My Handmade Wedding Dresses!

Hi guys! I’ve been holding off on writing this post because I was waiting for our official photos to come through, and wow, they are fab! They’ve bought all of the wonderful memories of that day flooding back.

So I already went into detail about all the wonderful handcrafted elements of our wedding which everybody contributed to make the day really special in my last post.

Now I’m going to get onto the important stuff… The dresses!

The bridesmaids dresses

The beautiful print was designed by my talented bridesmaid Chloe. I sent her some inspiration and she created the perfect print to bring all the colours together. I love the digital floral which looks modern with a classic and simple silhouette.

The dresses were fit and flare style with cap sleeves and full pleated skirts. Modern and elegant but fun too.

I wanted a style that everyone would feel comfortable in and they all looked amazing!

The waistcoats

Matt chose the fabric for the waistcoats from the fancy silk store in Birmingham. I was looking at more traditional cream and gold jacquards but I love the colour he picked out! I pull everything together so well!

He helped cut out some of the waistcoats and mum and I made them up.

The trickiest but was creating the bound buttonholes and self covered buttons but I’m so glad the persevered as they were the perfect finishing touch!

The accessories

Tracy Corns, one of our tutors at Crafty and a good friend, made me this gorgeous clutch bag using the waistcoat fabric which I’ll put a pic in of later in this post.

Inspired by this, I made a little simple clutch for my mum too.

My Thursday registry office wedding dress

I made a vintage style dress for my registry office ceremony using a vintage pattern for the first time ever!

As I have heard horror stories about the fit of vintage patterns, I made a toile in calico in a similar weight to the brocade fabric I was using fro my finished dress and I was hugely surprised it actually fit pretty well with very few alterations.

We had had the brocade fabric in the Crafty Sew&So shop for some time and I’d grown more and more fond of it.

Then when I saw this Dolce &Gabbana fess in the Harrod’s window at Christmas I knew it was perfect!

It’s got sweet little flowers and a late 1950s feel which was perfect for this style and the occasion. Elegant, formal but fun and a bit glam!

I paired it with shoes and a gorgeous vintage style headband from Rainbow Club.

I got some pretty and simple jewellery from Accessorize and went for pretty pale gold and glitter nails.

I did my own hair- and taught myself how to backcomb!

My Saturday reception wedding dress

I decided not to make my own wedding dress for a few very good reasons …

I knew in the run up to the wedding I wanted to spend time with my long suffering fiancé. If I decided to make a traditional wedding dress with multiple layers and formal structure I’d be cooped up in my craft room for several months beforehand. So this thought played a big part in my decision not to make my wedding dress for the Saturday.

I’m so glad I made the right decision. Matt and I enjoyed planning the graphics for the wedding including the save the dates, invites, thankyou cards for the gifts for bridesmaids and mothers (more on those later) and gifts for the groomsmen. We enjoyed designing special touches that we wouldn’t have had time for if I had been squirrelling away on a complicated dress.

Another factor for my decision was that I also struggled to find good quality silk, and when I did from The Silk Route, it was at the pricey end of the scale, not overpriced as I feel it’s very good value for the quality but it would have really stretched our already tight budget. So when I came across a pre-loved pure silk dress in the Loros bridal boutique in Leicester I had to try it on- even if I just used the fabric it was a great buy! And it fit beautifully! So for £100- which of course went to a fantastically worthy cause- I got around 4 metres of silk and beautiful lace!

I actually decided not to make too many alterations.

The dress had a pleated skirt which what I’d wanted in the first place.

I wasn’t sure about lace but it was really pretty and just enough.

The dress also had a belt. I took off the fussy bow and lace appliqué leaving a beautiful silk-ribbon-adorned removable belt.

I’d seen a dress covered I embroidery which I loved but I knew it was just beyond my skill set! I was nervous about adding embroidery directly onto the dress as I’ve not have much experience, So I made a bow and ties from matching ivory raw silk. I embroidered one of the ties and mum embroidery the other, it was lovely to have us both contribute our time to this.

