Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Outfit Post: Plaid to Meet You!

It's that time of year again, the streets are emblazoned with thousands of twinkling fairy lights illuminating the way home through the dreary winter darkness, the shops are adorned with greens, reds and golds and the streets are saturated with the mouthwatering smells wafting from the Christmas markets. It's my first Christmas in the UK in what must be years and I'm beguiled by the atmosphere of Manchester at this time in the year!
My tartan pinafore for this post was inadvertently in time for the festive season, how very fitting! You know the drill at this point; for years I covet and envisage an item of clothing that doesn't exist, sighing wistfully when I see something remotely similar yet lacking in some shape or form from what I desire it to be. Now courtesy of my burgeoning sewing skills I'm able to make my sartorial dreams a reality! This time it's an utterly adorable (even if I say so myself), tartan/plaid, pleated, surplice neckline pinafore dress. On this occasion my source of inspiration was the vintage catholic school pinafores; since I didn't have a pattern at hand to guide me, I ventured into the unchartered territory of improvisation.  The freedom of this can be quite overwhelming yet brings a whole host of troubleshooting. The general idea was that I evenly pleated the skirt section of the dress and crafted my own straps which proved to be more cumbersome than I bargained for nevertheless I got there in the end! The dress truly does serves its purpose as a uniform as I don't seem to be wearing anything else lately! My beloved peter pan collar blouse complements it perfectly along with my t-bar school shoes... yes, primary school outfits seem to be a recurring theme in my recent blog posts!

Outfit Details: Dress: me made, Topshop wicher basket bag, Romwe peter pan collar blouse and Clarks shoes

Photographs courtesy of my dear friend Maram!
Many thanks to my amazing sewing teacher Kate!

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Autumn Lovers Cliché

I believe it's safe to say that I'm the epitome of an Autumn-lover cliche and all the simple pleasures that accompany it. Surely it can't just be me who derives so much satisfaction from crushing lone acorns on my home from work, wading my way through the masses of crinkled autumn leaves, noting the nuances between them; some mustard, some burnt orange, some a muted red and some the transition from summer and autumn summarised in the form of a leaf, feeling inexplicably warm inside when passing shop fronts decked with pumpkins and all that Autumn inspired goodness, upping my cosiness game by swathing myself in layers of jumpers and having a genuine excuse to implement my love for mustard and denim outfit combinations into my routine. As if I required yet another reason to be smitten with this season, I became engaged to my other half!

On that sentimental note, I would steer your attention to my outfit which let's face it is Autumn in a nutshell; turtleneck jumper, check.. woollen skirt, check... fall palette, also check. I'm sure it will also come as no surprise that this was as per usual a very affordable ensemble! The star of the show being this vintage plaid skirt which I encountered whilst sifting through the rails upon rails of second hand clothing at the kilo sale aka gold mine in the Northern Quarter for a mere £5! Initially I was indecisive as I feared it would be that tad bit large for my waist, in the end thankfully I thought better of it and followed the saying a most prudent person stated 'He who hesitates is lost...or she' (prudent being Captain Widdershins as any book fiends will know all too well is from The Series of Unfortunate Events). The issue was easily resolved with a chunky jumper tucked in so as to compensate for the excess space. I'm a real sucker for anything remotely within the plaid/tartan/check category... they tend to be such timeless yet statement prints. Plaid is one of those prints you can either revolve the rest of your outfit around, as the variety of colours within the print tend to provide a general adherable colour scheme ... or you can afford to be on the adventurous side by colour blocking and pattern clashing. I initially intended on wearing this skirt with a bland cream blouse until it occurred to me that this deep burgundy/bordeaux turtle neck would complement it perfectly! I completed my attire with my absolute gem of a rocket bag, dependable brogues and coat.

Outfit Details: Vintage plaid skirt, Primark jumper, Accessorize rocket bag, H&M coat and Clarks brogues

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Budget DIY: Transform Your Bargain Frame into an Urban Outfitters-esque Hanging Frame!

