DIY Tutorial: Twist Tie Bandana for #WearItOut

In two weeks time on Friday 3 March I’ll be asking you all to grab a bandana and #WearItOut in support of The Brain Tumour Charity (which you can read more about in my last post). This year, the theme of the campaign is to Make your own bandana, Buy one or Use one you already have, so I’ve put together a simple tutorial to encourage you to Make your own wired bandana to wear on the day. I made 30 of these bandanas to sell in my Etsy shop in support of the campaign and they proved to be extremely popular, selling out in less than 12 hours!

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I personally love to wear wired bandanas since I find them easy to style, and much better at staying put in my fine slippy hair. You can just twist the bandana in your hair and you’re ready to roll! If you’d prefer a bandana without a wire, I’ve explained how to adapt the pattern at the end of the post. And if sewing isn’t your thing, I’ll be posting another tutorial to make a very pretty knitted bandana in a few days, put together by my lovely Mum, Bev of Spotty Daisy.

The weather hasn’t been great here and some of the pictures are a little darker than I would like, but hopefully you can still get the idea!

How To Make Your Own Wired Bandana

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Supplies:

  • Fabric of your choice – you will need a piece measuring 88cm x 13cm (see later in the post for tips on how to make the bandana from just a fat quarter, or how to make the bandana reversible)
  • Matching thread
  • Craft wire 2mm thickness – you will need a 95cm piece
  • Washi tape (optional)

Tools:

  • Sewing machine
  • Iron
  • Fabric scissors
  • Pins
  • Ruler
  • Fabric marker if you have one, or a pencil will do!
  • Point turner – you can use a knitting needle, or anything with a blunt point

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STEP 1: draw the bandana shape & cut out your fabric. Take your ruler and draw a rectangle measuring 88cm x 13cm on your fabric, using an erasable fabric marker if you have one. Just a pencil will do if not, as the lines you draw will not be seen when the bandana is finished.

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Once you have drawn out the rectangle, you need to taper in the short edges of the rectangle to create a pointed shape at the ends of your bandana. Measure in and mark 3cm from each corner along the long edges of the rectangle. Then mark the halfway point (6.5cm) of each short edge. Using a ruler, join these marks together, as shown below.

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Cut out the rectangle and cut around the pointed edges you have drawn, which should give you a shape as below.

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STEP 2: Fold in half, then pin and stitch the sides. Fold your bandana in half along the longest width, so the right sides of the fabric are facing together. Pin the raw edges together.

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Make sure to leave an opening in the centre of about 6cm so that you can turn your bandana inside out and thread in the wire once you have sewn it. Use 2 pins to mark each side of this gap to remind you to stop sewing here!

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Sew along the raw edges using a 1.5cm seam allowance, and make sure to back tack at the beginning and end of each seam. Start from the pointed edge and sew towards the middle.

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Once you reach the edge of the opening which you have marked with two pins, pivot and sew off the edge of the fabric at 90 degrees as shown below. This will help to keep the opening neatly tucked inside when you turn the bandana the right side out. Repeat from the other pointed edge.

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STEP 3: Trim your seam allowances & turn the right way out. Trim your seam allowances down to about 1 cm. Cut diagonally across the corners, but be careful not to cut too close to the stitching line.

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Turn the bandana the right way out. Use a point turner to poke out the pointed corners and keep them sharp. I use a bamboo point turner, but you can use anything with a blunt point, like a knitting needle. Be gentle and make sure not to poke a hole through the seam!

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STEP 4: Press! Give the bandana a really good press with your iron.

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STEP 5: Make and insert the wire. Take your craft wire and cut a length measuring 95cm. Fold each end in by 5 cm, then twist together as below. This will prevent having a sharp end to the wire which could poke through the fabric and worse, poke you!

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If you have some washi tape to hand, you could cut a strip and wrap it around the edge of the wire as below, just to be extra careful.

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Now carefully insert the wire through the opening. Once the wire is in place, try to grip each end of the wire in each corner of the bandana and give it a good pull to straighten the wire out, as it can get a little twisted as you thread it in through the opening.

