Let Me Tell You About My Boat

The Life Aquatic Team Zissou inspired Jumpsuit, Tilly & The Buttons Bettine / Marigold Jumpsuit, Wes Anderson

Following on from my Fantastic Mrs Fox dress, for my next Wes Anderson movie themed outfit I made a jumpsuit inspired by The Life Aquatic. It was Michael’s number one favourite Wes Anderson film, and certainly our most watched! I also finished up a model of the Belafonte Michael had planned, and there are some pictures later in this post.

The Life Aquatic Team Zissou inspired Jumpsuit, Belafonte Model Boat, Wes Anderson

Team Zissou Jumpsuit

The Life Aquatic Steve Zissou Wes Anderson

I decided to make a jumpsuit referencing the colours and details from the iconic Team Zissou uniforms, so I could be part of the crew and ready for the next expedition. All finished off with Michael’s red hat.

The Life Aquatic Team Zissou inspired Jumpsuit, Tilly & The Buttons Bettine / Marigold Jumpsuit, Wes Anderson

To make the jumpsuit, I paired the Tilly and the Buttons Bettine dress bodice with the Marigold jumpsuit waistband and trousers. I added a zip up the back of the bodice, but otherwise it was fairly straightforward to piece the two patterns together, and it creates a very comfortable shape!

The Life Aquatic Team Zissou inspired Jumpsuit, Tilly & The Buttons Bettine / Marigold Jumpsuit, Wes Anderson

I chose a light blue chambray as the main material, and added contrasts in a deep blue cloud print by Cotton & Steel. I made a dress for Mum in this print last year and fortunately had enough fabric left for the contrast details.

The Life Aquatic Team Zissou Unpaid Intern Patch, Wes Anderson

I found this patch on Etsy as the finishing touch so I could be part of the team, but only as an unpaid intern!

The Life Aquatic Team Zissou inspired Jumpsuit, Tilly & The Buttons Bettine / Marigold Jumpsuit, Wes Anderson

The Belafonte

The Life Aquatic Belafonte

In homage to his favourite film, Michael had been planning to make a model of the Belafonte, Zissou’s boat. I recently decided to finish it for him.

The Life Aquatic Team Zissou Belafonte Model Boat, Wes Anderson

After meticulously researching examples of model boats other fans had made, and studying photos in his Wes Anderson Collection book, Michael found a kit for a Revell explorer boat which looked similar (and even has a submarine on the back deck!) and chose the paint colours he needed.

The Life Aquatic Team Zissou Belafonte Model Boat, Wes Anderson

Recently I was watching the film again and felt ready to have a go at building and painting the boat for him. It was a lot more difficult than I expected, and required lots of patience and a very steady hand! But I’m mostly quite pleased with how it turned out. I think Michael would be proud, and I hope it’s how he envisaged it. It’s now taking pride of place on our bookshelf.

Michael posing as Zissou in Legoland

And here he is, my very own Zissou, off on an adventure in Legoland!

Lucy x

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Tip Top Like Soda Pop! Dress

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Well this might just be the most perfect fabric for me yet – it’s Tip Top Like Soda Pop! As regular readers will know, this was my Michael’s number one catchphrase and something I have used as inspiration for our fundraising line of products to raise money for The Brain Tumour Charity: The Michael Barry Fund. So when a very lovely new friend came to visit last week and gave me some of this gorgeous fabric from the Michael Miller Sodalicious range, knowing how perfect it would be for me, I was over the moon.

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Tip Top Like Soda Pop! dress: made by me in Michael Miller Lotsa Pop fabric in Lime from the Sodalicious collection, using the By Hand London Kim bodice and Flora skirt / Custom necklace: Punky Pins / Enamel pin: Smile & Make / Headband: made by me / Petticoat: Palava / Yellow clogs: Lotta from Stockholm

I used some of the red fabric from the Sodalicious range to make Tip Top wall pennants to sell, and I had been hoping to make a dress from it someday too, so it was a wonderful surprise to be gifted the fabric I wanted in the perfect amount to make a dress with. The shape of the soda bottle in the print is almost exactly the same as the Tip Top Like Soda Pop pin I designed using Michael’s drawings ( shameless plug here… there are still a few pins available in my Etsy shop, and all proceeds go to support brain tumour research through The Brain Tumour Charity: The Michael Barry Fund). So it will come as no surprise that this fabric immediately leapt to the top of my sewing pile as I couldn’t wait to make it into a dress!

