Wednesday 30 April 2014

From Technicolour to Black and White

I think it's true to say that wearing colour gets you noticed. 

Perhaps even more than wearing vintage or prints, I suspect it is my usual bright colours which draw the eye of some onlookers. Usually those clad in grey fleece.
So it amuses me to confound expectations, and occasionally wear black (and white); it's even funnier to receive comments about looking different.

1960s Atlantic lurex maxi skirt - Ebay
Top, sandals and bangles - charity shopped
Hat - flea market
Jumpsuit and bangles - charity shopped
Sandals and sunglasses - retail (sale)
Necklace - vintage market
Thank you so much for all your very supportive and encouraging comments on my sewing efforts. I must tell you how much I appreciate your kindness. 

The next project is almost finished, and here's a sneaky peek;

Barkcloth Beauty!

I feel that I am learning all the time. I am trying to encourage my ham-fisted, uncooperative hands to be more skilled and precise. It doesn't come easily. 
The same process happens when I play the piano; I know where my fingers are supposed to be, I just can't get them there as quickly or as accurately as I would like.

Practice practice practice!

I'm taking my hat and mermaid scales over to Judith's Hat Attack tomorrow.

Look, this top has the Knockers Ahoy effect. Mind your eyes.

Real Life, folks; washing on the line, and scaffolding in the background, complete with lary builders. 
I rise above.

It's only a supermarket brand (via a charity shop, of course) and I had to take the bodice in a bit, but I like this jumpsuit.

If I had only thought to wear the hat with this outfit instead, I might have achieved a certain 1930s elegance...

Oh well, there's always next time.
I don't have much luck finding vintage jumpsuits, not which fit anyway; I had to make Giant Pants out of the only one I ever stumbled upon, as the top was much too small.

I can hear all the dressmakers out there saying why don't you make one?

And I might just do that, if I find a pattern!

I think I may have had enough of black and white for now...

... although Minnie and Charlie beg to differ.

There's a day of vintage shopping, chat, and Wetherspoons cocktails in the company of some gorgeous blogging friends planned for Saturday. 
I suspect I'll be wearing something colourful for that!


Sunday 27 April 2014

All sewn up

It took a while; I've been threatening (but failing) to do it for ages, so I am delighted to reveal my new self-sewn dress.

  At last!

 The pattern... from 1978.

Which is probably the last time I made anything from a pattern.

We learned how to make a skirt at school, and I made a few, but never progressed to anything else. We also had to make an apron, which we then used in cookery lessons.

My Domestic Science teacher, Miss Griffiths, was terrifying, and frequently rolled her eyes at my poor efforts (although not as much as the even more alarming Miss Williams, the PE teacher.)

So here you go, Miss Griffiths - this piece of Sheet Chic is for you!

(Alas, Miss Williams' derision put me off sport for life, and not even 35 more years will rectify that.)

The proper sewists amongst you would probably pull a face similar to Miss G, circa 1977, if you took a closer look, but hey, it's a first attempt. I've never done facings or darts before, it took two attempts to put the zip in correctly, and I had to take the bodice in for a better fit.

I find the technicalities tricky, I am not neat or skilled, and I clearly have difficulties with curves and ease.

But I made myself go slowly, press as I went along, follow the instructions and not wing it, and leave it till the next day when I felt myself getting frustrated at my mistakes.

And I really did enjoy the process.

Dress - made it myself (I can't tell you how proud I am to be able to say that!)
Cardigan, bangles, flower and necklace - charity shopped
1960s shopper - vintage fair
Sandals - Ebay 

It's entirely possible that this dressmaking malarkey might become addictive; as soon as I had finished, I wanted to start another project. 

So I did.

1960s pattern - a gift from Vix.

Always so helpful.

We'll see how this one goes. 

Spring in outfit form, I think.

Nina and I popped to the local vintage market after her swimming lesson today; the bribe of a piece of cake helped maintain compliance.

I'm almost as skilled at parenting as I am at sewing.

 My only purchase was a 1970s maxi dress, £5. 
But I enjoyed browsing.

 Smug? You betcha!

Hope everyone has had a great weekend.


Thursday 24 April 2014

Flower power

I spotted this t-shirt in a charity shop because of the groovy 1960s-inspired flower power print and embroidery.
 I'm not particularly bothered about t-shirts usually, but they are useful for pairing with a maxi skirt in the summer.

This one is actually by Desigual, a brand name only familiar to me through other bloggers. A quick look at their website shows that their cheapest t-shirt is £50. Who pays fifty quid for a t-shirt, however colourful? 
Not me, that's for sure - mine cost £1.99.

 And as it happens, that's not a maxi skirt, they're giant palazzo pants, made from a cut-down 1960s jumpsuit.


