Monday, 21 April 2014

On flower power, hats and selfies.

Today I finally finished a dress I've been unfashioning.
She started her life as a hideous muumuu I rescued from the Hospice shop for about $10.
The fabric is a slinky nylon knit which was quite hard to cut but not hard to sew and has the bonus of needing no ironing!
I cut out some arm-scyes and most of the fabric at the sides.
From that I cut out sleeves and a band which I stiffened and sewed on under the bust.
It has long ties at the back.
It was harder to alter it than it would have been to start from scratch.
I think I'll wear this one a lot, as I adore the print, and it's very satisfying to design something yourself.
Here's me wearing it: 
The hat originally belonged to one of my grandmothers, and the necklace was from an op shop.
 
Helga has asked for a perve at my new bike so here she is:
Note the purple metallic mudguards, which I painted because black was just too boring.
She's got 21 speeds and even has suspension.
I think I'm in love.
Because winter seems to have arrived early, I've taken up crochet again.
Here are some of the hats I've made (unfortunately I can't wear them on the bike as I have to wear a helmet) :
No, I'm not channelling Pharrell Williams or Jay Kay, it's just a hat before felting.
 
The deranged ski bunny look.

Ol' chipmunk cheeks.
My latest effort.

 

I didn't make this one, it is probably the first vintage hat I ever bought, decades ago.
I think it's made of pheasant feathers.
 
A lovely little white straw and net number with daisies - $5 from the Hospice Shop.
As you can tell, I hate having my photo taken and have tried to hide behind sunglasses.
For some reason, I'm a bit self-conscious about my eyes.
It's a lot easier when I hide them!
Violet
XXX
 
 
 

Saturday, 5 April 2014

iD Fashion week - Femmes fatale in the library

Every year, as part of Dunedin iD Fashion Week, the library puts on a free show of vintage fashion.
 (I blogged about last year's show last March.)
It's called Geek to Chic, and all the models except one are on the library staff. 

This stunning model wore a coral satin dress with an off-the shoulder cowl neck.
 Satin flowers were appliqued to the front. 

I think this blue dress is my favourite.
It is 1940s with cap sleeves and sequins at the square neckline.

I think you'll agree the models were fabulous.

The gorgeous vintage clothes and accessories were supplied by Box Of Birds in Port Chalmers. 
An LBD with a divine cowl neckline.
 
Pink lace with a black strapless bodice and lace stole.
A black halter-neck with white faux fur wrap.

 
A russet satin and cream lace halter-neck with a fur stole.
The ladies' hair was styled by students from the Aoraki Polytechnic.
The makeup was styled by Farmers Department Store. 
A magnificent pale pink satin sheath and mink stole.
 
 
I love this shade of blue and the model rocked it!
Copper sequins.
Shiny! 
Note the tartan stained glass window in the background by artist Shona MacFarlane.
Sorry about the photos - I only have a small camera and they are not perfect. 
 
One of the MCs in black and the youngest model in blue bling.
 
There have been a lot of fashionistas roaming the streets of late and I love it.
I didn't get to see any of the other Fashion Week events.
I would have liked to but most of them were out of my price range.
And I've been super busy lately.
I haven't been blogging much but I've been following most of my favourite bloggers.
I've been doing a bit of sewing and have bought a new bicycle.
A TV channel here has currently got last year's Rolling Stones concert on high rotate and I'm loving it.
 
I've had to put an extra layer of security on my comments because I was getting so much spam, but please don't let it put you off!
 
Violet
XXX
 
 
 
 



 

Friday, 28 February 2014

A lucky day indeed

I know, in my last post I said I would be concentrating on unfashioning.
But if you know me, you'll know that I change my mind all the time.
Today I took the day off work (thanks boss, if you're reading this).
And I couldn't resist hitting four op-shops, despite several torrential downpours.
Left to right, top to bottom:
1940s? painted wooden spill holder
1970s yellow enamelled mini milk pail
1950s ceramic plant pot
amazing blue and green hand-potted vase (it had only been put out half an hour before)
striped cotton sheet (like the ones I had as a child)
Belleek plate (which matches 3 other pieces I have)
Red and turquoise dress
3 half slips (to use as skirt linings)
brown and orange blouse
all in a tan vinyl suitcase.
 
I nearly forgot - and this tiny little pot with Japanese ladies:
 
 
The most expensive item was the suitcase, at $15.
I had to make a second trip to the shop as I forgot it first time around.
The polyester dress is a size 14 and is too small for me, so let me know if you are interested in a giveaway.
 
Violet
XXX
 
 
 
 
 

Sunday, 23 February 2014

On un-fashioning, underdogs and Fleurette..