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STEP 6: Topstitch the opening. The last step is to sew up the opening you have just inserted the wire through. Use thread in the same colour as your fabric, and stitch close to the edge as shown above. Back tack at the beginning and end of the seam to secure it.

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And ta-da – you have a fabulous new bandana to wear! Now for the final and most important step…

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STEP 7: Wear It Out! On Friday 3 March, wear your handmade bandana proudly in support of The Brain Tumour Charity: The Michael Barry Fund, take a picture of yourself wearing it and post it to social media using the tag #WearItOut, and text TMBF81 £5 to 70070 to donate £5 to The Brain Tumour Charity: The Michael Barry Fund, or make a donation here.

Wired Bandana from a Fat Quarter

If you don’t have a wide enough piece of fabric to cut out your bandana, you can easily make one from a fat quarter! My lovely friend Daisy of Make Thrift London recently gifted me a set of fat quarters cut from vintage bedding, which I thought would be perfect for making bandanas.

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To cut a bandana from a fat quarter, you will basically need to cut it in two halves and sew these together along the middle, and the rest of the construction is then the same as above. So, you will need to draw out two rectangles measuring 45.5cm x 13cm, and then taper one end of each rectangle as shown in Step 1 above. This should give you two pointed rectangles as below.

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Pin the two rectangles together along the flat short edge, right sides of the fabric together.

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Sew along this edge using a 1.5cm seam allowance, and back tack at the ends. Then press the seam open as below.

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Now follow on from Step 2 above, and make sure to pay particular attention to Step 7!

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Reversible Wired Bandana

If you’d like to make your bandana more versatile, why not use a different fabric for each side and make it reversible? You’ll need to cut a rectangle measuring 88cm x 8 cm from two different fabrics, as illustrated below.

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Then taper the ends of each rectangle to create a pointed edge by measuring in 3 cm from each corner along the top of each rectangle, then use a ruler to draw a line from this mark to the bottom corner.

Or, if you don’t have wide enough pieces of fabric to hand, you could use 2 fat quarters and cut out 2 rectangles measuring 45.5cm x 8cm from each fabric, as below.

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You’ll then need to taper the ends as below.

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Next, pin the matching rectangles along the straight edges.

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Sew along this edge using a 1.5cm seam allowance, and press open.

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Pin the two rectangles together all along the raw edges, right sides facing. Make sure to leave a gap in the centre of about 6cm so that you can turn your bandana inside out once you have sewn it. Use 2 pins to mark each side of this gap to remind you to stop sewing.

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Sew all around the raw edges using a 1.5cm seam allowance, and make sure to back tack at the beginning and end of the seam. Then, follow on from Step 3 above, and you’ll have a nifty reversible bandana!

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Making a Bandana Without A Wire

If you would prefer to make a bandana without a wire so you can simply tie it in your hair or around your neck, it’s very simple to adapt the instructions above. The main change you will need to make is to cut out a longer piece of fabric, as the bandana will need to be longer so that you can tie a knot to secure it in your hair or around your neck. Ideally, you’ll need to cut a piece of fabric measuring at least 110cm x 13cm. Then follow the instructions as above, but don’t insert the wire!

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To make a non-wired bandana out of a fat quarter, you’ll need to cut two rectangles measuring at least 56.5 x 13cm, and follow the instructions as above, skipping the step where you insert the wire.

Or to make it double sided, you’ll either need to cut a rectangle measuring at least 110 cm x 8 cm from two different fabrics, or cut 2 rectangles each measuring at least 56.5cm x 8cm from two different fabrics, and again follow the instructions as above, skipping the step where you insert the wire.

I look forward to seeing your makes on Friday 3 March! And don’t forget to take a picture of yourself on the day wearing your bandana and post it to social media using the tag #WearItOut, and text TMBF81 £5 to 70070 to donate £5 to The Brain Tumour Charity: The Michael Barry Fund, or make a donation here.

