Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Quality Not Quantity

I'm back from a gloriously sunny day spent exploring the Black Country for hidden treasures and thought I'd show you what I made with some of last week's car-boot sale crimplene.
Using about a third of the fabric I knocked up this maxi waistcoat, cut from a 1971 McCall's dressmaking pattern, lining it with a pure silk sari I snapped up for 10p from a jumble sale.

I punched in some metal eyelet fasteners (found in the box of vintage sewing bits I bought last week) and laced through a strand of green leather that's been in my jar of vintage trimmings since time immemorial.

Thank you for the brilliant and encouraging comments you left yesterday. Claire made an excellent point, "Yes, you can spend less... but you also have to be driven to consume less too. I realised recently that I still buy loads of stuff I don't NEED, just because it costs little. It's great to say you have seen the marketing games of big brands for the lies they are. But I still don't like the feeling that I am weak for vintage 'stuff' and make meaning in my life by going shopping for it."

She's dead right. It's hard to resist buying every treasure you come across but try to be realistic. Tempting though it may be, don't buy just because it's cheap, vintage or that it'll make a great blog post, buy it because it's genuinely useful, will fit in with your existing decor or that it's wearable and suits you and your lifestyle. You're building a wardrobe and furnishing a home not opening a museum. If you absolutely love it then buy it but if there's any doubt leave it for the next person who comes along. You haven't failed if you come home empty-handed you've merely learnt to be discerning. Spending all your cash on second-hand stuff is no more sensible than splurging it in Top Shop.

I could have bought a vintage black maxi skirt, a 1970s plaid swing jacket, a heap of bangles and a pair of modern platform sole sandals today but I didn't because I'd already got similar stuff at home.

Here's what I did buy:

Compton Hospice (50p)

 I can't resist a souvenir scarf, I adore travel and anything than encapsulates exotic holidays and foreign climes. Occasionally I refashion them into cushion covers but this one's pretty enough to wear. I'd love to know how it travelled from Oceania to West Bromwich.

Virgo slingbacks from Freeman, Hardy and Willis's Contessa collection.
These 1960s silver shoes are my exact size (UK 6.5) and in perfect condition. They were reduced to £1.99 in the PDSA in Dudley.


Handmade maxi waistcoat worn with a vintage mini dress (Sarah Misfit) and my new shoes and scarf
I returned home with a handful of purchases that came in at less than a tenner. I've had a lovely day catching up with my friend Cheryl, had a tasty lunch and haven't wasted too much money on frivolous fancies.


  1. Vix! I am horribly behind with blog posts - I know I've got loads to catch up on. Yesterday's post sounds intriguing...

    I love what you've done with the green fabric. I think everyone should follow the example of you and Helga and get themselves a maxi waistcoat.

  2. Vix, did u make that yourself? I love it!!

    and I totally agree, whenever I see something I like I ask myself "do I really need this??". most of the time it's a no. hence, lots of money saved!!

    Jules @ A Bit of Jules

  3. Love the waistcoat! That's such a good point about not buying things just because they're cheap. I often leave things at boot sales because I'm not 100% sure about them (plus the husband doesn't entirely share my love of knick-knacks etc). At the end of the day, there's always another boot or jumble next week x

  4. More fab advice. That sari lining is amazing. Those shoes are super. They have obviously sat in someones wardrobe for a veerry long time. x

  5. that is an excellent point that claire brought up. if i buy something new you can better be sure i am in love with it and that i've exhausted all reasonable efforts to find it second hand. it is v hard to resist buying things when you come across them and they are dirt cheap. but it's no bargain when you haven't got a place to store them or a real need for them. vix your blog is better than reading money magazine!!!!

  6. That's a freakin' fantastic waistcoat!! I love how you've used sari fabric to line it,and O,the satisfaction of only using what you have!!!
    can't get over the perfection of those modtastic shoes!Delicious! I love souvenir scarves too,especially of places I've never been!
    Yowza,baby,greta scoring!!
    Love YOU!!
    Helga xxxXXXxxx

  7. Good point Claire, and superb answer from you, too.
    I never buy just for cheap sake either.
    I am in love with your silver shoes.

