Sunday, 7 August 2011

Finished red knit cardigan

It's finished!

I love it, it's beyond expectation:
Just the colour I wanted
It's very versatile and can look incredibly smart or smart casual depending on what it is teamed with.
A great style for my body shape
and also well made (compared to many bought ones!) and unique

... and now I've worn this one in public total strangers have asked me where I've bought it from - fantastic.
Now to order teal yarn from Yeoman's for another one of this third stage design. But my next planned knitting project is a Fair Isle jumper for my DH - much planning needed for this.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Construction of the red fine knit cardigan

Knit all 5 pieces
Steam each to final shape and size - this is very time consuming! It fits another of my working 'rules' - spend as long on pressing as on stitching. It is the attention to details like this that give the professional couture finish that I am aiming for.
sleeve as knitted

sleeve pinned

This is what the sleeve looks like once it has been steamed! Finally I stitch the pieces together using a sewing machine (Janome)

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Planning the red cardigan

One of my ‘obsessions’ for want of a better word is planning. I believe that time and effort spent in planning is always rewarded.
Stages in planning this project:
Try on my current cardigans of the same pattern
Pin the sides to the new position
Try on
Place on body duplicate as another check, I can see the back that way!
Knit tension square and treat fabric as it will be treated in the ‘real’ garment
Set machine settings … ready to knit now!

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Red Fine Knit Cardigan

What do you do when you would like /’need’ a cardigan in a preferred style and colour ? Well in my case it's not to walk round the shops in hope. Online shopping definitely has it’s advantages for some things but not when you want to ensure a good fit; for clothes it is important to feel for the quality too.
This is where being a ‘textile maker’ is so useful. The design I’m going to use is one that I have used before and I have made make a cream and then grey one previously.
Some of their plus points:
Both are easy to wear & weigh little.
They wash well and once rolled on a towel are nearly ready to wear again.
Each gets lots of positive comments when worn.

Each time I have tweaked my master pattern and plan to do the same with the red one by narrowing the horizontal width at the bottom to make the cardigan less flowing. This will give a less casual and more tailored look.

Materials : Hobby yarn from Metropolitan in Cheshire.
Technique: Machine Knit

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Flower dress stage 5: The completed dress

So, here I am wearing the completed dress – the difference a belt makes!
(You will notice some wounds, nose and right little finger – both longer stories!)

Why I love this dress:
I enjoyed making it
I know I will not meet anyone else wearing this dress
The construction is the best I could achieve – and I am a bit of a perfectionist!
It fits ME
The pattern design is placed where I wanted it, as I took considerable effort to plan this
The pattern design allowed for the top to be cut on the cross to works cut on the cross – even though the pattern is predominately ‘vertical’
The material ( silk jersey) does not crease – so great for sitting down in and packing
It is very versatile and I can wear red, green or black belts to give quite different looks.
The style (& colour) is good for me (I feel taller wearing it! )
I have had LOADS of great comments about it (which is always encouraging!)

Friday, 8 July 2011

Flower dress stage 4 ; the construction

The stitching of the dress went to plan; the hem was a challenge, to make it not too stretchy or too tight. In the end I decided on hand stitching.

Particular things that were helpful:
My amazing body duplicate model that makes fitting a dress a dream, I wouldn’t be without it. Every time I see a manikin for sale I want to go and put a little not on it and say don’t buy one – unless you are that identical shape- and who is? I have not yet met anyone….

Putting in a sleeve head, this makes such a difference to the hang of any sleeve. The ones in this dress I made from a thin piece of padding that I teased out to what I judged to be the right thickness.I then covered each with dress material (the cream background) allowing this to hang over the filling.
Inside the sleeve head

I then hand stitched these in.

This is the finished dress, but it is missing something!

The next and last posting about this will be a photo of me in the dress and why I love it so…

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Flower Dress Stage 3 : Planning the Construction

I have found that time spent planning before jumping in to get stitching always pays dividends. These are particular techniques I employed in stitching this pattern and this fabric, perhaps they will help you work with a similar style and fabric.
I have altered the pattern (see previous) for fewer seams and cut each pattern piece so it can be placed on the pattern – by this I mean I have opened up the front and made a whole front rather than putting it to the fold. I use Fabribaste for this and hand stitch it to the original pattern piece.

