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

 

 

 

 

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Top Five ‘Vintage’ Outfits

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A little while ago I put a tweet asking for thoughts on future blog posts and one response was to do a top 5 or 10 ‘vintage outfit’ post.

Everyone who knows me knows I have lots and lots – maybe too many – clothes, including pure vintage, reproduction and modern styles. I felt a top 5 would be more of a challenge for me, having to raid my wardrobe and realise my favourite items!

Because of the variety of styles, hopefully this post will help to show a vintage look can be devised using modern high street items or accessories – for example a modern outfit can easily be retro by adding a colourful scarf, or maybe a beautiful fashion brooch!

I’ve carefully chosen a range of different items, charity bought, handmade and affordable shop items. I have steered away from using my original items – mainly because these are more evening wear (which I will do a post on eventually) however there is at least one accessory which I consider to be very vintage.

I’ve also tried to get different eras – well tried anyway!

5.

This look is more retro than anything, using standard items and adding little gems of vintage. I wear a lot of black and basically live in cigarette trousers (well I do when I can fit in them) because they go with any top, blouse, shirt or jumper! Additionally, cigarette are classic vintage – worn by icons such as Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe.

Here I’ve teamed my trusty black cigarette trousers with a basic white chiffon blouse – top. The beauty of black trousers allow any style and colour top to be a winner! To spruce up the outfit, the retro element lies in the shoes – the lilac ballet dancer lace ups. I bought these a few seasons ago from ASOS, falling in love with the delicate, summery shade.

I’ve added a scarf to compliment the shoes – I always love a cool green shade teamed with light purple. This silk scarf is what I call real vintage, being a Mary Quant scarf. I picked this up for £3.00 from a charity shop.

White Top: Lindy Bop

Cigarette Trousers: Topshop

Shoes: ASOS

Scarf: Dove House, No.87 (Hull) – Vintage Charity Shop

4.

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I just love this quirky, girly, yet boat-like look? (I think the latter is the colours, red, navy and cream horizontal stripes)

The skirt is such a perfect length, great for a summer garden party. I personally love the length because it’s long enough to cover the majority of my legs, yet shows enough leg to not have to wear tights. (Self-conscious of my legs)

A midi skirt is key to achieve a summer retro look – it can never go out of style! Most vintage skirt and dress patterns carry the same length whether it is a circle skirt, A-Line or the signature figure hugging pencil skirts. There are so many adorable patterned midi skirts available both on the highstreet and in charity shops, florals, stripes or statement block colours.

The cream underlying of the skirt allows any colour top to match. I always lean towards black or white tops because you can never go wrong. However the strong red in the skirt always steers me towards this cropped little lace blouse. For some reason, the lace and pleats really work – something I would have never thought of. Teamed with pointed toe black flats and a pair of sunglasses – I feel like a modern yet retro girl on a Roman Holiday!

Blouse: Topshop (sale item)

Skirt: Dove House, No. 87 (Hull) – Vintage Charity Shop

Shoes: New Look

3.

 

 

My attempt at 60s and 70s. The dress is great for either! Although I am not one to step into the 70s style, teaming this dress with a wide brim hat gives an instant 70s vibe. As for the 60s; bring on the beehive hair, knee high boots and the most obvious – eyeliner wings!

I just love the wide arms of this dress, giving an elegant silhouette and representing an influx of freedom (woo, girl power.) The length of the dress is fab too, having the ability to be worn with trousers (wide legged jeans maybe, another way to claim a 70s look?)

Dress: F&F (Tesco)

Boots: Dorothy Perkins

Hat: Was given to me

 

2.

I like this outfit because it is my go to ‘smart casual’ look. I wear this outfit quite often in the university library to fool myself into work mode! I found the blouse in a local charity shop falling in love with both the colour and the collar design. It was clearly meant to be as the blouse fits perfectly – something I struggle with on a day to day basis (small waist, bigger chest = unfitted shirt).

