Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Hardly Hawaii

It's been a funny old day; overcast yet warm and humid, with occasional outbursts of both sun and showers.

It's also been my last day as a volunteer; the next time I'm in the shop, I'll be an employee.

Although the weather was only very vaguely tropical, I thought a Hawaiian dress was appropriate. 

Originally, this was a maxi. It's unusual for me to shorten a full length frock, and I don't quite know why this one didn't feel right as a maxi. It's made from a substantial cotton fabric, so maybe it felt a little stiff and voluminous. Whatever the reason, it has been languishing unworn for ages in my should it stay or should it go now pile, so I finally made the decision to go for the chop.

I shortened the sleeves while I was at it, and I'm pleased with the makeover, I'll actually get some wear out of it now. That splashy floral print is too good to leave unseen.

  I have a backlog of vintage finds to list on Ebay. Somewhat belatedly, I've realised I am about to have a lot less time, so I'd better crack on with some selling.

1960s Mod dress
1970s floral/lace midi dress
1970s Trina Lewis white maxi dress
Lindy Bop dress, BNWT
1980s-does-50s red prom dress
1970s-does-30s black lace dress (showing the back view because it's so sexy)
American-made square dance red ruffled petticoat
1960s brown/lace maxi dress
1970s kimono-sleeved floral midi dress

Who says there's no vintage in charity shops these days?
(Yeah, I know Lindy Bop is repro but someone will like it, I'm sure.)

 Leather bags from the 1950-60s, including an Essell and Waldybag.

The above items are either currently or intended for sale, but the next batch are mine, all mine!

1960s Jaeger red wool coat
1960s black/lurex dress (requiring some work to repair)
1960s C&A striped jacket
Hawaiian parrot print cotton dress
Sheffield-made Viners cutlery 
1960s large June Rose Pyrex bowl

This beauty isn't going anywhere either;

 a gorgeous 1950s tapestry bag, accompanied by the fabric showing underneath and a handmade lavender-filled heart, all of which were gifts out of the blue from the lovely and talented Emma (who blogs at Painted Style). I'm thrilled! It's no secret that I love a vintage tapestry bag..

1960s Hawaiian dress - flea market
Chain belt, flower, bangles and necklace - charity shopped
Sandals - retail (sale) 

And to finish, some (blurry) photos from our family night out last Saturday. 

We went to the 60th birthday party of our friend and neighbour, Gustavo.

Thirteen years ago, we had just moved to the area and were looking for childcare for Claudia to enable me to return to work. Purely by chance, we stumbled across Norma, Gustavo's wife, who works as a childminder, and there began a fantastic relationship. We never had a moment's concern about childcare, and both Norma and Gus were incredibly kind and supportive when Nina was born and ended up in Intensive Care. They had Claudia and Owen to stay, and generally made a stressful time rather easier to bear.

They are originally from Chile, but came to Britain in the mid-Seventies. Gustavo was active in left-wing politics and fled to escape persecution and imprisonment (and probably torture) under the Pinochet regime. They left everything behind and came here with nothing but each other. He and Norma built a life from scratch, they have three great (grown-up) kids, and Gustavo remains as passionate as ever about education, inclusion and justice. Oh and he's a fabulous cook, musician and dancer too.

It occurred to me, as he was telling us of his continuing involvement in a campaign to secure compensation for victims of torture, that those who spout alarmist, hate-filled propaganda about the evils of immigration could learn a lot about generosity of spirit, hospitality and courage from this couple. 

I'm very proud to know them. And the party was brilliant!



Mother of Reinvention said...

Cor, am I first? Your mates sound great. Love your dress refashion. It looks incredibly posh and modern and I am saying that you can't find any great vintage anymore as all I ever find is Primani at prices more than they would have been new. I am going to have to throw the net a bit wider I think. Your haul is amazing, that stripey jacket is the biz. Hope you all enjoyed your night out. Haggler's Corner, love it! xxxx

freckleface said...

You look absolutely lovely in your polka dot party dress, it's perfect on you. You've done the right thing with your Hawaiian frock too, that's now a great, wearable everyday dress, and we get to see your pins! Wow, that's some haul. I struggle to find much these days, but Then again I don't go often enough probably. That Jaeger coat is truly forgeous, no wonder it's a keeper. Good old Em with the tapestry bag, she's really a good 'un. Talking of good 'uns, your friends and neighbours sound like great people. I remember that whole Pinochet era. People being 'disappeared'. Terrifying. Glad it had a happy ending for them at least. Xxxxx

Vix said...

