Mum makes glamorous 50s-style wardrobe on a budget using bed sheets and curtains

Rosie in some of the outfits she’s made herself (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

Rosie Chandler loves 50s style fashion – but she wasn’t keen to pay the high prices of reproduction dresses.

Instead, she picked up bed sheets, tablecloths and even curtains from charity shops and made her own outfits to wear every day.

Although she had done some simple sewing projects as a teenager, she had never made any clothing.

The 39-year-old decided to dust off her sewing machine and watched countless YouTube tutorials to learn the tricks of the trade.

Armed with vintage sewing patterns and charity shop bedding, Rosie started creating glamorous looks.

Now, the mum-of-four creates clothes for her whole family, and loves that it saves money, as well as being more sustainable.

Rosie, from Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, said: ‘When you are a stay-at-home mum it really can feel like drudgery at times.

‘I really miss the days of working in offices where you get dressed up for work and I didn’t want to wear the mum uniform of jeans and a top.

Rosie at her sewing machine (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

‘In my everyday life I wear dresses most of the time, either I’ve made them or I’ve bought them from charity shops.

‘I love the glamour of mid-century fashion and even though my life and day-to-day tasks aren’t glamorous I want to feel that way.

‘I’ve always been a bit ‘extra’, I’ve always been a bit overdressed and a bit over the top and unfortunately you always get a couple of people who say “why can’t you just wear jeans and a top?”

‘I reply “because that’s just not me, it’s never been me”.’

Rosie now also make clothes for hubby Clive Chandler, 39, twins Iris and Poppy Chandler, nine, Edward Chandler, six, and three-year-old Daphne Chandler.

She dabbled in making basic items such as cushion covers on her Janome machine as a teenager but decided to pick the skill up properly in 2016.

Rosie said: ‘I sewed a little bit as a teenager very basic stuff like cushion covers,

‘I took it up properly about five years ago, when my son was about a year old, because I really needed a hobby outside of children, something to keep me sane.

Poppy, Rosie, Daphne and Iris in matching homemade dressers (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

‘I’ve always been a really big period drama fan, including TV shows like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

‘I would look at all the outfits and companies who made that kind of reproduction clothing but as a stay-at-home-mum I couldn’t afford a dress that was £160, it was way beyond my budget.’

She was inspired by a friend who ran a local sewing group and suggested she should come along and try it.

Rosie added: ‘I went along and since then just taught myself through YouTube videos. I kept working at stuff and through trial and error eventually I got to the point I can make things I’m really happy with.’

She finds second-hand fabrics and authentic patterns for a few quid in charity shops and then turns them into stylish dresses, men’s shorts and even kids’ costumes.

While she often has to be creative, she says using fabric like this allows her to experiment.

She chooses sheets and fabric she likes but says sometimes she has to line it to make it wearable (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

Rosie said: ‘It’s really nice because if you know you’ve paid £2 or £3 for a sheet and it goes completely wrong you can let that one go.

‘When you’ve paid up to £10/£15 a metre for fabric there’s a lot of pressure to get it right.’

‘I think if you’re a creative person sometimes your eye will just catch something and you can see it as another item and that’s how I do it really, I just wait for something to catch my eye.

‘I’ve made a pair of shorts for my husband from some old beige Ikea curtains, a house dress from blue flannel bed sheets and a dress made from a floral duvet cover.

(Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

‘I made the house dress from a £2 bed sheet I bought just before all the shops closed.

‘I thought it would be really nice for lounging around in at home.

‘The Babycham was made from a duvet I picked up from a charity shop that was originally from George at Asda.

‘It was thin so I bought more sheets to flatline it so it wasn’t see-through, it’s such a lovely festive print.’

Not only does Rosie get immense satisfaction from turning out high-fashion looks on a budget, but also from knowing that it doesn’t have a damaging impact on the environment.

Rosie said: ‘I’m not a fan of fast fashion and I do try and avoid it now where possible.

‘Of course I do still get the odd thing from there but with fast fashion the quality’s poor, the fabrics are poor and often after half a dozen washes things suddenly start to get little holes.

‘It’s totally exploiting slave labour in the third labour and isn’t environmentally friendly and I just think everything about that is super wrong.’

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