Thursday, 25 September 2014

As graceful as a swan


I've been giving my homemade dresses a whirl this week.
 

Formerly a 1960s sheet and a 1950s curtain respectively, I am happy to have been the agent of transformation. You can tell by my smug face.
 


 I'm also feeling pleased (and smug) about finding these unworn Clarks wedges in a charity shop, they cost just £1.49. 
 

 
 
I am trying to be judicious about buying things to sell, since I already have a lot of items waiting to be listed on Ebay, but I couldn't resist this dress when I saw it in the local hospice charity shop;
 


 
a beautiful 1950s Peggy French Couture velvet dress, sadly too small for me. All the beading and embroidery is intact, and the dress is in great condition. There are just some small spots where the nap of the velvet looked a little flat, but a brush has sorted that out.
 


Not just any old brush, of course - a 1960s Swanbrush, which can usefully double as a table decoration. 
 
It was a gift from Vix, and I love it; removing lint and fluffing up velvet has never been so much fun.
 
 
 
Dress - made it myself
Cardigan, tights, shoes and bangles - charity shopped
Carpet bag - gift
 
 

Dress - made it myself
Cardigan, belt, bangles and necklace - charity shopped
Vinyl bag - flea market
Boots - retail (sale)
 
 
 
 I took advantage of the beautifully sunny weather yesterday, and strolled through Endcliffe Park to meet an old friend. The sun and shadow play was lovely, as was the company. How good to be able to sit outside, catching up, drinking coffee, watching the world and its dog go by.
 



Tonight I am at our PTA's AGM (sorry about all those initials...) We have a new headteacher at school, so it will be interesting to see if that changes the dynamics of our group at all. How groups/teams operate is endlessly fascinating to me, I think it's the ex-mental health professional in me.




And on Saturday, I'll be heading down to London with my mate Claire to see Before The Dawn, Kate Bush's stage show. To say I am looking forward to it is an understatement. Kate Bush falls in the category of musical genius for me, and having been a fan since her 1978 debut, I am delighted to have the opportunity to see her perform live. 
 
 
 
Hope everyone has a brillaint weekend!
xxxx

49 comments:

ArgentGal said...

Beautiful work! You should feel smug. The swan brush is amazing. I'd totally use it as a decoration!

ArgentGal said...

Whoa! Am I first? Wheeeeee!

beate grigutsch said...

hooray for homesewn dresses looking that fabulous!!!
the clarks are an fantastic find, love most of the clarks shoes, but it´s an expensive brand....
our weekend will not be brilliant as yours - KATE BUSH IN LONDON! waahh!
have fun!!!!!!
xxxxxxx

Mother of Reinvention said...

How clever a seamstress are you? Your frocks are an exercise in fabulousness. I love your bargain shoes. They are a stonking colour. I am greener than your garden about your impending trip to see Kate Bush. I was the only one out of my mates not to get tickets so I have to stick to relistening to everything and singing myself. Have a an unbelievable time. Xxxx

Vix said...

Your two frocks are stunners, I hope loads of people admired them so you could bask in your creative glory!
I've loved those Clarks' shoes for ages, I've seen them twice in charity shops in indecently small sizes, s'not fair!
Hooray for the swan brush coming to the rescue of the gorgeous Peggy French frock, hopefully that will command loads of bids and pay to keep you in festive season booze.
Have an amazing weekend!
Love you! xxxxxx

Kezzie said...

You are a sewing star. Those two dresses are super. Love them! Those wedges are an Amazing find! No one ever donates Clarks in my area! Ahrgh, our PTA seems to have disbAnded as all the parents were in year 6. No one further down the school wants to be bothered. We seem to run things with teachers having to do anything now. X

Joni James said...

you are going to have such a wonderful time seeing Kate. You lucky pup!! But what will you wear? You must be so excited, I know I would be.
Your dresses are fabulous!!!

Patti said...

You did beautifully with your hand-designed dresses, C.! Love a kitty at my feet when I'm taking pics, too. SO true that many (surviving) vintage dresses seem made for tiny women. The one you found is gorgeous.
Good luck at the PTA, and I agree, group dynamics are fascinating! xox

Elizabeth Rebecca said...

I love the florals :)

Lizzie's Daily Blog

Melanie said...

Wearing your self-made dresses is an excellent warm-up act for Ms. Bush's show. We need more smug face shots! And the swan brush, ha, it is indeed a modernly artistic table decoration. And I love your writing about the light and world's dog. As for understanding group dynamics, maybe you'll want to take some aspirin with you just in case.

Asparagus Pea said...

Super duper love the blue one, dare I say a little bit 'knockers ahoy' in the brown? A little more drape to the fabric perhaps? You're very clever - and I like a specialist defluffing tool, especially in the shape of a swan xxx

Goody said...