I use fine thread in both the sewing machine and overlocker – industrial rather than commercial as I find the commercial yarn does not allow such a good seam, it increases the tendency to pucker! I also use a super stretch needle in the sewing machine.
Seams – use the Elna Overlocker set for stretch knit stitch ( a safety 4 thread making use of the differential feed and stitch length settings)
Darts , waist seam etc stitch – stitch with my Janome sewing machine- stitch 5 (zigzag) with 0.5 width & 2.2 length
When stitching use Fabribaste at the start & end of seam. I stitch this on by hand securely before I start to stitch on the machine so I can pull and get straight seams
Skim the outer edge of the front & back neck facings – to prevent laddering. I use the overlocker for this.
I will use one of my own finger pincushions – which will go on any finger or thumb – so versatile!

Make a mental note to press for as long as I stitch!
Now I am ready to start!
(My Elna Overlocker is a much loved machine – Model 945 Computer – which gives me automatic settings for loads of stitches, the sewing machine is also much loved – a Janome Memory Craft 4800)

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Flower dress stage 2 pattern adjustments

Stage 2: Pattern adjustments
I decided to use my favourite dress pattern with a cowl neck. This will make the best use of the wonderful drape of the fabric. I have already made all the necessary fitting adjustments to the pattern. Although the pattern has a zip in the back I know this is unnecessary so I have decided to cut the back to the fold.

The back of the dress has a kick pleat but I have decided to add two side slits to the dress and remove this - then I can put the centre back of the skirt to the fold too. However, I will need to add a small centre back dart to get a good fit to the small of my back. By eliminating the centre back seam the pattern will remain unbroken. I have specifically chosen a pattern with a waist seam as this will fit far better than a shapeless shift dress where the material would just hang rather than drape beautifully. I have already made this patten in a fine crepe so know that it works well with this silk jersey

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Flower dress stage 1

Stage 1: Preliminary checks on the fabric.
Just as I always do a tension square when knitting I have learnt to do a sample square when sewing too!
I washed a 30cm square to check if there was colour run and that it didn’t shrink or stretch significantly. Having a decent size sample also allowed me to determine the best way to press the fabric. No colour run, no stretching, no shrinking. Pressing will need care using my custom silk muslin pressing cloth with gentle steam and a low/ medium heat. It was good to see all the creases in the full length disappear.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Making a dress in a rose print

As with my previous postings about making a coat, I will write about this in stages, explaining the challenges I had and how I solved them – hoping it will help other seamstresses who aim for perfection like me!

I love my blue dress

I thought the pattern (Vogue) would be great for some wonderful silk jersey with a striking rose pattern that I had in my store.

The fabric I fell in love with – yes, following the given pattern placement will not work!

In terms of turning this material into the dress I dream of there are (at least!) two challenges; sewing this beautiful ‘drapey’ material so the seams are perfect and placing the design to best advantage.

Monday, 20 June 2011

A diversion as a ‘discerning diner’ on Anglesey and the Lleyn Peninsula, Wales

As some of you know I have to be wheat, dairy and gluten free for medical reasons. Just a small amount of any of these and it can take me up to a fortnight to recover! Hence eating out is challenging but not something I intend to give up. So, in the interests of helping others I will document places that were excellent and places that I will avoid in future. I hope it will help others. I have learnt in the 4 years that I have been like this that it is worth searching for a place that has a chef present – usually they see it as a bit of a change and do a brilliant job for me. Using the Alistair Sawday series of books has proved really helpful – and no I am not getting any money for saying this. The following are taken from Alistair Sawday’s Special Places : Pubs and Inns of England and Wales.

So lunch on Anglesey, we had decided on The Ship Inn, Red Wharf Bay. Lunch looked expensive (more like dinner price) but I am prepared to pay more to have something that does not make me ill. I found a dish, produced my card for the chef and the order was typed in and then phoned through (concern number one, the chef did not see the card). Concern number two- only ‘no gluten’ mentioned on the food receipt, I asked if this could be corrected (as it was). My husband was able to have a smaller portion of fish and chips so all looked sorted. The food came very quickly (concern three- in my experience not a good indicator); I had a jug of sauce on my plate – smelling like lemon butter (concern four). The fish also trickled yellow liquid and the potatoes looked like they had butter on them. The waitress explained the kitchen was unsure whether or not the sauce was OK, hence why it was in a jug on my plate!! My meal was changed and the fish arrived with no butter, and the vegetables lacked the potatoes. I was not ill but this was not a great start to 3 days of eating out. I did mention my concern to one of the staff but I am unsure if she realised how serious this could have been.

