Dressed to the Kilt


Yes, you read that right, Kilts are back!!

Personally I love all things tartan so I was delighted to read/watch this week’s ‘How To Wear It’ column in the Guardian in which fashion editor JCM extolls the virtues of kilts. I will be channeling Alexander McQueen and Cher from Clueless with this one! Tartan is so good for autumn and so you can imagine how delighted I was to come across this splendid example of a genuine kilt in my favourite colour for this season – oxblood. This came from the Trinity House Hospice Shop in Streatham and I parted with £8 for this 100% wool ‘Made in Scotland’ number.



It’s actually somewhere between oxblood and aubergine with bottle green squares and a slight blue/purple stripe. Much research on the website tartan.gov.uk has led me to believe that this is the tartan for ‘Lindsay’, but please correct me if you know better.


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Seeing Red


I found this simple dark red skirt in the Trinity House Hospice Shop in Streatham last spring. Dark red (what was ‘burgundy’ is now called ‘oxblood’ but I’ll stick with ‘dark red’ for now) was in fashion last autumn and happily for me, it’s coming back. I believe this is one colour that flatters me, so I’m pleased to see it’s back this season. I was a bit slow off the mark last year but this year (spoiler alert!) I am planning an autumn wardrobe in which dark red features heavily.

This Country Casuals skirt is 100% Pure New Wool and as such I paid £8 for it, perhaps a little steep but the colour is perfect.

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Shibori Sheet

I’ve been wanting to try another dye project since I dip-dyed a white shirt last year and it was a runaway success.

And then I saw this picture a few weeks back of my favourite fashion blogger, Atlantic-Pacific, modelling a Tory Burch dress. It’s on sale for £278 at the time of writing.


Oh yeah, and Reese Witherspon has the skirt version.


Now, when I saw that dress, my first thought was: SHIBORI. Shibori is Japanese traditional tie-dye which is traditionally done using indigo dyes. There are many techniques, including folding, binding, twisting, clamping and sewing. There are some great examples on the web if you want to read more about it. Ginger over at Ginger Makes did a Shibori class with some of the NY based sewists which you can read about here. Seeing those pictures really whetted my appetite for what might be possible. Erica over at Recycled Fashion also tried this recently and made a beautiful T-shirt. And for more on dying… Sallie Oh does some incredibly inspirational things with dye – like this one which looks a bit shibori-like. She has a great dye tutorial, with more examples, here as well.

Anyway, back to my dress. I went out looking for something to dye. The dye only affects natural fibres, and I was obviously looking for something white.

Sheets are perfect for dye projects. This double duvet cover came from the Scope shop in Lewisham (£6). It’s actually 50% cotton, 50% polyester, so it will still take the dye, but the colour won’t be as strong as it would have been with 100% cotton.

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Bollywood Sequins

I bought this tunic top in the Human Relief Foundation shop in New Cross, and if I remember correctly, I only paid £2 for it. It’s a stunning deep teal blue silk with gold trim, heavy embroidery and rather glamorous gold sequins! It looks like it could have been the top half of a shalwar kameez, sadly though there were no matching trousers to be had.


I wanted to turn this into something that could be worn on a glamorous evening out, so I took some inspiration from Jennifer Lawrence. Her dress is Prabal Gurung. If you’re interested, you can buy this for a mere £1,683. I  actually had a close up look at this dress when I was snooping around Harvey Nicholls a few weeks ago; the colours are gorgeous, but I’m not terribly keen on the little pocket flap things, not sure what they are for, so think I’ll leave them out… there are some other details on this dress, like the bodice darts that were sewn wrong sides together, that I left out as well for various reasons. So this is more of an ‘inspired by’ project that a full-on ‘copycat’.



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Outfit: Yellow polka dots

What can you get for £2.75 these days? How about a vintage silk top? This beauty is 100% silk and came from the Cancer Research shop in Streatham.

The name ‘Susan Wolff’ dates this from the early 1990s (the brand is now defunct), and clothing from the early 90s is now classed as ‘vintage’.

