Introducing #noveltyoutfitclub

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Hi guys! I have a fun new idea which I’m excited (and a little nervous!) to share with you today – the Novelty Outfit Club! It’s an Instagram challenge I’ve put together for the month of October, where any fellow novelty outfit lovers can all share and appreciate each other’s themed outfits and accessories, with a prompt to provide inspiration each week.

Novelty definition

First up, I’ll tell you a little bit about the inspiration behind the project. Last week, I shared a post on Instagram about the importance of dressing up for me, which is something I’ve also written about here. If you’ve followed me for a while, you’ll know that not only do I love to dress up, but I also love to theme an outfit and tell a story with my clothes! These days, nothing makes me happier than finding the perfect novelty jewellery and accessories to match the print on my colourful dresses. It’s a simple silly pleasure that can bring a lot of joy to your everyday, and my ambition is to have a themed outfit for every occasion! And Michael loved a good theme just as much as I did – he’d wear his favourite burger socks on national burger day, plan primary coloured brick themed outfits for a trip to Legoland, and even theme his birthday and Christmas gifts to me, like the birthday when he bought me an ice lolly dress with matching necklace and socks!

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One of my very favourite things about Instagram is the constant inspiration I get from seeing awesome ladies rocking their outfits, and the excitement when someone pairs the absolute perfect accessories with their outfit. I also really enjoy taking part in monthly challenges and hashtag projects as it’s a great way to discover new online friends and engage in the community, which after all is what Instagram is all about.

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All of these factors started to spark into an idea when I shared my #aweekinwonderland outfits recently. After discovering I now have no less than 7(!) Alice In Wonderland themed dresses in my wardrobe, I decided to wear one each day and share my outfits on Instagram. I had a LOT of fun planning it all, so I thought why not do a weekly themed outfit project, but this time invite everyone to join in? I’ve come up with 4 themes, one for each week in October. If you’d like to take part then choose an outfit or accessory inspired by the prompt each week, and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #noveltyoutfitclub. Here are a few more details in a handy square form…

How to take part

There are no strict rules to this challenge as it’s about encouraging each other to have fun with our clothes, as for me it’s a big part of bringing a little bit of happy to the every day. I know that not everyone is quite as obsessed as I am with tracking down that perfect picnic pin to go with their picnic dress, necklace and bag, so you really don’t have to wear a matching head to toe ensemble! Even just wearing a pair of socks that fits with the theme will be great, and I’ve tried to keep the prompts broad so it will hopefully be easy to join in!

Week themes

  1. Bam! Movie Marathon! We’re off to the movies for Week 1! You could go for a straight up popcorn movie theme, or plan an outfit inspired by your favourite film! So much scope here! And the name of this theme is what Michael used to say whenever he fancied a cosy afternoon with our favourite movies, so I had to use it for this week.
  2. Adventure Is Out There! It’s time for an adventure in Week 2! You could choose a travel theme with airplanes and hot air balloons, camping and adventures in the great outdoors, favourite places you’ve visited, or anything that counts as an adventure in your book. The theme for this week is inspired by one of mine and Michael’s favourite Pixar films, Up!
  3. Sweets & Treats. I can’t resist any fabric or jewellery with a novelty food theme, so this was an obvious choice for Week 3. Think burgers, hot dogs, pizza, doughnuts, ice creams, cakes, sweets, biscuits, pineapples and water melons – anything food related. You might also want to stock up on snacks for this week, as I anticipate these outfits will make you feel a bit peckish!
  4. We’re Going To The Zoo in Week 4, rounding the challenge off with an animal theme, so expect some wild outfits! It doesn’t have to just be animals you’d find in the zoo, so feel free to take inspiration from all creatures great and small!

Everyone is welcome in the Novelty Outfit Club and I’d love to see your interpretations of each theme, so here’s hoping you’ll join me in October and fill up the hashtag with colourful cuteness!

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Lucy x

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A Week in Wonderland

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As I was finishing up my latest handmade dress last weekend, I realised I now have 7 Alice in Wonderland themed dresses in my handmade wardrobe – one for every day of the week!! So this week, just for fun, I’m decided to wear one each day and spend a week in Wonderland. I shared pictures of my outfits over on Instagram throughout the week, and I thought I’d post a round up here too!

