During what seems like a lifetime ago (January), we visited Seoul in South Korea. Although we were there for medical reasons, I did manage to sneak off for a few hours to the rather epic Dongdaemun fabric and craft market!

I'm not sure words or pictures can do Dongdaemun justice, but I'll give it a go. Picture a sprawling market/mall spanning seven floors and four 'dongs'/sections (A, B, C and D). Just think about that for a minute...let the sheer magnitude sink in!

Ok, have you composed yourself yet? 

This crafty heaven is overspilling with fabrics (literally all kinds) and more haberdashery items/notions than you ever knew existed. Frankly, it's overwhelming...but an absolute must if you're ever visiting Seoul.

I was dumbstruck by it all (the jet-lag didn't help) and ended up wandering around aimlessly for a couple of hours (getting very lost). I finally walked away with the three pieces of delicious rayon pictured at the top of this post, but I was particularly impressed by the gorgeous selection of jersey and knit fabrics...so much choice!

What really struck me is how meticulously tidy all the stalls are, despite their volume of stock. Many of them only hold samples and will place your order with their warehouse for you to collect within an hour or so. Here's a blog on how to buy fabric in Dongdaemun that I found useful, with a handy map and directions to boot.

I'm so glad I took on the advice here and arrived early (9:30am) on a week day, missing the crowds. You can imagine just how uncomfortably cramped the narrow aisles get at peak times!

Check out this blog for more information and pictures. Also, a MASSIVE shout out to Meg The Grand who took time to email me tips and advice based on her experiences in Seoul...I owe you one!

Have you been to Dongdaemun market? What did you make of it?

Two things of note: I don't normally 'do' cream/white or similarly light-coloured dresses and I've steered clear of polka dots since my rather cartoonish take on vintage back in 2013. For these reasons my second version of Tilly and the Buttons' Martha Dress shouldn't work for me, but it's really rocking my world!

I already waxed lyrical about Martha when I blogged about my first version and I'm fairly certain that she may well be my pattern soulmate. I love the silhouette of the princess seamed bodice with the swishy skirt, and by omitting the overtly 60s/70s accents like the mandarin collar and big sleeves, I've found a go-to shape that works well for both work and play. The retro accents are great by the way, I personally just find the dress more wearable without them.

Just like my first Martha, this one is also made from a medium-weight knit. I bought it on Goldhawk Road last year after falling in love with its waffle texture, but I really can't remember the name of the shop...as you look up the street with the tube station behind you, it's one of the very first ones on the left hand side of the road.

Once again, despite working with jersey, I wanted my dress to keep its shape and look structured, so I reinforced the waist with a hardy ribbon and didn't skip the centre back zip. Like before I cut out a straight size 4 and hemmed the skirt at the mini length, which on my petite frame is the right amount of modest.

The only thing that bugs me about my first version is the neckline. I finished it with a facing (which the pattern calls for as it's designed for woven fabrics) which I then top-stitched, resulting in a slightly wavy finish due to the ponte's thickness. Vowing to avoid that issue this time, I followed a reader's advice to under-stitch the facing instead. Sadly, the result was the same so I ended up unpicking the entire facing and simply turning the neckline seam allowance under and top-stitching...which worked a treat! 

I first wore this at a wedding a couple of weekends ago and it seriously felt like cheating. Even though I felt cute and put together, I was so ruddy comfortable...it was just like wearing the pyjama equivalent of a dress! I could have added a belt for some extra glamour, but it was hot and I was like 'meh'!

As an aside, do you wear or blog your makes first? I have this OCD thing going on where I prefer to blog my makes before their first outing when they're still looking as pristine as possible, but that wasn't the case this time. There was a mixed reaction when I raised this on Instagram, but Rachel of House of Pinheiro made the excellent point that by blogging after wearing you can give a better review of how the garment fares in the real world. 

Anyway, it's safe to say that you've not seen the last of Martha from me. In fact, the jerseys on the right-hand side here are all earmarked for future versions! I may even make it up in some slinky viscose, so watch this space.

On that note, I'll leave you with this wonderfully flattering picture of me being a brat. While taking my photos, Charlotte suggested that I might want to look happier, so I flashed her my sweetest smile...

When Portia invited me to take part in the Refashioners again, I jumped in without hesitation. 

With my adrenaline pumping, I sought inspiration on Pinterest and fell hard for the patchwork look. It seemed to be the perfect match for Seamwork's woven tee, Hayden, which I'd been dying to make for ages.

Like a total nincompoop though, I totally missed her very clear memo that this year's challenge is all about jeans.

As unlikely as it sounds, distracted by work and life, I somehow managed to convince myself from the very start that it was about denim in general. Despite her follow-up emails, related blog posts and blindingly obvious blog button, I didn't twig until it was far too late.

Nonetheless, Portia is SUCH a gracious host, that she still humoured me with a guest blog and that's just one of the many reasons she's a beautiful human being.

Find out more about what charity shop finds I transformed to create Hayden, why I paired it with my faux-quilted pleather skirt and what I think to the pattern and a boxy fit.

Also, get involved in Portia's community challenge for a chance to win amazing prizes!

You guys! Kerry and I are so overwhelmed by your participation in #VPJuly on Instagram - between us we posted over 2,250 inspirational photos to celebrate vintage sewing and fashion! It's been an absolute blast, so THANK YOU all!

Although I'm a little sad July is over, don't forget that #VintagePledge is a yearlong challenge. You can sign up by leaving a comment and if your makes on our dedicated Pinterest board you'll be in with a chance of winning brilliant prizes at the end of the year! Details on how to become a pinner are here and we'll be announcing our prizes and sponsors in September.

In the meantime, I'll leave you with a cracking round-up of #VPJuly...

Guest Bloggers

Our guest bloggers delighted us with their array of beautiful vintage makes. The links below will transport you straight to their posts, taking you back in time:



Of course #VPJuly wouldn't have been quite as exciting without our fantastic sponsors and generous prizes. Check out what they have to offer:

Bamber Sewing Machine Centre / Beyond Measure / Ditto Fabrics / The Foldline / Girl Charlee Fabrics / Love Sewing / Minerva Crafts / Remnant Kings / Sew Over It / Sewn Bristol / Simplicity New LookThe McCall Pattern Company UK / The Splendid Stitch / The Village HaberdasheryTilly and the Buttons / WeaverDee Sewing & Craft / WhiteTree Fabrics

Thanks again to everyone who got involved and I hope we can keep the momentum going until the end of the year!