Friday, November 19, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Uniform: dress of a distinctive design or fashion worn by members of a particular group and serving as a means of identification; broadly : distinctive or characteristic clothingExcellent post in MPB today:
Here is my comment (and a bit more)
I like the idea of wearing a something out of context – like the supermarket smock – but I think the clothing with logos, names tags etc which is a modern interpretation is parody rather than flattery. I like some military fashion if it is still essentially functional and hard wearing but military inspired sheer tops for example are just plain silly.
I wore a school uniform (several actually) I loathed “mufti” day with a vengeance because I did not have a sense of my own style. I also wore a supermarket smock for some years and it saved my own clothes, it was not particularly flattering but it was hard-wearing.
I work in a medical school many of the senior staff are men and wear a uniform of a shirt and trousers, jacket and tie or similar. The administrative staff are mainly women and wear smart skirts and tops, some in management wear corporate style skirts and jackets. Mainly I wear skirts and tops, or dresses either home-made or from op-shops. From time to time I wear a 1970s shirt dress reminiscent of a cleaners smock, because I identify with the workers at the coal face or grass roots whichever way you want to put it. I wonder if we all have our own uniforms - clothing which makes allows us to identify with a certain group - thinking back to some of MPB’s earlier posts there is the uniform of a "goth" or "punk" or "hipster".
Moral judgements about who should (or should not) wear certain uniforms do not surprise me, but I am saddened as there continues to be so much value placed on the way people dress and appearing fashionable. My daughter is 9 and is now aware of her clothes and how she dresses. I do not wear fashionable clothing in the true sense of the word, but I hope I dress in way which reflects my values. I will encourage her to develop her own sense of style and resist taking on board the comments of her peers. However, the “uniform” she will wear to school, until she has to wear a school uniform, will be practical and hard wearing, affordable and comfortable. We will choose her clothes together and “fashion” may or may not play a part in that decision making.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
The temperature today is in the mid twenties so when offered the chance to go for a drive at lunch time by my Dear H, I leapt at the chance. The idea of walking around in this heat is not appealing but driving, with the window down was a different matter.
The first thing I noticed about the store is that the window display was in a black and white and Christmas theme and carefully arranged. When I walked through the door I noticed that it seemed fresher and lighter, and as I made my way around in an anticlockwise fashion, I discovered that there were more clothes, and new clothes racks. The signage was a bit dodgey - hand written on scraps of cardboard, but no matter.
Now there are four or five long racks at the back of the shop with children's, mens, women's sweaters and jackets, black and women's white clothes. Items along the side were carefully grouped together by colour, and a display of summer tops was at the front in the middle, so you had to walk past it. It is as if someone with a retail background has been working in the store. Most of the items I looked at were $4 or $2 which was reasonable. The tags are all put on with those plastic things which you have to cut or they rip the fabric, and they were easy to read. Some of the racks were over full - the "black" rack for example was almost impossible to see individual items so I relied on my "instinct" for good quality fabric instead.
My only purchase was an orange coloured Grace Hill short sleeved blouse - $4. Grace Hill is part of the EZIBUY range and I have had items with this label before. A lot of Ezibuy ends up in the op shops because its mail order and people can't be bothered sending stuff back. My shirt however, was worn, but clean. I have in mind that I will use some material at home to make a skirt to go with it, and / or refashion an existing.
Overall I'd rate the store 8/10.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Monday, November 8, 2010
I just read a lot of great comments about the prices at Goodwill and Thrift stores in the wonderful blog My Repurposed Life and it got me thinking about the prices of goods, quality of goods etc of the stores that I visit.
When I give items to charity I nearly always drop off goods at the Salvation Army Store on Princes Street, or, the Yellow Presbyterian Op Shop on St Andrew Street, or the ReStore on Vogel St, and this is because of the parking issue. When I am dropping off goods to charity I am almost always in the car and have more than I can easily carry. Even if I have Dear D and Dear H with me, carrying heavy items more than a few metres is tricky and so close parking is essential.
