Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog

Cassiefairy's thrifty little lifestyle blog – DIY crafts, sewing, food & fashion – what more does a girl need??


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Finding the perfect dress for the National Blog Awards

Next month I am going to the National Blog Awards as a finalist! I am so excited to be attending the ‘Oscars of the blogging world’ and I can’t wait to catch up with my bestie Jenna who has also been shortlisted for her wedding blog Glitter Daze. Luckily, we aren’t competing against each other, as I am a finalist in the Retail and Fashion category so we can just enjoy a few drinks together, a lovely meal and enjoy all the glitz and glamour that the awards ceremony has to offer.

It’s a proper red-carpet type event and I alternate between being very exciting and very scared because I’ve no idea what the dress code ‘dress to impress’ means – Is it an occasion for long evening dresses or short prom dresses? Will everyone else there be in floor-length gowns or will I look silly in a mini dress?? It’s not a problem for my husband, who will wear his lovely shirt and blazer combo and will look fantastic as always – just the right mix of smart without trying too hard – I don’t know how he does it! But for my outfit I have no idea and I’m sure that I’ll end up in photographs at the awards so I don’t want to look a mess, nor do I want to stick out by being overdressed. So this has kick-started a massive dress hunt and here’s my shortlist:

 victorias dress outfit ideas for national blog awards                     

Black lace a-line dress or red chiffon sweetheart dress

I picked out these cheap prom dresses from one of my favourite dress websites VictoriasDress.co.uk because I know that once I choose a shape of dress I can have it made in any colour for around the same price as an off-the-peg high street dress. At least I know that no one else will be wearing the same outfit as me if I have a dress custom-made! I love the red prom dress above but I think that the chiffon might be too girly for me for such a formal occasion, so I prefer the demure shape of the black a-line dress with lace detail but – in contrast – I’d like to have it in a bright colour. Choosing the colour from the rainbow of fabrics will be difficult but I think that a deep red or dusky pink would be nice with my skintone and warm up my complexion. As you might remember, I had a colour analysis done by Janelle from Confessions of a Fashion Stylist blog and the colours that suit me best are pinks, reds and lavenders so as I’m not a big fan of lilac I think I’ll follow her advice to select a rich red because I already wear a lot of burgundy and I know I’ll feel comfortable in it.

Either way, I need to make a decision on my outfit pretty soon and when payday comes I’ll be booking my train ticket to London for the biggest event of the blogging year and I can’t wait! Of course I will report back to you on my progress in the competition and let you know how I get on during the big night – watch this space!


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My year of thrifty retail & DIY fashion

I have amazing news and I’ve already been yelling it all over Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and Google+ so if you haven’t already heard my screeches from where you are here it is again: I’VE BEEN SHORTLISTED IN THE NATIONAL UK BLOG AWARDS 2014! When I saw all the other amazing nominees in the Retail and Fashion category I could never have dared to believe that I might be shortlisted, but results are in and the announcement has been made – and my little blog has made it into the top 10 in the country! The finalists will be judged by industry professionals Carli Palmer from House of Fraser and Melanie Killilnea from Hotter Shoes – and I’m so excited to think that they could be looking at my blog right now. This has got me thinking about the past year on my blog and all of the thrifty shopping, fashion and DIY posts I’ve done now that I’m approaching my 1000th blog post and I wanted to take a nostalgic look back over the year with you – so here goes:

A recent early morning walk in the frost resulted in a mini fashion-shoot using blogger & stylist Sasha Bowman’s La Mere layering technique and gave me the chance to show off my new Brag Vintage find!

Again, snow was the inspiration behind my winter outfit post in which I proudly wore my new size 10 H&M coat that I never would have fitted into the year before and a cute Apricot dress. There’s really nothing better than being out in the cold while snuggled up with a hot drink.

At Christmas I let you all know what I’d be wearing with some snaps of my birthday/Christmas dress from La Redoute, my homemade snood infinity scarf and the festive jumper I made myself with just a bag of pom-poms and a needle – just two of the many of DIY outfit posts that I’ve written for Oxfam Fashion.

