Thursday, January 27, 2011

Vintage Couture Highlight of iD Fashion Show, Dunedin

I am so excited - a fabulous collection of vintage couture is coming to Dunedin for the iD Fashion Show.

Read all about it in the Otago Daily Times article here:

The collection has a wonderful website with amazing photos and a blog. Read more more here:
Darnell Collection of International Vintage Couture

What is the iD Fashion Week? Well it is a fashion show, and more, and the highlight is a runway show held at the famous and beautiful Dunedin Railway Station.
The website for the show is here:

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Inspiration from Movies

I have been watching a few old movies recently - all recorded off Stratos as they screen too late for me. They are from the "Schlocky Horror" timeslot of 12.30am so I had pre-conceived ideas about the "quality" of the films.First up was the Amazing Mr X (1948). I enjoyed this movie - the beach scenes in particular. Even though the title is about a male character it was the relationship between the two sisters which really appealed to me. The setting was fantastic - I am not sure if the house was real or not, but it was literally perched on the edge of a cliff and was almost art deco design with a large curved wall and a patio with steps down to the beach. The clothing was lovely - floaty fabrics and two stunning evening outfits.Next came The Bat (1959) which I knew would be a horror, but I did not think there would be so many murders! The poster is really cool and I love the bat shaped text. The main character is a novelist and quite a few scenes occured at night time (when bats come out funnily enough) so there were a number of night gowns and robes to admire. The day clothes seemed to be very shaped - one dress was almost like origami.
Then I chanced upon a Hitchcock which I had not heard of before - The Skin Game (1931). I have to admit I was very hesitant about googling "skin game"!The quality of this film was quite grainy so it was not easy viewing. I guessed it to be 1930s from the clothing and I was quite shocked about the subject matter! I adored the dress that Chloe wore - flimsy nightdress, or evening dress. I would like to see a better quality version of this film (and the opening 15 minutes!).

As a result of seeing these films, I have become interested in nightwear - either making it or buying it. I am thinking of something long and elegant - not flannette or wincyette!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

New Places to Visit in Dunedin

There are two places I want to visit this year - Swaye, Resale Boutique, 11 Mailer Street Mornington and Purple Rain, Princes Street. If you are reading this and you are new to Dunedin and want to explore the op shops, don't wait for the student magazine to run a review, or the otago daily times to feature, read my list and get exploring!!

I spent an afternoon scouring the clothing opshops of Dunedin in the holidays and covered the following:

SFS Op Shop (South Dunedin) If you are walking this one is quite a hike. However if you have a car you can start at this store and then drive the length of Prince Albert Rd/Kind Edward Street and enjoy all the op shops. This particular store is small but imaculatly clean and tidy. Prices are fair.

Salvation Army (Princes St, South Dunedin and North Dunedin stores) the Princes St store is my favourite - where I found my $5 ukulele and my $5 embroidered picture of Knox Church. I am not going to lie to you, I think the South D store is overpriced, but there is a lot of stuff in drawers towards the front which could be worth looking at if you like haberdashery, accessories, handbags etc. Sometimes, sadly, there is a bit of an odour in this store. The North D store is small and crowded but had an excellent selection of sewing patterns. Again I thought the prices were a bit high, but there was a lot of trendy modern stuff which would appeal to some.

St Vincent de Paul (South Dunedin and George St stores) George St One of my faves as I love the old ladies which work in this place. This charity also gives out food parcels and clothing parcels. I personally donated a whole bootload of stuff there just after Christmas. I have bought some real treasures here and visit 2 or 3 times a week. Not everyone's cup of tea tho! The South D store is not quite the same atmosphere but a nice store all the same.

Orphans Aid International (Hillside Road) this store is fairly new and well organised. Only visited once so its hard to say how successful this place will be. It is however well advertised with a facebook page and listing in the yellow pages.

SaveMart - the vintage retro items are now on the ground floor at the back in the far right corner. This is the Mother of all op shops in Dunedin and I recommend plenty of time to look through all the items. It is very well organised. Only criticism is that the lighting is bad.