The Princes St Salvation Army has about four parks out the front which are perfect for drop offs. The Restore is not so good as you have to cross a busy one way road to get to the store if you cannot get a park outside - being on a corner is great for visibility. St Andrew Street is usually crazy with traffic but again if you are lucky and can get a park outside then its easy to drop things off. I have been known to drive past the stores and the one with parking gets the goodies. I was going to donate some lovely blankets to the Red Cross after the earthquake in Christchurch but it was just too hard to find a park to drop off and the blankets were those furry ones and very bulky and there was no way Dear D and I could carry them - we would not be able to see our feet!!!!
Also when I donate things, I try to donate clean items which appeal much more to me than dirty. The St Vincent de Paul on George Street has a washer and dryer upstairs and all their items are spotless. As a result the store smells nice or neutral. Restore seem to accept just about anything, and consequently there is an odour. I do not give broken rubbish to charity. Broken rubbish and McDonalds toys and other MIC rubbish which is broken is only fit for the rubbish. Torn clothes are made into rags. Torn tights make tree ties. Totally wrecked kids clothes are not worth giving to anyone. I have been known to take off all buttons etc and then burn them.
Yesterday at the St Vincent de Paul I spied some funny kumara/peony tuber shaped things in an icecream container under the trolley displaying a good selection of cricket books. Dahlia tubers!!! Free dahlia tubers!! So today I took in my half bag of Jersey Benne seed potatoes which I do not have room for in my garden and thanked the lovely lady for the dahlias and offered the potatoes. I scooted around the shop in case anything new had arrived and noticed that the two hand-made shirt dresses were still on the retro rack which I looked at yesterday. At $8 they are a bargain, clean well made and great retro material. But a little part of me, a teeny tiny part of me says I do not need any more shirt dresses. Let's see if they are there next week.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Thursday, November 4, 2010
White top made from scraps, blue gingham skirt made from too small Dorothy costume worn at a dress up day 2 years ago. Flowers were cut by Dear D and she had the idea of sewing them on to the skirt which I thought was very imaginative. Notice that there are two different colours of wool in the hair to make it look more natural. A-A has a hand embroidered mouth and blue button eyes (previously on a mens shirt) and underneath she is wearing custom made briefs from the sleeve of an old tee shirt.
This was a very easy pattern for me to use and I am pleased with the result.
It is however, bigger than I anticipated, and even though I do have broad shoulders, I should have made small, not medium, but never mind. Due to my loathing of button holes I sewed the front up and tried to make it look like it did have button holes. Since this photo I have taken the buttons off as I felt they were too heavy (green glass ones purchased from the Butterflies shop for $1). I have selected some other green ones and will sew on soon.
The thin Obi style belt was hastily thrown together because I felt the shirt was quite roomy it needed to be drawn in. The dark green fabric is one of the many remnants from my bag of goodies from St Clair design which were in a $10 scrap bag.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
What would I do without MPB to read in the morning?
1. I would probably not smile until morning tea time
2. Slightly more work would be achieved
3. My own blog would not be so interesting
So what do I think about fashion subcultures? Well, those that have read this blog, might think I am "in to" vintage clothing, home sewing and op shopping. My parents and sister might think that I was a bit gothic when I was a student, a bit grungey perhaps. Now they only see me in jeans and a tee shirt in the weekends. It is so easy to pull on denim and a retro Disney Bambi tee shirt from Jay Jays or KMART. My dear H and dear D see me in all sorts: big skirts and vivienne westwood tee shirt; Lichfield Polyester shirtdress, cropped trousers and shirts and flannelette pajama pants and sloppy tee shirts. My colleagues only see the work clothes - not the pajamas!!! LOL.
