Friday, 29 June 2012

Torches, Prizes & Charity Shopping

It was thundering and the clouds were an ominous shade of purple-black this morning but I thought, "Sod it, I'm wearing a Hawaiian maxi dress today even if it makes me the laughing stock of the Black Country". 

Bangles on the left courtesy of my friend, Janne, turquoise ring (Miss Magpie) and purple quartz ring (Krista), sparkly bangle (Liz), all others from various charity shops/inherited.
I didn't notice any adverse reactions but once I get in a charity shop I'm pretty oblivious to anything.

I was lucky enough to win Amie's fabulous giveaway and when I received my prize parcel today I discovered the little minx had slipped in a couple of 1970s vintage treats, a Reldan skirt suit and a sequinned boob tube (which will be brilliant festival wear with yesterday's lurex hot pants and my high heeled wellies). 

I was a bit wary of the two piece at first. It's beige, midi length and silky, more Granny chic than rock chick but teamed with my trademark bling and boots I was pleasantly surprised. 

Vintage skirt suit worn with suedette ankle boots (£1, car boot sale), socks (nicked from Jon), 1980s leather belt (£2, Vintage Village @ The Clothes Show Live), Embellished velvet tote (25p, jumble sale), Oversized retro sunglasses (Sarah Misfit)
 Just goes to show that it doesn't hurt to push those boundaries every now and then.

Needless to say I didn't come back home empty-handed. Here's a few choice goodies from St Giles Hospice, not as cheap as some of our town centre chazzas but if, like me, you'd lost a parent to cancer you wouldn't begrudge a penny going to such a worthwhile cause.

1960s Jaeger wool jacket (£9.99), 1960s handmade clip-on earrings and ring set (£2.99) and a 1960s Austin Reed unworn wool waistcoat (£5.99)

Look what arrives in town tomorrow! I should be doing my patriotic bit and cheering on the torch but I've just discovered there's a jumble sale on at the same time, no competition really.

1960s Elfriede for Twiggs maxi (£10, eBay), vintage leather Gladstone bag (20p, jumble sale), River islands stack heel boots 9£2, Salvation Army), Button & retro fabric hair decoration (handmade by lovely Liz)

Have yourselves a wonderful weekend!
See you soon.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Hot Pants & Car Booty

Be afraid, be very afraid. These hot pants were so easy to make that if the appalling weather continues to hinder our car booting fun I'll be whipping up a lot more pairs in any insane fabric I can lay my hands on.

1970s tooled leather shoulder bag (£3.95, British Heart Foundation)
I'm entering Ceri's Ethical Fashion Bloggers competition. No corporations with questionable ethics and were supported in the creating of my outfit. Sue Ryder, Scope, The British Heart Foundation and the PDSA benefited from the purchase of each garment and I can verify that the only sweatshop conditions endured were by me slaving over these hot pants over a sewing machine (using a pattern purchased from the Salvation Army by Tamera). 

Barry M Cyan nail paint, big shell bangle (courtesy of  Lakota), Starburst ring (from Heather), turquoise daisy ring (Sarah Misfit), everything else second hand.
Wood and brass tribal choker from Orissan hill tribe, India
Lurex hot pants for car booting? Why ever not? It seems to make some of the stallholders a little more receptive to a bit of cheeky haggling besides many of the other booters are traveller girls and believe me, my clothes are pretty tame by comparison.

Handmade shorts worn with a denim halter top (50p, Sue Ryder), 1970s Dolcis platforms (£4.99, PDSA), Crochet skull cap (£1.95, Scope)
Sellers were sparse at this morning's car boot sale, the sky was so dark that the nearby motorway lights glowed like it was midnight and the forked lightning was a tad worrying to someone who wears as much jewellery as I do. The mother of all rainstorms hit the second we got back in Gilbert and the country lanes on the drive back resembled rivers. 

As always Jon managed to snaffle some useful vintage VW bits and I bought just three things; a swirly chartreuse and fake fur trim wrap top (50p), super-comfy Hush Puppies stack heeled boots (£2) and a 1970s Spartan "Nite" suitcase complete with key (£2)

Who cares if the pickings are slim when there's a parcel of joy awaiting your return home? My lovely mate Liz sent this gorgeous retro Kittiwake bikini, a killer 1970s dressmaking pattern, a groovy Tootal tie to add to Jon's collection, a beautiful hand made (?) card, some Foxglove seeds...

a sparkly Indian bangle, a Barry M nail paint I haven't got and this amazing hair clip made by her own fair hands. Spoilt again and I love it!

Hot Pants made using 1969 Jiffy pattern (from Tamera) and vintage lurex fabric (Miss Magpie)
Off to check if there's enough cold beer in the fridge for the football later.
See you soon.

PS Check out Krista in her Vix-made hot pants, wow, just wow! 

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Cheap Frills


Only hours after telling to my mates that I was running low of decent material for my dressmaking endeavours I woke up on Saturday morning to discover a parcel of joy from the fabulous Miss Magpie, aka my fabric godmother.