I've been doing lots of soul-searching about the blog and trying to work out in what direction I want to take it.
Sometimes I find myself standing in a op shop, trying to decide whether I should buy something or not, and realising that "it would look good on my blog" isn't always a good reason.
Particularly since my spare room is starting to become a place I'm too scared to enter.
I'm still op-shopping, but buying less, even if I kick myself for weeks afterward.
For example, I didn't buy a set of flying ceramic ducks, on the ridiculous grounds that they were a vintage cliché.
Well HELLO, kitsch is always going to be a cliché, that's what gives you that thrill of irony.
Another reason for the aforesaid soul-searching was that I had given myself the unattainable goal of photographing everything I bought second-hand, and photographing all of my collections.
I don't think that project will ever be finished, unless I suddenly find myself with a lot of time on my hands.
I don't want this blog to be a chore, I want it to be a way I can connect with people who like some of the same things I do.
What all of this waffle is leading up to is that I want to spend more time un-fashioning things.
In other words, re-making, re-crafting, recycling, up-cycling, call it what you will.
I won't lie and tell you I'm not interested in fashion, but I refuse to be a slave to it.
I'm interested in studying the fashions of "yesteryear" and combining them in a way which gives me pleasure.
I love bright colours, clashing patterns, and things which make me do a double-take or laugh out loud.
I also love making something new out of stuff other people have thrown on the scrapheap.
I think it's something to do with being on the side of the underdog.
In that spirit I bring to you some stuff I've been making:
This dress was made from a cotton or linen curtain I bought in Timaru, and the pattern is Style 2710.
The envelope says it's a 1 hour dress, which is ridiculous - it took me about an hour just to put the zip in!
And the notched neckline was pure masochism.
It turned out too short so I had to add a piece at the hem, not terribly successfully.
But as a practice run at curtain couture it wasn't too bad I suppose. 
The fabric feels like bark-cloth, heavy yet cool.
By the way, I hardly ever wear these brown colours, as I am not convinced they suit me.
But I love the flowery leafy Marimekko-type design.

This is made from Simplicity 7696 and some poly-cotton from Spotlight (oh, the shame!)
I like the fabric because it's light yet uncrushable.
Since then I've added some stretch blue lace to the neckline, because in the process of enlarging the
bust I inadvertently made the neck too wide.
When will I ever learn?

The public library was discarding some old maps, so I covered some boxes with them.
My gluing skills are far from perfect, as I did it while watching TV.
Still I think I will persevere and hopefully improve.
 
I have a lot of unfinished projects on the go, but I only want to show you finished ones.
And I'm hopeless at finishing things, as I keep changing my mind and redoing them.
I don't have much time on my hands, and a lot of excuses.
For example, this weekend was wasted on taken up with op-shopping, cleaning the car, cleaning the house, walking, reading, watching TV and drinking wine.
 
I'm now going to quite randomly show you some pictures of my china cabinet (one of them anyway).
The china was inherited from Mum, and is a mixture of New Zealand Crown Lynn Fleurette, and the English china they ripped off imitated, Simpsons Belle Fiore.
Cheeky colonials, eh what?
Talking of underdogs, Tom Clark of Crown Lynn fought for decades to hold back the tide of imported china, but lost in the end. 
It has huge nostalgic value for me, as we used it every day growing up. 
Note the little teapot, milk jug and sugar bowl. 
Belle Fiore has been around since 1940, and Fleurette was released in 1962, when I was one.
We must have acquired the Belle Fiore first, as I remember as a child preferring its more classic design than the subtly more modern Crown Lynn.
I was nostalgic even back then.
They are hand painted and I love them all.
I'd be quite happy if I could squeeze some gratuitous Crown Lynn shots into every post!
 
Violet
XXX
 
 
 

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Is the Pyrex half full or half empty?

It doesn't matter if the glass is half full or half empty, as long as there is some wine in it.
I'm dreading the next time I have to move house, as I have so much china and glass that it's a nightmare to pack.
Last time I moved I had about ten plastic bins of the stuff, and I reckon it will have at least doubled since then.
I thought I'd share some of my more recent purchases.
A cute little pot-bellied orange lidded container.
I'm not sure what these are used for, but I think I've seen them used to hold cotton wool. 
 
A dimpled green lidded container.
It was photographed in strong sunlight (obviously taken a long time ago as our summer has been appalling), so you can see its green shadow.
 
Another one, in clear glass with gold rings.
This one has 1955 impressed on the bottom.
 
I love Pyrex, and had to overcome my aversion to pink to buy this one.
I haven't seen this flower design before, have any of you, dear readers?
 
A massive Pyrex dish, with roses.
I see a lot of Pyrex in the op-shops, but I prefer lidded casseroles in good nick.
 
Another rose pattern, in a bowl shape.
 
Snowflakes.
 
I'm pleased as punch with this vase I found today.
It looks like a Scandinavian design.
You don't see too many of them around these parts.
 
I love these fluted vases and have them in several different colours.
 
Here's a green tree-trunk vase, next to Frida.
 
A large white vase with red flowers.
I'm afraid to use it, as it looks a bit top-heavy.
 
A large hand-painted Victorian(?) vase.
 
A glass and a parfait dish.
 
A hexagonal glass clock, possibly from the 1930s.
 
A little perfume bottle, in the shape of a turret.
My uncle gave it to me, he brought it back to NZ from London in about 1969.
 
A 1970s sunflower mug.
 
A newish cheerful little daisy printed canister.
 
Another canister, printed with limes.
It looks to be a genuine 1970s one, but I'm no expert. 
 
An art deco fruit bowl from the 1920s or 1930s.
 
A large glass jug which weighs a ton.
 
A tiny glass jug with the sweetest little handle.
 
A crazy orange and pink vase, with NZ native plants in gold.
 
And I've saved the best till last:
A gold lightshade in the shape of bubbles.
This is on a shelf in my lounge, and I can't stop looking at it, I'm a bit obsessed!
 
In other news, I've managed to curb my internet addiction a bit, and am no longer checking everyone's blogs daily.
As much as I loved it, it was taking up too much time.
I might also be blogging a bit less this year, so I have time for other things.
Next on the list is curbing my Facebook addiction.
I'll let you know how that goes, on Facebook!
The op-shopping habit continues, and is rapidly bankrupting me.
But a girl needs a hobby, am I right?
 
Violet
XXX