Thursday, July 29, 2010

Big Apple Dress Progress

This is mostly a self-congratulatory post on how well my dress is going! Okay so the progress isn't that quick (1940s dress pattern instructions are not entirely intuitive), but it's progress all the same. I've picked out buttons - I started out thinking of mother-of-pearl buttons but then decided to go with the little red ones instead.

The bodice thus far is shown here on Daphne, Joanna's new dress form. I started work on the collar today. Other sewing newbies out there, would you like a total beginner's tutorial on sewing a collar?

These are the gathers I achieved yesterday.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Things the 1940s seamstress would know #56

I've finally started work on my Big Apple Dress! This is my first time working with a vintage pattern (and my first actual sewing project in about ten years). I've heard that sewing with vintage patterns can be harder than with modern ones, as they assume a level of knowledge and competence that was standard back in the day but doesn't tend to come naturally to the modern girl. The 1940s seamstress, for example, would know whether this instructive diagram shows the right or wrong side of the fabric. Three attempts later, I think I've got it the right way round! I decided to have the pleats facing outwards - that seemed best.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Importance of Good Carriage

I recently posted a 1948 magazine article on the importance of good carriage in wearing the New Look. Do you find that wearing vintage clothing improves your posture? Naturally traditional corsetry forces an upright position, but even without iron girders in my underwear I find my choice of clothing affects the way I carry myself. Wearing a hat ensures I keep my head up and my shoulders back. High heels naturally make one keep the pelvis upright and walk from the hips. A waist-cinching belt produces an awareness of the waist, which encourages me to hold my tummy in.

Sweater, Charity shop; Skirt, M&S years ago; Belt, off a 1940s dress; Air force cap, Ebay; Vintage 50s handbag, Ebay; Shoes, Yoma.

150 Follower Accessories Giveaway!

My plan of a series of mini giveaways never did pan out, so in (slightly belated) celebration of reaching and surpassing 150 followers I've decided to do a proper giveaway - yay! One lucky winner will receive:
  • A vintage beaded evening purse. The label inside reads "exclusively for Harrods". The beading is missing in places (this has been in my 'to mend' pile for ages, but clearly I'm never going to get around to it), but it's still totally useable and cute! It comes with a double-sided hand mirror.
  • A pair of vintage 50s NOS unworn embroidered cotton gloves with scalloped hem.
  • Lastly - my favourite piece - a pair of fabulous vintage Art Deco marcasite ear clips. I love marcasite jewellery almost as much as I love plastic, and this pair I picked up at the car boot sale yesterday is very similar to a pair I bought for myself a few weeks back and wore to the Vestry vintage party the other day.

To enter, just leave a comment below. You don't have to be a follower to be eligible, though of course it's encouraged (and it means you'll get notification if you win). Ooh, and if you have a blog, do leave a link to it - I'm always looking for more reading material (because the two hours I spend every morning catching up on all my blog subscriptions isn't enough haha!).

Bonus entries for blogging or retweeting with a link to this giveaway. The giveaway will close in one week, on Monday 2nd August.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunday Smoothie

Have I told you how much I love my playsuit? Worn today with victory rolls and-- why, what's this, could I possibly have fulfilled one of the items on my wishlist? I do believe I have! 'Red belt' is finally ticked off the list.

After a very dreary start to the day at the car boot, the sun broke through the cloud in the afternoon. And Matin made fruit smoothies - the perfect way to cool down in the garden. Happy days.

