Designing a SS14 DIY wardrobe

I started working on this post way back at the beginning of March but then, sadly, life took over and unfortunately planning a pretty summer wardrobe full of wit and whimsy really did take a back seat for a while. But now I am on holiday! In fact I am enjoying the luxury of moveable wifi and writing this blog post via my beautiful new iPad on the train from Ely (Suffolk, nice cathedral) to London (big place, lots of nice cathedrals).

I hijacked from my dear mother (with whom I have been staying) a copy of the Vogue ss14 catwalk report which detailed, and I quote, that this spring summer fashion is 'emancipated from narrow style dictates and brimming with diverse ideas... There's nothing to stop you now...let freedom ring!' I mean it really is all lovely but I must say that 1) I quite enjoy reading about the latest crazy 'trends' although 2) those who have read my blog before will know I am not a slave to any style dictates but am I fact more likely to sew on a whim, usually caught wind of via Pinterest, blogger or (my personal favourite) the movies! 

That said the edition of Vogue's catwalk report did make some attempt to group and classify the multitude of crazy prints and styles seen on the ss14 catwalks, and I have been sketching accordingly, so here are some of the key trends (according to Vogue, not me!) this season and how I as a semi-fledgling dressmaker will seek to emulate them.


Trend 1: Glorious Technicolour!
Or to most of us, bright colours!

This is a trend I really enjoy every time the weather warms up, and I really see myself creating something like a loose fitting, flowing dress in a block yellow or orange, or perhaps even a simple shell top to wear with jeans or a body con skirt. I blogged yesterday a beautiful Fuscia pink circle skirt which sort of already ticks the box so to speak for this trend. I was intending on wearing my skirt with striped and lacy white tops, but perhaps there is room for pairing a bright technicoloured skirt with a bright technicoloured blouse as well!

Omgee love her <3

Last summer I made myself an orange jersey maxi dress which was super simple and I loved wearing it thanks to its sunny colour. I haven't got a photo but it looked pretty much exactly like this:

So I guess I can save myself some sewing time and wear my maxi dress from last year! 

The actual pieces Vogue featured were really not to my tastes at all, but it's good to see bright colours on the summertime catwalks. That said, trend two..

Trend 2: Monochrome

I know right! Talk about mixed messages, although according to the good people at Vogue this is indeed the season when anything goes (have they stopped trying?!?) and I am all for monochrome, particularly white in the warmer months. And it must be mentioned that actually much of the British springtime is rather dull and cold and a healthy stash of black opaque tights really is a uniform in certain parts of London, and I am sure for the rest of the uk! 

I recent purchased some beautiful white and black floral fabric on which the black flowers appear to have been scattered onto the white, gradually becoming more and more until at the opposite selvage the fabric is entirely black. I think this striking pattern will not require a fancy pattern in order to look really quite sensational (if I do say so myself...)

This is sort of what the fabric is like:

As in with the flowers fading in and out, not the poofy tulle! It's a soft viscose

Mollie King's dress is lovely and again a similar fabric to the one I have bought

Here is a small clip of the fabric from the Fabric Land website


This dress is the centre is totally stunning and very Italian looking I feel, from Roksanda Ilincic's SS14 collection. So simple and chic, a look I am sure to try emulating, although no with the elegant mini hemline, as on a smaller woman like myself the look tends to be more drowning child than elegant swanlike 6' model. The lovely head scarf also reminds me of Tilly's lovely new Brigitte scarf! (

Stripes are a good way to access the monochrome trend, loving this version from:

Trend 3: Shiny Shiny!

Vogue named this trend 'Minecraft' in their edit but the very name for me conjures up images of 6 and 7 year old boys obsessively playing the videogame of that name. So shiny shiny is a better name mentally for me.

I dont know if I will venture to sew with a metallic fabric, this may a trend I choose to buy into when holiday season comes around, I can imagine H&M will have some pretty special trashy metallic pieces to choose from nearer the time. It's a trend I can imagine my mother looking at in a rather disapproving manner. And I can also imagine this is a trend that is extremely easy to get wrong. I feel the best a safest option may be to go down the simple circle skirt route as it is a flattering and inoffensive item of clothing which would catch the light beautifully when twirling, an action in which I am obviously always engaging. Perhaps teamed with a simple white tee this could be a sweet and youthful look. I am always determined that, although I do a practical and grown up job, I do not begin to dress in a practical and/or grow up manner. So far this is has not proven to be difficult for a woman who cooes over flock nylon and sequin hot pants. 


