Thursday, 17 September 2015

My Vintage Life - Secondhand Shopping & Sewing



I love buying second-hand. Shopping retail holds no appeal. Racks of identical dresses, row upon row of the same pair of shoes, clothes displayed in suggested outfits, no imagination required. There's nothing to beat the adrenaline rush when you spot an extravagant sleeve or wild print peaking out from a rail in a charity shop or from a pile of tat heaped up on a tarpaulin sheet at a car boot sale, getting it home and trying it out with pieces you already own .

Wearing: Vintage rose print maxi (courtesy of Heather), Customised leather jacket (Charity shop, £5), Topshop canvas platform boots (Charity shop, £2.95), Tribal necklace (Ila Pop)
I never tire of second-hand shopping, which is just as well, considering I make a living from it.


Here's last week's finds, freshly laundered and ready for new homes. Recycling at its most groovy.

Clockwise from top left: 1970s English Lady pussy bow blouse; a pair of 1930s carved Gentian brooches; 1980s crazy daisy wool jumper (ready for next year's festivals); Vintage scarves galore; Quilted 70s waistcoat; 1960s Hawaiian midi dress; West German fake fur jacket; 1960s rainbow suede mini skirt; Bell sleeve dragon print maxi; Hippy-tastic sheepskin jacket; more knitwear for next year's festival season; Groovy Lurex tank top; Art Deco inspired 1980s jacket; Tooled leather bag; 1970s polka dot halter dress
Clockwise from top left: 1970s velvet blazer; African leisure shirt;1960s Hepworths car coat; Tootal velvet tie; Luigi Rossi casual shirt; 1970s wool flares; Vintage prescription glasses; London Fog jacket ; fab 1960s Tootal & Sammy scarves; Leather ankle boots; All wool Aquascutum jacket; Harris Tweed blazer; Failsworth of Manchester Fedora.

A walk to the opticians yesterday led to the inevitable browse around the chazzas, resulting in this red 1970s maxi with a super cool label accompanying me home. Meant for the stockroom but once tried I had to keep it, but, sticking to Vix's wardrobe law, several maxi dresses (and a pair of boots) have been donated to the Kinky rails, ensuring my collection doesn't get out of hand.


What's as much fun as shopping? Sewing! This week I put a day aside to get to grips with the bastard massive mending/re-purposing/rescuing pile threatening to take over the stockroom.

I love getting my mitts on tatty vintage clothes and giving them a new lease of life, like the oil stained 1980s suede trousers which I refashioned into shorts (How good would they look with opaque tights, f*ck-off lace up boots and a skin tight band tee?) . The suede offcuts became elbow patches adding interest to a nondescript 1960s blazer, giving it a Country Mod vibe. The leather "football" buttons on the jacket were salvaged from a moth-eaten cardi.



A bed cover became a mini dress and a curtain, a kimono, trimmed with fringe ripped off an old tablecloth. I can almost close the fabric trunk now.

We're off to V Dubs in the Valley tomorrow for our final festival of the Summer 2015 (sob!) Better get packing.

See you soon.

55 comments:

  1. Well done on the sewing! Unfortunately I haven't found much at the thrift stores for vintage lately, but I'm hoping that will change with Halloween coming up. They tend to stock more vintage for costumes. Just hope the prices aren't too bad.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh Vix, those shorts are amazing, I am totally in love! x

    ReplyDelete
  3. Those tops are amazing (said it before, and I'll say it again!)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am soooooooooo with you about second hand shopping. I tried to go into a normal shop and only last a few seconds. What a bore.
    I wish I could meet you on day.
    Victor is getting better, but still a long way to go;although Rebecca and I are taking a break and go to New York for a week in October.
    yeahhhhhhhhhhhhh
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

    ReplyDelete
  5. Brilliant finds for Kinky Melon stock! I have to say that my first port of call when I need new clobber is usually the Charity Shops and I nearly always can hunt down what I'm looking for. Much more satisfying than shopping in the big chains (and cheaper!). xxx

    ReplyDelete
  6. Once a second hand shopper always a second hand shopper I say :-) Great finds and buys im not surprised you kept the red dress it looks gorgeous on you. Have a great last weekend festival selling hope the weather is kind to you, dee xx

    ReplyDelete
  7. Yup that red frock is definitely a keeper. I wish I had your will power when it comes to the wardrobe rule!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I was about to say the red dress looks great on you - but then everything looks great on you!! x

    ReplyDelete
  9. Agreed, where's the creativity in stores? It's the unique, one-of-a-kind that's fascinating. And seeing the potential in things is so exciting. Making something cool out of something trashed or mundane. That's satisfaction. And no one puts it all together better than the Vixen. yea!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wow, great finds this week. Love those old scarves, leather purse and that red dress you are wearing. Have fun celebrating the last summer festival!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Right in line with National Sewing Month!

