Friday, December 30, 2011

Poodle Sweater

I'll catch up with my Christmas Day outfit tomorrow, in the meantime here's what I wore yesterday...

One of the greatest thrills that comes in collecting vintage clothing is to match a garment with its origins, whether that's finding the vintage pattern a dress was sewn from, or a photograph taken of its original owner, or an old catalogue featuring the item.

So when I was browsing etsy and came across this cardigan I was immediately excited. I'd just been browsing the sears catalogues from in my research for a vintage knitwear post and I knew I'd seen something similar. I went back through them and found it in the fall 1954 catalogue.

As it turns out mine didn't actually come from Sears, as it has a DuBarry label and is 100% virgin wool, not Orlon, but it's in the same loopy "poodle cloth" knit, and the design is identical, down to the 3/4 length dolman sleeves with "fashionable" turn-back cuffs and three-button closure. I guess designer knock-offs aren't exactly a recent invention!

1950s wool cardigan, etsy; Blue sweater, Primark via charity shop; Gloves, can't remember; Glass bead necklace, can't remember; Wool circle skirt, made by me; Shoes, Marks & Spencer; Clip-on earrings, can't remember (car boot sale?); Bracelet, Primark.

Have you ever matched a vintage garment with its origin?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Eve

Hello all, I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! I spent it with family and no internet, but I thought I'd share some of my festive outfits from over the holiday period. This is what I wore on Christmas Eve - for the carol service followed by cocktails and canapes at my cousin's place. Last year I sported a sparkly bird in my hair, so I've decided to make wacky headwear a Christmas tradition. This one comes from my lovely fabulous sponsor, Now, Voyager.

This blouse is actually one of my first make do and mend achievements. I bought it from a charity shop oh, well over a year ago. It's a late 70s / early 80s number, but I was attracted to the asymmetrical buttoning and jabot bow - put me in mind of a 1930s look. The problem was it was completely square, and was somewhat tight on the bust and hips while bagging unflatteringly around the waist. Tucking it into a waistband didn't even fix the problem because the taffeta fabric simply has too much body to do "blousy fit", and puffed stiffly around the middle - not a great look. But I liked the details (and knew it would make a perfect Christmas outfit one day), so I made it a make do and mend challenge.

I put darts in the front and back to make the waist more fitted, but because of my - ahem - excess decolletage that wasn't enough, so I unpicked the side seams and put large diagonal darts towards the apex of the bust. This of course raised the hem in the front by a couple of inches so it doesn't match the back, but since I wear it tucked in this doesn't show.

Yes, I mixed my tartans - is double tartan a fashion faux pas like double denim? I try to avoid it, but since these are totally different in colour and scale I figured I could get away with it.

Christmas bird fascinator, Now, Voyager; Vintage wool cape, charity shop; Vintage 70s-80s blouse, charity shop and altered by me; Pencil skirt, hand-me-down from a friend; Belt, ebay; Gloves, Sandra's Vintage in Chichester; Shoes, Marks & Spencer; Clip-on carved rose earrings, can't remember.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Get The Look: Rock and Chips

Forget Mad Men, forget Pan Am. Rock and Chips is where it's at for early 60s fashion. The series, prequel to "Only Fools and Horses" is set in 1960. What I love most about Joan's wardrobe is that, being a working class girl, she doesn't have a vast collection of clothes, so you see the same garments repeatedly, combined in different ways through the series.

Here are a few of my favourite outfits from the first two episodes - I'll post more another time.

Winter Brights

1. 1950s winter white swing jacket $56.00
2. Red nylon ruched gloves $16.00
3. Mint green cableknit sweater $22.00
4. Vintage teal wool pencil skirt $15.00
5. Red leather belt $12.95

"I'm not wearing a bra"

1. Green skirt with pleated detail $40.00
2. 1950s white leather stilettoes $56.00
3. Leopard faux fur belt £3.49
4. Cableknit red sweater $15.00

Turning Heads

1. Faux fur leopard print jacket $145.00
2. 1960s Red faux leather handbag $25.00
3. Pink cableknit cashmere sweater $22.00
4. Black leather cinch belt $9.85
5. Pendleton red wool pencil skirt $35.00


1. 1970s rainbow chevron stripe skirt $52.00
2. Classic 60s white handbag $25.00
3. Soft leather cinch belt $6.95
4. Black rockabilly blouse $28.00

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Front Page News!

I'm too excited - I just got back to my computer to find my etsy views had gone through the roof, so I checked and discovered one of my record bags has been featured on etsy's front page!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Last-Minute Homemade Gifts

Another feature from 1949, this time with ideas and instructions for a variety of gifts to make. Click the picture for a larger version.

