Blog - Slow Shopping Challenge

 RSS Feed

  1. Many thanks to the lovely Diana Uprichard of The Seamstress for helping me make my very own frock from my very own fabric.

    sarah dress frontsarah dress back

    Making this was so much fun. I really hope you try it too. And you don't have to print a giant photo of your kid at the beach, the Spoonflower website is really simple to use and you can upload any design you wish and format it in various ways. My other ideas include taking a photo of the view from my bedroom window, then making a blind out of the photo-printed fabric. So you open the blind and have the same view, get it?

    What else? What else?

  2. OK, I did warn you that the Slow Shopping Challenge included essentials. So apologies in advance as this month’s purchase was dullness incarnate: a brassière – as if you hadn’t heard enough about my bassombas already. The only thing I want to mention about it is that I went rogue this time and shunned my usual high street favourite in favour of a small independent lingerie shop, where a brusque woman with an unidentifiable accent strapped me into something I’d called a ‘device’ rather than a bra. But for the bargain price of £26 and an only slightly restricted lung capacity, I now have an entirely new, and much sexier, silhouette.

    I feebly mumbled something about usually buying a more relaxed bra, you know, the kind where you can breath freely. The lingerie expert shop lady looked at me from behind her dark rimmed glasses and said simply, 'No'.

    And you know what? She's right. I got used to shallow breathing surprisingly fast, and it's a small price to pay considering how completely different all my clothes look when draped over my new gravity defying boobs. Here's the thing: It's very slimming.

    I don't want to post a pic of my bra, if that's ok. Feels wrong. But here's the one I didn't buy:


    This is the JoeyBra. It's already patented so you're too late, but yes, I wish I had thought of it too!

  3. So, just to recap, in January I bought new yoga trousers (I spend way too much time in those - sooo comfy!). In February I bought the Esther Williams swimsuit, which is just gorgeous and really flattering and I LOVE it. In March I had photo printed fabric made, see below. I got so excited about making my own dress that I forgot I couldn't actually sew, so I've signed up for a course with The Seamstress. I'll do two half day workshops, and they offer sewing machine hot-desking too in case I need to return for final touches or alterations.

    Now it's April and I've been thinking about the question my friend Lorna asked about charity shop/second hand clothing. does it count within the Slow Shopping Challenge? As luck would have it there was a clothes swap last week, so that was handy. I toddled down to the swapping party with a big bag of my old clothes to donate - oddly I found it much easier to get rid of old clothes I was attached to knowing that they'd go to a good home for a good cause (the clothes swap was a fundraiser for my kid's school). So out with my old Ghost tops that hugged my pre-breast-feeding boobs but now only rouche at the collar, cowboy boots that I got from uber trendy vintage store in LA and that were really honestly in fashion once upon a time (no, really they were), and other bits and bobs, all went to new owners while my daughter and I had a good old fashioned rummage through other people's old favourites. And I found this dress:

    £1 dress

    It cost me £1. Fits like it was made-to-measure (I fill it out rather more than the dress dummy in pic). It cost me £1. It's the perfect length and I love the colour. It cost me £1. The neck line is just on the right side of sexy (I hope). It cost me £1.

    And actually, I don't think I would have ever taken this off the rail at a shop as it didn't catch my eye at first, but a friend insisted I try it on in the spirit of the clothes swap - and there was wine and atmos - and so it happened. So now I have a new dress, which I love, and it comes with a fun story to tell - and cost £1. Me happy.

  4. It printed beautifully, and arrived in less then a week. It's amazing, I'm so excited. And it was only £25 for 2 yards including postage from the states.

                                                                 my fabric

    At Spoonflower they give really clear instructions on how to upload and configure your image(s) and there's a few options re layout too. I went for a mirrored effect, that's why there are 2 Sarahs on the printed fabric.

    Can't wait to make something from this. It's much longer than I expected so maybe I'll make a dress. Definitely feeling a little apprehensive about my sewing skills so my plan is to take this fabric to the gorgeous Diana Uprichard (aka The Seamstress) and beg for help.

  5. So, I just now ordered my custom fabric. I'm hoping this photo will print nicely and not be fuzzy or pixellated.

    sarah at the beach

    Just as I hit the 'place order' button it occurred to me that perhaps I'll seem like a proper nut case wearing a huge image of my own child across my body. Especially if she's walking by my side. Hmmmm. Too late now.

