Monday, 27 October 2014

Short & Sweet



I'm helping out with the publicity for a Mod themed event the Black Country Echoes Festival are planning so I've got my 1960s groove on. 




 My dress started life as a vintage bed sheet (kindly donated by Shabby) and the 1969 pattern is on loan from my Facebook friend, Emily. 

McCall's 9779 - possibly the easiest pattern ever!

The 1960s Hacker record player, hand made rug, cushion covers and vintage Trechikoff and Lynch prints all came from car boot sales and the Rebound game (manufactured in 1971, but what's a couple of years between friends?) was a recent jumble sale find.


See you soon!

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Yeah, I Made It Myself - The Bed Cover Capelet




Whenever I volunteer at the jumble sale before the leftovers are gathered together, bagged up and sold off as rags, I can't resist one final rummage. Zips are removed, buttons snipped off and interesting fabrics, no matter how tatty, are snaffled for future projects. In my seven years of sewing I've yet to buy a brand new zip or a button.

McCall's 3542 1970s cape pattern, all pinned out and ready to cut - pincushion made by Emma's fair hands, pro scissors a most welcome birthday pressie last year from Liz.
At some point in its past this vintage bed cover had been chopped in half but, too small for its original purpose, it remained unsold . Thinking that it looked like the perfect fabric for a capelet, I rescued it from its inevitable sad fate of becoming a factory cleaning rag.


The pattern called for a frog fastener which I didn't have, so I concocted a military-style closure instead, finishing it off with a couple of 1960s brass buttons chopped from a moth eaten blazer (a previous rag bag rescue). The original blue fringing awaits a future project. The thread, bias binding and concealed hook and eye fastening (at the neck) all came from the biscuit tins crammed with sewing notions I can never resist buying at car boot sales. The only new purchase was the interfacing which I buy in bulk from eBay every few years.


Recognise the vintage Scottish Plume brooch?


 Another jumble sale leftover as the pin had broken. I've made do with a safety pin here but I'll do a proper job using an old brooch eventually.


The best thing about making your own clothes, other than creating something totally unique for  pennies?  Its getting emails and Facebook messages from women who've read my blog and been inspired to have a go at dressmaking themselves. Even with no training whatsoever (like me!) you'll be amazed at what you can knock up if you give it a try.


Go on, I dare you!


Now its back to the day job, repairing a mountain of clothes ready for our debut at Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair this Saturday (see HERE) . Thank goodness for my thrifty ways, all those replacement buttons and zips would cost a fortune if I hadn't salvaged them for free.

Me-made cape worn with vintage Compass, Australia lurex maxi (courtesy of the lovely Nelly who no longer blogs), 1960s tapestry & vinyl bag (£1, car boot sale), River Island leather knee high boots (£2, Salvation Army)

See you soon!

PS I pinched the title from my sewing bible Yeah, I Made It Myself  by Eithne Farry. 

Monday, 20 October 2014

Nine Go Wild In Walsall


Its been a while since we last had a girls' day out so I was beyond excited to host a get together in Walsall this weekend.

Itching to get into Second To None

After picking up Fiona from her hotel and meeting Emma, Annie, Curtise & Lyndsey at the train station, we staged an invasion of Costa coffee, throwing the waiting staff into confusion. As soon as Gisela, Tania & her friend Vanessa arrived we marched up to Second To None where June was ready and waiting (I'd tipped her off last week).


 We cracked open the cans of vodka & orange and gin & tonic I'd bought from Asda on my walk into town. (I do like to offer my friends the full-on Walsall experience). No corner of the shop was left unexplored, rails were rummaged, cabinets ransacked and even the stepladders were brought out to get to the top shelf.


Once our knees were buckling under the weight of all the vintage swag we climbed the stairs, stripped off and tried all the glorious clobber on. How insane is the print on the shirt Em's got on?


Tania looked fab in this folksy maxi.


Bra out, can in hand, classy to the last.


Is this dress a bit too Jane Austin? Curtise asked, to a resounding No, buy it, you daft bat from the rest of us.


Em's Mum had just treated her to the amazing emerald green wool coat she wore to meet us so she couldn't justify buying this stunner of a 1960s faux fur.


Fiona looked amazing in this block printed 1970s maxi as did Curtise in the chrysanthemum cape dress. Did they buy? You'll have to visit their blogs to find out!

Tania & Vanessa lead the way with Emma and Gisela behind

Purchases made we said goodbye to June and her husband, Dave and headed off for lunch. Lyndsey had to run back to Second To None, in a heightened state of excitement she'd left her cape behind.

Emma, Fiona and Gisela

Fascinating fact: This early 19th Century pub is actually called The Prince Belucher, named after the Prussian general who fought alongside Wellington at the Battle of Waterloo. I've no idea where the "Belucher" bit of the sign went. 

