Style Crush: Alison Brie

I’ve loved Alison Brie since binge-watching Community a couple of years ago when it was on Netflix – for some reason it has now disappeared, which is a shame because it’s brilliant! Also, of course, I then enjoyed her role as Trudy in Mad Men.

Then last month Netflix released GLOW – Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. We watched it all in 2 days and could easily have watched it all in one go. I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a funny, smart show about women. The central friendship between Alison Brie’s and Betty Gilpin’s characters is a refreshingly 3 dimensional look at female friendship. And there are lots of good female characters as all the wrestlers have personalities and get time being more of a central character. And they don’t just talk about men all the time, so this definitely passes the Bechdel Test!

I also slightly love all the terrible 80s fashion, hair and make-up! Can someone please invite me to an 80s party so I have an excuse to make an 80s outfit?

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I saw an interview with Alison Brie where she said she got a perm for the role! Now that’s dedication to your craft.

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Since I now have a total girl crush on her, I thought I’d do a post about her style, which I really like. I also totally want to be as fit as she is in GLOW. I have (again) started jogging, so maybe one day!

I’m not sure I could pull off leather trousers tbh (I’m not Theresa May after all!), but I do like this look. I like the top and the lipstick too. If only I ever wore lipstick…..

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I really like the details on this dress – the black side panels and the unlined part of the skirt at the bottom. I really want to know what kind of fabric this is! On the skirt it looks almost like chain, but that would weigh a tonne, so I’m sure it’s not! Answers on a postcard please if you know.

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I really, really like this sweatshirt. I reckon it would be fairly easy to knock off, with the Grainline Linden pattern, but the tricky thing would be finding the right fabric. I like it with the shirt underneath, too.

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Ah, my love of collars is definitely coming back! Not totally sure about the cuffs, but I love her hair and make-up here.

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I’m not normally a huge fan of strapless dresses, but for some reason I really like this one. Look at the embroidery! I assume it’s embroidery, but it could be on the actual fabric and they’ve done some really clever pattern placement?

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I like the fake cut out type panels on this dress. The (I assume) lace inserts look really cool.

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I really love this dress which she wore to the People’s Choice Awards in 2016. After some googling I have discovered it was designed by Cushnie Et Ochs. I love the minty colour and she shape of the front panel, and the cut outs look great. A contender for my dress for next year’s Dressmaker’s Ball perhaps?

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I really like the simplicity of this dress. I think it works so well because it fits her perfectly. It looks like the edges might be leather/faux leather, which adds a bit of an edge to what might have been a slightly twee dress.

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I love this jumpsuit! I’ve had a couple of jumpsuits patterns in my stash for ages and I’ve still not made one. I’m not generally a fan of wrap fronts (as I don’t have the chest to fill them) but I really like this. Probably mostly in love with it for the colour! And it has pockets!

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I really like this coat and scarf combo. I always feel like I don’t look that stylish when I wear scarves, but I’m not sure how to tie/wrap them to look cool. I might copy this coat at some point in the future……when I apparently have unlimited sewing time and money!

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To be honest, I’m not entirely sure why I like this Bella Freud dress so much, but I do really like it. I love the colour, even if it’s one I wouldn’t wear, and I like the seam details across the upper chest and the sleeves. It’s quite 70s I think.

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Have you watched GLOW yet? If so, did you love it? I’m almost certainly going to watch it again next week when I have a sewcation from work 😀




Book: Couture Sewing Techniques

Every couple of weeks I pop into my local Oxfam bookshop to have a look at the sewing/craft section. There often isn’t much, but the other week I stumbled across this gem:

It’s a book written by Claire B Shaeffer who is an expert in sewing and construction techniques. She has a website and has designed sewing patterns for Vogue. This book has since been updated and revised, but this version is still really good! I’ve only had a flick through so far but I will read it in more detail!

I love the above photo showing personalised dress forms at the house of Christian Dior – that really is couture!

The first part of the book is a history of couture sewing and there are some amazing examples! Like the below dress, which I’m sure must have been the inspiration for the amazing one made by Cynthai Settje of Red Threaded. As of writing, the dress is her profile picture on instagram, and there are some amazing photos of it in progress and also finished!