    I'll post a photo of the fabric when it comes (I ordered it from a US site so it may take a while), but if it isn't fabulous then plan B is to buy fabric - I'm feeling a black & white graphic - from one of Lewes' many fine haberdashers.

    To be honest, just the process of thinking about this and working outside my comfort zone has reinvigorated my relationship with the humble garment. It's easy to forget that fashion is an art form, and our need to adorn ourselves, our love affair with beautiful things, our self-expression has absolutely nothing to do with spending money on the high street!

  6. Well hello there and apols for the long blog absence. How was your Easter break? Yes, mine was lovely thanks. Had the chance to wear my new swim suit (see last blog post below), which, by the way, is literally the best bathing costume I’ve ever owned in my entire adult life. It feels as thought it’s been scientifically engineered to support and flatter the more (ahem) voluptuous female figure. I strongly recommend wearing one with an up-do and oversized sunnies.

    Move over ladies, make room pour

    But enough about me, let’s talk about you. You’ve sent me some very sensible questions, for example: does the Slow Shopping Challenge include clothes for your kids? No is the answer, I’m just conducting a wee social experiment not sucking the joy out of life, besides all the best, cutest, most interesting designs are made for kids nowadays.

    space cat leggings

    See? Space Cat leggings. I rest my case.

    The lovely Lorna asked if charity shop shopping counts, which is quite a complex question really, I mean what about vintage? A very grey area is vintage. So I’ll explore that more in the next blog post!

    And what about making your own clothes? Now that’s an interesting idea. I’d not thought of that. I suppose buying the fabric should count, but will making something feel like buying a new thing? Or will the sheer effort and foray outside the comfort zone cancel it out? Only one way to find out!

    I’ll make my own Space Cat leggings!!

    So I found a couple sites (Spoonflower based in US, and Bags of Love in London (pls email me if you know one in Lewes)) that will print your own designs or photos onto fabric and I’m going to try it. If the leggings prove too tricky then I think maybe an adult version of this sort of skirt:



    I told you all the best stuff is for kids.

    What if I get really good at making clothes and make myself a bunch of gorgeous things off these Folkwear patterns? You may find this hard to believe but I do not yet own my own Swing Suit or Tango Dress. I literally have nothing to tango in. Don't judge me.

    swing_suit                                           tango dress

    Wish me luck. I’ll post photos of my humble efforts so keep checking in!

  7. Despite London Fashion Week and the tail end of the sales, I haven’t been too tempted by anything during Feb. A combination of stimulus-overload and being a bit broke possibly. In any case, I’m glad I held out because we decided to fly away for Easter break to a land where the sun shines hot on the yellow sands and there's one serious issue I must troubleshoot.

    I currently only have one old bathing suit and my tatties float right out the top when I’m submerged in water. And on dry land the top pushes them together to mould by baps into one all-powerful mono-boob.

    Now, does the name Esther Williams ring a bell?


    She was an uber fabulous star of pool and screen in 1940's Hollywood. Turns out that when she retired from showbiz she started designing bathing costumes. Who knew?

    I'll be channeling Esther via this gorgeous polka dot number from For Luna Swimwear (£59.95 plus £3 postage).


    I found the cherries, leopard print and emerald especially hard to decline. And, just when you thought it couldn't possibly get any more fabulous ... they come in plus sizes!!!

  8. Like all good citizens I am entering the new year full of good intentions and armed with a schedule of every yoga class in town. Sadly, my yoga pants have the holes-of-depression (they’ve worn away at the crotch where my thighs rub together, sigh) so my January purchase must be new yoga trousers.

    But given that this will be the only thing I buy all month, I'm gonna find me the best darn yoga wear I can get.

    Gossypium are famous for their organic fair trade cotton clothes and they specialize in yoga wear. No brainer really. I chose these:


    They are ridiculously comfortable! (I am wearing them as I write this, I'm addicted). The cotton is softer than soft and the wide fold-over waistband hugs the lower abs – just where you suck it in during yoga class – and they are really flattering. Not the cheapest on the market at £42 BUT the good people at the Gossypium shop altered them for free (free!). I am too short for my weight so I always need trousers hemmed. Now £42 for a pair of perfectly fitting extraordinarily comfy super soft organic fair trade locally made (just down the road actually) yoga trousers seems pretty fair. Especially as I find myself with extra cash in my account this month due to lack of frivolous spending.

    This is exactly what I look like when I do yoga.


    You can see more of Gossypium's products here.