Thursday, April 27, 2017

Strapping Beauties

You know I'm not very good in the kitchen, right? I won't lie: I'm generally not very crafty. I blame it on not having enough time but the truth is I'm neither very talented nor patient enough to refine any rudimentary skill. And yet I am bringing you a crafty 'How to'. How so? On one of the Mulberry groups I frequent, a very talented lady called Helen shared how she made guitar style straps for her bags. I think they are fab and make most bags instantly more useable. I asked her straight away whether she would write a guest post for my blog so that her step by step guide could be preserved for all eternity. So without much further ado - but a big THANKS to Helen - here it is!

Bags with straps
Kate Spade Orchard Street Arla in Deep Indigo and Mulberry Small Bayswater Satchel in Oak with guitar style straps

With interchangeable straps being so popular at the moment, I wanted to try one on my bag, but couldn’t find one I liked – so I decided to make my own. Now, I sew quite a lot of my own clothes, so I’m reasonable good with a sewing machine, but this is so straightforward anyone can have a go, and you could hand sew this, if you don’t have a machine. It took me about 15 minutes to make each strap – shopping online for the bits took longer than making them. Here’s my quick walk through how to make a strap, what you’ll need, and my top tips. 

You'll need 
- 1.5-2m of webbing, 
- the same length of jacquard type ribbon or trim, 
- two dog lead type clips and 
- a slide bar (optional, but it's easier than trying to get exactly the right length strap). 

Tip 1 - hardware- be sure to get the right size clips, the first ones I got weren't big enough for the chunky d-rings on my SBS, so I had to order larger ones. If in doubt go for larger sized clips

Required supplies to make your bag strap

I got the webbing and hardware from eBay (search for bag hardware or dog lead / lobster clips), and the jacquard ribbon from my local sewing shop (online search for jacquard or woven ribbon/trim/braid for similar). I went for cotton webbing as I prefer how that feels to nylon. You can use almost any trim, but I’d avoid anything which might get caught in the slide bar and hardware, so that rules out pom-poms. Also, avoid anything which describes itself as stretch – there are some lovely decorative elastic trims but they won’t work! I spent about £12 on each strap, so they aren't cheaper than a strap from Next, but they are unique and exactly what I wanted. Webbing and hardware (the loops for the webbing, not the clip) need to be the same size, but trim can be narrower. Both of these straps use 40mm webbing and clips. You can get smaller, but I like a wide strap, both for comfort and effect, and I carry a lot about. 

Tip 2 - Differently sized trim is trickier to sew so try to avoid this if you aren't a confident sewist. 

Affix the trim to the strap with needles

I started by sewing the trim to the webbing. Sew this as close to the edge as you can, and take your time. You’ll be securing the end later, so don’t bother back stitching. If you are handsewing, this just need to be secure, it won’t be taking any weight. I had some spray fabric glue so used this to hold the trim to the webbing while I did this, but pins work too. 

Tip 4 - I also used an edge stitch foot to help get really close to the edge, a zipper foot would also work. 

Using a sewing machine to sew the trim to the strap
The strap with narrower trim was trickier, and the hardest bit was getting this trim dead centre down the whole length. I used a 1/4inch piecing foot to keep the stitches perfectly on the narrow edging on this one. 

A slim trim is being sewn onto light coloured webbing

Tip 5 - Use a bag with a similar strap to help figure out the hardware. I started by sewing the slider on, then threaded the first clip on, back through the slider, and finished by sewing the second clip. Just turn the edge under once and then sew through the three layers several times. 

Tip 6 - I found it easier to leave the needle down (my machine has a setting for this) and then turned the whole strap round, rather than trying to backstitch. I made sure this was very secure by doing this about five times. If handsewing this is the heaviest and trickiest bit – remember that these stiches will take the whole weight of your bag. You’ll probably need a thimble! 

How to attach hardware to webbing

Affix webbing to hardware with sewing machine

Hardware attached to strap

That’s it – adjust the length and you are done!

Helen Charlton
I am a keen sewist, knitter and crocheter, and I’m developing an alarmingly expensive taste in handbags! 
(I’m wearing a Cashmerette Springfield Top in Liberty Karter Tana Lawn in pink.)