  8. I think it takes a few years to 'learn' the art of shopping carefully. I can always spot someone who is new to charity shopping/jumble sale and car boot sale shopping. I still make mistakes, but nowhere near as many as I used to. I have worn second-hand clothes since the day I was born, so new clothes don't feel right anyway.
    I'm very impressed with the waistcoat Vix, that lining makes it. The dress looks totally different under it too.
    My, those shoes are in good condition, I have a weakness for metallic shoes and my favourite pair are on their way out.

  9. Fabulous, looks amazing xx

  10. Oh that hair tutorial sounds great - do share. I cut mine from time to time but an assist would be good.

    THE BOOKS arrived! Can't wait. I've only got another hard going one 'The Interpretation of Murder' - let me know. But I've got some more glitz to send so on its way soon.

    I LOVE those shoes - they are my idea of heaven. If you ever find a size 4 .. you can imagine I'm on a hunt now. Your outfit is wonderful as ever xx

  11. Vix the green is so striking, yiu have done a fab job!

  12. oh, lady, you're so right about quality and buying only that is 'wearable and suits you and your lifestyle', I think it's a great advise for any style!
    And you did a magnificent vest, love the lining and details you've added with your special touch!!

  13. How good does your waistcoat look with the sari lining and leather thong tie? Fantastic!

  14. Vixcita,
    What a gorgeous green waistcoat amor.
    Love the indian lining fabric so beautiful.
    Great advice mi divina, what i buy and if i dont need the item then i will give i away or sell it ,but i mostly keep and wear most of my junk. Gold shoes are simply divine, you find all the shiny treasures.
    I would marry you in an instant please wear indian wedding dress.
    Luv you

  15. *Love what you made with the fabric and your finds Vix*

    I too love to buy vintage. If I am not buying it for myself I am buying it to re-sell.

  16. LOVE that coat you created! It's gorgeous. The fabric and design and everything! I'm in AWE.

    You seriously should consider creating a coffee table book about your life (and all your clothes and home decor). I honestly think you could score a book deal if you just show your blog to some publishers/agents. You're that freaking amazing!!!

  17. Fabulous shoes. You're right about not buying just cos it's cheap. It's the same with cheap high street buys or sale items - you've got to ask whether you actually love it and will use it regularly. xx

  18. you always seem to make your finds exquisite!

  19. Ho Vix, I completely agree with you and Clare, unfortunately the drug like highs I get when squandering money beg to differ! lol! Mind you I keep my sister and Amy supplied with a never ending supply of carboot and ebay fodder!

    I love those shoes and the waistcoat is gorgeous, the colour is perfect. I love crimpelene - but only if I have loads of hand cream on! lol!

  20. Damn it Vix, I'm a 6.5 too - no wonder I never find any vintage shoes on Ebay!

    Love what you did with the material - the lining is inspired. I make mistakes with my second hand shopping all the time - still!

  21. What a gorgeous waist coat!I love the lining! I have a thing for lining in bright prints!

  22. I like what you did on the maxi vest to fasten it and love the silver shoes. Sage words about spending again - it's like WeShop above says, cheap temptations come not just in the form of charity shop bargains, it could be the sales or high street bargains too and you have to develop the discipline to choose well regardless how cheap it is. Your motto though is great - if you don't feel utterly fabulous in it leave it in the store.

  23. those shoes are defo mod-tastic! I love the whole outfit.
    I recently got an award on my little ol' blog and have passed it on to you.
    Hope you like it!

  24. Vix, I love the maxi waistcoat and lined with a silk sari, genius, (I have a thing about linings!), loving the shoes too.

    I take a slightly different approach, I tend to know what I want before I buy, then it is just a matter of finding it, I have become very French, I see clothes as an investment, I will buy something well made and of quality, I don't follow fashion but I buy what suits me, I expect to be able to wear it for years.

    As I have mentioned before there are no jumble sales or charity shops in France except Emmaus a Catholic run operation, there is one in our local town, I have been a couple of times but have never seen anything approaching what you have been able to find, I guess it does not help being in a very rural/agricultural area.