I love the look of Sex Pistol Punk. The safety pins and chicken bone tee shirts, the ripped clothes, the spiked hair. I never had the confidence to wear it. Recently, I have experimented with creating a more industrial look, mainly based on black trousers and slogan tee shirts, of which I have far, far too many. But I did not have the accessories to make it all work.
The funereal gothic culture really tempted me when I was in my 20s, and I had a boyfriend who was dark and sombre. He wore red tab Levis and Doc Martins. He introduced me to opshopping. I remember I had a long black dress and skirt, and several black tops. When I went home during the varsity holidays my mother commented that my clothes looked like a flock of crows on the washing line, flapping in the sharp easterly breeze.
In my late 20s I seemed to have style chaos, I bought things I liked, but nothing gelled together.
My boyfriend at the time, a sloppy leather jacket wearing hippy type, whose wardrobe only included black jeans and shirts/tee shirts. We went to the pub a lot, we played competition darts and watched horse racing. I look back and wonder how the &^%& I made it through that time. His ex-girlfriend was part of our "crowd of friends" and she was always well dressed (good salary meant that she shopped in the top stores only) and well made up, nice hair. I felt neutral to invisible beside her. Someone trying to boost my confidence said she looked tawdry. I think in hindsight that was unfair. She was/is a confident dresser. I saw her recently in a lovely Trelise Cooper skirt and ruffle shirt (she openly admitted it was a Trademe bargain) and she looked like she had found her style groove.
I wonder, have I found my style groove? I read Trinny and Susannah's "What not to wear", then I read Trinny and Susannah's "Who do I want to be today", then I read Isaac Mizrahi. Now I find myself covetting vintage homemade things, buttons and haberdashery, thinking about sewing projects and the like. I feel panicky in department stores, and repulsed in designer stores. Disgusted by the composition of modern clothes, the fabric and the prices.
And so here I am.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
I am a great fan of Bambi figurines like the ones above. I have a large collection which sadly have no fixed abode at present (no safe shelves or display cabinet) and are nestled in shredded office paper in a box, safely tucked away in the roof. I do have one on my desk with a bell around its neck, which is a little Christmas-sy but not overtly so.
However much I love Bambi/deer and I love the cute eye lashes and the little white dots, I cannot think of myself as cute. I do not dress cute. The cutest I have ever dressest (familiar readers will recognise that I am parodying cyute tawk wich is evewy where on da interweb) is the polka dot floral skirt ensemble worn for a 1950s birthday party.
Monday, November 1, 2010
Well today is Melbourne Cup Day, and I am wearing my polka dotted white and blue dress, red heart necklace, and Lady Dragon Vivienne Westwood Shoes (mine are pearly white with red heart).
I went to the Car Boot Sale at Tahuna Showgrounds on Sunday morning with my Dear D, to do something a little different after the hysteria of the Halloween-themed-birthday party. It was quite an experience I can tell you. Anyway, despite my concerns about the genetics of those the lady and her son who we encountered right inside the main gate, I rummaged gleefully through a very large box of sewing items. Previously belonging to a porcelain doll decorator, I found a number of wooden cotton reels nearly full of thread and so bought four. Dear D found a bling brooch of uncertain heritage and even more dubious value which she really wanted so I parted with $4 and we left happy.
Today I meandered to the St Vincent de Paul and then along to the Hospice shop. The latter definitely had more "treasure" and I got two lovely old aprons for 50 cents each and a selection of buttons. One is a bit like this:
Actually, mine is prettier. Just goes to show that you do not need to be a TradeMe addict (although I could be) or a serious collector or rich. Just trawl through the treasure at the local charity shop and look what you could find.
If only the rest of life were that simple....last night my Dear D ripped her beloved Asics Trackpants. She fell over in exactly the same place as she did when she ripped her jeans. The scar on her knee is now partially removed and replaced with a fresh graze. Alas, the Asics are no longer suitable for school and due to their construction they are not easily patched. When I can stomach the heat and chaos of Pumpkin Patch or JKids then I will try and get her another pair. If only I could convert her to vintage and retro clothing........
