Sunday, 27 December 2009

Good Tidings

Merry Christmas! I hope everyone has had an enjoyable festive break, with plenty of delicious food and fun. I have had a busy few days, finishing my Christmas shopping, seeing friends and family and generally enjoying the holiday. As a short post, I thought I would share some of the lovely gifts I have received over the past few days, plus the odd thing I have bought for myself. My next post will be dedicated to what has to be my best vintage find ever I think. But that can wait for now.

A lovely tiny black leather vintage bag with a beautiful silver clasp, a few cards of antique buttons, and a pair of black flats - I finally found the ideal pair in the Office sale, they remind me of old fashioned tap shoes.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Not quite Coco

Coco Chanel, the real deal and as played by Audrey Tatou

I know this is a bit late considering the film came out a little while ago, but I promise there is a point to this post about the iconic Coco Chanel. I think I was being secretly inspired by the film when I bought this striped tee shirt from H&M and these black trousers in Gap. The trousers are a bit of a problem though, I liked the idea of them being ankle skimming but however I try and wear them, they tend to end up looking like I just bought trousers that were too short for me. I think it would be easier if they weren't loose. Yet worn in the simplest, Coco influenced way, I think they kind of work.
Part of the reason I have been considering Chanel relates to a really awesome jumble sale find, for 40p, I give you... a real pair of Chanel ballet flats. To my great sadness they are a size 7, so miles too large for me, but I just couldn't leave them behind. I think they will end up being a Christmas present for one of my friends with more appropriately sized feet. To make it more annoying, I have been on the lookout for a nice pair of black flats for ages. I can never seem to find any that meet all my requirements, flat, but with a little heel, stylish and comfortable. The pair that comes closest is probably this pair from Topshop (second picture). Can you see where the inspiration came from?

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

How to get dressed for under £2.00 *

* does not include tights

This post is a celebration for my love of jumble sales. Jumble sales are a great untaped resource for the vintage lover. Many people visit charity shops and car-boot sales, but I have yet to hear of many people who enjoy a good jumble sale as much as I do. Jumble sales have one massive advantage over all other forms of vintage shopping and that is they are cheap, and I mean cheap. You generally pay around 20p entrance and then clothes/scarves/belts are all 20p, shoes and bags 50p each. Books range from 10p-50p and bric a brac depends, but it's rare to spend over a pound on anything that's not large or electrical. They are great.

Of course some are a waste of time, and on occasion I have come away with nothing, but there is always the possibility you will find some real treasures. The best thing I have ever found at a jumble sale was a pair of black and silver satin dancing shoes form the 1930s in excellent conition. They even have diamante clasps, I can't wear them as they are about a size 3, but I love them, and they cost just 10p, which makes me love them all the more. Based on these excellent prices, this post was originally meant to be 'how to get dressed for under £1', but the because of shoes the prices didn't quite fit. Still stylish for £1.50 isn't bad. I'm hoping to make this a regular blog feature, maybe once a month. This first one is dedicated to checks, the trend that refuses to go away.

Felt Hat: Gift from Grandmother
Flannel dress: (Hemmed) Laura Ashley, Jumble sale, 20p
Leather boots: Jumble sale, 50p
Leather bag: Jumble sale, 50p

Crochet scarf: Gift from Grandmother
Check shirt: Jumble sale, 20p
Snap front skirt: Jumble sale, 20p
Leather boots: Jumble sale, 50p
Leather bag: Jumble sale, 50p

I've had the flannel dress since March, but had to wait until it was suitably cold to wear it, I think it's 1980s Dorothy Perkins, I had to hem it as it was originally well below the knees. The check shirt is a boys' age 12, but I quite like the lose fit. The skirt actually makes me a bit squeamish - it's made of suede. I would never buy something like this new plus I think I look a bit too much like a cowgirl in the last outfit. Oh well. I do love the boots though, I think I actually squealed when I caught site of them. They are the perfect brogue style boot, dark brown and nicely worn down so they are very comfortable. They are my new go with everything shoes.

Thursday, 3 December 2009


Hello. Autumn is officially over as far as I am concerned, a sad thing since it is my favourite time of year. The leaves, bonfire night, fireworks, Halloween, my birthday, all the best things. Now I can look forward to a long English winter, and the challenges of staying warm without losing all sense of style. More on that later I think because winter has caught up with me and given me a bit of flu, so this will be a very short post - apologies. I thought I would share with you this photo, I photocopied it from a very old book about the Bauhaus a couple of years ago. I wish I knew the book's name, if anyone recognises it please let me know! Unlike most books I could find on the subject this one had lots of photos of the people who worked or attended the Bauhaus. I've lost some but I have a few left, which I will post in the future. This one is my absolute favourite though. The serious expression, the intricately ruffled dress, the jaunty little hat. It never fails to inspire me.

