Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Vegan Pancake Goodness

This is what I made for my lunch on pancake day (Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras). I know that celebrating the start of Lent by using up all the dairy in the house doesn't really apply when you're an atheist vegan eating soya milk pancakes, but I wasn't about to miss out.

Mock duck and mushroom hoi sin pancakes with spring onions and peppers (I usually do cucumber instead of peppers, I didn't have any, it would be good with both though).

A traditional British lemon juice and sugar one for dessert. We had pancakes again on Sunday, I filled them with canned pie cherries.

Basic vegan pancake recipe:

50g/ 2oz. self-raising flour (cake flour)
125ml/ 1/2 US cup soya milk
1 level tsp. gram flour (chickpea/besan)
pinch of salt

Whisk everything together then let it stand for a few minutes as it will thicken a little.

This serves one person (makes three 20cm/approx 7.5" pancakes or two 25cm/10"), just multiply it to serve more. I use a flat-bottomed wok to cook mine in as I find it easier to get a spatula in to loosen them before flipping. I also use plain sunflower oil in a spray container (bottle of 1-cal cooking spray refilled with oil) instead of a pool of it from the bottle, this way they're almost fat free. You'll need more oil if you're not using a non-stick pan.

Sewing plans: Pants!

Taking the lead from my marvellous sister over at Buttons and Bobbins, I've decided to plan some vintage-style trousers. I've never made trousers before, so I'll be learning as I go along!

Ginny's inspiration was this pair of trousers, by Handmade Jane, and I have decided that I want a pair too!

The pattern used to make these is Simplicity 2654 which is very difficult to get hold of, but after doing some research I determined it to be the same trouser pattern featured in Simplicity 4044(below), a reissue of a 1940s pattern that comes with a skirt and jacket, so they are indeed period accurate! There are plenty of copies on eBay and etsy should you wish to make some too.

My sister got hold of a copy of 2654, and I will be stealing a tracing from it as soon as she is finished with it. I decided to go for a design with a waistband, choosing Simplicity 3688(below), which I think will be easier to make jeans from - either wide-legged 40s style directly from the pattern, or by tapering a little for a 50s design. 2654 however, with its faced waist instead of a waistband, will be great for sailor trousers. I already have brass anchor buttons in my stash!

I'll probably be making these first seeing as I have the pattern here, I'll have to wait a while to borrow a copy of the faced trouser pattern. I'll probably just make them as a basic pair of jeans, maybe adding some patch pockets to the front. There's a great post showing the finished trousers and a version of the blouse from the same pattern here, by Debi at My Happy Sewing Place.

Keep an eye on Buttons and Bobbins for more pants progress; Ginny will probably get hers sewn up long before I finish mine, and she is currently in the middle of an interesting series of posts detailing historical inspiration, fabrics, patterns, help and tutorial sources for making vintage trousers.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Glamourous styling and my clever chap!

A couple of weeks ago we had to go to a fancy event at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, where Aerospace Boyfriend was receiving a prestigious award from the North West Aerospace Alliance. He won the Sir Frank Whittle award, named after the inventor of the jet engine, which is given for the best aerospace engineering project from any North West university. I am very proud of him!

Here he is with some chaps from Project Torpedalo who are going to drive a high-tech pedalo across the Atlantic for charity! Apparently they'll be naked for most of it too due to something called 'salt chafing'... they are braver than I.

...and again looking rather nervous with some executives from Rolls-Royce jet engines, receiving his big cardboard cheque and shiny trophy made from a jet turbine fan blade. I'm not used to seeing him with normal hair and wearing a suit! There was also a very nice three-course meal (they cooked me a special vegan option) and plenty of free-flowing pink champagne! Apparently there exist pictures of us together on his dad's camera (the ones above are stolen from official websites), but they haven't come out very well.

Here is what I wore... my Hawaiian dress, I have probably worn this more than anything else I have made, it's my favourite too. Sorry for the rubbish picture, the lighting in my house is pathetic. The design is modified from Butterick 6582, I lowered the neckline and added the draped and lined front overskirt. I've made several versions of this dress and find it easy to fit and modify. Black lurex knit bolero from Tesco, my Nanna's rhinestone jewellery, and my trusty 1950s green velvet rhinestone stilettos.

My hair and makeup for the evening was done by the fabulous Bethany Jane Davies of The Vintage Beauty Parlour. Her work is fantastic! I asked for a Betty Grable/Lucille Ball inspired updo with classically glamourous neutral 50s makeup and I was thrilled with the results.

