Stories

Christmas Market

By Justine Tabak

Christmas Market

December is upon us and the Christmas spirit is well and truly in the air! Whilst this year our celebrations might not quite be the same as we'd have hoped, there's still joy to be found, even if it's just to 'cheers' the end of 2020...

We've been working away with our team of elves to create a special Christmas treat. Usually I would have popped-up at a few festive markets which I love as it gives me the opportunity to meet some of you face to face, but for obvious reasons that's not been possible this year. So we decided to arrange a table in the garden and create our own virtual winter spread of festive treats for our Christmas market online! In here you'll find some seasonal specials, some very limited editions made in end of roll fabrics, and a new line of accessories using every piece of cloth that we could find in the workshop. We love our new reversible 'pocket bag', bow-utiful hair sash and splendid 'scrap' scrunchies which make perfect stocking fillers or a gift especially for you! 

And for 'dressing up' season, we have introduced a 'glamour linen' red dress for dancing round the kitchen, a couple of 'woodland print' Pimlico dresses, and a black watch prairie dress that will take you through the holidays and beyond. 

Limited sizes available, and once they're gone they're gone. Have a browse around our stall, no social distancing required...

Warmest wishes, 

Justine x

Visit our Christmas Market! 

Just three of these Pimlico dresses in the 'Forest Floral' design.

And here in the limited edition 'Woodland Floral’ patchwork. A dress is not just for Christmas...our best selling Pimlico dress has been made in a couple of limited edition prints'... both are made in 'deadstock finds' so very limited in quantity.

Practical Glamour. It doesn't get more festive than a red dress at Christmas, here Daisy wears the Poppy Linen Prairie dress.

    

We had just a few metres of blackwatch linen left, so we whipped up just two unique Somerset Prairie dresses...

Tartan Twist. A new take on tartan for the Inverness dress, made in a beautiful limited deadstock check.

And some little stocking fillers...... our new limited-edition accessories have been made from left-over pieces of fabric when we cut our dresses. Introducing our richly ruffled scrunchies, tartan stretch hair sash and a very useful reversible ‘pocket bag’. 

We have saved our scraps and turned them into lavish scrunchies. Wider than regular scrunchies to create a sumptuous hair tie. Two scrunchies in every pack, one tartan and one floral to suit your mood.

We found a vintage sash which works perfectly as a hair band in our leftover tartan. With a touch of stretch, this fabric fits snuggly without slipping and can be tied at the back, front and side. Beautiful in a bow or tied casually around a favourite bag.

Although we are known for dresses with pockets, we have created this wear everywhere ‘extra pocket’ when a little more room is required. This useful bag, has enough space for a mobile, keys, passport, specs and a good amount of loose change. Not too outdoorsy to wear at home and practical enough to wear on a walk to the park. Reversible with a secure drawstring to close, choose tartan or floral cord to match your mood.

*Stop press! We have low stocks of our cosy Scottish knits left and special edition print cord Mill Town dresses. Take a peak and see what you can find ...

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Winter Knits

By Justine Tabak

Winter Knits

My it's a bit nippy out there! Winter has definitely arrived and I'm ready to wrap up warm. Life in lockdown seems an endless rota of walks and home hibernation, and with mood lifting clothes even more important, I'm pleased to say that all of our Scottish jumpers and cardis have finally arrived in stock... hurrah! A massive thank you to all those who waited patiently for pre-orders, it's been a tricky time for our knitters in these socially distanced times.

This week some of our knits took a trip back to Scotland, to the beautiful Water of Leith. This is where our fabulous intern, Java, took her friendly household on a wintery stroll around the woods, layering up our favourite knitwear over a few of our trusty dresses. We've had to think of new ways of showing you our 'lock down looks' and thank you Java, Poppy and Nieve for braving the cold, you did a great job!

Hope you enjoy the photos, all these styles are now in stock albeit just a few left.

Time to snuggle up with a cup of tea!

Justine x

Poppy wears the salmon fair isle cardigan over the gingham linen Arundel dress.

Nieve wears and silver grey Stornaway jumper over our soon to be released olive floral cord Mill Town dress (watch this space!..)

Poppy and Nieve wear the Fair Isle Wool Lewis Jumper, named after the beautiful Hebridean island. The flecked yarn used here is super soft, a keeper of a modern classic.

