Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Vintage sewing patterns

I have mentioned previously how I love vintage sewing patterns. I often trawl ebay looking for patterns that I love. There are so many to discover. I can't remember exactly how I came across my love of vintage patterns. I think I may have just been searching for patterns one day and stumbled across some and as soon as I found them I started looking for more.

I was intrigued by the various styles in different eras and quickly discovered those eras I liked and those I didn't. Now when I'm searching I tend to stick to the eras I like which makes searching easier. 

I have aqcuired quite a number of patterns so far but am sorry to say I have not got round to making many yet. I do not have much time on my hands at the moment and find it difficult to schedule it into my day. Also, I tend to switch between knitting and sewing depending on the time of year. Knitting is for winter and sewing is for summer, that's how I look at it at the moment. As it's winter knitting has really been taking up my time lately. I had a lot of knitting projects I was working on for the kids. I love to see them in my hand knitted creations!

Along with my pattern library, I have also collected quite a stash of fabric. I buy by the meter at fabric shops or sometimes I go to a charity shop and buy a duvet cover and use that. That is a really frugal way to buy fabric as you end up getting a large amount of material really cheaply. I love to try turning something old into something new. There's something really satisfying about recycling.

Here I will tell you about my favourite eras and show you some of the patterns I have picked up so far from my favourite decades:



Now I'm not usually a big fan of 80s fashion but I love this dress, the one on the far right in particular. I love the pleats down the skirt, sleeves and neck detailing. Just remove the shoulder pads, I'm really not a fan of them, and you would have a gorgeous dress.


I never thought I would like 70s fashion (I used to think it was all about flared trousers and tassels) until I saw the length of the dresses. You can find so many 70s patterns for maxi dresses and skirts and there is normally a very modest option so no need to do any adjustments.


I adore the second from the right with the pussy bow but I would make it maxi length for modesty.


I have actually started cutting the fabric out ready to be sewn. This is one of my favourite dresses. I am making the dress in the middle.


This is a fabulous maxi skirt pattern. I love the frill round the bottom of the skirt. I actually made this once already and it is a favourite in my wardrobe. I did, however, make the frill a bit shorter in the length. I prefer it that way.


This era always reminds me of big, frilly petticoats and I don't particularly like this look, especially with a maxi length skirt or dress. Leave out the petticoat for a stylish look.


I adore the dress on the right. I think the button detailing is fabulous and I love the versatility of it as you could wear it buttoned up or unbuttoned. I really like how the fabric in the button panel will show when you move. I can't wait to make this dress, in maxi length of course.


This is similar to the dress above with more fabric on one side than the other. I love the way it is gathered at the top and fastened with a button. I would make this dress maxi length and with long sleeves.



This is really one of my favourite fashion eras. It normally involves really interesting cuts and ruching. You can really see what I'm talking about in this pattern. Lots of ruching round the stomach area makes the dress very flattering. I cannot wait to make this dress in maxi length.


Now I don't have any 1930s patterns, unfortunately, but I had to mention this era as it is my absolute favourite. The dresses just look so elegant.

Here are some good examples of  blouse, dress and skirt from the era. The cut of the blouse is lovely and has great detailing. The dress looks elegant and flattering. You could wear a long sleeved top underneath or make longer sleeves for modesty. I absolutely love the maxi skirt. It looks fabulous with the frills and mass of fabric at the back.


Here is an example of an amazing maxi dress. Lovely ruching again and the belt at the waist is a lovely touch. 


Just look at this stunning wedding dress! Lovely ruching and bow detail round the waist. Also, fabulous short sleeves on the right, you could get away with this by wearing a long sleeved top underneath.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

OOTD - at the beach


I found this picture which was taken a few months ago now and thought I would share it with you. It was taken at a lovely beach called Weston-super-mare which is not far from where I live. It is a gorgeous sandy beach but unfortunately the sea is not great there meaning you can't really swim or even paddle in it most of the time. The reason for this is the amount of mud or silt there is under the sea which has given rise to this beaches nickname, Weston-super-mud!

It's often difficult to find comfortable, modest clothing to wear to the beach. You need something lose but also practical which is why I think salwar (harem pants) are such great beachwear. I love the floral pattern on these salwar and the fact it has quite a few colours in it means you have quite a lot of options for colours to wear with it. These salwar are made from cotton which keeps me cool in the hot weather. They are elasticated at the bottom so if I want to go for a quick paddle I can pull them up slightly whilst in the sea. You can also get them without this elastic which is perfect if you want the breeze to reach you to keep you cooler. The best bit about them is the elasticated waistband which is adjustable. This means I can wear them throughout my whole pregnancy and just adjust them if I need to, though as the elastic is very stretchy I don't normally need to do this. The other great thing about salwar is that you can sit comfortably on the sand without any concern of flashing any flesh as might happen with a skirt or dress if you are not careful.


My top is a bright red top with lace trim and pompoms! I just love the pompoms, they are such a lovely touch and a fun finish for the top. I actually purchased this top from Asda! It is not maternity but very baggy which allows for my growing bump. It has short sleeves so I teamed it with a simple black jersey cardigan from New Look. 

I finished off the look with a simple black hijab. The weather was not so hot when I went to the beach this time so wearing black was not a problem. However, if it had been the height of summer I may have chosen a different colour, especially for the hijab as black tends to attract the heat. Obviously on the beach there is no need for shoes. I love the feeling of sand beneath my feet, I hear it's good for you to walk barefoot too! 

