Cassiefairy – My Thrifty Life

Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog – Saving money every day with DIY crafts, sewing projets, low-cost recipes & shppping tips


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Top Winter Hat Tips – We’ve Got You Covered

It’s time to bundle up for winter but first use your head about what’s covering your head. All winter gear isn’t created equally. Here is what you need to know to help you stay snug and warm this winter. Whether you want to keep warm during casual trips to shops, while exercising outdoors, or are addressing a special need like hats for thinning hair, here is what you need to know to keep warm and cosy this winter.pom-pom-hat-beanie-knitting-pattern-mollie-makes

Knit your own with this bobble hat pattern by Mollie Makes

Fit for winter

Headwear can make a huge difference in keeping warm during the winter. Even if you are simply dashing between your car and the store or from one heating building to another, staying warm is important. Even indoors drafts and irregular heating can make it important to keep your head warm. A large portion of your body heat can be lost through your head.

If you’ll be outside in the cold for more than a few minutes, it’s important that your headwear covers your ears. Ears are thin but have a relatively large surface area. This increases the risk of heat loss and even frostbite.

If you’ll be enjoying outdoor sports this winter, it is important to get the appropriate headwear. Hats for running, hiking, and skiing and other outdoor sports need to combine comfort, fit, warmth, and an ability to handle sweat. Choose a longer style hat that will cover your forehead and ears without riding up as you run. You want to make sure the headwear is snug enough to stay in place while you exercise without being too tight or creeping out of place. If you’ll be out in extreme conditions, consider wearing a balaclava. This style of knit cap covers most of the face and neck as well as the head. It can even be worn under a hat or beanie for added warmth. crochet-bobble-hat-pattern-mollie-makes-45

Here’s a Mollie Makes crochet pattern to make your own slouchy hat

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Knitting an ombre colour block scarf

I’ve done it! I knit a scarf! Or is it knitted a scarf? However you say it, I’ve done it! For the first time in my life I have finished an entire knitting project from start to finish and I am really chuffed.ombre colour block scarf knitting projectWhen I decided to make a scarf as a Christmas gift for my husband I was a genuine knitting novice, I didn’t even have any knitting needles in the house. I’d made a knitted bow years ago with the help of my friend guiding me through the process, but everything I’d learnt at that time must have left my brain almost instantly, as I had no clue how to cast on, knit stitches, change wool colour or cast off. Not a good start for someone who wants to complete a gift project in less than a month!

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My first attampt a knitting an ombre scarf…

I don’t know whether it’s the weather, or the darker evenings, or just the fast approaching Winter but for whatever reason, I’ve had the urge to knit. DIY homemade ombre scarf using chunky alpaca wool-2

I’ve tried knitting in the past but never really progressed beyond a knitted bow that my friend Laurie taught me to make using her YouTube tutorial but this year I want to try a bigger project. Or perhaps I should say longer project. It’s not going to be a super-challenging knitting project (I’m still too novice for that!) but I want to at least knit one complete scarf.

DIY homemade ombre scarf using chunky alpaca wool

I’m hoping this will become a Christmas gift for my husband and it will go well with the knitwear gift that I’m planning to treat him to for Christmas – there’s a new range in Debenhams by my favourite TV hero Patrick Grant. Yes, the tasty judge of The Great British Sewing Bee has created a fabulous collection of men’s knitwear, shirts and tailoring so I’m hoping to be able to snap up a festive fairisle jumper for my husband for Christmas, that’s if they don’t all sell out before then!

DIY homemade ombre scarf using chunky alpaca wool-3

So although I’m not brave enough to tackle fairisle pattern just yet, I will be attempting to make an ombre scarf. I’m hoping that the pattern will be straight lines (simple enough even for me!) and the colours will do all the work – creating a gradient effect by using 3 different colours of wool. I also chose this chunky knit because it is super-soft alpaca wool and will look great knitted into a chunky, manly style. Well, that’s the theory anyway!

DIY homemade ombre scarf using chunky alpaca wool-4

I’ll keep you updated with my progress via photos on my Instagram @Cassiefairy and let you know how I get on with my first big knitting project. Wish me luck!


