Book: Couture Sewing Techniques

Every couple of weeks I pop into my local Oxfam bookshop to have a look at the sewing/craft section. There often isn’t much, but the other week I stumbled across this gem:

It’s a book written by Claire B Shaeffer who is an expert in sewing and construction techniques. She has a website and has designed sewing patterns for Vogue. This book has since been updated and revised, but this version is still really good! I’ve only had a flick through so far but I will read it in more detail!

I love the above photo showing personalised dress forms at the house of Christian Dior – that really is couture!

The first part of the book is a history of couture sewing and there are some amazing examples! Like the below dress, which I’m sure must have been the inspiration for the amazing one made by Cynthai Settje of Red Threaded. As of writing, the dress is her profile picture on instagram, and there are some amazing photos of it in progress and also finished!

And I couldn’t not post the photo of the classic Christian Dior outfit! If I had unlimited time and resources, I would definitely recreate this outfit, hat and all!

After the history chapter comes one on hand sewing techniques. I definitely need this! As I mentioned in my Dressmaker’s Ball dress post, I did a lot of hand sewing and did quite enjoy it, but I don’t think I’m very skilled at it. Also there are loads of different stitches for different places on garments so I’m thinking I’ll do a sampler or something to practice.

And who knew there were so many different needles! I guess it makes sense – there are different needles for different things on sewing machines, so I can’t believe I’d never thought that there would also be different needles for different hand sewing tasks!

And of course, there are as many threads as there are needles, for all the different things you could want to sew.

There’s a great section on all the different kinds of seam you could need. I like the look of this false french seam, though I can’t imagine sewing seams by hand would be strong enough!

One of the things I like about this book is how thorough it is – I would probably never think of all the things it covers, like interfacing. There would definitely be some helpful tips in here for properly tailoring a jacket or coat. It also mentions the non-fusible kind of interfacing, so I’d like to have a go with that when I do some proper tailoring.

The dress below holds its shape purely with interfacing!

The next chunk of the book looks at edge finishes like hems, facings and bindings.

I love, love, love this sketch by Christian Dior. I wish I could draw like that and show what a garment will look like with relatively few lines!

There’s a great section on buttons and button holes, including bound button holes, which I still haven’t done! I love the buttons below from a Schiaparelli jacket.

After all the sections on general techniques, Schaeffer shows you how to apply these (and other) techniques to actual garments.

I love this Dior skirt and jacket combo! Another one to copy one day…..

The below photo of a Balenciaga dress is from the dresses chapter. It shows the structure underneath a loose, billowy front to make sure it stayed where it should. I really want to see the Balenciaga exhibition at the V & A to see all the amazing things going on underneath the clothes!

Below is another Balenciaga dress, with structure to keep the shoulders in shape. Definitely getting some tips for next year’s Dressmaker’s Ball dress, assuming they run it again next year!

There’s a chapter on sleeves and there are loads of details about tailored and non-tailored sleeves. I like these diagrams that are scattered throughout the book,which show you how different elements are drafted and constructed.

Another useful diagram from this book shows all the details that go into a tailored jacket. I do really want to have a go at making something properly tailored either for me or for The Boyfriend – I did promise to make him a coat!

This is the section I’m possibly the most excited about! Definitely tips for my next evening outfit. If the Dressmaker’s Ball happens again next year, I definitely want to make something more ambitious, both in terms of construction and fabric choice, so hopefully this chapter will come in handy then!

I’ve not yet sewn anything with boning, so I definitely want to give that a go at some point. It actually would have helped to have more structure inside the dress I made for this year’s ball! Then I wouldn’t have needed the tape…..

The below photo shows embroidery done by machine! I have no idea how you would even do that! I think there must be some applique in there too.

And I hadn’t even considered beading before I came across this section!

At the end of the book there is a really great glossary of terms, which is super helpful. I can definitely feel myself turning into more of a sewing nerd after flicking through this book. I already think about it for most of my waking hours, and now I’m all enthusiastic to learn new skills and techniques and to make some more involved projects, rather than just churning out loads and loads of fairly basic garments, though there are some gaps in my wardrobe still so I will still be doing some of that!

What’s your favourite couture-type technique? Are there any techniques you’re dying to learn?

 

 

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Black Roberts Dungaree Dress

I’ve made a thing!

