Friday, 21 October 2016

The Best Laid Plans.....

Typical! After doing everything humanely possible to avoid injuring my hip (which happened the last time we traded in Bath) so I was fit for Liverpool, both of us go and catch the lurgy. Bloody bastard Autumn and its mists, mellow fruitfulness and minging microbes. We've put on a brave face all week and battled on, assuming we'd be better for the weekend, only to feel even worse. After a shaky trip to Lidl this morning we admitted defeat and cancelled with Judy's. 

Of course, just because I feel like sh*t doesn't mean I have to dress like it. I don't own any crap clothes, it's vintage or nothing and I thought going heavy on the pompoms would detract from my deathly pallor.

The stunning Avantika was modelling some amazing handmade earrings on Facebook this week but, as they're only available in India, I thought I'd make my own using a couple of the pom pom makers I bought the other day, some charity shop wool and a knackered string of plastic beads.

Pompoms must have fallen out of favour with the fickle fashionistas, I found this bag for £1 in a charity shop yesterday. This scarf was also £1 - I was so blinded by its beauty (velvet, embroidered birds, pom poms and tassels!) that I didn't notice it was from Whistles until I got it home. A bit of research on the 'net and I discovered that it originally retailed at £99!

Its not all me, me, me! We needed some Kinky stock so, earlier in the week, we drugged up and went out and found it. 

Clockwise from top left: 1960s St Michael pyjamas; Hardy Amies worsted wool jacket; African kaftan; 1970s leather jacket; Wrangler western shirt; 1950s hand knitted bomber jacket; Harris Tweed blazer; Glastonbury-made sheepskin; Scottish tie & scarf set; ex-RAF bomber jacket with liner; Aquascutum tweed bomber jacket; Leather waistcoat; Tootal smoking jacket (in original wrapper)

Clockwise from top left: Icelandic knit; Cocktail dress by Lyons Gowns of Clifton Arcade, Blackpool (which ceased trading in 1970); Kangol cloche-style hat; Welsh wool cape; Richards & Thirkell fedora; Fortown, London tweed coat; wool beret

Sadly the good people of Liverpool won't be having first dibs on this lot but it'll be off to London next Saturday.

In other news. This isn't our cat....

High on cat nip mice

This is!
This is what happens when I leave my knicker drawer open

Yes, two days after we lost Polly, Frank decided he needed to explore the house. Last Friday he spent the whole day asleep on the settee and since Monday he hasn't left, claiming the chaise as his own. Surprisingly Stephen Squirrel isn't too pissed off about it, I think he's been missing his sister and rather enjoys the company. I might be mad about pompoms but if Frank's going to stay we better see the vet about having his removed.

WEARING: 1970s Kate Beaver hand printed maxi (£1, charity shop), Suede ankle boots (Schuh half price sale, Feb '16)

Plans for this weekend are bed rest, drugs (of the legal, Lemsip-flavour variety) and crap telly.

See you on the other side!

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

This Old Thing?

That's definitely you said the lady behind the counter of the charity shop as she relieved me of my two £1 coins. What with this 1970s cotton kaftan, the 1930s evening dress and my massive sleeved velvet maxi, last week wasn't half bad for vintage additions to my wardrobe and at £6 for all three, pretty easy on the purse, too.

Cotton kaftans are cheap as chips on the tourist market stalls in Goa. I often see them labelled as "vintage" on the internet. Mine's the real deal though, the cotton is far superior, the seams aren't over-locked and it fastens with a rusty old metal zip. I won't be selling this one any time soon, there's a slight tear at the neck and although it's repairable I've got so much mending to do that I really can't be arsed and besides, its far too comfy to part with.

Here's last week's massive sleeved maxi (seen HERE) all set for a day's work at Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair in Bath. With over 1000 through the doors we had a phenomenally busy day. We left home at 5.30am, started unloading the van at 7.45am and sat down for the first time at 5.20pm. 

Triple 1970s velvet! 
It was well worth the blistered feet and aching limbs though especially as I got to catch up with these two velvet-clad blogging babes, Mim & Gisela.