Trend 4: Blurred Lines 

Sheer and lace fabrics are always on my radar, be it spring, summer, autumn or winter, and I adore the Burberry outfit on the far left of this page of Vogue:

That is exactly how sophisticated I would like to be, if I did not work in such close proximity to snotty noses and poster paints. 

That said, I will definitely be working on a lace pencil skirt for ss14 to be teamed with either simple sheer shirts for work or casual little tees or vests for playing in the sun. I'd really like to create some little sheer shell tops for the warm weather to team with lacey skirts or just comfy trousers, perhaps using New Look 6483

New Look Patterns

I also think it is worth mentioning that, although I adored Burberry's stunning and saucy transparent lace pencil skirts, as a woman of the real world displaying my pants for all of south west London to enjoy is not high on my to do list, so I would argue that sticking to sheer tops and lined dresses is really preferable, to be worn with silk camis for work, and without for play.
Some women getting sheers seriously right:

I created a lace dress last summer which I adore, even now, as the lace was just such high quality and it washes so nicely. 

Posing with instruments, none of which are mine! 

So to summarise, this trend for lace and sheers has my name all over it, watch this space for many transparent beauties come the sunshine.

Trend 5: Gingham

This is a trend of which I am fail fond thanks to nostalgic memories of gingham school summer dresses being cracked out by my mother at the first glimpse of sun rays peeping through the April showers. I wore blue but the posh girls school got to wear pink. For this I am still bitter, and would like to make myself a prim little pink gingham sundress, a la Betty Draper

Or maybe I could be badass in a black and white number...

I think the real challenge is to not allow it to get too caught up in the vintage, twee, nostalgia element but to use the checks as adding edge, akin to a checked lumberjack skirt almost, adding a tougher edge to feminine skirts and dresses and a summery, less floaty alternative to a classic summer floral print.
Basically, aim is to look like this:

With as little of this as possible:

That said, I used to love having a scrunchie that matched my dress! 

Trend 6: Florals
Omgee, could it be more me? My wardrobe (as you can see on the 'My handmade wardrobe' tab above) really is bursting at the seams with floral fancies, and it kind of goes without saying that many of these will be busted out again this summer, although I will be selective and attempt to make each look just a tiny bit more grown up, now I am the grand old age of 24. Lolz.

My favourite floral outfit from the catwalks has to be this Mary Katrantzou number (second from the right). I love the combination of a classic floral print with a very modern, heavily structured cut as I feel it contrasts well with the whimsy of the flowers. Of course, patterns for dresses this shape will not be available until nobody wants them anymore, so I will have to adapt! My pattern cutting skills are certainly being challenged of late...

This layered, cropped shape of dress from Asos I think would be the perfect way to modernise the floral trend....

Or a similarly structured style with a peplum skirt:

As would a matching top and shorts combo on the lovely Mollie!

 Will need to get sketching and cutting...

To to modernise florals, structured cuts are near perfect for this season, but I am also taken with the last trend of all I am going to write about, and that is ( I almost cringe to say it) slogan sweaters.

Trend 7: Slogans
I remember my mother once saying that nothing worth saying was ever written across someone's breasts on a tshirt ( I paraphrase, but this really was the jist of her attitude to slogans ) 
This is therefore not the season for her. Slogans of all kinds were literally everywhere and the pretentious Francophile inside me leans towards the ones written in French, although I admit to having to use the translator on my phone when shopping for said sweater in H&M. I ended up choosing L'amore for a bargain £14.99. And I'm not even sorry.

I wore my sweater to a lunch date with my lovely girls I grew up with in Kings Cross and really liked the way the sweatshirt toughens up my pretty Vogue 8882 summer skirt I blogged about last week.
Harrod's Faberge eggs make a delightful backdrop for tourist style photos ;)

Here Christopher Kane shows us how it's done witha divine collection featuring drawings not unlike my children's sketches in science lessons. Jadore! 

Overall, my top three shows were:

Mary Katrantzou 

And Christopher Kane

All three for general creative loveliness which makes me want to embrace the spring with femininity, creativity and toughness in equal measure!

That's it from me for now, thanks for reading and happy sketching, planning and stitching for ss14! 
X o x o