And I really like it, though it may not be totally seasonally appropriate as the fabric is quite thick. It’s some mystery black textured something which I got at the fabric swap at the first Sew Brizzle meet up. It was quite thin so I underlined the back and the front skirt with some fairly cheap black polycotton and it seems to have done the trick – judging by these photos which were taken in bright sun anyway!

The pattern is the dress version of Marilla Walker’s Roberts Collection. I bought this ages ago, but only printed and assembled the PDF a few months ago. I printed the whole lot in one go, and it took AGES to put together, but I’m glad because now I’m tempted to make the dungaree version for the colder weather later in the year. I particularly like the back! I love how the straps look and the shape of the back.

This is the side view – and I’m pleased it doesn’t sit too low as I was mildly concerned even with a top underneath, it wouldn’t be decent! But there’s a little band on this side and 3 poppers to get a snugger fit and allow you to get in and out of it!

I made the straight size 2 without making any changes. But looking at it on, I think next time I could shorten the bib on the front and the back above the waist as the ‘waist’ seam sits just a bit lower than my waist, so I think it might be a little more flattering if the seam was on my actual waist.

I used poppers to attach the straps on the front – as I think the pattern says you should – but then sewed some buttons on the top as fakes! I thought about actually using buttons, but since my machine doesn’t like sewing button holes at the best of time, and because this fabric is textured and quite thick, I thought they just wouldn’t work so I went with poppers and fake buttons!

And it has pockets! Yay! I don’t think I’ll ever make anything without pockets in the future, it’s just so annoying to not have any!

I guess there isn’t too much to say about this make because the pattern came together really nicely and I think it will get quite a bit of wear in the warmish weather and with tights and a jumper underneath in the Winter. It will definitely fill in a casual gap in my wardrobe!

So I’ll leave you with an outtake to demonstrate how much I had to edit the photos because I’m too pale for the Sun! My top is cream and really isn’t the same colour as my skin, but it looks like it here! Lol!

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My Dressmakers’ Ball Dress (AKA Red Carpet Copycat)

After I shared a sneaky peak of what I was making for the Dressmakers’ Ball, I am now here to show you the finished outfit (which you may have already seen if you follow me on Instagram!)

But first I want to share a little bit about the ball itself……it was amazing! It was run by the lovely ladies at Crafty Sew & So, a fabric shop in Leicester. It was so nice to see everyone go all out when given the excuse – and I’m sure some of us don’t need much of an excuse! I kept thinking how awesome it was that sewing allows us to express ourselves exactly as we want to. I can’t imagine how painful it is shopping for a prom dress, or even a wedding dress, and not finding exactly what you want. My prom dress was made by my mum and now I know if I’m going to a wedding or something, whatever I can imagine that I want to wear I can make (within the boundaries of my skills of course!).

These are all the ‘advanced’ dressmakers (which meant you had been sewing for 3 or more years). The photo is by TKL Photography, and I thought it was great that they had a professional photographer taking pictures because whenever I’m having a good time I don’t think to take any (which I guess it how it should be!)

I went with my friend Sarah who I met at the Sew Brizzle meet ups and Jen, also from Bristol, was there too (though she didn’t take part in the competition so isn’t in the photo above).

I was really impressed with the beginner dressmakers too – they had all been sewing for less than 3 years, and some of them had made their dress for the ball and it was the first or second thing they every made! They were a lot, lot, lot better than the first and second things I made, I can tell you! I tried to take some photos, but they’re all terrible and mostly of people’s backs, so do go check out the photo album on CraftySew&So’s facebook page.

Special shout out goes to Kendell, who I sat next to at dinner, and who won the beginner dressmaker category. She has only been sewing since September! (Photo by TKL Photography). Amazing!

Helen from Stitch My Style (who I’ve had a bit of a girl crush on for a while now because I love her vlogs!) won the advanced dressmaker category for her latest recreation project – after the amazingness that was her Marilyn Monroe Dress – the opera dress from Pretty Woman. It truly was a wonder to behold, and she had completely shelf-drafted it. She is a very talented lady! Also I got to chat to her a little bit on the night, and the next morning when some people met for breakfast and she’s as lovely and funny in real life as you’d expect from her videos.

Here she is (left) with the equally lovely Elisalex from By Hand London, who was one of the judges, and Nina from Nina Lee patterns, who I met a couple of years ago at a meet-up and I was surprised she remembered me – for some reason I always assume people will forget me as soon as I leave the room!

