Wednesday, 29 October 2014

New party dress and a trip to Duttons

Yesterday we went on a family trip to York. After an hour and a half in the car and a trip on the Park and Ride, we headed to Jamie's Italian as they offer gluten free meals for me. I had the homemade blueberry lemonade to drink- which was really tasty and refreshing. To eat I had the Sausage Pappardelle with gluten free pasta, although I chose a small sized meal, I still struggled to finish it. My sister got some 'Funky Chips' for us to share which were coated in rosemary and garlic and were also really good.
Jasmine and I, then went off around York for a while and browsed all the independent shops in The Shambles as well as wishing we had enough money to stop off at Betty's for afternoon tea!

I wore my latest creation, a brocade 60s style shift made from one of my favourite patterns- Simplicity Jiffy 1609. I opted to make view B, which included making a decorative bow. Usually with this pattern, I make view A which has a collar, but this time I wanted to change it up a bit and make something 'dressier'. The fabric was kindly donated by my Aunt as the remnants of one of her dressmaking projects. I paired the dress with tights and a cardigan from Primark, a hat from H&M last year and my beloved yellow jacket. Seeing as the jacket cost £5 and I only had to purchase sewing thread for it, it's definitely already been great value for money.

Duttons for Buttons is a haberdashery shop which mostly sells buttons (obviously), but also sells ribbons, knitting needles and fat quarters of fabric. I first discovered the shop when me and my mum went to York in 2010, and have only been back a couple of times since as York isn't close to where we live. I realised when we got there that I hadn't prepared myself for what projects I actually needed buttons for, so I ended up buying some which I liked the look of and could think of uses for.

These are the buttons I settled for- I thought that the circular buttons would look good on another Simplicity 1609 dress, or any similar dress/top for that matter! I really loved the rectangular buttons when I saw them but wasn't entirely sure what I'd do with them until I got home. I'd been wanting to make a cape for a while and really liked the one featured in last month's Mollie Makes magazine. I realised that these buttons would look good on said cape instead of using the tie fastening featured in the magazine, especially since I now know how to use the buttonhole setting on my sewing machine! So that may be one of my next projects to feature on this blog.

Incase you didn't know, this week I set up a Facebook page for my blog. This is where I will post updates and also will be a way for readers to leave comments and talk to me if they don't have a Google account. It's part of my plan to become a better blogger, I will also (hopefully) be uploading an outfit post every Wednesday and a DIY post every Sunday- so stay tuned!

My Facebook page- link

Until next time

Holly Olivia x

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Vintage suitcase sewing box DIY- gathering supplies

I've been in need of a new sewing box for a while. With all my zips, hook and eyes and interfacing used for dressmaking as well as general sewing supplies, there just isn't anywhere to store everything in my current sewing box. John Lewis has some really nice ones, such as this Cath Kidston one, however I still wasn't convinced about the size, so I decided to make my own.
I've always loved retro suitcases, if I was talented in the art of packing lightly I'd use them on holiday! I realised that using one of these would make a large enough sewing box but would also be a really fun project to share on my blog as well. I've spent this weekend gathering the basic supplies from furniture markets and fabric shops and will be posting as I make progress to help you make your own, if you wish.

First on my list of places to visit was Kasbah furniture market in North Shields, a higgledy piggledy warehouse full of vintage furniture and odds and ends. I was shocked to discover that they have a section selling vintage sewing patterns, fabrics and other craft supplies, in all the times I've visited, this was the first time I found all these goodies. Being a photography student, I love looking at all the film cameras as some of them are so beautiful and they remind me of the GCSE artwork I did on cameras. Kasbah market have a large selection of vintage suitcases and I managed to find one which was fit for the purpose, and for £10 it was a good deal.

This is the suitcase I went with, it was obviously not in the best condition and after I spent this morning cleaning it- I realised that I may have to clean it more than once...
I also used WD40 on the handle and locks as they needed loosening up a bit, and it worked really well so now they all work perfectly. I chose this style of case as the lid is very narrow, allowing me to have more room for sewing supplies in the main body of the case. If you're planning to make your own as well, I'd recommend the same type of suitcase as it is more likely to work for this tutorial than a case with equal sized lid and body dimensions. 