We stayed at Y Beuno, just south of Caernarfon. 2 dinners and 2 breakfasts here were fantastic- bacon at breakfast was more like a gammon steak. The waiting staff were very understanding, the chef made the necessary modifications to dinner and my toast (Genius bread that I carried with me) was well toasted. I enjoyed the food. It was a great place to stay and we hope to return before too long.
Lunches are usually more tricky. I am better with a hot lunch but do get a bit fed up with baked potato! We had hoped for lunch in Aberdaron but having looked at the café and the 2 hotels decided that we might be better in Abersoch. This was an excellent decision as we found the Abersoch Café ( next to the Deli) where I had steak & salad (without the roll, but with my bread toasted) and the staff offered me crisps as an extra – having already checked they were OK for me. This was a great lunch and to be recommended as a lunch place if you are in the area.

We were in Portmeirion for the second day, the sun shone, the bay was glorious and we had targeted the Gwesty Hotel for lunch. We sat in the window overlooking the sea in a glorious room as the sun poured in. It was delightful. I chose a ‘small plate’ of chicken, lentils and salad minus the ciabata. Help was sought when I produced my card and the kitchen was consulted. Not only was my bread toasted as a replacement for the croutons, it was even turned into croutons. My only slight concern was that dressing had been added (once in a different place butter had been added to my own bread!), but of course this proved to be suitable. The venue was delightful, the staff were delightful and the food was delightful. We are already planning when we can go and stay at Portmeirion.

So, in all I had 6 meals out and of these only one was very disappointing, showing a lack of understanding and I was made to feel as if I was being awkward. As the other 3 places show when the kitchen gets it right then eating out is a pleasure and not a frightening ordeal.

I hope that others with dietary intolerances find this helpful. I will add other places as I try them out.

Monday, 13 June 2011

The 3 skeins

Here are the 3 skeins of 'Little Moreton Hall' yarn which I am pleased to say are consistent in colour 'randomness' (if that makes sense) and diameter. I've loved doing this art yarn design project and have received lots of encouraging comments, so thank you for those. Total length is 85m and mass 70g.

For all those who are asking 'what are you going to do with it', I have some ideas and as I gaze at the yarn I guess I will have keep watching.

My next postings are likely to be about a sewing and design project for a dress.

Friday, 10 June 2011

The first batch of finished yarn

At last the spool – I love it.

The next stage was to form a hank, wash it and then see what it looks like when formed into the final skein. It's everything I hoped it would be!

There’s still about half the batt to spin and that includes the sample that some of you have seen at Little Moreton Hall. Hence the need for careful records to ensure all the yarn is consistent.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Little Moreton Hall yarn sample 2

Sample 2 now completed.

This has been washed, which gives a better idea of the final yarn. It hangs well and is a balanced yarn. It conveys to me the colours of the building and the wood holding it together. Whilst being a contemporary yarn it is not so ‘off the wall’ that it is difficult to find a use for it, other than to look at it and admire it! I am happy with this, so this will be the yarn. In plying the charcoal grey finer yarn is held in the left hand with the decorative slub yarn winding round it. The next stage is to spin a bobbin of this and to see it in a hank.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

The Importance of Sampling

I had a picture in my mind of my Little Moreton Hall Yarn -it was to be a singles thick and thin slub. When I spun a sample of this it clearly was not going to be any more than a great yarn to look, to my mind it wasn't going to functional! It was too full of air! On further research I found that this was not uncommon. It has been found that commercial 'tops' has been found to give the best thick and thin slub. That makes sense as the fibres will be more dense in the commercial stuff.

So further thinking was needed. Back at the drawing board -actually in the shower - and thinking back to my building I realised I could make a yarn that was even more suitable for my title of Little Moreton Hall yarn. I would spin one ply as a smallish slub mixed yarn and ply it with finer charcoal /black singles, just as the dark oak is holding the fabric together.
Here is the first attempt – still a little light so another sample is needed. Both slub and the charcoal grey are S spun, and Z plyed.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Preparing the fleece

The fleece is from a local farmer who overwinters the sheep by arrangement with a farmer in the High Peak. The fleece is a Swaledale x Blue faced Leicester cross and it is beautiful. This was washed.
Obtaining the colours
Some of the fleece was mordanted with alum & then dyed to produce the colours for the yarn:
Charcoal grey – this was first dyed with elder and iron as additive which produced a medium olive colour. This was then overdyed with logwood which has produced the colour I am using. (Experimenting went on before this decision!)
Orange – this was obtained by solar dyeing (for a month in my greenhouse) using meadowsweet which I gathered in Cumbria.
Yellow – again this was solar dyed using sorrel seeds from my garden.

