Friday, 13 September 2019

Irregular Choice: Shroomy


Being stuck at home with a cold this week has at least given me a little more opportunity to take some photos of a few of the new arrivals. Along with Zevra, these Shroomy boots arrived this week from Lottie's Atik - my preferred Irregular Choice supplier if I'm honest, as the customer service is second to none. If you ever need fit advice, more photos or just about any query answering, Lottie and Lu are always happy to help out, so I'm more than happy to recommend them.


So, as for the boots? Well, the main body of them is made from a gold quilted effect PU, whilst the sides are an embroidered lilac and gold fabric, with toadstool and floral embroidery on the sides. 


The fronts are scalloped around the laces, which are lilac ribbons and plenty easy enough to loosen off to take the boots on and off. There isn't any other way of opening these, so I was pleased to find it wasn't a faff to get them on by loosening the ribbon laces, as some other styles can take ages. 


The finish has just the right amount of shine, in my opinion. It contrasts nicely with the glitter which is found around the scalloped edging and on the heel.


Just the regular sole for these - I think I'd been expecting the 20th anniversary print, but that's no big deal - I don't protect my soles and it's not as though anyone ever sees the underside of my shoes anyway. 


The heel is a fairly low one (for me) at around 7cm. These boots are the same as Chinese Whispers, just with different finishes, and also similar to my Dolly Mixture boots in height, although a slightly more chunky heel.

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Irregular Choice: Zevra

It's been a while since I've been particularly quick off the mark with sharing some photos of a new addition to my collection, but I've had a few messages already asking for more photos of them, so here we are. 

So, I've mentioned a few times already this year that I feel as though the old Irregular Choice style I fell for when I first discovered the brand, is making a comeback, and I am seriously excited to see what's next. I'm also pleased that there is still plenty to keep us non-Disney fans interested. (I have to admit I'm not excited by the endless plain coloured glitter low heels, so I've been glad to see the recent new arrivals appealing more to my liking). 


In a sneaky little mid-week release, Irregular Choice release their new "safari" collection, featuring heels, flats, bags and jewellery with a zebra theme. I'm glad that there are more and more flats being released lately, as I know that's been a common criticism over the years, but as ever, I was only interested in the Zevra heels. I was a little torn over which colourway to opt for. After some deliberation, I plumped for the pink, and I wasn't disappointed when they arrived.  


I know this is very much a zebra, but this design has some serious Audrey Loves vibes, with the shape of the face and the stripes. (Throwback post here if you can't remember that far back!) The toe shape is gently pointed, but certainly not enough to need to size up - I went with my normal size in these and they're spot on. 


The insides are the lovely leopard print we've been seeing a lot of this season (in Tonkasaurus Rex for example) and the main section of the shoe is lovely glittery PU with cut-out detail to show the bright pink below, which gives them a lovely texture too. 


One of my favourite features of these (and several other new releases) is the glitter-bomb heel. No, it might not be the first time we've seen things embedded in the heels (hello Low Level Danger, Chestnut and A Million Dreams, to name a few) but it's the first which I can recall being full of glitter which moves around like this. The heels are made from a pink acrylic which is not only curved, but also hollow in the middle and filled with pink glitter. There's some space in there so that the little glitter particles can shake around and it definitely adds to the party feel of these shoes. They're fairly standard in height (a smidge over 8cm) which bodes well for me as there are several pairs with this heel which are on my current wishlist. 


The zebra tail is made from a ponytail of multi-coloured tinsel, which swishes around with every step. I love this and think this may have been the element which convinced me to go with the multi-coloured option. Again, seriously happy party vibes with this little detail. 


OK, so these might not be a character heel in the same way as we've seen the Family Reunion collection or last week's ducks (there's a post on those to come), but they're certainly a concept heel pair I couldn't miss out on, as I feel like IC are getting back down to business. 


Now I just have to find an outfit to wear them with! What do you think? 

Friday, 23 August 2019

DIY parrot costume..


This year, instead of an Xmas party, we're bringing the party forward and having a summer get-together. Instead of just a BBQ, it was decided that this party should have a theme, and they agreed on pirates. (As a Scrooge, I'm fully in agreement with the avoidance of a festive get together, so I'm on board. Pun not intended.)
A costume party does, of course, mean the requirement for a costume. And surely a pirate costume is a fairly simple one - how many times have I dressed up as a pirate for nights out, parties and the like? Well...loads. So, yes, I have an eye-patch, hat and a pair of boring black boots which I could don for the day. But, I kinda wanted something a little bit....different. 


After pondering this for a while, I wondered whether it would be possible to make a parrot costume. They're piratey, right?! I had visions of one of those terrifying mascot costumes to begin with, but decided there must be a better way to do this. After some online searching, I'd found plenty of tutorials on how to make a pair of bird wings for a kid, and decided I could adapt this. 
Not leaving myself with very much time before the party, I decided I would try to use up what I already had in the sewing room, as it seems dumb to have to buy a shitload of fabric for a costume which will only be worn once. I hunted through my fabric stash looking for inspiration and came across this (parrot?) bird print fabric, which I figured would do for a base, with the added bonus that I will get actual everyday wear from it.


