A riot of colour

Today’s blog is about my new favourite place. No, it’s not a boutique selling aggressively reduced Acne and Stella McCartney (although if anyone knows one of those please do let me know). It is a very unassuming fabric store right on my doorstep in South London. If you are coveting all the dramatic prints that have been filling stores this summer, but don’t want to find yourself along with several others in a matching dress, then this store may be just the ticket. Stocking a huge range of gorgeously patterned 100% cotton waxed fabrics, this is a treasure trove of bold daring prints. The pictures speak for themselves. Fabrics are sold in set lengths, but if you don’t want the whole 6 yards there is a selection of 2 yard off-cuts that sell for £5. Yes, that’s £5! This is like manna to a serious bargain hunter such as myself.

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I have bought 3 different short lengths over the last few months and always pop by for a quick peek or to see if one of my favourite fabrics has made it to the off-cuts rail. With my first 2 yards I made unique cushion covers as presents for my friends’ weddings. This is enough fabric for two 20x20in cushions and then some. Both couples were supremely happy with their gifts (or so I am led to believe). Another length I am hoping to make into a summer dress or top, or even perhaps a pair of harem trousers if I’m feeling brave. The final length has yet to be assigned a plan.

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A home-made cushion cover I gave as a wedding gift

The fabric is very durable and so perfect for both interiors and hard-wearing clothing. The tradition of using batiq to create these wax print designs goes back over 150 years. Produced originally by the Dutch and sold to West African traders, these fabrics soon became synonymous with African culture, and prints were given unique names by the traders based on characteristics in the design.

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A selection of the amazing fabrics available at Sovereign Textiles in Tooting

If you don’t have a fashion degree, or aren’t adept with a sewing machine, then take the fabric to your local tailor and get yourself an original custom-made garment. I highly recommend Andy Piccos of Stitchin Biz (find his blog at http://andypiccos.com ) who I have worked with for years and is a wiz with a pair of scissors and a measuring tape. Otherwise try your local dry-cleaners, who often have competent and reasonably priced tailors on hand. Or be daring and turn your nimble fingers to a needle and thread. At only £5 you can afford to make a couple of mistakes and you never know… you may unleash the next Alexander McQueen.

Sovereign Textiles, 113 Mitcham Road, Tooting Broadway, London, SW17 9PE. T: 020 8682 1444. www.sovereigntextiles.co.uk
Opening hours 10-5:30pm but call in advance to check as they are quite flexible

For further information about the history of West African fabrics go to http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/design/2012/03/african_fabric_where_do_tribal_prints_really_come_from_.html

A little wedding inspiration

We all know that weddings can be quite a handful to organise. From choosing the location to finding the perfect dress, booking the band to creating the table plan (including the inevitable friendship fallout this can incur), weddings are a minefield of do’s and do not’s.

I recently attended the nuptials of a fabulous friend of mine Davina to her gorgeous fella Bash, and was blown away by the attention to detail and the creative and personal touches they brought to the event.  Held in a marquee in a field at Bash’s old primary school, the day was peppered with scholarly touches, with dinner-money envelopes being utilised as name cards and an old desk being used as the collection table for cards and gifts. Furthermore, Davina’s lovely mother had even hand-stitched printed tags of Davina and Bash’s names (the type your own mum used to sew into your itchy grey school jumper) onto yellow ribbon to tie around the serviettes.  These we proceeded to tie around our wrists festival-style and I actually didn’t remove it all week.

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Unique themed name cards, table names and serviette ties

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School desk for the card collection and wedding book (image by Zelda Cave)

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The marquee before the mayhem (image by Jess Haskins)

The overall colour scheme was yellow, with a highlight of blue, and an extra theme of cricket also ran through the decorations. Table names were printed onto mini cricket bats and as per the finest summer tradition, there was a reference to fetes that saw games on the lawn including a coconut shy, skittles and even a traditional ice-cream stand.

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The wedding date on the cricket score board (image by Zelda Cave)

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Guests enjoyed champagne on the lawn accompanied by a very happy accordion player

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The bridesmaids in yellow frocks with bright blue shoes (image by Zelda Cave)

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The gorgeous bride Davina enjoying her ice-cream (image by Hayley Young)

There were other wonderful touches.  Rather than one cake, Davina and Bash decided to opt for an array of flavours including passion-fruit, lemon drizzle, chocolate and Victoria sponge (if memory serves me correctly).  These were all presented under a rather cute hand-stitched sign, made by a friend of the couple.

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Cake anyone?  Gorgeous hand-stitched signs (image by Zelda Cave)

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Ornate cutlery (image by Poptart pics)

Of course a wedding blog wouldn’t be complete without a detail pic of the bride in her dress.  Davina channelled Grace Kelly in her stunning backless lace gown with chic pearl headpiece.  No wonder Bash looked so happy.

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The first dance (image by Poptart pics)

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A cheer from the groom

If you are newly engaged and are in the early stages of planning a wedding I thought these images may inspire you.  I think the bride and groom did a great job.  I hope you like the pics.

Main holding picture of Davina Perkins and Bhaskar Maji arriving at their wedding, 20th July 2013 (image by Poptart pics)

Wonderful Winchester

Sorry about the week long blogging silence. I was very busy last week, styling a shoot for Exalt Magazine http://www.exalt-magazine.com and sadly with all the prepping, shooting and returns I didn’t have any time to update. The shoot was an 8 page editorial story and it is going to look amazing. Unfortunately I can’t blog anything about it yet, but I will do when the publication comes out in a couple of months.

Instead today’s blog is a pictoral post about the beautiful city of Winchester, which I recently visited. With it’s wealth of heritage, culture and history it is the perfect spot for an August weekend away from London. Plus the charity shops and monthly vintage market are fantastic places to pick up a unique bargain. I also spotted some great typography and some amazing painted bollards. Check them out. My favourite is the Pollock inspired post. Which is yours?

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Jackson Pollock inspired bollard

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Magritte inspired bollard

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Moulin Rouge inspired bollard

Dinghams cookshop

Dinghams cookshop – lovely sign

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Cute pottery from Dinghams

William Walker pub

The William Walker pub – another great ornate sign

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A beautiful aged wooden door

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The stunning Winchester Cathedral

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The intricate stonework at Winchester Cathedral

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The beautiful ruins

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Brickwork at the ruins (the pattern and colours would make a great print for a dress)