You’ll probably remember how terrified I was about attending the Company Style Blog Awards last year – what on earth would I wear to go into a room full of über-stylish fashionistas? And after a lot of deliberation here on the blog, I decided on an Apricot and New Look outfit combined with some car-boot sale bargains and borrowed accessories.

And then came my nemesis – the emerald green dress that I made myself – remember how long it took me to get going on the project, how scary it was to cut into the fabric, how many adjustments I needed to make to the pattern? Thankfully it turned out great in the end and sparked an interesting discussion about Sew-It-Yourself. Plus I now have a custom-made dress hanging in my wardrobe!

To date there have been 128 weeks of Tuesday Shoesday posts discussing footwear trends and weekly DIY posts on making your own accessories for yourself (and for the home too!) and adjusting your thrifted clothing to fit. I’ve also enjoyed sharing the new season trends and focussing on fashion week favourites – including how to get the look for less – the most important thing is saving money for us all through sensible shopping! Of course, there are tons more posts than I can mention here – we’d be here all day! – but please have browse through my categories on my sidebar to check out more shopping, fashion, sewing, trend and bargain-hunting articles for yourself.

I hope that you’ve all been enjoying reading my blog and have got some ideas that you’ve used yourself. But most importantly I want to say a massive THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for voting for my little blog to be shortlisted in the National UK Blog Awards, you can’t imagine what it means to me but you can be sure that the smile on my face is gigantic right now! :D


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Tuesday Shoesday ~ Birthday shoes

It’s Cassiefairy’s birthday during the first week in December and you’ve probably seen all of my plans for my pink-and-red themed birthday party on the blog :) I’m really looking forward to it and have an outfit planned, which includes this dress from La Redoute:

la redoute dress1

I absolutely love the bright red colour and lovely lace overlay, not to mention that it’s my favourite skater-dress style! When I was looking for a party dress, first and foremost I wanted it to be a good fit and the fact that the colour coordinates with my party theme is just great fortune! I feel very comfortable in this dress, but also it’s pretty enough to stand out as a party dress – it makes me want to twirl! So now that I’ve got the dress sorted, I need to organise my footwear and these are my footwear options:

tuesday shoesday cassiefairy birthday shoes

Of course, the birthday girl should always wear the prettiest shoes, whether they are practical or not! And in particular I think that birthday shoes should feature glitter, bright colours, bows or gold – if you can’t wear super-glamourous high heels on your birthday when can you?! So my favourite shoes are the silver sparkly above, which will look very festive my red dress :) plus I have a New Look gift voucher to spend, so I will invest wisely in a lovely pair of impractical shoes! I think this whole outfit might be reworn again on Christmas day this year, so watch this space! Let me know what party dress and shoes you would choose for your birthday celebrations – leave me a comment below or tweet me pics of your last birthday outfit to @Cassiefairy.


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Just a little something I made for Halloween…

Things have been very busy at www.TutusWingsandPrettyThings.com HQ and I’ve been stitching away in my workshop this week making lots of dark fairy tutus ready for Halloween. I’ve made similar tutus for hen parties over the summer and I thought that they would look great for Halloween too, so I’ve been making extra-sparkly tutus with lots of sequined and glittery fabric woven in-between the spiky tulle strands. I think that my favourite one is this blue tutu below, which has bright blue glittery stars fabric incorporated into the design.

cassiefairy halloween fairy tutus from tutuswingsandprettythings com

Let me know if you’d like something similar custom-made for your Halloween costume by emailing cassie@cassiefairy.co.uk – these tutus aren’t on the website yet but I will happily make these or something similar (any colours you like!) for you, just let me know with plenty of time, because I’m already getting pretty booked up with spooky orders for zombie bride and witch costumes!