It occurred to me that despite the frequency of budget DIY projects that I engage in so as to transform the small box bedroom that I inhabit into my very own sanctuary, I seldom divulge them on here. 
Lately, I've both discovered and become enamoured with the delicate vintage glass hanging/floating frames that have been on trend. I've amassed a few affordable ones which I've searched high and low for thanks to my abstemious tendencies (the links to which i'll place below). I carefully arrange and enclose pressed flowers and leaves in them and it instantly provides the room with a botanical/naturalistic vibe which is the theme that my little den is centred around, I'm especially partial to those in gold or silver as the exude an antique feel. As aforementioned if you too are smitten with them but cannot however commit to some of the extortionate prices usually ranging between £8-£20 at H&M, Urban Outfitters and your usual independent shops, then you're in luck! Being the thrifty person that I am, I've deduced the reasonably priced versions, one of which is from Wilkos for a mere £3. Over the past month I've walked past it, wistfully wishing it came without the tacky clichéd print along the bottom or the ribbon tie, it just was not my cup of tea. One day I had an epiphany moment; the drawbacks that I fussed about could very easily be resolved with the tiniest amount of effort.  So I took initiative and present you with this simple tutorial that doesn't exceed 15 minutes:

1) First and foremost, have all your required materials at the ready; the frame of choice, a penny, scissors and a length of twine.

2) As can be seen, the quote is in a frosted silver cursive. Proceed to unhinging and opening the frame to expose the side on which the writing has been printed.

 3) In order to test out whether your penny is the appropriate instrument to use you may want to perform a gentle scratch test on the tip of the writing at an angle of 45 degree angle. If you're pleased with the result proceed to using the same technique on the remaining letters. Blow away the debris every so often to discern the detached pieces from areas you may have overlooked. Note that in order to avoid etching and abrasion of glass go about it gently and take your time... the end result will be worth the time you've invested.

4) Once you have removed the writing, remove the undesirable ribbon or material and replace with the same length of twine. Snip off the excess ends... and voila there you have it, you very own inexpensive hanging frame!

I have yet to style and find a home for the frame along with the others which I'd be happy to showcase in a blogpost if any of you were interested... for now though, here's the frame in all it's glory!

Frames: Herehere and here

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Primary School Inspired Outfit

Dear readers, 
Not only was this a summer of relishing countless picnics but also resembling one too in this delightfully cheerful, blue, gingham midi dress! The dress is a portal transporting me straight back to my primary school days! For those of you who may be a little confused, let me clarify,  it's customary in the uk during the summer season for primary school girls to wear darling gingham summer dresses varying in colour depending on the school's affiliation. As a child I grew up attending a school where the girls wore red gingham dresses thus I was always wistfully beholding the dresses of the nearby school which were blue (the grass is always greener on the other side).. never would I have envisioned the grown up me actually wearing one! Naturally when I spotted this dress whilst sifting through Primark, I had a truly pinch-me moment when my eyes fell upon it. I stood there all the memories flooding back, reminiscing my longing for a blue dress and decided to honour my younger self's wishes by picking it up. Since acquiring it, the dress has evoked several oh-so-original jokes from those around me, generally along the lines of 'what primary school do you attend Sumeyye'? I love it all the same, it's my 9 yr old dream come true and I appreciate how the dress is an unusual take on the gingham trend this past season. An error of mine however is that I unfortunately neglected to feature the sleeves which are in actuality 3/4 length that widen to form flute sleeves at the end. 
The dress has the a very country-esque quality to it which of course is totally up my street so it should come as no surprise that I paired it with a wicker picnic hamper to add to the country girl persona I was channeling. I decided to further accessorise my outfit by incorporating my trusty denim jacket along with my apple shaped novelty bag to infuse a quirky edge and help passersby form a distinction between me and the school children!
What kind of a summer have you all had?

Outfit details: Primark Gingham dress and novelty bag, Zara denim jacket and Clarks t-bar shoes

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Gingham Love

Hello there my lovelies, as promised, I've returned with my second and by far improved attempt at dressmaking. For as long as I can recall I've always lusted after a gingham skirt with the perfect fabric, the perfect fit and flare silhouette and the perfect length. I always knew that if i owned one, my wardrobe would revolve around it. Disclosure; I never did discover a skirt that suited my ridiculously unattainable standards.....however something better came along, I made it! 
Gingham is such a versatile print which instantly adds an air of femininity and sophistication to any combination. It can be dressed up or down and always delivers to the occasion, whether it's a simple band/slogan tee or a classy blouse. You can be minimalist Parisian chic one day and a cute, country girl-next-door with a wicker basket the next. I find that the colours that complement the pattern best are black (of course). deep greens, dusty pinks, mustard and lemon yellows and crisp white blouses. 

