Sunday, 29 July 2012

From Scratch Scalloped Shorts Tutorial

As you are hopefully now aware, I go through phases of loving trends (the ombre phase is slowly... eh... phasing out), and my new one is scalloped hems. I just think they add an extra bit of sophistication and elegance to an outfit.

You are also probably now aware that I LOVE shorts (7 pairs of denim ones alone, at my last count). What better way to make myself happy than to combine these two loves?

I am trying to be a bit more adventurous with my sewing, so rather than give a pair of shorts I already own a scalloped hem (I also didn't want to alter any of the ones I have), I decided to make a pair of shorts. From scratch. I also didn't have any suitable stretchy material, so I also had to make the executive decision of also inserting a zip in order for my booty to actually get into them. 

I had a slightly satin-esque material that I'd wondered recently what to do with, and as I wanted these shorts to be more formal, going-out shorts, it was the perfect choice.


Here's what you will need:
A pair of shorts you like the fit of
Tailor's chalk
Matching thread
Pinking shears
Sewing machine (zipper foot optional)
Seam ripper
A mug!

How to:

First I traced around a pair of high-waisted shorts that fit me really well. They are made from stretch denim, so I left plenty of seam allowance so I don't bust out of them when I move!

Make sure you lay your shorts folded in half on the fabric (which is also folded in half) with each fold next to each other, like so: 

This means you get one whole piece which will wrap around your bum and leg. Cut two of these, as you probably have two legs.

I also added a bit of length to both the waist and the legs, to ensure they were high-waisted enough for me (enough to cover my bellybutton), and long enough for the scallops (in case I made a mistake!)

Then I laid them flat, right sides together, and pinned and sewed the curves:
Then, you need to lay them out again as they were above, and pick up one layer at the bottom, in the middle,  and lay them so they look a bit more like shorts, like this:

Pin and sew the bits were yours legs go, still with the wrong side facing outwards. I then made a waistband with two lengths of material and pinned and stitched them to the top of the shorts like so:

Now it's time for the zip! Lay your shorts down in front of you so that the wrong side fabric of the back of the shorts is facing you. Lay your zip face down on the middle seam, and pin and sew each side of the zip to the corresponding seam allowance (I didn't bother using a zipper foot):

Now you need to get your seam ripper (hello, old friend!) and open the seam from the top of the back of the shorts, to just above where your zip finishes. Add a hook and eye at the top. Hooray! Now you can try them on and tweak them if necessary.

Now for the scallops. This is the time consuming bit. Turn your shorts the right way out, and turn the hems up and out, and pin:
Now, with your mug (see, there IS a reason), draw half circles at the bottom of the hem (this should be on the wrong side of the fabric) all the way around the bottom of your shorts leg. Sew a curve where you have drawn.
Then, take your pinking shears and cut around the bottom of these half circles. Turn them all inside out (i.e. right way round) and iron. You may need to spray them with water and poke them a bit to get them to properly turn out, but it's worth it! 

Trim all excess material on the inside of the shorts, and all stray threads.

Now, that wasn't so bad, was it?

I still have to add a hook and eye to mine, but I hope you like them, because I LOVE them :)

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Glossybox June 2012 Review

Another late blog entry! Trying to get up-to-date as quickly as I can!

Well everyone who knows me, knows that I am not only a sucker for adverts (i.e. glittery shampoo), I am also a COMPLETE MUG for lucky dips. Claire's Accessories usually does a 10 items for some amount of money in a white bag, so you can't see the contents. A local boutique sometimes has mystery items wrapped in beautiful tissue paper. Fetes and fairs alike have the "boy" and "girl" boxes with prizes wrapped in gender-oriented wrapping paper. I will have a go on all of them, knowing that the prizes will be awful, that they are merely the reject items that no-one else wants. I just cannot resist finding out what that slightly-squidgy-flat-thing-wrapped-so-enticingly IS, and many a time have I been ushered out the door before my child-like hands can delve into the box of goodies. I think I am also an eternal optimist, and always think this time my luck will be in. Alas, I am never right, and my items usually end up at the charity shop to gain a new, more meaningful, life. 