    Good news, last time I went to Pau (the nearest,largish, chic town) two new second hand shops had sprung up, with some lovely, quality things and reasonably priced, the second hand/vintage clothes market finally appears to be reaching provincial France...ooh opportunities!

  25. I love the green! The silk would feel Devine against your skin. X

  26. WOw - that waistcoat is fantastic, amor, and I just love the lining. Claire makes an excellent point and I have come to realise in the last year that I have needed to be a LOT more discerning and for the first time in the last few weeks I have started coming home empty handed and being ok with it.

    So glad you're wearing that lovely harlequin mini - you look amazing in it and I love the new fab shoes.

    Loveandsilvershoes, Sarahxxx

  27. Wonderfully bright and spritey and the lining is beautiful! I'm quite disciplined no matter where I shop... only sometimes I'm tempted to 'buy it for the blog'. Argh! xoxo

  28. I so love your posts,,Vix and thanks to Claire for her comment.
    I have so many times (as i said yesterday) bought stuff because it was such a bargain at the thrift store! Or that it would make a great photo, Shame!!!!
    Another Cincy blogger, Kasmira, of WhatIwore2day.blogspot.com, is a terrific thrifter as we went on a trip together, and she would not buy stuff if it was a bit off size or nor on her need it list. She really amazed me, but also made me think and helped me become a better thrifter as well.
    Thanks to all of you!

  29. I like your wise words and I like your shoes :)

  30. Cool look!


  31. Gah!! I absolutely cannot believe that amazing coat with the incredible lining! The shoes were MADE for you and the GREEN (!!!!!!!) scarf is so gorgeous - I love souvenir stuff too - my dad used to work in the Solomon's. I left a 60 silk suit in the op shop window yesterday. I do not need it - someone else does. No regrets, I'm buying less too. You are such an inspiration Vix!!! xoxoxoxoxo

  32. Oh Clare is so right! And your look is so cool and colourful :)

  33. Great Vintage buying advice!! everything in moderation when ever we do anything excessively it throws our whole lives out of balance and really what is worth that right?? Something so harmless as a collection could quickly become clutter causing all sorts of chaos in our lives...Good words spoken so glad you shared!! And WOW just stunning your Green Maxi that you have sewn up I love it!! You did a wonderful job on it...I love the grommets that you used that is a very clever idea with the leather strip to tie it up :) Ha my son just read the book King Solomons Mines.. I am not sure I could own a scarf like that it would make me want to go on a faraway voyage for sure!! Love Heather

  34. Sound advice, you're always so sensible with money. I wish I had been when I was younger!

  35. P.S. Love that you've punched the eyelets so neatly!! Hopefully will remember to post your parcel on Friday, I'm so slack, sorry!

  36. I'm at the point were I have to say do I really need it and do I love it enough to buy it. Being thrifty is hard and I get called cheap but I can afford to pay for my own holidays to were ever I wish while they're broke!

    That green is freaking amazing, I love the lining inside!

    E :)

  37. I love those shoes!
    And that waistcoat certainly blows the cobwebs away on a dull day. :) Love the lining.


  38. Very wise words....its true that I think we ALL spend too much money on material objects, wheather it be from the high street, or jumble sales. I myself know I need to cut back, even on my bargain 'frugal' shopping! Great shoes BTW. I used to get all my school shoes from FHW!!

  39. I, too, am a victim of the old bargain tease! Since moving into my tiny flat, I have been forced to re-consider everything I purchase...if something comes in, something must go out. I'm also being a bit wiser with my money these days (I will be even more-so after chomby's vet bills!). I missed yesterdays post so will have to go and check it out and read all of the comments.

    I love your maxi-vest and the lining just makes it even more beautiful! Those silver shoes are perfecto!!