I love the shortened dress. I can't imagine it as a maxi, the shape and the sleeves are perfect the length it is. Adore the pendant and the sandals rock.
What bostin' finds. That white maxi is a Grecian Goddess's dream. If I didn't have one almost identical I'd bid like a shot!
Those bags are amazing especially the tapestry beauty from Emma.
The keepers are glorious. The blazer, the lurex-y midi and that cutlery especially.
Gustavo's party looks great (and so do you and the kids). Can you believe we go to 60th birthday parties and have a ball? 60 used to sound elderly, it definitely doesn't now!
Love you and see you soon! xxxx

Kezzie said...

That is one gorgeous dress you are wearing! I love it! You always coordinate so well too!
WHat nice finds you have got there. I think that all the vintage is up noorth in the charity shops- here in Essex suburbia, there isn't too much!
Gustavo's party sounds amazing and lovely to hear about him and his wife- yes, all that anti-immigration propoganda is ridiculous- immigrants are painted as blank-faced chancers but the real people are people that the propogandists don't want to think about!

Goody said...

Oh to be tall (and 30 lbs lighter) because I could really do something with that white maxi.

Good neighbours are worth celebrating.

You look like a tropical dream. Best of luck with the new position.

Anonymous said...

I love that bag on the bottom left side. That color of leather makes me melt.
With your paid job the money will be so nice, but being busier will most likely assist you in getting even more done. I find that when I have spare time I get much less done than if I don't have enough time.

Patti said...

Oh that needlepoint bag - so gorgeous. I like your re-fashioned dress and it is indeed a print that ought to be seen. Congrats and good luck on your new job, xox.

Angels have Red Hair said...

Happy Birthday Gustavo ... he sounds like an inspiration ... and good neighbours are more valuable than gold!
Good luck with the job ... I'm sure you'll be a spectacular success.

Jazzy Jack said...

Turquoise sings against your hair. Very summery.
My eye has caught all those lovely bags. I'm a bag lady from way back! Used to make evening bags to sell.
Enjoy your new job. How different will it be being an employee I wonder?
Xo Jazzy Jack

Laurie Duncan said...

I think you made the right choice with the dress, it looks just right! Your friends sound like wonderful people, friends you can count on. :)

SAM said...

LOVE those bags! The dress os so cute. Did you keep the cut off fabric? I picture a really cute Head scarf or even an elastic wide head band. I know matchy, but think either could be really fun. We all need neighbors like your friends.

Sheila said...

Ooh, what a lovely Hawaiian dress. We get a lot of those in the thrift shops here due to being pretty close to Hawaii (well, a 4 hour plane ride). You always find the best stuff!

MIS PAPELICOS -Mis P said...

You always have the perfect sleeves in your dresses, ahhhhhhhhhhhhh
Perfect all round.
Besos my friend

beate grigutsch said...

a belated HAPPY BIRTHDAY to your wonderful neighbor gustavo!!
his party looks like great fun! and it´s always a treat to see your gorgeous kids - and the girls in dresses! :-)

i squealed with delight when the first photo appeared! that hawaiian frock is faboulous! you look so summery and cool and effortlessly elegant in it - well done shorten it! your stock looks fab too - i´m glad you keep the red coat - you will look like a million bucks this autumn! especially with that tapestry "briefcase" - the new definition of a businesslady!!!!
and you are the only one i know who can wear this stripey blazer - this are definitely your colors!
sheffield made some elegant cutlery in the past - eh?!
i wish you a sunny and relaxed weekend! xxxxxxxxx

Emma Kate at Paint and Style said...

I can't imagine the Hawiian dress as a maxi as it looks so perfect now. Bet it'll be lovely to wear on a boiling hot day.
That red coat is truly special. I think it'll look good with the tapestry bag.
Good luck in your new job. xxxx

Lynn Holland said...

