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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Colour, New Look 6699, Sewing, Wedding, Women's Style

Sewing: Lesley’s Dress – Part 2

Here’s the second dress I made for Lesley – the proper dress, rather than the toile I blogged about last time.

A deep breath before cutting into the 30-year-old fabric!!IMG_2015

After making the ‘test dress’ to check the fit, making up the silk dress for Lesley was a breeze.  As there was enough fabric, I decided to line the bodice in silk too.  There is nothing worse than wearing a beautiful dress and the lining keeps peeping out on display.  I wanted to ensure that didn’t happen with this dress which Lesley planned to wear for her best friend’s wedding.

IMG_2047 Here’s the completed bodice before the bust gathers went in.  oops, you can see my pile of patterns behind the ironing board!  These are new purchases ready to be made.

Lesley has a dramaIMG_2050tic personality so I bought some bright pink lining fabric for the skirt.

The only alterations I made to this dress was to trim down the waist by a couple of centimetres and after a fitting session with Lesley I made an alterIMG_2048ation to the pinch some fabric from under the side seam to prevent gaping.  The shoulder straps were fitted to Lesley too so the fit was as good as possible.   I used tailors tacks rather than making marks on the fabric – I didn’t want to risk doing anything to damage the delicate fabric.

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Here’s the completed dress and Lesley trying it on.  The colour – a bright coral – suits her perfectly.  The full length sheath dress helps to give Lesley height and it shows off her curves beautifully.

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And here she is on the day of  the wedding with matching fascinator and shoes.  Looking gorgeous Lesley!  Here’s the message she sent me “I loved my dress ….. I felt very glamorous and very special xxxxxxxxxxxx”

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Image and Impact for Interview, Member Monday, Men in Business, Men's Style, Women in business, Women's Style

Member’s Monday – Interview Success by Jacky Williams

Preparing for interview?

W1Increase your image and impact with top tips for interview by Accredited First Impressions Consultant, Jacky Williams.

1.  First impressions start before the interview. How you come across on paper or via on-line applications and how you sound on the telephone. Ensure your CV and accompanying letter or email is free from mistakes and speak clearly on the telephone.

2.  Show an interest in your possible future employers and research the company. Remember they may also do the same with you so be aware of what information is available to interviewers on social networking sites like Facebook! Are you promoting a credible image?

3.  Put in the effort and dress appropriately.  Make sure your interview outfit is in-keeping with the company’s dress code and always look smart and well turned out.  Wear the correct colours and styles to suit your personal colouring and body shape. Reflect your individual style with well chosen accessories.

4.  Make a list of any information you require. Asking questions shows initiative and interest in the position.

5.  Pay attention to personal grooming and personal hygiene. Always wear well kept clean shoes.

6.  Be aware of your body language, aiming for a positive and confident demeanour, using firm handshake, good eye contact and remember to smile!

7.  Communicate clearly and calmly, taking time to answer questions thoughtfully. Make sure any presentations are well prepared and practised.

Good luck!

“YOU NEVER GET A SECOND CHANCE TO MAKE A FIRST IMPRESSION.” Oscar Wilde

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Colour, New Look 6699, Sewing, Sheath Dress, Women's Style

Sewing: Lesley’s Dress – Part 1

I’ve been a bit quiet on the blogging front just recently.  That’s because everything has been so busy; work, social life, family and sewing.  Here’s an update on what I have been sewing lately.

My friend Lesley had been watching and commenting on my blog posts as I started to sew again after a 20+ year hiatus.  She got in touch and asked if I would make her a dress.  I am very comfortable experimenting for me or my family, but how would I get on making something for someone else?  Lesley then told me that she had a piece of fabric in her wardrobe that she would like me to use.  She was given it 30 years ago and it is a piece of raw silk from India.  Oh, and she wanted to wear the dress for her best friend’s wedding!  No pressure then!!

IMG_2192Lesley came over one evening to show me the fabric.  She had just over two metres and she wanted a simple style long dress.  We sat browsing suitable patterns on line and this is what we selected.  New Look 6699.  It’s a mix and match pattern, where you are able to select different bodice and skirt combinations for your desired look.  We selected G, J and L.  Similar to the white dress at the top – just without the sash and corsage.  I needed to elongate the pattern as Lesley wanted full length.

I’m not one to shy away from a challenge, but with the 30 year-old silk in mind, with no way of replacing it if I made a mistake, I decided to make a practice dress, or a toile to give it it’s technical name!  Often a toile is made from a piece of cheap calico just to get the fit right and to allow any alterations to be made to the pattern before making the actual dress.  In this case, I felt that if I was going to the trouble of making a toile, it may as well be one Lesley could wear too.  She was really happy for me to go ahead with the toile and gave me carte blanche to select the fabric for her.