So, when a friend posted a link for Glossybox, it was fatal.

Glossybox promises "5 luxury product miniatures from high-end brands [...] sent directly to your door every month" for £10 + £2.95 P&P. It is a rolling contract so you can cancel any time you like, so I thought "why not?"

And boy, am I glad I did.

My postie obviously possesses the ability to read minds and knew that I was waiting like an expectant child at Christmas for my Glossybox, and hid it in my garden for me, instead of making me go to the Post Office - thank-you postie!

The outside packaging got me very excited indeed:

See how excited I was? I couldn't even take a picture before opening it!

And then, more suspense!

And yet more... (How gorgeous is the packaging?)


The box comes with a list of each product, and how much they retail for. My first Glossybox contained (don't forget that it only cost me £12.95 in total):
Glossybox Serie Exclusiv Pro Beauty Brush - RRP £15 each
HD Brows Precision Tweezers - RRP £19.95 a pair
BM Beauty Summer Warmth Bronzer - RRP Fullsize £8.00/4g 
Paul Mitchell The Conditioner - RRP Fullsize £12.25/300ml
Vichy Dermablend Ultra-Corrective Foundation Cream Stick - RRP Fullsize £19.00/12g

As you can see, the brush alone is worth more than the cost of the box! Very happy lady at this news.
The contents of June 2012 Glossybox

Maisie inspecting the Glossybox

The Brush
The brush is made by Glossybox themselves, and they say "This classic series natural goat hair blush brush gives a supersoft make-up application."

I am always after new make-up brushes, so I was happy that I got this in the box, and this one looks expensive and feels soft, but not too soft. I'm not an expert on make-up brushes as most of mine are from sets and are fairly cheap, but the bristles on this one do seem to come out like other brushes which is slightly disappointing. Some of the bristles were sticking out further than they should too. It is the right size for blusher and applies it well, but I wouldn't say it's an outstanding brush. It's a blusher brush, and that's it.

The Tweezers

I am quite picky about my tweezers and will spend a fair amount on them to get a super pair (perhaps I should extend this to my make-up brushes?) - I have a pair of Tweezerman ones which are FAB. When I first opened the box the tweezers came in, I noticed they look a lot like my Tweezermans, which was promising, and they are just as great. A lot of cheaper tweezers don't grip the hair properly, but these are really well made and are perfect for the job.

The Bronzer

I am quite pale and don't usually wear bronzer, except when I want a super summery glow, as it tends to make me look a bit... dirty. I tried out a tiny amount of this bronzer and it is quite dark for my skin, but it's OK if you use a tiny amount and blend well. This will be useful in the summer months. It is quite shimmery too, which I like.

The Conditioner

I seem to have misplaced this so have no picture! I did however, use this before I put it somewhere safe - It's a leave-in conditioner which will also be nice in the upcoming summer months. I may have put a bit too much in my hair as it made it a tad greasy on the ends (I didn't put any on my roots). It has a fairly sticky texture and a blue tint, which makes me wonder about the additives in it... I wouldn't buy this at full size as I have used better, cheaper, leave-in conditioners (or I just use a small amount of normal conditioner on dry hair).

The Concealer

I have heard about Dermablend before, and was quite excited about this product, but I was mildly disappointed. However, I did only use it under my eyes, but it didn't seem to cover flaws as well as promised. I think it may also be due to the limited colour range - as previously mentioned, my skin is very fair, so I always have to have the lightest colours. I will continue to test this product out as I'm sure I will grow to love it!

July 2012 Glossybox is already here (and I have used some of the products without taking individual pictures - naughty!) so stay tuned for the review! 

Do you get Glossybox? Did you get a different variation for June? What did you think of the products?

