Hen parties- so what is my actual problem

I may have, on occasion, in the past been a little negative about hen parties. It’s so subtle you’re likely to not have noticed it, as is my style, but if you look really carefully it’s there.

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Hen parties seem to have evolved from a night out celebrating someone getting married to weekends (even weeks) away that involve a blend of phallic decor, tacky accessories and ritual humiliation all washed down with a generous helping of alcohol. But hey its all good fun right and no-one’s getting hurt? Aren’t they?

So what is my actual problem

Tack to trash – the first hen party I went to (which was a while ago) only the bride had a sash and a veil. Everyone else wore their normal clothes because it wasn’t about us it was about the person getting married. But now everyone is getting in the act and you have to have matching t-shirts, sashes, tutus, cowboy hats…. the list goes on. And most of this stuff will be churned out of factories in Asia, where the staff are paid peanuts and work in less than salubrious conditions. This obviously bothers me because I’m a human and my business is the opposite of fast, mass produced consumer goods. But my biggest bug bear is that cheap means disposable. What happens to the 20 sashes bought for £1 each and the tutus and the t-shirts and the hats? Are they treasured as mementos? Maybe for a little time after; but at some point you’re going to get tired of finding space in your wardrobe for that tutu and infuriated as that hat tumbles out of your closet again when your trying to find something else. They are going to end up in the bin and as most of them are made of non recyclable material – they are going to go into landfill. This makes me sad; no it makes me angry that we still haven’t got the message about sustainability. Most people seem to live by the idea that if it’s good for your wallet that’s good enough for the planet. ‘Climate change isn’t my problem’ yeah right buddy until it floods again. Some people comment that my stuff is expensive and compared to low end market stuff it is but you’re not going to throw away a £30 sash, you are going to keep it. It’s not cheap because its not disposable; its a keepsake to remind you of this amazing time. So what that you could buy 10 for what I charge for one, it’s only one person getting married. Wouldn’t it be better to make it about her and not about everyone else? And save a bit of space in landfill too.

Keep it in you pants – this the big one, this is what really grinds my goat about hen parties, its…………..willies. OK I have no problem with male genitalia, I’m not a prude but I am a feminist and things have their place, even those things. No,my issues is why has the universal symbol for a woman getting married is a penis? I for one had absolutely no reason for wanting any phallic shaped objects on my hen do, why would I? Unless that is of course that you think it’s OK to make assumptions about my sex life.Oh yes that’s right as a woman everyone should know what I’ve been up to between the sheets prior to my marriage, my sex life is public property after all. Shit I just woke up and apparently its 2017! Women are not objects and their sex life shouldn’t be something that is open to public scrutiny. That’s why I object to the penis thing, by sucking a penis straw, waving an inflatable penis around or wearing bouncy willies on your head then surely you are playing into the idea that your sex life is up for public consumption? How many times have you seen a group of lads make a bee-line for a hen party because they are seen as easy targets. I’m shaking my head as a write this as I’ve seen it so many times and it infuriates me. It’s like ‘she’s wearing a willy headband that’s consent right’? Err wrong dude.

Can we please ditch the willy thing? Over the last ten years I’ve seen weddings come so far in letting couples express their personalities and not having to conform to the norm. Let’s do the same for hen parties, let’s start stamping personalities all over them and ditch the old cliches. Be you, you are awesome.

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Steampunk Halloween bride to be sash

When I was asked to design this sash for the bride to be by her friend Steph, she told me that the bride really liked Harley Quinn, Beetlejuice, Halloween and steampunk and wanted something that could combine these things.

So back then I had no idea who Harley Quinn was so I headed off to Google and after an hour or so I had a pretty good idea who she was and that she has a pretty big fan base. She is the Joker’s girlfriend and bat shit crazy. The fact the are part of the Batman universe I decided to use an art deco style lettering associated with Gotham.

Steph opted for a Halloween inspired colour palette with main colours being purple, orange and black.

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We went for the Harley Quinn diamond shapes to mount the letters on to for the Harley Quinn element but the colour scheme really gave it that Halloween look, as it was a Halloween hen party.

The next part of the sash was the steampunk detail. I ordered some old watch insides along with some decorative cog wheels to make these elements. I used superglue to put the pieces together, which was a bit like playing craft chicken. ‘are you sure you want that bit to go there’? ‘are you really sure’?… ‘Too late’. Once I got into it though I found it very therapeutic.

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I also found out that the bride to be loved the gothic look so there was no other way to finish the sash than with black lace. I used it at the top and bottom of the sash as well as the back.

