Monday, September 29, 2014

Oh my god I have found the luggage of my dreams!

I enjoy travel. I travel a lot. Especially being in a transatlantic long-distance relationship for the past year (sounds super glamorous and jet-set - and actually yeah it kind of is - but let me tell you it is hard. And expensive). But my luggage is, well, not exactly glamorous. I've had my little black Samsonite for going on 15 years now, and it has served me dutifully and uncomplainingly around the UK and Europe, through far-flung corners of Southeast Asia and back and forth to California. But at this point it has seen better days, and as I'm preparing to go to New York next week (oh yeah, I'm going to New York next week - any vintage-y recommendations?) I've been thinking it's about time I got something a little more, you know, me. My vintage luggage is gorgeous and wonderful, but those suitcases are heavy enough empty, and when stuffed with clothes they weigh an actual ton - and since I sadly have to travel without a butler it makes them more than a little impractical.

So - and forgive me if I'm a little behind the curve here - enter Steamline Luggage, suitcases which combine vintage glamour with the modern practicality of wheels and a pull handle.


Seriously, perfect. Yes, they do also carry quite a price tag, but since my last case kept me going for 15 years I figure I can allow myself a bit of indulgence. I might have to get one. And I might have to get some retro luggage labels to go on it.

So now I just need to decide on a colour...

Monday, September 22, 2014

Carousel

Another recently completed project, the Carousel skirt, had its official debut at our staff conference last week (quickly followed by its second outing, to Goodwood Revival).





Some notes for those interested in the construction: To draft the pattern I took a quarter circle and folded it into three. I drew in the curve of where I wanted the 'canopy' sections to fall, then traced the two pattern pieces, adding in seam allowances. I cut the canopy pieces (six red, six white), cut a template of the curve out of a cereal box, and used that to iron the curve on each piece. The canopy pieces are topstitched to the blue sections with the gold rope sandwiched between them (which was then handstitched in place). The last seams to be sewn were the vertical/radial seams to assemble the skirt. I assembled it into two half circles, then cut out the waistline, then sewed the two halves together, inserted the zip and attached the waistband. After hemming the skirt I pinned the 12 felt horse appliques and hand stitched them (I kind of like how it looks on the inside, with all the little dotted outlines of the horses!)


Friday, September 19, 2014

Anchors Aweigh


I didn't sew anything for months, then embarked on several projects simultaneously. It's actually quite satisfying working on several things at once -- when you hit a difficult bit on one project, you pick up an easy bit on another, which re-energises you to go back and tackle the hard bit. Or it does for me, at least. So I was working on three circle skirts and a dress. The first to reach completion was this nautical number, with which those who follow me on instagram will already be familiar. I made it because I wanted something to wear with my sailor sweater, although I've mostly worn it with this tattoo print top so far.


It's a medium weight cotton, the same as I used for my cityscape skirt - it's the perfect weight for a circle skirt, and although it starts out a bit stiff it softens nicely with repeat laundering. The felt anchor applique and 'rope' trim are all hand stitched in place (that's 6 metres of hand stitching, for the rope!).



Oh yeah, pink hair (and major regrowth, which I hope you'll forgive). Toying with the idea of going all pink next -- but then again I've been toying with that idea for about four years, so we'll see!


Outfit details: Skirt, handmade by me; sweater, H&M via ebay (and customised by its previous owner); shoes, Marks & Spencer; necklace, purchased in Thailand.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

So, some stuff happened

Oh, hey.

So it's been quite a year.


Met a guy, got a promotion, jetsetted between London and San Francisco, sewed a patchwork quilt, gained a niece, took up painting, watched the sunrise over Napa Valley from a hot air balloon, hiked in the Californian wilderness, hula hooped, got pink hair, embarked on Couch to 5k, made some dresses, made some skirts. I'll catch you up in no particular order, starting with a hot air balloon. Because.





Outfit details: Coat, Collectif; dress (which you can't really see so you'll have to take my word for it), Tatyana; shoes, charity shop; necklace, Favor San Francisco.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

I Collect Things

I have collections. I collect hats, and handbags. I collect buttons, and vintage stocking packages, and kitsch midcentury plastic brooches. And old suitcases (to store my collections in!) and 1940s & 50s magazines. And postcards, and photos, and papers.


And it occurred to me just now, as I sifted through my case of ephemera, that essentially, I collect other people's memories. Tiny pieces of ordinary people's ordinary lives - people I never knew. I collect the theatre programmes and bus tickets and film wallets and paper coasters and cigarette cards and tourist maps and handwritten notes and purchase receipts and greetings cards that, once, someone decided not to throw away. I collect the adventures their luggage accompanied them on (my favourite suitcase - the one on top of my wardrobe, covered with faded and flaking labels - went to San Francisco, and Hawaii, and Japan, and Australia). I collect the smiles bound up in the cheap costume jewellery kept for its sentimental value, and the potential of the buttons bought for sewing projects perhaps imagined but never started. I collect the walks in the park, and weddings, and days out, and shopping trips that the handbags and hats and gloves were worn for.

It's not just "stuff".

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Tuppence Ha'penny Goes Stateside


Next Thursday I'll be heading out to San Francisco, followed by Portland, Oregon on the 15th. Needless to say I'm terribly excited! Suggestions, recommendations and meet-ups all welcome!

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