    You have inspired me to start selling clothing pieces that are now too big for me. I think I might opt for Etsy to list them.

    I too hate retail - give me second hand any day ~

    ReplyDelete
  12. dang, you always find the best stuff. I spy at least 4 outfits from the woman's things. I think it's awesome that you also have men's wear. Sometimes I think vintage dressing forgets the men

    ReplyDelete
  13. The back of your leather jacket is worth framing, it's fantastic and all the more so for its faded beauty. Suede trousers into shorts - classic! you are a very clever lady. I am always on the look out for a genuine wool tartan kilt - in bright blues or pinks - never found one yet, the chazzas round here are very dull and overpriced and unwashed so I have given up looking lately, maybe should take a drive to a new area and explore, might be fun.

    ReplyDelete
  14. YES! Your thoughts about vintage shopping mirror mine. That tickle of excitement about the find! You've done some brilliant refashioning too. I'm currently working on a refashion, and am looking forward to giving vintage/refashioning more of my attention! It's so much fun reimagining pieces into something else.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Oh Vix, I know just what you mean about the thrill of spotting something special in a charity shop, but.... *puts pedant hat on* Charity shops and jumble sales are retail, too. If you look at the etymology of the word "retail", it's actually more applicable to buying and selling second-hand than it is to high street/big box chain stores. (I'm not having a go at you, I just keep seeing people using "retail" to mean "not second-hand" and, well, it was starting to bug me!) *takes pedant hat off*

    That red dress is rather fab, makes my screen glow! Nice work on the refashioning, and I do like those little gentian brooches.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Vix a great blog post !, I am going to keep in mind your clothes law when I go in charity shops , buy some take some out of my wardrobe so my wardrobe doesn't get out of hand again lol ! best wishes xxx

    ReplyDelete
  17. you are a true conservationist and clothing rehabilitator with mad sewing skills. There must be some kind of award for people like you. Oh yeah. You get to live your AWESOME life!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I couldn't agree more about secondhand shopping. Where's the thrill of the chase in real shops?
    I love you in the City Swingers dress. Red is your colour. I know I always say that but you just look spectacular in it.
    Have a fun weekend and safe travels. xxx

    ReplyDelete
  19. Oh how I love the floral dress you're wearing, brilliant with your chunky jewelry and leather jacket too! I think there is no cure for thrift shopping, once you started it. And you clearly keep your fire alive!

    ReplyDelete
  20. You are so 'on-trend' darling! Now I know you couldn't give a shit about that but all the glossies are stating that red is the colour this a/w. (One even called the shade Jam.....really?!) Loving the Vixification of the suede shorts and the fab mini, bet they fly off the rails. Enjoy your last festival. xxxx

    ReplyDelete
  21. i´m in your church, vix!!!
    :-)
    i even have forgotten the last time i shopped me some retail clothes! the only time i hit a mall is for bras - i´m not so lucky like you ;-) - and shoes. vintage shoes are almost non-existend here....
    happy dubs ind the valley!!!
    xxxxxxx

    ReplyDelete
  22. p.s.: that is the red-est dress ever - you look wonderful!!!!!! xxxxxx

    ReplyDelete
  23. And for all the same reasons I'll never tire of second hand shopping. As I recently said to someone the idea of a "capsule" wardrobe would kill me. There is such a thrill in buying a unique piece and experimenting with how it looks with other pieces. Your finds are fab as always and I have a dress in that hawain print on the midi. You might remember I chopped it into a mini and it has the gorgeous flared split sleeves. Love your jacket by the way. Did you customise it yourself and if so how?

    ReplyDelete
  24. This is one of my most favourite charity shop hauls of yours ever! That brown sheepskin jacket- is it lined with sheepskin fur/fleece? If so, what size is it and how much is it? I am in love!!!x
    I feel the same about your as charity shops!!x

    ReplyDelete
  25. That's my favorite jacket of yours. Glad to see you're still rockin' it!