The natural, charcoal grey, orange and yellow fleece was combined on a drum carder by forming a sandwich with the colours as the filling. I estimated the ratio of the colours from my source photo, keeping some of the charcoal grey separate.

The carded batt which I will spin looks like this.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Intial thoughts on the design of the yarn

From the building:
Off white lime(?) plaster
Lots of dark grey oak forming the frame
Orange/yellow lichen catching the sun on the roof
A ‘natural’ building
Traditional / Heritage
A grand building

From the Guild (Alsager Weavers, Spinners and Dyers) strapline
‘promoting our traditional textile crafts with a contemporary twist’

The window in the second photo is of the Long Gallery where the exhibition is being held.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Little Moreton Hall Designer Yarn

Alsager Weavers, Spinners and Dyers are delighted to be at Little Moreton Hall for their exhibition this year ( June 1st - 12th). It is a wonderful Tudor National Trust building and our exhibition will be in the Great Hall and room adjoining.
I love to demonstrate spinning at the exhibition and this year I thought I would spin a yarn designed just for the Hall. I have designed yarns before but not done it publically so to speak so here goes.
It will be a slow yarn! In the context of LMH by that I mean:
• I hope to enjoy the process of making the yarn as much (or more) than the yarn I produce
• I will enjoy talking to to visitors and I hope encourage visitors that they too can master spinning skills as I demonstrate what I am doing
• During the demonstrating I show how my spinning is the same and different from spinning in the past (linking with the history of the hall)
• The fleece will be sourced locally
• The colour will be ‘naturally dyed’ and where possible the plants will be gathered by me
• It will be a unique yarn that I have created

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Fashion and Style

It has been noted that at least 65% of us buy an item just because it is fashionable.

Style (or dress sense) means being aware of 'fashion' but having the knowledge & understanding about you and your clothes to select clothes that ensure you are the essential component and not what you are wearing. Your outfit (which includes your accessories) should be a natural extension of you and not the dominant (or most noticeable) feature.
Try the following out in the street! Who has true 'dress sense' and when do you notice the clothing (or accessories) before you notice the person?

Every one of us can have style or dress sense; it is independent of age, culture and budget ... The common factor is that it needs knowledge, thinking about and planning for. Unlike being fashionable having 'dress sense' implies being CONSISTENTLY well dressed.

Try listing people you know who have 'dress sense' famous and friends - try and note just what it is that makes them have dress sense.

Did you include these features of having dress sense:
Understand own body & how colour, shape and style work for it
Clothes & accessories fit the person and are fit ( suitable) for the occasion
Make up & hair work for the person & the occasion
Versatile but not necessarily huge wardrobe
Looks after clothes -eg padded hangers
Well groomed
Person is happy and relaxed
Some clothes have lasted for years
Buys wisely
Plans outfits in advance
Spends time & thought on the accessories

Encouraging and persuading you to follow fashion will contribute to the profits of shops. It is difficult to avoid feeling you are always FOLLOWING. It is far better to have dress sense and your own style.
As Yves Saint Laurent noted ’Fashion Fades, style is eternal’

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Wearing the Coat

Me wearing the coat - looks as if I am sinking into the lawn - it's because I is so wet.

The scarf is my first and very much loved woven scarf. The colours just go so well with the coat and I know I'll never see an identical one.

Personalising your clothes is THE thing - it's a large part of Gok's current series. If you are interested in learning how to modify or make your own clothes then contact me as I offer fully bespoke one to one tuition as well as workshops.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

The Coat Stage 10 Completion

The buttons are added (with small ones behind), so the coat ‘hangs’ correctly, the hem & lining are tacked in place. It is then tried on again and hem length checked with other dresses and skirts. The sleeve length is checked, including when the arm is bent and the sleeve hem is completed.

The skirt hem is edged with the overlocker then eased flat using the shrinking technique again.

The hem is tacked in place and hand stitched in with a blind hem stitch.

