>> OLD VS NEW <<

New or Vintage? Some people see vintage simply as "old stuff". True, not going to debate symantics here but old is not always bad! I would so rather a vintage Astin Martin than a new Lexus. There's just a certain class about vintage that seems to have been lost somewhere along the way. I blame the 80s. There is little class in fluro and leg warmers and the cars from this period are hardly note-worthy. So yes, I definitely blame the 80s for the demise of class in fashion and cars. (Note: I like cars. I mostly like vintage [surprise surprise] and this is mostly due to my father liking them. My mum has a 60's MG convertible. Now that's class)

Anyways, back to the debate. So old or new? Vintage might be old, but at least you know it lasts. Something from the 70s has been around 40 years already. It's got history and it hasn't fallen apart at the seams like so much stuff you buy nowdays. Plus it's one of a kind. It would be a very freaky coincidence if you saw someone else wearing the exact same vintage piece as you.

New stuff on the other hand - sure, it's new, but unless it's not mass manufactured, I'm willing to bet it will not last that long. Especially if it's something you would wear fairly frequently. Also, everyone else has one! Unless you purchase something unique from a high-end boutique (which the masses usually can't afford) you'll have something that most probably half the population have or want also.

My argument is that vintage is unique, interesting, inexpensive most of the time and it's already lasted 40 or so years so it's already proven it's worth!

Again, 80's does not qualify as vintage with me. Just to make my point -


I love a caftan. Mostly 'cause they're so nice and flowy and come in some wicked designs. Plus they're like the hippy's version of an abaaya. For example...

Holy Safari Batman! You could really get in touch with your animal side in this one!

I just love this one 'cause it's a mad colour.

They describe this one as 'Ethnic'. All I can think of is 'Woodstock'.

Here's my version. A little bit of abaaya mixed with a little bit of caftan. Gathered at the front with a little dangly thing at the back. That doesn't really have any function in my mind - just stuck it in for aesthetic reasons really. I would so do this one in a crazy pattern or just plain with the colar patterned. So many choices... gotta lova a caftan.
I love BIG. Big belts, maxi dresses, loud patterns. I also lurve Big Buttons, and in vintage clothing there tends to be A LOT of big buttons. For example...

Above are some big button beauties from Etsy.com. Check my favourites on the side if you like the look.

Here are some of my own ideas. Buttons buttons buttons. I love 'em!

Sorry, couldn't help myself...
Well my short hiatus turned out to be the perfect cover for the flu. Yech. Haven't finished my rewrites, haven't posted any blogs and am feeling like nasty warmed up. Yech yech yech.

Anywho, while I was house bound and not able to think critically for too long (still am, but this is not exactly critical thinking) I managed to do a bit more on my sister's formal/prom dress. I've attached the bottom of the back straps to the skirt and sewn up the non-zipper side. Now I'll be sending this off to my little sis to see if it fits properly before I finish it off by adding lining and zippers.

So here is the half-way mark.

Hopefully insha allah it'll fit and I won't have to make any major alterations! That material is really nasty to work with at times.

And now I'm going to crawl back into bed...
Hello and Sallams peeps! Hope you're all groovin' and enjoying my recent ventures and sketches.

Totally unplanned though, I will taking a short hiatus (only a couple of days) to complete the book I've penned. I've recieved feedback from my two lovely critics and will be doing some tweeking of the last two chapters before I send it off to my editor. Can't wait! It's been a long time coming but now I'm on a roll. Have got at least a third of it's sequel dot-pointed out in a little notebook in my handbag so I am ready to roll.

Also, my sister has asked me to make her a pocahontas-esque outfit for her to wear for Relay For Life next week so her formal dress is on the back-burner and it's into the mind set of Cowboys and Indians for me. Already done the top so the skirt shouldn't take much longer. Fun times.

So until my book is tweeked to my liking, you may not hear from me for a few days at least. Insha allah though I will be back with some more sketches and hopefully some more updates on the formal dress front. Till then, have an awesome last two days of the week! We're over the hump!

Alysha xo

I had an idea on the weekend that was brought on by this whole economic recession thing and the fact that new material can be quite pricey. Second hand stores have some great pieces that have awesome one-of-a-kind material, perfect for what I'm making. Despite the fact that the material is pre-worn, I thought it would be a great idea to recycle some of the more hideous pieces into something more wearable. Truly, there are some extremely nasty pieces in second hand stores and seeing as noone is buying them in their current state, why not take it and make it into something people will actually wear?? I think I may be onto something...

So in the future, insha allah, I'll be producing both New and Recycled pieces. What do you think? Good idea or not??

