Tuesday, 23 December 2014

The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies

It's no secret to anyone who knows me that I am a HUGE fan of The Lord of The Rings & The Hobbit. I've read the books numberous times over (so much so that the covers and pages are all crumpled and creased!) & watched the films more times than I care to admit.

Now I'm not at the level of one of those Elvish speaking & writing fans (yes, they exist!) but they truely are some of my favourite books and films. I love the indepth detail in the stories, the characters, the mythology and of the costume design in the films. I remember feeling completely amazed by this world in front of me when I went to see The Lord of The Rings films at the cinema when they first came out, especially at the costumes and the way every detail of them had been put together. The numerous 'Best Costume' awards given to Nglia Dickson & Richard Taylor were well deserved!

So, this week I went to the cinema with my family for the last film in Middle Earth (sob!), The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies. Although I don't think it was the strongest of The Hobbit films, I still enjoyed it.

I've been trying to collect together images of some of the costumes from the films, but obviously they don't show as much detail as you can see in the film. I've shared some below from The Hobbit official website, where you can crop a backdrop to make your own images.There are some amazing high-res images on the official website that are definately worth a look at. You can see some of the costumes in more detail, so click here to see them: http://www.thehobbit.com/gallery.php 






This was possibly my favourite costume in the whole film. Thranduil's cloak in the scenes leading up to the final battle. It was a gorgeous silver colour you can't really see here and looked like it was made out of very fine metal.

Take a look at my Pinterest board for some gorgeous costume pictures from the franchise.
I'll keep updating it with more images I come across.

Also check out The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies on IMDb

I personally find these films visually stunning and I'm kind of sad that the films have come to an end!
I'd have loved to have worked on these films, it's something of a lifelong ambition to be part of something like this. 

Who knows... maybe one day?!

Em x

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Siam Costumes

Oh man am I excited about this!

I had to share with you this link from Siam Costumes.

This came up via my LinkedIn, and is a brilliant costume reference tool covering the past 2000 years.

So many different fashion plates to browse through, this could get seriously addictive!
There are also pattern cutting guides. As far as I can see everything seems to be in pdf format.

I actaully just want to go through and print everything off!


Yeah I know!

Em x

Monday, 15 December 2014

Polar Bears at Forever 21

In the grand scheme of shopping and shopaholics, I don't think I shop that much.

Don't get me wrong, I do my fair share. But I am by no means a shopping addict.
I tend to buy a few pieces here and there, nearly always on offer or in the sale, because as well as LOVING a bargain (!) I've found that working in the fashion industry and having a rough idea how much garments cost to produce, and how they are made makes it much harder to part with the cash!

That being said, the British high street has some great (and not so great!) stores with lovely products so sometimes I just can't resist! And I think I've found a new brand to start shopping at.


Although the name is familiar, I had never set foot into a Forever21 store until September this year when doing marketplace trend research for my job. I was very impressed with their range of products and cute styling. I think of them as part H&M, part New Look.

I ordered some really cute stuff from there and it arrived the other day.
I can't tell you what some of it was as they were Christmas presents! Sorry!

But I can tell you I absolutely LOVE my new jumper!

I bought this striped polar bear jumper.

Image: Forever21

The quality is actually pretty good, and it's lovely and warm. 

It's first outing was with black jeans and a white shirt underneath for work. Works well as smart casual. For it's second outing I paired it with black jeans (wardrobe staple!) and a long pink vest top showing underneath. I will definately be wearing this with everything! 

I don't have any outfit photos I'm afraid, maybe I'll start doing them whenever I have a new fashion buy like this... Hhmmm...

Going by my first purchase from Forever21 I would say it's definately worth going onto the website or into one or their stores to have a look at their products for yourself. Affordable, decent quality clothing I will definately look to purchase from again. 

Em x

Buy the polar bear jumper here:

Take a look at Forever21 here:

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Onto the next one!