Hospice Butterflies Shop (Hanover Street) Another of my all time faves but it is small and crowded and can get a bit claustrophobic if there are very talkative people in there. You'll see what I mean when you go there.

Red Cross (St Andrew Street) Very clean and tidy store. Well laid out. Good quality things which are clean and fair prices.

Yellow Presbyterian Op Shop (St Andrew Street) - great $1 specials in this store. This store is frequented by some real characters - be prepared to elbow other customers out of the way!

Refind Rig - lovely store with a selection of pre-loved items amongst lovely new things which are out of my price range. Fab selection of accessories and jewellry too. Look out for the $9.95 rack out the front.

Recycle Boutique - I have got some great bargains here but wonder how great their system is...I dropped off a bag load of stuff last week and have yet to hear/read an email about it.

Closure of the Red Cross Shop in York Place

The Red Cross Shop in York Place, where I purchased 2 x $1 trousers is now closed. When I was in the St Andrew Street store I asked if the other store was open (reluctant to walk there if it was not open) and the assistant said there was a big closing down sale before Christmas (which I clearly missed). So I will have to revise my list!

Project #1, January 2011

I picked up the braid in the sales bin at Spotlight (20 cents a metre) before I had even thought of making a dress. As I wandered around the store, the fuschia colour of this sateen cotton seemed to compliment the colours and so when I got home I decided to make a dress to wear to my niece's wedding in April. I mistakenly thought the pattern was a 16 and was surprised that my first fitting was like being inside a sack. When I looked at the pattern closely (and carefully) I saw that it was in fact a 42. So I re-drafted the front and back sections taking an inch from both the vertical and horizontal.
My next fitting was more successful, but the bust darts still sat too low. As you will see from the picture below where I have pinned more fabric up, I had to make further alterations. I guess this is the reason I should have made a muslin. I am a bit short-waisted so once I had made this additional alteration I was ready to show my mother.

My mother is an accomplished seamstress who has sewn bespoke items for women since the 1970s and made ball gowns and wedding dresses in the 1980s. She still sews for herself and I have received a number of meters of fabric she has purchased and then decided she does not want it. I digress. My mother pointed out the following:
#1 the bust darts do not point to my bust and suggested making these a bit longer
#2 the darts from the waist to my bust need to be tapered
#3 it is an ambitious project
#4 the braid makes it look "little girly"
#5 the seams all need to match perfectly
#6 she volunteered to do the zip for me (YAY!)

I was not totally unhappy with this criticism as I know there is a lot of work to be done. I did not show her the pattern, claiming that I had momentarily mislaid the envelope. She would be horrified that I am using such an old one! She did say though that it was a great colour, and lovely for a wedding. I would like to wear a large hat with it and a belt.

I put this project aside after talking to her, so that I could work on something else - something which would be completed quickly.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Start of a New Year

Happy New Year!

Annabelle-Alice wears cotton top with broderie cowl collar and gingham skirt with applique roses. In the background, along the window sill you can see a turquoise frosted glass candlestick on the left and on the right a blue one with a pink flower posey just visible.

This year, I hope to achieve the following:

1. continue to buy second hand clothes - be they second hand, thrift, free, brand new with tags but unworn, unwanted gifts, or in the lost property box, or rubbish. I will not buy brand new;

2. regularly conduct a wardrobe audit: orphans (clothes which go with nothing or only one thing) and lemons (don't suit or fit me or I don't like, or were impulse purchases) must be removed;

3. orphans and lemons must be taken to Recycle Boutique or Refind Rig, or promoted on Trade Me, until sold and if not sold then donated to charity. Arrange a clothes swap at work or a stall at the Port Chalmers Fair;

4. discover fair trade or organic or bamboo underwear;

5. costume jewellery, scarves, gloves and shoes which have not seen the light of day for a season are to be treated like orphan or lemon clothing NOT pushed to the back of the wardrobe/drawer/box;

6. sew my own pyjamas or night shirt;

7. sew an item of clothing for a friend for no reason other than I would like to;

8. finish knitting projects which were started last winter;

9. keep a record of the money spent on clothes, the time spent sewing;

10. update this blog once a week at least!