Monday, 20 October 2014

The Hepburn Project - The Audrey Hepburn Story

It was after seeing all the wonderful projects shared over the web for this years Me Made May  (I was overwhelmed with just how many people wore homemade all month, you guys are amazing!) that I realised that there was a real lack of practical clothing in my wardrobe, especially separates. I have a lot of dresses which I love and wear, but there are far more dressy 'going out' dresses than I will ever need in my wardrobe.

So when I spotted that Sarah from The Creative Perfectionist was updating her Hepburn Project I was as keen as mustard to join in, I figured it would help to motivate me to create some practical yet pretty separates which could be mixed and matched!

I knew instantly which of the two lovely Hepburn ladies I wanted to emulate, my favorite actress of all time, Audrey Hepburn.

1954 La Vigna, Italy {Image Source}

I have already made myself some Audrey inspired items (this black dress and this eye mask) But when contemplating a wardrobe full of Audrey 'inspired' clothes where do you start?

Well, obviously you go wild on Pinterest, pin everything Audrey related...

{Image Source}


Then you go back over her films to oggle/research her style a bit more. So todays post is actually a sneaky way of me introducing another Film Fashion Post, remember those! I am actually going to start somewhere you might not except, with made for TV movie, The Audrey Hepburn Story.

The Audrey Hepburn Story is a biopic from 2000, it stars Emmy Rossum as young Audrey and Jennifer Love Hewitt as the older, as you would expect from a bio pic it charts her life from her early days growing up in Belgium and Holland during the war, barely surviving by all accounts, through her early ballet and acting career and leading up to her filming of Breakfast at Tiffany's.

So lets have a quick look at the fashions, shall we ...

Brown Circle calf length skirt, with a white lacy blouse with cute little slit sleeves and round collar, pulled together with a brown leather belt and ribbon neck tie.

I can't be sure if this is a dress or a blouse and skirt as we don't get much of a look at it, but its still lovely! It has a button through front, trimmed pointy black and white polka dot collar and matching sleeve cuffs.

White head scarf cream oversized knitted jumper, embellished with red scalloped (looks crocheted) edging around the neck hem and cuffs above which is a red band which has been woven thorough the neckline and finished in a bow/ Paired with capri pants and red wooden clog shoes.

This outfit is the costume departments attempt to capture the essence of the iconic scene where Audrey sings 'Moon River', in reality the outfit in the film is much less interesting Audrey's hair is wrapped in a white towel she is wearing grey jersey sweater, with denim capris and ballet pumps.

When Audrey meets Hubert Givenchy for the first time she is wearing a silk button backed blouse embellished with beads around the collar and yoke and a simple grey pencil skirt.

Well I know this is a dress but its rather lovely, especially the colour, again more polka dots a full circle skirt topped with a sleeveless bodice and v shaped neckline which has a slim collar and is gathered by a bow.

I am rather smitten with this little red cap, it looks like its crochet, but could quite as easily have been woven straw.
The same brown skirt as above this time worn with a simple yet lovely short sleeve black blouse with buttons down the front and cute little necktie style collar.
A Mid blue V necked jersey with embellished neckline and little stand up collar, teamed with a pair of 'classic' Audrey Capri pants.

I honestly set about watching this expecting to hate it, but I really didn't, I actually really rather enjoyed it! The reason I started here rather than with one of her classic films, was I thought it would give me a better idea of what Audrey's most iconic pieces were when distilled through the eyes of the costume department. If someone had find essence of Audrey's style what would they pick, what colours would they use and would it be believable.

And I think it certainly is, they have obviously changed a few things but nothing major and its given me a good starting place for isolating what would make a 1950's Audrey inspired wardrobe.

Bold Colours - Browns, Pinks, Blues, Black & White.
Patterns - Essentially very little in the way of patterns mainly a little embellishment here and there and a few polka dots!
Separates - Obviously! Full Circle skirts always worn with a belt, capri pants and short sleeve blouses, with some neck embellishment, tie or brooch.

So now its time to seek out some appropriate patterns to fit the job and I'll be back with my findings soon!

Wendy x

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Day Out At Duxford - Warbirds Take Flight

A few weekends ago I was lucky enough to get the chance to visit the annual airshow at the Imperial War Museum Duxford.

Duxford Airshow September 14th 2014 - B17 Flying Fortress 'Sally Bee"
B17 Flying Fortress 'Sally Bee"
I've been to Duxford many times before, though during my previous visits I'd never had any time to explore the museum as I was always working, so I was really excited to finally get a good look at everything, with the added bonus of seeing some of these amazing machines in flight!

Duxford Airshow September 14th 2014 - Line up of spitfires
A line up of Spitfires
It was a bit of a long day, not pre-booking a ticket meant a 5am wake up call to ensure we got one of the limited on the day tickets by the opening at 8am (even at seven there was already queues on the motorway, it was mental). I somehow managed to find time to smarten myself up for the occasion, its been ages since I set my hair as I've been feeling a bit off for the last few months, but it was about time despite a crack of dawn start to make a bit of an effort.