Just a final press needed now

I love it! Good colour, love the style, fits well as it is made to fit MY body and has personal touches.

Very pleased with the couture techniques included.

Tomorrow – You'll see me wearing the coat!

Monday, 31 January 2011

Body Duplicate vs Mannequin

I’ve been asked why a commercial mannequin is not ‘good enough’ when making clothes for yourself – or anybody else for that matter.
The quick and simple answer is that every body is different in shape and proportions. Having well fitting clothes means they need to fit your actual body. Clothes that fit badly are not stylish either!

I think these two photos will help you to see why I regard a body duplicate as essential. My commercial mannequin is a top of the range model; it adjusts at the bust, waist and hip in four places (and cost serious money).

I have adjusted the bust, waist and hips of the commercial mannequin to be the same measurement as on my body duplicate. However, as you can see if I fit clothes to the commercial mannequin they will not fit me! Whereas making clothes using the body duplicate is a dream.
Contact me if you'd like to have your own body duplicate model made.

The Coat Stage 9 – Coat Hem

The coat skirt is attached to the bodice- taking lots of care at the front where 2 horizontal and vertical seams meet at each front. Careful trimming and grading is needed here.
Pressing and hand finishing at the waist now complete. It’s looking and feeling very good. Wearing suitable shoes and a suitable length skirt my helpful husband has pinned up the hem measuring from the ground. Careful check made that it is at a flattering length for my legs too! Now to tack the hem up carefully and adjust the lining and tack that.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

The Coat Stage 8 – the coat skirt lining

The bodice is completed and fitted on the duplicate body and then me , the real body- it’s looking good.

However, I realise that I prefer to line the skirt in a different way from the pattern! Oops, how have I overlooked this when I read through the pattern? Answer, I would never expect a coat pattern to have lining going right to the edge of a coat. Lesson learnt here – don’t take anything for granted!
I judge that as the finer lining goes to front edge of skirt front, it will not hang well. Hence I have decided to cut wool facings for the front skirt - fortunately I have spare material. The wool facings are attached to the lining- doing this seemed to involve a lot of calculation! The skirt lining is attached to wool coat skirt inserting the additional button loops, checking that they all protrude the same distance from the coat edge.

I’ve been asked what the duplicate body looks like without the toile on it – here it is!

Soon (tomorrow?!) I'll upload my commercial body model adjusted to my size so you can see the difference!

Friday, 28 January 2011

Coat Stage 6 – Inserting the sleeves

Poorly inserted sleeves can let down the finish of a garment, so I always take a lot of trouble with them!

I decided to shrink the top of the sleeves before inserting them into the coat bodice.
This is what the top of the sleeve looked like before shrinking

..and this is the top of the sleeve after shrinking

Sleeves inserted, The next stage is to make the sleeve heads and insert these. I used wadding sandwiched between silk as the lining.

I am very pleased with professional finish achieved.

I find it is always worth this effort this when inserting sleeves.

The sleeve lining is bound to the coat by hand at the armholes.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Coat - Stage 5: Beginning the Construction

Bodice front & back completed - pressing time approximately as long as machining time.
Loops hand made in black wool with a lucet - a personal touch.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

The Coat- Stage 4 Cutting Out

The material needs preparing.
A sample of wool is steamed to check if it will shrink - answer no. Wool steamed to remove centre fold mark.
Interfacing checked for shrinking properties and sample fused to wool. Interfacing does not shrink, fuses well and gives the wool more structure and a good 'feel'.
Silk lining is pressed, it's going to be tricky to cut out, it slips so easily.

All pieces cut out using a cutting board and rotary cutter.
Markings transferred to material pieces using tailor tacks.
Interfacing fused to material.
Getting excited, construction can now start

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

The coat - stage 3 toile to pattern marking

This pattern has potential. Hence transferring the changes from the toile to the paper pattern will be useful. I have taken the toile to pieces, now the paper pattern is thus fully personalised. Cutting out is coming soon!

Monday, 24 January 2011

The Coat Stage 2 – the toile

Make calico toile and place on my duplicate body. (This counts as one of my top dressmaking tools as it is my exact shape and size (even down toy neck circumference), has my proportions and is my height.

At this stage I realise much needs be done.

