Image from Coggles.com

I've been thinking about chambray a lot. I think I actually had a dream about it a few months ago when it was still snowing and when chambray anything would have been kind of a chilly choice.

Anyway, I went down to the fabric shop the other day to see if I could glean any clothes-making inspiration from rolls of fabric (usually quite unlikely) and happened upon a roll of chambray denim which I then spent about 10 minutes convincing myself not to buy – I am trying to stop buying fabric for no reason.

But! I think I have found my reason! Elizabeth Lau's denim dress (above) with velvet bows appeared in my inbox the other day, and is definitely the next thing I want to try and copy. I'll have to sacrifice the pretty folds on the front though – I think they're a bit beyond me at present.

Images from Zara.com May 2010 lookbook

While on this cotton-mix internet cycle I found a lot more reasons to dream about chambray denim. I like the idea of using a really very traditional fabric that has become a very modern fabric, and taking it back in time again by making it into classic shapes. Aside from anything else, classic shapes are generally what I would love to wear more of, but are never sold anywhere that I can afford. Does anyone else find that? I suppose that's why vintage is so popular.

This Lanvin for Acne dress is my favourite, although I can't imagine how it's done. Some things ought not to be copied perhaps. It is lovely though.

Image from acnejeans.com



Image: www.fischerclothing.com

Image: Refinery 29

Autumn and spring are my two favourite seasons – I like the way they are neither one nor t'other. I feel as though I need an excuse to post a post on an autumn collection, but if Rhiannon can do it, I'm sure I can too (yes?). Saying that, this is a particularly springy autumn collection (bare legs shock!) so I don't feel too bad.

Anyway, I'm always happy to ape any era beginning with 19 and ending in 0s, but the 1940s are my absolute favourite, especially come autumn time, and this Fischer autumn lookbook seems to just dive straight into my 1940s delight and swim about in it a bit ... sedately, mind.

Images: Fischer Clothing and Refinery 29 respectively

I love the surroundings I think more than I love the clothes (all the wood, the jars and the range especially). They just seem quite atmospheric to me – kind of nervous and hopeful.

(I'm suddenly aware that all the blogs I read are from the US, where autumn is not autumn, but fall. Do they still use 'autumnal'? It's almost onomatopoeic to me.)




I'm still not finished Lula. I always try and make it last the whole of spring, and maybe a little bit of summer.




This weekend we went to the park to sit under a cherry blossom tree with some friends to celebrate Hanami, the ceremony for welcoming spring in Japan. Hanami literally is 'blossom viewing' which I imagine is easier to accomplish in Japan, where there are cherry blossom trees around every corner. All the same, we managed to find a suitable blossom tree in a park, which we sat underneath, drank sake and ate rice balls and lots of other amazing Japanese treats in the sunshine. Ben made various different kinds of sushi which I had forgotten how much I love. It tastes so good but is frustratingly filling – I could eat it forever otherwise!



After such a lot of sushi eating, Azusa taught us some origami, which I've never been able to do, but always wanted to. We made a flock of little cranes. The paper was amazing, and some of the pieces were so tiny! I think we might try and celebrate hanami every year – it's such a lovely idea, and I feel like I'm not alone in spending all year looking forward to spring.




I thought, seeing as I mentioned it in my last post, that I would show off some of the cheap-cheap-cheap vintage material I picked up in the closing down material shop. As a whole the patterns have proved controversial! None of it was any more than £1.50 a metre though, and the older it was, the more the shop assistant discounted it.

The material above is a kind of olive green colour, which I'm not sure you can see from the picture. I bought about a million metres of it, so I'm going to have to think of some good things to make with it. As my good friend John pointed out, it is a little bit 1980s Air Asia, but I think it has a bit of a 1940s feel to it, so think I might try and think about a low backed dress, which I think will suit it quite well. Otherwise, some tops with interesting necklines perhaps. I'm always terrified to start though, in case I ruin the material with some mistake or other.

The stripey material was originally a bit of a whim with a chance of pyjamas, but actually I think it might make a nice high waisted skirt for the summer. I'm not so concerned about wasting it, as it isn't in the best condition, so I think that is most likely to happen!