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1940s fashion for men

If you’ve been reading my blog over the past few months (and even earlier this week, because I mentioned it again in my dancing shoes blog post!) I’ve been getting very ‘into’ the 1940s scene and swing dancing. It started when I went to the Mid-Suffolk Vintage Festival back in June for the D-Day celebrations and I couldn’t keep the crazy grin off my face all day. We met a few members of the local lindy dance group there and they invited us along to a dance class the following Friday. Thankfully we decided to go and we’ve barely missed a lesson since!Vintage Festival and D Day Remembrance 2014-9 Vintage Festival and D Day Remembrance 2014-20 Vintage Festival and D Day Remembrance 2014-10

Luckily, there is a thriving 40s culture in East Anglia and I am never short of events to attend – in fact, there are sometimes too many and only next week I have three dances to choose from! I can’t keep up with getting different 40s outfits for each event and I find myself desperately coveting my friends’ circle dresses and tweed jackets.  I’ve shared a few of my photos from recent events and I’ve been particularly interested in what the men are wearing…

I think that finding period outfits for men is more difficult than it is for women – there are plenty of 40s and 50s replica dress companies out there for us and a thriving vintage online market. But there are less specialist retailers out there for men’s vintage clothing, especially as my husband doesn’t fancy going for the whole military get-up. So far he’s been looking rather swish in brogues and braces but I’d like to invest in something a little more ‘dressy’ for the evenings. And that’s where scarves come in!vintage mens fashionI really like the idea of buying my husband a silk aviator scarf from classy menswear brand Knightsbridge Gentleman’s Neckwear and I’ve nabbed a couple of photos from their website in order to show you the type of classic men’s fashion I’m talking about. I’m sure you will agree that it would fit in perfectly with the 40s style we are trying to incorporate into our dancing wardrobe. I also love the combination of braces with a bow-tie so there might even be a bow-tie in hubby’s Christmas stocking this year! I think he wears the look really well and he’s even started wearing braces in ‘everyday life’ so I’m hoping that this smart look might be here to stay 😉


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Thrifty fashion ~ DIY festive snood sewing project

That retro-knitwear staple, the snood, is very fashionable again this year, with all kinds of patterns and colours available in high street shops. But you don’t need to splash out on a new accessory to keep you warm this winter. You can simply upcycle an old festive jumper or cardigan that’s past its best and turn it into a trendy snood. Keep an eye out for vintage patterns and festive coloured knitwear in charity shops, and you can even choose jumpers with holes or rips that would otherwise go into landfill, because you’ll be cutting pieces out of the jumper and can work around any flaws. I’ve used this wool fabric from Wholeport but if you’re thinking of chucking out a jumper anyway, give this easy tutorial for a winter snood a go – it would work equally well with a chunky cardi or cable-knit jumper – be creative!

christmas sewing project DIY snood scarf

You will need: Old jumper with festive pattern, scissors, needle, matching thread, sewing machine (optional)

Step by step:

  1. Cut the jumper into squares or rectangles of equal width
  2. With right sides facing, pin and stitch the shorter edges (across width) together, matching the pattern if possible to make one long length of fabric.
  3. Fold the fabric in half along the length with right sides facing and stitch along the whole length.
  4. Turn right-side out and hand-stitch the raw ends together to create a loop.
  5. Wrap the snood around your neck once for a loose scarf, or twice for a snuggly neck-warmer.

finished festive christmas sewing project DIY snood scarf

I’m a volunteer Oxfam DIY blogger and this tutorial has been featured on the Oxfam Fashion Blog so please check it out, along with all of the other thrifty festive articles that the blogging team have been producing this month!


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Tuesday Shoesday ~ Six ways to create a 1950s-inspired look

It’s Tuesday Shoesday but today I’m not only focusing on 50s-inspired shoes, but also the accessories that combine to create the ultimate 50s look for Summer 2013. Timeless and subtly sexy, fashion styles from 1950s combine classic elegance with a touch of glamour. Taking inspiration from style icons such as Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn, designers today are still finding ways to incorporate these classic styles into modern wardrobes. If you’re looking for a way to incorporate 1950s style without breaking out the poodle skirt, consider wearing accessories from the decade – which may be a cheaper way to get the vintage look without breaking the bank. Here are six ways to create a unique, 21st century, 1950s-inspired look (not only with shoes!):

Images courtesy of fanpop.com

Images courtesy of fanpop.com

Layered bracelets –Multi-stringed necklaces with large beads or pearls were one of the most popular jewellery trends of the 50s. They were often colourful and many women had a set of jewellery to match every outfit. For a 21st century spin on this classic look, wrap a layered necklace around the wrist and wear it as a chunky bracelet. Don’t worry about your bracelet matching perfectly – contrast helps to create the modern look.

