Sunshine and stripes

full skirt and bardot top

bardot style top

50s skirt and bardot top

You see this skirt, you guys? This skirt that was once a whole lot longer than it is now? Totally took that hem up all by myself. Like a BOSS.

And I mean, OK, to those of you who’ve made your entire wardrobes by hand, using nothing but a pile of old curtains left over from the war, this is a very small achievement indeed. In fact, you’re probably rolling your eyes at me right now and going, “Oh, bless her heart, she’s getting all grown up! She’ll be dressing herself before we know it!” The thing is, though, I’m not “handy”. Or, indeed, “crafty”.  (In either sense of that word.) And I’ve never been good at sewing: mostly because I’ve never been interested enough to try. In high school, all of my report cards described me as a “conscientious student”, but the one class I ever came close to failing was Home Ec, particularly the sewing module. It just bored me rigid, to the extent that the teacher used to have to take the assigned sewing off me at the end of every class, unpick it and then do it herself. She would do this while scolding me and telling me I would never find a decent husband*, for what man would want a wife who couldn’t sew? (“That’s nothing,” I would reply, “Wait until you see how bad I am at baking!”) So it was fun for both of us. Yes.

Anyway, I still don’t have a whole lot of interest in sewing, but I DO like my clothes to fit me properly, and the fact is that most of them don’t: or at least, not when I buy them. So many of the things I wear have been altered in some way by my poor mum that it was getting quite embarrassing, so I decided to give this hem a go myself. You know, like a proper, functioning, adult? Now, I can’t claim I did a great job of it: if you were to look underneath that skirt, you’d probably just laugh at it, but then again, if you looked up my skirt, I’d call the police and have you arrested, so my poor stitching would be the least of your worries, seriously.

Since I did this, however, I’ve taken instruction from my mum, and have attempted a couple of other little alterations, and I’m already getting much better at it: so much so that I’m even thinking of getting my sewing machine down from the attic and seeing if I can finally master the art of threading the thing. (WHO AM I? WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO ME?) Don’t get too excited here: I’m not going to start making my own clothes or anything, because any time I think about doing things like that I get bored, and the next thing I know, I’m hitting up ASOS again, but it’s definitely handy to know how to make minor alterations, so if I can learn how to do that, I’ll be happy. And I have to admit, it’s been quite satisfying, sewing away by candlelight, like the heroine in a Jane Austen novel (“Why don’t you just put the light on?” said Terry. “Please tell me you’re not pretending to be in a Jane Austen novel again…”), and only very occasionally sticking the needle into my own hand.

Back to the skirt, which, as you can see, I wore with yet another bardot-style top. I wore this outfit on Sunday, to an Easter party at Terry’s brother’s place, and although it was nice and sunny, it was also pretty windy (hence the windswept look of these photos), so I was glad of the thick cardigan I also had with me. See, I AM learning how to dress myself…

*She totally didn’t say that about the husband. I could tell she was thinking it, though.

yellow bow shoes

[Wearing: Nicholas skirt (sold out) // H&M top // Zara shoes]

24 Comments

  • char says:

    Super pretty outfit combination, I’m still desperately trying to track those heels down on ebay but to no avail. I have to admit, I have a pile of clothes which need repairs / alterations which I just never get around to, as I’d always prefer to spend my sewing machine time making something new.

  • Beautiful look, and I love the off the shoulder – bardot style top :o) Xx

    Makeup by Candlelight

  • Rachel G says:

    Awesome job at hemming your skirt! The sewing machine can be pretty intimidating with it’s presence!

  • Erika says:

    As easy as it may seem, hemming sometimes gives me the most problems. Especially when it’s a fuller skirt. Ugh, those full skirts are a pain! Looks good on the outside so who cares about what no one sees. :-)

  • tanya says:

    Beautiful outfit, as always… But what I really wanted to say is: thank you, Amber, for not wearing the boyfriend jeans in your posts.

  • Lydia says:

    You are absolutely hilarious! Love your posts!

    I recently bought myself a John Lewis miniature sewing machine, mostly because they come in an array of lovely colours. Clearly I must have forgotten my E in GCSE textiles and the day I broke 5 needles in literally under a minute…

    • Amber says:

      “mostly because they come in an array of lovely colours” – Haha, that sounds like exactly the kind of thing I’d do! Then I’d be all, “Wait, I have to actually DO STUFF with this thing now?!”

  • Gorgeous outfit, simply stunning xx

  • Suzanne says:

    Hemming isn’t a huge deal…but when it is a full skirt it can be difficult, strike that…I meant to say impossible. I’ve learned the hard way one too many times to take the full skirts in to get them hemmed.

    I love the yellow shoes.