Hopefully you can follow my explanations above, but do let me know if you need any help! Happy sewing!

Lucy x

#WearItOut

On Friday 3 March, exactly one month today, will you wear a bandana and join me in supporting The Brain Tumour Charity’s #WearItOut campaign? Our united community will come together to raise awareness and vital funds for research into brain tumours – all while rocking a bandana! It’s especially poignant for me this year as the date falls just after the first anniversary of losing Michael, and I’d love it if everyone who knew and loved Michael, or who has come to know our story from my blog or Instagram, will don a bandana and make a stand with me on 3 March.

This is a statistic I often quote, but in the UK less than 2% of cancer research funding is spent on research into brain tumours. For the 10,600 people diagnosed each year, this isn’t good enough. You can help us change this. The Brain Tumour Charity aims to raise £150k throughout Brain Tumour Awareness Month in March, which could fund 600 days of research.

This year, the theme of the campaign is to Make your own bandana, Buy one or Use one you already have, so it couldn’t be easier to join in! I’ve been making a mountain of bandanas which I will be selling in my Etsy shop to support the campaign, and donating 100% of profits to The Brain Tumour Charity: The Michael Barry Fund. I’ll also be encouraging all of my creative pals to make your own or style up something you already have! Read on for more ideas of how you can get involved later in this post.

Whatever you do, make sure to wear your bandana loud and proud on the 3 March and get people talking about brain tumours. Post a selfie on social media using the hashtag #WearItOut, or wear one to work, to the post office or the supermarket and tell everyone about the campaign! Keep your eye on my Instagram feed as on 3 March I’ll be giving away a few Tip Top prizes for the best bandana pictures you share!

If you choose to make your own bandana or style something you already have, I’d love it if you could make a small donation to support the campaign by texting TMBF81 £5 to 70070 to donate £5 to The Brain Tumour Charity: The Michael Barry Fund, or make a donation here.

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To kick things off, with a bit of digging I’ve managed to find an excellent snap of Michael in a bandana to inspire us all. So here he is rocking a bandana at a festival! I think this was taken the summer before I met Michael, so I’m guessing it was at Truck or Reading? Always with his polo shirt buttoned up!

Buy it

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I’ve made a whole batch of fun and colourful bandanas which are now up for sale in my Etsy shop. I’ve made two varieties, either with a wire to easily twist and wear in your hair, or without a wire so you can tie it in your hair, around your neck, on your bag, around the brim of your hat, around your wrist – whatever you can think of! They are a slim design, equivalent to a traditional square bandana which has been rolled up, as I find this easy to style!

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I’ve used bright colours and bold prints, all in crisp 100% cotton, and every bandana is a one off. Each bandana is finished with a woven label reading #WEARITOUT in support of the campaign. I’ve made some in shades of red and turquoise, which are the colours of The Brain Tumour Charity. I even managed to find a beautiful Liberty Tana Lawn in a print named after the Olympic Diver Tom Daley, who is a patron of the Charity, which is available in the Charity’s colours, so I had to use it!

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You could also head to The Brain Tumour Charity’s online shop to buy one of the Charity’s bandanas. There are two designs to choose from!

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Make it

Why not unlock your creative talent and design your own bandana? The possibilities are endless! I’ll be posting tutorials here in the coming weeks for how to make a simple square bandana, or how to make a wired twist tie bandana like the ones I have for sale in my Etsy shop. And I’d love to see how you guys interpret the concept. Basically, as long as it’s something you can tie around your hair or your neck, anything goes in my book! So why not knit your own, crochet something, make one out of pom poms, upcycle an old tea towel or cushion cover? Here’s one I whipped up by making a patchwork out of scraps of fabric from each of the dresses I have made!

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You could take a bandana or scarf you already have and jazz it up, maybe add a fun trim like the pom pom border below, or cover it in glitter! You could even just take a plain bandana, handkerchief or square of fabric, grab a sharpie and use your design skills to doodle something fun!

