Sunday, 25 November 2012

A Love of Vintage


Good Evening All,

I've been spending a non-productive day actually doing something very productive, scouring the web looking at all the dress-making blogs that I can get my hands on. I'm sure that many of you out there have heard of Gertie's New Blog For Better Sewing and are aware of her excellence in knowledge and ability of dressmaking. Her tutorials are brilliant for anyone who wants to have a go at making something fabulous, as well as her discussions on variously interesting fashion matters. One in particular featured the debate about high-street purchases in such forms of mass-production.
Although I do like the quirky style of H&M (UK) fashion, I have to agree with the fact everything is becoming so bland, same-ish and only-five-minute-wonders. The problem with they way everything has been mass-produced for customers is just simply wrong - we keep on complaining that we have to be individual and unique, but how can we when we're buying the same clothes as everyone else? What happened to one-off pieces designed to fit us perfectly? It makes me sad and angry that there is a huge percentage of people in the world that have lost touch with the art of craft. Despite several ttempts of revival,  sewing skills are still dying - WE NEED TO BRING THEM BACK!

 Which brings me onto the subject of VINTAGE...

Mad Men leading ladies
... It's been brought to my attention that TV Series 'Mad Men' became a hit phenomenon within the fashion world a couple of years ago, of which I ashamedly failed to comply with at the time. But I have to agree with the concept of many bloggers' aspirations for the intended decade promoted. Curves, femininity and luxury hug the seams of each garment and idol that swooned them. As a particular fan of Christina Hendricks' figure it helps to convey the fact that Women are MEANT to look fabulously sexy like this, and poses the question as to 'What the hell happened?!' to our 'too-modern-change'.
Arguably, we use the term Vintage for past fashion that I consider is described as, ' it was good in the old days, we've moved on and now we just admire them'. Shouldn't it just be considered fashion? Let me put it in another perspective: in thirty years time, would we consider Ugg boots and 'chavvy' leggins a Vintage staple? I think not. Unavoidably we have found good purpose to create such beautiful garments that I personally don't think they should be cast under such a slogan (even though it does have an alluring ring to it). It should be the case that the fashion industry actaually grows a pair of Vintage earrings, Feminizes up, and properly changes for the better. We DO have a need - a need to bring fashion the wake-up call it finally deserves.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Look at me?

It's getting darker early again! Or is it just because I'm incredibly late out of the photography studio at college? Either way it looks mysteriously interesting outside tonight.

It's been a busy few weeks. I've been contemplating the sensibility of Journalism and Media in today's society after having visited University open days, and I've come to conclusion that it's not my thing. Hang on, I know what you're thinking - "but you've got a blog!" you may chirp. Yes, but am I interfering with the outer universe? Do I actively encourage disastrous deceit and criticism? Would I refuse to understand the positive elements of a certain subject and not give constructive feedback about something other people may be passionate about? No. I'm a dressmaker. A craftier. The one with artistic capabilities. And I set off as I mean to go on, as I've been slogging away this evening on some photography shoots for my personal project, coincidentally focused on the subject of fashion. The two following images are the most successful ones that I took:

Inspired by Vivienne Westwood

Inspired by Peter Ashworth

Both - in fact all - shots were self-portrait inflicted. As selfish as it may seem, I found it better to encourage myself to do this not only to get back at the typical trash you see on facebook everyday, but also to encourage better self esteem for myself. Without blowing my own trumpet, I think that they turned out pretty well, too! I'm bigger than the average stereotypical model on the catwalk so it was interesting - and exciting - to try and make the fabric hang over my curves. The garments in the two photo's were hand-made by myself, which each took one day to put together, and allowed me to portray my own interpretations of the artists I've looked at. It was incredibly tricky to feel comfortable posing despite having an empty room, but it came naturally towards the end. The rest of the photo's need further development as I still found it tricky setting the timer on the camera and running back to the studio set in time with the right poses.

What are your thoughts?

Monday, 29 October 2012

Delicate Wings A-Fluttering
As it's half term, and I know I should be doing coursework - but of course, like many, I'm not - I decided to dance my fingertips over some new material and magical meanings. My auntie Sue (bless her cotton socks!) bought me two books. Not just any books though. Good Faeries....Bad Faeries by Brian Froud, and How To See Faeries by Brian Froud and John Mattews.

 I'm. In. Heaven! The illustrations by Brian are just amazing - there's no word to describe the awesomeness that is presented before your eyes and I'm captivated by the imaginative reality of this realm. Of one that get's over-excited about simple things, this certainly caters for my inner madness.

