Time for some TLC

Well hello there! It’s been a little while, hasn’t it? How have you been? I’ve had quite a weird few weeks and I’m sure I’m not the only one. I’ve been pondering this post for the past month but I’ve felt so unproductive, it’s taken me until now to actually sit down and write it. I’ve used this as a lesson in being kind to oneself and taking life at your own pace. And I’ve been channelling that energy into showing my wardobe some love <3.

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Some clothing care tips from Fashion Revolution

I was inspired by this interesting post from Fashion Revolution, who campaign for a clean, safe, fair, transparent and accountable fashion industry. The 6 steps in this post show how to wash your clothing less to reduce your impact on the planet. As the author argues, this is the perfect time to care for the clothes we love. Because, while that’s not going to solve our current crisis, it can “…provide routine and small domestic moments that take our minds away from the harsh realities of life”.

In the spirit of this, I’ve been focussing in on the little things that make a huge difference – for our clothes and the planet. There’s no point in sewing yourself a new wardrobe if you don’t use those skills to care for the pieces you have. So here are 3 ways I’ve been sprucing up my styles with a little make do and mend:

Covered buttons

If you are unsure of how to replace a missing button, there are tutorials for all types of buttons online. All you need is a needle, thread and a spare button. Find a button that matches or add a contrasting one. Even if you’re brand new to sewing, I promise you – you can do it! 

I made a covered button for the first time this week. My lovely 80s dress recently lost one of its matching fabric-covered buttons. You can find special “coverable” buttons for this kind of repair in your local haberdashery. I used fabric from the belt of the dress to cover the button, so it would match the others.

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I cut out the fabric using the template which came with the buttons. You simply sew around the circle of fabric you’ve cut out, pull it tight around the button and secure. It’s important to get the right size of button. This one ended up being a perfect match!

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I then attached the button to the dress & repaired the end of the belt:

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Taking up a hem

Sorted all of your buttons? Another simple fix is to adjust a hem. If you have something that’s a little more “oversized” than is fashionable, don’t worry – you can rescue it! Take this blouse, for example. It’s so cute but it was just too big for me. I measured where I wanted the top to finish, then added 3 centimetres for the hem. I marked this length and cut off the excess fabric all the way around the piece (being careful to cut it straight!).

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I folded 1.5 cm from the hem upwards on the inside of the garment and ironed this in place. Then I turned up another 1.5 cm and ironed again, as you can see here on my jazzy ironing board:

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Then I sewed the hem in place with a straight stitch. And that’s it! You can take up a hem on most items of clothing at home – or talk to your tailor if it’s something a bit trickier like a coat.

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Darn that hole

The third tip I have for you is darning – for mending rips or holes (unless it’s a seam that has come loose – that’s even easier to repair). This is essentially like weaving the fabric back together by replacing the missing threads. Start by sewing back and forth from side to side across the hole, beginning at a point where the fabric is still intact. Once you have covered the hole, do the same thing going from top to bottom, weaving the needle over and under the threads you sewed sideways. Keep building up the threads until the hole is repaired.

Here’s the before and after of the hole I darned in the knee of my jeans. Obviously you can tell it’s been mended but it’s much more subtle when it’s not in close-up – and it adds some vintage character!

My next darning project will be the hole in the elbow of this jumper, which I didn’t even notice until I caught sight of it in my webcam on Zoom…

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Oops!

So those were 3 simple tips for injecting some new life into your old favourites. This is a great time to indulge in some self-care – for yourself and your wardrobe. You’ll find even more pride in those special pieces when you’ve invested your time and skill into looking after them.

Love,

Alice xx

Think pink!

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To quote the film Funny Face, “Banish the black, burn the blue, and bury the beige! From now on girls… think pink!” Millennial pink is one of those meta trends that just keeps hanging in there. Having first emerged in around 2012 and still being named as one of this year’s fashion colours for spring and autumn, it looks like it’s here to stay.

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Focussing in a bit further, blush pink corduroy in particular has carved out quite the niche within this larger trend. And the folks over at Tilly and the Buttons very cleverly picked up on this in creating the fantastic Cleo dungaree dress, which has since become one of their bestselling patterns.

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Full disclosure, I actually made this dress in 2018 after seeing similar styles shot by two of my favourite bloggers, Sophia Rosemary and Isabella Thordsen, and it’s still going strong. So I can say with confidence that pink cord is the kind of long-term trend you won’t get bored with after one season. Just what we need as we try to buy less and wear more.