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And if you’re looking for more inspiration, there are fun tutorials on The Brain Tumour Charity’s website to make the designs below, or you can apply for a free fundraising pack which includes stencils and other ideas of how to make your own!

If you do make your own, don’t forget to share a picture using the hashtag #WearItOut, and text TMBF81 £5 to 70070 to donate £5 to The Brain Tumour Charity: The Michael Barry Fund, or make a donation here.

Use it

Why not look in the back of your wardrobe and wear a bandana that you already have? It’s the perfect way to get involved this Brain Tumour Awareness Month and look great doing it! If you’re anything like me and have a hoarded collection of vintage scarves, now’s the perfect time to show them off, and I’d love to see how you style yours! I tried styling a quirky lipstick print scarf Michael gave me for Christmas a few years ago.

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If you choose to wear your own, don’t forget to share a picture using the hashtag #WearItOut, and why not text TMBF81 £5 to 70070 to donate £5 to The Brain Tumour Charity: The Michael Barry Fund, or make a donation here.

I’m really excited about this campaign as it’s so easy to get involved. I can’t wait to see how everyone rocks their bandanas! Thank you for your support!

Lucy x

Why I Hate January

January is a difficult month for most people, yet it used to be a time of year I looked forward to as Michael’s birthday falls at the end of the month. While everyone else was fed up with the cold weather, dark days and depleted bank balances, I would spend January happily choosing and wrapping gifts and planning a birthday celebration for my love.

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But in recent years January has bought nothing but devastating news, and so now it is a month full of dates and reminders which I have come to dread.  In January 2014, Michael had a seizure out of the blue which led to the discovery of a brain tumour, and a week later he bravely faced brain surgery on his birthday to remove as much of the tumour as possible. In January 2015, we were told that the tumour had started to grow back despite an intensive course of radiotherapy, and he had to face surgery again. In January 2016, after waking up with a crippling headache and being rushed into A&E, an emergency scan revealed that the tumour had returned and was aggressively growing and there was nothing more that could be done. It was already pressing on the vital parts of the brain which control breathing and heart rate, and it was unlikely he would survive the night. After responding well to a huge dose of steroids, Michael made it through those treacherous 24 hours and we were able to take him home. He died 7 weeks later, just a few weeks after his 35th birthday. The picture above is the last photo I have of Michael taken on a day out with my parents to Gladstone Pottery Museum, which was the day before he was rushed into hospital last January. Despite how poorly he had already become we had a truly lovely day, and I’m glad to have captured that moment and his cheeky smile before everything changed.

I can’t possibly describe to you what it felt like to be told that my 34 year old husband, the centre of my universe, was dying and there was nothing anyone could do to make him better. For the first few months after we lost Michael I battled with an intense guilt over this, as I just couldn’t get my head around the fact that I had known I was going to lose him but was powerless to stop it. If I’m completely honest, I still don’t believe it now, and I don’t think I ever will. I cannot comprehend it. To have found the other half of my whole and shared the kind of love some people spend their entire lives searching for, but lose him before we had even celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary, is beyond words.

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The only feeling I can describe is the anger and the fire it ignited within me to keep fighting for a better chance. I can’t bear knowing that every day, people all over the world are given the same devastating news. That no matter how hard they have fought, how brave they have been, how much they are loved, in the end cancer will take them anyway. A beautiful, kind and brave young friend has just been given the same devastating news and my heart is broken for her and her wonderful Mum, who I have come to know and admire.

I read a report recently from Cancer Research UK which predicts that survival from brain tumours will remain virtually unchanged over the next 20 years, despite an expected fall of 15% overall in the number of cancer deaths by 2035. This has to change, and I will keep fighting. I will keep raising money for more research to give those diagnosed with a brain tumour a fair chance. I will always, always talk about Michael and the cruel illness that took him from me, and raise awareness of this hidden killer.

