Tuesday, 28 July 2015

My Glamorous Grandmother: The 1950s Beach Edition


Here in the UK, the weather has taken a depressing turn for the autumnal, with no reassuring signs that the summer will return. The only way I can cheer myself up, is by pouring over the stunning beach photos of my grandmother that I stumbled upon during my recent visit with her in Portugal. There are lots and lots of photos, but I'll break them up into different posts so you can delight in some bygone glamour. 

My grandmother is Hungarian - a descendant of the noble Bathory family from Transylvania - and although we've always teased her about being a princess, I think being glamorous is in her blood. Sadly, we're not related (I wish!), but she's been in my life since I was 9 years old. In contrast to my maternal great-grandmother and grandma, she's led quite the jet-setting lifestyle, including living in a number of different countries due to my granddad's job - Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia and South Africa to name a few.



My grandmother pictured on the left 

My grandmother pictured in the middle 

 My grandmother pictured on the right

My grandmother pictured second along 


My grandmother pictured front and centre

I believe most of these pictures were taken in the 1950s and early 1960s, when my grandmother was in her mid-to-late 20s. She's pictured with her ex-husband in some of them too. After getting married aged 24, they decided to divorce almost a decade later, but remained close friends until his recent death.



My grandmother pictured on the right 

My grandmother pictured on the right


Why do old pictures have the ability to make you feel so nostalgic for an era you weren't even alive during? My heart literally aches when I look at these. Maybe it's partly sadness for my grandmother's loss of youth and maybe it's partly longing to have a reason to look this glamorous myself!

Do you have precious photos of your loved ones when they were younger?

Friday, 24 July 2015

Fabric Friday #9: Novelty Bathroom Print


Happy #FabricFriday folks! You snapped up almost all of my Wayne Hemingway fabrics from last week, but I have just two prints left if you're still interested!   

Today I'm warning against the perils of being incapable of walking away from vintage fabric. What happens is that you end up with a novelty bathroom print! I know, right!?!


It's so ugly it's almost cute, but what the heck am I going to do with it you guys? I think that once upon a time it was actually a pair of drapey curtains, but you've seen our bathroom and this print really wouldn't work in there. I don't really fancy a bathroom print dress, but look at all the details...





The other thing is that the fabric is fairly damaged in places, so cutting around it could be tricky.


So, erm...yeah! Should I have walked away from this vintage find or was I remotely sane to bring it home? What shall I do with it please?

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Pattern Testing: Tilly And The Buttons' Fifi


I'll show you my Fifi if you show me yours...hehe! Apologies for the childishness, but I'm a bit giddy to finally acquire a cute boudoir set at the ripe old age of 32! The boudoir set in question is Fifi by Tilly and the Buttons, which I had the pleasure of testing a few weeks back.

I won't go into details about the version and instructions I tested, as I know that Tilly's made various of improvements to the finished pattern following feedback. Suffice it to say that it's a lovely little pattern with the high standard of instructions that we've come to expect from Tilly and the Buttons. 



The camisole is cut on the bias with soft pleated cups, resulting in beautifully skimmed curves. The top of the camisole is finished with self-made bias binding, which also forms the straps. I used a gorgeous voile for my version and the result is so pretty and feminine!



Although the camisole is not supposed to be close fitting, the back bodice is gently shaped with princess seams to fit the curve of your back.


The pattern also includes little shorts with a narrow stitched-in elastic waistband and cheeky curved hems. Best of all, the insides are all French seamed for a very professional and luxurious finish!



I would have loved to model these for you, as makes always look better worn than flat, but I'm not feeling slim or tanned enough for that at the moment. However, you can see Fifi modelled beautifully here.

Are you a Fifi fan and have you seen Tilly's cool Bettine dress pattern

Friday, 17 July 2015

Fabric Friday #8: Wayne Hemingway Prints for Sale


Due to unforeseen circumstances I've not been able to wish you a happy #FabricFriday for two whole weeks...so I'm back with some gorgeous fabrics for sale!

I think even in its infancy, this series has already exposed me for the terrible fabric horder that I am. My stash will take a lifetime to work through! So today, I'm spreading the love and selling off some of my gorgeous Wayne Hemingway prints designed to celebrate John Lewis' 150th anniversary last year. Don't worry, I've kept plenty back for myself ;o)

You can browse my prints for sale below and buy them through my Etsy shop. Lengths measure from 2 metres to 3 metres and all pieces are 140cm wide. They're 100% cotton poplin and perfect for dressmaking...especially if you're thinking of taking part in Heather B's Sundress Sewalong or are on the search for an authentic look for your next #vintagepledge make!









 

If you have any questions you can contact me through my Etsy shop or leave a comment below!

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

1960s #VintagePledge Inspiration


Where vintage fashion is concerned I'm not the hugest fan of styles from the late 1960s onwards, but I'm delving in nonetheless, in the name of the Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge

I think it's safe to say that the Swinging Sixties was a revolutionary decade after the austerity and reconstruction of the 1950s. In 1960 Yves Saint Laurent designed The ‘Beat Look’ for Christian Dior, and although the collection's leather suits and coats, high pullovers and knitted caps attracted negative press, it sounded the death knell of French haute couture. The world was now looking to London for fashion guidance, and for the first time ever, young people had money to spend and were intent on expressing their identity through fashion. 


These changes didn't quite happen overnight of course and early 1960s sewing patterns were still heavily influenced by 1950s designs. Predictably, these are my favourite! 




As the decade progressed styles and cuts became less fussy and structured, with the A-line skirt becoming much more prominent. For the first time since Coco Chanel's jersey collections in the 1930s, women's clothing became comfortable and easy to wear.



A-line shift dresses that fell in a clean triangular line from the shoulder to mid-thigh became hugely popular. They were designed to wear over a skinny rib sweater and ribbed tights during the day, or on their own with heels in the evening.


[Images from Vintage Fashion]


Other fashion statements of the 1960s were Space Age looks, inspired by the moon landing, as well as geometric prints and graphic lines. Cut-outs where also very popular design features, as were transparent panels of clear plastic, mesh or chainmail.


Perhaps the most exciting development of the 1960s is, of course, the mini skirt. Andre Courreges in Paris and Mary Quant in London can both lay claim to the invention of it. Hemlines started creeping above the knee by 1963, were at mid-thigh by 1965, and gave way to the even shorter micro-mini. By the late 1960s, the only way for hemlines to go was down. Long coats, skirts and dresses became the antidote to the mini with maxi lengths to the ankle and midi lengths to mid-calf. Women often chose to wear different lengths at once by combining midi length cardigans over shorts and mini skirts to show a fleeting glimpse of leg.

So there you have it, a whistle stop tour of the evolution of styles in the 1960s. Are you a fan or do you have a different, favourite style decade?

Don't forget to check out the dedicated #vintagepledge Pinterest Board for inspiration galore!