Photo courtesy of  Judy's
After dinner and a few beers in our hotel, a rather marvellous 18th Century manor house built in the style of a Gothic castle, we turned in early, ready for Sunday's vintage fair at Bristol's trendy Paintworks.  I'm wearing a 1960s Indian block printed maxi I found listed as "long yellow dress" with a Buy-it-Now price of £5 a fortnight ago (who says you can't find cheap vintage on eBay?) Jon accepted the Jones The Bootmaker leopard ankle boots as payment for a vintage top by a cash strapped festival customer (they originally retailed at £99, he's good, isn't he?) Long time readers may recognise the Peterson Maid psychedelic maxi I'm holding, it was mine but I'm adhering to the one in, two out Vix wardrobe law.

Dee and her friend Kaz paid us a visit. Dee's wearing the 1970s Crimplene midi she bought off us last year. 

Jon kitted out Kaz's partner, David, in some cool 1970s threads while Kaz got her New Year's Eve wardrobe sorted with a 1960s Barbarella style metallic mini dress and some vintage gold platforms. 

While Bristol wasn't quite as busy as Bath we still had a great day selling to some cool people and catching up with fellow Midlanders and Judy's Vintage family, Make Do & Vintage and Baboushka.

WEARING: 1970s kaftan (£2, Cancer UK), vintage tooled leather bag (£5), felt hat (20p), 1970s fake snake stainless steel choker by Alfred Tricker & Sons of Sheffield (£1.50) , Jane Shilton suede boots (Free, all car booted)
We came home with two sackfuls of empty coat hangers. We're trading in Liverpool on Saturday and it looks like the next few days will be spent frantically hunting for cool vintage threads to replenish the rails, either that or I'll be forced to ransack my wardrobe...again!

Linking to Patti & the gang for Visible Monday.

Friday, 14 October 2016

It Did It My Way - How I Wore A Vintage 1930s Dress

We didn't go car booting in the end, it was peeing down when I got up so we opted for a trip to a nearby town for a rummage around the chazzas instead. It's your typical Black Country town, the high street shops that aren't boarded up are either fried chicken joints, nail bars or discount shops. The charity shops aren't up to much but occasionally we get lucky and yesterday was one of those days. In the Everything £1.99 shop, whilst scanning a rail of over-washed Primark and stained George at Asda, I had a glimpse of that unmistakable fabric, vintage wool crepe. 

I pulled out the hanger and there it was, a 1930s evening dress. At over eighty years old it wasn't in the greatest condition, there were a couple of tears in the skirt and the sequin trim was hanging off in places, which obviously meant that it was far too tatty to sell and I'd have to keep it. Hard life, innit? If you were around in the 1980s you probably think that you hate shoulder pads. Try a 1930s dress on with them in and I bet you'll be a convert.

Back in my teens, clothes from the 1930s & 1940s weren't rare, I'd buy them by the armful from jumble sales and think nothing of wearing Barathea suits, governess shoes and Utility swing coats to school, even hacking away at frumpy 1940s tea dresses to make them into cooler looking minis.  But that was over 35 years ago and the elderly church-going ladies who used to donate them have long gone. These days it's an event to find something from the 1980s at a jumble sale. 

Frida earrings bought from our fab neighbours at The End of The Road Festival. You can buy off their website HERE

Loads of people who attend vintage fairs dress in a historically accurate way, draped in fox furs with their make-up and hair done in the fashion of the era they favour. It's somewhat disconcerting to see so many people dressed almost identically, like I've been teleported back to the Blitz. Me, I wear vintage because I want to be unique. Even in my teens the thought of bumping into someone wearing the same dress as me filled me with abject horror, as it still does now. My wardrobe is 99.9% vintage not because I want to reenact the past but because I strive to be different.  That's why I don't get the repro thing, I don't want to recreate the style of certain era. I want to wear proper vintage clothing in my own way even if it has some vintage purists up in arms. I could wear this dress with my hair set in Marcel waves with marcasite earrings, red lipstick and elbow length gloves but to me that would be like being a vintage fashion victim, following a set of archaic rules. Instead I'm sporting a messy top knot, neon pink lipstick, leopard print ankle boots and silver earrings featuring Frida Kahlo, a black cat and a spider monkey. 