Blouses are making a comeback, with a majority of high street shops selling a variety – retro styles and practical. I got this blouse for £4 – so I recommend going to different charity shops and having a rummage around – you’ll always find a bargain or a hidden treasure!

Another area I struggle with is highwaisted trousers, I find there is never any comfort! However Primark pulled through and I found these amazing high waisted cigarette pants – I practically live in these! At £8 a pair I’m going to get a variety of colours!

Blouse: Dove House, No. 87 (Hull) – Vintage Charity Shop

High waisted cigarette trousers: Primark

Shoes: Clark

Cardigan: Marks and Spencer

1.

My favourite look is this profoundly 50’s style. Think Grease.

I am so impressed with this outfit overall – just because the shoes and the skirt is a perfect colour match!

The main reason that it’s my number one outfit because it is the most obvious vintage look – and the cheapest. I have an array of circle skirts – an item which suits absolutely everyone and can be adjusted to different lengths.

I personally like the way it tucks into the waist to show off my curves and give an illusion of added height! I’ve teamed it with a plain white shirt and a little red crop top for an accent colour.

It is the cheapest look because the skirt is handmade – with the excess fabric allowing a matching neck tie.

Vintage fashion does not always mean ‘old’ items – you can create a vintage and retro look through crafts of your own. I always think making your own clothes is proper vintage (or at least will be one day) because people of the past were more likely to make their own clothes and accessories. It makes it that little bit more sentimental, as well as getting an outfit that fits perfectly – something that is very difficult in buying vintage.

 

White Shirt: Gap

Red Crop Top: New Look

Circle Skirt & necktie: Homemade, materials from Boyes

Shoes: Primark

Earrings: Primark

 

What are your top five ‘vintage’ outfits? Any particular ways you style them?

Victorian Highstreet…

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I blogged about the beauty of this era – I thought I may as well mention the fashion!
I am lucky enough to volunteer at a local museum – as a shop assistant in a range of replica Victorian shops. In this role I get to wear a range of different Victorian outfits – representing different class and workplace.
Like today, the Victorian society had numerous styles of fashion, however all fashions were adapted and based on a generic style. This is the idea of long sleeved blouses or shirts and hats and for women, ankle length skirts.
Different patterns were developed and exchanged by some members of society. For example the writer ‘Mrs Beeton’ put together a book named ‘Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management’ which gives an overview of many aspects of Victorian life, including fashion and a series of patterns for one to make clothes.
There is a common assumption that Victorians had dark clothing, monochrome and grey shades. This is certainly true in the later days of Queen Victoria who after the death of her husband in 1861 spent the rest of her days in mourning wear. However unlike the photographs of the era which reflect all light and figures as black and white the Victorian fashions were actually a colourful array of patterns and ‘brave’ clashing ensembles. This excluded schoolchildren and those in house service (servants) who were expected to wear black accompanied by a white pinafore or apron.
Prior to the mid-1800s shopping was not a leisure activity we know today. Shopping for clothes involved going to a dress makers, also known as a Draper’s Shop. (A draper is an individual who trades in cloth and later other materials)
One would be measured for a bespoke suit or dress by the Draper, if a man, or a draper’s assistant if a woman. Lower classes would either purchase fabric or gain hand downs from other relatives or employers (if a good employer of course) and make their own clothes in their own time.
Browsing for fabrics or accessories was limited, and most products were actually hidden under the counter with the Draper choosing possible patterns or material for the customer.
1849 was the year where department stores began to surface, starting with a Newcastle company named Bainbridge’s. This was a shock to me, as I had always had in mind the department store originated from either the States or Paris (I watched too much Mr Selfridge).  Bainbridge had the evolutionary thought to give each product its own department alongside visible price tags. This began the leisure activity of shopping we know today. (Bainbridge’s still exists, under the name John Lewis)
‘Quick’ facts about Victorian fashion
  • The 1851 Great Exhibition in London inspired department stores to flourish and develop in France. (By develop, one Frenchmen made department store shopping more applicable to everyone, but creating separate reading and leisure rooms for men and children)
  • Hat etiquette gets very All Victorian men would wear hats outdoors. Those who did not would be the centre of contrasting gossip. When it came to indoor spaces, it depended on the place. Public places recommended keeping the hat on, with the exception of restaurants wuwpfgeok7oxtzzzpmtti.pnghere part of one’s routine would be to remove the hat before sitting at the table. Public speakers also took off hats, and this was to divert the attention from the hat to the words and expressions of
    that one speaking.
  • Contrasting, women wore hats as nothing more than keeping their hair out of their face and complimenting an outfit. Their hats were normally not removed due to the carefully placed hat
    pins.
  • Some employers were good, others were not. If the latter young girls and apprenti
    ces may not receive any wage whatsoever for their work –
    especially in the clothes
    industry. Good employers would support other issues (however this may be to advertise and promote their business) – for example some Draper’s would set change their window displays to the outfits of Suffragettes – promoting their cause while stocking the relevant coloured fabrics (Purple and Green)
  • Corsets automatically bring to mind their purpose in gaining that perfect silhouette shape in the waist. As ‘beauty’ developed into a war of personal vanity this became the main reason for a corset. However the original purpose of a corset was to take the weight of the top of the heavy and durable skirts. Victorian skirts were usually made of a wool or felt type material, which, along with the lining made the item extremely heavy. Corsets would take part of this weight and forcing the woman to having a strong straight back to keep upright.