And we have a few more cosy knits left in the collection...here the Stornoway jumper shown in teal green...

Our shorter 'Teddy' knit is the cuddliest in our collection with a softly brushed surface and comes in fresh emerald green and nutmeg brown...

   

The mariner jumper, made in navy lambswool, is knitted with a rich cable pattern. a classic jumper to be pulled out year after year.

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Autumn In Bloom

By Justine Tabak

Autumn In Bloom

Here we go again! With last week's lockdown, it didn't feel quite right to start talking about floral dresses, and first and foremost my thoughts are with you all. Whatever this lockdown means to you and the challenges it will bring, I'm sending love and positive affirmations from my team to yours that we will again get through this together.

In the meantime, I thought this weeks newsletter should focus on the simple joy of Liberty florals to lift the spirits. There is no better a time to cheer yourself up with a comfortable, floral dress. These easy fitting dresses are perfect for layering up with a knitted turtleneck or long sleeve t shirt in the colder months. The loose fitting design also makes them the perfect dresses for feeling fabulous and comfy when working at home.

As a thank you all for your support throughout this year, we're sharing a 10% discount on our beautiful Liberty print dresses till the end of the month. I know most of you have used your original introductory code, so hopefully this will help to lift the spirits one more time. Simply use AUTUMNINBLOOM10 at the checkout.

Justine x

The Alpine Riding House dress is a nod to the 80's with its square neckline and 'leg 'o' mutton sleeves. Made in a classic Liberty print in wintery hues of greys and neutrals.

Our easy fit Mimosa Camden Passage dress is our all season style. It features a tiny ruffle edged neckline that can be worn open or closed and deep side pockets for ultimate comfort and ease. Worn here with our Fair Isle cardi and roomy enough to wear over a tee.

  

We love this comfortable and easy dress with the soft 'embroidery' design which runs across the deep green ground colour, perfect with layers and boots in the cooler months or without in spring. A dress for all seasons!

The 'Woodstock Floral' print brightens any autumnal day with its  swirling, 70's inspired bohemian print. Our shorter style is the perfect dress to pair with boots, tights and a thick knit for town and country.

All weather dressing. Layer up over fine knits, thermals and tees in the winter. Cool and simple with trainers or sandals in warmer climes or that long awaited holiday next year!

Zoom calling?! Still as beautiful as ever, the meadow print Camden Passage dress has the perfect balance of prettiness and simplicity for working from home. Thrown on and effortlessly put together!

And finally, by popular demand, we have re- introduced the Sissinghurst print back into the collection, just 10 dresses made in these wonderful Autumn blooms. Please note, the cuff detail this time around has been changed to the easier elastic cuff of the Camden Passage style. A made with Liberty beauty.

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How to help you size!

By Justine Tabak

How to help you size!

I hope all well with you and you're all enjoying some simple pleasures despite so many lock downs across the country. At least, the colours of Autumn are bringing some cheer to us all.

This weeks newsletter is focused on our sizing. As a small business it is so important to make sure that when you order one of our dresses, it fits right the first time. Buying online has the benefits of ordering from your home, but of course, nothing beats the real feeling of trying on, so we have done a considerable amount of work these last few months to help you decide which size should suit you best.

We have decided to categorise our shapes into three different fits; Neater, Regular, and Easier. It's not an easy task as we all know that one size really doesn't fit all but we do hope these descriptions  help in some way to describe the fit and the feeling of a design.

As a reminder, we make all our styles in a S, M and L with the addition of XS and XL in our more popular styles. As we are making small quantities each time, it's hard to spread the sizes through, so please bear with us as we gradually 'grow up and down' in future collections. What is worth noting is that in general, we cut quite generously so if you are between sizes, I would suggest to size down, especially in the looser styles.

Love
Justine x

Excuse the photos!...me against 'the useful wall' at the end of the street! We just thought simple is best when trying to show fit...I will be downloading videos of the various styles and fits on Instagram stories very soon.

NEATER FIT : Our neater fit is cut closer to the body, fitted to skim your natural curves whilst still providing room for comfort.

REGULAR FIT : The Regular fit is my classic cut with subtle definition, still providing freedom of movement.

EASIER FIT : This cut is looser and easier, free styling without looking shapeless.