Scarf: market stall
Red top: Asda
Cardigan: New look
Salwar: Delal Designs

What do you like to wear at the beach?

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Making the transition to modest clothing

I made my first ever dress when I was 13 years old. I remember going to a sewing shop and picking out the pattern and the fabric. Then, I sat down with my Mum and she taught me how to read a pattern and use the sewing machine. I loved it! There is something so satisfying about sewing your own clothes. It's wonderful to feel that achievement as well as having a unique item of clothing that noone else has and is just how you want it.

I remember sitting in IT lessons at school and looking at the vogue website (probably shouldn't admit to that) searching for clothes that inspired me. I guess I have always loved fashion. Although I liked to keep my eye on the latest trends, I also liked to be creative and unique. I even took up fashion for a few months at college where I became more skilled at using a sewing machine and needlework. I adjusted my own bellydance costume and then made a new one from scratch. I just love sequins and sparkles!

Then, at the age of 19 I became muslim and things changed. I could no longer go to high street shops and buy what I wanted. Everything seemed too low cut, too tight, not long enough. The list goes on. It was a difficult time for me transitioning from western fashion to modest fashion. I had to chuck out most of my clothes and start again. I went out and bought some maxi skirts and long-sleeved tops and I wore them but I didn't like them. I felt frumpy and I felt old but I stuck with it for that is what my faith prescribes - modesty.

Over the next few years I started to learn how to dress more in a way that I liked. I learnt of different styles of modest clothing. One of the key moments came when I went to Turkey for the first time. I looked around and saw modest clothing I actually liked! I fell in love with the Turkish women's style and this influenced the way I dressed. It is this style of clothing that inspired me to create my new modest clothing business Delal Designs. I would love to make this type of stylish, modest clothing available to everyone in the UK.

More recently I discovered that muslimah fashion was actually a thing! There were muslimahs out there who were creating modest styles and taking photos and writing about them, There are fashion magazines and fashion shows that concentrate on modest, hijabi fashion! This is what I had been looking for. I finally got some ideas for ways of dressing that were both stylish and modest. It can be done!

I do still think one of the best ways to dress the way you want is to make your own clothes, you just need to learn the skills, which are easy enough. The problem I found was, like high street shopping, modern sewing patterns are also not as modest as I'd like. You do have the advantage when making your own clothes, to be able to adjust patterns any way you'd like. However, you do have to learn how to do this or be brave enough to experiment.

I started to search for more modest sewing patterns and then I came across vintage patterns. I realised that some fashion eras have both modest and very stylish clothing that does not look at all out of place in 2015. The thing with fashion is that things can come back into fashion every so often, they become fashionable again. It's quite interesting to look back and realise what people are wearing today is actually the same as they were wearing 40 years ago but with a few tweaks.

I have started to build up a collection of vintage sewing patterns which I will be sharing with you soon. Has anyone else found it difficult transitioning to more modest clothing? Did anything help you along the way?

Thursday, 12 February 2015

OOTD - I'm back and pregnant!

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Well this really has taken a long time for me to write! I have been absent for a while due to early pregnancy issues (nausea and fatigue) so really needed a break. But now I'm in my second trimester (well, I'm almost at the end of the second trimester now), I'm back! I have so much more energy and can get things done.

As I'm pregnant you can expect to see a lot of posts about maternity fashion which is something I think is really lacking. It's just so hard to find decent clothing when pregnant. There is so little variety in the shops, in fact, most shops don't even stock maternity clothing in store meaning it's only available on line. What is the point in that? Pregnancy is one of those times you really need to try things on. Your body shape is constantly changing making the task of finding clothes particularly difficult. I don't even know what size to buy half the time so how can I even contemplate buying clothes online?

At the moment, I am able to wear a lot of my normal, pre-pregnancy clothes. Yes, that's right, they still fit! This is mainly because I buy a lot of over-sized, baggy clothing as I prefer it's modesty and comfort. Also, I buy a lot of clothes made of jersey or other stretchy materials, due to my awkward body shape, so they still stretch over the bump.

Once my pre-pregnancy clothes get too small I will most likely start buying normal clothing in larger sizes. There is much more variety and it can work out cheaper too. I will keep you updated with my new 'maternity' finds.

Now to the outfit. This outfit was something I wore a few months ago now at the beginning of my pregnancy. The skirt fromDelal Designs is absolutely amazing as it's one size fits all which means you are able to wear it no matter how much weight you gain or lose. How can this be? Well, the waistband stretches, so it's perfect maternity wear as it grows with your growing bump. I know it will be fabulous for just after the birth too as it will still fit and be very comfortable.

The top is a vest top from ASDA. I fell in love with the colours and floral pattern. Also, I really like the tie detail in the front, it makes it more interesting. The jersey cardigan was a present from my sister-in-law in Turkey so it is from a Turkish market somewhere. It has a belt which I usually tie at the back so the cardigan falls open at the front.

The hijab is from a market stall. It is my favourite kind of hijab, a viscose maxi. I love maxis as they are so long and wide and easy to style. It has a subtle trim round the edge which makes it that bit more interesting than having a plain coloured hijab. I chose a green hijab to match with the green skirt. Matching hijab and skirt is a great style to go for, I think it can really pull an outfit together.

Scarf: market stall
Aardigan: market stall
Vest top: ASDA
Skirt: Delal Designs


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