What products would you like to see in Glossybox?


Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Heavenly Summer Shirt Dress

Summer has finally arrived in Britain! That silly gulf jet stream thingy has moved and the sun is here! I am also on summer holidays, only working two days a week (plus some Saturdays... Ain't nobody got time for that).

On my first day off, having worked a few extra days for a few extra pennies, I made my first dress of the summer! 

I found the tutorial a while ago, when it was still cloudy and wet and strolled down to the Aladdin's cave of a charity shop in town. I stumbled upon a beautiful, huge, white and mint green striped gentleman's cotton shirt, and snapped it up for a mere £1 (this charity shop is my favourite, FAVOURITE shop ever). I just want to add that I am not a shirt-dress wearing person, they make me feel like I should be pregnant while wearing them (apologies if you wear them, I am sure you don't look pregnant in them, and in fact look fabulous.)

Now, I am usually pretty tech-savvy BUT about a month ago I thought it would be a good idea to reformat my SD card so that it would allow me to put my running music on my phone, and then I could use my Endomondo app to track my runs/jogs/fast-paced-walks. However, what I didn't realise was that all my pictures (and coincidingly, (Spell-check tells me this is not a word, but I am using it) my MMS settings) were saved to said SD card. Doh. So unfortunately, I don't have a before picture. But please, imagine if you will, a very large man's cotton shirt with delectable mint green and white pinstripes, with lots of enticing fabric...

And with the help of this tutorial, I ended up with this little beauty:

What do you think?

I reused the pocket on my shirt, for an extra bit of detail (plus it will hold money for ice-creams). It's such an original way to turn an old shirt into a dress, and I'll definitely be making more of these - I will have to think of different detailing I can add to the front to make them look different! 

I think I may add another button to the front, as it's only got two.

Comments/criticism appreciated!


Ok, so I haven't posted in a little while... Whoops.

As some of you will be aware, I have been volunteering 3 days a week in a local primary school to build up my experience ready for my PGCE at Cambridge uni in September. End of term is always pretty manic, and with that comes the dreaded end-of-term-itis which it seems all teachers and TAs alike come down with - me included. Cue blocked sinuses, headaches and general under-the-weather-ness. Throw costochondritis into the mix and you might begin seeing why I have been unable to post. 

I have quite a few updates to, er, update you on, so please bear with me!

After deciding that Maisie seemed to be getting lonely, it was decided that she definitely needed a baby brother. I went to a couple's house whose cat had just had a litter of three, to see the little boy, Ernie. Ernie was lovely, but I absolutely fell in love with his sister, Sox. I decided there and then that she would be mine and I would call her Dorothy (poor kitty). Ernie, in fact, turned out to be a girl anyway. In due course I picked Dorothy up and brought her home, much to Maisie's absolute disgust. Two days of sulking (Maisie), tears (me) and utter bewilderment (Dorothy) dragged by, until I finally chilled out and just let Maisie continue sulking. It was on a day off that I happened to look down at Dorothy while she had her legs and bum in the air and noticed that something wasn't... right. 

After a quick bit of research to mostly confirm my suspicions, I asked for an expert opinion (Ben's Mum) - she took one look and swiftly declared "That's a little boy!" Hmm. So, after much uhming and ahing over which name to give him, I went with the name I was originally going to call the future-brother-of-Maisie; Elvis. 

Elvis is settling in well, and is a bit of a tearaway! He has very sharp claws and likes to climb up legs, jump on backs, and play with Maisie's tail. I am utterly in love with him. He is a very sweet little boy, he just doesn't know his name yet! 

Maisie is still grumpy when he's around, but will allow him to sleep near her - hopefully they will start to love each other, but I have been very reliably informed that it will take time and patience! I have noticed that they both have beautiful matching amber eyes and colour-tipped tails :)

Elvis, the annoying little brother

There will be many more updates over the next few days to make up for lost time!