Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Missi Plus ~ Inspiring Woman ~ Abi of My Retro Closet and The Crafty Pinup

Hello darlings!

My Missi Plus segment is back and its that time again for me to share another inspiring woman with you all! 

This month I'm sharing another boss babe with you all! As a small business owner myself, I know the level of work that goes into running your own store. Also as a beginner sewer (I'm working on it but time feels like its always against me!) I'm in awe of this gals amazing sewing creations.

I'm talking of course of the gorgeous Abi, who is the owner of UK based lingerie brand My Retro Closet and her own sewing blog space the Crafty Pinup!

Abi, who is also a lingerie lover, recently answered some questions for you all about having your own business, a love of lingerie and her sewing skills! I hope you all love them!

Jayne Bed Jacket from My Retro Closet
Modelled by Rachel Francis and shot by Pinup Academy
Firstly, thank you so much for taking the time to have a chat with me and answer some questions! I know how busy running your own business can be. Now I know from reading your website that you started My Retro Closet after completing a degree in Lingerie design. But what made you pursue the degree initially? Where does your love of vintage lingerie come from?

Thanks so much for having me on your wonderful blog, serious fan girl moment for me! I chose to study Contour Fashion (lingerie, swimwear & corsetry design) at university after being totally turned off by regular fashion courses. During my year before of studying at art college, I ventured into the world of lingerie and vintage style for a project after admiring 1950s fashion myself, and I was hooked. Vintage fashion suited me and flattered me way more then modern fashion trends ever did, and being individual with my style was always really important to my identity. Retro & vintage lingerie felt like a natural progression.
I knew I wanted to design, create and expand my skills as a seamstress, but didn't see myself in the fashion industry. As my interest in the 1950s and burlesque grew, so did my love for vintage icons like Bettie Page and Jayne Mansfield, where lingerie & nightwear play such a strong part in their iconic looks. It then became a part of my every day life and if my teenage self could see what I was doing now, I think she'd be very pleased indeed!

Where did the name My Retro Closet come from?

It's a strange one really, after graduating, my sewing skills felt battered and I thought I'd never go near a sewing machine again! I was literally planning on creating a one-stop-shop pinup up style online underwear store with my favorite brands. It did start that way, but as soon as I introduced my handmade collections, My Retro Closet became so much more. I hope it conveys the range of items I stock (nightwear to lingerie through to stockings), but also leaves room for it to grow and develop further! 

Joan Babydoll in Black by My Retro Closet

What was the first handmade piece you added to My Retro Closet and how did it feel to see people wearing your design?

The first handmade piece I added to the store was my Joan Babydoll in Signature Black. I had the pattern in my stash from a babydoll I had designed as part of my final collection at university, and craved a little creativity. I posted a snap on Instagram not thinking much of it, and people were asking where they could buy it. I was still reluctant to start sewing items for the store, the feeling that you're not good enough or unique enough is always a struggle. But everything was so well received, I would of been crazy not to continue with it. 3 years on, every time I see a new image of somebody wearing one of my handmade designs I feel so grateful and proud to still be creating.

Jayne Ruffle Lingerie Set in pink
Modelled by Chloe Kerley
What’s been your favorite piece to design to date?

My favourite is my Jayne Ruffle Lingerie Set. The ruffle set is a design I've wanted to create for years, inspired by vintage burlesque lingerie sets from the 50s and 60s, it's a totally impractical set that just makes you want to dance about. When I made my first sample of the set, it was more just to finally satisfy my need for a ridiculously ruffley bra, I never expected it to be popular, but it's actually turned it to my best selling handmade item ever! Every time I sew a set I can't help but feel happy!

What’s your lingerie must have?

A sturdy and simple suspender belt! I love my Revival Lingerie 6 strap black suspender belt as it holds my stockings in place all day, it's super comfy to wear and matches with so many underwear sets.

Dress made by Abi from her blog Post Cocktail hour on her blog The Crafty Pinup

You also sew your own clothing (for your own wardrobe!) which you share over at The Crafty Pinup which is equally as inspiring. As a gal desperately trying to get into sewing (when I eventually find the time) I find this space incredibly inspiring. What made you start this separate sewing space to share with the online community?