And I couldn’t not post the photo of the classic Christian Dior outfit! If I had unlimited time and resources, I would definitely recreate this outfit, hat and all!

After the history chapter comes one on hand sewing techniques. I definitely need this! As I mentioned in my Dressmaker’s Ball dress post, I did a lot of hand sewing and did quite enjoy it, but I don’t think I’m very skilled at it. Also there are loads of different stitches for different places on garments so I’m thinking I’ll do a sampler or something to practice.

And who knew there were so many different needles! I guess it makes sense – there are different needles for different things on sewing machines, so I can’t believe I’d never thought that there would also be different needles for different hand sewing tasks!

And of course, there are as many threads as there are needles, for all the different things you could want to sew.

There’s a great section on all the different kinds of seam you could need. I like the look of this false french seam, though I can’t imagine sewing seams by hand would be strong enough!

One of the things I like about this book is how thorough it is – I would probably never think of all the things it covers, like interfacing. There would definitely be some helpful tips in here for properly tailoring a jacket or coat. It also mentions the non-fusible kind of interfacing, so I’d like to have a go with that when I do some proper tailoring.

The dress below holds its shape purely with interfacing!

The next chunk of the book looks at edge finishes like hems, facings and bindings.

I love, love, love this sketch by Christian Dior. I wish I could draw like that and show what a garment will look like with relatively few lines!

There’s a great section on buttons and button holes, including bound button holes, which I still haven’t done! I love the buttons below from a Schiaparelli jacket.

After all the sections on general techniques, Schaeffer shows you how to apply these (and other) techniques to actual garments.

I love this Dior skirt and jacket combo! Another one to copy one day…..

The below photo of a Balenciaga dress is from the dresses chapter. It shows the structure underneath a loose, billowy front to make sure it stayed where it should. I really want to see the Balenciaga exhibition at the V & A to see all the amazing things going on underneath the clothes!

Below is another Balenciaga dress, with structure to keep the shoulders in shape. Definitely getting some tips for next year’s Dressmaker’s Ball dress, assuming they run it again next year!

There’s a chapter on sleeves and there are loads of details about tailored and non-tailored sleeves. I like these diagrams that are scattered throughout the book,which show you how different elements are drafted and constructed.

Another useful diagram from this book shows all the details that go into a tailored jacket. I do really want to have a go at making something properly tailored either for me or for The Boyfriend – I did promise to make him a coat!

This is the section I’m possibly the most excited about! Definitely tips for my next evening outfit. If the Dressmaker’s Ball happens again next year, I definitely want to make something more ambitious, both in terms of construction and fabric choice, so hopefully this chapter will come in handy then!

I’ve not yet sewn anything with boning, so I definitely want to give that a go at some point. It actually would have helped to have more structure inside the dress I made for this year’s ball! Then I wouldn’t have needed the tape…..

The below photo shows embroidery done by machine! I have no idea how you would even do that! I think there must be some applique in there too.

And I hadn’t even considered beading before I came across this section!

At the end of the book there is a really great glossary of terms, which is super helpful. I can definitely feel myself turning into more of a sewing nerd after flicking through this book. I already think about it for most of my waking hours, and now I’m all enthusiastic to learn new skills and techniques and to make some more involved projects, rather than just churning out loads and loads of fairly basic garments, though there are some gaps in my wardrobe still so I will still be doing some of that!

What’s your favourite couture-type technique? Are there any techniques you’re dying to learn?




Inside My Vintage Sewing Box

When The Boyfriend and I moved into our flat back in August, we had to buy furniture as we had previously lived in furnished flats. We bought a load of flat pack stuff from Argos and Ikea (bed, sofa, bookcases) partly because we needed things quickly and partly because they’re relatively cheap. But apart from these basics, we wanted to try to get nice things from our local anqtiques centre and we did find a nice coffee table, a table for our phone and this lovely sewing box (which we keep our tv on):

It first caught my eye because I love the mid-century vibes, then when I realised it was a sewing box, I had to have it! And it came with lots of sewing goodies inside!

There’s a crochet hook and thimble in the lid, and I love the unashamed shade of pink of the fabric lining!

There are quite a few poppers and hooks and eyes.