Body measurements

We have included a measurement chart in here but I am not expecting any of you to be exact to this! For example, I am photographed here wearing a Size Small. My measurements are bust 88cm, waist 74cm and as a 'classic English pear' hips coming in at 99cm so overall my measurements come closer to a Size Small or upper end of a size 10. Generally speaking, my dresses are more 'free' on the hips so you will most likely find the main measurements to check are the bust and the waist!

How to measure yourself :

  1. Measure around your bust at the fullest part, wearing your regular bra.
  2. Measure your natural waistline, the narrowest part is usually 6-8 cm above your belly button.
  3. Your hips should be measured around the fullest part of the hips

Garment Measurements

Each product will have a description of how a style fits in the product description on the website with a measurement chart of the actual style to assist you. Garment measurements may have slight variations due to our handmade production but we hope this will help you make final decisions and will show how tight or loose a garment is compared to your body size.

Between sizes?

We are finding that most of you, when exchanging, are sizing down. As we cut a little freely and generously than the regular High St, we would generally 'size down' if between sizes. In the same breath, if you like to wear clothes more generously, please keep to your regular size or even size up. Our fabrics are natural with linen having the most 'give' whilst our cottons tend towards the more 'stable'. Some of our deadstock fabrics include other fibres and occasionally 'stretch' which will always give a little bit more.

I do hope you find this useful. Remember, if in doubt and you need advice, please do contact us at support@justinetabak.co.uk

Warmest autumn wishes

Justine xx

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The Daily Dress Edit Pop Up

By Justine Tabak

The Daily Dress Edit Pop Up
    

 

This weeks newsletter is simply a huge thank you to the wonderful Isabel Spearman, 'dress princess' and founder of the Daily Dress Edit. It's been a tough year for all, but Isabel has been a force for good, supporting small independent designers at her first Autumn Pop Up.

The Daily Dress Edit was dreamt up by Isabel in 2018 on a bit of a whim. One of those middle-of-the-night ideas that came about for the love of a good dress and the endless range of new discoveries available on Instagram. Isabel loves to champion independent homegrown labels and last year she discovered Justine Tabak and has loyally supported my brand ever since.

Isabel's DDE Pop Up on Elizabeth Street, Belgravia, London  is open for just three days more. By appointment only, despite strict social distancing, Isabel and her team will make you feel as warm as toast in her dream shop of golden autumnal tones. A  space full of beautiful dresses awaits to lift your spirits all winter long.

We feel honoured to have taken part in such a wonderful experience.

Warmest wishes

Justine x

   

We had such a wonderful evening visiting Isabel at the Pop Up. The dresses all looked beautiful amongst the vibrant interior of the shop. I shared a distanced smile with Isabel whilst Chloe sits pretty in the Rose Tartan Riding House Dress.

The flowers literally glowed with colour on our visit to Elizabeth Street. Dahlias care of @mccormickcharlie

The Toffee Pimlico Dress was a special edition dress created in collaboration with Isabel. We have been overwhelmed with orders for this dress! We've sold out on pre-orders for this style but are looking to create a new batch, if interested please email support@justinetabak.co.uk to join the waitlist.

Our own Brown Tartan Pimlico Dress is now sold out!!! But we are hunting for more fabric, so watch this space!! Again please do email support@justinetabak.co.uk to join the waitlist.

The Cornish Blue Corduroy Market Dress is the perfect, practical dress for working at home. We are currently making more with a few left in stock for immediate posting.

A rich mix of golden walls, velvety furnishing and bursts of florals reflect the dresses in store at 25 Elizabeth St, London SW1W 9RP

Closes 17th October 2020, to book an appointment go to dailydressedit.com

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Garden Of Eden

By Justine Tabak

Garden Of Eden

On an almost-warm day at the start of September, me and my trusty team gathered in a socially-distanced manner to shoot the latest collection. After months of hard work during a very challenging time for all, what a treat it was to work together and see the collection take shape in the most beautiful of surroundings. This season we had the pleasure of shooting within the gardens of Emma and Anthony Burrill, with just enough sunshine and under a blue sky before the seasons greyed for good. 

Emma, garden designer extraordinaire, created her garden from scratch just seven years ago when their family moved to Kent.
With her instinctive creativity and green fingered flair, Emma has designed, planted and nurtured her very own garden of Eden. 

Here we meet Emma as she talks us through her garden, and we share a few photos from behind the scenes at the shoot. 

