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!


  1. Oh Violet, your post made me smile so much - thank you for your honesty about the flying ducks and the sewing. I love the china cabinet and the tea set and the reflection of you in the mirrored back.

    1. I definitely have a love-hate relationship with sewing!

  2. an impressive set of china! all the best with the sewing :) Go the underdog

  3. I think I have been guilty of being a magpie too, picking up all sorts of things I have neither space not use for, just because they are old and quirky and I felt I couldn't leave them behind and it would be interesting to feature them on the blog... So you're not alone in that behaviour! I am trying to be more discerning though, and as for the blog - well, it can be whatever you want it to be, that's the joy of it!
    I love the print of the barkcloth dress, if you wore it with some bright yellow or orange accessories, you might feel brighter in it. And your china cabinet looks so pretty! xxx

    1. Yellow or orange would go well with it, I agree. In fact green or red would too.

  4. Loving that first dress. I quite fancy papering a wall in some of our many old maps but I'm far too wobbly on a ladder! x

    1. Wallpapering, ugh! Not something I've ever wanted to try.

  5. Oh I do love a good crafting post - love the sewing you have been doing. It always makes me laugh when it says "1 hour" on the pattern envelope, it always takes me at least TWICE as long!

    1. Oh yes, maybe it would take an hour (not including cutting out) if you didn't neaten any edges or do any hand sewing and left the zip out!


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