The Groom and Groomsmen

Construction

Alex always knew he wanted to wear something extravagant for his wedding – when you wear suits to work everyday they can lose their appeal. So we did some research and he really liked the idea of having an Indian sherwani – very different and colourful!

When we went to India on a family holiday/ pilgrimage we were able to find an amazing fabric and tailoring shop in Varanasi…

They were very friendly and helpful as we talked them through what Alex had in mind – they brought out reams and reams of fabrics for us to choose from and then measured the groom up!

And that was that – they posted the sherwani to us – it took around 15days in total – amazing!

We managed to find a waistcoat and trouser combination from Marks and Spencers that really worked with the blue of the fabric – now all he needs are some fab shoes and a white shirt with a Granddad collar to match the jacket.

………………….

In our wedding plans there have been a lot of musing about that the men should wear – it’s hard when the groom will be dressed so amazingly in a handmade Indian wedding jacket! You don’t want the groomsmen to look underdressed and nor do you want them to up stage the groom! AND you want them to match the rest of the bridal party! It is equally hard when they do not really mind and are waiting to be told by YOU!

Anyway – we decided to ask them all to get themselves a grey suit (something they would wear again!) and we will accessorise them to match…at first we toyed with the idea of putting them in matching waistcoats, which would have looked lovely but then I went suit browsing with my twin brother and he was trying on tweed jackets with fleck of yellow – lovely, but not with the above waistcoat!

So, back to the drawing board, and we thought, it will look amazing if they all choose different suits, shades of grey, contrasting weights, because they will all look fantastic! And if we got them matching ties, pockets squares and button holes they will look amazing – and what better fabric for the pockets squares than our beautiful one from India?!

I cut out and overlocked 10 squares of the brocade and linings for each.

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Then I stitched the two right sides together, leaving a little gap at the end for turning the right way round, and clipped the corners.

Turned them the right way round…

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Ironed them within an inch of their lives and slip stitched the end closed. I love how different each one is, with the linings, but also that the top fabric has slightly different colours and patterned on!

Love them! (I think I’ll take one tie shopping with me so I can try and match the deep blue running through all of them. Then all the men really will match! Phew!) I actually ended up buying a bundle of vintage ties off of eBay for my men’s jackets in oo arh! and found that some really matched the colour themes – so kept them back to add to the mens gift bags.

I found some great folding tutorials online and printed them out to add to the gift packages as well!

I think you’ll agree they look amazing!

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We actually had a hand in making some unique cufflinks for the groomsmen with Rosalyn Prest at Rosalyn’s Emporium – see my blog post about our experience and how we did it!

Finally, I found a lovely lady online, Sarah Burns, who prints some truly beautiful cards to give to all our families on the actual day to complete their gift bundle!

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The only other thing I needed to do for my groom was to upcycled a double cuffed shirt for him – it was impossible to find one with a Granddad collar to go with his suit neckline so I decided to make one!

We bought a crisp new one from a shop he loves and I simply took the collar out…

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And stitched it back up again…

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He is so happy with it – and now his outfit is complete!

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And here is my gorgeous groom – looking stunningly colourful and happy! (I’ll add more photos when they come through from David Scammell.)

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Wedding Headpiece

Construction

Along with my wedding dress I decided to make something to go in my hair – since I have quite short hair, and normally I never do anything with it, I thought it would be really lovely to have some lace, flowers and feathers in my hair!

Not knowing exactly where to start I did my typical Google and YouTube searches and decided to start with a headband that I found on Ebay…

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I added cotton wool to the ends because they were metal balls, that dug into my head…I thought, I’ll never last a whole day with these things hurting me! A simple solution but it seems to be working! I might cover them with plates tape nearer the time if the white stands out too much against my skin and hair.

I then purchased a Sinamay millinery base and secured it to an oval of felt with a glue gun, giving me a place to work around and from with the decoration.

I played around with adding the lace from Alex’s Grandma over the Sinamay and loved the effect!