Well, this might be enough chat about how great the ball was and maybe I should show you some photos of my dress?

Here it is from the front – looks kind of boring I think, though it is a good colour – the fabric is the leftovers from my By Hand London Alix Dress. The bodice is the Christine Haynes Emery, which is my go to basic bodice as I did quite a bit of fitting back when I first made it, and I’m too lazy to do it all again with a different pattern! The front skirt, though it a sort of made up thing. I used the skirt I drafted for my Navy Lace dress but I extended it to the ground and made the top of the skirt the same length as the bottom of the bodice (plus seam allowances, of course).

There is also a split up the front of the skirt. I did this using a random tutorial I found online, where you make a sort of facing, sewing either side of the line you want for the split, cut the line between the 2 rows of stitching, then turn it to the inside and voila! You have a split, with the raw edges all enclosed. I then handstitched the facing part to the inside using herringbone stitch – there was a lot of handsewing on this dress as the fabric marks quite easily, so where I might have machined a hem on a less ball-worthy dress, I did it all by hand on this one.

You also might be able to see there are trousers underneath my dress. I thought about buying the Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers pattern, but then I remembered I have Gertie Sews Vintage Casual which has a Cigarette Trousers pattern, so I used that.

I did have to do quite a bit of adjusting to the trousers, but I failed to write any notes so I’m stuffed if I want to make them again! I moved the back zip to one of the side seams, shortened the legs on the pattern by an inch below the knee and then took them in quite a lot on the legs. Like an inch or more on each leg, inside and out.  They didn’t look perfect but they looked okay. And they fitted okay across the bum from the beginning, so that was a bonus!

Anyway, the interesting thing about my outfit is the back!

As you may have already recognised, this is a copy of an outfit worn by Emma Watson at the Golden Globes a couple of years ago. I tried to recreate her pose, but it didn’t really work. I added a second strap to hide my bra strap. Also I have no idea how her dress is staying up – I added some really strong interfacing to mine, but it still wasn’t quite enough. Luckily Helen from Stitch My Style had some spare (ehem) tit tape so Sarah stuck the top corners to my back, which was great because otherwise I would have spent the whole night adjusting it!

I love how the wind caught the dress in the above photo! The fabric was pleasingly swishy to dance in, but because it’s only half a dress and because of the split, it wasn’t as swirly as Elisalex’s dress, which was definitely one of the best for twirling in!

I’m pretty proud of my pleating on the back, so here’s a close-up. This fabric creases like a bitch, but it does mean once pleats have been ironed in, they stay!

This is me trying to copy Emma Watson’s pose – semi successful I think. If I had a stylist and someone to teach me how to pose, it might have been closer! Oh well!

Emma Watson Christian Dior, Golden Globes

To sum up, I really love this dress/outfit! I really enjoyed working out how to recreate something I’ve only seen in photos. And it was great to have an opportunity/excuse to make one of the things I’ve been dreaming about making for aaages! I also, surprisingly, enjoyed all of the handsewing. I think next year – assuming they’re running the ball again – I want to make something with a more tricky fabric to work with. Maybe velvet, which I’ve not sewn with yet. And I’d like to give boning a try. I’ve already got an idea in mind of another red carpet copy cat dress, but I’m not going to share it yet because no doubt I will change my mind by next May! I might try to recreate some others of my favourite red carpet looks too, like the less formal ones – I don’t know how many gowns I’ll need in my wardrobe!

I’ll leave you with another photo of our photography assistant who showed up again as The Boyfriend was taking these photos! You may recognise him from the photos I took of my denim moss skirt. I can’t remember if I mentioned this before, but he lost an eye a few months ago, but it doesn’t seem to have slowed him down.

He seemed pretty determined to photobomb me!

But I couldn’t resist his lovely face. He really is a friendly cat and comes into our flat if we leave our back door open 🙂

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Wardrobe Architect Week 9: The Capsule Wardrobe

After covering all the things that have been covered in the previous few weeks of the Wardrobe Architect, Colette say now is the time to put it into practical terms by coming up with a capsule wardrobe.

“A capsule wardrobe is a small, manageable subset of your wardrobe, and it usually is something you can plan seasonally (twice a year, or perhaps 4 times a year).

A typical capsule wardrobe consists of between 20 and 33 items, depending on who you ask and what kinds of items you’re including. It doesn’t have to include every single thing you might wear for the season, but it is the foundation for the rest of your wardrobe. The idea is that once you have the capsule wardrobe figured out, the rest is gravy.”

