Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog

Cassiefairy's thrifty little lifestyle blog – DIY crafts, sewing, food & fashion – what more does a girl need??


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Googie style & my new dress

Have you every found yourself drawn to a piece of furniture, a homeware accessory or an item of clothing but you have no idea why? Even though it might be the tackiest, most brash, weirdest thing you’ve ever seen, you can’t take your eyes off it and actually kinda want it? I’ve always taken an interest in the concept of personal taste and why we choose the things we do for our homes and wardrobes and this week I’ve been re-watching artist Grayson Perry’s documentary ‘All in the best possible taste’ online, Of course, I’ve found myself yearning for all the things that good taste dictates that we shouldn’t want. Am I an individual, then? One of my favourite things that the artist says is ‘we all like to think we’re individual, that is until we meet someone just a individual as we are’. That sums up the concept of taste perfectly for me and it totally explains why we have the urge to own things that express our own personalities.jetsons-googie

The Jetsons – “home of the future”

That said, this summer I’ve found myself being even more drawn to bright colours and kitsch designs. I’ve been pinning tacky images all over my Pinterest boards and I can’t get enough of 50s and 60s space-age design. If you read back over my blog posts, you’ll see that I’m a big fan of mid-century modern and I’ve even decorated my home to pay homage to this era. But a loud pattern and a splash of garish orange isn’t enough for me anymore. Instead, I’ve discovered Googie and there’s no going back!

image 1 / image 2 / image 3

The Googie style of architecture arrived after the end of WWII and demonstrated opulence in it’s size and grandeur, and showed off the optimistic nature of the generation as they watched the space race unravel. If you imagine the Jetsons’ (yes, I’ve been watching the cartoon online too..!) space station home, you’ve got it! That’s the style that I love even though ‘serious’ architects describe it as ‘frivolous or crass’.

The Googie style originated from Southern California and the bright colours and large flying-saucer and boomerang shapes are key elements of this design. I think it’s an architectural style that doesn’t take itself too seriously and I’d love to visit some of the remaining examples of buildings designed in this space-age image. In the meantime, I’ve found myself searching out Googie design in other parts of my life; clothing and homewares, and I found this dress in the ASOS sale.

The pattern contains retro clocks and the atomic designs that are so popular in Googie designs. I would definitely call this patter retro-inspired rather than vintage. The dress was described as grey but is actually more of a lilac shade, combined with bright yellow, baby blue and mint green, so it’s even more Googie than I thought it would be when I ordered it! I wore it the dress on a day out and although I at first felt a little garish, the bright colours and playful pattern lifted my spirits and I couldn’t help but smile as I wore it. Yes, I’m Judy Jetson and I don’t care who knows it!

 

Okay, I know that this style is a little more 60s than I’m used to and I’m not sure that I’ll get much wear out of it at the 40s events and lindy hop dances I go to, but it’s an easy-to-wear nod to the mid-century and reminds me how much I adore Googie style every time I open my wardrobe.

art and photography exhibition at ipswich town hall-8


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Rust & butterflies ~ the perfect combination for an exhibition

art and photography exhibition at ipswich town hall-8

This week I went to the opening of a fabulous new exhibition at the Ipswich town hall art gallery, featuring the work of artist Mandy Christmas. The exhibition featured a stunning display of photographic works featuring countryside and coastal views along with some simply astonishing up-close shots of wildlife. Even the artist’s exhibition sign was a work of art; using a slice of a rusting old beach hut door as the backdrop for the Hunter – Gatherer exhibition title.

The beach hut door certainly set the tone for the exhibition – large-scale images focused on texture and moody colours, taking an abstract look at natural forms, shadows and decaying materials. These images contrasted rather pleasingly with a series of bright, lush, lively wildlife photography. Mandy Christmas explained how she photographed her surroundings on a series of walks – hence the Hunter-Gatherer title – and often found nature and decay living side-by-side. It was also really interesting to see a photo of the artist at work, taking a photo of a seagull – it showed that she wasn’t using a zoom lens to capture the gull’s cheeky face, but was actually crawling on the beach with the camera inches away from the bird! The artist’s patience in photographing birds, bugs and animals has clearly paid off as an entire wall of the exhibition is dedicated to her close-up wildlife images.

My dress is from House of Fraser, thermal tights from UK Tights, shoes from New Look

I was completely mesmerised by one of the artworks in particular; an image of a smouldering forest fire. This photograph stopped me in my tracks and transported me straight to the location of the fire. I worried about being in a forest that could potentially ignite and I imagined how it would feel to be surrounded by fire and cut-off in the woods. I admired the artist even more so for putting herself in possible danger in order to take the photo whereas I would have definitely been running in the opposite direction! Despite feeling uneasy while looking at the piece, I was drawn back to it time and again, and really enjoyed looking at the dusky colours and charred shapes.

art and photography exhibition at ipswich town hall-3

After a thorough look around the exhibition, hubby and I sat down with a cup of tea to take in the surroundings of the magnificent town hall building and I took some snaps. Please forgive the quality of my images; I forgot to take my camera with me and snapped these photos on my phone but I hope you get can an idea of the exhibition and the building as a whole.

I will definitely be visiting the gallery again and will be sure to report back on any other exhibitions I see over the coming months. Please get in touch if you’ve seen any fantastic artwork recently and please do recommend any galleries you think I’d be interested in – it’s always great to have new places to explore!


