Dress, Eliza Dress, Leopard Print, Sewing, Vintage, Women's Style

Weekend Sewing: Finished Vintage-Stylie Dress

You might remember that some time ago I blogged about a dress that I had almost finished ‘A Vintage Affaire‘.  The hem just needed to be completed.  I then hit a snag and asked for help ‘Trouble shooting‘.  Since then, the dress has hung in my wardrobe and I hadn’t got round to finishing it for fear of ruining it!

While I was getting my dresses out ready for my holiday I saw it hanging there and I got the desire to wear it on holiday.  I put it on and bravely, or stupidly gave my teenager a pair of scissors to cut it off for me.  I figured that nobody would have a tape-meeasure when they see me wearing it and I wasn’t sure how easy it would be anyway with such an un-even hemline.  So, I trusted her to do her best with the scissors!

It ended up a little short once I had turned the hem up and sewed it, but it was fine for holidays.  Here is me twirling on my balcony in Turkey wearing the finished dress!!  Plus a stationary one so you can see the style better and one with my family where you can see the colour better.  I’m pretty pleased with it.

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Personal Brand

Personal Branding: Brand of a Nation

I have often written about our own individual authentic personal brand, but while on holiday recently, it got me thinking about the brand of a nation.  We met a lovely couple on a boat trip around the Turkish coastline and we spent the day together.  As you do, we started to chat and find out about each other.  They were from Chile and he had travelled extensively with his work and had even been to Warwick University just down the road from us – what a small world.  His wife had never been to the UK, so her perception of us was from TV, newspapers and meeting Brits abroad.

My heart sank, I knew what was coming next.  She either had us down as one of two extremes.  Her experience was either aristocracy, such as the royal family or lager louts on tour!  She said that Brits abroad have lots of tattoos, wear short skirts, get drunk and are very loud!  Her husband, having spent time in the UK realised that there were many different characters and socio-economic groupings.  He understood the subtlety of different parts of the country, different accents and different occupations.

Royal Family Wayne and Waynetta

I do hope our day together changed her opinion somewhat.  I wonder what your view is?  How could we re-brand our nation and how would you want it to be?

Cherry Dress, Experimenting, Self-drafting, Sewing, Weekend Sewing

Weekend Sewing: Cherry Surprise!

I absolutely love this dress.  I bought it on a lovely holiday to St Ives many years ago and it was cheap as chips!  I love it because the colour and pattern is great for me.  I like to wear strapless dresses when I’m out in the sun so I don’t end up with a multitude of strap lines.  It’s cotton lawn, so beautifully light and great to wear on a hot day.  Sadly it’s almost worn out.  It has sun lotion stains around the top and the elastic has gone unde39792_10150223918170494_13209_nr the bust.  Here’s me wearing it in 2010 in  Portugal!

It’s a simple design, so I thought it would be relatively easy to copy. I went off in search of fabric to my favourite shop – Harlequin Fabrics in Leamington Spa. My idea was for something fun that I’d like to wear on holiday.

I found a great piece of soft cotton with big cherries on it. Perfect!   I started by creating a paper pattern copied from my original dress and adding a bit extra for seam allowances.


I created a lining with cotton lawn and sewed the dress up in about an hour and a half, lining and all.  Perhaps the rose wine helped!

I tried the dress on……it was too tight across the bust…..nooooooo! I asked my daughter to try it on…..it fitted perfectly. So now she is the proud owner of a new cherry dress!! And me….I just used some vanish on my old dress, sewed in some new elastic and it will have to do for another holiday!!!  Back to the drawing board!  I am sure with a few modifications I can alter the pattern to fit me.

Here we are in our dresses!


Bentley, Cars, Customer Experience, Customer Service, Quality

A Case Study in Quality – Bentley Cars

I was lucky enough to have a trip to Bentley yesterday, along with my fellow leaders at Achievers Academy for Women.  I didn’t know a great deal about the brand or the cars before my visit and I was intrigued to find out more.  I love cars, I love great FullSizeRenderquality, craftsmanship and great customer service.  All of these are apparent in spades from the moment we arrived at their offices in Crewe.

The gleaming cars and the Bentley wings were on display at their prestigious new customer experience centre CW1.  We were met and greeted by our guide for the morning, Nigel.  We started with refreshments in their customer lounge area.  You might be expecting lots of masculine dark leather and winged back chairs.  None of that in their new cutting edge purpose-built showroom.  It’s all modern, clean lines and the highest of quality.

Here are just a few of the options and choices you get to make when specifying your new Bentley.  There are so many colour choices, options on colour and type of stitching.  If you have one, you can even have your coat of arms or logo stitched in to the headrests – whatever floats your boat!  Nigel was even telling us that one overseas princess asked them to match the colour of her cars to her favourite nail varnish!

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We then set off on the factory tour – here are a few photos from the initial rooms, once we were in the factory, no cameras were allowed for obvious reasons.


Here’s W.O Bentley – founder of the company in 1919.

It was incredible to see the factory – it’s my first time on a factory tour, so I had no idea what to expect.  Everyone was wearing white and pale grey, so it made the environment seem quite scientific.  The line moves slowly to allow each job to be completed.  We chatted to a few of the staff along the way.  We were shown how the steering wheel and seats are hand stitched – we were even given a leather sample with a cross-stitch on it as a souvenir!

We were really impressed by the wood veneer and the process it goes through from root ball of a walnut tree to becoming part of the trim in the cars – we saw them being created by the presses.  Every element of the process using the highest quality products and many man-hours and skill to complete.  In the woodworking shop there are sons, fathers and grand-fathers all working together – passing on the skill and knowledge from generation to generation – very impressive.

I love these two quotes I saw on the walls there: ‘We start where others stop’ and ‘we’ve been taking things personally for nearly 250 years’.  They both demonstrate the attention to detail, the bespoke nature of the cars and the outstanding customer service.

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We all learned lots of great lessons from our day at Bentley.  If I had a spare £140k I’d have no hesitation in buying one!!  Here I am just testing out the feel of my future car!!

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