Now my wedding tie project is out the way, I am already thinking about the next projects I'll be undertaking. I have so many things I want to design and make, some ideas have been in the pipeline for so long (years in some cases!) it's hard to imagine when I will ever get around to starting them. 
But my next project is actually a request from my lovely Mum, and I love making things for her!
I'll be stepping away from fashion and costume and taking a step towards interior design!

Oohh! How intriguing I hear you cry?!

Well, not really...

Basically, our conservatory furniture needs recovering!

The fabric is beginning to look old & tired, there are marks on some of the covers and most of the piping on the back of the sofa cover has been eaten by my ever hungry rabbit! 

(Yes, I have a rabbit... She lives indoors and her cute little face takes up far too many photos on my phone!
 But I digress...)

I've already made the patterns, the fabric has been bought, and the zips arrived yesterday so the only thing to do is get to it! This is the fabric - we ended up going for the darker blue colour.

Luckily, I have quite a long break for Christmas so hopefully I can get this done while I'm off work, but with Christmas being such a busy time who knows?!

Also in the pipeline are two projects, again for my Mum.

These Burda patterns were on sale from the website we ordered the zips for the sofa covers from, so Mum picked them up. 

2933 is a simple dress with short & long options. This will be great for summer!

7798 has a dress & two blouse options.
Again will be great for summer. But depending on fabric the tops could be worn all year through

I should have fabric I could use for these in my (ever growing) fabric stash in the loft. So, hopefully my Mum will see something that takes her fancy and she can have some lovely new handmade items for her wardrobe.

I do find it hard to make time to do these projects. I love to design, sew and pattern cut, I want to do it all day every day! But unfortunately, life gets in the way and projects get pushed to the side. My new years resolution this year was to undertake a new creative project each month and document it on this blog. And, well, I failed miserably! Hopefully the new year will bring about more opportunities for creativity, and I can make more time for all those little ideas that haven't quite made it to fruition yet. 

Em x

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Wedding Ties

I was asked a while ago by a friend of mine if I would make the ties & pockets squares for her wedding. Feeling very flattered at being asked, I of course said yes! So I set about my task making three ties and three pocket squares for the groom & his best men.

I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but places to buy fabric where I live are scarce. My local market is a good place to head for basic fabrics such as printed cottons & satins and also haberdashery items, but luckily my little old faithful shop in the next town had a few fabrics that would fit in with my friend's colour scheme, meaning I didn't have to jump on the next train to London!

I took cuttings of five fabrics to present as options for the ties, and in the end we went for a Satin-Backed Dupion in this beautiful blue colour. This is such a gorgeous fabric, catches the light well without being too shiney, has a subtle texture to it and is easy to work with (although it can fray quite a lot if you're not careful!)   

I've made ties quite a few times, so they didn't take me long to make at all. I set myself the task of cutting the ties out once I'd got home after work so I could sit down one Saturday and plough through the actual making of them!

Thankfully no disasters occured and I'm so happy with the finished products!

This is such a beautiful fabric, I love that dupion fabrics have these imperfections (slubs) running through them, these are caused by varying the tightness of the twist of the yarn a different points. It gives a lovely subtle texture which makes the fabric more interesting.

I still haven't invested in a new camera, but luckily my Mum kindly loans me her fancy camera so I can get some decent pictures! I always find photographing my projects is a bit of a mission and very much a 'Blue Peter' operation! Normally involving me pinning or draping fabric about various items of furniture whilst trying to figure out what all the buttons on the camera do!

I think the photos came out brilliantly and the ties look very dapper & professional... 

...even if I do say so myself!

The wedding isn't until next year, but I can't wait to see the boys all dressed up in these!

...And to see my friends get married of course!

Em x

Monday, 1 December 2014

Disney Days

So, it's December already. Can't believe it!
I had a pretty productive weekend doing lots of sewing, (update on that soon) but also feeling pretty run down & tired, with a cold hitting me today not feeling so hot!

