Customizing vintage outfits with Dinky Craft Brooches

I came across Dinky Craft one day, during my various daily scrolls of Twitter. I’m always attracted Dinky Craftto small craft businesses on any social media platform, and I was drawn in by the wonderful an
d innocent logo. On further investigation I thought to myself: what a hidden gem this account is!

Dinky Craft specializes in brooches and other accessories, inspired by the love of retro. The brooches are beautiful wooden designs, finished so elegantly. One thing which Dinky Craft explains so well is that there is no such thing as too much glitter!

Independent businesses take pride in all aspects of their products, even down to the packaging. For Dinky Craft, the aesthetics of the beautiful and ‘shimmering’ red packaging really went above and beyond the confines of normal packaging, suggesting a higher quality of treatment for customers.

Needless to say I was very impressed by this personal touch. This, with the addition of fast shipping made me a very happy customer.

I currently own 3 Dinky Craft Brooches and plan to expand my collection. I have _mg_4758my eye on the teapot and the umbrella and the unicorn – oh okay, I want all of them.

In regards to the vintage feel, Dinky Craft brooches are so ‘modern’ and quirky, yet have a strong retro charm. They are somewhat magical, accessorizing a vintage with these outfits only adds to the vintage feel, without taking away authenticity. Additionally, they add instant glitz and glam to any outfit, also transforming a modern day style into a vintage inspired look.

Without further ado, here are my suggestions of how to style an amazing Dinky Craft brooch.

How about, a cocktail on a cocktail dress?

_mg_4715

This Martini brooch appears to be a big seller, and I can understand why!

Just look at how fabulous this silver and a little flash of green looks against the hot pink material, emphasizing the bold and clashing features found in other retro looks.

It is a perfect addition to this reproduction Lindy Bop vintage dress, alongside a chain of 1940s beads. Quirky, but undeniably vintage!

 

Found that perfect combination but missing the final piece of accessory?

_mg_4730

The colours of these clothes items are perfect together; the pale blue cardigan accenting the cornflour blues and pastel yellows in this 150s inspired day dress. However, I feel this outfit on its own is missing something – the sunflower brooch is the solution!

It’s almost as if this brooch was made for this outfit, reflecting the summer feel and layering the tones of yellow and blue.

 

 

 

Moving on from summer, how about transforming a plain black knit dress – essential as a winter warmer!

_mg_4746

 

This little gem of colour and shine gives this outfit a character. Not to mention it’s feline shape – perfect for a cat lover *crazy cat lady* like me!

It’s a spin on the classic, understated look – yet presents elements of both mystery and confidence.

Note that this particular brooch is available in a variety of colours, all equally as perfect alongside a black garment.

 

 

 

For those who want to use brooches differently, how about this attachment to a vintage style hat? Equally as mesmerizing. (And Ebony the cat approves too!)

It is so so important to support small businesses. From experience independent businesses have that extra bit of quality making a product so special and useable.

I absolutely adore my Dinky Craft Brooches and I am so excited to purchase more!

 

Etsy: dinkycraft.etsy.com

Twitter: @dinkycraft

 

_mg_4735

Advertisements

Making my own corset…part three – it’s finished!

 

Hello everyone, I hope you are well!

Just a quick update while I procrastinate from my studies….I finished my corset!15228010_10211232163622979_753013006_n

Eyelet punctures = not easy. I had to call in assistance in the form of my mother, which then ended up with a hammer, knitting needle and some good old ‘waggling’ to get the metal pieces into the eyelet hole.

It was all worth it, especially when I threaded the red ribbon through each hole. It ended up being a therapeutic exercise despite the fact that there is certain way to thread corsets, which in the past I became very agitated with!

The ribbon is adjustable, making the corset adaptable to any colour scheme. I just love these colours for now, it’s very Christmassy!

The corset itself is extremely comfy – a lot is said for nylon boning, which is padded out between the three layers of the corset. Being susceptible to shoulder and back ache due to slouching, the corset ‘forces’ my back to be straight – however in a natural and comfortable way.

I loved this project so much that I want to expand my corset making. Next time perhaps making a longer bodied one? With frills and lace? Or maybe make a more modern style which takes into account the bust – a heart shaped one? Who knows, I’ll have a think!

Let me know your creative ideas! x

 

 

 

 

Making my own corset: Part One

corset-1295197_960_720

corset-1330773_960_720.png

It’s finally happened everyone: I’ve turned my attention to making a corset.