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As this print has an American Diner feel I thought it would suit a cute 50s dress with a full skirt for twirling in, and I have been wanting to try combining the By Hand London Kim dress bodice with the flippy circle skirt from the Flora dress to create this effect. I’m really pleased with how it turned out – just how I hoped it would look in my head! And whilst I intended it as a fresh summery dress, I hope this lovely shade of green will be equally at home styled with a mustard yellow cardi and brown woolly tights for Autumn/Winter.

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This dress has a circle skirt, and usually when you make a circle skirt it is best to use an all over print rather than a pattern which runs in one direction, as otherwise the print will not run level across all of the fabric of the voluminous skirt! As you can see this pattern is very directional with the soda pop bottles running in stripes, so I decided to cut the skirt in panels to keep the stripes running fairly level all around the skirt. This worked particularly well with the Flora skirt pattern as it has knife pleats at the front and box pleats at the back, so I could hide the seams joining the panels of the skirt together in the folds of the pleats. The only down side of using panels is that the skirt has lost a little bit of the drape it would have had if I’d cut it as a complete circle as none of the fabric has been cut on the bias, which is what gives circle skirts their lovely float and movement. I still think it was worth it to keep the print even across the skirt, and it looks fabulous with one of my pouffy Palava petticoats underneath!

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So there we have it, a Tip Top dress! I’m off to sip on some soda pop and twirl around the living room…

Lucy x

Making My Own Wardrobe: the Summer Holiday Edit

In preparation for our last minute break to Sussex, I had a lovely week of sewing to make a new handmade holiday wardrobe. I ploughed through all of the summery prints in my stash, which turned out to be an excellent decision as the weather was beautiful! It was pretty special to wear only dresses I had made for the week. One of the reasons I love making my own clothes is being able to choose fabrics which tell a story or have a personal meaning for me, making lots of dresses full of happy memories.

Ice cream is gonna save the day

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For my birthday last year, Michael decided to theme my presents. He bought me an Emily and Fin dress in an ice lolly print, socks with ice creams on, a Lego ice cream van, an ice cream light, and lots more. Even after my birthday, he still bought me anything he saw that was ice cream related. I even found a mug he had bought for me with an ice cream van illustration on it stashed away after he died – he couldn’t stop! So now I can’t resist anything ice cream related, making this fabric an obvious choice. I know Michael would have loved the bright sunshine yellow background and the ice cream vans.

Dress made by me in ice cream van print cotton (Makower) using the By Hand London Elisalex bodice with the  Christine Haynes Emery skirt / Ice cream van necklace – birthday gift / Yellow clogs – Lotta from Stockholm / Atomic Tote Bag – Sun Jellies

Flamboyance of flamingoes

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Dress made by me in Flamingo border print cotton (Michael Miller) using the By Hand London Flora bodice with the  Christine Haynes Emery skirt / Flamingo necklace – Erstwilder / Spotty Shoes – Boden (past season) / Atomic Tote Bag – Sun Jellies

Pink tulips

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Pink tulips are the first flowers Michael ever bought for me. We’d been together for a few weeks and I was about to head home from Oxford for the Christmas holidays so we arranged to have an early Christmas together. When I met Michael in the covered market he was standing waiting with a huge bunch of pink tulips, so this dress reminds me of that day.

Dress made by me in Tulip print cotton (Sommer range by Michael Miller) using the  Christine Haynes Emery pattern / Broderie Anglaise Necklace – Tatty Devine  (sold out online – available here)  / Red spotty clogs – from a lovely shoe shop in Rye / Picnic Basket bag – Accessorize (past season)

We fly balloons on this fuel called love

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Dress made by me in Hot Air balloon cotton using the  Christine Haynes Emery pattern with a pleated skirt / Hot Air balloon necklace – Erstwilder  / Trainers – Cath Kidston (past season) / Hot Air balloon satchel – Disaster Designs

Marry me

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This fabric is extra special to me. Michael proposed to me with a message in a bottle on Broadstairs beach, the most romantic proposal I could have imagined and so perfectly us. We even re-created the scene as part of our engagement shoot. I even have a beautiful Message in a Bottle brooch from Erstwilder to match.

Dress made by me in Message in a bottle print cotton (Robert Kaufman) using the By Hand London Flora bodice with the  Christine Haynes Emery skirt / Bag – Jane Foster / Sandals – Seasalt

Anniversary flowers

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Dress made by me in Fancy & Fabulous cotton (Riley Blake) using the  Christine Haynes Emery pattern / Floral necklace – Layla Amber  / Yellow clogs – Lotta from Stockholm / Picnic Basket bag – Accessorize (past season)

Little black dress

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This print has little yellow taxis and travel themed illustrations, and makes me think of our honeymoon in New York.