Whenever I'm ill or am feeling down I revert to my 9 year-old self and stick on a Disney film. I don't know what it is about them, maybe just because they remind me of being a kid, but they always make me feel better. I recently got given a few Disney movies so I will be working my way through them whenever I need too!

A lunchtime pinterest browse (for something completely different!) came up with this beautiful Lady & The Tramp number.

It's so cute! 
Love the colour and the heart details.
It looks like a circle skirt, so would probably swish about all Disney princess-like when you wore it too! Haha.

There always seems to be Disney products around on the high street. Particulary at the moment with Frozen being such a massive hit. There's loads of stuff about especially in Primark who have the Frozen license on all sort of things including tees & sleepwear, as well as an awesome Disney Villians tshirt which I loved.

I've created a pinterest board for some cool Disney related items I found.
Take a look!

Em x

Sunday, 30 November 2014


It was my birthday earlier this month and I was thoroughly spoilt by all my friends and family.

I was lucky to get some vouchers for my local shopping centre and headed off on Thursday to get a head start on my Christmas and see if I could find anything to spend my birthday vouchers on.

Not only did I come back with quite a few presents but also this bad boy!

I absolutely LOVE this!

It's no secret to my friends that I am a bit of a (massive) geek!
Part of my geekyness includes a love of dinosaurs!

Yes, you read that right. 


Those of Jurassic Park and Land Before Time fame!

So, when I saw this tshirt in River Island I couldn't resist!
A perfect mix of dino geek and fashion chic! haha

There seems to have been a massive influx of slogan tshirts on the high street, with everyone stocking their fair share of them across mens, women's and children's departments.

This is the other item currently on my dino wish list!

And just to get you a bit more dinosaur happy, the trailer for Jurassic World was released this week!

Super excited!

Em x

Shop at River Island

Shop at Sour Cherry

Saturday, 22 November 2014

"Cinderelly, Cinderelly!"

So here it is!

The trailer for Disney's Cinderella was released this week.

As promised, it looks great, gorgeous colours and costumes.

And the blue dress?


Three times oscar winner Sandy Powell had the task of costuming this film, and I get the idea from the trailer she's done an excellent job! How do you go about updating a classic story to make it ideal for modern day viewers? Vogue US has an article covering the film's costumes, it states "Powell was aiming for the look of a 'nineteenth-century period film made in the 1940's or '50's...'"
Great combination of styles, and perhaps something another costume designer would never have thought of.

I have to say I'm not as excited for this as I was for Maleficent. But then again Sleeping Beauty was always my preferred film out of the two, and Angelina Jolie completely owned the title role.

So, we'll see.

I'll probably end up going to see it anyway!

Em x

Cinderella on IMDb

Read the Vogue article here

Sunday, 9 November 2014

i-D: "A people's history of British style"

I know I seem to get a lot of links via my Facebook feed, but it's got to the point I've 'liked' so many creative and inspirational pages there are so many articles to read!

This one comes via i-D, looking at artist Nina Manandhar's online project What We Wore.

This quote for the What We Wore website sums the project up perfectly (obviously!)

"What We Wore is a project initiated by Nina Manandhar of ISYS ARCHIVE to create a people's style history of Britain from 1950 to the present day. It's about people and their personal sotries: why they wore what they did, and what it meant for them."

Now, I LOVE fashion & costume history!

The development of subcultures, the influence of music, film, art & politics on the clothes we wear and how we wear them. Fashion & clothing is something all of us are immersed in, even if you have no idea about it. Every single thing you buy nowadays comes from the giant fashion industry, it's just how each person wears the item that makes it part of them.

The fact that the photo's in this project have all been submitted from people's own personal collections is brilliant. I spent far too much time flicking through the pages!

Take a look at the project here:

Read the i-D article here:

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Lace Panel Skater Dress

This has been my first design & sewing project for a while.