From researching the history of corsets for my museum work, stumbling upon (and buying, obviously) a beautiful gold satin one from a vintage ‘barn’ and receiving access to a free pattern online – it was inevitable.

The free pattern is courtesy of corsettraining.net, which gives you a detailed digital booklet and online pattern of the most basic corset – perfect for beginners! The pattern stretches across two sheets of paper, with the different sizes colour coded withi14139411_10210367104957053_1650529098_on the shapes.

I’ve opted to make a size 14 as it’s very difficult to gage what kind of sizing is measured. However, because corsets are made in what seems like a hundred different pieces it’s relatively easy to add or take panels away if the sizing is a little wrong.

Obviously before starting I needed to get the materials, meaning I would be in the fabric shop for at least an hour just gawping and contemplating every single colour and style.

Eventually I went with my all-time favourite colour, a jade-green silk finish. What I didn’t exactly realise was the amount of layers on this particular corset, not only needing this beautiful outer fabric but a stiffening middle layer and a lining for the inside – oh and bias binding to make all the edges look pretty and neat. (Note, bias binding was made at home using a metre of polycotton, cut on the bias!) For all the fabric I got ½ metre each! 14101603_10210367102716997_576247134_n

For this corset I wanted all the fabric (minus the stiffening layer) to be the same colour so I chose the same jade shade for all. Unfortunately the name of the black stiffening fabric has fallen straight out of my head, so when it reappears in my head I will update you all!**

And for the boning? Not whale bone or steel boning unfortunately…but nylon boning – a very excellent and comfy alternative. I got a couple of metres of this, rolled up and secured with a lot of sellotape (it doesn’t unravel – it pings, everywhere.)

After doing the material shopping it was time to focus on the pattern! After printing the pattern it was time to go back to school (sort of) and do some cutting and ‘sticking’ (pinning).

The pattern is great, clearly labelling each pattern piece A B C and D. Starting with the black stiffening layer, part of the edge was folded and piece A was pinned on the fold. The other pieces were pinned elsewhere and not on the fold.

Before cutting it is recommended to leave a seam allowance of around 1cm so I had room to manoeuvre or rectify a probable future mistake, haha. Instead of cutting directly on the lining I roughly cut 1cm away all the way round the piece.

All the pieces, minus A which was cut on the fold on fabric were cut out twice. Piece A is the front of the corset, when unfolded it becomes the centre.

14163616_10210367101076956_2053177364_o

After I felt comfortable with my millions of pieces, it was time for the next stage: Unpinning the paper templates and pinning the black shapes onto the silk finish. You do not need a seam allowance this time, as it is included in the black shape already! (You can happily reuse the paper templates if you want, just remember to use the seam allowance again!) This stage is exactly the same, however the two fabrics are completely different to work with. The stiffening layer was a little bit of a challenge to cut due to its sturdy nature. In contrast the silk is extremely slippy, something that I will have to take into account if I make any future garment!

The final stage for part one is my favourite part. It’s time to thread up the sewing machine! Each black shape is sewn together with it’s green counterpart, and hallelujah the first two layers are beginning to form! I sewed around 1/2 cm in, trying my hardest to be equal!

That was enough for one day. I need to recharge myself!!

DIY Vintage….

20160821_154636

20160821_115122
Photocredit: 101 ways to stitch, craft, create vintage

As you all probably know by now, I love craft projects. I have countless books, magazines and pinned pages online with different vintage style crafts and items. On reading one of my hardcopy books I came across a beautiful hair fascinator, encrusted with colourful ribbons. Inspiration alert.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a hair fascinator hanging around – but I do have a plain royal blue hat; half a skull cap style, half beret. I’ve ‘accessorized’ this hat before – adding feathers or brooches depending on what st20160821_115453yle of outfit I go for. I like removal items so I’m not stuck with a certain style.

I’ve never used ribbons on this hat, so I decided to give it a go! Also, my wonderful foam hat ‘model’, Angelica, has made an appearance.

 

What I used:

  • One hat.
  • A selection of ribbons, lace and fabric (Try to get different widths and styles, to layer and contrast!)
  • A pair of scissors
  • Pins (Safety pins also work – if you want to make your hat a fixed design, pin and then superglue!)

20160821_120822

 

  1. Take the larger piece of fabric and cut three circle like shapes. There’s no need to worry if the circles aren20160821_121305’t perfect – they’re going to be moulded into flowers! I just love how the colours compliment each other, a jadey green teamed which a royal blue.