It reminded me, in my sleepy haze, just how much my freshly curled locks make me resemble Johnathan Creek which I found utterly hysterical, blame tiredness. After a bit of brushing I did manage to tame the curls into something less amusing, though my styling lasted about 15 minutes after exiting the car, airfields are windy (duh), so this is the only evidence of my efforts, at least I tried. 

Getting to the museum bright and early meant there was plenty of time to look at all of the packed to the rafters aircraft hangers before the majority of the visitors turned up, which meant it was lovely and calm.

Duxford Airshow September 14th 2014 - two seater trainer spitfire
Two Seater Trainer Spitfire

Duxford Airshow September 14th 2014 - Airspace Hangar
Air Space Hangar
Duxford Airshow September 14th 2014 - Boeing Stearman
Boeing Stearman Training Plane 
Duxford Airshow September 14th 2014 - English Electric Lightening
English Electric Lightening

After a spot of lunch, it was time for the show itself, now I wont bore you all my three million photos, most of which are just of dark specs against the sky, just my favourite parts, one of which was the majestic WWI display team which included a Fokker Triplane piloted by Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson, which certainly explained the plethora of Iron Maiden T-shirts which were being worn around the airfield! The aircraft were so slow yet elegant and graceful, it is hard to believe how much aviation evolved in the 20 years between the wars.

Duxford Airshow September 14th 2014 - Fokker Triplane and BE2 Replicas
Fokker Triplane & BE2 replicas

Duxford Airshow September 14th 2014 - WWI Dogfight
WWI Dogfight

My main reason for going to Duxford, was actually to see the flypast of the only two flight worthy Avro Lancaster's. I'd managed to miss them at all the other locations they were at over August so I was well aware this was my very last chance and I was not disappointed, it was an experience that I wont forget.

Duxford Airshow September 14th 2014 - AVRO Lancaster Bombers and Spitfire Escort
Avro Lancaster B Mk 1, Lancaster B Mk. X & their Spitfire escort
The weather which had been all blue skys and sunshine mere hours before had turned to thick grey cloud, I was initially irritated by this, but to be honest the heavy cloud seemed utterly appropriate and if anything added to the experience. When the announcement came over the tannoy that they were on there way, everybody was scanning the sky desperate to be the first to see them. As they came into view over the top of one of the hangars, the sound of their engines competed with the clapping of the crowd and rapid fire of cameras clicking in frantic unison to get a memento of the moment.

Duxford Airshow September 14th 2014 - AVRO Lancaster Bombers Thumper and Vera
UK based Thumper and Canadian based Vera

Honestly it was a wonderful sight and the roar of the eight Merlin engines was incredible (I know the spitfires were there too so probably ten Merlin engines) I can confess to feeling a bit emotional and shedding a tear, daft I know but I had really, really wanted to see them, it was a once in a lifetime experience, like a little bit of time travel. I can only imagine the sound a whole squadron would have created impressive, yet terrifying.

Duxford Airshow September 14th 2014 - Four Spitfires
Four Spitfires hove into view
Once I'd composed myself, erh-hum, there was plenty more to see. The only areoplane I had seen in all the times I had visited before, was the American Flying fortress B17 'Sally Bee' (see top photo) this time it took to the skies which was wonderful, also there was an simply amazing display from a tri-jet Boeing 727. Having deciding to leave a little early to avoid the traffic chaos, the last display of the day was from four Spitfires, tailed by a lone Hawker Hurricane.

Duxford Airshow September 14th 2014 - Hawker Hurricane
Tail End Charlie - A Hawker Hurricane
By this time the sky had returned to its more turquoise hue, which illuminated their aerial acrobatics perfectly. It reminded me of the first time I saw a Spitfire fly when was a child, one flew over our back garden, I'm not sure how we knew it would be flying past, but we were all out cameras in hand. Somewhere I still have the spec of black on blue image I took that day. I was as mesmerised then as I am now, this time though I was able to get a few better pictures!

Duxford Airshow September 14th 2014 - Duxford based Spitfire FMK.IA P9374
Duxford based Spitfire F Mk.Ia P9374

Duxford Airshow September 14th 2014 - Spitfires one with clipped wings
Supermarine Spitfire's 
The clipped wings increases roll rate which meant they were able to compete better with the Fokker 190.

As we walked back to the car park the Red Arrows were swooping, soaring and painting the sky red, white and blue, which was the perfect end to the day! I have to say it really was a fabulous trip, well worth the early start.  I've never been to an airshow before, so I wouldn't consider myself a plane spotter, though I do love an old Warbird, but it would be impossible not to find the sheer amount of aircraft on display simply breathtaking, I would heartily recommend a day out to Duxford to everyone!

Wendy x

Monday, 6 October 2014

Sewing Stash Giveaway !!!!

So after winning the Pattern Pyramid a few months back I decided that rather than add to the already over flowing stash of patterns, I'd host another giveaway to even things out and to give those of you without a blog a chance to win something too!

So I have raided my pattern stash and have chosen some lovely ones for you to win, I have tried to pick a range of patterns from a few eras to mix it up a bit!Lets have a closer look...