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Day 1

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Dress: Picnic dress (which I sell over at smileandmake.tictail.com!) in Rose Cameos print, from the Wonderland collection by Rifle Paper Co for Cotton & Steel (previously blogged here)/ Cardigan: CollectifShoes: Irregular Choice / Necklace: Smile & Make

Day 2

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Dress: By Hand London Flora dress in Procession print, from the Wonderland collection by Rifle Paper Co for Cotton & Steel / Shoes: Irregular Choice / Petticoat: Palava

Day 3

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Dress: Christine Haynes Emery dress in a Japanese border print fabric (previously blogged here)/ Collar: Gather Kits Tallis – make your own version on our upcoming workshop! / Shoes: Irregular Choice

Day 4

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Dress: By Hand London Flora dress in Tea Party print, from the Wonderland collection by Blend Fabrics / Shoes: eBay / Necklace: Handmade as a gift by Spotty Daisy

Day 5

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Dress: Picnic dress in Magic Forest print, with contrasting collar and cuffs in Follow Suit, both from the Wonderland collection by Rifle Paper Co for Cotton & Steel / Shoes: Orla Kiely for Clarks (past season) / Brooch: gift

Day 6

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Dress: Picnic dress in Rabbits print, from the Wonderland collection by Riley Blake / Shoes: Irregular Choice / Necklace: Little Moose

Day 7

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Dress: Christine Haynes Emery dress in Wonderland light blue print, from the Wonderland collection by Rifle Paper Co for Cotton & Steel (previously blogged here) / Cardigan: New Look / Shoes: Irregular Choice / Pin: House of Wonderland

So there you have it, a full week of Alice in Wonderland! I’ve also recently made a few custom dress orders in other colour ways from the Cotton & Steel Wonderland collection which are rather lovely, so I think I might need to add these fabrics to my wish list too! Perfect for Autumn/Winter in their deep colours…

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Lucy x

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The Perfect Sun Dress – Butterick B6453

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I managed to sneak in a couple of new handmade sun dresses just before summer disappears here in the UK using the Butterick B6453 pattern by Gertie. I’ve been wanting to find a pattern for a strappy dress similar to the popular Jenny dress by US brand Pin Up Girl clothing, which I’ve long lusted after online but have never quite been brave enough to order by the time you factor in customs & shipping. The B6453 is the perfect shape and I love Gertie’s style, so it was precisely what I’d been looking for! I also joined the Facebook group Gertie set up for the sew along to accompany the pattern and it’s been so inspiring to see all of the gorgeous dresses the ladies in the group have created!

Caturday

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I made my first B6453 in this beautiful cat border print fabric, from the new Caturday range by Windham Fabrics, designed by Felice Regina. Felice and I had arranged on Instagram to do a pin swap and as we were exchanging details I mentioned that I loved the latest fabric range she had designed and the photos I’d seen of her gorgeous booth at Quilt Market, so she very kindly sent me some of the fabric to try!

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I’m always a sucker for a border print and this fabric is just darling. The main body of the fabric has tiny polka dots, but when you look closely some of them are paw prints! And the cats lazing around against their backdrop of doilies – have you ever seen a more perfectly twee print?! I’m in love!

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When it came to sewing the dress, I made sure to choose my size based on the finished garment measurements as Gertie advised since Butterick include quite a bit of ease in this pattern. I had to shorten the bodice slightly for my proportions, and I still had to take it in a little on the centre back seam to make it fit, but I’m very happy with the result!

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I cheated a little and didn’t put sliders on the straps as the pattern requires but instead measured and sewed them at a fixed length. I’ve seen quite a few versions with tie straps too which looks very cute, so I’d like to give that a try! The only other change I made was to line the bodice rather than using the facings. I think the bodice is very flattering and I love the shape, it’s exactly what I wanted.

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Vintage Daydream

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I made my second version of this dress using a Riley Blake fabric which is pleasingly called Vintage Daydream, purchased from the lovely Hollies Haberdashery.

