Friday, 27 September 2013

Fashion Friday: Milan Fashion Week

As promised last week here's my write up of several of the collections shown at Milan fashion week. Don't forget to look at Vogue for all of the collections if there's any particular collections you want to see.
Missoni, the label famous for wacky knitwear in bright colours do not disappoint with their S/S 14 collection. Their iconic knitwear was reworked into a large scale knit print and abstract patterns make a welcome change from the multitude of floral prints in the S/S shows. The colour combinations clash and compliment in equal measure and the monochrome designs that closed the collection prove Missoni can still create striking designs without the crazy colour palette.

Dolce & Gabbana is a firm favourite of mine, they do opulence and historical Italy references like no one else. There's a lot of similarity between the styles and silhouettes of each season collection with just a few tweaks here and there but I don't blame them; when you've done something so well, why change it? Its the prints and inspiration that are the changes between collections, for S/S 14 we have been presented with prints of historical ruins, elaborate florals, glittering gold fabrics and polka dots as well as a handful of their trademark lace just for good measure.

Clean lined, effortless, classic and fresh are words I would always associate with a Jil Sander collection. S/S 14 is totally in keeping with this. There's only a smattering of print placed between lustrous black, delicate pink and bright white fabrics. When plain fabrics make up the majority of a collection the main focus has to be on the construction and silhouette, shoulders are emphasized, waists nipped in and skirts gently flared.
The label for the powerful women who like making a statement, Roberto Cavalli S/S 14 is a riot of pattern, embellishment and fabric. But it is the mainly subdued colour palette that draws the collection together and allows it to be a tasteful way of statement dressing and not over the top.
A collection rendered almost entirely in black, brown and grey, the Bottega Veneta S/S 14 collection would be drab if it wasn't for the interesting details in the form of fringing, ruffles and beading. I must hasten to add though, the collection is not by any means fussy, the frills are executed in a unique style, creating a contemporary feel.
I'm sure everyone has an idea in their mind of how a Versace collection will look. This distinct style is again present, the collection is edgy and even the floral print and pastel colour can't even make the garments remotely girly. The clothes are still figure hugging, even if Donatella Versace says they're not (see Vogue summary). I would like to see the pieces more tasteful, as they say, less is not always more.
The Prada S/S 14 collection is as quirky as quirky gets. Gigantic faces appear on pretty much every type of garment alongside an absolute abundance of colour and embellishment. I can't helping thinking its all a bit too much though, there are a few less busy pieces which is just as well because many of the pieces are a combination of many different elements.
Fendi is not always a label I keep up to date with but I must say I was pleasantly surprised when I took a look at the S/S 14 collection. I do love to see a bit of geometric pattern and this is made even better if the pattern is created in an interesting way. The geometric pattern is made from shapes cut from a fabric with a pile, it may be velvet, I'm not entirely sure. The pops of bold colour are perfectly balanced with black and white. This is a collection full of surprise and as far from boring as a collection could be.
Relaxed and easy, nothing too fussy and loose silhouettes define the MaxMara S/S 14 collection. The collection began in off white and grey and then exploded in a burst of head to toe colour, then returned to the subdued tones. These are the kind of pieces which are perfect for teaming with more elaborate garments. But please take my advice, leave the bonnet and veil on the catwalk.
If your thing is pretty feminine style clothes, Alberta Ferretti is the one you want. I'm not sure any other collection could be as breathtakingly pretty as this one. The sumptuously embroidered bright flowers on white are so right for summer and even all black is given a girly update with frills and yes, more flowers. Plus, correct me if I'm wrong but I sense a quite folky feel to some of the pieces. With statement pieces in bright orange, green and red, there's something for every lover of feminine clothing here.
Gucci's collection is very relaxed in it's mood, nothing is too fitted or over embellished. There's a kind of throw on chic going on here. Prints are bold and colours are dark and moody, not what you'd first expect to be a S/S collection.

