What Kind Of Bird Are You?

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I thought it was about time I showed you another dress from my series of handmade outfits inspired by Wes Anderson movies. And for Moonrise Kingdom there was really only one option – a Suzy Bishop dress!

I think if I had to choose my personal favourite Wes Anderson film it would be Moonrise Kingdom. It came out back when we lived in Nottingham, and I planned a Moonrise Kingdom theme for Michael’s next birthday as a surprise. The day before his birthday, I set up a tent in the spare bedroom strung with fairy lights and filled with his presents, our record player and a birthday cake. I set his alarm clock and left a note by his bed, just like the letters Sam and Suzy exchange in the film, with his rucksack containing a Sam Shakusky outfit (which was basically one of his shirts with badges I’d made pinned onto it and a fake pair of glasses!) and a map of New Penzance. I left a series of X’s on the floor leading into the spare room, and I can still hear his laugh when his alarm went off and he realised what I had planned. I also dressed up as Suzy, and my improvised outfit was a coral coloured jumper over a cream dress with a peter pan collar, and the two tone navy and white brogues Michael bought me when he worked for LK Bennett which look just like Suzy’s “Sunday school shoes”. It was a very good day – we ate an entire birthday cake just between the two of us!!

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So I’m pleased to have finally made my own version of Suzy’s dress – and I imagine this dress is probably one of the most recreated outfits! I didn’t make an exact replica since I don’t often wear solid colours and prefer prints, so instead I opted for a floral print that I thought still captured the essence of Suzy’s dress, with a very 1960s feel. I chose this amazing barkcloth fabric from the Outback Wife collection, and managed to make the dress out of only 1.5m!

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I used the Tilly & The Buttons Françoise pattern as it’s a very similar shape, and exaggerated the collar by extending it out. I really ought to have added cuffs to be true to Suzy’s style but I do tend to wear cardigans over dresses and unfortunately cuffs can get in the way!

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It’s the first time I’ve made the Françoise and it was a very satisfying sew – it came together really quickly, and the shape is very flattering for a shift dress thanks to the French darts.

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I paired the dress with a Tatty Devine binoculars necklace I had for Christmas, and my incredible Storybook Rabbit brooch, which is an astonishingly detailed recreation of Suzy in bunny rabbit form!

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I really do love this dress and have already worn it quite a lot as it’s cute, retro and incredibly comfy. This has also inspired me to make a few more 1960s inspired dresses – I already have some in the pipeline!

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Lucy x

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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

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

Skandi Floral Coco Dresses

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A little while ago, the Finnish fabric design company Verson Puoti put a call out on their Instagram account for dressmakers to try some of their fabulously colourful fabrics, and I was delighted to be chosen!

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A few weeks later two lovely floral jersey fabrics arrived, one in a bold skandi floral against a gorgeous turquoise background, and the other a red rose print against a white background. As I hadn’t tried sewing with knit fabrics before, this was the perfect opportunity to try out the Tilly & The Buttons Coco dress pattern.

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Since the prints were both quite large, I decided to add a contrast plain fabric for each of the dresses to balance out the print. I chose a lemon yellow yoke to contrast against the turquoise which created a really fresh look, and I used a red ponte roma for the top half of the second dress to bring out the red floral, and slightly shortened the sleeves.

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I absolutely love the yellow and turquoise dress and it’s already had several wears. The red version is cute but it turned out to be not quite so much my style. I also prefer the balance of adding just a plain yoke against the print fabric as I did for the yellow and turquoise version rather than making all of the top half a different fabric. Although the red dress does look good with the fabulous polka dot clogs I picked up when I was in Rye.

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I found the Coco to be a fun and easy dress to make and Tilly’s instructions were, as always, exceedingly clear and helpful! I was a little nervous about working with knit fabric for the first time but by following Tilly’s useful tips I had nothing to fear. I sewed both of these dresses up on my normal machine using a zig zag stitch for any seams that would stretch as recommended, but I have just upped my dressmaking game and ordered an overlocker so I’ll be able to whizz a few more Cocos up on that in future!

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I was very impressed with the quality of Verson Puoti’s fabrics, but most of all with their design. Their range of prints and patterns is charming and I’ve got my eye on quite a few others… The yellow raindrops are top of my list, such fun!

I’ll definitely be making the Coco again as it’s a cute and easy dress to wear and so comfy. Tilly certainly knows how to create a great feminine vintage silhouette but combined with modern comfort! I obviously now need to make a striped version of the Coco dress, and I fancy making a few Coco tops to layer under dresses now the weather is changing, perhaps with funnel necks to cosy into!

Lucy x

Making My Own Wardrobe: Sunflower Marigold Jumpsuit

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Whenever a new dressmaking pattern is released, I’m always desperately hoping it will be a fab new dress shape, and secretly a little bit disappointed if it’s anything else. But, the latest release by Tilly & The Buttons changed that, because as soon as I saw the Marigold Jumpsuit I knew I had to give it a go!

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Outfit details: “Make your own sunshine” jumpsuit – made by me in navy sunflower print viscose from Ebay using the Tilly & The Buttons Marigold jumpsuit pattern /  Necklace – Punky Pins / Sandals – Lotta from Stockholm

Over the past few years I’ve become a lot more comfortable with my personal style and one of the biggest realisations has been that I prefer wearing dresses above everything else. I now literally own one pair of jeans, a handful of skirts and tops, and the rest of my wardrobe is dresses. But there was something about the shape of the Marigold I couldn’t resist – sweetheart neckline, peg trousers, comfy but cute style? All the elements of the design appealed to me. And it’s not really that much of a departure since one of the reasons I love wearing dresses so much is that a dress is an instant outfit, and this applies equally to jumpsuits. I’ve also been wanting to push myself out of my sewing comfort zone and try some new techniques, and this pattern offered the opportunity to try lots of new things – slippery fabrics (I’ve only ever sewn with cotton before), invisible zips and making trousers!

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I’m so glad I decided to try it as I love the design. It’s SO COMFY to wear I might never take it off. The sweetheart neckline keeps it feeling pretty and girly, and I think the peg trouser shape works well for us ladies of more petite height! As with all of the Tilly & The Buttons patterns I’ve tried before, the instructions were super easy to follow and made all of the new techniques I hadn’t tried before seem like a doddle.

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The fabric is a very drapey viscose which caught my eye on eBay because I can’t resist anything with sunflowers these days. I bought it because it was super cheap and I wanted to try out the design with no pressure in case it didn’t suit me or I messed it up, but it’s turned out to be an incredibly wearable muslin. There are a few parts I need to perfect on the next attempt, just little things like setting the zip a fraction too low at the top, but nothing that will stop me from wearing it.

Unsurprisingly, I’m already planning my next Marigold and I have a fabulous ice cream print lined up. I’m also very tempted with a lot of the pattern hack suggestions team Tilly shared as part of the Marigold sew along so I’ll be having a play around with ideas – I’m definitely intrigued by the Marigold / Bettine combination. I’m thinking of making some in block colours too that I could wear like dungarees. Too many ideas, too little time!!

Lucy x