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I’m a big fan of bunting and will have it absolutely everywhere if allowed, and even own several bunting necklaces (which will likely be no surprise!!) so this fabric was the perfect choice. I particularly like the bunting strings that look like floral vintage handkerchiefs knotted together!

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I always find it hard to take photos of the back of dresses as they can be so unexciting and hard to capture. But this dress has such a beautiful scooped back I made an exception!

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I’m really pleased with both of these dresses, they are so unashamedly girly! I’m certain the B6453 pattern will become another staple in my handmade wardrobe as it’s perfect for pretty cotton sundresses like these, and will also work fabulously as a fancy dress for a special occasion. I might need to make a posh version for Christmas!

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I think I’m definitely back on the blogging train now and I’ve still got a few more dresses I’ve made recently to share, so I’ll be back soon!

Lucy x

The Laneway Dress

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After an unintentional blogging break, I’m back with a gorgeous new dress pattern to talk about, the Laneway Dress by Jennifer Lauren Handmade!

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When Jennifer got in touch to ask if I’d be interested in trying the pattern, I was excited as I love the vintage silhouette and the unusual collar detail, but most of all because the dress is cleverly drafted to allow for different cup sizes and achieve an excellent fit!

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I didn’t quite get the perfect fit on this dress as I actually made it a little too big, but that’s my fault rather than any flaw in the pattern, which I found to be very well drafted and didn’t disappoint! I was nervous of how the dress would fit around the middle since it has a fairly flat waistline and so I graded out to a larger size on the waist, but I over compensated and it ended up being a bit too loose. The fit is just right around the shoulders so I will know next time that I can be less cautious and just make my straight size. I ought to have made a muslin first but I’m too impatient! When I spend time sewing I want to get a finished garment out of it so my usual approach with a new pattern is to just go for it but keep tinkering with the fit each time I make the pattern. I already have my next Laneway cut out and another planned after that, so I’m sure I’ll have it spot on soon. I do particularly like how the bodice is shaped with double open-ended darts in the waist rather than usual bust and waist darts – which is similar to another pattern I have made and loved – and I think once I get the sizing right it will be a fabulous shape. I’ve taken the side seams in a little and I’m still very pleased with the finished dress, it is completely wearable and very comfy!

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Just look at this collar detail, isn’t it swoon worthy? It’s also really easy to sew as it’s all part of the facing – so no fiddly extra collar to attach! I chose the asymmetric line as it adds a quirky touch, but you can also choose a centred collar, or make it without the collar. I usually line the bodices of all my dresses rather than using facings, even if the pattern doesn’t require it, but this time I did make the facing so as to follow the pattern correctly the first time I made it. I’m actually quite happy with the facing as the collar does help to hold it properly in place. The dress also has a v neckline at the back which is a nice extra detail.

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I did add a little extra swing into the skirt as it is drafted as an A-line but I prefer a fit and flare shape, so I just extended to curve of the hemline as wide as I could when I cut out the skirt pieces. I also want to try making the dress with a plain neckline and a gathered skirt, which should be another lovely combination!

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I’ve had my eye on this beautiful Art Gallery fabric for a while after seeing it on Instagram and in a couple of haberdasheries. It’s from the Pastel Thrift collection, and the vintage record players and gramophones are charming. I’m always drawn to anything yellow and the tone of this dress is somewhere nicely between a bold yellow and a mustard yellow, so it adds a slightly different position on the spectrum to my wardrobe!! I think the fabric choice actually gives the dress quite a 1960s feel, despite it being a 1940s inspired shape, which shows the versatility of the dress pattern. It was the first time I’ve made a dress with an Art Gallery fabric and it was an absolute dream to sew with and lovely to wear, it’s quite soft and silky with a nice amount of drape for a quilting cotton. The collar is a Cotton & Steel fabric from the Sprinkles range, using material left over from an Emery dress I made last year. That dress is very special to me as Michael chose the fabric, so I wanted to draw on the colours and style for this dress. As a serious vinyl lover and collector, I know he would have loved this fabric too.