I backed the ties with corn yellow raw silk which matched the waistcoats and I sent a swatch of this to when I sent off my Rainbow Club shoes to be dyed to match.

Tracy, one of our shop tutors, made me a gorgeous bag using fabric from the waistcoats. I love the gold bag clasp!

I could drivel on and on about much more of the detail of our fantastic day but I think that’ll do for this post! If you want to hear even more about the wedding I’ve posted a vlog up on the Crafty YouTube Channel. So take a look 😊

Plastic Swap- Deodorant 2

Continuing my plastic swap series, I’m trying and reviewing non plastic alternatives for everyday items. I’ll pledge to try out the swap for a month and let you know how I get on and if I plan to keep the swap or drop the swap.

following on from my first Deodorant Swap I thought I’d try a few other alternatives

The first one I tried was a deodorant stick in a push up cardboard tube by Ben and Anna from Just Fair Trade. It was £10.

I like the packaging, the pushup tube is easy to use and not messy but I do have to press it down over the end of another narrower object to get it to push up towards the end as my fingers aren’t long enough!

It’s neat and portable so great for nights away, sports bag and holidays.

The main active ingredient is baking soda.

It also contains arrowroot powder which absorbs excess moisture and keeps the armpit dry.

It’s all bound together with coconut and sunflower oil and cornstarch.

This creates a solid stick which is a little tough to use when it’s cold. I tried wetting it with some warm water which helps it glide but makes it more messy.

I found it hard to put a thin layer on as suggested and as a result it did leave slightly crusty marks on my clothes.

Unlike Nudd, it is perfumed. I chose the Persian line and it’s lovely and fresh.

Swap or drop?

Swap – for travel – the packaging is very convenient- and on warm days! I like that it’s not messy and goes on fairly well when it’s warm. It’s pricey but smells move and has lasted fairly well- although I’m not using it regularly. I think if I used it everyday I’d get through it a bit too quickly for the price.

So the reason I’m not using it exclusively is I found another option… which I love!

Swap 3 is Aromaco solid deodorant from Lush at £5.50 for 100g.

I bought a long thin 120g piece. 2 months in and I’ve only used about half! It’s such good value and really works! It is a bit messy as there is no proper packaging but I tied some fabric around it to help me hold it and I keep it in a tin for storage.

It is brilliant, leaves no marks and glides on. And it works!

Swap or drop?

Definitely swap. It’s great value and works well. It’s fragrance free so I use it with my perfume.

Why I’ve been a bit quiet this first half of the year… (spoiler – it’s the one about the wedding!)

I’ve been planning, designing and creating my wedding!

On Thursday 21st June I got married to the gorgeous Mr.Matthew Laws! And became Mrs Sarah Laws!

We had a lovely simple registry office ceremony at the town hall followed by a meal at our favourite restaurant. It was a beautiful day, very relaxed, shared with family and a few close friends.

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We could have happily stopped at that but we really wanted to create a bigger celebration to share with as many of our combined friends and family as possible, so on the following Saturday, we enjoyed a big party with 100 of our nearest and dearest!

Everyone says how much time and effort it takes to plan a wedding and they’re not wrong- especially if, like me, you’re determined to DIY as much of it as possible! For me creating a DIY wedding wasn’t so much about saving money, although that was a welcome bonus, it was about creating a truly unique day for me and my husband and all our family and friends and enjoying sharing the creativity in the run-up to the big day!

We decided on a large village hall in a picturesque village in Leicestershire as the venue. The hall was a new build, big and with lots of space outside too. Although it was a bit bland, I wouldn’t go as far as to say it was unattractive and it had bags of potential for decorating and prettying up!

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With the canvas set, we were ready to get creative!

I always knew I wanted to add lots of personal touches to our special day so I started by doing lots of research and gathering it all together in a mood board. It’s a technique I picked up from working in design and it really helped to work out all the details.