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Found some very interesting information on Sonny Knitwear here:
While I was exploring I came across this:
more info here
This will certainly be on my Christmas gift list!
For example when I proclaimed that Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden would be my inspiration for this year's BRAVO and that Adam and Eve would be perched fetchingly on my bosoms, I did not realise (1) I would not be able to make them do this easily, (2) I would not be able to model my own creation (3) I would be required to stay up until all hours for days prior to the show completing my creation.
When I claimed I would be the Bride of Frankenstein for my daughter's 9th Birthday party, I did not realise that the 1935 Bride was so gosh darn ugly. Hence my desire to channel Jennifer Beals.
However, it is now approximately 24hours until the party and I have nothing to wear ARGHHHHH!
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
My darling D is having her 9th Birthday party this weekend and it is a Halloween Horror themed party. We have already been to Spotlight twice and taken advantage of the 50% off Halloween items, and to TWL twice, once to do a recon before going to Spotlight and again, at 6pm on Tuesday in a mercy mission to get a horror mask. The horror mask is truly horrific. Combined with the grotesque horror hand glove, the skeleton glove, the skull satin cape and disgusting scythe with bird like horror head and gore, my dear darling D looks quite horrible.
Her father, darling H is going to be attired in suitable vampire clothing a la vintage Dracula (no Edward-ian Twilightian clothing for him) and has a cape, teeth etc. I was going to be Morticia Adams but am not feeling at all like Anjelica Huston so I am chanelling the Bride of Frankenstein a la Jennifer Beals.
I will be wearing my green vintage dress....
Sunday, October 17, 2010
I really enjoyed reading this book - it has a short sharp sweet flavour which is reflected in the fun cover and graphics. Although I am perhaps a little older and more expereinced than the intended audience I did enjoy reading about the recycling of curtains and other fabric and the hilarious "making a sausage dog" story at the end. In some ways it does over simplify sewing. For those who are die hard, die in the grave or dye cast about sewing it will be an object of horror that Eithne describes making a rectangle into a skirt, drawing around one's body to make a pattern and other "idiot proof" ideas. For those who are sick of the mass produced MIC products in black this book is a blast of colour and ideas.
My love affair with the forties was born out of my interest in the Fifties and although I love the fun of the fifties, it is the austerity of the forties which really captures my imagination. Beautifully photographed and laid out, this book is a clothing history and the effects of war on all kinds of clothes - ball gowns, couture clothes, mass produced items, uniforms, jewellry, hats. The photos really showed the fabrics at their best too, with close ups showing extra detail. The book covers Europe, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan too which was very interesting and I learnt about the fabrics for Hawaiian Shirts, and the changes to Japanese kimono. Again, items made from Black Out Fabric or refashioned from other items, such as the women's suit made from a man's suit really appealed to me.
There is a great scene in Gone With The Wind where Scarlett decides to go and see Rhett and she claims that she has nothing to wear and then she looks up at the curtains and decides to turn the curtains into an outfit (above). If I had to make a dress from curtains I would be horrified as most of mine came from the Warehouse and have thermal backing!
Thursday, October 14, 2010
I wonder when I will be ready to share out the patterns? I was looking on TradeMe yesterday and a few that I have were there for sale - but the prices were pretty high, and I think it would be much nicer to just use Karma and let the patterns go around for free or for the price of postage.
I am hoping to go the Swap at Pioneer Hall, Port Chalmers in the weekend with some patterns, knitting bits and bobs and some clothing. I like the idea of re-circulating things. Barter, trade, call it what you will. Just been thinking too, that its nice to make something for someone, like 'Ema's Top, and just do it for someone, for no reason other than you like them and you would like to make them something. It is possible that 'Ema thinks I have forgotten about her, and the top, but I have not. In the weekend, I retrieved the top and had a good look at it - it needs washing and ironing, and a button and then I can send it to her. Familiar readers, you know I was looking at it because I cut out my own version of it.