This afternoon I went to my favourite shop in the whole world-1st For Fabrics, a huge warehouse full of fabrics and haberdashery. For the DIY, I needed to line the suitcase as the current lining is tattered. I wanted something in a sturdy cotton fabric and in the end I went with a pale beige fabric printed with French inspired haberdashery adverts for thimbles and scissors etc. I'm looking forward to finishing the clean up and sharing the rest of this DIY with you!

Until next time

Holly Olivia x 

Thursday, 23 October 2014

North East Blogger Awards 2014

I'm absolutely thrilled to have won best student blog in the North East Blogger Awards 2014! As I haven't been blogging for long, it was amazing to be a finalist but I'm so proud to have received so much recognition for what I do. Thank you to everyone who nominated me, the judges and all of my readers who've helped this blog grow in the month and a half since I set it up.

It was only a couple of weeks ago that I found out I had made the final three bloggers in the student category of the awards and was absolutely thrilled to bits. As the other bloggers had been blogging longer than me, I wasn't expecting to win, nevertheless I decided that I wanted to make a hat for the awards as I hardly ever get to go to such events and I wanted to go in style. I gained several scratches and bruises in making my hat as the Petersham ribbon pleats were tricky to make, but I was pleased with the result. I also made my capelet from a pattern in Mollie Makes magazine. 

The hosts of the event, Lane 7, were kind enough to prepare me a gluten free platter of food including chips, spare ribs, chicken and pulled pork- which was delicious! I wore a dress from Yumi, which isn't available anymore as I got it for Christmas, my prom heels from Outfit and a thrifted bag. My sister Jasmine, to the left of the above photo, wore a dress which I found for her in a charity shop and a scarf from my Grandparents' visit to Cyprus. The dress was a lucky find, she'd been struggling to find something which she liked but luckily she loved the one I found for her. Fentiman's provided the welcome drinks, which I was very pleased about as I take as many opportunities to drink Rose Lemonade as I can. 

Receiving my award from a Northumbria University representative.
Photo by OPR.

A huge thank you again to anyone who nominated me, comments on my blog or even just reads my posts- it means a tremendous amount to me. 

Until next time

Holly Olivia x

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

How I style jeans-part two

For this post I will be styling some jeans I bought in the H&M sale after Christmas. I had seen them featured on Kayla (AKA The Dainty Squid)'s blog and fell in love with them, so when they were reduced to £10, I snapped them up. As they aren't available anymore, I have found some similar ones on ASOS. I love the vertical stripes on them as they give the illusion that your legs are longer! For autumn, I styled them with this vintage jumper from Ready Steady Vintage on Etsy. Since seeing a similar vintage jumper on A Beautiful Mess years ago, I've been after one. They sold replicas in Primark and New Look last year, but they looked poor quality so I didn't get one. When I saw this one on Etsy, I knew I had to have it. It's a bit oversized, however I like that look plus it's super soft and cosy. I straightened my hair and wore it half up, I am also trying to get back into wearing earrings since finding some scissor ones in Tynemouth, which I feel are obligatory for a dressmaker to wear. Consequently, I wore my Debenhams heart shaped earrings today and there are similar ones here. I also wore my beloved Hush Puppies as they remind me of the Great Gatsby and I don't ever want to take them off. 

Until next time

Holly Olivia x

Monday, 13 October 2014

Gluten free tea party and book review

I've been wanting to write a similar post to this for a while. For about the past three months I have been sticking to a strict gluten free diet. Unless you try to cut out gluten completely, you don't realise how many ridiculous things contain it that shouldn't- sausages and burgers are a great example. The only reason they contain wheat flour, is to make the manufacturing process cheaper, however this means that I have to be very careful when I eat in restaurants or when shopping for food. Consequently, I've been trying out a lot of recipe books that are aimed towards people living a gluten free lifestyle and one of my most recent purchases is the 'Gluten free gourmet recipes' book by Maurizio Cusani and Cinzia Trenchi. So far I've only made a couple of things from it- with great success!

