Tag Archives: clothes

second-hand living is officially ‘cool’

Friday night was fun.  Despite not wanting to actually go out due to having a stinking cold, I still took the time to adjust my dress and make and extra petticoat to go underneath it.  Hopefully I’ll get a good photo of how I looked on Friday night, but as I entered the doors of the club I was asked to pose for a photo as I was officially ‘cool’ :) I’ve never been ‘cool’ and at 36 I never expected to ever be cool. But apparently my outfit was and I’m pleased to say the intrinsic parts that made it up were ALL second-hand.  My dress was from the Salvation Army shop in Catford and cost me £3.49.  My jacket was handed down to me via a friend of a friend – as it didn’t fit them, my bag was a box purse from a charity shop (quite a while ago so I can’t remember where it was from) for £3 and my shoes were my darling Pradas – £9.95!  The only new aspects to my outfit were my pink tights and some more netting to go under my dress.

Whoo hoo – I AM cool! lol – although judging by this photo I definitely don’t look cool:

I'm the one in the middle

I'm the one in the middle

Apparently they want to put the photo of me on the website for This Feeling – I’ll let you know if they do so you can see the outfit in full.  I was kind of shocked but pleasantly surprised :)

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upcoming posts:

I thought I’d let you know what I’m going to be blogging about over the next few days to give you a heads up if you wanted to send me your links etc:

discarded

discarded

Plastic Bottles

We all use them, they are everywhere, some people don’t bother to even recycle them.  Plastic really has been the scourge of modern-day life; it doesn’t biodegrade, it releases toxins and recycling plastics are very labour intensive due to the different standards.  So upcycling plastic bottles should make things a bit easier on the environment (or trying not to use them in the first place would make things even easier – something I really really must do).

I’m going to therefore blog about my own plastic bottle upcycling as well as featuring the work and tutorials of other plastic bottle upcyclers.

rummaging

rummaging

CLOTHING

I love fashion – I’m not fashionable in the slightest and I don’t buy fashion mags.  However I see fashion as an art form and am fascinated by people who are walking art pieces.  Unfortunately this dominance of fashion in our lives has created a clothes mountain.  There are piles of poor textiles, that don’t biodegrade, that are made badly and more and more are being made.  We are all aware of the sweat shops that employ people working on a pittance to create these pieces for us to wear once then throw away.

So as you know, the whole premise of this blog is to buy second-hand, and I don’t buy new clothing any more.  There are other people who go one step further and take existing pieces of clothing and create new pieces out of them.  This blog will be about upcycled clothing – people who have the imagination and creativity to see something in something else!

doll parts

doll parts

DOLLS

And finally a blog about what you can create from those sadly rejected dolls.

So there you go – do you have anything you can add to these blogs? If so, get in touch.  If I like what you do I’ll feature it :)

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my best thrifty purchase

Prada Kitten Heels.  £9.95 from the British Red Cross charity shop in Lewisham.

Pradas

Pradas

I bought these firstly because they were SO comfortable – they fit like a glove.  I spoke to the assistant and said ‘did you realise these were Pradas?’ – apparently they did and that’s why they were in there for the princely sum of £9.95. Then I wasn’t sure if they were real, however they apparently are as my friend who used to work for Jimmy Choo’s has testified.

Definitely my best find so far :)

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the great tidy-up began today

I’ve had to put things on hold a bit here as I’ve embarked on something that is long over-due.  The great big tidy-up.

I’m a hoarder – I come from a family of hoarders – and this hoarding has never been put in check.  Now it’s got out of hand and I need to be ruthless.  So while I only work 2 days a week I’m using the rest of the time to sort my crap out.

Today I started on the worst offender – my study.  It’s always been the ‘junk room’ where things get dumped and lost.  It’s going to be a longer and bigger job than I originally thought.  I had to reign myself in from saving old envelopes because I could create gorgeousness from them like these:

Security Envelope Tags by The Felt Mouse

Security Envelope Tags by The Felt Mouse

Security Envelope Buttons by The Workroom

Security Envelope Buttons by The Workroom

Beads by JPolka

Beads by JPolka

Beautiful Art - by ClumsyBird

Beautiful Art - by ClumsyBird

However it was my wardrobe where I was having my biggest fight.  I find it so difficult to give away clothes, constantly thinking that ‘I will fit into that again one day’ or ‘I could alter that to make something better’.  However some items of clothes must leave my wardrobe and either head their merry way to a charity shop OR head their way into creating my new quilt.  I’ve decided that my big quilt will be my winter project.  A hodge-podge of colours and designs.  Large enough to fit our super-king size bed.  I’m not going for a complicated pattern for my first proper quilt – just a simple box design.  This pool on  Flickr is a great inspiration:    Reclaimed Fabric, Patchwork and Quilting

So I’ll try and blog in a few days with another tribute to some wonderful upcyclers.  I also have some new buys to share with you lovely people :) In the meantime keep recycling and being wonderfully creative!