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Overall, I found the Laneway dress to be a really fab pattern with an elegant vintage feel, and I’ll definitely be making more!

Lucy x

Yet without question, without fail, always and invariably she is exceedingly lovely

Emery dress, inspired by Agatha's Mendl's uniform from the Grand Budapest Hotel, by Wes Anderson

For the next outfit in my Wes Anderson series, I created a dress inspired by the character of Agatha from the Grand Budapest Hotel. Michael and I adored this film. It was released while he was going through radiotherapy and I remember going straight from the hospital after a treatment session to watch it at the cinema together as he was so excited to see it. I think it has the best story line and pace of all of his films, as well as being incredibly funny! It’s also visually delicious, from the pink facade of the hotel in it’s glory days and the rich purples of the staff uniforms, to the pastel beauty of Mendl’s pastries.

Agatha, Grand Budapest Hotel

Agatha’s uniform (above) is a simple but pretty dress with a peter pan collar, and I decided to recreate this outfit with a slight twist.

Emery dress, inspired by Agatha's Mendl's uniform from the Grand Budapest Hotel, by Wes Anderson

I don’t often wear solid colour dresses so rather than copy the dress exactly I chose a fabric inspired by the colour palette, a cream and coral Art Gallery striped print from The Crafty Mastermind. I edged the collar, sleeves and hem with a complimentary coral bias binding, and made a little bow for the collar.

Emery dress, inspired by Agatha's Mendl's uniform from the Grand Budapest Hotel, by Wes Anderson

To create the shape of the dress, I hacked the Emery dress pattern, which you will know by now is my favourite! I love the shape, fit and vintage style of the Emery, but needed to tweak a few details to more closely mimic Agatha’s dress. I rounded the edges of the collar to create a soft peter pan collar, added gathering and volume to the sleeve head and extended the sleeve length, and pleated the skirt rather than gathering it.

Emery dress, inspired by Agatha's Mendl's uniform from the Grand Budapest Hotel, by Wes Anderson

I’m really pleased with the finished dress, it’s very sweet with a vintage feel and will be lovely to wear in the summer. Happily I recently restocked my collection of Sun Jellies sandals and have a peach pair which match perfectly! I’m off on holiday at the end of the month and this dress will definitely be coming with me.

Emery dress, inspired by Agatha's Mendl's uniform from the Grand Budapest Hotel, by Wes Anderson

And as the perfect finishing touch, I found this Mendl’s brooch from Sayonara Baby on Etsy.

Emery dress, inspired by Agatha's Mendl's uniform from the Grand Budapest Hotel, by Wes Anderson

Now if only someone would deliver a real Mendl’s box to me with a Courtesan au Chocolat, mmm! Perhaps I should have a go at making my own with this recipe!

Emery dress, inspired by Agatha's Mendl's uniform from the Grand Budapest Hotel, by Wes Anderson

Next up I’ll be recreating Suzy Bishop’s iconic dress from Moonrise Kingdom, I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

Lucy x

Wonderland Dresses

Rifle Paper Co Wonderland Fabric for Cotton & Steel, Alice in Wonderland, Handmade Dresses

The latest Rifle Paper Co fabric range for Cotton & Steel is my dream collection and I’ve been eagerly awaiting its release since it was announced last year! Inspired by Anna Bond’s beautiful illustrations for the 150th anniversary edition of Alice in Wonderland, the Wonderland collection is simply beautiful and perfect for fellow Alice fans (you might remember I already have one extravagant Alice border print dress in my handmade wardrobe!). After much deliberation, and being completely unable to narrow it down to just one favourite print, I ordered both the Cameo print in rose and the Wonderland print in periwinkle to make myself a couple of wonderful Wonderland dresses.

Do you suppose she’s a wildflower?

Handmade Dress in Rifle Paper Co Wonderland Fabric for Cotton & Steel, Pink Roses, Alice in Wonderland

Since these fabrics are so beautiful they really do speak for themselves, so I’ll keep the talk to a minimum! I used the pink cameo print to make a sleeveless princess seamed dress with a full gathered skirt, and wore it here with my Tatty Devine ruby slippers necklace (mixing up my favourite childhood stories!) and Liberty x French Sole ballet pumps. A very pretty dress with a definite vintage feel!