Let's face it - nowdays you find very little fashion that is bold enough to go loud. Loud patterns, loud colours, loud designs. The 60's and 70's were notorious for their outrageous use of colour and patterns. Each piece was determined not to be outdone by the previous and as a result there are some seriously mad colour combinations and very strange patterns. I once found a little chinese-collared sundress that had teeny tiny patterns of cement truck on it. Random, I know. I almost bought it just so I could have a dress with tiny cement trucks on it. I swear, the fashion designers back then used everything and anything as inspiration, which turned out some wicked, albeit random, results.

With this in mind I went Etsy surfing. Oh dear Etsy, I have not paid thee much attention recently. So, anyways, I went trawling on the Etsy website and found some awesome pieces that fit this particular vein. As before, I have put them in my favourites which you can view on the right of this page in case you see something you are particularly drawn to.

I admit it, I am a pink freak. I love this one purely because it's a pyschotic shade and is enough to give anyone an epileptic fit. I would so wear this.

This one is mad. It's like the skort concept but taken just one step too far. Strangely, this one works for me. Violent purple interrupted nicely by the skirt thingy really does make an oddly appealing ensemble...

I chose this one merely because it brings home the "fluro is fantastic" idea. I love it both ways.

It's pinstripe gone crazy. It reminds me of one of those Magic Eye pictures where if you look at it long enough you see a 3D unicorn. I like it because it's just strange enough without being totally outrageous.

I think now I'm going to go think up some designs that could totally make use of the LOUD concept. Then I'm going to go raid my local Spotlight. Let's get LOUD peoples!!
Continuing on with our Hippy Weekend, here are few more sketches. The first is little more tame than the others. The second would be good made from a white cheese cloth material. I really want to make that one actually. Would be good with some nice big wooden beads.

So here are a few more ideas inspired by the era of the smiley face, the flares and the Kombi.

A big thick brown leather belt is what I'm thinking here. This is more of a country look than the others.

This is my love-child inspired get-up. The seperating lines would be inlaid crochet so that it wouldn't be see through.

So that be it for this Hippy Weekend. Until next time peoples - Peace out!

Getting in line with the Flower Power, love child, tye-died aspect of vintage, I've decided to start Hippy Weekends. Some of the stuff I'll be putting up is a little random, all tassled and big buttons, but that's what Hippy Weekends are for. So stick on some Beatles (the really random stuff like "I am the Walrus") and pull out those purple sunnies. I most certainly have.
Going a little Pocahontas here. Tassles - check. Big V-neck decos - check. All I need now is a hummingbird and a raccoon.

This is just a little bit of random. I had those little fluffy dangle balls in mind for under the bust and a thicker material for this one, in a light colour though.

So that's the start of my Hippy Weekend segment. Now let's just see what they turn out like...
I couldn't stand the waist. The waist was too high and it made it look like it had humungous hips. Yech. So I *carefully* unpicked it, which is soooo difficult with satin not to make a mark, and re-sewed it. It now looks much better. I started on the back so the pics I have today are all inside out and ugly looking, pins everywhere and whatnot. This is the tricky part because I have to make sure all the side seams are lined up, the straps sit right and the tension is good. Don't want a saggy back, that would just be unattractive.

So here we are:

Am going to be busy this weekend so the stitching won't be happening until next week most probably. Then I'll be sending it off for a fitting. Insha allah it won't need anything major done to it!!

Enjoy the weekend!

Last night and the night before I decided to attack the skirt portion of my sister's formal/prom dress. No mean feat considering the material is quite heavy and the train is meant to gather at the top. Given that it is a dove tail train, that gives the bunched up part of the top only a tiny little bit of a traingle to grab onto. Fun times.

So after a number of pin stabbings that threatened to leave bloody fingerprints all over the green satin, I think I managed it. However (big oops coming up), I believe I have made the waist line a little too high. I was aiming for the hips but now it's actually on the waist. Bugger. I really really really hope that if I unpick it it won't destroy the material. Easy does it, I think.

Anyways, here are the updated pics in regards to my attempt at an olive satin masterpiece.

Now it is missing the top part of the back for the moment so this isn't the end look by any means. The train will be a little shorter (after hem is done). Does the waist look too high? I think it makes the hips really stand out. Will have to remedy that tonight I think (it's driving me a little crazy. Proves that I am a little of an obssessive perfectionist at times). I do like how the train has fallen though.

Once I've done the outer part of the dress I'll be sending it up to my sister for her to try it on. Really wasn't wanting to do the whole thing, lining and all only to find out it need some adjustments. My fingers don't deserve the punishment that only my unpicker can dish out.