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Upcycled fabric jewellery

Like a lot of people who work with fabric I have a lot of bits left over.  And being the woman that I am I obviously don’t throw them away.  Some find their way onto my ever growing ‘crazy patchwork’ bag – other stay sitting in a bag waiting to be turned into something.

Recently when I couldn’t sleep one morning I found a tutorial on making fabric beads – and started playing.  I’m not very good at following tutorials and started kind of making up my own fabric bead design.  The final result was this:

old dressing gown becomes upcycled necklace

old dressing gown becomes upcycled necklace

I’m not entirely satisfied with it – I think it might need a lot more work – however I have a lot of other beads that I’ve made some I’m going to try some different designs.  I also think that I should add some more beads to the top right hand side (where I’ve already started adding beads) as a focus.

In the meantime, here are some wonderfully exciting upcycled/ repurposed/ recycled fabric jewellery pieces that really inspire me to be more creative.

Fabric bracelet by Little Miss Crafty

Fabric bracelet by Little Miss Crafty

This little bracelet seems so simple yet so cute and fluffy. I love the colours (although they’re not the type I’d wear) and it just is SO yummy.  Makes me want to go out and make my own cute little fluffy bracelet.

Read more of Little Miss Crafty’s adventures here:

http://www.littlemisscrafty.blogspot.com/

Hand Made jewellery by Medusa - http://www.labottegadimedusa.com/

Hand Made jewellery by Medusa - http://www.labottegadimedusa.com/

I’m in love with this wonderful piece.  It has its roots in vintage style and is a real focus piece.

Absinthe and Orange

Absinthe and Orange

Absinthe and Orange creates such beauty out of repurposed material and clothing.  Again, like a lot of things I love, the colours aren’t something I ever really wear, however to own a piece like this and have an excuse to build an outfit around them would be something too good to miss! With fabric jewellery like this you KNOW that everyone will keep looking at it and noticing new things that make up this beautiful design.

Sonya's Boutique

Sonya's Boutique

Sonya’s fabric necklaces are real focus pieces that combine strong colour palettes and inspired designs.  Check out her etsy store – I cannot believe how cheaply she sells her work! Honestly – it’s worth more than this! Once I can get properly onto Etsy (it’s playing up for me at the moment) I’m going to purchase one of her pieces before prices sky rocket!

Finally I’m in love with the unusual work of Beehive Girl

I love her combinations of bones and lace – and I love the way in which her pieces aren’t just ‘focus’ pieces – they make you sit up and stare! You can’t stop looking and if you’re me – you can’t stop wanting!

Really – how can you NOT be inspired by these wonderful women’s designs?

Here are some tutorials – often showing you the steps for building up your designs:

How to make a necklace from fabric scraps

What to do with all those scraps

Ruffle necklace

Fabric Flower Necklace

These are just very basic instructions – I figure you can adapt each tutorial to add more and more to make a wonderful statement piece.

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Billy Bargains week 1

Well my first week has gone well – no new purchases and some right old billy bargains.

The thing is, I’m NOT a fashionable person, I never have been.  I’ve never been obsessed with fashion apart from fashion photography (I pour over magazines like Vogue etc. – I never buy them – just in the doctors surgery! ha ha)  I find fashion to be an art that I cannot be part of – I have an awkward body (small boobs, bloaty belly, big hips and thighs) and I’m not pretty in the slightest – however – I love looking at well thought out fashion.  I’m fascinated by people who rock an individual look and can carry off crazy styles – and as I get older – and less bothered about what people think of me – I’m more confident in wearing what I want to wear.  So I’ve started taking risks with my clothes and hopefully as time goes on I’ll get more confident.

So … here are my finds from mooching around Lewisham Charity Shops this week on my lunch breaks … firstly my books:

billybargain1 (15 of 15) billybargain1 (14 of 15)

The first four were from the Red Cross shop – they sell 2 for 1 – and these books just jumped out at me.  I love horror – and I am fascinated about the history of horror – I even taught the history of horror at school to Post-16 – so the books on horror and vampires were perfect for me.  The other two were more political/ cultural books – I’m always up for reading books that critiscise the Right in the USA – and I really liked No Logo – so again – they jumped out at me.

The other two I’d looked at a couple of times in the Cancer Research shop – I’m interested in China – so that was an obvious one.  The Savage Garden just looked intriguing.