Petal sounds like she has the same space issues we all have when we love sewing. Where do we put all that fabric!!! Well, I use those plastic sets of drawers from the Warehouse. I can get quite a lot of fabric in there - cottons and cotton mixes in one shelf and synthetics and chiffons in the other, leaving the top for braid, ribbon, lace etc. The braid is carefully put in Glad bags and labelled - if needed. I also keep my knitting needles (well some of them) in there, also interfacing and bias binding, and all the haby things. For larger amounts of fabric or bulkier amounts of fabric I have an old wicker laundry basket which is full to over flowing. Then there are a selection of supermarket bags with Trademe purchases and a brown paper bag from St Clair design stuffed with off cuts. Lastly, there is a tote bag made of bamboo or something which is full of belts - skinny, leather, plastic, fabric etc - like a pile of seething snakes. Buttons are in honey pots sorted by colour on a shelf. Patterns are in a big plastic storage container in a cupboard, protected from sunlight (sewing room = computer room = reading room = sun room = 1960's addition to house facing harbour = inspirational.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Love the transformation of the coat into a dress.
I started another project myself last night - cut out the Ema top in fabric purchased from Spotlights pre-GST30% sale. A vintage inspired cotton with orange and turquoise small flower print. Photo to follow.
Also, yesterday, while on a quest to find tuning pegs and strings for the Lark Ukulele I ended up at the Butterflies hospice shop. I know, its kinda weird how I ended up there if you don't know me, but if you live in Dunedin then you might know of the Music Workshop which used to be on George Street upstairs from Things. Well its not there anymore and this was highly annoying as I used to go there quite a lot for ukulele related things. So, annoyed I decided to go somewhere .....like the Hospice shop .... and look for both a John Denver record for dear D who is singing Country Road West Virgninia in the school production and a bra to decorate for BRA-VO. I did get a couple of bras and I have arranged with a dear colleague that she will model the creation, and I will make and design in collaboration with her.
Monday, October 11, 2010
I may have had that in my mind when I got there, but something happened because I left with about half a dozen Goosebumps books (Dear D), a few books on statistical modelling (Dear H), an embroidered picture in black on calico of Knox Church, George Street Dunedin, a blue and white floral table cloth which looks like cross stitch but its not, its just a printed pattern, and a cute Lark Ukulele which dates from the 1970s.
The discerning reader will have noticed that there are no handbags included in this list. There were no handbags of any interest at the Sally Army and when I enquired, none of the assistants knew where they were, so I had to assume that they had all been sold.
The reason I was looking for the handbags described in my opening statement is that I have been successful in bidding on a vintage pattern for crochet with Swiss Straw.Swiss Straw is a posh name for Raffia. I already own a beautiful blue Swiss Straw handbag from the 1960s which I originally noticed in the Blenheim Save Mart. I did not buy it. But my dear sister in law K went back and bought it for me!!! I was really touched by this act of kindness and the bag is very precious to me.
It looks a bit like this (above) only with a chain handle and a clam shell clasp. Very cute and very roomy.
Tuesday 12th October: Opshopped red blue check polyester dress and blue Hush Puppies (both from Butterflies Mosgiel)
Monday 11th October: Opshopped Cue Skirt (Blenheim) with Stax Petrol coloured stretch wrap top (bought new)
Saturday 9th October - special dinner at Pier 24 with my Dear H: Deco looking vintage dress purchased for the princely sum of $1 at a St Leonards School Fair, with new Melissa shoes and hosiery.
Friday 8th October: Preloved red black and white spotty polyester shirt dress (trademe) and grey Glengyle cardigan (St V de P)
Thursday 7th October: Preloved blue white polished cotton shirt dress (trademe) and black silk and cotton cardigan (gift from Mother previously from Classic Clothing).
