Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Time Out : Happy Halloween To You On This Spooky Day

A blissful evening spent carving pumpkin Jack O Lanterns has really made me feel Autumn is well and truly here... I spotted the striped candy canes in a candy store window, they were too pretty to resist and smell so minty! I hope the trick or treaters will love them as much as I do!

It's rather windy outside today so I made this hurricane lamp from an old clip top jar and a part used candle ready to position outside in the evening with the Jack O Lanterns, candles alone would just blow out!
Top tip for making your Jack O Lantern last longer - rub Vaseline / petroleum jelly around all the fleshy parts. I also put a glass tea light holder inside so that the hot wax from the candle does not make the base hot and any breeze does not blow the candle out.

There is a super bat template on the Martha Stewart Website, simple to draw, cut out and fold on black card or sugar paper. They can be hung in a porch or attached to a wall.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Fashion Blog: Yves Saint Laurent Couture Dress for a fraction of the cost

On seeing the 2011 Fall Winter Collections I fell in love with the silk crepe pussy bow 70's style dresses offered by Gucci and Chloe, stunning, effortless chic. The price tags were as stunning as the dresses at around £1300. After a very rare trip to the cinema I saw Michelle Pfeiffer in Tim Burton's Dark Shadows and was under the spell of the seventies dress again. In 2012 I saw the 70's shirt dress return in the Spring Summer collections from Chloe and Gucci. I still really wanted one but could not see this piece as being enough of an investment item to spend £1300 as I wished to add a piece like this to general daywear, rather an occasion wear. I wanted to spend upto £350, for silk crepe and good workmanship.

Image Copyright Gucci 2011
So I started looking… and I came across a bygone gem, the Vogue designer sewing pattern. Up until the 1990s high end designers produced patterns for Vogue which were sold in stores. The earlier years saw the Vogue Couturier Design Patterns from the likes of Valentino, Lanvin and so many more. Then came Vogue Paris Originals, again with great designers such as Yves Saint Laurent, Chloe and Donna Karan to name a few. Today there are still a very small quantity new designer patterns sold from brands such as DKNY, but nothing like the choice of those available from the 1920s - 1990s.

So the only way to buy an original pattern is to seek out vintage pattern, online is the best source. I like and for this.

I found this Vogue Paris Originals Yves Saint Laurent dress pattern on ebay and bought it for £1.04. Bargain. I then sought out the fabric, I wanted good quality medium weight silk crepe. At the time I was drooling over the Gucci Cornflower Blue Dress (culottes actually) from the Pre Fall 2011 Collection so I was looking for that particular shade of blue. I requested some fabric samples from, the online store has the best range of colours for silk crepe. The two samples arrived a few days later, Silk Crepe De Chine in Ultramarine and Bluebonnet (Cornflower Blue). Great Quality. The Silk Crepe De Chine fabric is $28.49 per yard and $1.99 for a sample swatch. sends regular holiday offers and coupon codes if you register for emails.

The Cost Breakdown:

Vogue Paris Originals Yves Saint Laurent Vintage Dress Pattern £1.04 / $1.63 approx.
Postage £1.50 / $2.35 approx.
3 yards Silk Crepe De Chine in Blue Bonnet $85.47 / £54.60 approx.
Shipping extra based on the weight and destination.
Dressmaker charge was quoted at £100 / $156.00 approx.

Total £157.14 / $245.45

Monday, October 29, 2012

Fashion Blog: Beautiful Billowy Chloe Pre Fall 2012 Dress

In September a beautiful package landed in my lap. I was fashion-weary after weeks seeing the relentless stream of summer sales advertising backed up by umpteen emails per day, so the perfectly wrapped parcel was a welcome and refreshing surprise.

Image Copyright Chloe 2012
The box contained a stunning Chloe Pre Fall 2012 Dress. Completely out of my comfort zone this dress was tomato orange red, always a little afraid that such vibrant colours would look less than sophisticated I have avoided even trying pieces on. But... the quality build and feel of the fabric was so luxurious and structured... and watching the swayths of crepe fabric take on the form of a dress as I removed it from the box, my heart skipped a beat and I was little breathless, suddenly I couldn't wait to try it on.

I set the scene for a "successful try-on" by slipping on my perfect and beloved Dark Brown Chloe Knee Length Boots (an investment buy from years past) and then put on the dress. Instantly I was transformed into the best possible version of myself with the feared tomato orange red colour lighting up my skin tone and contrasting with my dark hair.

I have since worn this dress for two outdoor daytime events during September, meetings on sunny days and an early evening dinner with friends. It works perfectly for all day time events where a polished look is required with a less formal feel. This gem of a dress looks wonderful in the sun due to the deep but bright colour but will also look super in Autumn worn with darker shades such as adding a burgundy chunky cropped knit or boxy leather jacket.

The proportions are just right on this piece, the top part is a nicely fitted cut with smaller pleats and a simple neck tie, the bottom half billowy, pleated and oversized. Just perfect.

Mentioning the quality again. The dress is a semi stiff fabric that is structured and lined/interlined properly to provide a clean, sharp, meaningful edge to the sleeves, nekcline and hemline. The zip is hidden under the arm. The pleats are set correctly - the dress hangs just right without looking bulky but billows beautifully when you walk. The interior is as imaculatley tailored at the outside with each stitch in place, there is also a nude coloured slip underlining the skirt. The quality makes this dress a real stand alone piece that makes it easy to wear, with just a chunky cuff if you wish to add an accessory.

The Chloe Pleated Pre Fall Dress £1.935 / $3,445 (Made in France) is available at

The Chloe Pre Fall Collection 2012 can be seen at


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