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If I could starch spray the lace that flops over the edges it would help create height and cover the places I weave flowers and feathers into.

I started experimenting with adding pheasant feather to the band…

Even though I love the idea, I think it might end up being too much…so headpiece take two!

I bought another hair band (a covered one, so hopefully it will be comfier than the metal one) and started playing with making the lace 3D out of the sample from Alex’s Grandma…

I started with small, well placed stitches to create texture and structure…

I then glued and stitched these arrangements to the headband. I also slipped some fine wire underneath some of the lace which fell off the band to give it some structure and shape. I then embellished the head piece with small beads…

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And there you have it, after two attempts, I have a very ‘me’ head piece to wear at my wedding – not too showy, not too big, but pretty and upcycled!

I went to Maria Christina salon in Chippenham to have a trial of my wedding hair which ended up being more styled than I had anticipated but it really worked – she came up with the idea as she said the silhouette of my dress was very close to that of the 50’s! We booked her in to come and fix my hair and the headpiece the morning of the wedding and since she was coming anyway I thought it would be nice for the bridesmaids to have their hair done too – so they feel extra special! I purchased some beautiful hair clips from Bride Boutique for my three bridesmaids.

Excuse the weird selfie…was trying not to move while Maria did her thing!

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I love the vintage curls, and look what they turned into!

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Maria understood exactly what I wanted and made me feel like a princess on my wedding day!

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Official photographs by David Scammell.

Upcycled Peter Pan Costume

Commission, Construction, Textile work

I was contacted last year by a customer about making a unique costume for her son’s 18th birthday in 2018 – he had a Peter Pan costume when he was little and lived in it. So for his special birthday she wanted to replicate it for him! Such an original idea, so of course I said yes!

I wasn’t exactly sure where to start so, as per usual, I got on Pinterest to see what other people had done and get some inspiration.

I started with the feet and worked up…I wanted to make him some shoes…but then realised the would end up more like slippers which he could not really wear outside. So instead I set about making something that could go over any footwear. This meant getting my foot on the work table and drawing round it, wrapping it in pattern paper and generally making a mess!

But I got there –

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And then it was on to the felt…

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It didn’t like the curves but we got there in the end!

 

I secured the side with a small piece of elastic so he could slip it on over his foot, and another strip to hold it in place underneath.

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Tada! I think they are adorable!

I purchased some green leggings and a second hand green t-shirt from eBay and started cutting…

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I also found him a belt to pull the XXL t-shirt into his wait – v Peter Pan!

And finally, green felt and red feather means…

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Yep, you guessed it, the hat! I had been sent the original costume hat to work from which was a real help as it is subtly shaped – I love the outcome!

 

Can’t wait to see the birthday boy in his costume – so cute!

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Handmade Wedding Rings!

Construction

Yes, along with a unique, handmade wedding we decided to make each other’s wedding rings! My cousin had travelled to Scotland for him and his now wife to make their rings – but we found someone a little closer to home…we got in touch with Rosalyn Prest from Rosalyn’s Emporium in Chesham to organise a consultation session.

She was very encouraging and interesting – with a lot of experience to draw from she advised and informed us of the myriad of options for our wedding rings and left us to make our own decisions before attending out experience day on 14/07/18!

Our rings started out as bars of 9ct white gold…

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We then began hammering the bars to fit our finger sizes – Alex had the extra challenge of making a delicate bend in the wedding ring so it would fit around my engagement ring!

We then trimmed the metal back in order to solder the join…

Then came the filing and buffing to make the rings smooth and even…

Next, we got to polish the rings up – it was amazing how much difference this made to the look of them!

To finish off Alex’s ring I needed to hammer some texture around the outside which was so much fun!

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We also managed to make some cufflinks for our groomsmen – they started off as little squares or silver…

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We then hammered funky texture into the front of the cufflinks…

While I was finishing off Alex’s ring, he hammered the groomsmen’s initials on to the pairs…

And after a polish, here they are! Can’t wait to see their faces when they open these!

