Tuesday, 30 November 2010

A finished knit - "Made so quickly" from A Stitch in Time

Hurrah!  I have finally, 100% finished something.

I'd been looking for something to make from A Stitch in Time for a while but felt daunted by the complicated look of the patterns (I think a symbol for level of difficulty would be useful in all craft books).  After consultation with my favourite knitting guru, Katie of  My Vintage Dresser fame, I decided on "Made So Quickly," an update of an item from Woman's Weekly, September 1936 and described as "a pet of a jumper in easy knitting."

It was a fairly simple pattern, though I did have some problems with gauge, only lengthwise though....it seems I'm a long knitter!  But usefully, this book has pattern diagrams showing the measurements and so I used these rather than sticking to the listed number of pattern rows.

I used a true red cotton DK yarn from Debbie Bliss which I won for a song on eBay and was, contrary to reports online, not splitty at all.  This was my first time knitting in cotton yarn and it did take me a while to get used to its lack of stretch, but as it was a good quality yarn I quickly got over that and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Here is the original pic from the book, and here is my little red number.  The pics aren't great.  My camera is worse than the darn phone.  Grrr!

I'm feeling rather proud of myself.  In fact I shall have a glass of wine to celebrate.  Red wine.  :-)

Monday, 29 November 2010

A failure in the making - the infamous "3-hour sweater"

Finally, a knitting post.

I am trying to do some stashbusting and as a result was searching Ravelry for something to use my three balls of pink worsted on.  Not enough for a cardigan, I already have scarves...and so what was the only vintagey item that I had enough for and that wasn't knitted on the dreaded circular needles...the "3 Hour Sweater".

I tried to knit this originally way back at the start of this year, in fact just when I first started knitting, because it seemed easy - just stockinette, ribbing and basic increases and decreases.  Also, if over 200 people have made it, surely I could, right?

Wrong.  I made a basic schoolgirl error and supplemented a chunky for the worsted stated in the pattern, didn't do a tension square, and ended up with something which I thought was much larger than required (though looking back it probably wasn't that bad).  I frogged it and had a cry and put it down to a learning experience.

So now I'm facing the beast again, and it is a beast.  The pattern calls for very large needles (10mm for the main body) and these are very tiring to knit with; the tiredness somewhat slowing down what should be a quick knit.

As it's going I am not halfway through and 5 hours in, so lets call this a 12 hour sweater, 10 hours of knitting and 2 hours of sewing up (I loathe sewing up).

So far it isn't looking too bad, a very loose knit but this is a 30's pattern and I've seen some original items with this kind of gauge.  I am worried about the sewing up though (did I mention how much I hate it?) as it is so loose and I'm concerned about gape.

So anyway - watch this space and I'll let you know how it turns out.  I really don't have high hopes for this one.

I also don't believe ANYONE, EVER could have done this in 3 hours.  Well, apart from this lady:


Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Getting crafty at Paper Dress Vintage Boutique

Hello again all

Now that the nights are drawing in so early and it is getting harder and harder for me to haul my lazy self from the sofa of an evening my thoughts have turned to indoor fun...NO, not that you crude thing, more the make do and mend sort.

To help me get the craft bug back I decided to take a few classes and lo and behold, what arrived on my facebook page but an invite from Paper Dress to attend their new and exceedingly affordable craft classes.

Paper Dress Boutique is one of my favourite vintage shops and is very handily located near my work in Shoreditch.  Following their opening in September 2007 the shop has gone from strength to strength.  The boutique sells vintage clothing from the 1900's onwards, all quality hand sourced pieces (on of my favourite ever suits comes from here...happy sigh), and frequently hosts gigs, classes and shopping events as well as being available for private hire.

The craft classes are run by Paper Dress' in house alterations team (perfect if you need a few tweaks to make your new purchase perfect) and include crochet, knitting, sewing and embroidery.

I have attended two of their crochet classes so far, taught by the lovely Yolanda who runs her own 1940's inspired fashion company (I need to know more about this and will ask next time I see her).  I found her teaching style to be incredibly warm and patient and the atmosphere in the Paper Dress coffee shop perfectly calm and cosy.  The time just flew by, aided by the mulled wine no doubt.