Take it away Emma ...

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got to where you are today. 

"I originally studied Photography at the Royal College of Art and went on to work commercially as a photographer and illustrator for about 15 years in London. I moved back to my home county of Kent 15 years ago and began a diploma in Garden design, an RHS horticultural course and began volunteering at Great Dixter Garden. I am still there 14 years later!"

Can you tell me a little bit about the development of your garden? What did it look like originally and how long ago did you plant the current landscapes? 

"When we arrived here seven years ago the house was a 1970’s conversion of a victorian granary building, with a collection of dilapidated outbuildings. There was no garden to speak of but a mass of overgrown willow seedlings, paddocks and a lot of blackthorn scrub. We spent the first two years clearing the site and rebuilding the house. The old stables were demolished and we built our studio on the same footprint. I drew an overall plan of the garden when we began the project and each year we add a new element slowly building the larger picture. In our first year we planted 550 native trees as part of a woodland trust scheme and a cobnut platt designed on a traditional off set grid. In order to divide up the space and make sense of the huge open area I began to plant a series of hedges using the sight lines of the house and existing landmarks to connect the indoor space with the garden and wider landscape. Over the past 3-4 years we have added the borders, prairie and orchard."

    

When did you first discover your love of good gardens? Have you always had a green thumb? 

"I have gardened all my life and have always felt happier outdoors than anywhere else. My parents were keen gardeners and from a very early age I had a small patch to grow easy plants like marigolds and sunflowers although my favourite were always the tiny blue flowered speedwell, a weed that covered our lawn."

"As a child I created a nature table in the garden shed to display my collections of feathers, abandoned birds nests, pebbles and bones. I think my love of collecting and curation of those items developed into my love of arranging and designing in both the house and garden."

Where did you take inspiration from, are there any garden designers, gardens, artists that have influenced you here?

"Garden designers that have inspired me over the years are those who work with biodiversity in mind to create beautiful natural wild plantings. I love the contrast of formal structure and straight lines with an overlaying wild and natural planting. Designers such as Dan Pearson, Tom Stuart-Smith and Piet Oudolf are at the top of my list for the inspiring and naturalistic gardens they have created."

Can you describe some of the plants you've chosen to plant and why you like them?

"As I love a natural and slightly wilder look to my plantings I use a lot of grass varieties particularly Miscanthus Sinensis and our native Deschampsia Cespitosa mixed with perennials that not only fit well in a natural style planting but have a long season of interest. I look for plants that are just as attractive in death as in full bloom, the borders stand till mid-February so the plants have to look good till then. One of my favourite areas is the Prairie which is viewed from the studio. It has a very wild feel, but is filled with colour and once the colour fades the grasses and seed-heads stay all winter till we cut it all down in January. It is pretty low maintenance and even some weeds are welcome!"

    

A massive thank you to Emma and Anthony Burrill for letting us shoot within their beautiful garden, I couldn't have asked for a more idyllic location. As always, a huge thank you to my dream team; here's to hopefully many more collections and shoots to come! 

Justine x

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The Kerry Dress

By Justine Tabak

The Kerry Dress

Hello lovely subscribers,

In a week of bad news, I felt the need to write about positivity and community. The best thing about 'being small' is the 'family' of makers that you work with and genuinely get to know so I'm excited to highlight our Kerry dress in linen made by world renowned Emblem Weavers. 

Way back in March, just pre lockdown, we met with Stephen to talk linen weaves and checks. We have been working with his company, based in Ireland for the last three years and I always look forward to looking through their cloth selection at a local textile fair. As we looked through gorgeous ginghams and wholesome stripes, Stephen surprised us by saying we could make our own tartan design, so taking the opportunity, we set to task, sketching out, picking yarns and blending colours...all within the space of half an hour! The Kerry check, named after it's Irish provenance, was born.

Our dress fabric has a beautiful aqua ground with warps and wefts of navy and chocolate, ecru and straw ; glowing like the sky streaked with warmer autumnal tones, a rustic check to layer up with boots and knits for winter. We love linen all year round for its natural feel and weighty texture.

For the style, we kept to our favourite easy shape adding a simple ruffle at the neck, and a shorter tiered hem. 