    ReplyDelete
  26. I more than concur, I live the same!
    FUCK YES, why o WHY anyone would be remotely interested in that inspipid sea of sameness out there I DO NOT KNOW. Tired of even wondering!
    Love the customisation, fucking rocks!
    The red frock is magic...
    Love Helga XXXXXX

    ReplyDelete
  27. The rose print on your vintage maxi-dress is lovely with a pretty and unique colour scheme. Your finds from last week really are quite eye-catching and pretty. My faves from amongst them are the 1930s carved Gentian brooches, the crazy daisy jumper, the scarves, the quilted 1970s waistcoat, and the Hawaiian floral midi-dress. Both your red maxi-dress and that mini-dress made from the bed cover are beautiful! I love the trim at the hem of the mini-dress and that gorgeous print. You're incredibly talented!

    http://www.full-brief-panties.blogspot.com/2015/09/fbloggers-lingerie-haul-excuses-old.html

    ReplyDelete
  28. i too love the thrill of the unexpected! Your new suede shorts are freaking fantastic, and so are the two vintage fabric tops. Keep on rocking in a free world, gorgeous Vix. xo

    ReplyDelete
  29. I'm glad you're keeping that excellent red dress! It looks amazing on you.

    I had a laugh yesterday when Nick suggested that I should "be more like Vix and get rid of something whenever I get something new (to me). I must have told him your "policy" at some point and he remembered it! Anyway, it is a great system, especially since you have such a great way to pass your things on.

    I was just involved in my first vintage housewares sale on the weekend and it was a blast! It was so fun seeing what people chose. I was selling things on behalf of an estate, so it wasn't my stock but the whole experience has given me ideas for sure. I've been completely inspired by what you guys are doing!

    Hope your weekend goes well. xo

    ReplyDelete
  30. I so admire your resolve on not bringing new (to you) vintage items into your wardrobe without letting go of something else. Well, i guess I can aspire to something like that. just not YET…. (she says, not being able to close the wardrobe door….) Mind you, of course that red dress is a keeper - it's a stunner.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Such a variety of interesting and beautiful finds! I really love the rainbow suede mini skirt, would grab it instantly!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Good Afternoon Vix, Well I never, you took me back with the clothes you had discovered in Charity shops. I remember in the 1960's wearing a suede mini skirt similar to yours. The 1970's bow blouse was definitely my style back then and the bell sleeved dress..... well, I had one which was in pink and black blocks.... so 1960's..... I loved it.
    It was fun reading all about your teasures.
    Best wishes
    Daphne

    ReplyDelete
  33. Glad that you're keeping the gloriously red dress, as you look stunning it. Meant for you, babe! Super chazza hoards and I used to have brooches identical to those 1930s ones in my teens - sadly they went astray long ago.

    Have a great weekend with the Dubs xxx

    ReplyDelete
  34. Oh I'm so with you Vix on the pleasure of secondhand shopping - had an amazing hour today in a secondhand shop - just feeling all those fabrics and seeing so many different colours ... Sadly the lady is closing the shop at Christmas. But the charity shops are just as satisfying - nothing to beat coming home with a bag of stuff for next to no money.
    Have to say I'm getting a lot more courage at mixing and matching since i've been reading your blog :) Thanks for the courage you're passing on to us.
    Love that leather jacket by the way :)
    Fil

    ReplyDelete
  35. I will never tire of thrifting either, although I have cut down on the number of trips I take to the secondhand shops in an effort to clear out my bedroom-that-is-a-closet. I don't find as much interesting vintage as you do over there, which makes it easier.

    That green leather customized jacket is one of my favourite items of yours. It looks good over everything! Have a fun and profitable weekend.

    ReplyDelete
  36. The best part about buying second hand is it is always changing, not the same old stuff. I so agree about the thrill of finding something, after all that is the best part, the Hunt!! I cannot believe you are off to your last festival. Does this mean a trip to India is not far away?

    ReplyDelete
  37. I agree about the second-hand shopping. I love the thrill of the chase, though it is getting hard to find anything decent these days up here. I miss the days of jumble sales. You never see them here any more and they were great for finding the most amazing pieces. I love your jacket/maxi combo and that red dress is an absolute knock out. You look fabulous in it. Have a great time this weekend. Xx

    ReplyDelete
  38. That red dress is a total beauty, I love it and of course it looks Fabulous on you, you gorgeous city swinger. Repurposing or upcycling or whatever it's called gives the most wonderful sense of satisfaction, doesn't it? You're right about the shorts, they would look great styled exactly as you said and I love your latest sewing creations too. Yes, it's second hand for me, although this year I've hardly been to any chazzas or booties, just haven't had the time. I have one of those little gentian brooches, the colour is so intensely blue, it's beautiful. Xxx

    ReplyDelete
  39. Love me a red dress, with a black floppy hat is magic!
    That leather jacket is amazing, although you need your hair up. :-)
    Some gorgeous finds here. Love the faux fur!
    Your sewing is beautifully centred on the pattern :-) Can see you in these.
    I'm sewing too, some lairy pink and orange pants and shirt for a friend. Hope she likes them!
    Of course from secondhand fabric! Xo Jazzy Jack

    ReplyDelete
  40. I wish the charity shops in my area had such good finds. The London ones are wise to vintage now and mark everything up. I shall have to pay you a visit and go charity shopping in your area one day! x

    ReplyDelete
  41. I have one of those cute brooches, lovely!