Alongside this, I had been glancing at a multitude of Fae images when I came across Even though it's not a proper blog, and I'm not a huge fan of Tumblr, it did however draw me in to the amount of beauty and faery-like inspiration this individual is drawn to. Page 15 in particular caught my eye with this image:
It's just elegant and beautiful! I'd be so tempted to try and recreate this masterpiece, but because I'm overhauled with (unfinished) coursework and additional projects, this may have to put to the back of the cupboard for the time being. *sigh*
Still, not to worry. I shall venture forth and admire more pretties to come!!

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Happy Birthday to....


Yes, it is my birthday today - the good old age of 18.

I've been a beautiful long walk on the common with my parents and my youngest brother, which was lovely. There were plenty of muddy spots to get stuck in, but unfortunately, I failed to charge my camera battery, so there are no photo's to share with you of that.
However, having visited the Ballgown Exhibition at the London Victoria & Albert Museum last week I thought I'd share with you some images I found on Pinterest. Such elegant findings aren't they?

On another considering note, surprisingly, I haven't been - or don't plan to - get 'rat-arsed' with consumption of stupid amounts of alcohol. A shame to some, but I'm moving on from that phase - I mean, where's the fun now in buying it yourself when it was much more satisfying knowing you could get away with being able to purchase alcohol through older friends? Illegal, yes. But what we've got to ask ourselves is whether or not society is becoming one of those 'health-and-safety-obey-my-orders-or-I'll-fry-you-alive' kind of places. Oh, hang on... it is - or that's my interpretation anyhow.

Friday, 12 October 2012

5 for Silver

"I've stopped and pondered for a very long time - a very long time indeed.
Almost as if I'm meant to wait for an interestingly strangeful deed.
And with that thought I rise and look to skies beyond the stars
Where all the faeries go to play with the magpies and cookie jars."

Time to think through thoughty thoughts. FIVE is a significant number to me. There are FIVE people in my house. There are FIVE very close friends that I have. There are FIVE trends that I adore and would love to clash them all together to create my own. To top it all off, I saw FIVE magpies today on my way home from College. 5 for Silver. I just hope that my superstitious mind brings a lot of luck my way! But you know what? I've had another realisation: all my friends are on the same wavelength as me - I was just too selfish to realise it; and if you're reading this, I'm sorry. Creative minds full of dark magic  and wondrous things are within us all. It's so good to feel like I've been slapped round the face and woken up (metaphorically speaking, of course).

I've finally agreed to choose FIVE universities to visit over the next year or so. My time has come to take a long quest towards Universities and distant cities. Today, I'm heading off to Plymouth, where I hope to enjoy the beauty of it and its 'College of Art' open day tomorrow.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Pretty Posessions....

For those that think I'm 'bunking' college today, I'm not - I have the worst fever ever, alongside coughs, a painfully sore throat and a snotty nose. Yes, I'm in a beautiful way - but I'm not ill enough to not want to do a bit of 'internet browsing', shall we say.

Alice Bag, in Royal Harat Carpet,
image courtesy of

I have had a love of bags of all shapes, sizes, colours and styles for many years. So many in fact that I've lost count of how many I have bought, made or drooled at. Today thanks to Glamour magazine,(that's UK Glamour, people!), I have come across an amazing awe of Carpet Bags. The company following the link has produced these bags made from amazingly patterned carpet fabric since 1974, where they continue to produce high-quality and an amazing array of styles. This is, however, not for the faint hearted, as the bold patterns cry out to those who have a style edge and are looking to be the unique individual. This is in fact the voice of me.

But it doesn't stop there. Not only does it have amazing texture, they have names, of which one in particular stands out to me: Alice. Although going by AliMcfadian on my blog and other areas within my creative life, I do have a secret awe about things that have my original name on them. This is one of them, and I'm sure you can guess the others! At £38, I think this will be an investment of the year, and besides, it'll have MY name on it. *inserting ridiculously smiley face here*

Friday, 28 September 2012


Oh yes, I have indeed been having fun - well, last Sunday to be precise, as it took me the whole day to accomplish a project I've been longing to do. I. Have. Found. Time. To. Do. What. I. LOVE.