We have left our rings with Roz to get hallmarked and have a small ‘x’ engraved on the insides – can’t believe we have actually made the rings we will wear as man and wife!

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Moto jacket for Nikki

Commission, Construction, Textile work

One of my uni friends challenged me with a commission – she is in love with these moto jackets but cannot find any to suit her unique taste and also they are becoming scarce as the fashions change. So she appealed to my better nature and asked if I could make her one of her own and of course I said yes, I love a challenge and would love to make her something she adores!

So I started doing my pattern research (I did not think it sensible to start making my own pattern!) and found some really interesting ones online and in the end Nikki decided on this Evergreen Jacket from Hey June.

She gave me some colour and pattern ideas and I went shopping!!! Following in the pattern instructions I purchased some maroon sweatshirt material!

And got cutting…

I have not used a pattern for ages so it took me a while to work it all out but Hey June’s pattern was well thought out and clearly explained!

I made a pocket! One of the most exciting things I’ve done – adding a zip and pocket seems so simple but I suddenly realised I’d never done it before!

It wasn’t long before the pieces of the pattern were looking more like a jacket!

I love the little details that Hey June included in the pattern, simple things like top stitching lines around the collar make the item really stand out as unique!

I’m so proud of myself for sticking it out and I’m thrilled with the outcome!

Finishing touch…a lovely label for a lovely jacket!

Here is the finished item…I hope Nikki loves it as much as I do!

Stay tuned for images of the customer in her new garment!

The very talented Julian Jaschke took some amazing photos of Nikki in her new jacket and sent them over to me – I think she looks absolutely stunning!

Holiday home upholstery!

Construction, Homeware, Textile work

I was contacted by a lady who had a little holiday home in Dorset to make some unique finishing touches for her redecorating!

She had already done a lovely job of some curtains for the top room and a matching chair but wanted some cushion covers to match.

So I made some out of the reverse of the curtain fabric to make them look a little different (since the chair is not exactly the same material we thought we’d make a feature of it!).

And they look really lovely! I added a zip at the back as a fastening and they look really professional!

I then moved on to the roman blind – she had one in place already so I did not have to make a mount board!

I simply made the blind, attaching the soft Velcro side as documented in my previous blog, took out the old blind and added in fresh cords and attached the new handmade blind! And it looks fab!

It was so lovely to be able to install it for her as I’ve never seen my work up in the flesh before! Super exciting and rewarding…right now I can make a blind for our new home!

Unique Upcycled Jacket!

Commission, Construction, Textile work

I was contacted by a lovely lady I met while trading at the Marlborough Christmas Shopping event in November. She loved my jackets but was not sure they would suit her or if she would really wear one with a long skirt. So I suggested she looks for her own which I could upcycled for her – she went straight out and found a bargain in a charity shop – a Giorgio Armani jacket! Sian also had ideas of what she wanted me to do with it, which was great for my first jacket commission:

Autumnal colours, trim around the neck and opening, pocket square, elbow patches and maybe some embroidery on the back, but that bit was left up to me!

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So, I got to work! Picking out some autumnal buttons to ease myself into the design process…

And then finding some beautiful fabric to make the pocket square and matching elbow patches out of…

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I then started in on the patchwork and embroidery to further the autumnal feel – I tried a few arrangements and sent my favourite to Sian to give the go ahead and hand embroidered an elegant flower over the top…

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We also decided on some trim to go round the whole jacket, excluding the cuffs, which really helped lift her jacket!

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It was so much fun to work on this personal project with Sian and I was thrilled when she said she loved it as much as I do!

And it looks even better on…!

Memory Pillows

Construction, Homeware

I was very honoured to receive a commission from Tamsin through my Wix website (although it turns out we met at Boondocks a few years ago!) to create a cushion out of her Granddad’s cardigan and also to make some mini memory pillows out of the off cuts to give to family members to hang on their Christmas trees! Such a lovely, personal, and sentimental idea, which I was thrilled to be able to accept.