I feel like I’m getting slightly better at knowing what I wear and making accordingly, but I do have some gaps in my me mades and some alternative silhouettes I think I could explore.

The original post gives these handy prompts:

  1. Choose one to six silhouettes for the season.
  2. Create a color palette.
  3. Break down your silhouettes and colors into a list of pieces.
  4. Organize what to make, what to buy, and what you already own.

1. Choose one to six silhouettes for the season

Since Summer is so short in the UK I tend not to focus so much on warm weather clothing, so I think my silhouettes will be for all year around – just maybe in different fabrics or without tights and cardigans in the Summer. Also I’ve covered a lot of this before in the week about exploring shapes, but it helps me to see things visually.

a. Skinny jeans/trousers with looser tops and shirts – I’m particularly drawn to button ups at the moment

b. Looser trousers with loose tops

I’m liking the coulotte trend at the moment, and I think they would be comfortable when it does get hot. Again I like them with loosers style tops.

c. Shift/swing dresses

d. Mini skirts with loose and/or cropped tops.

e. Cardigans, jackets and coats have pretty much been summed up in the above photos (which can all be found on my Wardrobe Architect Pinterest board).

2. Choose a colour palette.

I’ve covered my colour palette in the week about my colour story and the one about choosing a palette, but I’ll recap here.

3 & 4. Break down your silhouettes and colors into a list of pieces.Organize what to make, what to buy, and what you already own.

I’m going to cover these 2 together in terms of planning what to make, and looking at what I’ve already got. I’ve got more tops I think that anything else.

My blue patterned Melilot shirt (left) and my blue spotty archer see quite a lot of wear and they fit my palette and silhouettes.

Blue Patterned Melilot ShirtBlue Spotty Archer Button Up

I’ve got some short of cropped, and boxy-ish tops too, which I wear quite often, such as my silver toaster sweater and my mustard astoria top.

Mustard Ponte Seamwork Astoria

I have some nice shift/cocoony dresses, like my new Marianne dress, my electric blue peppermint magazine jersey dress, my drapey knit dress and my rushcutter.

#SewDots GBSB Drapey Knit DressNavy Spotty Rushcutter Dress

So then in terms of what to make, here are my plans (which will probably take a year to complete!)

Ginger Jeans in black and dark blue (and possibly mustard if I’m feeling bold in the future) and Morgan Jeans in dark blue and a lighter shade of denim.

I’ve got both the Papercut Guise Trousers and the Butterick B6178 (which came free with one of the magazines I’ve bought recently) and I think this has me pretty much covered to recreate the silhouettes above. I don’t have any specific fabric or colours in mind, but I think with the coulottes I want some more summery colours/prints. I might copy the stripey ones above too. And I like the spotty trousers above which I could copy with the guise pattern. I like the idea of patterned bottoms – I tend to wear plain bottoms and patterned tops.

I recently treated myself to both the Sew Over It Nancy Dress and the Pauline Alice Xerea Dress, so I should be able to make dresses in my dream silhouettes. I have some nice navy, grey and white patterned viscose which I’m planning for the Nancy and I’m thinking some colour blocking for the Xerea.

I’ve got the Closet Case Patterns Ebony Tee and Dress and the Named Patterns Inari Tee and Dress so between them they should cover most eventualities of tops (and dresses as alternatives to the ones above).

I also want to make 2 coats – one proper winter coat, maybe in a 60s style like the one from the 2nd Great British Sewing Bee book, and one a rip-off of Seasalt’s lovely duffle coats using the Colette Albion pattern.

Sea Salt Yellow Duffel Coat

Well I think that’s probably enough things to be getting on with for now! Maybe eventually I’ll reach peak capsule wardrobe. I’ll probably also still always make random things that don’t fit into the capsule!