I’m gearing up to join in with The Brain Tumour Charity’s upcoming awareness day on 3 March, when everyone is encouraged to grab a bandana and #wearitout to raise awareness and funds to help find a cure. I’ve been busy making a mountain of bandanas and planning fun ways to get involved with the appeal which I will share more of in the coming week, once I’ve taken a few days to celebrate my Michael’s birthday and claim back some of the happiness January used to bring. I hope you will join me on 3 March in making a stand against brain tumours, because a cure can’t wait.

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

Paris – New York – London

Part of the appeal of dressmaking for me is the opportunity to add your own personality and creativity to the garments you make, especially using fabrics which tell a story or capture a moment, turning a precious memory into something you can wear and smile about. Michael and I both loved exploring cities and some of our greatest adventures were our holidays to Paris and New York, and the years we lived in London, which inspired me to make a series of dresses in homage to our favourite cities using fabrics which reflect the colour and feel of my memories.

Paris

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We visited Paris twice to mark two of the most special occasions in my life, my 21st birthday in August 2008 and later our first wedding anniversary in June 2012. Since both trips were in the summer, I wanted to make a pretty pastel dress to encapsulate the feeling of carefree sunny days wandering through Paris, and what better choice than the Michael Miller Parisville print? It had been loitering in my fabric stash for a while waiting to be made, and when I planned a trip to Disneyland Paris in November with my Mum including a day trip to Paris it was the perfect prompt to get sewing.

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While we were in Paris, our tour group stopped off for a lunch break in the Jardin des Tuileries. After a quick dash to Angelina for chocolat chaud and a raspberry eclair (because it’s the law that you eat cake for lunch when in Paris, right?!), I snapped a few pictures of the dress. It was lovely to be back in Paris and to relive some of my happy memories there, and very special to be able to share them with Mum too.

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The “One day we’re gonna live in Paris…” dress is a Christine Haynes Emery dress with short sleeves and a gathered skirt, lined in a pink polka dot with my usual exposed pink lace zip. I made the skirt a little shorter so the hem would neatly finish in line with the print, and also since despite it’s debut outing in November it’s really more of a summer dress! The good enough to eat pink macaron necklace is from Sugar & Vice.

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This is one of my favourite pictures of Michael in the Jardin des Tuileries on our first trip to Paris. My memories of Paris are mostly the feeling of contentment as we strolled around the gardens and along the Seine, explored the boulevards and admired the buildings, and ate truly delicious cakes!

New York

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New York was the backdrop of one of the most perfect weeks of my life, our honeymoon in June 2011. When we got engaged and started to plan our wedding, we talked about where we might go on our honeymoon and both immediately suggested New York.

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It’s the only time we ever planned a “no expense spared” holiday, because if you’re going to New York on honeymoon you’ve got to do it right – we even stayed at the Waldorf! And on my recent trip to Disneyland Paris, we stayed in the Hotel New York which was the ideal place to photograph this dress.

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The “Hey you schmuck!” dress is another Christine Haynes Emery dress with short sleeves and a pleated skirt, using knife pleats at the front and box pleats at the back. It’s the first time I’ve made a pleated skirt without following a pattern and I’m very pleased with the overall shape of this dress. It’s lined with bright blue star print cotton and an exposed teal lace zip. The skyline print fabric is a pattern I found on Spoonflower, and the little yellow car necklace (which reminded me of a New York taxi!) is by the lovely Jo of Hello Sunshine.

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Our New York adventure was the perfect honeymoon. I remember heading straight up the Empire State building after we checked in, and standing there not being able to believe I was actually in New York and that Michael was now my husband. And of course on this trip we ate lots of hot dogs and burgers – we always liked to embrace the local cuisine!!

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London

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London was our home from 2008 to 2012 and it was the setting for a huge part of our love story – where we first lived together and started married life, before moving back to the midlands to be closer to friends and family. It was a brilliant adventure and, although life was hectic, we had a lot of fun. We’d usually work crazy hours all week, then spend our weekends exploring different parts of the city, Michael always on the hunt for a new record shop and me usually tracking down the best cupcakes! It was our second home, so I love going back to London now and soaking it all up.

