of them were suffering with HIV and AIDS, had been abused or neglected, yet they had the biggest smiles on their faces and played football with us and sung songs. Instead of buying needless favours, we sent all the money to the orphanage and made up a card for each table letting our guests know we had done this on behalf of everyone at the wedding.

For our table names we chose our favourite places in East London that mean a lot to us. My husband cycled to each spot and took a photo of the street sign, which we then printed in sepia and stuck onto post cards.

I also spent weeks bidding on vintage milk bottles from eBay to complete the idea of teapot, teacup, milk bottle. I wanted them to be as old as possible and even managed to find some dating from the 1930s. I loved the flowers that my Mum chose for these.

I really detest traditonal wedding decorations such as chair covers and those big organza bows and I thought it would be much nicer to keep the white wooden chairs that the venue supplied - we got married on a farm in a renovated barn. I ordered a large bunch of dried lavender stems and my Mum and Sister prepared each bunch with a raffia bow - it must have taken them ages but I think the lavender cured my Mum's headache! - and then the day before the wedding, with the help of my amazing bridesmaid Amanda, we tied them onto the backs of the chairs. The fragrance in the room was amazing!

I also made our place name cards to save more money. I just ordered some plain cards and found some beautiful wooden buttons on eBay (thank you China!) and stuck a button on each card. My brother-in-law has really great writing, so he had the task of writing all the names. Thanks Andy! As we had a big BBQ for our dinner, we didn't need to worry about hiring or buying plates or cutlery (the caterer supplied eco wooden cutlery and nice plates) but I was worried that the tables would look a bit bare, so I had another think and found some really cool vintage style Cath Kidston napkins (eBay again!) and these neat little 'conversation starter' spoons. With the glasses (we hired these from Morrison's) and wine/water bottles the tables looked really neat and pretty and not the usual clutter of a wedding table.

For my table plan, I liked the idea of a huge old ornate frame. On a random trip to the charity shop my Mum and I stumbled upon a painting for only 5 pounds. I snapped it up, bought some cream card and my folks set it over the painting. I then added the table plans, which were just some layered coloured card (in keeping with my invite art deco colours of ivory and sage) and some art deco style buttons I found in my haberdashery.

My brother-in-law didn't have to hold this the entire time ;)

I am really lucky to have a talented crafty sister. She made all my lace bunting! I couldn't believe how much she made, it was amazing. She used old net curtain that she found in a charity shop. The 'Just Married' sign I bought from John Lewis for 12 pounds.

This I have to show - my sister knitted me our ring pillow. You might not be able to see from the picture but she 'knitted in' our initials and the year on it as well. So clever!

One of my favourite things of all was my cake. My Mum and sister found the perfect cake maker who could do just what I wanted. I had fallen in love with the idea of a ruffle cake, which I saw one day on the internet. I couldn't think of anything else and my Mum was brilliant and had this made for me. We chose to have three tiers of cake mix inside: 2 tiers of lemon curd and poppy seed, and 1 tier of rich Belgian chocolate sponge. So you could either have refreshing lemon after dinner or indulge in some chocolate heaven. It was delicious! My Mum placed some of the 'sweet avalanche' roses on top that were also used for my bouquet. 

Isn't this pretty?

I was so so pleased with how everything looked. Months and months of planning, bidding on ebay, scouring charity shops...all paid off. It was also such a nice feeling to again have made so much of what we used. I couldn't have done it without my Mum and Sister and to them I owe the world. Thank you Mama Delle and Big Sis! xx

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

The Wedding Dress

Wow, two posts in one day! Must be a new year or something ;)

Well this is long over due and promised to my Twitter friend, @Claire_Monster. So, Claire this is for you.

I got married on 1st September 2012 in a beautiful setting in Suffolk. I decided to make my own wedding dress and knew from the start that I wanted something vintage. Initially, I was going to make a simple 1930s bias dress in ivory satin, but after a trip to some bridal shops (I wanted the experience of dress shopping with my Mum and bridesmaids) I was instantly converted to the idea of lace.

'Mrs Szabo' - Back of the dress

I decided on a dress that would be made in two parts. The under dress would be strapless and have three layers: satin, cotton lawn, lining and then a boned attached corselette made from canvas and rigilene boning with a concealed zip fastening. The outer dress would be made from corded lace and would be fastened by buttons. The two dresses would not be attached so that the lace flowed naturally as I walked. The under dress would consist of princess seams that would run from hem to bust. The lace dress would be the same with the addition of shoulders, v-neck and little dainty capped sleeves hemmed using the edging of the lace.