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Truthfully, this top is a bit too big, but I’m quite happy to wear it like that as it’s so hot here at the moment. It has a lovely, flowing drape and feels beautiful to wear.

I’ve previously found this colour yellow rather difficult to wear, but I’m giving it a good go, pairing it with a black skirt and gold, black and grey accessories.

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Made in Egypt


Check out this enormous robe I bought in the British Red Cross shop in Lewisham! I believe this to be a men’s garment, mainly because of the length, but I could be wrong. It has kimono sleeves and a slit at the neckline, with no fastenings at all.

The label says “El Mansour – dry clean only – Made in Egypt – M”

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What drew me to this garment was the combination of embroidery and applique on the front. It’s very nice and an unusual combination of colours.


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Outfit: Embellishment

Hi folks, today I want to show off this coral/peach coloured beaded cardigan I bought recently in the British Heart Foundation shop in Middlesbrough. I paid £4.99.

This cardigan, though it’s synthetic, is heavily embellished with beading. Heavy being the operative word – it is pleasingly weighty to wear!

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I think someone has added a lining at some point as this has clearly been hand-sewn.


The beading is so great. There are intricate patterns and the edges have chains of beads dangling freely. It’s brilliant!

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Although it is a little big, I chose not to alter this at all; working with anything beaded can be difficult. Instead I’m going for a loose-fitting 1920s vibe.
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Special Announcement: Retail Royalty Challenge

Firstly, thank you SO MUCH to everyone who voted in the Refashion Runway competition. I was delighted (and a little overwhelmed) to be announced as the overall winner of the challenge!! I had such a great time participating in the competition with the other fabulous ladies and learned a lot in the process. Thanks again to Beth, the organiser of the challenge, to my fellow competitors and to everyone who voted. Beth let it slip already that there will be a Season 2 of Refashion Runway coming soon, so I hope you will consider participating.

Anyway, today I have a rather special announcement for you…

I was invited by MoneySupermarket.com to take part in their Retail Royalty Challenge. They give £30 to bloggers to spend on goods for a charity of our choice. The challenge part is that we are supposed to haggle on behalf of the charity in order to get as much as possible for the £30. You can see what the other bloggers did with their £30 by searching the twitter hashtag #RetailRoyaltyChallenge.

I wanted to find a charity that would accept a gift of something sewing-related, and it took me a little while, but finally I stumbled across Bag Books, via the lovely Rosie over at DIY Couture, who works there. Bag Books makes multi-sensory stories for people with learning disabilities.

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Refashion Runway: Summer Dress

This is the fourth and final part of the ‘Refashion Runway’ series. You can find pictures from the other competitors, and vote for your favourites, here.

This week’s theme is ‘Summer Dress’. Enter one summer dress that needs a bit of TLC…


This came from the British Heart Foundation shop in Streatham and cost £6.99. The fabric has navy, white and mint green stripes with a shiny pattern in the cross weave. It’s lightweight polyester.



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Refashion Runway/Red Carpet Copycat: Gwyneth Paltrow in Stella McCartney

This is my entry for the third round of Refashion Runway hosted by The Renegade Seamstress. You can click here to see what the other competitors made on this week’s ‘copycat’ theme – and vote for your favourites (me please!).

Longtime readers will remember my last take on the Stella McCartney bodycon dress, blogged here. This year’s take on it is the ‘Saskia’ dress from the Evening 2012 collection which has been worn by pretty much everyone, from Gwyneth Paltrow to Katharine Jenkins… to Victoria Pendleton to Tess Daly, in its various forms. I have been dying to recreate this dress since I first saw it but couldn’t decide on the right colour combination. The front is matte, but the back is sheeny stretch velvet (velour!) with transparent side panels.

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My version will be made out of…. yes, T-shirts, but also….


…a velour tracksuit! This baby was £7.95 from the Sense shop in Deptford. I’m only using the trousers for this, I’ll have to use the top for something else.


I’m also using a very thick blue t-shirt, £3 from Richard House Hospice shop in Upminster, and this very thin beige t shirt which was £3 from the Octavia Foundation shop in Tooting.




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