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I also set up an Instagram feed to gather images. I set this as a private feed so I could share the progress of my dress and other things that I wanted to keep as a surprise from my other half and any friends or family who wanted to wait for the big day. It’s really nice to have it to look back on and see how it all came together.

Gathering all the images together made defining a colour palette a lot easier.

I also wanted to work with what we had already so we included the red of the curtains to save from paying out to cover them up and I knew Matt wanted a navy blue suit so blue became a feature of the colour palette. I love the sunshine so yellow had to be in there too!

We hired a company to hang drapes and festoon lights to add welcome cosines to the cavernous hall and we added bunting, made by my mum and new mother-in-law, to bring all the colours together.

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We supersized the bunting in the main hall for dramatic effect and made small flags for the entrance hall.

The gorgeous schedule board was illustrated by Paul from Bread & Honey

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Matt is a graphic designer so he was in charge of the save the dates and invites and thank you cards for the gifts.

He also designed gorgeous gifts for the groomsmen- engraved tankards

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And presentation cards for the bridesmaid’s gifts, which were necklaces I made using a combo of a chain, findings and charms from a fab Etsy shop. Plus a little enamel paint!

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The mums got simple but effective bracelets with bee charms on.

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The bee theme was continued in the table runners which were in bee print and honeycomb print cotton with cotton lace trim.

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I knew I wanted sunflowers in my bouquet and we had lovely daisies growing in our garden so that was a start. Me and mum went to the Flower wholesalers and I have to say I found it more than a little overwhelming! But we came away with a few bunches of pompon chrysanthemums, gypsophila, a few sunflowers and lots of ideas! We put together a few small arrangements and were able to settle on a design for a simple buttonhole.

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We then went to see the wholesalers again to place the order for our flowers. I added Viking Santini to the mix which are a bit like mini sunflowers. As well as cut flowers, I also ordered my wedding bouquet to be assembled by them.

On the Friday we picked up the flowers and I was surprised by the colour of the sunflowers! They were orange! Apparently, this is because they were English rather than European. The pompom-mums were also a bit paler than I expected. I’ve tried hard not to get hung up on specific colours through-out the wedding planning but with emotions running high I felt something just wasn’t gelling. I totally understand why so many people leave it to the professionals! I took a deep breath and looked at all the shades of yellow-orange together and I decided to add some mid yellow germinis, which helped to blend everything together perfectly.

Mum had also raided a local field to gather ox-eye daisies and some greenery.

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At the hall, we trimmed and spilt the flowers and assembled around 30 jam jars and 15 vases- which the family had been gathering from antique markets and charity shops for us!

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Victoria, my new sister-in-law, cross-stitched this gorgeous ring presenter and Emma added the text in fine thread embroidery.

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Outside, we had straw bales and outdoor games including giant Jenga and hook-a-duck which my sister compiled!

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After a windy disaster with the gazebos- I won’t reflect on that too much- we were very lucky with the weather for the rest of the day and we were able to really make the most of the gorgeous grounds. The boys even enjoyed a game of footy and a spot of tree climbing!

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We really enjoyed encouraging everyone we know to contribute creatively too.

Dad made the cake and I iced it. It was 2 layers of rich chocolate sponge which I knew was delicious because he’d made a practice one for me to practice icing a few weeks before!

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The little figurines were made at my Crafty hen do in the shop along with crepe paper streamers, the table runners and a few other finishing touches.

As well as the main cake, I asked some of my brilliantly talented baking friends to make some deserts.

Emily made a gorgeous chocolate orange cheese cake, lois made a luscious lemon tart and Victoria crates a brownie and blonde mountain. Not wanting anyone to be left out, my dad made dairy and gluten-free lemon cupcakes which went down very well with everyone!

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The main wedding breakfast was provided by Las Tapitas. We started with a selection of substantial canapés- pintxos- little skewers of meat, cheese and other delicious tastes- and tapitas- little tasters of wonderful Spanish cuisine!