I went to her cute little home studio for my styling session (where you will fall in love with Dita, her darling black pug), she also runs a mobile beauty service for bridal or special occasion styling, and a pop-up salon at various vintage events.

Look at my eyebrows! I loved them. I won't be changing from my coloured ones any time soon, but it would be nice to make them up like this for formal occasions or just for a change with a nice outfit.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Kalandra Jane Designs Magazine Feature!

A couple of weeks ago I took some of my hats along to collaborate on a fashion photoshoot for Chimp Magazine, Manchester's leading arts, fashion, gigs and culture guide. I got my copies in the post today, and we have made the front cover (and the front page of their website)!

More great news, the photos have been so well received that the editors have decided to spread the shoot over two issues - double the magazine exposure, and two separate seven-page spreads of beautiful Harajuku-inspired fashion deliciousness featuring my hats! I'm so proud to have my work featured in the magazine, alongside some wonderfully talented people who worked on the shoot.

Here are the pictures from this issue! There are loads more to come. All hats by Kalandra Jane Designs, and if you're not a facebook fan yet please follow me here!

Photo shoot for Chimp Magazine www.chimpmagazine.co.uk
Photographer – Shirlaine Forrest www.shirlainephotos.co.uk
Hair and Make Up Artists - Clare Ardern www.harryjon.com
Jennifer Perry www.jenniferperrymakeupartistry.com
Lauren Coombes www.cheshiremakeup.com
Models – Amy Gee, Olivia Stappleton and Tom Walker at Boss Model Management www.bossmodelmanagement.co.uk
Clothing - Tokyo Royale www.harajukustyle.co.uk
Handbags - Helen Rochfort www.helenrochfort.com
Millinery – Kalandra Jane www.kalandrajanedesigns.com
Accessories – Extreme Largeness www.extremelargeness.com
Photographers Assistant – Danny Thornley
Shot on location with thanks to Phil Thornley, Sophie Mullan, Amanda, Fry, Frank and Paul.

Chimp Magazine is available at WH Smith and all good Mancunian newsagents!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Gratuitous Vintage Shoe Pictures

Hello vintage lovers, and foot fetishists who have stumbled here accidentally due to my use of the words 'gratuitous shoe pictures'. Today I will be showing you some of the shoes I have acquired in the last few months, and for some reason or another haven't shown to you! There will also be some tips on vintage shoe buying.

This first pair aren't vintage at all but they are going to go fabulously with my Summer outfits. Coral red was in my Autumn/Winter colour picks although I didn't manage to feature it much, but my Spring/Summer colour picks will feature a more pastel/bright version of the same tone. These are £18 from TU at Sainsbury's supermarkets (in their current collection, I got them at the weekend), and they're really comfy. I also got a nail polish that matches exactly in a swap with a friend, it's Bourjois Tangerine Fatal.

Pic from pamperedandpolished.co.uk blog.

Amazing black velvet 1950s stilettos from RevolvingStyles on etsy. My friend Paul gave me cash for my birthday, so I bought these. They're the superspy shoes from my birthday wishes post! The heels are so curvaceous, and despite having some marks to the soles, the linings and uppers of these look like they've never been worn.

1980s black velvet stilettos... yeah, yeah, they're almost exactly like the ones above. But they were £2.99 in a charity shop, had never been worn, and I only have one other pair of black shoes.

Delicious 1940s red velvet, gift from a friend <3

Cinderella shoes! I got these back in October so I have no idea why I haven't posted about them yet, seeing as they are the most beautiful shoes I own. When Brittany of Va-Voom Vintage posted these on her blog, I couldn't move my fingers fast enough to write her a message asking for them to be reserved! I paid a visit to her etsy shop and snapped these up at a very reasonable price. These things are pretty scarce in the UK, and even scarcer in a size actually wide enough to squeeze in a modern foot - they're just wide enough for me to rotate my trotters into comfortably.

Here's a few more pictures of my 1950s lucite lovelies, all these pics are copyright of Va-Voom Vintage.

There were a few little stones missing, so I replaced them with some vintage ones I had, from the same period.

Now, to the vintage shoe shopping tips.

In this shoe, you can see two sets of letters. This denotes a high quality shoe - the letters are separate width fittings for the heel and toebox, and would only be found in custom-fitted shoes. Widths generally went from AAAAA to B or C. AAAAA can also stand for AAAAArgh these vintage shoes are far too narrow for my portly modern feet and are making me want to chop off my own toes.