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Thrifty fashion ~ reworking my jeans for Autumn/Winter 2013

I’ve got a pair of jeans that I’ve never worn. They are straight legged, deep teal denim with a bit of stretch and I coveted them for ages before finally opening my purse and buying them in the sale earlier this year. But since then, I’ve never even put them on and now the months have rolled by and I’m not sure that they will look good for this season. So I’ve photographed them and have tried to put them with a few items from (my new favourite store!) bonprix to create a look-book and see how they could be worn for Autumn/Winter 2013.

reworking my favourite teal jeans for day and evening outfits

I started with a casual look – something to wear throughout the autumn during the daytime. The kind of thing that you would wear for a lunch with friends or grabbing a coffee after a shopping trip. I know that big chunky knits are on trend for this season, so I’ve found my favourite piece of knitwear (this grey cable knit cardi below ) and have teamed it with a sheer chiffon shirt – I’m really into sheer shirts at the moment and have got them in peachy-pink, mint green and mustard so far – but I really like this off-white one for a classy winter look. Of course, I’d be chilly without a snuggly hat and scarf and I’m tucking my jeans into these slouchy grey boots. I love the tan belt and bag – I just want to keep a bit of my summer accessories in my winter wardrobe too! What do you think? Do my teal jeans look okay with the rest of the outfit?

my favourite teal jeans reworked for autumn 2013 lunch with friends - look book using bon prix clothes

My second essential look for autumn/winter is a party outfit. I find myself going out a lot more during the winter – there’s my birthday celebration to get dressed up for and there are lots of festive parties to attend, so I want  to see if it is possible to glam up my coloured jeans for a special occasion. I have chosen black accessories and I already have this black blazer in my wardrobe, so really it’s just a case of chosing a glitzy top to tuck into my jeans – maybe this long soft shirt (another sheer top, what a surprise!) or this studded black top. I think both would work for nights out and even for festive daywear – it’s the sparkly accessories and heels that take the outfit from day-to-night. Let me know what you think – can I get away with jeans on a night out??

my favourite teal jeans reworked for winter 2013 evening out festive party - my look book using bon prix clothes

I don’t want to splash out for many new items for this season, so it’s been fun seeing how I can make good use of my favourite jeans and maybe now I’ll actually put them on! Do you have a favourite item of clothing that you’d like to rework for Autumn/Winter 2013? Tweet me your photos @Cassiefairy and let me know what you’re going to team your item with to make it work in your autumn/winter wardrobe.

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Inspiration Challenge ~ a fabulous prize for September!

How are you getting on with this month’s inspiration challenge? The theme was antique bears and I’m so excited to see what everyone will come up with – maybe a cross-stitch, a greetings card, scrapbooking page, drawing or anything else crafty or stitchy!

I’m delighted to say that my favourite haberdashery shop Abakhan.co.uk are sponsoring the inspiration challenge again this month and the prize up for grabs is this handy vintage-inspired sewing kit in a gorgeous floral case below. To be in with a chance of winning this fabulous prize from Abakhan, please send me photos of your teddy bear projects before 30th September to cassie@cassiefairy.co.uk and the winner will be picked at random (using Random.org)! I’m not judging the projects, so it doesn’t have to be the best item you’ve ever created – it’s just for fun and to see what you can create from the ‘antique bears’ starting point.

Inspiration challenge for september 2013 antique bears win sewing kit from abakhan

I’ve been cracking on with my make already this month (I’m usually a bit last-minute with my projects!) and I’m making a bear for my nephew. It’s his christening next week, so I will need to have completed it by then in order to give it to him as a gift! I got a bear-making book out of the local library and photocopied the patterns in the book, but when I started making the bear, I realised it would be a bit too small so I scaled-up the pattern (in a very haphazard way by drawing a line around the outside!) and I’ve started making the limbs! I’ve used a striped cotton that I bought from the Preston Abakhan store when my nephew was first born last year and I’ve added little blue gingham paws and feet pads! It’s still a work in progress so I’ll show you more during the monthly Inspiration Challenge roundup when the little bear is finished. :)

cassiefairys inspiration challenge on the blog - sewing a teddy bear for my nephews christening gift

Don’t forget to email me with your projects – good, bad or indifferent! – whenever you have finished them and in the meantime check out Abakhan online for all kinds of fabrics, hobby and craft goodies!