Car Booty

We usually go to the car boot sale at Ford - it's a good one there, always interesting for a browse, but the sellers are mainly dealers so prices tend to be quite high (although last week I picked up a vintage 50s/60s doll's wooden bed, wardrobe and dressing table for the grand price of £2). We had a lie-in yesterday and went instead today to the one at Fontwell Park, which was very succesful! There were some real bargains to be had, and I came home with a good haul for not too many pounds expenditure - definitely worth getting up at 7:30 for! I got...
  • A red enamel kettle.
  • Two clocks - circa 1940s I guess. The dark one is bakelite! I don't know how to make it work though. I plugged the white one in though and it works.
  • a pair of Midwinter side plates, which I photographed with another couple of side plates I bought at a boot fair a few weeks back that they happen to match up with pretty well.
  • A box of hankies, including these adorable days of the week designs.
  • A whole stack of vintage buttons on cards.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Liquid Liner

Up until now I've always used a felt tip liner, but the downside of those is that when it starts to run out you no longer get a clean line. So I decided to take the plunge and try out a real grown-up liquid liner with brush and everything. I went with YSL.

I really felt the difference in ease of application compared to the felt tip liner - this one requires a steady and sure hand. Which I don't have. So to make it easier I actually drew in a faint line with my (almost completely dry) felt tip liner first, then traced over it with the liquid liner brush. I love the effect - the line was clear, dark and defined, and didn't budge all night.

Vintage Pre-Festival Party

Yesterday I got the whole crowd out to The Vestry bar in Chichester for the Vintage at Goodwood pre-festival party. There was to be a prize for the best-dressed, so I made extra effort with my hair to achieve the most successful victory rolls I've ever managed - yay. The gorgeous 1940s rayon tea dress I got in a swap with dirtybirdyvintage on etsy.

Matin's look was based on a picture in a 1952 "Practical Householder" DIY magazine - having persuaded him and all my friends to dress up for the occasion, I realised I know next to nothing about vintage men's styles, so I dragged out my collection of vintage Picture Posts and other magazines for inspiration! He looked rather dapper, I thought.

In the event, hardly anyone who went to the Vestry - besides us - was dressed vintage! I was slightly disappointed - after seeing the efforts people make at Goodwood Revival, I really thought there would be more vintage. But at the same time it made me hopeful that I would win the prize for best-dressed (the prize was a ticket to Vintage, which I already have anyway so that didn't really matter, but it's always nice to receive recognition). I was nominated for the award - by Wayne Hemingway himself, no less - but I lost to a girl in 60s fancy dress. But I did get photographed by someone who works for Grazia magazine, so yay :)

The gang! Top right above and bottom right below are some of the only other people to dress vintage for the night. Irene's Mondrian dress was supplied by me from my ebay shop.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Share it with the world!

Eagle-eyed readers - at least, those who aren't subscribed to my blog in a feed reader - may have noticed the new 'share this' buttons underneath each post. It took me some hours to develop the blogger code for these and it seems a shame for all that work just to be used the once. So, in the spirit of sharing, anyone who would like to use the script (customisable with different icons and more social networks) for your blogger blog, just drop me a line and I'll be happy to help you install it.

Vintage styled adverts

With the rise in popularity of vintage, retro styling is findng its way into such mainstream arenas as TV advertising.

The series of barbie pink, early 60s styled adverts for Sheila's Wheels car insurance has been going some time.

Earlier this year Head and Shoulders launched their "don't you just love moments like these" ad featuring naughty 40s nurses.

I'm sure there are more that I can't recall off the top of my head - if you can think of any more to add, please let me know!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wishlist Revisited

I've revisited the Wishlist I made back in March, to see how much progress I've made on it. Disappointingly little (although I haven't bought much for myself lately - been feeling poor). Worse, I've added some more must-haves.

I have ticked the box for vintage swimsuit, although I don't know if I'd feel comfortable wearing it to the pool - I'd worry about the effects of chlorine on vintage fabrics. And I've been on the brink of clicking the 'buy' button at What Katie Did twice already this week, so that's only a matter of time (I want it in time for Vintage at Goodwood).