Then again - I have found that these fittings can vary between manufacturers and even between decades - I am a modern UK 5.5, US 8 with a very slightly wider than average foot, but I have 1950s shoes that are tight on me at size US 8B, Fit fine at US 8.5AAAA, and 1940s ones that are snug at supposedly the exact same size, 8.5AAAA. So, in conclusion - don't try to use these fittings as an exact size guide, just take them as a sign of a very well manufactured shoe that was built to last, but go by measurements instead.

Measure a shoe that fits you very well across the widest point of the sole at the ball of the foot, the length along the insole, and the distance across the vamp (the front part of a shoe that covers the top of your foot). If you buy on etsy which is a very good source for vintage shoes, most sellers will list this information. If buying at vintage fairs, take a tape measure and a clean stocking - there's no point trying shoes on when you're wearing massive thick socks or have a sweaty foot which will make the shoes stick and feel uncomfortable.

Another hugely important thing to remember is that the width of your bare foot flat on the floor is not the width you need in a heeled shoe - the sole of the shoe will be considerably narrower due to the way heeled shoes hold the foot, so as I have stated before, measure a shoe that fits you well, not your foot.

Metal heel and toe taps - these are another sign of a well-made shoe, especially the presence of toe taps. Many vintage shoes have hard leather soles, so check these aren't worn out or rotten, and have leather heel taps replaced with matching coloured plastic or metal ones by a good cobbler if you intend to wear the shoes outdoors much, as these will wear down very quickly and cause damage to the heels.

Shoes with different writing in each one show that they were made exclusively for a fancy shoe shop or department store. One logo shows the maker's name, the other the shop. These were good quality shoes made for upmarket outlets. Good names to look for are De Liso Debs from the 40s, Roger Vivier, Spring-O-Lators, Magnin department stores, and Johansen from the 50s, Daniel Green in boudoir slippers, celebrity endorsed lines like Jayne Mansfield shoes, and of course designer treasures such as Ferragamo.

The words 'hand lasted' mean that the fabric or leather of a shoe has been stretched out over the foot-shaped mould by a human, not by a machine. This is generally a sign of quality, but in the 50s and earlier hand lasting was still commonplace anyway, so don't let it sway you too much. Look at the quality of the stitching, the materials used, and whether they have deteriorated over the years making them too fragile to wear.

A shoe stretcher. One or a pair is an invaluable purchase for anyone wating to wear vintage shoes. If your feet are very much a modern size, you'll probably find width an issue when wearing vintage, and this handy gadget is great for gently easing out vintage shoes without putting any undue pressure on one part of the shoe or creating creases in the material. They put equal, firm pressure on all areas of the shoe that the wooden part is in contact with, and are adjustable to many different sizes and foot shapes.

Using a shoe stretcher to gently reshape vintage footwear is highly preferable to trying to wear shoes in, as it preserves their shape and avoids damage to your precious vintage items. Be gentle though, adjusting your stretcher just a tiny bit each day over several days - you're not going to make a shoe whole sizes bigger, or make a shoe you can't get the width of your foot into comfortable to wear. Be careful and remember that these are historical items, you're their custodian, so care for them well.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Outfit post - Winter roses

I'm not feeling up to much other than catching up on work at the moment, so here is a little outfit/hair post. This is just what I wore to go shopping then to swimming on Wednesday.

Coat - On sale for £18 (I paid £45!) - very.co.uk
Jeans - Freddies of Pinewood
Black velvet gloves - Accessorize, about ten years ago
Scarf of amazingness - knitted by my mum in the 70s, check out her brand new blog!

40s Style sweater - TK Maxx (why is it TK Maxx here and TJ Maxx in the States?)

Here's my hair. I'd just brushed out a beehive and decided to do something with it while it was all full of volume from the hairspray remnants. My hair isn't really long enough for a snood, but it fills it out quite nicely when my hair is all fuzzed out like this. Snood crocheted by my sister, have a look at her blog for more vintage sewing, knitting and crochet.

Here's the front, I was pleased with my rolls that day, shame I had to brush them out a couple of hours later to go swimming! The rose bracelet was a Christmas gift from my friend Louella.

Here are the shoes I have on above - Dacey by Rocket Dog, from Amazon on sale. I wanted something suitable for Winter, vegan, in a neural-ish colour, and which would not look out of place with a variety of vintage-styled outfits. I chose the weirdest colour but there are four others, and while it's described as 'tan' the butterscotch yellow colour of these shoes fits in with my Autumn/Winter colour picks so matches my wardrobe plan.