 

 

  1. To get the circles into flowers, the middle needs to be ‘pinched.’ The fabric here is quite slippy, so I secured it temporally with a pin. The sides are then pinched together, making a flower outline. Take the pin out, and then position the flower wherever you want on the hat. I chose to pin on the top front. I made two more flowers, one at the bottom and then one for later to position when
    the other items are on.

 

  1. I mentioned I love the colours teamed together. I still do. But why not add another? I cut up the thin purple ribbon, making them into small bows. Using another pin, I attached the centre of the bow into the middle of both flowers.

 

  1. I liked the way the bows looked, so I created a bigger bow out of the pretty while lace ribbon. It came out asymmetrical which matches the asymmetry with the hat! Again, I pinned it between the two flowers.

20160821_153550

 

  1. The last flower was then added above the bow, holding a more rose shape rather than the two ‘pansy’ style flowers. Conclusion: A very modern, yet vintage style hat. So unique.

 

Great thing about this hat: no two can be the same! You can remove, add or move all the décor about!

20160821_154145

‘Underwear Undressed’

Volunteering brings a lot of benefits.  Not only do I get the pleasure of getting wonderful experience in my all-time favourite museum – I get the opportunities to listen in on amazing talks by various historians and curators. For those who are unaware (although you all probably are because I talk about it all the time) I volunteer at one of my local museums, York Castle Museum.
Due to an unfortunate staff illness, I responded to an emergency ‘help’ email to assist with an event later that day and became very lucky to get the chance to listen to a wonderful talk from Susanna Cordner, an assistant curator in fashion and textiles from the V&A, London. Her talk, ‘ V&A Undressed: a brief history of underwear’ had been advertised for a few months, which I had my eye on – but being a student on summer break made it pretty impossible to part with £15. However I would like to add that this event was well worth the price! My role was a greeter, before sitting down and listening to the talk.
The topic was a great addition and combination to the Castle’s newest exhibition ‘Shaping the Body’ (If you haven’t been, you really need to) – exploring the innovations and developments of clothing items and body shapes. The exhibition itself spans a timescale of 400 years, having a variety of clothing items in its collection – from regency period dresses, 1960s versions of ‘flapper dresses’ and a dress owned by the most famous Victorian of all time…
Going back to the talk, it took place in the ‘Shaping the Body’ exhibition Hall, being a host for around 50 people.  Susanna is a fantastic orator as well as being very glam!
Unlike most historic underwear talks or research, which is normally very female orientated, Susanna incorporated elements of both genders so I learnt completely new facts and different areas of fashion. For example, corsetry was not exclusively for women – men in fact wore an item which was advertised as having a purpose away from a traditional ‘corset’. One idea is to keep the gentleman’s clothes having straight lines, another is more military centred – protecting the torso and keeping upright in uniforms. A funny fact thrown into this topic was that, although men and womens corsets were made exactly the same they were advertised with completely different names reflecting the feminine and the masculine.
Keeping the focus upon corsets, the talk also explained the sheer variety in the different types of corset. This includes the corset’s predecessor, the stays as well as different types of corset such as the ‘S’ bend and ‘maternity’ corsets. The stay and the S bend provide their intended function in their name – the stay to almost fix the flesh of the upper body in place and the ‘S bend’ explaining the shape it makes (bust out, stomach in, rear out). The latter is more of an idolised figure, used purely for advertisements or models – not practical in any way for day to day life! Regarding the maternity corset, the audience was reassured that this is not as extreme as it sounds. Unlike the stereotypical corset that comes to mind, this corset is made of two front pieces, laced, and a back piece with laced panels up the both sides. As the stomach grew, the side and front lace ties could be tied looser at the same as keeping the fitted shape.
Susanna explained the key differences between the stay and the corset – the former being made of predominately whale bone. In a previous post I explained that a corset’s original purpose was to take the weight off the heavy skirts and dresses worn by women of history. The stay did this, adding stiffness to the torso, allowing a straight posture.
Corsets are less stiff and lacks the detailed structure that stays have. In my personal opinion stays are more informal than corsets, the latter are normally more detailed and embellished, more personal and carry a distant similarity to lingerie. Susanna explained that because stays are made of whale bone they are rooted in the working class in whaling towns, which in part shows reasoning for the plain designs and lack of ‘softness’ the corset is claimed to have.
Accompanying the superb talk was an array of historic pieces from the Castle’s collection including a variety of corsetry in different sizes, lace bralets and some ‘crotchless’ pantaloon/trouser type for women (a great contraption, allowing women to go the toilet without removing the gigantic skirts, underskirts etc…) The most significant piece, for me, was a ‘stay’ dating from, I think, the 1740s-1760s. This piece was too delicate to handle but just to see the parts of this corset alongside a stay ‘busk’ was so interesting.  In regards to a ‘busk’ this is a triangular wooden carved piece – inserted into the front of one’s stay with an edge flattening the stomach in a vertical way. This made it extremely difficult, perhaps impossible, for the wearer to move or bend forward. The busk on display was engraved with the owner’s name and age – the girl was 17 at the time.
I would have loved to get lots of pictures, however I am always cautious of photographing exposed historical items. I’ve included photos on this post of the items within the ‘Shaping the Body’ exhibition, shielded behind glass. Similarly, Susanna included some photographs of the V&A collection in her talk, making me really tempted to book a weekend trip to London…

