I Feel Pretty, Oh Sew Pretty

Lovelies, I’m now the very proud owner of a dress and blouse that I made myself.

As someone who only a few months ago was still suffering with severe anxiety, panic attacks, with symptoms of depression and agoraphobia… I’m sure you realise just how significant this moment is.

Through doing this I honestly feel as though I’ve reached an important milestone in my mental health journey and the healing process. I know that if I’d have attempted this a few years ago or even back in February I would have told myself I was untalented, worthless and I shouldn’t even bother because what’s the point?

It’s a very different story to how I feel right now.

Making clothes is something I’ve always imagined myself doing; my eclectic fashion taste unfortunately doesn’t lend itself to the high street and I find reproduction clothes although gorgeous they can also be extremely expensive! So this was always an option I wanted to explore, but knew I wouldn’t be able to get to this point without looking after my mental health first.

In making my own clothes I’m able to find patterns that not only suit my personal style, but I’ve been lucky enough to find that my nearest vintage store has heaps of beautiful vintage fabric! So at the end of the day, I not only get a garment made to fit my petite yet curvaceous body type (finding clothes to fit exactly can indeed be a challenge, anyone with me?) But in order to achieve this I’m not using newly made fabric in the process; therefore being sustainable and having a truly vintage garment as the result. I mean, can you say win-win?

However instead of using the phrase “I tried to run before I could walk”, I think it’s fair to say I ran the London Marathon before I could even crawl and decided I would make this dress with it only being my third time using a sewing machine! I’m one of those that seems to learn better when doing and if I need to learn a specific stitch I’ll have trusty YouTube tutorials at my side to guide me through. I definitely don’t recommend this for everyone, I’m just extremely stubborn… and as I type that I can hear a distant echo saying “YES SHE IS!” from my loved ones haha.

So I’m trying not to steamboat ahead… Y’know like I did when I started all this, but I have some major plans for the future and where I’d really like to take this skill. Honestly I’d love nothing more than to take my cosplay game to a whole new level, making lavish costumes on the scale you’d see at New York Comic Con. As well as creating an entire wardrobe of reworked and personally made clothes and making me true feel like I’ve walked out of Sterling Cooper (Draper Price)… You know I have to mention Mad Men at least once!

Ok, I’ll freely admit that these garments are far from perfect! Nevertheless I personally think it’s pretty nifty being able to see my whole progress right before my eyes and what I’ve achieved so far. I’m teaching myself a completely new skill and I’m prepared for the fact it’s going to look at little ropey for a while yet!

During these last few months have you happened to pick up a new skill, or did you rediscover a love for an old skill? Or, have you been thinking about it but haven’t tried it on for size yet? Take it from me lovelies, if you’re thinking about learning a new skill, whether it’s sewing or something completely different I feel you should absolutely go for it! It might just be the beginning of something truly special.

Thrifty & Thriving: Second-Hand Style

Afternoon luvvies!

Now if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I’ve been extremely vocal lately about curbing my relationship with the high street and filling my wardrobe with as many pre-loved goodies as possible!

Second-hand Style is unique to you and a personal experience; it is definitely not the high street.

But I understand if you’ve never thrifted before it can be a fairly daunting process, almost like how I find the prospect of wandering into TK Maxx or Primark and endlessly scouring the rails in the hopes I find something. Something as a reward for spending all my time searching through reams of clothing and homewares!

Whether it’s online shopping or physically going to the store itself, I always set myself guidelines that I stick to whenever I verge on a second-hand spree! Grab a cuppa (slice of cake optional) and let’s peruse these guidelines together, shall we?

If you’ve found any bargains lately leave me a little message, I’d love to know what you’ve found! Likewise if I can further help your search for the perfect vintage item I’d love to help you along your way.

Lovelies if we’re going to be kinder to our planet we may as well look fabulous whilst doing it!

Category is: EBay Eleganza

Welcome back lovelies! Now before we leap into this chinwag have you got a cup of tea, coffee or beverage of choice in hand? Wonderful!

So I’m on a mission, sent to me by the fashion gods! With me so far? Rightyho!

I decided a little while ago that for the rest of the year (as an experiment) I’m not going to buy one single piece of brand new clothing.

It can be new to me, but not newly made is what I mean.