Oh hell yeah-look at what you can do! That's some great dressmaking, and the blue one seems like the sort of thing you'll get lots of wear from. You're going to sell the velvet number? If I could get so much as an arm into it (which clearly, I can't) I'd snap it up in a second. Someone will be delighted you rescued it from the rail.

I hope you have a lovely time in London this weekend. The reviews of her show have been great, so it sounds like you're in for a good show. It might be another 30 years before she hobbles out on a cane to do another one, so it is good you got tickets for this one.

mondoagogo said...

Awww, man, next time you come to London you must give me fair warning so we can meet for tea! (or wine)

I do love your dresses, especially the blue one, those colours are gorgeous.

Jan Graham-McMillen said...

From one swan to another! Nice of Vix, and so appropriate. Hope you have a lovely time at the concert. Badassery in such great, womanly ways!
That is a lust worthy velvet Peggy French dress, and will have a happy home. Is it too old for just slightly-in-the-future Claudia?

Miss Magpie said...

Who needs to buy frocks when you can make beauties like that?

Amber of Butane Anvil said...

Congrats on making these gorgeous dresses - you are awesome!!! Have fun at Kate Bush, that is exiting too! xoxoxoxo

Winter Moon said...

I think Kate Bush is fab!
Loving all your gorgeous dresses, especially the Peggy French Couture one, someone will snap that up in a jiffy!

xx

Laurie Duncan said...

Love both your dresses of course! And I would love to go on a walk on that shady lane, looks so beautiful! :)

Ladan Ladanu said...

Two beauties there, very smug worthy. I love the fabric of the blue one. That yellow and grey combination looks great. I lived quite close to Endcliffe back in the day, a lovely park. As to the brush! It's a work of art.xx

Natalia Lialina said...

These two dresses are a wonderful reason for your smug face! You did such a great job! I can't wait to see what you'll sew next. And the shoes are very cool, I'd wear them too. You are a genius when it comes to thrifting. Good luck with the velvet dress - such a great find! What a cutie to brush up a dress AND use it as a table decoration. :)

Have an amazing time at the concert! I can imagine how exited you are! I interviewed one music genius a few years ago - I was a bit nervous. :) xxxx

Connie said...

Lots of well deserved smugness. Made it myself are such nice words. You're a regular sewing machine! I just love the beautiful prints. Well done Ms. Monk. Oh and Kate Bush. To say that I am envious is an understatement. When we were kids we used to refer to the PTA as "Partly Trained Apes". Yep. Mom is off to her meeting of the Partly Trained Apes. Depending upon the school district there may be some truth in that. Have Fun, My Friend!!!

Sue @ A Colourful Canvas said...

KATE BUSH!!!!! OH MY GAWD!!! I think she is amazing, truly! Have the very best time Curtise!

Loving your dresses, and your well earned smugness!

Beth Waltz said...

Drat! I'd hoped you'd say the Peggy French beaded beauty was a plump petite, designed for someone much shorter and rounder than your elegant slender self!

Ah, well, I'll just settle down and gaze greedily upon the swan brush. I've been finding lots of velvets this summer and it would be an attractive addition to my closet kit. (Does anyone have hints for cleaning and reblocking 40s fedoras?)

Jazzy Jack said...

Your swanlike beauty in your self made dresses is captivating. I really love how you coordinate with your flowers as you glide along! Kate Bush will surely recognise a fellow genius and invite you onto the stage:-D
Have a blast!!! Xo JJ

Ivy Black said...

SLove the frocks darling and you should look very smug, they are fab.
The Peggy French will start a bidding war I know. It's a beauty.

Have the best time at Kate's show. Blow her a kiss from me and thinking about it, I could phone her and gether to perform Lord of teh Reedy River just for you.I fell in love with a swan...not 'arf
You can tell me all about ity when I see you. Hurrah!xxxxxx

Bobbi said...

Love the dresses! The velvet one you found is gorgeous - too bad it won't fit you because I'm sure it would look great on you.
Have fun at the concert!

Vintage Bird Girl said...

These frocks are something extra special considering they were made by you. I am drooling over the blue & green one. And those Clarks shoes are a winner! Enjoy your weekend Lovely. Xx

Sue said...

Your sheet and curtain couture are both gorgeous. I love frocks and short cardies, and you so deserve to look smug you clever woman you. Note you got photo bombed AGAIN!! I remember buying Kate Bush's first Album and playing it so much it is a wonder the needle didn't wear through the record.

Ripple Dandelion said...

Smugness is such a pleasing emotion! And won't you feel smug when you've proven both your enduring loyalty and your up-to-the-moment hipness by seeing the astonishing Kate Bush live in London? Thanks for once again showing us such pretty things. And enjoy!!!