 

 

The top two images represent the fashions of the middle class. In an attempt to look the part and present oneself as a having a high social standard working class women who had jobs such as Drapers Assistants would wear similar styles. On one hand it was used as advertisement of that working establishment, on the other women had more confident and given more respect dressing in this way.
The bottom images are a reflection of the working class or casual wear in society. White blouses were a must for all workplaces along with small straw hats which for women were worn at all times.

 

Charity Shop Haul, Dove House, No.87.

“That time I got a Mary Quant scarf for £3 and I didn’t realise…”

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I definitely have an addiction to charity shops. And vintage clothes. So when a charity shop is dedicated purely to vintage items it definitely becomes a problem!

Dove House No.87 in Hull is an example of this. I limit myself to only going in once every through weeks and forcing myself to be good and not buy the whole shop. However as all proceed13419229_994918057224090_2434447962388383310_n.jpgs from the shop go directly to charity I always like doubly (or triply) treat myself knowing that everything is going to a good cause!

I have bought a lot from this shop in the past, so I thought I would share my latest purchases. This time I was extra good only buying 4 items which totalled £25!

I just love wearing vintage clothes and accessories knowing they have mysterious pasts and wondering what kind of person would have owned an item now in my possession. I’m also slightly weird and adore the smell of vintage products and antiques!

The reason I went into the shop that day was to purchase a couple of silk scarves. Like a lot of people I have been bitten by the sewing bug, inspired by the Great British Sewing Bee! I thought it was really interesting the week they created lingerie and lounging items from these silk scarves, and purchasing them from charity shops allows them to be sold at very cheap prices.

In this case all scarves were 13556040_10209870880591754_715195908_o.jpgbetween £2.50 and £4.00 and I chose two which were £3.00 each. One was a chocolate brown colour, decorated by pink, red and white flowers. The other was a white silk which green edging and summer flowers in the corners.

It was actually not until a few days later when I looked at the second scarf, the green one, in detail, that I could never use it to make another item. This is because I didn’t realise that this particular scarf was a Mary Quant original!

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Although  Mary Quant scarves are not too dear to purchase at the present time, they are still regarded as designer and will probably one day be worth a lot! Additionally having learnt about Mary Quant and fashion in the 1960s at GCSE level – it is the only thing I can probably remember of that course, meaning that I appreciate moments in time like this and the company derived from Mary Quant.