I had already analysed Lesley and her colouring is bright and light and she has signs of both cool and warmth in her colouring.  She has a dramatic personality and a semi-straight body shape – which means that she has waist shapingIMG_1921 and nice slim legs.  Medium to large patterns suit Lesley, but with her dramatic personality I chose this fabulous piece of cotton with some spandex for stretch.  The colour of the tulips are perfect for Lesley as they have the cool pink and the warm yellowy-orange too.  This is a similar weight fabric to the silk and should give me a good idea of how it will perform when made up too.  I went along to Harlequin Fabrics in Leamington Spa to select this.  They are always so helpful in there.  They have a wide range of fabric to choose from and it is displayed really well so that it is easy to see what they have.  I also bought the lining fabric and zips for both dresses.

I thought the pattern might be tricky to work with as there are so many bodice/skirt combinations, but it was actually very well laid out and easy to follow.  I went through it initially with my highlighter pen, marking the sections that were relevant to the options we had chosen.  I was keen to make up the bodice and get Lesley over to try it on.  I’m sure she won’t mind me telling you that she has a rather full bust, so I wondered whether the size I selected was going to fit correctly.  So I made up and lined the bodice for her to try on first of all.  It fitted perfectly and the only thing I had to alter were the straps – I had left these open so I could check them on Lesley and then make them the correct length.  She is perfectly in proportion, with her torso and legs being the same length – she was thrilled when she found this out and it is actually quite rare!  It’s the reason ready to wear does not often fit well as they are generally made for standard proportions and of course most of us are not!

FullSizeRenderThe dress is a fairly simple construction, with just three main pieces – a bodice, a midriff section and the skirt.  I quickly made up the rest of the dress, lining it and adding the zip in the centre back.  Lesley then came back to try it on.  We made a couple of alterations to slim the waist (on the midriff section) as Lesley had been loosing weight ready for the wedding!  Here she is modelling the dress with the fascinator she planned to wear for the wedding.  She loved this dress so much, she considered wearing this one instead!!  Good job I didn’t make it in calico after all!!

As you can see, it’s a perfect fit and Lesley was delighted with the dress I’m pleased to say!  The sheath dress is a great stye for her.  It fits her body shape really well and being a long dress it is both elongating and slimming.  The broader straps are a good choice too – keep everything in the correct scale to suit Lesley.

Here are a few more views of the dress – it looks so much better on Lesley though!  So the first of my ‘Lyndy-Lou’ designs is complete!  I thoroughly enjoyed making this dress for Lesley and it was great to see her as she popped over to try it on during the process!  I’ll blog about the silk dress next weekend.

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Colour, Men's Style, Wardrobe Detox, Women's Style

I got dressed in the dark!

We have all heard that expression – ‘did you get dressed in the dark?’  It’s meant to infer that the person didn’t put their look together well.  Yesterday morning, I did in fact get dressed in the dark.  My hubby landed late the night before after a golf trip, so I was being considerate and leaving him for a lie in.  The temptation to put all the lights on was immense, but I resisted!

My wardrobe is organised in such a way that getting dressed in the dark was an easy job.  Everything has a place and I can easily tell you where anything is at any time.  All my clothes are hung by type i.e. all the dresses together, all the trousers together etc.  All the tops are folded on shelves at the top and shirts hang up all together.

All of my colour schemes work together, so that every bottom half works with every top half.  It was a casual day, so I could easily pull out a pair of jeans (blue) and top (cool pink) and a casual blue jacket.  Easy peasy.  I even managed to select my jewellery which is also either on hangers or in the boxes they came in.

The job of a wardrobe that works well in terms of colour, personality, lifestyle and body shape should be really easy.  You shouldn’t  have to think too hard about what to put on in the morning.  Indeed, some leaders wear a uniform that is the same every day so they don’t need to make decisions on what they wear in the morning!  That’s a bit extreme for me as I do love variety and I choose my clothes according to how I feel too.

WardrobeIf you spend far too long worrying about what to wear, perhaps now is the right time to detox your wardrobe!  You will see an earlier blog about this from Integro Consultants.  If you need help, one of our consultants will be delighted to guide you through it.  Once you know what works for you life is very easy (well knowing what to wear anyway!)  It helps you to loot good, feel more confident and it helps you to save time and money.  You will no longer buy items that don’t work for you and just sit un-loved and un-worn in your wardrobe.

How is your wardrobe working for you?

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Member Monday, Men's Style, Shopping, Wardrobe Detox, Women's Style

Member’s Monday – Spring Clean Your Wardrobe by Integro

With Spring in the air, we have all started the diet and the detox, so maybe now is the time to get your wardrobe in shape too.