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Inspiration Challenge ~ What we made in August & new theme for September

inspiration challenge for august 2013 vintage wedding dress from lucylovesya blog

I was delighted when Lucy from LucyLovesYa.com set such a lovely theme for August by sending in her vintage wedding dress photo as a starting point for our August makes. It was a very apprioriate theme seeing as we were at the height of wedding season in August and my favourite online haberdashery Abakhan Fabrics offered us a fabulous prize of a Simplicity Sewing Pattern for special occasion dresses in 6 different styles – great for bridesmaids, wedding guest outfits, prom dresses or just for wearing on a night out – and it is very appropriate considering our wedding dress theme!

simplicty sewing pattern from abakhan prize for aug inspiration challenge

1. Early in the month I made a little tutu for my brand-new niece using pieces of wedding dress fabric. I had some pieces of tulle that were cut from my wedding dress when the alterations were made to my dress waaaay back when I got married 10 years ago. My sister-in-law also had a layer of chiffon removed from her wedding dress too and I combined this with my dress fabric and some very soft tulle in pale pink (from Abakhan) and baby blue to create a tiny baby tutu. I stitched lengths of the fabric to a ribbon and then attached this length of tutu to a fresh white babygrow and gave it to my new niece for her christening gift.

inspiration challenge cassiefairy tulle tutu for child babygrow

2. Seamstress Lucy sent in this very cute sewing project that she tells me she has been meaning to do for ages! It’s a handy little zipped bag that she created using lace fabric left-over from her wedding dress. The bag would be used to hold all her little wedding bits that she doesn’t want to lose – a great idea for any bride and I should make one too for all my bits that are currently packed away in a shoebox and give them the storage they deserve!

Inspiration Challenge wedding dress theme handmade bag by LucyLovesya blog

3. Glass artist Alison made these amazing crocheted flowers below to add to all the floral displays at her own wedding this August. She used metallic wool and sparkly buttons to jazz up her table centrepieces and bridesmaids’ bouquets. I don’t know how she found the time to make 100s of these gorgeous flowers while organising the whole wedding and looking after her cute baby son too  – what an achievement! I think these would look excellent made into as brooches or hair accessories after the wedding too.

cassiefairy inspiration challenge wedding theme august 2013 crocheted flowers and photography

4. Photographer Andy took beautiful panoramic photographs (above) of a friend’s wedding that he attended in August. He used a splicing technique to create a very wide-angle sweep around the wedding venue and he captured the guests milling around the courtyard following the ceremony, both of which he has sent to the bride and groom so that they can remember the details of the medieval building that was the venue for their ceremony.

inspiration challenge for august 2013 vintage wedding dress winning simplicity sewing pattern prize winner

All the lovely craft, art and sewing projects that were received this month have been put into a prize draw using Random.org and the winner of this lovely Simplicity sewing pattern has been chosen – its number 2 Lucy – Congratulations! The prize is provided by Abakhan.co.uk but don’t worry if you didn’t win this time – all of the Simplicity sewing patterns are 50% off at Abakhan Fabrics online until 14th September so you can get your hands on any of their easy-to-sew patterns right now!

And here is the new theme for your September Inspiration Challenge projects – bears.

Inspiration challenge for september 2013 antique bears

This photo of a vintage set of the bear family from Goldilocks and the Three Bears is from the Antique Teddy Bear Crossing blog, where old bears get new homes, and I think it is the ideal starting point for September when the weather starts getting colder and all I want to do is snuggle up with a duvet and a teddy bear! So take inspiration from the bears themselves, from children’s stories or even just be inspired by the fluffy fabric – the choice is yours! Whatever you make, send me your photos before the end of September 2013 and tweet me with your progress throughout the month @CassiefairyTutu. It’s just for fun so have a go at making anything that you’ve been inspired to create – and if you’ve not yet joined in with the Inspiration Challenge, take the plunge and have a go at making something this month, I’d love to see your creations, whatever they are!

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