Posts Categorised: Fabric/Projects

Vintage Frock Making and a few tips !

This week I will mostly be making retro style dresses !

I have received three utterly stunning patterns from the sewdirect.com vintage ranges and cannot wait to use them up !

The first one is a Vintage Vogue – it’s a 1954 pattern and it’s simplicity in style means I can probably get away with a bold fabric print…

The second is Butterick 1946 and has a long or short sleeve variation. The shape looks incredibly flattering.. Oh, to have lived in that era !

Such pretty bows on the third pattern – Butterick from 1953. All of the options are gorgeous, but tempted to make the A3 version. Wouldn’t this make a lovely wedding dress ?

It’s always so important to do your calculations before buying your fabric. I’ve made costly mistakes in the past, buying fabric because I like it ( well, why wouldn’t you :) ) and then starting the cutting, only to realise that it’s not wide enough or I haven’t bought enough. Aaagh ! :)

The other thing to consider is the size of the actual fabric patterns. What can look perfect online, may end up being huge in reality and be better for upholstery. Also, if you have panels/gathers/pleats – is the pattern design suitable ? Will it get lost or look dis-jointed.

Fabric stores are usually happy to send out a few samples, so I would definitely recommend checking first before making !

Now, what fabric do I use ? Polka dots ? Gingham ? Maybe denim with a trim ? Endless possibilites.. what would you use ?

Watch this space etc etc… these completed vintage dresses will be coming to a computer screen near you soon….

Have a good day.. and look out for my Inspire Me post this Thursday – I am rather excited… I’ve had a nice chat with Anna Lou of London and will be showing off her gorgeous jewellery and accessories :)

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INSPIRE ME – with Melody Miller

If you love unique, vintage inspired, colourful fabric then this week’s ‘Inspire Me’ is right up your street :)

I have been a big fan of Melody Miller for a while now, a textile designer who has also created four lines so far, for Japanese fabric company Kokka. Her print collection’s are full of images of retro telephones, portraits, typewriters and vinyl records.

Ruby Star Wrapping –  Melody’s first book is out later this year…

How did your career start?

Well, I was trained as a fine artist and for several years after I had my daughter, I painted.  When that just didn’t pay the bills, I worked as a graphic designer at a real estate company, then after having my son, I decided to go out on my own with a line of curtains.  Those didn’t sell very well (okay, I sold one!) so one thing turned into another and I finally ended up shopping a portfolio around Quilt Market, which is how I began designing for Kokka.

Who and what inspires your work?

I have a background in industrial design, and am fascinated with the design of useful objects. For colour and pattern, I often reference vintage fashion and decor.  I’ve always loved to draw and paint faces, so those appear in my work as well.  I’m constantly inspired by artists, illustrators, crafters, designers, and sewists, and try to absorb as much as possible from the people around me.

  

What’s the best thing about your job?

I love that my job entails so many different creative endeavours. I go from the intensive designing process on my computer, to actually sewing samples with the fabrics. Then sometimes I have bursts of intense activity, like last summer when I was writing my book (it comes out this fall!), or next spring, when I was designing my booth for Quilt Market. In the meantime, I’m able to be here for my children and participate in my family. I feel very lucky to be able to do all of this :)

 For anyone wanting to break into the world of design – do you have any advice?

 Trust your own voice.  When you lean too far in the direction of someone you admire, you can lose yourself.  If your work scares you a little, that’s probably a good sign.

When will your next line of fabrics be available to buy and what can we expect?

My upcoming line was just released at Quilt Market in May, and will hit stores sometime in July.  There are 3 designs in 3 separate colorways on super-wide lightweight cotton/linen fabric (it’s over 60″ wide, and so breezy!  The fabric itself is a dream).  One print features 9 separate blocks that are each just shy of being fat eighths.  Another print features full-scale 7″ vinyl records (and a few of the labels were created by fellow fabric designers Thomas Knauer and Lucie Summers).  The last print was designed with skirts, aprons, and dresses in mind, and has decorative rows of silhouettes that had been featured in my previous fabric line, Ruby Star Shining.

Such amazing designs – truly inspiring ! A big thanks To Melody, I can’t wait for the vinyl records fabric :)

To find out more about Melody Miller and her work, visit her website or blog.

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INSPIRE ME – with Serendipity Studio.

The very talented woman that is featuring today on ‘Inspire Me’, actually inspired me for my first ever blog post. I made two retro style dresses.

