Category: Announcements

Special Announcement: Capital Chic Patterns Winter 2016 Collection

Hello Refashioners! Special announcement for you today – I’m launching a second collection of sewing patterns for my pattern company, Capital Chic Patterns. There are four new patterns in the Winter 2016 collection.

This collection has been a long time, I mean a really long time, in the works. But now launch day is finally here and I’m so excited to show you what I’ve been working on…


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Exploring The Brave New World of Bare Midriffs


Greetings, Refashioners! I’m back with another monstrosity-turned-masterpiece for your viewing pleasure.

I bought this Cambridge-blue (Tiffany-blue?) polyester/viscose top in the Scope shop in Lewisham, a while back when they were having a sale. It was £2.00 (reduced from £3.95). Score!


Like the magpie I am, I had totally fallen for the silver-coloured beading on the front yoke. Delightful!

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The top is a little big, and the effect of the overall shape was a bit third-trimester, but it had a lot going for it.

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Special Announcement: Capital Chic Patterns

Today I have something very exciting to share with you: I’m starting my own pattern company, Capital Chic Patterns.

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll know about my fondness for drafting patterns and creating unusual garments using both drafting and draping techniques. On seeing so many wonderful indie sewing pattern companies become successful in their own niches, it was a natural next step for me to start a new venture which might allow me to make a little money while doing something I love. I am a big supporter of indie pattern companies but felt like there wasn’t one around that fully matched my personal style – modern, fashionable dresses and separates that suit my lifestyle. As you know, I live and work in central London and favour slim silhouettes, clean lines and tend towards the smarter or more formal end of the spectrum. That’s why my new collection of patterns is designed primarily as work wear and cocktail wear, though depending on the fabrics, these shapes could carry you through from weekend shopping to date night, or the office party to that summer wedding. I feel that there are people who sew whose personal style doesn’t necessarily fit into the vintage/retro style that a lot of indie pattern companies cater for, and those are the people for whom I’m designing.

Another thing I am passionate about is improving my own sewing skills as well as those of my readers and the community in general. I’m not a sewing expert but consider myself to be experienced in some of the more advanced techniques. I have always tried to share tutorials on ideas and techniques for refashioning and pattern making here on the blog, so that people may learn something new. And this is another thing I’ll be trying to address with the new company – the patterns are aimed at intermediate to advanced sewers. Again, I feel this is a sector that is not necessarily being covered as well as it could be by indie pattern companies at the moment. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that there is a lot of choice out there for beginners. But what happens when you want to progress and start working on your skills as a sewist? If you continue making beginner-rated patterns, you’ll never improve, and that worries me. I want people to challenge themselves – that’s the only way to learn! All Capital Chic patterns come with fully-illustrated and easy-to-understand instructions which will hopefully enable those that haven’t tried certain techniques to give them a go. The new collection includes things like sew-in boning, French seams, machine-rolled hems and various other techniques that wouldn’t be found in beginner-rated patterns. So if you’ve been making beginner patterns up to now, but are ready for a challenge, Capital Chic is for you.

Without getting too emotional, I want to say thanks to everyone for your support since I started the blog 3 years and 115 posts ago. It’s been an absolute blast, and here’s to the next 115! Huge thanks to those in the sewing blogger community who have helped with testing the patterns thus far. And extra-special thanks to Clare for being a sounding board and drinking companion throughout the whole process!

On that note, don’t worry, nothing will change over here on Charity Shop Chic. I’ll still be buying the ugliest things I can find in charity shops across the world and making them special, and sharing the process with you all. I promise not to become one of those blogs that started out great but became merely a tool for self-promotion. I’m sure you all know that is just not my style! There will be a brand new blog for the new company here where I’ll be talking about all sorts of things to do with the new patterns, such as pattern hacks, sewing tips, fashion and styling ideas and more. If that interests you, you can subscribe to the RSS Feed here. You can also subscribe to receive occasional email updates, on new pattern releases and that sort of thing, from Capital Chic here. And feel free to follow me with my Capital Chic hat on on Twitter here, and on Facebook here.

And now, I want to share a little bit about each of the new patterns with you. There are six designs in my first collection and they each come with two variations. Each comes as a print-at-home or print-at-copyshop PDF file, complete with fully illustrated instructions, in sizes UK 10-18. For full details, hop over to the new website.

Martini is a cocktail dress with a twist. In today’s crop-top shape with an above-the-waist skirt, the silhouette helps create the illusion of a narrow waistline. It comes either as separates, so you can show as much or as little skin as you like, or as a lined dress that looks like separates but without the risk of showing any midriff. Martini’s instructions include full descriptions of advanced techniques such as boning, french seams and inserting the zip guard, making it ideal for sewing intermediates looking for a challenge.

Martini Blue

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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 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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Red Carpet Copycat: Anna Wintour (et al) in Dior

Today, I’m taking a closer look at this look from Dior Spring 2013. This ankle-length dress has a black knit top half and a flowery bottom half with an overlay of shiny organza. I love the way the organza catches the light. This look has been modelled by (amongst others) Elizabeth Debicki. Debicki plays Jordan in ‘Gatsby’; she is seen here at the film’s Sydney premiere.


Very similar looks from the same collection have also been worn by Anna Wintour and Natalia Vodianova. My favourite I think here is Wintour’s – I love her necklace – though I must say I prefer Debicki’s black shoes.

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To make my own version of this look I’m using… a pair of curtains (to be accurate, I’m only going to use one, actually). I got these flowery numbers from the Mind shop in Whitby and I paid £4.50.



I will also need a black t-shirt. This basic men’s shirt is size medium and cost £3.50 from the British Red Cross shop in Lewisham.


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By popular request: White shirt redux

Hi everyone, since so many people requested that I wear last week’s white shirt with skinny jeans or leggings, I thought I’d try out a couple of outfits so you can see how it looks.

Here it is with sequinned leggings.

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