I drafted the entire pattern myself - which took a LONG time. There was a lot of tweaking to do primarily on the inner corset and on getting the fit of the sloped back just right. I had never made a corset before or worked with boning so it was all very new to me. I can't give enough thanks to the women at The Sewing Forum who answered my endless questions. One amazing member even sent me a great tutorial on how to construct and add the boning successfully. This was probably one of the most stressful bits. Drafting, cutting, fitting, drafting, cutting, fitting. At times, I had no idea why the corset wasn't fitting properly - at this initial stage it was essential to try and erase as many wrinkles as possible. Yet, at that time this felt impossible and tears were shed! I persevered though and finally cracked it.

"I do!" A close up of the dress

Once I had finally tweaked the fit of the corset, I could then continue to draft the additional pattern pieces, which were basically the corset but extended with length. The bottom of the dress flared out slightly in an A line at the front and then into a small puddle train at the back. I love these tiny little trains, and feel they have that beautiful vintage feel without being over the top. Overall I had pattern pieces for the corset, the under dress and the top dress. The lace dress was, in the end, made differently. I couldn't work out how I would applique the princess seams on the lace going over the bust into the armhole without causing myself a big headache of problems. So in the end, I separated the top dress into two garments: bodice and skirt and these were attached at the waist using an applique seam which was then covered with a satin belt.

I then made the entire dress as a toile using muslin and old net curtains I found in Oxfam. My Mum then helped me check the final fit (I needed long gadget hands to reach the back!) and once that was fine I was good to start cutting the fashion fabric! How nervous I was....!

One of my favourite photos from our amazing
photographer - Emma Guillory

The construction of the corset was relatively okay. I think all the pain and effort of getting the fit right in the toile really helped. It was difficult sewing the canvas and maybe I would have used a lighter canvas, but I managed to still ease the princess seam okay. I just paid for it with holes in my fingers! I used satin bias binding to create the boning channels and rigilene for the boning. I toyed between rigilene or spiral steel but in the end I went for rigilene as 1) I wasn't sewing the rigilene onto the fabric and 2) my dress was not styled to be completely tight/fitted or a strapless dress. The lace would have shoulders and sleeve. I only wanted gently boning to give me a nice shape and form under the lace.

Here is a pic of the inner side of the corset. This is one of the boning channels, cross stitched down to keep it in place - which was a great tip from the Sewing Forum. You'll see I did sew some rigilene onto the canvas - this was just the rigilene that didn't cover a seam. I finished the end with some satin to prevent any rubbing on my skin.

Once the corset was done, I could move on to constructing the satin. I used a lovely soft duchess satin that had a lot of drape to it. I bought this from Platinum Fabrics and was really pleased with the feel. It also had a matt sheen to it as I didn't want a traditional shiny satin under the lace. I was surprised that I could find exactly what I wanted! This satin also sewed really well and I only had minimal puckering in places. If I had to do this dress again I probably would not have sewed the cotton lawn and the satin together as one piece but instead have them as separate layers. But, this was my first wedding dress and it was a brilliant learning curve. For the lining I used Bremsilk - it's more expensive, but it's alot better than usual lining and more breathable. Unfortunately, buying online can be annoying. The Bremsilk that turned up was alot more transparent than I would have liked, but as this dress was for me I didn't mind. If I was making it for someone else I may have opted for something else that fully hid the construction underneath.

I have always loved lace but I have never worked with it before. I must admit, in hindsight, the style of dress I went for did present me with a huge challenge. Applique seams! I had never ever done this before let alone with lace. I could have machined them normally but I really didn't want seams showing. The lace was so pretty, I wanted it to look like it was one entire piece. But, with the help of the very awesome (but expensive!) Bridal Couture book by Susan Khalje and a lot of googling, I managed to work it out.

This is a shot of the bodice where I appliqu├ęd the darts. I managed to achieve an invisible dart line. Note how I had to cut around the motifs so I didn't have a straight waist line. This was so that when I connected the bodice to the skirt I could try and do it as invisibly as possible by overlapping the motifs.

The lace was very time-consuming for lots of reasons. Making sure my hands were clean, making sure I didn't screw up and snip the wrong bit, making sure my machine didn't get caught many things had to be taken into consideration. But it was totally worth it. I loved the lace I found. I bought it in Goldhawk Road in Shepherd's Bush and found it for 45 pounds per metre. It was a beautiful ivory colour and was such good quality. I ended up buying just under 6 metres (end of roll) and had some left over.