I was approached by a friend of mine from university & asked if I could make her a dress for her birthday. I've been a bit apprehensive the past few months about taking commissions, it's not that I doubt my abilities, but more that I find it hard to get a good balance between a customer's budget and the price I need to charge them so I'm not under-pricing myself. This becomes especially hard when you think about what you can buy on our great British high street! As a freelancing design/pattern cutter/seamstress it's incredibly hard to compete! But I digress, that is a whole different discussion topic in itself!

So, back to my original topic...

After discussing what my friend was looking for I set about sketching a few ideas. 
I decided to sketch out my ideas in a flat 'working drawing' format, as this was how my previous workplace presented designs. It's not the prettiest or most creative way to design, but it's a simple way to see the shape of a garment as well as thinking out construction details. 

So here was the final design.

* Sleeveless Bodice
*Plunging Lace Panel at CF
* Bust Darts
* Bodice Lined at Front Only
* Full Skater Skirt
* Keyhole at CB
* Invisible Zip LHSAW
* Inside Bind Armholes & Neckline
* Outside Bind Keyhole
* Pinstitch Hem

I decided on a lightweight tailoring crepe as it would drape nicely as well as being heavy enough to leave the skirt unlined. The pattern cutting process went quite smoothly. I wanted to fit the toile to get a better idea of fit on my friend's body, but unfortunately long distance & clashing work hours meant a fit session wasn't possible. So I had to work 'blind' using measurements and my mannequin.

A fabric sourcing trip to London proved very successful. Goldhawk Road is honestly the best place to go for a huge variety of affordable (and expensive!) fabrics. I came away with a beautiful rich purple colour crepe and a circle design matching lace. You couldn't have asked for a better colour match!

So, on with the actual dress!
Please excuse the inconsistent photo quality below. My photography is not great at the best of times, and only having my phone camera to use 90% of the time makes it a bit harder to get good quality photos!

Lay Plans for Cutting

Inserting CF Lace Panel & Lining the Bodice Front

Binding The Neckline & Armholes
I ended up doing all of the binding by hand, as my fancy new binding foot proved too tricky to use for this. More practice definitely needed with that so I can perfect it for future projects!

Internal Bodice Construction


Ta Dahhhh!!

I actually want one of these for myself!
I love the colour & the bold lace design.

Although this wasn't a particularly hard garment to make, the whole process was made a lot harder due to the fact my overlocker decided it had had enough, and broke halfway through, and who can blame it after thankless years of hard work! It's now at sewing machine hospital, so fingers crossed it pulls through! Thanks to Lisa for loaning me hers (lifesaver!).

I'm particularly pleased with how the binding came out, I think I've got a good technique down now!

Although there are certain things I would change, I am so happy with how this came out. 
(So maybe I'm just being picky!)

Hopefully Jemma loves it as much as I do.

Em x

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

BuzzFeed & Derek Ridgers - 70s/80s London Punk Scene

This link jumped up at me yesterday via my Facebook feed.

This BuzzFeed page shows 17 vintage photos by British photgrapher Derek Ridgers of the London punk scene during the 1970s & 80s.

This link comes at the perfect time as I've actually been listening to the greatest hits of 'The Clash' for the past few weeks! Apart from the obvious classics ("London Calling" & "Rock the Kazbah") I had never listened to much of The Clash & I actually quite like them!

My other half told me he had heard somewhere that "...the Sex Pistols make you want to bang your head against a wall... The Clash will give you a reason too!". 

For me, the word 'punk' epitomises an angry, rebellious nature, but I can remember hearing punk music for the first time a being surprised how the sound wasn't as loud and angry as I had expected, unlike other genres of music - rap or metal/screamo (obviously there are variations in sound from band to band etc), but the lyrics expressed that feeling instead.

I would love to have been around to see the emergence of the British punk scene, but I'm not sure I would have been outlandish enough to be part of it! I think my tastes would have lied firmly in the mod look, which was also another massive subculture that fused music & fashion.

