Thursday, 30 August 2012

Upcycling sarees/saris - From Sari to dress with a little help from my mum

A couple of years ago an Indian friend of mine was getting married and I decided that to one of the ceremonies (Indian weddings typically have a number of parts!) that I would like to wear a dress instead of a sari but I wanted a dress that would not make me stand out too much in a crowd adorned by saree's/sari's but equally a dress that would be able to hold it own in crowd adorned in saree's/sari's. At this point I must stress I love a good excuse to wear a sari, so don't get me wrong but my sari stocks are limited and I could only afford to buy one expensive one at the time so had to come up with a cunning plan for the other event requiring a formal outfit! Hence my idea was formed!

I journey to Leicester with my aunt as chief buyer and father as chauffeur and set off in search of my "expensive" sari but also with a secret mission of finding a less expensive one which I could cut up to make a dress. Typically you can find an array of cheap saris in the sari shops, they are often on rails for £5 and £10 and are often bright fabrics but not the softest or lightest or most flattering in terms of how they fall. Not great if you are looking for the perfect sari but for a dress maker you are faced with something altogether more exciting! Not least a generous amount of fabric for less than you would normally pay for a set of buttons or some off cuts!

For my dress I used a pattern that I bought specifically for the project, I chose a pattern that I would be able to use again and again and paid around £8-10 for it from a sewing website. My sari fabric cost me £5 and the pattern called for a zip (which I had), some boning (which cost a couple of pounds) and obviously thread (again which I had). I must be honest here and say I used a sheet for the lining (it was new and at £2.99 a bargain) so I would say I spent around £20 - £25 on the supplies. However it was never about the money, if you were to see my wardrobe or speak to my fiance you would know I am not afraid to spend money on clothes! I wanted the challenge and also to wear something I knew no-one would be wearing with and Asian influence!

In terms of making the dress, I will be honest and say it was hard. It was my first attempt with a pattern and as it was for an outfit I wanted to actually wear in public it was important. Much stress followed luckily so did plenty of help and guidance from my mum (who always is on hand to help me with my projects and bright ideas, thanks muma!) and eventually we got there. I learnt a lot on the way but was so pleased with the outcome and the reactions and comments I got, it made it all worth it.

Saree/sari dress in center
Me and my saree/sari dress in the middle
with the lovely bride and groom
If I could give three tips on making a saree/sari dress they would be:

1) beware of prints especially if you are a novice like me, the fabric I chose had a border I wanted to preserve and that was a headache and a half!
2) know what you are dealing with, again if you are a novice working with shiney or silky fabrics can be hard as they move and often don't play ball.
3) give yourself plenty of time, even my mum had panic attacks and nightmares that we wouldn't finish to a high enough standard for me to actually wear the dress so give yourself enough room to take your time!

About the fabric:
The saree/saree I used was a two tone shiney (!) fabric. It was pink which then fabed into a bronze brown for the fall and material on the end which was you are meant to make a saree jacket out of. This had the border I loved and so wanted to keep.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Fashion Pick - Preppy Geek Chic by Madewell USA featured on Honestly...WTF

Honestly...WTF is fast becoming one of my favourite blogs. The mix of projects and fashion appreciation is a great source of inspiration to me, I have been adding to my projects folder with things from the DIY section and adding to my wish list and “looks to try” from things featured in the ‘cool huntings’ and ‘collections’ section. I love it!

Back in May 2012 Erica (Honestly...WTF) featured the fall (Autumn) lookbook from an American label called Madewell (jeans makers and so much more! according to their website I really loved the presentation of the looks and the eclectic mix of pieces, colour and the styles created by the combination of these and wanted to share this.
I have picked out my favourite rows below, my absolute favourite is the green bodied shirt with blue sleeves and green cuffs and blue collar at the end of the second row. I want that shirt so so bad you would not believe!

Madwell's fall/autumn collection 2012
Madwell Fall 2012 - As seen on Honestly...WTF
Madwell's fall/autumn collection 2012
Madwell Fall 2012 - As seen on Honestly...WTF
 Checkout the original post from Erica here

Saturday, 18 August 2012

From skirt to dress, no sewing required

I got the skirt pictured below from a jumble sale for 20p ages ago and had almost forgotten all about it. I really liked the print on the fabric but wasn't keen on the length so had ideas of shortening it and just wearing it as a cute summer skirt but fortunately I hadn't gotten round to cutting it up yet! I came across the skirt again recently when I was going through my projects box and it occurred to me that rather than cutting it up I might be able to wear the skirt as a dress. I simply undid the top two buttons of the skirt, it already had an elasticated waist which because an elasticated back so with a little help from a belt i was set!