Images from

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Needle felted elf

The other day I was at a bit of a loose end so I had a look through some of my craft books for something to make. I hadn't done any needle felting in a while so I decided to make this cute elf from the book Needle Felties (Twenty to make), I loved the pointy collar and toadstool on the front. I finished it in a few evenings and it now sits among some of my craft supplies.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Colette sewing pattern

A little shopping trip to Bath last Friday led to me finding a sewing pattern in my size, something which I have been trying to find for ages! In the main pattern books, like Simplicity, Burda Style and Vogue the patterns only go down to a US size 8 which is a UK size 10. After a lot of searching on the Internet I began to think that smaller pattern sizes didn't even exist, so I bought a pattern grading book but was disappointed to find out it only tells you how to grade patterns in the UK average size 10. At the moment I find it way too complicated to grade a pattern to my own measurements properly so I tried to make a simple shift dress pattern out of a skirt and top pattern I had, both in size 10. This went a bit wrong when I sewed the pieces up I had tried to grade down to a size 6, the top half ended up being too big and the bottom half too small! Having run out of old fabric to trial my pattern out on, I gave up for a while.
So when I popped into The Makery on Friday and saw several different multi sized patterns that go down to a US size 0 I was so excited and had to buy the pattern which includes three variations on a dress pattern and a top pattern. The pattern maker is Colette, they don't make a large amount of patterns but they do have some really beautiful ones. The only downside is the measurements for the amount of material needed are in only in imperial measurements because it is an American company but this can easily be converted. I'm just very pleased that I won't have to deal with any more frustratingly too big patterns.


Friday, 20 September 2013

Fashion Friday: London Fashion Week

Seeing as I did a round up several of the major shows at New York fashion week for the last Fashion Friday, I thought it was only right to do the same for London fashion week for this week's Fashion Friday. I'm sure that there were so many more shows at LFW than NYFW but that may be just me, so I have tried to write about most of the major shows but I have also included a few of my favourites and brilliant collections which I have just discovered. As I said last week, if you want to see all the shows or more pictures of the collections I have featured head over to Vogue. Be sure to come back again next week for a round up of Milan fashion week which is already underway.

A cool collection in monochrome, Simone Rocha's collection is feminine but hard edged. My favourite part of the collection are the pearls arranged in the shape of flowers around necklines, hemlines and pockets, they even appear as necklaces and on shoes; you have to look closely or you'll miss them.

A lesser known designer that I think should be better known; Huishan Zhang's S/S 14 collection is a wonderful combination of fabrics, embellishment and technique. It combines delicate cut away detail and intricate lace with zingy colours. Some of the pieces remind me of some of Erdem's earlier collections but Huishan Zhang's collection has its own very distinct style as well.

The Burberry Prorsum S/S 14 collection is like being in a sweet shop thanks to the candy colours and gorgeous fabrics. Of course, it wouldn't be a Burberry collection without several coats making an appearance and there really is no one who can do coats better.

At first glance this doesn't seem much like an Erdem collection at all, there aren't the strikingly beautiful florals and the collection is absent of the usual delicate colour palette, instead it is created mostly in monochrome. But you have to more carefully to see traces of Erdem's signature style come through. The florals appear in white on white and black on black embroidery on chiffon and some are a small splash of colour against black. Lace is used subtly, underneath layers of sheer fabric and as trousers underneath a lightweight sheer skirt. I love the fabric printed with old fashioned handwriting.

A collection for the young or young at heart Moschino Cheap & Chic S/S 14 is full of bright colours, cute embellishments and playful cuts. Gobstopper sized gems glisten on the neckline of a twist on the classic Chanel tweed jacket. There is no shortage of colour in this collection and with a bit of white added in to the mix, colourful flower embellishments really make a statement. With the word 'party' emblazoned on the front of a clutch bag, there can be no doubts about what the Moschino girl will be doing next summer.