Kay Whitt is the owner and designer for classic yet modern clothing and accessories sewing pattern company Serendipity Studio and author of successful craft books –  Sew Serendipity, Sew Serendipity Bags and soon to release her third….

  

What inspired you to start designing patterns?

I have sewn all of my life. Even as a teenager, my mother and I would manipulate commercial patterns to suit our tastes, so I think designing has always been in my blood. I spent the first several years of my career as an elementary school teacher, but I yearned to have a business that was centered around sewing.  It seemed like a natural progression to take what I had been doing for myself all these years and make it applicable for everyone. I design my own slopers with specialized software that helps me grade the sizes for my designs. I have been in business since 2001 and consider it the best decision I ever made for myself!

  

 Is there anything in particular that you enjoy designing the most?

That is a tough question to answer since I love all aspects of the design process! Every type of design presents with its own set of challenges. The most challenging types of designs are probably jackets, followed by dresses, then skirts as the easiest. For any design, my favorite part is after the pattern has been tweaked for the fit. This is when I get to play with the design, adding little details and coming up with the different variations. This is where I get all the fabrics out and mix them around to get the look I am after. So there probably isn’t a favorite type of garment for me, I love designing them all!

 Talk me through a day in the life of Kay Whitt….

I usually start my day checking email and attending to orders. Once that is done, I get on Facebook for a while and talk with fans and friends, then settle into whatever needs to be addressed for the day. Sometimes I will spend days at the computer working with designs and writing instructions (or writing blog posts), other days I spend in the studio getting samples created. The late afternoons and early evenings are reserved for working out and getting dinner together. I usually save my evenings for doing handwork on the sofa in front of the TV with baseball or basketball in the background. I have gotten really good at listening to games so I can keep my eyes on the work I am doing!

  

 Do you have a proudest career moment to date?

My proudest moment was when my first book, Sew Serendipity, came out in 2010. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of seeing a lot of work come together in a lovely package ready for others to enjoy! I enjoyed the process so much that I wrote a bag book, Sew Serendipity Bags, which came out in the fall of 2011. I am due to have a third book out this fall, so the book writing thing has been quite rewarding, even though it is a lot of planning and work.

  

 Any advice for someone wanting to start sewing but not sure where to start?

I suggest starting with a small project that can be finished in a short amount of time. Pillows and simple bags are a great way to learn the process of choosing fabrics and do some basic sewing without getting too involved. I think getting to see a project come together quickly is key so that you are inspired to try another in short order. Once you are on the path of honing your skills, a simple skirt is a great project and a wonderful way to break into garment sewing.

  

How is the rest of 2012 shaping up?

2012 has been flying by so far. I am amazed that we are already almost halfway through the year! I find myself wondering where the time went. I have a few appearances and speaking engagements over the summer, and of course I will be working on the fall collection of pattern designs before too long. I already have a long list of ideas to explore, so there should be some exciting stuff come October. Plus, my third book is scheduled for release in the fall as well! It’s busy and happy times here at the studio.

Thanks very much to Kay for sharing her work and inspiration with us ! 

Pop on over to the Sew Serendipity site to have a look at more of Kay’s superb patterns and books. You can also find her patterns online throughout the UK.

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Happy Camper :)

So here it is – my new weekender travel bag !

Having first bought this supremely cute camping retro fabric from the fab online Brighton store Ditto Fabrics to make a 50s dress, I decided I didn’t want to lose any of the pattern in gathers or pleats.

The gingham was for two reasons – one, if I had used the same for the sides the pattern would have ended up upside down as it went round and two, gingham is really fifties and I think works well with the cool ladies and gents in the fabric.

I was slightly nervous about making the bag pattern up ( it’s by Amy Butler ) only because I’ve never made something before like this. I’ve made bags but not something that where peltex ( to keep the sides firm and upright ) is needed. But, I am really happy how it has turned out :) The bag feet are an addition to the pattern – they were from a site called bag-clasps.

What do you think ?

Hope you’re enjoying the glorious sunshine :)

Feel free to use my images – just add a link back to LucyLovesYa.

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My home made 50s wedding dress…

Wedding 2As I may have mentioned *ahem*.. a few moths ago, Andy and I got married.

I’m not sure what possessed me at the time to want to make my own dress in only a few months, but I’m glad I did. It was a really great experience and I learnt so much about dressmaking.

I was lucky to have some help from Sarah Belinda who knows loads about wedding dresses – it was invaluable, let me tell you !