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The “453 to Oxford Circus” dress is a Gather Kits Mortmain dress with a gathered skirt, lined in a navy polka dot with an exposed red lace zip. The London print fabric is by Robert Kaufman which I bought from Miss Gingers, and the red rotary phone necklace is by my favourite retro jewellery brand You Make Me Design.

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I love this cheeky snap of Michael not long after we moved to London, taken on the first anniversary of when we met. So many happy memories, now all wrapped up in three colourful dresses!

Lucy x

Marshmallow Dress

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I’m currently having a wonderful break in Paris but I’m just popping in to show you my first Marshmallow Dress since the pattern has launched today! This is the first pattern released by the very lovely Ana of Coco Wawa Crafts and I was lucky enough to pattern test it for her.  I’ve followed Ana on Instagram for a while and I love her style, and I’m always eyeing up the great organic print fabrics she stocks on her website, as well as the t-shirt yarn which is on my wishlist to make a chunky crochet scarf someday soon. Ana had been hinting about her debut pattern for a little while and I was eagerly anticipating the launch to see what she had up her sleeve, so I was delighted to get the chance to make it before the official release!

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Don’t you think Marshmallow is just the best name for a dress pattern? It sounds so cute and reflects the aesthetic and vibe perfectly! As you would expect, the styling of Ana’s first pattern is adorable. The Marshmallow is a trapeze dress with a ruffle trim and lots of cute design options – you can make it with or without sleeves, and add cuffs, a peter pan collar and/or a bow – all of my favourite touches! I chose to make a long sleeved version with contrast cuffs and collar.  When it came to picking a fabric, this sausage dog print by Dashwood Studio in my favourite mustard yellow has been on my wish list for a while and I thought it would work well with the look of this dress. You might also remember the sausage dog Mortmain dress I made earlier this year, but I don’t think you can ever have too many dresses with sausage dogs on, right?!? I added a contrast monochrome polka dot fabric to set off the collar and cuffs. I do like a contrasting collar!

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The dress fastens with a button band at the back which was interesting to construct, and adds a lovely design detail. I alternated between grey and white buttons to pick up on the colours in the print. And you’ll be pleased to hear it has pockets in the side seams, as any good indie pattern should! Since I was testing the pattern I didn’t make any significant changes as I made this dress, the only real change I made was to line it. The pattern doesn’t call for this and gives the option of using facings or bias binding to finish the neckline, but I was making this to wear in Autumn/Winter and wanted it to be extra snuggly!

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When I first made this dress, I used the contrast white and black polka dot cotton for the collar and cuffs and for the ruffle as you’ll see above, but I wasn’t entirely happy with how the contrast ruffle looked. The polka dot material was a lot thinner than the main material and you could see my tights through it, and I don’t think the overall balance of the dress was quite right, so I swapped it for a ruffle in the main fabric instead and I’m much happier with the result! Overall I found this dress to be a great fit, but once I had finished it and tried it on I did opt to take in the side seams. The dress is a trapeze shape which is a great style and extremely comfy, but it was just a little too wide around the hips for my personal preference. I think next time I make this dress I will grade between my size around the chest to the smallest size around the hips to make it the right silhouette for me.

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And best of all – this dress goes perfectly with my new spotty Clarks shoes, which were an absolute bargain in the sale recently and have a very cute block heel with a definite 1960s vibe. I wore this outfit to go for afternoon tea last week and I felt very cute and extremely comfortable, which is exactly what I look for in a dress!

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Huge congratulations to Ana on the release of her first pattern, I’m wishing you lots of luck with the Marshmallow dress! Since I started making my own clothes I have mostly used patterns from independent brands for lots of reasons – I find the designs more unique, and I am full of admiration for indie pattern designers so I love to know I am supporting their creative dream, but perhaps the biggest appeal for me is the attention to detail you get with an indie pattern from the packaging to the instruction booklet as I’m a sucker for good branding. So I am very happy to see a new designer on the block and I’m excited to see what comes next from Coco Wawa Sewing Patterns!