Handmade Dress in Rifle Paper Co Wonderland Fabric for Cotton & Steel, Pink Roses, Alice in Wonderland

Handmade Dress in Rifle Paper Co Wonderland Fabric for Cotton & Steel, Pink Roses, Alice in Wonderland

Handmade Dress in Rifle Paper Co Wonderland Fabric for Cotton & Steel, Pink Roses, Alice in Wonderland

Liberty French Sole Ballet Pumps, Handmade Dress in Rifle Paper Co Wonderland Fabric for Cotton & Steel, Pink Roses, Alice in Wonderland

Handmade Dress in Rifle Paper Co Wonderland Fabric for Cotton & Steel, Pink Roses, Alice in Wonderland

Handmade Dress in Rifle Paper Co Wonderland Fabric for Cotton & Steel, Pink Roses, Alice in Wonderland

Handmade Dress in Rifle Paper Co Wonderland Fabric for Cotton & Steel, Pink Roses, Alice in Wonderland

I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it

Handmade Christine Haynes Emery Dress in Rifle Paper Co Wonderland Fabric for Cotton & Steel, Periwinkle Blue, Alice in Wonderland

This print immediately stood out from the collection because of the similarity to the book cover, and the gorgeous shade of periwinkle blue, which is the same as the floral Rifle Paper Co dress from the last fabric collection. I chose to make a short sleeved Emery dress, but with a slightly longer and fuller gathered skirt than usual to make it extra fancy.  I wore it here with my favourite glittery Fairytale Collars, red tights and gold Orla Kiely for Clarks shoes to pick up on the beautiful metallic details in the fabric. I’m always drawn to any fabric with a metallic element!

Handmade Christine Haynes Emery Dress in Rifle Paper Co Wonderland Fabric for Cotton & Steel, Periwinkle Blue, Alice in Wonderland

Handmade Christine Haynes Emery Dress in Rifle Paper Co Wonderland Fabric for Cotton & Steel, Periwinkle Blue, Alice in Wonderland

Handmade Christine Haynes Emery Dress in Rifle Paper Co Wonderland Fabric for Cotton & Steel, Periwinkle Blue, Alice in Wonderland

Handmade Christine Haynes Emery Dress in Rifle Paper Co Wonderland Fabric for Cotton & Steel, Periwinkle Blue, Alice in Wonderland

Handmade Christine Haynes Emery Dress in Rifle Paper Co Wonderland Fabric for Cotton & Steel, Periwinkle Blue, Alice in Wonderland

Handmade Christine Haynes Emery Dress in Rifle Paper Co Wonderland Fabric for Cotton & Steel, Periwinkle Blue, Alice in Wonderland

Handmade Christine Haynes Emery Dress in Rifle Paper Co Wonderland Fabric for Cotton & Steel, Periwinkle Blue, Alice in Wonderland

As expected, I am so in love with these two dresses and I have already worn each of them for special occasions!

Lucy x

 

A Weekend in London: What I Wore

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A handy consequence of having a slightly out of control fabric stash is that I can quickly whip up a whole new wardrobe for a weekend away! I planned a trip to London last weekend to catch up with friends and eat lots of cake, and I made a few fun outfits to wear while I was away.

Raised On a Diet of Broken Biscuits

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I’ve been so excited about this biscuity outfit ever since I first had the idea! I’d been planning to try out the Tilly & The Buttons Cleo dungaree dress pattern after seeing about 3 million amazing versions on Instagram, and had chosen the baby pink denim kit. Then the Nikki McWilliams Biscuit Babe patch I had separately ordered arrived (Instagram is a bad influence on my online shopping habit!) and it looked perfect against the pink denim! Which also reminded me that I had bought a Makower biscuit print fabric last year which was still loitering in my stash, and would complement the dungaree dress nicely, so the idea for the ultimate biscuit outfit was born!