So that be it for the day. Will fix that waist and post the outcome ASAP.

Alysha ;o)
Whilst in the middle of pinning and tucking my sister's formal dress I found myself contemplating what I would wear to my friend's wedding in September. Dressing for a wedding can be such a hassle at times and it all depends on a combination of the following: place, time, season and formality. Urgh. It's almost easier to be picked for the bridal party - that way whatever the bride sticks you in, you're set. No worries. But since I am not part of the bridal party and the chances of me finding something long enough to be suitable enough are next to none, I thought I would just make myself something instead. Good practice.

So I contemplated the 4 elements:

Place: beachside town in Queensland

Time: mid-afternoon til late

Season: end of Winter leading into Spring (which, any Aussie would know, in QLD means mild hot to bloody hot. Winter doesn't truly exist)

Formality: I believe it's not as formal as full blown ball gowns and tuxs but not as informal as jeans and a nice shirt. So I'm aiming for something in between.

Now I love the fashion of the 50's - the skirts and dress are just so cute. Plus it reminds me of Grease. My brain started mulling over a few ideas and I landed upon something that had Sandy at that school dance floating across my creative vision. I'm a big believer in 'the cute' and thought that, in a lovely, bright yellow or something similar, I could make it suitable and applicable to all the aforementioned elements.

So I came up with this concept...

Now I'm thinking a floaty, sheer material with matching lining so that it has a soft look.
The hat/cap/scarf is almost 30's in it's look. Will have to play around with that.
The little stole thingy would be removable and completely sheer.

With some pearls and a cute little clutch, I think I can make it work. Won't start on this one yet - have a few more projects after my sis' formal frock but keep your eyes peeled. Am pysched about this one!
Alrighty. So I've finally got my butt into gear and officially started on my little sis' formal/prom dress. It's taken me a bit to get going (mostly because I've been distracted by a certain vampire series) but now it's off and running. She's chosen a lovely olive green satin, quite heavy though it will fall nicely. It'll be completely lined and will be one heck of a challenge given it is of my own design and therefore has no pattern whatsoever. Good times.

So, as I said in an earlier posting, I will be keeping an online diary of my progress (and any mishaps) of my venture into formal dress making. Should be interesting to say the least and you'll get to see how I make my dresses, which I'm guessing is probably a heck-of-alot different to how people who have actually trained and studied to do this kind of thing do it. So here we go!

These first lot of shots are just of the satin, inside out of course, and being pinned and cut to the dress shape. And yes, my little sis is a tiny skinny-minnie.

The back has changed. It's a bit hard to explain so I'll leave it for now. Has to do with the gathering and the train so once that's done you'll be able to see the changes from the mock-up.

Here the top is taking on it's shape. It's only the front for now but I've already done the lining, which is a lighter olive.

I like how the material has given the V-neck a sort of cowel necked shape to it. Actually looks better than the original design...

Tonight I'll start on the skirt, because the new back needs the skirt to hold it in place. Needless to say, I like the skirt - the skirt is so easy compared to the top part. Insha allah we'll see how it goes!

Til next time...
Up until now my sketches have been mostly of dresses and skirts and so I thought I would focus a little more on tops today. After a quick scan of etsy's vintage blouse section, I came up with some quick ideas that I thought I might share. I think I'll spend some more time on this area as there is definitely some potential for some general craziness. And there's nothing I like more than a little bit of the wacky.

Got a bit of a chinese collar going on here mixed with a little bit of military

This one would be made of a softer material like silk so it can gather at the top. Would be a little longer than ordinary tops.

Will get onto putting up some more tops ASAP, especially a few that are a little more on the 'what the' side of life.
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I love Jane Austen. That woman was a genius and her absolutely gorgeous works have spawned film after film after film dedicated to bringing the world of Austen to life. My favourite is not exactly original but I lurve Pride and Prejudice. Plus I get to imagine Colin Firth in a wet white shirt everytime I read the part where Lizzy and he meet at Pemberley. Anyone who has ever een the BBC version will understand.

I also love the fashion, the long flowy empire-waisted dresses of that era that just exude the feminine. And can so be made to be hijaab-tastic.

So here are a few sketches that have been modelled on Austen, as just a little bit of a tribute.

This one will have a bit of a gather top part and more of a straight body than an A-line.

This one is actually a one piece that looks like a 2-piece. I love the long jackets that they use a fair bit in the 2005 film version, as shown in this pic...

And so there's my inspiration for the day. And just if you were trying to remember what Colin Firth looked like, here's a refresher -

Colin Firth will always be my Mr Darcy!

Yay for Jane Austen!