Saturday, 31 July 2010

Sew much to get done

Well, John Lewis had a dissapointingly small selection of fabrics. I managed to find something for each of my projects I have in mind, but the quality and quantity wasn't what it used to be.
I thought sewing was supposed to be coming back into fashion!?
Like all things, I think the answer is 'go to London'. Think I'm going to have to plan a trip to the big city :)

The green crepe back satin is for the butterick dress, hopefully for Goodwood.
The centre fabric is a medium weight cotton, which I'm going to use for the shirtwaist dress above. The pattern is a copy of an original.
The black on the end is for my next attempt at a dirndl skirt. It's a wolly feeling cotton with a very nice drape.

Plenty for me to be getting on with! I'm finishing my blue spotty dress and hemming my black dress tonight and I'll crack on with the rest tomorrow. I usually don't bother with toiles, I'm too impatient to get onto the real sewing! I am going to mock up the top of the butterick dress though - it's very fitted round and under the bust and being larger than the average lady in that department, I think it needs a trial!

I've spent the last few days preparing for Vintage a Goodwood - a fabulous event with music, art, fashion and shops (see how I left the shopping bit till last? That probably won't happen when I'm there) celebrating 5 decades of British culture. It covers the 1940s through to the 1980s and there are dedicated areas for each decade. I'm going to be mainly sticking to the 40s area, though I might be tempted away by Sandie Shaw, and possibly the roller disco! I'm wondering, actually, how a tea dress and victory rolls will go down in a 70s disco - it could be a surreal experience!

Seeing as this event will be filled with the cream of Britain's vintage fans, what I wear is going to be terribly important. The day times require casual and comfortable elegance and the nights stunning stylishness. I have most of my outfits planned, except for one evening dress.

Thursday - Horse racing in the evening - repro 50s dress and my cute 30s hat (yup, it's a massive mix of eras but it works)

Cream Vivien of Holloway trousers and green check tie blouse
Night - no idea

My new 'Fleur' dress by Heyday
Night - Black vintage dress with lots of jewels

40s M&S dress
Vivien of Holloway sarong dress

Dressing my husband has been harder. He has a great de-mob suit, a double breasted pinstripe which he can wear with a homburg and look the business in the evenings, and we've bough some grey hollywood pants for the day time, which he's planning to wear with just a shirt and braces, plus straw fedora for the daytime. Finding vintage mens clothes is really hard, I hadn't appreciated just how much more difficult it is than finding clothes for women. There are no repro companies out there to speak of, and those selling vintage have so few 40s and 50s items that you're very lucky if you can find anything to fit. Is it because women have always owned more clothes than men? That when men buy new clothes it's because their old ones are worn out and so they get thrown away or recycled into something else? I know my grandfather has shirts in his wardrobe that he bought in the 60s and is only just getting around to wearing, because he's had enough shirts to keep him going until now. You wouldn't catch many women doing that!

I'm off to John Lewis' haberdashery later to see if I can find some suitable fabric to turn this pattern into an evening dress. I'm thinking of using satin or another nicely draping fabric to give it a glamorous look. I'd like to use a jewel tone, maybe an emerald green, but sadly nice quality fabrics are in short supply, so I may have to take what I'm given!

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Model behaviour

So, it's the end of the weekend and I've had quite a good one.
On Saturday I went to a short photoshoot with two lovely local guys. They got some lovely shots and hopefully I'll be able to get them up in a couple of weeks when they've had time to process them.

I also finally made my dirndl skirt! I'm very pleased with it, although it could be about 1 inch longer, plus I sewed the button onto the wrong side of the waist band, so that it buttons up the other way. Otherwise, it's pretty good and I'm chuffed I managed to finish it so quickly.

I like the strawberry print, but the fabric is a bit thin, and see through! I'm thinking of getting some better quality fabric and sewing another one for best. Now I've made one I'm happy I could improve upon the design again.

I based what I did on this excellent guide from Gertie. If you're into sewing, her blog is well worth checking out.  Plus, I love her philosophical musings about fashion, body shapes and all sorts of other fascinating things!

Friday, 23 July 2010

Beautiful dresses in the Telegraph

I had to share these stunning pictures from the Telegraph of a 20s style fashion shoot.

I just wish I had £3000 for a dress like these!

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Just had to shout about the Fleur dress by Heyday ...too, too fabulous and named after a real style icon. And I just bought one. Ooops!

My dress is nearly finished!

Despite cutting the wrong size out on the front pieces, I managed to
get the pieces to fit together and I think it's turned out fine

I just
need to do the button holes and sew on the buttons now! I'll post a
picture of me in it (if it fits!).

I'm also going to make a dirndl skirt
from cute strawberry pattern fabric I have. Hoping it'll turn out ok
because I'm not using a pattern!