There’s what I assume is a home-made needle case, complete with needles – and several other packets of needles. (How many times can I say needles!?)

I particularly love this little paper packet of needles – it looks like it should have matches in or something!

Possibly my absolute favourite item is this slightly crazy pin cushion with sumo wrestlers (?) around the edge.

I like this retro box of pins too!

You never have too many thimbles or tape measures 🙂

The only sad things about this little haul is that these are the only buttons. They’re nice, but it would have been great to have some really cool old buttons!

The main bulk of what was in the box was threads and ribbons and a bit of elastic.

       I feel a little weird about using the stuff that came in this box, and I’m not sure why. I’m sure the previous owner of the box used all of the things she kept in there, so I don’t think it was a life’s collection or anything. I just feel like I should keep the contents intact for some reason.

Have you every found a secret haul of sewing goodies?

Book: No Patterns Needed

After posting my #SewDots dress I thought I would share a little review of Rosie Martin’s book No Patterns Needed. I was going to post this a couple of days ago but my computer is on its last legs and wasn’t cooperating all weekend.

no-patterns-needed-1I had hoped to have something made from the book, but I haven’t had time yet. Also I just counted and I have almost 50 patterns (!) so it might be a while until I get around to making one of the garments from this book!

It’s split into 3 sections: rectangles, circles and triangles – and each section is colour coded. The rectangles section is pink.


The way the book works is that she gives you instructions for how to make each garment – there aren’t any patterns: hence the name! She also gives you a page to fill in with your measurements to make it easy to calculate the dimensions for drafting the ‘patterns’.



Each sample garment is made in the colour-coded fabric, but then she shows you other versions on other people, of different shapes and sizes. This is the part I particularly like – it shows you how you can make each thing fit your style. I love this dress version of the cape sleeved top.

no-patterns-needed-6I like this shirt dress too.


And then both of the other versions look different and both of them are cool – and seem to fit their styles. Also love the pink hair!


I like the circles section – it definitely helps that blue is my favourite colour!


The segment dress is one of my favourite things in the book – I love the easy swingy shape.


I think this might be the first thing I make – as I’ll probably get around to making something next Summer! I think I’ll leave off the ruffle too, like these versions.


There’s a circular wrap skirt in this section too, which is pretty cool, though it seems the dress is the only thing I photographed for the circles! So onto the triangles, in green.


I like the kimono top – especially the pink version and the way it’s been styled. I basically want to just copy this whole outfit!


This is my other favourite garment from the book – the four slice sweater – which is also the thing Rosie made for the #sewdots initiative.


Again I really like the other versions and they way they’ve been styled – and the fabrics they’ve used. I love the monochrome one with the culottes and I love the blue with the flowery fabric – it’s a great combo which I probably wouldn’t have thought to put together.


The last set of instructions in the book is for this triangle dress. I love the cheeky cut-out!


And I like the colour-blocked version, and the different skirt lengths.


Have you got this book? Are you tempted to self-draft items to sew? I’m a bit scared to be honest, but it seems like I’d have a better chance of getting something that fits well if I draft it to my own measurements!




Book - ReCraft sewdots-drapey-knit-dress Book - Love At First Stitch

Fashion History: 1970s

The 1970s seems to be still in fashion at the moment – it feels like it’s been around for most of this year – so I thought I’d take a look at the decade’s fashion. As I started to research this and look for photos, I started to feel a little overwhelmed! There were soooo many different trends and styles! I’m just going to cover what I think are the main ones.

The main common thread (haha, see what I did there?) is tight tops and loose bottoms.

Also large collars and awesome turban-type hats!

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I love that these girls have embraces ALL THE STRIPES!! (I wish I could see it in colour, though I suspect they’re shades of brown and orange – it was the 70s!)

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I love the high-waisted flares – they made the crop tops more flattering. These ladies all look amazing. And I’m digging the Charlie’s Angels pose!

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And speaking of Charlie’s Angels…….here are Farah Fawcett, Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith showing the best of the Disco fashions that were also popular in the 70s. Think studio 54, sequins, silk and platforms! Jumpsuits were also huge in this decade. And a sequined jumpsuit? Even better!

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More jumpsuits! I love the cut outs and the colour blocking – they’re both chic. I think with slightly narrower legs/ trousers, these could work today and not look dated/ costumey.