PS Dinner on Saturday was fabulous!
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
A list of my collections:
- frosted English glass eg Bagley Powell Davidsons (approx 50 items)
- ceramic bambis and deer (approx 20 items)
- Tennyson editions pre 1920 (approx 20 books)
- kitch kitchenware
- vintage buttons and buckles
- glass dressing table sets and pin dishes
- vintage sewing books
- vintage knitting patterns (approx 100)
- vintage sewing patterns (approx 20)
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Dear H and D gave me the Isaac Mizrahi book a couple of Christmas's ago, and I found it really useful. In fact it helped me define my style.
Today am wearing the completed Vintage Look Easy 3 Hour Shirt with vintage glass buttons and a made-up-off-the-cuff long belt.
I am nearly over my style quandry - as much as I love the various styles (a la "who do I want to be today") indie country (summer dress boots and denim jacket), or slightly punkish (leggings biker jacket and long white shirt with skull jewellry), or whatever, in my heart of hearts I like to look like I am from another era and I want to wear something different to all the black sheep. I want to wear colour and texture, and get away from deconstructed merino knit graphic printed blah blah blah.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
By Thursday morning I had resolved that if it was still in the shop I would get it. To my pleasure it was still hanging on the rack amid Concept and Expressions synthetic polo-neck sweaters. I lovingly washed it last night and dried it on the clothes airer in front of the fire. Alas poor H found the smell made him nauseaous so it spent some time in the laundry draped over a basket until H went to bed early and I could bring it back into the lounge. By breakfast this morning it was dry.
I am delighted with it - the colour is fresh and it is a good fit. Teamed up with mens dinner shirt and To A T trousers I must say it looks quite preppy!
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
I think I am going to hijack D's digital camera as it is small and compact and will enable me to take pics quickly. As it happens she has borrowed mine on a number of occasions to take pics of birds, lambs and flowers.
Monday, September 20, 2010
Last night I made my very first stuffed toy. This is the project:
I made him in blue gingham and put the seams on the outside. I am going over the seams with blue wool making my stitches all sit next to each other, and some slightly longer or shorter than others. The affect is really nice. Only major problem was the stuffing part - what to stuff it with rather. So I got out the scissors and cut off the sleeve from the finished but only partially sewn together fluffy Panda Scandal Sweater I made dear D. I did not realise that the kitchen floor would resemble a toy factory with all the hairs of light blue fluff Scandal. However, it all stuffed into the little dog reasonabley well. A bit of the stitching on the chest area came undone, but now I am going over with the blue wool it won't matter. Photo to follow shortly.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
and after an hour or two of wrangling with the sleeves and tutting under my breath, and trying it on, I realised that I had made a fatal error.
When I originally cut the pattern I guessed correctly that it is for a narrow shoulders so I cut it to the largest size and then proceeded to grade the pattern in the bust to fit me (it does) BUT the it is not possible to grade it to fit me in my lower back without then changing the side seams... Yes reader, I should have cut it to a smaller size - or at least one which is more realistic for me. I did a pretty good job on the princess seams which I had not done before, and the sleeve placket - even if it did face the front of the sleeve rather than be at the back. On the down side, I had stuffed up the front placket somehow and was dreading doing buttonholes.
Looking in my bathroom mirror wearing the shirt for the last time, I also realised that I hated the puffy sleeves. My already generous shoulders were now embellished with wings. I was using a cotton poplin which had no stretch whatsoever, so there was little chance of movement if I made things too small. So in the spirit of learning I cast the whole project aside. No reader, I did not take to it with the scissors. I folded it neatly and put in my stash basket.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
So here is the info
Cat Not BRK 12-2
all very interesting so must now spend some time googling further information. Daughter is a little disappointed that it will not go straight away. I told her not to plug it in as the plug looks a bit dodgey, but when she's not looking I might try it myself......except for the fact that she will know!