In other news today, Bristol has become a wild media circus in preparation for the Sky News Leaders Debate tonight. I have never seen so many helicopters. It's what I imagine living in Washington or some such place is like. It's quite exciting really. I went down to the Arnolfini after an impromptu burger and fries picnic with Ben to see what was going on, but all I saw were some well-armed policemen and a police boat.


The Ls

This has been a funny few days. On Friday last week I drove to London with Ben so that we could go to a free Creative Writing day course at Roehampton University. It was good, but slightly overshadowed by the apparently mind-blowing fact that in order to get there, I was driving... in London. The double yellow lines were the wrong colour. It was scary. But actually it was fine, and the course was pretty good too.

Today I drove Ben to Liverpool so that he could be CRB checked before he does some work in a school there over the summer. I sat in the car and read a book (one of my secret favourite things to do – its a bit like when I was little and I used to read books in the greenhouse – it was really too hot, but I quite liked it) while they made sure that he wasn't a criminal, and then drove home. For being his chauffeur, he took me out to dinner.

My scarf is my newest favourite thing – it's a piece of material I got for free with a lot of vintage material I bought in a closing down sale at an old-as-the-hills fabric shop, which has sadly now gone. I really wish I had known about it before the sale – it was just a room with piles of fabric piled higglety-pigglety all over the place. You had to actually climb over it to dig through to the good stuff. My bag I bought a thousand years ago from eBay, and my top is from good old Zara.


A Good Meal

This is a really amazing meal that Ben cooked for us recently. Sea Bream with cockles and samphire - sounds pretentious, tastes amazing. I think it is probably the nicest one I've ever had. Looking forward to more of those one day when I am rich!



Ebay Sunday

It's Ebay Sunday, and as Ben's mum has given me a whole lot of old boutique stock to sell, I spent this afternoon going through it all and taking some pictures. Unfortunately, I realised that I was in the flat by myself with a camera on a tripod, so ended up taking some other pictures... This detour also meant that I'm all out of time for Ebaying what I shot, so that will just have to wait until next week.

After all my H&M bashing on Friday, I remembered this dress that I bought ages ago, and am yet to have an occasion to wear it. I kind of hate it, but quite like it too. It's a complicated relationship we have. I like my white gloves more than I like the dress and Ben concedes that they go with this dress – usually when I wear them he tells me I look like a mime artist.


H&M Garden Collection

It was another shocking nice day in Bristol again today. I had to go and see a man about hiring some cameras, but by the time I was finished, the weather was just too nice to go home and work... so I went to H&M instead.

I went off H&M for ages, but I'm starting to like it a bit more now, (mainly due to Alix's amazing ability to find pretty things there) although I often find myself feeling a bit outraged at the quality of the material. I hate buying things that feel disposable even while you are putting in your pin number.

Although our little Bristol H&M is no great shakes at stocking the best lines, it did have some of the pieces from its Garden Collection (produced using sustainable materials - including recycled bottles, so that's good – right?) which I'd seen pictures of earlier on this year and really liked. I wasn't so impressed though – not so much because of the material this time, but by the weird cuts – particularly the white dress with roses on the skirt, which looks amazing in the picture, but in real life looks like it couldn't possibly fit anyone over 5ft. The roses on the skirt did feel pretty cool though – perhaps the red jacket would be a better bet?


My first dress block and the first day of spring

Naughtily, instead of doing work I'm actually supposed to be doing, I made my first dress block. I had already drawn the pattern from my bodice and skirt blocks earlier on in the week, but hadn't made it up yet. It's not the best picture, and the darts need ironing out, but I'm rather pleased with it. Looking forward to adapting the dress block pattern to some other styles - princess line next I think.

In other news, today spring has arrived in Bristol! Also instead of doing the work I'm supposed to be doing, I went for a walk in the sunshine – and it was actually warm. I guess that means that its time to unzip the big plastic thing I've been keeping my summer clothes in all winter in the hope that I'll feel like I've been shopping when I open it... Or perhaps it's time to make an actual dress rather than just playing with blocks!