First, the making. I rifled through my ever-increasing stash of vintage Indian silk scarves at the weekend and made myself a fringed kimono top. As it only took four scarves I've barely managed to dent my scarf collection but when the chazzas sell them at 3 for £1 you can't really blame me for hoarding them, can you?
I was inspired by Anna, a member of the Up-cycled Cloth Collective, who creates incredible garments out of vintage scarves. If you like her colourful, hippie chick style you can visit her shop HERE.
And the doing? I've read:
- Depths by Henning Mankell
- Jar City by Arnaldur Indridason
- Coastliners by Joanne Harris
- Women on the Frontline by Stacey Dooley (kindly loaned to me by my friend, Lynn).
On Thorne's recommendation I've tracked down this American hippie-inspired dressmaking book which is full of the brilliant ideas for pattern-free dressmaking which I'm hoping to have a play with soon.
I spotted this 1970s Indian gauze dress on eBay last week. She'd been well loved with a 50p sized tear in the skirt and perished elastic in the cuffs. The lady selling it was upfront and honest about the damage in the description which, no doubt, put most buyers off - but not me.
Replacing the sleeve elastic is a straightforward task, most vintage dresses suffer with this problem and it's something I do all the time. I snip a couple of stitches on the cuff, pull out the old elastic, attach a safety pin to the end of some new elastic and snake it through the cuff channel, stitching the ends together and resewing the snipped stitches. It's such a simple thing to do and along with replacing missing buttons, hooks and eyes or sewing up fallen-down hems, it's something many vintage traders don't bother with, a poor reflection on both them and their stock if you ask me.
Here's how I sorted out the tear, boro style:
2. Using tailor's chalk, mark the measurements on to a damaged silk scarf and cut it to size.
3. Pin the patch of fabric to the wrong side of the dress.
4. Select a couple of spools of cotton in complimentary colours.
5. Using a simple running stitch, sew vertically along the patch in one colour and horizontally in the other.
6. Trim any loose ends and iron.
Less than a couple of hours later and the dress was - if not as good as new, wearable, damage free and saleable (that's if I can bear to part with it now I've tried it on).
|WEARING: 1970s Indian gauze midi dress & raspberry opaque tights (eBay); vintage leather belt, tooled shoulder bag and wool felt hat (all charity shopped); Clarks shoes (new!)|
I look scarily like my Mum did in 1977, even down to the Clarks shoes!
On to the spending. I try to make a concerted effort only to buy items secondhand, ethically produced or from a company with a bang-on reputation for quality which is easy when it comes to clothes & accessories but with footwear I'll hold my hands up and admit to being swayed in the past by sale boots from TopShop (and company boss, Sir Phillip Green certainly doesn't have the greatest of reputations) so I'm happy to report that my new shoes answer the criteria. Clarks has been owned by the same Quaker family since 1825 and were the first company in the world to produce a foot-shaped shoe. Even today, every pair of shoes that Clarks produce begin on a last carved by hand from a single block of horn beam.
In a collaboration between Clarks and the V&A Museum to mark the company's 190th anniversary, these shoes were based on the iconic Wallabee shoe which was launched in 1970. They were reduced to £10 in Clarks' sale...bargain!
|Waistcoat (eBay), White maxi dress (Viv's Vintage, Worcester), Block print midi (Oxfam)|
As I said, there's no problem finding beautiful vintage clothes, my only problem is that just lately, I keep finding them. My latest additions are a Kashmiri crewel work waistcoat, an embroidered Pakistani-made cotton maxi and an Indian midi which has been completely hand sewn using block printed cotton bed covers, more than likely something a girl on the hippie trail had tailor-made in India back in the early 1970s, the type of dress that inspired Anokhi.
The eagle-eyed amongst you might have noticed that the white dress is the twin sister of my beloved blue dress which I travelled around India in a couple of months ago. I definitely won't wear a white dress in India so I'll have to book a trip to Greece instead (that's if they'll let us in after all this Br*xit boll*cks).
For the last three weeks Jon's been working on Gilbert. He's sanded him down, filled in all the holes and now he's applying the first coat of paint. It's a long and dirty job but doing it by hand saves ££££s and he should hopefully be back to his former glory in time for the Classic Car Boot Sale at the end of April.
See you soon!