So alterations to toile are made:
Princess seams over bust taken in
Back bodice seam adjusted to the curve of my back
Side seams taken in of the skirt-this is so wide I look even shorter than I am.
Sleeves are bell shape, they need taking in
Sleeves are too short they need lengthening (I thought I had short arms!)
Coat length is too short
Back seam of coat sticks out like a tail, needs taking in so the coat hangs vertical.
Skirt of coat does not have enough ease - ie too tight, needs letting out at the sides so as not to disrupt the good fit on the front

Wow - no wonder I have struggled to find a coat to fit!
Alterations now made to toile - now a great fit and has style, even though it is calico!

Looking forward to making the actual coat now.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Making a coat

So my current project is making a coat. I have spent 2 years looking for the perfect coat and have failed to find one that ticks all my boxes and cost wasn't one of them!
I was looking for:
Good design
High waisted
Good quality wool
Fits me not swamps me
Length suitable to wear with skirts ie not to be an inch or so too short nor an inch or two above ankle height
Not black
Quality construction

Not unreasonable 'wants' but seemingly impossible to fulfil. I even tried a compromise of buying a coat that fitted most of the criteria & altering it, ie taking out the unflattering hip widening pockets and this has sort of worked to give me a coat with trousers - it's actually too short to wear with a skirt! Lesson to learn here - don't go coat shopping wearing trousers.

So what will follow is the story of my coat project.

Wool and cashmere material bought at Knitting & Stitching Show in Harrogate (colour camel); lining is divine from a local silk mill, iron on interfacing from my stash, buttons from John Lewis. Loops - I intend to make custom braid, pattern Vogue no V8548

Experience tells me that time spent in preparation pays off!
Stage 1
Select tissue pieces and alter to fit my measurements, re draw lines where I am a size 8 and where I am larger.. add exta tissue, etc
I’ll be adding photos as I go along – more tomorrow….

Thursday, 20 January 2011

My favourite blue dress

Style and fit
Even when you know which styles suit you it can seem impossible
to find clothes that fit your body. This is not surprising as every body is different - we all know that! We all have different shapes, proportions and scales for one thing. One way used by clothing manufacturers is to make clothes loose and how stylish is that? When you're petite like me it's even tougher.

I'm going to devote my next few blog posts to style and fit.

Currently my favourite dress is this blue one.

Why? I love the colour, it fits brilliantly because I made it that way (more about this later), it doesn't crease, I know I will never meet anyone wearing the same as me AND I get lots of great comments every time I wear it.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Sales Shopping- 7 tips for making this successful

Sales shopping – 7 tips for making this successful
Given the current economic climate we all want to make our clothing purchases as cost effective as possible. Naturally we are drawn to anything that says ‘sale’. Peer pressure can play a part when friends tell us of amazing sales bargains, we naturally feel we are missing out but beware – you need to think about YOU in all this.
So here we go, top tips….
1. Quality – a bargain is not a bargain if it looks cheap and is poorly made.
2. Wish list – make a wish list of what you would like/need to increase the versatility of your current wardrobe. Think about items, styles, colours. Think what will go with what you already own- notes about this are useful. Try and carry them with you at all times – you never know when you might stumble on a ‘sale’.
3. Basics – think about basics that will co-ordinate with lots of items, this means thinking carefully about the shape, the colour and the quality. In this category you could think about layers, about underwear and hosiery. Items that don’t date and cross the seasons can be great ‘sales’ successes. Eg. If you need to wear a lot of formal shirts for work, then take time to look for these, or if you need black skirts for work then spend time looking for these.
4. Jewellery – some great pieces can be bought in the sales, again, having a list helps here. What are you really lacking – could it be a medium length necklace to go with a teal top? The greater the detail of your list the better.
5. Do not buy list – make another list of what you definitely do not want – it is so easy to come home from the sales with similar items to what you have in your wardrobe. If you definitely want a duplicate of an item – it should be on your wish list!
6. Just because it is cheap – avoid this as a reason for buying anything. It is not cheap to you (whatever the cost) if you can’t see if being worn when you get home.
7. Just because it is a good price reduction – again don’t use this as a reason form making a purchase unless it is really special and economic for you!

And last but not least keep an open mind- when you find something to buy, run through this list of 7 tips in your mind and if you are still convinced then take the item to the checkout. Remember though that even if it is a sale item, the shop will have a returns policy if there is a problem with the item. But beware ‘I changed my mind’ may not be a good enough reason for a refund.

If you need help with what clothes really suit you, or in sorting out your wardrobe to make it work for you then look at