So, first things first I made myself an Emery dress, and lined the bodice with an old pillowcase from a set of bedding which I'd decided was past it's best - I have a drawer-ful of old fabrics like this, all washed and ready to use for scraps, toiles and linings where needed.

I was still pondering how to do the wings, but having made the dress, I at least had a colour scheme to work with. Using that old bedsheet as my base fabric, I measured my arms from the centre of my back to my wrist, and then measured how far down I'd want them to sit, from my shoulder blades down. Marking those measurements out on the sheet, I joined them up with a curved line, and made sure to cut them on the fold so that I'd end up with two wing base pieces of fabric, which matched in size.


Next up, I raided the felt stash, cut myself out a feather shape from cardboard as a template and set to work with my rotary cutter. When I started this, I had done absolutely no calculations as to the number of feathers I would need to complete this. Turns out, it's quite a lot.

Starting at the bottom of each wing, I pinned each feather down in place, ensuring that they were close enough to each other that you couldn't see the backing fabric, and then machine stitched them along the wing from one end to the other, in a line. I made sure that my stitching is up at the top quarter of each feather, in order that it is most likely to be covered by the next row of feathers up.


I then continued to work up from the bottom row, choosing a new colour each time (I didn't follow any pattern with the colours, it was mostly down to how much of each felt I had available as I was using up scraps) and pinned them over each other, so that they'd cover the gaps in the row below. On some rows I was able to add half-feathers to the centre edges to help with the overlaps, but again this was entirely felt-permitting. 


When I reached the top row, I trimmed the top edges, so that any feathers which were overhanging the top edge of the backing fabric were trimmed back down to a straight edge, and then applied some satin bias tape, to give a clean edge. At the centre, I left a long end either side so that I can attach the wings to fit, by tying these ends in a knot or a bow at the centre. This gives them more opportunity to move with my arms, rather than being stitched together in the middle. 
I also added another set of bias tape ties about halfway down the back of the wings, for more stability. 


Next up, I needed to add something along the top edge of the wings, to attach it to my arms when I'm wearing them. I stitched some lengths of elastic to the inside of the backing fabric, so that it's not visible from the front. I put a larger loop, big enough to wear on my shoulders, about 6in in from the top corner, and a smaller loop, which will fit on my wrist, a little way in from the other edge. I didn't measure these, just had someone hold the wings on me, and then pinned where these needed to go, as it really would depend on the arm length etc of the person wearing them. 


Finally, from a little more scrap felt, I cut an eye mask shape and two beak pieces, which I hand-stitched around the bottom edge of the mask, sandwiching it in the middle. I cut out some eye holes, and decorated the top edge with a handful of leftover feathers. A little bit of elastic stitched on the back to go around my head and it's ready to wear.


So, there we have it. My tenuously pirate themed parrot costume. Super easy and made entirely from things I already had lying around in the sewing room. 

Thursday, 22 August 2019

The Corbet bed tapestries..


A few weeks ago I visited the Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery and this was probably my favourite room. The Corbet Bed is on display here (on a long-term loan from the V+A museum), due to it's local links and I was super intrigued by the restoration project and also the matching tapestries. 


The bed was commissioned in 1593 by Robert Corbet, for the master bedroom of Moreton Corbet Castle. It's carved predominantly from walnut wood and when it was relocated to the museum, there was a huge restoration project to create some embroidered replica hanging drapes for the bed, and a bedspread. The work was done by a team of volunteers and took several years to complete. 


Also on display in the same room is the most amazing framed tapestry. I can't seem to find a lot of information about this, but it was incredibly detailed.


Squirrels and castles and bears, oh my! There was an amazing list of items to find in the tapestry, which kept us entertained for ages.


One of my favourite details is the tiny swans (above).


The Corbet bed in all it's completed glory.


Not entirely sure what the animal in the bottom left corner is...dragon?!


Another favourite - the beehives.


Teeny tiny vegetable patches. Super cute!


This one has a travelling circus, arriving in town. And another strange dragon-type creature.

We did wander around the rest of the museum, too, as there was a zombie exhibit on which my sister really wanted to see. Tickets to visit cost £4 for adults and I think that's pretty good for a small, local museum. They put on lots of temporary exhibits and events through the year so there's often something new and different to see. 

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Tuesday Titles 174: I Spy..

I Spy
I Spy: Claire Kendal
If you're anything like me, you'll have spent a decent chunk of your childhood making up imaginary scenarios based on books, tv shows or films. My sister and I used to spend a lot of our summer holidays looking for clues and pretending to be Harriet the Spy, mostly looking for mysteries to solve. 