Fiona said...

You did a great job on both these frocks Curtise but the blue/purple one just has the edge for me. I love the texture of the fabric and it goes brilliantly with your tights and cardi. The Clarks wedges must be the bargain of the week and look soooo comfy. (showing my age now!) Hope the PTA dynamic will now improve with the addition of a new key figure. Can't wait for your next post to hear all about La Bush, I know it will be an incredible show. Well jel!
xxx

diaryofapennypincher said...

I love both of those dresses, totally different, but just as pretty. Clark's new wedges for £1.49? Wow! What a handy gift from Vix too! Have fun at the Kate Bush concert, I'm wildly jealous!

Helga said...

FARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRK, you're going to see Kate?! OMG!!!!
Ahem. Smug face entirely deserved, both for gtteing to see Kate and for making these two divoon frocks! Bloody love curtain/sheet coutoure. I've got a small stash that I will transform one of these days.
Great core on the Clark's. I love finding flash shoes for next to nothing!
Ugh, groups give me hives. I avoid them like the plague!
loving YOU! XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

peaches mcginty said...

1 more sleep for Kate! you must be so excited! Smug, quite rightly, is the only look right now, especially with your dresses too, aren't they just gorgeous! I adore both equally and what a bargain with the shoes, £1.49! Hell yeah! I'm so glad you picked up the Peggy French Couture, she deserved to be discovered! have the BEST time tomorrow! x x x
p.s Whiskers is still AWOL *sad face*

freckleface said...

Not surprised you're feeling smug, you've gone from can't do it to Coco Chanel in one effortless step. That blue one is so beautiful, love that fabric. I'm a bit envious of your ability to score great cardigans in the chazzas. i'm always on the lookout but success is limited. Kate Bush! How wonderful, you're in for a rare treat in all senses. A coffee in the late autumn sunshine with a friend, that's the stuff life is made of. Good luck with the Harper Valley PTA AGM! Xxxxxxxxx

Bmore Bungalow said...

The purple outfit is super cute. You don't see that color too often.

Kim said...

I'm not sure if it was the curtain or the sheet, but I love love love the blue dress. *Want!!* What pattern did you use? Very, very impressed with your stitchery - and I'm all for embarrassing my children - at least once a day to keep them on their toes!

Caroline said...

How flipping brilliant was the Bush? I'm sure you must've been in the same seat as me as your Facebook photo was identical!

bonsaimum said...

You can make dresses!! I am so jealous. They look great.Have a fantastic time at the concert.:)

Krista Gassib said...

So by no I've missed the chance to tell you up enjoy the show but man Curtise I can't wait to hear all about it! I think you and Vix are getting really good at making clothes, both of these are beautiful!
Lots of lovexxxxxooooo

Mrs Bertimus said...

Wow! Wow! Wow!
The dresses, the wedges, the Kate!
Have the best time ever!
X

Mrs Bertimus said...

Wow! Wow! Wow!
The dresses, the wedges, the Kate!
Have the best time ever!
X

Forest City Fashionista said...

I can't wait to hear about the Kate Bush concert!! I really like the blue and green print dress with the purple cardi and tights. That's an outfit I would happily wear. Nice score on those wedges - I haven't found anything nice at the thrift stores here lately. I did have a lovely conversation with a woman from England in a used book store this weekend about how much better the thrift shopping is over there.

Emma Kate at Paint and Style said...

Wehey! Fabulous dresses Curtise! I like the blue (bark cloth?) one best. Such a lovely print. Your dressmaking is fab.
And new Clarks ankle strappy shoes for £1.49? Stupendous! xxxx

Hippy At Heart said...

what lovely homemade dresses and how fab is your swan brush!?

thanks for the post about sorting out your wardrobe, I did the same know and blog pics really help a lot!

Angels have Red Hair said...

Keep up the sewing and the smug expressions ... live them both :0)
xx

PinkCheetahVintage said...

Great job on the dresses! I love the 50s velvet one you found! And the swan brush is awesome :)

Lesley Extance said...

You are so clever Curtise, you should be proud of yourself ! fab dresses ! wonderful ! xxx

Shawna McComber said...

Somehow I missed this one, but I am generally dazed and confused lately. Your homemade dresses are beautiful and I really like that dress style on you. It doesn't hurt that you have a knock-out figure! The colours in the curtain dress make me swoon! And I do love that velvet dress. I'd be tempted to buy it from you but if it is too small for you it would be too small for me! If you haven't sold it already I am sure it will sell well. Love your velvet swan! I would have to make sure Sophie didn't get at it.
xoxo

Trees said...

You have every right to feel smug - both your dresses are WONDERFUL! Here's to bringing new life to old curtains and bedsheets!