    Xoxox Claire

  40. Wow, those shoes are totally fab. The sari lining in your waistcoat is lush; can you wear it inside out too? xx

  41. I can't believe you consider yourself a novice seamstress, Vix, that dreamy greeny creation looks fabulous, and you've LINED it too! That's expert in my book!
    It's no surprise to anyone that you look astonishingly stylish and beautiful, you always do, but you are so bloody wise to boot...
    I hold my hands up to the buying cos it's cheap'n'secondhand, and you're right, it's no better than splurging on the high street (sounds vile) if you don't need it. I do try and pass/sell on my mistakes, but a bit of discretion mightn't go amiss.
    How did you get to be so damn clever?! xxxx

  42. love the scarf and great shoes!

  43. "Yes, you can spend less"........luv it! That is great advice. It can be used with anything in life. I am ALWAYS at thrift stores, antique stores and I WANT everything! You have to get what goes with your life and budget! We all forget this when we see everything as a kid does in a candy store ;)

    Also, the green is FABULOUS!!
    Have a great day

  44. Thank you darling for your lovely comment, I really appreciate your continued support! You are one of my fave bloggers and a constant inspiration my little Rock Chick Beaty!!! Have a brill bank hol! xx love Annie xx

  45. I just so love your maxi waist coat.....the colour, style & lining! Your head scarf is so mod as is your dress.....love the fact that you sew too! Wish we had car jumble sales here......we have flea markets but the stuff is usually dealers selling everything at high end prices! Church sales & the Salvation Army is where I shop to find my clothes & treasures. Have a fab night Vix!

  46. First of all you look fab and I am jealous of those cute shoes! Secondly you and Clare make some great points, I have reduced my spending a lot, buying what I need rather than what I want but I could do better! Instead of pressure to find new retail items to blog about I'm visiting my wardrobe and shoe collection to post about things I have xx

  47. Hi Vix, been away for a while, so busy with the documentary i translated and all, i went to the viewing last night, was fun! you look so good Vix and those shoes to do die for!!!!

    Ariane xxxxxx

  48. I have a thing for silver shoes -- what a nice pair!

  49. Love what you've done with the green fabric! What a smashing waistcoat. Those are very wise words from Claire as well. Quality over quantity is something I have to keep reminding myself of.

  50. You are stunning in green. I find it hard to resist when I find a beautiful item and it's the right price. If I don't want it myself, I can usually think of someone who will. This is why I'm spending more time shopping my closets!

  51. Hi Vix, love the green maxi waistcoat and the silver shoes. Thanks for your comments on my blog :-)

  52. Amazing creation.. you are so clever! That shade of green is exactly right, splendiferous.
    And what Helga said sums up the point of buying 'cheap' wisely (less quantity, more what you need/quality) 'the satisfaction of using what you already have' - that's what its about, isn't it?
    PS think you have amazing luck in second hand shops or maybe the Birmingham area is just the place to shop!

  53. That waistcoat is great, I love the contrasting lining.

    I totally agree that buying 'because it is cheap' is silly. Also buying to fit in with expectations of what a blogger does, or because everyone else does. Buy things because they are nice, useful or interesting: not merely because they are cheap.

  54. I can't believe you made that yourself. It is amazing. Love the lining especially.

    Consuming less has been my mantra for this year and think I have been doing pretty well ... no shopping, no temptations ... only when I see stuff on blogs and then I want it ... but I resist 'coz I have no money! :P

    ♡ from © tanvii.com

  55. I love what you've done with that fabric, Vix, it's absolutely brilliant!

    Those shoes are gorgeous too. If they were jewelled in red I would swear they'd take you to Oz and back!

  56. What a gorgeous creation! I adore the lining. And I'm stealing this line from your post: "You're building a wardrobe and furnishing a home not opening a museum." I think I need to tattoo that on the palm of my hand!

  57. You say so many smart things in this post! I have a hard time ever paying full price for anything. The older I get I would rather have memories and new experiences than more stuff.

    This jacket is killer and I am in love with the gorgeous liner you added. You are an amazing woman my dear!

  58. amazing blog, hun!

    PS. Giveaway! Enter! If you want!


  59. I couldn't agree more. My mom always says that, even if the dress is beautiful, but you have even the tiniest doubt about it, you shouldn't buy it - it's not yours.
    Looking back at some of my worst buys, I know she's right))
    Love the waistcoat - such a pretty and versatile piece)


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Lots of love, Vix