 Do you remember me rambling on about that Burdastyle Bag that I wanted to have a go at making? Well, I've done it. I stuck to the original pattern as I wasn't too sure how the Burdastyle patterns would turn out, but I must say that I'm rather impressed and pleased with myself!
I came across this fabric at work - it's a silk blend fabric used primarily for soft furnishings, so I thought it

 would be ideal for its purpose. it did fray quite a bit, which annoyed my Dad more than me because it kept sticking to our table.
You might not have realised this yet but I LOVE toadstools. I'm trapped in this faerie escapade which I adorn and hold to my name like a chameleon does to his flies (the bug type, of course. Strange way of thinking, I know!). So, without further or do, my motif is the hand embroidered toadstool. Yes, you read that correctly, hand embroidered. It's such a beautiful way of adding colour and texture to a piece without being overwhelming and overly complicated, because anyone can do it at whatever level. The stitching did become a little loose here and there, but I feel that it adds to the quirky character of the piece. The final amazing element is the Elephant-print lining. My jaw dropped when I saw this come into work. It's a 100% cotton fibre, and it came in the Dark Blue (pictured) and Red, with me choosing the blue to not overpower the concept of colours used in the rest of the bag.

I'm in love with it and really hope that I end up making more Burdastyle products soon!!

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Enough of all this shinanigans!

Let's put the previous posts behind us. *shoves them back a long way* There we go! And welcome to a happier me *smile stretches across face*. Hang on - stars? What's all this about? Oh yeah, I'm happier again! And feeling my eccentric self fitting back into place nicely. And you know what? It feels sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo GOOD.

I continue as I mean to go, and find myself finally getting some photo shots of the many beauties I'm making. Knitting has been more successful than my heartwarming love for sewing and dressmaking - my second year at A Levels is once again taking priority. Oh, and I found the artists for the 'Ball- Gown's For All' post: Brian and Wendy Froud. They. Are. Amazing.
Still, I have for you pictures, yes, wondrous pictures of the things I've made! I'm still learning and always looking to improve, but I'm pleased with the originality of the outcomes. Take a look and see what you think:

 This first garment that I made was for our 2011 School Prom. Although having designed a complicated and amazing piece, I ended up keeping it relatively simple due to time and deadlines. I'm actually impressed how the back turned out in the end, as the gathered fabric was incredibly tricky to work with. I also had to take it in which did wonders for my self-esteem on the night. The pattern I used was 3878, of which I adapted the shape of the corset-style top to create this weird shape.
                                     The materials were courtesy of
 This Purple Jumper was my first ever knitting project! Woop! - YES, I am excited because I made something with yarn. Successfully. I used a Patons DK yarn in the muchly obvious purple shade, (sorry, I can't remember dye-lot and shade numbers!), and voilla! The garter-stitched hem, cuffs and neckline was meant to be in a rib stitch, but at the time I was struggling to understand how to do it! it's comfortable, has a hole in the back which I deliberately didn't take a picture of to show you, and I love it to pieces.

 I then fell in love with a Rowan Kidsilk Haze pattern, which you can see opposite. I've got to admit it might be tricky to see against the body form due to the irony of the colour choice, but it turned out better than anticipated. the trim along the top neckline was knitted, not crocheted which was actually quite unusual. It forms a lace- like pattern, and gives it a more 'sophistiated' style against the simplicity of its shape. I'm not to keen on the straps though, as they look like they could cut in (no, I haven't worn it yet) but this could be due to my tight stitching's, which I'm aware that I need to do looser.
 I did this skirt a LONG while ago - 3 years ago, to be more precise! I'm always inspired by the DIY take on fashion as well as the beauty of couture pieces, but before that came about, Generation-T was my love. This was taken from the first book published, project 'you can pleat me'. Using some old and boring t-shirts, I got snipping away and ended up with this. I have now found a better use for jersey fabrics!

 Another Rowan pattern, but using Freedom Spirit Chunky yarn instead. I started this last September, and finished it in March of this year. Yes, I'm slow, but it's so worth the wait. It's quite heavy and a little bit itchy due to the weight and texture of the yarn. The colour was mainly the purpose of which I bought it, as it reminds me of beautiful Autumn leaves when looked at closely. I'm not too keen on the neckline on this one, but it's certainly going to keep me warm this winter!

 My most recent projects are my beloved hat and scarf. I used some amazing Aran yarn that my beloved Grandma left me after she passed away. (I'm still crying about it deep inside :'[ ). The scarf consists of a four-row pattern being repeated over and over to get the desired length, and the leaf-tassel's were an intriguing find of which I found in 'knitting on the edge'. Now, THIS keeps you warm - you don't even need a snood! The hat is also gorgeous and I've finally mastered doing rib, HOORAY!

So, that's what I've been up to so far. But you see, This is my life and what I've always wanted to do. MAKE AMAZING THINGS. I'm currently working on three other projects that I hope to share with you as soon as I've finished them....