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As you can see in the close-up, I went with the patch pocket on the bib and grey topstitching detail seen in the original Tilly version of this dress. I was a little apprehensive about the dungaree clips, but they are actually very easy to use and look so professional that people are always surprised when I tell them this piece is home-made!

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Of course, this design can be made in any fabric you fancy, but the pink cord version T & the B used for their photo shoot just works so well, I knew I could simply take it and replicate it and I would love it. Perhaps this isn’t the most creative interpretation of a sewing pattern but sometimes that which isn’t broken doesn’t need fixing!

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If you’re feeling more creative than me however, there are plenty of ways to customise the pattern to make it your own – with different lengths, button-fastening straps, several optional pockets and a centre front split. Check out the array of different looks on Instagram (#SewingCleo) if you want more inspiration. The construction is also deceptively easy. As it’s quite a relaxed cut, you won’t need to worry about getting the fit exactly right, and the simple, clear instructions include photos to guide you through each step.

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I can honestly say I wear this dress all the time. It’s great for the office as well as the weekend, plus it works all year round: with a chunky colour-block jumper, tights and boots in winter or a striped tee and wedge sandals in summer. We shot these photos in early February, when it was just about warm enough to team it with this star-embroidered shirt and my favourite new Rebecca Minkoff bag (second hand of course!).

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So there you have it! A long-time fashion favourite that will become a firm wardrobe staple for years to come. Why not try it yourself?

Love,

Alice xx

Going wild for leopard print

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Hi there lovely readers! I hope you are well. Please excuse the pun in the title – it had to be done!

I was a bit apprehensive about posting this one as it’s the first home-sewn piece I’ve chosen to feature on the blog so far. But that also makes this quite a special moment!

So without further ado, here it is… my home-made leopard print bias skirt! What do you think?

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You may already have guessed my inspiration for this piece. This kind of floaty leopard print skirt was a huge fashion trend last year… or wait, make that two years ago (Hey, this is a slow fashion blog, right? 😉 ). The most coveted version was this one by Realisation Par. This design is so simple but so elegant and beautifully wearable. You can instantly see how it became such a big hit. But with a price tag of £175.00, it slightly exceeded my budget! I am all for investing in life-long wardrobe staples such as this, so I would recommend picking it up if you love it. But alternatively, you can very easily make one for yourself at home.

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Enter the Evie Bias Skirt pattern by Tessuti Patterns. This is honestly quite possibly the easiest pattern I’ve ever made. If you’re new to sewing, this would be a great place to start. It only has two pattern pieces and two seams. Then you just add the waistband and hem – and you’re done. It really doesn’t get much simpler than that. The trickiest part is cutting the fabric on the bias, so that you get the nice flowing drape you want from this design. But there is info on this in the pattern & online. It’s easy once you know how!

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I have to say, I’ve worn this skirt so much! The texture creates a great contrast against a nice chunky knit jumper. So it’s a simple way to glam things up over winter, when a chunky knit is what you reach for pretty much every day. Thanks to the elastic waist, it’s unbelievably comfortable and it looks like you’ve made more effort that you really have. That’s probably the biggest selling point a piece of clothing can offer for me!

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This leopard fabric I found from Stoff & Stil is a bit different from the Realisation Par print, but I chose it for it’s lovely crepe texture. That means it wasn’t too slippery to sew with, but it’s still nice and floaty. So I’d really recommend it if you plan to try it yourself.

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I’ve styled my skirt here with this relaxed T-shirt from Joanie Clothing and a pair of chunky lace-up boots. I often wear it with a jumper in moody navy or khaki green and a pair of trainers, or style it for a night out with a black tee, layered necklaces and heels.

You may also have seen the trend for silky bias skirts in chic pastel colours, which has been all over the high street over the past few years. Again, this is a really stylish look and something which could have a secure place in your wardrobe for years to come!

So, as you may have seen in my #MakeNine 2020 post, I’m going to be attempting this pattern again this year in more of a silky fabric. In terms of colour, I’m thinking a pale sage green or pearly pink. The slippery finish will definitely be more challenging to sew, so I’ll let you know how I get on with it. Watch this space!

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Love

Alice xx

Colonel Mustard

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3 ways to wear an Eighties legend

Let’s kick things off with a really strong piece. Just look at this baby! I have to admit to being influenced by Instagram to a certain extent on this one. But that’s not always such a bad thing. In fact, Instagram can be a great place to start when it comes to vintage shopping! I found the link to the Stunning Vintage shop on an Instastory and this gem just stood out as I scrolled through the styles in their online shop. It can be a bit of a gamble to order vintage online but I honestly find that 9 times out of 10, it’s one that pays off.