WEARING: 1930s wool crepe dress (£1.99, charity shop), Jones the Bootmaker leopard print boots (Free! Swapped with a customer for a vintage top)

Talking of clothes I'd better get my arse into gear and get my outfits sorted for our back-to-back weekend of vintage trading in Bath & Bristol. The alarms already set for 4.30am and the last thing I want to be doing is having a pre-dawn wardrobe meltdown.

Have a fab weekend and see you soon!

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Practical Magic

Isn't nature amazing?  Jon snapped these magical 'shrooms we spotted growing next to the washing line this morning. Combined with the outfit I wore to go charity shopping today and some Picmonkey magic, it's all gone a bit trippy.

So that's the magic but where's the practical bit? I hear you ask. Well, as we had an amazing day trading in Cumbria on Sunday, we've been on a frantic buying mission to replenish the rails ready for our next vintage fairs. As I'm always being asked for advice on cleaning vintage I thought I'd share how I will be bringing our latest acquisitions back to life.

Firstly, you don't need to spend a fortune on fancy laundry stuff to look after your vintage clothes, I use soda crystals (1.5 kg for £1 from Wilko's), Oxi stain remover from Poundland and liquid hand soap (Lidl's is patchouli scented, subtle & gorgeous).  I do have a brand new weapon in my arsenal though, a 1979 Sisan handheld steamer I bought from last week's car boot for 50p and it's brilliant, especially on chiffon-y maxi dresses and coats.

This 1970s Wetherall of London reversible coat was a bit grubby. I slung it in the washing machine on a wool "hand wash only" cycle with a couple of squirts of liquid hand soap, followed it up with a long spin then shook it out and hung it to dry on a wooden coat hanger.

This 1940s moleskin waistcoat (no moles were harmed, it's just what they're known as) was hand washed in lukewarm water with a couple of squirts of liquid hand soap, rinsed and very, very lightly squeezed out (no wringing!). I hung it up on a wooden coat hanger in a warm room with a bath towel underneath to soak up the drips. I'll steam it when it's completely dry.

This pair of 1950s tailcoats will be steamed (inside and out) to freshen them up. The lapels on the one on the left are a bit shiny so I'll add some white vinegar to the steamer which should take the shine away. The lining on both had ripped in places which I hand sewed yesterday.

We got lucky today. Not one but five Harris Tweed jackets! I'll steam these to freshen them up.

I often buy tatty vintage clothes from jumble sales and car boots just to salvage the buttons. One of the jackets has naff plastic buttons and another has odd ones. I'll replace them with some proper leather "football" buttons from my stash.

This Maculette camel coat had a once over with the steamer (inside & out) and I'll resew the buttons as a couple are a bit loose.

Labelled "Dry Clean Only" I washed this 1960s John Fowler of Bangkok cotton kaftan at 30 degrees in the machine with a handful of soda crystals. The front panel is embellished with tiny shell beads which I unpicked before washing and replaced by hand last night.

Not sure what it is at the moment but I keep finding massive sleeved maxi dresses. This one is handmade with a psychedelic chiffon bodice and a green velvet skirt. Jon says I've got to keep it and I'm not going to argue. As it's already immaculately clean I'm just going to steam the skirt part using the nifty brush attachment to restore the pile. I do find that cotton velvet (as this is)washes really well, unlike the nasty modern synthetic stuff, so I usually chuck vintage velvet dresses and skirts into the machine (on a 30 degree cycle with soda crystals) and have never had any mishaps.

These 1940s & 1950s hats were held over the stream of a boiling kettle, gently bent back into shape and left to dry on these polystyrene heads.

These 1960s Fully Fashioned cardis are really popular with 1960s-loving chicks and look brilliant worn with super bright Crimplene shift dresses. I wash them at 30 degrees with some soda crystals and hang them up on coat hangers to dry. There's no need to iron them. A couple were missing buttons which I've replaced from my stash.

The 1950s Van Heusen dress shirt and pseudo-Victorian blouse were soaked in Oxyclean for 30 minutes prior to machine washing. Always wash your white clothes with other white clothes, it'll keep the colour pristine.

This 1930s smoking jacket went in the machine on a 30 degree cycle. The cuffs are quite tatty so I'll repair those by hand tonight.

I washed this angel sleeved maxi in the machine on, you guessed it, a 30 degree cycle.