    Your hair looks amazing in the wind!

    bisous
    Suzanne

  • Katie says:

    That skirt is beautiful! Excellent outfit points all round. Xx

  • Kudos to you for shortening the hem on that skirt. That is boss behavior because I wouldn’t even know where to start, lol. Love the skirt paired with the belt and off the shoulder top.

    http://www.ohtobeamuse.com

  • Myra says:

    Made me laugh xx

  • Laura says:

    ah, i love the skirt and your shoes! and haha, i’m the exact opposite, even though i’m no expert, i love sewing. maybe you’ll learn to love it, ha! i’ll be definitely pretending to be a character from an austen novel whenever i hand-sew from now on, though:-) x

  • I got a sewing machine two Christmases ago and have done VERY little on it (I’ve altered two skirts and made three bows, because obviously it’s what one makes on a sewing machine). I never took any sewing course (our home economics class was all about gardening e.g. weeding the school grounds) but I was so shocked about the threading of the bobbin (what do you mean that you can’t just use the thread as it is??) and how hard that was (I honestly thought that was the hardest part). I still plan on learning to use the machine properly ONE DAY. On that one day I do everything I’ve ever planned on doing (plus sewing blogs are so inspiring. All those lovely printed dresses!)

    I always thought it was so sweet of your mom to fix our clothes for you (my mom doesn’t sew) and that it was a cute mother daughter bonding thing that you had going on. Anyways, love the skirt and I think I’ve mentioned this but those shoes are perfect. Are they satin?

  • Leah says:

    After the fourth sewing machine broke, my sewing teacher asked if I could be transferred to food tech, because at least I didn’t set the kitchen on fire!

    I thought I wasn’t a crafty person at all, and yet I’ve now discovered I love making jewellery and have gotten pretty good at it (I’m humble too).

    Side note – LOVE the shoes. WANT the shoes.

  • Tracey says:

    My grandmother was a dressmaker. No-one in my family knows how to sew. The really sad part is she died about eight years ago, so not only are we deprived of her presence, we have to pay other people to do things like take up hems. Sad situation all around, really.

  • Stacey says:

    Like everyone else here – LOVE the skirt and shoes!

    I am a crafty person, or try to be (whether my projects turn out is another matter, but I TRY!), but I do not sew (I almost wrote that as ‘I am not a sewer’, which is also true). I might have told this story here (I know I was writing it somewhere recently. If it was here – sorry!) But in high school home ec, our project was to create a stuffed animal by hand – no machine sewing. I knew at the time that I sucked at sewing, all that talent stayed with my mom and did not get passed down to me, so I was looking for the easiest project in the catalog. I found this wee little stuffed dog and ordered the kit and sat away in the home ec room for the quarter stabbing away with the needle and thread. When the dog was finished, the teacher came over to inspect it and asks “What *is* it?!” Now, I’m hurt because I realize I suck and the thing did turn out looking more like a camel than a dog, but I tell her “It’s a dog.” Her reply “Are you sure???”. Then she takes it from me, holds it in front of the class and says “This is an example of what NOT to do.”

    I might have hated her.

    And I can bake and cook (no thanks to home ec teacher by the way. All thanks to my mom!) but pastry dough gives me trouble. My grandpa very seriously told me that he worries about me finding a husband because I can’t make a cherry pie from scratch. Because “Every woman needs to know how to make cherry pie to find a husband.”

    • Amber says:

      OMG, our project was a stuffed animal too! I chose a hippo for some reason – I’m guessing it must have been the easiest one or something, because I’ve no idea what I’d want with a stuffed hippo, but the teacher literally had to take it apart and re-make it from scratch, so I basically scored a free stuffed hippo out of that class: sweet!

      Love the cherry pie, story :)

  • Indigo says:

    I just discovered your blog and am really glad that I did! You’re an excellent writer. You have a great sense of humor and wonderful taste in clothing. Love what you did with that skirt!
    When I was in high school, I was called into my guidance counselor’s office and promptly told off for having somewhat poor grades in most of my subjects but Music.
    I told him that I wanted to be a Musician and he told me that I would never amount to anything with that. He said I would probably end up in a slum apartment, pregnant and abandoned by some loser guy.
    Well, I proved the jerk wrong. I became a successful Professional Musician and never regretted my decision.

    I have no idea how to thread the sewing machine. Doesn’t matter because when I need something sewn I get my husband to do it for me! :-D

    Have a lovely day!

    • Amber says:

      Aww, thank you, that was a lovely comment to wake up to!

      And WOW at the guidance counselor! That’s such a terrible thing to say to someone: sounds like the guy was in the wrong job there. I felt the same about a lot of stuff in high school, but especially maths, which I had to pass to get myuniversity place (On an English Literature course, go figure), but I hated it and was so bad at it my parents had to pay for extra tutoring for me. I had no idea what I wanted to do, but I knew it would have to be something involving writing, because that was all I could ever imagine doing, so I resented every second I spent on it!

  • Sarah says:

    You did a great job at hemming the skirt! I love this outfit, especially the bardot top – I need to get myself one of those.

  • amy says:

    Beautiful outfit, Amber. Those shoes are just to die for and I have already ordered that top in black and red….gah, reading this blog is so bloody bad for my bank balance! ;)

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