Helen Charlton

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Something Green and Something New

This week you're not just getting all my outfits from last week but also a sneaky peek at my Victoria Beckham X Target purchase before I actually wear it out.

Victoria Beckham X Target dresses
So what do you think of my VB dresses? I do love the mint one - and the quality is amazing for £40! The dress on the right is actually a girls' dress in size XL. I probably wouldn't put it with black tights but, regardless of that, I am not so sure about it. It's just a bit of a funny shape on me...

Sweatshirt paired with green boucle skirt
Trying to coax out spring with some greenery. Remember that Chanel inspired black and white skirt I have and never wore until recently? Well, this is the same one in green. [incidentally "das gleiche in grün" is a German saying but let's not get sidetracked.] I've been waiting to pair it with something and found a plain top just too boring, so I tried this new sweatshirt. Too green? Kinda like it...
Top: Next
Skirt: River Island
Boots: Zara

Topshop jacquard skirt with slouchy boots
More florals for spring, though the colours have a distinct autumnal feel - as does the weather at times. The skirt and top are a fairly recent Topshop sale purchase, both were a bit of a bargain - though I'm not that sure about the top...
Top & skirt: Topshop
Cardigan: Boden
Boots: Marks and Spencer

Boden Leopard print dress
Boden prints: when they're good, they're really good! Still love this dress, which combines flattering shape and striking print to something just that extra bit special.
Dress: Boden
Boots: Zara

Long denim shirt and leggings
You know when something seems like a good idea in your head? Like that outfit you think you're gonna pull out of the wardrobe and you mentally put together as you're waking up. Then the shirt is suddenly a bit too short as a dress, so you add leggings. And, for some reason, a belt. And you're suddenly in territory you didn't really want to be. Especially if 2 of our colleagues wear denim dresses the same day and look fab in them. 😂 #outfitfail 
Shirt: Sainsbury's 
Leggings: Topshop 
Boots: Office
Belt: Reiss 
Necklace: Stella & Dot

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Buckle Down

I had actually quite happily settled into my Mulberry Roxanne recently and, though fairly heavy, found her pretty easy to get on with for my daily work needs. She's spacious, boxy, fitted my Bayswater Samorga, has 2 front pockets that allow me to easily access train ticket and work pass. And she's a fair bit vintage, so I don't feel like I have to be too precious about her.

But I am having one of those "I need to be good and get rid of a bag or two" phases and that means either justifying me owning a bag - or selling it on. My Small Bayswater Buckle had been sitting in wardrobe for a few weeks so I thought she'd better earn her keep. 

So changeover it was: Unpack Roxanne and pack up the little Buckle. Have a look what she can hold and how she compares to my regular Bayswater and my Ledbury!


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

New Outfit Combos

Short work week as I was out of the office on Thursday and then we went into the glorious Easter weekend. A few new combos, though you may well have seen individual items. My favourite outfit is definitely the first one, I think I will give that another go, maybe with a different necklace? But then again, how could I not love the last one, with little M being so cute about it?

Full skirt worn with cropped top
  I (almost literally) dreamt this one up when drifting off to sleep the night before. 
Seemed a bit random in the morning but I didn't have time to change anything... 
Top: Miss Selfridge 
Skirt: Rumour London at Wolf & Badger 
Boots: Zara 
Necklace: Freedom at Topshop

long waistcoat, mini skirt and overknee boots
What that picture doesn't show you: one of the boots kept sliding down and made my outfit look a tad lopsided. #outfitfail 
Waistcoat: Warehouse 
Skirt: All Saints 
Boots: Miss Selfridge 
Necklace: Stella & Dot

Next sweater and jeans
It usually into sparkly appliqué tops, kind of ordered this on a whim in the Next sale and was almost going to return it. Then little M saw it and loved it. Asked me the next morning to wear it: "Mama, i want you to look beautiful." Ah, how could I not keep it? 
Jeans & jumper: Next 
Boots: Marks and Spencer

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Love at Second Sight

Sometimes you need a couple of tries to fall in love...