My white 40s trousers from Vivien of Holloway arrived the other day,
they're snug but hopefully on my salad and exercise regime that should
be resolved pretty soon. I wore them to a car boot on Sunday with a
straw hat I picked up at a flea market a few months ago and they were fab. Will get a pic up asap.

I'm increasingly finding hats and headscarves are superb for dealing with
bad hair days, and are saving me hours in front of the mirror! My friend
Jamie (proprietor of the fabulous Gimme Shelter vintage shop in Bristol)
is picking me up some hair rats from the beauty wholesaler soon.
Looking forwards to my hair being long enough to do something with, I'm
just trying as hard as I can to grow it right now. Lots of long hair
thoughts! Resolved to use a Hollywood roll to solve my hair issues.
Curling it every morning is out of the question, so think that putting
it up in a roll, or plaits, is my best option. Just wish it would grow more quickly!

I've also found out why nothing's growing in one part of my garden... 8kg of cat!

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Grace and style

It's been a couple of weeks since I last got round to posting. I've
spent my time either rushing around like mad or dozing on the sofa!
The Grace Kelly exhibit at the V&A was wonderful, I spent a very happy
day with my Mum looking at dresses. I was a bit disappointed that they
didn't have her wedding dress, but what they did have was wonderful.
Something that struck me was how much better the clothes looked in the
pictures of her than on the dummies. I think she'd have looked good in a
sack. The whole museum was well worth a visit and we had a lovely lunch
(with a cheeky glass of wine) in the stunning cafe. The fashion exhibit
was fascinating and I loved seeing the progress of shapes and trends
through the ages. Sometimes you have to wonder what possessed women to
try to fit their bodies into such odd and unflattering shapes (1920s
sack-coat anyone?). If I'm ever in London with time to kill I shall
definitely be going back for another trip!
I wore a new blue 40s day dress on the second day of my visit with
white brogues.

The dress is very comfy and fits me beautifully, but the
seams are very weak and coming back on the train I tore one. To repair
it properly I'll have to resew the seams and will probably end up taking
an inch off all over, meaning I won't be able to fit into it at all! My
choice now is to leave it and hope I can avoid pulling it apart next
time I wear it (possibly with embarrassing consequences) or to mend it
and sell it on. Or just sell it on. It was a bargain at £25 so resale
wouldn't be too much of an issue. I'd just be sad to see it go! Any
opinions about what I should do gratefully received!

I found this swimsuit recently - fab 40s/50s style but sold out in my size! It's by Ballet and is called, appropriately enough, Casablanca. The search for fab swimwear continues!

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Day at the museum

I went to the Victoria and Albert Museum today to see an exhibition on quilts. It was fabulous (despite a horrific journey on about 5 delayed trains) and I learnt a lot about women's history through the ages. Fab exhibition but sadly closed after today.
I wore one of my few original 40s dresses today. It's a genuine marks and spencers 1940s piece an I felt so gratified when a woman in the ladies came to admire it!
Worn, naturally, with my new sandals and victory rolls.

Back to the V&A tomorrow to see the Grace Kelly exhibit. Can't wait!
I also thought I'd share one of the views of my bus ride home. The lovely Clark Gable.

Hey big spender

So, I bought a sofa, new. From a shop. I think it's the first time I bough anything new (other than shoes and underwear)!
The man in the sofa shop was more interested in my headscarf than in selling us the sofa, but we go there in the end.
The picture below is what I wore to the shop. Freddie's jeans, M&S top and my new sandals! :D The scarf is from a charity shop and saved me having to try to tackle my hair.

The new shoes are wonderful - they're comfy and easy to walk in, plus they're pretty stylish. They're the Vanilla Cream Clark's shoes I mentioned a while back. Even the box is retro!

Friday, 2 July 2010

Slumming it

I'm not feeling too good today - I've barely slept all week and it's caught up with me. As a result, I've spent the day in my (admittedly quite glam) PJs and only got dressed to visit my chiropractor.

Since I was off work, I had time today to do some more work on my 40s house dress. I just need to put the sleeves in and then hems and facing. I might even be able to wear it this weekend!

Here's my not-very-vintage-but-I'm-feeling-yucky outfit for today. I was going for a 50s casual look. Not saure if I got there but it'll do! My trousers are Marks and Spencer, from their 'Roma' fit range. They're cut to be more generous in the hip and slimmer in the waist, which means they're very flattering to curves! The cardi is a charity shop job and ancient.

Next to me is my favourite piece of furniture, my hallstand. It's seen better days, but I think it has character and it was free! An old lady a few streets away was throwing it away and said I could have it. I love free things!
I also threw on a fun union flag scarf I found recently in a pound shop. Saved me having to do my hair!