 

These were followed by 3 paella’s- seafood, chicken and chorizo and vegetarian with delicious beans. I think the vegetarian was actually my favourite!

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We rounded off the night with cheese- of course as me and Matt are a bit obsessed! Matt ordered this from Leicester market and it was fantastic! The section included my favourite- Blacksticks Blue, amongst others!

We had our first dance to Electic Dreams.

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We were blessed with the most outstanding sunset in the evening too!

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It was a truly wonderful and magical day with lots of happy memories created. Most of all I will remember how everyone came together to make it happen in their own personal ways.

Find out more about my dress in my Vlog over on the Crafty Sew&So channel and stay tuned for the next blog post all about the other outfits!

Plastic swap-Toothpaste

Hi! After a brief hiatus due to lack of money – darn it, this experiment is expensive (but what’s the cost of saving the planet hey!) – I’m back continuing my plastic swap series with another plastic-free review. I’m trying and reviewing non-plastic alternatives for everyday items. I’ll pledge to try out the swap for a month and let you know how I get on and if I plan to keep the swap or drop the swap.

Swap – toothpaste in a glass jar

Why swap?

The Squeezy tube stuff I usually use is not recyclable at all and I’m not really sure what’s in toothpaste. What am I actually putting in my mouth twice a day?

Most commercial toothpastes contain artificial sweeteners, parabens, fluoride, whiteners, to name a few of the nasties.

And we’re putting them in our mouths! Hmmm.

Swap options:

So, you can make your own using this cool tutorial

but who actually has time for that!

I went on the search in my 2 favourite shops.

The Just store don’t have any in yet, but owner Kerry has been trying a charcoal version. Not sure if I fancy black toothpaste!

Nada, the new zero waste store in St.Martins Square sells Georganics toothpaste made out of Coconut oil and some other stuff I am assured is good, safe and organic! It comes in a cardboard box with some info about usage on it, then inside there is a recyclable glad jar with a metal lid. It was £6.50 for 60 mls.

My usual Colgate squeezy plastic tube is £1.20 for 100mls- but I probably only use 80mls though as the container makes it hard to get the last bits out.

The pot comes with a little bamboo spatula to ensure very last bit gets used.

My swap:

So… I’ve just tried the plastic and chemical-free toothpaste.

It’s weird!

It doesn’t foam and tastes kinda minty but, like, not good minty… like going to the dentists minty. But it’s not super sweet though like the standard tube toothpaste which is actually quite refreshing. Maybe I could get used to it … hmm 🤔

5 days on and I’m getting used to the non foaming. My teeth feel clean too, and I hardly had to use any.

A week in and I’m sticking with this one but I’m still not 100%. It has a weird, almost fishy taste which might come from the baking soda in the ingredients. I’m finding the lack of taste a bit off putting too although I used the tube stuff the other day as I was away from home and it tasted so super sweet and kind of stung my mouth.

3 week’s in, I still have 1/2 a pot left. I’ve used it every day and night apart from a few days where I needed a bit more freshness.

I choose the spearmint flavour and I am wondering if the other flavours might be a bit more punchy.

Swap or drop?

Nope, not convinced on this one. I want to find an alternative to the tube toothpaste but not this. I like the dispenser, it’s clean and easy to use. But the actual toothpaste is just not sitting well with me.

OMG The Dressmakers Ball is BACK!

… and I already know exactly what I want to make for it!

When Freya and I planned the first ball, we did it purely as a one-off event and a chance to make awesome dresses and swish about in a ballroom in them!

The Ball was a great success, but unfortunately, Freya couldn’t be there to enjoy it… as she was in labour with her daughter Mia!

So we HAD to hold another one!

The second Dressmakes Ball will be held at the City Rooms, Leicester on Friday 22nd March 2019

Tickets went on sale on Monday 3rd Septemeber at 7.30am! And have sold like hot cakes!

There are only 20 left now so if you want one grab it quick!

I’ll keep you posted on my dress plans and progress!

Happy Sewing!