After just two classes I have learned to make a chain, slip stitch, single, double and treble crochet and made my first granny square.  Look at the beauty!

I really can't recommend these classes enough and at just £2 for each session they are ridiculously bargainous.  I have thoroughly enjoyed myself at each one and am looking forward to classes to come.

Who knows - maybe one day I'll be able to make gorgeous 1940's designs like my classmate Mara's beautiful bag from Vintage Secret!

If you fancy getting crafty join the Paper Dress facebook group here.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Beauty review - the perfect daytime red

I think I've finally found a good, affordable daytime red.  Up until now I've always used good old MAC Ruby Woo, the vintage girl's favourite, but it can be a bit OTT in the daytime, and it is nice to be able to switch from a gentler colour to something more powerful for a night out too.  You don't get that if you've been wearing the Woo all day!

My discovery was completely accidental, I was going to meet some friends and realised I'd forgotten to bring a lippy with me (quelle horreur!) and so nipped into Boots and picked up the first thing I saw that I hadn't tried before....Rimmel's Colour Show Off lipstick in Red Fever.

I have to admit that initially the packaging put me off, it is thoroughly cheap looking and very lightweight.  A hot pink metallic tube worthy of Jordan herself.  I was, however, pleasantly surprised by the product.

Though it looks shiny in the tube it goes on beautifully matte.  Compared to Ruby Woo it is soft red, though most users who have reviewed in online so far consider it bright, and I guess it would be for someone unused to wearing a red.  It is also a much softer texture than the Woo and therefore not as drying, which is definitely a winner for daytime.

 MAC Lady Danger, the Rimmel, Ruby Woo (click to enlarge):

It lasts reasonably well, better than most drugstore lipsticks, though you do need to reapply after eating to keep the colour even, but at around £5-£6 a tube that isn't too worrying.

Here is what it looks like on, please excuse my morning face:

Just the one layer there.

I think you'd need a few to pull of the colour of postergirl - Georgia May Jagger:

Overall I'm really pleased with this red.  I might even investigate the other colours in the range now, they have a lighter red and a few pinks to choose from.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

A winter shopping list!

With the seasons changing yet again I thought I'd share some of my plans for keeping warm in the winter (roll on payday!)

One of the main problems with a vintage wardrobe is that it is largely made up of skirts and dresses, and so when the temperature drops it can get awfully cold, especially for us modern gals who are used to central heating!  I usually end up wearing trousers most of the winter and really miss my pretty frocks, and so this year I'm determined to stretch out my dress wearing a little further.

I'm not going to go into coats, hats and scarves - instead some less obvious options.

Stockings and tights:

Following a great tip from the lovely Jeni of Yesterday Girl - What Katie Did's 60 denier CC09 stockings.

These babies are authentic looking and durable - just what I need!

MyTights.com have got some great 100 denier stockings in too, in a range of colours that will look fabulous with a vintage wardrobe.

For when it's too cold even for stockings I'm also looking for some thick woolen tights.  Tights Please have a great selection of cable and rib knit tights.

Slips and petticoats

Petticoats and full slips are great ways to extend your summer wear into winter.  I find the best places to get slips is often the charity shop but M&S - that old stalwart - is also a favourite.
I might even try making a flannel slip this year following some useful instructions found here:

  • Cut a piece of new flannel, baby blankets or section of a flannel sheet. 
  • For the length: measure from waist to knee. Add 2 inches for hem, and 3 inches for top casing for elastic. 
  • The width of fabric needs to equal your hip measurement plus 4 inches.
  • Sew side seams, hem and upper casing. 
  • Cut 1 inch elastic to fit waist and use large safety pin to feed it through the casing. 
  • Sew ends.

Sounds simple enough, right?


I know, I know, not sexy.  But a lot of modern day thermals do bear a striking resemblance to the vintage equivalent.

This vest from Damart

Looks a lot like these vintage pretties to my eye anyway:

Shoes! Shoes! Shoes!