Enough of books – let’s look at clothes :) ha ha:

Birdies from French Connection

Birdies from French Connection

I fell in love with the design on this.  Not only is it red and black (my favourite combination) but the pattern went all the way round :)  So I picked this up for £3.50.  Not bad I thought especially as it’s French Connection:

Price

Price

However I’m not going to keep it like this.  I really don’t like wearing the standard ‘t-shirt’ style.  Usually my band tees etc. get hacked up.  However I don’t want to ‘hack’ this one, so I’m going to try and turn it into a halter top somehow.  I’ll post photos when I’m done.

Frumpy Cardi from M&S

Frumpy Cardi from M&S

This cardi may look a tad frumpy, it IS afterall an M&S one ;)  I LOVE this and have been wearing it to death.  It’s so toasty, soft and gorgeous.  Looks lovely with a short dress and is so cute.  I think it cost me £4.50 from British Red Cross.

Greenwich Market bags

Greenwich Market bags

I’ve been after some red handbags for a while and I found these last week on Greenwich Market – they were 2 for £5 – and both were used.  The one of the right is ridiculously large, with so many pockets for me to fill.  So it’s definitely a day wear bag for holding all my daily crap.  The one on the left is just so lovely, but a pain to get into when it’s held over your shoulder :)

So that was my weeks shopping – can you see a theme? As you can possibly tell, I AM obsessed with black and red.  Both colours suit me because I have such pale skin, black hair and dark brown eyes.

Today, I went to Deptford, a vibrant part of South-East London just a short bus ride from my home.  I spend a lot of time there as I photograph at The Albany and love the vibe (man).  However, I do really love to go there to shop.  They have a market with too many uber bargains on it, however under my new rules I have to avoid that market (except for food and flowers).  So I go to the two charity shops (Sense and Salvation Army) as well as the second hand clothes shop – whose name has escaped me for now.  There’s also the infamous Deptford Junk Market.  It really is a ‘get in and dig’ market which puts a lot of people off.  There is only so much I can dig around there – but dig I did today:

Polstar the Pest top

Polstar the Pest top

I found this on the market.  There is a clothing stall there that is literally a jumble sale (but not Jumble Sale prices!) – and I’ve found a couple of really lovely skirts there before.  This I HAD to have (of course) – it’s made by George (a clothing line from Asda – the UK’s Walmart) which isn’t too great but it’s second hand so I’m allowed it :)

As I walked into Sense, the first charity shop I come across, look what I found on the book stand as soon as I walked in:

MY SEARCH IS OVER!

MY SEARCH IS OVER!

YES! If you read my last post you’ll know that this was the book I’ve been after and there it was.  £1.20 – thank you very much :)  I really hope that it’s as good as her other one.  Anyway – my search is over, so now I need to set myself a new challenge! ha ha.

BOOTS!

BOOTS!

I’m becoming obsessed with boots lately – mainly because I’ve never really been able to afford decent boots, and then I realised that I could get them second-hand!  These ones were … wait for it … £4!!!! FOUR POUNDS!  They’ve hardly been worn and they’re from Wallis, so they’re at least a decent make.

Side view

Side view

They’re pretty high for me – I don’t do stilettos really – however I thought I’d give these a go. The funny thing was that a girl was trying on another pair of boots in the shop and she kept looking over at me.  Later on, I saw her in the Salvation Army shop and she came up to me asking if I’d bought the boots and did they fit me!  I thought she was going to wrestle me to the ground for them – but she didn’t.  Thankfully.  I don’t like to get in fights – especially about boots ;)  She then consoled herself with buying jeans made of about 6 different versions of denim – I wasn’t going to take them off her!

So that was Sense – I went on to the Salvation Army shop after that.  I’d never been in there before (although I’m a regular at the one in Catford) and it was definitely worth it.  Everything is SO godamned cheap it’s really quite worrying:

Jaeger Loveliness

Jaeger Loveliness

So this was my ‘high risk’ item – a Jaeger jumper.  It’s not really the kind of style I wear however, I thought I’d give it a go this winter and see if I can pull it off.  If not, I’m sure I can give it back to a charity shop.  It cost me ALL of £2.49 – so really not an expensive risk!

Work clothes

I also bought myself a sweater for work – not very exciting but again – £2.49 -cheaper than Primark where I used to buy my work clothes! (although I do wonder if this is indeed a Primark top!)

And finally, my BEST bargain of the day, and it wasn’t for me, and I don’t have a photo of it because I forgot.  I managed to buy my (much thinner) friend what looked like an almost unworn Ted Baker skirt for £2.49.  Honestly, it was so gorgeous, with beautiful detail on the back and a lovely greeny/grey colour.  She loved it when I took it round – I must grab a photo of it when I next go round as it truly is a bargain and a half!

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