1980's New Look 6585 (UK 8-16)
Dress with tucks from fitted buttoned waistband has a large sailor collar divided at the back. View 1 has short maygar sleeves and wrap skirt. View 2 is sleeveless and has a front buttoning skirt.

1940's Simplicity 1273 (Bust 34)
This dress buttons down the front and is finished with a notched collar. There are tucks at the lower front edge and gathers at the lower back edge of bodice. The skier is seamed at either side of the centre front and back. Interesting pocket like detail is stitched in shoulder seams and buttoned to bodice front. View 1 has belt flaps which are joined with waistline seams and button to skirt. View 2 is fashioned with long sleeves finished with a wristband.

1960's Retro Butterick B5747 (UK 8-16)
Misses dress and belt, both versions have a collar detachable dickey, fitted bodice, waistband, pleated skirt and belt. View B has a semi-fitted shirt back hemline vent and topstitching.

1972 Simplicity (Bust 36)
Misses dress in two lengths and unlined jacket (dress bodice designed for knit fabrics only. The long or short dress with skirt stitched to contrasting bodice at waistline has back zipper, high rounded neckline, stand up collar and optional purchased belt. The unlined top-stitched jacket with front closing has yoke back, collar, band, patch pockets and long set-in sleeves.

 1975 Style 1023 (Bust 31")
Misses top, skirt and trousers. Top with collar has front open zipper, elastic thru waistline casing and set-in sleeves. View 1 has long sleeves pleated buttoned cuffs. View 2 has short sleeves gathered into sleeve bands. Skirt is panelled. Skirt and trousers have waistband and side zipper.

So if you fancy making yourself a pair of 70's flares, a 60's shirt waister or a 40's button through dress then this is what you have to do!

1. Leave me a comment below (you will need a google or discus account to do that) needn't be anything fancy a count me in will do!

2. Leave your comment by Friday 17th of October 2014

So don't be shy why not have a go, I will post anywhere in the world so no matter where you are feel free to join in!

Wendy x
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Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Who Took Nanny's Pictures

At work I spend most of my days working alongside Ray, a fellow graphics designer and an talented drummer (he's in a 60's inspired band called The Everglows, definitely worth a listen). Between us we are responsible for all of the graphics related stuff for our company, drawing up the model specs, researching vehicles, designing the artworks and creating any advertising that may need doing. All of this is done to a soundtrack of 6 Music and conversions about interesting TV & films we have watched, our mutual love of 60's music and culture, books we have read, photography or just the day to day stuff and nonsense of our lives. We don't always agree on everything, but we do both agree we love watching a good documentary and so when Ray recommends something I have missed, I always know that its going to be worth checking out.

It is one of Ray's recommendations (that could be a feature of its very own) which is the basis of today's post, he told me about an episode of BBC's Imagine, which featured the story of recently discovered photographer Vivian Maier. Having never herd of Vivian before I was intrigued so after little internet biased searching I found a link to the show in question and was amazed by what I saw so I though I would share!

As much as its wonderful that we get to see her beautiful captivating images of mid century Chicago, I can't help feeling its such a shame that Vivian was not able to see what an effect her images have had on the art world, and lets face it for her rather than art dealer to profit from her talent. Though I do wonder, being the compulsive photographer that she was and having never really shown anyone her images, if she would have been horrified by the attention they are now receiving? Her photography appears to have been as much a passion as an obsession, would she really want the world to be in on her secret, I guess we will never know.

To see more of Vivian's work from one of the many owners of her work at

Wendy x

Thursday, 25 September 2014

The Kitchen Front - Greengage Jam

Much of my September has been spent in the pursuit of the perfect set, this time it had nothing to do with my hair, but everything to do with my Victory Garden harvest!

~ Greengage Jam ~

2lb of greengages 
1.5lb of caster sugar 
The juice of a lemon 
Half a pint of water 
4 1lb jars 
Wax disks and labels

1. Wash your fruit and check over for creepy crawly holes cut out any bits you think may be harboring maggots, maggot jam is not particularly pleasant!

2. Sterilize your jars. I filled mine with boiling water, left them to cool a little and then tipped out the water and then placed them on a tray in my gas oven on the lowest setting until the were needed.

3. Count how many greengages you have as you put them in to the pan. This may seem super tedious and I know a few people who don't bother with this step, but I am not a fan of finding stones in my jam, so I like to do my best to get them all out and ensure no teeth are broken.

4. Place your fruit in to a stainless steel pan and add the water and lemon juice, boil until fruit is soft. The smell at this stage is just lovely!

4. Once the fruit is soft it is time to scoop out all of your stones, this is where the counting the fruit as you put them in pays dividends!

5. Add in the sugar and set on a roiling boil for 10 mins, after 10 mins you will need to test the set, to do this take your plate and drizzle a little of the jam into the centre leave to cool for 2 minutes and then push your finger through the middle if the jam forms ripples, then it is ready to bottle if its still runny then boil up for another 5 mins and then test again! Repeat until you are happy!

Once you are happy with the consistency, ladle the jam in to your jars and cover with wax disks, seal either with screw tops or cellophane circles and an elastic band, whilst still warm to ensure the jam stays fresher for longer!

Enjoy x