I went a head and bought a 16″ square cushion and worked around the idea of keeping as much of the front as possible, so I decided to use the original zip as the opening for the cushion cover and place a panel underneath to cover the cushion exposed by the neckline. I measured and cut a front and back panel out of the shoulder section so they were already joined and added the panel over the top and stitched the three sides together.

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I asked Tamsin about the collar, as it would have looked excellent stood up or neatly stitched down with the rest of the cushion, but as it was a main feature I wanted to make sure she would like it…

In the end she went for the stitched down approach, so it looked more like a cushion than a cardigan and the final outcome was one filled with memory and comfort.

I then started cutting out small 8cm squares from the excess cardigan, patching together the different colours and features, like the cream cuffs, the zip, the ribbed pockets and the Icelandic pattern.

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To construct the decorations, I simply placed the two squares rights sides together, and stitched around 3 sides of the shape, catching a loop of maroon ribbon in one corner, then stuffing them with some high grade hollow fibre stuffing and hand stitching the opening closed…

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All in all, I was able to make 22 little memory pillows out of the off cuts and I am very proud with how they turned out. I hope Tamsin’s family are as pleased with them as I am – what a lovely reminder of a loved one at Christmas time.

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Samantha’s Roman Blinds

Construction, Homeware

The Brown family have been very good to me so far through commissions, my first curtains, first solo upholstery project, and now I have had the chance to learn how to make roman blinds! I don’t mind telling you I was extremely nervous about setting to it because they seemed so much more complicated that curtains because they are so flat and accurate but I did some research online and in a book (I know, proper research!) and started ordering all the necessary materials…mixture of eBay and The Millshop Online.

I found an excellent YouTube video by My Decozo which took me through the steps to making a roman blind which was extremely easy to follow and helpful! I find it easier working with a video but I will put it step by step here incase others find it easier with pictures, and also so I can come back to it for the next blinds!

Firstly, decided what mechanism you want to use for your blind, you can by ones or make your own – I decided to make my own with some wood 12 x 32mm. This I cut to the length of the window minus 1cm (so for this blind, 90cm – 1cm = 89cm). I then covered the wood with an off cut of Samantha’s chosen fabric (which used to be curtains in her house!).

I stuck the first side down with sellotape to hold it while I pulled the other side tight.

Fold over the next layer to create a neat finish and staple down.

Fold the corners like a present and staple securely.

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Lay a strip of sticky side velcro on the top edge and staple to secure.

Now, get your head around the chosen window and its measurements:

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  • Samantha’s windows are in alcoves so I have been given the wall to wall measurements to work from.
  • Calculate the number of rod pockets you will need (excuse the rough drawing but it helps to physically draw it).
  • Decide how many rods you want depending on the dimensions of window – Samantha’s was 90cm x 84cm so I did 3 rod pockets and worked out the measurements by following these steps:
  • 1.5 x depth of head rail (4.8cm) = A (7.2cm)
  • Full drop of blind (84cm) – A (7.2cm) = 76.8cm
  • 76.8cm / 7 (for 3 rod pockets) = 10.9cm = C
  • C = the length between rod pockets, this will be times by 2 when the sections include a fold.
  • The top section has A added to it for the mont board allowance.

Now the complicated bit is done you can start cutting out your face fabric.

  • You need to add 10cm to the finished width (so that would be 100cm for me)
  • And a top hem of 6cm and bottom hem of 10cm (so my cut length was also 100cm)

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For the lining it is slightly different.

  • It is cut to the finished width (90cm for me)
  • But you need to add an additional 5cm for the top, 5cm for the bottom, 2cm per rod pocket (6cm for me) and an ease of 5cm (lining total for me was 105cm)

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Now you are ready to start!

