Friday, November 19, 2010

Amazing Haberdashery, found in Dunedin

Sevral metres of this lovely braid - $1 from the Salvation Army
Plastic buckles - $1 the lot from Salvation Army

Selection of buttons from Oamaru Textile Museum $2 each - in pristine condition

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Uniform inspiration: the Uniform point of view from Dunedin

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

Salvation Army Store, Princes St, Dunedin

Just been to the Sally Army store on Princes St, Dunedin for a flying visit and there have been some very positive changes!

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.

Recycled Fashion: International Style

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Do I have an ironic dress style or ironic outfit?

I rarely cut and post but BricksnBag's comment on Already Pretty just grabbed me. you can read it here:

And in summary: BricksnBag said...

I wonder if posters feel the same way about other types of ironic dressing, such as pairing a biker jacket with pearls, or wearing workwear or western-inspired clothes in an urban setting.


More Than Meets The I: I don't see dressing ironically to be not letting one's inner voice out. For some of us our inner voice IS a cheeky, irreverant one ;).

Do I dress ironically? Do I like to juxtapose things? Do I like to say something with what I am wearing????

Monday, November 8, 2010

The best op shop in Dunedin

I have to be honest and say that I am not sure why my posts are not attracting the readers I would like and for that reason I am putting the name of my city in my title every day for the next month.

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

The joys of using vintage thread

I bought these four reels of vintage thread at the Tahuna Park Carboot sale a couple of weeks ago for the princely sum of $2. The "feel" of this is so different to my normal Molnycke (sp??).

Thursday, November 4, 2010

My next version of Ema's top: in retro print cotton

My Dear Darling D's First Rag Doll: Annabelle Alice

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.

Simplicity Three Hour Shirt - Project Status: Completed

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.

Re-fashioned Newport Dress

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Inspiration for the day...simple lines, beautiful shapes

What would I do without MPB to read in the morning?

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

Would I describe my dress style as cute?

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.

Bambi Buttons

Recent TM purchase:
Bambi buttons
What more could a Bambi collector want??

Monday, November 1, 2010

Melbourne Cup Day but not blogging about race-wear

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........