Thursday 10 October 2013

Moving out in to the big wild world...

This week I took what is at once both a small step and a big development for my business: the owners of Handpicked Hall (which has stores in Leeds, Ripon and Skipton) have opened an area of the store called the Bob-In, which is a space for small businesses to have their wares permanently on sale in exchange for a few days a month staffing that area (and of course, some rent, although it's very reasonable).

I have been trading on a monthly basis from Handpicked Hall in the Grand Arcade, Leeds, and thought the Bob-In sounded like a good opportunity to get my products in the public eye on a more regular basis and hopefully increase sales to boot. So, this Wednesday I took over a few capes, wraps and shrugs plus my ever-popular long wristwarmers and set my space up. The whole Bob-In area consists of shelving and some hanging rails, and my space is a shelf for wristwarmers and leaflets etc plus hanging space for the garments:

I'm not due to spend a full-day in store for over a week but I did stay in store for a little while to meet a new seller I'd not met before plus have a catch up with some of the vendors that I do know from previous selling days. The whole store is filling up nicely and the food hall and vintage cafe seem to be in full swing so if you're nearby I'd definitely recommend dropping in for a visit!

Thursday 29 August 2013

Jersey dress with an interesting collar

I seem to have had a cluster of customers commissioning garments to replace old favourites which have worn out, which is always quite a nice task. After all, I make clothes to be worn not to sit in a wardrobe out of sight, so to make something that the customer knows she'll wear is lovely!

Today's blog is to share one of these commissions, what looks like a simple jersey dress but with a collar/neckline that looks almost like you're wearing a shrug over the top of a strapless dress:

The customer ordered two, one in a bright red viscose jersey and one in this beautiful patterned cotton jersey. I know she was pleased with how they've come out, and I hope she enjoys wearing them!

Friday 9 August 2013

New cloak design?

Another 'coming soon', this time a full-length cloak option rather than a one-off!

I was recently asked to make a full-length faux leather cloak for a semi-local gentleman. Faux-leather is something I've not worked with for ages, but having done so I think it makes a really nice cloak so I've decided to add it to the list of materials I offer my cloaks in!

I need to finalise pricing of them (and review how much they'll cost to post, as they're quite heavy) but they should be available in my online shop by the end of the month. In the meantime, here are a couple of shots of the one I've just made as a little preview...

And, if you'd like to order one before they appear in my online shop then just drop me an email

Monday 5 August 2013

Mother of the Bride

The brief for this dress was for a Mother of the Bride's dress with a difference, something that she felt comfortable in and felt was her while still being more special than something she'd chose for any other wedding she was going to (after all, your daughter's wedding is pretty special).

The colour scheme was already decided as she had a jacket she really liked and wanted to wear, and she was quite keen to browse fabrics herself so she took herself off to Fletchers Fabrics to see what they had in stock before I started ordering in samples. Luckily she found something that she fell in love with so we went with that (the staff in Fletcher's are great so between my list of fabric type suggestions and their knowledge she found something that was perfect).

The final dress was an embroidered georgette over matching crepe, with an under-bust band in contrasting crepe. The 'hankerchief' hem was something she particularly wanted and I think it adds a little something to the dress.
We added purple and silver beads to the bottom section of the skirt to add colour and interest to the dress (the silver was to match her shoes)...
And the outfit was topped off with some little flower hair-grips made from the contrast crepe, to which she'll be adding some cream bought ones.
All in all, a lovely outfit that I think suits her perfectly!

Thursday 25 July 2013

fabric haul!

Should I admit now to having a fabric addiction or has everyone already worked it out?

You know you've really got a problem when vans start pulling up outside your house loaded with the stuff and all you want to do is jump in and roll around in it!! Which is exactly what happened today...

To roll the clock back a little, yesterday I got a call from Fabricman saying that he sold roll-ends and offcuts of Scottish Mill fabrics, he was in the area tomorrow and could he call in and meet me, give me an idea of what he sold and his prices. I will admit I was expecting more swatches than actual lengths, but this morning Fabricman pulled up with a van full of fabrics... wools, wool/linens, wool/silks, silk/linens, wool/cashmeres. Really high quality material, a lot of it more lightweight than you usually find on sale here in the UK (a lot of the finer weights that are exported straight to the Middle East) plus some lovely coating weights.

All things considered, I was really quite restrained! I got a few samples for a customer who's looking for the perfect material for a full-length coat, then the following two lengths of material:

1) The softest dark grey cashmere/wool blend with a brushed finish. This is so soft you could swaddle a baby in it and they wouldn't complain, although given babies propensity for dribbling I'm not going to test that tomorrow when I see my friend and her little one. This is definitely mine, no amount of begging will make me part with it, and it's going to be made in to a hip-length cape probably with a jacquard lining if I can find one in the right colour.