Beginning with the face fabric, iron one 5cm side fold and then measure across the width of the fabric to get the correct measurement and fold and iron…

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Iron the top 6cm fold…

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Reopen the top and side ironed creases and machine the soft side of the velcro…

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Moving on to the lining, on the wrong side of the fabric measure and iron the 2.5cm side folds…

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Flip the fabric over with the right side up and press over the 5cm bottom hem allowance…

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Now you are ready to start measuring out the rod pockets!

Measure from the bottom hem fold up to your first section measurement plus 1cm (for me that would be 11.9cm up from the hem fold) and mark with a pin and draw a soft pencil line from pin to pin…

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I then drew another line, 1cm off from this fold line, this will be your stitch line!

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Now fold and press along the fold line and take to your machine! Sew along the stitch line…

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Now measure up from the STITCH line up 2 x your section measurement + 1cm (10.9cm x 2 = 21.8cm + 1cm = 22.8cm) and draw your fold and stitch lines and repeat the stages!

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Now moving back to the face fabric, herringbone stitch the side folds using matching thread…

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Measure from the top fold down the length of your blind to find your correct length, fold and press…

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Then measure up from this fold your C measurement and mark with a pin on both sides of the fabric – this is your join mark for the first rod pocket, continue measuring up the sides of the fabric to mark where all of them should be so it is easier to lay the fabrics together correctly, smooth the lining across the face fabric and pin in place…

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Slip stitch the layers together, but do not go through the the front layer of the face fabric…

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Cut the excess lining fabric at the top of the blind down to the original fold line…

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Then cut down the face fabric fold to 2cm beyond the velcro and fold a 1.5cm fold underneath the velcro, pin and slipstitch to lining…

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Slip stitch the bottom hem to the lining…

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Now it is time to fix the lining to the face fabric across the width of the blind, stab stitch along the rod pocket seams starting at 10cm in from each edge fold and no more than 30cm apart from each other…

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Make small stitches above the seam line and assure you only pick a one thread from the face fabric…

Now you are ready to insert the rods, mark the fibreglass rods to 1cm less than the rod pocket, cover with masking tape and cut them using a copping saw and sanding paper…

Insert the rod and stitch the pocket closed at both ends…

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Repeat this process with the bottom bar, but cut it to 2cm shorter than the channel…

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Now you can attach the blind rings, I used the first stab stitch (at 10cm) as the first mark for a blind ring and stitched around the rod as well as to the pocket. The next one I placed at the halfway point and the last at the other 10cm point.

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I then threaded the blind cord through the rings down the length of the blind and then through an orb, tying the end to stop it pulling out…

Then, using the cord as a guide I marked where the eyelet screws needed to go and screwed them in…

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Loop the cords through the eyes, making sure to go from back to front and bringing the excess down to the side of the blind. Attach the acorn to the cord and there you have it! Your roman blind!

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Samantha had just forwarded some photographs of her blinds – and they look so lovely!

I feel I have learnt a lot from the project, and am really looking forward to the next one! I may even make one for our new home!

Signs for the Birdcage

Construction, Festivals, Homeware

So after making my new signs for oo arh! my stepdad approached me with a commission! He and my mum have a lovely restaurant in Malmesbury call ‘The Birdcage’ (I know, shamelessly promoting my family’s business – I should get commissions for how often I talk about them and their fantastic pizzas!) and he wanted some lavatory signs for it! Very exciting – so I obviously said yes…excuse to get the power tools out again!

I still have some of the reclaimed wood left over from the oo arh! signs, so I decided to cut them to size (5″x 16″) and then repeated the same process as before – it worked a treat then so I have faith that it wouldn’t fail me this time! Also Stewart stated he wanted them exactly like the originals – so I got all the materials and tools out…and got cracking! 

Boards cut to size…


First coat of Creocote..


And the next…


Now the Vaseline…


And the spray paint…


I then wiped the Vaselined edges and sanded the spray paint down to get a lovely distressed effect and started painting my lettering…


And here are the signs in situ…
I’m very proud of how they turned out and how well they fit in with the restaurant!