Floral button down skirt and belt
Before - a pretty but not very me floral skirt
Summer dress
After - a lovely funky summer dress

So what do you think? From old skirt to new summer dress without any cutting, sewing or anything! What more could a girl ask for!  

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Bouquets made out of brooches, buttons and other nice things

Source unknown - if you would like to claim
this please let me know!
I have a folder that I keep with all the different projects I come across and general ideas for things I would like to make or re-create. As a result of my day job I have been unexpectedly been adding to my folder and felt the need to share.

I will explain, I have recently been involved in developing and implementing marketing plans for a newly refurbished hotel and one part of this huge task has been looking at marketing the hotel as a wedding venue, again another small part of which has involved me looking at advertising opportunities for wedding venues (stick with me, I get to the point soon!). The opportunities are of course vast and range from magazines, radio, websites etc and will certainly keep me busy in my marketing capacity for some time. A happy by product of this research and something I could not ignore has been the sheer volume of crafty, thrifty and creative things people do for their weddings, it really is inspiring. I don't have time to write about all of the innovative and cool things I have come across but I will keep feeding back the best of my finds.

When my cousin got married as well as being bridesmaid I was chief teacup, saucer, side pate, cake stand, jug and vintage/old book gatherer! I searched high and low at carboot sales, jumble sales, charity shops and any other place I could find for things that fit the vintage/afternoon tea party style my cousin wanted to achieve. It isn't always about the money either, my cousin had a huge (and utterly dreamlike and perfect I must add) wedding and wasn't necessarily trying to save money but instead just loved that style. I have to say I loved my wedding duties and was much better placed to do that sort of thing than sorting out hen nights!

Anyway I digress, one of the most amazing things I have come across so far is the trend of making bouquets out of broaches and I really wanted to share this with as many people as possible because I just think they are fabulous and the possibilities are endless!

Click image for direct link to source -
Click image for direct link to source -
Click on image for direct link to source -
The above pictures are a selection I have taken from a google search on brooch bouquets and each are so unique I am just in awe of them all and want to make them all! As a "maker" I was of course intrigued as to how they are actually constructed and while I am sure there are a number of methods I have found a really great tutorial on how to make your own brooch bouquet at (click here for a direct link to the tutorial) using mainly a combination of old brooches and other jewellery, wire and ribbon!

In addition to brooch bouquets I have seen bouquets made using a mixture of jewellery and or buttons as well. Again has a tutorial on this too! (click here for a direct link to the tutorial). I have included images of some of the button and mixed jewelled bouquets below, you will never know how hard it was to stop at these few!!!

I really hope you enjoy these as much as me and as soon as I have saved up enough brooches I will be making one of these ready for my wedding, whenever that might be...! The best thing about these are they are at the heart of the beauty of all things recycled and upcycled and whats more they are achievable for all.

Click on image for direct link to source
Click on image for direct link to source

Click on image for direct link to source

Click on image for direct link to source

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Vanity bag to handbag in 2 seconds flat!

Ok so I can't really take any credit in terms of being "crafty" in this post but I like to think I am resourceful and can see the hidden potential in  things especially when they are just too pretty to spend their life in a closet without ever having the hope of seeing the light of day...

So on the same trip to Australia where I discovered the cotton rice bags (click her to go to post) I was asked by my lovely aunt upon my leaving in the form of typical Sri Lanka generosity what I would like to take home with me, I obviously polietly said I didn't need anything but of course that was brushed aside. On arrival I had fallen for a vanity bag my aunt had tucked away in her fabulous walk in closet (I would have taken that if I could have!!!) and I said to my aunt that if she didn't use it and wasn't attached to it that actually that was what I would like. A little confused but thrilled to give me something I clearly had formed an attachment to my aunt gave it too me.

The bag is quilted inside with a wipe clean material and also had some removable cardboard inserts which kept it rigid whilst in its life as a vanity/makeup bag but these were quickly removed and now I have myself a fabulous, huge Miss Marple esque bag! It is a much loved addition to my wardrobe and accessories collection and in the style of many of the designer bags I have named it after my aunt.

Floral vanity bag
My lovely 'Aunty S' quilted bag

Thursday, 2 August 2012

DIY Dress Makers Dummy

I am across the post below yesterday and thought it was genius. I had not seen any thing about DIY dress forms or dress makers dummies before so thought this was truly inspired! Take from a post on Recycled Fashion blog the post basically shows people how to make a dress makers dummy from an old t-shirt or black bag, some parcel/duct tape and paper or old packaging material to stuff it. Brilliant! For a direct link to this post please click here.

Direct link to Recycled Fashion blog

I was fortunate enough to pick up a dress makers dummy from a charity shop for £25.00 but love the idea of having one that fits exactly to my shape! I will be making one of these with my mums help just as as soon as I can get myself a roll of parcel (duct tape).