Well my friends, have I been having fun or what? I have just returned from the awesome Bestival, on the Isle of Wight, for a 4 day knee’s up in sunshine. In this post I’m going to talk to you a little bit about fashion and some garments I made especially for the festival, but also mention some of the areas of the festival I really enjoyed and performances I rated. I usually keep my blog strictly about sewing, but in this case it seems right, not only to set the scene, but also to pay respect to all the amazing creativity I witnessed over the weekend. If you’ve been to a festival before, you’ll already know that each festival feels unique, and creates an atmosphere unlike anything else. If you’ve not been to a festival before, I urge you to read on and if you like what you see consider going to one next year (Invite me!). They have so much to offer, and are magical places where you get the chance to relax, connect with people, have a good time and often have your own little epiphany.
After the August we had in the UK I was planning on filling my festival backpack with fleeces, hoodie tops and waterproof jackets. That was until I saw this:
3 days of September Isle of Wight sunshine. What a gift. The race was on to create a handmade festival wardrobe I could proudly strut my stuff in. I already had a couple of jackets prepared, including my tape cassette jacket, and African print blazer, but I wanted a few other pieces to go alongside them.
I had a shopping trip planned to Leeds markets with some other sewing bloggers from the local area, so I used this opportunity to pick up some fabrics/items I could use to make some garments to loosely fit within Bestivals ‘Desert Island Disco’ theme. I had wanted to find some nice fruity prints, and go as a pineapple or something, but I couldn’t find what I was after. Instead I just picked out a couple of bold colourful prints that caught my eye, and some translucent water like fabric that shimmered under the light. I also had a reason to purchase some plastic flower garlands, birds on a sprig, and a couple of critter magnets.
Make 1: Tilly and the Buttons Clemence Skirt
I had recently received ‘Love at First Stitch‘ by Tilly Walnes as part of a subscription offer to Love Sewing Magazine, and the book really came in handy when making my festival garments. Most of the patterns in the book are simple enough to complete in a day, and as I needed something quick I decided it would be the perfect opportunity for me to give it a test drive. I only had just over a meter of the digitally printed colourful embroidery print, and worked out that I could just about make a Clemence skirt from what I purchased. Cutting out the skirt was simple, and consisted of cutting out 3 rectangles for the skirt, and then 4 narrower strips for the waistband. I just drew direct on to my fabric. No pattern needed! I won’t go in to much detail as it’s a lengthy post, but it’s a simple gathered skirt, with an interfaced waistband, and zip fastening. I used French seams which were perfect for the floaty, lightweight fabric. The final skirt ended up a little big, but it’s comfy to wear and great to dance in.
Make 2: Tilly and the Buttons Lilou Dress
I loved the geometric print on the bright poly-cotton I purchased from the market. I knew I wanted to turn it in to a dress and Tilly’s Lilou dress seemed a fun and informal pattern that would look great in my fabric choice. The book provides ideas on how to make it your own, and one suggestion is to add a scalloped neck line which I spent ages labouring over to get it as neat as possible. I’m really pleased with the result, mainly because I managed to get this dress done in a day. Given the toddler watched a lot of cartoons that day but I did manage to feed him so it’s not all bad. The best thing about this dress is how comfy it is to dance in. So comfy I even fell asleep in it at 5am after having an entertaining evening listening to Beck, Toddla T, The Tune-yards and a Prince themed set from Bestivals curator Rob Da Bank.
Make 3: Simple fairy skirt
This was just a really quickly thrown together item to brighten up an outfit I had. I’d worn it twice before taking this photo so it’s a bit raggedy now, but I wanted to show you anyway. I started with a big square of the shiny blue fabric, and cut a large circle in the middle for the waist to go. I then turned the fabric over and sewed a tube so that I could thread some ribbon through to tie and gather as the waistband. I then cut and attached some strips of cotton to add in some more colours. I knocked this up in about an hour, and it’s a really great one to do for kids.
Make 4: Anchor print leggings
Now I haven’t attempted to make leggings before but how hard could it be? I pulled apart an old pair which had seen better days, and used it as a basis for my pattern, adding a little extra as seam allowance. I sewed up the seams, overlocked to finish, and added the old elastic to the waistband of the new leggings. I hemmed each leg with 2 rows of stitching, which I think I’ll try a double needle on next time round for a more professional finish. I completed this during an episode of the great British bake off, so an hour pretty well spent. I earned my sea legs!