After choosing the scarves my eyes were drawn to the most beautiful bag hanging on wall on the first floor of the shop!

For ages I had wanted an evening bag big enough to fit more than just a phone and purse in. This bag was the perfect size 13552670_10209861590919518_1037854873_nand the perfect colour! A beautiful blue in a woven wool fabric, handmade in diamond patterns and lighter shades. The factor which sold me in purchasing this bag was the pearl strap, giving it a somewhat Chanel feel! The bag was an absolute bargain at £7.50! 

The last item I purchased was a very pretty pleated skirt. I had got talking with one of the volunteers in the shop, discussing how difficult I find it to buy skirts which really fit. I’m very small with a tiny waist but wide hips so finding skirts that fit my waist normally end up being way too long for me! Anyway this wonderful volunteer found the most perfect midi skirt for me – a cream base with red and navy stripes!

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I just ❤ this skirt. I goes with little kitten heels or flats and can be worn both casually or formally! I feel so girly in this £7.00 skirt!

This is the rundown of my latest charity shop haul! I hope you enjoyed :)x

 

 

 

Outfit #3 Breakfast at Tiffany’s

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!

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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

 

 

Outfit #2 Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Time for my next Tiffany’s outfit!

I’m starting out with the dress again – however this time it was a little different.

In my previous outfit I went out to find a perfect dress to mimic Audrey’s look and was fortunate enough to find a perfect one!

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This time I couldn’t quite find a perfect match – I tried lots off different sites and shops which were offering a sort of flapper style dress, black with either a ruffled edge or a modern style handkerchief edge. These didn’t shout of to me,I needed something overall more modern, however still in keeping with the 1960’s era. I had a rethink of how I would find a suitable dress at a reasonable price.

I then remembered I had a range of simple old black dresses. One was an old new look buy – a kind of adjustable length body con maxi dress. It was simple, and needed some TLC to make it suitable.

If you don’t have any old black dresses or you don’t want to add anything to a current black dress try find a simple box or t-shirt style – a simple black dress can be very cheap!

The dress which Audrey wears in the film has a sort of fur edging, bringing dimension and texture to the bottom of the dress.

I used the local fabric shop, Boyes, which is a chain store and sells all kinds of fabric and materials for any craft! I managed to pick up some fur cut down to 20cm – which only cost me a grand total of £1.55!

I’m not going lie, my sewing skills are not amazing and I didn’t want to ruin both the fur and the fabric so I nicely asked my Mother House Elf to help. The fur was attached within minutes!

I am delighted with the result of this dress! Such a minimal edit and style however looks so elegant! I must add that if you do try this, make sure the fur is only attached at the top – this is to allow the fur to have some give while trying to get the dress on or off – or even walk!

I’ve recently done a hat post about handmade hats – but for this post I’ve reverted back to the easily accessible and affordable Primark hat at only £4 – which does an excellent job at channeling Audrey’s style! c0165-img_3073.jpg

The earrings I am wearing were a present given to me. They are a 1940s crystal style, but thought they woul
d suit this outfit! However, after observing the way they were made they are nothing more than opaque and silver beads, which are sewn circular around the earring clip. A super affordable and fun way to make crystal style earrings!

The shoes are my favourite sparkly kitten heels from Dorothy Perkins – they work so well with the sparkles in the hat and the earrings!

Finale for outfit #1 Breakfast at Tiffany’s

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Okay, so here it is, the finale of my first Audrey Hepburn outfit!
I had real fun doing this look! My favourite bit would have to be the hair. It took a lot of practice but I think I have nailed it! Additionally there are various ways to do this style so lots of options if you get stuck or just aren’t feeling the hair do!
The necklace was also fun to make; a simple pearl necklace chain with a eye catching brooch!

 

 

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Dress: Boohoo, £12
Necklace: Homemade
(Brooches: Amazon, £1.40 – £3.00)
(Pearl chain:  Amazon, £1.69)
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