At the weekend I made jam tarts and ricotta bread sticks from the book and I had to adjust the recipes a bit, but they were delicious. I only realised that I was missing a vital ingredient after I got back from the supermarket, meaning I had to make marmalade tarts instead. The pastry was by far the best gluten free pastry I've ever made, it didn't crumble and tasted really good. I added little pastry squirrels and hearts to the top of my tarts, to make them more attractive. 
The bread sticks were also easy to make, however I had to add more ricotta than the recipe said as they were pretty tasteless. This may have affected the overall result as the day after I made them, they turned quite chewy and dry. So I'd recommend eating these the day they are made, as they were delectable. 

Overall, the book has some really nice recipes for bread and snacks in, however some of the things in it are very pretentious. For example roast quail? I haven't made any of the breads yet but I'll be sure to write a post about them soon. 

Until next time

Holly Olivia x
Monday, 6 October 2014

Falling for Liberty fabrics

Liberty London is one of the most magical places in the world. From the building's Tudor-esque exterior to the smells on the beauty floor, it's somewhere that I love to visit when I'm in London, although the pricing is a bit too high if you're a student like myself. My favourite section is obviously the fabrics, which Liberty is world renowned for, long before I'd managed to get some fabric of my own, I'd appreciated the stunning designs but wasn't aware of why the fabric is given such a hefty price (£22 a metre). My Aunt was kind enough to send me some left over Liberty fabric from one of her projects and I was pleasantly surprised by the amazing quality and softness of the fabric. Using my Simplicity 1609 pattern ,which is for a 60s replica shift dress, I made a top by shortening the pattern pieces. It was a fairly easy dressmaking project and one that I've already worn a lot. The only problem I had was with the seam allowances as when I made a dress from the same pattern years ago, I used a 1cm seam allowance instead of 1.5cm. This meant that when I tried on the finished top, I got a bit stuck in it and the only way to save it was to let out the seam allowances, as the amount of fabric I had was very limited. I can't find the exact fabric that I used, however this one is similar. 

Thanks to my dad for photobombing what would have been a good photo.
I found it too funny to not feature in this post, however.

My scarf is from H&M, I actually got it when I was in year seven, which was six years ago and the scarf is still just as soft and in as good condition as it was when I bought it. I've found a similar one online, which is more expensive but better quality. My skirt was from Oasis in April and is just a gathered denim skirt with some layered detail at the hem. The jacket I'm wearing in the first photo is from my Thrifted Jacket Re-style post and Joules have a similar one for sale here. I'm still surprised that I managed to brave the Autumn air without my jacket for some photos, without freezing, although the sun was quite warm until the wind picked up. The tights are from Primark and were either £2.00 or £3.00 for one pair. My shoes are old Doctor Martens and are basically high soled Mary Jane shoes. I'm planning to make another dress using this pattern out of some other fabric which my Aunt gave me, so I'll hopefully be able to post about that soon.

Until next time

Holly Olivia x

Friday, 3 October 2014

An unusual outfit post...

First of all- thank you to anyone who nominated me for the North East Blogger Awards! It feels so surreal to have achieved an award nomination in just over a month of blogging, I'm having to go on Monday to get a short film made about me which will be played at the awards- so it's all very new and exciting for me. You may have noticed my snazzy new badge at the side of my blog, but here it is again.

In A level photography, we're currently putting together our workbooks and today I spent most of the lesson gathering and regathering conkers. There was a point to all this- I'm definitely not a squirrel. We were experimenting with shutter speed and, after finding many conkers on the floor, I decided it would make a really awesome photo if I threw conkers in the air and used a really fast shutter speed to create the illusion that the conkers were floating mid-air. Here are the results.

This one looks as if I have a conker for a mouth, but I love the effect of using
a really quick shutter speed!
Jumper (worn under dress)- Primark years ago. Similar here
60s style shift- made by me with this pattern
Brooch- Festival of Thrift stall

Until next time

Holly Olivia x