Curtise, Gisela & Lyndsey

Fiona, Annie & Emma
We had lunch in posh Wetherspoons (Walsall has two within a few yards of one another). St Matthew's Hall was built 300 years ago and was originally the site of town's first library.


I took the gang to admire the array of goodies in The Chocolate Box, hilariously a sweet shop with a dental surgery upstairs. Its been in business for over 70 years and stocks proper old fashioned confectionery like Teddy Gray's Herbal Tablets, the pride of the Black Country. 


We then went for a whistle stop rummage of the chazzas. Fiona relived her college years playing with this vintage typewriter in the YMCA.


The rails in the British Heart Foundation got a battering.


Call ourselves vintage bloggers? Only £1.99 and still nobody wanted this OBD*.

*Obligatory blogger deer


We visited the Asian trimmings stall where we all cooed and sighed over elephant braiding, lurex pom-poms, velvet buttons and sequined paisley appliqués. 


Once the girls discovered how cheap everything was they were almost rendered speechless.


We waved Lyndsey & Vanessa off then headed to rough Wetherspoons (despite being a former Art Deco cinema its the less salubrious of the two) for a swift farewell drink before the rest of the gang caught their homeward bound trains. 

Fringed waistcoat worn with a 1970s mini (courtesy of the divine Desiree) and a 1960s felted hat (from the lovely Zoe)

What did I buy? This child's fitting 1960s suede waistcoat. 
There's also a psychedelic 1960s bikini to show you but its currently drying alongside the killer swimsuit I got from Thursday's jumble sale.


As they got so much love last week I thought I'd give you another flash of my inherited 1960s boots. Go-Go well (ha!) with the patent vanity case I got from Friday's jumble sale for 20p, don't they?

I'm linking to Patti & the gang for Visible Monday.


What a fab day off. Amazing vintage clothes, copious booze and the best company. I can't wait till the next time.

See you soon!

Friday, 17 October 2014

Rumble In The Jumble


When I joined the ranks of the self-employed six years ago, I discovered an underground society to which those in paid employment remain oblivious. The details are often hazy, communicated by Facebook messages (thanks, Shabby!) or via whispered conversations in charity shops. Forget the illicit raves or blues parties of my youth, these days its the wonderful world of the lunchtime jumble sale....... and we've been to two this week.

1960s suede mini (courtesy of Liz), 1980s bodysuit (jumble sale), 1970s Stirling Cooper fringed velveteen jerkin (Garbo Antiques @ Vintage Village at Stockport Market Hall), original 1960s go-go boots (inherited from my Mum), crazy tights (courtesy of Kerry, House of Harrie Hattie)
On Wednesday we set up and sorted the donations out for the regular Methodist church event, yesterday we served the buyers, cleared away and bagged up the leftovers for the rag man and today we went to another jumble as ordinary punters.



Jumble sales are a Black Country way of life. Whilst the weekend ones are packed out, the week day ones aren't quite so hectic. The buyers tend to be the retired and stay-at-home mothers along with a handful of second hand dealers and there is little competition for vintage stuff. Most of the regulars chuck anything old in my direction. Apparently I'm known as "that nice girl who dresses weird."

Want to see what we got?


This Sona percolator makes a mean cup of coffee but, according to my friend Gail at Essentially Eagle Vintage, they sell pretty well which should help towards the flight fund.


I found all three pairs of 1950s skates in the same donation bag, the cream pair at the end have bells threaded through the laces with Queens Ice Club, Bayswater W2 etched inside. I haven't been ice skating since I was a teenager but they'd look fantastic hung on an interior wall.


This Rococo mirror has a fair bit of age to it, it fits in well with our mirrors in the bathroom (there's a song there!)


This hideous thing actually lights up and plays Its a Long Way To Tipperary. Unsurprisingly it was unsold at the end of the jumble so I had to rescue it, much to Jon's disgust.


More Spanish tat.



See, Jon gets stuff too. A groovy retro ice bucket (with the 1960s guarantee still inside) and a vintage camera.


Some Scottish jewellery (complete with the tartan gift boxes)


...and a fascinating 1937 edition of Every Woman's Enquire Within covering everything from animal husbandry, politics, travel advice and beauty tips. 


Whilst there's a fair few vintage clothes on offer I only buy stuff that excites me, like this amazing array of 1970s dresses.


I also found the vintage swimsuit of my dreams but that'll have to wait for another post.

Wearing: 1970s Crimplene maxi dress (the lovely Linda at Hey Homewrecker!), bastard massive 70s Stainless Steel cross (£1, car boot sale), 1960s go-go boots (as before)

...and here's something I wasn't tempted with - the biggest pants in the world.


Jon'll be taking Kinky Melon's Retro Boutique to Bridgnorth tomorrow - alone! I'm having the day off. He's a star, isn't he?

See you soon!