2) The other length was another cashmere/wool blend with a less obvious brushed finish that is still lovely and soft but not quite so soft as the grey (slightly lower cashmere content). This one is in black, and is going to be made up in to another hip-length cape, this time for general sale.
I have a lining in mind and the cape I'm planning will go on sale for £80 but if anyone wants to snaffle it up before I get round to it (i.e. in the next couple of weeks) and get it custom-made with their choice of lining colour instead then I'd be happy to give you a 10% discount on that price. Just email me.

Wednesday 24 July 2013

Accesories to match The Wedding Gown

Yesterday I posted about a wedding gown that's been under wraps since it was finished last month, today it's the turn of all the accessories that I made to go with the dress!

First, the bride's tiara, made from fine silver wire and beads that match those on the dress:

The groom wore a custom-made cravat from the same material as the bride's gown:
Instead of adult bridesmaids she chose to have her 2 year old niece as a flower girl. Her really cute dress was made from duchess satin in a beautiful dark blue (there is a matching sash that I somehow forgot to photograph, oops!):
And the Best Man had a cravat to match the flower girl:
Although if I stopped to think about it making all the bits for the wedding was a lot of pressure it was an honour to be asked to do and lovely to be able to do. I'm thrilled with how everything turned out and it seems the bride was too so I think it can be counted as a success!


Tuesday 23 July 2013

Beautiful satin wedding gown!

I've been quite shamefully lapse in blogging about my creations for a little while now but I have been rather busy of late! One of my main projects that was occupying a lot of my attention up until a month ago was a wedding gown commission that came with matching cravats, flower-girl's dress and tiara. It was lovely making something so special and it's been quite hard keeping it all under wraps but she got married yesterday so I can finally share some pics of my work with you! As it's likely to be quite picture heavy I'll put the gown itself in this post and then all the other bits in one to follow tomorrow.

The gown: an a-line dress with a structured, boned bodice and chapel train in a beautiful red duchess satin, covered in over 2000 beads and Swarovski crystals (all individually applied) with tiny covered buttons running down the back. While the front was beautiful it was the back where the real 'Wow' was, with over 1500 of the beads/crystals on the train itself and a diamond cut-out detail from the nape of her neck to the waist.

From the front:
Detail of the skirt beading:
More skirt beading:
The back cut-out and chiffon section (unfortunately the dress was slightly to small for my mannequin to I had to photograph this part on the hanger): 
The train:
The bride was absolutely thrilled with it, which is the most important thing, hopefully everyone else on the day loved it too!

Monday 11 February 2013

Simple but stylish

Just a fairly brief post this time to showcase a skirt finished today. Although it did take a fair amount of work to sew due to all the individual pieces involved (plus the trim) I think the overall effect is simple, timeless and stylish... and hopefully you will too!

Designed to replace a much loved oldie that had given up the ghost in an unrepairable fashion, this needle cord skirt consists of a fitted top section which gives way to gathered layers. 
The 'raw' (overlocked) edges are visible at the top of each gathered layer, and there is a velvet ribbon trim to finish it all off.
I have to admit, when I saw this on the customer at the last fitting it did make me want one for myself. I'll be making at least one more at some point anyway as I already have some purple needle cord set aside for another for this customer, but maybe a similar one for me too... 

Tuesday 5 February 2013

The old making way for the new...

Also known as 'End of Line' clearance, but I thought that sounded a bit formal for a blog title!

In preparation for my first craft fair of the year I've been sorting through my stock and have decided to put some of the few remaining items from 'old' designs that I no longer make up for sale at a greatly reduced price to clear space on my stand for the new designs that I've got in mind. After all, I only have limited space and I don't want to be devoting a quarter of it to the lonely stragglers that have been left behind after all the other bits from that range have gone!

There's nothing at all wrong with any of the pieces but I'd much rather they found a new home rather than lingering at the bottom of a box here so if you pop over to my eBay shop you'll find a few bargains treat yourself with!
And my first craft fair of the year? It's on the 23rd Feb at Henshaw's Arts and Crafts Centre, Knaresborough... free entry, cafe on site and lots of goodies to browse so do come along if you're local!

Thursday 10 January 2013

2013 remnant sale

In a flurry of organisation and tidying when I started back to work this week I went through and sorted out a lot of the remnants of fabric that I've accumulated over the past year or so. 

A lot of the bundles I kept because they are enough material to be usable for small projects, and range from polyester lining fabric to satin dupion, fleece and even some sequins. Lovely as it would be to sit down and plan projects to use all these up, I think I have to be realistic and admit that as it stands at the moment I don't have the time to spend doing so! Rather than stash it all until some point in the future I've decided to start listing my remnants in my eBay shop for others to use and enjoy.

It's a bit of a mammoth task as I've started off with an enormous bag full of bits to get through first off, but the plan is to keep on top of it better in the future... once I've got through this lot! 
I've put the starting listing for each one pretty low as I'm wanting them to go to a new home rather than make a big profit for me, so why not head over at some point - there are a couple of absolute bargains to be had!