Thursday, 29 July 2010

Friday, 23 July 2010

Friday Dress

Here's is Fridays dress. It's not quite finished but is what you would call 'photo ready'. I was so proud of my zip finishing the other day that I want everything to be wonderful inside.

My Mum also gave me some great advice ...... 'never buy a car on a Friday'  because people rush on Friday's and don't do a thorough job. I think this is when they used to make cars in a day?

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Cocktail Sac

Today's handmade item is complete and I have learnt something new. 
Check out this amazing art deco inspired bag by Vivien Cheng in snake skin, I love it. 


Here is my bag in silk, with a gorgeous floral print cotton for the lining which I had been saving (or hoarding). Sewing a bag to a frame takes ages but is definitely worth it for the finish, this was hand stitched and then wrapped to mold the silk to the frame shape.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Green Dress July 21st

This week is going well, three day and three newly made items . I am very very pleased with myself today for making this dress.
I found the fabric at a sale at our local village hall, who would have though I would find such gorgeous vintage American fabric in Biddisham! The print is called Ashley by Waverly part of the 'Southern Charm Collection'. Its ivy with little clover leaves and my lovely Mum kindly smocked a panel in the bodice  for me.
I'm hoping the girl who gets this dress will be a little more Sassy with her Southern Charm! 

The thing that makes me happiest and most proud of myself today is that I have finished the zip with cotton binding. A little tip I stole from Elle collections and the snapshot of the Givenchy lace blouse. It makes such a difference. I also added satin pockets.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Another Hat

I've lost connection in my studio so am posting from my phone.
Here is another hat made today and embellished with a gorgeous vintage motif. I had some beads to
match so added little black bobble beads and covered the form in a black polkadot tulle.
My head also arrived and was quickly sprayed gold and her moustache was added to finish.
This hat reminds me a little Schiaparelli and a little of Spanish bull fighters.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Ethical Fabrics

I wanted to buy a coconut today in the supermarket, it was 50p and it hit me that most likely someone wasn't getting a fair wage to pick them, otherwise it would have a fair trade stickers slapped all over it and the supermarket would be shouting about how wonderful they were!

Previously I didn't want to jump on the whole ethical band wagon by going on about using vintage fabrics and so on, as I felt is was becoming a bit of a gimmick. This weekend I changed my mind and realised that I should take a little more responsibility. Ethical clothing doesn't mean it has to look like dish cloths.

I have spent the last two days trying to source fair trade fabrics. I have specific fabrics that I like to use and really want these to be fair trade. I have found organic fair trade cottons everywhere which is great and I will use these from now on. Bishopston trading is the best and most transparent company.
The problem I came across was in the silk. I have been told by a few reputable fair trade fabric suppliers that fair trade silk does not exist yet as it is not on the list for the world fair trade organisation.

There is 'peace' silk which is produced using a specific silk worm which leaves the cocoon before the silk is harvested. This makes the silk vegetarian and is also known as tussah silk, wild silk, non violent silk or ahisma. My greatest concern is that the people producing the silk are fairly treated and paid a fair wage. Wish I could go to India and set up my own manufacturing but this isn't a possibility right now.

We are already using vintage fabrics. We also use UK produced tulle which is an essential for the prom dresses. To be as ethical as I can about the whole thing I need to get the silk as good as I can. Some companies have said they can supply the tussah silk, others have a 'great relationship with their Chinese factory but haven't been there to check' and others have just said 'we don't do ethical fabrics' 

The next issue is the price. Some peace silks are hugely expensive and as a small business I need to stick to a very tight budget. Then there is the dye, it is safe for the environment? So I can buy in the undyed silk and use Eco dyes to dye the fabric myself. This is fine.

Next is the thread. And the zips. If they are manufactured in the EU this is fine as we have good laws to protect workers in the EU. Thread should be organic cotton or polyester, recycled polyester if possible. Gutermann have signed up to environmental agreements and at the moment I think the polyester is the lesser of two evils. Non organic cotton is one of the most destructive industries.

We will be aiming for :
-using vintage fabrics and materials where ever we can
-using only fair trade cottons from now on and the most ethical silk I can get at the time
-hand dying my fabrics with Eco dyes instead of buying chemically dyed silks
-using gutermann or organic cotton threads
-buying materials produced in countries who fairly support workers

We can just try our best to be as ethical as possible. It won't be all fair trade and I'm not going to be screaming about our 'ethical' business, but I won't take products or fabrics for granted and will do my part.

I will also be banging on the door of suppliers to sell ethically produced silk. I can't believe it is so difficult to find, but like all fair trade items it up to the consumer to demand it.

 Here have been the most helpful websites:    Fashioning An Ethical Industry - helpful info  Eco silks, cottons and dyes   A fantastic company selling real fair trade fabrics   The world fair trade organisation

Thursday, 15 July 2010

My First Hat

After finding these gorgeous gems of hats at Get Lucky Vintage  and perusing many a vintage beaded cocktail hat I have decided to take the venture today into hat creating. 
Now, I haven't been trained in Millinery and am not professing to be a hat maker, more of a designer decorator at this stage. 
This is the outcome for today. A simple wool felt base in a shallow pill box form, with a vintage 1920's beaded motif. I then lined the hat in silk and trimmed the inside edging with a pink satin binding to finish. I was planning to add more beading in fine dots but it just looked so chic as it is, sometimes it's best to to stop before I get too carried away.

I now need a lovely head to display the hat!


Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Little Tulle Dress

Popped over the Anna's today where she gave me this gorgeous little dress to show you all. Like Anna's other dresses for makemeadress mini, this one is made from an adorable, ditsy vintage cotton. Matching tulle ruffles sleeves and a full skirt makes it ideal for a party dress and gives you're little lady some vintage style!

Monday, 12 July 2010

Nineteen Eighties Boys Bedrooms

I recently came across this vintage fabric un-used in a charity shop and the nostalgia flooded back of the matching duvet covers, curtains, wallpaper, pajama sets of the 1980's. Boys bedrooms across the county decked out in the 'manly' tones of red black and grey stripes. 

It was one of those lovely crisp cottons fresh from the packet and had to be used for a dress with a full circle to display of the stripes to the max! It takes on quite a different tone in a cocktail dress and bow.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Candy Stripes

At last my Internet is working again. Living out in the sticks, broadband speeds are a little volatile to say the least.

I wanted to talk about a fitting for a wedding dress I had yesterday which went wonderfully well. I can't say too much about this dress just in case the husband to be decides to take an interest in dress making!

The bride did bring along some awesome accessories to wear with her dress, one of which was this gorgeous little fascinator from coast made in candy stripes. This has inspired me to make a candy striped dress when I get the chance with a great 50s twist as always.

Here's a great vintage pattern illustration by Simplicity.  The little peter pan collar and white gloves finish the look perfectly, so ladylike.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Gorgeous Green Dress

Just finished today. 

When this order came in a couple of weeks ago I was delighted with the request for an emerald green dress. 
Ever since Keira Knightley's incredible emerald, bias cut gown in Atonement I have been lusting after that beautiful shade of green.

The green was a challenge to find, and I went through quite a few different silks to find the exact colour which just radiated the green every time the sun hit it. The dress has one of our classic 50's silhouettes with the draped asymmetric neckline, the cinched waist and the full skirt which gathered  to the waist in tiny neat folds just like tissue paper. 
The most wonderful thing about this order is that it came from a bride to be, planning her bridesmaids dresses whilst on deployment in Iraq. Us girls sure can multi task in extreme circumstances!