Purple faux fur jacket and the V&A

I didn’t make this one. I found it at the Woking Hospice Charity shop (for £12!!) and decided to alter it. At an over-generous size 12 from Oasis, it was huge on me.

So I put a seam down each sleeve to make them more narrow. And a seam down each side of the body at chest/waist height, to make it narrower there too for a warmer, tighter fit.

I also moved the hooks it has for closures from the edge of the coat to the side, turning it from a single-breasted jacket to a double-breasted one. There are no buttons to emphasize this, just a thicker front. Amusingly, the side pockets overlap right on the front. Thankfully, I’m not too scared of looking too padded, so I’ve happily been walking around in it all weekend. It’s much warmer than my French Connection wool & cashmere coat, despite being 100% synthetic. I guess the thickness of the fur makes up for lack of good materials!!

Bottom line is that if you find such a jacket for sale anywhere, altering it is incredibly easy (took me less than 30min while pausing to watch Adventures of a London Call Girl on tv) and definitely worth it!

Oh, and this weekend I dropped by the V&A to see their decode exhibition. Some cool interactive things, but nothing to really make me go WOW. Aside from one exhibit which allowed the users to upload pictures and participate that way in the “art” being shown… If they have an IPHONE. I’m a user / visitor too. And I was not allowed to participate.  And that’s everything that’s wrong with Apple and its fanatics. I’m a user too. Why segregate?

On the bright side, there was a goooooorgeous dress on show. Can’t remember from whom. Oh, right, Christian Lacroix. Of course. 🙂  Too elaborate to truly be worn, and yet so surprisingly desirable…

Christian Lacroix gown at the V&A

Planning a “Tuxedo Tuesday” with friends. Loosely inspired by Barney’s “suit up” line on How I met your mother, combined with us girls’ perpetual desire to dress up but not having sufficient occasions for it. *sigh*. Maybe some day soon!! Anyone ever tried it? Where did you go? We were thinking a pub, or hotel bar…

What do Marilyn, Liberty, Selfridges, Laduree, Westwood and TopShop have in common?

… they all were part of my (lovely) weekend 🙂

Saturday involved homemade english breakfast, a short (first ever) visit to the National Portrait Gallery (wow!), tea at Laduree, shopping at Liberty (!!) and a lovely movie with George Clooney. That, and changing a handbag lining. But more on that below.

Marilyn dress finds owner

Finally, after many tribulations involving flights, post offices, mailmen and snow, The Marilyn Dress has found its rightful owner!

This is my friend, N., modeling the dress. The feedback I got was that it’s going to be tough to find the right bra for it (indeed I have no idea how Marilyn herself pulled it off – or kept it in, as it were…), and that the skirt’s fullness (720 degrees of material sewn into 360 degrees of waist) is wonderful and very glamorous.

Now all we need is a Hollywood-style evening to wear it to. Us girls should get our diaries out and coordinate some massive charity ball or something, because we’re not rich enough to afford such an event on our own money. However, we are definitely good at getting things done and having fun (and 3 of us have already coordinated large events). So maybe later this year we’ll have some interesting news, born from a random comment while walking around Knightsbridge, dreaming of when we’d get to wear our lovely evening dresses…

Shopping at Liberty: Vivienne Westwood rocks!

As for Liberty… Well… I came across this stunning Vivienne Westwood dress… And I couldn’t resist. The pictures are from net-a-porter (where it was overpriced AND sold out), that’s not me!! It’s my first designer dress, and I’m very very excited to have added it to my wardrobe. I’ll be peeking at it for construction tips in the future, me thinks 🙂

Selfridge’s inspiring window

On my saturday-shopping-in-London day, I came across this window at Selfridge’s on oxford street that truly inspired me, and I had to share it.

I’ve said this before, but I’ve just finished losing weight (reached my target weight last week!!!) and as a result I have a bit of a messy wardrobe. There’s various shapes and sizes, and I need to go through it and toss things. Most acquisitions having occurred since I started working full time 5 years ago (which is when I started piling on the pounds) are often of a hide-my-shape nature. Despite always being fond of body-con, once you reach a well-padded size 14, you want to hide, even in body-con clothes.

So a lot of the stuff I have is darker, boring, drab… And I want to rejuvenate it. Because I’m in the best shape I’ll ever be (30 years old, with a body tighter and smaller than when I was 16!!) and I want to enjoy it while it lasts (aka before children and serious old age happen). And this quote on the Selfridge’s window about sorting through your clothes and making sure you love each and every one of them hit a chord. Because when you love your clothes, getting dressed in the morning becomes joyful, and you spend the rest of the day in the afterglow of knowing you are wearing lovely things and looking your best. I would like my clothes to mirror my new self: to be the best, and happiest, they can be.

TopShop handbag lining

In more practical news, a handbag I have been using for maaaaybe 2 months (tops) has already fallen to shreds. Well, the lining has.

TopShop’s leather handbags are usually very well made and quite solid, but this one seems to have been the exception that (hopefully) confirms the rule. Within 3 weeks the lining had already started to tear. You see, whoever created the handbag thought that it would be smart to line it in the flimsiest, most shreddable light little cotton… For the record, sir (women know that lining needs to be _solid_), you are a twit. And please don’t do it again.

So now I have a choice. Go hunting for my next handbag and spend another £50-100, or change the lining. Naturally, being offered to customise a handbag interior, I pounced. You see, I LOVE pockets. And I love special linings. So I’m replacing the awful TopShop material with a reinforced colourful silk one. Plus London Fashion Weekend is coming up next month, so I should hold off shopping around until then (there’s some great things there!)

I had scraps from the Marilyn dress and from my Medieval gown, and I used them to make me a new reinforced lining. I’ve put on 2 small internal pockets and one larger zippered one, and I plan on making a small makeup/whatnot pouch to match the lining for carrying some bigger clutter necessities I always have with me (swiss army knife, permanent marker, hand sanitizer, lip balm…)

Here is the lining with the pockets attached. Tonight I will sew it into the bag, and add a bottom, so I can use it tomorrow. Yey!! Not only do I end up with a more functional bag, but I save money, have fun, and improve the bag a hundredfold! A peek of beautiful lining makes the difference between quality designs and high street junk. Have I mentioned that Sewing Rocks!!?! 🙂

I think I like purple…

Akira skirt. Monsoon. £75 (sz 10 please!)

Akira skirt. Monsoon. £75 (sz 10 please!)

I have had an issue with purple since I had a professor who wore everything in that colour. We’re talking glasses, binders, attache case, shoes, hair, pen, ink of pen, the works. One day she walked into class in a blue dress and said “I’m sorry class, today is laundry day”. We all burst out laughing.

Thing is, she wasn’t the nicest teacher. Or the most accurate. And me correcting her didn’t help get me into her good graces (or good grades). So as a result I developed an allergy to purple of all shades. Until september 2009, that is. 09/09. A memorable date.

I think it’s the shoes and bags that did it. And now I am drooling over this skirt from Monsoon. At £75 it’s extortionate, even for wool. But even if it is a simple skirt to make (Less than 2 hours from tracing the pattern to walking out the door) where oh where might one be able to find such delicious fabric?!?!

Suggestions/tips in the comments (if there’s anyone reading this…) Ta!!

Fairy Goth Mother!!

Visited Spitalfields this weekend and now am busy drooling over the Fairy GothMother website… Wonder when I’ll be able to afford this… Or whether I can make it… For a 22” waist please!!

Purple corset (bk-32)

Purple corset (bk-32)