After I'd steamed it I decided it looked a bit plain so I pimped it up with some 1960s metallic braid I bought from a car boot sale back in the Summer.

The 1950s Akco bow tie got a once over with the steamer.

This Italian-made silk blouson top will be hand-washed with some Lidl liquid soap and hung up to drip dry.

Wearing: 1960s velour psychedelic maxi dress (present from Sarah Misfit), a vintage Crimplene maxi coat with metallic trim (£1, Flea Market) , suede platform mid-calf boots by Jane Shilton (freebie from a car boot trader), Lamani coin belt worn as a pendant (India)
We're in Bath (HERE) and Bristol (HERE) this weekend so it's a busy week of shopping, washing and sewing. Car booting tomorrow? I live in hope.

Linking to Patti & the gang for Visible Monday.

See you soon.

Friday, 7 October 2016

(Woolly) Balls to Autumn!

There's a distinct nip in the air, Jacob (our tortoise) has gone into hibernation and I've finally packed away my backless, halterneck maxis replacing them with the Crimplene, Lurex and velvet dresses I'd had stashed away since the end of the Spring.

While I'm not exactly happy about the change of seasons.....dark mornings & afternoons, bastard massive spiders in the house, the death of the car boot sale and the end of sandal weather. Seriously, how can anybody get excited about wearing tights? They're the work of the devil. But there are one or two good things about the end of Summer, colder weather means business is brisk, it's peak selling season for coats, jumpers, tweeds and velvet and we've got plenty on our rails. TV gets better with new series of The Apprentice, The Fall and The Missing, made all the more exciting when combined with rum & coke and a real fire crackling in the grate.

When we were charity shopping yesterday I found eight pom-pom makers in varying sizes (like THESE) for a piffling £1.49. Jon and I set to work and, fired up with a couple of large glasses of red, got a bit carried away. Before the opening credits of The Apprentice I'd got myself this pom-pom boa. Its definitely quicker than winding wool around a cut-up cereal box. 

WEARING: Vintage Crimplene maxi (Vintage Village @ Clothes Show Live, 2009), White go-go boots (courtesy of the lovely Emma-Kate), Pom pom boa (made using a £1 bag of multi-coloured wool bought from a charity shop)

During the Summer I've zero interest in cooking but now, with a glut of apples from our trees and the opportunity to cling to the cooker for some extra warmth, I'm quite happy to mess about in the kitchen. This was my attempt at a cereal bar we could eat on the go when we have to leave at mental o'clock and haven't got time for any breakfast. It's sugar and fat-free, not because I've a problem with eating them, I just didn't have either in the cupboard.

You'll need 5 medium sized cooking apples, 2 cups of porridge oats, juice from half a lemon, 1 cup of dried, mixed fruit, 2 tablespoons of tap water and a teaspoon of ground cinnamon.

  • Simmer peeled & chopped apples, lemon juice and water over a low heat until soft.
  • Remove from heat, add dried fruit and cinnamon. Stir.
  • Add oats, stir and leave for 5 minutes.
  • Spoon mixture into a 8" loaf tin, lined with grease-proof paper. 
  • Cook at 180 for 25 mins or until top goes crisp & golden.
  • Allow to stand for 10 minutes. Turn out of tin and slice thinly.

Did I mention the death of car boot sale? Admittedly the last few weeks have been crap but on Wednesday my favourite trader was back and these five beauties (there's a black one behind me, but you'd never know) were ours. Two, including the green silk one I'm wearing, are from the rather lovely vintage British label, Jean Allen.  The stallholder was so pleased to see me that she gave me a brand new pair of Jane Shilton (who I thought only made handbags) suede platform soled boots in my size for free. That's my Autumn footwear sorted!

Of course I broke the cardinal rule and tried a couple of dresses on, predictably falling madly in love with a voluminous sleeve or two. Not to worry though, I've followed Vix's law and swapped the two new additions with four things I already own. Expect several familiar frocks to be gracing the Kinky rails/website very soon! 

Here's just some of the vintage stock you'll find on our rails this weekend!

We're trading with Judy's in Cumbria on Sunday and we're bringing along the finest vintage available to humanity.  It'll be brilliant to see you if you're around (details HERE), if not have a fabulous weekend!