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I didn’t feel I could talk about disco without mentioning John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. The platforms, white suit and black shirt with giant collar are soooo iconic!

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I’m not really sure if ABBA count as disco – anyone know? I wanted to include this picture, though, to show the men’s outfits – make jumpsuits and dungarees were a thing. I like the skin-tight dungarees particularly!

1970s-disco-abbaI think my favourite part of 70s fashion is the glamourous end of things. For some reason I always have this idea that the weather was always hot in the 70s so people didn’t have to worry about freezing to death and could wear unbelievably glamourous outfits! Like this one worn by Angelica Houston. I love the bob too!

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I know this isn’t a period photo, but the clothes in American Hustle are to die for! The women’s cloths anyway – not sure about a beige suit tbh.

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Ah Jerry Hall. She still looks pretty amazing now and I love the Grecian style dress she’s wearing here – it seems so effortless and so glamourous.

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I also kind of love this crazy Paco Rabanne dress. I recently saw that Mood in New York has started stocking super long fringe so I reckon this would be easy to recreate if you were so inclined.

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This is a polaroid of Liza Minelli taken by Andy Warhol. They were both regulars of Studio 54 so I assume that’s where they met? I like the hood – this also feels quite 70s.

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In a total antithesis to the glamourous photos above, I give you punk. The whole point was to be anti-establishment and anti-materialistic. Like the short-lived Glam Rock fashion (and others) the punk style grew out of the music.

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Can’t really talk about punk without mentioning Vivienne Westwood. She made clothes for Malcolm McLaren’s shop on the King’s Road, SEX. He managed The Sex Pistols so they were able to bring together the fashions and the music. Swastikas were apparently a popular motif used on punk clothing. I’m not sure how I feel about that.

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Another famous blonde of the 70s – Debbie Harry. She seems to have been a bit more mainstream punk – if such a thing exists?

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One of the most enduring fashions of the 70s – and possible the one most people would think of first – is the Hippie style. It’s what modern ‘boho’ style is referencing – ethnic-type fabrics, headbands, peasant blouses and mixing prints.

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I couldn’t find too many photos from the actual 70s of the hippie fashions which I found a bit odd considering it must have been a fairly widespread trend. Maybe they didn’t have cameras?

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Now here – just for the lols – is a hilarious photo of Robert Redford. He might be my favourite actor of the 70s and I enjoyed searching for these photos of him to give an idea of men’s fashion in the 70s.

He looks so pissed off with the outfit, it’s amazing! It’s from The Electric Horseman so it might be that his character is pissed off at this moment.

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Moustaches, flares, aviators and long hair. Nuff said.

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Light denim is definitely a fabric I associate with the 70s.

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In a change to my previous Fashion History posts, I thought I would include some patterns that could allow you to recreate some of the 70s most iconic garments.

Dungarees seem definitely to have been huge in the 70s. It feels like the 70s references the 40s sometimes and it seems to be the case with dungarees and overalls/ jumpsuits.

Marilla Walker – Roberts Collection

pattern-roberts-collection-dungareesPauline Alice – Turia Dungarees


Alongside dungarees is the pinafore dress:

Marilla Walker – Roberts Collection

pattern-roberts-collection-pinafore-dressTilly and the Buttons has been teasing her next pattern, Cleo, which looks to be a pinafore dress pattern!


And, of course, no pattern run-down would be complete without some jumpsuits:

By Hand London – Holly Jumpsuit

pattern-holly-jumpsuitCloset Case Files – Sallie Jumpsuit


If you want a 70s shaped dress, I have found 2 great options:

By Hand London – Alix Dress

Cynthia Rowley for Simplicity – Simplicity 1801

pattern-simplicity-cynthia-rowley-1801And if you’re feeling brave, you could try making your own flares!

Baste and Gather – Birkin Flares

pattern-birkin-flaresCloset Case Files – Ginger Jeans Flares (you’ll  have to buy the original skinny jeans pattern too)


Do you have any other suggestions for 70s style patterns? Or indeed any great vintage patterns actually from the 70s?






Royal Blue Coco Top Fashion History - Early 1960s High Necked Tops Refashions