It was last April when I started The Crafty Pinup Sewing blog, after having a busy Christmas & Valentines Day at My Retro Closet with the launch of my Jayne collection and I was feeling burnt out and like I did nothing for myself. Whilst I spent nearly every day sewing, I realised I hadn't sewn anything for myself in years. I wanted to claim back some 'me time' before I had a total melt down and dressmaking slowly became a weekly occurrence and the time I enjoyed the most. I decided to set up a blog & separate social media as I thought it would encourage me to keep up with it if I knew I'd be showing it to people. Diving into the online sewing community really helped spur me on to keep designing and taught me never to underestimate some selfish sewing time.

What has been your most rewarding experience with your business to date?

Every time somebody chooses to shop at My Retro Closet and tells me they love their new lingerie or nightwear is the most rewarding feeling. It makes all the hours at the sewing machine, drowning in ruffles worth it. I hope it continues!

Owning your own business is hard work! What advice would you give to someone who wants to take the plunge into the world of small business?

It's certainly not for the fainthearted! But sometimes you just have to go for it. Be prepared for long hours and maximum stress, but it may just turn into the most rewarding thing you ever do. 

Do you have any advice for novice sewers out there?

It really is one of those things where you just have to start somewhere. Sewing is as complicated as you want to make it. There is a great range of simple sewing patterns out there (I recently did a video about my Easy Retro Sewing Pattern Picks for Beginners here:, and there are so many helpful resources online, hopefully my own sewing pattern reviews help in their own way.  You just have to go for it.

I hope you've all loved my catch up with Abi! 

Don't forget you can find her store and blog in the places below!

My Retro Closet:

The Crafty Pinup:

I've loved having Abi on the blog and hope you have too. I'm excited to be back to bringing this segment monthly again.

Til next time darlings

Friday, 26 May 2017

Dreaming of Spring in Collectif's Maria Dress

Last weekend, I celebrated my 27th Birthday party with some truly wonderful women. I spent a fair while searching for that perfect outfit as I wasn’t sure what I wanted. I normally use the opportunity to go quite clingy and sexy but this year I was feeling like I just wanted to feel ‘pretty’. When I saw Ms Katts Kustom house was having a sale of a Collectifdress I’ve been eyeing off forever, I knew I’d found the perfect fit.

Flowers ~ Daphne Daffodils from Daisy Jean 
Earrings ~ Holly Hoops in Bright Blue Glitter from Daisy Jean
Necklace ~ Harmonious Hydrangeas Necklace from Erstwilder
Dress ~ Maria English Garden dress by Collectif from Ms Katts Kustom House
Shoes ~ No Brand

This stunning dress ended up being everything I wanted for my birthday outfit and more. I opted for the size 16 as I wanted it to fit me with or without foundations on. I've ordered from Katt before and had my new dress in hand the day after placing my order. The vibrancy of this dress really blew me away. It is definitely prettier in person and I cannot wait to wear it throughout spring later in the year. I'm normally not one to want to wear yellow but this dress has such gorgeous yellow hues I couldn't resist.

The size 16 for me was spot on in sizing, with the exception of the shoulders of this dress. I had expected this. I have very round shoulders that make wearing these sorts of styled difficult. To rectify the issue I'm going to have some shoulder pads put in to help with sit. An easy fix for a small sizing issue. The Maria is made of 97% cotton, which means it breathes wonderfully making it a great warmer weather style. The wrap V front gives a great shape an flatters the waist which I love and the sleeves help give coverage to ladies who prefer a sleeved style.

This gorgeous dress also features the same V shape at the back. For me this makes this dress that little bit flirty and makes it a versatile piece that I can wear to work as well as to an event. I had no issues doing the zip up and it stayed up which is always a bonus. Plus the lower sit of this zip means I can get myself in and out of this dress without any issues at all, which means I'm not restricted in how often I can wear it (as I don't have to make sure my partner is home to unzip me lol).

