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.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Ice skating at Rockefeller Center

We both love ice skating, and the iconic Rockefeller Center rink just opened for the winter, so on our final morning in New York we took to the ice.




Top tip I picked up from Sadie of The Vintage News, a modern cardigan worn backwards is a perfectly vintage style back-button blouse! Plus it totally solves the problem of button-gape. Two pieces of modern knitwear which had been languishing in my wardrobe have found a new lease of life since I came across this genius idea - they've barely been out of rotation in weeks!


Outfit details: Cardigan, Boden via charity shop; skirt, handmade by me; gloves, vintage fair I think?; beret, Tesco (!).

Saturday, October 25, 2014

New York High Line








Outfit details: Jacket, Red Light; sweater, Boden via charity shop; skirt, made by me; handbag, charity shop; shoes, Office.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Pumpkin picking


I cannot TELL you how excited I was for my first visit to a pumpkin patch. We don't really have them - not in the same way as America has them. All the years I've spent envying the pumpkin patch photos of scrapbookers and pinteresters...


So when we took a day trip to Long Island, pumpkins were high on the agenda. The pumpkins at Schmitt Farm did not disappoint. It was brilliant, and we went on the hayride and everything. And the size of those things! "Look!" I'd exclaim, "giant pumpkins". And he'd say, "no dear, those are just pumpkins".




Outfit details: Dress, handmade by me (blog post coming soon); Celluloid leaf earrings (worn as dress clips), ebay; Jacket, Red Light Clothing Exchange in Portland; Shoes, Office; Bakelite and plastic bangles, various; Earrings and necklace, gifts from my sweetheart.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

New York New York


NEW YORK!!! Can you believe the hotel didn't have free wifi so I'm only now catching up with my blogging from my NY trip last week.

Oh yeah, also I have pink hair now.


Some of you who follow me on instagram have already seen my new pink hair (a little windswept in these pics from the boat trip!). I can't tell you how much I LOVE it! I've wanted pink hair ever since I saw the ethereally beautiful Marianne go pastel pink, oh, ages ago. Some of you may recall I put a in pink streak last year. My pink obsession was reignited when the fabulous Gertie went pink, followed by the equally awesome Gemma. I got a pink streak put in in August, and loved it so much I decided to take the plunge to coincide with both Breast Cancer Awareness month -- and my trip to NY.


Anyway, back to the matter in hand, NEW YORK, BABY! Statue of Liberty and everything! The cityscape skirt in the city that inspired the cityscape skirt!


I met my gentleman there, and we spent a week together in the big apple. We packed a lot in - from the Empire State Building to rowing in Central Park, fabric shopping in the garment district and pumpkin picking on long island (so exciting - photos to follow!).




God bless America. You're great.

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!)


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