Outfit #3 Breakfast at Tiffanys

Next up for my Breakfast at Tiffanys challenge is the party scene! This is probably one of my favourite outfits of the movie (bar a later one which involves a pretty orange coat, but we will get to that…)
The dress in this specific scene is very similar to the previous recreation of another black dress – however I wanted each outfit to be different. I had no other access to a black dress at the time but had a perfect white ballerina style which would look perfect at a party hosted by Holly Golightly…

 

The white dress is a Topshop dress which I have owned for a few years. The ballf2eca9fbc3d021786dad66de315dca6eerina style dress was popular in the 1960s, note the distant similarities to the wedding dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face.
Although a longer dress and a fuller shape, it must be remembered that a wedding dress is obviously part of a more formal occasion, and therefore the traditional aspects of fashion and femininity where reflected in the event. By this I mean that dresses would be at a certain length, contrasting with the party in the film, which is an  informal social affair. This allows dresses to be shorter and more casual.
Additionally, ballerina dresses were popular as dress patterns prior to the 1960s.  The picture below this shows two covers to pattern sheets; the image to the right is of a 1960s addition, showing the ballerina style alongside more fitted and glamorous dress styles. In contrast, however not entirely different is a 1940s cover, again showing how the ballerina skirt is common of the time.
The outfit I am wearing is clearly not a direct recreation, however it carries a similar style in reflecting the event in question. For example the hair is not exactly the same. Instead of the twisted messy yet sophisticated look, I opted for a top knot bun, teasing part of my fringe into a little raised quiff, similar to the effect given by Holly’s twisted hair do.

 

I managed to find jewellery which are very similar to the necklace and earrings used. The blue and green earrings are from Accessorize and the necklace from Claires.  The earrings are probably my favourite thing about the whole of the outfit because of the art deco style and peacock colours reflecting in the light. Despite buying both pieces of jewellery from different places they compliment each other really well and could even pass as as a set!

_MG_3831

I did my make up as I normally would for both day to day and evening wear. I always opt for blush cheeks, pink lip and my trusty sleek eyebrow kit!

I hope you enjoyed! x

 

 

Britain Does Vintage 2015

Sunday, 14 June 2015
The Big Weekend, (Britain Does Vintage)

Hi everyone! In a previous post I mentioned I had been invited along to a vintage event by ‘Britain Does Vintage – to blog about their very Big Vintage Weekend! It was held in the grounds of the beautiful Scampston Hall; hosting a a two day vintage festivial! Here is my review!

Me and my vintage friend Charlotte (lottieslot.blogspot.co.uk)
stood outside the main entrance of the hall

_MG_3512
Scampston Hall is a beautiful country house and gardens, situated just out of Malton in North Yorkshire, a big area hidden among the beautiful countryside. The journey was relatively easy for me as I come from York and is roughly a 35 minute drive! I even got my first drive out in my new car Nero! I think he liked it!:)

The event was well advertised, with medium sized signs on the roadside to guide people in. The tickets bought for the Vintage weekend were £17 each – however this includes access to the beautiful walled gardens of Scampston Hall – which normally charge £8 entry! The staff and security were incredibly efficient and helpful, giving out different coloured wristbands for different ticket holders, checking entry into the gardens!