But besides that, my wishlist-fulfilment programme has been a rather sad failure so far. And there's more I want - nay, need:
  • A pink dress. So I can wear pink and red with aplomb.
  • A red sundress, so I can wear the bolero I have that's almost identical to the one Fleur wore at the Vintage at Goodwood taster event last year (my bolero was obviously part of a similar set, but the matching dress is no longer with it. I feel a plain red or stripe would do as a substitute).
  • A blue polka dot dress. I've decided to sell mine, since it's never really fitted so I rarely wore it.
  • A proper pouffy crinoline.
  • Narrow belts in pink and red.
  • Red shoes - preferably Mary Janes.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Playing Catch-up

Having bought a new card reader I can finally retrieve all the photo from my France trip. I've updated my Fields of Gold post with more photos so it now looks as it was supposed to, and I'm working on a few more.

Pink Flamingo

When I wore this flamingo dress before I was taken with the notion of getting a pink feather cocktail hat to go with it. I had in my mind something like the pink feather hat Lettice Protheroe wears in one scene of the Miss Marple mystery Murder at the Vicarage (the whole episode is available in 10 parts on youtube - the hat shows up at the end of part 8 / beginning of part 9). I browsed etsy and ebay over a period of several weeks, but never really found what I was picturing. Eventually I came across Janine Basil's designs in her etsy shop and contacted her to ask if she might be able to do a pink version of her feather fascinator (which was the closest affordable thing I'd found to the image in my head), and she said she could! So yay, now I have my flamingo hat!

Plus it can be worn two ways - the first time I wore it with the feathers pointing upwards over the crown, and this time I turned it round to have the feathers cascading downards to frame my face. Add a victory roll on the side, and that's an easy retro look.

I got the cardigan at the car boot sale on Saturday (along with various other goodies including another vintage toy tea set - this one has nursery rhyme illustrations on, so cute!) and it's just perfect. Exactly the right length to hit the waist, exactly the right size, cute little short sleeves, and just the right sunshine yellow to wear with this dress (which has a yellow tulle underskirt, but you can't see that). Yes, I love this outfit.

Mr Matin drove me out to Lavant for a little country stroll and photoshoot. It's a lane on a route he goes cycling with his buddies, and he said that whenever they go there he thinks of how much I would like it as a photo location! Just shows how far my blogging is integrated into our lives haha :) His photography skills are improving too - every shot was in focus! Hence the rather photo-heavy post...

Feather hat, Janine Basil (she's not sponsoring me or anything, I just really love her designs); Flamingo Dress, H&M via ebay; Vintage cardigan, car boot sale; Vintage glass bead necklace, can't remember (probably the attic); Pink pineapple earrings, purchased in Thailand; Vintage lucite daisy brooch, Squirrel Antiques; Vintage peeptoe shoes, ebay; Wicker purse (customised by me), Uglysanta.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

A Frolic in the Dunes

Sorry about the lack of updates lately - I mislaid my camera card reader so haven't been able to download any of my recent photos, but today I bit the bullet and bought a new one, so I can share again.


Loving my rather fabulous retro pin-up shorts! This is another of the things I had made in Thailand, and probably one of the most successful. The fabric I sourced myself when I went shopping in Bangkok's garment district, and they made the shorts to my specifications. (Which, by the way, is my top tip for getting clothes tailored in Thailand - you have to be very definite and precise in your requirements, insist on several fittings. They still probably won't get it 100% spot on, but if you're creatively challenged it's a great affordable way of getting repro vintage made to measure).

Matin took me to West Wittering yesterday for a little beach photoshoot. It was really windy (great for the windsurfers who were out), but except for my hair roll getting blown about I'm pleased with the way the pics came out.

Pin-up shorts, made in Thailand; Shirt, made in Thailand on a previous trip (but doesn't fit properly across the bust - giving me a lesson in the necessity of assertiveness and multiple fittings when getting stuff made); Camisole, M&S; Hair flower, H&M or New Look - I forget.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Who's going to Vintage at Goodwood?

Vintage at Goodwood. 13th - 15th August. I'll be there. Fleur will surely be there. Who else is coming? We could get some sort of blogger meet-up thing going on.

