Thursday, 27 May 2010

May's Vintage Finds and Summer Dress Progress

Yesterday, I went to Burnley for a visit to my family. I'd not been over since January, and needed to take over my Mum's birthday present, I was also being nosey to see how big my pregnant sister had gotten. I know she reads this blog, so hello Mum! My sister and I went to the fleamarket in the town centre, where I managed to pick up a few vintage gems!

Here is a picture of my ridiculous face before I set off for the bus. I had been up all night and felt drained, so decided on a Carmen Miranda look to brighten myself up. You can see my eye scar really badly.

The fruit theme turned out to be a good idea, because upon seeing me, one of the stallholders produced this lovely little pair of celluloid fruit earrings! She only wanted £3 for them too. They're clips, and I can't wear them on my lobes because of my stretched tunnels (see picture above), but I can wear them pinned into my hair or onto a sweater. 1940s - 50s?

I also got this sweet little daisy brooch from the same seller, not sure of the age but it was only £2 and goes with my other yellow accessories.

Another addition to my fawn collection! Withernsea Pottery 'Fauna' vase, £4. 1950s?

I have been on a little vintage necklace buying spree this month. This one was £1 from the fleamarket, 1950s. I love teal at the moment!

These two are 1930s uranium glass pieces from a Czech seller on eBay, I was so excited to receive them! The seller was a lovely lady trading as 'darrepack', I would highly recommend her for cute vintage Czech jewellery, it was beautifully packaged and quickly delivered.

I won the minty green one for about £5, and she included the little cut glass necklace for free! It's very sparkly and fits perfectly three times round my wrist as a bracelet. The listing included pictures of them glowing under UV light, I can't wait to go somewhere with UV so I can see them glow!

This milk glass one was also an eBay find, it's a bit tight though so I'm going to get a clip-in extension chain. 1940s?

My local charity shops have produced a poor haul this month, my only purchase being this kitsch plastic religious icon. I love how badly painted it is.

Aerospace Boyfriend has been revising for his exams all this month, meaning I've had a lot of time on my own, so I spent last Saturday putting together the dress I started in a previous post. I'm not totally happy with it, it sits oddly on the bust and for some reason the waistline is not even at all, despite me having followed the pattern and made the pencil skirted version of this dress numerous times. Saying that, I'm pretty sure that the wiggly waistline can be covered with a belt, and the bust issue is a case of finding the right underwear to position my boobs correctly!

Monday, 10 May 2010

My Perfect Summer Dress - Preparation!

For six months, I watched some fabric online, intending to buy it 'when I had the money' to make my perfect summer dress. It was lime green cotton sateen with huge orange and cream rose bouquets printed all over it - my favourite colour, very retro, and very over the top, ie. perfect. I went to purchase some last week, only to find it sold out and unavailable anywhere on the web. Gutted.

The next day, I went into my usual fabric supplier to pick up some millinery bits, and saw this in the window:

In reality the green is brighter, a beautiful shade of emerald. The print is marvellous, it was a bargain at £3.29 a metre, it's a lovely thin Summery cotton, and there were four metres left on the roll - exactly the amount I needed for my project! Aerospace Boyfriend said it looks like his mum's sofa fabric from the 80s, but he is clearly blind to its fabulousness and only reads this blog to ogle my outfit pictures anyway, so I'm not listening to him.

The pattern I am using is based on Butterick 6582, version C, except where it has only a flared skirt I'm making mine a full circle, and I'm dropping the neckline a bit as I find the high style of the standard pattern is unflattering on me.

There are lots of finished versions of this pattern to be seen here at the Sew Retro Blog. I have made the pencil style three times before; once in atomic barkcloth, once from sequin-covered fabric that killed my sewing machine and sliced my armpit to ribbons, and once with a modified wrap-over sarong front, so hopefully I'm practised enough at it for this dress to come out well!

I also plan to draft a pattern for a little bolero to go with it, and a matching hat too.

It needs a self-fabric belt, and I've bought this little buckle for it:

I'm not sure of the era, maybe 30s or 50s? I have some of the tiny vintage cabochons in my stash to replace the missing ones too.

I shall post a picture when it's done!

Monday, 3 May 2010

April's Purchases - Freddies of Pinewood and Vintage Homewares!

Usually I can afford to treat myself to a couple of things every few weeks, so as of this month I plan to do a regular post about the more interesting items I pick up.

Recently, I've been trying to refine my tastes. Peviously, I went for just about anything 1950s, whereas now I'm focussing more on more mid century modern and atomic styles in homewares and furniture. I'm also not allowing myself to buy things unless I need them or really, REALLY like them. Here is a little cruet set I picked up; I especially love the wirework and the little plastic spoon that comes with the mustard pot, it has a tiki bamboo style handle!

I found this coffee pot in a second hand shop in Manchester for £5. It is by Ćmielów, a Polish manufacturer based in a tiny town of the same name with just 3,222 occupants, whose factory dates back to 1790. After seemingly doing not much at all for forty years, the factory has recently begun production of elegant but rather expensive animal figurines from original 1950s moulds. I can find very little online about the factory or any of their products apart from the modern run of Henry Moore - inspired animal sculptures, so I don't know if what I have is a rarity? I love it anyway - the design is quintessentially 1950s and it fits perfectly in with the design and colour plan I have for my fantasy future kitchen!

In complete contradiction to what I just said, I also collect uranium glass , and bought this lovely ring bud vase this month. Uranium glass (also referred to as Vaseline or depression glass, though not entirely correctly) was produced commercially from the mid 19th century until the start of the cold war when uranium production was deferred to the arms industry. In the US, none was produced between WWII and 1958 due to the government's tight control of the substance. The heyday of uranium glass was the 1920s - 30s, and some wonderful art deco designs arose. My collection consists mainly of pieces from this era. It is oddly plentiful in certain charity shops! I think this piece might be early 1920s... it is the highest quality piece I own, being more of a yellowish hue and having cut rather than pressed decoration. Uranium glass glows an amazing bright green under UV lighting, you can see in the picture how it is fluorescing slightly in the sunlight.

I have around fifteen pieces, and that is the extent of my cheating on the 50s with other decades... then again, what could be more of a nod to the atomic age than radioactive housewares?

My last purchase in April was some jeans from Freddies of Pinewood who are having a huge sale at the moment - many of their fantastic retro styles are down to just £20! I got the 'Classics' in black. The design and quality of them is great and so flattering, but I think I do need to lose a little weight for them to fit correctly. I got their biggest size which is 38" waist, 48" hip. My measurements are 36/49, so they are a bit tight across the tummy. I am losing weight slowly on my diet of careful calorie control and occasional cupcake blowouts, so hopefully soon they'll fit just fine and I can simply adjust the waistband to take account of my large waist-to-hip difference. I would also love some of their pedal pushers!

Jeans - Freddies of Pinewood
Sweater - Vintage, eBay
Bandana - Vintage, Affleck's Palace
Cherry Pumps - Rockers England

Little Scamp dog is invading my picture!