Sunday, 28 February 2010

Carry it with you

Satchels from Cambridge satchel.

I've been thinking about bags a lot lately. I can never seem to find just the right bag, one that has plenty of space, lots of fun compartments to store things in, and can be carried in multiple ways. I'm not that into bags, I like to have one bag that I can use for any occasion, which can be a difficult thing to find. I was looking through some old magazines the other day and came across a little article about Cambridge satchels. They have a sweet website with some examples of their stylish customers. I'm quite tempted by the blue one with contrast stitching, I could even have my name embossed on it if I so wished. I think satchel could be my perfect bag.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Just a couple of city slickers

As promised here are some of the vintage photos I found in Brighton. I thought I'd start with these ones as they all have writing on the back. Which makes them that little bit more interesting. I particularly love the first one, 'just a couple of city slickers' it makes me wonder about the two women in the photo, they look dressed for town but they appear to be standing in the countryside. I'm not sure what the writing on the back of the one of the group of girls says, They are in a place called Adelboden which is in Switzerland and it looks like they are in school uniform, so maybe on a school trip somewhere. I like that someone has specified that Rosalind is the one with the 'brown bun'. The last photo is probably the oldest, Auntie and family. I like the devious expression on the little girl's face ad who is the mysterious 'I' who took the photo? Much as I find these old photos fascinating, there is always something a little sad about them, how did they end up for sale, why are they not in a family album somewhere? Well at least they have a new home now.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Seven Days

Hansel und Gretel strudel bar in Bath
A street market in Bath
Traid shop in Brighton
A jelly bean Queen
Some street art
Inside of my favourite shop - doesn't the green dress remind you of the sound of music

I've had some lovely times this past week, a visit to Bath, including a cider festival, markets and a strudel bar. Then pancake day, valentine's day and a trip to Brighton, including a visit to a chocolate cafe and possibly the best chocolate milkshake I have ever tasted. I meant to take plenty of photos but I only managed to take a few. However I did manage to go to one of my favourite shops. It's a huge antiques/vintage/bric-a-brac shop in Brighton's Lanes. I can never leave there empty handed, particularly since they have a big box of vintage photos for rummaging through. I bought several which I will post soon. I'd like some more weeks like this past one.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Bow by Bow

I decided recently to try and finish one of my half completed projects, in this instance, a blue dress made of a scrap of navy satin-backed crepe, which is matte with satin dots on one side and the opposite on the reverse. I chose the matte side as the exterior. The problem I had with this dress was that I had hardly any fabric, so I was unsure how best to finish the neckline. Then I found an old bow tie and thought 'I could do that'. As it turns out, making a bow is very simple. A bow is just three rectangles. I thought I'd make a little 'how to' guide whilst making it myself. And here are the results.

Step 1 Step 2 Step 3

Step 1 - Cut out 3 paper rectangles, 2 of a similar size, and one much smaller, use as a pattern

Step 2 - Pin each set of two rectangles with wrong sides of fabric together

Step 3 - Machine stitch (can be done by hand) 3 sides of the rectangles together, leave one of the smaller ends open. Once stitched, turn rectangles inside out, you will be left with 2 raw edges

Step 4 Step 5 Step 6

Step 4- Tuck raw edges inside rectangle and stitch together as neatly as possible (I always have trouble here!) Follow same for all 3 rectangles

Step 5 - Lay the two larger rectangles together so they are slightly overlapping, place smaller rectangle underneath and fold over

Step 6 - hand stitch smaller rectangle together so it will not slip off. And voila! One bow ready for use

Here is the finished dress, I'm quite pleased with it compared to some of my other homemade dresses, I think I may actually wear this one. I used he opposite side of the fabric for the bow to create a nice contrast between dress and bow.

There's Dust in my eyes...

During a random Internet search I came across the label Dust, designed by Julia Blackburn based in Portland - I seem to find a lot of interesting designers based in Portland, I think I need to visit. All the clothes are one of a kind pieces created from vintage clothing. I like the soft colours and faded look of this skirt and shirt. The label's name comes from the term 'Dust bowl' a description of depression era America. I love the idea of re-constructing vintage pieces into something modern and unique, and they aren't even that expensive, an added bonus. The look book images are rather lovely too.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

The Language of Flowers

Here are the spoils of today's thrifting mission. I went to a couple of jumble sales and charity shops and this is what I came away with. It's strange how I seem to end up with matching items. The flower on the hat is the same purple shade as the floral pattern on the Laura Ashley dress. The dress is actually a child's age 12, but quite big and it fits the mannequin fine. I think I might cut off the sleeves to modernise it and make it look less like a child's party dress. The Language of flowers book is so sweet. It was published in 1978, written by actress Jean Marsh and features original illustrations by Kate Greenaway. It's quite nice to find out the meaning of the different flowers, plants and trees. It's the kind of thing that many people used to know but no longer do. Hopefully I will make the time to learn some of them. Here are some examples:
Alyssum, Sweet: Worth beyond beauty
Bee Orchis: Industry
Camomile: Energy in Adversity
Daisy: Innocence
Elm: Dignity
Fennel: Worthy of all praise. Strength
Geranium, Lemon: Unexpected meeting
Hazel: Reconciliation
Iris: Message
Jasmine, yellow: Grace and Elegance
Kennedia: Mental Beauty
Larch: Audacity, Boldness
Mugwort: Happiness
Nightshade: Truth
Pennyroyal: Flee away
Quamoclit: Busybody
Rose, Daily: The smile I aspire to
Scarlet Lychnis: Sunbeaming eyes
Thistle, Common: Austerity
Venus' Car: Fly with me
White Poplar: Time
Xeranthemum: Cheerfulness under adversity
Yew: Sorrow
Zinnia: Thoughts of absent friends
I tried to put only the pleasant ones, but there was only yew for y. It's interesting there are flowers with such negative meanings like danger, anger and sadness. I can't imagine why anyone would send flowers to their enemies declaring war or accusing of crimes. Still it'll be nice to know the meaning of any future flowers I may receive. Personally I'm hoping for some Kennedia or maybe some Scarlet Lychnis.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Mellow Yellow

One of my new year's resolutions regarding personal style was to embrace colour. It's strange how sometime you have an impression of yourself that is totally wrong, I assume I wear quite a bit of colour, but in actual fact I rely largely on a palette of black, navy, grey and white. The colours I do wear tend to be muted and off colours. So... with this in mind I purchased the above dress and later on, the tights. The dress was on sale in french connection, I would never have had it for full price. I think part of the attraction was the front yoke and shoulders, which remind me of the beloved Ossie Clark dress. Also if the dress were vintage I know I would have loved it, so why not love it when it is new? The tights are from uniqlo. They are really good quality and actually the same colour on as in the packet, which makes a nice change. The shoes are vintage woven leather and the headscarf is from a jumble sale. I've always wanted to wear a head scarf like this but couldn't work out quite how to do it until I came across this very helpful post from vixen vintage. So from now on I will be on the look out for more pretty vintage scarves.