T-shirt, denim jacket, sunglasses, necklace and bangles - charity shopped
1960s giant pants - Ebay, altered by me
Sandals - retail (sale)

My local hospice charity shop now has a Vintage Corner, usually a sign that the prices will be hiked up, but thankfully they are still reasonable.
I saw a Gunne Sax maxi dress for a tenner a while back, but didn't buy it because it was both filthy and tiny. There has been a 1960s wedding dress and veil (£15) sitting on the rail for weeks (also very small - they probably belonged to the same person).

These 1970s beauties were a fiver apiece. And since they aren't tiny, they fit me, hurray!

And it was in the rummage basket in Vintage Corner that I found the 1960s orange/yellow floral sheet above...

 ...which is now a dress!

I still need to hem it, so I will show you the finished article next time. 
It isn't neat, or polished, or anything resembling perfect, but it is identifiable as a frock, complete with darts, facings, and a zip! 

Here is Willow, snoozing in the washing basket, thereby demonstrating why most clothes in this house are covered in cat hair...

...and if a cat's expression could say Fuck off, I'm trying to sleep here, then that's pretty much the message from Charlie.

I saw this cutie in Vintage Corner too;

a 1960s painting on velvet.
I resisted, but I'm not quite sure how...

Hope everyone is having a great week!


Monday 21 April 2014

A happy dress, and a gentle backwards glance

It's been a quiet sort of Bank Holiday weekend, which is fine by me.
Saturday saw a trip to my lovely hairdresser, a charity shop rummage, and a recce of Sheffield's city centre vintage emporia for an upcoming blogger meet-up!

 The Spring sunshine had me craving new sandals, but the charity shop gods provided instead.
Praise be.

1960s dress - Ebay
1960s slip (underneath), hat, and Jones the Bootmaker sandals - charity shopped
Sunglasses - retail (old)

I love the lightweight (see-through) gauzy cotton of this frock. 
It had been, according to its former owner's Ebay listing, a happy dress. I can believe it. 
The daisy print and hippy goodness of it compensate for the straight-laced navy.

White pendant necklace - gift from Leisa
Silver branch necklace - won in Patti's giveaway
Cuff and rings - charity shopped

So this outfit is topped and tailed with red; I do like my hair when it's freshly coloured.

There goes Jess, she's camouflaged against the pebbles and wood.

She and Charlie were rolling around in tandem. Jess stalked off when he had the temerity to pat her head. 
Don't mess with The Queen.

Min knows better than to get involved.

And in the spirit of a rambling, miscellaneous sort of post, here's an old pic of me from 1986/7.
I've been having a look through my old photo albums; the pics are generally dreadfully murky, but they do make me smile. 

I don't subscribe to the view that we should laugh at our former selves and our previous sartorial choices. It was fine at the time, and we looked great, whatever the cut of our trousers or the style of our hair. Look back in kindness, I say, that's a version of us which went on to become the current us; why mock?

That was my bedroom in a shared rented house where I lived between 1984 and 1988. 
Ash tray and fags on the side, along with my record deck and the obligatory Pre-Raphaelite posters and cards on the wall. Ahh, the memories!

 Linking to Patti's gathering of friends for Visible Monday.
 It's a fabulous place to celebrate who we are now, whatever our age or style!


Friday 18 April 2014

Turn around, ask yourself

How I love the school holidays!

I don't love the snotty cold I have at the moment, but I am highly appreciative of the lie-ins, the lack of schedule and homework, and the general lazy arse-ness of it all. 

I am taking full advantage.

Hurray for vintage maxi dresses and my Favourite Best Ever Sandals. 
(Art Company, bought online and half price 4 years ago, and worth every penny.)

1970s After Eight by Lerose dress - Ebay
Shirt and bangles - charity shopped
Sandals and sunglasses- retail (sale)
Necklace - gift

1960s Sherman maxi dress - Ebay
Sheer jacket and bangles - charity shopped
1960s necklace - flea market

I went on a bit of a chazzathon with my mate Sue on Monday - we had daughters in tow, who did pretty well out of it.

Is there any doubt of the benefits of charity shopping?

Our haul of a Reiss skirt; dresses from Cos and Mango; Melissa, Clarks and Vans shoes; and sundry other bits and bobs (including a vintage Spirograph set), with no greater price tag than £4, would surely convince anyone of the benefits of secondhand shopping.

What else have I been doing?

Pegging out the washing to take advantage of the weather; 
doing the pub quiz with my darlings of the Ladies Purse (don't ask; any quiz where the winner only scores 11 out of 20 is clearly Too Fucking Hard); 
and meeting up with old friends for a debrief about the vagaries and perils of Life.

1988-9; I lived with Sal and Claire; we are still friends. We reminisced about parties, relationships, snogging rashes, twin tubs, and music.

Rings and first bangle - charity shopped
Second bangle - gift

This is such a lovely time of year; the blossom on my ornamental cherry tree only lasts about 2 weeks, but I do love it when it comes.

  Blue sky, white blossom, green leaves...

 easy to see where the inspiration for this outfit came from.

I hope everyone has a great Easter weekend.

I'll leave you with a favourite musical memory from 1989.