My hair flower was from Rose Garden Accessories and the heels –  Rachel Simpson.

Our wedding photographer was Laura Babb she was really great to have around. Have a peek at her site..

Wedding1Of course there was the little issue of needing to make three little bridesmaid dresses too….

One night whilst sitting at my sewing machine, literally covered in silk dupion threads I did question my sanity…. but got there in the end !

Andy wore a Paul Smith suit – he looked very handsome and rather retro :)

Wedding 6We got married at The Theatre Royal Bury in St Edmunds and it was an amazing day. The crew were so helpful. We chose this venue partly because it felt right as both of us come from an entertainment background *jazz hands* although it was quite low key and easy going really.

The wedding was inspired by the 50s, my love of kitsch and of course the theatre itself… Dahhhling :)

Our light up letters hired from the super lovely company Vowed and Amazed..

The main thing for us was that everyone felt at ease and that we avoided doing anything that was alien to us. It’s sometimes hard when you’re in the thick of it but it’s important to be yourselves… in my opinion.

Weddign 3How clever is my friend Juliet ? The cake she made for us was just so amazing. The stage looked really effective once the curtains were back with the pom poms and disco balls hovering above us all whilst we ate curry and then some theatre ice creams…. :)Miserable Man sang at the ceremony and he was brilliant. So chilled. I really recommend our band later in the evening too – Ready Steady Go.

Wedding7Hope you like these pics ? :)

If you’re thinking of making your own dress and want some tips – get in touch..

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 All Photography Copyright Laura Babb 2012.

INSPIRE ME – with Beauvamp.

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 15.00.19I’ve made no secret of the fact that I really like this brilliant company. My Beauvamp lampshade gets more attention than me, which is fine :) because it’s a real feature and I love it.

Alice, owner of Beauvamp specialises in making one off and limited edition pieces and everyone is unique because they are handmade. Her designs have featured on BBC2 and she has been working on some other really interesting projects recently too… I find her work very inspirational. p00pk9cp

Alice, I think you have a great eye for colour, is this something you’ve always had?

Well, I’ve always loved colour and as much of it as possible. I like a real mish mash and don’t shy away from a good clash! Big splashes of colour can brighten up your day and are great to have dotted around the home. I tend to keep my walls and furniture in pale colours such as white, greys and creams, this helps to really make your colours jump out from the crowd.

Did you study textiles or design?

Not straight away. I used to work in the events industry putting proposals forward for corporate client events, such as set and stage design, team building activities and theming ideas, which was fun but only ideas on paper. I actually decided that I wanted to design and make for myself and see the finished product. I have been interested in interiors since before I can remember and was forever changing my bedroom furniture around as a kid and decorating my walls with all sorts of nik naks. Design was always my favourite subject at school but then ventured off into marketing and events later realising I was destined to come full circle. I eventually set off on a furniture renovation course learning all the tricks of the trade and two years later, BeauVamp was born in 2007. It’s been great to be able to set up my own business working from my home in Derbyshire whilst having enough time to also spend with my 2 boys. I have 2 workshops and a fab sun room in the house from which to create my designs.

Where do you get the inspiration for your wonderful pattern and colour combinations?

All sorts of places. Travelling through India and across South East Asia was a real eye opener with amazing fabric patterns and colour combinations in the local markets. Catwalk fashion from the 40’s right through to the present day along with interior and craft magazines are another great source for seeing what’s evolving and new out there and then creating your own take on things.

How long does it take to create each lampshade?

It really depends on the design, but I usually spend over 2 days preparing and making a standard lampshade with just one fabric and trim. Lampshades with more fabrics and fringing can take longer.

Working in a patchwork method I mainly apply a range of fabrics over the top of a sound base fabric, this allows all sorts of light weight fabrics to cover the shade that would not normally be suitable if using the old and traditional method of stretching. Working in this way means I can really play around with the fabric patterns for example when working with stripes, each panel can be cut to a different angle, i.e. horizontally, diagonally, vertically and so on. Or a number of different patterned fabrics can be applied to just one shade. There are an abundance of fringing options available from hand sewing my own ruffle trim in fabric to applying glass beading, tassels, feathers, pom poms, the choice is never ending, a real wonderland mix! BV2
BV1

I’d love to know more about the vintage lampstands that you revamp?