The lace had a really great scallop edging, which I used to on my sleeves, neck line and the entire hem of the dress. With my Mum's help I spent ages getting the length right on the satin under dress so that the scalloped hem would be more visible, as it's longer. I loved this feature especially as the puddle train  moved along the floor as I walked.

Here are a couple of pics of me, and with my husband. You can see the way the dress hung at the back. I loved this!

Before I got married I went to New York and made a trip to the awesome Mood Fabrics, as featured in Project Runway. I really wanted to find something for my dress there and was so happy to find the perfect button/brooch for the bottom of the v-neck. I fell in love with this - it gave the dress that bit of 'bling' yet in keeping with the style. Here it is:

For the buttons on the back - I used a great company based in Scotland (Bridal Covered Buttons) as I wanted the buttons to be in the same satin as my dress. After all my hard work, I couldn't risk a mismatch! So I sent them my left over satin and they made all my little dome shaped buttons for me. They were absolutely perfect. I then went and found a vintage style bronze button from my local haberdashery (Dalston Mill Fabrics), which had a small diamante stone in the centre and I used this as the top button at my neck just to give an extra feature. It looked so great and a really delicate addition, that looked vintage.

I used the same company to also make my belt. I could have done this I know, but I had reached the end of my sewing fuel tank and just could not even do a simple task of making a small belt. Also my husband-to-be having dealt with my stress levels said, YES, please get someone else to make it! Ha!

I didn't want to over do the accessories as I really don't wear alot of jewellery anyway. For my earrings I found some perfect drop earrings from Swarvoski that matched my engagement ring. I also found a bracelet from Monsoon that was in a similar style.

I had my done in a vintage style, pulled over to the side and finished with an art deco comb. I couldn't believe my luck when I found this comb in Peacocks for 4 pounds! I thought I would be spending about 60 pounds on that alone!

I hope you like my dress - any questions please feel free to ask. Making my wedding dress is one of my greatest achievements. I felt so proud walking down the aisle knowing that all those months had been totally worth it. I felt really beautiful on the day and so proud of myself. Unfortunately, the dress got so dirty at the bottom (perils of getting married in the countryside on a farm!) and my shoes were a total write off, but it was the perfect day and setting, and a good send off to a true labour of love!

'I love you til the end' 

The Pledge

Hahaha....oh dear...another blog post starting with "I know I haven't blogged for a while, but...". I truly am hoping this one will be different, the reason being it's the 1st January and I am going to take the pledge.

The pledge?

Yep. As well as saying goodbye to my recent Winter alcoholism, I am going to pledge to not buy any new clothes for 2013. Right now, this sounds daunting, but I really want to do it to motivate myself to sew more and also because I do believe that the constant purchase of clothes, especially budget high-street garments is a really bad thing. So, seen as I have the know-how to do this stuff I have no excuse!

Well, here goes. I have borrowed this button and pledge from Elena Cresci at

I, Clare Szabo, take the Seamless pledge for one whole year until 1st January 2014 (gulp!). I will abstain from buying any new clothes until the end of my pledge. I will find ways to be fashionable without breaking the bank and without contributing to the cycle of fast fashion consuming the high street. I will trawl through charity shops, I will attend clothes swaps, I will look for second-hand items on eBay and I will craft my own clothes with my own two hands.


  1. No buying new clothes for the duration of your pledge. By new, I mean any new mass-manufactured clothes.
  2. You can buy second-hand manufactured clothes – so be prepared to get to know your local charity shops awfully well.
  3. Vintage clothing is a-ok!
  4. Anything you’ve made by hand is definitely allowed. Get your sewing machines and your kntting needles out, because handmade is definitely in!
  5. Get involved! Join in on the Flickr group and like our Facebook page. I’ll be looking to feature pledgers on the blog in the future. I’d love to see your second-hand finds, refashions and hand-made creations!
As I write about this, I feel more excited. It would be such a great achievement and would mean a wardrobe of new, unique clothes all made by me - as well as some cool charity/second hand finds that I have up-cycled. So, why not join me? I am also looking for any sewing peeps living in London that might want to meet up? Maybe do some fabric swaps or even clothes swaps? 

Hope you'll join me in The Pledge or re-visit my blog to see how I am getting on. Not sure if I'll be able to keep away from the wine cupboard but I'll definitely try to stick to the pledge :)