The big mix of colours makes this dress a fun one to accessorize! As the fabric is a bit busy, I opted to wear a statement necklace instead of a brooch for this look. Keeping with the flower theme I went with my Harmonious Hydrangea Necklace from Erstwilder. A dark purple belt from another dress I own gave a defined pop of colour at my waist. I wore blue hoops and daffodils in my hair to further compliment the colours and kept my shoes simple with a pair of yellow peep toe heels.

I'm super happy with my birthday dress and I can definitely see me wearing it a lot once the weather down under warms back up again! I snapped my Maria dress up from Australian stockist Ms Katts Kustom House who currently has it on sale for $115AU + postage and I got mine with afterpay. Alternatively Collectif still have this dress in stock on their own website and its listed as £60.00 + delivery (which is $104AU + international postage rates).

I hope you've enjoyed this review and its good to be back after a brief break! I've got an exciting interview coming your way next week as well as 2 reviews so keep your eyes peeled!

Til next time darlings

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Ocean vibes with Karina Dresses

I love the ocean growing up. Its honestly where my mermaid aspirations come from. I wanted to be apart of it. To learn about it. To help protect it. But sadly, life and the economy meant that dream didn't happen for me. As I grew up and moved to the city, I got further away from my beloved ocean. So when I saw the Katharine Dress in Seaglass from Karina Dresses newest release, I knew I needed to add it into my wardrobe. The pattern to me had such a feel of the ocean and its a cut that is one of my favorites. It was meant to be.

Scarf ~ Blue Nylon Scarf from Daisy Jean
Earrings ~ Holly hoops in bright blue glitter from Daisy Jean
Beads ~ Blue Beads from Debstar Designs
Brooch ~ Fun Loving Fugu Brooch from Erstwilder
Dress ~ Katharine dress in Seaglass print
The Katharine dress is a style from Karina Dresses that I absolutely love. Its high neck line makes it ideal for me to wear at work and I love the built in sash, as it means I don't have to go hunting for a belt when I wear this dress. Since the sash is made of the same stretchy material  as the dress, it can help nip the waist while adhering to your body shape which makes it friendly for all shapes and sizes. The Katharine features slightly capped sleeves too, which help change the cut of this dress from a sleeveless and offering some light cover on the shoulders as well.

With winter looming here in Australia (not that you could tell from the beautiful weather on my shoot day!) the pattern of this newest Karina dress gives a soft summer feel to this cooler time of year. Karina dresses do err on the thinner side with their fabric which makes them ideal for summer weather, but I find in winter simply adding a slip and a cardigan is enough to bring my Karina dresses to a more winter friendly warmth level.

For those who aren't familiar with Karina Dresses, they are the ultimate low fuss staple in my wardrobe. Iron free (simply wash and hang on the hanger to dry!) they are a dream to wear for the pinup on the go, they're comfort cannot be surpassed (wore mine on both ways of my recent flights to New Zealand without any issues at all) and they sit beautifully on a variety of body shapes thanks to their stretch and zip free fabric. Able to be worn with or without a petticoat to create a variety of looks, Karina Dresses come in a group of staple styles that are released in limited prints.

I’m wearing my normal size M/L in the Katharine dress and it fits perfectly. I could easily size down but prefer these dresses a bit looser for those days I just want to be 100% comfortable. For this shoot I embraced my love of the ocean and took its cues for my styling. Wearing soft pastel blues to compliment the green of their Seaglass print and teaming it with my newest Erstwilder purchase Fun Loving Fugi brooch since I have a special spot in my heart for puffer fish!

I hope you've all enjoyed this review. Karina dresses retail for $108US/$144AU + postage but honestly, they are seriously worth the money. I have a number of Karina Dresses in my wardrobe now and after over 12 months of wear they are all still going strong. In summer or when I'm having a blah day, they are my go to as they can so easily be a casual dress or something a bit dressier, depending on how you style it!

Til next time darlings!

Disclaimer: Whilst I received this dress as part of a sponsorship with Karina Dresses, all opinions expressed are honest to help ensure the most accurate information for my readers. 