Yeah, I have been working on these more recently and have attached a few pictures for you to see. I salvage original vintage stands and recondition them. I have them professionally re-wired if needed and then prepare them for paints and fabrics. Paints used are usually from the Farrow & Ball or Little Greene collections and then the fabrics are applied again in a patchwork manner using a fabric adhesive. The fabric is then coated in a special matt sealant that makes the fabric hardwearing.

Do you have lots of interesting commissions coming up?

Well, I’ve just finished some exciting projects, one of them being the new Zizzi restaurant in Victoria, London, where I got to work with B3 Designers on providing the lighting ( pictures attached). I’ve been told they are submitting the restaurant into the Restaurant and Bar Design Awards, so that’s all very exciting and I wish them the best of luck. http://www.restaurantandbardesignawards.com/

I’ve also been busy producing lampshades for the recently featured Ann Robinson Show on BB2, My Life In Books. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01czf06

I also have a few more potential projects in the pipeline for a pub chain and hope to be launching my new online shop shortly www.beauvamp.com …… watch this space! Please note in the mean time all my current stock can be viewed on the following link www.notonthehighstreet.com/beauvamp

If anyone has any question or ideas they would like to discuss just drop me line at alice@beauvamp.com and I will be glad to assist.

Thanks Alice. A very clever woman ! :)

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Com’pleated’ 50s dress ;)

  

Dress finished ! The gathers of the skirt pattern went out of the window and in came some pleats ( also very vintage ! ) Mainly due to a slight shortage of fabric, but actually it’s turned out for the best and the shape is very flattering.

What do you think ?

The Horrockses fabric that I bought is now out of stock at the V & A for the time being but having chatted to like minded folk, we would all love to see it in the shops nationwide. Hope this happens some day soon :) Oh, and have you entered my Diamond Jubilee Horrockses Fashions Giveaway yet ? Direct your eyes to the right of this post to enter !

    

I’m making a 50s polka dot dress this week for my lovely friend and some girls dresses with really bold prints. One in a Momo Alice Kennedy Owl fabric and the other a pink butterfly/kitsch. Honestly, I fall in love with fabrics on a daily basis – and these ones are uber cute. Will post them up later this week :)

Also working on my own pattern for an Art Deco skirt. It’s amazing being able to make what’s in my mind now and can’t wait to start choosing the fabrics.

I just wish there were another 24 hours in each day ! :)

Feel free to use this dress image – just add a link to LucyLovesya – Thanks.

Please do share the love by clicking below …. xx

Beautiful Brighton – Part 2

B1Well, where do you start with great shops in Brighton ? There’s a fair few.

But, I have several that I head straight for ( salivating all the way ) when I’m in Town. What I especially love about these ones is that they have all started out in Brighton.

It will come as no surprise that Irregular Choice on Bond Street is high up on the hit list. I go all giddy when I enter their establishment. They sure know how to make a girl happy… and not forgetting their men’s ranges ! Their shoe, bag and clothing designs are so clever and unique. The sparkly jewellery section is hard to tear yourself away from too.

They also stock Poetic Licence shoes.
Since Dan Sullivan, the designer opened the first shop, they have gone on to open others in New York,  London and Hong Kong.. along with ranges in many other well known shoe stores.
It’s always nice to know though that this one is where the magic began. B2

Dolly Dagger is a vintage inspired Boutique at Brighton Place. You may well have visited their lovely website already ? If you’re looking for a pretty prom 50s style dress or a fitted 40s number then I absolutely recommend this place. I find their clothing to be very well made. They have lovely cardigans, the leopard print one being my favourite :) They also stock other brands including a nice selection of shoes and some awesome jewellery pieces by designers such as Tarina Tarantino and Steven Shein along with their own fab range. B3

There is a fairly new shop called This is Not a Butchers ( website coming soon ). You won’t miss it if you’re heading up Bond Street. It’s full of really fun, colourful homeware including lovely lighting. They’ve got great gifts and I noticed although this was my first visit there, that the staff are really friendly. Always an important factor.

In Kensington Gardens you will find Get Cutie. They are a Boutique, who handmake their dresses, skirts and homeware. They use really gorgeous unusual retro style fabrics – which they stock per metre too. I’ve been a fan of this company for a long time and they are always very helpful online when you make an order – and will make your desired dress if it isn’t in stock ! B4

The fabric shop I pretty much jog too when in Brighton is Ditto Fabrics, again in Kensington Gardens. I love the people who work in there and they have a superb selection of across the board fabrics – If you’re a dressmaker or just love gawping at lovely material, have a look at their site. The prices are really reasonable. B5

I could go on and on but I think these are enough to be getting on with :)

xx

INSPIRE ME – With Seamstar

Inspire Me this week is focusing on Courtney, owner of the wonderful online cutting edge crafts store Seamstar.

