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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Uncategorized

Race for Life

You might know that I am Director of Regional Support for the Federation of Image Professionals International (FIPI).  We decided that we would all make a collective effort to do something for charity within our regional groups.  Our FIPI Midland Group, headed up by Judith Mercer decided to join in with the Worcester Race for Life. As it was a Sunday many of our group couldn’t make it as they already had commitments, so we ended up being just the three of us, Judith from the Worcestershire/Gloucestershire border, Nicky from Moseley and me from Warwick. Both consultants trained by First Impressions.  My mum and daughter joined us too.

We decided to wear our best shade of pink in true image professional style! So I’m in cool and bright, and Nicky and Judith in warm pink. We had decided to do 10k – we just walked and chatted – far more civilized that running!

IMG_2102We had great fun and did the walk in 2hrs 20mins. Here we are all wearing our medals to show that we completed it.

As we were doing the walk for FIPI, it seemed only fitting that I should do the walk in honour of Elaine Fraser. She was a fantastic trainer for First Impressions and she trained me in colour and cosmetics in 2004. Just as I took over the running of the businesses in 2010, Elaine became ill and after a very short illness we lost her to bowel cancer. She absolutely loved colour and was a real inspiration to me.

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If anyone feels able to sponsor us, the page is still open at https://www.justgiving.com/lynbromley

I will look forward to seeing all the other regions charity ideas. #FIPIGives

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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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Curvy Pencil Skirt, Fabric, Sewing, Vogue Sewing Patterns, Wrap Dress

Sewing: Experimenting with different fabrics

IMG_1607I was driving through Kenilworth to a business meeting when I spotted a fabric shop that I had not been in – ooooh the excitement!  I’d make time to pop in on may way back of course.  They have some lovely fabrics, very nicely displayed – it drives me mad if shops have them all piled up and you can’t see what they have, not so at Karen Delahunty – all very nicely displayed and grouped together in fabric types.  My eyes whizzed round looking for bright colours and I found this fabulous piece of cotton spandex.   It has two of my favourite colours within in it – a cool pink and red – it’s slightly orange, but as it is not the main colour it still works for me.  I love the pattern – quite dramatic and abstract – I’m not so keen on definite florals, but I like this one.  Now what to make with it?  I had gone in with the idea of finding something to make a short-sleeved wrap dress, so I was really looking for jersey.  None of their jerseys worked for me, so I wondered whether this fabric might work as a wrap dress.  It has some stretch and it drapes well.  I checked with Karen and she thought it would work too, so I went for it.

As this fabric isn’t as drapey as jersey, I decided to take about an inch out of each side seam as the skirt of the Vogue V8379 has a pretty full skirt.  This cotton spandex fabric is much stiffer so I thought this would work better.

IMG_1630We were off for a weekend away last weekend, so I cut out the fabric and added all of marks for pleats and tailors marks – I used a washable felt-tip for speed, rather than tailors tacks.  I then made up the bodice in a couple of hours one evening and then finished off the skirt, attaching it to the bodice the next evening.  The finishing off isn’t great as I rushed to get it ready to take away with me – I didn’t actually end up wearing it, but I did put it on to show Nige and Gracie and they love it!

Its first outing was to the Cancer Research UK Charity Fashion Show arranged by my friend Ann Ballinger at the gorgeous Mallory Court.  Fashions were provided by Revolve – there were some gorgeous clothes and the models did a great job.  The only thing is, now I am making my own wardrobe, I only covet the complex designs that I don’t yet have the skills to make!  I loved many of the Joseph Ribkoff designs and there were some gorgeous sequinned evening dresses too.

Caroline and Lyn

Here I am with my lovely friend Caroline at the fashion show.

My second rush-job was another curvy pencil skirt.  I really wanted to wear my pussy-bow blouse to the First Impressions consultant’s spring forum.  The first curvy pencil skirt I made is now too warm to wear – it is in a wool mix and quite a heavy fabric.  I decided to make a navy skirt to go with a pair of wedge sandals now that the sun is shining and the temperature has heated up.