Entering the grounds of the ‘mysterious’ Scampston Hall (I had never heard of it before!!) I was introduced to the beautifully decorated garden! It was a simplistic, minimal but very effective decoration – handmade bunting hung within the central garden, and the big white tent being directly opposite the hall – allowing this wonderful composition of Scampston Hall as the central background.

The ‘beautiful’ British weather as usual, threatened the event with rain showers; which I believe was the cause of Saturday event to be more of an intimate meeting. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing – it was perfect for an afternoon or evening of relaxation, dancing lessons and listening to the vintage music. However, the weather unfortunately caused the music to be sheltered, rather than on the gorgeous terrace! However, this event is very British – and we Britains are made to deal with rain, and not to let it ruin our days!

The dancefloor was located inside a big white tent along with and array of tables decorated in vintage tablecloths and beautiful floral candles, a perfect shelter from the possible showers!The first 2 and half hours were dedicated to the wonderful dancers of ‘The Back Step Boogie Club’ – who got people in the vintage spirit by teaching moves of a variety of vintage dances!

Both days involved Vintage Afternoon Teas; a variety of cakes and sandwiches presented in beautiful vintage tea stands! I’ve been to a few Britain Does Vintage events with this catering – and the food is absolutely scrumptious! There are the most beautiful cupcakes and quadruple layered rainbow cakes as well as a range of teas and coffee!

The Saturday consisted of mostly live dancing and music to introduce the event to the early arrivers. People travel from miles to this vintage event, so this relaxing atmosphere eases people into the proper vintage feel ready for Sunday! There was also ‘Glamping’ available – big Teepees situated in the next field, which was a really good idea for those who travel the distance, and can fully enjoy the festival from the beginning the next day!

The Fashion Show!

The Saturday also involved a fashion show later in the afternoon I knew from the beginning that this fashion show was going to be good; for one the dresses modelled where borrowed from stall holders and vintage designers! Similarly, the model’s tent was busy all day – showing that a lot of effort was going into an array of gorgeous vintage looks. The weather looked good at this point so I was so glad when the terrace of the Hall was used as the catwalk!

I was so surprised when the two radiant presenters explained that these girls are not professional – some had never even modelled before. They were all so good, and suited vintage down to a T!

Here are my photos from the fashion show:

I’d like to add that this last dress was bought a few weeks later…by me! I found it by chance at another vintage site – turns out it was the same one! Must be fate ❤

Back to the rest of the weekend…

I spent a couple of hours at the Sunday festival with my sister. The Sunday was A LOT busier – however A LOT more rainy, and I almost regretted wearing my black ballerina pumps and no socks = wet, grassy feet, boo! Oh well, the show must go on!

Everyone loves a purple Porsche!
However, the atmosphere was amazing – the quiet entrance grounds from the Saturday filled with an array of vintage cars! I never knew so many people liked cars so much because it was absolutely heaving! I managed to snap a few pictures of cars that I liked; mostly because of the colours haha!
Additionally the rain did not stop people from dressing vintage – the amount of beautiful and individual outfits were superb! My personal favourite are the more elderly guests, who dressed from their younger eras and looked absolutely stunning in bright 1940s hats and elegant brooches! Additionally, the Hall was open for the visitors today for £3 – probably a good idea to avoid the rain!

There was also a live Big band – which played a beautiful rendition of Moon River by Audrey Hepburn (my love of Audrey, visit my sister blog at mekbatchallenge.blogspot.co.uk) which I listened to while we ate crepes and drank daiquiri mocktails!

Everyone knows my love for hats!
Again, inside the grounds – the big white tent today was dedicated to the vintage stalls! A large enough space – however when a downpour occurred the tent itself was rammed and it was difficult to manouever around! However, this was good for stall holders as I managed to bag myself a beautiful sequin top and a 1960s Mod dress! I also picked up a Vintage Vogue Pattern to make my own blouses!

The beautiful jewellery stall!
As well as having vintage stalls of, clothes, antiques and homeware, and the beautiful beauty bar – there was also lots of free workshops, such as homemade pom poms and demonstrations on how to make your own unique bunting! I love the added creativity to this event; encouraging others to start including more vintage in their lives; in such an easy and purse friendly way!

Overall, I was very impressed at the turnout of this event, the weather didn’t really put many people off on the Sunday! It was a lovely event in a beautiful location. You should check out next years Big Vintage Weekend – fingers crossed the weather would be picnic friendly!

Hope you like! Megan :)xx