Make 5: Shell hair clip
I just threw this together to make something exciting yet easy to put in my hair. It’s a spray painted shell I glued some fabric and a hair clip to.
My favourite part is obviously the crab, whose legs wobble as you move about, and I wasn’t the butt of any crab related jokes. Win.
My handmade Bestival wardrobe
I can proudly say that I had something handmade to wear each day. Considering I churned most of these garments out in a couple of days, I was mighty proud of my efforts, and I proved to myself what is achievable in a few hours. Still, it was nothing compared to the effort some people went to!
Fun n footloose festival fashion
Festivals give you the opportunity to really go for it when it comes to fashion. Anything goes, nobody worries about looking stupid and that is a liberating feeling for someone in to making clothes. I really enjoyed witnessing this freedom of expression at Bestival, and how people choose to dress themselves when there are no rules. In the real world, women can usually get away with a lot more variation in terms of colour and style in their wardrobe, but men seem a more constrained within conventional combinations and rarely do we get to see themselves let loose with their clothing. At Bestival the men were as colourful and extravagant as the women, and it was exciting to see them embrace the opportunity to wear what ever they wanted without judgement. Sequined crop tops, shiny leggings, dresses, I wish I had more photos to show you just how good everyone looked, and how happy it made them.
Bestival 2014 photos
Some visual delights I managed to capture before the power went on my camera.
Bestival – My top musical moments
Was delighted to see Bonobo (who played with a full live band) after being a fan for so long, and he didn’t disappoint. Stunning atmospheric electronic music which does everything when it should, beautiful and unpredictable to listen to.
Basement Jaxx make excellent dance music. Bouncy, happy, fun and energetic. Given most of their hits (there are many of them!) are almost 10 years old, but their set was one of the freshest I heard all weekend. Hearing them play ‘Where’s your head at’ whilst thousands of revelers sang along was definitely my highlight.
A small group I stumbled across on the first day, who were the perfect introduction to the festival. They expertly spliced reggae, drum n nass, dubstep, jazz, house disco and funk into a delightful menagerie of upbeat sounds that made everyone there get loose. At the end of the set they announced they were from Leeds and it was a proud moment. I’ll definitely be seeing them again.
No I didn’t get tickets to see Kate. Yes I am regretting it now. But seeing Fake Bush has softened the blow. A fantastic tribute act whose informative interludes between songs were as entertaining as she was. Fake Bush didn’t just try to emulate Kate, by respectively paid homage in her own quirky style. Almost cried when she played Wuthering Heights cause I’m a massive softie. Kate was only 18 when she penned this timeless classic.
Chic – Feat Nile Rodgers
True. I once went to a festival with disco inferno written across my face, so it is of no surprise I whole heartedly enjoyed seeing disco legends Chic live. The big surprise to me was how many songs the legendary Nile Rodgers had written for other popular artists, and alongside their well loved hits we were treated to his versions of ‘Get Lucky’(best known by Daft Punk), ‘Lets Dance’(more commonly known by David Bowie) and ‘Like a Virgin’ (Madonna)
The first time I saw Kate Tempest was in 2009 at The Secret Garden Party, and she completely blew my socks off. She performed in a tree house, and all the lights had stopped working, so I had to shine a torch on her whilst she delivered her poetry. It’s a memory I’ll never forget, and since that point I’ve told everyone about her who’ll listen. Over the years kate has grown as an artist, and at Bestival she performed her new album, Everybody Down, which is a concept album of twelve ‘chapters’ telling one long, inspired story. She has also just been nominated for A Mercury music prize, well done Kate, we love you!
Phew, that was a really long post!
Hope you enjoyed looking at the photos, which really only portray tiny snippets of 4 days of fantastic entertainment. I felt inspired. Everywhere around you were gorgeous clothes in unusual styles, and I’ve got a list as long as the queue for the showers for garments I want to make. Festivals make you want to live more colourfully, and I’d like to bring some of these elements and added wackiness in to my future makes, and create some really bold statement pieces. What a fantastic end to the summer, Maybe see some of you there next year?