    I love the shoulder bag.

    ReplyDelete
  42. that leather jacket is really cool that image makes me think of burning man for some reason?? great finds!! I did not go into any second hand shops the last time I was in England they were always closed when I was out strolling around I did peek in the window and was impressed and wishing I could go in much different than the thrift shops here in the U.S. ~Enjoy your new goods ~Heather :)

    ReplyDelete
  43. The last festival of summer? Wow. How did that happen? Your keen eye together with your sewing skills will always keep you in business and looking fabulous. I went to a big store opening yesterday - overwhelming. A sales clerk led me to a rack of tailored designer clothes, thinking that would suit a woman of my age I suppose. After I told him I prefer thrift shopping, he left me alone. I love looking for vintage but have eased off lately. Your upcycles get me thinking in good directions.

    ReplyDelete
  44. I get glorious desperately seeking Susan-vibes from that jacket.

    ReplyDelete
  45. The blues of the leather jacket and rose pattern maxi are sublime! What a magical combination with your dark hair, Vix, but then so is that fluid flame of a gown you've just added to the keeper closet.

    I surprised myself by finding a 40s evening dress that actually accommodates my generous curves -- but what, I wondered, was that hole in the upper shoulder and what could I do about it? Hmmm. Then I watched an ancient Lucille Ball mystery film and noticed the enormous orchid corsage pinned to her shoulder... There are repairs, dear Vix, and then there are cover-ups!

    ReplyDelete
  46. That bed cover mini dress is the cutest thing ever ... you're a recycling star :0)
    xx

    ReplyDelete
  47. That red maxi is drop dead gorgeous on you! I'm SO glad you decided to keep it!! Also love those shorts, such a cool refashion. The mini dress is fab too. I need to sew now...

    ReplyDelete
  48. Oooh! I can see why you needed to keep that dress for yourself!

    You do have a brilliant eye for items and how to work with them. That is why you do so well at your job.

    I love that groovy tooled handbag and the midi dress with the big sleeves.

    bisous
    Suzanne

    ReplyDelete
  49. Have I gone utterly bonkers? I could have sworn I commented on this post... But I am tired, full of cold, and it's completely likely that I just imagined doing so. Sorry - what can I say? I tell you - bonkers!
    I spotted Anna's comment above, and although I get her point that all shopping is essentially "retail", I think most of us understand the inherent difference between conventional retail chains, and charity retail with donated goods which are therefore all unique. Or car boots, markets or jumble sales, which apart the fact that there is an exchange of cash for goods, bear little resemblance to most normal retail experiences.
    Like you, I don't do high street or shopping centre shopping - so dull, so samey. Where's the thrill? Your finds demonstrate perfectly how to do secondhand shopping properly - so much fabulous stuff to be found, and it ain't in Primark or M&S! That patchwork suede mini skirt is wonderful, as is the bell-sleeved maxi. Groovy men's wear galore too.
    City Swingers - don't you just love a vintage label?! It's a fab frock, bet Jon was chasing you round the bedroom when you put that on! Love the rose print maxi too, and the painted leather jacket. You are the refashioning queen too, love your makes.
    How was the festival? Can we arrange a meet-up this autumn? It's been too long!
    Love you (and sorry for being so horribly late...) xxxxxx

    ReplyDelete
  50. Curtise is not on her own in thinking she had commented already heehee so did I. Get well soon Curtise xxx
    You've reminded me seeing that patchwork skirt, that I got one on Brick Lane earlier this year and its time to drag it out and match it up with some boots I picked up for £8 in Oxfam in Kendal last week.
    I love what you've done with that leather jacket missus xxx

    ReplyDelete
  51. I'm with you Vix! I never tire of secondhand shopping. Good for me. Good for the earth. Your treasures are amazing, as always. You are smashing in the red maxi!!!

    ReplyDelete
  52. I FINALLY figured it out! I've got your eye & appreciation for this these styles - just can't WEAR them! Honestly (and at the risk of repeating myself) "You. Are. Amazing."

    ReplyDelete
  53. I love the blue boob swirls on the top you made. All hail the hypno-boobs!

    There's nothing quite like the buzz of finding just the right thing in a charity shop. It is so addictive!

    ReplyDelete

Don't be shy, if you enjoyed your visit leave a comment, I can come and visit your blog if you do.
Love from Vix
xxx