I love your dress it has worked really well shortened. I'm off to the chazzer shops (as Vix says) to find a maxi dress to turn into a jumpsuit. You are far cleverer than me making one from sheets. It looked wonderful.
Hope your new role in the shop goes well.
I'm very envious of your stash of clothes and stuff even though I gave a shed load myself. One can never have enough clobber can one
Lynn xx

Ines Meyrose said...

I love the Hawaiian Dress with the blue flowers and the flowers in the accessoires in your composition.
Many thanks for your nice words at Beates Blog "bahnwärterhäuschen" yesterday regarding the skirt, which I wear from her.

Melanie said...

Oh that petticoat.... It's beautiful but far out of my price range now :(
You've found some wonderful items xxx

Winter Moon said...

I absolutely love what you did with the maxi dress, it looks great on you. So many gorgeous finds, I'm practically drooling over here. Your party images look wonderful and your friends sound lovely.

Have a perfect day xx

Mim said...

Normally I'm dead against altering stuff, but I really like that dress and can't imagine it looking any better as a maxi - it's got the perfect silhouette.

Norma and Gustavo sound great. The country needs more people like them, not fewer!

Sarah Jane said...

I'm all for making alterations if it means the difference between you feeling 'meh' or feeling great. I have to say that dress is my favourite style. Just the right length. Sleeves short but not too short and a lovely fit n flare style. A win in my book. Congratulations on getting a job at the charity shop. I must have missed that announcement. You are perfect for it. Also, good to hear Gustavo's story. He sounds like a top bloke and a great neighbour xxx

Sarah Jane said...

I'm all for making alterations if it means the difference between you feeling 'meh' or feeling great. I have to say that dress is my favourite style. Just the right length. Sleeves short but not too short and a lovely fit n flare style. A win in my book. Congratulations on getting a job at the charity shop. I must have missed that announcement. You are perfect for it. Also, good to hear Gustavo's story. He sounds like a top bloke and a great neighbour xxx

Suzanne Carillo said...

What interesting and good neighbours you have.

GAH! The tapestry bag!!! You and I have a thing for those.

And I cannot wait to see you in that striped blazer.

The dress looks great. I think it probably made it a bit more modern by shortening it.

Some of your finds really make me wish I lived somewhere that the cost of shipping wasn't so crazy.


Northern mum down South said...

Hi Curtise, just catching up on your news, you have a new job, well done and good luck, I'm sure you'll be great. Love the red coat and tapestry bag you are keeping and I'm a sucker for vintage Pyrex too. Your neighbours sound great xx

Ulla-Marie Nilsson said...

First. Great legs. And ... looking forward to more blog-"shops".

Melanie said...

I can't wait to see you in that C&A striped jacket. Awesome piece! You've done a stellar upcycle on that dress as well. Those florals were definitely not done blooming yet.
Getting paid for something you used to do for free? It's what many people dream of and I'm happy for you on this transition.
And three cheers for Gustavo and Norma. What guts it takes to uproot and replant in a foreign land, in hard circumstances. I know other families who have done this as well. Their strength inspires. I'm glad you had fun at the party!

Olga Rani said...

The dress looks as if it was made this way, perfect length! You are right, the print is too beautiful to let the dress be hidden in the closet. It was interesting to read your neighbours' story, wonderful people.

Lesley Extance said...

Love your dress I love the Hawaiian look ,because that is one of my wishes to go to Hawaii!love the bag of course Lol have a fab weekend best wishes Curtise x

Lisa said...

Good idea to chop the dress down, it'll get lots of wear now and is such a summery pattern. Lovely accessories with it as always. Love the red coat. Good luck with the ebay sells, there are so fab pieces there.
My daughter has the same tartan dress your daughter is wearing!
Lisa x

Kestrel said...

The dress is perfect at this length. I can imagine that a maxi length might have been a bit weird with fabric that is a bit stiff

Ivy Black said...

Fab frock, love. Looks banging as a shortie. Sometimes maxis have too much stiff fabric to manage and puts me in mind of the ladies on Trumpton for some reason!
Your friends and neighbours sound wonderful and bloody good on 'em.
60th birthday dos used to be so sedate as I recall...slow dancing and beige buffets. Not any more. All the 50 and 60th parties I go to are a bleedin' riot and the music is fantastic of course.
Love the tapestry bag and the parrot print dress. A keeper indeed.
Have a terrific day on Saturday and don't forget to Porn Stars.
Loves ya.