I bought some fabric in a tight weave, medium weight navy blue.  I whipped this up in two evenings too.  I cut it out and sewed the darts one evening and finished it off the next.  I didn’t line this one as it doesn’t really need it and of course, in the interest of speed, I didn’t really have time!

My jobs this weekend will be to go back and neaten up some of the seams, otherwise they might fray in the wash!  Sewing Bee speed it wasn’t, but quite quick for me as a novice!

I love the fact that I have pretty much made an entire new wardrobe and I wore something I made every day this week!  My next little challenge to myself is to make enough clothes that I have a total self-made mix and match wardrobe.  The thing that I could really do with adding right now is a light-weight coat – something to add as an extra layer when there is still a chill in the air, but it is not warm enough for a heavy coat.  My gorgeous Desigual mac has seen better days unfortunately, so that is going in the ‘up-cycle’ pile – I am sure I can make something new out of it as I absolutely love the fabric.  If you know of any patterns that would work, please let me know!  I am looking for a simple style that is fitted in at the waist and I will make it in an interesting fabric.

Happy weekend

Lyn

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Body Confidence, Miley Cyrus, Opinion, Role Model

Miley Cyrus – Authentic style or a total boob?!

It’s not every day I get invited onto BBC radio to talk about nipples! Yes, that’s right – Miley Cyrus’ ‘nipple pasties’ to be precise. There I was, preparing for a call with one of my mentees when my phone rang. It was a producer from the Shane O’Connor show asking if I had seen the picture in the paper of Miley Cyrus wearing nipple pasties, and not much else, at the event to welcome Joan Jet into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In honour of Joan, Miley chose to wear pink hearts emblazoned with a J on each one.

Miley CyrusAs the producer was speaking to me I quickly Googled the image and saw what she was referring to. “Would you like to comment on how this outfit is representing her image?” I have very strong views on the example that people in the public eye set for their younger fans, so you can bet I accepted in a flash!

Some of you who don’t have teenage daughters may not know that Miley played a character in a Disney programme – Hannah Montana. I saw sweet Miley growing up in front of my eyes as I watched the innocent programme with my daughter. She had a huge fan base of young tweens and teens at that time who all followed her career as she moved into pop-star mode. She clearly wanted to rid herself of the sugar-sweet ‘Hannah’ image and quickly established herself as a writhing, finger-flicking, stick it to the establishment rebel.

Her image is clearly meant to shock and grab headlines. But what of her young fans? I can only speak for my daughter who thinks she has ‘lost the plot’ and she is no longer interested in Miley, her antics or her music. She is well informed though, with my passion for encouraging a confident body image in teens, she is pretty well versed in the antics of the media in air-brushing and giving is fake and often impossible images to aspire to.   To other teens who may not know this knowledge, I wonder what kind of example she is setting. I strongly feel that people who are in the public eye have a duty of care to their fans and need to think carefully about the example they are setting.

Back to my interview with Shane – I mentioned all of the above, of course! Plus, he asked what I would advise Miley if she were my client. Great question. My instant answer was that I would advise her to be authentic, to represent herself though her image. I doubt whether she is being authentic. I think she is just rebelling and going through a phase. I hope she comes out of it soon and tones her image down to something a little more respectable. Poor Paul McCartney didn’t know where to look! He also asked if I thought it was selfish. After all the event was to honour Joan Jet and the newspapers were full of stories about Miley the next day. Of course Joan got a mention, but Miley stole her thunder. I retorted that it was a little like going to someone’s wedding as a guest and wearing a white dress!

What do you think of her look? One that you will be trying anytime soon?!

Stay authentic, but stay a little more demure I say.

I had seconds to look at the image before being live on air and I am pleased to say that I received feedback that I sounded ‘cool, composed and oh so right!’  Thank you!

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