Along with these two lengths of marvellous vintage material was some cute jewellery, a notelet featuring the only Walt Disney character I've ever liked,

and enough 1970s daisy print polyester to make this frilly maxi skirt:

 Using one of the vintage patterns I bought from last week's car boot sale.

 A clever seamstress, me? Getaway with you. I'm entirely self-taught and my cock ups far outweigh my sewing successes. Believe me, the seam ripper and I have formed such a close bond Jon's starting to feel threatened.

I wrote about my sewing history here.
If a walking disaster like me can handle a dressing making pattern there's hope for anyone.

Hand-made frilled maxi worn with 1970s gypsy blouse (75p, Salvation Army), 1960s suede Nordiska belt (20p, car boot sale) and my trusty £9 Office platforms
I'm linking to Lakota's Ta-Dah Tuesday, a great reason for getting your arse in gear and creating something.

Thank you so much for the brilliant response to yesterday's post. I knew I'd find some kindred spirits out there in blogland. 

Monday, 25 June 2012

Charity Shop Myth Busting

The Great British Charity Shop... If you believed some of the blogs you read you'd think visiting them was a total waste of time. In the name of research Jon & I took ourselves off around the chazzas on Saturday to disprove the theories.

"You rarely find vintage and if you do it's ludicrously overpriced or naff old Eighties polyester"....

Oh yeah? This Atlantic of London frock was £5 from the British Heart Foundation, that's around half the price of their usual stock of Top Shop, Karen Millen, Jigsaw & River Island dresses.

100% cotton and not a man-made fibre in sight.

Proper bona fide 1960s Mod couture.....

and a very reasonable £2.49 from Age UK.

"All the designer and posh labels get taken by the volunteers"


100% wool jacket in Cancer Research.

Loafers in Age UK. 

Hand made John White brogues for £3 in Compton Hospice.

"It's all overpriced, useless tat"

Really? These Faith stack heeled leather ankle boots were £2 from Salvation Army, comfy, cool and something I've been after for ages

This French Connection chartreuse silk vest was 50p from Cancer Research, a perfect injection of colour for a drab English Summer's day.

"Primark is more expensive second-hand than it is bought new from the shop"

Basics acid yellow vest and cute high-waisted dungaree shorts (which I've pimped up by replacing the original buttons with 1960s fabric ones) were 50p and £1 apiece from Cancer Research. I don't shop at Primark but I'm pretty certain the clothes cost more than that PLUS a charity gets to benefit rather than a big corporation with questionable ethics.

"It's cheaper to buy your paperbacks from the supermarket"

Banardos had reduced their books down to 25p each or 5 for a quid. Can Asda beat that?

"There's never any decent craft stuff"

No, of course not, I must be imagining this 4 yard length of paisley printed cotton I bought for 50p (Cancer Research) then.

"The men's clothes are all rubbish"

Yes, here's a Guess shirt (£2.50, Banardos) and Raf Simons Tee shirt (75p, Age UK), complete and utter crap but they make Jon happy.

Sometimes you'll come back from the charity shops empty-handed but the times you do unearth treasure more than make up for the odd dry day. To guarantee chazzing karma don't forget to regularly donate good stuff in addition to buying it and if your local shops really are rubbish get on the Charity Retail Association's shop finder and take yourself off to pastures new.

And if you keep moaning about the state of our UK charity shops I'll have to set Stephen Squirrel on you and he's fat, noisy and he's currently being treated for ringworm so be warned....

1970s midi dress worn with vintage Dolcis platforms (£4.99, PDSA), Indian tribal collar and bangles (second-hand or inherited), felt hair clips (handmade by the gorgeous Krista)
See you soon.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Double Frocking Friday

Yesterday I claimed Jiffy patterns were so easy to follow you could make them drunk. 

So last night I quaffed half a bottle of Chardonnay and made this using the 1969 Simplicity 8259 pattern Tamera sent me and an old bed sheet. I think it came out even better than if I'd attempted it sober.

I wore it to run some errands in town today and it managed to stay in one piece, a sure sign of a well-made frock in my opinion. I even got called a glamour puss by a frisky pensioner.

1960s bed sheet (20p, jumble sale) worn with suedette platform boots (£5, local boutique), tribal necklace and bangles (India) and a silver headband (75p, YMCA)
Remember our terrible video from last year? (Watch at your peril, I've  become the very type of middle-aged woman I dreaded as a 20 year old.)

Freaky dancing aside I loved the chartreuse 1960s frock I was wearing and was beside myself with excitement when I spotted something similar on eBay last week. I wanted it so much I set my alarm for some ungodly hour on Sunday morning to place a bid.

Cocktail dress by California (£6, eBay), Silver platforms (£5, local shop)

I won it! 

I did consider wearing it for Liz's 40th birthday celebrations later but as it looks best with my trashy 7inch stripper shoes and the evening involves public transport, torrential rain and a walk across a field I think I'll have a rethink.

Have a wonderful weekend whatever you get up to.
See you soon!