There's a brilliant series on BBC at the moment called "Oh! You Pretty Things!", that looks into the influence music and fashion have always held over each other, and have so far mentioned touched on mod & punk. I seem to be watching them in the wrong order on catchup but they are definitely worth checking out!

If you're interested you can buy 'The Clash Hits Back' here:

Or see more of Derek Ridgers work at his website below

Em x

Monday, 6 October 2014

"The trench coat's forgotten WW1 roots"

Great little article on the BBC website by Simon Armstrong, detailing the trench coat's origins in WWI and it's life as a Hollywood 'icon' & must have fashion item of today

It's crazy to think how many fashion items today have their origin in the military, and how far the clothing industry has come in that time, something I never get tired of reading about!

Em x

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Jean Paul Gaultier: From The Sidewalk To The Catwalk

Some photo's from my visit to the Barbican last weekend to see the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition - "From the sidewalk to the Catwalk"

While I am familiar with some of Gaultier's more iconic pieces (Madonna's cone bra anyone?!), I have to say I'm not familiar with much of his other work. This exhibition was jam packed with amazing pieces, covering every theme and collection you could think of!

I love Gaulter's use of fabrics, history & silhouette. He seems to always been thinking of new ways to turn existing themes on their heads, the way he constantly reinvents the male/female image, challenging ideas of what is 'acceptable' for either sex to be seen in is particularly interesting.

Some of my favourite pictures from the exhibition are below.
I felt like I took so many photos while I was there, but now I wish I'd taken more!

Clothes made of ties!

Beautiful piece of pattern cutting & construction right there!

Corsetry, Armour & Vintage Print - so much love!!

So pretty! 

I love the shapes & detail of this body suit

Antique Modern Armour?!

Amazing designer, very inspiring exhibition!

Em x

Find out what else is on at the Barbican: http://www.barbican.org.uk/

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Lace Godet Shorts

I am very behind in posting my projects up. They are here I promise! Time seems to have run away from me again, but I will try my hardest to get updated again soon! This project turned out to be a customising project, as opposed to starting something from scratch.

(Apologies now for some terrible photos at the end of the post!)

As most people, I love my jeans. My favourite one's were a pair of black skinny jeans from New Look, they fitted really well, were uber comfy and pretty cheap too. Massive win for me! 

Until, I put my phone down on my lap whilst on the commute to work, (why is it always during work time?!) to realise a large rip had appeared in my jeans across one leg, exposing far too much pasty white inner thigh to the entire train carriage, as well as all the people in the car park and those at Baker Street station. I can only apologise for blinding you temporarily with my white reflective skin! 

Despite a quick fix at work, my lovely jeans were beyond just fixing so they got the chop! I cut them into shorts, with both legs the length of the rip. But the shape of the jeans meant the shorts clung to my leg and looked more like cycling shorts than cute denim ones! So to make them wider I decided to use up some remnant fabric and insert triangular lace panels (godets) down the sides.

First up, was cutting up the side seams and making sure to sew over the seam where I wanted to split to end so the shorts didn't split all the way up to the waistband. The hem was left raw, but I ran a stitch 0.5cm in along the edge to make sure the fraying didn't get too out of control.

Once I'd decided how wide my godets were going to be I drew out my pattern and cut out the lace, keeping the scallop hem of the fabric so I didn't have to hem the panels - then under the machine they went!

(this picture is awful! sorry!)

Both sides were really quick and easy to sew in - you just have to be careful the other side doesn't tuck and get caught in otherwise you'll have a pleat where you don't want one! I decided to topstitch the seam allowances down so they weren't visible from the outside

Et Voila!

Lace Godet Shorts!

This was so easy to do and I'm pleased with how they came out.

Perhaps next time I would cut the split a little higher to give more volume. This time I cut to the pocket bags but I think a bit higher would have looked better!

A nice, easy little project that means I have something new to wear and didn't spend a penny!

Em x