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May Makes and June Plans

So May turned out to be the least productive month of sewing I’ve had in a long time! It’s partly because after having an amazing time at the Dressmaker’s Ball, and spending some of April and the beginning of May making my outfit (which I will share soon, I promise. I took some photos but they all turned out to be terrible and it has rained every weekend day since so haven’t had a chance to retake them outside), I lost my sewjo a little bit. Immediately after the ball I wanted to make a start on my dress for next year – I know, ridiculous! – but then I wasn’t really sure what to make and I’d promised to make a penguin pyjama case for my nephew (to match the monkey one I made for my niece) but I just couldn’t work out how, so I didn’t sew anything because I knew I should make the penguin first. I’ve also been feeling a bit run down for the last 2-3 weeks and my work has been crap so I’ve just been feeling a bit down in the dumps, which is not the time when I feel motivated to sew. Though it probably would help me to do something with my hands when I’m feeling blue. I might look for another embroidery project – after I enjoyed making the meme cushion for my aunt – so I can pick it up when I feel like it.

Anyway, here is my one finished make for May:

I did make a start on my Roberts Collection Pinafore dress, too, so that’s first on my list to finish this month as I’m excited to start wearing it!

And my plans for the month are jeans (probably). I have now pre-washed the denim I bought in Birmingham and taking part in Me Made May really highlighted my lack of jeans – I have one pair of rtw jeans which are starting to wear out on the inner thigh, so I really should bite the bullet and make myself some jeans. Especially the Gingers. I’m hoping if I can get them to fit well, then I can run up pairs in denim and other fabrics, and have a whole wardrobe of skinny jeans/trousers.

My other plan for this month is another melilot shirt. I wear the first one I made quite a lot (and am, in fact, wearing it as I type this!) and could do with a short-sleeved one for when/if Summer every arrives in Gloucestershire!

One of the things I’ve had planned for a couple of months is my Carolyn Pyjamas, but I think I’ll postpone them for a couple of months. I want to make long-sleeved, long trousered ones and that seems silly as we’re approaching the (in theory, anyway) warmest months of the year.

I do need another mammoth cutting out session – I like to cut out lots of projects at once so I have lots of things to sew when I’m in the mood – so these plans might totally change! I did treat myself to a few more patterns – because I needed more! – so these might creep up the to make list.

Do you ever find you’re not in the mood for sewing, even though you know it would probably make you feel better? What are your Summer sewing plans?

Me Made May 2017 recap

My pledge for Me Made May this year was to wear at least one item of me made (or refashioned) clothing each day in May. And I managed it! Yay! I remember when I first started sewing it was a couple of years before I felt like I had enough clothes to be able to take part, so to have enough to wear something every day is pretty cool.

Week One:

Day 1: black simplicity 2451 with my newest charity shop jumper; Day 2: navy spotty rushcutter dress; Day 3: navy blue simplicity trousers and red and blue checked violet blouse; Day 4: spotty drapey knit dress; Day 5: bright blue jersey dress; Days 6 & 7 blue spotty archer with rtw jeans.

Week Two:

 

Day 8: navy blue simplicity trousers and turquoise coco top; Day 9: black simplicity 2451 skirt and pink stripey banksia top; Day 10: silver toaster sweater; Day 11: flowery archer with rtw jumper and trousers; Day 12: my dressmaker’s ball dress; Days 12 & 13: refashioned coral mustard and navy dress into a shirt; Day 14: blue spotty archer.

 

Week Three:

Day 15: refashioners shirt refashion; Day 16: semi-successful moneta dress with mustard astoria; Day 17: black simplicity 2451 with my favourite charity shop jumper; Day 18: refashioned dress with peter pan collar; Day 19: navy simplicity trousers and electric blue coco top; Day 20: refashioned teapot dress; Day 21: simplicity trousers and my favourite charity shop jumper.

Week Four (and a bit)

Day 22: navy simplicity 2451 skirt and melilot shirt; Day 23: silver delphine skirt and rtw jumper; Day 24: navy scribble striped marianne dress; Day 25: wide-legged trousers I took in at the waist with breton striped plantain tee; Day 26: denim moss skirt with my merchant and mills sewing t shirt; Day 27: Gertie cigarette trousers (as part of my dressmaker’s ball outfit) with a rtw jumper and the coat I made from my Grandma’s vintage pattern; Days 28 & 29: Coco t shirt and rtw jeans; Day 30: navy simplicity trousers and silver toaster sweater; Day 31: electric blue jersey dress.
Things I’ve learned from Me Made May:

  • I hate taking daily photos. Thankfully The Boyfriend was a good instagram husband and took most of them for me, but quite often I’d realise we hadn’t taken a photo when I went to bed!
  • My simplicity trousers got a lot of wear. I definitely need more trousers I can wear at work – though I also wear them on days off too.
  • Quite often (unless I was wearing a dress) I would either have a top or a bottom but not a full outfit, so I need to make more pieces that go together. Hopefully by the time I’ve finished the Wardrobe Architect I’ll have ideas for more of a capsule wardrobe.
  • I failed to refashion anything in May, which was another part of my pledge. I have a bunch of clothes ready for alteration, so hopefully this month I’ll get back into refashioning.
  • There were a whole bunch of things I’ve made – mostly when I first started sewing which I haven’t worn this year and didn’t wear last year, so I’m going to have a wardrobe clear out to get rid of things I know I’m not going to wear.
  • I definitely need to make jeans, and more casual things to wear on my days off.
  • I found wearing dresses easier than putting together separates, so I’m planning to make a few more dresses. They’re also good for hot weather – if we get more hot weather than the one week we had in the middle of May!
  • It was nice to rediscover some of the clothes I’ve made or refashioned which I haven’t worn for a while.
  • There weren’t that many things I wore more than once (apart from my trousers and simplicity skirts), so I think I don’t need loads and loads more clothes, so I’ll try to be more thoughtful about what I make from now on.

What did you learn if you took part in Me Made May? Did you succeed in your pledge?

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Stripey Marianne Dress

I think this is my last make from April that I haven’t yet shared here. I’m a little behind, but that’s good because I haven’t made much this month so I wouldn’t have much to write about!

This is my – I’m sure first – Marianne Dress by Christine Haynes. This pattern first came out in late 2015 and I think I bought it not long after it came out……and it’s taken me this long to get around to making it! Which is a shame because I love it!

I made a size 4 with no changes – it’s a loose fit so no need to toile it really. I haven’t made anything really fitted for quite a while and I think that’s made me lazy, so I’ve got some fitted dress plans in the hopefully not too distant future.

I’ve got the pooling issue on my back again, that I had on my Denim Moss Skirt. Really need to sort this out for my next version – I didn’t realise by bum made a shelf for fabric!

I pattern-matched the stripes on the side seams and did a pretty good job, if I say so myself!

The fabric is some lovely striped jersey from the Textile Centre which is unfortunately not available any more. It’s a viscose jersey and I bought it after seeing it on Rosa’s youtube channel. And the really good thing is, because I made the version without sleeves, I have quite a bit of fabric left, so I think I’ll be able to make a t-shirt to match!

I really love the shape of the Marianne Dress. I think it’s more flattering on me than my Coco dress, which I’ve never particularly loved to be honest. I think Marianne will become my go-to jersey dress pattern. I’d like to see how it looks in a more stable jersey too.

I used the stripes in the other direction on the neckband and I really like how it looks.


I also didn’t bother with my twin needle this time, I decided to just use a zig-zag stitch instead and I like how it looks. Also it’s a bit less of a faff!

I took a close up of my stripe matching mostly to crow that I did a pretty good job. The advantage of jersey, of course, is that you can fudge it slightly if there are patches where it’s not quite perfect. Also you can see the scribbley nature of the stripes in the above and below photos. I really like it, it’s a bit more interesting than a solid stripe.

I definitely see more of these in my future, but then I always say that and have made very few patterns more than once! And then I buy more patterns……I’ve got a problem!

Wardrobe Architect week 8: Hair, Makeup and Beauty

For the Wardrobe Architect series this week (week 8) it’s all about hair and makeup.  The Colette post says:

“Hair and makeup are so transformative and powerful. Few other things can completely change the way you look the way hairstyle and beauty products can.”

1. What hair style has been most flattering and comfortable for you? How did it make you feel about yourself? Did it invoke any of the words you came up with in our core style exercise?

I’m now definitely a short hair person. I always had long hair when I was young (under 20), sometimes with a fringe and sometimes without. Then when I was probably about 22, I had a bob cut with a blunt fringe and I loved it. I kept it like that for quite a few years – basically until I moved to London and couldn’t afford haircuts! Then I grew it really long, then chopped it all off in one go into a pixie crop. I loved the drama of having it all cut off at once and I think the pixie crop is definitely the most ‘me’ cut I’ve found. I did briefly grow it out into a bob, then a long bob (and a disasterous moment where I grew out my fringe – I definitely would never not have some kind of fringe in the future!) then I cut it all off again! I’m actually thinking of having a slight change to the exact haircut I’ve had for the last couple of years as I’m a bit bored, but I might just go a little shorter all over for the Summer. Though I am tempted to grow it out a little and go for the full Vidal Sassoon Mary Quant.