Alimcfadian x

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Distance and Drifting Sledges

Neglection is never something I like to feel, nor would I want to create that feeling for someone else. It's horrible, let's face it, and I've been distant from my blog to try and calm a parranoia I've been fearing. However, it doesn't seem to have done much, and I'm scared of something that could potentially happen. It's a fear I've never felt before, of which I just want to go away and leave me forever to get on with things. It's like a deamon clouding me in an abyss of darkness and no hope seems to be shining through at the moment. I feel empty and alone. I wish I could talk to somebody but I'm scared of everyone and everything. It's terrifying...

Aside from that, I've been to France for a few weeks. Here are few photo's from my supposedly 'peace-dwelling' holiday, which you can see more of on my facebook page.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Feeling Down

I'm tired, and lacking in the existence to write on my blog. It's shocking, I know. But with all the work I'm getting from my A2 lessons, it's like I've been zombiefied! I shouldn't complain as I do love doing what I's just a lot of hard work. And too much covered in the space of two years. There. I've had my small rant.
Now, where was I? Oh yes. I'm feeling a bit down in the dumps. The weather's miserable, my knee hurts, and I could do with making something. Not that I have any energy or motivation to do, so I'm a bit stuck, really. I have, however, come across this, which made me feel a bit better...

Lovely, isn't it? So this is what my message is for today. Just be happy with what you have, because no matter who you are, what you've done or where you've been, you deserve to feel good. That's what people these days seem to not appreciate any more, which upsets me *rolls eyes, re-reads message, then smiles again*.
So, as I continue to do some coursework, I shall leave you with one other thing:
because cake is just amazing.
Have a good day! xxx

Friday, 29 June 2012

First Train Home

I've been captivated lately by the sounds of Imogen Heap. I'm in love with this track, First Train Home, which has a beautifully soft vibe about it. I urge you to take a listen to her other tracks too - they're so beautiful!

Monday, 25 June 2012

Ballgowns For All

Since I've begun to gather ideas for my A2 textiles project, I thought I'd share with you a few beauties that I've come across. Don't ask me where I found them, because I rudely can't remember - if anyone does, please let me know!
I'm thinking a Celtic, Faerie, Folklore mystery of a piece. Now, the decision I need to make: Jacket or Dress?!

Cast your votes.....

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Dying Just a Little

Wow. I've actually been quite slow posting on my spiffingingly new developments. It's harder finding the time now that I'm studying - or should I rather say sleeping - since I've been back at Sixth Form. It's tough, I'm not going to lie.
Anyhow, I've been scouring the 'net, and came across these amazing beauties:

Dip-dyed ballet flats. I know. Both of our jaws have dropped in awe. I mean, who wouldn't covert these? PLUS you can make them yourself. Well, not LITERALLY manufacture a shoe, but decorate them to suit your own amazing and fanatical personality. I'm in love with tie dye, or dying stuff in any format for that matter. This would definitely make a wondrous piece to my wardrobe; as it would with anyone else's. And what's more, you can choose your own colours, create your own patterns, or even go all-out-crazy and take this idea a step further and attack your boring jewellery (fabric of course), canvas pumps or jeans!


Monday, 18 June 2012

Gothic Tales and Other Oddities

It's occurred. I have now gone back to college after a brief study-leave and linger in an unpleasant mood. However, much to my delight, this mood has been lifted due to an unexpected turn of events. I dread English Literature, usually. But today, I have found out that I shall be studying Gothic Novels for my A2 work. I'm not brilliant at it, nor do I have a profound knowledge of texts or the theme; but I do have the up most desire for the theme's beauty and presence it holds in society. First novel? Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. This, shall indeed, be a wondrous read.

On another note, I have learnt that it's Etsy's Birthday!! Many happy returns, I must say! I'm particularly in love with this Celtic ring I found on their site, which I'm very convinced to purchase....once I have some more money (after buying loads more fabric!)...
Celtic ring from celticknotjeweler, found on Etsy

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Floral Fanatic

Afternoon All!!
I've finally finished a summer dress I've been making! It's only taken me two days (in theory) to do, but has actually taken two weeks to get round to finishing it. I've been busy do other crazy and mad stuff. Not that it should be an excuse for anything, but it is. So, without further or do, here it is:

Excuse my naf appearance (I've previously mentioned my desire to lose a bit of weight, and I'm growing out nmy hair).
Aside from that, I hope you can see the end outcome. I'm really pleased with it, as I've drawn up and drafted the pattern from scratch. Well, I say from scratch, really I mean to say I deconstructed an old vest top as I liked the structure of the neckline and back panel. I used a Poly/Cotton floral fabric and a Pure Cotton lining - which I purchased on my discount at work ;) - so it's ideal for the summer weather (what summer weather, may you ask?!). I actually had to unpick all the skirt and insert two darts into the front bodice as I wasn't happy with the original shape. It looks better, now though. It could do with a press but it feels SO comfortable! What are your thoughts on it?
I've recently purchased the Burdastyle handbook, of which I am incredibly keen to get out and remotivate myself to make make make again. The bag looks incredibly enticing....

