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After all the sunny weather in Scotland combined with a holiday planned in Greece I spent this weekend making a summer dress. I treated myself to my favourite Cath Kidston mini strawberry print and went for a very girlie and simple smock dress.

cath kidston strawberry smock dress

And here is the back view:

cath kidston summer dress back

I was originally inspired by the 8 Dollar Dress Tutorial on Burda Style, however I ended up following the directions in the brilliant Making Stuff: An Alternative Craft Book. The smocking involved winding shearing elastic on the bobbin of my sewing machine and using a co-ordinating thread on the top. As I sewed around in circles using my machine feet to measure an equal distance from the previous row (avoiding the need to mark lines on the fabric), the fabric naturally started to gather up giving just the effect I was after.

The pattern was very simple and involved creating a rectangle that was comfortably wider than my hips (the widest part of my body) and 5cm longer than the length I was after to accomodate the hem and seam allowances. The final measurements of the rectangle were 115cm wide x 85cm and seem to work for a 10/12 dress size.

As ever I wasn’t happy just leaving the dress at that and started playing with some ruffles. First along the bottom hem:

cath kidston smock dress ruffle bottom

And then down the skirt:

cath kidston strawberry dress ruffle detail on skirt

And then along the top edge:

cath kidston strawberry dress

Despite the experiments, as someone who tends to put off decision making I have kept the dress plain for the time being but have kept the ruffles close by for when I feel inspired to get my sewing machine out again….

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To celebrate the end of the HND in Fashion and Textiles we were invited to take part in a fashion show at funky glasses designer Oscar and Fitch. Seeing all the glasses laid out was like being in a sweetie shop:

oscar and fitch glasses

And the shelving very eye catching:

oscar and fitch glasses shelves

The clothes were all modelled by the degree Dance students at Telford who were fabulous and whose confidence really showed off the clothes.

bella FEP outfit1 fep outfit

It was great to see all the outfits coming together:

Louise outfit2 danielle outfit dans outfit kathy outfit

The dance routines were great and suited the theme of Full of Eastern Promise perfectly:

full of eastern promise

The show also included the First Year HND Little Black Dress projects – wearing of course some very striking glasses:

little black dresses2 LBD

And the Botanics project completed earlier in the year:

apron and jacket2 apron and jacket3

dans jacket botanics

And our shirts from the 1st year also had an outing. I loved the way that Mark carried off my shirt with its over long sleeves and peter pan collar.

white shirt white shirt 2

kathys white shirt

For more photos go to http://www.flickr.com/photos/bellacranmore/sets/72157619498218554/

For my latest artist date I have been playing and creating fun headbands and fascinators. This was inspired by the short introduction to millinery on the HND and is well timed with the opening of craft superstore Hobby Craft in Edinburgh which has proven to be a good supplier of headbands, ribbon and fabric glue etc. Here are some rather ‘arty’ photos which demonstrate that I have never really got to grips with the timer on my camera!

feather fascinator

And a close up of the feathers and the covered headband:

feather headband

And as every girl knows, if one feather headband is good, two must be even better…

brown feather fascinator2

This close up shows the different colours of the feathers with blue and purple highlights:

brown feather fascinator

And of course with the summer wedding season getting into full swing, something a bit more over the top is also going to come into good use:

wedding fascinator

And with all the Suffolk puffs I have been making it was inevitable that one made it into one of the pieces:

wedding fascinator2

And who could resist such a  healthy plumage of feathers and net:

wedding fascinator3

If you are interested in having a go yourself feathers can be bought from C.J.Milinery and from etsy shops such as Do You feel the scent? However one of my next projects may well be making my own feather pads. Since I have started wearing my feather headpieces friends and family have started offering me bags of feathers…