I therefore felt a little pang of nostalgia when I discovered that Holly, aspiring spy and protagonist, shared this interest. I expected to warm to her for this very reason and allow her other quirks to grow on me, but if I'm honest, I never quite got to the stage where I did. 

Holly has always wanted to be a spy, but the book starts picking up pace just after she fails her interview to become one. From there, the split narrative flashes back and forth over a couple of years, where we discover that Holly has been living the life of a spy, as well as quite possibly being spied on. Her relationship may have started out perfect, but there's a slow-burning niggle of doubt creeping in that perhaps everything isn't as perfect as it seems. As realisation dawns, Holly finds she has work to do and that her suspicious nature may turn out to be justified. 

In the present day, we find Holly (now Helen) struggling to come to terms with a life-changing event, whilst desperately trying to uncover the truth behind what happened to her. Can she ever find a way to trust anyone again? 

I did enjoy this book, but at the same time I found a lot of it to be incredibly far-fetched and kind of struggled to get drawn into the writing far enough to find myself truly shocked by the shock outcome. 

But, see for yourself. This one is due out on 22nd August 2019.

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Irregular Choice Tonkasaurus Rex review..


I guess if I had to do one of those post-it note lists of things I most like in the world, two of the things which would heavily feature would be Irregular Choice, and dinosaurs. So, imagine my excitement when I saw the photos for this new release, last week. 


As soon as it arrived I couldn't wait to tear off the packaging and get outside to take some photos. There is SO much detail to look at. 


First of all, the size. This is described as a weekend bag, and I'd say that's pretty accurate. If you were travelling pretty light I'd say you could probably use it as a weekend bag. (It's measurements, for those of you who are technical like that are h33 x w17 x l43 ) It seems to have around the same capacity as the Candy Jem backpack (whose dimensions are h40 x w12 x l35), but obviously landscape rather than portrait and this one has a shoulder strap, which can be detached, rather than rucksack straps. I've happily used my Candy Jem for a weekend in Belfast and managed to fit several pairs of shoes in there, as well as clothes. 


The inner compartment is cavernous with a smaller zipped pocket (usually my passport pocket if I'm travelling somewhere), and the usual IC fabric owl tag. The lining fabric is a purple leopard print velour, reminiscent of the shoe linings we've been seeing in this season's offerings. 


So, what about the design itself? Well, on the front we've got a myriad of glitter, sequins and embroidery. The main design elements of course are the four dinosaurs, all of which are made from sequins. They're standing (or flying) in front of grass, a lake and a volcano, which seems to be erupting with some amazing neon green glitter lava and producing lots of fluffy pink smoke. 


Even the ground sections are made up of layers of differing textures and finishes. The hills and some of the tropical leaves just underneath the pterodactyl are embroidered in different shades of green stitching and the grass section next to the lake is almost Astroturf-like to the touch. 


As for the top and the back of the bag? Well, it's making use of the wonderful multi-coloured dinosaur print we've seen used before on Doctor Dino, Fraggle and Steposaurus, to name a few. On the base of the bag and the bottom half of each side panel, we've got a lemon yellow PU with a finish I'd describe as pearlescent. 


The handles at the centre top are purple, in a kind of reptile-look finish PU, and the bag also comes with a shoulder strap which is in the dinosaur print fabric to match the back and sides. The shoulder strap is adjustable, so that you can lengthen to suit. 


Honestly, I think this may be one of my favourite Irregular Choice items, ever. I'm trying to save it for a good occasion to let it feature in my #365daysofirregularchoice challenge (which you can follow on my Instagram page). 

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Dior: Designer of Dreams {part 4}..

I'm sure that most people have probably been to this exhibition by now, but I'm still partway through ALL of the photos I took during my visit. Into the next room, which looked to take inspiration for it's looks from a mixture of different cultures and countries.

IMG_7496 IMG_7497 IMG_7498

Although both the lighting in the room and the mannequins were darkly coloured, I think that added to the effect of making the colour and detail on the garments themselves stand out. The first thing I noticed upon entering the room was the most amazing turquoise coloured outfit, constructed entirely from leather and from the 2004 show. Very ancient Egyptian influenced.



This one looked so floaty with all of it's chiffon layers; with the red corsage at the waist I couldn't help but think of flamenco: the kind of thing you might see on stage in a production of Carmen.. ?


The one-shouldered gown was probably my favourite thing in this room; ethereal and dreamlike, straight from a fairytale. Again, amazing use of texture with the infinite layers of tulle and floral embellishments. 


I was super into the headpieces shown with these outfits, too. This headscarf, for instance, with the addition of the largest earrings. I don't think my ears could cope with those, but they'd certainly make a statement.


I adore this shiny two-piece set as well. I love cardigans or jackets over full-skirted dresses; there's something so 50s and feminine about a twinset and the shape of these is so elegant. 

Onwards, to the next room of wonder.