As a very keen ( think I may have mentioned this once or twice ! ) dressmaker and quilter, using an online fabric store that not only stocks a huge selection of breathtakingly pretty fabrics, a large array of colourful trims, sewing patterns, a haberdashery with more than you could possibly wish for AND first class, quick service – is really important to me. Everything you need !

When I receive my Seamstar fabrics and other lovely bits in the post they are always wrapped so nicely, it makes it all the more exciting to open the package and start getting crafty.

Here’s a little more about Courtney and Seamstar….

What inspired you to start your business?

The inspiration for starting Seamstar was my baby. Whilst on maternity leave and lucky enough to have been given decent maternity pay, I grasped the opportunity to start a business.

Although it was extremely difficult because I started work on Seamstar at around 8 months pregnant, I had more motivation than I had ever had before. The website finally went live when Coen was around 5 months old. When I look back I’m not sure how I managed to look after a new born baby and start a website. I suspect the lack of sleep stopped me from thinking about it!

I think a lot of people would prefer to work for themselves but it is having the time and opportunity to do it. I remember coming home after working in an office 9 til 6 and just being too exhausted to do anything, let alone make any strides towards starting a business. Now however, I work 7am until 8, 9 or sometimes 10pm and it doesn’t feel like hard work at all. I’ve swapped being told what to do by a boss, to being told what to do by my 3 year old instead ( my 3 year old certainly has better people skills. )

My advice to anyone who gets the tiniest bit of time or even a glimmer of an opportunity to start something is go for it. You probably won’t get rich if that is your motivation for being your own boss. However, if you want to be in control of your life then you won’t regret it and you never know where it may take you.

If you get the chance to sew yourself, what do you like to create ?

As you would expect I have tonnes of fabric in my stash – far too much for one human being. Unfortunately with everything else that I’m doing, I probably only get around an hour or two a week to sew. I am the Queen of unfinished projects. Currently languishing next to my sewing machine (you can often hear a tiny cry of ‘please finish me!’) is a shabby chic rose quilt, some bold bunting which I’m determined to put in an Etsy shop soon, along with a big stack of fabric for some cushion covers. Generally I sew for the home but I am definitely going to start sewing some clothes for me and have lots of Cotton Lawn fabric coming in the shop soon as I’m looking forward to that.

Do you have a Favourite collection ?

Usually the most recent fabric collection is my current favourite. I’m really loving putting the modern prints we sell with linen. We have some great linen blend fabrics in contemporary colours and they work for bags, make up cases, cushions anything really. The linen just adds a modern twist and really makes the prints stand out.

At the moment I’m also really looking forward to getting my hands on Denyse Schmidt’s Flea Market Fancy collection and Lucie Summers new collection called Summersville. With those I will be making unfinished quilts and unfinished play mats.

Thanks Courtney ! Much admiration to you !

xx

Got me my Pattern Cutter ‘ Wings ‘ :)

skirtHey, it’s Monday Morning already ! Hope you had a great sunny weekend.

I had a really ace Saturday, it was full of energy and I learnt loads about pattern cutting and made myself a cheeky little skirt with a super sweet print all over ! Like it ?
The course was over in Greenwich, South East London with Miss Libby Rose.

Libby runs all kinds of sewing courses from her premises for all sewing abilities , along with selling her own, most fabulous retro style clothing and cute fabrics.

It was so nice wandering through the vibrant market stalls to get to Libby’s studio, to then get to spend a whole day focusing on sewing and learning new techniques with a great teacher and meeting some really interesting people AND in such inspiring surroundings ! I felt really at ease and Libby made me loads of my herbal teas throughout the day :) Thanks Libby !

I took a few pics later in the day of some lovely little shops inside the Market.. Oh, and of the Irish band that rocks up outside the local pub on a weekend. Their celtic sounds were drifting in through the window right next to where I was pattern cutting and I remember thinking.. could this be more perfect ? sew2

The Home Front was rammed customers. I recommend this shop if you’re passing by the market.

This amazing shop is called The Flood Gallery Junior ( the grown up version is next door to them ). It is floor to ceiling, bright and fun, family orientated art prints from some of the best illustrators from around the world. Again, I recommend ! sew3

….and here they are… the high energy Irish band that got me doing little jigs…

photo8

xx