I’m off to eat some more macarons – au revoir for now!

Lucy x

Fantastic Mrs Fox Dress

Fantastic Mrs Fox Dress, Tilly & The Buttons Martha Dress, Fantastic Mr Fox Outfit, Wes Anderson

One of the many excellent things Michael introduced me to were the films of Wes Anderson. He admired the impeccable styling and always wanted to host a Wes Anderson theme party where everyone dressed up as a character. In homage to this I recently had the idea of making a series of dresses inspired by each of his films. They will be a mix of dresses replicating the style of particular characters or using fabrics and prints referencing  favourite elements of each film, since my aim is to create fun but wearable dresses rather than exact costumes! Halloween weekend seems like the perfect time to start with my first dress, inspired by the animated film Fantastic Mr Fox and the dress Mrs Fox wears. I think Michael most wanted to dress up as Mr Fox in his dashing corduroy suit, and from what I’ve seen on Pinterest it’s a very popular couple’s Halloween costume!

Fantastic Mrs Fox Quote

Fantastic Mr Fox was one of our favourite films as Michael also loved the original Roald Dahl book. When we first moved to London he would say “Hello Fantastic Mr Fox!” to any fox we saw! We even chose the soundtrack to the film as part of the playlist for our wedding.

Fantastic Mrs Fox Dress, Tilly & The Buttons Martha Dress, Fantastic Mr Fox Outfit, Wes Anderson

I actually had the idea to make Mrs Fox’s dress a few months ago when I first saw Tilly & The Buttons Martha dress pattern. The collar and shaping of the dress instantly made me think of Mrs Fox, so I picked up a copy of the pattern at Tilly’s stall at The Handmade Fair in September.

1. Spoonflower  /  2. Benartex Red Apples from eBay /  3. Japanese Twill from Miss Matatabi  

Mrs Fox’s dress is mustard yellow with red apples and after hunting online I found a few similar options. The best replica is a print I found on Spoonflower, but it was just a bit too expensive by the time I factored in VAT and shipping in the amount I needed to make the Martha dress. I was pleased when I found a similar and more affordable alternative on eBay. It’s a little bit more beige and less yellow in real life than it looked on the screen, but I think it still obviously references Mrs Fox’s dress. Annoyingly, just as I was finishing this dress a few days ago I stumbled upon another excellent possibility from one of my favourite Etsy sellers Miss Matatabi which is very close to the actual print, and on sale too! Oh well!

Fantastic Mrs Fox Dress, Tilly & The Buttons Martha Dress, Fantastic Mr Fox Outfit, Wes Anderson

I styled it with my foxy eye mask which was a DIY from an early Lucky Dip Club box, a badge I found on Etsy to replicate Mrs Fox’s cameo brooch, and some bright orange tights from We Love Colors.  All in all, a cussing great outfit!!

Fantastic Mr Fox

Etsy Wishlist: Fantastic Mr Fox edit

As well as the many incredible costumes I’ve seen inspired by the Wes Anderson films, there is also so much great fan art out there and I’ve put together a wishlist of foxy Etsy products I have my eye on!

1. Ash brooch by Sayonara Baby  /  2. Print by Fable & Black

3. Fox Knitting Kit by Sincerely Louise  /  4. Running Fox necklace by Layla Amber

It was a lot of fun making and styling this dress and I know Michael would have absolutely loved it. I’ve got lots of ideas for my next dresses inspired by Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic, The Darjeeling Limited, Moonrise Kingdom (my personal favourite) and The Grand Budapest Hotel. I’m missing off Bottle Rocket since I can’t really decide how to do it, and it was never really our favourite, so I think I can forgive the exception. All just a bit of fun, but I’m sure Michael would have loved to know I was doing this. He was actually working on a few Lego projects inspired by Wes Anderson buildings, which I might share pictures of in the corresponding posts too.

Happy Halloween!

Lucy x