  • Be Ruthless: Get rid of all those items that don’t fit you – pack them in a suitcase as we are sure you will slFabuless Wardrobeim into them one day, but in the meantime they are taking up valuable space.
  • Be realistic: Out with the old and In with the new – if you haven’t worn a garment in the last year, what’s the likelihood you will wear it this year?
  • Be creative: Split up outfits into individual pieces to allow you to mix, match and multiply! Try layering- it is a fabulous way to create lots of different looks from your existing clothes.
  • Be practical : Identify your wardrobe gaps and write yourself a shopping list. Top tip – only buy something new if you can identify 2 or 3 things it will go with in your existing wardrobe –this is key to building a capsule wardrobe.
  • Be accessory aware : A wardrobe of accessories can be as important as your clothing. They allow you to create multiple looks just by changing the colour of a scarf or a necklace.       Scarves are also great indicators of how to blend colours. Hang jewellery and scarves where you can see them, this allows you to plan outfits and you are more likely to wear them as in our timestarved world -who has time to untangle a necklace in the mornings?

Today’s blog was brought to you by First  Impressions trained consultants Adele and Marlene of Integro Image in Scotland

Lyn Bromley MFIPI, ACMA –  Managing Director, First Impressions  Lyn Bromley is Managing Director of First Impressions Training Ltd and a Master of The Federation of Image Professionals International. (FIPI)  She is also Director of Regional Events at FIPI and a leader of Achiever’s Academy for Women. Please contact us if you would like to know more about our programmes, bespoke image training or one-to-one coaching.  First Impressions have a network of over 150 consultants working across the UK – to find one in your area visit the website and take a look at the consultant map. Telephone: +44 (0)1926 623038 Email: enquiries@firstimpressions.uk.com 

Website: www.firstimpressions.uk.com

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Fashion, Krisztina Ambrus, Spring/Summer 2015, Women's Style

Member’s Monday – Key Trends for Spring/Summer 2015 by Krisztina Ambrus

Whilst the winter is still going with full force, it’s never too early to start dreaming about springtime. I am excited about the new season, there are some really cool and ‘user-friendly’ trends coming up… And the theme is going to be ‘Back to the ‘70s’! Now is the time to look at your mom’s wardrobe, or have a browse in your local charity shop, you never know what treasures you might find… Before I begin, I’d like to emphasise that I don’t believe in blindly following seasonal trends, but suggest choosing 2-3 pieces that complement your personal style, that should be enough to refresh the existing wardrobe. With that in mind, below is a quick run-down of the key trends. Denim has been big since last summer, and it’s gaining more momentum this spring. Jeans, dresses, shirts, shorts, they come in all shapes and forms. Flared jeans are having a revival, and pretty much every brand is bringing out their own version, so there is a great selection out there. The good news about the flared cut is that it suits most body types, and makes the legs appear visually longer.Jeans

Talking about trousers, wide legs are another trend that continues into the new season, coming in all lengths from culottes that hit just below the knee to floor-length styles.

Trousers When it comes to patterns, stripes are big this season. At the moment I see a version of the Breton top  in every shop I walk into: short sleeves, long sleeves, V-neck, crew neck, polo neck, fitted or slouchy, anything goes.

Breton As a nod to the ’70s, you can expect to see a lot of romantic, floral prints around.

Floral As for textures, suede will rule this season – this skirt, with its fringe finish, also ticks the box for another trend.

Fringe

Fringes everywhere: on jackets and coats, shirts and skirts, and they give a fun boho feel to bags.

 Fringe Bag

Bags have been getting smaller in recent seasons – the saddle bag featured on many Spring/Summer ’15 runways, it’s a great alternative if you don’t want to carry a big bag around.

Small bag

Go on ladies, show off that waist! Belts are getting wider this season.

Obi Belt And to the delight of those who don’t like or can’t wear heels, flat shoes remain the focus in the coming season. Penny loafers, brogues, drivers, pointed toes all go here.

Penny Loafers

Or for those who prefer a more relaxed style, slippers, plimsolls and trainers are still going strong.   I quite like this pair below, with a bit of a glam factor.

 Gold pumps

And once the weather is warm enough, don those wedges!  I can’t wait…

WedgesSo, time to start putting together your shopping list for the spring. I’m all for intentional shopping, rather than impulse buys, so go through your wardrobe, and see what you need for the new season. Thank you Kriszrina

[Jeans: 7 For All Mankind; Trousers: Tory Burch; Striped tee: Banana Republic; Dress: asos.com; Suede skirt: Saint Laurent; Fringed bag: hallhuber.com; Saddle bag: Massimo Dutti; Belt: www.baukjen.com; Penny loafers: Marks & Spencer; Gold slippers: Dune; Wedges: Charlotte Olypmia www.net-a-porter.com]

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