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Sewing tips to make a vintage dress fit

I am forever spotting gorgeous vintages dresses when I go for my weekly rummage in the charity shops but I am often put off from investing in an outfit because it is far too big for me. Last week, I tried on this vintage shirt dress from Oxfam, which was around 3 sizes too big for me, but I loved the (so on-trend!) tropical pattern of the fabric that I decided to give it a new home and see what I could do to make it fit me.

The dress didn’t have any labels in it, so it may well have been handmade in the first place so I didn’t feel too bad making adjustments to it, although that first cut is always difficult, because I don’t want to ruin something that has survived so many years! At least it will be worn if I can make it fit me, whereas it would be relegated to the back of my wardrobe if wasn’t brave enough to make any changes, so I got my scissors out and set to work.

before and after vintage dress

  1. First of all I put the dress on to see where the adjustments needed to be made. The shoulders were too wide, the side seams could be taken in about 6 inches and I wanted to make it into a knee length dress, otherwise it would be too long for me. So I pinned down the sides to make it fit, pinned up the shoulders and measured how much fabric would need to be removed in order to make it knee length.

  2. I began by stitching up the side seams by following the line of the pins to create a more figure-hugging shape, trimmed off the excess fabric and zig-zag stitched over the seam to prevent it from fraying.

Cassiefairy - sewing tips for shortening a vintage dress

  1. Instead of taking up the hem of the dress, which already had a perfect blind hem stitched in place, I decided to shorten the dress at the waist. So I cut the dress straight across at my waist point (a very scary moment – I needed to be brave!) which left me with a ‘top’ and a ‘skirt’.

  2. I used the measurement for the right length that I noted down whilst trying on the dress, which was 4 inches shorter, so I cut a strip 4 inches deep from the top of the skirt – cutting straight across again.

  3. I then reattached it by pinning the skirt around the bottom of the top, with the right sides of the fabric together. I zig-zag stitched around the middle to join the dress back together.

Now my vintage shirt dress is 4 inches shorter and about 6 inches smaller and fits me perfectly. After I tried on my new dress, I realised that the sleeves would look better if they were a little slimmer too, so I took in the sleeve seams by about an inch too. So next time you find a dress that you love which is too big for you, don’t dismiss it straight away. Think about what you can do to make it fit, and give the dress a new lease of life!

 

 

 


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My bargain fashion haul

I’ve had a bit of a result this week while shopping online. I discovered a fabulous fashion store that combines the convenience of online shopping with low low high street prices, sounds too good to be true doesn’t it? Well, it IS true and my order from Wearall.com has just arrived to prove it!

I was initially looking for something to wear to my friend’s wedding next weekend and having exhausted my usual shopping haunts, I decided to widen my search and take a look online. I was surprised and delighted with the selection of reasonably priced dresses I found at Wearall.com and I managed to get my whole outfit sorted at once. I bought this royal blue maxi dress with a slinky knotted-front detail and it was under £15! See, I wasn’t kidding when I said it was great prices!! It’s like a sale is on all the time and as such, items sell out quickly so if you see something you like, I recommend you grab it straight away while it’s still in stock! I decided to pair the dress with a fresh white blazer and added this to my cart before having a little browse around the rest of the store to see what other bargains I could find.

I couldn’t resist snapping up this over-size t-shirt with fabulous Mean Girls ‘you can’t sit with us’ quote on it. I already have a cute tartan skirt that I bought in the winter sales, so I thought the two would look great together as a kind of teen-flick mash-up of Clueless and Mean Girls! The t-shirt was only £8.25 and that’s one of the more spendy tops on the website!

I also bagged this horse pattern knitted jumper. I know it’s sunny outside at the moment, but this item was new in and I know that it will have sold out by the time the autumn breezes arrive! So I’ve invested in the black version ready for A/W14, but I love the fit and design so much that I’m actually thinking about getting it in cream with black horses too because I already know I’ll wear it all winter long!

So what do you think of my bargain fashion haul? I’ve barely taken off my new slogan t-shirt since it arrived and am bursting to hop back onto the website and order some more low-priced goodies. I’m pleased that a thrifty gal like me has finally found somewhere to shop online that doesn’t break the bank, woop!Mean Girls t shirt


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Rent it, love it, return it!

No, I’m not suggesting some dodgy take-your-dress-back-to-the-shop-after-wearing-it scheme! I’m taking about dress hire. Remember in the Sex and The City Movie when Carrie’s PA Louise has the best designer handbags on her arm and an assistant’s wage in her purse, baffling Carrie into asking how she has got hold of her waiting-list-only arm candy? Louise proudly tells Carrie that it’s rented and we all wondered how long it would be until a service like this arrives in the UK too. Well, it’s here right now! Yes, I’ve found out that you really can hire designer dresses, coats and accessories from Wish Want Wear.

Like Louise from the SATC film, I found an array of gorgeous handbags but immediately worried about creating pen-leaks and lipstick stains inside and being charged for the damage, so it’s definitely a service for special occasions rather than everyday use. But if I ever feel the urge to wear a £1650 Hervé Legér bandage dress, this is the place to come! When I discovered this website, I began thinking about all the events I need to go to this year; weddings, christenings and parties and started doing the mental arithmetic on how much a new outfit for each special occasion would cost me to buy. Now, I’d never be able to buy afford designer dresses but even so, the cost of an outfit soon adds up. I imagine that someone who attends a lot of work functions would get a lot of use out of this service, but would be right for me? As you know, I’m a thrifty kind of girl, so I looked at the lower-priced rental outfits and found a few at bargain rates.

wish want wear designer dresses

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