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Although I mostly wear dresses, I also want to keep improving my sewing skills and I fancied trying to make a shirt. Generally speaking shirts don’t often fit me well, but I liked the curved lines of the Tilly & The Buttons Rosa shirt. A biscuit print shirt to match my dungaree dress seemed the ideal choice. It’s quite a full on outfit, but I’m not usually one to shy away from a bold print – go big or go home!

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I really enjoyed making both the shirt and the dungaree dress as I learned a few new techniques. As usual with Tilly’s patterns, both were easy to follow and fun to sew, and resulted in modern, wearable, comfortable garments with lovely feminine silhouettes. I’ll definitely be making more of both.

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I was a little concerned about sewing up the denim dungaree dress since I haven’t worked with denim before, but it was lovely to sew. I’d highly recommend one of the Cleo kits since it comes with absolutely everything you need to make the dress. I always find it frustrating when I want to start a project but haven’t got all of the bits I need (zips, linings, interfacing etc) so it was very handy to buy it all in one package! The Cleo is a surprisingly quick make, and very satisfying to sew.

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I’m quite proud of how the collar on my Rosa shirt turned out as it’s the first time I’ve assembled a collar stand. It’s pretty sharp for my first attempt if I do say so myself! I used a contrasting pink and red polka dot print for the inside of the collar stand and button band facing, and finished it off with one of my new mint green “Smile & Make”labels.

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I wore this outfit to meet up with Daisy of Make Thrift London for a fun day exploring Brick Lane. Daisy had whipped up her own dungarees to wear too so we wear proudly flying the flag for handmade!

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D’ya Wanna Cwoffee, You Schmuck?

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Next, I made a classic Christine Haynes Emery dress in this incredible retro coffee pot print by Melody Miller for Kokka, which I picked up from The Eternal Maker’s destash Instagram account last year. The Emery always seems to be my pattern of choice for fabrics I really love, as it looks so good in pretty much any print and I know it will get lots of wear. The fabric is a cotton/linen blend with a lovely weight, so I made a pleated skirt since the fabric holds the pleats well, and it creates a great full shape.

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I only had 2 metres of this fabric, and although it was a little wider than the usual quilting cotton width it was still a little tight to cut out an Emery with sleeves. So I’m quite pleased with my pattern matching across the sleeves and around the skirt given how little fabric I had to play with!

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I wore this dress to meet friends for coffee & brunch at the Palm Vaults cafe in Hackney. Yep, I like to be literal with my outfits – a coffee dress for a coffee date!

Bullseye Mark Two

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Have you ever had a fabric you love so much you bought it in more than one colour way? I already have a Mortmain dress in the navy version of this Cotton & Steel print, and when I spotted the pink/coral alternative in the sale on The Crafty Mastermind I decided I needed a second arrow dress. The print is particularly special to me as it’s one Michael chose for me last year. I’d created a Pinterest board for fabrics I loved which he had obviously been looking at, and he said I absolutely had to get the navy striped arrows, so I immediately ordered it. And now I get to have two versions.

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Since this will really be a dress for summer, I made a By Hand London Flora with a full gathered skirt. I think the dress has definite Palm Springs vibes, so I accessorised with ice cream, cacti and a mid century Palm Springs house!

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My favourite detail in this print is the metallic gold touches. I love any fabric with a hint of metallic.

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I wore this dress to meet my best friend Jo for dinner at All Star Lanes on Brick Lane. I think I’ll be wearing it lots more with my range of pastel Sun Jellies in the summer.

Beauty School Drop Out

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I could have purchased all of Melody Miller’s latest collection for Cotton & Steel, Jubilee. Ultimately I settled on the ladies with balloons and this make up print from The Fabric Fox, which has so much detail and great mid century design references, making it the perfect balance of girly and retro.

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I made a princess seamed bodice with a full gathered skirt for a classic vintage silhouette. It was a great match with this Tatty Devine harlequin necklace which I picked up in the sale after Christmas.

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I wore this dress for afternoon tea at Hoi Polloi with my lovely friend Livvie, and jazzed it up with some bright pink tights!

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I had a really lovely weekend in London, if a little exhausting! I snapped lots of photos of the places I visited which I’ll try and share in a separate post soon.

Lucy x