Alas, the pandemic meant we couldn't meet up again, so the next time we saw the linen was when it was delivered to the studio, but Stephen kept us posted of its progress with a stream of photos and videos.

We have been overwhelmed with the high demand for this limited edition dress and have sold over half of them already! Luckily, Stephen has come to the rescue and he is busy weaving a new batch at his family run mill. It's good to know your friendly makers.  

Thank you Emblem Weavers and thank you all. It's been an extremely busy week with the launch of the new collection. Apologies if you're still waiting, it's been a bit of a catch up this year, but new stock coming next week and we appreciate your patience. 

Justine x

We were lucky that we began designing our tartan before lockdown hit... however we still had to fine tune our yarn colours digitally!! A difficult task but one that opened our eyes to 'the new normal' in our design process...

We have carefully designed the tartan in hues of aqua blue and brown, perfect for every season...

On the looms at Emblem...

Our linen is sustainably made using European flax, needing rainwater alone for growing and no nasty pesticides. It's the perfect, comfy cloth to wear all year round, keeping you cool in the summer and warm in winter. Here, we paired the dress with a gorgeous pair of velvet winter boots.

    

Practical and pretty. The Kerry dress has deep pockets, an easy fit and elasticated sleeves...

The delicate ruffle collar adds a romantic touch while the tiny hook and eye fastening on the neck. Wear closed, open or over layers...

 

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Cottage Core

By Justine Tabak

Cottage Core

I hope you've all been managing in this topsy turn weather, a scorcher all week but now as I write this, it's bucketing down! We're busy working on the new season, which I can't wait to share with you in the next few weeks, but in the meantime wanted to share our newest discovery: cottagecore. We were recently approached by a newspaper to provide some of our 'cottagecore' styles and I had to admit I'd never heard the term before so it was worth looking into it a little more and indeed it turns out we have the aesthetic wrapped up well in our easy comfortable styling.

The Urban Dictionary describes the movement as such:

"A niche aesthetic based around the visual culture of an idealised life on a farm. Common themes include sustainability, gardens, farm animals, rural living, and nature."

Whilst on one level this sounds a little too romanticised, our penchant for a prairie dress, everyday prettiness in natural fabrics with an appreciation for craft and comfort certainly puts us in the realms of this new trend. This week we had some fun gathering our favourite photos plus a few new shots (in my tiny garden!) to celebrate our accidental inclusion in this trend with our version of 'cottagecore'. Think gingham girls, romantic florals and wholesome dresses; in a meadow or the garden, country or city.

And to all my 'cottagecore' followers out there, I'm offering a secret subscribers discount of 20% off some of my more summery styles shown below. After all, my cupboards are starting to look a little bare and I need to make way for more cosy cottage styles coming soon..

For two weeks only. Use the code 'COTTAGECORE20' at checkout to apply your discount.

Whilst trends come and go, we'll be wafting through the seasons for many years to come!

Justine x

You can't get any more cottage-core than our Frome dress shot in the 'countryside' of Hackney Marshes! Perfect for any last minute weddings, events or worn with trainers for a comfy day at home...

Blue stripe linen in our Poets Road dress in deadstock Irish linen, best worn with sunshine (but we'll take what we can from the weather!)

    

Gingham both inside and outside. The red Primrose Hill dress on the left and tonal blues gingham Whitstable dress on the right. Just a few left in either...    

    

Dreaming of endless walks through the woods in our deadstock check Field dress... the perfect dress to wear for a weekend escape from city life, or just for blackberry picking on Hackney marshes like me last weekend!

    

@wearsmymoney matching her dress to her flowerbeds, and @melissa.hemsley cooking up a storm. Navy broderie anglaise, a firm favourite in our classic Primrose Hill style. 
Indira, who worked with us before taking up teaching, in the broderie Primrose Hill dress.

    

Picnic ginghams and baskets full of cooking apples!

    

Java, our intern for the summer, wears the red Primrose Hill dress using the sash to mix up her look; wear as a headscarf, or bow round a pony tail and I've even heard to use as an emergency mask!

Daisy looks oh-so-cottage-core too wearing her belt as a headscarf, and the always-beautiful @cakeandmoss wrapping us up below at her local farmers market...

P.S. Whilst this dress has been sold out for quite some time, I just couldn't resist adding this image of @renatelarssen with her beautiful matching floral crowns! Perfect dreamy cottagecore living!

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