Oh yes, an excuse to by more lovely shoesies!  As if I didn't need one already.

Shearling boots seem to be all the rage this year, luckily for us, and here are two of the best I've found:

KG by Kurt Geiger - Warrick (£150)
Miss L Fire - Ellison: (£110)

I know, pricey!  But you can find similar in most shops now and also eBay is full of similar styles.  I've even got a vintage pair on the way.  Hurrah!

If you just want to wear your usual shoes then sheepskin insoles might be the answer.

Though please don't wear them with your flip-flops!

That's it for now my lovelies!  Do let me know if you have any other ideas.

I'll be back later in the week with ideas to keep you cosy indoors.

A quick hair and outfit post - The Candlelight Club

I have again been neglecting this place, but with good reason - firstly, I've lost my camera somewhere in my flat and secondly I've been planning lots and lots of lovely blog posts for the future.

I just have to gather the energy to write the darn things now.

So, to get me back in the swing please marvel at my hair and outfit for last night's Candlelight Club.  Hee hee.

The hair was done in my basic set with the curls brushed under to form a shorter looking do and the fringed brushed over my hand to create a curl.  I then curled a few pieces around a mascara tube to get a definite set curl and sprayed it all firmly into place.

I wasn't sure what to wear for the bash, as I've gained a whopping half stone (three kilos) in the space of just three months, and choice was therefore somewhat limited.  After trying on a dozen things that wouldn't zip up and almost getting stuck in one lovely 40's dress, I finally settled on the below outfit, mixing dark red with dark brown - brave for me as I usually end up in just one colour.  I'm terrible at vintage colour schemes.

Apologies for the grubby mirror and iPhone photo.  Where is that darn camera!!

Here are the constituent pieces - again, apologies for poor picture quality:

Big bow hat (in a dark brown that is so close to black that it can be worn with either):

Dark brown Corde handbag:

Dark red 40's suit with gorgeous pocket detail:

Dark brown leather vintage shoes (really do need a clean - oops!):

Pink reverse carved lucite brooch and matching earrings:

Myself and two very lovely chums arrived at the club a little late - and as it was completely sold out we failed to get a seat and missed the gourmet sandwiches on offer.  However we enjoyed ourselves immensely - the band were fabulous and there was some burlesque too.

It did feel a little odd being in all 40's garb at a 20's themed event but no one seemed to take the dressing up too seriously, thankfully.

This is possibly my favourite event on the vintage scene, the atmosphere is very relaxed and there is a really mixed crowd - from Hackney hipster to New Sheridanite.

I just wish I'd had my darned camera!  Photos of the event can be found here.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

In the pink! Latest shopping finds and suggest me a dress pattern...

Sorry I've not been around lately, I've been busy at work and have had a house guest so finding time to write for here has been impossible. 

Anyway, I had a lovely day of thrifting on Saturday and just wanted to share my glorious finds with you.  Almost all in a shade of pink.

My first purchase was this wonderful hat, dark red with a pinky orange band.  I bought this from Past Caring in Islington and it came with two black hat pins which area little rusty but easily cleaned.  All for £8!

They had the hat listed as 60's but I was fairly sure it was late 40's and took it into a couple of the better vintage shops in the area and had it dated as such, so I'm very happy.  It has some great creases in it and the trim is turned beautifully.

Whilst there I also picked up a darling rose pink slip and a fabulous 50's crochet pattern for DK wool.  I'm always thrilled when I find vintage patterns in anything above 4 ply.

I then wandered up the road and found a great stall selling vintage haberdashery oddments and picked up two belt buckles and some buttons which are an incredibly close match for one of the buckles.

The green buckle is cracked but I plan to Make Do and Mend it with a dab of superglue.  It was just too beautiful to pass by with that lively green on cream and deco style.

So ladies - I need some idea for what to make for these items.  I'm thinking some late 40's dresses.  Any pattern suggestions would be very welcome.  I'd love to use those big pink buttons and belt together.

Oh, and I was naughty and bought a watch.  Modern but vintage style - rose gold.  I hope I love it as much in real life as I do in the picture.