Dress made by me in Bon Voyages print cotton (Rifle Paper Co Les Fleurs collection for Cotton & Steel) using the By Hand London Kim dress with a partial circle skirt / Floral necklace – Layla Amber / Orla Kiely red wedges – Clarks (past season) / Picnic Basket bag – Accessorize (past season)

A field of daisies

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Dress made by me in Painted Daisies cotton (made from a Cath Kidston duvet cover) using the By Hand London Kim dress pattern / Atomic Tote Bag – Sun Jellies / Broderie Anglaise Necklace – Tatty Devine  (sold out online – available here) / Mary Jane shoes – Clarks (sold out online – similar here)

Here are close ups of all the fabrics I used:

Now I’ve used up all of my summery prints, I’m seriously planning my Autumn wardrobe. Lots of woodland prints coming up!

Lucy x

Making My Own Wardrobe: The Alice in Wonderland Dress

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In honour of my birthday today, I made my dream Alice in Wonderland dress. At the beginning of this year I wrote a list of all the prints and patterns I would love to add to my wardrobe now I’ve started making my own dresses, and an Alice themed dress was top of the list. I found this incredible border print through an Etsy seller in Japan a few months ago (details below) but decided to wait until my birthday and make it especially for the day.

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Alice in Wonderland has always been one of my favourite stories – Alice is my middle name and, like most girls, I loved the book and the Disney film as a child (especially the scene where the Mad Hatter tries to fix the White Rabbit’s pocket watch by dipping it in tea and pouring sugar and butter into it at the tea party – apparently I would giggle away at this part of the film when I was little!). Knowing it’s special place in my heart, Michael had a tradition of buying me beautiful editions of the book for my birthday. This year my Mum and Dad bought me the Puffin in Bloom version, illustrated by Anna Bond of Rifle Paper Co, to carry on the tradition.

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Outfit details: “Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast” dress – made by me with Alice in Wonderland border print cotton from Kate Japanese fabric using the Christine Haynes Emery dress pattern /  Broderie Anglaise Necklace – Tatty Devine  (sold out online – available here) / Mary Jane shoes – Clarks (sold out online – similar here)

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I think this dress mostly speaks for itself as the print is a beauty, so I’m not planning to say much more! Except that it’s an Emery dress, because it’s my favourite dress shape, it shows off the stripes in the bodice and the border print skirt well, and has sleeves which means I can hopefully wear it in autumn/winter too. It’s also lined with blue polka dot cotton, and finished with my usual lace zip.

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Now, can we take a moment to appreciate the incredible detail in this border print? Alice at the tea party, red roses, playing cards, toadstools, the Cheshire Cat in the tree. Combined with the blue and white stripes, it’s the ultimate Alice in Wonderland dress!

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Lucy x

Pins and patches

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I love the current trend for enamel pins and patches and I’ve been building quite a collection recently, starting with some I’ve received in my Lucky Dip Club subscription, and further fuelled by all of the awesome designs I’ve seen people share on Instagram. Michael was always a collector of badges and wore them pinned to his bag, hoodie, cardigan, hat, or just about anywhere and I’ve adopted a few of my favourites to mix in with my collection.

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I have two denim jackets, one traditional denim from Gap which I customised last year with some ribbon, bias binding and ric rac trims, and a pastel mint green jacket I picked up at a bargain price in the Next sale last year. I decided to roughly theme my collection to each jacket, and so my mint green jacket has all of the pastel and food/drink related pins, and my blue denim jacket has my brighter coloured pins with a sort of adventure/hobby theme.

Here are some close ups with details and links where possible:

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Clockwise from Top Left: Society of the Crossed Pencils pin – And Smile Studio / Michael’s Dreamland Margate pin / I’m a Good Girl badge – Hope & Greenwood (from a set Michael bought for me in Covent Garden in our London days) / Rainbow Camera pin  – Hand Over Your Fairy Cakes / Michael’s Legend pin / Michael’s vintage I-spy badge / Michael’s DFA pin / Khaki Scouts of North America patch – Jennis Prints / Craft is in my Blood brooch – And Smile Studio (no longer available)

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Clockwise from Top Left: Acrylic bike brooch – Rock Cakes / Michael’s lego badge (made for our trip to Legoland) / Ceramic heart button from a lovely shop in Dartmouth / Seek adventure patch – And Smile Studio for Lucky Dip Club / Next Stop Sweet Shop brooch – Hope & Greenwood / You’re Doing OK patch – Samantha Eynon / Michael’s Grape Soda badge / My original Blue Peter badge! / Girl Gang pin – Lucky Dip Club