Sunday, 29 November 2009


It seems to me that there is a lot of 1940s inspired fashions about at the moment, and it got me thinking about something I did last year. Once a year, in September, the Chatham dockyard in Kent have a 1940s day. I happened upon it quite by chance and decided to go along. I wasn't really sure what it would be like, so I didn't go in costume - but I really wish I had, because a lot of people did and they all looked amazing. There were stalls, vintage arcade games, a parade, a vintage train and a demonstration of a 1940's fire engine in operation. There were even air raids. Another great thing they had were bands performing old wartime songs and others performing the Lindy hop - a dance that was popular at the time. As well as all this the dockyards have a permanent museum about maritime history, a rope making museum, a submarine and other boats you can walk around on. I had a great time, and I will try to go again next year.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

The Fall

In general I am always thinking about a dress. There is always a dress in my head, fighting to get out. I often see dresses, on catwalks, in shops, brand new and vintage and I think, surely I could make that. Then sometimes I find a pattern and attempt to alter it until it resembles what I see in my mind. The finished result is rarely the same as the picture in my head, but I like to think this is a learning process and eventually I will create something that is an accurate representation of my initial idea. I'm not sure why it is generally a dress rather than some other item of clothing, like a top or skirt, I think it's because a dress is a total look, with instant impact. Today's post is about one such dress. It was inspired by the Autumn collection from dear creatures, which I have seen posted on many blogs already, so forgive me for posting the images from their charming lookbook once more.

I initially thought I was trying to create a version of the dress on the right, which I absolutely love, the mustard colour, the checks, the black bow? Perfect. However having seen the finished result, it looks like I was subconsciously thinking of the dress on the left. Judge for yourselves.

I used a pattern for this dress but then changed it. The body is made of a black sateen cotton and the little capelet is made of an autumnal ikea fabric which was something silly like £1.99 per metre. The thing I really liked about the dear creatures dress was the black piping as a contrast to the mustard on the bodice. Instead of piping I used black bias binding around the edges. Below are some close-ups of the back of the dress and fabric. I added the keyhole back, just beacuse I like keyhole backs, although it turned out to be uneccessay since I can get the dress on without undoing the closure, the pattern was oddly large for a size 8. Still I like the grey faux-leather button. I am pleased with the finished result, although it's a bit big, and more 1950s then I expected, it still makes me think of autumn, bonfires, and fallen leaves.

Sunday, 22 November 2009


A few weeks ago I took a trip to Standen . Standen is a national trust house famous for it's arts and crafts style interiors and beautiful gardens. Although it's not that far away I haven't been there in years. Unfortunately you aren't allowed to take photos inside the house, which is a shame because although it's a such a large Victorian house, inside feels really cosy and lived in. I've always liked visiting these old houses and imagining the lives of the people who lived there.

Standen was built for the Beale family in the 1890s, who continued to live there until the 1970s. There is a little exhibition inside the house about all the children who grew up playing in the house and grounds, with photos and toys. Apparently a favourite childhood pastime was to take down the fire shoot from an upstairs window and slide down it, another was to pack six children to a beloved rocking horse and ride it across the billiards room floor. The house is famous for being built in the arts and crafts style and is particularly well known for the William Morris

Design for Windrush fabric by William Morris 1881-83

I really like William Morris designs, they are all very pretty without being too fussy. I am a big fan of off-colours and his prints usually involve plenty which always appeals to me. I felt really inspired after visiting and even found some William morris printed fabrics, although they are really meant for interiors, I can't help imagining these as sweet little dresses or skirts.
I think my favourite is the middle on, although the mustard coloured one would be good for an autumn shift dress. If I get any further with this project, I will keep you informed.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009


Hello and welcome to my brand new blog, The Dandelion Girl. Firstly I will introduce myself. My name is Rebecca and I love nothing more than foraging for vintage treasures or losing myself in a good book. I decided to start this blog so I could share some of my vintage adventures with people who might understand why I get so excited over a beautiful 1960's dress or the perfectly distressed pair of leather boots.

For this first post I thought I might explain the title of the blog. The dandelion girl is the title of a short story by Robert.F.Young, first published in 1961. I saw the title and just liked it, before I knew the story. Although I've never been a fan of science fiction, it's actually quite a sweet little story. It is set in the future and is about a middle aged man called Mark, alone on holiday while his wife works, who meets a girl called Julie four times on a hill - I won't give away the rest. The most famous line (repeated six times throughout) from the story is -

'Day before yesterday I saw a rabbit, and yesterday a deer, and today, you' .

It is also mentioned what Julie wears on each occasion her and Mark meet.
On the first day she wears a white dress that reminds Mark of 'cotton-candy, sea foam and clouds.' On the second day she wears a blue dress and on the third a yellow dress.

For the full text of the story please look here.
I hope you've enjoyed my first post, I will try to update this blog every couple of days with my vintage finds and other inspirations. Thank you for reading.