Mary Katrantzou is the absolute Queen of prints and following in the footsteps of her previous collections S/S 14 is not for the wallflowers. Loud prints are paired with other loud prints and enhanced with beading and oversized ruffles for a collection which really nails the head to toe print look. The collection began with more subdued prints and ended with a bright riot of colour and pattern.

Alice Temperley creates the dresses of dreams for her label Temperley London. They are the kind of dresses you would rarely have the occasion to wear but would be worth owning just to look at. They are the height of femininity with all the pink tones and delicate embellishment but a splash of leopard print adds an unexpected edge.

When I hear 'Mulberry' the first thing that springs to mind is bags. Probably partly because several people I know are lusting after owning a Mulberry bag. But Mulberry do clothes too and they do them pretty well. The returning 'it colour' of the summer, white, forms the basis of the colour palette while prints pop in bright orange and black. Head to toe small scale floral prints work their magic on tailored summer separates.  
Classic and classy Emilia Wickstead's collection is seemingly effortless style. Following in the unfussy footsteps of the styles, the prints are simple. You can't fail with a good stripe. But add an unexpected  piano print in at the end and the mood is defined; polished, unfussy and modern.
If ultra modern digital floral prints are your thing look no further than Preen. A mish-mash of geometric pattern, floral prints, angular hemlines, fabrics and many colours come together so well. The digital print on chiffon is the last word in luxe or beautifully dressed down on easy separates. But aside from the busy prints, Preen proves its worth with print-less pieces focused on the sublime cuts and technique.
There's a lot of hype around JW Anderson at the moment. He certainly knows how to work with fabric, with pieces heavily focused on technique and cut the S/S 14 collection is a master class in clothes as a statement, even verging on wearable art. However much of the collection is more focused on design than wear-ability. Of course all the pieces are wearable in a sense but some of the pieces are hard to imagine actually being worn off the catwalk. But you can't deny his talent because when it comes to it, this is fabric manipulation at its very best.
In pretty pastel shades of blue and pink then moving into black and deeper pinks and green, the Whistles S/S 14 collection has a bit of something for everyone. A good one for flattering classics, although I'm not convinced about the shiny silver fabric.

I'm usually really in love with nearly every item in every Orla Kiely collection but I can't say this one has got me that excited. There's a strong safari feel to the collection and there are still some beautiful pieces but as a whole I think the collection hasn't quite got the retro mood right which is normally done so well.

The Jasper Conran S/S 14 collection is an absolute beauty. Modern and feminine the pieces make the perfect summer outfits with their exquisite patterns and coordinating colours. The pieces are very wearable and I love the details such as the sheer sleeves and lace inserts.

Images from

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Fabric covered postcard book

I have a lot of postcards which I have collected from various places I have been; art galleries, holidays, if there are postcards there I will buy them. I wrote a while ago about a postcard display board I had made for my room to put some postcards of artwork up. The trouble is I've run out of room on my walls for any more postcards so I was looking around for a photo album to put them in. But the albums either had too small pockets or were adhesive ones, I didn't want to stick the postcards down permanently because quite a lot of them have writing on the back about the picture on the front.
After much searching I decided to cover an A4 plain sketchbook with fabric and attach the postcards in the book with photo corners. The fabric I used is a lovely printed linen which I bought from a vintage fair. In the centre of the cover I created a heart out of buttons in colours to compliment the fabric, I also stuck on some vintage lace at the edge of the book to finish it off. As of yet there is only plain white paper on the inside covers because I have not found any paper that will match the cover. But I have put my collection of postcards in already, you can see some of them in the photos below. They are now safe from fading in the light and I can remove them and swap them around as I like.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Cross stitch bookmark

I was given a cross stitch bookmark kit for my birthday which was back in June. I've got back into cross stitching recently after not having done any for a few months, so I decided to make the kit. It's such a beautiful design which has a really vintage feel. I had a nice surprise when I opened the kit and saw the small tassel because it was not pictured on the front of the packaging, I think finishes it off the bookmark beautifully. While it's not being used as a bookmark I'll find somewhere in my room to display it, it's too beautiful to be hidden in a book all the time.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Fashion Friday: New York Fashion Week