My last Mulberry Roxanne had been sitting in my wardrobe for way too long, I just found her way too heavy and unpractical. I ended up selling her. And then I kinda missed her - so bought a new one. Only this time I soon after bought a long strap that allowed me to carry her on the shoulder or even cross body. And suddenly everything that seemed fiddly and unpractical before, worked really well: the closure, the two front pockets, the size. Even the weight didn't bother me that much anymore, as the strap is wide and comfortable.

So a couple of weeks ago, I packed her up as my daily work bag - and I've been using her ever since. Have a look what fits in!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

April Weather Outfits

We all love a cliche, right? Like April weather. Warm and "oh, Spring is here" one minute and cold, wet and windy the next. 
Which is why last week's outfits were a bit of a mixed bag.

Denim shirt and midi skirt
Kind of an "in between" outfit: in between weather demands layers and as I can't do heels anymore but this skirt doesn't work with flats, 
so I found my "highest non-heels".
Shirt: La Redoute
Skirt: ZARA
Boots: Office
Belt: Reiss
Necklace: ZARA

It looked sunny but felt cold yesterday and I had no idea what to wear - so I scrolled back through my Instagram from last year and found a pic of this outfit. Perfect to have an outfit menu to chose from when you're brain is not engaging in the morning! 
(The pic above is from yesterday, by the way. Freshly taken!)
Jumper: Primark
Skirt: Miss Selfridge
Trainers: Converse
Necklace: Marni for H&M

Midi skirt from Warehouse
I absolutely love the shade of green of this skirt - that's why I put up with the tricky length!
Top: Topshop
Skirt: Warehouse
Shoes: Carvela at Kurt Geiger
Necklace: Stella &Dot

Trumpet sleeve top
Trumpet sleeves seem to be everywhere at the moment. I remember them from the 90s and loved them back then. Of course, I didn't have a job then or normal grown up life to contend with. Half the day yesterday was spent with holding them up and away out of water/spills etc in the work kitchen when making tea or flicking them away when typing. Do you have items of clothing that you love but that are totally unpractical for daily life? #ilikepractical 
Top: Next 
Skirt: Topshop 
Necklace: Accessorize

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Shrunken Workhorse

"That's a big box!" Sound familiar? That's how I regularly greet our postman or the comment I get from Mr. G or little M when rocking up with the last Post Office collection. Usually the box is massive but holds, predictably, a not too tiny bag. Like a Bayswater. Or the rather large Rodtnes bag - which I did return, as it was simply too big. 

And then I receive a padded envelope, probably about A4 size. Quite heavy though. And something rattles..? It couldn't be..?! Yep. The point I was trying to make (besides that fact that somebody sent me a Mulberry bag in a padded envelope!) is that this Mulberry Brooke was rather smaller than I expected. Did you realise it was closer to 'dinky handbag size' than to 'regular satchel size'?

Well, it was. Curious what I could fit in?

PS: Tell me; are my titles getting too tedious? Brooke is an international animal welfare charity helping improve the lives of working horses, donkeys and mules. I almost called this post "Shetland Pony" - but that might have been one step too far..?

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Hunted Down Dress

Only three outfits from last week, as I was at home for a couple of days with a poorly little M and therefore didn't wear anything interesting enough for the blog. The 'outfit story' of last week has to be my hunt for dress number 1 - only took me about 2 years to find it!

Does the print seem familiar? That's because I also have the a skirt in it. Both from Boden, SS14, I think. Didn't buy them back then and regretted ever since - and then found both brand new on eBay! Do you have some major "why didn't I buy this?!" regrets? #firstworldproblems
Dress: Boden
Boots: Zara

Don't you just love dresses that you just put on and go? This slouchy number has gathered sleeves and pockets - both which you can't see very well in the pictures. Dress: Next Boots: Marks and Spencer Necklace: can't remember.. 

For those of you who think I'm always so put together: the weird pose hides a massive hole in my tights, which I sported for pretty much all day. Tip: don't pull that bit of loose thread in your tights just as you get to the office.
Blouse: Warehouse
Skirt: Topshop
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...