On this occasion I kept it rather demure by styling my dreamy gingham skirt with a billowy (tucked in with care) Zara blouse, embroidered with yellow and green floral detailing, exuding a very folksy, country vibe. I paired the outfit with my trusty embroidered backpack, as I've confessed in a previous blog post i've been so inspired and enamoured by the embroidery trend this year so tend to infuse into everything that I wear, t-bar shoes and hijab which I am sure you have memorised by now. 

Today I spent my time away solitarily wandering through the greens of Dunham Massey Park, the weather wasn't ideal, in fact it was overcast with the occasional shower. whilst taking pictures of the picturesque scenery and wildlife it envelopes, I was approached by a volunteer who kindly provided me with the trivia of the swans that reside in Dunham Massey, I spread a blanket on the vibrant green floor of the forest, unpacked my hamper and relished a cup of steaming brew with a good read in complete serenity. On my way home I decided to seek out a souvenir of my excursion; sometimes it's an acorn, a pine cone and on this occasion it was delicate fern leaf that I intend to press at home. 

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Guide and Outfit: Sewing Endeavours!

Hi there my lovelies, the time has come to finally introduce you to my first ever sewing project; a plaid midi skirt!  

Learning to sew has always been a longstanding aspiration of mine that I got around to fulfilling. a couple of months back I had been casually browsing the haberdashery section of Hobbycraft when my eyes fell upon an advertisement for sewing classes on the notice board. I instinctually looked over at my mother who gave me an encouraging nod and said 'go for it'. One of the chief driving forces for me to pursuit sewing is that as a muslim woman who has a rather quaint sense of style, I have always been limited in the selection of clothing based on affordability, availability and modesty. Learning to sew has opened up a whole new horizon where I can bring my designs that used to be strictly on paper, to life. I'm naturally still in the midst of learning this new skill, yet here are couple of tips that I feel have facilitated my sewing endeavours so far:

1) If you're familiar with the notion of having to be prompted to initiate the acquisition of a hobby like myself and find it both overwhelming and difficult to maintain the motivation for self instructing, consider joining a class. We live in a era where youtube can basically guide and teach us virtually everything, however sometimes commencing something entirely unfamiliar can be a little overwhelming and intimidating. Going old school and actually interacting with people who are all on the same square as you can make it less daunting and help form a bridge from complete inexperience to amateur to outright dressmaking genius (dreaming big), it accommodates for hiccups, readjustments, practical skills and an abundance of prototypes.

2) Figure out your pace, every person has an optimal environment and condition in which they thrive, some perform best in a slow paced relaxed atmosphere in which they can digest what they are learning. Others like myself blossom under pressure, I made a leap of progress when I made the foolishly valiant decision decision to take on 4 projects with a deadline of 4 weeks for when they were due. This meant that I couldn't solely rely on my poor sewing instructor Kate (who is a godsend.. check out her Instagram) to help me out of the hole I had managed to dig myself into. I had to take initiative and make progress at home, resulting in me becoming proficient much quicker knowing that I had the responsibility bearing on my shoulders to complete several Eid outfits or else suffer the dismay of several members of my family.

3) Treat yourself to a quality sewing machine! After dabbling into the art of sewing, if you can envision yourself sustaining the pastime of sewing for the foreseeable future, invest in a sewing machine. It takes the pressure off classes as you can always depend on the flexibility of finishing your task at home, in your own time, at your own pace. Mine is a wonderful midnight blue coloured beauty from John Lewis (curiously both resembles and functions like the costly Janome one...hint hint)!

4) If you feel a particular sewing pattern works well for you and can't purchase it, ask if you can trace the patterns onto greaseproof paper. That way you can amass a collection of patterns that you can refer back to.

5) There's absolutely no rule that you have to depend on one sewing pattern for a project... mix and match the bodice from one, the skirt and sleeves from other sewing patterns to create one whole masterpiece.

6) Create a Pinterest board to inspire your future dressmaking pursuits. You can use trends, eras, silhouettes, prints, shapes of Pinterest pins and make them entirely your own by adding personal touch.

 After having been taught the fundamentals of sewing you may now seek the divine wisdom of youtube for further tutorials!

Image from my Instagram

Outfit Details: selfmade skirt, Romwe blouse, Accessorize embroidered back pack and Clarks t-bar shoes