Friday, 5 May 2017

Mushroom magic with Lindy Bops Jojo dress

We all have that one dress. We see it in a store. We like it but we procrastinate about it. Will it suit me? Is it right for me? What if I don’t like it? These dresses we either take the plunge and add to our wardrobes or let go with a looming questions of what if? That was what the Jojo dress was for me. It was a dress I loved the look of but I just wasn’t sure if it would look right on me. But in a moment of ‘YOLO’ I recently snapped it up when I bought another dress from an Australian store and Boy oh boy am I glad I did!

Flowers ~ Daphne's Daffodils from Daisy Jean
Necklace ~ Yellow beads from Debstar Designs
Brooch ~ Pluto Plesiosaur Brooch from Erstwilder
Dress ~ Jojo Dress from Lindy Bop
Shoes ~ No brand

I’m a new lover of Lindy Bop, as I said in my last review and I was so excited to see recently too they launched too and that its much more shopper friendly! The Jojo dress is rather outside my comfort zone. The peter pan colour, cute print and bold purple accents gave this dress a fun vibe that I haven’t really had in my closet before. I was excited to find when it arrived that the collar and sleeve accents were a lot brighter than the stock pictures showed and that the colours really POPPED, which I was super stocked about. The sleeves look a little small and I was a bit nervous to try it on (sleeves are something I struggle with a lot) but was delighted to find after I got home and pulled it over my head that the sleeves weren’t too tight and I was able to pull them on and off without any issues!

I got my Jojo dress from Australian stockist Velvet Vixens but it is currently on sale over at the Lindy Bop website. My order arrived pretty quickly and I was excited to try styling this dress as I expected it would be a challenge for me. Surprisingly it hasn’t been. This dress features the most adorable mushroom print that has an array of different colours through it. This meant that this dress is fun to style and actually super versatile with my accessories! Which I was pleasantly surprised with. This dress is made of polyester but I was surprised to find it was lined with what appeared to be cotton. This liner made it super comfortable to wear and meant I didn't get to sweaty either!

The Jojo dress features a side zip and comes with a matching belt. I have a love hate relationship with invisible zips. I’ve only had one ‘altercation’ with the invisible zip in my Jojo dress but have found for the most part the zip is easy to do up and doesn’t catch too much on the waist seam. The matching belt really helps define the waist and helps tie in the stark purple accents. I also love that I can wear this dress with or without foundations due to the comfortable sizing. Now days I do prefer to have the option to wear an outfit with either. My only real complaint of this dress is that the pockets are decorative and not real. I mean what girl doesn't love a dress that has pockets.

For this shoot I decided to play to the yellows and blues through the mushrooms. My Daphne’s Daffodils from Daisy Jean were the perfect match, along with a yellow necklace from Debstar Designs and wore my cute little plesiosaur brooch from Erstwilder! As a kid growing up I was obsessed with Dinosaurs and this little guy is one of my absolute favorites as I’ve always loved the stories of Lock Ness so this little guy holds a special place in my heart.

Sizing wise, I err between a 14 and 16 on the Lindy Bop size chart depending on the make and cut of the dress. This dress having the style of sleeves it does, I opted for the 16 to play it safe and I'm glad I did as it fits me really well. If you do err between sizes and have a bit of weight on your arms like I do, I would definitely recommend sizing up to make sure the fit is comfortable!

I hope you’ve all enjoyed this review! You can expect to see this dress being worn a fair bit once spring hits as I just adore it! The Jojodress is currently on sale too over at Lindy Bop for just £20.00/$34.90AU with reasonably priced postage to Australia! Definitely loving their new stuff that’s recently been released too and cannot wait to add some more Lindy Bop to my wardrobe!

Til next time darlings!