2. How much makeup are you comfortable with? It could be no makeup, or a full face with contouring (and all that jazz I could never figure out). Or it could vary day to day.

It slightly varies from day to day, but I never wear foundation and I wouldn’t know where to start with contouring if I wanted to (though I love RuPaul’s Drag Race and would love to have the skills and make-up to do a full drag face!). Mostly what I wear daily is concealer under my eyes, – I’ve always had quite dark circles under my eyes, even as a kid – mascara and I fill in my eyebrows a little because I committed the cardinal eyebrow sin when I was young and didn’t know what I was doing and plucked hairs from the top of my brows, and I overplucked so now have a couple of gaps which I like to fill in. Some days I don’t bother with the mascara, but I do curl my eyelashes as they are quite long but very straight. If I’ve got a bit more time and want to make a bit more of an effort I’ll wear liquid eyeliner (it’s like a felt-tip pen) on my top eyelid. And most days I put a little blusher on to make myself look less pale and tired!

3. How does your makeup and hair reflect your personal style? What do you feel they say about you and your aesthetics?

I’d like to think my hair and make-up is fairly low maintenance, which is also how I like my clothes to feel. I like to be comfortable and once I’m dressed and my hair and make-up are done, I don’t want to have to think about it for the rest of the day. That is one of the great things about having short hair – once it’s dried (and I use a wax to make it less fluffy) then I can leave it alone for the rest of the day, and it doesn’t get in my face.

4. How much product do you want to own? Do you like collecting products, or would you rather just have a few essentials? How much bathroom clutter are you ok with?

I would rather have a few essentials. Since I don’t wear foundation or eye shadow really ever, I only have half a dozen products which I use daily. I do have quite a few nail varnishes, though I’ve got out of the habit of painting my nails, and that’s definitely the only thing I collect. I have one concealer that I use until it’s gone, one mascara, one blusher. I’m not particularly into make-up – and it’s expensive! – so it’s not something I’m interested in collected.

5. What requirements do you have for the products you buy? Do you stick with all natural products? Are there ingredients you avoid?

This question has made me really think. I buy Dr Organics shampoo, conditioner and shower gel and I make sure my make-up remover is free from as many chemicals as possibly, but I’ve never thought about my make-up. I will definitely look at this next time I’m looking to replace items.

6. What colors feel best near your face? How do they relate to the color palette you created?

One of the only colours (other than black for eye liner and mascara) that I wear is pink. I have a blusher which I wear most days to make me look less pale/ill. It’s pretty close to the colour my cheeks go when I’m hot, so I feel it looks okay. I’ve also got a couple of different shades of pink lipstick, but I don’t wear lipstick on a day-to-day basis as I feel overly made-up when I do.

7. What colors never look right near your face? What colors have you tried and given up on before?

Red looks terrible near my face, so I’m not a red lipstick person. I also think red lipstick makes my teeth look yellow. I haven’t really tried too many other colours, I’m not very adventurous with makeup.

8. How much time do you realistically want to spend getting ready in the morning?

Not very much time if I’m honest! I do get up 90 minutes before I have to leave for work, but almost 45 minutes of that time is me sitting and eating my breakfast and waking up. Often I only have 5 minutes to put on make-up, which is what more often than not dictates how much I wear!

9. What types of scents do you gravitate towards? Do you wear perfume? Other scented products? What do you feel the scents you like communicate about your personality?

I don’t wear perfume ever. I don’t know if that’s weird, but I’ve never worn it. I have been bought things in the past but I never really liked the way they smelled, so I never really wore them.

The post on the Colette blog suggests collecting some inspirational photos of hair and make-up, which I have done on my Wardrobe Architect Pinterest board.

This photo of Ginnifer Goodwin is definitely an inspiration for a slight tweak to my current hair cut. I like the shaved sides, but I have had that before and it wasn’t my favourite look!

I like all 3 of these pixie cuts, from Mia Farrow, Michelle Williams and Carey Mulligan. 60s crops are a bit shorter on the top than my current cut, so that might be an option for the Summer.

These 2 are more inspirational – the Mary Quant Vidal Sassoon is on the right. I would have to grow it out a little to get mine like this, and I fear it would be high maintenance, like my bob used to be because my hair isn’t quite straight. Also I love Tilda Swinton and wish I could have her hair.

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