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Let's Get Inked...

After a week of refreshing myself and a wonderful get-away to Wychwood Music Festival, I am now in the right frame of mind to continue in my quest of life.
I've had a strange calling towards getting inked lately, of which the intricate details of Celtic knots and patterns are drawing me in. It's funny, because if you had mentioned this to me a couple of years ago, I would have said that I can't understand why on earth people would want to have permanent drawings on themselves. But after going through an incredibly dark and diminishing period on my life, I want something to renew myself. Give myself my freedom and lost serenity back. I'm particularly taken in by The Tree Of Life as it has a world-wide symbolic reference in beliefs.
This is one of three images I've been considering getting. I love the knot-work and formality of it all. The circular structure also promotes a sense of eternal life, thus providing the fulfilling belief of life after death. I feel like I've died. This, therefore, can hopefully give me a sense of 'rebirth' in the hope to revive my inner form.
The second is also quite similar, but holds a sense of togetherness and symmetry.
The final choice portrays a sensual appeal in fluidity. I love how it creates a prolonged presence and breaks up the circular form with the swirling lines. I might combine some of them to create my own look.What do you think?
 But I have another four months or so until I will venture out and renew myself (I'm only 17, so would like to enter my adulthood with a new vibe about myself). In the mean time, I shall continue designing, making and re-finding what I've lost. I'm also on a quest to lose weight, as I've been so unhappy with it for the past year due to stress. I know, I know. You don't want yet another mug moaning about it; but for those who understand it, it is something that I've been struggling with for ages. I hope to regain my faerie-minded well being...

Friday, 1 June 2012

Glistening Gems...

Hello to all!!

I've been busy beavering away at my scrap-fabric tutu for wychwood, which I can assure looks incredibly spiffing at the moment! I shall indeed share a delightful photo of it once it's all complete (and when my camera has charged properly).

Aside from my creative affairs, I've been glancing at what sort of accessories I could purchase in order to add to my created 'look'. And I couldn't believe it when I came across these:

Excuse the terrible cropped shot. But I just had to share them with you. The Beautiful detail looks so elegant and faerie like that could caress any dainty feet, (shame mine are a little on the 'hobbit' side), whilst would be ideal to slip on at a music festival or evening event.
Where are they from? you ask. Well, I can confirm that this amazing find is from Next. I know. You weren't necessarily expecting that, were you? Or perhaps you were. Anyhow, this is definitely a purchase I'm considering to make, as the colour scheme and jewel-like appearance would grace well with my flamboyancy and mindset.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Faerie Delights

Good afternoon to thee!
I have been scouring the 'net for wonderous ideas for some gear to make and wear to my first music festival of this year. I'm a bit bored with blending into the background, cavorting around in my music-t-shirts and shorts - not that it's hard for me to blend in, due to my magnificent size - so I'm hoping to liven myself up for the delights ahead.

I'm firstly hitting Wychwood, my first love of music and where I found my roots and beginnings to my eccentricity. It's fantastic! 1. because I don't see anyone I know, which means 2. I can look what I like and not give two hoots what anyone thinks; and 3. I get to enjoy time with my family (that's my parents, brothers and auntie).
There are some absolutely brilliant acts on this year, from the likes of: Bellowhead, The Damned, Fay Hield & The Hurricane Party, Hawkwind, Urusen, Sean Lakeman & Kathryn Roberts, and my personal favourite, Dhol Foundation!

But anyways, I shall continue on with my quest for clothing. My good friend Pinterest came into the limelight to help me here, as I found an absolutely spiffing dress that feeds my needs. The following photo's are from several artists that call to me. I absolutely adore the quaint appearance of them, which I can assure you will bode well with my latest edition of some faerie wings - trainee, of course.

scrap fabric dress

embellished dress

faerie satchel

Another aspect I found incredibly intriguing was blogger 'musicianatheart', who, inevitably enlightened my sparking eyes to a quick project that I could achieve with all the left over scraps of materials in my cupboard. Thank you!! I shall start tinkering straight away....