Monday, 1 May 2017

Summer Styling with Lady K Loves Patio Set

We all know I’m a sucker for versatility. I talk about it often on my blog. Having so many different things in my wardrobe, I like to invest in pieces I can not only wear to a variety of different places but also wear a lot of different ways! Mix and match separates are therefore very high on my list. I find them easier to swap around than a dress is and teaming them with different things can create whole new looks. I’ve never owned pieces that could be regarded as a ‘set’ though. Until I got my first ‘patio’ set from LadyK Loves and its been an incredibly fun experience.

Earrings ~ Bamboo Hoops from Ebay
Beads ~ Black Beads from Debstar Designs
Shoes ~ Tiki mauls from Pinup Couture Shoes

Based in the UK, Lady K Loves is a brand I’ve featured before and its one I absolutely adore. I’ve featured their curve friendly designs before, but this set truly is one of my favourites. The patio set is a blouse style top and skirt set, which is worn to create a ‘matching’ separates look. While my colourway is now out of make for the patio set, Lady K loves have a great V patterned summer blouse in 3 different colourways that can help create this effortlessly glamourous look. Both styles of the patio set for some reason make me think of desert terrain and after quite a bit of searching I finally found the most amazing backdrop for it!

Summer Blouse in Abstract Coral (discontinued)
Mexican Patio Pattern in Coral

The Summer Blouse from Lady K Loves is a Mexican Patio style blouse complete with ribbon and rick rac embodied V design down the shoulders and across the chest. Now while I don’t have this exact pattern, the style is the same so let’s talk comfort and fit! Honestly, I adore the Summer Blouse. Made of 100% organic cotton its comfortable, it breathes well and it can be worn with a huge variety of outfits. I love the attention to detail Lady K has gone to with this blouse as well, adding diamonte buttons (the other patterns have this too) and by stopping the buttons a bit early too it gives you the option to either tuck it into your skirt or wear it tied like I have for this shoot. A slight slit on either side at the bottom also allows for a comfortable hip fit. I’m wearing the large and it fits really well. I feel like this top would also look amazing with a high waisted shorts or jeans for more casual summer look too!

The darling skirt is the circle skirt style from Lady K Loves and it also matches their Patio Set. The Darling skirt is also made of 100% organic cotton and wears very light. Being 100% cotton I find that it can err on the see-through side, especially if you wear darker colours under the lighter colourways, but a slip or petticoat easily fixes this. For summer this skirt was amazing! Being super light and airy it breathed really well in our super humid weather this past summer season and would be amazing for any gal who lives somewhere where it gets hot and humid. 

The Darling skirt is incredibly comfortable and well wearing. It features a button and zip closure and it has pockets too! (which as a girl makes this skirt SUPER exciting!). The darling comes in coral (like I’m wearing) raspberry, turquoise and black. The three brighter colourways are also on sale at the moment! I’m wearing the large, which is a bit snug naturally atm but is fine when I lace into my corset (which in reality is more often than not now days!). I found the darling runs true to size and one I love having in my wardrobe, even if the coral colour challenges my styling skills a bit!

Keeping with the desert theme for this look, I wore one of my newest brooch purchase from Bel Air Baby. Their Prickly Pear Cactus heart brooch was the perfect addition to this look as well as being amazing value at just $12AU + postage! My other accessories I kept black to tie in with the pattern in my shirt. A black rose double from Daisy Jean and black beads from Debstar Designs kept it simple with bamboo hoops for some natural tones to tie in with my wooden heels.

The Patio set in coral, turquoise is currently on sale! With the coloured skirts only £36.00/$62Au (Save £9/$15.50AU!) and the Summer blouse reduced to £34.00/$58.70AU (save £8/$13.80AU!). The blackDarling skirt is also a steal at just £39.00/$37.30! Shipping to Australia is also only £12.00/$20.70 and has a pretty quick turnaround time too!

I hope you’ve all enjoyed this review! I’ve got some more Lady K Loves coming to the blog this month so keep your eyes peeled!

Also don't forget to enter my joint giveaway with Lady K Loves! You could win a £50 voucher! Click here to enter! (Ends 5/5/2017) 

Til next time darlings!

Disclaimer: Whilst I received this set in a collaboration with Lady K Loves, all opinions expressed are honest to help ensure the most accurate information for my readers.