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I also had a bit of a Madonna moment

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The finished item has got to be the most Gothic Halloween sash ever!

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Wonder Woman hen party sash WINNER!

Thank you to everyone who entered the Wonder Woman sash competition. I please to announce that the winner is Emma Barnett. Huge congratulations, I will be contacting you shortly.

Even if you didn’t win I’m giving all the lovely entrants 10% off any orders you place. So there are no losers really. To place your order click here

Can’t wait to here from you

Abbie x

Wonder Woman alternative hen party sash -Hard Felt Designs

Wonder Woman Sash

Marvel-lous VIP sash

Hot on the heels of the Wonder Woman sash I had an order from the lovely Toria who wanted a Marvel themed sash for her hen party. I wanted to do something a little different to the one I had just done so I changed up the design a little bit. I also wanted to add in a back design.

For this design I chose a plain red fabric for the sash and used the Marvel print fabric for the lettering. This is a great option if you want to keep the cost of your sash down as the fabrics with licensed prints on them like comic book themed ones cost 4 times as much as plain fabric.

Marvel heroes sash

Marvel heroes sash

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The bride to be wanted to personalise the sash so I suggested having one of the call-outs at the top of her sash use her initials ‘VIP’. I also added a back design using some larger call-outs and some stars. Adding a back design will cost more but in this case was weighed out by using the more expensive fabric for the lettering rather than for the whole sash.

I do try and match what customers want to their budget as much a possible 🙂

This is definitely a stand out sash, which turned out to be a good thing as the bride wore it to the National Wedding Show in Birmingham.

HEN PARTY STUFF THAT DOESN’T SUCK

So this is my blog…….

I wasn’t sure if I should have a blog but I’ve got some great stories behind the work I do that I really wanted to share. I also hope it will give brides to be and their friends an extra bit of inspiration on how to make your hen party extra awesome.

OK so I make alternative hen party stuff, I never set out to do this it just sort of happened. I’ve been involved with alternative hen parties now for over five years in one way or another but it never really occurred to make stuff.

But one day last year I found something I had made for a shoot that had been put in a draw never to be used again and it seemed like a bit of a waste and I thought someone somewhere may like it enough to give it a new home. This was that thing….

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A black and white striped hen party sash with tattoo style letters and a few flowers. I popped something on my other Facebook page to see if anyone wanted it and my inbox exploded.

Not only did people want this one they wanted to know if I could make others. Now never being one to shy away from a challenge I replied with ‘yeah sure, what would you like’? I would worry about the tiny detail that I had only ever made one before later.

So the first order came in for a Wonder Woman hen party sash and I hit the internet looking for fabrics and materials. This was probably the biggest learning curve, trying to work out what it was I actually wanted and where to get it.

I decided to go for a classic comic book look for the sash with comic book style letting and ‘boom’ and ‘pow’ call-outs. Now confession time, I’ve never picked up a comic book in my life but I’m a huge fan of superhero TV (I’m an Arrow, Flash, Smallville, Supergirl junkie) and movies and I’m familiar with the style so I at least had a bit of a starting point.

I began by sourcing the fabric and I found this amazing print, which has proved to be really popular.

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I then began to work on the lettering, I wanted something dynamic and yellow fitted in perfectly with the Wonder Woman logo. The red thread was a bit of an accident as I didn’t have any yellow so I thought I’d try something else so I didn’t have to wait to go to the shop. As you can see it worked amazingly. My impatience wins again.

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I popped a few pictures on my personal Facebook page to show the progress I had made and to get a few opinions. I was still a bit unsure that it was going to be any good so any reassurance was good at this stage. The pictures aren’t great but I honestly thought this was going to be a one off. So I wasn’t thinking marketing.

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I took about a week to make and the finished product looked like this.

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It went to lovely Bride to Be in Scotland, Natalie, and was ordered by her friend Evelyn. She also asked that the bride’s initials and wedding date were incorporated so I sewed them into the inside of the sash. I don’t offer this service as standard as my embroidery skills aren’t up to much but it can be done if you are nice to me.

So I’m on a mission to make hen party stuff that doesn’t suck, isn’t tacky and definitely has no willies! So to celebrate this I’m giving away a Wonder Woman sash to one lucky reader. All you have to do it comment below and last date for entries is the 29th February an the winner will be announced on the 2nd March.

There are a few rules

Entrants but be from the UK mainland

The sash would be available between June-August

The sash design will be a version of the Wonder Woman sash as pictured above

You can only enter once but others can enter on your behalf.

The winner will be picked at random.