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Clockwise from Top Left: Cocktail Cat brooch – Lucky Dip Club / Ceramic party ring brooch – from a craft market in Cheltenham / Flamingo pin – Birds in Hats / Sunglasses badge – Dreamland Margate / Strawberry Rabbit pin – Lucky Dip Club / Floral patch from Cath Kidston pop up shop at Vintage at Goodwood Festival / Cupcake badge – Jilly Jilly

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Clockwise from Top Left: Cupcake badge – Jilly Jilly / Pot of Magic – Lucky Dip Club / Cool Ice Cream badge – Lucky Dip Club / Ice Lolly patch – Peas & Needles / Rainbow Unicorn pin – Lucky Dip Club / I Donut Care patch – Mel Stringer for Lucky Dip Club / Dreamland Margate pin / Birthday Kitten badge – Lucky Dip Club

And because clearly I don’t already have enough pins (!) I’ve also put together a little wish list of some more I have my eye on:

Clockwise from Top Left: Hotdog pin – Lemon Freckles / Succulent pin – Finest Imaginary / Beans and Cola pin set – You Make Me Design / Rainbow pin – Punky Pins  / 10p Mix pin – Hand Over Your Fairy Cakes / Come Rain or Shine pin set – Scout Editions

Lucy x

A week of rainbows: What I Wore

A little while ago I was lucky enough to win 7 pairs of tights in the colours of the rainbow from We Love Colors  as part of an Instagram competition.

I was so happy to win this competition as dressing colourfully is a big part of my daily rules on how I choose to be happy, which I talked about in an earlier post. I decided to take this as an opportunity to bring a rainbow of colour into an otherwise dark winter’s week by wearing a different pair each day for a week and styling an outfit to match each colour. I posted each of my rainbow outfits over on Instagram throughout the week, but I thought I would also share a round up here on the blog with full outfit details.

I have to say I am really pleased with the quality of the We Love Colors tights. The colours are just so vibrant! I will definitely be ordering more, I have my eye on some pastel shades so perhaps I will order a pastel rainbow in Spring?

Orange: Skirt: Bryony & Co / Cardigan: Next (old) / Tights: We Love Colors / Shoes: Orla Kiely for Clarks / Bag: Ollie & Nic / Necklace: Layla Amber / Brooch: Cath Kidston / Headscarf: Jade Leese Sew Special

Yellow: Dress: Handmade by me (at the Bibelot Make a Dress workshop) using this fabric / Cardigan: Debenhams (old), customised with buttons & deer patch from Bibelot / Tights: We Love Colors / Shoes: Harrods, Wizard of Oz Limited Edition (old)

Kelly Green: Dress: Emily & Fin / Cardigan: Next (old) / Tights: We Love Colors / Shoes: Orla Kiely for Clarks (past season) / Necklace: You Make Me Design

Sky Blue: Dress: Cath Kidston (past season) / Cardigan: Laura Ashley (past season) / Tights: We Love Colors / Shoes: Clarks (past season) / Bag: Cath Kidston (past season) / Necklace: Daisy & Alice

Royal Blue: Dress: Emily & Fin / Cardigan: Monsoon (old) / Tights: We Love Colors / Shoes: Clarks / Necklace: Handmade by me /  Brooch: Daisy & Alice

Purple: Dress: Bryony & Co / Tights: We Love Colors / Shoes: Topshop (old) / Shoe Clips: Handmade by me / Fur Collar: ebay

Magenta: Dress: Lindy Bop / Cardigan: Voodoo Vixen / Tights: We Love Colors / Shoes: LK Bennett (old) / Necklace: Handmade by me

Thank you for following along with my week of rainbow tights!

Lucy x

Flower Power: What I Wore

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Today was one of those grey rainy days where you have to make your own sunshine. This dress makes me feel like I could be in an episode of Scooby Doo with it’s bright colours and flower power vibe, and so it seemed only sensible to take photos with Michael’s latest Lego set, the Mystery Machine.

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I’m always happy to discover new UK designers so when Lucy of Rainbow Tree Creations got in touch I was interested to see her ideas. Lucy sells vintage clothing and is now branching out into designing her own clothes, and this dress is the first in her new range. It’s a little different to my usual look with more of a 70s feel but I really like the style. Happily this dress is on special offer through Lucy’s Etsy shop until 31st October, reduced from £75 to £39. The sizes do run quite small so I would definitely recommend sizing up.

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I wish Lucy all the best with her new range and look forward to seeing her future designs!

Outfit details: Dress ℅ Rainbow Tree Creations / Tights: New Look / Shoes: Orla Kiely for Clarks (past season) / Hairband: made by me / Ric Rac bracelets and tulip brooch: Cath Kidston (past season)