I also got 2-for-1 on weekend tickets, but no buddy to share it with (vintage isn't really Matin's thing at the best of times, and as he'll be fasting for Ramadan the thought of trudging round Vintage in the midsummer heat is somewhat less than appealing). So let me know if you want to come in with me on that.

I've been Storqued!

I wondered why I'd had five shoe orders come in yesterday - I thought I must have been in a particularly popular treasury or something. Joanna worked it out today - I've received the honour of being featured in Etsy's Storque, no less! How very exciting.

So I've been sewing cherries onto bows all morning - phew!

Side note, if you have had your eye on any of my shoe designs, now might be the time to order, as I'm selling out fast (in fact I think I may have already run out of some sizes - I only had about four or five in each).

Look - totally on the main page of the Storque! I'm massively puffed with pride.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

McQueen and Me

Steve McQueen and I have both hung out at the Le Mans circuit. He was filming the 1971 movie-documentary Le Mans, an action-packed adventure storyline set against and entwined with the famous 24 hour race. I was there for the Le Mans Classic event, which is a celebration of the history of the race and automobilia in general.

Anyway, thanks mainly to that movie, but also because the man was a total petrolhead who could have pursued a career in motor racing had he not gone into acting, Le Mans has a strong link to Steve McQueen. Some of the equipment used in filming the movie - which he partly financed himself - were on display at the track.

The classic event is held over a full weekend (more photos to come). I went full-on rockabilly hotrod for the day of the actual race - I was going for a chequered flag themed outfit, get it? I even attempted proper victory rolls instead of my usual single roll plus hair flower (mostly because I was forced to as I forgot the flower!). Anyway it seemed to go down well - I even got photographed by the photographer for BMW France, next to the BMW stand.

Dress, Primark via ebay; Umbrella, New Look; Bangles, H&M (I think); Belt, hand-me-down from my sister.

{Style Inspiration} 1940s Summer Frocks and Prints

Delightful summer frocks in fabulous prints! My hands-down favourite is the 'sun hats' print from 1949.

July 1943

July 1946

July 1947

June 1949

June 1949

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Paris Fashions for June (1926)

Since I can't show you any of the photos from my trip just yet, I'm attempting to keep you entertained with scans from my vintage magazine and newspaper collection (though apparently I'm not doing a good enough job - I lost a follower yesterday!). This comes from the Sunday Express newspaper, June 6 1926.

A selection of trend-setting styles from the Galeries Lafayette collection, including an "Embroidered Voile Dress" in nine colours, an "Attractive Dress" in "quaint Flowered Cretonne", a "Sponge Cloth Dress" (which intrigues me), the "Latest Style Coat", and items of lingerie. There's also a Kimono - there was a fascination with all things Far Eastern through the 20s and 30s, which saw a huge resurgence of "Chinoiserie" embroidered shawls, and it's easy to trace influences of traditional Japanese textiles in Art Deco design.

Popular colours were white, mauve, blue, yellow, salmon, coral, bois de rose (rosewood, which I imagine to be a dusty rose beige), green and fawn. Lingerie was white, coral, pink, mauve and blue.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

French Lavender

Lavender outside my brother and sister-in-law's cottage.

Fields of Gold

Playing with my brother and sister-in-law's labrador Pickle in the field next to their house in Razac d'Eymet, Dordogne.

I've had a marvellously relaxing week so far - the countryside is just beautiful, and we're surrounded by sunflower fields which have just burst into bloom.

Tomorrow we're off for a mini adventure, camping for the weekend at the Le Mans Classic.

Dress from some vintage shop in Brighton (you've seen it before); Belt off a dress I got in Thailand; Daisy lucite brooch, Squirrel Antiques.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Nautical Necklace Giveaway Winner

And the winner is...

please let me know your address and I'll get the necklace in the post to you when I get home.

The next giveaway will also start when I get back - I've got a lovely pair of Art Deco marcasite clip-on earrings up for grabs.


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