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Friday, 17 February 2012

DIY Couture - Making Clothes Made Easy

One of my new years resolutions was was to start making my own clothes. I have a sewing machine and I know how to work it, but I've not yet attempted anything as complicated as clothing. Tradition patterns can look a bit intimidating. I am making my first attempt soon though - I bought a 'one hour pattern' that promises simplicity! And I got some lovely fabric. Maybe I'll have a go this weekend.

I was really interested to read online (one Daisy Green Magazine, which is a fantastic site for all tings ethical) today about DIY Couture, a new company that provides easy instructions on how to construct clothes. Rather than normal paper patterns, with all their confusing lines, cut marks and strange coded messages, they provide you with clear instructions and colour photos that take you through the whole process step by step. I think it's a great idea - as someone who is trying to teach myself dress making, this seems like exactly what I need!

Currently there are three designs available to buy, a pleated skirt, a cloak and a gathered dress - each at £9. You buy your own fabric so you end up with something totally unique and personal. Hopefully the rest of the collection will be available soon - there is an amazing jumpsuit, wrap top and straight shirt that I really want to try.

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I am hoping to get my hands on a couple and see how them compare to traditional dress making. I'll let you know how it goes!

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Ayten Gasson: Peace Knickers

I've been a fan of Ayten Gasson's beautiful lingerie forever. Using vintage patterns and silk she handcrafts the prettiest knickers you've ever seen. And now Ayten has launched a range of eco lingerie using gorgeous organic and peace silks.

Peace silk is created to be cruelty free. Rather then the silk worms cocoons being boiled alive, as is the traditional practice, with peace silk the worm is allowed to emerge out and live out its little silk worm life. As it is organic too you know there are no nasty chemicals being pumped into the environment. All of Ayten's lingerie is loving made in the UK too, so there is no exploitation of workers AND it is even trimmed from vintage heritage lace, made in the lace works in Nottingham. Could it get any more ethical and perfect! One style on her site even includes buttons that belonged to Ayten's Grandmother!

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Girly and lovely, they are the sort of undergarments that dreams are made of. The even do an Eco Bridal gift sets, perfect if you know a bride to be who loves eco fashion (can you think of anyone who fits the bill?!)

Some of Atyen Gasson's stunning pieces have been on my dream wish-list for such a long time, even more so now they are Eco!

To see the full collection go to Ayten Gasson's website.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Sublime Cooks: A Valentine's Dinner

For Valentine's Day this year my boyfriend and I decided to stay in to celebrate our first V-Day since getting engaged. Sorry to be all soppy - especially for those bah-humbug types out there who think Valentines is all over-commercialised. Actually no, I'm not sorry, any excuse to spend time with the person or people you love is fine by me. I love any excuse to celebrate.

I arrived home to find the most beautiful bunch of pink roses, a card couple of lovely bottles of wine. I cooked a starter of grilled figs and halloumi with a black forest vinaigrette followed by puy lentil and herb stuffed tomatoes with wilted spinach salad and goats cheese. Then we ate post chocolates and watched The Apartment. It was the most perfect evening.

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Grilled Figs and Halloumi with Black Forest Vinaigrette
Serves 2
Adapted from a recipe in Veggiestan

1/2 pack of halloumi
2 figs
a handful of rocket
about 1tbsp of toasted walnuts

For the dressing:
3 tbsp olive oil
A small knob of ginger, grated
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
5 or 6 raspberries/blackberries (fresh or frozen - I used frozen black forest fruits)

Put some of the rocket on each plate. Put all the dressing ingredients in a blender and wizz until smooth. Toast the walnuts under the grill.
Using a hot griddle pan grill the figs and halloumi.
Stack up alternate figs and halloumi, drizzle with the dressing and top with the walnuts.

Puy Lentil and Herb Stuffed tomatoes with wilted spinach salad and goats cheese
Serves 2

4 Large beefsteak tomatoes
1 can of puy lentils
1 red onion
3 cloves of garlic
A handful of black olives, chopped
1 and 1/2 tbsp capers
small bunch of parsley
1/2 a bunch of dill
2 tbsp chopped mint
60g goats cheese
100g baby spinach
2 tbsp toasted sunflower seeds
nutmeg
olive oil

Cut the tops off the tomatoes and scoop out the insides leaving a clean shell. Leave them upside down to drain as you prepare the stuffing.
Fly onions in olive oil until soft, add in the chopped garlic. Add the olives and puy lentils. Then add in the capers and all the herbs. Season to taste. drizzle with olive oil and add 3/4 of the goats cheese. Scoop the mixture into the tomatoes. Bake them in a hot oven for 30-40 mins.

In a large pan heat a small drizzle of olive oil and add in all the spinach. As it wilts great nutmeg over. Toast the sunflower seeds under a grill and add them into the spinach mix. Season.
Divide the spinach between two plates and then place the tomatoes on top. Scatter with the remaining goats cheese and finish off with another drizzle of live oil

Sublime Wears: Gold Collar Tips

This was my outfit on Sunday - a lazy day where the only really reason to get dresses was to pop to the supermarket to by a bottle of wine! I spent the rest of the day catching up on blogs, readying the papers and cleaning the kitchen - oh it's a glamorous life!

Still, this shirt has been a favourite of mine for a while. I bought it from a stall in the Sunday Up-market, off Brick Lane. They girls who ran the stall customised loads of vintage clothes, adding studs and feathers. I wish I could remember the name of the stall! This shirt has these amazing collar tips on, they are ace. They just screw on over the ends of the collar. I think you can buy them separately on eBay, then swap them between shirts.

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Monday, 13 February 2012

Sublime Wears: Dressing for the Snow

Did you notice it snowed the other day...and it's been really really cold, did anyone mention that? Clearly, everyone has been talking about the weather recently and with good reason. It has been bloody freezing. Dressing for extreme of anything is difficult. I can't really cope sartorially in the height of summer and winters deepest depths also present problems.

The biggest of the winter problems for me is the shoes. I love heels. I trend to live in black ankle books with a heel of at least 4 inches (3 1/2 if they are REALLY nice shoes - but never lower). I am short so I need the extra lift, also after years of heel abuse I've actually convinced my feet that they are more comfortable. I've beaten then down - now the backs of my calves hurt if I wear flats. Because of that, I don't have flats, so when it snows I'm a bit stuck. Thank god for the wellies that are at the back of the shed. My boyfriend had to check them for spiders, but after that they were good to go. I actually enjoyed wearing them.

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The wellies, the tweed, the fur, the leather gloves and the brown suede skirt all made me feel very 'countryside', like I should be going pigeon shooting (clay of course - I'm a vegetarian) not just off to my local London pub for a Sunday roast. The 'country folk' I'm imagining for my fashion-inspiration clearly know a thing or two about dressing for the elements though as my layering of heavy fabrics kept me toasty warm on the journey to and from the pub!