You probably have been aware that New York Fashion week has just finished and the first of the Spring/Summer 2014 shows have taken place before we're even into Autumn. Fashion moves at an incredible pace and there have been so many shows in the past week. If you want to see for yourself all the shows or a few in particular, Vogue is the best place for this. They have a slideshow of every single show in NYFW as well as a video of some of the shows, find them all here. All of the shows from previous fashion weeks are archived here too.
I've seen a lot of beautiful clothes from different collections shown in NYFW round and about on the Internet this week. There's too many to write about all in one post but instead of focusing on one collection I thought I'd give you a round up of some of the major shows.
I was disappointed with Marc Jacobs' collection this time. It had a much darker edge and loses the playful side that I think his collections usually do. Of course there is amazing attention to detail but this collection is just really not to my taste this time.
Calvin Klein's collections are always classic and simple with the focus on silhouette and shape rather than embellishment. I love a good bit of embellishment but the Calvin Klein S/S 14 collection is refreshing in it's pared back simplicity. P.S. I think white for summer is sticking around.
Ralph Lauren does preppy chic like nobody's business. Most of the designs are in sophisticated monochrome but a splash of rainbow bright colours appear on dramatic dresses. With a sixties vibe this is a collection that really appeals to me.
Featuring light fabrics and delicate floral prints, Michael Kors S/S 14 certainly has a romantic feel. The colours are subdued in chocolate brown, olive green, navy blue and beige but work together beautifully.
Oscar de la Renta's collection is absolutely beautiful. Its the epitome of femininity with delicate details and beautiful fabrics.
Sass and Bide S/S 14 is a perfect summer collection. Light and airy with gorgeous polka dot net, what's not to love? The collection features a lot of white, in tune with last years summer colour trend.

J.Crew is the place to go for classics and their new season collection does not disappoint. Perfectly polished separates and sophisticated florals say it all.
Diane Von Furstenberg has injected a heavy dose of tribal style into her collection this season. Animal and abstract prints don't really do it for me but the pieces have a wonderful laid back aesthetic.
Another label known for their classic, sleek garments are Rag and Bone. Let the focus be on the fabric and impeccable cut and the rest is simple.
Kate Spade is known for playful and upbeat designs and this collection is right in tune with this style. It's just what you want from a summer collection, bright colours and gorgeous florals with a girlish, but not too girlish, side. Added to that, take a closer look, no one does accessories quite like Kate Spade.
I've only just become aware of Honor a few seasons ago. I could not help but feature them in this post, in my book they come up trumps every time. A mix of gentle feminine style with delicate lace appliques and intricate floral prints in colours that really pop combine to make my favourite collection of NYFW 2013.
With a younger feel than mainline Valentino, the diffusion line Red Valentino is simply gorgeous. In my opinion, it's one of the best designer diffusion lines out there. The floral prints stand out from the multitude of S/S floral prints with their vintage carpet bag feel and together with simple knitwear and pastel shades complemented with neutrals, make a truly stunning collection. Also, the backdrop for the pictures are just beautiful, don't you think?
All images from 

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Embroidered cushion

The best friend I've ever had (and regular reader of Handmade by Hannah!) is going away to university at the end of this month. I couldn't have let her go without giving her something to brighten up her uni room, so I decided to make her this cushion.
Hand embroidery is one of my favourite things to do so I chose to embroider a design onto the front of the cushion. Her name is Alice so I added a large 'A' using a design from Alicia Paulson's Embroidery Companion which I modified slightly by making the letter less busy. The birds with the leaves above and below the 'A' came from a book called A Rainbow of Stitches. In the middle of the leaves there was a heart but I changed this to a pair of glasses as she is studying optometry at uni. Plus who doesn't love a good pair of round framed glasses! I backed the cushion with some polka dot fabric and added a 'Handmade with love' label because I always like to add a little finishing touch. I hope it will make her new room feel more homely.