Hats – In the 1950s, a woman’s outfit wasn’t complete without a hat, and pillbox hats were one of the most popular styles during this time. Plus it’s always a good idea to wear a wide-brimmed hat like Audrey Hepburn above during the summer to keep the sun off your face and stop your scalp from being sunburnt! For a contemporary twist, pair a polka-dot patterned pencil skirt (also a 50s fashion staple) with an oversized belt at the waist and a collared shirt. Then, top it off with a coordinating pillbox hat pinned at the side of the head. For extra flair, choose a hat in a bright colour or one that has added detail like buttons, flowers, or a patterned print like gingham.

Shoes – Obviously, this Tuesday Shoesday blog post is primarily focusing on the shoes of the decade. Shoes in the 1950s came in a wide variety of styles, from flats to stilettos. Among many of these options, however, there was one common factor – embellishment. Many styles of shoe in the 50s had a small bow on the top or side, a floral design on the outside or back, or were brightly coloured. Again, many women had shoes for each outfit, so colour or pattern often coordinated with the rest of the ensemble. Find a pair of peep toe pumps or stilettos with an interesting design and, rather than pair them with a formal look as women in the 50s would do, wear them with a casual outfit. Jean shorts with a 50s-inspired slouchy sweatshirt and a pair of colourful, unique heels will create a modern, trendy look with a classic shoe. Very high heels can be uncomfortable so, to maintain the comfortable feel and make this look practical, consider adding gel inserts created specifically for stilettos, found at retailers like Footwear Etc. If you find yourself wobbly when donning heels, wearing bowling shoes is a fun and fashionable alternative. Today, this retro footwear can turn a normal outfit into a funky, 21st century outfit in no time. Wear black and white saddle shoes (or whatever colour combo you choose) with a pair of skinny jeans and a loose blouse with a Peter Pan collar (another 50s trend) to create a stylish retro look.

Amazing shoes that I can't help drooling over - all from PinUp Couture

Amazing shoes that I can’t help drooling over – all from PinUp Couture

Gloves – Just like their hats, women in the 50s loved their gloves. Gloves also came in many colours and designs, and although you might not want to wear gloves at the height of summer, on a formal occasion or even for a night out, you can add a pair of gloves to a dress to give a nod to the 50s. Choose a style that matches your shoes or jewelry if you want to go for a more cohesive look, or choose an unexpected colour or style to add interest.

Scarves – Lightweight scarves of bold or patterned material were often tied around the neck or in the hair in the 1950s. While usually a casual look, a small scarf wrapped under the head with the ends tied in a knot at the top of the head will create a mid-century fashion look for any occasion. For a casual or beach-like look, use a scarf in a bold pattern or fabric. For a more conservative look, use a sleek black or white scarf and tuck in the ends of the scarf after it has been knotted to create a headband look.

Sunglasses – Last but not least, the sunglasses of the 1950s are one of the most recognizable accessory trends from that time. Cat eye sunglasses range from severe, pointed frames to more curvy styles that are generally more flattering to most face shapes. Cat eye sunglasses can still be found in nearly every color, and bold or embellished cat eye sunglasses add a hip look to any modern outfit. Retro City Sunglasses offers a wide variety of cat-eye frames for those who need prescription lenses so both your vision and style can stay sharp.

Sure to complement your wardrobe, these accessories turn any normal outfit into a creative, unique, 21st century, 1950s-inspired look in an instant. This decade’s styles are great for accentuating the curves of your body and, because of the moderate lines, can be appropriately worn both at the office and for a girls’ night out. So pull on your stockings, put on a dash of red lipstick, and bring a little touch of 1950s’ glamour to your everyday style!

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Fashion for frosty mornings: Cosy accessories

Now that frost on the grass is practically an everyday occurrence there are officially only two ways of tackling chilly mornings: 1. Stay in bed until the sun has risen higher and has warmed up the world enough that the frost has melted. or 2. Wrap up warm and stay stylish with on-trend knitwear.

Although I’ve tried it many times, staying in bed isn’t often possible, so I’ve been blogging about the top trends in cosy comfortable knitwear since October. I wrote about knitted dresses here and 80s funky jumpers plus posts about animal knits cosy trendy leggings and chunky cardis last week. So here’s the essential accessories that you’ll be needing for keeping warm during the winter:

Here’s some inspiration from the catwalk at Marc Jacobs, Chanel and Dior’s Autumn/Winter 2012 shows and these looks can be recreated with this purple knit snood from Debenhams and the chunky hood-scarf from New Look which can be pinned in a Marc Jacobs style across the chest. Snuggly knit accessories are essential for keeping your extremities warm in the winter and are the cheapest way of updating your wardrobe for the season.

Let me know what you’ll be wearing this autumn/winter! And check back soon for the next hot knitwear trend & how to get the look for a fraction of the price :)

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