For Men:
1. Silk evening scarf with his initials
2. Slippers with travelling case
3. Windproof golfing jacket
4. Attractive holder for spills
5. Travelling photograph frame

For Women:
1. Striped pleated apron
2. Evening stole of tulle and romantic black lace
3. Feminine umbrella case
4. Frothy nightie and tie-on cap to match
5. Covered coat-hanger
6. Beribboned box of bath salts
7. Belt to fit any waist
8. Cap, neck-tie, muff in fur fabric and velvet
9. Fluffy angora bolero
10. Teenager's sequin cap
11. Spray of flowers
12. Workbox filled with cottons

For Children:
1. Thatched doll's house
2. Baby's knitted ball
3. Schoolgirl's sling bag
4. Enchanting poodle
5. Sturdy scooter
6. Glass holders for hot drinks

For the Home:
1. Lampshade for any room
2. Gay, check table set
3. Plate decorated with stamps
4. Teapot stand made from a framed tile
5. A bed tray for luxury
6. Tooth mugs for a family
7. Wastepaper basket from the backs of old books

Friday, December 16, 2011

1949 Christmas Gift Guide

Taken from the December 1949 edition of "Everywoman" magazine - I've picked out a few of my personal favourite, and I've also uploaded the full pages to my flickr.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

New and Coming Soon: Record Hats

I've created a line of upcycled record hats using vintage millinery and will be listing them in my etsy shop over the coming week or so. The hats are secured to the hair with a pair of two-pronged clips, meaning they can be positioned anyhow on your head. These embellished versions are priced between £20-30, and I'll also be listing plain versions, at £10 each.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


As promised, here are a few pics of our new home. It's not exactly what you might call a finished project, but it's already starting to feel nice and homely.

Our previous place was fully furnished, so we were basically starting from scratch when we moved. A trip to Ikea took care of the bed. The chair is 1970s and was free, from the office where Matin used to work (which has closed down - the reason for his transfer and our move to London).

Hat storage is a perennial problem, so I took a tip I'd seen on a few other blogs and hung a few of my favourite hats over the bed. I'm trying to ensure that everything in regular use is easily accessible - which brings me to my 'bedside table', a small stack of vintage vanities containing (from bottom) more hats, belts, and gloves - I'm in these on a daily basis so it makes sense to have them within easy reach (they used to be on top of the wardrobe, and I was pulling them down every day - I like this much better!). On top is my jewellery box (a recent car boot sale find for £2 - yay!), which I'm keeping in view to remind me to wear more jewellery.

We have a big built-in double wardrobe to replace the beautiful-but-tiny vintage wardrobe we used to share, so for the first time I can have all my clothes in it (except a few proper summer clothes like shorts, swimsuits and one or two sundresses, which I've packed away in a vacuum bag under the bed). I've got all my handbags in the bottom, and on the shelf boxes of hats and fascinators, and suitcases of scarves. Shoes are on a shoe rack by the front door.

And so through to the living room... Where I have a little workstation - and more hats.

After trawling ebay and the car boots for weeks in search of a formica table, Mummy found this one at the depot of a charity she works with. The atomic-y fruit bowl came from - ahem - Asda.

And here's what my sewing machine cabinet currently looks like when not in use. The record bowl of bangles will move into the bedroom once we have a chest of drawers or dressing table, but it's quite fun here for the time being. My sewing patterns and 'mending pile' are stored inside the cabinet.

That's all for now - I'll post more pictures as we get settled in!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Cherry Pie

Hello all! It's nice to be back in the blogosphere after the big move to LONDON. We're just about settled in to the new place - more on that (with photos!) tomorrow. Meanwhile here's what I've been wearing a lot lately...

I bought this little rabbit fur hat back in about July (top ebay tip, buy stuff out of season for the best bargains), along with a matching muff and purse. I think the set is actually intended for a little girl, given the size of the muff, but the hat is a perfect fit and I've been looking forward to wearing it ever since it arrived.

My 'crochet' tights are also getting a lot of wear recently - they're a great alternative to opaques, easy to wear, and a good way of being able to wear pale-coloured tights without looking 1960s (nothing wrong with looking 1960s - I've been feeling very 1960s-inspired of late - but it's not what I'm going for right now).

I've also been experimenting with this new hairstyle, which works great with this style of hat. It's basically a simple turned-inside-out ponytail, but instead of leaving it at that I just kept going, pulling the ponytail through repeatedly until it resembled a 1940s back roll, then pinned in place. Easy peasy, and (with enough pins), pretty secure.

Hat, ebay; 1940s coat, ebay; 1940s rayon blouse, etsy; Skirt, charity shop; Patterned tights, New Look or H&M; Belt and shoes, M&S.


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