Yes this decision was a spur of the moment thing and I’ll admit it was most definitely a wake up in the morning and shout it from the rooftops decision, but it comes as a result of following the amazing Teresa Maria (known as the fantastic Outlandish Blog). Her whole platform has made me aware of brands that claim they sell sustainable items and has educated me on the damages of fast fashion. Believe me; I thought I was aware of what’s going on… But oh no, she has fully opened my eyes and that’s just the tip of the iceberg with her blog! But I fully recommend her blog and her e-book on sustainable fashion.

Since then I’ve been on a quest to “shop my wardrobe” some more. I know I’ve mentioned this on more than one occasion, but during the lockdown I found it necessary to do it more than usual and if I do require a piece of clothing, to only buy second-hand garments – unless the garment has to be underwear, of course! That requires some research into sustainably made pants.

I want to do more to be kinder to our planet and being more sustainable with fashion I feel is a good start for me.  

I know that this is just a small step in the grand scheme of things, but if I can be more select with my fashion choices it’s paving the way for more changes.

Admittedly throughout the last few months of lockdown I have bought a few key pieces to get me through the height of summer; if you’ve stuck around for this long you may remember me saying a few times that my summer wardrobe has always been pretty abysmal haha! But I took to the land of eBay to amend this and found some beautiful true vintage 1960s pieces that have stood the test of time because of how well made they are. The purchases I made were even more worthwhile when the sellers told me that they were giving the money to charity!

It’s given me the nudge to be more cautious about where I spend my money, who does it go to, who does it benefit? What do I get out of it? Even by just starting with sites like EBay and depop I’m able to put my thought into why I want these pieces and do I really need them? I mean, what I get out of it is key pieces that are truly one of a kind, no one will have these and I’m truly an individualist haha.

I simply can’t help it I thrive on looking unique and different, always have! Hence why I’ve also started the process of making my own clothes… Well, I say started the process. A sewing machine has arrived at my house, but we all start somewhere and this is an adventure I’ve wanted to embark on for years and didn’t have the confidence to challenge myself. The time is now lovelies!

As Vivienne Westwood once said “buy Less, choose well, make it last”

“Just call me Aunt Teek!”

When looking to plan a perfect day out and about; for me it would be a morning moseying around local antique and second-hand stores, a stop off somewhere for some tea and cake (or a cheeky chai latte, if it’s on offer) preferably at a quaint café where the cake is homemade, then an afternoon wandering little side streets with another coffee to walk around with.

Now I’ll be honest with you all the antique stores in Shoreditch are quite simply not my cup of tea. I think they’re overpriced and Shoreditch itself I find to be rather stressful!

When antique hunting in London I find it best to scour the internet first instead of hopping straight to Shoreditch and some of the best places I’ve found so far are in the SE London. Crystal Palace antiques and Love Atomica which has a space Croydon are fantastic, if you’re looking for vintage furnishings! Maybe you’re looking for a tea set just like your Grandma used to have and you remember it from your childhood, or a funky 1960s Mad Men style bureau. Places like this are really worth taking a look round and they won’t have you forking out so much money that you end up thinking – “was it just worth buying something similar from Ikea?”       

My favourite haunt as of lately is Mabel’s Five & Dime, in Sydenham. Now hold onto your seats kids it gets better, there’s also a cute little café next door… I know right?

However Mabel’s is only open Thursday through Saturday, but this should just further the urgency to go and visit!

It’s such a perfectly sized store and is curated beautifully. The owner handpicks everything that goes into Mabel’s (by the way if you’re curious Mabel is a cute little pup) and the way everything is displayed instantly made me personally want to spend a lot of time there, just to make sure I didn’t miss a beat. The store stocks everything from furniture, china, books, toys, clothes/accessories and plenty of vintage fabric. Even better, if you do see an item of clothing you do have your eye on there’s a changing room!

I knew as soon as I entered that I’d be walking away with something and that I did! Now would you honestly believe me if I told you that these finds came to £24 altogether? I know right! I didn’t think they would either to be perfectly honest. But it just showed me what vintage and antique stores can be like once you venture away from Central and East London, and I’m eager to find more to visit.

If you know of any fantastical vintage/antique stores on the outskirts of London that I simply must go and give some love, then please do send your recommendations my way. Or if you know of any around the country, I will make it my mission to go visit those too!