Sunday, March 15, 2015

Below zero vintage style

What to wear when it's cold beyond cold, but you don't want to sacrifice style? Get your snow boots on and layer up. It was -20C (below zero Farenheit) while I was in Michigan in February, but you know, that's no reason to sacrifice style! Cosy up with layers of wool, cashmere, fur and thermals - and okay the snow boots aren't very vintage, but the snow was over a foot deep in places, so needs must.

A very different look for the same sheepskin hat / faux fur bolero combo which I wore for our engagement celebration.

The reason I look a bit trepidatious is that I'm actually standing on the frozen river Huron, and the thickness of the ice was a bit dubious as it was relatively mild weather only a few days previous. But I'm pleased to say it held.

Outfit details: sheepskin hat, ebay; faux fur bolero, ebay; wool and cashmere cableknit gloves, ebay; cashmere cardigan, Cath Kidston; thermal camisole and leggings, Marks & Spencer; snow boots, Salomon; heavy wool circle skirt, handmade by me.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Snowy Valentine's Day Engagement Shoot

Did I mention, I'm engaged! We had an engagement 'ceremony' on Valentine's Day in snowy Ann Arbor, Michigan. Although I never had any interest in being a winter bride (I like summer and warm weather too much!), the romantic setting of Island Park, Ann Arbor was like a magical winter wonderland in the snow. It was cold beyond any cold I've ever known, mind you - zero degrees Farenheit / minus 17 C on the day! It even blizzarded in the morning.

Because of various personal reasons, the engagement party was like a 'mini wedding', which meant I got to play with the winter wonderland wedding theme. However, I wasn't going to wear a white dress (first, I wanted to show up against the snowy scenery, and also I wanted to save the white dress for the actual wedding, which will come later), so it was a great opportunity to live the dream of that dress which features on everyone's pinterest. We kept the florals simple - I made my bouquet (which I LOVED) with baby's breath and pinecones which we foraged in the woods (we also had vases of baby's breath and mini pinecones around the house for the party). I won't deny, I did feel like a princess.

Outfit details: Tutu skirt, made to order Tutus Chic Originals; rubber boots, Spats; merino wool tights, Transparenze Gennifer from; gold sequin tube top, ebay; faux fur bolero, ebay; sheepskin hat, ebay seller tomdorsue; vintage gloves, car boot sale; faux pearl necklace, borrowed from Will's mother; crochet lace and sequin trim on bouquet, Tiger.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Shop my closet

I'm having a wardrobe clearout! All items are available here first, and will go on ebay later in the week. Prices exclude postage; I'm happy to post within the UK and internationally using a tracked service, at cost. All measurements are taken with the garment laid flat, and doubled where appropriate. More pics and further information available - please enquire. Best offers considered on some items.

1940s/50s nipped waist purple suit with rhinestone detailing (M) SOLD
Jacket: B 38" | W 29" | L 22"
Skirt: W 27" | H 37" | L 32"
Condition note: Tiny hole in collar, not prominent. Skirt has metal zip.

Circa late 40s day dress (L)
B 42" | W 31" | H 42"
Bodice length 17" | Skirt length 31"
Labelled "Alexander's of California Original / Hand detailed". Metal side zip.

1930s-40s sheer tea dress with ruffles, shirring and bows (S)
B 34" | W 26" | H 36"
Bodice length 14.5" | Skirt length 26"
Shown with slip (not included). Press stud side placket.

1940s black princess coat (M) - £145
B 37" | W 32" | L 44" | S 16"
See it styled here and here
Condition notes: Overall great vintage condition; a couple of pinholes in back shoulder and skirt; repair to lining and left armpit.

Late 40s Christmas check dress with awesome pleated collar and pockets (S/M)
B 36" | W 28" | H full | S 15"
Bodice length 14.5" | Skirt length 30"
Side press stud placket (small opening - I couldn't get it over the mannequin's shoulders!)
Condition notes: sewn at both underarm seams; neat repair to tear at left underarm.

50s - early 60s illusion lace little black cocktail dress (M)
Measurements to follow (estimated B 37" | W 29" | H full)
Metal back zip

Unusual red evening dress (S) - £20
B 34" | W 28" | H TBC
Length (shoulder to hem at front): 53"

White Stuff blue polka dot coat (S/M) SOLD
UK size 10 | Length 34"

Please contact me for further details on any of the above.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

A perfect between seasons coat

You already know how much I love coats and capes, but for a long time there's been a gap in my outerwear wardrobe: Every autumn and spring I remember that I have no midweight coats - my options are heavy wool overcoats or cardigans and suit jackets. So I finally decided the time had come to invest in a raincoat or classic trench.

The one I chose - back in August, in preparation for my trip to San Francisco (anyone familiar with San Francisco's infamous fog will understand the urgent need for a coat in high summer!) - was the Dietrich swing trench from Collectif Clothing. It arrived some days later, without a button - not a good start, especially with my flight only a few days away. But I phoned their customer service, and (after first offering an exchange) they sent me some spare buttons straight away, along with a goodwill giftette of a handbag mirror.

Missing buttons aside (I also had to sew on another which fell off a couple of months later), I'm very much in love with this coat. I get compliments on it all the time. And it's certainly fulfilling the brief of midweight coat, perfect for grey autumn days which are too chilly for a light jacket or cardigan but don't warrant a winter overcoat. So, score.

(I call this one "Nancy Drew and the Mystery of the Old Windmill")

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Autumn Sunrise Dress

Once Will and I decided to visit New York in the autumn, I just had to make myself an autumnal dress! I designed a two-tone dress in coral pink and golden yellow, to be made in wool crepe fabric.

But wool crepe fabric is practically impossible to find in anything other than deep colours, so I had to buy ivory and dye it. I used Dylon cold water dyes (did not want to take the risk with machine dyes on the expensive wool fabric); wool doesn't take dye very easily, so these colours are the result of soaking the fabric in the dye for literally hours - the pink was in the dye bath for about five hours. And they're still not quite as vibrant as I'd originally envisaged, although they're still lovely colours.

I used the same basic pattern as both the Happy Apples and the Ballroom Belles dresses, making adjustments to the bodice pattern. I also redesigned the sleeve piece a little - the pattern comes with two sleeve styles, a shirred puff sleeve (which I used on the Apples dress) and a simple darted style. I used the darted sleeve but added more width the pattern piece to give it extra 'puff', and added a tuck to take out the additional width at the opening, the same as I did with Ballroom Belles.

I changed the colour of the top thread in my sewing machine when I sewed the zipper placket so it's pink on pink and yellow on yellow - a touch I'm rather proud of. The dress is fully lined in silk habotai.

Overall I'm very happy with this one. The fit isn't perfect (I normally prefer my clothes to be a touch more snug), but that's okay. It's very comfortable, great for work or a day out and about.

I'm thinking of opening up the centre front seam on the bodice a little to take the neckline a bit lower, which would also allow it to open into a slightly wider sweetheart shape.

Photos taken at Planting Fields Arboretum on Long Island.


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