Forest City Fashionista said...

Splendid re-make on the Hawaiian dress - it looks like it started life like that! I would love that red square dance petticoat but I've already got a red one (that's not as full)and no more room!

The striped blazer is GROOOOOVY! The colours are fab - what a great find.

Norma and Gustavo sound like wonderful people and it looks like a good time was had by all at the Birthday bash. I wish I had neighbours like that where I live.

peaches mcginty said...

Your Hawaiian dress is gorgeous, I love it when a bit of a chop makes every difference, it really is just fab! love the finds and your batch of goodies is very special, the Jaeger coat is gaw-juss!! and the blazer! sterling stuff, the rose pyrex is the pyrex of my childhood, love the stuff - very excited for you next week! Norma and Gustav are a wonderful couple, what an incredible story! hateful propaganda about immigration makes me very, very mad - not going to rant though - have a fab weekend! x x x

Miss Magpie said...

I'm with the rest I can't even picture that dress as a maxi!

That tapestry bag is stunning and I love the bottom left brown one with the tassel very much.

BadPenny said...

I like your dress makeover - wonderful vibrant pattern & your jewellery looks fab with it.
Good luck at the shop. the party sounds wonderful for very special people x

Carina Rosenholm said...

That red wool coat is perfect and you look amazing!

señora Allnut said...

glad you've shortened your dress to enjoy it properly!, it looks summery and fresh and love that tropical print, it's a happy dress!! and you're gorgeous!
And also very glad you've met that marvellous couple, first because having good neighbours is a present, and second because they're making everybody's life around them more interesting!. I've met some people from Chile (and Argentina), many of them political refugees, and I've always admired their courage and also their talent!

Mrs Bertimus said...

Wow! What a fab alterations!
All the very best for your new job, it'll be ace!
What cool neighbours you have too, such a heart warming story x

Sue said...

What lovely people your friends are. We were lucky to have a very cool woman living two doors away from us when our lads were small who used to be wonderfully helpful. I am in love with your long black with white spot frock!! Have fun as a paid worker!!!

Beth Waltz said...

The blues of your Hawaiian ensemble could cool an afternoon on the patio of the El Coronado Hotel -- and that's saying a great deal if you've ever been in Del Ray Beach in June! Blue sandals lift it from casual drinks to the Sunday brunch level.

Your finds remind us that a woman on a budget could do worse than build a working wardwrobe on black, white and red. The coat is spectacular! Makes one wonder where the black leather gloves were stashed, and the Garbo fedora...

Catherine said...

Fantastic! Gustavo sounds like an amazing man, the right kind to help bring up kiddies! I do agree that dress looks great in the short length. could the very light fabric colour have caused it to not look right? i probably would have done the same!

The Style Crone said...

Love the summer florals of the Hawaiian dress and the gorgeous tapestry bag. A lovely gift! Looking forward to hearing about your adventures as you begin your new job, which sounds like the perfect fit.

A beautiful tribute to Gustavo and Norma. The world needs more passionate and courageous people like your friends.

Shawna McComber said...

What a lovely and moving story about Gustavo and Norma. People like that can make one feel both very humble and very uplifted at the same time. So many lovely things in your for sale selection and your own personal collection. I love tapestry bags too but as I've learned that I am very particular about the type of bag I carry, I just admire tapestry bags instead of collecting them. As a young girl I wanted a carpet bag, probably inspired by Mary Poppins. xoxoxo

Natalia Lialina said...

This is a wonderful make-over, Curtise - you look AMAZING in this dress! Love the story about your good friends and neighbors, and always love seeing your family photos, such fun you guys had! The tapestry bag is truly gorgeous, you have developed a keen eye for great vintage, and I'd love to learn a few lessons from you some day.

The last, but not the least - let me say how thrilled I am to learn that you are starting (have already started?) a job! You got it!!! Hurrah!!! Much love, my dear! xxxx

Lynn Holland said...

You girls have such a great day together, I'm loving reading about your adventures. Your new frock looks lovely especially matched with the cardi. I'm hunting out Tricel cardi's and jumpers everywhere I go at the moment. I like the neat look of them and they never crease or pluck up. I got a gorgeous cardi for £1.75 the other week. It was half price day for ladies in the charity shop xxxx